History of the Restoration Movement


George Henry Pryor Showalter

1870-1954

 

Sketch On The Life Of G.H.P. Showalter

George Henry Pryor Showalter was born in Snowville, Virginia, October 15, 1870, to J. T. and Sarah Catherine Showalter. He was baptized by his father on the second Sunday in March, 1883.<

He received his education at the Greendale Institute in Virginia, Milligan College in Tennessee and the University of Texas. He taught school and did evangelistic work in Virginia and West Virginia from 1892 to 1897.

Showalter came to Texas in 1897 and was President of Sabinal Christian College where he served for one year.

He began preaching at Greendale, Virginia, in 1891, and was an active preacher of the gospel for nearly 63 years.

Showalter married Lena Estelle Honea, August 1, 1900. To this union were born three sons and three daughters, of whom survived at the time of his death. His first wife died June 25, 1943.

In 1908, Showalter became the editor and owner of the Firm Foundation and he continued in this work until the time of his death.

He baptized all six of his children and all of his grandchildren that were old enough to obey the gospel during his life. He conducted the marriage ceremony for all of his children. This is one of the highest compliments that children and grandchildren can pay to their father and grandfather. The mother of the six children died June 5, 1943. She was a devout Christian mother with a very humble and untiring nature.

On September 6, 1945, Showalter married Winifred Mason Moore of Wichita, Kansas. She was a devoted and faithful wife all the way to the time of his departure. Two days before his death, all the children and 13 grandchildren were present to celebrate his 84th birthday. Due to the pressures of business, Showalter spent the day at the office. On the following morning, it was Saturday, he became ill and was taken to the hospital late in the day. Sunday morning, the Lord's Supper was brought to him in the hospital, which he and his wife, who was attending him, observed together. At 1:40 P.M. his spirit left his body. He remained conscious almost to the moment of his passing. Death was attributed to a coronary occlusion. Winifred Mason Moore Showalter passed about in the spring of 1956, and was buried next to her first husband, M.S. Mason in Springfield, Missouri.

It is doubtful if any single man west of the Mississippi River wielded more influence for great work in the church during the first half of the 20th century than did G. H. P. Showalter. His kind are not too often found.

He was survived by his wife, Winifred; three daughters, Mrs. R. O. Kenley, Jr., of Longview, Texas, Mrs. E. E. Hawkins of Austin, Texas, Mrs. E. T. Flewellen of Longview, Texas; three sons, Preston, Wallace, and George, Jr., all of Austin; two sisters, Mrs. Everett Randolph of Abilene, Texas, Mrs. Julia Massey of Roanoke, Virginia; three brothers, M. V. Showalter of Abilene, Dr. A. M. Showalter of Christiansburg, Virginia, and E. T. Showalter of Snowville, Virginia; 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. (At the time of this writing, 1986, a number of his family have passed to their reward.)

The funeral was conducted Tuesday, October 19, at 3:00 P.M. in the University Church of Christ where Showalter served as an elder for over 45 years. Cecil E. Hill, minister of this congregation, directed the service. H. I. Taylor, preacher of the Northside congregation in Austin, made a brief eulogy of Showalter and led the prayer. Basil Shillings, preacher for the Southside congregation in Austin, gave a few words of praise to Showalter's work and influence, and read the Scripture. W. M. Davis of Dallas, first page writer for the Firm Foundation for over 25 years, delivered the funeral sermon. This was an appointment that had been made some 30 years before.

Davis delivered a vigorous sermon and one that was appreciated by all who were present. A song composed by Showalter, "I'm Walking The Heavenly Way," was used at the funeral by the small chorus directed by Ray McGlothlin. There were many preachers and others present from many points in Texas and some from outside the state. On November 23, 1954, the entire edition of the Firm Foundation was dedicated to Showalter, with many writers from different places commending his great work and spoke words of praise in his honor.

-In Memoriam, Gussie Lambert - pages 256-258

G. H. P. Showalter --- 1870-1954

G. H. P. Showalter was born in Snowville, Virginia, October 15, 1870, and had passed his eighty-fourth year by two days at the time of his death. Brother Showalter was baptized by J. T. Showalter on the second Sunday in March, 1883. He began preaching in Greendale, Virginia, in 1891. He taught school and did evangelistic work in Virginia and West Virginia from 1892 to 1897. Brother Showalter came to Texas in 1897 and was President of Lockney Christian College (now extinct) for ten years. He received his education at the Greendale Institute in Virginia, Milligan College in Tennessee and the University of Texas. He began preaching at Greendale, Virginia, in 1891 and was an active preacher of the gospel for nearly sixty-three years. He taught school and did evangelistic work in Virginia and West Virginia from 1892 to 1897. Brother Showalter was married to Lena Estelle Honea August 1, 1900 and to this union six children were born, three sons and three daughters, all of whom survive. His first wife died June 25, 1943.

