Thomas Jacob "Jake" Waddle
Thomas Jacob Waddle, or Jake as he was known in Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma, was born in 1886 on the family farm near the Palestine Church of Christ in northern Randolph County between Maynard and Warm Springs, Arkansas. His parents, who married in 1879, were James Monroe "Moss" (1847- 1910) and Mary Ellen (Gibbs) Waddle (1861-1949). Other children born to "Moss" and Mary were Jack, Varner, Robert, Ernest, Columbus and Alice. The entire family grew up in the Palestine community attending school and church there.
Jake furthered his education by attending Ouachita-Maynard Academy, a branch of Ouachita College at Arkadelphia, about 1909/1910. A year or so later he went to Bakersfield, Missouri, where he studied in S.C. Garner's County Line Bible School.
Jake was a bright student who demonstrated outstanding ability. He was encouraged to begin preaching as soon as possible. Waddle became a frequent and popular speaker for rural churches in Arkansas and Missouri (and later in Oklahoma).
The Shirley Church of Christ, about seven miles northwest of Doniphan, Missouri, was one of Waddle's preaching points. Hattie Shirley, daughter of charter-member, F.M. Shirley, won Jake's heart and they were married around 1912.
Waddle's brothers-in-law, Albert, Herman and Silas Shirley, also gospel preachers of note, had moved to Oklahoma and encouraged Jake and Hattie to join them. Happiness filled their lives for many years. Jake continued his education at Southeastern State Normal College in Durant, Oklahoma, and developed a superior reputation as teacher and preacher. Five children blessed their union: Wilma, Flay, Irma Jean, Mary Shirley, and Weldon.
Tragedy struck the family when Hattie died in 1930. Jake was left with five young children to raise. At this point, recognizing the need to be home with his children, his preaching trips decreased and his teaching work increased. Waddle felt the sharp pain of the sickle of death again when his fifteen year old son, Weldon, died in 1933.
His four daughters finally reached maturity and each went her own way. Mary Shirley married a Randolph County boy, Virgil Chester, and they reared five children (all dedicated members of the Church of Christ). Shirley's daughter, Susan, married Harmon Seawel, a gospel preacher at Palestine at the time of their marriage in 1973, and son of Quimby and Vival (Condict) Seawel.
Jake retired to Randolph County and preached some in his later years. He died September 21, 1966, and his body was laid to rest in the Palestine Cemetery, near his family members. Jake Waddle was a faithful preacher and devoted father. He will always be remembered for his sterling integrity and good moral life.1 (1 Most of the information for this sketch was provided to Michael L. Wilson by Shirley (Waddle))
-Dr. Michael L. Wilson, Arkansas Christians:A History of the Restoration Movement in Randolph County, Arkansas 1800-1995, c.1997, Delight: Gospel Light Publishing Co., page 410-411.
Directions To The Grave of Jake Waddle
The old Palestine church of Christ Cemetery lies north of Pocahontas, Arkansas. Travel north on Hwy. 115 out of Pocahontas. Turn left on Co. Road 251. Go about eight miles and turn right onto Palestine Road. The road is a dirt road. Best to go on dry days. The road will make a couple of hard turns before coming to the church and cemetery. When entering the cemetery, continue toward the rear of the cemetery. The grave is located in the middle and about six or eight rows from the back. While in the cemetery, be sure to visit the graves of other gospel preacher buried there such as A.B. Shaver, P.H. Shaver, J.C. Wilson, and Dr. Michael L. Wilson, the writer of Arkansas Christians:A History of the Restoration Movement in Randolph County, Arkansas 1800-1995, c.1997, Delight: Gospel Light Publishing Co.
Photos Taken 11.14.2014
Webpage Produced 02.22.2015
Courtesy of Scott Harp
*Special thanks to Tom L. Childers and Charlie Wayne Kilpatrick for assisting in the burial location. They, along with your web editor, took a trip into northern Arkansas to find the graves of gospel preachers of yesteryear in November, 2014. We traveled together three days and located the final resting places of nearly forty preachers and their families. It was a great trip. Many of the personalities we researched were chronicled in Boyd E. Morgan's book, Arkansas Angels, or later in Dr. Michael L. Wilson's book, Arkansas Christians: A History of the Restoration Movement in Randolph County, 1800-1995.