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William Thomas Breedlove

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William Thomas Breedlove

Birth
Tallapoosa County, Alabama, USA
Death
25 Jun 1934 (aged 85)
Tillar, Drew County, Arkansas, USA
Burial
Bearden, Ouachita County, Arkansas, USA Add to Map
Memorial ID
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Preached Sixty Years
A. C. Dreaden
W. T. Breedlove was born in Tallapoosa County, Ala., October 8, 1848. Died June 25, 1934. He was nearing his eighty-sixth birthday. His death was the result of a very serious automobile accident. He had spent several months with his daughter at Thornton, Ark. On Sunday, June 24, he was returning with his daughter, Mrs. D. C. Elliott and family. Near Warren, Ark., the car was overturned as a result of a puncture and Brother Breedlove was fatally injured. He lived till about noon the next day, but never regained consciousness. Brother Breedlove was a member of the Methodist church till the age of 22. He obeyed the gospel in March, 1870, and began preaching in July of the same year. He continued to "preach the word in season and out of season" for over sixty years. His labors were confined almost exclusively to Southeast Arkansas. His father moved to Ouachita County, Ark., in 1868, two years before he began preaching. He refused many offers from other fields and was content teaching school and preaching. He spent his life among the poor, and the common people heard him gladly. He never depended on preaching for his support. Many times he has gone as far as a hundred miles to baptize one person, knowing that he would receive nothing to pay him for his time and expenses. His influence was far-reaching and his memory will continue to live. "He being dead yet speaketh." He was ever a diligent student of God's word, often quoting several chapters to the delight of his hearers. He is the author of a volume titled "Brother Breedlove's book," which consists of a short autobiography, sermons, essays, letters, songs, and poems. This statement taken from his book seems to express his philosophy of life and his highest ideal, "I have no higher ambition than to serve God and my fellow men while I live, and to go to heaven when I die." He was married to Miss Mary Frances Rogers, in 1870, who preceded him to the other world twentyfive years ago. To this union nine children were born. The eldest son, Thomas, became an able preacher of the gospel, but died at the age of 30. Those surviving are Mrs. M. C. Guffey, Thornton, Ark.; Joe Breedlove, Dumas, Ark.; Mason Breedlove, Tyro, Ark.; Mrs. B. Brewster, McCrory, Ark.; Mrs. W. R. Frazier, Hot Springs, Ark.; and Mrs. D. C Elliot, Tillar, Ark., his youngest daughter, with whom he made his home after the death of his wife. Brother Breedlove suffered from failing eyesight in his last few years. It was my privilege to know him only for the last three years, but as is always the case with old veterans of the cross, he lived almost altogether in the past. He gloried in recounting the trials and experiences in his preaching. His body was laid to rest at Millville, Ark. Funeral services were held at the church he established years before and in the building his own hands helped to erect. D. D. Woody, J. D. Kent, and the writer had a part in the funeral services. Gospel Advocate, August 9, 1934.

