Revised June 27, 2016
Who was JOHN LONG??
The BEGINNING of the REVIVAL - FIRST MISSIONS
1897: August - NENAGH Mission, Co. Tipperary, Ireland
1897: October - RATHMOLYON Mission, Co. Meath, Ireland
Who were the Carrolls of Rathmolyon?
1897: FEBRUARY - WILLIAM IRVINE MEETS JOHN LONG - John received a letter from the Methodist minister, Rev. Charles Cronhelm, requesting that he "go over to Kilrush for a week end, as he had two Faith Mission Evangelists having meetings and he would like me to meet with them...I responded and...spent the weekend in the fellowship of William Irvine" (Journal, Feb. 1897). This was the first John Long had heard of William Irvine who had newly come to evangelize in Co. Clare.
WHO WAS JOHN LONG? John Long entered the work in 1899 according to the List of First Workers at July 1905. He wrote a Journal spanning many years which is a Primary Source of recorded history about the formation of the 2x2/Go-Preacher movement. He began writing his first Journal in 1918. He made two additional copies for his sons which are currently in their possession and the third copy has been lost.
John Long was born at Burntwood, Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary, Ireland on September 15, 1872 to Gilbert and Ann (Turner) Long. He died July 4, 1962, aged 90. There were eight children born into the Long family. John Long attended Newtown School. View Long Family Tree. His first religious instruction was from an Episcopal minister. When he was twelve years old, he began attending Sunday School and took an interest in the Bible. About that time he signed the Temperance Pledge against alcoholic liquors and was a total abstainer all his life. At 16, he was confirmed in the Episcopal church.
In 1890, when he was 18, John decided for Christ at a mission held in the Methodist Church in Cloughjordan. He left the Episcopal church in 1895 and joined the Methodist church. "The great lack in Episcopalianism was that of preaching conversion, the witness of the Spirit, the present possession of Eternal life, confessing Christ with the mouth, family prayer, and liberty for laymen to preach in the churches. Because the Methodist preached those essential and vital truths, I left the Episcopal church, and joined the Methodist." (Journal, Sept., 1893)
John left home in November, 1890 when he was 18 to be a domestic servant for Rev. Leapold O’Sullivan, the Methodist Rector of Cloughjordan. John was on the Methodist Preacher’s Plan, and on Saturday evenings he preached at meetings in nearby towns and villages. In 1895 he was 23, he became a Methodist Colporteur. John lived on "...a salary of one pound a week; it took ten shillings a week for lodging besides travelling expenses, and clothing, and a tenth to the Lord, and postage, etc., so as that a colporteur had barely maintenance.” At that time, there were no Bibles in most Roman Catholic homes, book stores or libraries. Christian Protestants:
In June of 1897, John Long happened to be sailing "down to river Shannon for Kilkee...on board the ship, I again met with William Irvine on his return journey from Scotland" (Journal, June 1897). Not long afterwards, John went to Tarbert, Co. Kerry and lodged for two weeks in the same house as Faith Mission Pilgrims William Irvine and Fred Tapp.
“...tried through the agency of the Colportage work to place the Scriptures in the hands of all who desired to have them. The Colportage work was really a mission work. It consisted in selling the Scriptures and other Christian books to all denominations; also personal conversations with the people about their souls salvation, together with giving away tracts and reading and praying in the homes, and occasionally holding Gospel meetings.” (John Long's Journal, April, 1895)
"I believe I [Goodhand Pattison] was treasurer...and the Superintendent Minister Secretary. We paid our Colporteurs 1 pound per week all told, and I think some, or all, profits on sales, and they to find their own keep and travel expenses, etc.; not too fat a living I would say; the main idea being to get the scriptures, either altogether or in portions, as well as other religious books etc., scattered among the people; to get talking with them in their homes, and otherwise try to help them spiritually...(G. P., Accounts of the Early Days)
1897, JULY found Wm. Irvine: "...very happy, but at times repining over the Spiritual laxity of the churches; and was spending much time in prayer for a revival…He [Wm. Irvine] was out of an opening, and one day when he was praying, it was revealed to me [John Long] by the Holy Spirit, to write to Goodhand Pattison, the Cloughjordan Methodist Steward, about an opening for a mission. That letter resulted in him getting permission ...to have the use of Nenagh Methodist Church” (Journal, July, 1897). This church was demolished around 2004.
