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Early Workers
Hazel Hughes' Transcript Rebuttal
Revised March 31, 2017


Rebuttal to Nathan Barker's Article
"1888 Friends & Workers"
Regarding Hazel Hughes

The late Hazel Hughes, an American sister worker, wrote some details about the Hughes' family history, which are found on Nathan Barker’s website under the heading:  “1888 Friends and Workers;” titled:  “Notes from Hazel Hughes in a letter Jan., 1971.”  Nathan Barker believes that this account proves:  “that William Irvine is not their founder in 1897 and this is not 105 years old fellowship as some have stated as facts.”

TTT Editor's Note: As background, Hazel Hughes is the sister of the late Garrett Hughes, who was a Regional Overseer in Eastern USA.  Hazel and her brother Garrett were children of Fred Hughes and Mary Ann (Gill) Hughes.  The Gill family professed in Ireland in 1898, when Wm. Irvine preached his second mission at Rathmolyon.  Early conventions were held on Willie Gill's farm. Willie Gill and his sisters Emma and Jennie all went in the work in 1900. Emma and Jennie were 2 of the FIRST four sister workers to venture out in the group started by Wm. Irvine.  Fred and Mary Ann Hughes emigrated to America in the early 1890's.  Their relatives gave Wm. Irvine their address in North Dakota and he visited them in 1903.  Fred and Mary Ann Hughes left their local church and professed in 1905 through Ralph Bullock and Tom Craig.


The notes on Nathan Barker's website by Hazel Hughes state:  “Our parents' people heard the gospel in Ireland in 1888--40 decided at that time--16 went into the work including Emma Gill.   Emma  came to North Dakota in Jan. 1905. Our mother was critically ill but when she was better Emma had meetings in a school 5 miles from home.   Father took Lincoln, Garrett, and me. Our folks left the church in the fall of 1905. In December the family visited Ireland---saw first fellowship meeting and baptism. Lincoln decided in 1907 in a special meeting at home. I  in 1909 at Sidney convention and Garrett (Hughes) a year later at same place. Very little fellowship for 8 years---always had Sunday A.M. meeting and a Canadian convention.  In 1915 workers came from Manitoba---Millers and Albert G---??  decided---Nalines the next Dec.

1st Cando convention 1926.
Hazel (Hughes) in the work June 1920. Garrett (Hughes) went in November (1920).
Albert in November 1920; Mary Naline in 1926
Hazel Krack, 1961.”

-------End of Barker's website quote--------


Garrett Hughes, brother of Hazel Hughes, spoke at the Funeral Service for Erling Omdal on October 6, 1987, Eagle Bend, MN:  "Ninety years ago, a letter came from Ireland. We heard about those with no home, no name, etc.  Forty people made their choice. Sixteen went out in the work--that was the beginning...There is not a country not open to the gospel now. It is the most marvelous thing ever to happen."  ("Ninety years ago" = 1987 Minus 90 years = 1897)

These two accounts by a brother and sister, appear to be describing the same event in their family history, EXCEPT they differ in the date as to when the gospel began in their family!!  NOTE also that Garrett Hughes states the mission in which his family professed was THE BEGINNING!  Which date is correct?  1888 or 1897?  There is a ten year disparity here.  One date has to be incorrect.  The preponderance of documentation available at this time agrees with the date Garrett Hughes gave, which was 1897.  Likely these notes purportedly written by Hazel Hughes originally were somehow corrupted as they were recopied, or her memory didn’t serve her well as she recounted her 2x2 family history, for her date of 1888 does not agree with her verbal accounts to another worker witness or with her reputable brother's account.

In Goodhand Pattison’s account of this same event, he stated “and no wonder that the Nenagh…had some of its best type powerfully appealed to, and yielded quite a crop of decisions for God, the following being some of them.  It is well established that the Nenagh mission was held in August, 1897 (not 1888) (See Paragraph: Burning and Shining Light.)

What we have above is a sheet of undated notes, with information taken from a letter dated January, 1971 by Hazel Hughes.  Someone, perhaps Grace Burchill, took notes from a letter which Hazel Hughes wrote and Nathan Barker has published these handwritten notes on his website.  However, without the original letter, or a photocopy of it, the notes have no documentary value, except for corroboration when there is other written evidence containing the same facts, which it does not.  In fact, the contents of the note are contradicted by Hazel’s brother’s documented verbal account. The document replicated here is not evidence; it does, however, let us know there “potentially” exists an original documentary item. 

