By Rev. Richard A. J. Cusden, Copyright 1930 by Gospel Car Mission Publishing House, A biography of Rev. Arthur G. Tippett.
(Note- These are just some book quotes to outline some of his background,
then more quotes from the book pertaining to his ministry in Maple Shade, NJ.
There is a lot more to the book then this.)
"What is its name?" she asked.
"You may name it what you will," replied the mother, and after kissing the tiny face of the babe, the strangers bade the widow good-bye and left her to ponder over the strange experience. She knew nothing of the parents of the child, not even the mother's name. All she knew was that they had come from Penzance and that the baby was a month old. Now it was to be hers. What name could she give it but her own and the Christian name of her late husband? And so she took the little fellow to the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel and had him christianed "Arthur George."
Weeks and months passed and little Arthur grew into a strong, healthy boy. And month by month came his mother to pay the agreed sum- never staying for more than a moment or two, and never giving any further information concerning herself or the baby.
Six years rolled away and the old widow, now weaker than ever physically but youthful still in spirit, could hardly believe that the "prattling little rascal" was not her own child. Had he indeed been her own she could hardly have loved him more or cared for him with greater devotion. Often would her thoughts wander and she would dream of the future. What would become of this little fellow that had so strangely and unexpectedly come into her life? He used to love to play on the stairs conducting little services and preaching to imaginary congregations; and many a time as she was a silent and unseen member of the congregation, she had to smile at the original blending of nursery rhymes and snatches of prayer and hymn, and she would say to herself "I believe he was born to be a preacher." And she would add a silent prayer: "May God grant it, for His name's sake.
(Note- This is a short summary of early events, not a book excerpt.)
Arthur's real mother stopped coming and bringing his foster mother payments so his foster mother said that he had to go to work.
He sold papers for the "Cornish Post and Mining News." At 10 years old he was renting an apartment so he could be near to his job.
Before 11 years old he started work in the tin mines of Dolcoath.
The school would send a "kiddie catcher" to the mines for children who should be in school. Arthur would try to avoid them. Also Arthur was following a course of mischievious behavior.
One day he sneaked out his bedroom window, after being sent to bed without supper. Him and some other boys waited for the one armed apple man to come by so that they could bother him. When he was late they argued and the other boys pushed Arthur through a window of a house, where he then stole sweets. Another prank followed where they broke into a carpenter shop and put a boy who had told on Arthur and his friends into a coffin and nailed the lid shut.
They realized this action would bring dire consequences so they ran away.
He found work at "Sheppey Court" and all the workers were expected to attend the Mission Church services which led him to remember his mother and he wrote her. She wrote back saying she never ceased to pray for him.
He returned home and to work in the mines. There was a mining explosion one day and the next day he went to seek new work at Plymouth. While at Devonport he saw some boys coming ashore from the H.M.S. Impregnable. He asked to come aboard. He told them he had no father or mother, took a physical examination and signed on for twelve years.
His decided he didn't want to be in the Navy and deceived a Doctor and got discharged.
As soon as he left the hospital he at once enlisted in the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry and became a drummer boy. The Boer war was raging. Arthur's regiment was sent to Africa. The war was soon over.
He came home and found his foster mother had died, and at her grave he promised her that "henceforth his life should be surrendered to the God she had served so long and so faithfully."
He joined a group called the "Church Army" which "gave him valuable tuition in the conduct of meetings and in public speaking."
After leaving the "army" he spent several months traveling as "The Boy Preacher." "At first only Sunday engagements came his way, but soon his power as an evangelist was recognized and he was engaged to coduct missions. His youthful appearance- he was now 17 years of age- together with an intense earnestness and fervent passion for souls gripped his audiences."
In those early days she threw her whole soul into the work of her young husband and almost invariiably was she with him whether he was visiting the sick or addressing meetings in the district.
The formalities of marriage demanded the production of his birth certificate, a search was made in the Penzance registers. This search revealed the fact that he had been registered as "Arthur," son of Captain and Mrs. Tippett. Thus he had been named "Arthur" both by his real parents and by his foster mother, and he determined henceforth to use his legal name and to assume his foster mother's surname as a second Christian name.
Click on image for larger image.
Click on image for larger image.
From Chapter III, In The New Country-
It was on June 23, 1904, that the Oceanic left Liverpool and on the morning of the fourth of July she streamed into New York Harbor.
