History of the Restoration Movement


Robert Wallace Officer
1845-1930


ROBERT WALLACE OFFICER

Since few permanent records exist, it is difficult to research the methods used in evangelizing Indian Territory; however the work of Robert Wallace Officer is an exception. G. H. P. Showalter describes this man:

Bro. Officer is of rough build and possesses a sturdy constitution. He has light blue eyes, fair complexion and dark hair, just turning slightly grey. He is about six feet in height, and would, in my judgment, weigh one hundred and eighty pounds. There is no doubt that nature has gifted him with more than ordinary powers of endurance. He has traveled much, preaching much, endured much. He has worked hard, studied closely and labored successfully. He is an independent thinker, and is little affected by positions taken by men, unless they can be shown to be reasonable or scriptural.[1]

Officer was born to Alexander and Francis Officer in Murray County, Georgia, on August 18, 1845.[2] Little of his early life is known except for the fact, as a teenager, he served a private in the Confederate army[3] and was wounded in battle.[4] At the age of twenty-five he was living in Winchester, Tennessee where he heard a sermon by a Methodist minister on the resurrection.[5] Standing at the close of the sermon, he said: "I believe with all my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and I want to be baptized."[6] Bringing out the Methodist manual of discipline, the preacher intended to teach the Methodist doctrine, but Officer refused, insisting that the example he wished to follow was the conversion of the Ethiopian in the book of Acts. The minister denied the request; nevertheless, six months later with Officer's persuasion, he was immersed by a Dr. Barris.[7]

Liberty Baptist Association

After his conversion Officer preached for the Liberty Baptist Association of Tennessee. Because of his conviction to teach the New Testament and to reprimand those who did not follow, he was charged of heresy.[8] It is not known at what point Officer came over to the Restoration Movement. On this matter Michael D. Slate writes the following: "It is probably true that Officer's transition to the disciples occurred not so much because he came to stand behind the Restoration Movement as because many people appreciative of the Restoration ideal came to stand behind him, due to his influential and strong character.[9]

Texas

After leaving Tennessee, officer resided fifteen miles from Searcy, Arkansas.[10] While in Arkansas, he farmed and preached for local congregations. In 1880 he moved to Texas where he began full-time work with the Gainesville Church of Christ. This year also marks the beginning of his work among the Indians north of the Red River in Indian Territory where he distributed books, papers, and tracts with the aid of an interpreter.[11] Hearing of this effort, Jacob Creath sent much of his library to Officer. In this collection were copies of the Millennial Harbinger and papers written by Tolbert Fanning. Four years later R. W. Officer remarked, "I drove the wedge in Indian Territory. . .[12] Officer was aware of the efforts of J. J. Trott and Isaac Mode, but felt their efforts fruitless. He points out his basic reasons:

Bro. Trott, of the Christian church, preached for a time in the Cherokee Nation, but after his death, there being, no one to take his place, the interest he created in a large degree was lost. Some of his children took membership with the denominations worshipping convenient to them. The circumstances which surrounded Bro. Mode, who for the short time was employed by the board, hindered him from doing much and for some time he resigned and returned to the farm.[13]

In 1881, R. W. Officer sent to Alabama for Murrell Askew, requesting him to help with the work in Indian Territory. Undoubtedly Askew had influenced Officer to work with the Indians since Askew was of Choctaw descent. Reflecting on the occasion Murrell wrote:

I confess I had but little confidence in its (mission work) success. Others locked upon it with some suspicion, and we all wondered why Bro. O. did not do like other missionaries over here, of the different denominations, as we had a missionary society. We were led to believe, some of us, that he was working up a new thing for his own glory, but are now convinced that we were mistaken, for we find that it does not divide, but has a tendency to bring the churches together in mission-work, and that all the money given goes for the purpose for which it was given.[14]

Askew set up residence in the Chickasaw Nation and converted number of Chickasaws. In 1883, Officer attended the Indian Council at Tishomingo, Chickasaw Nation, to obtain permission to establish an industrial school for Indian teenagers. Permission was granted and he solicited support through the Gospel Advocate.[15]

Early in 1884, Officer received word from the Chickasaw Nation saying that Murrell Askew had died. Discouraged and alone, Officer continued preaching, determined to do his best.

