Revival Tornadoes – By Martin Knapp

Chapter 11

1886-7 — Algona

During the closing months of 1886, Brother Weber labored at Algona, Eagle Grove, andCorrectionville, Ia. In each of these places many professed conversion, and”Heaven came down his soul to greet,
While glory crowned the mercy-seat.”

“Living holier than in any other time” in his life, no wonder that he was able to speak tothreatening waves of revival opposition, “Peace, be still,” and command their quick obedience.”Living in the light of Beulah land” and “with soul overflowing at times,” no marvel that Goddelighted anew to use him as a center of revival tornado power in the towns of this western State.

At Algona be writes, “It seems as if many more sinners are moved by fear than hove.” Astatement ever true of most impenitents, but which many seem slow to comprehend.

Here, referring to his own experience, be further writes: “Time devil comes, but findsnothing in me,” and gives God the glory for such an uttermost salvation. Concerning the revival atEagle Grove, Rev. C. B. Yinter, who was pastor of the Eagle Grove church at the time of therevival there, writes as follows, —

“It gives me great pleasure to write of the series of meetings held by Rev. J. H. Weber atEagle Grove, Ia., during my pastorate of the Methodist Church of that place. For five weeksBrother Weber preached nightly and held afternoon meetings; while there were considerableopposition at first, the spirit of Go I finally prevailed, an the entire town was moved. The meetingsgrew in interest and spiritual power until there were over one hundred and fifty reclaimed orconverted. During these meetings it was impossible to accommodate all the people who came toattend them, and often, after the main audience-room and lecture-room were filled, scores ofpeople were compelled to return to their homes because the building was crowded to its utmostcapacity.

“The character of those who professed conversion, and the remarkable stability manifestedby the majority of them after the meetings were over, was a subject of great interest to me, andproved to be different from the general impression in regard to the after effect of great revivals.

“All classes of people, old and young, learned and illiterate, some of those holdingpositions in the best of society and nearly all the professions of life, were reached on thisoccasion. During the year quite a number of the probationers moved West, but nearly all called forletters. And the great majority of those who remained were received into full relation at the closeof their probationary period. Many of them today are among the most active workers of the church,and two of the young men, we learn, are making preparation for the ministry.”

God’s people never get beyond their Master, where they cannot be tempted; Mr. Weberwas no exception. In the midst of a great revival victory he writes, “What temptations I had today!It seemed that Satan was bound I should yield. God gave me grace.” Tempted, but triumphant.Praise God, all through Christ thus may conquer.

Amid “regular cyclones of glory “the days of the old year swept by, and its closing daysfound the Evangelist in the midst of a blessed revival at Correctionville, Ia. At its closing hour, asusual, he was upon his knees, in praise for mercies past and prayed for those to come. During thesemeetings Mr. Weber “met a man who cursed and swore” at him. He knelt down and prayed forhim.

His attack of the doctrine of purgatory “stirred up” the Romanists greatly, until some fearedthey would use violence, but God took care of His servant.

When he asked one woman to be saved, she shook her head. “So God will shake His headat you,” he said, and left her “pricked to the heart” by the message God had sent.

At Eagle Grove he finished the hymn, “Go work in my vineyard.”

One woman said, “How he does swear,” because he used the words hell and damnation asthey are written in the Bible. She was afterwards at the altar.

If others would warn more, Evangelists would not need to so much.

He says, “I talked to a banker, and then I asked him to pray to his God. Then I knelt downand he said, ‘I will pray Quaker fashion.’ Then I prayed Methodist fashion.”

Mr. Weber was told that a man was coming to a service to whip him. The next night theman came, but, instead of trying to whip him, gave him a dollar, and said, “I believe you are agood man.”

At Correctionville he heard a man swearing in a blacksmith shop, and “got down andprayed for him.”

