Fire-Baptized Impact on Church of God


Home Up Divine Healing in Christ Apostolic Church Baptized in Jesus' Name Reformed - Pentecostal Dialogue Fire-Baptized Impact on Church of God








"The Fire-Baptized Holiness Association of America Impact on the Emerging Church of God (Cleveland, TN): 1898-1906"


By Dr. Harold D. Hunter





The following are some abbreviations used in this article:


                FBHAA – Fire-Baptized Holiness Association of America

                FBHC – Fire Baptized Holiness Church, the name adopted by the FBHAA in 1902

                CG – Church of God (Cleveland, TN)

                CGP – Court mandated name in 1920s was Tomlinson Church of God while the name Church of God of Prophecy was mandated in 1952

                PHC – Pentecostal Holiness Church now the International Pentecostal Holiness Church

                ETHA – East Tennessee Holiness Association

                NCHA – North Carolina Holiness Association



Introduction: The Context


Church of God (Cleveland) [CG] has for some decades officially anchored their origins’ narrative in RG Spurling’s 1886 series of adventure in the western North Carolina sector of Appalachia. However, the Church of God of Prophecy (CGP) has traditionally emphasized the key role of AJ Tomlinson who becomes a major player one year after the founding of the Holiness Church of Camp Creek. One of the organizers of the May 15, 1902 event in Appalachia was R Frank Porter, a recent Fire-Baptized Holiness Association of America (FBHAA) Ruling Elder for TN who was listed in Live Coals of Fire (LCF) as an ordained Evangelist.[i]


RG Spurling was chosen pastor perhaps due in part to the fact that Frank Porter was only 22 years of age and not from Appalachia. R. Frank Porter married Alice Cooke of Cleveland, Tennessee on August 9, 1903 and studied at the University of Chattanooga at Athens from 1905 until 1907. Porter was “admitted on trial” by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1907. Although May 15, 1902 is integral to the identity of the Church of God (Cleveland, TN), only one of the original group of leaders, including M.S. Lemons, would remain with the Church of God (Cleveland, TN). This is W.F. Bryant, whose service as a state overseer ended in 1918.[ii]


It is an obvious omission that Frank Porter is not mentioned in AJ Tomlinson’s 1913 Last Great Conflict (LGC). By contrast, in a 1924 deposition with the Murray and McCalla law firm in Chattanooga, Tomlinson was asked who organized the Holiness Church of Camp Creek, and he replied: “R.G. Spurling and Frank Porter, Ministers.” MS Lemons late in life still attributed the 1902 Church of God organizational plunge to both R.G. Spurling and Frank Porter. W.F. Bryant said his 1902 personal ordination came at the hands of Spurling and Porter.[iii]


No official CG or CGP publication to this day acknowledges R. Frank Porter. One slight exception is passing mention of Porter by David Roebuck, official historian for CG, in an article on the organization of the Holiness Church at Camp Creek on May 15, 1902 published May 2016 in the Church of God Evangel 106:5 (p. 34). Why is this the case? What can be said about the possible FBHAA influence of early CG origins that is on full display in the comprehensive archaeological study of Wade Phillips who has an incredible eye for detail yet was anticipated on this point by Roger Robin’s PhD dissertation turn published biography of AJ Tomlinson?[iv]


First, I need to register dissent from the notion espoused by Andrew Hudson during a November 2017 AAR paper in Boston, MA. Hudson, in my view, wrongly tags LGC as a “history”. In reality, this small book with a sharp eschatological and ecclesiological edge has only one chapter titled “Brief History of the Church now Recognized as the Church of God”. There are more historical data in other chapters particularly when AJ Tomlinson waxes eloquent about his 1908 Spirit baptism where he singled out PHC minister GB Cashwell who brought the Azusa message to the CG General Assembly meeting in Cleveland, TN, January 8-12, 1908.[v] Tomlinson does acknowledge, in his 1913 LGC, WJ Seymour as leader of the Azusa St. Revival. Tomlinson starts with Luther, Wesley, Fox, then Simpson before declaring that “Dr. Seamore” learned initial evidence Spirit baptism from the “Church of God”.[vi]


When one compares the writings coming from AJ Tomlinson and his oldest son Homer Tomlinson in the 1920s Faithful Standard and the various depositions of AJ Tomlinson and WF Bryant, among others, in the 1920s law suit, it demonstrates that LGC was a vehicle used by Tomlinson to try and keep together the early CG coalition by emphasizing the role of RG Spurling – starting in 1884, 1886 - at the expense of other players despite their roles in various major events. Phillips[vii] points out that AJ Tomlinson and WF Bryant “early on” marked 1906 General Assembly as the proper start of CG. WF Bryant then pushed 1902 followed by LCG (1913) going back to 1886 which AJ Tomlinson would change to 1903 after 1923. As late as 1926, FJ Lee would single out 1906 GA.


Phillips draws attention to the LGC lack of mention of Piney Grove or Paul’s Mountain churches classed as Christian Unions. Phillips further notes Tomlinson gets it wrong in LGC by saying Richard Spurling passed away shortly after the founding of the first Christian Union. Phillips has found proof that the father later remarried in 1887 and then passed away in 1891.[viii]


Contrast this to the fact that CG did not publish RG Spurling’s 1920 The Lost Link. The printer is listed simply as Turtletown where Spurling lived. A mysterious receipt remains in the CGP Archives which suggests that AJ Tomlinson may have helped pay for printing expenses. I have also seen a 1931 letter from AJ Tomlinson to Spurling where he says something about “printing” some of Spurling’s book. Spurling was complaining about not being able to sell his book at the CGP General Assembly which AJ Tomlinson blames on other people.[ix]



Part 1: 1896-1900, FBHAA Spreads Like ‘Wildfire’


Although forgotten for several decades, it is now widely known that by 1899 BH Irwin was setting up his national headquarters for the Fire Baptized Holiness Association of America (FBHAA) in Beniah, Tennessee. Beniah is in Bradley County where the county seat is Cleveland, TN. Beniah was home to the first FBHAA Ruling Elder for TN, Daniel Awrey who in 1898 benefited from relatives with property in Beniah. The Beniah story took a sharp turn with the unceremonious exit of BH Irwin in 1900 which one can read about in Synan’s 2017 monograph on BH Irwin - but the FBH influence remained in southeastern TN and Western NC for some years.[x]


Insufficient attention has been given to the impact of the East Tennessee Holiness Association (ETHA) on Bradley County, TN, and beyond. Bob George rightly attempts to correct this by pointing out that the Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC) – not the Methodist Episcopal Church South - and Wesleyan Holiness were strong in Bradley County by showcasing activity at Lake Wildwood, Bradley County, no later than 1881:


There will be a union camp meeting at Lake Wildwood this fall commencing August 12. The pastors of the several churches in this city have been appointed to superintend the meeting. All Christians of whatever denomination are cordially invited to join with us in this service. Tents will be furnished on the grounds to those who may desire to camp. Any information may be obtained by consulting Rev. G.W. Coleman, Secretary.[xi]


George continues by noting that the East Tennessee Holiness Association (ETHA) was formed in 1889. The first ETHA convention was held in Kingston, TN, the town where the famous FW Henck, Jr., pastored. William Baxter Godbey was the leader of the convention and Henck was elected as president. The second ETHA convention was held in Knoxville, TN, in 1890. In July 1892 F.W. Henck and J.H. Kiplinger extended an invitation for the public to attend a holiness camp meeting at Bellefonte campground.[xii]


George adds that the Bradley County Holiness Association held monthly meetings from 1892 to 1897 at various locations including Union Grove, Bellefonte, Tasso, and the Wildwood Church. The Bradley County Band of the ETHA met monthly in 1895, 1896, and 1897 at Bellefonte. The Bellefonte Church adjoined the Curry properties and laid the groundwork for the gift of land to the Fire-Baptized Holiness Association (FBHA) where the Beniah settlement was formed.[xiii]


A June 6, 1900 census of Beniah recorded the families of Fire-Baptized evangelists Daniel Awrey, William Martin, W.W. Newberry, and Hollie Pulliam living alongside the families of Mary Curry (Henck) Pendleton, widow of FW Henck, Jr., in addition to Dollie Curry Lawson.[xiv]


The Schearer Schoolhouse Revivals in Cherokee County, NC starting in 1895-6 would be connected with three evangelists from Tennessee, William Martin, a Methodist, Joe M. Tipton and Milton McNabb, both Baptists, and another colleague from Cherokee County, North Carolina, William Hamby. Some of the evidence that follows may suggest an initial impact by the ETHA followed in 1898 by the FBHAA in and around Cherokee County, NC on the Shearer Schoolhouse revivals.


The Shearer Schoolhouse revivals in Appalachia starting in 1895-6 play into the stories about an early glossocentric version of Pentecostalism – that makes up a fraction of 21st Century Pentecostalism - for what became CG. It was once an official position of the CG that they were the oldest Classical Pentecostal denomination in the USA as marked by Spurling’s 1886 Christian Unions and these 1896 revivals in western NC. Vinson Synan disagrees and has argued that the 1896 revivals were full-blown FBHAA episodes.[xv]


Synan, however, runs past available evidence. More importantly, the original sources located by Bob George about the possible role of the ETHA should be part of the historical calculus. Bob George reveals going over his ETHA files and finding a reference by C.T. Davidson’s Upon This Rock to Andrew J. Lawson, a legendary CGP leader who despite having joined Friendship Baptist Church in the spring of 1887, attended some meetings of the ETHA and received “the light on true Bible sanctification” at 8:00 o’clock on Monday morning, May 8, 1888, and joined the ETHA shortly thereafter. Phillips uses 1924 court depositions to point out that AJ Lawson’s sister in law was Dollie Currie Lawson so he was clearly influenced by FBHA teaching while living in Cleveland in the late 19th Century.[xvi]


George goes on to point out the significance of this story is elevated because according to F.W. Henck’s autobiography, the ETHA was not formed until 1889 in Kingston, TN. Henck became pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Cleveland, TN in 1885. On October 25, 1886, he was appointed Tract Agent (a term in the MEC meaning that he served no local church and could travel and preach wherever led). On October 27, 1886, Henck organized Band No. 1 of the Holiness Association.