Before Askew died, Officer moved his family to Paris, Texas. It was in this town that F. D. Srygley served as a city evangelist. In connection with the Paris congregation Officer wrote:

The spirit of improvement still moves among the brethren at Paris. They are going at once to work on a dwelling house on church lot. They invite a preachers institution to be held with them this winter.[16]

By August of 1884, Officer's activities were totally sponsored by the Paris congregation. Under the direction of the Paris elders, E. L. Dohoney and W. H. Sluder,[17] Officer received $1200 a year.[18] He continued his regular excursions into Indian Territory, concentrating his efforts around Atoka in the Choctaw Nation.

Choctaw Nation 

The earliest record of any preacher in the Choctaw Nation was reported in January of 1886, when G. W. Williams preached at Shullyville.[19] Officer thought it would be late in 1887 before he could make a permanent move to the Choctaw Nation. In the process of making a decision to locate in Indian Territory he wrote: "I have learned that there is a petition being circulated among the Indians asking me to move into their midst and give my time among them."[20] In the summer of 1886, Officer moved to the Choctaw Nation in Indian Territory where he wrote an optimistic report: "My family is with me. We camp most of the time; eighteen additions in all up to date. There has been much work done which cannot be reported."[21]

Upon arriving in Atoka, Officer preached in a Methodist Episcopal church building.[22] Captain Standly, retired army officer, and his family were the first known members of the church to settle in Atoka in 1881.[23]

Since the Paris congregation was not able to finance the entire Indian ministry, officer solicited freewill contributions from interested congregations and individuals throughout the nation. In the Christian Standard he wrote:

The mission is under the control of the Christian church at Paris. Tae Indian Mission Board consists of the elders of the church at Paris. All money sent to Elder W. H. Sluder., Paris, Texas, will go right into the work.[24]

Later Officer wrote the Christian Standard:

Our Indian work is prospering. We have many friends and a few members scattered over the Nation. We have one very good school ho se about complete, and a school of 20 scholars.[25]

In addition, a female solicitor, Annetta Howard, was given authority from the elders of the Paris congregation to raise support for the Indian work. In his article to the Christian Standard, Officer speaks of her:

Sister Annetta Howard will leave tomorrow, recommended by the church at Paris to the churches, brethren and friends, to solicit and receive money to help support our Indian mission work. The interest is growing, the work is prospering, but our power to support it is low. We hope the brethren and friends will receive Sister Howard kindly and assist her in the good work in which she is engaged.[26]

Seeing the good results in Indian Territory, the American Christian Missionary Society responded:

The money heretofore devoted to this field will be given with a fair prospect of success to sustain the work of R. W. Officer of Paris, Texas at Atoka, Choctaw Nation. He has begun a splendid work both as to teaching and preaching and seems to be the right man in the right place.[27]

Officer appreciated their intentions, but was opposed to the Mission Society and refused the money:

Now, I will not accept any aid from missionary societies. I am convinced that the work will prosper better to steer clear of them, and I will do what I can to convert them to this way of work.[28]

As a result of this view, Officer's activity was primarily supported by the anti-society periodicals. Reporting his work by writing articles concerning Indian Territory, Officer received funds through the Christian Leader,[29] the Gospel Advocate,[30] and the Octographic Review.[31]

In November of 1886, Annetta Howard returned to Paris with cash and pledges for the Indian mission. Through the support of both the periodicals and the efforts of Mrs. Howard, Officer gave emphasis to benevolent work, urging families and congregations to adopt young Indian children. Encouraging Christians to assume responsibility, he wrote:

There are many orphan children, boys and girls from 7 to 12 years old, who are neglected and whom I can send to where they may be brought up under the influence of Christian training and sent back to their people as teachers. While they are being educated, we want them taught domestic, agricultural and mechanical skills.[32]

At the peak of this ministry he reported:

The children at my house are learning fast, some who have been sent off have obeyed the gospel, the prospect is, and will obey before they return [sic]. They are all with Christian families. I can furnish orphan Indian children to be taught by Christian families, hope others will swell the number by calling for a child and send money to pay expenses.[33]

