MY FATHER, M.W. SPICKARD, left, at 91 years of age, right, about 55 years of age. I think that he aged great… you can recognize him rather easily despite the 36 year difference.
I haven’t written distinctly about my father, but have mentioned and introduced him several times on this blog. Although I was not particularly close to him, as I was the youngest son, he remains a pivotal figure of influence for me.
My father was born on June 22, 1900. He died in this past month of August, in 1998. He was 98 years old.
He was of German and English stock primarily, with a hint of American Indian thrown in somewhere. If you hail from the Midwestern United States, particularly in Southwest Missouri near Oklahoma, former home of the Five Civilized Indian Nations, it is highly likely that you have some native Americana in your genes.
This is one facet of what makes Americans kind of special in my opinion, rather than being just of straight European stock. Along with, the “immigrant” and the “religious freedom” gene, both of whom if such genes are indeed factual, reside in my father.
His Great, Great, etc., Grandfather Julius, came over to the British Colonies in North America in 1757. Julius came from, in the Higher Rhine Region of Alsace near what is now Colmar, France. He was probably Palatinate German descent, who resided there in the Higher Rhine region ostensibly, because of his Reformed Christian beliefs.
Indeed, nearby Strasbourg was a hotbed of Protestant activity. John Calvin, the famous Protestant Reformer, whom the Roman Catholic Church terms Calvin the chief Heresiarch of the whole Movement, spent some time there.
However, conditions were tough there for German folks, and like the nearby Palatinate or other Rhine regions, the Speicharts (perhaps Spicker, later Spickert, and then Anglicized to Spickard) immigrated to North America as several thousand had done so already.
Once in North America, they eventually settled in Virginia. Julius and his son George, helped to found the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Winchester, Virginia, in which they were members.
They both became solid patriots for the cause of Independence from England. Once the War of Independence commenced, both my Great, Great, etc., grandfather Julius and his son George, joined the Revolutionary Army and served under George Washington and Nathaniel Greene in the 8th Virginia Regiment, known as the German Regiment.
From what I surmise, Julius took ill from something in the semi-tropical climate during the Charleston, S.C. campaign and convalesced at home until joining the Continental Army again when they went into their winter quarters.
Julius served until he succumbed again to illness and died from exposure apparently during the legendary severe weather at Valley Forge, PA on April 8, 1778.
George, from what I have researched, saw action at both the Battle of Brandywine and the Battle of Germantown. He wintered for the most part with his father, Julius, during the low point of the war at Valley Forge PA, where he was told to go home from the Army to recover from his general poor health and related weather exposure in February 1778. They didn’t have Army hospitals back then.
George later rejoined the Continental Army in its last campaign and was on hand for the surrender of British General Cornwallis at Yorktown. George was discharged afterwards.
George later relocated to the Hillsboro OH area and received recognition as a Revolutionary War veteran. He died there in 1848, at the age of 91. His grandson, John Smith Spickard, was born in Ohio, but moved to northern Missouri, later on. He spent time there in northern Missouri, and also a little bit of time, in southern Missouri in Springfield. Below, is John Smith Spickard. You gotta love the hair and beard!
John Smith Spickard: I don’t know what it was about those “period” photographs in which everyone seemed to have “thousand yard stares” looking back at the camera. Life apparently was pretty hard. For my Great grandfather here, it was. He passed away at age 36, in Mercer County, Missouri, in 1862. From what I gather John was a school teacher, school administrator, and a Gospel preacher. Since he was from Ohio, he had some vocal views on slavery, which he thought was not a Christian practice. This landed him at odds with the local “Bushwhacker” chapter, who were Southern sympathizers and pro-slavery, and they plotted to kill him, and chased him all night long trying to. However, John had hid in a hay mound from them during this long frigid, winter night. When he returned home, he had contracted pneumonia. He died soon afterwards, leaving his wife widowed with the care of five children, pretty well destitute. My grandfather, W.F. Spickard, was his youngest child at three years old, and only son.
My great-grandfather was a victim of the special conflict and circumstances, that only happened in a border state of impassioned violence, where there was a civil war, within the Civil War.
