Susie W. Haley Allen

Gospel Advocate 25 January 1917, 35:

“Obituaries”

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Allen.

Sister Susie W. Allen, wife of J. G. Allen, departed this life on October 6, 1916.  Her maiden name was “Haley”–the daughter of T. W. Haley, who taught in the city schools for thirty-four years.  Sister Allen, with four other sisters, taught at different times, and she was engaged in this noble calling at the time of her marriage to J. G. Allen, February 6, 1883.  This union was blessed with seven children.  One died in infancy, leaving six with their father to mourn the loss of a mother and wife.  The surviving children are James A., David H., Mary Lee, Ruth, Mrs. O. F. Young, and Mrs Fletcher Daily.  All, except Mrs. Young, who resides at Davidson, Tenn., are residents of Nashville, Tenn.  At the time of our sister’s marriage to Brother Allen she was a member of the Baptist Church and he was a member of the Methodist Church.  They both realized the wrong of thus being divided religiously and determined to give the word of God a careful and thorough investigation on the subject of the plan of salvation and the church Christ established.  The result of this careful, prayerful, and painstaking investigation of the Holy Scriptures was the discovery that both were wrong, and they became members of the church of Christ, determined to be Christians only.  For twenty-nine years Sister Allen was faithful and true to the church and when death claimed her mortal body, she was found with the armor on and at the post of duty.  She peacefully passed from the shores of time to the golden strand on the other side, with all of her children and devoted husband present.  It was the writer’s sad pleasure to conduct the funeral services at 2:30 P.M., Lord’s day, october 8, in the presence of a large audience of sympathizing friends.  I had known Sister Allen for a long time and had been in her hospitable home time and again.  I feel sure that I knew the spirit of this good woman and have no fears of unduly praising her character.  She was gentle, modest, kind, and thoughtful toward all in an eminent degree.  I have never known one in whom I thought the virtues of true womanhood shone more brightly and beautifully than in the life and character of Sister Allen.  She filled all the places assigned her by nature and providence with that Christian fidelity which prompts to a full measure of duty.  Her children were devoted to her to the last degree.  By her sweet disposition and ever-abiding affection for them, manifested in so many ways, they could not help but lover her with an intensity that always placed mother first in everything.  As a wife, Sister Allen filled the duties and requirements of that sacred relation with the devotion and fidelity God placed upon it.  Her husband and children rise up to call her memory blessed.  They have been deprived of the sunshine of her presence in the hom; but the blessed memory of her face, voice, gentle words, and deeds of kindness falls upon them like a sweet benediction from the heavens that bend above.  Look up and look away, dear ones, to where she has gone; climb the ladder of life until you, too, catch a glimpse of the glory land.      F. W. SMITH.

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Susie Haley was a conscientious member of Central Baptist Church in downtown Nashville (also know as First Baptist Church).  Prior to their marriage Jacob may have been a member at Elm Street Methodist Church in South Nashville or McKendree Methodist Church downtown, or perhaps another congregation.  They did not agree in matters religious, but they did agree that the Campbellites were not even respectable people (so Jacob wrote in 1936).  They heard J. C. Martin preach in a rented hall sometime prior to November 1887.  Hearing him preach about unity rooted in Scripture appealed to both of them…apparently in spite of thier hard feelings about ‘Campbellites.’  Jacob may have been immersed at Central Baptist Church; Susie had been immersed evidently some years before.  Susie was not reimmersed when they came to South College Street from Central Baptist Church.  By November 1887 the Allen’s were among the very first members at South Nashville’s South College Street Christian Church, where, with W. H. Timmons, David Lipscomb and J. Claude Martin served as elders.  At some point…I cannot yet dermine when…Jacob was immersed (possibly reimmersed? but I’ve found no evidence it was reimmersion) by James A. Harding at South College Street…perhaps in 1889?  In 1892 Harding and his family transferred from Winchester, Kentucky, to the South College Street Church and by about 1894 he and the Allen’s and quite a few others swarmed from South College to establish Green Street Christian Church.  By then Jacob began preaching and not long afterwards his young son, James, learned to preach at Green Street under the tutelage of his father and Harding.  All the while Susie, as F. W. Smith notes in his obituary, upheld ‘ideal womanhood’ and supported her husband and later her son in their ministries.  Hers is one story from the congregation David Lipscomb pastored from 1888 until his death in 1917.

