Love Story of Rebecca J. Fox

Rebecca J. Henderson ~ Traveling Evangelist
Rebecca J. Fox

Traveling evangelists were a prominent part of the religious life in Ray’s Mill.  In November of 1909 evangelist Rebecca J. Fox came to Ray’s Mill, Georgia to preach to gospel.  It was here that Fox’s gospel tent was burned by vandals (see Arson and Evangelism in Rays Mill, GA.) Here also, she met the widower Manassah Henderson and within a month the two were married.

Mrs. Henderson later published the story of her evangelical work. Excerpts of her experiences in Ray’s Mill are related below. (see the entire text at http://www.archive.org/details/mrsrebeccajhende00hendiala)

Manassah W. Henderson met evangelist Rebecca J. Fox while attending a 1909 revival at Ray City, GA

Manassah W. Henderson met evangelist Rebecca J. Fox while attending a 1909 revival at Ray City, GA

Mrs. Rebecca J. Henderson’s Experience In Twenty-Six Years of Christian Work.

After I received the Baptism the Lord would not allow me to make any solicitation or to take up an offering in meetings for months, that He might lead me by His Spirit and providence. After holding tent meetings about ten weeks in Jacksonville, Fla., Brother R. T. Waldrup came after me on the 29th of September, 1909, and escorted me to his home in Valdosta, Georgia, where I had been invited to rest and work with them in the Pentecostal Mission as long as I would.

After spending some weeks in their delightful home at 913 Patterson street, Brother M. C. Griffin, a cousin of Mr. Henderson’s, came and invited me to come to his home, Ray’s Mill, Georgia, and hold a tent meeting.

During this time I received my letters back from Mr. Fox, and at the same time I received a letter from Mr. Henderson written in a spirit of great tenderness thanking me for the spiritual help I had been to him. He was converted in my meeting at Ray’s Mill.

In this letter he spoke of the desolations of his home, since the death of his dear wife, and two precious children some years ago by typhoid fever. And said, his young lady daughter and his two young sons were all that were at home now, and they were very lonely, and they all desired that I should spend the Christmas holidays with them. He attended the meetings often, and we carried on a correspondence for a few weeks.

One morning the Lord gave me a vision of Mr. Henderson’s and Brother Crosby’s faces. They both came to Ray’s Mill that morning to services. As they approached the house Mr. Henderson said, “Get ready to go back with us we have come after you. We want you to make us a visit and rest a while before your meeting begins at Willacoochee.” I went with them, “doubting nothing, for He had sent them.” Acts 10:20. We left the meeting with Brother Griffin…

The following is extracts from my adopted daughter’s letter written at this time.

Mist, Arkansas,
December 22, 1909.
Dear Mama:I received your letter last night and was pleased and surprised also as I read through its contents; and then took a long breath and read it the second time.I do hope and pray if you and Mr. Henderson marry that you will be happy for you deserve to be. I would not be surprised if you aren’t Mrs. Henderson by now. I do hope he will be better to you than Fox.Now, won’t you look, step-mother of nine children. Ha, Ha, you are about to get ahead of me. My two, though they are so small they nearly get the best of me.******I am not going to write much for I know you won’t have time to read much.

Miss Maggie Henderson is right sweet looking, I do hope they will treat you O. K., and you will be as “snug as a bug in a rug.”

We have had such a cold spell, snow is six inches deep. It certainly has been cold. I have been hugging the fire ever since the snow.

I am sending you a sofa pillow cover for your new home.

Well, dear, wishing you many merry Christmases and many many Happy Years, bye-bye now. With lots of love and congratulations.

From MAUDE.

When Mr. Henderson told me as soon as there was a guardian appointed for his minor children, and his two youngest placed in school he would be ready and glad to go with me any where the Lord lead in this country or to the islands of the sea and assist me in every way possible in spreading the Gospel if I would be his wife The Lord made me know that he was the one He intended to go with me.

After fasting and praying, I told him if it really was His will that Mr. Henderson and I should marry to let it be known by having it so that Pastor Mahon could come from Jacksonville, Fla., to my dear, sweet friend, Sister Waldup’s house, in Valdosta, Ga., to unite us in marriage. I wrote him and received the following telegram:

Jacksonville, Fla.,
December 18, 1909.

Mrs. R. J. Fox,
913 N. Patterson St.,
Valdosta, Ga.

Expect me on Georgia Southern tonight at 11:30.

W. L. C. MAHON.

11-A.M.,

 

We were united in marriage by my beloved pastor, W. L. C. Mahon, pastor of the Main Street Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Fla., at Brother and Sister R. T. Waldrup’s Pentecostal Home, 913 North Patterson street, Valdosta, Ga., Dec. 19, 1909. In the midst of a Pentecostal service, Brother Frank Denny the sweet singer and Pentecostal evangelist, delivered the message much of which was set to music. My husband is a member of the Missionary Baptist Church at Willacoochee, Coffee County, Georgia.

A few days after we were married we closed up the house and we all took a pleasant trip.

Mr. Henderson took me to Jacksonville, Fla., and went in person and thanked those who had shown me kindness. We visited his children who are settled in homes of their own, and his old friends and relatives, who showed us every kindness that affection could suggest, until we were made to say: “The Lord has dealt by us, as He did by His servant Job, rendering us double for all He had taken from us.” We have four sturdy sons, and six beautiful daughters living and five sons-in-law.

The following is extracts from my adopted daughter’s letter written during this time:

Mist, Arkansas,
January 3, 1910.

My Dear Mama:

I will have to begin my letter with an apology, for not answering your letter announcing your marriage sooner, which,of course, calls for congratulations. I have a “iti bitsie” excuse, however, that is I have been almost run to death with company during the Christmas holidays. I had a nice Christmas but with a house full of company one can’t find much time for letter writing. I started this letter New Year’s day or I got as far as the date written down, but Ethel was so fretful I had to give it up and take her. You will have to consider that blot a “big, old” kiss and maybe it will not look so ugly. I wrote you last New Year’s day, for I remember I said in my letter, “I will start the year right by writing to you.” But, mama dear, I feel so much better over your welfare this year than I did last for I think you have a good husband to be with you now, and I truly hope and pray so, and last year you were just a lonely little woman out by yourself away from those you love. I am certainly thankful you are prospering so well. 

Mama, if I have been slow in answering your letter announcing your marriage, you have my sincerest wishes for your happiness; and if my congratulation is late in reaching you be assured it is none the less heartfelt and earnest. As I have not the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with my “new papa” I can not say so many pleasant things about him as I am certain he deserves, but I know you well enough to unhesitatingly say that the man of your choice must be one of honor and courage. Now, mama, you must not get the “big head” you are dressing so fine and having such a trip I am afraid your head will get to swimming.

Well, mama, I would love to see you and talk to you, but Iam glad you are so happy and getting along O. K. Now, as Iwant to write to Mr. Henderson I will close for now, with lots of love from your daughter,

MAUDE.

P. S. The presents were beautiful. I was very pleased with my pretty waist, and Norma and Ethel thought their dolls fine.

Mr . Henderson is a member of a prominent family of Irwin county and lived at Willacoochee. He had spent most fifty years in great wickedness. He attended a tent meeting I was holding at Ray’s Mill, before the tent was burned by the enemies of this Gospel. He came to the meeting to investigate this doctrine, and came under its power at once, and the appetite for liquor and tobacco was taken from him. “And God who knoweth the hearts bear him witness, giving him the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us, purifying his heart by faith.” And now he is devoting his means and life to the spread of this Gospel.

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