You can say that the restoration vision of the NT Christianity runs deep in my blood, spanning 5 generations and stretching back to a generation or two after its inception in North America. The first convert in my direct line was Stephen Halbrook, brother to the Restoration preacher Joseph Halbrook. Below is this branch of my family tree.
- Stephen Foutain Halbrook (1838-1898), brother to Joseph Halbrook/Holbrook (1841-1905)
- James Porter Halbrook, Sr. (1885-1949)
- James Porter Halbrook, Jr. (1913-2000)
- Alice Nelwyn (Halbrook) Sweets (1949- ), brother to Ron Halbrook, gospel preacher.
- Jeremy Nason Sweets (1978- )
Joseph Halbrook is a fairly well-known character in Restoration history, with several biographical sketches and articles written about him. His story is a fascinating one. He fought for the South in the War Between the States, and was captured by the North in the battle of Nashville in Dec. 1864. He was taken to Camp Douglas, but he was released at the end of the war and traveled south. Shortly after the War in Aug. 1865, he married Margaret Vick, who was a member of the Restoration movement and converted him. He would attend Mars Bible School, under the tutelage of T. B. Larimore, and continue preaching the gospel as a circuit preacher the rest of his life.
You can read more about him in the following pictures, biographical sketches and articles:
- Biographies and Sermons, by F. D. Srygley. Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1898. The book I have is a 1961 reprint by the Gospel Advocate.
- Ligon’s Portraiture of Gospel Preachers, 1899. You can see a link to the pictures here.
- Biographical Sketches of Gospel Preachers, by H. Leo Boles. Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1932. The sketch in this book can be read be found at the following Restoration movement webpage here.
- The Power of One. This article talks about Halbrook’s role in the conversion of Wheeler, who subsequently helped convert 6,000 individuals. One of those taught by Wheeler was Gus Nichols, who helped convert 12,000 people.
- “Joseph H. Holbrook,” by Earl Kimbrough in The Alabama Restoration Journal. Vol. 5, Issue 1 (April 30, 2011): p. 4-5. In the same issue, see “Margaret E. Holbrook: ‘A Pure Heart and A Good Stock of Religion,’ p. 12-13 and “Carrying the Mail for Christ,” p. 17 and “Eighty Acres of Hell,” p. 20. All were written by Earl Kimbrough and relate to Joseph Halbrook in some way. Also, see Kimbrough’s artwork depicting Halbrook on the back cover. All of Kimbrough’s material is very well done and deserves hearty commendation.