View photographs of Magowans in TTT Photo Gallery
Outline of the History of a Peculiar People from 1900-1931
Testimony of a
Witness for the Defence, January 13, 1956
Cross-Examination of a Witness and Address to the Jury, 1956
Letter to Wilson McClung, January 21, 1931 (Head Worker of New Zealand)
Letter to George Walker, February 21, 1954
Letter to Edward Cooney, November 7, 1953
Letter to Jack Carroll, December 1, 1954
Letter to Willie Hughes, July 1, 1957
Letter to John and George, February 19, 1958
Other Statements by Alfred Magowan
Magowan Family Tree
View photographs of Magowans in TTT Photo Gallery
(Sources of documents and material: David and Daniel Magowan, 2016; Stephen Magowan 1997).
Testimonial Letter by Sara K. Dawson, August 18, 1913
Testimonial Letter by Jessie Dawson, August 8, 1913
About Alfred Magowan
The quality of a man may be revealed by what he emphasizes and by what he lightly passes over.
TTT Editor's Notes: Alfred is sometimes called by the nickname "Alphie." His last name is pronounced Ma-GOW'-an, and is sometimes misspelled "McGowan" and"McGowen."
John Alfred Magowan was born on October 24, 1883 in Drumgor, Co. Armagh, Ireland to James and Jane (McNabb) Magowan. He died November 13, 1960 in Portadown, Armagh, Northern Ireland,
aged 77 years. Alfred was 18 when he professed in a mission held in January, 1902 by Joe Kerr and Edward Cooney in Balteagh School, Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland.
Alfred wrote to Ed Cooney: "Memory has been unusually active, serving up recollections of the 50 years of our spiritual acquaintance (52 years it will be in January since two peculiar strangers invaded our coasts to preach the Gospel to us, and thereby give us a new outlook in life)..."The name BALTEAGH stands to me for deliverance from guilt, and nagging fear, and the deep inner gloom that was the accompaniment of unforgiven sin. It stands to me as a beginning of days with its prospect and promise of Abundant Life; a blotted-out past; a cleansed heart and a comforting instead of an unbraiding conscience." (November 7, 1953 Letter)
On October 9, 1903, Alfred, almost 20 yrs old, sailed on the SS Pretorian from Londonderry, N. Ireland to Quebec, Canada. Soon after, he moved to Detroit and worked as a bookkeeper, possibly at Sears Roebuck. He crossed over to Detroit USA on July 25, 1906.
"He first worked on his father's farm up until October 1903 when he immigrated to Quebec being the first of his siblings to do so. At this point he was a bookeeper and remained so until 1907 when he became a preacher within a group known as the Testimony which included both William Irvine (1863-1947) and Edward Cooney (1867-1960)." (Source: ancestry.com public Magowan Family Tree by Daniel Magowan)
On May 15, 1907, Alfred, age 23, departed from New York for Liverpool, England and Queenstown, Ireland on SS Caronia, his first return visit and his last visit to the UK until 1929. It was while he was in the U.K. in June of 1907, that he first met Jack Carroll at Cambuslang, Scotland where he was also baptized. He attended the July, 1907 Crocknacrieve convention where the Living Witness Doctrine began to be preached that year and where John Long was excommunicated that year. Alfred returned from Liverpool to New York on the maiden voyage of the SS Lusitania, arriving on September 13, 1907. At that time, the Lusitania was the worlds largest passenger ship.
After returning to America in 1907, Alfred became reacquainted with the workers in the USA. Wm. Irvine convinced Alfred to go in the work at that time. Alfred McGowan (should be "Magowan") is shown on the 1907 Pittsburgh & Chicago USA Convention Workers List. His first mission began on October 21, 1907 in the heart of Kentucky. He was about 24 years old, and his companion, John Burns, was 19. They had $5.00 between them. He and John Burns also preached together in Ohio. Alfred is shown in Indiana on the List of Worker Locations after 1912-13 Conventions--possibly companion of Fred Croft; and in Illinois on the 1915-16 Workers List, possibly companion of Alex Anderson.
