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Salvation Army: The Story of William and Catherine Booth

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
September 16, 2022 3:00 am

Salvation Army: The Story of William and Catherine Booth

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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September 16, 2022 3:00 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, the Salvation Army's Christmas Red Kettle has been an American icon for 125 years. But for many Americans, this is all they know about the Salvation Army… until now. We’d like to thank the folks at Vision Video for giving us access to their wonderful documentary, Our People: The Story of William and Catherine Booth.

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This is Lee Habib and this is now American stories we tell stories about everything here in the show from Yorks to sports and from business to history and everything in between clear stories send them to our American

Some of our favorites. Aside from ho ho oh and several songs by Perry Como, John enough, perhaps no other sounds as Christmas more than the ring of the Salvation Army red kettle bell.

But for many Americans this is all we know about the Salvation Army, the Empire of young Queen Victoria. The story of the Salvation Army is conceived within the heart of a young boy named William Booth years Greg Engler with this story.

William Booth's father, Samuel built houses in Nottingham, England for the children of the Industrial Revolution, when in 1843. His business collapsed. It was the end of his world within months.

Samuel was dead, leaving his family and ruin 13-year-old William Booth had to drop out of school and commenced what would be an education and poverty. His primary classroom was the pawn shop where he had taken work as an apprentice.

Here's Prof. Roger Greene a long time member and scholar of the Salvation Army fund working business in England in that day was a very, very difficult business because pawn broking was people brought in their goods from their home and sold their goods to have a little bit of money to put bread on the table and he knew to that many people were coming in and selling a little bit of what they had in their home or putting off a little bit of what they had in their home, not in order to put bread on the table for the children in order to buy more alcohol for that evening, handkerchiefs were upon first wedding rings came last Nottingham suburban district extends into rural Derbyshire where Catherine Mumford was born from a young age she displayed an unusually intense nature when she was nine years old she saw drunk all through the streets to the police station taunted by a mob she was unwilling to let them walk alone and be humiliated, so she ran and walked beside him, here's Prof. Pamela Walker, author of pulling the devils kingdom down the Salvation Army in Victorian Britain.

She suffered from a number of different illnesses. It's hard to know in modern terms, what we would call those things but should occur whichever spine that she suffered with her whole life and she was sometimes bedridden for long periods of time so she read a lot she met Mathis magazines and other religious works by a number of leading Methodist theologian.

She was reading them at a very young age. She read the Bible every day. By the time she was 12. I think she read it cover to cover eight times and it made for a very quiet childhood of a studious child and often I think a very lonely one in the booth household. William had heard very little about the Bible or God until a neighbor took the 15-year-old boy to church to hear the visiting American minister, James Cokie Creech for six weeks. William was inspired for the next two years. He would often wander off into the meadow and try preaching to himself.

He was always disappointed with the results, though the preachers he heard powerful and spoke with a fiery conviction was obvious they believe what they were preaching with all their heart William on the other hand, was not sure what he believed. Even though we had now been going to church for two years.

William was still a spectator that was the case until Booth strolled into his Bible class. The teacher open with the words of soul dies every minute. For some reason these words penetrated right into William's heart shortly after when a friend persuaded William to join him in a mission in Nottingham's poorest district. William stepped right into his natural space.

After visiting the poor and the sick. William would go out into the grimy streets stand on top of the box and preach poor women would bring their own shares. Some ignored him.

Others cursed him in 1849, William left Nottingham for London working more than 12 hours a day six days a week as an apprentice at another pawnbroker shop.

It was here.

William met Catherine Mumford. A month later they were engaged here Salvation Army member and historian Prof. Gordon Boyles, Catherine Booth was the thinker as she grew up in a home where she was self educated or home educated and she read a lot of theology books.

William was a Doer when he was a Doer all his life. William was an activist at the age of 22, William left pawn broking for good to pursue what he felt was God's calling as an evangelist on June 16 of 1855 Catherine and William were married three years past until William became the preacher of the Methodist Church while Catherine became pregnant with her third child, feeling restless, Catherine began to visit the families of heavy drinkers, two nights a week in the slums. It was at this time were she to would have a life-changing encounter with an American preacher here again is Pamela Walker 980, I was an American holiness teacher and preacher came to England and it was a big event to Catherine.

She was already well known to Catherine to her writing and also occasioned a lot of debate in the English press because he was an American and a woman and she's preaching will emit plenty to do inside the church but it was the people outside the people who never dreamed of setting a foot inside a church really concern him. Booth's outreach had become known by the locals as the converting shop when members of his church attempted to restrict his wider ministry.

