Everybody's Mission - Historical Research

posted on: June 23, 2016

My great-grandfather was known to many in his community as Rev. O. O. Watson, a superintendent of Everybody's Mission in Pittsburgh, PA.  To my family, he was known as Orville Ory Watson.  In my search to learn more about my great-grandfather, I've uncovered many historical mentions of his missionary service to the people of Pittsburgh, PA and to all who happened to come upon the services of Everybody's Mission along their journey.  This blog post is my ongoing curation of historical records of the timeline, mentions, and services of Everybody's Mission with links to the accounts and records as found online:

July 1911 Charter, constitution, by-laws, doctrines, disciplines, and ritual of Everybody's Mission at Pittsburgh, PA.,0,

Everybody's Mission Charter by O. O. Watson

1911 Everybody’s Mission Girl's Home: 19 Kenova St., Mt. Washington
Reference Article:
Girls Home Dedicated. Everybody's Mission Plans Rescue Work for Young Women

1912 Everybody's Mission: 1615 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA

  • "Everybody's Mission; Brother and Sister Smith, Pastors, 1615 Fifth Ave.,Pittsburg, Pa. Monday, 2:30 and 7:30 P.M.,... Everybody's Mission; Brother and Sister Smith, 161,5 Fifth Ave., Pittsburg, Pa. Saturday, 2:30 and 7:30 and all day Sunday; and Monday, 2:30 P. M." quoted from "My Triennial Circuit" by W. B. Godbey http://wesley.nnu.edu/wesleyctr/books/0701-0800/HDM0726.pdf
1912  Everybody's Mission: 235 Fourth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA
Reference Articles:

1920's "The Road to Ruin- A Tale of Two Men" by Robert Booth
God's Missionary Standard, August 2009
"One day, a few people from Everybody’s Mission1 in Pittsburgh knocked on the door of great-grandparents home and invited them to come to church. Louis didn’t go, but Dorothy did and she was converted. Dorothy and the Mission began to earnestly pray for her alcoholic husband who was on the road to ruin. They prayed for several years without seeing any results. I wish I knew more details about the event, but I do know that Louis William King got gloriously saved. My grandmother tells the story that their home was instantly transformed. The alcohol was gone, the dysfunctional systems were gone, life was dramatically different.  
Everybody’s Mission began to work with this family, and even trained Louis to preach, using him at the Mission. The Mission also had a preaching point about 25 miles away in Clinton, PA where they sent my great-grandfather in 1921. Lives were changed and the message of Holiness was spread throughout that little community. While he was there, Louis felt led to start the Tri-State Holiness Association Camp Meeting, otherwise known as Clinton Camp in 1925. The camp has been instrumental over these many years in the salvation and sanctification of many. I am grateful that my great-grandfather found God and he got off the road to ruin. Otherwise, one can only wonder how the story would have ended for my family.....Several key ingredients helped my great-grandparents find Jesus. First of all was the fervent praying of the Chris- tians from Everybody’s Mission. They didn’t give up even when Louis made no move toward God for several years.  They kept on praying. We can’t give up even when we don’t see any positive steps being taken in the lives of the people that we are praying for. We must fight harder and pray longer for our communities in which we live and minister. Time is of the essence—keep praying! 
Secondly I find it interesting that the folks developed a personal friendship with my great-grandparents. They did- n’t just invite them once, they kept on coming back and getting personally involved in the lives of my family. I am grateful they didn’t give up. The Mission’s staff taught my great-grandparents what it was to be a Christian and that made all of difference in their lives." 
1930? - Advocate, Volumes 83-85, Advocate Publishing House, 1988.  "Thomas felt the call to the ministry.  He was the first licensed by "Everybody's Mission" in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Rev. E. G. Marsh from God's Bible School was asked to lay hands on Thomas and commit him to the work of the Lord."  https://books.google.com/books?id=gSfnAAAAMAAJ&q=%22everybody's+mission%22+pittsburgh&dq=%22everybody's+mission%22+pittsburgh&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj6xLWQ17rNAhWCYiYKHSY3DI8Q6AEINjAC

Spring 1930 -  Thomas E. Hermiz Accounts of Everybody's Mission...
 Passing The Torch Article in Advocate Dec 1988
Click to Read Full Article from Advocate Dec. 1988,
Archived at Wisconsin Historical Society 

"The Trials & Triumphs of Thomas E. Hermiz"
Thomas E. Hermiz Autobiography:

"It was after moving back into Pittsburgh proper, on Fifth Avenue in the Soho area, that Ibegan to attend Everybody’s Mission on Chatham Street. 
Two great blessings came into my life as a result of attending Everybody’s Mission. One was the fact that here the Wesleyan teaching of entire sanctification was clearly taught; the other was the fact that through attendance at this mission I became acquainted with God’s Bible School in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I later went.

