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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Hero's of the Salvation Army

Now, why would I make this man one of the hero's of the Salvation Army?  He stands as a Symbol of what the Army was all about. That motto "Heart to God and hand to man", is what this man represents.  The First "Official" Convert to God through the work of the Salvation Army.

I found this Article about him written at the time that explains his story. We in the Army refer to him by his nick name, "Ash Barrel Jimmy". 
Thee First Convert of the Solvation Army in Amerca
Our first convert in America is still living and serving the army in Boston. The history of his reform is a remarkable one.
The conversion of the first of a mighty multitude was brought about by Commissioner Railton. Then in command of the American forces of the army, and Superintendent Thomas Byrnes of the New York police. Mr. Byrnes was an Inspector of police at the time, early in 1880.
It is safe to say that in Salvation Army circles there are very few who do not know Jimmy, by reputation at least. Jimmy was a thief and drunkard when converted in New York in March, 1880. His name is James Kemp. Three times Jimmy narrowly escaped losing his life. On one occasion he was nearly frosen to death outside Hilly McGlory's notorious dive. On another oocasion he was so brutally beaten in a Water street dive that he was supposed to be dead. The morgue wagon was called by the police, and the bruised and bartered body, apparently dead wascarried to the morgue. When it, or rather he, arrived there some of the doctors made the discovery that Jimmy still lived, and so he was taken to the hospital, where he remained four months. His last narrow escape from death was when he drank a quantity of spirits of wine which he found in a cellar. Jimmy drank so much he went raving mad and tried to hang himself. He was sent to prison for three months for attempting suicide. The first Saturday afternoon in March, 1880, Jimmy started out to have some amusement, and hearing that the Salvation Army, which had just arrived from England, was going "to show" at Harry Hill's notorious resort he concluded to go there and see what kind of people the soldiers were. When he arrived at Hill's, he found that there was an admission too, and he, with a drunkard's economy, determined to spend the price of admission in a different manner. Toward night he strolled into a dive on Water street, where his Whyno friends painted his back and served his face the same way and wound up the performance by rolling the unfortunate man in the sawdust of the dive floor. Jimmy, after submitting to their treatment, thought they would let him stay there all night; but. alas, they kicked him out on the street. Just as Jimmy reached the sidewalk his cap blew off and fell into an ash barrel which was standing near the door of the den. Jimmy tried to recover it, but in doing so lost his balance and fell head first into the barrel. He straggled to get out, but all his efforts were in vain. He seemed to be there to stay.
A short time after Jimmy's acrobatic feat a policeman came along, and seeing a man's legs in the barrel set to work to discover who was the owner of them and why he had them in such a position. He took out his club and struck the inverted man on the soles of Ins feet. These means are sometimes resorted to by policemen to arouse drunken men. From the depths of the barrel came a voice which the policeman at once recognized. He rapped for assistance, and when another officer appeared on the scene an effort was made to get Jimmy from his novel but painful position. They pulled at the protruding feet, but Jimmy failed to respond, his clothes having been caught on the nails which had been driven through the barrel. They pulled until the old rotten shoes gave way and were left in their hands. The policemen then threw the barrel down on its side, and laying hold of the unfortunate man's feet they dragged the barrel and its howling occupant toward tho police station. A pitiful sight was poor Jimmy when he reached the station. His lace, which had been blackened by the toughs in the dive, was all battered and bruised, and the paint on his face, mingled with blood, was strongly suggestive of a scalped Indian. His clothes were all torn and his shoes gone. How complete the ruin. How perfect the wreck. Superintendent Byrnes suggested that the Salvation Army be allowed to try its hand on the man, and the result was his conversion, since which time he has served faithfully in its ranks.—Boston Herald.

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