Instituted under the patronage of Rev. J Wesley I received while in the Congress Hall the other day a new history of this Society with a Plan in which I see my name in. I being the only survivor dated 1856. The work of the Community was chiefly in workhouses and lodging houses in Whitechapel, etc.
Through the bad trade and force of circumstances having five children just then 1870 there was much talk of Canada. After much thought and prayer I was led to make preparations. The late Mrs. General Booth did much for me in the purchase of furniture and in other ways. I was class leader at Bethnal Green Mission at my farewell meeting I was presented with a nice Bible dated May 23rd 1870 with written words of cheer that the Lord might be with me in my future home.
Later on I had the pleasure of opening a small Hall in Sclater Street behind the pigeon shop. I have been trying to get the little book published in those days possibly out of print, we had many sculs converted. Singing of birds in the front, but Hallelujahs at the back here in the open air I was told that a thief looked at my pocket handkerchief to see if silk, finding it cotton he pushed it back. In those days it was fashionable to have silk coloured handkerchiefs.
So, walking down the Main Road near the market I seem to hear a voice, this is the place for you to witness for me, so I obeyed, took the Bible from my pocket. I read two chapters, no one near, I then knelt down on the Stone Road. Prayed that I might receive power t owitness for him, who had done so much for me. I must have been carried away by the spirit into the Divine Glory.
I arose from my knees, and was surprised to find a crowd of respectable looking people astonished at the novel, which I was told had not happened for 20 years. I was to do my work, and God was to do his in finding me employment. A gentleman said are you a missionary? Yes an unpaid one, any family? yes, how many? 5. Are you a mechanic? yes. What trade? Cabinet Maker. Look, you see that sign across the road, Cabinet Maker? yes sir. Call tomorrow morning at £3 a week. He found work for me for six months, after which I went to live in a town called St. Catherines, 30 miles higher up Canada near the falls of Niagara where we now have a large building the Headquarters for the Salvation Army.
At St catherines I was not to stay longer than six months. The only place I found to have much life and soul saving power was at the coloured Methodist Church. Here the coloured preacher Rev. J Blunt asked me if I would take the week-end while he was on holiday.
My youngest daughter was born at St Catherines. I was in business in a shop owned by a publican when my landlord saw my dear wife in the march procession against whiskey. He gave me notice to leave. These ladies went into the beer and wine shops to pray which made htem afraid.
I was asked by a Godly woman whose husband was addicted to drink whiskey and very much so I accepted her offer to hold Revival meetings for two weeks in her parlours.
Rented a hall to save one man - another case of conversion. A carman ann Englishman backslider who I visited the wife told me he used to lead the singing in the old country but now he was so wicked and such a bad temper and Mr. Jermy I think if he is not careful the powerful horses in the stable will kick and kill him.
Eight of us in the family left Canada landed in the States of America in the beautiful city of Cleveland. Still a stranger no one to welcome me, but by Faith and prayer the way soon opened up to work for God and Souls. It so happened I meet a brother who had a big soul who wanted to work. I described the Christian Mission, he shouted that is just it, he wrote to the late General. The General referred him to me to explain the working of the Mission.
Unfurling the Flag of the Christian Mission Jermy wrote to the Rev. W Booth in September 2nd 1872, as follows a copy frpm the life of Mrs. Booth, also found in the General's life by Commissioner Booth-Tucker. I found in this human nature the same as in Whitechapel, drunkenness and every kind of sin. I saw the need for Special effort. By the help of our Lord I took a large front shop on the Main Road Cleveland near the market. The first Sunday opening we had 15 souls out. We also opened a Mission 4 miles away here we hold Holiness Meetings. I and my dear wife often walked through the snow and frost, but well rewarded. Oh what wonderful visions of Glory we had in this place.
In Cleveland, Ohio, praise the Lord for the many happenings at this corner in front of the Beer Shop, the Landlord was an Englishman after one of our meetings the wife came to me to know if I was a ranter. I said what in the world made you think that, well you act and sing just like the ranters in the old country. Well yes I am a bit of a Ranter. I thought so.