While others have resisted a call to preach and go away to college or Bible school to study for the ministry, I was just the opposite. Once I sensed that God wanted me to preach I was anxious to go away to some Bible school and study the Bible in depth. Off and on I would attend various meetings and conventions of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. I attended many of their youth rallies especially. I aspired to attend their Bible school at Nyack on the Hudson. However, when I sent in my application, I was rejected since I did not have a high school education. This greatly disturbed me, and I felt somewhat rebellious in my heart. But I never stopped loving the Lord and continued to study the Bible and was faithful in my devotions.

I had quit working at the foundry and was now working in a wholesale drug house in Pittsburgh. I formed the habit of reading the Bible on my knees before going to work. About this time when I was having this struggle over not getting to go to Bible school, I was reading in the Psalms. This particular morning I was reading Psalm 32 on my knees. When I came to the 8th verse something happened to me, for it said, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eyes.” It was all I needed. Something within me gave way completely to the will of God. I have never had a controversy with God since then. There was a difference in my life as the Spirit of God seemed to take a new control of my will and affections. God filled me with His Spirit that day. Even those at work seemed to sense something different about me, though they had known me as a born-again Christian for about a year. I seemed to have gained poise as a result of this experience.

Answering the Call to Preach

I had sensed a call to preach for some time and at the time I shrank from it. However, with the hunger to know and understand the Bible I began to wish to pass on to others that which I was gaining in Bible knowledge. This was one reason I was so eager to go to Bible school. As I became established in my faith and Christian experience, I was also having opportunities to speak at young people’s meetings, at cottage prayer meetings, at missions, and once in a while at street meetings.

A year or two before my conversion I had an interesting experience with a street meeting. It was Saturday evening, and I had gone to a movie on Butler Street. It was still early, and I knew there was another movie house several blocks up on Butler Street. So I started walking in that direction. About half way between these two theaters I came across a crowd of people on a corner. There was hymn singing and testifying. This attracted me, and I stood watching from a sense of curiosity. As they were about to close the meeting, they asked for a show of hands for those who wanted prayer. A number raised their hands, and so did I. Then I went on to the second movie. This, as far as I can remember, was the first time I had ever made such a move toward God, and I’m not sure that I fully understood what I was doing. Several years later I found out that this group, mostly young people, was from the Northside Christian and Missionary Alliance on Arch Street. I had the privilege of going out with this group in street meetings and doing some of my first preaching.

At Everybody’s Mission I was being used from time to time. In the summer I had the opportunity of speaking to the young people. I suggested that we go out in the yard for our meeting since it was a nice evening out. The Mission was a converted dwelling at that time on Chatham Street, across from a YWCA. So I stood on the porch and preached salvation, and because I did so want the passersby to get the message, I preached as loudly as I could. The board of Everybody’s Mission was in session in an upstairs room of the mission. They also heard me preaching and decided to give me a license to preach. (This was the summer before I went to Bible school, and a year later they ordained me when I was home for the summer. In my ordination at Everybody’s Mission I had the distinct privilege of having in attendance Rev. E. G. Marsh, professor at God’s Bible School. He happened to be in the area of Pittsburgh and was to bring a message at the mission. Brother Watson asked him to lay hands on me and offer the ordination prayer, which he did. Later, when I transferred to the Churches of Christ in Christian Union, this ordination was fully accepted. Former students of G.B.S. will especially appreciate this fact of Brother Marsh’s involvement.)

I have already mentioned that by attending this mission I became acquainted with God’s Bible School in Cincinnati. At that time it was possible for the school to have many of the stu- dents work their way through school right at the school. So I sent my application in to the school in the Spring of 1930. What a thrill it was to receive a letter of acceptance as a work student!