What if any impact did Henck have on the likes of Billy Martin and R. Frank Porter? According to George “both were Methodist Episcopal Church members” who joined the FBHAA. George asks, “Did they carry Band No. 1 to the Caney Creek area? They certainly carried the ETHA message to that area as Martin was a member of the Ironsburg ME Church”.[xvii]


To put this in context, remember that the North Carolina Holiness Association (NCHA) was organized in May 1896 and reorganized the next year by AB Crumpler. As I know from the PHC early years in North Carolina -centered on AB Crumpler in particular - their focus was eastern NC. By contrast the FBHAA message was spread across all points in NC with a zeal that picked up adherents and generated many evangelists well beyond those officially published as FBHAA ordained evangelists. Consider Edward Kelley a former secretary for the NCHA who became a FBHAA Ruling Elder for NC.[xviii]


Cherokee County, location of Shearer School House, the Holiness Church at Camp Creek and the first CG/CGP General Assembly, is one of the starting points of the infamous "Trail of Tears." The forced eviction of Native Americans from this region early in the 19th century made cheap land readily available which was clearly the attraction for W.F. Bryant's family who features large in this unfolding story.[xix]


Sarah A. Smith, rightly identified by Lawrence as part of the Fire-Baptized Association prior to 1900, tentatively related an "outbreak" of tongues shared in Tennessee and North Carolina "in the neighborhood of 1900" and then specifically mentioned Tomlinson and Lemons as perhaps being then Spirit baptized. After this, Sarah had worked in Egypt with well-known Church of God turned Assemblies of God missionary Lillian Trasher. Writing from memory after being out of the country long after the event means her recollection must surrender to explicit written documents--some by her own hand, another in Lawrence and so on-- that are contrary on details. It could be pressing too hard to shape her reminiscing as encompassing both the 1896 revival in Cherokee County, N.C. and the 1899 excitement in Beniah, TN. Lemons squarely placed his Spirit baptism with tongues at Union Grove subsequent to the 1907 trip to Birmingham with Tomlinson. However, since it is known that Lemons was connected to Tomlinson by 1900, this account may hint at Tomlinson's knowledge of Beniah.[xx]


W.F. Bryant's stated late in life that Billy Martin got the "blessing" before he did. Bryant added, "Billy Martin of Coker Creek, Tennessee, a Methodist preacher came in there preaching entire Sanctification and the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and talking in tongues." M.S. Lemons recounted this period as the time that Billy Martin, Joe Tipton and Frank Stephenson spoke in tongues. Letters from Martin in LCF (1899-1900) took the party line on Fire-Baptized Spirit baptism. Martin, like several others in his ranks, was most likely to celebrate jumping, the jerks, shouting, and especially the dance. B.H. Irwin gave a succinct catalog of signs of the fire at Beniah: screaming, shouting, dancing, laughing, leaping, the jerks, hot chills, and falling prostrate.[xxi]


The version of these events recounted in AJ Tomlinson and Homer Tomlinson’s The Faithful Standard (1922) claims that Martin, McNabb and Tipton entered a new phase of spirituality in May 1895. When an unofficial review board from the Methodist church visited William Martin, " . . . the unseen Spirit would take hold of his body before them. They would look on him in wonder and say, 'Oh, I am so sorry for him, he seems to be suffering so.'" The anonymous commentators added: "They claimed to have the Holy Ghost but they had not yet spoken in tongues." W.F. Bryant stated that after the revival his family was dismissed from a Baptist church because they claimed to "live a life above sin and being baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire." In total, 26 were turned out of the church. The result:


The power of God began falling upon us all the more and 'we all spake with tongues and magnified God.' These prayer meetings continued for three years.[xxii]


Bob George turned up a previously missed contemporaneous original source of interest regarding FBHAA extending its outreach to the mountains of East Tennessee and Western North Carolina. Note the following from an article in the Cleveland Weekly Herald, page 2, of August 3, 1900:



Destroy a Church Erected by Believers in Sanctification, Etc.

A special [sic] from Ducktown, Tennessee, on the border of North Carolina, says a great excitement has been caused in Cherokee county, North Carolina on account of open rebellion of the citizens against a sect that preaches sanctification, or second blessing. One hundred and ten of the citizens met Saturday at the church had been erected by the sect, burned it to the ground and a Methodist minister preached a sermon to the infuriated crowd while the building was burning. The new religionists a short while after locating in Cherokee county began teaching baptism of fire {my emphasis}, the holy dance, and other new religious performances and also espoused the cause of curing diseases by laying on of the hands. Efforts to suppress the sect were made through recourse to the courts, but ineffectually, and the burning of the church resulted. It was accomplished by over one hundred citizens of the county.[xxiii]


Among sources not properly explored is the general influence of African American religiosity and particular African American leaders in this area. We will touch on this shortly as we open pages from the FBHAA paper Live Coals of Fire (1899-1900) kept by the Library of Congress.[xxiv]

The notion that the 1895-6 Shearer Schoolhouse revivals included or generated meetings that witnessed speaking in tongues primarily comes from Tomlinson’s 1913 LGC.[xxv] There are no known sources contemporaneous with the events that confirm tongues-speech although this would hardly be the first documented case in even 19th Century USA. The possible presence of tongues-speech gets to those who debate when and where Spirit baptism and tongues were first linked in the USA. My research takes this debate back to the Gift Adventists of Maine who launched similar events starting in the middle of the 19th century. This group was acknowledged by Frank Bartleman who treated Gift Adventists as the Azusa St. of the East. VP Simmons wrote in Bridegroom’s Messenger (1907) of personal exposure to this group for 42 years. There are links from Gifts Adventists to Frank Sandford then Charles F. Parham and A.J. Tomlinson.[xxvi]


Regarding the Shearer Schoolhouse revivals that started in 1895-6, Vinson Synan has frequently published that these were FBHAA events. In reality, no surviving documentation clearly links the key preachers in these revivals with the FBHAA message prior to 1898. One can speculate that even Appalachia in western NC would have been influenced by Irwin’s fire-baptism doctrine that was first published by The Way of Faith in 1895 followed quickly by two reports in the Christian Witness and Advocate of Bible Holiness. J.H. King’s later unpublished history of the Pentecostal Holiness tradition notes that Tennessee, like Ohio and Pennsylvania, had “a few adherents” prior to the 1898 Anderson FBHAA General Council. King implied these could have been present as early as 1895. It is also the case that Irwin started forming Fire Baptized Associations by 1896 in Iowa followed in 1897 in Kansas, Oklahoma Territory, and Texas. Irwin started personally preaching in the southeast USA by 1896. His message spread like ‘wildfire’ and thus he organized the many state associations in to a national association in July 28 – August 8, 1898, in Anderson, SC.[xxvii]


The primary preachers for the Shearer Schoolhouse revivals were Martin, McNabb, Tipton, and Hamby. It is clearly documented that these ‘fiery’ preachers were influenced by FBHAA doctrine no later than 1898. It is time for a closer look at such developments.



Part 2, 1900-1905: Southeastern TN and Western NC


Let’s look more closely at southeastern Tennessee and the mountains of western North Carolina for interaction between the FBHAA and early CG figures and churches.


Awrey, a missionary, preacher and teacher from Canada, reportedly first spoke in tongues on January 1, 1890 while in Delaware, Ohio. Later in life, Awrey would write that in 1899 his wife, Mrs. Ella Awrey, and about a dozen others in Beniah, Tennessee spoke in tongues. Both accounts rely on later secondary sources rather than available publications from the time of the original events.[xxviii]


Having previously (c. 1893/4-1895) lived a few miles away, Daniel Awrey was living in Beniah, Bradley County, TN when he attended the 1898 organizational meeting of the FBHAA in Anderson, SC. However, BH Irwin did not appoint Awrey as TN FBHAA Ruling Elder at that time. We would first know Awrey as FBHAA TN Ruling Elder by 1899 in a published list of ministers and leaders found in the October 6, 1899 edition of LCF 1:1 (LCF Oct 6, 1899. P. 8). Daniel was in place to teach at the ill-fated School of the Prophets in Beniah.[xxix]


Awrey began to travel again and just prior to Irwin’s first visit to Beniah in October 1899, Irwin appointed Frank Porter as TN FBHAA Ruling Elder. Awrey left the 2nd FBHAA General Council with JH King and they went together to Toronto where King stayed as pastor and Ruling Elder. Porter and Billy Martin heard Irwin preach at a FBH camp meeting in Moonlight, KS. It appears that Porter and Martin may have travelled with Irwin to Pennsylvania and Iowa during August and September 1899. BH Irwin and Edward Kelley, FBHAA Ruling Elder for NC, credited Porter and Martin with significant advances after Awrey left for his evangelist tours in April 1900. LCF (10-6-1899, p. 8) lists Shearer Schoolhouse revivalist WB Martin as a FBHAA Evangelist in Epperson, TN. Martin shows up in the June 1900 census as a resident of Beniah.[xxx]


Edward Kelley figures to have played an important role on behalf of the FBHAA in places where what became CG was germinating. Unfortunately, the sudden departure of BH Irwin meant the end of Live Coals of Fire in 1900. JH King would publish Live Coals (1902-1907) which eventually became Apostolic Evangel (1907, 1909-1928) but very few of these periodicals have survived and it is unclear how many Live Coals were actually published.[xxxi] Thus, limited evidence remains about Kelley’s role in the places which have been highlighted in this paper. I might also mention, however, the critical loss of original handwritten 19th century documents by AJ Tomlinson shown me by Von Bullen. I met Bullen in Alabama in 1980 where he showed me small handwritten 19th century journals by Tomlinson that subsequently have been lost and were never reproduced in any way, despite my many interventions, as far as I know.


LCF 1:3 (Oct 20, 1899), 5, has a letter from Kelley at Bethlehem, Iowa. He goes on to say he is going to TN and will meet up with Porter and Martin before holding a meeting in Beniah. The same issue, (p. 6), has a letter from Frank Porter from Dentville, TN that mentions Kelley in TN and the upcoming meeting in Beniah. Porter also says he just came from Iowa. Apparently they had a new “tabernacle” in Dentville. That same issue lists Porter as FBHAA TN Ruling Elder living in Dentville. Edward Kelley’s Letter, LCF 1:4 (Nov 3, 1899), 4, written from Chattanooga, TN, on Oct 23, 1899 (on his way to Wilmington, NC) where he reports on Porter in Dentville and BH Irwin, John E. Dull, Dr. SJ McElroy and WW Newberry in Beniah. Kelley was FBHAA Ruling Elder for NC.[xxxii]


Bob George records that in September 1898 the FBHAA Ruling Elder of North Carolina, Edward Kelley, preached at Charleston on the Hiwassee River. In early July 1899 Edward Kelley was invited to preach at Beniah where he found Frank Porter and Billy Martin in charge of the Fire-Baptized saints there. Kelley then proceeded to Dare to preach the baptism of fire.