On October 19, 1917 Alfred and Sarah Kerr Dawson married in Terre Haute, Indiana. View marriage announcement. Sara and her twin Janet (Jessie) Scott Dawson were born on June 24, 1869. Their address in 1913 was the home of their Aunt E. Hughes at 79 Grove Park, Rathmines, Dublin, Ireland. Sara, age 31, is shown on the 1911 Irish census as a visitor and evangelist with Mary Moodie. Sara, age 32, arrived in Philadelphia, PA on September 2, 1912 on SS Dominion and preached in Indiana and Illinois. After they married, Alfred and Sara may have continued preaching as a married worker couple for a couple years. Jessie Dawson, age 32, also a sister worker, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA on October 3, 1911 on SS Merion. Jessie died February 18, 1969 in Bedford, PA. View her Tombstone.
Alfred spent twelve years in this work in the states of Kentucky, Alabama, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. "I was later excommunicated but the excommunicators would hardly call themselves that. If they were asked, they would likely say they did not excommunicate anybody and we went out from them because we were not of them." (A. Magowan personal interview by Doug Parker and personal communication, November, 1954, Page 69-70, #1).
On September 27, 1919, on the Illinois Convention grounds, Alfred was excommunicated by Jack Carroll, George Walker and James Jardine. George Walker pronounced Alfred to be "unregenerate." Alfred wrote E. Cooney the reason was "on the ground of incompatibility of spirit. I have never been born again!" According to Alfred, the cause given was a letter he had written to a Irish boyhood friend, Tom Lyness.
I thought it would be good to set my spiritual relationship house in order by writing to the separators. And so it happened that my first letter was to Jack C. [Carroll]; and then to George W. [Walker]; and it was only a few months ago that a door was opened to write to James J. [Jardine]: these were the three who had to do with my 'going into the wilderness' from the Illinois convention of 1919.
And as I recall, this was the way the matter was put by one of the three: 'If you do not believe in us, why do you come to the convention?' It was not a matter with me of not believing in men, but of not agreeing with some of the things they did. Then it came as something of a shock when Jack brought a specific charge against me: that I had written a letter to one of the workers (who happened to be a boyhood companion, and a brother to my stepmother) [Tom Lyness]. I admitted the writing, but could not see the offence. In the letter I said something to the effect that it would be nice if he and I could return home to Ireland the same year; go over old ground; and perhaps have a mission or two together. But whatever crime Jack saw in it, he said that it barred the way to any understanding and fellowship between them and me; and so there was nothing to do but come away; and I have not seen one of them since. (A. Magowan's July 1, 1957 Letter to Wm. Hughes)
Willie Edwards wrote Caseys in New Zealand, December 20, 1942: "When Alphie Magowan was on trial with the head workers and judges, he asked if he might read a letter from me ["me" is Willie Edwards]. Jack Carroll asked if he corresponded with me. He said, 'Yes.' “Well then, he said, 'We need no further witness, as that is enough.' "
Alfred related to Doug Parker in a personal interview in 1954: "On the 27th September 1919 [Saturday], I appeared before a special court and on the 28th [Sunday]took a train for the wilderness. I need hardly tell you what manner of men the judges were. The one who knew least about the case summed up the evidence in four words: I wrote a letter. That was all and it was enough; and the sentence was banishment for life, and I suppose eternal damnation thereafter.