This facet of Officer's operation continued for a period of four years, closing in 1888 when the Indian Orphan School was established under the direction of B. S. Smiser.[34]

El Meta Christian College 

A second school was established in 1889 at Silver City, Indian Territory, by a Miss Meta Chestnutt. In 1890 the Bureau of Indian Affairs approved the institution and it moved to Minco where the name became "El Meta Christian College."[35] Officer referred to Meta Chestnutt as a "whole state meeting in herself,"[36] and described the school as follows:

Ten acres of land, well located, are set aside for the College, and enclosed. In the southeast corner of the lot is a splendid chapel. Miss Meta Chestnutt, from North Carolina, has been instrumental in the growth of interest in the education of the coming mien and women of our country. The boarding department is good. There are no other than subscription schools for the white children; no school system in our country; no public funds for white children so that they are, many of them, growing up in poverty and ignorance. What we want is for the churches of Christ, as well as individuals, to give $200 to this department of our work, and so provide for twenty children in a school for a year.[37]

In the following year J. D. Tant spoke of the school in a report to the Gospel Advocate:

I found it successfully managed by Sister Meta Chestnutt. I learned from her that this School has passed the danger mark of failure, and the prospects are now brighter than ever.[38]

At the time Oklahoma Territory[39] was being established, workers were joining Officer and his work was expanding rapidly.[40] People were scattered throughout the territory causing Officer to move about to reach them. Traveling among preaching points and converting denominational missionaries, Officer trained a number of preachers.[41] By 1889 six evangelists were associated with him. This was the year that Annetta Howard made another fund raising trip visiting Illinois,[42] while R. W. Officer's brother, A. J. Officer,[43] made a similar trip to Missouri. In the Octographic Review Daniel Sommer told his readers about the expansion:

It is an unquestioned fact that the work among the North American Indians now going on in the Indian Territory is more successful than any other mission among strangers in which disciples of Christ have in this century engaged. It is also an unquestioned fact that all the money contributed goes directly to the men who do the work. Therefore this Indian Mission gives a splendid opportunity for the anti-society men and women who desire to do mission work to show that it is not indifference to missionary work, nor the loveof money on their part which causes them to oppose the society movements.[44]

Examples from Indian Territory

Being a soldier in the Confederate army, Officer knew how to defend himself. While in Indian Territory he kept a gun in his possession. During one of his preaching tours his ponies were taken from his campsite and he went after the horse thief with his gun. Upon apprehending the thief, Officer turned the man over to a Texas marshal.[45] Srygley, the author of Biographies and Sermons, tells of another trip with equal dramatic quality:

According, he turned his ponies on the grass, ate his supper, hung one end of his hammock to a wheel of his wagon and the other end of it to a tree, and opened his Bible and began to read. Some one had tacked a board on the tree to which one end of his hammock was hung, bearing the inscription, "Look Out For Robbers," but he had not noticed it.

Early in the night five rugged, ugly fellows dashed up from the river on horseback, firing their revolvers as they came. When they reached the place where he was swinging in his hammock and reading the Bible by the light of his lantern suspended from a limb limb of the tree above his head, one of them said: "Do you see that sign?"

He looked on the tree in the direction indicated and for the first time read the sign. With ready tact he replied: "Yes, I see it; that's all right. Hasn't a man a right to advertise his business? I am running this ranch now; I got here first, so you may as well shell out, boys."

One of them said: "Well, what do you want?"

"I want to rob you of all your meanness and send you on in the world to be good and do good."[46]

In the same chapter Srygley described Officer's relationship with Towacany Jim.[47] Jim, once being a great Indian warrior, became a man of peace when he met Officer. Office taught him the gospel and influenced him in giving up his life of polygamy. It was a peculiarity of Indians at this time to give names to men they considered dominant. Jim called Officer "White-man-not-afraid-of-thunder." This is a long name, but it sheds light on what the Indians thought of Officer, for others endorsed Jim's judgment by using the name.

Officer was the unifying force of the mission program in Indian Territory. By 1890 the congregation in Paris relaxed its control over the supervision of the Indian mission, and the expansive phase of the ministry settled into a more orderly form of work. With an increasing number of conversions, the work became a test of faith. "We spent our means, and for the first time since we began work here, are little in debt."[48] From the beginning Officer had visions of establishing several congregations of believers. Now the visions became reality, for he had to concentrate on financing permanent meetinghouses and solidifying the members.

