His pioneer ministry began in Arizona while it was still a territory. As a young man he worked on a ranch taming wild horses off the range and preached to some of the ranch hands with whom he worked. He attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois, and was mentored by Dwight L. Moody, the great evangelist of his day. He also studied the life and teachings of Andrew Murray and patterned his life after this great English teacher and preacher. He began preaching revival meetings in Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. During his pastoral ministry, he served in Comanche and Brownwood, Texas; Lawton, Oklahoma; and in Lancaster, Texas.
Dr. Sheafor's pastoral ministry changed in 1941 when he became a Bible teacher at the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. His name is synonymous with the teaching of Bible prophecy. In all of his teaching and preaching, Dr. Sheafor majored on the wonderful promises that God has given to every born-again believer. He presented the joy and the glory to be experienced by every believer in the Rapture, the Second Coming of Jesus, and the New Heaven and New Earth. His wealth of knowledge concerning prophecy was inimitable and he was loved and admired by all who heard him speak, including many of the professors at Dallas Theological Seminary and Dr. W.A. Criswell, pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas for all of the twenty-three years that Dr. Sheafor taught the class that now bears his name.
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GEORGE WASHINGTON SHEAFORA TEACHER OF GOD'S PROMISES
By OSCAR HOLLIS DAVIS
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2010 Oscar Hollis Davis
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTHE SHEAFOR FAMILY
As we begin the life of George W. Sheafor, it is best to look back at his Sheafor family ancestors. The Sheafor name, with its distinctive spelling, is probably of German origin. Each time this particular "Sheafor" spelling was found, it meant that the person descended from this specific Sheafor family line in some way. The following ancestors were researched and special emphasis was given to George's father because this was the home in which he was raised.
Peter Sheafor, Sr.: great-great grandfather, 1754-1826.
Peter Sheafor, Jr.: great grandfather, 1781-1818.
Lorenzo S. Sheafor: grandfather, 1809-1890.
Peter Messick Sheafor: father, 1835-1916.
PETER SHEAFOR, SR. (1754-1826)
Peter Sheafor, Sr. (the great-great grandfather of George) was born of German parents in 1754 in Somerset County, New Jersey. Ship records were not located to identify the first Sheafor to emigrate from Germany to America; however, it very possibly could have been Peter's father, Johann Schiffbauer Sheafor. Peter was living in Somerset County when he signed up as a Private in the local Continental Militia and served until the end of the American Revolution.
After the war, Peter returned to Hillsborough Township in Somerset County and married Catherine Coolbaugh (also found in reference as Katherine Kahlbach) in 1778. Four of their ten children were born in New Jersey. The first child was named Peter, Jr. and was George's great grandfather. In 1789, Peter, Sr. moved his family to Lexington, Kentucky, where six more children were born. He lived there for fourteen years. After Ohio became a state in 1803, Peter moved his family again, this time to Butler County, Ohio. The 1820 Census showed that the occupation of this family was in agriculture and also manufacturing of some kind.
Peter's Will indicates he was a successful farmer. When the Estate sale was held, some of the items sold revealed his rural way of life. There were four sheep, a cow, and two hives of bees, which indicated he raised most of the food for his large family. There was a spinning wheel to make linen from flax and a large wool spinning wheel, which suggested that most of their clothing was made at home by his wife, Katy, and their four daughters. Peter lived in Ohio until his death on 27 September 1826 at age seventy-two. He was buried in the nearby Amanda Cemetery in the Lemon Township of Butler County, Ohio. Nothing was found concerning his church relationship.
PETER SHEAFOR, JR. (1781-1818)
Peter Sheafor, Jr. was born in Somerset County, New Jersey in 1781 and married Sarah (Sally) Watts on 2 December 1802 in Mercer County, Kentucky. They had four children. Lorenzo was the second child and the older of the two sons. Lorenzo was George's grandfather. Peter served as a Private during the War of 1812. When his military service was over in 1814, he moved his family from Kentucky to Butler County, Ohio to be near his father and siblings. On 2 May 1818, Peter died at age thirty-seven; however, the cause of his death at such an early age is unknown. Since the 1820 Census was the first to list occupations, his business or place of employment is not known. He was buried in the Amanda Cemetery.
