Custer County Nebraska
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CHURCHES

The Cowboy Preacher-

One of the pioneer preachers who seems to have been effective and practical in his work, even if he was lacking in theological training, is described by James Whitehead as a cowboy preacher, in the following paragraph, written twenty years ago  He is not credited with any denominational affiliation:

"Although most of us had held membership in different churches in our former homes, no minister of any denomination had come among us, and no reaching services had been held in that vicinity.  With the erection of a schoolhouse we were anxious to make amends for this apparent neglect and begin life aright in our new home.  Mr. Crewdson, who was an Episcopalian, assured us he had a man in mind that could be secured, and soon thereafter services were announced with Rev. L.G Brooker, "The Cowboy Preacher," officating; owing to treports that had reached us relative to the man's past, great interest was attached to this first sermon.  The Rev. Brooker, of "Brooker," as he was commonly called, was a character as unique and possessed a personality as striking in their day did Lorenzo Dow or Peter Cartwright.  He owned and lived upon a farm in Platte valley, twenty-two miles to the south, had been converted some four years before, and became so strongly imbued with the contviction that he was "divinely called" to preach that he could find neither rest nor peace until he had consecrated  himself to the ministry.  Ordained by the Evangelical Association, he had been engaged in the work about three years when, in the fall of 1885, he preached his first sermon on Buffalo Table.  It was the first religious service or meeting that some who were there had attended in two years. His efforts were well received and in due time he made fortnightly appointments, which, in connection with other points, he continued to fill for three years.  As an evangelist and organizer this unlettered Bonarges had but few equals, and, measured by results, he attained a success denied to many whose entire lives had been devoted to the study of theology and rhetoric."
[Source: History of Custer County, Nebraska by W.L. Gaston and A.R. Humphrey, 1919].



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