Camp-meetings 

No doubt the evangelistic camp-meeting helped to contribute to the formation of the Indian congregations. Advertising a meeting at Minco, Officer announced in the Octographic Review:

All who have wagons, bows, etc., will please come to the camp meeting at Minco prepared to camp, and help care for those who come on horse-back and on foot. We will doubtless build an arbor, as the school will be going on in the house. The meeting will doubtless last two or three weeks.[49]

At times these camp-meetings would become dangerous. On one occasion the meeting was attacked by men shooting guns,[50] and on another occasion marshalls actually had battle with outlaws near the meeting.[51] At this time the threat of an attack by the "wild Indians"[52] was also possible, and Officer declared:

The school at Minco is doing well. The excitement over the coming of the wild Indian Messiah is on the increase. Some people expect trouble. They are dancing the brave dance. Their impression is, that a Savior will come to them in the spring, and restore the buffalo, and the game as of old.[53]

Officer having compassion for the "wild Indians," preached his first sermon to them in 1892. In June of the same year, along with T. B. Larimore, Officer went to Anadarco to secure land to start a preaching point among these tribes.[54] In conjunction with these efforts, G. S. Yates and G. W. Taylor developed a congregation on the 160 acres granted to the churches of Christ.[55] Officer worked with two other minority groups, the Kickapoo Indians and the Negroes .[56]

Debate

A second area of evangelism, which may have effected growth was a debate with M. A. Smith. In 1892 Smith, a preacher for the Methodist Episcopal Church was advancing his doctrine among the Indians. Up until this time Officer had discouraged debating, but evidently changed his mind at this point.[57] Little is known of the debate except that a Miss Pearl Eddleman of Denton, Texas was the shorthand reporter.[58]

Through the years in Indian Territory, Officer's work-load increased and his health decreased. In 1892, he was advised to move to Florida because rheumatism began to hinder his work.[59] Refusing the advice, he was involved in a wagon accident in 1895, breaking a leg and dislocating an ankle.[60] Mrs. Officer wrote the Octographic Review in 1897 reporting that Robert was suffering from some paralysis.[61]

Officer lost his wife at the turn of the century.[62] In an article published on June 11, 1901, Officer announced his move back to west Texas:

My promise to the few faithful ones in West Texas is due. I said when the Indian Territory was settled up I would go to them and build up a mission in west Texas. My promise is due and my address is changed from Atoka, Indian Territory, to Turkey, Texas.[63]

Charges

After 1900 Officer did not have the overwhelming support that he had in the past. His success in earlier years had stirred envy among some of his fellow workers. It is interesting to note that M. Gorman and M. L. Wilson were responsible for attacks on Officer's character. Officer noted in 1891: "Our only troubles that arise in the churches are from emigration.[64] There is a correlation between Gorman and Wilson and this emigration. Officer points this out:

The opposition against which I have been compelled to push, and with which I have had to contend has been a great blessing to me. It has given an opportunity to develop patience beyond anything I have ever met.[65]

In 1898 he added:

The writer has received a number of letters asking for "information in regard to M. L. Wilson of Texas, who claims to have spent some time in the Indian Territory." Bro. Wilson was here, I forget how long. In regard to his standing I refer to Elder Chas. Word of Kiawa, I. T. Bro. W. was his neighbor, and he preached during his stay in the I. T. to the congregation where Bro. Word was elder. In regard to the statements Bro. Wilson makes about me I have not a word to to say, only that Bro. M. Gorman who first made the charges afterwards published over his own name that the statements were false, and gave me a written statement to that effect.[66]

Throughout the period under discussion a consistent accusation against Officer was that he divided his time between farming and preaching. In an article to the Octographic Review, he stated that he felt that preachers had a perfect right to farm since God did not forbid it. The reasoning he used for farming was logical, for he believed that farming did not hurt a preacher, nor was it honorable to starve. After using this logic he asserted: "Let the brethren have a rest on begging through the papers."[67]

