History Timeline of Pentecostalism in Oklahoma: A Work in Progress. M.A. Hudson


PENTECOSTALISM IN OKLAHOMA: An Annotated Time Line
Compiled by Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS
In progress August 27, 2010


The history of the Pentecostal movement in and around Oklahoma has been only sporadically recorded and in some ways ignored. Several rivers of Pentecostalism converged in the early days and were dominated by independent bodies and such denominations as The Fire Baptized Holiness, The Pentecostal Holiness, The Church of God (Cleveland, TN), and the Assemblies of God. The movement was met, like its parent the Holiness Movement, by ridicule, abuse, and name calling. The terms 'holy rollers', 'tongues folk', and other appellations were used and mis-used for decades. Cult groups were confused with members of these traditional Pentecostal congregations further tangling both the labels and the groups in the minds of the public.



1890-
Deleware, Ohio Daniel Awrey, who will be significant in ministry and schools later, receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaks in an unknown language (note, some sources question this early but enough research exists to not totally discard it). He would later be a leader and missionary in the Fire Baptized Holiness Church and play roles in the formaiton of several major pentecostal groups. He will be in and out of the Oklahoma regions numerous times in the first decade of the new century.

1895 –
Reports appear of possible Pentecostal experiences, mostly among the Fire Baptized Holiness (FBHC) people, in Iowa, Nebraska or Kansas.[ Martin, Larry. The Life and Ministry of William J. Seymour.” Joplin, MO: Christian Life Books, 1999.pg. 26]


1900-
Charles Parham speaks with a member of the FBHC discussing a spiritual baptism with tongues; this turns his attention to assigning his Bible College students to explore the scriptures over Christmas break.


1901-
Topeka, Kansas, Bethel Bible College, Agnes Ozman is the first of several students to speak in tongues in response to their study and prayer over the holiday break. [Synan, Old Time Religion, Advocate Press, 1973,pg. 92.; ]

1902-
Lamon, OK FBHC convened its General Council Meeting in the church at Lamont, Ok. This church was the one and only church in the FBHC work in Oklahoma. The conference, or state association as it was known, disbanded until Sept. 1909 when it was reorganized.

1904-
“Saloon Was closed Up by An Order of Court”, The Oklahoman (Jan. 22, 1904):9. Charges by a grand jury investigating corruption in city government were served to the owner of the Blue front Saloon, Dick J. Cramer ; “Jack du Bois choked a Boy”, The Oklahoman (Dec. 24, 1904): 5 About 8 p.m. one night local drunk Jack du Bois, was assaulting and choking a 12 year old boy, Joe Dishman, behind the Blue front Saloon and was arrested. The Saloon is clearly established as part of the infamous 'OKC Hell's Half Acre'.

1905 –
People experience the 'Pentecostal Blessing' in a revival at Billings, OK led by Harry P. Lott and an unnamed Free Methodist minister.

1906-
 Jan. 18, Richard Beall and Oscar C. Wilkens appear in OKC to start a mission work, start with a Sunday School on S. Robinson ;
 An African-American restaurant, Haynes CafĂ©, is located at 7 West Grand Avenue. In May edition of the Oklahoman there is a small news report of a fire that broke out in the middle of the night from an overheated stove. “Last Night’s Fire”. Oklahoman (May 9, 1906):5.
 Beulah Holiness School, or Emmanuel Bible College, established (Clancy, Bryon. The history of Beckham County. Accessed at http://files.usgwarchives.org/ok/beckham/history/carter.txt). Established by a group of Holiness people called, ‘The Indian Creek Band’ settled a community they called Beulah and there established a Bible school to teach holiness. Reports were it was a three story brick structure near a Baptist Church and they mailed a newspaper, Apostolic Faith, out of nearby Doxy, Oklahoma.
 Asuza Street revival starts in the spring in L.A. (Martin, pg.165).
 George G. Collins, one time farmhand for the 101 Ranch in Oklahoma, is ordained at Azusa Street (date unclear) and returns to minister (Martin, pg.13).
 A Reverend Cook, who had been in California at Asuza street now comes back and goes to Lamont to conduct a Pentecostal revival.