Woods claims that both Porter and Martin “had been part of the holiness outpourings in the Coker Creek and Camp Creek communities for several years.” Porter attended, perhaps along with Awrey, the second annual FBHAA General Council that met April 1-10, 1899, at Royston, GA. In July 1899, Porter and Martin held FBH meetings in Beniah, Dare, and Chestuee. On July 23, 1899, Frank Porter’s revival tent was burned at Chestuee so he returned to Beniah and then proceeded to Drygo to assist W.W. Newberry.[xxxiii]


A possible context to evaluate Sarah A. Smith's earlier remarks about tongues-speech in TN and NC may come from reports like that by Daniel Awrey in LCF 1:10 (Jan 12, 1900), relating a revival in Dare, TN. Awrey mentioned Sarah who published her own report giving Beniah as her location. Daniel Awrey wrote in the LCF 1:10 (Jan 12, 1900) about a revival in Birchwood "five years earlier." Here also is a letter from Emma DeFriese congratulating "Brother Tipton" for his active role in a (1900) FBHAA Birchwood revival.[xxxiv]


Awrey noted also Birchwood, which was spearheaded by Newberg. LCF 1:11 (Jan 26, 1900) put Newberg and Awrey in Lee's Switch, TN. The same were coupled, so LCF 1:13 (Feb 23, 1900) and LCF 1:16 (April 6, 1900), in Let, TN some forty miles from Beniah. LCF 1:17 (April 20, 1900) added William B. Martin to the team in Pikeville, TN. The same issue carried a report by T.S. Humble on Lee's Chapel, some five miles below Pikeville, with Awrey, Newberg, and Martin. Sarah Smith covered Epperson, TN in LCF 1:19 (May 18, 1900). This issue covered Martin going from Union Grove to Beniah then on to Dare, TN. Sarah Smith's comments on Union Grove were run in LCF 1:8 (Dec 15, 1899). Aunt Nancy Brown/Johns/Lawson, who was related by marriage to the previously mentioned AJ Lawson, published an extraordinary letter from Dare in LCF 1:18 (May 4, 1900).[xxxv]


Note that according to LCF, from 1898-1900 R Frank Porter and Billy Martin took the FBHAA message to these and other cities near Cleveland, TN: Beniah, Birchwood, Charleston, Luskville, Dentville, Let, and Union Grove. Awrey would return as TN FBHAA Ruling Elder no later than June 1900. In early 1900, R Frank Porter was with Stewart Irwin in Georgia while Martin was with Awrey in TN. The Way 1:6 (June 1904) 2, lists Luskville, Camp Creek, Union Grove, and Drygo in the emerging CG orbit.


Parenthetically I add this note from LCF 1:12 (Feb 2, 1900), 5, from “William B. Martin, Frank Porter, and Stewart T. Irwin’s Letter,” about a revival in Converse, SC where they faced opposition from Methodists, Baptists, and Wesleyans. Also noted as not a few references to the Trinity in LCF.


Phillips’ massive study missed a clue that relates to whether in fact Stewart T. Irwin preached FBHAA doctrine at Camp Creek around May 1900.[xxxvi] Phillips’ interpretation was based on a letter by Stewart Irwin in LCF where he mentioned preaching at “Bryant’s Schoolhouse.” Due to a late-in-life interview with MS Lemons, many assume such a reference must mean something at WF Bryant’s home at Camp Creek.


However, when one looks at the actual letter by Stewart Irwin in LCF 1:16 (April 6, 1900) it tells a different story. Irwin portrays himself as so low on cash that he did not have enough money to mail six letters that needed 2 cent stamps. He reports that he is based in Beniah and is a ‘circuit rider’ preaching at Beniah, Birchwood, Pelker’s Chapel, and “Bryant’s Schoolhouse”. He goes on to ask for prayer as he and R Frank Porter carry the FBHAA message to TN. Billy Martin published a letter in LCF 1:17 (April 20, 1900) where he, Martin, and Awrey left Beniah for Let to connect with Newberry even though Awrey and Newberry recently held a revival there. Martin, Awrey and Newberry go to Pikeville, TN.


Solid evidence has been located that in fact Drygo, TN had a public school with the Bryant name during the FBHAA years. The land for the school was donated by WP Bryant. This was apparently a log house that was torn down in 1915 and known to also be used for “church and community gatherings”. The Drygo location makes perfect sense for Stewart Irwin’s circuit. Although a late-in-life interview with Lemons would say Bryant had a log cabin on his property that some called a schoolhouse, there is almost no reason to think that Stewart made that a trip at that time since his route is Beniah to Bryant’s Schoolhouse then Birchwood and back to Beniah.[xxxvii]


LCF 1:19 (May 18, 1900) p. 2, “Sarah A Smith Letter,” reports on an April revival at Epperson, TN followed by her and Billy Martin going on to Patrick, NC. Patrick is the post office for Camp Creek. Epperson is near Coker Creek. Sarah A. Smith was connected with Martin, Tipton, McNabb, and Hamby since the 1895 Holiness revival at Coker Creek. This serves as another clear indicator of the significant FBHAA impact on emerging CG folk in and around Camp Creek extending to those who frequented this area.[xxxviii] As noted earlier, AJ Tomlinson/Homer Tomlinson published in The Faithful Standard about one of these FBHAA meetings in 1900 that there was speaking in tongues.


A seminal moment for CG/CGP is the May 15, 1902 founding of the Holiness Church at Camp Creek. The organizers of that event were RG Spurling, founder of various Christian Unions most of which had come and gone, and R Frank Porter, the young yet to be married recent TN FBHAA Ruling Elder and FBHAA ordained Evangelist. As noted earlier, FBHAA influenced WF Bryant tried to push the CG origins narrative from 1906 to 1902 and away from 1886 which decidedly favors the notion of Holiness priorities over Christian Unions for CG while AJ Tomlinson had an altogether different ecclesiological agenda going from 1886 to 1903.


Yet the most common CG narrative continues to favor 1886 even though this was originally based on Tomlinson’s 1913 LCG. Emphasizing 1886 deflects from not only the FBHAA impact but the significant role AJ Tomlinson played up until 1923 when Tomlinson was impeached by the CG Council of Elders not the CG General Assembly. CGP, on the other hand, has traditionally looked at the CGP pre-history through the life of AJ Tomlinson as an Underground Railroad Quaker who worked in Appalachia to establish an orphanage, school, and published Samson’s Foxes to bring awareness while raising money for those in need. Once Tomlinson moved to Cleveland (1904) he set in motion what became the CG/CGP general assemblies, the North Cleveland Church of God, the Church of God Evangel, and Lee University, among other milestones. I have elsewhere pointed out that had AJ Tomlinson not joined the Holiness Church at Camp Creek on June 13, 1903 doubtless this congregation would have suffered the same fate of countless such struggling places in Appalachia that failed to survive at the opening of the 20th century.[xxxix]


In any event it is significant that the name “Christian Union” was not used on May 15, 1902. Clearly “Holiness Church” was central to the identity of those assembled. The known possible sources for such language points us to the FBHAA and ETHA and other strands of the Wesleyan Holiness Movement that made their way to Appalachia. Phillips argues[xl] that Christian Union had become “Holiness” but this is weakened by the Piney Grove and Paul’s Mountain being so much like Spurling’s original Christian Unions that they did not stay with the emerging CG after 1906 if even up to that far.


This is also a commentary on the transition of Spurling. Spurling no longer was starting new Christian Unions and had in fact come to identify more closely with Holiness thought. The details are not known on this point, but we know that Billy Hamby, one of the 1896 Shearer Schoolhouse evangelists, was a brother-in-law of Spurling. Spurling lived in Turtletown which is 4 miles from the Shearer Schoolhouse. Hamby would go on to become a FBHAA evangelist. So even in the person of RG Spurling we have a direct impact of FBHAA persons and thought.[xli]


AJ Tomlinson became pastor of the Holiness Church of Camp Creek on June 13, 1903. By 1904, Tomlinson was pastor of Luskville. However, it was Frank Porter who held a revival in Luskville in 1903. MS Lemons had written to LCF from Luskville in 1899 claiming the baptism of fire. Roger Robins quotes R Frank Porter in The Revivalist (August 6, 1903), 11, about the 1903 revival in Luskville. He then uses the previously quoted issue of The Way 1:6 (June 1904) 2, to put Tomlinson over Luskville in 1904.[xlii]


AJ Tomlinson may have been exposed to FBHAA teaching at Camp Creek by 1899. As I have written elsewhere, Tomlinson would have resonated with the fact that the FBHAA had African-American Ruling Elders. Live Coals of Fire seemed never to stray from paying some attention to African Americans. Listed in all issues were two such ruling elders and various ordained ministers. A number of stories highlight their specific contributions which, more often than not, were in the Southeast. See: LCF 1:1 (Oct 6, 1899) 8; LCF 1:4 (Oct 27, 1899) 1; LCF 1:5 (Nov 3, 1899) 1; LCF 1:6 (Nov 10, 1899) 1; LCF 1:7 (Dec 1, 1899) 2; LCF 1:10 (Jan 12, 1900) 3; LCF 1:11 (Jan 26, 1900) 1; LCF 1:15 (March 23, 1900) 7; LCF 1:16 (April 6, 1900) 3; LCF 1:20 (June 1, 1900) 5,8; LCF 1:21 (June 15, 1900) 4. In Live Coals 3:9 (January 11, 1905) 3, W.E. Fuller wrote about trying to reach "his people" in Mississippi and of land promised by a white friend in Toccoa, Georgia providing he would open a school on the property. Not to be missed is the BH Irwin elder W.H. Fulford who helped organize the United Holy Church of America.[xliii]


One of AJ Tomlinson’s supporters during his work in western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and north Georgia up through at least 1907 was Abigail Cress who embraced FBHAA doctrines in 1898. Also note that MS Lemons, who attached himself to Tomlinson as co-editor of The Way, said that Porter introduced him to the Camp Creek group in 1900. Porter was TN FBHAA Ruling Elder at the time. Prior to Lemons publishing Porter in The Way, Lemons had two letters published in the FBHAA paper LCF (1899-1900) and his wife had one letter published there. Further, Porter and Lemons lived close to one another in Luskville and Porter presided over the Lemons’ wedding. Mattie Carver from Luskville had correspondence previously published in LCF 1:10 (Jan 12, 1900).[xliv]



Part 3: 1906 CG/CGP ‘General Assembly’


Phillips[xlv] espouses the notion that AJ Tomlinson “established” churches in 1904 at Union Grove and Luskville. Phillips credits MS Lemons with “establishing the work” at Luskville so he seems to be using the term “established” as if Tomlinson took them into the emerging CG rather than implying these are new local churches. In any event, the word established is misleading considering these churches were first organized as FBHAA congregations and also note again that Lemons is highlighted but not Porter at Luskville. AJ Tomlinson’s diary actually says that he was “selected pastor” not organizing new churches or congregations.