Catherine urged William to resist and become an independent evangelist at a critical moment when a motion to limit Booth's ministry was put Catherine shouted from the balcony never really looked around to see his wife being escorted towards the door. William stood up and waved his hat in the air as a salute to his wife and walked deliberately out the door. Catherine was standing on the steps he hooked her arm in his and they headed down the street together and when we come back will continue with the story of William and Catherine Booth without there would not be Salvation Army more if these messages if you love the stories we tell about this great country and especially the stories of America's rich past. Know that all of our stories about American history, the more the innovation culture and faith are brought to us by the great folks at Hillsdale College placement. Students study all the things that are beautiful in life. All the things are good in life. If you can get the Hillsdale bills that will come to you with her free and terrific online courses go to to learn more and we returned to our American stories and the story of William and Catherine Booth in the story of the Salvation Army.

Let's pick up when we last left off William Booth's days of being a pastor were over.

She was a 32-year-old man with a wife and now for small children to feed. He returned to the insecure life of a traveling evangelist preaching and rented warehouses, ragged, tense, and in the open air. He got an occasional job and spent the money he earned on soup bones and to day-old bread to feed his family in July 1865. William was in a sense, still looking for his life's work. The booths were living in London and now had six children on July 2. William set out for an 8 mile walk to London's East and to preach at a tent meeting.

As he walked he was shocked by what he saw for liquor.

Parents neglected their children. Girls sold their virtue men became criminals a man could get drunk for a penny, five-year-olds were commonly seen passed out in the doorways. It was this area that you William Booth like a magnet. Booth burst into the house. Swept Catherine into a hug and shouted Kate I've found my destiny. Here's the great-grandson of William and Catherine Booth, Col. Bramwell Booth when my grandfather was 12 or 13, William took him out one evening to the East End of London where he was working I took him into some of the public houses lined the roads that came in found people with many of them drunk women with babies and the situation is that he said these men were out of work. They will pull they were uneducated and desperate as a William Thompson Bramwell William Brown what his name was recently these Allah these the people I want you to live full to bring to Christ. The work was hard and the funds for the operation were near nonexistent workers were poor, but there were men and women of influence and wealthy philanthropists who came staunchly to the rescue. Checks were written and buildings were loaned free of cost for Booth to preaching or operate soup kitchens. Once inside crowds of idling dissolute characters filled the building. William held their attention. Booth took 80 of the most popular tunes of the time and change the lyrics to reflect the gospel centered message Booth said why should the Devil have all the best tunes. Both William and Catherine would preach each usually an hour to an hour and 1/2. Here again is Roger Greene and Gordon Boyles, the preaching styles were a bit different. William Booth was intended to roam on the platform intended to move on the platform, and so forth. He was very dramatic. Preacher of course you could see the people drowning. You could see the people reaching their hands above the waves, Catherine Booth, on the other hand, had a very different style of preaching.

Catherine tended to preach like a lawyer.

Catherine tended to argue her point and make her point very clearly. In fact, the story goes that there was a gentleman you heard Catherine Booth preach and at the end of the sermon, he turned to his son a future Archbishop of Canterbury and he said to his son. If I am ever in trouble with the law. Don't get me a lawyer get me.

That woman when the Christian mission began, those involved wanted to adopt committees in order to enact strict government protocol. Here's Dr. Glenn Holdridge, author of the Salvation Army origins in early days, and Roger Greene, William Blake was getting very very frustrated by the constant talking on the fact that many people want kids to formulate rules about how things should be done wrong than actually doing and he felt this was. This is been a problem of many of the other open eyes Asians that were trying to do good work. Needless to say William and Catherine Booth were not people who favored committees.

They were both quite autocratic by nature. As you come to 1877 some very important decisions were made in the primarily important decision that was made was to have William Booth totally in charge of the Christian mission when there 1878 report was drafted and said the Christian mission under the superintendent of the Rev. William Booth is a volunteer army. The report was shown to William and his son Bramwell and Brown will sit on a voluntary regular soldier. William took the pen in his hand, crossed off the wood volunteer road in instead the Christian mission is a salvation so the ranks came in and little by little the minute the structure of the Salvation Army developed. Here's Pamela Walker, Glenn Holdridge, UCLA professor Diane Winston, author of the engrossing study red hot and righteous urban religion of the Salvation Army's brass bands were very popular in England a lot of trade unions had a brass band and workplaces had a brass band, lots of people knew how to play brass instruments that was quite a common pastime in Salisbury and the Salvation Army officer decided to use a local Methodist family to play their instruments to drown out the relatives, the Fry family. The first is innocent. I found a very effective rowdy start going to allow that. Just bring out the brass band instruments is playing in just 10 bring up the sound of music and that which is drown out the crowd and they became very popular and became very much a part of the Salvation Army's appeal.

