History of the Restoration Movement

John H. Harper


The Work Of J.H. Harper

Lawrence Dalton included the name of John H. Harper in a list of preachers of long service in Randolph County.1 (1 Dalton, History, p. 122.)

John (b. December 12, 1882) was one of four children born to Sam I. and Missouri (Caldwell) Harper. The Harpers had lived in Indiana but were in Izard County, Arkansas, when John was born. They subsequently moved to Randolph County.

Maude Dalton (b. November 22, 1886, Ingram, Arkansas), daughter of David (Tim) Dalton and half-sister to Elijah, father of Randolph County historian, Lawrence Dalton, became the bride of John Harper in 1901.2 (2 Ibid., p. 266.) Like others around them, the young couple engaged in farming during the early days of their marriage.3 (Directory (1910), p. 13.)

John's parents and in-laws were members of the Church of Christ. It was natural, then, that John would obey the Gospel and become a member of the church. He decided, though, to be more than a nominal Christian.

He went to Bakersfield, Missouri. in 1911 and enrolled in S. C. Garner's, County Line Bible School. There he was associated with dedicated preachers and teachers. His own class consisted of John Newberry, Hester White, Jack Gillihan, T. Jake Waddle, W. H. Hall, John Burgess and Burley J. Lemmons4 (Arkansas Angels, p. 74.)—all names of men long revered as dedicated preachers.

Upon returning to Randolph County, Harper began a ministry of gospel preaching that continued throughout his lifetime. He preached for Mcilroy, Brakebill, O'Kean, Oconee, Pyburn Street, Maynard, Reyno and Stokes (among others) in Randolph County, and for Success and Palatka (among others) in Clay County. Harper became a beloved brother to everyone. When the old Maynard preacher. W. A. Goodwin, died in 1939, John H. Harper was called upon to conduct the memorial service.5 (5 Ibid., p. 13.)

More than fifty years were devoted to the ministry by Harper before failing health forced him to give up and move from his old home at Datto into the Corning Nursing Home. His wife. affectionately known as "Aunt Maude," had died in 1954.6 (6 Frank W. Gould conducted her memorial service at Reyno.) They had no children. John H. Harper died at St. Bernards Hospital in Jonesboro. December 20. 1966. and his memorial service was conducted at the Success Church of Christ by Landon Saunders. This old soldier of the cross was buried next to Maude in the Nelson Cemetery near Reyno.

-Dr. Michael L. Wilson, Arkansas Christians:A History of the Restoration Movement in Randolph County, Arkansas 1800-1995, c.1997, Delight: Gospel Light Publishing Co., pages 218-219.

Directions To The Grave of J.H. Harper

Northeast of Pocohontas on Hwy. 67, and before arriving in Corning, turn right on Cty. Rd.114. Turn right on Clay County Rd. 107. The Cemetery is on the left at the end of the road. Enter at the north part of the cemetery. Go about three or four rows, and you should find the Harper family plot. Sadly, J.H. Harper has never had a permanent marker placed in the cemetery.

GPS Location
36.357869, -90.740656


Tom L. Childers standing next to Harper family plot.

Maude M. Harper
November 22, 1886
January 9, 1954

John H. Harper

Photos Taken 11.14.2014
Webpage Produced 02.18.2015 
Courtesy of Scott Harp

*Special thanks to Tom L. Childers and Charlie Wayne Kilpatrick for assisting in the burial location. They, along with your web editor, took a trip into northern Arkansas to find the graves of gospel preachers of yesteryear in November, 2014. We traveled together three days and located the final resting places of nearly forty preachers and their families. It was a great trip. Many of the personalities we researched were chronicled in Boyd E. Morgan's book, Arkansas Angels, or later in Dr. Michael L. Wilson's book, Arkansas Christians: A History of the Restoration Movement in Randolph County, 1800-1995.

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