Are these people freaky looking or what? This is Joab and his wife.He was known as "The Fighting Quaker."
Singing Circuit Rider Battled Sin To Save Oregon Souls
...a note from history
Joab Powell was one of the first and certainly one of the most effective of the early circuit riders in the Northwest. A big man, standing over six feet tall and heavily built, he preached the word of the Lord with gusto throughout the Willamette and Umpqua Valleys of.
In 1853, Joab Powell, along with J.G. Berkley and R. Cheadle, organized the Providence Church on the Powell Donation Land Claim near Scio in the Willamette Valley. Acting on the belief that “has surely led us here,” Uncle Joab rode far afield to carry the “word” to the scattered settlers.
As he rode the circuit, Joab Powell’s voice announced his coming before ever he came in sight himself. Booming an out-of-tune rendition of “The Judgment Day, the Judgment Day is rolling on,” he sang his way across the Willamette Valley.
Through the 1850s and 1860s, Powell rode thousands of pioneer miles to carry his message to anyone who would listen, saved or sinner. Over 3,000 are said to have repented and came at his invitation to be saved during the 21 years of his ministry in. His church near Scio had as many as 400 members at one time during this period; some Sundays he would baptize up to 30 persons, immersing them in nearby chilly Crabtree Creek.
Powell’s delivery of his message was attention-getting and awe-inspiring. He would set himself squarely down before the gathering, prop his muddy boots upon a bench, close his eyes, run his fingers through his hair and begin to sing. If the congregation joined in that was fine; if they didn’t, that was all right, too. When he finished the hymn, and maybe another one or two if he felt like it, he would raise himself to his full height of 6 feet, smooth down his coat, and greet the pioneers with a smile.
Then, with everyone’s attention, he would begin to reel off chapter after chapter from the Bible, stopping occasional to intersperse the scripture with admonitions of fire and brimstone in good old frontier language. If he really wanted to make a point, he would pause, slowly unbutton his coat, remove it, and proceed with his message in his shirt sleeves. What he lacked in formal education, he made up for with vigor and persuasion.
Powell came originally toin 1852 with his wife and 14 children. His wife read the Bible to him often and he memorized scripture from her reading, for he could actually read very little himself. In the frontier towns of the Northwest, his battle against sin was every bit as energetic as the battle of other pioneers against the Indians or harsh weather conditions.
He used whatever tactic he felt would work best in a community to get his message across. For instance in one village, his first convert was the local saloon keeper. After that, whenever he came through, services were held in the saloon, with the “saved” proprietor locking the door while the hat was passed for Uncle Joab, and directing his customers to fill it up!
The pioneer cemetery of Providence Church is the final resting place of Joab Powell. The Baptist Church erected a memorial to him there in 1924. However, it is unlikely that Uncle Joab’s spirit is content to rest quietly; he is undoubtedly still galloping along the country roads of Oregon, singing as he rides.
from the Old Stuff archives.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
For some reason my brother has a newfound interest in some of our family history. A distant relative first came through our hometown maybe 27 years ago. He had done all this research on our family tree. What was somewhat interesting (for those interested in this kind of stuff) was that I had moved to Oregon and for awhile (unbeknownst to me, until my mother came to visit), I ended up in the neck of the woods with several of my distant relatives. We ended up meeting two or three of them and even visited a church that my great great grandfather had built and a graveyard where lots of my dead relations were buried. Joab Powell was my great great great grandfather (I think), a circuit rider, and a real character it seems. Here's something my brother just sent me