I think from then during 1916, 1917, 1918, and up till 1919, when I was smashed up, were as hard years as I have gone through in my life. During 1916 I preached, my book shows, nearly five hundred times and traveled 25,000 miles and prayed with between four and five thousand people at the altar. In the summer of 1916 Rev. L. Milton Williams and I were the called workers for the campmeeting at Alexandria, Indiana. There we planned to buy a big gospel tent and open up in the spring of 1917. So we had a very busy summer and in the fall we raised money to buy the big tent.
From the Alexandria camp I went to the campmeeting at Vincent Springs, Tennessee, out a few miles from Dyersburg. My wife and Ruby joined me in that campmeeting and we had ten days there together. We ran from there to Nashville. I preached a time or two in the old Pentecostal Mission while my wife and Ruby girl had a good visit with our good friend, Sister Bittie Campbell Moore.
They made their way back from Nashville by Kansas City to California, while I turned east again to Portsmouth, Virginia. There I was joined by Brother and Sister Rinebarger and held a four weeks’ campaign for Brother Rome in the First Friends church. We had a wonderful revival and took fifty people into the Friends church.
We moved from there over to Norfolk, and went to the First Church of the Nazarene. At that time Brother J. W. Henry was pastor. We had a two weeks’ meeting with Brother Henry and from there went to Newport News, First Friends church with Brother Handy. This also was a great convention. We put in altogether eight weeks in those east coast cities. I think there were more fine fish and oysters and good vegetables around Portsmouth, Norfolk and Newport News than any place I had ever visited. We made a run from Newport News to Washington, D. C., and spent two days with Brother L. B. Williams, who was pastor of the Church of the Nazarene in Baltimore, but we spent two days sightseeing in Washington and opened the battle in the city of Baltimore. The Lord gave us a splendid revival.
From there we ran to Philadelphia and gave Brother Maybury, who is now District Superintendent of Washington-Philadelphia District, a week’s convention. No finer man on earth than Maybury. While we were there we visited the home of the Ladies’ Home Journal and were shown through the great office that was occupied by Mr. Bok, the world famous editor of the Ladies’ Home Journal. He had thirty-six other editors and three thousand six hundred at work in that great building, Independence Square. There we saw the old Liberty Bell and where they signed the Declaration of Independence.
We went from there to Huntington, West Virginia, with Brother John F. Woods, the pastor at that time of the International Holiness church. Since then there has been a union of the International Holiness church with the Pentecostal Pilgrim church; the International boys leaving off the word International and the Pilgrims leaving off the word Pentecostal, making it the Pilgrim Holiness Church. We found Brother Woods a very beautiful brother and God gave us a wonderful revival. He had one of the largest churches in the denomination, and a fine people.
At the close here the Rinebargers went back to their home in New Albany, Indiana, and I went to Cincinnati for Thanksgiving day, as I was one of the workers for a number of days on those occasions at the Bible School. Nearly eight thousand were fed in a single day. From Cincinnati I crossed the continent again, landing in Pasadena the first of December.
For January I turned north. Rev. A. M. Bowes, our good Nazarene pastor in Yakima, Washington, had secured a large theatre and had called Rev. C. H. Babcock and Brother Arthur Ingler for a four Sundays’ campaign. Dr. Babcock and the writer did the preaching and Brother Ingler led the choir and brought many of those beautiful solos such as only Arthur Ingler can. During this campaign there were more than five hundred people at the altar. At the close of our great campaign Dr. Babcock went east and I stayed over for two or three days with Brother Bowes and we put on a campaign to raise money to build the new church and before that year was up Brother Bowes had a nice church.
From Yakima I made a run to Calgary, Alberta, Canada. There I joined Brother L. Milton Williams. The Lord gave us a great campaign; scores of precious souls were saved and sanctified. Rev. E. E. Martin, of New England, who is now our good pastor at Worcester, Mass., was then pastor in Calgary. Brother Martin is a noble character. At the close of our meeting in Calgary, we ran down to Portland, Oregon, and preached for two or three days with the Nazarenes and Free Methodists and had a splendid visit with our old friends in Portland.
From there Brother L. Milton Williams made a trip to Oskaloosa, Iowa, to his home for a week or two of rest and I came down the coast and joined my family for a couple of weeks’ rest. By April the first we had gotten our band of workers together and our great tent and living tents were all completed and as they were built in Wichita, Kansas, we opened our tent campaign the first Sunday of April in Arkansas City, Kansas Then for the next eighteen months we were the Williams and Robinson Tent Party. I suppose no band of workers ever had a finer party than the Williams and Robinson Party.