John Long was the man who obtained permission for William Irvine to hold a mission in the Methodist church in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, Ireland in August, 1897. This pivotal mission started "The REVIVAL" that culminated in the start of the 2x2 sect. In John Long's own words, he and Wm. Irvine were "the two instruments used of God at the origin of that movement." John Long was right there at the start of "that movement," which is sometimes referred to as "the Go-Preachers," from Matthew 10:7, "As ye go, preach."
I used my influence to get him openings which resulted in his holding a mission in the Methodist Church, Nenagh, County Tipperary, where a revival began in August, 1897. That revival was the origin of the Go Preacher fellowship. Whole households got converted. including Roman Catholics. It was opposed by the majority of the clergy and churches, yet defended by others..." (Life & Ministry of Edward Cooney by Patricia Roberts, p. 12-13)
As Alfred Trotter phrased it to his sister Edith: "He [John Long] it was who fired the first shot in a campaign which was destined to re-echo around the world." (Account by Alfred Trotter, January 8, 1968*). "The first shot" was John Long obtaining permission for the use of Nenagh Methodist Church. G. Pattison described the request: "I got a letter from John Long...He said, 'There's a man here, an Evangelist, who would cause a stir in Cloughjordan if you ask him along'...we had not much to lose and at least the possibility of gain by the incoming of a red-hot evangelist, even if a bit off orthodox lines' " (G.P., Accounts of the Early Days).
From the book Heresies Exposed: "Mr. John Long has written us that he was the man who obtained for William Irvine the first opening for a mission in Nenagh, August, 1897...That William Irvine is the name of the original leader of the Go-Preachers...He declares that the movement dates from 1897" (Heresies Exposed 3rd Edition 1921, compiled by W. C. Irvine, Chapter "Cooneyites," *p. 73). [NOTE: W. C. Irvine is no relation to Wm. Irvine or Irvine Weir.] John Long wrote the Compiler when this book first came to his attention in 1932, after which the above notation was added to the first page of the article in its next printing.
It's commonplace for Friends to facilitate the Workers by making arrangements for a suitable place for the Workers to hold a mission. That's what John Long did in 1897 at Nenagh--he arranged a facility for Irvine to preach a Mission. This doesn't make John Long the founder, leader or "the first" of this Mission or the 2x2 sect. If it did, then to be consistent, it would also make the Friends who do the same today into preachers/Workers.
John Long considered himself to be a "fellowhelper" to the Irvine in these missions. He stated, "It was a great privilege for me to get the benefit of those meetings; and to be a fellowhelper in pointing anxious souls to Christ" (Journal, March 1898). John Long deferred to Irvine as "the Evangelist," and it appears as if Irvine was the main, and perhaps the only, speaker during those early missions. There could have been another FM worker who wasn't mentioned.
It didn't seem to matter that John Long was a Methodist Colporteur while Wm. Irvine was a Faith Mission Pilgrim. The two men worked together with a common goal: to save souls. As G. Pattison pointed out: "Meanwhile, John [Long] held on in increasingly close association with William Irvine, as of course in his particular calling, one locality was nearly the same as another, and in many ways they were useful to each other and undoubtedly thought a lot about each other. I believe that in the Templederry Mission... and probably some others...John was William Irvine's sole companion" (Account of the Early Days by G. Pattison).
John Long was a very prominent figure when the Go-Preacher movement was first getting started. He resigned in November, 1899, from being a Methodist Colporteur and became one of the first workers in Irvine's group. He was excommunicated by Wm Irvine in 1907. Details are in following chapters.
