In 1942 George Philip Bowser published Directory of the Churches of Christ Colored. A stapled pamphlet of 40 pages, it contains the names of 307 congregations (comprising 17,349 members) and 342 preachers from California to New York and from Michigan to Florida. For each congregation Bowser sought an accurate membership count, the number added during 1942, the value of church property and a contact name. He noted that since some information was lacking, an “approximate record” was given.
Preston Gray, Jr. says this in his Forewords, “We are happy to look out over the vast harvest field of the Lord’s and behold the rapid progress; that is being made among us; although the reapers are few the pace that you have gained thus far is indeed encouraging. Let us, therefore, press on with a greater determination. “FORWARD,” is our motto. Phil 3:13-14.”
As a snapshot of the African-American Churches of Christ at mid-century, it discloses information unavailable elsewhere. There is no indication in this document that it updates or supplements earlier publications. While Leslie Grier Thomas’ New Directory of the Churches of Christ in the United States (Cincinnati: F. L. Rowe, 1939) notes “colored” congregations, it omits many of the congregations on Bowser’s list. Thomas does not list preachers. However Thomas, with George Henry Pryor Showalter, shortly thereafter issued Church Directory and List of Preachers of Churches of Christ (Austin: Firm Foundation Publishing House, 1943). Here appear white preachers and song leaders, “Colored” preachers and song leaders, “Mexican” preachers and “Foreign” preachers and song leaders. In order to identify African-American congregations in this 1943 booklet, it will be necessary to check each entry, something I have not attempted. A similar situation obtains for John P. Fogarty and Olan L. Hicks, 1946-47 Yearbook Churches of Christ (Abilene: Hicks Printing Company, 1947).
Not until Annie C. Tuggle, Our Ministers and Song Leaders of the Church of Christ (Detroit: Annie C. Tuggle, 1945), do some of the names in Bowser’s list find faces and stories through biographical sketches with accompanying photographs. Acknowledging that some did not send in photographs, and thus were omitted, she anticipated their inclusion in a projected second volume. Tuggle lists 134 preachers, 13 song leaders, plus 12 “under age preachers” (among whom is Fred D. Gray) and 3 “under age song leaders.” One will need to search page by page through the various volumes of Preachers of Today and New Testament Churches of Today to locate, where possible…perhaps, additional information beyond what Bowser provides.
Bowser’s list, therefore, appears to be the earliest and most complete of its kind for its time. I spent three evenings working through the lists of congregations and preachers. I do not claim to be a statistician; however, I trust the various data arrangements and charts below will be helpful. Whatever I have done, it is no substitute for reading the actual document. I realize this is no easy task as it is held in only two libraries, Abilene Christian University and Freed-Hardeman University. Should anyone have a copy of this in a personal collection, please consider making it more widely available if only by mailing a photocopy of it to your nearest university or research library.
I welcome additional information, clarification or correction. I should note that I have worked from a copy held in Abilene Christian University’s Center for Restoration Studies, which lacks pages 26-27.
Summary of congregations by state:
15 states (AZ, CO, NY, NM, NJ, NC, PA, KS, LA, CA, OH, IN, MI, MO and GA) have 1-9 congregations each
5 states (IL, KY, TX, OK and FL) have 10-19 congregations each
2 states (AR and MS) have 20-29 congregations each
No state has between 30-39 congregations
2 states (AL and TN) have above 40 congregations each
Number of congregations by state:
1 each: Arizona, Colorado and New York
2 each: New Mexico, New Jersey and North Carolina
4 each: Kansas and Louisiana
7 each: Indiana and Michigan
27: Arkansas and Mississippi
Number of congregations by city:
4 each: Detroit MI and Memphis TN
3 each: Los Angeles CA and Houston TX
2 each: Chicago IL, Indianapolis and Terre Haute IN, Louisville KY, Senatobia MS, Kilgore TX
All other cities have one congregation each
The Nashville congregations are:
Jefferson Street, 500 members, value of church property $4000, R. E. Campbell, 1404 Jefferson
South Hill, 57 members, value of church property $500, Joe Dewee, 90 Wharf Ave.
Horton Street, 35 members, value of church property $1000, Ollie Anderson, 1300 15th Avenue
Jackson Street, 142 members, value of church property $5000, Robt. Cato, 1912 Morene Street
Green Street, 98 members, value of church property $2500, P. H. Black, 1039 21st Avenue
East Nashville, 6th Street, 84 members, value of church property $2000, Jas. Reese, 618 N. Ninth Street
To present the data in a different form, I color coded two US maps, one according to number of congregations, the other by number of preachers.
