Ohio History Journal

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A Salvation Army Prelude: The Christian

A Salvation Army Prelude: The Christian

Mission in Cleveland, Ohio



At the corner of North Fourth and Oxford streets in Philadelphia,

a small, inconspicuous plaque in the sidewalk declares, "Here on

Sunday, October 5, 1879 was begun the work of the Salvation Army

in the United States." Although Philadelphia may be credited as

the birthplace of the Salvation Army in America, Salvation Army

work actually was introduced in the United States at Cleveland,

Ohio, where a branch of William    Booth's Christian Mission

operated from 1872 to 1876.

The Salvation Army was born in England in 1865 when its

founder, the Rev. William Booth and his wife, Catherine, began to

minister to the outcasts of East London's slums. Their organization

was called the East London Christian Mission until it branched out

into other English cities and became the Christian Mission. This

appellation served until 1878, when the present name, the Salvation

Army, was first used. Although the name varied in this formative

period, there was a continuity of purpose and of being that date

the founding of the Salvation Army as 1865.1

From the small mission in East London grew a great world-wide

Army noted for its unselfish ministry to the spiritual and material

needs of suffering humanity. One of the secrets of this phenomenal

growth was the dynamic personality of William Booth, the organi-

zation's founder. He inspired many of the people with whom he

came in contact to devote their lives to serving God and man. One

of these--a cabinetmaker named James Jermy--first introduced his

methods into the United States.

James Jermy emigrated from his native England to Canada in

1871, then crossed over to the United States and settled in Cleveland,


* Herbert A. Wisbey, Jr., is professor of history and head of the department of

history and political science at Keuka College, Keuka Park, N. Y.

1 Robert Sandall, The History of The Salvation Army (2 vols.; Toronto, 1947;

New York, 1950), I, 47.