According to John Long and Wm. Irvine
THE REVIVAL BEGAN in August, 1897 at the Nenagh, Ireland Mission
This Mission came to be viewed by many as
THE BEGINNING of the Go-Preacher Movement
"At his [Wm. Irvine’s] first meeting only five persons attended; but at the closing meeting, there were one hundred present...altogether upwards of thirty persons of position and note got converted; most of them afterwards gave up all that they had to follow Jesus...At the mission held in Nenagh, a young man named Jack Carroll, also his sister May Carroll, got converted; they had a brother, Bill Carroll, who was a steward at Captain Fowlers, Rathmolyon, County Meath." (John Long's Journal, Aug., 1897)
G. Pattison also wrote about the success of the Nenagh mission in which both Jack and May Carroll professed, along with about 40 others, who became Faith Mission Prayer Union members:
"Nenagh...had some of its best type powerfully appealed to, and yielded quite a crop of decisions for God, the following being some of them: Miss Oakley, who was then a teacher belonging to the Birr Oakleys, sister of Geo. Loney and cousin of Geo. Coughlan and Mrs. Williams of the Hotel; E. Bradshaw, Allen Harkness and sister, Jack Carroll and sister May; who were then living with their Uncle Pat, an exclusive Plym [Plymouth Brethren]; Dick Norman and a young man named Fred Hughes. This last named went with William Irvine for a little while shortly afterwards and played, sang, etc., also a young man named Wallace, and I think his sister, both from Templederry side, but then in situations in Nenagh. Probably there were others of whom I cannot now remember..." (G.P., Accounts of the Early Days)
Jack Carroll went to Irvine's meeting because:
"I was invited to a meeting over thirty years ago. I went, not because I had any interest, but because I promised a young fellow I would go. I said, 'This is just going to be like every other meeting. I will go and listen and that will be the end of it.' I sat in the back seat next to the door. I listened and when the meeting was over, I was the first out and down the street, but I was a different man. As I sat in that meeting that night I was careless, hopeless, Godless and Christless; didn't care if there was a God in Heaven or a devil in hell. But I felt I had run into something I had never heard of before...I stumbled on the 'hid treasure'...I listened and in three weeks I paid the price and made that 'hid treasure' my very own." (Notes of J. Carroll, no location or date given; Matthew 13-Parable)
Faith Mission's monthly publication Bright Words carried this report: "NENAGH - Eight month ago, before the advent of the Faith Mission, it would have been almost impossible to 'unearth' more than a dozen live Christians in this town; but now, praise the Lord, we have forty-one Prayer Union members, all trusting in Jesus, together with a number of other Christians who received blessing and help during the missions held by Pilgrim Irvine, and Pilgrims Pendreigh and M'Lean" (BW, Aug., 1898).
While John Long was physically present, he doesn't directly state that he preached alongside Wm. Irvine at the Nenagh nor the following Mission held at Rathmolyon. On the other hand, concerning the meetings Irvine held at Borrisokane and Cloughjordan in Jan., 1898, John wrote that "in both of them, I was asked to speak." Although John Long's Journal says that William Irvine and Fred Tapp went to Nenagh, "where THE REVIVAL BEGAN," Faith Mission records do not show a co-worker with Irvine at either of the first two Nenagh Missions nor at the Rathmolyon Mission held in 1897 (Bright Words, Sept., 1897, p. 215).
1897, OCTOBER 10-31 - RATHMOLYON MISSION - SECOND REVIVAL MISSION: From Nenagh, Wm. Irvine relocated to Rathmolyon in Co. Meath, which is about 25 miles Northwest of Dublin, Ireland, and over 100 miles East of Nenagh. He held meetings there for three weeks, from October 10 to 31, and “forty persons got converted.” (Bright Words, Nov., 1897). Records do not show John Long was present at this mission, although he may have been. The Faith Mission periodical, Bright Words "Location of Pilgrims," showed Wm. Irvine holding missions in Rathmolyon from October 10 thru 31, 1897 (Dec., 1897).
"...from Nenagh's first visit, William [Irvine] went to Rathmolyon through the Carroll's introduction, where...he had another very successful mission, getting hold of nearly all the best type of character in the place, including the Gills, Carrolls, Hastings, Winters and others, and from there back to Nenagh a second time, after which he booked for here." ["here" is Cloughjordan, home of G. Pattison] (G. P., Accounts of the Early Days).
According to John Long, "... a young man named Jack Carroll...had a brother, Bill Carroll, who was a steward at Captain Fowlers, Rathmolyon, County Meath. Through their instrumentality they got the use of the School House in Rathmolyon for a mission for William Irvine, where forty persons got converted; most of them afterwards gave up their situations to go fully on the Lord's work" (Journal Sept., 1897). View Photo of Rathmolyon School House.
The mother of Garrett Hughes (deceased American Overseer) was Mary Ann (Gill) Hughes, a sister to Willie Gill. At the funeral service for Erling Omdal in Eagle Bend, Minnesota on Oct. 6, 1987, he referred to "the beginning: "Ninety years ago, a letter came from Ireland. We heard about those with no home, no name, etc. Forty people made their choice. Sixteen went out in the work--that was the beginning..." [NOTE: 1987 minus 90 years = 1897, the year of the Nenagh and Rathmolyon Missions.]
Jack Jackson stated at Willie Gill's funeral at West Hanney, England, on June 5, 1951, that by his calculations, it was 53 years and 8 months since Willie and some others at Rathmolyon made their choice. This calculates to Oct., 1897. Fannie Carroll said: "The meetings only lasted for three weeks, but 14 workers went out of that mission...Willie Gill...was the first from the mission we had professed in to go into the Lord’s harvest field." (Santee, California Convention, October 1964). Willie Gill is entered the work in 1900.