The Life of Brother Breedlove
by Burney Bawcom
Published July, 1983

William Thomas Breedlove was born in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, October 8th, 1848. His parents were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. A fond memory of his was the morning prayers in his home. From this spiritual training he learned a devout and prayerful spirit. At the age of 18 he became a member of the Methodist church, but with reservations in his own heart whether sprinkling was New Testament baptism. Also another lesson from his parents which he learned was that the Bible is the word of God, a truth he always held dearly. He often said, "I know not how to doubt God's word." His early education was obtained from the rural academies of that day, especially Hoodville Academy which was closed because of the war between the states in 1861. He always looked back to this period in his life because it was the time when the future foundation for his life was laid. In 1862 he came with his family to live in Ouachita County, Arkansas, where he was to spend the rest of his life. Here he heard, in 1869, E. M. Northum in a number of gospel sermons entitled "Salvation Through Christ." From these sermons he was motivated to study anew the New Testament, and it was on the fourth Sunday in March of 1870 that he confessed his faith in Christ and was baptized by Ben Cooper who was evangelizing in South Arkansas. He always felt that E. M. Northum was his real father in the gospel, for he taught him more perfectly the way of the Lord, giving him the true method of studying the Scriptures. It was on the first day of September in 1870 that he and Mary Frances Rogers were married. They lived happily together for thirty-nine years. Three sons and six daughters were born into their family. The oldest son became a preacher in early life but died when only thirty years of age. On the fourth Sunday in July, 1870, he began his work as a gospel preacher. Years later he wrote: "He still believes that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one who believes. He still believes that the gospel is the one thing, the only thing, that can make men and women better; the only thing that can lift them above the shame, degradation and ruin of sin; the only thing that can make them purer, brighter, better, and happier here and prepare them to live with God and the angels forever hereafter. He does not believe that the gospel has failed; he does not believe that God made a mistake in selecting the means to accomplish the glorious end of salvation; but he does believe that men and women may, through unbelief reject the gospel, go to ruin here, and be eternally lost hereafter." One trait of Brother Breedlove's life was a blessing to me. He spent his life preaching to the poor. The Savior's words he always relished, "And to the poor the gospel is preached." These words were ever his inspiration. He had many good offers to other fields of labor which could have given him better support. "When R. W. Officer left the church at Paris, Texas, to go to the Indian territory, he was asked to take the work at a good salary - twelve hundred dollars a year - more than he had ever received before or since. After a moment's reflection, he replied: 'Brother Jones, I would not cast a reflection upon anyone, but the church in Paris has money; and if I do not go to Paris, someone else will go there. If I should leave my work in Arkansas, I know of no one else who will take it. I cannot afford to leave my work and go to Paris. J. W. McGarvey, Jr., was secured for the Paris work, and he remained in Arkansas." In later life he wrote a book entitled Brother Breedlove's Book, the book from which the foregoing quotations have been taken. Among the varied writings in the book he gives reasons why one should never be a Mason. Also he did not believe in taking out life insurance, for he believed God would take care of His children. I should like to say what an inspiration always it was to us for him to come to our home for a visit. We did not always know when he would arrive, but we did know he would come to visit among the poor. Also he often held meetings lasting two weeks and more, and he got very little support from the community. We had no organized church, and we did not meet when he was absent. In staying at our home he would start out visiting, going to homes of members of the Baptist and Methodist churches, visiting and talking with them. They would come to hear him preach, and loved him very much. Though many rejected his teaching on baptism and the church, however, occasionally some would reject the sectarian names. I can remember so well when he heard that I wanted to be baptized, and he came to preach and baptized me into Christ on April 17, 1929. He was then more than 80 years of age. He came back twice to the community to preach in meetings after I was baptized. In the evenings at our home we would sit around a large fireplace, with all of us listening, and he would tell Bible stories, talking on the meaning of life, and I remember one evening that he told us that he did not think death would upset him at all. To him death was a transition to a better life, and that he was becoming wearied at times with this