In 1908 Brother Showalter became the Editor and owner of the Firm Foundation and he continued in this work until the time of his death. Brother Showalter was a clear thinker, conservative in his convictions and wrote in a very interesting style. He had a very strong influence among the brethren generally and was greatly appreciated.

On September 6, 1945, Brother Showalter was united in marriage to Winifred Mason Moore. His survivors are: His wife, Mrs. G. H. P. Showalter; three daughters, Mrs. R. O. Kenley, Jr., of Longview; Mrs. E. E. Hawkins, of Austin; and Mrs. E. T. Flewellen, of Longview. Three sons, Preston, Wallace and George, Jr. all of Austin, Texas. Two sisters: Mrs. Everett Randolph, of Abilene, Texas; and Mrs. Julia Massey, of Roanoke, Virginia. Three brothers : M. V. Showalter, of Abilene, Texas; Dr. A. M. Showalter, of Christiansburg, Va. and E. T. Showalter of Snowville, Virginia; thirteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

The funeral was conducted Tuesday, October 19 at 3 P. M. in the University Church of Christ where he served as an elder for over forty-five years. Cecil E. Hill, minister for this congregation directed the service. H. I. Taylor, preacher for the Northside congregation in Austin made a brief eulogy of Brother Showalter and led the prayer. Brother Basil Shillings, preacher for the Southside congregation in Austin gave a few words of praise to Brother Showalter's work and influence and read the scripture. Brother W. M. Davis, of Dallas, first page writer for the Firm the funeral sermon. This was an appointment ·that had been made some thirty years before. Brother Davis delivered a vigorous sermon and one that was appreciated by all who were present. A song composed by Brother Showalter, "I'm Walking the Heavenly Way," was used at the funeral by the small chorus directed by Ray McGlothlin.

There were many preachers and others present from many points in Texas and some from out of the state. The members of the family appreciate very much every expressive of sympathy and kindness during this hour of sorrow.

(The above obituary was written by Brother Cecil E. Hill, who directed the funeral services.) It is our plan to continue the policy made by our late father, G. H. P. Showalter, in the publication of the Firm Foundation. A memorial edition will be printed soon.

(Signed) : The children-T. P. Showalter, G. W. Showalter, G. H. P. Showalter, Jr., Mrs. R. O. Kenley, Jr., Mrs. E. E. Hawkins, Mrs. E. T. Flewellen.

-Firm Foundation, October 26, 1954, pages 8-9.

Ramblings In Old Virginia

At this writing, I am preaching in a week's meeting at New Salem, just out some two miles from Snowville, Virginia. It was in Little River, at Snowville, that I was baptized, by my father, sixty-one years ago the second Sunday of last March, 1945. My father at that time was very active and busy as a gospel preacher. He was also one of the elders in the church at Snowville. A brother of mine, (J. Wesley) was baptized at the same time. The snow was falling fast at the time of the baptismal service, and the waters were cold. We did not have baptistries then—at least none at Snowville. I cherish that day yet—now more than three score years gone—as the happiest day of my life. At the water they sang a favorite song of that time, for such occasions:

"How happy are they who their Savior obey;
Who have laid up their treasure above;
Tongue cannot express the sweet comfort and peace
Of a soul in its earliest love."

I thought at the time that was the sweetest hymn I ever heard. I have not learned much better. And that was in the long ago--to be exact, just three score years and one. And today it was my privilege, and very great pleasure to bury with her Lord in baptism at this exact place, a fine young lady who came forward last evening at the close of the sermon, to confess Christ and be baptized. Little River, a fine stream of fresh, clear water, fed by the limestone and freestone springs of the mountains has made practically no change in its course at this place. The same sloPing shore line of clean, soft sand and gravel and the very gradually deepening bed from the water's edge, make it altogether one of the most beautiful places for baptizing. At the service today we sang:

“How happy are they who their Savior obey?”

It was near Snowville that I held my first protracted meeting, and at this same place I did the baptizing of several who responded to the gospel invitation. Also, I baptized many others there later.

The church at New Salem is not large, but it is a loyal band of disciples. A rather large percent of them are descendants of the Showalter families. Some still carry the name, others have lost it by marriage. Brothers Ray Covey and Tom Covey and their families and sisters are members here; the brothers are leaders in the work. Their mother was a Showalter, a first cousin of mine. She is still faithful and physically active at the age of 85. Cousin Lula (we call her) has been a true and faithful Christian for more than 70 years. A brother of mine, and his large family, also the widow and son of another brother, and the son's family worship here. In more ways than one, "it is good to be here." I have found still lingering on the shores of time a very few of my old schoolmates and special friends of the long, long ago. Not unexpected of course, for it is just a little more than 48 years ago that I left the familiar haunts of my childhood in "fair Virginia's verdant hills." And these green hills and flowering uplands, and sweet smelling meadows, and waving, fragrant fields of the tasseling corn, are just now at their very best. The moist, cool mountain air at an elevation of 2000 to 3000 feet is laden with sweet odors and mellowed with the music of the songsters of the woodland. Heaven has been propitious this season and the fruitful earth, is smiling in abundant yields of waving fields of grain -much of it already harvested-and the "threshing machines" are buzzing taking care of a rich harvest. The farmers are busy and happy. The pastures-not too heavily stocked-are excellent on account of the abundant moisture this year, and sheep, horses, mules, and herds of cattle browse leisurely, lazily and contentedly in fields of sweet smelling clover and vast spreading stretches of green grass.