1907-
 Feb. 6 Harry Lott, Beall & Wilkins rent the Blue Front Saloon, 7 West Grand, for $40 a month [Muse papers; Campbell; Harold Paul]. The saloon was located on the edge of the wild center core of the city, known as OKC’s “Hell’s Half Acre”. Today the area between Santa Fe and Broadway and Sheridan to Reno is largely known as the area of the Cox Convention Center (the old Myriad Convention Center), a hotel, and the turn off into Bricktown. "Back in the day" this was the wildest place in the newly opened "Oklahoma Town" or "Oklahoma Station" ("City" did not come about formally till nearly forty years after the 1889 land run). It was so wild it earned - through blood, sweet, and tears - the nickname "Hell's Half Acre." If you stand on the platform of the Amtrack station and look west and slightly north that is where this wild town within in a town was located. If you walked west on Sheridan (called Grand back then), just past Santa Fe (called Front then) on the north would be "Bunco Street" with its gambling halls and con men. Look south and there would be "Hop Boulevard", perfect if you were thirsty. And just behind that, "Alabaster Row" was located on California, featuring brothels, gambling halls, and other businesses for the African-American population in those days.Walk up Santa Fe (Front) to Main and turn west and you would see a bit finer offerings with The Arlington and, in 1900, the Lee Hotel at the corner of Main and Broadway. Turn east and across the tracks and there were the depot and just beyond to the northeast "Old Zulu's" original brothell/saloon establishment in current Bricktown. Travel south to 312 E. Grand and you would have seen the spot of "Big Annie" Wynn's original land run tent brothel. It had grown into a two story building, and moved a few blocks east, by statehood. From at least 1902, a walk up Broadway (into the 100 to 300 blocks) would have found "fortune-tellers', "crystal ball gazers", "clairvoyants", "mediums", and "pyschics". All world traveled and well known, or so they said as they advertized their stay in the parlors of local hotels and boarding house along the street. [Hudson, M. Mystorical accessed at www.mystorical.blogspot.com]
 In this setting, the first Pentecostal work begins in Oklahoma City.
 Mary A. Sperry, a local woman, opens her home for ‘tarrying services” designed to provide prayer and support for those seeking the baptism experience. It was a model employed in teh famed Asuza Street Revival. (Campbell, Pentecostal Holiness Church history)
 Rev. Irwin opens a pentecostal church in El Reno, OK (Welch, pg. 36]
 May 1907, Bishop J.H. King holds a FBHC revival in Lamont, Ok [King, Yet Speaketh, PHC, 1949, pg. 127, he had received his baptism just the previous February back east];
 In the summer there is a revival at Beulah under once Nazarene and now Pentecostal minister Rev. Robinson. The 1st person to receive baptism there was an elderly woman named McClung (Campbell 210-211). Daniel Awrey goes to Beulah this year also as Emmanuel Holiness Bible College Bible instructor and then principal. That summer the Pentecostal experience is said to have arrived at the school. Dolly and Dan York, of the FBHC, go to Beulah where the “Pentecostal folk” were .[One nightclub]
 August, Beall, Lott and others are reported to have received ‘their baptism’ [Paul, pg. 12]
 As a result of these events, the FBHC reestablished its presence along with other independent Pentecostals . As a result numerous churches were started : Yukon, Billings, Drummond, Perry. Pawnee, Muskogee, Mazie, Witchita, McAllister, Quinton, Cowen, Hart, Stratford, Paul’s Valley, Castle, Swan Lake, Manitou, Faxon, Tipton, and also in KS, NE, TX, ARK, IA and AZ;
 Lott organizes the OKC Mission aka Blue Front Saloon Mission into the First FBHC of OKC. Oldest organized church in the OK Conference and one of the oldest Pentecostal churches in the Midwest
 November well known and colorful figure of “Old Zulu” aka Martha Fleming, a notorious OKC madam, prostitute, pick-pocket, and addict received salvation and was the next day baptized in the local river. Although, she appears to have later renounced her conversion, it is extremely interesting that in a day and age when Oklahoma and the nation was extremely racist, that an African American was welcomed into a mission service at the Blue Front Saloon Mission. This is extremely telling of how wide-spread the Azusa ethos might have been and the value racial and gender equity was esteemed in the early days of Pentecostalism. [McRill, A. Satan Came Also, 1955. pg. 4; Paul, p. 13]


1908 –
 Dan and Dollie York rec’d Pentecostal baptism summer at Foss under F.M. Brittain, FBHC
 JH King holds revival at Synder ;
 Harry Lott named ruling elder of the FBHC in Ok;
 Beulah School becomes fully Pentecostal.
 “Blasphemy and Gun Play Enliven Church Service” The Oklahoman (Nov. 10, 1908):10. Services disrupted at the “Pentecostal mission, 7 West Grand Avenue”, pastored by Harry P. Lott

