OF WORKERS—HUDSON BAND
the ministry of Jesus He sent out His disciples two and two, also He sent out
the seventy the same way, two and two. In the Acts of the Apostles we also find
the same method of gospel work, Paul and Barnabas, Paul and Silas. At another
time it was Paul, Barnabas, John Mark, and Silas and they soon divided into two
bands. Much the same conditions prevailed in the early days of the holiness
movement. Bands of workers were formed, sometimes two, sometimes many more.
These bands usually bought a gospel tent, and often sufficient camp tents for
the whole company to live in, and traveled from one neighborhood to another.
There would usually be one strong preacher, and a number of young preachers,
singers, and workers in general. They would go to a community and erect their
gospel tent and stay until something would happen. No ten days’ meeting for
them: they always went in for victory, if it took six weeks. They went to plant
holiness, and they would stay until their job was completed.
went to places where they could not find a home, and nobody wanted them, and
stayed until the community thought that they could not get along without them.
Strange stories followed them, and even went ahead of them, told by the “sons
of Belial,” often by tobacco-soaked holiness fighting preachers, who preached
a sinning religion, to be repeated by worldly church members. Prominent among
these bands of workers, in the early days in Texas, were the Hudson Band, the
Roberts Boys, the Brown Boys, the Jeffries-Hartline Band, the Irick Boys, the
DeJernett-Jernigan Band, and the Katy Gospel Crew.
these bands would double up at great centers, such as campmeetings and in hard
places, then such praying and preaching you seldom hear.
the very first bands to organize was the Hudson Band, composed of Mother Hudson,
Bob and Bluford, her sons, and Oscar Hudson, and his wife, Nettle, (not related
to the other Hudsons). This was one of the strongest holiness bands of these
early days. These did not always work together, sometimes only the Hudson Band;
at others they would be joined by Lonnie Rogers, Luny Ward, John Friar (called
Stammering John), or Beecher Airhart. They conducted meetings at Leonard,
Bonham, Henrietta, Sunset, Crafton, Chico, Alvord, Paradise, Honey Grove, Paris,
Charleston, and many other places; where they had great revivals, sometimes
staying as long as eight weeks in one place.
first campmeeting that they ever attended was at Bates Camp, in Denton County,
conducted by Rev. H. L. Averill. This was a treat to them to be in a real,
old-time campmeeting. This so fired their hearts that they were determined to
preach holiness or die.
the fall of 1897 they opened a campaign in northwestern Texas that ran on
through the winter, spring, and the next summer. Their first meeting was at
Paradise, then at Henrietta, and from there they joined Rev. R. L. Averill at
Sunset. Here every church door in the town was closed against them, and the
preachers opposed them with all their might, but they found a vacant building,
and on December 6th they opened the meeting, Rev. R. L. Averill doing the
preaching for the first ten days, and then had to go to another meeting, but the
Hudson Band continued the meeting, assisted by Rev. L. L. Isaacs. This proved to
be the greatest and most lasting meeting of their ministry.
this meeting more than 150 people were converted or sanctified, among them was
Rev. John Stanfield, a Cumberland Presbyterian pastor, who afterward became the
first holiness circuit rider in that country; also C. A. McConnell, who was at
that time editor of the Sunset Signal, a secular paper printed in Sunset, who
afterward became editor of the Texas Holiness Advocate, and later office editor
of the Herald of Holiness, and at this writing is Dean of Theology at Peniel
College. Also Dr. Harvey, a physician in the town, who became editor of The
Texas Holiness Banner, published at Sunset, and the organ of the Northwest Texas
Holiness Association. Also Miss Nettle Bellows, who is now the wife of Rev.
the testimony service, which usually preceded the sermon, while many prominent
members of the different churches were telling how they at first opposed the
holiness meeting, but now were convinced of the truth, and best of all were now
enjoying the fullness of the blessing, shouts of victory rang all through the
great warehouse where the meeting was being held. The pastor of the Methodist
church, who had refused to allow the holiness meeting in his church, was in
attendance that night for the first time. When he saw his most prominent members
testifying among the rest, he, like the Pharisees of old, thought, “Perceive
ye how we prevail nothing? Behold, the world has gone after them.” He arose
and asked permission to speak. He told the people that he also believed in
holiness, and that it was a Methodist doctrine, and that he himself was
sanctified, but “like a certain bishop in our church, I obtained the
experience when I was converted. No matter how we get it. You remember that I
preached a sermon on holiness not long ago in my church. Now this old warehouse
is no place for a revival, and we are going to move the meeting to the church
where it ought to be.”
this moment the man groaned and swayed backward and fell in a heap on the floor.
Pandemonium prevailed for awhile, his wife became frantic, and a young doctor in
the congregation was at once called and a hasty examination made, after which he
said, “His heart’s action and respiration are normal: I should call it a
case of hypnotic catalepsy.”
preachers understood the matter, as it was nothing but the power of God that had
laid him out as it had others in the same meeting. He was stretched out on the
floor and the meeting proceeded. After awhile he came to himself and was taken
home, and the next day left town until the meeting closed.
next meeting was at Park Springs, where a Baptist preacher, whose members had
gotten sanctified in the Sunset meeting, stirred up the community by circulating
some very damaging reports on the holiness preachers, telling the people how
they would hypnotize the people, and preach free-loveism, and that they had
broken up families. This made the people of Park Springs afraid of them and they
had great difficulty in getting a place to erect their tent. At the close of the
first meeting that night the people with one accord left the tent and workers
all alone, with nowhere to go and nothing to eat. After awhile an old lady came
back to the tent, and said that she could take Mother Hudson home with her. A
little later a man came driving back to the tent and said that he could take two
of the men with him. When the preachers got into the wagon, the owner of the
wagon jumped out and walked home for fear of being hypnotized. This left Oscar
and Bluford to sleep in the straw under the tent. And no breakfast until 3 p. m.
the next day. This sort of consecration to the work of the Lord brought great
results, and that meeting ran four weeks, and resulted in more than one hundred
great Sunset holiness campmeeting was established as a result of these meetings,
and the Northwest Texas Holiness Association, which was merged into the Holiness
Association of Texas, then into the Holiness Church of Christ, and later a
Pentecostal Nazarene church.
this writing Rev. Oscar Hudson is pastor of the Pentecostal Nazarene church at
Peniel, Texas. Thousands will shout around the throne as a result of these
meetings, for which these pioneer preachers suffered and endured hardness. It
pays a thousand times, it pays. Oh, for a band in this day who will go out under
the stars and plant a vine that will never die.
band held a meeting at Monkstown with Rev. R. L. Averill, where the preaching
provoked such opposition that a mob with shot-guns undertook to break up the
meeting and run the preacher out of the country. This resulted in a bodyguard
for Rev. R. L. Averill, as no one would allow him to stay at his home without a
guard, and a real pitched battle ensued where about seventy-five shots were
fired, and one horse was killed, but no one hurt. But in spite of all this God
gave them a great revival and many of the opposers were converted, and made
Lamasco there was another mighty revival, at which Revs. Allie and Solomon Irick
were sanctified and called into the ministry. Allie was one of the number who
went around the world with Dr. Godbey and the Roberts Boys. Thousands of people
were sanctified under their ministry, and scores of people called into the