History of the Restoration Movement

Homer Neely Rutherford


1890 - 1986

A "grand old soldier of the cross," Bro. Homer Neely Rutherford, went Home to be with the Lord on Friday, May 2, at his home in Lexington, Ky. He and his surviving twin sister, Lula R. Holloway of Franklin, Ky., were born January 15, 1890 in Simpson County, Ky. Thus, an earthly life of over 96 years is ended, but an eternity with the Lord, whom he served so faithfully, has begun.

Bro. Rutherford began his ministry with the Cramer and Hanover Church of Christ in Lexington in 1932 and continued there until his retirement in 1970; he was an elder in the church at the time of his death. Previously he had preached at Parkland church of Christ in Louisville, Linville, Tenn. Church of Christ and Riverside Park Church of Christ in Jacksonville, Fla. He was well-known as an evangelist in various states and helped establish other churches in the Kentucky­Tennessee area. He was known by many in our brotherhood as "the singing minister" as he ofttimes broke out in song while preaching the Word, of which he was an avid student. He particularly loved the prophetic word and liked songs pertaining to the second coming of the Lord. Bro. Jesse Z. Wood of Winchester, a friend of Bro. Rutherford's for many years, was quoted in the Lexington paper as follows: "He was one of the most faithful men that I've ever known in my life. It was difficult to find a man of that spiritual caliber. He knew the Word of God so perfectly that you could not broach any subject that he was not thoroughly at ease in quoting." To this many who knew him will attest.

He and wife, Mary Adele Davidson Rutherford, who preceded him to glory ten year ago, were known for their hospitality and intense interest in young Christians. To many 408 Hart Road was "a home away from home" and their encouragement had a vast influence upon many, who are now actively engaged in the work of the Lord.

Memorial service was held at the Cramer and Hanover Church on Monday, May 5. His son Clinton of Mendham, New Jersey, his grandson-in-law Bennie Hill, now minister at Cramer and Hanover, and Victor Broaddus, former missionary to China and now an elder at Cramer and Hanover, were the principal speakers. Song leaders of the church led the large assembly in singing songs of praise unto God. A male quartet sang, "I want My Life to Tell for Jesus" which was indeed Bro. Rutherford's desire and which was manifested byhis living the words of the apostle Paul, which his son Clinton used as the basis of his remarks: "For me to live is Christ," and then, of course, "to die is gain." That "gain" is now his for eternity.

Besides the  sister and son, he is survived by three daughters, Fannie Blaine Hamilton of Miami, Amy Reeves of Lexington and Flora Ann Hogin of San Diego, 12 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren, one great-great grandchild  and a host of friends.

One of  Bro. Rutherford's  favorite  songs was "The  Good  Old  Gospel,"  which Bro.  Bennie  led at the  close of  the service.    Yes, our brother "believed the good old Gospel from, beginning to the end" and his winsome presentation of that Gospel brought many to the Lord.

We thank for His servant, Bro. H. N. Rutherford!

-Bruce D. Chowning, Word And Work, May 1986, page 159,160

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky
Saturday, November 18, 1939, page 4

Now There Are Two

James Alexander Harding was born in Winchester, Kentucky on April 16, 1848, the oldest of 14 children of Walter and Mary Harding. He was baptized at the age of 13 during a meeting conducted by Moses E. Lard. Harding attended public schools in Clark County and was graduated from Bethany College, in 1869. His early years were spent in preaching and teaching school.

Harding was one of the most outstanding and successful evangelists of his day. However, he seemed to consider "his calling" to be in the field of Christian Education. He opened a "school for boys and young men" at Hopkinsville, Kentucky, following his graduation from Bethany. Subsequent to the death of his first wife and his second marriage, Harding moved to Nashville, Tennessee where he and David Lipscomb founded the Nashville Bible School which opened October 5, 1891. Harding spent ten years as President and Professor of the Nashville School. He moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky, in 1901 and organized the Potter Bible School which opened in October of that year. He remained with the Potter Bible School until June 1912 and was succeeded by George Klingman as President. The school closed the next year and the facilities were converted to the use of the Potter Orphan Home and School.

There is no official list of the names of the young men who studied under Harding in the Potter School and became preachers of the Gospel of Christ. There was no doubt a large number of them. Lloyd Cline Sears, in his biography of Harding, The Eyes of Jehovah, lists a number of "Harding Boys," including J. M. McCaleb, C. G. Vincent, Don Carlos Janes, Coleman Overby and H. L. Olmstead. The writer has made a concerted effort to locate preachers, still living, who were students of Harding in the Potter Bible School between 1901 and 1912. He has succeeded in finding only two - Homer N. Rutherford, Lexington, Kentucky, and Alvis L. Lindsey, Sarasota, Florida. Rutherford was 92 years old in January and Lindsey will be 90 years old next August. The readers, in all probability, will find interest and fascination in looking at the two remaining "Harding Boys."