"My separation from them cut into me deeply at the time and I went down to St. Louis to get my bearings. For six months I was there working as an auditor in a railroad office. Trying to freeze me to death by the cold treatment of exclusion from "the one true way" or trying to starve me to death by closing all supply doors against me, has been like trying to drown a fish... We have not known persecution in its time-glorified forms; and what we have suffered would hardly be worth mentioning in the light of the greater sufferings of others; but for myself I must confess that there were times when I could have borne very little more. What with slurs and insults, hints and insinuations, misunderstandings and prejudices, dark looks and averted faces where formerly there had been smiles and friendly greetings; and what I considered my good hatefully evil spoken of...Not only have I survived, but my spirit toward mankind in general, and towards my one time fellow servants in particular, is as sweet and wholesome as it ever was-and for that I give thanks to God...If I was to bring one charge against the good companions of our youth, who later became religious rulers and exactors, it would be a very dreadful one; they erred against compassion." (A. Magowan personal interview by Doug Parker and personal communication, November, 1954, Page 69-70, #1;)
"Our only sendoff in the dusk of that early morning in September, 1919 was the slipping of some dollars into our hand by my sister Harriett who looked broken-hearted at the strangeness of the parting. Those first days in St. Louis were memorable in many ways: I walked the streets looking for work like a man in a trance. The whole thing seemed like some horrible nightmare. I got a job auditing the Liberty Bond account of the Federal treasurer of the St. Louis and San Francisco railway; and was there about six months--long enough to get our spiritual bearings again, and to get the means for getting on the road again." (Alfred Magowan's letter to Alex Waddell November 18, 1954*)
"And giving my testimony I would say that I have lived abundantly. The ‘great experiment’ W. Irvine spoke of in Jerusalem was transmuted for me into a great experience, to the enrichment of my life beyond anything I could have anticipated or imagined had it followed any other course." (Letter to Doug Parker, December 6, 1954*)
Alfred wrote: "William Irvine's first letter from Jerusalem written the day after his arrival there (November 28, 1919) was written to me."
After his excommunication, Alfred wrote countless letters, poetry and books, including a hymnbook. Grover Muttersbaugh, a former preaching companion and lifelong friend, supplied all his writing materials: paper, typewriter ribbons and carbon paper etc. He kept copies of writings (excluding letters) from 1939 to 1949. These are typewritten poems and essays he bound into books 1 to 17, with pages numbered from 1 to 2,728 - about 1,000 of these are in verse. Most of the essays are comments on world affairs, starting in 1942. Several books followed: If our Civilization had been Christian, Echoes of World Voices, Purpose and Design, a hymnbook and others. After a heart attack in 1951 he started keeping copies of typed letters; there are thousands of pages all bound into book form.
As he explained to George Beattie, "There are three reasons for the writing of these letters: First to give food for thought to the person addressed. Second to leave a record of my 1954 thoughts for the later enlightenment of my boys. And third for the satisfaction to myself of writing--as we read in Proverbs: 'he that watereth shall be watered also himself'. And to add a fourth: to heed an inward prompting to use a talent which too many of my 'true way' friends have done what they could to compel me to hide in the earth. But as I, and not they, had it committed to me for use, I and not they will have to answer for it." (Letter to Geo Beattie Sept 28, 1954)
As he explained to George Walker: "a man must express what is given him for that purpose, or be like the man who hid his talent in the earth--miss the purpose of it and lose it into the bargain:
Why do I write? Because I must express
The thoughts that through my mind their waters pour.
Lest in the ocean of forgetfulness
They unexpressed be lost forevermore.
I had a wondrous dream last night--in verse.
When I awoke I thought it would remain.
I lay and laboured to the lines rehearse,
But conscious effort proved to be in vain.
And I have come to that place where I do
Believe we are no more than messengers
Sent to make known the beautiful end true,
And of the old-time witnesses the heirs.
So I have mourned when something I had heard
Slipped from my mind forever undeclared."
(Alfred Magowan's Letter to George Walker, February 21, 1954)
The author feels greatly indebted to the valuable insight and information Alfred put in writing. Alfred, along with two other Irish men, John Long and Goodhand Pattison, have left on record the most thorough, comprehensive writings about the Early Days found to date. Two of these men were excommunicated and all remained unsectarian and true and faithful to Christ all their lives.
After his excommunication, Alfred and Sarah moved to western USA where he worked as an auditor in a railway office. In the early 1920's, they moved to an area called Juniper Flats in southern California, where they stayed with Clarence M. and his wife Georgia Skinner.
