Tuesday, July 05, 2011

TG Fowler

During communion last Sunday I began to think about all the people who helped to shape my faith. There is a long list, but Sunday my thoughts centered on my grandfather, TG Fowler. My memories of my grandfather are of an old man who loved me enormously and told funny stories. He was a preacher at a large Church of Christ in Texas. I did not know him when he was a young man, but I have heard a lot of stories. The world has gone through a lot of changes in the past hundred years. I wonder what he would think if he could see us now.

I have a book titled, “Gospel Preachers Who Blazed the Trail.” It was published in 1911. It contains stories of men who were preachers in the Churches of Christ at the turn of the twentieth century. My grandfather was one of those men.

He was one of eleven children born on a cotton farm in Tennessee. His help was need on the farm and he was not able to attend school as a child. He was sixteen when he was first permitted to attend classes. He could not yet read. I have a very hard time imagining a life without reading, but it was a common experience in the 1890s. He was able to go to school for three months each year for the next three years. When he left home at age nineteen he was just barely able to read. After he married my grandmother he enrolled in the Gunter Bible College, a small school run by the Churches of Christ in Texas. He attended classes there for three semesters.

My grandfather may have lacked formal education, but that man loved God and he loved the Bible. When I was little we would play the Bible Game. I would read a verse from the Bible and he would quote both the verse before and the verse after mine. It was very rare that he wasn’t correct. He had the entire book memorized. I thought he was amazing. His faith was innocent, pure and contagious.

My mom told stories about going to hear him preach at arbor meetings. He would preach every night for two weeks and crowds would gather under the shady arbor to listen. She and her sister would sit in the buggy and listen. After preaching each night he would baptize people in the river. I think it must have looked a bit like the baptism scene in “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou.”

I now worship in a Presbyterian church, but sometimes during communion I remember my grandfather. He was a good man. He and my grandmother raised five children who all loved God. My mother is the laughing one on the left in the back row.

This is the article published with his picture in book from 1911.
THOMAS GIDEON FOWLER was born near Lewisburg, Tenn., April 20, 1883. His parents moved to Texas in 1893. Thomas was old enough to be of service in the raising and gathering of cotton. Being the second boy and fourth child of 11 children, the father unable to work, it was necessary for him to stay out of school and assist in making a living for the family.
He was 16 years old when he entered school, at that time not knowing his letters. He attended a small country school three months for three years. The day he was 19 he began life for himself. Seven months later he again entered school and continued for nearly two years.
September 14, 1904, he was married to Miss Jessie Mullins. November after his marriage he entered Gunter Bible College, where he was a student for nearly three sessions.
He began preaching the first year after entering Gunter Bible College, and by the grace of God, and the help of his faithful wife he has continued to preach the word with success --- though at times he has had to teach some in the public schools.


Tom and Nancy said...

Wonderful thoughts of Pop. One of my most vivid memories as a child was the great big hug he would always give us kids when we came to visit - long after he went completely blind. Of course, he ALWAYS seemed to have a 2-3 day growth on his whiskers, so they would really be "scratchy" hugs! The other thing I remember is he always had a stack of records from Lighthouse For The Blind - so he could listen to the Bible on records. Tom A Fowler.

Cazzie!!! said...

I love coming to visit your blog, the stories are beautiful and touching. What a wonderful man to have touched so many people. I would love to have been sitting under a tree to hear his words too!

Random Thinker said...

Lovely story. I can picture your Mom and her sister sitting in the buggy. It is like a movie. We owe so much to the family who came before us. Best way to repay them is to hold their memories dear.

AM Kingsfield said...

I love the giggling grandma. Seems to run in the family.