From Chapter VIII, In Philadelphia-
A strike at the Cramp Ship Yards provided the evangelist with opportunities for service. Regular noon-hour meetings were held outside the yard. The strike was followed by a great trade depression throughout the city. Hundreds were thrown out of work and the suffering of families of the unemployed became intense. The pitiful state of affairs weighed heavily upon the mind of the evangelist. He felt he must do something to relieve the distress- but what could he do? The burden became well nigh intolerable and at last, unable to bear it longer, the evangelist spent a whole day wrestling in prayer that God should reveal to him the way to relieve the distress around him. Before the day was ended the plan began to unfold itself, first of all in vague outline, later in detail. The answer to his prayers was that he should establish a colony a little way out of the town and thus provide work for the workless and, better still, homes away from the haunts of drinking and vice. Here was practical salvage work and Mr. Tippett forthwith threw his heart and soul into the enterprise.
(Note- Guess where he set up the colony.)
As soon as the pioneers were comfortably housed Mr. Tippett went in to Philadelphia to engage some of the unemployed for whose benefit the scheme had been launched. These men were hired at one dollar a day. Food was provided and a number of small tents were erected for sleeping acommodations, three men sharing a tent. A small gasoline engine and a saw table were purchased and soon the camp became a hive of industry. While some were felling the trees, others sawed the wood into twelve inch lengths. Then Frank, the horse, began his real work. Every day he would take a load of firewood in to the city and return with a load of lumber with which to build shacks for the men.
Some pathetic stories might be told of the bits of human flotsam and jetsam that were restored to self-respect and decency in that colony. The regular work in the open air, the good food, and, not least, the real comradeship that was developed under the influence of the evangelist and his wife, and then the evening gatherings round the parsonage where kindly but straight talks were interspersed between stories and jokes, and at the close of each evening the simple little service and the "family prayers," all contributed to the reclaiming of many a man who had sunk into the depths of degradation and despair.
(Note- Several pages are skipped here.)
In the accompanying picture Frank is seen drawing a carriage, a gift to the evangelist from a Quaker lady who was interested in his work. We shall hear more of Frank in succeeding chapters.
This work of clearing the land, building the dwellings for the men and making up the road continued for some time, but, naturally had to come to an end! Foreseeing this, Mr. Tippett endeavored to obtain situations for the men as soon as he felt he could conscientiously recommend them. Some were eventually employed by the Victor Graphophone Company and others found work with the Campbell Soup Company. At one time there were fifteen men engaged on the colony but gradually they were drafted back into regular employment until only Tom was left to give his full time to the work; though the other members of the community were always eager to use thei spare time for the good of their own little colony.
When all the men were comfortably housed in their huts, Mr. Tippett had a large platform erected on one corner of the property out of some trees that had been felled; and with lumber purchased from the town, benches sufficient to seat 150 persons were made. Then handbills were widely distributed announcing that camp meetings would be held at the Maple Shade Colony. These meetings were well attended, people coming from places three, four, and even five miles away. Mr. Tippett then discovered that for miles around there was no church of any description. This discovery at once suggested the next undertaking- the building of a permanent church.
When a Christian community in any of our towns is faced with the necessity of building or enlarging a church an architect is called in, aquainted with the wishes of the community and instructed to prepare plans for a building to cost approximately a stipulated amount. In due course he submits his plans, prepares his quantities and invites estimates. Eventually a contract is signed and the builder, with his army of workmen, appears on the site and the foundation stones are laid, the opening ceremony is held and pastor and people enter into possession.
At Maple Shade the story is utterly different. Here one day the parson and pioneer colonizer might have been seen sitting on a tree stump with his elbows resting on his knees and his head on his hands. He is dreaming dreams- yes, and seeing visions. Presently he glances up and looks across the clearing. "Yes," he says aloud to himself, "that is the spot! We'll build a church there." In imagination that church was already built, and it was not long before the church of his dreams was solid fact. No architect was called in, however, no quantities worked out, no builder asked for an estimate. That parson was architect and builder too. And as for the plans, they existed, but only in the fertile brain of the evangelist.
The first task was to put in a good foundation. No theoretical knowledge of building construction is necessary to convince a parson of the need of a good foundation. And the best foundation is of rock (vide Matt. VII:24). There was rock in abundance, so, knocking up a sort of homemade sleigh or stone boat, with the aid of old Frank, Tom and the parson drew large rocks to the site and the building of the foundation began. Within a few weeks they had completed the foundation walls of a building about thirty feet wide and forty feet long. Then the question of sills had to be faced, and as there was no timber on the property of sufficient thickness or weight, they were forced to purchase. Not very far away from the colony they had seen an old, disused barn. More then once Mr. Tippet had out of curiosity looked in the barn and he had noticed that the frame-work was built of heavy oak timbers. Here was just what they wanted. Inquiries were made, the owner interviewed and the old barn was bought for a mere song, the owner being glad to realize something for it and have it moved from his land.