Brass and stand on the corner that your testimony that placing music that seems in that Wilson does help to draw an audience as a man ahead of his time because he really appreciated the value of good publicity.

She couldn't think of a piano and a different direction. His credo as attract attention and he told his soldiers and officers to do anything possible to get that attention really had a sense of marketing and branding and he made sure that people knew who the Army was and the uniform was one of the ways to do this by far the majority of the Army's officers were very young, and at least half were women here again is Gordon Boyles.

William Booth always said she'd known my best men or women and in the 1880s, for example, almost 50% and sometimes more than 50% of the officers were women here Salvation Army Maj. Christine Parkin rad genius, understanding the needs of the campaign for this far. Being able to use and in a way that made him Fabian name in charge statement response have been challenged to do something really for the kingdom of God hears William Booth's granddaughter, Commissioner Catherine Bramwell Booth. He was interested in monthly deed in the little call Michael to judge the group to which we now see if he was at home. It is important to dictating how I did being on center where God and I say that yes yes grandpa, I sang a soda. How did you get down but I said when I did my best and then he suddenly seemed to be angry with me real meaning, really good shot and he had displayed the lease when he shouted to me that day you see I was old machine you all best, Catherine you go to Maine the Army that's all you can do can change to QC when we believe in God, and God helps us we can do that now base and then he opened up pullback idea shouldn't and and and my goodness what words when we believe in God, and God helps us we can do better than our best were following the story of William and Catherine story of William and Catherine Booth story.

The Salvation Army continues after these messages continue here with our American stories and the story of William and Catherine Booth. The story of the Salvation Army, but every once in a while though the show was entitled our American stories you sometimes years of British voices. That's because, as we look back in time. So many of the important organization. So many of the important events that happened here in this country was shaped by some of the things that happened across the pond so to speak. So we continue with the story of William and Catherine Booth among the thousands of recruits. The Army especially prized men and women whose lives have been radically transformed. William Booth told his officers when you go into a town search for the worst alcoholic go after the woman at the end of a rope. She would rather his meetings were crowded with such people and churchgoers who are not broken by their sin. One of his models was gopher souls and go for the worst.

Here's Christine Parkin and a couple testimonies of the time to see that my attorney concerned homes transfer because the father that had time to join to meet have a necessity not instead of spending money and the children stop thinking is because that was money used to be nation came Natalie brings his wages come to me taking into the account. If you want to know what good is done for me. Don't Michael will be any momentum feeling to dying to know if you could lay my hands here the words of Catherine Booth, Glenn Horwich and Bramwell Booth. We teach that a man cannot be right with God while he's getting drunk tonight and she'll decide that holiness means being saved from sin and filled with love to God and man.

So important was the message of holiness that in 1870 at the conference of the Christian mission William Booth said holiness is to us a fundamental truth, it stands to the forefront of our doctrines Salvation Army flag was presented in 1878. Catherine often explained when she presented facts later on that the red stood for the blood of Jesus Christ, which purify from sin. The blue stands for punitive of holiness on the file of the stall was the final of the Holy Spirit which actively leads his people, the flag and its soldiers were encountering intense opposition is playing Maj. Barbara committed socialist master wordsmith and playwright George Bernard Shaw criticized the Salvation Army for using tainted money to do its work. To this Booth answered, we will wash it in the tears of the widows and the orphans and lay on the altar of humanity. The media hated the Salvation Army to and continually wrote fictional stories that were successful in inflaming public opinion against them. Booth would tell his very upset son Bramwell. 50 years from now it will matter very little. How these people treated us will matter a great deal how he dealt with the work of God.

I don't care what they say about me. As long as they say something and announce where I'm preaching. Even Queen Victoria objected to the Salvation Army on the grounds that she should have the only Army England and that all generals should belong to the British Empire. The authorities offered little if no protection in many cases they charge the salvationist with disturbing the peace.

In fact, the British Home Secretary pushed a piece at any price policy and this meant that the results of any legal Salvation Army activity that hooligans turn into a riot blamed on the Salvation Army, the Home Secretary's logic went us if the Salvation Army had not been there in the first place. The piece would not of been disturbed here again is Gordon wise when they were charged and sent to jail, they would have the option of a fine or say 10 days in jail.