Homer Neely Rutherford was born in Simpson County, near Franklin, Kentucky, on January 15, 1890. He was baptized, along with his twin sister, Lula, in Stinking Creek, by W. H. Carter when they were 12 years old. Lula lives in Franklin and attends worship services at the Bethany Church of Christ. Rutherford conducted a revival meeting in the Antioch School, which he attended as an elementary student, and baptized his nephew, Jim Bill Mclnteer, on July 26, 1933. Mclnteer is the son of Homer's oldest sister, Edna. Jim Bill is one of the most renowned preachers of this generation and has served as the eminent minister of the West End Church in Nashville, Tennessee, for many years. One of Rutherford's other sisters had a son, James David Groves, who is a preacher in California.

Rutherford enrolled in Potter Bible School where he earned a B. S. degree in 1910 and an A. B. degree in 1911. He remembers Harding as a great teacher of Bible and Greek as well as a powerful preacher. Homer recalls a sermon preached by Harding on the "Prodigal Son" which caused him and the audience to shed tears. Harding told his students of driving miles over dirt roads through rain, snow, and ice, in a horse drawn vehicle to worship and preach. This example so impressed young Rutherford that he has missed only one Sunday in taking the Lord's Supper during the nearly 80 years since he was baptized. He says that he was sick in bed on the Sunday he missed.

Rutherford relates an incident which happened one day in Chapel at the Potter School. There were two Rutherford boys enrolled. At the beginning of the program Harding called on "Brother Ruther­ford to lead the prayer." Neither of the young men responded, so Harding said, "Will Homer Rutherford lead the prayer." Neither respond­ed because both were named Homer. Finally, Harding realized the situation and said, "the dark­ haired Homer Rutherford." Though both were dark-haired the older Homer Neely Rutherford, eventually began the prayer. It is doubtful that Harding ever knew which Homer led the prayer.

Rutherford married the sister of Clinton Davidson on March 24, 1914. They named their only son Clinton for his uncle. Mrs. Rutherford died on March 30, 1976. The couple had three daughters, Amy (Mrs. William Reeves), Fannie (Mrs. Jack Hamilton) and Flora (Mrs. Burl Hagins). Upon graduation from Potter Bible School, Rutherford moved to Louisville, Kentucky where he preached for four years for a group which had left the Christian Church and organized a church of Christ which met on Southern Parkway at Beech Street. R. H. Boll was preaching and teaching in what later became the Portland Christian School along with Stanford Chambers. (The writer led singing in a meeting conducted by Chambers at the Green Chapel Church in Hart County, Kentucky in 1930.) Rutherford moved to Lynnville, Tennessee in 1916 and preached for the church there until 1922. (He later sang for a meeting conducted by N. B. Hardeman at Valdosta, Georgia.) He served as minister for the Riverside Church in Jacksonville, Florida from 1922 to 1932. He became the full-time minister for the Hanover-Cramer Church of Christ, Lexington, Kentucky in 1932 and served until he retired in 1970 at the age of 80 years. In company with Edward and Mary Detherage, he went to Nicholasville, Ky. in 1932 and assisted six other members to establish what is now the Main Street Church of Christ. Rutherford and his daughter, Emily, attended worship services there on November 1, 1981 when the writer preached.

Though Rutherford had been under the influence of the teachings of R. H. Boll on "Prophesies" before the early 1930's the clear distinction came to be made later among those who were members of the church of Christ, on the theory of premillennialism. The differences were set forth in the debate between Foy E. Wallace, Jr. and Charles Neal held in Winchester, Ky. in 1933. Rutherford identified himself with Boll and Neal. Later, in August 1941, Wallace conducted a gospel meeting in Lexington which resulted in a group leaving the Hanover-Cramer congregation and establishing the Loudon Avenue Church of Christ. Rutherford retained membership in the Hanover-Cramer Church where he and his family attend regularly. His address is 408 Hart Road, Lexington, Ky.

Alvis L. Lindsey, the youngest of eight children of William and Sarah Roberts Lindsey, was born on August 5,1892. His mother had a brother named James who was known as "A Stump Preacher." His parents were born and reared near Birmingham, Alabama and soon after their marriage moved to Trenton, Florida in what is now Gilchrist County. They were baptized in Alabama and became identified with the church of Christ when they moved to Florida. William owned and operated 600 acres of land on which the family made a living through diversified farming. Young Alvis was baptized by W. A. Cameron, from Tennessee, when he was 10 years old in the Suwanee River made famous by the song written by Stephen Collins Foster. Lindsey's 94 year old sister, Lena, is living in Jacksonville, Florida.