Dec 9, 1903: I have been selected pastor of these congregations for 1904. One at Union Grove, Tenn., one at Luskville, Tennessee, one at Camp Creek, N. C.[xlvi]


Also notice that The Way (June 1904, p. 2) says that five were added to ‘the church’ at Drygo. In his diary dated Nov 9, 1904, Tomlinson announces he is moving to Cleveland and going to “take charge of churches at Drygo and Union Grove and mission work in Cleveland”.[xlvii]


Around January 1910, however, FBHC leader F.M. Britton published a public complaint in The Apostolic Evangel about an open conflict with Tomlinson and T.L. McClain in Arcadia, Florida during December 1909 over the issue of Church of God’s teaching that they were the one true church.[xlviii] Editorial notes by Homer Tomlinson in his published version of his father’s journals recount a 1909 conflict between FBHC General Overseer J.H. King and CG General Overseer A.J. Tomlinson. King and Tomlinson both preached in Atlanta at a camp meeting led by Mrs. M.E. Sexton, editor of Bridegroom’s Messenger. Homer Tomlinson claims that a conflict existed over church government, but that King later reversed course by helping to organize the PHC and stayed in charge of this “tightly organized” group.[xlix]


When the emerging CG congregations met for what was later described as their first general assembly, AJ Tomlinson would write in his journal on January 30, 1906 that he served as “ruling Elder”.[l] It would be four years (1910) before Tomlinson would adorn himself with the title general overseer. When the 1906 CG minutes were published, the cover page had a note by AJ Tomlinson where he wrote of the “New Testament which is our only rule of faith and practice”.


Counted among the 21 delegates who took part in the January 1906 event at Camp Creek was FBHAA adherent Sarah ‘Sallie’ Hamby, wife of Billy Hamby. Meanwhile, the FBHAA impact on MS Lemons and WF Bryant and his family should not be dismissed. The 1900 census for the 8th Civil District of Bradley County put Aaron Bryant in Beniah, while early LCFs (1899) listed Mary G. Bryant (Marion, SC) as ordained by the FBHAA. Aaron Bryant, who was related to WF Bryant, ended up near the first CG/CGP general assembly house in western North Carolina. The same Bradley County census places Thomas McNabb, in Beniah formerly of North Carolina, listed as a clergyman.[li]


B.H. Irwin, who initiated statewide Fire-Baptized organizations in 1896, reported his busy schedule in The Way of Faith and Neglected Themes, printed by J.W. Pike of Columbia, South Carolina. As a subscriber, A.J. Tomlinson would have been kept current of the ministries of John Alexander Dowie and B.H. Irwin.[lii]


Meanwhile, the book entitled Spiritual Gifts and Graces by W.B. Godbey was published by God's Revivalist Office in 1895. Housed in the Mount of Blessings in Cincinnati, this was home also for the periodical God's Revivalist and Bible Advocate in addition to the well-known God's Bible School. Godbey's reaction to Fire-Baptized concepts was recorded in the inaugural issue of LCF 1:1 (October 6, 1899). Godbey was quoted as an authority in his field in no fewer than five issues of LCF. AJ Tomlinson attended a 1902 convention in Indianapolis that featured G.D. Watson, a regular contributor to The Way of Faith and God's Revivalist. Watson, who came to have open fellowship with Pentecostals, eventually published in Word and Work. Eventually a partner of Watson, Seth Ress hailed from Westfield, Indiana. Not only did he share this location with AJ Tomlinson, but he was tied to the Thunder Quakers. In the latter part of the 19th century, Seth Rees served as pastor of the Friends' Church in Portsmouth, Rhode Island and preached in Providence, Rhode Island.[liii]


The phrase “His infallible Word … as our only rule of faith and practice” was published in the 1900 FBHAA Constitution and General Rules.[liv] It is hardly coincidental that in 1906 Tomlinson described his role at the first CG/CGP ‘general assembly’ as "ruling Elder," the term used formally by Irwin since at least 1898, then AJ Tomlinson preached in the 1907 CG/CGP assembly on "The Baptism with the Holy Ghost and Fire." Was it Fire-Baptized influence that prompted Tomlinson while (1900) in Culberson, North Carolina to reject "tobacco, opium, pork, tea and coffee".[lv] Homer Tomlinson captured this period of AJ Tomlinson's life in an article titled "The Fanatic" in The Faithful Standard 2:2 (Oct. 1923, pp. 20-23), where commandments on a tree read: (1) no hog meat; (2) no violin-playing; (3) no neckties; (4) plain dress for women; (5) no chewing tobacco; (6) no smoking or drinking; (7) no work on Sunday; (8) pay tithes; (9) no chewing gum; (10) no riding on Sunday.


AJ Tomlinson’s appropriation of the emerging CG as a theocracy would owe something to not only Frank Sandford and Alexander Dowie but also BH Irwin. One of the chief planks of this platform early on was remaining general overseer for life. It seems difficult to imagine that Tomlinson would not have known that the founder, B.H. Irwin, had been made general overseer for life at the first national meeting, which was held between July 28 and August 8, 1898 in Anderson, South Carolina. Having followed Irwin as general overseer of the FBHAA, while at the helm of the Pentecostal Holiness Church (PHC) J.H. King would complain not only that Irwin pushed through a FBHAA Constitution that made him general overseer for life, but that Irwin’s unrestricted powers were canonized and published after being endorsed by a national body where he alone had authority to make any and all appointments, to receive and ordain all candidates for the ministry, to deprive of credentials, and expel from a Fire-Baptized State Association all that he disliked or disapproved of their work.[lvi]


What emerged as the CG/CGP in 1906 had very little if anything to do with RG Spurling’s Christian Unions. Those assembled and who remained were brought together by common beliefs steaming from various Wesleyan Holiness groups. The most clearly documented flow with evidence currently available is from FBHAA and ETHA up to the mountains and doubtless there were other like crosscurrents. The Christian Unions did not spread and perhaps none survived to this day. McCauley makes the claim that others in the mountains looked to Spurling but I see no evidence of this in southeastern TN.[lvii]


Yes, Spurling was there in 1906 and an active participant, but as co-organizer with former FBHAA Ruling Elder R Frank Porter and first pastor of the 1902 Holiness Church at Camp Creek, an assignment that lasted one year when AJ Tomlinson became pastor. Clearly Spurling had moved beyond a Christian Union model to embrace one of various shades of Holiness models. No Christian Union was part of the emerging CG after 1906 and perhaps even earlier. Spurling eventually would identify with CGP not CG which is a complete contrast to Christian Unions. The CGP name until the 1950s mandated by the courts was Tomlinson Church of God. The emerging CGP used simply “Church of God” on church signs and stationary while the minutes in 1924 were “of our Nineteenth Annual Assembly of the Church of God over which AJ Tomlinson is General Overseer”.[lviii]


As noted earlier, The Way 1:6 (June 1904) 2, lists Luskville, Camp Creek, Union Grove, and Drygo in the emerging CG/CGP orbit with a layer of the FBHAA. A 1924 deposition by AJ Tomlinson with the Murray and McCalla law firm in Chattanooga, saw Tomlinson trying to remember 1904 churches in Camp Creek, NC, Jones [Morganton], GA, Coker Creek, NC, Union Grove, TN, Drygo, TN, and “possibly” Steer Creek, TN.[lix] Other than perhaps Jones, GA, all these locations named by AJ Tomlinson had a FBHAA presence at one time. It might be mentioned that these locations likely utilized homes or other structures rather than traditional church buildings.


More important is that Stewart Irwin, various FBHAA Ruling Elders – Awrey, Porter, Kelley – and fiery evangelists like Billy Martin preached at and helped launch most of the churches recognized at the 1906 CG/CGP ‘general assembly’. This is a distinct group from a ‘revived’ Christian Union like Piney Grove or Paul’s Mountain. Whatever the status of Piney Grove and/or Paul’s Mountain at the 1906 event, even if one or both achieved delegate status they were not under the control of RG Spurling. Phillips complains that the two are missing not only from LGC but also Tomlinson’s diary and “other publications”. Yet Phillips admits not everyone would include Christian Union churches in the more recent grouping that I have marked with FBH influence. Was Andrew Freeman, Piney Grove, a delegate or an observer? Also, Phillips emphasizes Piney Grove and Paul’s Mountain did not see the GA as having authority over them. Phillips places Alex Hamby and Freeman and Spurling in the anti-centralized government group who showed up in 1906.[lx]


The January 26-27, 1906 ‘general assembly’ met in the JC Murphy home, Cherokee County, NC.[lxi] JC Murphy had identified with the FBHAA at Drygo. Melissa Shearer Murphy had been a member of the Holiness Church at Camp Creek. The LCF 1:10 (Jan 12, 1900), p. 7, printed a letter by Rilla Alexander from Charleston, TN which said Grandpa Murphy got "the dance."


In 1906, AJ Tomlinson was pastor of Luskville, Union Grove, Drygo, and Camp Creek, all of which had FBHAA roots. I do not know who was pastor of Jones [Morganton], GA, in 1906 unless it was Tomlinson. This would hardly be the last time that Tomlinson would take churches from the FBHC as seen in the Florida controversies with FM Britton and soon thereafter in Georgia with the legendary early IPHC (FBHC/PHC) leader JH King. Whether or not AJ Tomlinson rises to the level of being an ‘organizational genius’, his campaigns to take over congregations was aided and ebbed by his exclusive body ecclesiology.


Bob George’s instructive study with previously missed original sources from Bradley County unexpectedly casts R Frank Porter as the FBHC TN Ruling Elder in 1903 who had jurisdiction over churches that would become CG. I see this as an overreach but the original sources that George turned up about the Holiness camp meeting site at Lake Wildwood in Bradley County need not be ignored. Take note of these findings by George:


The Bradley County Holiness Association held monthly meetings from 1892 to 1897 at various locations including Union Grove, Bellefonte, Tasso, and the Wildwood Church. The Bradley County Band of the East Tennessee Holiness Association met monthly in 1895, 1896, and 1897 at Bellefonte. The Bellefonte Church adjoined the Curry properties and laid the groundwork for the gift of land to the Fire-Baptized Holiness Association (FBHA) where the Beniah settlement was formed.