In our first meeting Brother Kenneth Wells had come down from Oskaloosa with Brother Williams and led the singing for one month but at the close of the campaign on the last Sunday of April he went back to Oskaloosa to finish up his study for the month of May and get his diploma from the voice department. Our next campaign was in Oklahoma City for the month of May. We shipped our stuff and had it up by the first Sunday of May. It took about a week to get ready. At that time Dr. Widmeyer was president of the Oklahoma College and Professor London was his assistant. During this Oklahoma campaign Professor London led the singing and his wife presided at the piano and God gave us a wonderful meeting. In this campaign Miss Virginia Shaffer was converted and sanctified and joined the Williams and Robinson party as our great solo singer. In this meeting Miss Lou Jane Hatch, one of the greatest workers in the city, also joined the party. While we were in Arkansas City in April, I ran down to Blackwell to an all-day meeting and the song service was in charge of Professor John E. Moore, and I said, “There is the man to lead the choir for the Williams and Robinson Evangelistic Party. We arranged for this fine man to go with us to Wichita, Kansas, for the month of June.
We pulled down and shipped there and by the first Sunday of June we had gathered together a band of workers that stayed for a year. Brother and Sister Hipple had joined us at the beginning. He was the property manager and Sister Hipple had charge of the dining room. Then we had secured Miss Eunice Oakes of Indianapolis to join us the first of June as our pianist and Professor Kenneth Wells was to come back and play the trombone. Miss Lou Jane Hatch and Brother Howard Williams were employed and were both to play the violins. Then with Miss Oakes at the piano, Professor Moore leading the choir, Professor Wells with trombone, Miss Hatch and Mr. Williams with violins and Milton Mosch, a German boy, with his cornet and Miss Virginia Shaffer to sing solos and Williams and Robinson to preach we had a great party of workers. I have never seen them surpassed. In fact, I doubt if I have ever seen them equaled as an evangelistic party. John Moore could beat any man to lead a choir I had ever seen; Professor Wells was the best on the trombone that I had ever seen; Miss Oakes could make a piano talk; Milton Mosch was good on a cornet and Miss Hatch and Mr. Williams were good on the violin; Miss Shaffer was in a class by herself when it came to singing. Brother Williams preached every night and Bud Robinson every day.
We went from Wichita, Kansas, to the beautiful city of Topeka, Kansas. There the Lord gave us a great campaign. From there we went to Lincoln, Nebraska, where we had a great campaign and when we finished up in Lincoln Professor Wells and Miss Eunice Oakes wanted to enter school in Oskaloosa.
During our stay in Wichita the Williams and Robinson party had a great ten-passenger car built by the Jones Company, but they could not deliver this car until the last of September. We received it in time to plan a great campaign in San Antonio, Texas, where we could reach the soldier boys, so we shipped our tents to San Antonio. One man in our party that I overlooked was our publicity man, Rev. Stephen Williams. He was one of the best advertisers that I had ever seen. He arranged these big campaigns and got out all the advertising matter. He went on to San Antonio with all of our tents while the rest of us got into our big car and went to Oskaloosa and stayed for a week and rested up and then drove through to San Antonio, Texas, a trip of about 1400 miles. We stopped a few days in Oklahoma City and took in our District Assembly. From there we drove on to San Antonio. When we got there Brother Williams had everything in good shape and we opened up a great campaign. We stayed in San Antonio until the last of February, 1918. Rev. Henry Wallin was pastor, and he stood by the big tent campaign most nobly.
From there we shipped to Austin, Texas, where Rev. E. W. Wells was our good pastor and we had a great campaign. We ran there until April. Then we pulled our big tent down and shipped it to Des Moines, Iowa, and then our good party broke up on the last Sunday of April until the first Sunday in July when we opened in Des Moines. We drove through to Oklahoma City with our band of workers stopping two or three days with Brother Upchurch at Arlington, Texas, at the Berachah Home and also at Peniel, Texas, and gave them one Sunday. We also went by Sherman and gave them two days and nights and by that time the great rains had overtaken us and we made it from Sherman, Texas, to Oklahoma City by train, most of us, while Brother Williams and some of the boys came through by car. There the regular party broke up for a month. Brother Williams and I went on to Wichita and had the big car overhauled and had some improvements on it. I went home for a little rest while he went to Oskaloosa. But when he got to Oskaloosa he found the big tent would have to be treated. I came back from California and John E. Moore came from is home in Oklahoma and joined me at Bloomington, Iowa, and there he and I ran a good campaign in June, and it was nearly July before we got under the big tent in Des Moines.
When we finished up there the last of July we shipped to Hammond, Indiana, with Brother Balsmeier, the pastor of the Nazarene church for the month of August. Then we shipped from there to Bluffton, Indiana, for September. There Brother Clyde Greene was pastor. We closed up there the last Sunday of September and stored the big tent. That was the last campaign we ever had under the big brown tent. At the close of this meeting the workers disbanded and all went to their homes.
I went from Bluffton to Nampa, Idaho, and assisted in a big tent meeting and at the close of that campaign, about the time that I boarded the train for Pasadena on the way to California I took the flu. Perhaps you will remember the flu came in the fall of 1918. It was just about universal and it was no respecter of persons. Rich and poor, black and white, red, brown and yellow, all died alike.