I came across this old magazine somewhere, The Pentecostal Outlook, June 1943 edition, I don’t recall.
It was published by the then known, Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW). They were what was known as a Pentecostal “Oneness” Church or denomination. They are still around today as a predominantly Black denomination. In their earlier days, they were very much integrated with Whites. My grandfather and grandmother were licensed Pentecostal ministers with the PAW. I understand that they both kept up their credentials until 1932 or so.
In this little magazine, is an obituary of my grandfather, William Franklin Spickard.
It was written by my Uncle Herbert.
It reads as follows in the Obituary column:
Elder W.F. Spickard was born December 25, 1859 in Springfield, Missouri, and passed from this life April 7, 1943, at the age of 83 years.
He was a Holiness preacher from his early twenties until 1916, when he came in contact with the Pentecostal Revival Movement at Eureka Springs, Arkansas. W.F. received the infilling of the Holy Spirit and was baptized according to Acts 2:38 under the ministry of Elder D.C.O. Opperman.
William Franklin Spickard was ordained to the ministry in 1923, and faithfully preached the message of the Name of Jesus Christ.
He never missed an opportunity to witness for the Gospel.
The hearts of his family are sad at his passing, for he was indeed a bulwark against evil and a comfort to the sick and needy. His wife, and our mother, Nancy, preceded him in death by five years. She was also a minister and stood with our father in his ministry work.
His four children and ten grandchildren survive.
I never saw my grandfather, nor any of my siblings. He had passed on a few years before. His father, John Smith Spickard, was a school administrator of sorts in Northern Missouri. He was forced to spend a very frigid March night in the year 1862, during the border State conflict in Missouri during the time of the American Civil War, hiding in a hay mound in Mercer County, while escaping and evading a party of Bushwhackers, who were trying to kill him.
The Bushwhackers, who were also known as several other descriptions, were very much Southern sympathizers. My great grandfather was a Northern sympathizer, as he did not believe that slavery was a proper Christian institution as he was a professed Christian. Jesse and Frank James, for instance, were initially known as Bushwhackers. They later rode with Quantrill and probably Bloody Bill Anderson. It was a troubled time living in the border State of Missouri during the Civil War.
Not a great deal is known about my grandfather. Here is his headstone in Springfield MO, along with my great grandmother, Nancy, nee, Jones.
My grandfather, William Franklin, became a Holiness preacher at some point in the 1880’s. He became influenced apparently by many Holiness convictions at the time, as advocated by C.G. Bevington in his book, Remarkable Miracles. William decided to embark on a life of faith alone, as Bevington endorsed, as this was a ministerial trend in the Holiness Movement in the late 19th century. This particular belief nuance caused a good deal of hardship and suffering from the economic deprivation of “living by faith” alone, which meant that William F. was completely dependent upon the largesse of his fellowship and following. My father related several stories of extreme need, malnutrition, and hunger. My father went to work at 13 or 14, to support the family. Yet, I never heard a disparaging word from my father about his father and mode of life. But my father’s actions certainly showed otherwise as there was few as were as hard a worker as my Dad was. My Dad built his business during the Great Depression when many businesses were “going under.”
This “living by faith alone” is not necessarily what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that “faith and works” go hand-in-hand and endorses that believers and ministers do work for a living, as both Jesus, Peter, and Paul did, when such “living by faith” is not sufficient. After all, the Bible is pretty pragmatic about such things despite whatever fanatical ideas come into vogue. However, my grandfather was pretty stubborn in this belief as anything less was dreaded unbelief. This view eventually brought some reproach, and divided his family.
The Holiness Movement emerged out of primitive Methodism around the early 1870’s and such groups, such as the Holiness Church, the Nazarene Church among others, or folks associated with the Holiness Movement, became known as “Holy Rollers,” for their expressions of fervent worship and manifestations of the Holy Spirit in their worship services.
The Holiness Movement was a throwback of sorts of early American Revivalism that occurred at the Great Cane Ridge Revival in Kentucky and the later Western Revivals that coalesced around the ministry of Charles G. Finney. The beginnings of this revival was formed in the 1858-59 Christian revivals, that occurred mostly in the Northern States before the start of the Civil War.
