History of the Restoration Movement

W. A. Holley


W.A. Holley was a well known and highly respected preacher among churches of Christ in and around Walker County, Alabama during the 20th Century. More information on his life's work would be of great advantage in promoting this featured site in his honor. Below is a tribute he wrote in the 1970s upon the passing of his dearly departed mother.

"Honor To Whom Honor"
by W.A. Holley

I have just had the high honor of visiting with a very great woman, although she has lived in relative obscurity most of her life; but I have long since learned that one need not possess worldly fame to be great in those qualities of character which make one great in the sight of God. To the woman of whom I write, lowe my life, for she is my dear mother. Her parents were Sollie E. Evans (1872-1946) and Margaret L. Bradley Evans (1874-1947), who lived on a small, rocky, hill-side farm, located some twelve or fifteen miles south of Oakman, in Walker County, Alabama. This was then a largely unsettled, hard, undeveloped region, where, on February 11, 1893, Annie Mae Evans was born. Hence, she is now eighty years of age.

After the passage of so many years made precious by so many sacred memories, she is still mentally alert. morally and spiritually strong, but not quite as active physically, as she once was. She was early in life introduced to hard work and privation. Her formal education was meager, consisting only of a few schools during the few winters of her early childhood; but one of her favorite expressions is: "I can read as fast as any man can write." She is possessed, to a remarkable degree, of a rich wisdom and an understanding which can be learned only in "the University of Hard-Knocks." Honesty, truthfulness and virtue are her watchwords.

As a young girl she had the good fortune of hearing such gospel preachers as Joe Halbrook, G. C. Brewer, James K. Hill, Tom Evans and C. A. Wheeler. Such powerful preaching made a tremendous impact upon her young heart. As a result, she, along with perhaps six others, was baptized into Christ, by O. C. Dobbs, when she was fifteen years of age, in the year 1908. She has therefore been a member of the church of Christ for sixty-five years, and her faith has grown more steadfast and more unshakable through the flying years. Despite her advanced age, she reads her Bible daily, is often in prayer, and attends the Lord's worship services twice each Lord's day.

On June 12, 1910, she married Allie Timothy Holley (1886-1968, now deceased), which marriage was to continue through fifty-eight happy years. To this union were born six children-four boys and two girls-all of whom are still living-all of whom are members of the Lord's church two of whom are gospel preachers. She now became a career woman of the first rank; her Lord and her family demanded her finest efforts. Besides her housework, when she was needed, she helped her husband cut cross ties, plant, cultivate and harvest the crop. Through those years her life was filled with much joy and happiness, as well as with much hardship and toil. She knew nothing of electricity, cars, paved roads, central heat and air-conditioning, refrigerators, washing machines, radio and television, now so commonplace in our modern world. She thinks that countless thousands of young people of our day have been spoiled through the use of too many modern conveniences; although she is not foolish enough to think that conveniences, per se, are wrong.

For many years she kept those visiting preachers who came into her community to conduct gospel meetings. Such a list would be too long and too inaccurate to try to record here. but many older preachers who read these words will recall the warm hospitality of her home. Because of her deep love for the Master. she kept and made preparation for the Lord's supper. walking many miles through summer's heat and winter's cold, carrying "the bread and the fruit of the vine" to the place of worship, never complaining. She withheld not her hands from the poor, nor the sick. nor the bereaved. She was ready, night and day, to aid those in need. "No one ever left my house hungry," she often remarks, referring to the fact that she would often arise from her bed to prepare food for strangers who said that they had had nothing to eat.

I can remember my dear mother when she was a relatively young woman. She has not changed much. She has always had a good, healthy philosophy of life. When asked how she managed te overcome so many obstacles in life, she replied: "I just did like the people across the river-the best I could." Another of her proverbs is: "Every cow needs her tail in fly-time," meaning that one must not become too high and mighty, because, sooner or later, one must call upon others for help. She says that her greatest pleasures have come from her work in the church, from being able to rear her children, and from working with her flowers. Upon my arrival, I can ask her what she has been doing and her inevitable reply will be: "Work, just work-that's all I've ever known."

Looking straight into her eyes, I asked her what her main goal in life had been, and without batting an eye, she said: "To live the best I could; to go to that beautiful city; to escape that eternal fire; for, if I miss heaven, I will have missed everything."

Seeking to learn of disappointments, I inquired as to what they may have been. Pausing for a moment to reflect upon those sweet years now forever gone, she. in a voice low and sweet, said, "I don't know that I have any; I've had a Christian home; I've gone to church; I've kept the faith; I haven't done all the good that I wanted to do, but I guess I never could have ... I've had a good life and I'm happy with it." In the human family, all mothers are women, but all women are not mothers; mothers are something special: they are the backbone of morality and common decency. "A virtuous woman . . . for her price is far above rubies . . . but a woman that feareth the Lord. she shall be praised."

Mother, Mother, Mother o'mine!
How sacred is that name of thine!
First to love me; last to hate me!
Ever doth thy care await me,
Tho’ the world may down me,
Thou wouldst crown me,
For thou art my mother dear. John D. Cox.  

-Gospel Advocate, April 5, 1973, page 216

Location of the Grave of W.A. Holley

From Birmingham, Alabama head northwest on Hwy 78 toward Memphis. About 40 miles from Birmingham you will arrive in Jasper, Alabama. In Jasper you will need to take the Hwy 5 exit. Proceed up the ramp and turn right on Hwy 5 (Ninth Ave.) About 3/10ths of a mile Hwy 5 will bear to the left toward Haleyville. Continue to the left on Hwy. 5 for about a mile and the Walker Memory Garden Cemetery will be on your right. Go into the cemetery and approach the cemetery office. Go past the fountain and continue toward the rear of the cemetery. Take the second right. Stop the car, and enter the cemetery to the right. The Holley plot is close to the street, and not too far from the corner.

GPS Location
33°51'39.4"N 87°17'36.4"W
or D.d. 33.860932,-87.293442

Johnnie W. Holley
Jan. 24, 1914
May 15, 1990

W. A. Holley
April 3, 1911
April 12, 2003

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