WHO WERE THE CARROLLs of RATHMOLYON? There were six Carroll children born to Wm. and Cecilia (Christie) Carroll, who were married in 1875 in Dublin, Ire. Their father was only 47 years old when he died on January 23, 1897, leaving behind a widow and six unmarried children: Wm. (Bill) age 21; John (Jack) age 19, May age 18, Agnes age 15, Frances (Fannie) age 13 and Primrose age 7.
It was only seven months after their father died that Wm. Irvine held his Revival Mission in Nenagh, Co., Tipperary, where Jack and May were working for their Uncle Pat. Some of the Carrolls attended those meetings. Jack, May and Fannie all made their choices in 1897. All of them went in the work, including Bill's wife Margaret (Maggie), except for Agnes who married Harry Weir. The four siblings plus Maggie died in the harness (remained there until they died.) Jack Carroll became Overseer of Western USA; Bill Carroll became Overseer of Victoria, Australia. Bill and his wife were a married worker couple. Primrose was in the work for a short time; then married Richard Perrott, and they both left the 2x2 church. Click Here to read more about the Carrolls; Click Here for Carroll Family Tree.
1897, NOVEMBER 1-6 - NENAGH MISSION #2: Wm. Irvine returned to hold a second mission in Nenagh. (G. P., Accounts of the Early Days). John Long wrote: “William Irvine had returned to Nenagh and had a mission in the Presbyterian Church...Some new persons decided for Christ, and some old believers were stirred up...and the whole town was in a ferment of revival element. (Journal Nov., 1897). G. Pattison wrote: I believe, but am not quite sure, that from Nenagh's first visit William [Irvine] went to Rathmolyon... and from there back to Nenagh a second time, after which he booked for here [Cloughjordan]
That mission [Cloughjordan] ended up with an All Days Conference; when the Christians from Roscrea and Nenagh came to our help. Open air preaching for years was an unknown thing in the town of Cloughjordan; the inhabitants being mostly Romans of a bigoted type. In the evening William Irvine suggested an open air march through the street, which took the inhabitants by surprise. Outside the Methodist Church we formed a circle and sang the best of all hymns. (John Long's Journal Dec., 1897)
Nenagh Mission #2 was followed by several missions all held within a 20 mile radius of Nenagh: Roscrea, Cloughjordan, Finnoe, Borrisokane, and Templederry. Other missions held in this area were Lorrha, Portumna, Moneygall and Behamore. G. Pattison wrote: "Neither do I remember how or by whom the Lorrha or Portumna Missions were held, at which probably John and Tom Clarke, Richard Dagg, Tot Dane, the Hodgins family and others were brought in. I think there must have been meetings at Bailey's home below Portumna where Tom Turner heard the message and accepted it." (G. Pattison in Account of the Early Days).
1897, NOVEMBER 7-21 - ROSCREA MISSION: John Long wrote: “On hearing of the Revivals in Nenagh and Rathmolyon, Pastor Crookshanks invited Wm. Irvine to have a mission there [Roscrea], when many young people decided for Christ, and the endeavour meetings got great blessing" (Journal Oct., 1897). Bright Words confirmed that Wm. Irvine held a mission in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary November 7-21, 1897; and that John Kelly who joined FM on May 27, 1896, was at that time preaching in Scotland. He would later become a worker in Irvine's movement (Bright Words, Dec., 1897).
1897: NOVEMBER - DEATH OF WILLIAM IRVINE'S MOTHER: William Irvine crossed to Scotland, just in time to see his mother before her death. Elizabeth Grassam Irvine died on November 25, 1897, aged 64. The cause was "Valvular Disease of the Heart (one month) Hemorrhage, infarction of Lung."
1897, DECEMBER - CLOUGHJORDAN MISSION: Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary was the hometown of both John Long and Goodhand Pattison. John Long wrote: "Pastor Whittaker started a mission in Cloughjordan to prepare the way for the coming of William Irvine to that needy town; I left Roscrea and went to help there…" ...During his [Wm. Irvine's] stay in Cloughjordan, I invited him out to our home in Burntwood, for a cup of tea, and the humble and loving way by which he dealt with my brothers and sisters sowed the seed, and prepared the way for their conversion which happened within one year afterwards" (Journal, Dec., 1897). The mission closed after about 10 days, during which time several persons decided to serve the Lord.
Telling the Truth has a hard copy of the documents, books, newspaper articles, references, etc. used in this book. Any exceptions are noted.
Go to Chapter 7
Go to Top of Page