They returned briefly to Ireland on June 3, in 1929 on SS California. Then on November 25, 1930, they travelled on the SS Orford, giving their occupations as Ministers of Religion, from London to Freemantle, Western Australia; and then to New Zealand, returning to California in 1931. The purpose of their trip was "to give a little aid and comfort to God-fearing people who for one reason or another were looked upon as aliens among their own spiritual kinsmen." On or after this trip in 1931, Alfred wrote a letter to Wilson McClung, headworker of New Zealand and also a play titled: Outline of the History of a Peculiar People from 1900 to 1931.
Sarah died in May 30, 1934 at the age of 52 at the home of John West, Rossahilly, formerly of Crocknacrieve. She was buried June 1, 1934 in the Wilson Grave at Syndare Cemetery in Irvinestown, N. Ireland. Alfred wrote a lovely tribute to his wife Sarah and dedicated the Hymnbook he compiled to her.
In 1938, Alfred and Wm. Robert Irwin from Enniskillen went on a 49-day trip abroad during which they visited Wm. Irvine in Israel and then travelled on to Australia and New Zealand. (See Wm. Irvine's Letters to Edwards dated 5/18/38, 5/28/38 and 6/2/38). It was during this visit in 1938 that Wm. Irvine made his famous, often quoted statement to Alfred Magowan: "It was A GREAT EXPERIMENT" to which Alfred replied, "It was A GREAT EXPERIENCE. (See Testimony of a Witness for the Defence by Alfred Magowan 1/13/56, p 5)
The second war had just started in 1939 when Alfred married Isobel Waugh on Armistice Day, November 11, 1939. They had four sons between 1940 and 1948. Isobel was born September 10, 1908 in Newtownards, Down, Northern Ireland and died on Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 2005 in Belfast, Antrim, N. Ireland, age 97 on what would have been her 55th wedding anniversary. They made their home near Portadown, Co. Armagh, Ireland. Currently, two
sons reside in Northern Ireland, one son lives in Africa and the
youngest son lives in Kentucky, USA.
Doug Parker visited Alfred and his family in his home in Ireland in October, 1954, and they corresponded after that. In 1954 Doug published and distributed his pamphlet "A Spiritual Fraud." Subsequently, Alfred write two booklets as a way of balancing Doug's material. They were titled: Testimony of a Witness for the Defence, January 13, 1956 and Cross-Examination of a Witness and Address to the Jury, 1956.
Alfred died November 13, 1960 of a coronary thrombosis, and is buried in Lurgan, Co. Armagh, N. Ireland in the grave of his sister Margaret Edith Chambers and her husband William.
(Sources: David & Daniel Magowan, 2016; Stephen Magowan 1997; permission granted to post any of their father's letters on TTT).
Companions of Alfred while he was in the work for 12 years (1907-1919): John Burns (1907), John Grooms; Forest Ruby (1909), Edgar Hawkins, Sam Charlton, Dave Lyness, Grover Muttersbaugh, Willie Wilson (1911-12 from Scotland); and possibly: Fred Croft and Alex Anderson.
ALFRED MAGOWAN's FAMILY TREE
Paternal Grandparents: Lived in Moyraverty, Armagh, Ireland
Grandfather: Samuel Magowan (1827-1902) farmer
Grandmother: Hannah Jane Ward (1830-1911)
Grandfather: John McNabb (1825- )farmer
Grandmother: Margaret Jones (1829-)
Father: James Magowan - born 1855; died June 2, 1930, Northern Ireland
Mother: Jane (McNabb) Magowan - born 1858; died May 15, 1894, Lurgan, Ireland
Sister: Eliza Jane - born February 12, 1879 in Moyraverty, Armagh, Ireland. Married Thomas White on April 17, 1911. Emigrated to the USA in 1912. Lived most of their lives in Pennsylvania. Died December 8, 1945 in Los Angeles, CA.
Brother: Samuel - born March 29, 1881 in Drumgor, Armagh, Ireland; unable to trace after 1901 census. According to Alfred his last words to his father were " I must be going now."