Summary of preachers by state:
14 states (NC, NM, WV, VA, AZ, LA, KS, MO, PA, OH, IN, MI, KY and CA) have 1-9 preachers each
3 states (IL, GA and OK) have 10-19 preachers each
2 states (MS and AR) have 20-29 preachers each
2 states (AL and FL) have 30-39 preachers each
2 states (TN and TX) have above 40 preachers each
Number of preachers by state:
1 each: North Carolina, New Mexico and West Virginia
2 each: Virginia and Arizona
4 each: Louisiana and Kansas
7 each: Ohio and Indiana
8: Michigan (it may be that Fred Cowan refers to Fred D. Cowin, a white preacher)
9 each: Kentucky and California
Two are unaccounted for inasmuch their address did not list a state. Ten names were duplicated.
The top 12 congregations, of 200 or more members each, number 4588 total members:
Valdosta, Georgia: 740
Bradenton, Florida: 586
Atlanta, Georgia: 535
Jefferson Street, Nashville, Tennessee: 500
Muskogee, Oklahoma: 425
Montgomery, Alabama: 400
Oklahoma City: 299
Quitman, Georgia: 287
Cameron, Detroit, Michigan: 213
Chattanooga, Tennessee: 203
Lawton, Oklahoma: 200
Ensley, Alabama: 200
These 17 congregations, from 84 to 178 members each, number 2229 total members:
Tampa, Florida: 178
Thyatira, Mississippi: 176
Lebanon, Tennessee: 175
Okmulgee, Oklahoma: 160
McMinnville, Tennessee: 160
Huntsville, Alabama: 149
Center Point, Arkansas: 147 (listed as Enter Point, which I take to be a typographical error)
Jackson Street, Nashville, Tennessee: 142
Conway, Arkansas: 130
Halls Chapel, Alabama: 120
Statesville, North Carolina: 109
Kileton, Mississippi: 107
Compton, California: 102
Mobile, Alabama, 100
Oak Grove, Tennessee: 98 (in West Tennessee?)
Murfreesboro, Tennessee: 92
East Nashville, Tennessee: 84
Number of congregations, members and preachers alphabetically by state:
I posted installment #11 two years ago. It is time to resume.
A sub-set of my interest in RM bibliography is propaganda novels. (See this earlier post about the Sommer edition of Mr. World and Miss Church-Member) The basic thrust is that honest truth-seeker eventually finds enlightenment and along with it…if not coterminous to it…the essence of the ‘Restoration Plea’ (or comes to enlightenment on some social evil or moral problem). Variations within this theme include temperance issues and virtue in general. Clad in novel form, they advance Restoration principles before the reading public in a manner distinct from, but in content similar to, formal debates, doctrinal monographs or theological treatises. Rather than employ deliberation or formal logic, they persuade by narrative, characterization, empathy. One striking similiarity across the field is how the agonist’s name often serves as title of the book. This personalizes the main issue…you read it and become absorbed in the character’s quest. The agonist’s experience is a vehicle for argument: as the character finds her way, so too can the reader. Hopefully, this personalization results in conviction and just as you have read the book, you ‘go and do likewise.’
My interest stems from my small assemblage of these novels, pictured here:
Through a few minutes’ research I see there are many more and they have been on the bibliographers’ radar for a century. In 1906 John Waterhaus Monser issued The Literature of the Disciples, A Study (St. Louis, Christian Publishing Company). “Literature was never an art with us,” he said. “The statement of the religious idea or fact was our chief concern. To embellish it was secondary, if at all. Many of us seem to care little for balance of sentences, perspective, climax and things like these” (pp. 24-25). In his chapter on the classification of Disciples’ literature Monser editorialized almost constantly. In spite of his effort at fairness (“In classifying our leading works I have decided not to discriminate. The above caution is deemed sufficient [I omitted it since it is not entirely relevant for this post, MI]. Writers will be found representing the conservative and progressive element” p. 32) the governing criteria for his list of entries is plainly subjective:
“In the work before me, then,” he goes on, “my chief question is this: Is there ability enough in a pamphlet or book to justify its mention? If so, I shall mention it, allowing the reader of it to decide as to its value to him. True, I give a hint, here and there, but rarely, if ever, is it derogatory. Our Benjmain Franklin once said, “You do not have to gnaw into the bone of a ham to learn whether or not it is tainted.” So say I, and, so, to business” (p. 33).