Again old Frank rendered good service drawing the heavy timbers to the building site. The foundation and the frame work of the building were provided, but what of the wood for the sides, floor and roof? To buy all this was out of the question. There was no way out of the difficulty, unless some kind friend could be persauded to give the necessary material, and so the next few days were spent by Mr. Tippett in visiting the lumber mills and asking for gifts of from 500 to 1,000 feet of lumber. And, to his joy, seldom did his request meet with a refusal. And so the work could proceed. Obviously not all was plain sailing. These amateur builders learned many leassons in the hard school of experience. More than once, after spending much time and energy getting a heavy piece of timber into position, they found that another piece should have been fitted first. Undaunted by their failures they worked from morning till night to get their church finished before winter set in. When the framework was finished the roof had to be considered, and here again was a problem. Where were they to obtain 25,000 shingles to cover the roof? These builders were, in this respect, not quite scriptural. They did not sit down and count the cost before they laid their foundation stones. They got on with the job and faced the problems as they arose but not a day before. And here was, indeed, a problem. However, like its predecessors, it was solved by Him in whose name they had embarked on their venture.
Mr. Tippett was on his way to the city one day and was riding in the street car when he picked up a newspaper that was lying on the seat. Under the newspaper was an envelope sealed but bearing no address. When they arrived at the terminus, Mr. Tippett went with the conductor to the company's office and handed it over to the superintendent. The official opened the envelope and found that it contained five one-thousand-dollar bills and a mortgage bearing the owner's name. The superintendent later handed over the find to its owner together with Mr. Tippett's card. The following morning the evangelist received a letter of thanks from the owner with a check for $100 as a token of his gratitude. And so the problem of the shingles was solved.
The next difficulty, the provision of laths, was solved through the generosity of a Quaker friend who was following Mr. Tippett's work with interest. Then the plastering had to be tackled. This seemed to the parson the biggest difficulty of all. For a time this baffled them, then Mr. Tippett remembered that shortly after coming to Philadelphia he had helped a Mr. R. out of darkness into light. He was unemployed and Mr. Tippett had found him a job and aided him in moving to the neighborhood of his new employment. Now, Mr. R. was a plasterer by trade. Just the man they needed. Without delay the evangelist paid a visit to his convert and found him recovering from an illness, but he readily consented to go out to Maple Shade and give the amateurs lessons in mixing plaster and laying it on. Wisely they commenced on the inside walls and succeeded fairly well.
The ceiling, however taxed, both their patience and their powers of endurance. Eventually it was finished and though the builders could hardly regard their work with pride they were profoundly thankful that the plaster was at last "up there" and they prayed that it might remain.
So far the building was innocent of doors and windows. In an earlier chapter we mentioned that Mr. Tippett had won the confidence of one of the official board of the M.E. Church in Philadelphia. This gentleman was also superintendent of the Bridesburg public school. The school building was being demolished to make room for more extensive premises, and through the kindness of the superintendent Mr. Tippett was empowered to take anything he needed from the debris of the old building. And so the old school furnished doors and windows for the new church.
A keenly interested friend, who was head of the Steward Company Electrical Supply Store, supplied free of charge electrical fittings and wiring, and to supply the current they purchased a small Elco lighting plant.
On the front of the church they had built a square tower consisting of three stories. The ground floor formed the vestibule to the church, above it was a room intended to serve as the pastor's study and the top was built for a belfry, but so far, no bells were hanging there. Now a large bell would have cost about five hundred dollars, an impossible sum for the pioneers to find. During Mr. Tippett's work in the city he had become aquainted with the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company and so he wrote to the gentleman asking whether he could secure a bell from an old locomotive. Almost by return of post came a letter offering not one but two bells. On the following day Mr. Tippett and Tom with Frank and the old wagon set off to the city for the bells. To bring them to the church was one thing and to hoist them into position in the belfry quite another matter. However, after a day's work and many anxious moments the bells were hoisted into position ready to peal out the call to service.
With the church now completed the builders could turn their attention to the furnishings, and many well wishers rejoiced to have a share in this work. One influential friend secured 300 opera chairs from the committee of the "Billy" Sunday campaign which had ended some time before. The Baltimore Avenue Presbyterian Church gave 300 hymn books, Christ Episcopal Church supplied the pulpit and Bishop's chair and the Thirteenth Street Church precented a beautiful organ, while the collection plates and hymn boards were the gift of the Baptist Publishing House. Thus are the inner furnishings of the church an eloquent token of real interdenominational unity and good will.