old world. For a young person that statement made a deep and lasting impression on me. During his last few years he lived with his youngest daughter and husband and two grand-daughters in Tillar, Arkansas, Mr. and Mrs. D. C. Elliot. Both of the grand-daughters married gospel preachers. Frances married Granville Tyler, a noted gospel preacher who recently retired in Decatur, Alabama. Avanelle married James O. Baird, chancellor of Oklahoma Christian College, well-known for his leadership in the Lord's church. I am sorry I do not know all of the grandchildren of Brother Breedlove. I do know that Dr. Richard Burt who has been serving on the Board of Harding University is another of the grandchildren. He is known with his wife, Janet Myer Burt, far and wide for their devotion to Christ. Though Brother Breedlove's work was done in a few counties of South Arkansas, he served in faithfulness and devotion. In early life he taught school along with his preaching. So many loved him for his devotion to Christ and Christian living. I personally owe a great debt of gratitude to the services of this gospel preacher. We are happy to have the story about Brother Breedlove from the pen of Brother Burney Bawcom, of Searcy, Arkansas, who knew and loved Brother Breedlove well. Brother Breedlove lived to the advanced age of eighty-six. His wife of thirty-nine years died in 1909, and at the time of his death he was living with his daughter, Mrs. D.C. Elliot (mother of Mrs. James O. Baird) of Tillar, Arkansas. He visited his daughter in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and Sister Elliot went there for him. On their return to Tillar they had a car wreck in which several were injured and Brother Breedlove lost his life. J.D. Tant and D.D. Woody, old time friends and fellow workers with Brother Breedlove in The Kingdom, were in the area conducting gospel meetings. They came and spoke words of comfort and truth at the final service, which was conducted in the meeting house of the saints near the Salem cemetery in the vicinity of Millville, Arkansas, a small town which no longer exists. By the side of the companion of his youth, he sleeps in the Salem cemetery, but that "sleep" will not be forever. --Gospel Preachers of Yesteryear, pp. 63-68.
Preached Sixty Years
A. C. Dreaden
W. T. Breedlove was born in Tallapoosa County, Ala., October 8, 1848. Died June 25, 1934. He was nearing his eighty-sixth birthday. His death was the result of a very serious automobile accident. He had spent several months with his daughter at Thornton, Ark. On Sunday, June 24, he was returning with his daughter, Mrs. D. C. Elliott and family. Near Warren, Ark., the car was overturned as a result of a puncture and Brother Breedlove was fatally injured. He lived till about noon the next day, but never regained consciousness. Brother Breedlove was a member of the Methodist church till the age of 22. He obeyed the gospel in March, 1870, and began preaching in July of the same year. He continued to "preach the word in season and out of season" for over sixty years. His labors were confined almost exclusively to Southeast Arkansas. His father moved to Ouachita County, Ark., in 1868, two years before he began preaching. He refused many offers from other fields and was content teaching school and preaching. He spent his life among the poor, and the common people heard him gladly. He never depended on preaching for his support. Many times he has gone as far as a hundred miles to baptize one person, knowing that he would receive nothing to pay him for his time and expenses. His influence was far-reaching and his memory will continue to live. "He being dead yet speaketh." He was ever a diligent student of God's word, often quoting several chapters to the delight of his hearers. He is the author of a volume titled "Brother Breedlove's book," which consists of a short autobiography, sermons, essays, letters, songs, and poems. This statement taken from his book seems to express his philosophy of life and his highest ideal, "I have no higher ambition than to serve God and my fellow men while I live, and to go to heaven when I die." He was married to Miss Mary Frances Rogers, in 1870, who preceded him to the other world twentyfive years ago. To this union nine children were born. The eldest son, Thomas, became an able preacher of the gospel, but died at the age of 30. Those surviving are Mrs. M. C. Guffey, Thornton, Ark.; Joe Breedlove, Dumas, Ark.; Mason Breedlove, Tyro, Ark.; Mrs. B. Brewster, McCrory, Ark.; Mrs. W. R. Frazier, Hot Springs, Ark.; and Mrs. D. C Elliot, Tillar, Ark., his youngest daughter, with whom he made his home after the death of his wife. Brother Breedlove suffered from failing eyesight in his last few years. It was my privilege to know him only for the last three years, but as is always the case with old veterans of the cross, he lived almost altogether in the past. He gloried in recounting the trials and experiences in his preaching. His body was laid to rest at Millville, Ark. Funeral services were held at the church he established years before and in the building his own hands helped to erect. D. D. Woody, J. D. Kent, and the writer had a part in the funeral services. Gospel Advocate, August 9, 1934.