The new auditorium will be dedicated next Sunday by Rev. T.C. Warner, of Chattanooga. This auditorium is the largest and most substantial structure on any campground in the state. Properly seated it has a capacity of from 1,500 to 2,000 people.[lxii]


Phillips[lxiii] claims that the 1900 departure of BH Irwin essentially obliterated the FBH working in lower east TN. This is strong language considering the FBHAA had saturated the area 40+ miles around Cleveland and that JH King would likely not have easily abandoned all these people considering he had graduated (with a diploma) from Grant University School of Theology in Chattanooga, TN in 1897. See my Appendix: “Relevant Research Notes from Live Coals of Fire, 1899-1900”. It is one thing to suggest that the churches in question were still under the direct FBHC jurisdiction with JH King as General Overseer and quite another to suggest the FBHAA identity quickly evaporated. One need only look at FBHAA resurrections in remote places like Lamont, OK that would host the 1902 General Council of the Fire-Baptized Holiness Church (FBHC) and be the first place in OK to receive the Azusa St. message with the 1907 invasion of Glenn Cook followed the next year by JH King and GB Cashwell.


The evidence in this paper shows not only the ongoing influence of general Holiness thought but some FBHC teachings among emerging CG churches and various forms of networking were not abandoned. The January 11, 1905 edition of Live Coals (p. 2) has a list of FBHC ministers. Although no one has a TN address the list is quite long and includes several people in the area who traveled and who were known in various circles. It should not be forgotten that even with the reorganization after BH Irwin’s untimely departure, the FBHC had a more impressive structure with many more churches and ministers than the emerging CG. It seems unlikely that the FBHC Ruling Elders would completely abandon south eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. Even if they lacked direct jurisdiction after Irwin, the solidarity forged in these revivals would not quickly evaporate.


I am suggesting that even if Appalachia first heard of the FBHAA primarily, but not exclusively, through The Way of Faith that there were clearly those still reading The Way of Faith in addition to the Christian Witness and Advocate of Bible Holiness along with Live Coals of Fire, Live Coals, The Revivalist, The Pentecostal Herald, The Evangelical Visitor, and so on.[lxiv]



Some Concluding Notations


It is not irrelevant to point out that it was an early IPHC minister, GB Cashwell, who brought the Azusa St. message to AJ Tomlinson and the CG at the 1908 CG/CGP General Assembly in Cleveland, TN. Notice various messages in the CG/CGP General Assemblies about the “Holy Ghost and Fire” like AJ Tomlinson in 1907.[lxv]


Lee University is celebrating their centennial this year (2018). Their first teacher was Nora Chambers. She was taken into CG by RG Spurling in 1910. Previously she had been a student and faculty member of what is now known as Holmes Bible College. When Nora was on campus, it was known as Altamont Bible and Missionary Institute and was located at Paris Mountain outside Greenville, SC. Early IPHC can count not only Holmes Bible College but early 20th century schools from Falcon, NC to OK.[lxvi]


Accounts going forward should not ignore the FBHAA factor in early CG/CGP origins however they come to judge the details.



Appendix: Relevant Research notes from Live Coals of Fire, 1899-1900


LCF 1:3 (Oct 20, 1899): BH Irwin – Oct 1899 to Beniah.

LCF 1:1, p. 1: Moonlight – BH Irwin letter, LCF 1:1, p. 1 and PA and Iowa is BH Irwin LCF 1:2, p. 1.

LCF 1:3, p. 6, Porter letter mentions having come from Iowa.

LCF 1:4 (Oct 27, 1899), 1, BH Irwin singles out WB Martin, Frank Porter, Dollie Lawson, and Emma DuFreise. He gives high praise to Porter and Martin for their work in the area. He reports his next stop is Abbeville, SC at the invitation of WE Fuller Ruling Elder for the Colored FBHA of South Carolina.

LCF 1:5 (Nov 3, 1899), p. 1, Irwin mentions Sarah A. Smith and Bro. Britton. P. 3 has a letter from Sarah Smith where she seems to reference a forthcoming revival in Beniah presumably by BH Irwin.

On page 6, “The School of the Prophets”, BH Irwin says that Martin and Porter are going to the “Dark Continent” and that John E. Dull is going to Cuba. Martin and Porter never left. Dull did but we do not know what happened. LCF 1:8 (Dec 15, 1899), p. 7, Dull’s letter about going to Cuba while on a boat. Notice his mention of Luther, Fox, Wesley, and Whitefield. Next page says he was due in Havana on Jan 12, 1900.

LCF 1:7 (Dec 1, 1899), 5, “Daniel Awrey’s Letter,” talks about all his recent travel in a general way. Letter dated Nov 21, 1899 from Beniah, TN. This issue of LCF lists Porter as TN Ruling Elder.

LCF 1:8 (Dec 15, 1899), 8, Awrey is TN Ruling Elder.

LCF 1:9 (Dec 22, 1899), p. 4, notes Stewart Irwin, Porter and Martin + wife and 2 kids in addition to Anna Sollenberger. LCF 1:10 (Jan 12, 1900), p. 3 has a letter from HE and Anna Sollenberger from Moonlight where both are talking about Cape Town - trying to go to South Africa.

LCF 1:10 (Jan 12, 1900), p. 2, “Daniel Awrey’s Letter,” reports on going to Dare where Sarah A. Smith was holding a revival where they were “jumping, and dancing, and shouting”. On to Birchwood where Newberry and his wife were holding services. On to Sequachee Valley then Cumberland Mountains which was in “Tarlton”. Letter from Let, TN where he was preaching.

LCF 1:10 (Jan 12, 1900), p. 3, “R.P. Porter’s Letter,” talks about his travel to MO and AL as he prepared for South Africa. Next projected stop was Georgia.

Same issue, p. 6, has a letter from either London, TN or Texas. Probably Texas.

Same issue, LCF 1:10 (Jan 12, 1900), p. 7, has a report from Sarah A. Smith about the Dare log cabin meetings written from Beniah “the hot-bed of fire-baptized people”.

Same issue, LCF 1:10 (Jan 12, 1900) p. 8, “Emma DePriese’s Letter,” Emma writes about Newberry preaching scheduled for Birchwood that ended up in the Tipton home outside Birchwood since they could not gain access to a church property in Birchwood.

LCF 1:11 (Jan 26, 1900), p. 1, Irwin talks again about being in Royston

Same issue p. 4, has a letter from Lamont, OK + Lahoma, Oklahoma Territory then two from Cordele, OK, on pages 6 and 7.

LCF 1:11 (Jan 26, 1900), 5, “W.W. Newberry’s Letter,” he was ordained an evangelist by Ruling Elder Awrey on Jan 4, 1900. Two of them in a meeting at Lee’s Switch, TN and went together up Cumberland Mountain to pray. Awrey went “leaping and jumping” down the mountain side.

LCF 1:12 (Feb 2, 1900), 5, “William B. Martin, Frank Porter, and Stewart T. Irwin’s Letter,” about a revival in Converse, SC where they faced opposition from Methodists, Baptists, and Wesleyans. Next stop in Royston which shows up in several LCFs.

Same issue p. 6, “Stewart T. Irwin’s Letter,” refers to the Trinity which I see mentioned not a few times in LCF. This was written before the Converse revival with Martin and Porter.

Same issue, p. 6, Daniel Awrey, “The False and True Vine”.

Edward Kelley has an article on page 7.

LCF 1:13 (Feb 23, 1900), 2, “School of the Prophets” monthly report, Feb 1, from Beniah.

Page 3 article by Edward Kelley.

Page 4, “Editorial Correspondence” about the BH Irwin going to the Converse, SC revival, and he mentions Steward T. Irwin and RB Hayes who is all over the LCF + BB Burroughs. He also pitches lyddite in this article.

LCF 1:13 (Feb 23, 1900), 5, “William B. Martin, Frank Porter, and Stewart T. Irwin’s Letter,” about Converse, SC then Royston and Cromer’s, GA and on to TN while waiting to go to South Africa “or into the field again”. They mention that the last letter mentioned the British-Boer war that is complicating their plans. They wanted to sail to Cape Town then go to the interior which is Boer country and forbidden travel for now.

LCF 1:13 (Feb 23, 1900) 6, “Daniel Awrey’s Letter,” where his last meeting was Lee’s Chapel, Let, TN. His wife danced 3 or 4 times in “one service”. Of course Newberry was there but also Evangelist Lillie DeFriese. Awrey said his walk home to Beniah was 40 miles.

LCF 1:13 (Feb 23, 199), p. 8, “Edward Kelley’s Letter,” where he reports about a revival at Beniah and his baptism of fire and dynamite. He was looking to travel to TX and Louisiana but gives another call for invitations which I think means anywhere.

LCF 1:14 (March 9, 1900) 1, opens with Irwin in Toronto and talking about JH King.

Page 2 has the Sollenbergers still headed to Africa.

LCF 1:14 (March 9, 1900), 4, “Steward T. Irwin’s Letter” then “Frank R. Porter’s Letter.” I think Stewart is claiming a vision for him to stay in the USA. Porter talks about the “divine Father of the Trinity was manifestly revealed” in a meeting in David’s home led by Stewart T. Irwin. This may have been in Royston where he said the weather was cold and the crowds small. Porter also mentions Cromer’s, GA. Porter speaks of the “divine movement” where he wants to do his part but has not given up on Africa.

LCF 1:15 (March 23, 1900), 5, “Edward Kelley Letter,” mentions JH King having the dynamite and that he Kelley was going on to Goldsboro. Next page has a letter from King.

LCF 1:15 (March 23, 1900), 8, “Stewart T. Irwin’s Letter,” written from Beniah where he and Porter were on a train from Atlanta to Chattanooga with a ‘false Christ’. Porter goes to his home while Stewart prunes trees and preaches saying Beniah is 3 miles from any town. He says the School of the Prophets should open during the summer and points to Dollie Lawson who gave the “last thing she has on earth, this farm”.

LCF 1:16 (April 6, 1900), 3, “Joseph R. Starr’s (?) Letter” talks about a meeting in the home of Bro. Murphy. He refers to SC but in a way that that might be his home state. Then he says, “here in Georgia” and says the meeting was in Georgia.

Same issue p. 5, the Sollenbergers are planning to sail to Congo while Stewart, Porter, and Martin are still waiting on South Africa.

LCF 1:16 (April 6, 1900, 6, “W.W. Newberry’s Letter,” starts saying God forbid him to hold a revival in Let, TN, last September. In November he connects with Awrey who talks about Let where he held “cottage meetings”. It sounds like Newberry lives in Let.

LCF 1:16 (April 6, 1900), 6, “Stewart T. Irwin’s Letter,” holding services at Pelker’s Chapel which is 4 miles southeast of Beniah. Stewart said he did not have enough money to mail 6 letters with 2 cent stamps. As a ‘circuit rider’, he goes from Beniah to “Bryant’s schoolhouse” then Birchwood and back to Beniah. He asks for prayer for he and Bro. Porter working in that part of TN.

