History of the Restoration Movement

James Avery Fike


B. C. Goodpasture (L) and Avery Fike

The Life Of Avery Fike

James Avery Fike was born July 27, 1891 in High Hill, Walker County, Alabama, USA. He was the son of Calton D. Fike (1864-1917) and Martha J. Thompson Fike (1865-1930). He was married to Zora Mullinax (1895-1979). They had five children: Leon Fike (1915-1995); Odessa Fike Patterson (1917-1994); Imogene Fike Purdom (1921-2014); Charles Fike (1926-????); and Helen Fike Lusk (1935-????).

In 1920 he began a career with the U.S. Postal Service as a mail carrier. By 1930 he was driving a daily postal delivery route that he continued for the next 26 years. When he retired in 1956, he received a special award for never having had an accident.

While Avery was known throughout Walker County as a postman, on a much higher level he was known for his life as a minister of the gospel of Christ. In 1924, the Fike family was numbered among several members of the church of Christ who lived in Jasper, but had no congregation to unite together for the work. At that time there was a Christian Church in the city, but many Christians in the area refused to attend due to unscriptural practices. There was a sound congregation at Cordova where a young preacher by the name Gus Nichols (1892-1975) was evangelizing.

Years later Avery, spoke of the initial meeting with Gus doing the preaching. He recalled,  “Wednesday after the meeting started, I was walking down the street and in front of the Christian Church, I saw an arrow drawn on the sidewalk with crayon, which said, “GOSPEL MEETING, FOLLOW THE ARROWS.” This had an interesting ring to it, and through curiosity, I followed the arrows around the block to the foot of the stairs where the arrow pointed upstairs. I followed on, and wound my way around, and around, until I came to a door upon which was tacked a notice which said, "GOSPEL MEETING—SERVICES 7:30 P.M. each evening. WELCOME. Gus Nichols Minister, Cordova Church of Christ." I departed and passed down by the Post Office and received a card from Brother Nichols stating that he had heard I was a member of the Church of Christ and it contained an invitation to come to the meeting. That night my wife and I and our three babies were at the meeting. That night marked the beginning of my connection with the congregation and the work here.” (Scott Harp, The Sage of Jasper - Gus Nichols, A Biography, p.79)

Being on the ground floor of a new congregation, Avery was immediately cast into a leadership role. He had not enjoyed any college training. In fact, all the men in the church were responsible for the work. Nichols had promised to gather with the church one Sunday a month. The rest of the month the men had to do the work the best they could.

In January 1933, Gus Nichols began working part-time with what was then called Fifth Avenue church of Christ in Jasper. In the fall of that year, he began meeting with the men of the church on Friday nights where he taught them leadership skills and a deeper knowledge of the word of God. In December, Avery Like and George W. Hall were appointed elders of the congregation.

Being trained in the Gus Nichols' Friday night classes, soon Avery was urged to assist in the planting and growing of the churches in Walker County. As brother Nichols was stretched to the limit helping and guiding, he saw he needed to do the same. So, Avery began filling in and preaching for different churches in a monthly circuit as well. He preached at Liberty, McCollum, and at any other congregation where he could be utilized. All through the years he maintained his role as elder at Fifth Ave.

J. Avery Fike passed from this life February 7, 1963. Burial followed in Oak Hill Cemetery just north of town. Zora continued as a faithful member of Sixth Avenue the remainder of her days. She passed from this life October 12, 1979.

-Scott Harp, 10.30.2021
Sources: Ancestry.com; Newspapers.com; Gospel Advocate, and others.


Daily Mountain Eagle, Jasper, Alabama
Wednesday, February 15, 1933, p.3

Daily Mountain Eagle, Jasper, Alabama
Wednesday, December 6, 1933, p.10

Daily Mountain Eagle, Jasper, Alabama
Wednesday, July 4, 1946, p.9

Daily Mountain Eagle, Jasper, Alabama
Wednesday, February 10, 1961, p.4

Daily Mountain Eagle, Jasper, Alabama
Thursday, December 6, 1956, p.1

Daily Mountain Eagle, Jasper, Alabama
Thursday, February 8, 1963, p. 1

A Tribute to the Memory of Brother Avery Fike
By Gus Nichols

Brother Fike has left his house of clay
Gone to an house not made with hands
Let us therefore lay his body away
Till his spirit returns from fairer lands.

Here he lived above three score and ten
The inner man cramped and fettered.
Now that the old house is fallen in
Brother Fike has gone to a place far better.

He was master of his house of clay,
The flesh could not hinder his work.
He took time out to study and pray,
And no hard task did he ever shirk.

But he did not live in this house alone
Thousands of others lived in his heart.
Though he has gone to his heavenly home,
He shall continue to live in our hearts.

His life was filled with faith and truth,
His heart honest, his mind unbiased.
From very early in his youth,
He was a member of the church of Christ.

He was a devoted father and husband
He was a true and loyal friend.
A good example to his loved ones,
He was faithful even unto the end.

Let us not sorrow as those without hope,
But remember death to saints is gain,
Let us not in despondence grope,
But prepare to live together again.

Directions To Grave

Avery and Zora Fike are buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Jasper, Alabama. The cemetery is located north of the city on Hwy. 195. Just where Hwy. 5 splits to the left, note to the right is the cemetery. Enter through the gate and go to the seventh drive to the left and turn into this drive. Then take the second left off of it, and begin looking to your right. The Fikes are buried there in the section. Also note while there the Ottingers grave to the left. Daniel Ottinger was gospel preacher and brother-in-law of the Fikes, having married Avery's sister, Minnie. To the right of the Fikes is the Karrh's grave. They, too were closely connected with the Sixth Avenue Church for years where both brothers Karrh and Fike served as elders. While here look for the grave of another preacher, John K. McCleskey. And, as a side note, be sure and seek out the grave of George "Goober" Lindsey. Though not connected to the Restoration Movement to our knowledge, most knew him as "Goober" on the Andy Griffith Show. He is buried here as well.

GPS Location
33°51'18.5"N 87°17'06.3"W
or D.d. 33.855132, -87.285079

NOTE: C. M. & Dona Karrh next to Fikes - Avery & C. M. were co-elders for years at Sixth Avenue church of Christ


Zora Mullinax Fike
October 12, 1895
January 13, 1979
A Loving Wife
A Christian Mother

James Avery Fike
July 27, 1891
February 7, 1963
Elder And Minister
Church of Christ

Photos Taken 03.15.2015
Webpage Produced 10.30.2021
Courtesy Of Scott Harp


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