By Howard Hewett, November 2014
There is one story about my grandfather, Albert Walker Hewett, and my grandmother, Addie Jane Hewett, that occurred when my father Howard Curtis Hewett was around 12 years old and my Aunt Ethel Virginia Hewett Bell would have been 14 years old.
They had all gone to church on a Wednesday night. When the kerosene lamps were turned off at the end of the service, it became quiet and dark in those Federal Point woods.
The story goes that Grandfather and Dad went out to the Model T, set the magneto, turned the crank, and when it fired, they jumped in and headed for home, which was about 2.8 miles away.
The road home from the church ran down what is currently called the Dow Road (built in 1916), but instead of making the 90-degree turn at K Ave., the road continued straight and ran almost parallel to the river passing Uncle John and Aunt Rebecca Davis’ home. It then continued past the Lewis homestead on down to the home that Grandfather and Grandmother moved into when they married in 1911. Their original house was located in what is currently the Air Force recreational facility.
Since the Hewetts are known for not having the gift of gab, Grandfather and Dad headed home without comment. Upon
arriving at home, it was determined that Addie and Virginia were not in the back of the Model T.
In rural North Carolina, there were not that many paved roads so you may have thought it impossible for them to drive 2.8 miles on a sandy rut-filled road without Grandmother saying “Albert, please slow down.” I think the Hewett women must have picked up a more “talkative gene” along the way.
In telling this story my dad once said, that “Wash Foot Methodists were not very talkative.” Dad never related what Grandmother said when they got back to the church that night, but when telling this story, he would always grin.
I remember the church having a ‘T’ shaped floor plan with the sanctuary being the longer section with two rooms on each side. There were windows on the back wall on each side of the pulpit. In the room on the right side there was a bellows-type organ. This room was completely open to the sanctuary. It most likely served as a classroom. On the left side toward the cemetery there was another classroom.
My remembrance indicates that there was a relocation of the original church sanctuary with an addition to the original building transforming it into a ‘T’ floor plan. The time period of these changes had to be between 1935 and early 1940. By 1945, the church was as I remember it.
As reported on April 3, 1938 by the Wilmington Star, the family of A. W. Hewett (Albert Walker Hewett) gave the Federal Point Methodist Church a silver communion service in his memory. (Wilmington Star, 4-7-1938, 4-8-1938) I did not learn of this until I read the “Federal Point Chronology 1728-1994” compiled by Bill Reaves. It was published by the New Hanover Library and the Federal Point Historic Preservation Society in 2011.
During the writing of this document, I learned from my brother Thomas Walker Hewett that the communion service consisted of a serving tray with glass communion cups and a plate for the bread with each having a cover. At the closing of the Federal Point Methodist Church, our grandmother obtained possession. Following Grandmother’s death, my Aunt Virginia Hewett Bell took possession until her death in 1992. Several years after Aunt Virginia’s death, the serving pieces were given to the St. Paul Methodist Church at Carolina Beach, N.C. by Alex and Wayne Bell. The communion set now resides in their historical display case.
It is interesting for me to think about receiving communion using these serving pieces since this is a special part of the Christian tradition, my own connection with family history and our family’s special connection with the traditions of the Methodist Church. But as I think about it, I most likely did not receive communion until joining St. Paul Methodist Church in Carolina Beach, N.C. in 1951 at the age of twelve.
1920 – Federal Point Methodist Church – Some Members
Read Howard Hewett’s full narrative about the Federal Point Methodist Church