S. H. Hall remembers T. B. Larimore

S. H. Hall remembers T. B. Larimore

Part 2 of Samuel Henry Hall’s reminiscences of three men who significantly influenced his life and ministry: David Lipscomb, T. B. Larimore and James A. Harding.  I prefaced the first installment, on David Lipscomb, with a brief biographical sketch on Hall.  By way of footnotes I again insert a few clarifying details.    Additional information about Hall is available at here.

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Excerpted from chapter 3 of S. H. Hall, Sixty-Five Years in the Pulpit, Or, Compound Interest in Religion. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1959. Pages 14-15.

T. B. LARIMORE – He was at his best when I began to preach.  I heard so much about him and it was so favorable that I wondered if T. B. Larimore would leave this old world as did Enoch and Elijah and be relieved to what is known as death’s transition.  I have not the words to express the powerful influence he had on me.  We were blessed in our Atlanta work – I believe it was the third year – by having him there for a revival.[1]  He had his peculiarities, which never did any harm to a human soul, but sometimes embarrassed his friends.

            Brother O. B. Curtis, who perhaps knew Larimore as but few knew him, having been with him and led the singing the whole time he lived in Washington, D.C.[2], and who is now out very efficient song leader at Arcadia, California, made the statement a few days ago that he never heard Larimore say one harmful thing about anyone.  This made me think of a little of my experience with him.  I was preaching regularly once a month and doing all the mission work in the summer for a congregation[3] that once had on its board of elders a very shrewd lawyer, who took a position as legal adviser to the leader of a very strong religious cult that believed in Triune Immersion.  He was immersed in this way, doubtless, to please the one who was paying him a big salary.  But his services ended and he returned to his home town and, it seemed, expected to be received in full fellowship and to be recognized as an elder as he was before he left; however, he was not recognized.  He came to my room almost every day complaining about the treatment he was receiving, and spoke of what E. A. Elam, T. B. Larimore and others thought of him.  Some of our best were they, and I was just a very young preacher.  This was just before our move to Atlanta, Georgia.  He had a great deal to say about prophecy and gave me one position which he stated he also gave to Larimore, for which, Larimore said he never thought of before and thanked him most graciously for the thought.  While Larimore was in a revival in Nashville the lawyer chanced to be in Nashville also, and learning of Larimore’s being there and where he was preaching, decided to go and hear him.[4]  He got there a little late, and as he entered the building he was pleased to hear Larimore discussing the very point in prophecy that he has pointed out to him.  So, Larimore, seeing this great lawyer coming down the aisle, at once stopped his sermon and stated: “Friends, since beginning this sermon, I see a friend of mine is here and he knows more about this subject than I do, and I am inviting him to the stand to discuss it in my stead.”  This lawyer had related this a number of times to show what great men such as Larimore had thought of him, and as a rebuke to his elders at home for repudiating him as an elder.  He related this to me a number of times, and deep down in my heart I /15/ did not believe it and made up my mind if I ever met Larimore, I would ask him about it.  So one Christmas, as I was changing trains in Nashville, I met Brother Larimore in the waiting room.  After a little conversation about where I had been and where I was going, I stated, “Brother Larimore, I have a question that I want to ask you, and I hope you will not think it out of place for me to ask it.” I related the whole story, then stated, “I have wondered, Brother Larimore, if you did do this.” Get this – he raised those long arms and gently placed his hands on my shoulders and looked me straight in the eye – his eyes were so gentle and beamed with kindness, and said, “Brother Hall, you will never be any worse off if you never know.  Miss Emma Page is in the women’s waiting room, would you not like to speak to her?”  Into that room we went and I visited awhile and then took my train for home wondering what did he mean by saying, “Brother Hall, you will never be any worse off if you never know.”  My only conclusion was he feared that if he stated the whole story was false, I would abuse the information and say too much about it.  But that’s that.