The Sunday before I was to leave for Cincinnati, Rev. O. O. Watson, the Superintendent of Everybody’s Mission, asked me to preach in the afternoon service, which would be a sort of a farewell service. On Saturday evening before this I was eating at a Syrian-Lebanese restaurant on Wylie Avenue. My father and I frequently ate there. Several others were eating there, and I began a conversation with two men who were sitting at this long table. Both were either Syrian or Lebanese. I witnessed to them and told them of the fact that I was preaching the next afternoon at this mission, which was fairly close. The one was very attentive and interested, but the other was a skeptic and soon started an argument on evolution. I felt that my witness had gone down the drain. However, the next afternoon, to my surprise, the more receptive gentleman walked into the mission. I have no record of what I preached on that afternoon, but I felt let down. 
After I preached, Brother Watson opened the service for testimonies. Several testified and
again I was surprised to see this Syrian gentleman stand to his feet. In my mind I thought, “Well, like so many from Bible lands, he has some opinion to give” (Oh ye of little faith!). His testimony went something like this: He told of our conversation of the night before in the restaurant; then he said, “I went to the rooming house where I stay; I took a bath and casually laid on my bed. I began to think of our conversation at the restaurant with Thomas. I began to think about God and tears began to come to my eyes. I got on my knees and prayed and gave my heart to God, and now I feel so much better.” To say that I was amazed is putting it mildly! Where I felt a failure and defeated in my witness the night before, the Holy Spirit had taken over and blessed the little effort I had put forth. It was a great lesson that I’ve had to learn many times."
1931 Everybody's Mission: 64 Chatham St, Pittsburgh, PA

October 9, 1931 - Pittsburgh Press - Mission Convention Opens

February 10, 1934 - Pittsburgh Press - Church Activities: Rev. Harvey Loper

1937  Everybody's Mission Mention in Except from U.S. Steel News, Page 27

February 19, 1941 Everybody's Mission Mention in Rev. Ory O. Watson Obituary:

Everybody's Mission mentions outside of Pittsburgh:

  • 1878 Rochdale, United Kingdom. "The Salvation Army first commenced its work in the town of Rochdale in 1878.  They took over the local Theatre for four Sundays, but after the third they were not allowed the use of it any longer due to the damage that had been caused by those in attendance!  They moved to the Wash House and continued from there.  After three changes of leadership, Captain Polly Perkins and Lieutenant Marion Smith closed the work down - in 1878!  The converts joined with the 'Everybody's Mission'.  Eventually the members of the mission appealed to General William Booth to open up the work of The Salvation Army in Rochdale again, and if he did so, the members of the mission would become Salvationists and stand by the Army.  So it was on Sunday 12th March 1882  The Salvation Army 'opened fire' in Rochdale.  The first premises, or 'Citadel', was the Old Rink on Castlemere Street.  This spacious building was packed night after night with many experiencing conversion. " Quoted from: http://www.rochdaleonline.co.uk/sites/the-salvation-army/rochdale-history
  • 1915 Weymouth Twp, New Jersey. "Everybody's Mission Church: A large group of residents wanted a Pentecostal Mission. These families included the Josephsons, Clemensons, Seelmans and Richerts, among other. They built their meeting house in 1915, east of the Episcopal Church. Meetings were officiated by visiting ministers, and sometimes by their own members, including the Clemensons and Josephsons. Everybody's Mission held services for a number of years, but as families moved away and others joined the Lutheran group, the church fell into disrepair.   About 1961, an active Lutheran group (Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church of Dorothy) which had been meeting at Everybody's Mission Church suggested purchasing the rundown Episcopal Church from the Diocese of New Jersey for a token price of $100. The Lutheran group was active and began to maintain the building. They first added a new roof, which was needed as the former one had been installed in the 1930's when I was in college.  Weymouth Township received a grant from the state in 1993 to rehabilitate the Mission as a landmark. The grant covered the expenses involved in moving the structure behind the Municipal Building and making improvements to it. A basement was dug and a new roof installed. The windows were also replaced. Although constructed of pinewood, rather than cedar, the building remained structurally sound, with no termite damage. On July 4, 1993, the building was dedicated and named the "Grandmom Seelman Youth Center". Scouts and other groups now have a permanent place to hold their meetings." Quoted from: http://www.weymouthnj.org/history-sc.html

