William E. Biederwolf
1867 – 1939
William Biederwolf was born in 1867, the seventh child of German immigrants. He was raised in Monticello, Indiana. Presbyterians produced some of the most noteworthy evangelists of the late 1800s and early 1900s and notable among them was William E. Biederwolf. William’s parents were Presbyterians. Early in life he vowed to become a Christian. However, it did not happen until he was twenty years of age. By then he was teaching for a living. A Sunday School class began praying for him and each of the kids wrote him a letter, urging him to come out on the side of Christ. One boy even hooked up his mule team and drove over to invite William to church and offer him a ride. William went, and made the decision to use his life for Jesus. In April 1896, William married Ida Casad, who also grew up in Monticello. In the fall of 1886, he enrolled at Wabash College and in 1890 went to Princeton University where he played football and graduated in 1894. During the summers he worked in the city rescue missions in New York and Pennsylvania. Following graduation from the University, he attended the seminary at Princeton. His first ministry after graduation was in assisting an evangelist, B. Fay Mills. In 1896, because of a fellowship from Princeton, he studied Greek at the University of Berlin in Germany. After this, he traveled extensively in Palestine, before returning to the United Stated in 1897. In 1897, Biederwolf was ordained by the Presbyterian Church and his first pastorate was the Broadway Presbyterian Church in Logansport, Indiana. Soon he left to serve in the Spanish-American War as a chaplain for the 161 Indiana Volunteer Infantry. His first book was about his time of service with his regiment. After his military service, he returned to the Broadway church where he served two more years before resigning in 1900 to enter full time evangelistic work, a work that would be the passion of his heart for the next thirty-five years.For a number of years, he spent much of his time assisting in the evangelistic campaigns of J. Wilbur Chapman. As he became a more familiar name, he began to hold his own meetings. Between 1910 and 1920, he was often listed with Chapman and Billy Sunday as one of the leading evangelists in the country. Besides city-wide meetings, he also was involved in attempts to organize state-wide simultaneous meetings. Some of the highlights of his extensive ministry include:
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