            What did Larimore mean to me?  Well, I got this great lesson – you need absolutely nothing to be a good preacher of the gospel except to know the Book, the exact sayings of our Lord, and tell it to the people.  If ever a man spoke where the Bible speaks and stayed silent where it is silent, Larimore did just that.


[1] Hall began his work in Atlanta the first of January 1907, see p. 17; Larimore’s meeting there would have been in about 1910.

[2] 1922-1925, see Doug Foster on Larimore in Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement, 453.

[3] Smithville, Tennessee, from 1904-1906, see p. 9.  Hall helped establish three congregations in and around Smithville during this time.

[4] Larimore’s first revival in Nashville was in 1885; he preached often for Christian Churches in Nashville from 1885-1906 including a long meeting in 1887 when the South College Street Christian Church was set in order.  David Lipscomb was one of the elders at South College Street from 1887 until his death in 1917.  Larimore and Emma Page were married 1 January 1911; see Terry J. Gardner on Emma Page Larimore in Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement, 452.

Name Authority for Nashville, Tennessee Stone-Campbell Congregations

Name Authority for Nashville Tennessee Stone-Campbell Congregations

Click above to download a document listing 286 variants of time-, place- and character-names for the 228 known congregations of the Stone-Campbell movement in Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee from 1820 to May 2010.

To my knowledge this is the first such compilation, and therefore, the most complete.  The publication of the list to this blog is a first step in my research toward a book on the Restoration Movement in Nashville.  With over 200 congregations in this county, the congregational research alone will take years, perhaps the remainder of my life.  If I live to be 100 I may not finish even a rudimentary survey.  It may be too much:  too many congregations, too many preachers, too much ‘story’ to tell. 

But this is where I am at the present.  I publish the list here to generate interest, additions, subtractions, corrections and clarifications.  Look it over and if I need to make changes, please let me know.

The story of these churches in Nashville needs to be told.  I ask for your help in telling it.

Nashville Churches of Christ History Group on Facebook

Nashville Churches of Christ History group is open to anyone interested in the Stone-Campbell movement in Nashville and Davidson County.  Here is the first post I made a few days ago:

I envision this community as a place to share common interest in the rich story of the Stone-Campbell Movement in Nashville. I am conducting research for a book which will highlight each congregation of Churches of Christ and Christian Churches from the 1820’s to the present…basically the entire movement from its beginning in our city until now. I envision this group as a place to share memories, photos, news and generate discussion and interest. Please join and contribute. Please feel free to contact me directly at icekm (at) aol (dot) com.

The group is open to all.  Help spread the word and generate interest.

Book Review: A Treasury of Tennessee Churches by Mayme Hart Johnson

Mayme Hart JOHNSON. A Treasury of Tennessee Churches. Brentwood, TN: JM Productions, 1986. 142 pp.

Published during Tennessee’s “Homecoming ’86” Bicentennial celebration, Johnson’s book chronicles with text and photographs a wide sampling of houses of worship in the Volunteer State.  I counted 223 churches and synagogues in this diverse compilation.  Johnson shows us the comparatively primitive frontier log cabins and clapboarded frame meeting houses and the Gothic, Romanesque and Greek Revival santuaries of the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  She also includes few modern variations of these styles constructed by larger urban congregations.  For each congregation Johnson has a brief text and photographer Doug Brachey has a corresponding photograph.  For every building Brachey has at least one photograph.  While most are black and white, many are color and he includes both interior and exterior views.

That Tennessee has so many churches poses a significant problem for authors of books such as this.  A volume highlighting the congregations of even one denomination would prove to be by itself unwieldy.    For that matter, a volume highlighting all the churches of Nashville alone could run into multiple volumes.  What Johnson and Brachey attempt, is, I think, a wise and fair compromise.  First of all they sought “outstanding examples” of the various styles of religious architecture.  Secondly, they sought out the oldest example available of each style.  Finally, they sought to showcase buildings associated with some famous personage in Tennessee history (e.g. Bishop McKendree or David Lipscomb). 