  • 1917 - Newport News, VA. "By 1904, Michaux had saved enough money to open his own seafood and poultry business as a well as a dancing school. There he met Mary Eliza Pauline, an orphaned older woman whom he married in 1906. 
        Five years later, the prosperous entrepreneur built a 3-story home off Pinkett's Beach at the foot of Ivy Avenue, where the childless couple began raising two of Michaux's younger sisters. He also began embracing the influence of his wife's increasingly passionate religious convictions, including her missionary forays into the poorest, roughest parts of town to kneel and pray at the feet of drunks, prostitutes and other sinners. 
        Not until a lucrative government contract drew him to Hopewell in 1917, however, did Michaux erect a small white-frame church for his wife, who named it "Everybody's Mission." Within a year he was ordained in the Church of Christ (Holiness). 
        "He loved her - and she told him what she thought God wanted him to do," says historian Lillian Ashcraft-Eason, who grew up in the church before making it the subject of a book and a College of William Mary doctoral dissertation. 
        "And like everything else Elder Michaux did, once he decided to do it he did it with a lot of passion." 
        That zeal helps explain why - following the end of World War I and their return to Newport News - Michaux and his wife spent 3 months preaching on the street with no more shelter than a sheet of canvas. 
        It also sheds light on how fast the church took shape, moving in 15 months from a rented storefront to a new 3-story structure housing not just a sanctuary but also offices, apartments, a grocery, a cafe and a savings bank aimed at members. 
        Most of these people were "poor, propertyless and without formal schooling," Ashcraft-Eason says. And they came to Michaux as much for material help as his grasp of the Gospel." Quoted from April 29, 2013, Newport News article "Newport News preacher redefined the black church" written by Mark St. John Erickson http://www.dailypress.com/features/history/dp-nws-black-churches-solomon-michaux-20130429-story.html
  • 1917 - Newport News, VA. "By 1917, Lightfoot had become a prosperous businessman, working out of Newport News, Norfolk and Petersburg, VA and securing large government contracts.

    Continuing his success, Lightfoot opened an additional business in Hopewell, Virginia, where both he and Mrs. Michaux later moved since the seafood business had become so lucrative.

    Although Lightfoot traveled to Hopewell mainly for business purposes, God had another purpose for his life – that purpose was to make Lightfoot a “fisherman of men”. So God spoke to Lightfoot through the book of St John 4:35-36 which states: “Say ye not there are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields: for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth, recieveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he the reapeth may
    rejoice together.”

    Thus the Elder began to preach in Hopewell, Virginia in a little mission church called “Everybody’s Mission”, which the Elder had built himself. Before reading St John 4:35, 36, the Elder was not convinced that the Lord had called him to preach: therefore, Mrs. Michaux taught the word, and guest ministers preached.

    Later, the Elder, himself, began to preach, secure in the knowledge that God had truly call him. By early 1919, Hopewell’s population had declined speedily, due to the cessation of World War I and the inevitable collapse of the seafood business: consequently, the Elder and his wife returned to Newport News, Virginia, still a thriving, growing town.

    Arriving in Newport News, Virginia in 1919, the Elder prayed to God for several month concerning the course God would have him take. Desiring to be absolutely certain that God was leading him, the Elder-like Gideon of Old- Put out a “fleece” to God, saying, “God, if you will give me 150 souls in Newport News, I will know that you want me to begin a work here” God accepted the “Fleece”; the evidence is history."  Quoted from http://gospelspreadingchurch.org/our-founders-and-history.html
  • 1917 - Newport News, VA. "The church that was built had a small, white frame. The DuPont Company donated the land for the church. The church was interracial, nondenominational, and evangelical. She named it “Everybody’s Mission.” This church was very successful in its nightly worship service, conducted by visiting elders and Mary Michaux.
    At his wife’s insistence, Michaux began attending church again on a regular basis. To him religion and business were not in harmony, according to his experiences that were rooted in the Protestant tradition. However, in 1917 and in 1918 he was licensed and ordained in the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A, receiving counsel from Elder W. C. Handy, a Church of Christ preacher, advising him on scriptural interpretation, pastoral duties, and church doctrine and practices. As an ordained evangelist, he had the authority to pastor Everybody’s Mission, and the church became a Church of Christ affiliate."  http://www.last.fm/music/Elder+Lightfoot+Solomon+Michaux/+wiki
  • February 26, 1921 - Newport News, VA. "From the ministry of Lightfoot Solomon Michaux, a flamboyant evangelist, who soon after his conversion in 1917, had been impressed that he was to become leader of a new church.  This dream was destined to become reality on February 26, 1921, when-refusing reassignment in the Church of Christ (Holiness)-- Michaux established the Gospel Spreading Tabernacle Building Association with his own Everybody's Mission of Newport News, Virginia, as centerpiece." quoted from A guide to the study of the holiness movement.  https://books.google.com/books?id=JYrgAAAAMAAJ&q=%22everybody's+mission%22+pittsburgh&dq=%22everybody's+mission%22+pittsburgh&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj6xLWQ17rNAhWCYiYKHSY3DI8Q6AEIQTAF