The Life of Brother Breedlove
by Burney Bawcom
Published July, 1983

William Thomas Breedlove was born in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, October 8th, 1848. His parents were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. A fond memory of his was the morning prayers in his home. From this spiritual training he learned a devout and prayerful spirit. At the age of 18 he became a member of the Methodist church, but with reservations in his own heart whether sprinkling was New Testament baptism. Also another lesson from his parents which he learned was that the Bible is the word of God, a truth he always held dearly. He often said, "I know not how to doubt God's word." His early education was obtained from the rural academies of that day, especially Hoodville Academy which was closed because of the war between the states in 1861. He always looked back to this period in his life because it was the time when the future foundation for his life was laid. In 1862 he came with his family to live in Ouachita County, Arkansas, where he was to spend the rest of his life. Here he heard, in 1869, E. M. Northum in a number of gospel sermons entitled "Salvation Through Christ." From these sermons he was motivated to study anew the New Testament, and it was on the fourth Sunday in March of 1870 that he confessed his faith in Christ and was baptized by Ben Cooper who was evangelizing in South Arkansas. He always felt that E. M. Northum was his real father in the gospel, for he taught him more perfectly the way of the Lord, giving him the true method of studying the Scriptures. It was on the first day of September in 1870 that he and Mary Frances Rogers were married. They lived happily together for thirty-nine years. Three sons and six daughters were born into their family. The oldest son became a preacher in early life but died when only thirty years of age. On the fourth Sunday in July, 1870, he began his work as a gospel preacher. Years later he wrote: "He still believes that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one who believes. He still believes that the gospel is the one thing, the only thing, that can make men and women better; the only thing that can lift them above the shame, degradation and ruin of sin; the only thing that can make them purer, brighter, better, and happier here and prepare them to live with God and the angels forever hereafter. He does not believe that the gospel has failed; he does not believe that God made a mistake in selecting the means to accomplish the glorious end of salvation; but he does believe that men and women may, through unbelief reject the gospel, go to ruin here, and be eternally lost hereafter." One trait of Brother Breedlove's life was a blessing to me. He spent his life preaching to the poor. The Savior's words he always relished, "And to the poor the gospel is preached." These words were ever his inspiration. He had many good offers to other fields of labor which could have given him better support. "When R. W. Officer left the church at Paris, Texas, to go to the Indian territory, he was asked to take the work at a good salary - twelve hundred dollars a year - more than he had ever received before or since. After a moment's reflection, he replied: 'Brother Jones, I would not cast a reflection upon anyone, but the church in Paris has money; and if I do not go to Paris, someone else will go there. If I should leave my work in Arkansas, I know of no one else who will take it. I cannot afford to leave my work and go to Paris. J. W. McGarvey, Jr., was secured for the Paris work, and he remained in Arkansas." In later life he wrote a book entitled Brother Breedlove's Book, the book from which the foregoing quotations have been taken. Among the varied writings in the book he gives reasons why one should never be a Mason. Also he did not believe in taking out life insurance, for he believed God would take care of His children. I should like to say what an inspiration always it was to us for him to come to our home for a visit. We did not always know when he would arrive, but we did know he would come to visit among the poor. Also he often held meetings lasting two weeks and more, and he got very little support from the community. We had no organized church, and we did not meet when he was absent. In staying at our home he would start out visiting, going to homes of members of the Baptist and Methodist churches, visiting and talking with them. They would come to hear him preach, and loved him very much. Though many rejected his teaching on baptism and the church, however, occasionally some would reject the sectarian names. I can remember so well when he heard that I wanted to be baptized, and he came to preach and baptized me into Christ on April 17, 1929. He was then more than 80 years of age. He came back twice to the community to preach in meetings after I was baptized. In the evenings at our home we would sit around a large fireplace, with all of us listening, and he would tell Bible stories, talking on the meaning of life, and I remember one evening that he told us that he did not think death would upset him at all. To him death was a transition to a better life, and that he was becoming wearied at times with this old world. For a young person that statement made a deep and lasting impression on me. During his last few years he lived with his youngest daughter and husband and two grand-daughters in Tillar, Arkansas, Mr. and Mrs. D. C. Elliot. Both of the grand-daughters married gospel preachers. Frances married Granville Tyler, a noted gospel preacher who recently retired in Decatur, Alabama. Avanelle married James O. Baird, chancellor of Oklahoma Christian College, well-known for his leadership in the Lord's church. I am sorry I do not know all of the grandchildren of Brother Breedlove. I do know that Dr. Richard Burt who has been serving on the Board of Harding University is another of the grandchildren. He is known with his wife, Janet Myer Burt, far and wide for their devotion to Christ. Though Brother Breedlove's work was done in a few counties of South Arkansas, he served in faithfulness and devotion. In early life he taught school along with his preaching. So many loved him for his devotion to Christ and Christian living. I personally owe a great debt of gratitude to the services of this gospel preacher. We are happy to have the story about Brother Breedlove from the pen of Brother Burney Bawcom, of Searcy, Arkansas, who knew and loved Brother Breedlove well. Brother Breedlove lived to the advanced age of eighty-six. His wife of thirty-nine years died in 1909, and at the time of his death he was living with his daughter, Mrs. D.C. Elliot (mother of Mrs. James O. Baird) of Tillar, Arkansas. He visited his daughter in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and Sister Elliot went there for him. On their return to Tillar they had a car wreck in which several were injured and Brother Breedlove lost his life. J.D. Tant and D.D. Woody, old time friends and fellow workers with Brother Breedlove in The Kingdom, were in the area conducting gospel meetings. They came and spoke words of comfort and truth at the final service, which was conducted in the meeting house of the saints near the Salem cemetery in the vicinity of Millville, Arkansas, a small town which no longer exists. By the side of the companion of his youth, he sleeps in the Salem cemetery, but that "sleep" will not be forever. --Gospel Preachers of Yesteryear, pp. 63-68.


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