The cause of the Master is of first importance. There are not a few here who have not bowed the knee to Baal; and have not tolerated the innovations that have been introduced by the worldly minded of weak faith who have not hesitated to cause division and strife, and schism, and heartachings and heartbreakings among God's people. The churches that are loyal are few, and generally small, but among them can be found some of the very salt of the earth. There should be more preaching-far more-in these regions. The people come out well and listen attentively. They are teachable and readily become obedient to the faith. Not so many picture shows and ways of life in the cities to attract and distract them in these rural sections. Preachers in these parts are few. May their tribe increase. My brother, E. T. Showalter, a farmer preacher, of Snowville, Virginia, preaches regularly in monthly appointments for four congregations. He is doing a good work. He is loved and appreciated by the brethren. He baptizes many, marries them and buries them. He is filling a place where his services are almost indispensable. Lowell Altizer is a fine young gospel preacher, educated at Freed-Hardeman College. He is holding some meetings in these parts; one at Copper Valley, another at Laurel Hill. He is doing some good preaching and the brethren appreciate him. His brother is also beginning to preach. Preaching is contagious, and it is a good omen that it is breaking out in these parts. For the gospel, this is a fruitful field. Much is being done here, and also much is now being done in the eastern part of the state.

It is great to ramble about among the verdant bills and stately mountains that give charm and grace to Southwest Virginia. It seems that nature and art have - entered into a sort of partnership to see to it that nothing is left undone to make life worth living as one drives along the beautifully and attractively constructed scenic highways by meadows of sweet smelling clover or the white fields of buck wheat in full blossom where all the bees of the country are busy just now gathering honey for themselves and for the race of man that occupy their part of the country, or beside fields of rapidly growing corn dipped in the morning dew and embalmed in the sweet fragrance of the blossom of tassel and silk; the wild flowers and blooming shrubs of the mountain add their fragrance; the birds pour forth songs and the whole atmosphere is mellowed with music and laden with sweet odors. These people have not employed me to advertise them or their country but in my judgment the vacationist cannot find a finer place than the Shenandoah National Park and its adjacent meadows, and valleys, and hills, and mountains and scenic drives that God has made and men have embellished.

The far famed "Skyline Drive" in Virginia, is one of the most scenic motor roads in the world. It is in the Shenandoah National Park area and follows the mountain ridge at an average altitude of 3500 feet. From this road one. can view marvelous stretches of the beautiful Virginia valleys, an ever-changing panorama of beauty.

I love Virginia, her pearling brooks, her mountain torrents, her waterfalls, her cold, clear springs that burst forth from hillside and vale, her rich, grassy pastures, her soft fragrant meadows, her cattle upon a thousand hills. Almost a half century since it was my home. Many changes have come. Many of those of the old days still live, more have been called away from life's labors. Love and hope for the living, tears and love for the many dead.

-G.H.P. Showalter, Firm Foundation, September 4, 1945, page eight.

Directions To The Grave Of G.H.P. Showalter

G.H.P. Showalter is buried in the Austin Memorial Park Cemetery in Austin, Texas. The address of the cemetery is 2800 Hancock Drive, Austin, Texas 78731. On I-35, north of downtown Austin, take Exit 239 and head west on Hwy. 2222 (E. Koenig Lane) and travel about three miles. The road will become Northland Dr. Turn left on Shoal Creek Blvd. The cemetery will be to your right. Go until you can turn left on Hancock Dr. Enter the cemetery and the section will be very soon after entering on your left. The grave is a good bit back and close to the fence. See pictures below to get an idea. The Luther Norman plot is very near Showalter's plot.

GPS Coordinates
30.328490, -97.750318
Grave Faces East
Block 1 Lot 110

 


Austin Memorial Cemetery Entrance
Block One Is Just Past Hedge Row In Distance On Left


Boxed In On Right Is The Showalter Plot, On Left Is Norman Plot


The Showalter Plot


Norman Plot In The Foreground, Showalter Plot Blocked In Background


Daddy - George Henry Pryor Showalter
Oct 15, 1870 - Oct. 17, 1954


Mother - Lena H. Showalter
Aug. 24, 1879 - June 25, 1943


Son - Thomas Preston Showalter
Feb. 12, 1902 - Jan. 22, 1977

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