  • 1932 - Detroit, MI. "Robert Ramsey, who runs Everybody's Mission on Grand River Avenue, Detroit."  quoted from the Michigan Christian Advocate, Volume 59, Issue 8, p. 17  https://books.google.com/books?id=5j7nAAAAMAAJ&q=%22everybody's+mission%22+pittsburgh&dq=%22everybody's+mission%22+pittsburgh&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj6xLWQ17rNAhWCYiYKHSY3DI8Q6AEIRjAG
  • December 1936 - 375 Green St., Spartanburg, South Carolina.  "Charles H. Williams who organized mission and is now in charge is originally from Washington, D. C. and is an employee of Southern R. R. Shops, having been transferred here.  While he lived in Washington he was associated with Dr. E. A. Martin who has a mission known as "Everybody's Mission."  When Mr. Williams moved here, Dr. Martin sent him seventy-five chairs, a piano, stove, and $25.00 with which to establish a mission in Spartanburg. The mission has no building but rents an old store, paying $5.00 a month rent.  Present membership, 38; present head of mission, Charles Henry Williams, Box 52, Drayton. Records: Hattie Helms, Secretary, Snake Rd, Spartenburgh, S.C. Custodian: Willis Brown, Drayton."  Quoted from WPA Survey: Church Records Form  http://digital.tcl.sc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/hrs/id/5464

  • November 28, 1958 - 1292 Franklin Avenue, Franklin, PA. "Mr. and Mrs. J. Alfred Fullerton put the finishing touches on a large scenic mural which they recently completed on the wall at the back of the sanctuary in Everybody's Mission, 1292 Franklin Avenue. The painting will be dedicated at special services Sunday at 2:30 p. rri. (News-Herald Photo) - ' "  Dedication Of Painting Set For Sunday at Mission A large 14 by nine and one-half foot religious mural, painted by a husband and wife evangelistic team, will be dedicated during special services in Everybody's Mission Sunday afternoon. The mural, which covers the John 1:14 and the two hymns,! "Safe in the Arms of Jesus" and "Rock of Ages."  https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/55376554/
  • Date Unknown. Chicago, IL. "Chapter III
    Choosing a Life Work 
    EMINENTLY practical in all matters of 
    business, Mr. Cook knew that in the bat- 
    tle against ignorance and wickedness 
    " the sinews of war " are as needful as in any 
    other campaign; missions need money as well 
    as faith and consecration, and he kept on 
    down town, extending the mail-order busi- 
    ness so that there might be no financial short- 
    age on North Avenue. He recalled young 
    Bent from Wheaton, and the two worked to- 
    gether harmoniously for several years. Out 
    of business hours Mr. Cook continued his 
    Sunday-school teaching and mission work. 
    Everybody's Mission grew and prospered. 
    In the course of time it seemed advisable to 
    get away from the rather undesirable environ- 
    ment. A lot was leased on a street near by 
    and a building erected, chiefly at Mr. Cook's 
    expense. There was a large attendance every 
    Sunday, between three and four hundred 
    " regulars," though the enrollment was much 
    Without aid from any church or society, 
    Mr. Cook maintained and financed this school 
    until churches were organized in the neigh- 
    borhood and able to take over the work. Be- 
    sides Everybody's Mission, he organized 
    and superintended the North Avenue Mission, 
    the Lake View Mission and the Lake View 
    Union Sunday School. Much of the time for 
    ten years he superintended two schools, and 
    some of the time three schools, each Sunday. 
    Superintendents and teachers in modern 
    Sunday-schools can have little understanding 
    of the difficulties Mr. Cook had to meet and 
    master in carrying on his work for the under- 
    privileged people of Chicago during the re- 
    construction period immediately following 
    the great fire. All were poor, many were 
    illiterate, some were embittered by their 
    losses. Saloons and gambling dens preyed 
    upon their scanty resources, leaving them 
    robbed of money and wounded in self-re- 
    spect. Naturally, these destructive agencies 
    feared and hated the work which the missions 
    were doing, and, as has been said, they now 
    (54) "quoted from Memoirs: David C. Cook, the friend of the Sunday School"

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