On March 17, 2004 my great grandmother Clyde Taylor-Johnson aka Mama Dear celebrated her 97th birthday. That year I arranged for her to be interviewed
What an amazing story to listen to her recall her childhood growing up in Sealy, Texas and to hear about her life after moving to Galveston in 1925. Mama Dear was married to my great grandfather Homer Johnson and they had two children.
In 2004 I told Mama Dear she only had three more years and she would be 100. Her reply was, “I don’t want to make 100. The world is speeding up and I am slowing down. Once the Lord waited on me and now I am waiting on him. I will be ready whenever he comes for me.”
Not only did she make 100, but she lived to 104 years old and ten months. Mama Dear died in 2012. I believe her faith is what carried her through those years. Many of those days were spent at St. Paul United Methodist Church on Broadway in Galveston. She was an adult member of St. Paul since coming to Galveston in 1925.
St. Paul UMC was first established in 1866. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my Aunt Charlotte Dobbins had served on the historical committee that helped St. Paul receive approval for a Texas Historical Commission Subject marker in 1990. The marker dedication was March 17, 1991 on Mama Dear’s 84th birthday.
In early 2015 I had an opportunity to meet Mr. J.P. Bryan prior to the opening of the Bryan Museum. I was able to talk with him and eventually during the visit I saw the book “Deep in the Art of Texas A Century of Paintings and Drawings” Michael W. Duty, Editor.
On the cover of the book was a painting by Merritt Mauzey titled A Church in Galveston, 1935. We discussed the fact that the church was St. Paul UMC on Broadway. At that moment it was as if the image jumped off the page and grabbed me. In 1935 my Great Grandparents were a young married couple with two small children and members of the church Mauzey had painted.
The Bryan Museum not only highlighted the history of the Southwest, but it highlighted some of my family history. Mama Dear, Merritt Mauzey, J.P. Bryan and myself all have different personal stories. St. Paul UMC connects us all because of the shared history of Galveston. Both oral and visual stories that tell the history of this beautiful island so many love.
With all we know there is still so much more to learn and share. Stop by St. Paul UMC, 1425 Broadway and read the historical marker. If you are free one Sunday morning at 11am join the Pastor and church members of St. Paul for Sunday worship. After the church service stop by the Bryan Museum, 1315 21st Street for a self-guided tour and read the historical marker there too.