The first full-time preacher for the Church of Christ in Altus, Oklahoma was A. C. Huff. By the time he arrived in Altus in 1907, he was forty-three years old and brought with him over twenty years of preaching experience. The congregation paid him $60 a month, which was roughly equivalent to $1550 by 2013 standards.
A.C. Huff was born in 1864 in Halletsville, Texas, a little town in Lavaca County, about halfway between Houston and San Antonio. His mother died when he was just three years old. As tragic and sad as that was, the little boy was fortunate in that he had four older sisters who mothered him.
Growing up during those difficult years just after the Civil War, he had very few opportunities to receive any formal education. At the outbreak of the War, many schools across the South closed. It was years later before public schools were common. However, when he was sixteen he was able to attend school regularly for a time at Brownwood, Texas.
We know very little about the religious background of his family. We do know that he was baptized into Christ by W. E. Hawkins in 1882, and that he began preaching two years later, when he was twenty years old.
From that time on, A. C. Huff preached the gospel of Christ and taught the truth of the Bible for over 80 years! He lived from 1864 to 1967--from Civil War to Civil Rights--and died at the age of 103. If he had lived two more months, he would have turned 104. During those 80-plus years of ministry, he was instrumental in planting congregations at Tucumcari and Raton, New Mexico; at Vega, Dodson, and Bronte, Texas; and at Lacey Chapel, Oklahoma. He preached in countless places, engaged in four religious debates that we know of, fathered twelve children, and delivered a 40-minute sermon on the day he turned 101.
Apparently, he spent less than a year in Altus. Our best records indicate that he worked with the church there in 1907, and with the church in Hollis, Oklahoma in 1910. It is a testimony to his preaching in Altus that since those days, there have only been a few short times when the Church of Christ did not support a regular preacher.
A. C. Huff passed from this life on December 8, 1967 in Del City, Oklahoma. The next morning, John R. Stewart conducted his funeral there and accompanied the casket to McLean, Texas, where a memorial service was held at 3 p.m., and where the old preacher lies buried until the resurrection.
Baxter, Batsell Barrett and M. Norvel Young, eds. Preachers of Today: A Book of Brief Biographical Sketches and Pictures of Living Gospel Preachers. Nashville: Christian Press, 1952.
Burns, Thelma. "Church History: Church of Christ, Altus, Oklahoma 1898-1980." Unpublished document, 1980. The best written source for the broad sweep of the history of the Hudson and Elm congregation.
Hall, W. Claude, "Congregational Growth and Expansion: Altus, Oklahoma," Firm Foundation September 13, 1927. An indispensable source for the early history of what was at that time the only congregation of the Church of Christ in Altus. Includes photos.
Lambert, Gussie. In Memoriam. Shreveport, LA: Gussie Lambert, 1988. Contains a four-page biography of Huff and a photo.
Stewart, John R. "Huff, A. C.," Gospel Advocate January 11, 1968. Huff's obituary, written shortly after his death by the man who conducted his funeral.
Wilhite, J. Porter. The Trail Blazers: Heroes of the Faith. Shreveport, LA: Lambert Book House, 1965. Includes a brief biography of Huff and the notes for one of his sermons.
Wilson, Linda D. Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture, s.v. "Schools, Subscription." http://digital.library.okstate.edu/encyclopedia/entries/S/SC005.html (accessed January 30, 2013). I found this article helpful for understanding a reference to the little formal education that A. C. Huff received at a "subscription school."