Monser’s classification is neither scientific nor comprehensive, but for our purposes in this little essay it is helpful. Another quote from p. 33:
The prominent elements in religious literature are Life, Deeds, Stress, Biblical Thought, Instruction, Appeal, Narration and Meditation. Corresponding to these are Biography, History, Controversry, Exegesis, Didactics, Sermons and Addresses, Narrative and Fiction, Devotional. Under these heads we hope to embrace such literature as may present itself.
Here are Monser’s comments and entries under Narration, pp. 57-60:
NARRATION. Under this head I have decided to group two classes, that of narrative and romance. Let us begin with such writers as Durban, Willlis, Power, Bagby and Tyler. Nor must we overlook Z. T. Sweeney’s TRAVELS ROUND THE WORLD. He is interesting, even in a “Report on Fish.” Here are men who delight themselves and others by furnishing us racy letters, touched by the finger of fancy, but always well ballasted with incident. Of this sort of literatrure W. E. Garrison is quite capable, as witness his WHEELING THROUGH EUROPE. Champ Clark has a gift for personalities–biting, but bracing. Willett has given us the benefit of his visions abroad. The Editor’s Easy Chair never rocks one to sleep. F. M. Green’s articles were always read with avidity–why  not now? W. F. Richardson, in his conversations, is full of good material for the pen. John S. Sweeney must be rich in reminiscence, if, at time, somewhat imaginative. It has occurred to me he might do well on a piece of fiction. But could he equal D. R. Dungan or D. R. Lucas? Just a word here as to our utility of fiction in reaching the undecided mind. Who will ever know all the good done by such works as ON THE ROCK, CHANG FOO, OR ROSA GRAY? Or, take D. R. Lucas’ PAUL DARST. J. H. Stark has gained quite a reputation with his MARY ARDMORE and HUGH CARLIN. One is written to describe the test of faith; the other the triumph of truth. John Augustus Williams has produced a story of the lodge, the church and the school in ROSE EMERSON. Many of the incident in this fine work were real, and can be recalled by elderly people, who dwelt in that section of Kentucky. True, as I have said elsewhere, these books are not remarkable for artistic finish. But who cares? They are written in good, plain English, and–they have a nub to them. Judge Schofield, in his ALTAR STAIRS, shows and ability to mass  his thought and still delineate character. . . . But here come the ladies, in a troop, urging their claims. First, there is Mrs. Marie Butler, with her RIVERSIDE; then Margaret Frances, with ROSE CARLETON’S REWARD; Fannie Christopher, with DUKE CHRISTOPHER and BARTOLET MILON. Mrs. M. M. B. Goodwin, who was busy year after year as a pioneer in this department, producing stories, sermons for children, poems, etc., etc. Then there was Helen A. Rains, of sainted memory, and last Mrs. Jessie Brown Pounds, hymnist, poet and story-teller. In the QUEEN’S GARDENS, a serial published in THE CHRISTIAN-EVANGELIST in November, 1902, Mrs. W. W. Wharton shows unusual strength, grace and outreach of thought. We should hear more from such writers. I have reserved for the last the children’s popular writer, J. Breckenridge Ellis, who, to my thinking, is developing more wonderfully and inexhaustibly than any of our romance writers. There are good signs about. Many young writers aree coming to the front, but who shall get there and stay? All can not hope even to be read. Frederick Harrison  well says, “To organize our knowledge, to systematize our reading, to save, out of the relentless cataract of ink, the immortal thoughts of the greatest–this is a necessity, unless the produtve ingenuity of man is to lead us at last to a measureless and pathless chaos.” I should counsel, then, not to write until you have something worth saying. Obtaining this point, say it–clearly, comprehensively, classically. Then rest and feed the mind. Don’t hurry into a new venture. Fill the cask and you will have no trouble in empyting it through the bunghole. This is so much wiser than beating on an empty barrel.
Next comes Winifred Ernest Garrison, “The Literature of the Disciples of Christ” Bulletin of the Disciples Divinity House of the University of Chicago April 1923. In what he acknowledged was an imperfect attempt, Dean Garrison provided the first scientific Disciples’ bibliography. Absent of any editorialization, Garrison’s borrowed Monser’s categories, expanded them in some cases, and included a classified periodical list. Garrison published the list knowing there were gaps (he “intentionally omitted: Sunday school lesson books, books distinctly for childrten, tracts, and pamphlets. Hymn books are not included, but should be included in a revised list.”), sought advice for improvement not only in terms of content, but also arrangement. In form he listed author, title and some publication data, noting where appropriate [*] those items held by Disciples Divinity House of the University of Chicago. Also, he solicited gifts (what bibliographer wouldn’t?): “The library will be glad to receive copies especially of works which are out of print, and bound or unbound files of any of the early periodicals.”