You know what they always chose.

They chose to 10 days in jail and they would go to jail for the 10 days and at the end of the 10 days.

The Salvation Army core.

The whole battalion would line up march to the jail bring out the jailbird and leave that jailbird dressed in the in the form of a jailbird marched back to the Citadel, they would have a great meeting for the person would testify and talk about such a course again publicizing all the loved because they now knew they could get away with it.

Schools of angry and restless young men organized into a group whose stated aim was to destroy the Salvation Army. They called themselves the skeleton Army. The skeleton Army didn't confine the harassment just to the streets.

They went to attack the homes of anyone who sympathized with the organization, smashing windows and hurling dead cats and rats, bricks, stones, car rotten vegetables and sticks into their windows. One Army officer named Elijah that his nose broken and face bloodied while the riot was going on around him. William Booth asked the bloodied Elijah how the officers were Elijah replied. The officers will be all right dead or alive in the midst of all this William received the news that one of his first converts Susanna Beatty, had been killed. She had been pelted with rotten fish and rocks. One of the rocks knocked her off her feet and as she lay in the street thug kicked her hard in the stomach. She died of internal injuries. Skeleton Army was financially and politically supported by breweries, public owners and politicians outraged by the armies on Orthodox approached this led to a strange alliance among politicians, hoodlums and brewery owners, all of whom wanted the Salvation Army to march right out of sight here again is Glenn Horwich. Anything that seemed to be deviating from the Knoll has often been ridiculed and attacked. They set themselves up to be different and so what best for the Friday night or Saturday then to jeer at the Salvation Army during 1882, 669 Salvation Army soldiers were assaulted one third of them were women, including 23 children 60 Salvation Army buildings were seriously damaged. William wrote many letters to Parliament and the police urging them to set aside the peace at any price policy. But it failed to move them eventually 4000 angry young men from the skeleton Army descended on a small band of Salvation Army soldiers pelting them with rocks and tar when a few officers arrived on the scene, the leader of the skeleton Army assaulted one of the officers man was immediately arrested and as their leader was dragged away skeleton Army began throwing rocks into the police station and taught in the officers to come out. Finally, the police saw the truth of the matter. It was impossible to ignore the rights of one group of people and allow folks to roam the streets without putting everyone's liberty at risk and what a story were hearing by the way, and I just love the beginning were Booth's admonition was to search for the worst alcoholic and the woman at the end of her rope, gopher souls, said souls of the end of the rope.

These stories are important stories again.

The story about anyone in America. This is one that is inextricably intertwined can imagine the Salvation Army without Christmas or Christmas without the Salvation Army and become a part of the DNA of this country and by the way they serve so many families in need and that's families of every kind every gender. Every religion non-religion and of course folks of every sexual orientation to they don't ask for any of these things when you walk in the door of the Salvation Army to give whenever you get a chance to this great organization more of the story of William and Catherine Booth Salvation Army story here on our American stores and we continue here with our American stories and the story of William and Catherine Booth. Let's return to our final installment in this great hour-long story, the persecution of the Salvation Army brought about a new protocol, the Army began to station officers at prison gates as disheveled men came out salvationist would offer help with accommodation and legitimate work. Here's Roger Crean is a Salvation Army family by the name of the Shirley family, who in 1879.

Went over to the United States. Their daughter was a captain in the Salvation Army, they decided that they were going to begin the work of the Salvation Army, albeit unofficially, in Philadelphia, so at fourth and Oxford the Shirley family with Capt. Eliza, Shirley, just a young woman at the time begin to work as salvationist and open the work of the Salvation Army in the United States. However, this was not an official opening and the Shirley wrote back to William Booth and asked if we Booth would send reinforcements to help to establish the work of the Salvation Army in America. And so, William Booth chose George Scott Relton, and seven young women for this task, and on March 10 of 1880 George Scott Relton and the seven young women.

The seven hallelujah lassies walked down the gangplank of their ship to the base of the Manhattan and they open the work of the Salvation Army official by the end of 1883 the Salvation Army was operating in 12 countries and everywhere.

It fought in evangelistic war. We are a salvation.

People sit Booth that is our specialty. On September 23, 1886, 57-year-old William Booth stepped onto New York's Cunard peer.