Sister: Harriett Isabella - born August 6, 1882 in Drumgor, Armagh, Ireland. Arrived in New York June 15, 1912 on SS Celtic. Harriett was in the work at least by 1913, perhaps earlier, and preached in Indiana and Illinois. On September 16, 1936, Harriett, her companion, Edith Allingham and their professing driver, Ralph Doan, all died when a freight train struck their truck at a crossing. She is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Illinois, USA--was a sister worker.
Self: John Alfred - born October 24, 1883, Drumgor, Armagh, Ireland; died November 13, 1960 in Portadown, Armagh, N. Ire, aged 77 years. Married Sarah Kerr Dawson on October 19, 1917 in Vigo County, Indiana, USA.
Sarah Dawson was born June 24, 1879 and died May 30, 1934, age 52, in in the home of John West, Co. Fermanagh, Enniskillen, N. Ireland . She entered the work in Ireland in ??. Alfred was remarried to Isobel Waugh on November 11, 1939 in Newtownards, Co. Down, N. Ireland. They had 4 sons between 1940 and 1948. Isobel was born September 10, 1908 in Newtownards, Co. Down, N. Ireland and died November 11, 2005 in Belfast, Antrim, N. Ireland.
Sister: Charlotte Anna - born February 15, 1886, Drumgor, Armagh, Ireland. Married George Hopps on September 26, 1908. After he died in 1917, she married Thomas Davison and moved to Toronto in 1929.
Sister: Margaret Edith - born June 15, 1887, Drumgor, Armagh, Ireland. Married William Chambers on December 12, 1912 and died a year after her husband on December 21, 1944 in Belfast, Co. Antrim, N. Ireland.
Sister: Mary (May) Evelyn - born April 2, 1891, Drumgor, Armagh, Ireland. Emigrated to the USA in 1912 and married Philip Redwine (1889-1975) on December 26, 1916. They lived most of their lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. She died at the age of 94 on December 2, 1985. Is buried near her sister Harriettt.
After Jane (McNabb) Magowan died on May 15, 1894, James Magowan married Eliza Lyness on October 26, 1894.
Children of James Magowan and Eliza Lyness:
Sister: Lillian - born March 19, 1897
Sister: Georgina - born June 29, 1898
Sister: Annie- born October 16, 1900 in Drumgor, Armagh, Ireland. Married Thomas Victor Andrews on September 9, 1932 in Waringstown, Co. Down. Her husband died in WW2 and she died on July 20, 1980 in England.
Sister: Sarah Ann - born Dec 11, 1901
Brother: James - born April 13, 1904 in Corcreeny, Waringstown, Co. Down, Ireland. James inherited his father's farm. Married Frances __? Died May, 1974.
Click here for Daniel Magowan's Family Tree on ancestry.com
Other Statements by Alfred Magowan
The following quotes are found in the book, The Secret Sect by Doug & Helen Parker, 1982 (in chronological order). There are no additional quotes in Patricia Roberts' books.
"We were said by the religious people who rested 'in the finished work' to not understand the gospel at all. All sects upbraided us for preaching works when they preached grace. They said we were working our way to heaven instead of depending on the merits of Christ. They said we did not believe the blood of the Son of God was sufficient to atone for sin." (Secret Sect Page 100, #6; A. Magowan in letter written about 1930)
"It was a revolution against the respectable and comfortable members of the community who, while claiming to be Christians, were in high positions looking down on the improvidence of the poor. Many of us were moved to go forth against the giant of Mammonistic Christendom. We forsook all we had. We emptied ourselves of all worldly ambition to have, to be, to hold, to accumulate, to climb, to shine, and to rule over our fellow men. We were uncompromising towards Christendom's institutions and establishments because they were as much a part of the world as its commerce, its finance and other dyed-in-the-wool institutions. We were so zealous that no arguments against us could have made the slightest effect. Minds were unalterable and irrevocably made up. The need seemed so great. It was a chance to live heroically in an age afflicted with dullness. We despised clericalism and fought against it. We broke idols. We were fanatical and attacked the building of cathedrals alongside the slums. We carried the war into the enemies' hands and spoke ill of the church and the clergy. We believed that we were the last hope of the world and that ours was an honest-hearted revolt. We set out to form a brotherhood where all would be equal. We wanted to break from all tradition and become a people neither Catholic nor Protestant, with no regulations, no authority, no machinery or human control, to be free to serve God and make people free like ourselves. We put all worldly ambition behind us, none of this world's satisfactions or regards held an attraction, we had no theology to propound, no congregations to please, we saw ourselves as workers but not bosses." (Secret Sect Page 26 #10; A. Magowan letter to E. Cooney, November 9, 1953)--incorrect source--quote is not found in this letter.
