Josiah Erben Moore Sr.


The subject of this biography claims a background of humble parents, who grew up with poor educational advantages during the aftermath of the Civil War. They were southerners, and children of homesteaders of the raw and pioneering state of Arkansas.

The subject’s father, John Lafayette Moore, was an orphan, second to the youngest of a large family; so a sister acted as his mother. At the age of sixteen he was picked up by General Steele’s forces in the Union army, where he drove a team until the close of the war. His, mother, Roxie Daniels, was of sturdy stock, the daughter of a strict Primitive Baptist — Josiah Daniels — who presided over his household with firm but loving discipline.

Josiah Erben Moore was the ninth child, born 1889, in the Lafayette Moore family. As a child his training and teaching were such that he grew up a clean, moral boy having religious tendencies. At the age of nine he came in contact with a “second blessing” camp meeting at old Main Springs Camp, Prescott, Arkansas. Uncle Billy Moore was one of the founders of the camp. It was here that Erben sat beside his father and heard such men as Dr. H. C. Morrison, Will Huff, Sam Frank, Ed Ferguson, and Mrs. Rutherford.

Seemingly great effort was not expended on youth, but with the passing of the years several young men who became Nazarene ministers were the fruits of this camp. Among them were Joseph N. Speakes, G. H. Waddle, and M. J. Jobe. Still later there were J. Erben Moore, Harvey and George Galloway, Milton Smith, Thurman white, and many others.

A visitor of the 1908 camp was Professor C. L. Hawkins, president of the Arkansas Holiness College, Vilonia, Arkansas. It was largely through his influence in this camp that eight young people responded to the call to attend the school. Erben was one of them. It was almost like planning a foreign voyage as far as he was concerned. In order to attend college, young Erben sold his, earthly possessions-his horse, saddle, and gun.

It was in Arkansas Holiness College that nineteen-year-old J. Erben Moore prayed through to a definite Christian experience. This was on October 18, 1908, after he had been seeking daily and persistently for over a month. He was sanctified a few days later.

About this time Rev. J. B. Chapman became the pastor of the Vilonia Church of the Nazarene. Before the 1908 Pilot Point General Assembly this group was called the Holiness Church of Christ. The pastor encouraged and continued the revival atmosphere and one Sunday night in November, 1908, he “opened the doors of the church” and received a group of new members. One of them was J. Erben Moore.

Source: “Our Pioneer Nazarenes” by C. T. Corbett