LORENZO DOW STUBBLEFIELD SHEAFOR (1809-1890)
Lorenzo was born on 12 March 1809 in Sweet Springs, Mercer County, near the city of Danville, Kentucky. In 1814, his parents moved to Amanda, Butler County, Ohio. When Lorenzo's father, Peter, Jr. died at the untimely age of thirty-seven, Lorenzo was only age nine. As the oldest son, it became his responsibility to help support his mother and three siblings.
At age twenty-five, Lorenzo married Catherine Poke Messick on 10 July 1834 in Butler County, Ohio. Catherine, born in Delaware on 12 October 1811, was twenty-two when they married. They continued to live in Butler County for nineteen years. The first of their nine children, Peter Messick Sheafor born 23 October 1835, was George's father. On the 1850 Census, Lorenzo's occupation was listed as a butcher. Lorenzo moved his family west in 1853 to Fairfield, Jefferson County, in Southeast Iowa. On the 1860 Census, he was shown as a farmer.
During these early to mid 1800's, the Westward movement of American families continued. Kansas, which derived its name from the Kansa Indian tribe of the Plains Native Peoples, was a section of the vast area known as the Louisiana Purchase, which had become part of the United States in 1803. Great national unrest began to develop in 1825 when the Kansa and Osage tribes were forced to give up some of their eastern Kansas lands to make way for tribes from the East, such as the Shawnee, Kickapoo, and others who were being uprooted from their homes and resettled in the Kansas area. By 1846, nineteen reservations had been established. With the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act by Congress in 1854, this area became known as the Kansas Territory. When this occurred, the struggle known as the "Early Civil War" began. Proslavery people in Missouri began the effort to elect pro-slavery representatives to the Territorial Congress, thereby forming a Slave State. Anti-slavery activists began a similar campaign to keep the Kansas Territory as a Free State. A series of violent events between the two factions, including killings and the stuffing of ballot boxes, turned the territory into "bleeding Kansas." The Anti-slavery majority finally passed the law prohibiting slavery in 1859, but it did not become law until Kansas became a state in 1861.
At the end of the Civil War in 1865, Kansas experienced its greatest population expansion. Lorenzo became a part of this expansion by moving to Burlington, Coffey County, Kansas in 1865 where he remained until his death. Eastern Kansas then became the home of the Sheafor families. Although a farmer in his early years, when Lorenzo arrived in Burlington, he either started or bought a boarding house or hotel, which he called the Sheafor House. On the 1870 Census, Lorenzo is described as Landlord and his wife, Catherine, as a Landlady. Catherine must have been very active in the administration and management of the facility because her health gradually began to deteriorate and she, seemingly, worked herself to death. The heartache of Lorenzo's life came when Catherine died on 21 September 1871, just two months after grandson, George Sheafor, was born. She was buried in the Mount Hope Cemetery in Burlington, Kansas.
Because Lorenzo did not have a college education, it was his desire that his sons have that opportunity. All five of his sons became very successful in their professional fields. His first son, Peter M. (George's father), obtained a medical degree and spent most of his life as a pharmacist. Three sons, Martin, Joseph, and John, became very successful attorneys and judges. John was even elected to sit on the Supreme Court of the state of Colorado. The fifth son, Franklin, became editor and publisher of a newspaper in Colorado and, before his death, was an assistant editor of the largest newspaper in Denver.
Lorenzo died on 9 May 1890 at age eighty-one and was buried next to his wife, Catherine, and their daughter Kate. When the will of L.S. Sheafor was filed for probate, it was evident he was a man of very modest assets. In addition to running the boarding house, he had many medical problems in the last year of his life which left him with very little money and material goods. Lorenzo was a member of the Methodist Church. His obituary stated that he was respected for his integrity and honor and was loved and admired by many friends.
George Sheafor did not personally know either of his great grandfathers because both were deceased by 1826, many years before he was born; however, he knew his grandfather, Lorenzo, very well. George was age nineteen when Lorenzo passed away in 1890.
DR. PETER MESSICK SHEAFOR (1835-1916)
Dr. Peter M. Sheafor was particularly important to the life of George Sheafor because he was George's father. The life that George lived is proof of the love, companionship, and guidance that his father had given to all of his children. A father will unconsciously teach his children his standards of right and wrong. Even more importantly, Peter was able to instill a life of discipline into his children that would guide them in the years ahead. The life that Peter lived was indeed a life worthy of emulation.