LCF 1:17 (April 20, 1900), 3, “William B. Martin’s Letter,” where He, Martin, and Awrey left Beniah for Let to connect with Newberry even though Awrey and Newberry recently held a revival there. They, meaning Martin, Awrey and Newberry, go to Pikeville, TN.

Page 4, JH King is in Lincoln working in the FBHAA office.

LCF 1:17 (April 20, 1900) p. 5, John E. Dull, “The Trinity”.

LCF 1:18 (May 4, 1900), 1, King takes over the editorial column.

LCF 1:18 (May 4, 1900), 6, “Aunt Nancy’s Experience,” starts by saying she was born near Cleveland, TN. He maiden name was Nancy J. Vernell. She married WH Brown who died in the “last year of the war”. She eventually married Benjamin Johns but he died leaving her with several children. She next married Marshal Lawson and he had a bunch of kids and she may say he was a drunk. LCF gave her almost 2 full pages for an article written at Dare, TN.

With King in charge of LCF 1:18, there are few letters from ministers like all the previous issues.

LCF 1:19 (May 18, 1900), 1, King editorial talks about lyddite in the British-Boer war.

LCF 1:19 (May 18, 1900) p. 1, “Sarah A Smith Letter,” reports on an April revival at Epperson, TN. She and Bro Martin went on to Patrick, NC.

Page 3, Kelley is preaching in Texas, June 1900.

LCF 1:10 (May 18, 1900) p. 3, “Sallie Lawson’s Letter,” about Union Grove. She refers to a camp meeting at Beniah last Fall and mentions Awrey preaching at a log cabin not far from where she lived. The letter is signed as Dare, TN.

Page 6, letter from Lamont, OK

Page 7, Kelley preaching at Dunn. At Fayetteville, he mentions a “Pentecostal Methodist Church”.

LCF 1:20 (June 1, 1900), 2, sermon by the editor at Royston, “The Pentecostal Church”.

p. 4, King is Associate Editor.

Articles about 2 ‘colored’ ministers: Gamble, Fuller.

LCF 1:21 (June 15, 1900), 1, King says that due to “peculiar state of circumstances” they could only print a half issue or 4 pages.

Page 2, Sermon by the Editor, “Repentance and Confession,” sermon preached in NY May 1899.


[i] EL Simmons, History of the Church of God (Cleveland, TN: Church of God Publishing House, 1939) opens his study by relying heavily on AJ Tomlinson’s “Brief History of the Church that is now Recognized as the Church of God” published in The Last Great Conflict (Cleveland, TN: Walter E. Rodger, 1913).In light of confusion in secondary sources, it should be mentioned that Richard Green Spurling was the son of Richard Spurling. The father had no middle name. See Wade H. Phillips, Quest to Restore God’s House: A Theological History of the Church of God (Cleveland, TN), Volume 1:1886-1923 (Cleveland, TN: CPT Press, 2014), 68n83.

[ii] M.S. Lemons, “History of the Church of God” (unpublished: c. 1937), 4, 5, 10. See also EL Chesser interview of MS Lemons, 17f., and WF Bryant, (Dixon Pentecostal Research Center, Document 27-A, 4), 18. Cf. RG Robins, A.J. Tomlinson: Plainfolk Modernist (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2004), 167-71.

[iii] . M.S. Lemons, “A History of the Church of God," chapter 1, pp. 4f, 10. Also Lemons interview by Chesser, p. 17f. Lemons said (p.19) that R Frank Porter introduced the Camp Creek group to him around 1900. Lemons himself did not join the emerging CG until 1903 and would eventually find himself out of the mainstream. Bryant interview by Chesser, p. 18.

[iv] Phillips, Church of God, p. 168, about 1902. Robins, AJ Tomlinson, acknowledges R Frank Porter but Porter is missing from Mickey Crews, The Church of God: A Social History (Knoxville, TN: The University of Tennessee Press, 1990). R. Frank Porter is missing from the following CG/CGP histories: Charles W. Conn, Like A Mighty Army: A History of the Church of God: Definitive Edition: 1886-1995 (Cleveland, TN: Pathway Press, 1996); E.L. Simmons, History of the Church of God (Cleveland: Church of God Publishing House, 1938); Adrian L. Varlack, Church of God of Prophecy: Concise History, Polity, Doctrine, and Future (Cleveland, TN: White Wing Publishing House, 2010); CT Davidson, Upon This Rock (Cleveland, TN: White Wing White Wing Publishing House, 1973).

[v] Cf. Michael Thornton, Fire in the Carolinas: The Revival Legacy of GB Cashwell and AB Crumpler (Lake Mary, FL: Creation House, 2014), 183f.

[vi] AJ Tomlinson, Last Great Conflict, p. 136. John Dull’s letter about going to Cuba published in LCF 1:8 (Dec 15, 1899) singles out Luther, Fox, Wesley, and Whitefield.

[vii] Phillips, Church of God, 224. I used some of the 1924 depositions in Harold D. Hunter, “A.J. Tomlinson's Emerging Ecclesiology,” Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies 32:3 (2010), 369-389. Also see Dale Coulter, "Founding Vision or Visions? The Sources of Early Church of God Ecclesiology," Cyberjournal for Pentecostal-Charismatic Research #21 (January 2012).

[viii] Phillips, Church of God, pp. 218, 69. Phillips labels this as AJ Tomlinson marking the transition from Spurling to Tomlinson.

[ix] Conversation with CGP historian Adrian Varlack, Cleveland, TN (1/25/17). Also see James M. Beaty, “The 1897 Manuscript and The Lost Link,” TMs, n.d. and James M. Beaty, “Spurling’s 1897 Manuscript: Dated May 4, 1897,” TMs, n.d. The latter work by Beaty includes footnotes that help illuminate the relationship between “An Appeal” (1897) and The Lost Link (1920). Phillips, Church of God, p. 32, labels the handwritten version of The Lost Link document as The Lost Link [original] that is more expansive than the published version in 1920. Cf. James M. Beaty, R.G. Spurling & the Early History of the Church of God (Cleveland, TN: Derek Press, 2012).

[x] Harold D. Hunter, “Beniah at the Apostolic Crossroads: Little Noticed Crosscurrents of B.H. Irwin, Charles Fox Parham, Frank Sandford, A.J. Tomlinson," Cyberjournal for Pentecostal-Charismatic Research #1 (January 1997). This article started as a paper presented to the Society for Pentecostal Studies 1996 conference held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Also see Fire-Baptized: The Many Lives and Works of Benjamin Hardin Irwin: A Biography and a Reader, Written and Compiled by Vinson Synan and Daniel Woods (Lexington, KY: Emeth Press, 2017).

[xi] Cleveland Journal (June 4, 1881).

[xii] The Cleveland Weekly Herald (July 14, 1892), p. 3

[xiii] See “Holiness in Bradley County, TN 1880 to 1900,” Chronicles of Bradley, No. 20. For a good history of Bellefonte Methodist Church see John Morgan Wooten, A History of Bradley County (Cleveland, TN: Tennessee Historical Commission and Post 81 of the American Legion, 1949).

[xiv] Additional findings of the Beniah census are reported in Hunter, “Beniah At the Apostolic Crossroads.”

[xv] Revisions of Synan’s Old-Time Power and The Holiness-Pentecostal Traditions have William Martin, Joe Tipton, and Milton McNabb leaving their Methodist and Baptist churches in Monroe County, Tennessee, “to join the fire-baptized movement” during 1896. Hence, the Shearer Schoolhouse revival(s) was a “Fire-Baptized outbreak,” and for the next two years Irwin’s message had an “unorganized” but “loyal” band of followers in the Tennessee-North Carolina mountains. Regarding the oldest Pentecostal denomination, see Synan’s criticism, BH Irwin, p. 75n3, of Charles W. Conn’s various editions of Like A Mighty Army. For several years, the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) web had a headline announce they were the oldest Pentecostal denomination. It is a fatal flaw in Phillip’s trilogy on Church of God driven by pointing to the Zion Assembly Church of God as the ‘true vine’ to argue (p. 112) that 1896 was the launch of Holiness Pentecostalism.

[xvi] Email sent September 12, 2012 by Bob George to Dale Coulter, David Roebuck, and Harold D. Hunter told the story of George’s finds in his ETHA files. See CT Davidson’s Upon This Rock (Cleveland, TN: White Wing Publishing House and Press, 1972) 1:290. The Phillip’s reference is Church of God, p. 571.

[xvii] David Roebuck email (August 11, 2009) to Dale Coulter, Vinson Synan, Dan Woods, and Harold D. Hunter says that Martin was buried in the Ironsburg Methodist Church cemetery. Ironsburg is very close to the original Barney Creek Christian Union but also FBHAA locations like Epperson and Coker Creek. See map in Phillips, Church of God, p. 72.

[xviii] So Dale Coulter email (August 5, 2009) to David Roebuck.

[xix] Look at the map of Cherokee County in Phillips, Church of God, p. 73 and see p. 110. I take exception to the egregious claim by Gregory Bliss, “Re-Digging the Wells of Appalachian Pentecostalism,” Paper read to the 46th Annual meeting of the Society for Pentecostal Studies (2017) p. 20n32, saying that I am “quite outspoken against the tenants of indigenous Appalachian Pentecostalism.” Bliss contacted me but did not follow through prior to commencing this paper and he manages to completely take my Pneuma article out of context.

[xx] Lawrence, Apostolic Faith Restored, pp. 45, 92. Also Chesser interview of Bryant and Lemons, p. 13. Contra Phillips, Church of God, 140f.

[xxi] Chesser interview of Bryant and Lemons, pp. 2, 16. The interview of Nettie Bryant (p.4) put her husband, Billy Martin and Milton NcNabb together as having "the Holy Ghost in North Carolina." LCF 1:4 (Oct 27, 1899) 1. Irwin's comments on tongues are found in LCF 1:20 (June 1, 1900) 3. cf. Vinson Synan, The Holiness-Pentecostal Movement in the United States (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971), 65n21, 68; Synan, The Old-Time Power, 92.

[xxii] "History of Pentecost," The Faithful Standard 1:6 (September 1922), 6, emphasis mine. Homer Tomlinson is the likely compiler of this series. Age 72 when interviewed by Chesser, Bryant said (p.3) about this period: "...I thought I had the Holy Ghost, but I didn't have it all then..." Also Bryant in Chesser interview, pp. 1-3.

[xxiii] “Infuriated Citizens,” The Cleveland Weekly Herald (August 3, 1900), p. 2.

