Biography of Famous Salvation Army Leader Evangeline Booth Part 2

About the Salvation Army leader in the United States Evangeline Booth, history and biography of the religious woman who brought the Army to America.


On another occasion the resourceful "hallelujah lassie" lowered herself down a tin mine in an ore bucket and overwhelmed the miners, singing "Nearer, My God, to Thee" while suspended in darkness.

She was assigned by headquarters to Canada in 1894. Sensing the drift of the times, she soon followed the sourdough migration to the vice-ridden boomtowns of the Yukon. There she set up soup kitchens, medical clinics, and make-shift wilderness chapels. One night, on the banks of the Yukon River, she preached to 25,000 miners and converted a notorious Yukon outlaw known as Soapy Smith. Smith told Evangeline he would go straight, but he was killed by vigilantes before he could prove that he meant it.

When Evangeline was named commander for the U.S., her life's mission began to unfold. In the years from 1904 to 1934 she changed her citizenship, boosted the number of Army missions in America from 696 to 4,500, and was able to turn over to her successor $35 million in the bank and $48 million in accumulated Army property.

Just prior to the American entry into W.W. I she organized the campaign for gathering and sterilizing linen for bandages. After 1917, she sent hundreds of her "lassies" to the front, where they served hot coffee and doughnuts in the trenches, cared for the wounded and dying, and helped homesick American farm boys compose letters to send back home.

The battlefield courage and compassion of Evangeline's girls became famous. At the 10-year anniversary of the Armistice she prayed at the Arc de Triomphe and was escorted to a special memorial celebration by Gen. John J. Pershing and Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch.

In 1934 she was elected chief of the worldwide Salvation Army. Returning to the U.S., she was greeted in New York by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and a ticker-tape parade.

Until her death in 1950, Evangeline remained remarkably active in the administration of her father's ambitious undertaking. Every year on her birthday she gave spirited interviews to reporters, and every year she thrilled her public by taking her favorite saddle horse for a brisk cross-country gallop.

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