Meetings in the Beer Shop Parlour. Now sir the next time it rains you hold the meeting in my house. I thankd her much. One evening the rain came down, I marched the people into the Beer Shop. She became friendly helped the Mission and when the child died she wanted me to bury it and so I did.
Here at this open-air a gentleman called me out of the ring, saying God bless you in your work, here is a five dollar bill. Thank you sir very much.
In the Christian Mission Hall in Cleveland we was not ashamed to lift up the standard of the Higher Christian Life. Very many found the blessing of a clean heart, sorry to say it was not quite understood by many, yet praise the Lord, many accepted the teaching.
On September 2nd 1872 I wrote to Rev. W Booth as follows: I shall be glad to hear from you how the Chrisitian Mission is doing. I shall be glad if you will acknowledge us. Amen. The Mission Flag is hoisted. Holiness to the Lord. Yours in Jesus, James Jermy.
Answer delayed through the illness of the general, when he writes saying I read your letter on Friday morning that was to the few Evangelists then in Mission Work. I may say I used to attend these Blessed meetings whene the letetrs wereread, and prayer offered up on behalf. So you have raised the banner of the Chrisitian Mission in Ohio, Amen. May it never be dishonoured but may it float over an Army of Saved Souls. The General's advice in this letter is worth remembering. Be a man of Prayer, aim at souls in every meeting, throw reputations and so called respectabilty overboard, do plenty of open-air work and house to house visitations. Beware of men who will want to come in because they can be great among you, because they have a natural love for Talking. One humble thow illiterate worker in simlicity and the Holy Ghost is worth a regiment of the other kind.
And now farewell may you have divine light and constant guidance and in swelling of the Holy Ghost may God give you grace to lay a good foundation and keep you at His feet. Believe me to be your Brother in Jesus, William Booth.
Brother Jermy writes in March 1873. Dear Mr Booth,
A number of articles were written about James Jermy in The War Cry; the magazine of the Salvation Army, as well as sections in the biography of Catherine Booth and the official History of the Salvation Army. These are included below:
In The Life of Mrs Booth reference is made to Brother Jermy, one of the most active and successful of the Mission Workers, who, having left England and settled in the United States, unfurled the Flag of the Christian Mission there. This comrade, our readers will be pleased to know, is now a Soldier of the Clapton Congress Hall Corps.
Naturally, one whose aquantance with The General dates back over forty years, and who was at that time an active worker under his leadership, has recollections of that association which are now full of interest.
Brother Jermy first came under the influence of The General when he was conducting Meetings in the famous East-End dancing-room. When passing down Mile End Road he saw a procession of his people; they were singing, We're bound for the Better Land, and at their head was The General. Men and womwne came running out of gin shops as they passed and followed them, and Jermy, already a warm-hearted Soldier of Christ, saw at once that the methods employed by this band and its Leader brought them and their religion into touch with the people.
Speaking of the Meetings of those days, Comrade Jermy says The General always left time for a red-hot Prayer Meeting. He also made it a rule to have as many as possible of the Workers who could pray well kneeling together in front of the platform. Therwe was perhaps more praying and less singing during the course of the Prayer Meetings than now, but when victory had been gained it was celebrated by shouting and singing without measure.
The Social Work of the Salvation Army has its commencement very much further back than is sometimes thought. The General, says our comrade, always sought to help the sufferring poor. I remember one Christmas eve, at the old Whitechapel Hall, helping to cut up joints of beef and hand out groceries to distressed families. At the old Bethnal Green Station we used to have a free early breakfast on Sunday mornings for the very poor, with Salvation after!
The children received much attention from The General in the early days. A band of converted boys and girls was formed at Bethnal Green, and they would hold Meetings for young people under his leadership. One of Brother Jermy's recollections of this time is of hearing that the Chief of Staff and his brother had had a Prayer Meeting in Victoria Park, at which they had pointed an old Lady to Christ.