On two occasions in 1896, further charges were brought against Officer, A fellow preacher, J. H. Barber, found fault with officer and deceived people into thinking that Officer was unsound. Officer responded:

I have not time to answer the numerous letters asking after the "character (if he has any) of J. H. or J. Harry Barber." It was the elders of the church at South McAlister, Ind. Ter., that published him a few years ago. I need not tell you who know me, that it is untrue.[68]

A short while after the article, Barber left his work and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church in "South McAlister.[69] A second charge which had greater repercussions was the fact that some thought Officer had gone with the digressives.[70] Again Officer responded:

Before me are a variety of letters some abusing me, some commending, all about my name being in the "Christian Union Record" of Chicasha, I. T. The place of honor in the aforesaid paper was given me without my consent, and after I declined to take any such place, I promised to write some for it, and did, but I am too busy now at work in the day, and preaching at night to do any more. I requested my name be left off of the pages of the C.U.R. This was kindly done, that is, I suppose there was no unkindness about it. In regard to the convention business in which I am booked in the papers, and work assigned somehow I have got it into my head that I have a thinker, [sic] and sometimes I use the thing for myself in laying off my work. Just why my name got on the place of honor I do not know, but it is there, that's a fact. I remember sometime ago encouraging a mass meeting of the disciples in the Indian Territory, but I frankly confess I would not know how to behave myself in a convention like the one coming May 7, I will have to be excused. I am too busy.[71]

In the following year it was charged that Officer had grown wealthy from the contribution of his supporters.

Seven years ago I heard first by letter from a friend I had $100,000 in (the) bank. I also received a letter from Florida asking me to take interest in some land speculation and read in a Florida paper that I was worth $80,000 above liabilities. I have been informed that I was chief of a tribe of Indians and rich and fussed at about it, and charged with receiving help from uninformed brethren. I have been reported as being a secret detective, a land speculator seeking to sell the Indian's land which means death by their laws. I was published in the St. Louis Republic as having been shot to death by the Indians. I have received letters without any names threatening my life. I have been charged with having farms, pastures and cattle in Indian Territory. Of course there is no truth in any of these reports.[72]

The elders at Atoka printed an article stating that the charges against Officer were false. They believed that these charges were started to enlist the aid of the Mission Society and to discourage individual cooperation.

John A. Stevens, an evangelist from Mississippi, paid his way to Indian Territory to check into these allegations. The following appraisal which he made concerning Officer is appropriate:

Money is but rags when a man's fair dealings is called in Question. While I said nothing about Bro. Officer except to quote one of his best friends; at the same time it was from my quotation that it got into the papers, and I felt that it was my duty to look into the matter.[73]

Stevens then summarized Officer's condition this way:

1. When I went to Bro. Officer's home, as expected, I found him to be a big, openhearted, kindly spirited Christian gentleman.

2. When I told him what I had come for, he seemed glad and a little somewhat amused.

3. The man has been misrepresented in this way so often that he has become stoical and has a tendency to pay no attention to anything of the kind.

4. His misrepresentations come from no particular direction, and from no particular way of the church.

5. They as often come from his best friends as from anybody else.

6. They sometimes start right at home, and that is why it is so hard to not believe them . . . There have been some place hunting preachers who have gone up there and expected Officer to put a silver spoon in their mouths.[74]

After Officer moved to Texas he continued receiving letters questioning his faithfulness. In 1903 he denied making a speech at the digressives' convention in Amarillo, Texas stating:

From the time M. Gorman of Missouri and M.L. Wilson of Texas, came to the Indian Territory to help us in that field such reports have been afloat. In regard to me being employed, I cannot meet the calls I have. Concerning contributions being stopped, I only say I am in for the work regardless of contributions. The swarm of flies with the "f" left off did us much harm in the Indian Territory in hindering the work there.[75]

In 1905 G. H. P. Showalter came to Officer's defense and rebuked those who were gossiping about Officer saying: "Those who suspect that a brother is not sound in the faith should always investigate before they severely denounce that brother as a heretic."[76] This rebuke did little to stop the attacks against Officer and the accusations began to appear in the Firm Foundation.