"Whatever else may be said about it, our religion was a religion of preachers . . . an heroic religion making such an appeal to youth that hundreds of young men were prepared to do violence to desire and ambition that they might be counted among those who were sent on holy missions before them. Nothing could have damped down the fire of their ardour and no obstacle would have been allowed to stand in the way of their progress toward the GOAL OF THE AGES ... to be counted worthy to obtain that world and the resurrection of the dead." (Page 4, #12; A. Magowan letter to George--possibly George Walker, September 28, 1954)
"We built a church at a little place called Gesto, Ontario." Then Irvine declared, "All public worship is abomination to God." (Page 35, #8; Doug Parker Personal Communication, December 16, 1954)
"I recall W. Irvine saying that the home was the original God-ordained institution: the roof under which we should be born; from which we should be married; and from which at the last we should be buried.
"And as for the meeting in homes-what virtue Pagan or Christian is in that! The early disciples met behind locked and bolted doors for fear of the Jews we are told. They met secretly not by choice but by the necessity of the persecution situation that everywhere confronted them. They were driven underground in Rome, and had their meetings in what are called catacombs there. Where they met was a matter of no spiritual importance; but WHAT THEY MET FOR was vital to them as hunted and driven disciples of Jesus.
"There is no commandment about the church in the home. There were reasons for it in the early days-which we could not give in our time. The building of a house of worship would have been an invitation to have it destroyed-persecution of the followers of Jesus being almost the air that the world breathed at that time. Homes were safer, and people could slip, into them one by one without being observed." (Personal communication April 26, 1954 to Clarence and Georgia Skinner; personal communication, December 16, 1954) (Page 35, #9; Secret Sect)
Alfred Magowan, R. Irwin and Edward Cooney travelled to Jerusalem to visit him in 1938. Mr. Irwin from Enniskillen recalled the following incidents: "He showed us over some of the places he had been lodging in for the past twenty years and he was living under very good circumstances. At that time he was lodging with an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church. We went away for several days to Nazareth and on our return to Jerusalem he had quite a mail to collect which I had the privilege of picking up for him. I would say there were between fifty and sixty letters, and as he opened them I witnessed that there was money in most of them." Mr. Magowan commented that Irvine "had many friends, especially in California, who made sure that he never lacked anything. When he had more than his needs required he used the surplus with a free hand. I heard that he once sent one hundred pounds to the poor people of Kilsyth his home town." (Page 65, #20; Transcript of personal interview, R. Irwin, A Magowan, 1954 by Doug Parker)
"We did not believe in paid preachers. But should preachers starve? "The laborer is worthy of his hire"; and that was said by our Lord Himself about those He was sending to preach... I am prepared to say that it was a dreadful thing to make preachers the exception to the universal law of work and wages ... a fundamental law that God wrought into the constitution of the world at creation, and well expressed in these words "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox which treadeth out the corn." (Page 45, #10; A. Magowan personal communication to Doug Parker, December 6, 1954)
"I spent twelve years in this work in the American states of Alabama, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. I was later excommunicated but the excommunicators would hardly call themselves that. If they were asked, they would likely say they did not excommunicate anybody and we went out from them because we were not of them.
" On the 27th September 1919, I appeared before a special court and on the 28th took a train for the wilderness. I need hardly tell you what manner of men the judges were. The one who knew least about the case summed up the evidence in four words: I wrote a letter. That was all and it was enough; and the sentence was banishment for life, and I suppose eternal damnation thereafter.