Before leaving for America Brother Jermy did considerable service in the Mission, among the campaignes he was commissioned by The General to conduct, or assist, in conducting, being a great Camp Meeting on London Fields in July 1869, when two tents were in use. He was also sent too open a Hall at Old Ford, and with the late Commissioner Dowdle to Croydon on a similar errand.
Ref: Salvation Pioneer The War Cry. April 9, 1910.
Praise God for this year of Jubilee! writes Envoy James Jermy, of the Clapton Hall Corps, in a letter to The General. I was present at the first Meeting The Founder conducted in the old Dancing Room in the East End, after the Salvation Tent had been blown down. The fire kindled in my soul then burns with brightness to this day. It was my privelege to take part in the first great Camp Meetings on London Fields, and on behalf of the Founder I opened Halls at Old Ford, Croydon, and other places. When, later, I went to America I raised the Cristian Mission Flag in Cleveland seven years before the first Officer landed in that part. How wonderful has been the development of The Army, and how loud should be our song of praise!
Ref: Eighteen Thousand Officers Salute the Flag! The War Cry. June 14, 1919.
In a letter to Colonel Carpenter, written in a bold hand a day or two following the celebration of his 90th birthday, Envoy Jermy, of Clapton, one of the few remaining Christian Mission veterans, says: Is it not wonderful! Glory be to God for His providence to me. On Sunday , the day after my birthday, I spoke in the Open-air ring and also at the indoor Meeting at the Havelock Hall, Hackney.
Ref: The War Cry. November 20, 1926.
Envoy Jermy, of the Clapton Congress Hall, is one of the oldest of the Christian Mission workers. He was one of the first to serve The Army overseas, for he was a member of the pioneer party which went to the United States of America. He remembers that he was yet a young preacher when he was attracted by the fiery enthusiasm of the Rev. William Booth and by the success of his revival methods. One day he was interested to hear that Bramwell and one of his brother had got a penitent-form in Victoria Park. What actually happened was that the boys, having dealt with a penitent old lady in the park, had persuaded her to kneel with them beside a public bench while they prayed for her conversion.
Ref: Memories of the Booth family in the Christian Mission days The War Cry. June 29, 1929.
Envoy Jermy, an old Christian Missioner, who was intimately associated with General Bramweel Booth in the early days, was promoted to Glory shortly after the General and is to be buried today (Tuesday).
Ref: The Chief's Condolences The War Cry. June 29, 1929.
On the day following the funeral of General Bramwell Booth, the earthly remains of Envoy Jermy were laid to rest in a nearby grave in the Abney Park Cemetery. The Envoy, who was ninety two years of age, was intimately associated with the Founder and the late General in The Army's earliest days.
After the internment some twenty five comrades visited the grave of the promoted General, and a request that they should be allowed to look at the casket was agreed to. Mrs, Commandant Wright led the singing of a consecration song, and Sergeant Anthony, of the Clapton Congrees Hall, prayed.
Ref: Envoy Jermy The War Cry. July 6, 1929.
The recent promotion to Glory of Envoy Jermy, of the Clapton Congress Hall, has removed a familiar figure from that historic Corps, and has broken one of the few ramining links with The Army's earleist days. Although ninety two years of age, the Envoy had not long been inactive, in fact he ramined a vigorous Open air Worker until after his ninetieth birthday.
As a young married man he was attracted by the fiery enthusiasm of William Booth in his initial efforts on Mile End Waste, and although circumstances prevented him ever becoming an Officer in The Army the Envoy took a prominent part in the pioneering efforts of the new Movement in this country as well as in America.
Quite naturally the Envoy had many treasured memories of the Founders, and, as readers will rmember, some of his recollections of The Army's first Chief of Staff and second General , were used in The War Cry in connection with the promotion to Glory of General Bramwell Booth.
Quite appropriately the Envoy has been buried near the Founders, the late General, and a number of other well known Army iponeers in Abney Park Cemetery.
Ref: Another Christian Missioner Crowned The War Cry. August 3, 1929.