There exists a five-page typed paper titled  "Taken From A Tape Made by Hazel Hughes, 1971:  Planned by Margaret Siegel."  This transcript give the details of the workers coming to the Gill and Hughes families, according to Hazel Hughes in 1971.  It states in the first paragraph:  "About that time, in 1898, the gospel came to the relatives in Ireland and a number professed." The quoted material on Nathan Barker's website appears to be sentences collected from this document. Probably the scribe or typist made an error in the date "1898" and wrote it down as "1888." Click Here to view photo of first page of  Hazel Hughes Account.

According to an this Tape of Hazel Hughes, sister to Garrett Hughes, their parents did NOT profess through Wm. Irvine.  She states that in 1903, Fred and Mary Ann (Gill) Hughes met their first worker who was Wm. Irvine, the founder of the 2x2 sect, and more than likely, he was the first worker to ever venture to North Dakota.  Hazel's Account states their parents professed through Tom Craig and Ralph Bullock in 1905.

A letter dated 1971 about events allegedly occurring in 1888 is a secondary source--not a primary source.  There are 83 years between the date the letter was written and the events it describes. Nathan Barker, in attempting to prove that the 2x2 system started prior to 1897, has one secondary source stacked up against many primary sources. Why is this one letter more credible evidence than all the available primary evidence?  The primary evidence needs to be disproved or sufficiently explained for this information to be given serious consideration. One solitary letter talking about 1888 proves nothing. If the group was in existence before 1897, then there should be many letters and documentation to verify or suggest this...but there isn't. So were there people professing before 1897?  Why do we only have the alleged family account of ONE person, that is contradicted by her own brother?  Surely there should be more to verify the 1888 date.

The bottom line is that all evidence points to William Irvine as the one who started the way of the friends/workers in 1897.  It is not "the only way" of God, and it does not trace back to the time of Jesus. Pre-existing and present churches which have or had a homeless ministry and meet or met in homes also, is not proof that the church William Irvine preached in goes back to the time of Jesus.  Barker's "evidence" does not prove that the 2x2 method started earlier than 1897. There is no proof that there were any workers, other than Faith Mission workers, before Irvine and Company broke away from them.

Nathan Barker’s website also contains at this location some family history from Lyle & Grace Burchill of North Dakota, but it makes no claim to an earlier start date than 1897.


About Emma Gill:

NOTE:  The Hazel Hughes' account does NOT say Emma Gill went into the work in 1888! Emma Gill was Garrett and Hazel Hughes' aunt, on their mother's side.  Ellis Island records show that Emma Gill of Co. Meath, Ireland emigrated thru New York on December 8, 1904, at the age of 33 years.  The boat on which Emma Gill traveled is the Oceanic.  For a copy of the hand written manifest, Click Here.

Emma Gill entered the work in 1900. The 1905 Workers List is the earliest workers list to be found and it states THE YEAR each worker on that list entered the work. The very FIRST sister workers went into the work in THE YEAR 1900, and they were Emma Gill, Jennie Gill & Sara Rogers.  Since Emma was 33 when she boarded the ship to America in December, 1904, then she was approximately 29 years old when she entered the work in 1900.  Emma Gill died in 1944, and is believed to be buried in West Hanney, UK, where her brother William (Willie) is buried. 

At Willie Gill's funeral, June 5, 1951, Jack Jackson stated that by his calculations, it was 53 years and 8 months since Willie, with some others at Rathmolyon, made their choice. This takes us back to October, 1897.  Willie was the brother of Emma Gill and Jennie Gill, all three of whom went into the work in 1900, per the 1905 Workers list.

Goodhand Pattison in Accounts of the Early Days refers to the Rathmolyon Mission as immediately following the FIRST Mission held in Nenagh in August 1897--which is THE 2x2 START DATE.  The preachers at the FIRST TWO 2x2 missions ever held (held at Rathmolyon and Nenagh were none other than WILLIAM IRVINE and JOHN LONG. Wm.I was preaching in the Faith Mission at this time. Chapter 4 of the book, The Life & Ministry of Wm. Irvine describes details surrounding the FIRST two missions, at Rathmolyon and Nenagh. It would appear that Emma Gill professed through Wm. Irvine at either the Rathmolyon or Nenagh missions held in August or October, 1897.

Bright Words, Dec 15, 1897 Location of Pilgrims (Faith Mission’s bi-monthy magazine) stated Wm. Irvine held missions in Ireland in Rathmolyon from October 10-31, 1897; and in Roscrea November 7-21, 1897

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