Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rice Haggard, by Colby D. Hall

Hall, Colby D. Rice Haggard: The American Frontier Evangelist Who Revived the Name Christian. Fort Worth: University Christian Church, 1957.

It's been about fifteen years since I first read this book. But recently, I've looked at it again. For Stone-Campbell Restoration History buffs, here's a quick report:

This is the only book-length treatment of the life and times of Rice Haggard. Its author, Colby Hall, was for many years a teacher of church history at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. I never met Hall. But his passion for the subject of Restoration History and his personal flair shine through on every page.

The book begins with a chronological table and two photographs of prominent Haggard descendants. (Unfortunately, we have no likeness of Rice Haggard himself).

Chapter I provides a historical backdrop. Hall takes the reader back to Rice Haggard's ancestor, James, who arrived in America in 1689. Chapter II outlines the religious context of Colonial Virginia, the original Haggard family home in America.

Chapters III and IV trace the lines of Nathanael and Edmund Haggard, both sons of James. Rice, the subject of the book, was the son of Edmund. The chapter on the line of Edmund Haggard goes on to tell of Rice's involvement with James O'Kelley and the Republican Methodist Church.

Chapter V reports the contribution that Rice made to the movement associated with Barton W. Stone and the Kentucky Christians.

Chapter VI gives an overview of the family and personal life of Rice.

Chapter VII provides a summary of the sources and the content of Rice Haggard's pamphlet, An Address to the Different Religious Societies on the Sacred Import of the Christian Name.

Two final chapters supply information about the Haggard family in the early twentieth century and the use of the name "Christian" among believers in Jesus. A bibliography, a diagram of the James Haggard family tree, and a general index round out the book.

Bibliographical Note:

Though the book by Colby Hall is the monograph on Rice Haggard, it is now supplemented and corrected by mainly one source: Roberts, R. L. "Rice Haggard (1769-1819) 'A Name Rever'd'," Discipliana 54 (Fall 1994): 67-81.

For a popular-level treatment of the life and significance of Haggard, with photos, see my article, "Rice Haggard: Unsung Hero of the Restoration Movement," Gospel Advocate 139 (March 1997): 26-31.

Better yet, to get the content of my GA article and more, check out the Rice Haggard posts here at Frankly Speaking.

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