There are nineteen Stone-Campbell congregations featured in the book:

Central Christian Church, Murfreesboro

Central Church of Christ, McMinnville

Downtown Christian Church, Johnson City

East Main Church of Christ, Murfreesboro

Fayetteville Church of Christ, Fayetteville

First Christian Church, Knoxville

Fourth Avenue Church of Christ, Franklin

Gay-Lea Christian Church, Nashville

Granny White Church of Christ, Nashville

Lindsley Avenue Church of Christ, Nashville

Madison Church of Christ, Madison

Owen’s [sic, should be Owen Chapel] Chapel Church of Christ, Brentwood

Russell Street Church of Christ, Nashville

South Harpeth Church of Christ, Linton

Union City Church of Christ, Union City

Vine Street Christian Church, Nashville

West End Church of Christ, Nashville

Woodbury Church of Christ, Woodbury

Woodmont Christian Church, Nashville

I cannot speak to the accuracy of Johnson’s research on any area other than the churches listed above.  But in her brief essays (some are just a few sentences) there are some errors.  For example, she has the Lindsley Avenue Church constructing a “little building in 1894, and in 1920 they purchased the building which they now occupy from a Methodist church.”  Neither is true.  They constructed their first building in 1887 and purchased their current building from Grace Cumberland Presbyterian Church.  Grace Church was built in 1894 as a Cumberland Presbyterian Church, not a Methodist Church.  Additionally, prior to 1920 the congregation was known, variously, as South College Street Christian Church, South Nashville Christian Church or South College Street Church of Christ. 

Another example: Owen Chapel church is said to have been “built in 1859 on land donated by Jim C. Owen, who was baptized by James A. Harding, co-founder with David Lipscomb of David Lipscomb College in Nashville.”  The impression is left that Jim Owen was baptized by Harding prior to 1859 and then donated the land for the church.  James A. Harding in 1859 was eleven years old.  It is also ambiguous to speak of Harding and Lipscomb founding “David Lipscomb College.”  True, in a sense, but in fact, not so.  Harding and Lipscomb established the Nashville Bible School in 1891 thirty plus years after Owen’s Chapel was established.  Furthermore, Harding had not taught at the Nashville School for nearly twenty years…and Lipscomb was dead…before there ever existed an entity known as “David Lipscomb College.”  So, one could wish for a bit more perspicuity, especially concerning the details.

Now, on Ms. Johnson’s behalf, she very likely did the best she could with the sources available to her.  Further, since her research notes for the book are housed at the Tennessee State Library and Archives it is possible to check her sources.  Another quick example: for Vine Street Christian Church she has a rather long (comparatively speaking…it is a column or more of text) description of the congregation.  My hunch is that it was supplied by someone at Vine Street…Eva Jean Wrather is suspect No. 1.  If Ms. Johnson was supplied information by a member at a congregation she likely had little reason to doubt its accuracy, especially when she had over two hundred churches on her radar screen for this book.  I think its fair to point this out.  I haven’t looked at her research at TSLA, but I’m interested to see what she had available to her.  At the same time, it is fair to point our inaccuracies and errors of fact.   

A Treasury of Tennessee Churches is out of print, but worth finding.  Johnson has written clear and succint descriptions and Brachey’s photographs provide not only illustration but documentation.  It may be that some of the buildings in this book are no longer standing.  It is an excellent starting point for historical research and a fine model for bringing academic and architectural research to the public in an accessible manner.  A volume like this for each county in Tennessee would be marvelous.   It is a beautiful book which accomplishes what it intends to do: to chronicle in brief text and photograph the rich treasury of Tennessee churches.

