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Elder E.J. Norman

Written by Elder Norman in “The New Mexico Baptist Monitor,” February 1961: I was born to the marriage union of Wilson and Fannie Norman, September 18, 1886, in Bell Co., Texas, near the town of Killeen.

In December of 1903 my father moved the family to Runnels County, Texas. Inasmuch as my life has been in the shadows and the pales of the Primitive Baptist Church I shall closely confine this writing to its scenes and experiences.

On one cool crispy morning the third Sunday in May, my father, mother, and five little boys cuddled into the old wagon, trotting down the road before sun-up, the distance of twenty-five miles to Old Little Vine Church. By eleven o'clock we drove into the churchyard, covered with wagons, buggies, and surreys. The pulpit had just been occupied by the dignity, solemnity and spiritual essence in the person of old Elder I. N. Lewis. The vale of solemnity dropped the scene of the entire place throughout that long morning. Then the opening of new relationships and acquaintances stamped a lifelong epoch on my heart that is to this good day heaven’s delight to me.

In a few weeks or months after this, amidst the pioneering adventures of a new settled country, our neighbor died. Father and mother decided they, with their children, should attend the funeral a graveside service. Nothing possessed my mind or thoughts through the services until they began to sing the song to view the body. It was the song containing the words "I'm going home to die no more." To my childish mind those words were coming out of that casket. It is so vivid and fresh to my mind to this good day. As I walked to view that body, placing both hands on it, I paused! Heaven with all its splendor and glory to a barefoot boy, said in tones that I could understand, “Where could you go if that was you?" There is the beginning of my experience of God dealing with me. That expression has not faded in my mind and memory to this good day.

I united with the Primitive Baptist at Valley Creek Church in Runnels Co. on Friday, P.M. before the first Sunday in September 1909. I was baptized the next morning by Elder T. A. Dunn. I forcibly felt a deep sense of duty to read and study in the Bible then, even as yet my mind was tenderly directed to the beautiful types and shadows of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was in the midst of my studies and mediations that while one day lying on mother's couch after reading an article in the Baptist Trumpet of the labors and affliction of ministry, I was in deep solemnity extending my sympathy to our ministers of that day, and Heaven spoke to me again, not in audible tones, but in language I could understand, "You must preach the gospel of our Savior." My immediate response to that command, and impression was that I turned my face to the wall and wept extensively from the great shock of the burden that fell on my heart. My entire afternoon of labor in the field was a siege of tears. It followed me everywhere I went. I endeavored to conform my school work to my impressions, but to no avail. In my late teens and young manhood the burden was not so intense only when some of my close associates seemed to want to intimate it to me. I thought at times I could eventually dismiss it entirely.

In the early part of 1915 my father and mother moved the family to Crosby County, Texas. I thought at times that move would entirely eliminate the impression from my mind. But in the year of 1918 it was bounding in full force, so I concluded that I would just quietly, unofficially separate my life from the whole matter. I moved or went to Fannin County, Texas, and quietly and cunningly weeded out any association with Primitive Baptist. But many and almost every Sunday afternoon I would sit on the back door step of the home where I lived and worked, reading, studying, and meditating my only companion, joy and friend, my precious old Bible.

In August 1926, at Loop, Gaines County, Texas, I preached my first discourse that could in any sense be called a discourse. I was ordained to the ministry the 4th Sunday in May 1927. I was called to the care of the churches in Wellington Church and Childress. In December 1929, I moved to the North Plains, Morse, Texas. I served the church there, at Dalhart, Texas and at Forgan, Oklahoma.

NOTE: Ethrich Jackson Norman passed this life on Oct. 21, 1966

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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.