[xxiv] Estrelda Y. Alexander, Black Fire: One Hundred Years of African American Pentecostalism (Downer’s Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2011), pp. 193-197, 277-283. Alexander, p. 278, notes that the Fire-Baptized Holiness Church as organized by BH Irwin (she wrongly says JH Irwin) in 1898 had held interracial conventions and supported integrated congregations. Michael Thornton, Fire in the Carolinas: The Renewal Legacy of GB Cashwell and AB Crumpler, corrects some of the erroneous racial views associated with Cashwell which Alexander quoted from Vinson Synan.

[xxv] There is little reason to accept Homer A. Tomlinson's claim [Diary of A.J. Tomlinson (New York: Church of God, World Headquarters, 1949) 1:30] that A.J. Tomlinson witnessed the events of 1896 or that "Several members of the church at Cleveland had received the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues, as far back as 1892, and were present at this service (January 13, 1908)."

[xxvi] For additional information on Gift Adventists, consult V.P. Simmons, "History of Tongues," Bridegroom's Messenger 1:3 (December 1907) 2; idem, Bridegroom's Messenger 34 (March 15, 1902) 2; idem, Bridegroom's Messenger 46 (September 15, 1909) 2. Simmons, while exempting Schaff and Bushnell, appropriately entitled one entry "Historians Dodging Tongues," Bridegroom's Messenger 39 (June 1, 1909) 2. Simmons’ original tract was kept in print by the Church of God of Prophecy through the 1990s. “The Cream Supreme: The Scoop on the Doughty Ice Cream Company" puts together pieces of the puzzle about the role of Elder William H. Doughty who wrote a tract named "Spiritual Gifts" and led the 'Gift Adventists' in Providence, Rhode Island”. Also see Harold D. Hunter, “A Portrait of How the Azusa Doctrine of Spirit Baptism Shaped American Pentecostalism”, Enrichment Journal 11:2 (Spring 2006), 78-90. More stories about 19th century tongues-speech are mentioned in Hunter, “Beniah at the Apostolic Crossroads.” I saw a 2017 Facebook post in which someone suggested they were the first to turn up a reference to 19th speaking in tongues related to DL Moody in Europe. I saw these and many other like stories during my studies commencing with patristic literature at Fuller Theological Seminary in the 1970s. Now having visited more than 80 countries, I have a more personal awareness of Pentecostal phenomena prior to the 20th Century in places like Finland, India, Korea, and China.

[xxvii] As IPHC Archivist since 1995, I know these original documents like the 1895 forward issues of The Way of Faith and Christian Witness and Advocate of Bible Holiness well but notice that the Irwin documents are nicely compiled by Dan Woods in book with Vinson Synan about BH Irwin mention in previously. In this case pp. 131-134. JH King, “History of the Pentecostal Holiness Church,” (Unpublished typed manuscript, 1946), 10. Cf. Vinson Synan, The Old-Time Power (Franklin Springs: Advocate Press, 1973), 91n21; Joseph Campbell, Pentecostal Holiness, 198; A.D. Beacham, Jr., A Brief History of the Pentecostal Holiness Church (Franklin Springs: Advocate Press, 1983), 44.

[xxviii] Daniel Awrey, “Live Sketches,” The Latter Rain Evangel (March 1910), pp. 20-21; Lawrence, Apostolic Faith Restored, 44f; Joseph H. King, Yet Speaketh (Franklin Springs, Georgia: Publishing House of the Pentecostal Holiness Church, 1949) 98; Carl Brumback,  Suddenly...From Heaven (Springfield: Gospel Publishing House, 1961), 13; Joseph E. Campbell, The Pentecostal Holiness Church: 1898-1948,(Franklin Springs, GA: Publishing House of the Pentecostal Holiness Church, 1951), 208; Stanley Frodsham, With Signs Following (Springfield: Gospel Publishing House, 1946), 15; Gordon Atter, The Third Force (Peterborough: College Press, 1970), 19; Fellowship from Solid Rock (Spring, 1984) 1. Brumback (p.14n10) quoted a 1910 document entitled “Telling the Lord's Secrets”. This small tract by Awrey adds no historical data of interest.

[xxix] See LCF 1:10 (Jan 12, 1900), 1, about plans for the School of the Prophets in Beniah. The IPHC Archives & Research Center has a copy of the deed when the land was returned by JH King, et al, to the Lawson family on November 13, 1900. Awrey first lived in Bellefonte, TN then moved to Texas in 1895. Phillips, Church of God, makes mention of Daniel Awrey only two times in his massive index of names, dates, and places.

[xxx] More details may be found in my Appendix: Research Notes from Life Coals of Fire, 1899-1900. For more about JH King, see Tony G. Moon, From Plowboy to Pentecostal Bishop: The Life of J.H. King (Lexington, KY: Emeth Press, 2017), 83-85.

[xxxi] The IPHC Archives & Research Center DVD “Early IPHC Periodicals and Beyond” starts with Live Coals dated Jan 1904. LC is 2:10. AE 1:4 is April 1907 with an issue that followed that year (August?) whereas Feb 1909 is 1:1. The break with AE has to do with moving the press and eventually AE was taken over by the North Carolina PHC conference. The last published LC condemns initial evidence Spirit baptism. I have most of copies of Live Coals on this DVD but did not locate any of these in the JH King Heritage House, Franklin Springs, GA.

[xxxii] LCF 1:6 (Nov 10, 1899), p. 8, has a letter from JH King in addition to “Edward Kelley’s Letter.” As noted earlier, Dale Coulter’s email (August 5, 2009) to David Roebuck mentions that Edward Kelley was a former secretary for the North Carolina Holiness Association.

[xxxiii] “Frank Porter’s Letter,” LCF 1:1 (October 6, 1899), 2. Also see my Appendix: Research Notes from Live Coals of Fire, 1899-1900. Cf. Woods, “Daniel Awrey”; Campbell, Pentecostal Holiness Church, p. 200.

[xxxiv] Writing January 4, 1951 to W.R. Steelberg, Mrs. C.E. Grass(?) claimed to have been living in Birchwood, TN when tongues broke out in late 1900. She said the trigger was a letter from Cherokee County, North Carolina.

[xxxv] During the Chesser interview, Bryant and Lemons both spoke about Union Grove. LCF 1:18 (May 4, 1900), 6, “Aunt Nancy’s Experience,” starts by saying she was born near Cleveland, TN. Her maiden name was Nancy J. Vernell. She married WH Brown who died in the “last year of the war”. She eventually married Benjamin Johns but he died leaving her with several children. She next married Marshal Lawson and he had a bunch of kids and she may say he was a drunk. LCF gave her almost 2 full pages for an article written at Dare, TN.

[xxxvi] Phillips, Church of God, p. 159n121, writes: “Lemons noted in an interview, ‘Brother Bryant had a little shack that we had meetings in’ (Bryant/Lemons interview, p. 19). Bryant himself called it a ‘log church in my yard’ (‘History of Pentecost’, FS 1.6, p. 21). Elsewhere it is referred to as ‘Bryant’s tabernacle’ and ‘Bryant’s schoolhouse’.” I am certain that Phillips’ “elsewhere” is actually LCF 1:16 (April 6, 1900), 6, which does not support his interpretation when read in context. See Phillips, Church of God, 136, about the notion of Stewart Irwin preaching at Camp Creek in May 1900.

[xxxvii] “Stewart T. Irwin’s Letter” in LCF 1:16 (April 6, 1900), 6, drew attention to Beniah, Birchwood and "Bryant's schoolhouse." “William B. Martin’s Letter,” LCF 1:17 (April 20, 1900), 3. For information about WP Bryant and “Drigo” see E.L. Ross Location of Old Abandoned School Sites in Bradley County, Tennessee (NP, 1974), p. 1, provided by Cleveland Public Library History Branch on 2/2/18. This document goes on to say that school buildings were often used “for church and community gatherings”. Dale Coulter email September 12, 2012 to David Roebuck, Bob George, and Harold D. Hunter suggested that Bryant’s Schoolhouse might be the Shearer Schoolhouse. Church of God (Cleveland, TN) historian David Roebuck email to Harold D. Hunter on 1/22/18 did not agree with Coulter on this point and speculated about Drygo. The idea that Bryant’s School mentioned by Irwin was actually in Drygo was initially based on a 2018 Facebook post that Drygo once had a school named Bryant. LCF 1:17 (April 20, 1900), 3, “William B. Martin’s Letter,”.  Cf. Phillips, Church of God. pp. 136, 140.

[xxxviii] Following some of the sources in this paper, David Roebuck, “From Azusa to Cleveland: The Amazing Journey of GB Cashwell and the Spread of Pentecostalism,” in The Azusa Street Revival and Its Legacy, edited by Harold D. Hunter and Cecil M. Robeck (Cleveland, TN: Pathway Press, 2006), 116, concludes it is “probable that Tomlinson’s success among a remnant of Fire-Baptized people was a major factor in his move to Cleveland, which was the closest town of any size to those [Fire-Baptized] congregations”. Roebuck singles out Beniah, Luskville, Drygo, and Union Grove. See Phillips, Church of God, pp. 140, 110, 154.

[xxxix] Harold D. Hunter, “A.J. Tomlinson's Emerging Ecclesiology,” Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies 32:3 (2010), 369-389. See David Roebuck, “A. J. Tomlinson’s Samson’s Foxes: Holiness & Compassion Ministries in Appalachia,” paper read to the 47th Annual Conference 2018, Society for Pentecostal Studies hosted by the Pentecostal Theological Seminary in Cleveland, TN.

[xl] Phillips, Church of God, 169.

[xli] RG Spurling’s 1897 “An Appeal” mentions that he entered the Methodist Episcopal Church for two years. The dates might be 1884-1886. So email from Dale Coulter (August 14, 2009) to Bob George.

[xlii] “M.L. (sic) Lemon’s Letter,” LCF 1:9 (Dec 22, 1899), 8. Robins, AJ Tomlinson, pp. 170, 283n13, 168ff.

[xliii] Harold D. Hunter, “A Journey Toward Racial Reconciliation: Race Mixing in the Church of God of Prophecy,” The Azusa Street Revival and Its Legacy, Harold D. Hunter and Cecil M. Robeck, Eds. (Cleveland, TN: Pathway Press, 2006), pp. 277-296. I offer this article as one piece of opposition to Alex Mayfield’s paper at the 2017 AAR conference at Boston on WH Turner in China where he called “Pentecostal resistance” an “oxymoron”. cf. Discipline of the Fire-Baptized Holiness Church of God of the Americas (n.p., 1978).

