and cherished by all Northeast Arkansas Christians, Brother A.
Douglas was truly a pioneer. He was respected by all gospel
preachers and all churches in the area and particularly known for
his plain preaching on Christian duty.
in Massoc county, Illinois February 5, 1845 he volunteered into the
Union Army during the Civil War. His discharge papers note that he
was eighteen years of age, five feet three inches high, fair
complexion, blue eyes, light hair, and by occupation, a farmer when
enrolled. The discharge papers are dated at Selma, Alabama, April
13, 1866. He served as a private under First Lieut. E. Hays, Company
D, 34th Regiment, New Jersey Infantry of Volunteers.
after discharge, on August 19, 1866 he was married to Miss Mary
Baccus. There is no further record of when she died, but he was
married again to Miss Matilda Curry on May 22, 1870. Again the trail
is lost as to the death of his second wife.
Little is known about when he came to Arkansas. He was converted in
1887 into our Lord's fold in Independence County. Men live who
remember hearing him tell during a service how he once was a gambler
and a drunkard and wore a steel vest to protect his life. Twice he
was shot and his life spared by the vest. But he would cry while
preaching and tell the audience that the gospel changed men and tell
how it had changed him. His preaching was very effective and
first began preaching in Independence County in 1890 and received
his credentials from the old Antioch congregation. They read: The
Church of Christ Greeting all to whom this may come greeting, this
is to certify that our Beloved Brother Alexander Douglas is a member
of the Church of Christ worshipping at Antioch, Independence County,
Arkansas and he having been a faithful member and laborer in word
and doctrine, therefore we the church do this day give him authority
to act in any capacity in the church and to solemnize the rite of
Approved by the
certificate was filed in the circuit clerk's office for record on
the eighth day of December, 1892 in Record Book A, page 40 of
Credentials, in Independence County, Arkansas.
his conversion Brother Douglas aimed at living the Christian life.
He would not use tobacco, coffee, or tea and condemned the use of
either. This earned him the appellation of "The Tobacco Preacher,”
meaning that he was against it. This was far more unusual among
preachers of his day than ours. Considerably more than half of the
old time Arkansas preachers either chewed or smoked or did both.
Little was thought about it and less said, except by a few like
Brother Douglas. He made some converts to his side among the
preachers but even though his preaching was very pointed, (and I
have through the years discussed his work with many people) I have
yet to hear any man speak disparagingly of him or his work. He was
loved by everybody and none less by the brethren whom he ripped up
and down the back. Many stories have come from his preaching and
usually when you discuss with anyone about his work, the first thing
they remember was his battle against coffee and tobacco.
Brother and Sister C. L. Purdom of Paragould, newly married, had
invited Brother Douglas to spend the night with them. Neither drank
coffee and the wife mentioned that perhaps they had better get some
as probably Brother Douglas would want coffee for breakfast. Brother
Purdom agreed and said, Why, yes, most old people drink coffee and
I'll get some. The next morning when Sister Purdom asked Brother
Douglas if he wanted coffee, Brother Douglas smiled and said, "No,
I'm a Christian." Then at services that night he took Coffee and
Tobacco as his subject. Brother Purdom and his wife were a little
embarrassed but thought no less of Brother Douglas. He could do such
things and keep the people's respect.
A. Taylor, prominent preacher, chewed consistently, until he spent a
night with Brother Douglas. Brother Taylor, went out with the older
brother to feed the hogs and the elder delivered Brother Taylor a
discourse to the extent that tobacco was so filthy that even hogs
wouldn't eat it. Brother Taylor quit then and there and joined
forces with Brother Douglas.
Sometimes, it backfired. There was a story circulated among
preachers, particularly the tobacco users, of once when a preacher
and Brother Douglas were walking together and the preacher pulled
out a cut of 'Star-Navy' sliced off a bit and put it in his mouth.
Brother Douglas delivered the message on how even a hog wouldn't eat
it and the preacher looked at him and said, Do you mean that,
Brother Douglas? Brother Douglas replied that he did. Well, the
preacher proposed, let's see. Accordingly they went to a hog pen and
the preacher proceeded to cut off a portion and threw before the
hog, The hog smelled it, turned it over, and left it. Brother
Douglas said, "You see." The preacher turned and answered, "Brother
Douglas, what makes you and a hog so much alike, anyway?" He took it
he carried the mail from Jonesboro to Gilkerson and on down to old
Red school. He stayed often with Brother J. H. Hamilton. He would
always hunt up Brother Hamilton's pipe and hide it. Then Brother
Hamilton got to hiding his pipe before Brother Douglas arrived.
Brother Douglas would search for it and keep it until he left if he
Brother Douglas was conducting a meeting in Lawrence County
somewhere near Minturn when he met a widow by the name of Tennessee
(Tennie) Wooster. Being himself a widower, he found she appealed to
him strongly but had no idea how she would react to him calling on
her. He got her grandaughter to carry a note from him to her,
inquiring if he could call. The result was their marriage and the
making of a happy home.
the turn of the century, this grand old pioneer lived at Center, a
stronghold of the church in Sharp County. He preached there and
throughout the County. He held many meetings in the area and
baptized lots of people.
in the century he moved to Paragould where he lived until his death.
1919 he had published by the Christian Literature Depository Print
of Goal Hill, Arkansas, a leaflet on the "Evils of the Tobacco
Habit." Brother J. H. Whisnant said, "It affords me great pleasure
to publish and assist in the distribution of his leaflet against the
evils of the tobacco habit. To be with Brother Douglas is to know a
life free from obnoxious and nauseating habits is the life for a
Christian to live."
grim reaper took him from his tabernacle of flesh, at his home, 521
East Lake Street, Paragould, Arkansas, on August 29, 1922 to the
house eternal not made with hands. The body was buried in Linwood
Cemetery of that city.
—Arkansas Angels, Boyd E. Morgan, pages 3-7
Early Gospel Preacher
In Greene County, Arkansas
Discharge Papers For A. Douglas From
The Union Army
Location Of The Grave Of
is buried in Linwood Cemetery in Paragould, Arkansas. Paragould is
located in the Northeast section of Arkansas in Greene County. From
Memphis, Tennessee head north on I-55 into Arkansas. Take Exit 23,
Hwy. 63 toward Jonesboro. In Jonesboro, take Hwy 49 north to
Paragould. As Hwy. 49 intersects with Hwy. 412 in downtown Paragould
you will see the Linwood Cemetery on your right. Turn right and
enter the main entrance of the cemetery. Travel up the hill until
you are even with the large mausoleum at the top of the hill on the
left. Back to your right look for the sign ORIG ADD, and head down
the grass access lane back toward Hwy. 49. On the left you will see
a concrete curb. Nearly against the curb (to the east) will be the
N36º 03'047" x W 090º30'283"
Block 2 Lot 8 Space 3
Feb. 5, 1845
Aug. 29, 1922
He was a noble Christian man
A Bit Of Trivia: While in the
Linwood Cemetery be sure to visit the grave of the infamous gangster
and bank robber, Frank Nash.
He was slain during a failed attempt to help him escape custody
during the Kansas City Massacre in June, 1933 by "Pretty Boy" Floyd.
The grave is in the family plot in the mausoleum that stays locked.
Someone at the city hall will need to be contacted to get access.
Nash had no known connection with the Restoration Movement.
Frank F. Nash
Feb. 6, 1887
June 17, 1933