After the War, people wanted a greater reality of God, and after undergoing the horrific effect of the conflict, the Holiness Movement came into being to fill this spiritual need, among others. The Keswick Conventions, that were held in England, reflected this trend and gained some traction in the United States through D.L. Moody and others.
My grandfather met his wife, Nancy Jones, at a Holiness Revival meeting in Northern Missouri in the later 1880’s. My grandfather was a traveling minister and part-time evangelist who rode a “gospel circuit” similar to early Methodist preachers or circuit riders, such as the celebrated preacher celebrity, Peter Cartwright. Thus, he went from community to community, to town to town, and hamlet to hamlet, preaching to whoever would hear him and who subscribed to Holiness tenets, and whoever of the faithful that would give him room and board.
He met my grandmother who was an earnest Christian believer and a pretty good “pump organist.” It was becoming a novelty at the time, in order to be more successful in evangelistic endeavours, one needed an instrumentalist, or organist, in this case, to help the evangelistic message to gain more appeal. Music was becoming a powerful medium in the fundamental Christian circles, and there appeared several songwriters of note, such as Fanny Crosby and P.P. Bliss, who penned some absolutely wonderful Gospel songs at this time and onward.
They got married and until the birth of children, continued the preaching and evangelism circuit. Afterwards, William Franklin tried to settle down and pastor but he was not successful in garnering a congregation that possessed sufficient numbers or finances so that he could stay in a situation. For instance, my father was born in the family home of his mother in Hale MO. William Franklin went from area to area, sometimes filling in, other times trying to start or maintain a work, until he decided to go back to his early childhood area of Springfield MO.
It was there and in the surrounding area, that William Franklin became exposed to the Pentecostal Movement and message. I believe that William and his two sons, my uncle Herbert, and my dad, Melvin, went with William F., to the Eureka Springs, AR revival and Bible school presided by D.C. O. Opperman, about the year, 1914. It was there that he and his sons believed on the message of what was known then as Oneness Pentecostalism preached by Opperman, and were baptized according to Acts 2:38. This message pretty much fired up my grandfather, uncle, and my father, and they became avid believers in what was called the New Message, or New Issue. My grandfather became affiliated with an emergent group of believers, known as the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World.
He was a card-carrying minister for several years, but apparently lapsed his membership by the early to mid-1930’s. He became a “house preacher,” and went from house to house in “home meetings” with a small, mobile type congregation that numbered as many as a dozen to two dozen followers.
Some of the principals in these meetings that I recall hearing about were revered as saints, such as Sister Woodson and Sister Morell.
Finally, about the mid-1930’s, when he was in his mid-70’s in age, William Franklin, in one of these home meetings, announced that he was retiring from his ministry of sorts. My father then got up, and declared that he would “throw his hat into the ring,” a common euphemism then which referred to the boxing and wrestling amateur competitions which welcomed one and all, in many communities, and that he would continue his father’s work. My Uncle Herbert then got up and said that he would help my father to do that.
William Franklin’s wife, Nancy, my great grandmother, died a couple of years afterwards, and about five years after that, he succumbed to natural causes.
My father continued his father’s work, and started on his own work in which he built up a congregation that met in halls, auditoriums, churches, and retreats. This he continued to the time in which he also retired more, or less, and relocated to the State of Oregon about 1973.
William Franklin appeared to be a simple man of faith in an era of many transitions. He was born at the onset of a terrible war, and lost his own father at a very young age as a result of the violence that emerged from it. He lived through another great war, and passed away during the midst of another great war.
He was a spiritual person, who became a devout and fundamental Christian, who sought after the reality of God with his subscription to the Holiness and Pentecostal Movements. He was on the edge of what he believed to be the latest revelations of faith and spiritual knowledge by adhering to the New Issue or Oneness belief in the Godhead.
Later, he subscribed to an Orthodox Jewish perception of who the Messiah would be, which constituted what the belief of the Messianic Orthodox Jewish believers in Jerusalem was, in the First Century Christian or Messianic Jewish church. Jesus declared this facet of who he was, when he quoted and allied himself with the teaching of the Shema (pronounced Sch-mah, or She-mah) in the Synoptic Gospels.
William Franklin Spickard died this month, some seventy-two years ago.
Grandfather: Rest In Peace, and in hope of the Resurrection.
Thanks for reading.
Copyrighted. Joseph Spickard, 2015. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this intellectual property without prior permission from the author is prohibited.