Under “Religious Fiction” he listed these [pp. 13-14]:
D. R. Dungan: Chang Foo, a Chinaman in Search After Religious Truth (S., 1885). [Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati]
D. R. Dungan: On The Rock (1872. 33rd ed., S., 1900).
D. R. Dungan: Rosa Gray (S.).
D. R. Lucas: Paul Darst (C. P. Co.). [Christian Publishing Company, St. Louis]
W. T. Hacker: Hot for the Pastor (C. P. Co.).
J. B. Ellis: In the Days of Jehu (C. P. Co.).
J. B. Ellis: Shem, a Story of the Captivity (C. P. Co.).
Jessie B. Pounds: Young Man From Middlefield (C. P. Co.).
Jessie B. Pounds: Rachel Sylvester (S.).
Jessie B. Pounds: Norman McDonald (S.).
Jessie B. Pounds: The Iron-Clad Pledge (S.).
Jessie B. Pounds: A Popular Idol (S.).
C. J. Scofield: Alter Staris (C. P. Co.).
A. F. Smith: Ernest Leighton (C. B. Pub.) [Christian Board of Publication, St. Louis; successor to C.P.Co.]
J. H. Stark: Hugh Carlin (C. B. Pub.).
Mrs. M. N. Vanderwoort: Across the Gulf (C. B. Pub.).
J. A. Williams: Rosa Emerson (C. P. Co.).
B. A. Jenkins: The Princess Salome (Lippincott, 1921).
Hattie Cooley: An Honest Doubter (S.).
Hattie Cooley: As an Earthling (S.).
Mary A. Bayne: Blue Grass and Wattle (S.).
Mary A. Bayne: Crestland, a Centennial Story of Cane Ridge (S.).
M. A. Boteler: The Conversion of Brian O’Dillon (S.).
Abe Corey: Think Peace (S.).
Abe Corey: The Trail to the Hearts of Men (S.).
Edgar D. Jones: Fairhope, the Annals of a Country Church (Macmillan, 1917).
J. M. Rudy: Our Nation’s Peril (Chicago, 1918).*
A decade later Alfred Thomas DeGroot and Enos Everett Dowling published The Literature of the Disciples. Advance, Indiana: Hustler Print, 1933, a paperback volume of 78 pages based on, and an improvement upon, Garrison’s 1923 Bulletin and Degroot’s 1927 Butler tUniversity M.A. thesis title A Study in the Literature of the Disciples of Christ, available here. They listed [pp. 54-55]:
Bayne, M. A. Crestland, A Centennial Story of Cane Ridge, 271, S. 1907
Boteler, M. M. The Conversion of Brian O’Dillon, 253, S. 1896
Boteler, M. M. Like as We Are, 225, S. 1903
Brown, J. T. *Bruce Norman, 215, Lou. 1901
Brown, W. H. The Call of Service, S. 1913
Burleigh, W. G. Uncle Tom’s Mansion, Grand Rapids, Mich. 1931
Cooley, H. As an Earthling, S. 1899
Cooley, H. An Honest Doubter, S. 1906
Cory, A. Think Peace, S. 1917
Cory, A. The Trail to the Hearets of Men, Revell
Dungan, D. R. *On the Rock, 340, S. 1872
Dungan, D. R. Chang Foo, S. 1885
Dungan, D. R. Rosa Gray, S. 1904
Ellis, J. B. King Saul, 281, C. P. Co. 1898
Ellis, J. B. Shem, a Story of the Captivity, 299, C. P. Co. 1900
Ellis, J. B. Adnah, 308, Phila. 1902
Ellis, Fran, Bobbs-Merrill 1912
Ellis, J. B. The Woodneys New York 1914
Hacker, W. T. Hot for the Pastor, C. P. Co.