Jesse James, became a Bushwhacker, later in the conflict. Jesse’s family owned slaves. His brother Frank, however, was involved at the war’s onset and fought at Wilson’s Creek, a major engagement, just outside of Springfield MO. He later operated in the central Missouri area in fairly close proximity to his family home. I have absolutely no idea if Frank James was involved in the incident of my great- grandfather, but both had been in the Springfield area, and Mercer County is not far from where Frank was, plus, the world, and Missouri in particular, was a much smaller place back then.
I have already written about my grandfather or my father’s father, W.F. Spickard, earlier this year. He seemed to be about the first in the initial “faith line” that extended from him to my father, and then to me.
W.F. Spickard seems to have been a convert to Christianity early in his 20’s, and became a circuit riding preacher for the Holiness Movement in northern Missouri. The Holiness Movement was a spin-off of the old Methodist Movement. Circuit riding Methodist preachers were a long time staple of frontier America, and the Holiness Movement adopted a similar practice.
W.F. wanted to settle into a regular ministry and at one of his circuit meetings, he met my grandmother, Nancy Jones. Nancy was quite the old-time pump organist, and my grandfather courted and married her to be an active partner in his ministry. She was equal to the task. W.F. did, whether knowingly or not, what other larger ministries were doing, mixing sacred and gospel music, becoming more and more popular at the time, with the preaching of the Gospel.
W.F. was not much of a success in this endeavour, but did the best that he could. He took up a teaching at the time that several fundamentalist Holiness ministers did, after the example of a C.G. Bevington, who chronicled his tremendous exploits of faith in a book called Remarkable Miracles. I have a copy of this book. It was a trend or vogue that saw ministers to live completely… by faith.
This became controversial later.
This meant that W.F.’s family was to live… from the donations and largesse… of his meager congregations. This turned out to be near disastrous. The people that W.F. ministered to just didn’t have much means or were very inadequate in character to support a sacrificial ministry. This was near akin to the experience of Evangelist and Azusa Street Pentecostal pioneer John G. Lake (of the Azusa Street Revival of 1906 in Los Angeles, CA) when he tried to minister in South Africa. Several of Lake’s workers and even his wife succumbed to either starvation or illnesses brought on by severe malnutrition.
John Lake returned home… broken and broken-hearted. Yet, to read of his revival successes in South Africa is considerably inspirational. The problem that Lake encountered is that the African people there, that he ministered to, would not give of their food or financial substance for the work of the ministry, and welfare of its Gospel ministers. They completely thought and were totally persuaded that all Americans were rich and did not need any support, whatsoever, despite these same Americans dying around them for lack of food and nourishment.
It was an unqualified fiasco.
This similar mentality I have encountered here while living in Panama. All Americans are perceived as very wealthy, and should be targeted to take advantage of, or exploited. The legal profession here in Panama seems particularly convinced of this disinformation. It is best not to use any of them as they have no scruples or conscience.
W.F. plodded on however, and his children suffered terribly. My father had such malnutrition that he lost all of his teeth before age 30. I still have all of mine. It caused an eventual disruption of the family when my father’s brother, the eldest, left the family, joined the U.S. Army, served in World War I and became a Baptist minister later on after the War.
The Bible teaches however, when faith cannot provide all your sustenance; you should put your “works” with your faith, and like the Apostle Paul and others in the Bible, have a vocation to fall back on.
This teaching, W.F. either was in some ignorance of, or thought such “works” to be lacking in faith. He never deviated from this belief and was fairly impoverished in his life.
Meanwhile, my father went to work at age 13 or 14, to help support the family, delivering groceries via mule team from a local grocery or general store. He was a faithful adherent of his father’s and mother’s ministry. At this time, they met from house to house in home Gospel meetings in Springfield MO.
It was then that they were introduced into the Pentecostal message and movement.
I will pick all this up, at this point, in Part Two, written about a year later with the link posted here:
Thanks for reading.
Copyrighted. Joseph Spickard, 2015. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this intellectual property without prior permission from the author is prohibited.