Peter Messick Sheafor was born 23 October 1835 in Gratis Township, Preble County, Ohio. His parents were Lorenzo S. Sheafor and Catherine Poke Messick. Being their first child, these young parents, ages twenty-five and twenty-two, wanted to give him their family names. "Peter" was the name of his paternal grandfather and great grandfather, and "Messick" was his maternal grandfather's surname. This son, however, always went by the name of Peter M. in business and civic affairs. The early years of his life were spent in the rural community where his father worked as a butcher and farmer. Peter attended the Methodist Church.
By 1853, at age seventeen, Peter M. had chosen the field of medicine as his life's career. He probably attended the University of Chicago and, during the years of 1853-1859, Peter completed his medical degree. After finishing his education, he married Nancy Jennie "Jane" Ungles on 23 June 1859 in Blakesburg, Wapello County, Iowa. Nancy was born in Indiana on 25 June 1841. When Peter and Nancy married, they were ages twenty-four and nineteen respectively, and made their home in Fairfield, Iowa. On the 1860 Census, Peter was working as a druggist.
During the early 1860's, the Civil War ideals were being bandied about, and the conflict was becoming a major point of contention in the United States. Although Peter was in full support of the Union war effort, he did not immediately volunteer. Because his first child, Harry Douglas, had just been born in Fairfield on 13 January 1861, Peter felt responsible to help his wife, Nancy, care for this young baby.
In 1863, when Peter was age twenty-eight, the government organized the Eighth Iowa Cavalry, and he now felt compelled to join. Enlisting as a Private on 27 July 1863, he joined a unit of twelve hundred and thirty officers and men who were mustered into service on 30 September 1863. Because of his medical background, he was assigned to help the two surgeons who were a part of the unit and was promoted to Full Qtr. Master Sergeant on 22 Nov 1863. In the weeks and months following, the battles they faced were, at times, light skirmishes, but many times quite heavy. The Eighth Cavalry marched against Chattanooga and Atlanta. In one battle, the surgeons caring for the wounded at Newnan Camp reported that half of the dead and wounded were soldiers of Iowa's Eighth. In the worst battle, at McCook, Georgia, three hundred sixteen officers and men went to the front but only twenty returned to the Union lines. The rest were killed, wounded or captured. On 24 April 1865, General Lee surrendered and the armistice was signed. Finally, Iowa's Eighth Cavalry was mustered out in Macon, Georgia on 13 August 1865.
Peter, like all of the veterans, was proud of his membership in the "Grand Army of the Revolution" (G.A.R.), the official veteran's organization of the Civil War. Years later in 1894, after Peter had moved to Topeka, Kansas, he was listed as one of the seven hundred nineteen members from Shawnee County. His name is shown as P. M. Sheafor, MD Eighth Iowa Cavalry, Private.
Returning from the war, Peter settled in Sigourney, Keokuk County, Iowa, forty miles north of Fairfield, where he worked as a druggist. By 1868, the health of Peter's mother was declining rapidly, so he moved his family to Coyville, Wilson County, Kansas to be closer to her. While living in Coyville, Peter's sixth child, George Washington Sheafor, was born on 15 July 1871. Peter and Nancy were ages thirty-five and twenty-nine at the time of his birth. Peter named his sixth child for President George Washington because in his heart he felt that President Washington embodied much of the character that he hoped and dreamed would be seen in his son.
On the 1870 Census for Coyville, Peter is shown as a physician. Peter's mother, Catherine, died in Burlington on 21 September 1871 at age fifty-nine, only two months after George Sheafor was born.
After the passing of his mother, Peter wanted to move back to Iowa where most of his medical contacts were located. He also had deep ties to the many friends with whom he had served during the war. The Sheafor family moved in 1872 to Columbia, Marion County, forty miles southeast of Des Moines. Peter lived in Iowa for the next fifteen years, from age thirty-seven to fifty-two. Two more of his nine children were born in Columbia. In 1878, Peter and his family moved one hundred twenty-five miles west, to the city of Audubon, in Audubon County, Iowa when he was age forty-three and George was age seven. It was perhaps during these nine years that Peter received the greatest acceptance of his professional career. In the Iowa State Gazetteer and Business Directory for the years 1884-1885, Peter M. Sheafor was shown as a physician. In a 1915 printed history of Audubon County, there were two pages listing all of the active medical professionals from 1851 to 1915. Peter M. Sheafor's name appeared, followed by the years 1879-1883.