In a 1906 issue of the Firm Foundation, T. A. Holland commented that Officer was telling people that, "all that hell-fire stuff is raw-hide and bloody bones to scare people into the church; . . ."[77] Adding to this article, G. A. Trott, one of the editors of the Firm Foundation, wrote:

R. W. Officer is simply an Adventist in teaching. Get Brother Charlie Nichol to Turkey (Texas) and expose his foolishness, and I will warrant his power to mislead the people will be gone in that country.[78]

Officer answered these charges, urging that the brethren question his friends, but he never denied the charges.[79]

Again in 1909 another article appeared in the Firm Foundation stating that Officer was preaching for the digressives in Detroit, Texas. The writer of this article wrote: "Brethren, please do not allow this man to be passed off upon you any longer for a loyal gospel preacher."[80]

With the exception of an article printed by Joe S. Warlick in 1926, very little information is available about R.W. Officer beyond 1909. Warlick reported that officer was living in Arkansas.[81] Several times throughout Officer's life he was accused of being unfaithful. He always defended himself in his early ministry, but for some reason late in life he discontinued defending himself through periodical articles. Perhaps he was guilty of some charges and perhaps not. One article he wrote earlier in 1896 sheds some light upon this unanswered question:

I don't think our papers should be converted into wrangling mediums. This would be the result and the matter perhaps we wish to correct, would become worse and worse until all who are not involved in the effort to "untangle the hank," would become disgusted, and all the rest splintering the ceiling with their hind feet, and beating the air with their forefeet as words with stingers in them were being shot from the tongue which should be tamed. No use to try to clear muddy water by stirring it up. Christianity is first, from the human side, an individual appropriation of divine things. Our life in the light of truth is not dependent upon conditions of time. To be a Christian, is to become connected with eternal conditions, therefore, eternal life.[82]

END NOTES


[1] G. H. P. Showalter, "Tidings From Texas," Octographic Review 48 (January 17, 1905):8.

[2] 1850 census of Murray County, Georgia. Interview with James Marvin Cluff, Genealogical Department fo the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah,. 5 March 1982.

[3] Tennesseans In The Civil War (Nashville, Tennessee: Civil War Centennial Commission, 1965), P.307.

[4] Showalter, "Tidings," p. 8.

[5] Michael D. Slate, "R. W. Officer: An Example of Frontier Individualism," Restoration Quarterly 22 (Third Quarter, 1979):144.

[6] Ibid., p. 145.

[7] See F. D. Srygley, Srygley's Biographies and Sermons Nashville: Srygley, 1898), p. 309; and Laurence Scott, Texas Pulpit (St. Louis:   Christian Publishing Company, 1888).

[8] Srygley, Biographies, pp. 321-37.

[9] Slate, "R. W. Officer," p. 146.

[10] R. W. Officer, "Indian Territory," Octographic Review 33 (November 27, 1890):2.

[11] Officer had an Indian friend, Blackhawk, who spoke seventeen languages. Robert W. Officer, "Indian Territory," Christian Leader 13 (April 26, 1892):6. Evidently Officer learned Spanish after moving to Texas. Officer, "West Texas Mission,” Octographic Review 44 (July 30, 1901):3.

[12] Robert W. Officer, "Letter," Gospel Advocate (August 27, 1884):546.

[13] Robertr W. Officer, “Indian Territory,” Octographic Review 33 (September 25, 1890):6. Perhaps he was not aware of J.J. Ellis or George Owen.

[14] Murrell Askew, “Mission Work,” Octographic Review 1 (January 4, 1887):3.

[15] Officer, "Letter," Gospel Advocate 26, p. 546.

[16] Robert W. Officer, "Letter," Gospel Advocate 25(December 12, 1883):788.

[17] E.L. Dohoney and W.H. Suder, "News," Gospel Advocate 25 (November 7, 1883):708.

[18] Robert W. Officer "Indian Territory," Octographic Review 32 (May 23, 1889):3

[19] G. W. Williams, "Indian Territory," Christian Standard 21 (January 2, 1880):6.

[20] Robert W. Officer, "Dear Bro. Metcalfe," Gospel Advocate 27 (April 28, 1886):259.

[21] Robert W. Officer, "Notes From Indian Territory," Gospel Advocate 28 (August 11, 1886):497.