Carnal Warfare: A voice from the summer of 1942

This from the August 1942 issue of Apostolic Times, a monthly published in Nashville by James A. Allen.  In 1941 Allen is in his late fifties.  He has been editor of Apostolic Times, a paper he originated and printed himself, for a decade.  He preceded Foy E. Wallace, Jr. as editor of the Gospel Advocate, serving in that capacity for most of the 1920’s until 1930.  Though not a student of either David Lipscomb or James A. Harding at Nashville Bible School, Allen claims both as his teachers and mentors.  Allen’s family worshiped at South College Street Christian Church in South Nashville where Lipscomb was an elder and Harding often preached.  His father, J. G. Allen, was an elder with Harding at Green Street Church of Christ, a congregation planted by South College Street.  Late in life he worshiped at Duke Street Church of Christ in northeast Nashville.  Allen spent all of his life, that I can find, preaching and teaching for these three congregations (South College in 1920 moved a block east and took the name Lindsley Avenue Church of Christ).  He, of course, preached often elsewhere in meetings.

Allen’s paper opposes all shades of secularism, denominationalism, premillennialism, worldliness and modernism in Churches of Christ.  Allen hesitates little, it seems, to call names.  He praises his friends as strongly as he censures his opponents.  He envisions a simple and primitive Christianity and urges his readers in every issue of the paper to stay with the Bible and with the historic Restoration Plea.  He frequently contributes articles to the Times (as he did in the pages of Advocate) fleshing out his understanding of both of these…the Bible and the Restoration.

This item appears on page 152, as the editorial of the August issue:

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CARNAL WARFARE

Dear Bro. Allen:

I read the Apostolic Times every month, and I think it is a very splendid paper.

There is a question I would like for you to answer for me: Can a man who is a Christian participate in carnal warfare and still remain a Christian?  I know that it is wrong to kill, but if he is commanded by civil authorities to do something else, what must he do?

*  *  *  *

No, a Christian cannot engage in carnal warfare.  “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh (for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds.”  (1 Cor. 10;3, 4.)  “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-ruler of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.’ (Eph. 6:12)

The position occupied by the churches of Christ has been known and accepted by the Federal Government for many years, and it is nothing less than a tragedy that a few have recently endeavored to compromise it.  They argue that a man is in one sphere as a Christian and that the same man can act in a totally different sphere as a citizen.

But to assume that any one can live one sort of life as a Christian, in one sphere, and that he can step out of that sphere into another, and in the other do things that all recognize he cannot do as a Christian, is to assume that a Christian can live a sort of Dr. Jeckel [sic] and Mr. Hyde kind of life that utterly incompatible with the teaching of Christ.  The genius who thought up this absurdity ought to be real ashamed of his brain-child.  The Christian life embraces every thought and action.  When a man steps outside of it into another sphere he ceases to be a Christian.

God is the Ruler and Governor of the universe.  He is over-ruling all.  He is using every man for the work that that man has fitted himself to do.  He does not use Christians for work they cannot do as Christians.

It is not a question of love for or loyalty to this great country.  We are living under the greatest and best form of government in the world.  We would gladly give our lives for this glorious land of freedom and liberty if we could do it without violating the law of God as given in the New Testament.  The influence of the gospel is what has made the United States great and the greatest service a Christian can render his country is not to engage in carnal war but to labor for the spread of the gospel.

Some ask, Suppose a ruffian should attack your wife or daughter, would you kill him?  such a question is like asking what would become of the man who was killed on his way to be baptized.  Questions of this kind involve consequences and consequences are in the hands of God.  It is our part to obey God.  What happens when we obey Him is in His hands.

–J.A.A.

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Allen does not print the querist’s name.  We are left to wonder whether it is a potential infantryman or one’s wife, mother or child.  We do not know if the author is a preacher.  We do not know if he or she is young or old.  In the end it matters little for us because there is no way we can know; it seems to have mattered none for J.A.A. and he very likely knew.  What I think is certain is that our anonymous writer is very concerned about the war and very concerned about how to live out in its midst a faithful Christian commitment.  This is Allen’s concern as well.