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 • Hamburg
 • Calhoun County
 • Illinois
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John Campbell Roady
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Birth: Sep. 4, 1887
Jersey County
Illinois, USA
Death: Apr. 11, 1976
Sullivan County
Indiana, USA

Gospel preacher listed in the book by Loyd W. Smith. Gospel Preachers of Yesteryear, 1986.

In the late thirties and early forties we lived in Fresno, California where I preached for the Palm Avenue church. It was a good church, composed of faithful Christians from just about all parts of the nation. For the first time I began to hear of J.C. Roady from brethren from such places as Kansas and Indiana. Though I never had the opportunity to meet him I came to hold him in high esteem because of the many favorable things I heard about him. He left no children and we have had much difficulty getting this story together. We are well aware of the fact that there are many deficiencies in it. I am indebted to Brother E.L. Stumbo, of Lawrence, Kansas for most of the material I have, for he has worked long and diligently on it. Also, some very important information came from the lamented J.C. Bunn, who first suggested that this story be done. Perhaps some day these stories will be re-published. If you can fill in any of the “blanks” in any of them, we will appreciate it very much and will hold your material for use against the day they may be re-published. Brother John C. Roady was born September 4, 1887 near Jersey, Illinois. His parents were Campbell and Angelina Roady, farmers in that area. They were faithful Christians and the parents of five daughters and four sons, all of whom, so far as we have been able to learn, were faithful Christians. The subject of this story had very little formal education. His Bible training, so far as formal training was concerned, consisted of his attendance at three “Bible Readings.” So what he attained was largely through his own efforts and the assistance from time to time of good friends. He became a careful and diligent student of the Word, committing much of it to memory. Tom Roady, an uncle of J.C. encouraged him to become a preacher, and J.C. Bunn conducted a meeting at Fidelity, Illinois, where the Roady family lived. (Brother Bunn had grown up only a short distance away.) Brother Bunn also encouraged him to preach, and at about the age of sixteen he preached his first sermon, having decided to give his life to such work. The two “J.C.’s” became life-long friends, a friendship that blessed them both. Brother Bunn said: “. . .his English was very poor” and he helped him correct this along with his poor spelling and grammar as Brother Bunn noted them in their correspondence. He was grateful to Brother Bunn for this help, and at Brother Bunn’s suggestion obtained a grammar and a dictionary which he used diligently. He made rapid progress, and soon his letters were “. . ..a model of neatness and correct English.” He also had a serious speech defect, and Brother Bunn urged him to get professional help with it. Brother Bunn located a good speech teacher in Kansas City for him, and that training soon overcame this problem. This willingness to study, to accept correction, and to work toward improvement tells us much about this great man. He preached his first sermon while still quite young in a small church in Illinois. Seventy-two people heard him that day, and the response was slightly less than enthusiastic, with one woman telling him with numbing bluntness: “. . .you might just as well quit, you’ll never be a preacher.” No doubt this “good sister” thought she was perfectly capable of making such an evaluation, but she didn’t know what a determined boy can do, even against what seems to be impossible odds. He had determined to be a preacher, and a preacher he was, and a good one! For about seventy years he carried The Word across our land from coast to coast, preaching it in at least thirty-seven of the states. He preached in the cities — the great ones, and in the rural areas. He never did “local” work, but confined his ministry to gospel meeting work. He preached in some of the best meeting houses, in brush arbors, and everywhere that people met for such things. At his mother’s urging, he kept a record of his work, and a short time before he died, this record showed that 15,039 souls had been led to Christ as a result of his work. His “baptistries” were stock tanks, farm ponds, strip mining pits, various streams, including the Mississippi River, and of course the conventional baptistries found in meeting houses. Like most preachers of his time he paid a fearful financial price to do this great work. Once he was paid eleven cents, the sum total of the contribution where he had filled an appointment. Often his pay was in chickens, flour, potatoes, or any such thing