History of the Restoration Movement

Amos Burton "Burt" Shaver


A. B. Shaver

"John Shaver came to Randolph county from Georgia about 1828, after other members of his family had already settled here. He settled in what is now possibly Ingram township, where he lived the rest of his life, dying in 1850. He was married to Nancy Cook, before coming to this county. To this union was born 11 children, eight reaching maturity. They were William, Robert, James F., Alexander, Martha who married C. Johnson; Caroline, who married John Johnson; Nancy, who married Jesse Johnson; John, who was killed at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862, and Peter. William was a minister of the Church of Christ, as was Peter. The two brothers organized and preached to some of the first congregations of this church in north Arkansas." (L. Dalton's history of Randolph County, published 1946 page 342.)

Both William and Peter were born in Randolph County, William in 1829 and Peter in 1839.

James F. and Peter married sisters, daughters of Henry and Sara Biggers Waddle. James F. married Elizabeth and in 1853 Peter married Lucinda.

There are those living who remember "Uncle" Peter Shaver as a fine and prominent gospel preacher. He resided in the Ingram community of Randolph County. The couple had nine children, five boys and four girls. Three of the boys died in infancy. Bro. Shaver had homesteaded land in the Ingram (Gooberhull) Community. The farm is still known as the old Shaver place. One of the boys G. R. remained on the old homestead. Another A. B. (Burt) became one of Randolph County's most illustrious gospel preachers.

"Actual services of the Church of Christ were being held in the home of Isham Mock and other early settlers around Palestine, some say, as early as 1830. Mr. Mock and members of the Shaver family produced a number of the first ministers of the Church of Christ in the county. Older people still remember Peter and William Shaver, very early ministers, and later Burt Shaver and others of the family. Burt Shaver, whose name was Amos Burton Shaver, was one of the best-known and loved ministers ever to live in Randolph County. He died at Stokes in the early 1950's." (The Randolph County Historical Review, January 1966, Vol. 2 No. 1 page 17.)

A. B. Shaver was born April 7, 1876 at the old Shaver homestead in the Ingram community in Randolph county. In July 1897 he was married to Miss Martha Holwer. The following year he preached his first sermon and in 1901 entered into the ministry with determination to be of service to the Master.

No other man has equaled his record in Randolph County. Fifty years later he had baptized around 6000, conducted about 4000 funerals and performed about 3000 marriage ceremonies. At the close of World War II there were 35 active congregations of the church in the county and he had been instrumental in establishing 20 of them. I knew him well. He was of medium height and of stocky build. A good looking man who radiated sincerity. He loved the church and his work in it. In 1939 I held a meeting at Skaggs and was told of a meeting Bro. A. B. Shaver had conducted there in which 150 persons had been baptized.

He did not design to be a debator, but belonged to that period when gospel preachers considered themselves duty-bound to defend anything they preached. This led him into ten public discussions. I attended a portion of his last one, which was during World War II with Mr. Perry Tinkler, Association Missionary Baptist, in the Baptist church house in Datto, Ark. They discussed the time of the establishment of the church. Bro. Shaver had prepared a beautiful chart for his use in the discussion which spread almost entirely across the. front of the house. Truth did not suffer in his hands.

He had the honor of performing the first marriage ceremony in the latest Randolph County courthouse. Most of his work was in the mission fields and he conducted many protracted meetings in Northeast Arkansas and South Missouri. He preached by appointment when not engaged in meetings. His home was in Pocahontas until two years before his death when he moved to the Stokes community.

At age 77 he was in apparent good health. On Sunday June 28, 1953 he preached at the annual fourth Sunday in June homecoming services at Palestine. The following Tuesday morning June 30,1953 he complained of illness shortly after he arose. Death occurred there at his home, a short time later, apparently of a heart ailment.

Funeral services were conducted at Palestine, where he had preached the previous Sunday, Thursday morning July 2, 1953 at 10 a. m. Brother Joe H. Blue delivered the memorial tribute for this grand warrior whose labors were ended. More than 1000 people attended the service.

-Boyd E. Morgan, Arkansas Christians, Second Printing, Paragould: College Bookstore and Press, 1967, pages 93,94.

