Henrietta Belle Shockey Dyer was born on August 12, 1888, in Malvern, Arkansas, to Lydia Ann Bartholomew and John Lincoln Shockey. She was the youngest of eight children. At the age of 19, Belle, as she was known, married Walter “Monday” Dyer, on May 27, 1908. The Dyers had nine living children over the next 19 years, including a set of twin daughters. Sabbath after Sabbath, Belle faithfully attended the Malvern church with her children, even when no other families showed up.
Five miles of dirt roads and gravel pike lay between the Dyer’s home and the church, but through all kinds of weather she walked and took her nine children, even though it often meant carrying the youngest. There was no church school, no young people’s society, and many times only their immediate family at Sabbath school. So one by one Mrs. Dyer saw her children lose interest or move away until she alone was left to make her long, tiresome walk. Some might have become discouraged, but not Mrs. Dyer. She trusted in the promises of the Bible of which she had memorized many, many portions and faithfully prayed and waited.
Finally her faithfulness was rewarded. Members from other places moved into the Malvern district. Elder and Mrs. Isaac Baker retired from active service and moved back to labor for their old friends. Interest, long dormant, awakened and the sleeping church came to life. Mrs. Dyer’s children had grown to be adults and most of them had established their homes and had children of their own. One family after another returned to the faith that had been theirs. The Sabbath school membership grew from five to sixty-five in five years. Of course, many others than the Dyer family became interested. But when the young people met for their first Missionary Volunteer meeting, November 24, Mrs. Dyer’s granddaughter, Vivian Dyer, was selected to be leader; another granddaughter, Joyce Stacey, was made secretary, and a daughter, Lenora Dyer, gave the devotional. In that audience of sixty, there sat thirty of Mrs. Dyer’s relatives. One more thing that made Mrs. Dyer know that her prayers had been answered was that construction had already been started on a church school for next year, where she eventually saw most of her grandchildren receive a Christian education (Record, 1950).
(1950, Dec. 13). Southwestern Union Record, p. 2.
Ancestry Family Trees. (2012). Henrietta Belle Dyer. Retrieved from ancestry.com.