Hanes, A. *The Peril of Hunkey Hollow, 173, Parkersburg, W.Va. 1926
Jenkins, B. A. The Princess Salome, Phila. 1921
Jones, E. D. Fairhope, the Annals of a Country Church, Macmillan 1917
Kershner, B. L. The Head Hunter, 106, Macmillan 1917
Lucas, D. R. *Paul Darst, 206, Burns
Moody, R. N. Eunice Loyd
Pounds, J. B. Norman McDonald, S. 1887
Pounds, J. B. The Iron Clad Pledge, S. 1890
Pounds, J. B. A Popular Idol, S. 1890
Pounds, J. B. The Young Man from Middlefield, 257, C. P. Co. 1901
Pounds, J. B. Rachel Sylvester, S. 1905
Rudy, J. M. Our Nation’s Peril, Chicago 1918
Scofield, C. J. Altar Stairs, 320, C. C. 1903
Smith, A. F. Ernest Leighton, 336, C. P. Co. 1881
Stark, J. H. *Hugh Carlin, 185, C. B. Pub. 1986
Stark, J. H. *Mary Ardmore, 328, C. P. Co. 1898
Stark, J. H. Equally Yoked
Stark, J. H. Fair Maud
Stark, J. H. Baptism of Suffering
Vanderwoort, M. N. Across the Gulf, 268, C. P. Co. 1898
Williams, J. A. Rosa Emerson, C. P. Co.
Wright, H. B. That Printer of udell’s, Chicago 1903
Wright, H. B. The Calling of Dan Matthews, Chicago 1909
A little over decade later Claude Elbert Spencer completed his monumental An Author Catalog of Disciples of Christ and Related Religious Groups. Canton, Missouri: Disciples of Christ historical Society, 1946. Spencer, a trained professional librarian, invested over twenty years to improve the form and content of all his predecessors. He improved it to such a degree (his entries are listed alphabetically by author and contain as full a publication account as his sources–whatever they were–afforded) that only a page-by-page search might uncover more items, and even so, without the item at hand, there is only so much that Spencer can do for us when one is searching for any particular genre.
The items I list below belong in the Monser-DeGroot-Dowling taxonomy, but are not listed above. They, too, are Restoration propaganda novels:
Ashley S. Johnson, The Great Controversy. A Biblical and Historical Search After the True Basis of Christian Union. Ogden Bros. & Co.: Knoxville, 1894.
Ashley S. Johnson, The Great Controversy. rev ed. M. D. Baumer. F. L. Rowe: Cincinnati, 1939.
John Allen Hudson, Peter Finwick. F. L. Rowe: Cincinnati, 1929.
Daniel Sommer, Rachel Reasoner: Or, A Scriptural Daughter, Wife and Mother. Daniel Sommer: Indianpapolis, 1900.
R. N. Moody, Eunice Loyd, Or the Struggle and Triumph of an Honest Heart. F. L. Rowe: Cincinnati, 1909.
E. M. Borden, The Foot of Mount Nebo. [Firm Foundation Publishing House: Austin?; see 1936 List of Preachers, p. 174]
E. M. Borden, The Crimson Trail
E. M. Borden, John’s Troubles
E. M. Borden, Tom’s Call to Preach
J. M. Sallee, Mabel Clement. The National Baptist Publishing House: Fulton, KY, 1903. An anti-Campbellite propaganda novel!
I welcome additions, corrections and suggestions.
When I copied this page Cassius was on my radar as my red-pencil underline indicates. The ‘Standard Books’ in the lower left column are from Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, O. Ah…if these could be had today at 1931 prices…”perfect in every way and clean” at that!
Ira C. Moore, The Millenium and the Second Coming of Christ, undated tract, about 8.5 x 14 in. folded once; perhaps printed by F. L. Rowe in Cincinnati. K. C. Ice tucked it into an envelope sometime after 9 November 1936, in which envelope it still resides. I assume the typewritten notation at the top of the first page from Moore is to K. C. Ice; I further assume Moore’s forthcoming article was to appear in the pages of Rowe’s Christian Leader, of which Moore was an editor from 1910 until his death in 1938 (inclusive of his editorship of the Christian Leader and The Way).
Two items from the 19 December 1911 edition of The Christian Leader and The Way. The first is an ad for a new-to-me book: Etiquette and Hell. Of my several research interests one constant is bibliography, specifically exhaustive lists of the publications of McQuiddy Printing/Gospel Advocate Publishing Company and F. L. Rowe/Christian Leader Corp. Though I’ve paid more attention to McQuiddy and GA than Rowe, I have not pursued either systematically. In any case this ad gives me a new entry for my list!
Next is a nice list of Rowe’s publications. Special offer lists like these are a window into publishing, marketing and doctrine. Look here to see what Rowe publishes and how he incentivizes subscriptions with books and bibles and tracts. If you subscribe to a church paper you are already a reader; so why not add a book or two to your reading table alongside the Leader and Way? Look here to see what Fred Rowe thinks should be on his reader’s tables.