A. B. Shaver

Alfred Burton ''Amos" Shaver, the tenth and last child of Peter and Lucinda Shaver, was born April 7, 1876, on the family farm at Ingram, Arkansas. He became one of the best known and most loved ministers to have ever lived in Randolph County.1 (1 Randolph County Historical Review (January 1966): 17.)

On July 10, 1898, "Uncle Burt" (as he was affectionately known) married Martha Jane Fowler (1879-1949) of the Ingram community. Eight children blessed this sacred union.2

(2 At this writing, February 1996, one child, 77 year old Arlo Woodrow Shaver, survives and lives in St. Louis, Missouri.)

He began preaching around the turn of the century and continued until his death in 1953, thus culminating one of the most successful ministries of any gospel preacher in the county. During his more than fifty years of preaching he baptized around 6,000 people, conducted about 4,000 funerals, and performed some 3,000 marriage ceremonies. At the close of World War II there were 35 active congregations in Randolph County and he had been instrumental in establishing half of them.3 (3 Morgan, Arkansas Angels, p. 94. Morgan features A. B. Shaver in his book on pages 93-94; See, Dalton. History, p. 344.)

The very successful and popular Rue Porter met Shaver in 1934 and was deeply impressed by him. Porter wrote:

... A. B. Shaver is among the most successful preachers in the land today. I suspect he baptizes more people than a dozen of the ordinary preachers like myself. I am so impressed with him that I must say a few things about him. He is uneducated, and speaks no language except the dialect of this rather secluded section. He mispronounces many simple words, and is not 'polished,' but when it comes to telling people the plain truth he stands in a class almost by himself His humility, meekness, and unyielding confidence in the power of the gospel, and his understanding of himself, makes him unique. After all, that is the best preaching. Just the truth without varnish of any son. May God bless him continually. More than three hundred baptized in one congregation near his home, and where he has lived most of his life, is evidence of his good influence.4 (4 Don Deffenbaugh. "Uncle Rue· A Biography of Roland Rudolph Porter (Neosho, MO.: Don Deffenbaugh. 1985), p. 175.)

"Uncle Burt" Shaver's "home" church was Palestine. It was in this community that he was reared, educated married and spent most of his years. He was the speaker for the annual Palestine Homecoming until his death.5 (5. Following his death, Cecil Wilson, another descendant of John and Mary Blackwelder Shaver, spoke at the annual service; upon his death in October, 1984. Harmon Seawel, another descendant of John Shaver, began preaching for the annual service.)

On Sunday, June 28, 1953, 77 year old. A. B. Shaver preached at the homecoming and did an outstanding job. This writer and his parents were present. Two days later he indicated to his wife. Flora, that he was not feeling well. He died later that day.6 (6 Martha Jane passed away March 15, 1949, and he married Flora Emery. Dec. 11, 1951.)

His memorial service was held at the Palestine Church on Thursday, July 2, before a crowd of more than 1.000 people. Joe H. Blue, a frjend, brother. and co-worker, paid a tribute of praise to him. Many people yet live who cherish the memory of having been buried with the Lord in baptism at the hands of "Uncle Burt" Shaver.  

-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., page 356-357.

Gospel Meeting Of Burt Shaver

A. B. "Uncle Bert" Shaver

Source: Joshua Dement, Facebook, April 7, 2020

Directions To The Grave of A. B. Shaver

The old Palestine church of Christ Cemetery lies north of Pocahontas, Arkansas. Travel north on Hwy. 115 out of Pocahontas. Turn left on Co. Road 251. Go about eight miles and turn right onto Palestine Road. The road is a dirt road. Best to go on dry days. The road will make a couple of hard turns before coming to the church and cemetery. When entering the cemetery, the Shaver family plot is straight ahead from the gate. While in the cemetery, be sure to visit the graves of other gospel preacher buried there such as P.H. Shaver, J.C. Wilson, Jake Waddle, and Dr. Michael L. Wilson, the writer of Arkansas Christians:A History of the Restoration Movement in Randolph County, Arkansas 1800-1995, c.1997, Delight: Gospel Light Publishing Co.

GPS Location

Palestine Church of Christ
No longer meets regularly. But the grounds and cemetery are kept up by the community.

Martha Jane Shaver
February 4, 1879
March 15, 1949

A. B. Shaver
1876 - 1953

Photos Taken 11.14.2014
Webpage Produced 02.19.2015 
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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