By now the Salvation Army boasted 100 corn America man by 300 officers and over 5000 soldiers and cadets on this 2 1/2 month visit over 200,000 Americans flocked to hear him speak at its core. William Booth was an evangelist, but he was also intensely practical. The social ministry of the Salvation Army usually did not begin at the instigation of William Booth social ministry began as officers and soldiers were working in their own local situations with all and as they had compassion for these people and wanted to aid them in the system and so for example, in 1886 the Salvation Army opened up a home for alcoholic women there. Again, not at the instigation of William Booth because they were local officers and soldiers in that situation who saw a need and they wanted to meet that what Booth did support these ventures with personnel and funds. Here again is Diane Winston and Col. Bramwell Booth like many of his contemporaries was not particularly interested in the big issues of the day, both only cared about saving people. The Army was a religion of action. One evening on a cold winters night William Booth was coming home over the bridge and realize that men were sleeping out in the cold underneath the bridge finding what shelter they quote when he first saw my grandfather Bramwell is a dream. Bramwell did you know that men were sleeping under the bridges in this in this weather.

Bramwell said well I thought everyone knew that Jen and William Vincent Brownlow going to do something, find a warehouse, but some mattresses on the floor, get a coke stove and the ultimate mind. No currently here's Roger green quote from William Booth, William Booth was very moved by the compassionate ministry of his officers and soldiers, and in 1889 he wrote one of his most important articles. That article was called salvation for both worlds.

William Booth says very clearly that he has the fight not only against the sin of this world, but he has to fight.

Also against the prevailing evils of poverty and idleness and prostitution and alcoholism and so forth. And if these people believe in Jesus Christ become the servants of God and escape the mysteries of the roof, they must be helped out the presence social miseries in 1888 Catherine had discovered she had terminal breast cancer she would continue to write and preach, but after two years she was confined to bed.

Finally, on October 4, 1890 61 years of age, Catherine Booth and Salvation Army terminology was promoted to glory. The following year, December 1891 Capt. Joseph McPhee and energetic Salvation Army officer in San Francisco. Goal of providing a free Christmas dinner to anyone who was in need. McPhee borrowed a large crab pot from Oakland ferry landing and hung it from a tripod at the foot of market Street and posted a sign that said fill the pot for the poor, free dinner on Christmas day, he collected enough to feed 1000 people and thus began the now iconic Salvation Army Christmas red cattle campaign. The sounds of bells ringing throughout America has become a very important part of the holiday season. Americans contribute some 100 million to the Army's Christmas cattle campaign that provides Christmas cheer to the less fortunate cattle donations remain in local communities supporting year-round services in the USA. Christmas cattle tradition was too good to remain exclusive and in recent years has become exported to other nations in which the Army serves. William now handed much of the day-to-day running of the Army to assign Bramwell and return to his first love. William began to travel the globe preaching the gospel is a story of him sitting in a railway carriage with the social role. The great South African colossus of the great imperialist and he says to Sissel Rhodes house, your soul, and Rhodes says not very well. We Booth puts his hands on his shoulders bends him over get on the floor of the carriage in the train and praise with them and he would pray with everybody, he would ask everybody how is your soul.

Are you saved when he was in the presence of the king.

He was asked to sign a guestbook, and on that guestbook.

He wrote this some men's ambition is gold some men's ambition is fame. My ambition is the souls of men into his 80s.

William Booth would still preach at one of his last meetings. The old soldier gave his final call to battle women weep as they do now fight both children go hungry as they do now fight while men go to prison in and out in and out as they do now. Well, that was a drunkard left while that is a pool lost girl upon the streets, while that remains blonde, ALL without the light of God fight flights to the very end.

At the age of 83 on August 20, 1912, the old general commanded a worldwide Army for 53 years, was promoted to glory the Salvation Army announced the general has laid down his sword for weeks after William was buried the rumor spread that Queen Alexandra had come to the funeral in disguise. No one could prove whether the rumor was true or not but in one sense it did not matter. What mattered was that no one thought it strange or unbelievable that a queen might have been standing shoulder to shoulder with the most gaudy destitute of the attendees today. The Salvation Army spans the globe reaching out to others with the love of God, the courage of their convictions in the discipline of good soldiers raising more than 1 billion annually. The Salvation Army is now established in 80 countries with 16,000 evangelical centers operates more than 3000 social welfare institutions, hospitals, schools and orphanages, homeless shelters, and social service agencies. I'm Greg Engler and this is our Americans and great job as always to Greg Engler and what a story the story of William and Catherine Booth in the story of the Salvation Army.

$1 billion a year 3000 separate organizations. It's really unbelievable, and not a stitch from the government. This is just the generosity of people around the world giving to a great cause.

Special thanks by the way to the folks at vision video giving us access to their great documentary. Our people story of William and Catherine Booth Salvation Army story here on our American stores

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