1909 –
 September F.M. Brittain comes to Oklahoma to reorganize the FBHC in the state. Agnes Ozmen LeBerge is one of several women listed as ministers
 “Minister’s Wife Restrains Him”, The Oklahoman (Sept. 29, 1909):4, Lott’s wife Emma, filed a restraining order citing assault and lack of support. Lott, made $75 a month pastoring the German Holiness church (not sure if this is a typo or another congregation, cites rescue home at 300 Maple street His church is identified as located corner of Hudson and California, which would mesh with the 317 W. California address of the “First Church.”
 “Minister fined, sent to a Cell”. The Oklahoman (Oct. 3, 1909): 31. Harry P. Lott, supt. Of the Pentecostal Rescue Home for Fallen Women, 300 West Maple, OKC. Numerous newspaper accounts up to this time period underscored the challenges young women faced in the big city. In 1910, Shawnee, Oklahoma a 19 yr old Pierce Hammack, was jailed because his actions seemed consistent with "white slave traffickers". Hammack said he was employed by the Franklin Theatrical Company and either for them, or his own side line activity, he solicited girls through "mind reading" and "fortune telling". In an earlier incident from 1902, a Kansas father chased a "voodoo man" - a fortune-teller and/or magician - who he claimed had enticed his 15 year old daughter away in a similar fashion. Between 1903 and 1910 numerous incidents appeared in local Oklahoma City papers of girls met at the train depot and offered "jobs" as maids at local "hotels". The establishments, they soon learned, were staffed by working girls. Some were drugged, raped, and intimidated into staying. Some, because of previous abuse at home from family or friends, simply had no heart to move on. Others, were successfully "rescued" through various religious and social efforts. [Mystorical]
 October, Blue Front becomes the “First FBHC of OKC”

1910-
 Lott appointed ruling elder of the FBHC;
 Mary A. David appointed to a church in Manitou,
 “Divorces Given to Three Wives”, The Oklahoman Jan. 28, 1910): 12. Emma Lott granted divorce from Harry P., they had married in 1898 in Longmont, CO. He is described as being a pastor ‘’for the holy rollers.”

1911-
 FBHC and the PHC merge in Falcon, NC, January.
 August 30, the new Pentecostal Holiness Church convenes in sessions at the Capital Hill Park Camp under the oversight of Harry P. Lott (Paul, Harold. From Printer’s Devil to Bishop, Advocate Press, 1976, pg.16; Minutes of the Third Annual Session of the Oklahoma Pentecostal Holiness Church, pp.2-3]. Ministers listed included several women: Miss Mary K. Davis (later Shannon), Dolly York, Agnes La Berge, Pearl Burroughs. And Annie Aston (Campbell, pg. 214).
 The conference boosted 25 churches or mission stations, 17 pastors, and 12 evangelists.

1912-


1913
 May 1, 1913, future bishop Dan Thomas Muse attends his first Pentecostal Holiness Church meeting, held on the street at the corner of Grand and Robinson in OKC. He subsequently attended ‘the mission’ and received his baptism [Paul, pg. 22]
 PHC Convention held at Delmar Gardens; W.D. York gains approval to start a school at Stratford (One Nightclub)

1915
 Wagoner Literary Bible School (One Night Club)

1916-
 General Overseer of the Church of God Roy Cotnam

1917
 Harry P. Lott founds the Capital Hill Full Gospel Church. It was first the Apostolic Faith Church and in 1924 it was the site of a conference of the wider Apostolic Faith Church.



1920
 -General Overseer of the Church of God, John Burk
 -First Pentecostal Holiness Church Sunday School Convention held in OKC [Paul, pg. 43]


1924
 Kings College, Checotah, Ok (PHC)

1927
 Monte Ne, Ark Ozark Industrial College

1927
 Kings College, Kingfisher (PHC)

1946
 Southwestern Pentecostal Holiness College, OKC (PHC)





SOURCES:

Campbell, J. The Pentecostal Holiness Church, 1898-1948. P.H.C. Publishing, 1948.
Conn, Charles W. Like A Might Army. Church of God Pub. House, Cleveland, TN, 1955.
Hudson, Marilyn. “Mystorical” accessed at www.mystorical.blogspot.com; When Death Rode the Rails with Tales from Hell’s Half Acre (2010).
King, J.H. Yet speaketh. P.H.C. 1949
One Nightclub and a Mule Barn: the first 60 years of Southwestern Christian University. Tate. 2006.
Paul, Harold. Dan T. Muse: From Printer’s Devil to Bishop. Advocate. 1976.
Synan, Vinson. The Old-Time Power: a history of the Pentecostal Holiness Church. Advocate Press, 1973.
Welch, Kristen Dayle. ‘Women with the Good News’: The rhetorical heritage of Pentecostal Holiness Women Preachers. CPT, 2010.


Image is Oklahoma City at the opening land run of April 22, 1889
Orignally published on Mystorical. Used by Permission.

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