[22] A permanent place of worship was built in 1894. Robert W. Officer, "The Write Up of the BIT," Christian Evangelist 31 (January 1894):44. See also Leon Officer,"Report From Atoka I T," Octographic Review 36 (April 25,1893):6.

[23] England, Oklahoma Christians, p. 53. See also Officer, "From Indian Territory," Christian Leader 2 (March 6,1888):5; and Officer, "Indian Territory," Octographic Review 32 (April 4, 1889):3.

[24] Robert W. Officer, "Indian Territory," Christian Standard 19 (November 15, 1884):362.

[25] Robert W. Officer, "Indian Territory," Christian Standard 20 (November 14, 1885):366.

[26] Ibid.

[27] England, Oklahoma Christians, p.41, citing the annual report of the American Christian Missionary Society.

[28] Robert W. Officer, "Letter," Gospel Advocate 28 (December 1, 1886):767.

[29] J. C. McArthur, "Indian Mission," Christian Leader 2 (January 31, 1888):5.

[30] David Lipscomb, "Miscellaneous," Gospel Advocate 28 (November 3, 1886):699.

[31] Daniel Sommer, "Concerning Missions,"  Octographic Review 30 (December 20, 1887):8.

[32] Robert W. Officer, "Indian Mission," Christian Standard 21(November 27, 1886):379.

[33] Robert W. Officer, "Report From Bro. Officer," Gospel Advocate 29 (November 2, 1887):690.

[34] Robert W. Officer, "Notes From Indian Territory," Octographic Review 31 (April 5, 1888):2, and "Indian Territory," Christian Leader 2(May 8, 1888):5.

[35] At the peak enrollment, the school reached 200, and raised $119,000 to build a structure. The school closed in 1920. England, Oklahoma Christians, pp.109,110.

[36] Robert W. Officer, "Indian Territory," Octographic Review 33  (August 7, 1890):2.

[37] Robert W. Officer, "El Meta Christian College," Christian Standard 33 (March 20, 1897):354.

[38] Yater Tant, J. D. Tant Texas Preacher (Athens: C.E.I. Publishing Company, 1958), pp.195-96, citing J.D. Tant, "Oklahoma," Gospel Advocate 40 (July 1896):427.

[39] In 1889, the western half of Indian Territory was opened to white settlement. By 1890 it was known as Oklahoma Territory. Robert W. Officer, "Indian Territory," Octographic Review 32 (May 23, 1889):3. On November 16, 1907, the two territories were combined to form the state of Oklahoma. Oklahoma is a Choctaw word meaning red people. See John Rydjord Indian Place-Names Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1968), p.287.

[40] M. Gorman, "Correspondence," Octographic Review 32 (December 12, 1889):6; and C. C. Parker, "Correspondence," Octographic Review 32 (December 19, 1889):5.

[41] C. C. Parker, a former Baptist, may have been a converted missionary. He received aid from Officer. C. C. Parker, "Correspondence," Octographic Review 36 (January 24, 1893):3; and (C. C. Parker "Correspondence," 38 (May 28, 1895): 6. See also Robert W. Officer, "Give As Unto the Lord." Christian Leader 4 (January 21, 1890): 1.

[42] Daniel Sommer, ed., Octographic Review 32 (October 10, 1889):5.

[43] Daniel Sommer, ed., Octographic Review 32 (September 12, 1889):1.

[44] Daniel Sommer, "Indian Mission Fund," Octographic Review 32 (July 4, 1889):1.

[45] Robert W. Officer, "The Indian Mission," Octographic Review 3 (January 1, 1889):3.

[46] Srygley, Biographies, page 113.

[47] Ibid., pp. 316-18. See also Robert W. Officer, "Correspondence," Octographic Review 36 (February 7, 1893): 2.

[48] Robert W. Officer, "Indian Territory," Christian Standard 26 (December 20, 1890):875.

[49] Robert W. Officer, "Correspondence," Octographic Review 33 (September 25, 1890):2. See also Srygley, Biographies, pp. 318, 320.

[50] Robert W. Officer, "From Indian Territory," Octographic Review 33 (July 3,1890):2.