[xliv] LCF 1:9 (Dec 29, 1899) 8, mistakenly printed M."L." Lemons from Luskville. He was correctly identified in LCF 1:13 (Feb 23, 1900) 8. Also see AJ Tomlinson, “Missionary Evangelism,” (January 1, 1907) about organizing four new “congregations”. Cf. Phillips, Church of God, p. 188n37. Bob George email (August 11, 2009) to Dale Coulter says that Porter “was born and reared in Luskville in McMinn County.” In a September 12, 2012 email to Dale Coulter, David Roebuck, and Harold D. Hunter, George would claim that Porter attended a Methodist Episcopal Church in Luskville and attended camp meetings at Lake Wildwood. Dale Coulter email (August 11, 2009) to Bob George, David Roebuck, and Harold D. Hunter points to Tomlinson and Lemons giving the list of subscribers to The Way to The Church Herald. Coulter writes, “This was published out of College Mound, MO, by George Smith. The periodical began in 1901 and was connected to the Church of God (Holiness) which was a group that broke away from Methodist churches in MO.”

[xlv] Phillips, Church of God, p. 217.

[xlvi] A.J. Tomlinson, Diary of A.J. Tomlinson: 1901-1924 (Cleveland, TN: White Wing Publishing House, 2012), p. 36.

[xlvii] Diary of AJ Tomlinson, p. 39. Jan 1, 1905 AJ Tomlinson mentions (p. 41) organizing a Sunday school at Drygo where he preached one sermon.)

[xlviii] F.M. Britton, “Brother F.M. Britton’s Letter,” The Apostolic Evangel (c. January 1910), 7. Also see E.L. Simmons interview by E.L. Chesser (1949), 1f. There is a related note in the lower right column in p. 8 of Apostolic Evangel 1, no. 9 (June 15, 1909) written by someone in Florida during a Britton–A.J. Tomlinson conflict. Unfortunately, the original report by Britton cannot be taken at face value. His portrait of the exclusivity is probably accurate, but not the idea that Tomlinson would have limited women preachers, as Tomlinson proved by granting ministerial license to Rebecca Barr while in Florida. The matter of women in business meetings is a separate issue, but it is doubtful that Britton himself held the standard for women affirmed in the 1900 Constitution and General Rules of the Fire-Baptized Holiness Association of America, Article X, #4, p. 15. Also not accurate is Britton’s complaint that Tomlinson would have endorsed the use of tobacco. The final point of contention concerning authentic interpretation of tongues reveals a preoccupation with the differing interpretation of the content of these utterances. See Robins, AJ Tomlinson, p. 211 and various footnotes. For the Tomlinson perspective, see Diary of A.J. Tomlinson, ed. Homer A. Tomlinson (Queens Village, NY: The Church of God, World Headquarters, 1949) 1:136.

[xlix] Diary of A.J. Tomlinson, ed. Homer A. Tomlinson 1:102ff, 238.

[l] AJ Tomlinson Diary, p. 48.

[li] Beniah census copy secured (10-17-92) from Cleveland Public Library, History Branch, by director Faye Taylor. So Nora Bryant Jones interview in Cleveland, TN by Harold D. Hunter (2-17-93). No such information is available about former Beniah resident Mary G. Bryant. Milton McNabb was related to W.F. Bryant. Interview of Bryant and Lemons by Chesser, p. 2; Nora Bryant Jones Interview by Hunter (2-17-93).

[lii] The Way of Faith (April 15, 1896) 4, carried an advertisement for Irwin's Baptism of Fire. Way of Faith (October 20, 1897) 2-7, is used by Synan, Old-Time Power, p. 92n24, to remark that the periodical carried "vivid reports of Irwin's revivals." LCF at least twice printed references to The Way of Faith. See S.D. Page, The Way of Faith (March 1897) quoted by Dillard L. Wood and William H. Preskitt, Jr., Baptized With Fire: A History of the Pentecostal Fire-Baptized Holiness Church (Franklin Springs: Advocate Press, 1982) 15. cf. See: Wade H. Phillips, "Quakerism and Frank W. Sandford: Major Influences that Transformed A.J. Tomlinson and the Church of God," Decades of Expectancy: 1891-1900, 1991-2000, ed. by William Faupel (Lakeland: Society For Pentecostal Studies, November 7-9, 1991), p. 34n30.

[liii] . Samuel G. Otis, founding editor of Word and Work, hosted an 1890 Massachusetts camp meeting featuring Seth and Bryon Ress from the Office of God's Revivalist. So Lily E. Corum, "The Christian Worker's Union," Word and Work [Souvenir Issue] 3:5 (May 1989) 2. Beulah Christian 4:8 (August 1895) 3, carried a report on Godbey's book. In the year 1895 alone, Watson had articles on virtually every front page of The Way of Faith. Yet he continued to be published here as late as November 1931. See Lawrence, Apostolic Faith Restored, 85; Wade H. Phillips, "The Corruption of the Noble Vine," unpublished 1990 manuscript, p. 151n223. Beulah Items 4:7 (July 1891), 4.

[liv] 1900 Constitution and General Rules of the Fire-Baptized Holiness Association of America, pp. 10-11, Under “Government”, the paragraph reads as follows: “We recognize and acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ as the Supreme Head and Rightful Governor of the Fire-Baptized Holiness Association in all its various departments, and His infallible Word as the man of our counsel, and as our only rule of faith and practice”. Tomlinson’s LGC (pp. 185-6) claims that the charge delivered by Spurling on August 19, 1886 was to “take the New Testament, or the Law of Christ, for your only rule of faith and practice”. It is true that Spurling’s 1920 The Lost Link (p. 45) refers to the “New Testament” as the “only infallible rule of faith and practice”. However, this language is missing from Spurling’s 1897 “An Appeal”.

[lv] Samson's Foxes 1:1 (January 1901), 4. Among other traditions to identify Ruler Elders are Presbyterians as seen in this article by John G. Watkins on “The Duties and Qualifications of Ruling Elders” available at The Westminster Presbyterian: However, AJ Tomlinson was clearly appropriating the term as Irwin had used it with the FBHAA not as used by Presbyterians.

[lvi] J.H. King, “History of the Fire-Baptized Holiness Church: Chapter II,” Pentecostal Holiness Advocate 4, no. 48 (March 31, 1921), 10f. This is easily confirmed in the early FBHAA constitutions available at the IPHC Archives & Research Center now available on DVD. Although Irwin was not alone in such maneuvering, this may relate to another part of what became A.J. Tomlinson's persona. For AJ Tomlinson’s ‘persona’, see Harold D. Hunter, "A.J. Tomlinson," in Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, edited by Stanley M. Burgess and Gary B. McGee (Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library, 1988), 846-8; idem, "A.J. Tomlinson," in Dictionary of Christianity in America, edited by Daniel G. Reid (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 199), 1178f; idem, "Churches of God," New 20th-Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, ed. by J.D. Douglas (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991, second edition) 194-196.

[lvii] One of the longest surviving such churches was Piney Grove. R.G. Spurling organized the Piney, TN church during the late 1890's when the family lived in Polk County, TN. Polk County, TN sits between Bradley County, TN and Cherokee County, NC. See Deborah Vansau McCauley, "Appalachian Mountain Religion," (Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1990), p. 365, quoting G.P. Spurling, son of R.G. Spurling. McCauley’s PhD dissertation was published in 1995 by the University of Chicago under the title Appalachian Mountain Religion: A History. Cf. Robins, AJ Tomlinson, p. 170f.

[lviii] According to email from Church of God of Prophecy historian Adrian Varlack to Harold D. Hunter (1/25/18), the 1924 ‘CGP’ Assembly Minutes is the only cover that carries “Over which A. J. Tomlinson is General Overseer” until 1929 when it appears again and from there forward. While in litigation, AJ Tomlinson continued using “Church of God” until 1929 when the cover actually read, “Church of God, Over which A. J. Tomlinson is Overseer, by Permission Pending Further Hearing.” The 1930 minutes forward used only “Church of God, Over which A. J. Tomlinson is General Overseer” with no further reference to the litigation. So from 1925-1928 Tomlinson used the name “Church of God“ for the minutes.

[lix] This 1924 deposition is identified as 8:1708. The church in Jones [Morganton], GA was not far from Cherokee County. Phillips, Church of God, pp. 217-218, says there were four churches and at least three missions in 1904. Phillips pitches these congregations as independent like Christian Unions.

[lx] Phillips, Church of God, pp. 171, 218, 224f.

[lxi] Church of God of Prophecy owns the ‘Murphy’ house and each January holds a celebration of the first ‘general assembly’. Phillips, Church of God, p. 222, mentions that AJ Tomlinson officiated at the 1903 wedding of JC Murphy and Margaret Melissa Shearer. LCF 1:16 (April 6, 1900), 3, “Joseph R. Starr’s (?) Letter” talks about a meeting in the home of Bro. Murphy. However, this appears to have been in GA rather than NC.

[lxii] George, “Holiness in Bradley County,” adds the following claims:

“R. Frank Porter was the FBHA ruling elder over churches at Union Grove, Drygo, and Luskville. His departure from the FBHA led to the opportunity for A.J. Tomlinson to become pastor of these churches. AJ Tomlinson records in his Diary on December 8, 1903: “I have been selected pastor of these congregations for 1904. One at Union Grove, Tenn., one at Luskville, Tennessee, one at Camp Creek, N.C.” These were active FBHA churches in Tennessee and Western North Carolina.”

5. The role of R. Frank Porter at organization of the Holiness Church at Camp Creek in 1902 was that of FBHA ruling elder. His duty was to oversee the new church and the churches in Bradley County.

6.  In 1903 R. Frank Porter invited AJ Tomlinson to preach at FBHA congregations in Bradley County.  They would later invite him to be their pastor and this would provide a strong reason to move to Cleveland.

[lxiii] Phillips, Church of God, pp. 154, 233. Moon, JH King, pp. 94-94, paints a similar picture without consulting resources that might nuance the common narrative one hears in IPHC.

[lxiv] Surely there are other obscure publications like JB Mitchell’s The Mountain Missionary 1:1 (August 1902) that might fill in some of the blanks. Cf. Phillips, Church of God, p. 188n37.

[lxv] General Assembly Minutes: 1906-1914, Photographic Reproductions of the First Ten General Assembly Minutes (Cleveland, TN: White Wing Publishing House and Press, 1992). Of course, this phrase is hardly unique to the FBHAA.

[lxvi] See Phillips, Church of God, p. 288 but also p. 341n155 about Henager L. Trim from Union Grove who married Flora E. Bower, a former student at what is now Holmes Bible College. Also David Roebuck, “Nora Chambers and the Unseen Guest,” Church of God Evangel (January 2015) accessed online.