In 1887, Peter's father's health declined greatly, so Peter again moved to Kansas when he was age fifty-two and George was age sixteen. He located in the growing, bustling town of Topeka. Most of Peter's siblings lived in Kansas. The Topeka City Directory in 1889 shows the Sheafor Drug Store to be located at 909 East Sixth Street. The law office of his brother, Joseph, was located just eight blocks west of the drug store. Peter owned and managed the drug store for the rest of his life. After the move to Topeka, George worked in the drug store for three years until he went to college.
Peter's father, Lorenzo, died at age eighty-one on 9 May 1890, in Burlington and was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery. Peter was age fifty-five and George was age eighteen.
On 23 June 1909, Peter and Nancy Jane celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary at ages seventy-four and sixty-eight respectively. On the 1910 Census, Peter is shown as a druggist and it mentioned that Jane had given birth to nine children, but only five were still living. This census was the first time she is referred to only as "Jane." Peter and Jane were living next door to their son, Willard, and his family. When Willard moved to Long Beach, California, Peter and Jane went to live with their youngest daughter, Nina Marie (Mrs. Floyd A.) Baker.
God says in Exodus 23:26, "the number of thy days I will fulfill." Peter's days were fulfilled when he passed away on 7 January 1916 at age eighty. The funeral was held in the home of his daughter, Nina Marie. He was buried in the Topeka Cemetery. All five children attended the funeral. George was age forty-four and was pastor of Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in Brownwood, Texas at the time. The funeral service was directed by the two ministers of Peter's Methodist church.
The following obituary for Peter Sheafor appeared in the Shawnee County Topeka Daily Capital on Saturday, January 8, 1916:
"Dr. P.M. Sheafor died Friday morning of bronchial pneumonia at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Floyd A. Baker, 1221 Polk Street. He was born in Prebble County, Ohio, October 23, 1835. He enlisted in the Eighth Regiment of Iowa Cavalry at Davenport, Ia., September 30, 1863, and was mustered out after the close of the war at Macon, Ga., August 13, 1865, when he went to Keokuk, Ia., and served as druggist in the government hospital. He was united in marriage to Jennie Ungles at Blakesburg, Ia., June 23, 1859. Coming to Topeka with his family in March 1886, he was for twenty years associated with A.C. Klingaman in the drug business, until he retired two years ago. He leaves besides his wife, three brothers, Judge J. Sheafor, of Colorado Springs; Frank P. Sheafor, of Denver, Colorado; and Judge J.W. Sheafor, of Tres Piedras, N.M., formerly of Topeka; and one sister, Mrs. Stephen Baird, of Burlington, Kan.; and five children, Harry D. Sheafor, Mrs. James A. Nicholas and Mrs. Floyd A. Baker of Topeka; Rev. George W. Sheafor, of Brownwood, Tex.; and Willard U. Sheafor, of Long Beach, Cal. He was a member of Lincoln post No.1, G.A.R. Funeral services will be from the home of his daughter, Mrs. Floyd A. Baker, 1221 Polk Street, Monday at 2:30 o'clock, Rev. A.S. Embree and Rev. Benjamin F. Young officiating together with Lincoln Post No.1, G.A.R."
Excerpted from GEORGE WASHINGTON SHEAFOR by OSCAR HOLLIS DAVIS Copyright © 2010 by Oscar Hollis Davis. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
The Sheafor Family....................17
The Crawford Family....................31
His Early Life....................37
His Pastoral Years....................51
First Baptist Church, Comanche, Texas....................63
Coggin Avenue Baptist, Brownwood, Texas....................67
Camp Travis, San Antonio, Texas....................70
First Baptist Church, Lawton, Oklahoma....................72
First Baptist Church, Bartlesville, Oklahoma....................86
First Baptist Church, Lancaster, Texas....................91
His Later Years....................93
First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas....................98
Sheafor Bible Class....................100
Stories Told About Dr. Sheafor....................106
Death of Ann Crawford Sheafor....................113
Death of George W. Sheafor....................115
A Life to Remember....................121
Appendix A: Teachers of the Sheafor Class....................123
Rev. Howard Laing....................125
Dr. Bruce K. Waltke....................128
Dr. James T. Draper....................131
Dr. Richard D. Land....................134
Dr. Lamar E. Cooper....................138
Dr. E. Ray Clendenen....................142
Dr. John Shanks....................145
Rev. Oscar Hollis Davis....................148
Appendix B: Writings of Dr. Sheafor....................153
Appendix C: Pictures of Dr. Sheafor....................163
Appendix D: Article from Texas Baptist Standard....................169