©2009-2016 Becky Higgins

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ole Brother Donk Sermon

Below is a transcription of a sermon penned by my great-grandfather for an itinerant peacher, Brother Donk. It's a bit difficult to read in parts because I left it as written with all the colloquial spelling and all. However, you should find a cadence that seems to help.
Some of the content may be offensive to 21st century ears (I know it is to mine) and I apologize for that but taken in the context of the time and place (rural Indiana) I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
"Does your mamies know your out?"

Baptist Sermon by Old Brother Donk. February the 26. 1860

Text “And He weighed ‘im in a bellows and found ‘im wanting.”

My deer Breethering I am a little man and I’m an old man and I’m Somewhat decript an I’m not So high larnt nor so well bred in the Scripter nor what these big colleg’ larnd fellers what preaches about the ludurnal moshun of the arth an comicks an planicksan Geologer an Biologer and Sockologer and other big larning which confusticated with Greek and Latin they throw out frome their larned lips as though a common clod hopper like your humble Sarvant darsent understand a word of what they preached about. Now though I Say it that ortent to say it I’ve wore the gospel harness for morenor twenty year and I’m mighty thankfull that I never put on enny Brichen to hold back with But now as I’m an unlarnt candle of the Lord and a dipped one at that. They call me ole Donk but it used to was ole Brother Donk.

I’m glad to Say to you my breethering that I’m a hard Shell Babtist fur I’de rather have a hard Shell than no Shell at all. Now my deer breethering and Sistern, I’m guine to let you find your own teses this evening which you can easily do by lookin in the leaves of the Bible somewhar between Revolutions and generations and when you find it it shall read as follows “And He weighed im in a bellows an found im wanting.”

Now my deer old brothers and Sisters ah I’m not a guine to preach to you to night frome New Testament for I dizzarn with my nateral Sight that there are menny young folks here what needs advice for they’re so awfully Stuck up and Stiff with pride that they think they’re daddies and mammies dont know B frome a broomstick ah but Now in the first place ah I’m afraid that some of them will be weighed in a bellows and found wanting. ah And you young ladies what Sets over there ah a tossing ov your purty heads to make your ear bobs wag ah and has got your false curls stuffed with cotton ah which looks like the curls on a Newfoundland dogs back ah. Does your mamies know your out? Oh yes ah and you will Simper and gigle an try to get Sum ov the young men to look at you ah although your not more nor fourteen or fifteen and are gist beginning to understand the meanin of Soft love words ah Does you mammies know your out? Oh yes Ah and youll get on your finery and Store cloths and jimcrackery and jewelry and try to make the people Stare at you ah Oh yes ah and you cant get into the church nor its pews when you go to meetings ah an you Stand round in the iles so that the people may See you fine dresses and the red ribons and the blue ribons and artificial flowers and grasses which make you look like unto a frosted inguin bed ah if your mamies dont know your out youl be weighed in the bellows and found wanting and youl take that red pant and that whight paint and daub your faces ah Do not the indians the Same? Ah you think that theirby it will make you look purty and hide your dark skin and freckels So yoll intrap a pair of whiskers and youl think about gittin maried. You had better go home and larn home works before you learn the pianer and yuse sich big words from the Dictionary when you couldent spell two words in Webster spelling book without making ah yes ah and you can larn to chatter french and Italien ah and put on the agony ah but you had better learn that true worth dont lie in fine clothes and big words ah but in the moral edycashun of the head and heart ah and the common sense of the mind for he weighed him in the bellows and found im wantin. Now you men what sets in the back four of the house I say unto you in the languague of Saint James that your time that was to hav ariven hav aroven for you shell be weighed in a bellows and found wanting if you can get them forty pound cigars in your mouths you can make the smoke roll like a tar kiln in South Caroliner ah and if you can get a little ov your aslo pewter in your pockets and a brass watch and a hoss you can out sihvrder move than a big nigger in bead cloth. Does your mammies know your out? If you can git a little fuz to grow on your chins you can grease em up with bars of soap and make em look as justfdvis as a mules …… ah and you can cull up your soap bars until your heads smell uctous as a muskrat ah and you can git to goin a sparkin and feed on moonshine ah when you git heels over head in puppy love and sentiment ah you think about taking upon yourselves the title husband ah when if youd go home and look at family bible records you might find not mor nor 17 or 18 years ago you wer litttle chindlen brats in your cardles ah now your not a bit more fit to be maried than a two year old todler is to be president of the united states for youl be weighed in a bellows and found wanting. Oh yes and youl try to act out the big boy to perfection by Struttin around like a turkey gobler Struttin over hot coles ah and takin about as plane an Sensible as a guinea niggar Ah but when you get your fashionalbe Suits on you and your Shals tossed across your Shoulders ah you look like a hoss in hot wether with his fly blow hiver on him ah does you dadies know your heads hav got So little brains in them and are so light that you hav to hold them back in a fortyfive angle? You may go and drone through colidge and git your acomplishments ah but youl leav the world not a whit wiser for you will make about as much show with your numbskull tomfoolery in the world as a tadpole in lake Superior ah. If you get larning git it right and dont rest on your own acomplishments for he weighed im in a bellows and found im wanting. Now if your mamies dont know your out you had better post yourselves up in the tricks and turns of the world before you venture out amoung wicked men ah and not be So goslin green like as to be weighed in the bellows and found wanting. Now in conclusion let me Say to you you ortent to make fun of old … Soles and think your dadies and mamies dont know nuthing about the tricks and turns of this world Ah for they hav lived longer in it than you hav and know what kind of humons live in it. Ah you had better take their advice for if you dont you will come out on the little end of the horn.

Eliphalet Miller

Transcribed from the original by Becky Higgins. November 1996


  1. THAT is awesome. Wow, Ole Brother Donk. Thanks!

  2. Wish you could hear your Dad read this sermon. Mom always thought he'd be a preacher. LOL