Amid such scenes the work of rescuing the lost went on. Sometimes it seemed as if soulswere suspended by a single strand over a bottomless abyss, and that the powers of heaven andhell, with all their might, contended for their possession. Within the man whose destiny was beingdetermined, appetites and passions, prejudices and propensities, joined with the hosts of hell toaccomplish his final ruin, while reason, judgment, and conscience all were on the side of God andhis salvation. The Evangelist led the hosts of God to victory; and many were the songs and shoutsof triumph that here arose and found an echo in courts above, during the closing weeks of 1886. ToGod be all the praise.

Prayer and praise go hand in hand in revival work, and should all through life. Joshuapraised until the walls of Jericho fell, and Elijah prayed until rain fell. Mr. Weber does both,continually, in darkness or in light. They seem to be the wings with which he soars from one greatvictory to another.

Concerning the tornado at Correctionville, where he closed the year of 1886, and beganthat of 1887, the pastor, Rev. Bennett Mitchel, formerly Presiding Elder of the district, writes asfollows:–

“The meeting was a remarkable one. The entire community was greatly stirred. The housewas packed from the first to the last service. The devil raged. Men got mad. Some wanted to whiphim, others to tar and feather him. Others stood aghast with mute astonishment, while many came tothe Lord and were saved.

“For the first week his preaching was directed to the church, and he scored Christianpeople almost unmercifully. This was fun for the irreligious. They greatly rejoiced while heexposed hypocrisy and denounced the sins in the church. They thought they never had heard such apreacher. But he suddenly turned his attention to them, and routed them with canister and grape.Some of them were maddened, some slunk away in shame, while many were subdued and broughtpenitently to the foot of the Cross.

“In the congregation, men would threaten to strike him, when he would calmly look them inthe face, and say, ‘You dare not do it, I am in God’s hands,’ and then put his arms around them andpray for them. Women would threaten to spit in his face, but he heeded it not, and persisted inpleading with and praying for them.

“In dealing with the perversely wicked, he was awfully severe, but to the penitent he wasas tender as the mother to her infant child.

“We visited every family in the town, and he prayed in nearly every home.

“In some of these visitations very ludicrous things occurred. In one the father raged,gesticulated, and threatened, but Brother Weber held his ground, and said to him, ‘Sit down, and becalm; the devil is in you, that’s what’s the matter.’ But the man became still more wild andthreatening, until Brother Weber knelt down to pray, then he fled from the room, saying, ‘You shan’tpray with me.’ But he prayed. Presently the man came back and said to him, ‘I did not want to hearyou pray, but I was going to ask Elder Mitchel to pray.’ Then we knelt down again, and I prayed,and Brother Weber responded in hearty amens. The man was partially subdued, and, as we lefthim, Brother Weber shook him heartily by the hand, and urged him to become a Christian, assuringhim that he loved him, and would continue to pray for him … Brother Weber had a wonderfulinfluence over the boys and girls. They were strangely and strongly drawn to him.

“The following June he was with me at a campmeeting, and preached a most remarkablesermon on the parable of the prodigal son, full of tenderness and pathetic appeals to the wanderers.The congregation was greatly moved, and prodigals returned to their Father’s house.

“The visits of this eccentric but earnest and devout man will long be remembered, withpleasure and profit, by the people of Correctionville. The grace of God was certainly upon andwith him.

“Mr. Weber is a wonderful man … He makes the people laugh, cry, mourn, shout and rage,but the mad ones all get in good humor before he leaves them.”

At Correctionville, as in many other places, the revival continued with power after theEvangelist had gone to his next appointment, which was


The fifth night of the meeting, the altar invitation was given, and fifty came, — twenty ofwhom professed to find salvation … The minions of darkness, as usual, concentrated theiropposition; but God came in power, and the place never before was so “shaken up.” Tidings keptcoming of the work still moving on with might at Correctionville and Eagle Grove, and thisdiscouraged the agents of the devil and inspired the church. The usual means were here used, andthe cyclone continued to sweep on in sin-killing, soul-saving currents, until over three hundred hadprofessed conversion. The following are extracts from Mr. Weber’s journal, when at Fort Dodge:–

“Went out and was met by two men, who were very mad, and they began their talk, and Ilooked at them and told them they were what I told them the night before in a sermon. They gotmadder, so I fell on my knees in the snow, and began to pray, and they sneaked off.