farmers might have on hand, for money was very scarce and hard to get. He traveled horse back, in wagons and buggies, and on long trips would take the train. Once when he finished a meeting, he was not paid enough to buy his ticket home, though K was only twenty-six miles. He walked the entire distance in what he said was the coldest rainstorm of his entire life. The next day, though so sore he could hardly move, he worked on his father’s farm. Brother Roady was married to Miss Martha Wilson on November 2, 1913. She was a faithful Christian and a native of Calhoun County Illinois. They had only five years together, for in the influenza epidemic of 1918 she was lost. A son was born to them, and I am not sure whether she died of complications in parturition, of the influenza, or a combination of the two. The child also died. In March of this year (1979) a relative wrote: “I don’t think he ever got over her death.” In his early married years he lived in Fidelity, Illinois, the area where he was born and reared. He later moved to Sullivan, a small town in Southwest Indiana, where he made his home for the rest of his life. His second marriage was to Stella E. Stover, a native of West Virginia, who passed away June 28, 1947. Later he was married to Eunice Boyd. The “relative” mentioned above said she “. . .was so good to take care of him in his last illness.” Brother Roady was described by one who knew him well as: “. . .very courageous in defending the truth against false doctrines.” He wrote for a number of papers, especially the Apostolic Review for many years. He was active in conducting Bible Readings, A Bible study program that was very popular and profitable in the North for many years. It seems that these were usually conducted in rural areas in the winter, after the crops were laid by. The people would meet in the morning and spend the day reading the Bible, usually starting with Genesis and going through Revelation. It would be the duty of the one in charge to keep things moving and to help with explanations of difficult passages. No doubt this was a very profitable program for those who had access to them, and in such circumstances would be a very profitable program today. Some years ago when I first began to preach for the Sunset church in Dallas, they were conducting a Bible reading program each Sunday afternoon for an hour before the evening service. It was well attended and found to be very helpful. We have mentioned the fact that Brother Roady suffered the usual privations shared by gospel preachers of his time. Not only did he have that very serious problem, but he lived in a time when strong forces were determined to sweep The Church into digression on the missionary society and instrumental music questions. They did take many congregations into error, and had it not been for men like Brother Roady, perhaps all would have been lost. Not only did faithful preachers face that problem, but Sommerism was strong in the area where he worked. All these things did not make for an easy time, and only the strong could survive and remain faithful. He continued to preach to the end of life, and though old age slowed him down, he continued to get invitations for meetings and he often accepted them for two years in advance in spite of the fact that sometimes he had to cancel one. Sometime in the late years he became a cancer victim. We do not have details of this last illness, but he was taken from his home in Sullivan to the hospital in Terre Haute, Indiana, and there The Lord terminated his suffering and earthly pilgrimage. Funeral services were conducted in Sullivan, then the body was returned to his native Illinois. On April 13, 1976 in the meeting house of the Indian Creek church near Hamburg, the final service was held and what is mortal was laid to rest in the Indian Creek cemetery. He had attained the advanced age of eighty-eight years, with more than 70 of them spent as a faithful gospel preacher. A man can hardly do better than that! --- Gospel Preachers of Yesteryear, pp. 301-304.
Family links: 
  Campbell Gillaspy Roady (1852 - 1924)
  Angeline Augusta Williams Roady (1858 - 1918)
  Martha Ellen Wilson Roady (1887 - 1919)
  Mary G. Roady Grant (1877 - 1954)*
  Alice I Roady Downs (1880 - 1969)*
  Solomon Thomas Roady (1881 - 1944)*
  Nathaniel Allen Roady (1883 - 1947)*
  Augusta May Roady Blazier (1885 - 1937)*
  John Campbell Roady (1887 - 1976)
  Lucy E Roady Lawrence (1890 - 1960)*
  Charlotte B. Roady Daniels (1893 - 1967)*
*Calculated relationship
Indian Creek Cemetery
Calhoun County
Illinois, USA
Created by: Tom Childers
Record added: Mar 22, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 87215743
John Campbell Roady
Added by: Tom Childers
John Campbell Roady
Added by: Kathy Robinson
John Campbell Roady
Added by: Kathy Robinson
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