After ten years of negative press coverage in the Idaho Statesman, the Salvation Armys good works and persistence finally won over both the paper and the public.
A Harvest Festival fundraiser for the Army in October 1900 received helpful support from the paper. The story invited Boiseans to contribute all kinds of items to be sold at auction. Listed were fruit, vegetables, chickens, fancy articles, furnishing goods, photograph frames, prayer books, Bibles, toilet articles, etc. ... At the conclusion of the sale a 10-cent lunch of coffee and cake, sandwiches or pie will be served. Friends who wish to help can send in any saleable goods they will be willing to contribute, such as needle work, ornamental or useful articles. Each separate piece will be sold to the highest bidder.
In October 1903, the Statesman reported, The Salvation Army Gospel Wagon met with such success during the meetings Saturday evening and yesterday that Adjutant Loney has arranged for them to remain another week. The Gospel Wagon was a feature in the ministry of several Christian denominations in America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It may have originated in London in the 1860s when Salvation Army founder William Booth used such a wagon as an extension of his commitment to take the message of salvation to the poor, downtrodden and often alcoholic denizens in the slums where they lived, rather than to wait for them to come to a church. The expression to go on the wagon, meaning to give up drinking, is believed to have originated when a wagon was driven through city streets picking up drunks and taking them to a meeting where salvation was preached.
When Adjutant Andrew Loney took his wife, who was just recovering from an illness, for an outing in the hills, we learn from the Statesman that the gospel wagon is especially arranged for camping and it is hoped that the trip will benefit Mrs. Loney a great deal. Since the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Oct. 30, 1906, that Andrew Loney was about to marry Salvation Army Capt. Louise Eboral, with whom he had worked in Portland, we assume that the first Mrs. Loneys illness was more serious than had been thought three years earlier.
That the Salvation Army and its ministry had won over the Idaho Statesman and the people of Boise was dramatically illustrated on April 15, 1904, when Salvation Army National Commander Booth-Tucker came to Boise. The headline of an article describing an illustrated lecture he had given the night before at the Columbia Theatre read, LEADER OF A NOBLE CAUSE. Commander Booth-Tucker on Salvation Armys Aims and Labors. He Shows Magnificent Work Accomplished.
Frederick Tucker was the son-in-law of General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army in 1865. When he married Emma Booth in 1888 he added her name to his, becoming thereafter Booth-Tucker. In 1896 the couple was appointed Territorial Commanders of the United States. In 1903, Emma was killed in a train crash while on her way to Chicago to meet her husband. Shortly after his visit to Boise in 1904, Booth-Tucker returned to Army headquarters in London to serve as its foreign secretary.
It is hard to imagine a more dramatic change in the Statesmans view of the Salvation Army and its work than its treatment of Booth-Tuckers visit: Charity, Christianity, and Industry were the leads followed by Commander Booth-Tucker in his lecture upon Love and Sorrow at the Columbia Theatre last evening. A more enlivening, entertaining, instructive and uplifting discourse could scarcely be imagined. He said Boise was a pleasant place to revisit and said it in such a nice way that everyone who heard him was convinced he was not talking for effect. It had long been the dream of his beloved and lamented wife to demonstrate to the public by means of stereopticon views the character of the army work. An illustrated lecture of this kind was like taking people by the hand and leading them through the various departments of the work from the highest to the lowest.
Next week well share more about the Salvation Armys 125 years in Boise.
Arthur Hart writes this column on Idaho history for the Idaho Statesman each Sunday. Email email@example.com.