“The people are very enthusiastic Methodists here.

“I asked the Father in Jesus’ name to change the cold weather to warmer, and it is.

“Over fifty came to the altar. I asked God for fifty.

“The devil tries me, but I cling to the Lord all the same.

“Gave F. E., who was converted yesterday, $2.50, to help pay his board.

“A man was swearing in the barber shop, while I was in the chair, so when I was through Iknelt before him and prayed, and said, ‘That is the way I pray to my God.’ It moved him very much.

“The Holy Ghost must move them or they cannot be moved.

“A man slipped up to me and gave me a five-dollar gold piece. No matter if I give, I’malways rewarded by God. Amen.

“Stayed up till nearly half-past eleven with three young men, talking to them about theirsouls.

“Jesus, keep me holy and pure and like Thee.

“Preached to a full house on ‘Full Salvation.’ Very many said, ‘I want it.’ Holy Ghost, giveit to them. Amen.

“The town is wonderfully excited about this revival, and many are very mad about it, butwe trust in God’s power, and move on and on and on.

“Having a grand time hunting out here to S’s. The father, mother, and five children havebeen converted at my meetings. I always have some one converted when unconverted persons gowith me out hunting.

“Monday, January 31. There has been no decline in the interest, but it has kept up to thevery last. There were about forty forward this eve.”

Closing at this date here, he next opened up at


where he at once was greeted by a “packed house, and many under deep conviction.” In regard tothe particulars of this, we will let the Evangelist continue to speak for himself.

“February 3. Went out visiting the business men, who were all glad to see us, and I feel wemade a favorable impression.

“February 5. A most wonderful time, sixty came forward, and among the number wereseveral married men and women.

“February 9. Sinners are terribly mad all over town; they were saying everything, and evenchalked ‘Fifty dollars a week’ all over the sidewalk. The harder sinners fight, the harder will wepray.

“February 9. Time bears us all nearer to the judgment. Oh, when it comes, what scenes andwhat sights by some. Others, a day of eternal joy and blessedness.

“February 11. Many are very mad, and swear they will not come again. Yet they do come,and will come. The great trouble is, the truth fits them too close.

“February 20. There must have been thirty forward this eve. I get invitations to come andhelp at other places very often.

“February 24. Had a great meeting in the afternoon and evening.

; “March 1. There is a dance here this evening. They have tried everything in their power toget the converts to go. God will send something on the propagators of this dance. Had a mostwonderful closing service. Many at the altar.”

Shortly after the house of one of the main projectors of the dance burned down. Surely Godspeaks by judgments as well as by mercies.

This revival continued to increase in interest and power, until one hundred and fiftyprofessed conversion.

Commending the converts “to God and the word of his grace,” he bade farewell to Clarion,and n March 6 began at


where with Pastor Brown for over three weeks he labored faithfully, and, as usual, the preachingof the Word was not in vain.

While here he composed the beautiful song, “I Long for the Fullness of Blessing,” and also”By and By.”


The place of Haddock’s brutal murder was the next scene of the Evangelist’s intenseactivities. His work there was during the trial of the reputed murderers. Pastor Glass laboredearnestly with the Evangelist, and despite all contending influences much good was done.

While here, Brother Weber completed and sent off a lot of music for his song-book, “TheEvangelist,” which he was preparing as an additional aid in his great work.


From May 24 to June 24, Mr. Weber was engaged in aiding Pastor F. E. Drake in a summertentmeeting at Piero. Though in the country, and in “too busy a time,” it proved a revival of greatpower. At this place he writes: “I have given over three hundred dollars since I’ve been here.”

Thus the Evangelist labors on, opposed by Satan and his subjects, misunderstood by thosewho otherwise would aid him, but everywhere leading souls to the Saviour, and formingfriendships which are to be eternal. Like a war-horse anxious for the fray, he rushes from onebattle quickly into another, counting almost as host those days in which he sees no souls redeemed.