Monday, April 5, 2010

Robert Edge by Elder Belnap Part 1

[Below is an article written by Hyrum Belap about Robert Edge. Hyrum was responsible for telling the most detailed stories about this mysterious preacher. He wrote years after the fact and for the purpose of telling it to an audience. Like most stories, his tale was more detailed than the earlier versions]

On one calm sunny day, in the month of May, 1878, a supposed clap of thunder directly over the city of Lexington, Henderson County, Tennessee, rebounding over the hills and cliffs nearby, greatly exciting the curiosity of the people of that region. The farmer stopped his plow, gazed around for an approaching storm, but seeing no clouds in the clear sky threw his plow into the furrow and plodded on as though nothing had happened. The workman in his shop laid down his tools, walked to the door to see from whence the storm was coming. The merchant and the tailor did the same, but seeing no signs of a storm returned in wonderment to their labor, consoled themselves with the thot that the noise was only one of the phenomena of the nineteenth century. One strange feature, however, of this occurrence was that every person who lived within eight miles of Lexington stated that the sound proceeded either form a bluff located near the city or else sounded directly overhead. Reports soon came that this peculiar sound was heard for thirty miles around.

In the afternoon of the same day a strange man appeared near Lexington, the county seat. He was rather sparely built, of medium height, had fair skin and dark brown hair, which was rather thin and inclined to curl. His beard was of a reddish cast and not very heavy. Judging from his appearance, his age was between twenty-seven and thirty years.

The purpose of his visit first was to announce a meeting which was to be held in the neighborhood that evening. Being rather poorly clad and because of his seeming intimate acquaintance with the shortest roads in the fields and woods he excited the curiosity of a great many people and as a consequence the meeting house that evening was crowded to its utmost capacity.

At the hour appointed the stranger took his position on the stand. After looking around the assembly for a few moments he arose and in a very clear sharp tone called the audience to order. He then sang a beautiful hymn, full of sentiment and melody.

Upon arising to speak he astonished his congregation by not using that whining tone which is usually characteristic of modern divines, but spoke with resonance and decision. He was very calm in his introductory remarks but grew more eloquent as he entered deeper into his subject
At the solicitation of those present, at the close of the meeting he appointed several meetings to be held in the surrounding country. He gave his name as Robert Edge and said he belonged to the Church of God, but concerning the place from which he came the enquirer received no satisfaction.

To be continued...

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