" My separation from them cut into me deeply at the time and I went down to St. Louis to get my bearings. For six months I was there working as an auditor in a railroad office. Trying to freeze me to death by the cold treatment of exclusion from "the one true way" or trying to starve me to death by closing all supply doors against me, has been like trying to drown a fish... We have not known persecution in its time-glorified forms; and what we have suffered would hardly be worth mentioning in the light of the greater sufferings of others; but for myself I must confess that there were times when I could have borne very little more. What with slurs and insults, hints and insinuations, misunderstandings and prejudices, dark looks and averted faces where formerly there had been smiles and friendly greetings; and what I considered my good hatefully evil spoken of... But I was only one and have heard the testimony of many. I watched the "judge advocate" as he pronounced the death sentence, for that is what it was to Gus Halb. I saw the sweat break out on him as the full meaning of the thing came home to him. He never spoke a word and when he felt himself dismissed he turned and walked out of the room like a man in a dream... Not only have I survived, but my spirit toward mankind in general, and towards my one time fellow servants in particular, is as sweet and wholesome as it ever was-and for that I give thanks to God... If I was to bring one charge against the good companions of our youth, who later became religious rulers and exactors, it would be a very dreadful one; they erred against compassion." (Page 69-70, #1; A. Magowan personal interview by Doug Parker and personal communication, November, 1954)
"We had rich variety and experience which was fairly evenly divided between the pleasant and the disagreeable. I recall one occasion when our audience went home and left us to shift for ourselves with empty bellies under the stars. John remarks: 'I think they take us for angels'; and when I seemed puzzled he explained, 'They give us credit for having wings but no stomachs!' There was always the sky...if other roofs failed! John and I sampled it in Ohio." (Page 33 #32; A. Magowan personal communication with Doug Parker, February 24, 1955)
"It was an error to believe in a "one true way" which was in the power of men. We ought to have known better than to think God would limit Himself that way, or put our salvation at the will or in the power of men no matter how wise and even saintly they might be. There is ONE TRUE WAY, but that WAY is a PERSON: "No man cometh unto the Father but by me." The preachers are neither ashamed nor afraid to commend themselves as the only true servants God has on earth in our time!" (Page 108, #2; A. Magowan personal communication with Doug Parker, March 24, 1955)
Other Notable Quotes by Magowan:
"Tramp preachers did everything but sweat blood in the days of their going forth to strange lands and without visible means of support. They knew what it was to live on raw turnips in Scotland and oranges in California. They also knew what it was to go for days without anything to eat; and I can speak with authority, seeing I was one of them. We slept under the stars, in schools, in churches, in halls, in empty store buildings - with neither bed nor bed covering. We tramped through the snow from morning till night in more than 40 degrees of frost. And speaking for myself, I know what it is to have my tramp preacher companion rub frost out of his frostbitten ear with snow. We were tramps by tramping but we never begged. We were preachers by calling but we took up no collection. We worked in the daytime when people were responsive enough to our preaching at night to ask us into their houses to sleep and eat. We looked about to see if anything needed to be done on the premises or in the fields so as not to be burdensome to them." (January 13, 1956; Testimony of a Witness for the Defence by A. Magowan)
"I explained what was meant in these words: 'IT WAS A GREAT EXPERIMENT.' An experiment in brotherhood, where all were on one level; where possessions had no power over the hearts of men; where there was no desire for honours or titles or distinctions; where men could walk together, and call each other by their first names; where there was faith enough to believe preachers would not starve if they went out into the world without visible means of support. An experiment in passing through this world without conforming to it; and where spiritually-minded men could maintain their pilgrimage, when Establishment was calling to them, and pulling at them from every side. An experiment in serving, without expectation of reward in this life; where something of the sufferings of Christ was to be expected; and where the soul could be disciplined by all that it would be required to pass through—unto the final purifying of the heart. A very Great Experiment indeed, and in which thousands of young men and women took part—to be made in an image and likeness not to be attained in any other way, or by any ordinary means."(Cross-Examination of a Witness and Address to the Jury* by A. Magowan, circa 1958)
View photographs of Magowans in TTT Photo Gallery