Alvis Lindsey attended the public schools in Gilchrist County and was graduated from Trenton High School. He enrolled in Potter Bible School in the fall of 1909 and remained through the spring of 1910. He was influenced to go to Bowling Green by his father and Len Colson, who was a native Florida preacher and at the time a student at the Potter School. Alvis remembers the strong appearance of James A. Harding as well as the classes which he took under his sons, L. K. and Ben Harding. He enrolled in general college courses with little thought of preparing to preach. However, he was persuaded by President Harding to deliver his first sermon which lasted ten minutes. This was enough to motivate him to seek appointments to preach in nearby congregations when he returned home. He rode the train from Trenton to Bowling Green and on his return trip, Lindsey worked his way through the year he was a student at Potter by stoking the furnace with coal. Lindsey was married to Allie Lee Prevat, whose brother, John, was a preacher, on April 28, 1918. He joined the Navy during World War I immediately after his marriage. He spent a little over a year in the Navy teaching other seamen "wireless telegraphy" which he had learned from Western Union as a depot agent for a railroad company, in Alachua, Fla. Upon his discharge from the Navy he returned home to work with his father on the farm, travel as a salesman for a seed company, sell Bibles house to house and manage a hardware store and seed company. Four children were born to Alvis and Allie Lee Lindsey, one son, William Hampton and three daughters, Florine, Almina (Mrs. Laughton Skipper), and Leull (Mrs. Wyndal Everett). Mrs. Lindsey died in May 1967 and Alvis married Myrtle Faltz whose husband, had died in 1960.

During the time that Lindsey was engaged in various secular jobs he continued to preach on Sundays for small rural churches in the area of Sarasota. He retired from public employment in 1952 and moved his family to Morefield, West Virginia where he re-established the church and built a new meeting house. He spent the next 15 years in preaching the gospel full time. He served as the minister of the West Bradenton and the Englewood congregations.

Alvis remembers James A. Harding as the best preacher whom he had ever heard, the best educated man whom he had ever seen and the most rugged, imposing, pioneer personality whom he had ever known. Lindsey and his family worship with the South Trail Church of Christ and they live at 2825 Gocio Road, Sarasota, Florida.

Both Homer Rutherford and Alvis Lindsey represent those who have "outlived their generation," but they are still alert and active in family and religious affairs. These patriarchs, similar to what the Lord said about Moses, have eyes that are only slightly dimmed, ears that are only slightly dull and natural forces that are slightly abated. James A. Harding, "being dead yet speaketh."

-Dr. Adron Doran, “Now There Are Two,” World Evangelist, 1982, March, page 10.

Note: Other names of students at Potter Bible College under James A. Harding were J. L. Hines, John H. Hines (1883-1983); Charles Hamilton Baker (1881-1947); W. T. Hines (1881-1968); Leon M. Humphries (1887-1980); Russell Shelby King (1903-1955); Guy Irving Renfro (1884-1972); Benjamin Franklin Rhodes (1869-1947); Rece H. Rogers (1893-1956); Andrew T. Shorter (1883-1907); Charles J. Smith (d.1909); Elmer P. Watson (d.1945); J. P. Prevatt (d. 1966); Clarence V. Vincent (1881-1953); Archie W. Hastings (1886-1962); H. H. Hawley (1880-1966); Will Shepherd Haynes (1883-1904); to name a few. (These were gleaned from the Gospel Advocate Obituaries on this site.)

Lexington Herald Leader, Lexington, Kentucky
Saturday, May 3, 1986, page 42

Directions To Grave

H. N. Rutherford is buried in the Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, Kentucky. Located on W. Main St. in Lexington, it might be best to stop at the office and get a copy of their cemetery map to find the grave. It is located in the NE part of the cemetery in Section 43, Lot 34.

GPS Location of the grave
38°03'47.6"N 84°30'30.9"W
or D.d. 38.063222,-84.508575

Homer Neely - 1890-1986
Mary Adele - 1891 - 1976
Absent From The Body At Home With The Lord


Photos Taken 05.11.2015
Webpage produced 10.20.2021
Courtesy Of Scott Harp

Special Recognition: The grave of H.N. Rutherford was visited during a Southeastern School Biblical Studies Restoration Movement trip through Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio & West Virginia in May, 2011. Several preacher students traveled with your webmaster as guide.


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