[51] Robert W. Officer, "From, Indian Territory" Octographic Review 38 (August 27, 1895):6.

[52] McReynolds, Marriott, and Faulconer, Oklahoma, p. 84.

[53] Robert W. Officer, "From Indian Territory," Octographic Review 34 (January 8, 1891):6.

[54] Robert W. Officer, "Among the Wild Tribes," Octographic Review 35 (June 28, 1892):6.

[55] Robert W. Officer, "Indian Territory," Octographic Review 39 (April 7,1896):3.

[56] Robert W. Officer, "Letter From Indian Territory," Octographic Review 40; (February 16, 1897):3. Officer believed it his duty to provide support for D.C. Allen to work among the Negroes; see Robert W. Officer, "Letter From Indian Territory," Octographic Review 41 (January 19, 1898):3.

[57] Robert W. Officer, "Indian Territory," Octographic Review 35, p. 6.

[58] Robert W. Officer, "Indian Territory," Octographic Review 36 (August 18, 1893):3, and Robert W. Officer, "Indian Territory," Octographic Review 38 (May 21, 1895):5.

[59] Robert W. Officer, "Indian Territory," Octographic Review 35 (November 22, 1892):3. See also Robert W. Officer, “West Texas,” Gospel Advocate 46 (January 28, 1904):64.

[60] Robert W. Officer, "Indian Territory," Octographic Review 38 (July 16, 1895):3; and "Indian Territory," Octographic Review 38 (July 23, 1895):3.

[61] Mrs. Robert W. Officer, "From Sister Officer," Octographic Review 40 (July 20, 1897):6.

[62] Showalter, "Tidings," p. 8. Officer did not write any articles for the Octographic Review in 1900. Perhaps this is the year when his wife died.

[63] Robert W. Officer, "Off to West Texas," Octographic Review 44 (June 11, l901):3.

[64] Robert W. Officer, "Good News," Octographic Review 40 (January 17, 1899):5. See also Officer, "West Texas Mission, "p.3.

[65] Robert W. Officer, "Indian Territory," Octographic Review 34 (September 3, 1891):6.

[66] Robert W. Officer, "An Unpleasant Duty," Octographic Review 39 (November 15, 1898):3.

[67] Robert W. Officer, "Indian Territory," Octographic Review 37 (July 17, 1894):3.

[68] Robert W. Officer, "Acknowledgments," Octographic Review 39 (February 4, 1896):6.

[69] Robert W. Officer, "Good News," Octographic Review 39 (December 1, 1896):8.

[70] The term “digressive” was used by members of the church of Christ to refer to members of the Christian church.

[71] Robert W. Officer, "Unmerited Praise and Unnecessary Abuse," Octographic Review 39 (May 19, 1896):6.

[72] Robert W. Officer, "The R. W. Officer Matter Settled," Octographic Review 40 (June 29, 1897):3.

[73] John A. Stevens, "About R.W. Officer," Octographic Review 40 (June 29, 1897):3.

[74] Ibid.

[75] Robert W. Officer, "An Open Letter," Octographic Review 46 (March 3, 1903):3.

[76] Showalter, "Tidings," p. 8.

[77] T. A. Holland, "Letter," Firm Foundation 22 (September 11, 1906):5.

[78] Ibid. Sommer felt that Officer went into Russellism, William E. Wallace, Daniel Sommer, 1850-1940 (Wallace, 1969), pp. 244, 245.

[79] Robert W. Officer, "Letter," Firm Foundation 22 (November 13, 1906):5.

[80] "Crumley-Ayler debate," Firm Foundation 25 (December 21, 1909):5.

[81] Slate, "R.W. Officer: An Example of Frontier Individualism, " p. 159, citing Joe S. Warlick, "Notes and Reports," Gospel Guide 11 (June 1926):4.

[82] Robert W. Officer, "An Open Letter," Octographic Review 39 (August 11, 1896):6.

Special Thanks to Paul Goddard, who produced the above information. It is part of a larger paper that he wrote in 1982 while attending Harding University Graduate School of Religion. The full work is entitled "A Study of James Jenkins Trott and Robert Wallace Officer and Their Work in Indian Territory from 1857 to 1901."

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