Everything was ready for the public dedication of the church on Easter Sunday morning, when on Saturday afternoon at about two o'clock snow began to fall, and it continued throughout the afternoon and evening till about ten o'clock it was twelve inches deep. The evangelist's heart was sad. After all the preparations, all the rush and anxiety, all the labor and sacrifice, there would be no one at the dedication day service. That must not be. Very hurriedly, when it was already late in the afternoon, Mr. Tippett set out with old Frank dragging the plow, and all night long they went from the church to the street-car terminus, and along the other roads which led to the church. Morning dawned and still the snow fell and still they had to drag on wearily lest the roads should be blocked. A brief rest was taken for breakfast and then they were at it again. At ten o'clock the snow ceased and they had the satisfaction of knowing that all the roads were clear. Mr. Tippett then returned to prepare for the great service which was to commence at eleven. Soon the people began to arrive and by the time eleven o'clock struck there were 220 people in the church, including a choir of 20 members of the Cornish Association of Camden, of which Mr. Tippett was himself a member. These Cornishmen sang two or three pieces during the service and ably led the congregational singing. Not many who were present that morning- and certainly not the pastor of the church- will forget the thrill that passed through the assembly as the service was opened with that glorious hymn, "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name," sung to "Miles' Lane."
The sermon was preached by the Rev. Mr. Bowan of Camden and after the sermon Mr. Tippett dedicated the church he himself had planned and built "to the glory of God and the salvation of souls."
1913 should be 1915.
I think 1913 was when the Colony started there.
On the following Saturday the little brass band headed a procession to the station and gave the founder of the colony and church a rousing farewell. But in spite of the music and the hearty Godspeed hearts were sad. Saddest of all was the brave little wife, struggling to hide the tears, and Edith, now a bonny girl of three and a half years. Faithful Tom, who had grown into the habit of addressing Mr. and Mrs. Tippett as "Pa" and "Ma," was there to escort "Ma" and the little one home and be a truly faithful friend he proved himself to be.
It was a bitter cold morning and Mr. Tippett lost no time in making his way to the recruiting station.
When he arrived there he found a telegram awaiting him announcing the death of Dan, his faithful St. Bernard. Before he left Maple Shade, Dan had been left with a farmer who had expressed a desire to have him, with the understanding that should Mr. Tippett return he should be given back. On the day prior to his departure Mr. Tippett had taken Dan to this farmer, tied him in a corner of the barn and with a heavy heart bade him farewell. Now Dan was dead. A letter received on the following day told how the faithful dog had hardly moved since his master left him. All attempts to make him eat failed. He just whined like a child and pined away.
Another examination followed and the new recruit was sent to "exhibition camp," given his uniform and entered as a gunner in the Canadian Field Artillery.
From Chapter XIII-
It was therefore necessary for Mr. Tippett to find new fields for his labors, and after reviewing various possibilities he decided that for a time at least he would settle down in a pastorate somewhere in New York State, later on continuing his evangelistic campaigns. So purchasing a small car, a four cylinder Davis coupe, the family left Toronto, like one of old, knowing not whither they were going. Leaving Toronto they passed through Buffalo, where they spent the first night, and arriving in Syracuse, decide to stop there for the night....
Click on image for larger image.
The top photo shows a Gospel Car service being set up
and Faithful Dan is there.
About the Book-
The book was written in 1930 by Rev. Richard A.J. Cusden, who had only known Arthur G. Tippett for three months but was impressed by his story. He used Arthur Tippett's detailed diary to write the book, and Arthur then examined the work.
Three chapters of the book, "The Hustling Parson, or The Adventures of an Unconventional Evangelist" are about Arthur G. Tippet's work in Maple Shade, N.J. A good portion of the photos thoughout the book also are of Maple Shade.
The chapters on the left will give you a hint as to the content of the entire book.In this book, the author at her introduction calls Mrs. Tippet by a different name than Ada, as seen in other sources. I would think Ada is correct since it appears in a property deed.
In this book we see Mr. Tippett, his friend Tom, and a horse Frank building the church, and a whole crew clearing the land and putting roads in prior. This is different then the newspaper article in the Philadelphia Public Ledger which has Mr. and Mrs. Tippett doing it. One thing in newspaper or tv news journalism is to follow a "slant." It is true they didn't get much labor help in the church construction.
There is many miraculous things throughout the book.
For one thing the Easter Sunday of 1915 when Christ Church was dedicated there had been a blizzard which laid 12 plus inches of snow they had to clear off the roads.
Note- I was as careful as possible when scanning the images from this book (As not to harm the book), and saved them as 1200 DPI jpgs, 1200 DPI tifs, and then resized to smaller image for webpages on a third separate "Save As." This way the book doesn't have to be rescanned again for the same images. -den
Three web pages at den's Maple Shade History website|
containing information about Rev. Arthur G. Tippett-
|Rev. Arthur G. Tippett, Christ Church||The Hustling Parson, Maple Shade church||Chesterford school, Burrough, Kaighn, Tippett|