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The Journal of John Long
About the Early Days
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1893 - 1965
1966 to Present
REPRESENTING THE LARGEST COLLECTION OF 2X2 HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS ON THE INTERNET

Letterhead used by workers titled Christian Conventions

Perry, Oklahoma Conv, 1942

Preserving the Truth
The Church without a Name and its Founder, William Irvine

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O


Chapter 26
Revised March 9, 2017

1914-1921

1914 - Taking an Official Name in the U.K.  – “The Testimony of Jesus”
Annual Irish Conventions
1917 - Princess Victoria
1919 - Excommunication of Alfred Magowan
1920 - Last Convention at Crocknacrieve
1921 - Staffordshire's Workers Convention (aka Dimsdale Hall)
1919 - 1921: Irish War of Independence
1921 - The Coolacrease Murders of Abe and Dick Pearson


1914 - TAKING AN OFFICIAL NAME"THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS":  The British Empire joined World War I on August 4, 1914, and began requiring all men of military age to register. At that time, all of Ireland was included in the United Kingdom of Great Britain.   Military draft, also called “conscription,” is a system of selecting men for required military service. This was the first time the situation of war and military service had been encountered since the 2x2 Church began. In 1917, there were: "...70 ministers of a denomination which claimed to have a following in the United Kingdom of 5,000 members." (Daily Mail, March 23, 1917).

The British Senior Workers felt convicted that 2x2 men should be pacifists and sought to obtain military exemption for the Brother Workers as clergymen and for the professing male members, exemption from combatant service on conscientious objection grounds. However, these exemptions were granted on religious grounds and it was necessary to be associated with a recognized religious body. This was a problem since their church had no official name.

Although a variety of nicknames had been given to them by outsiders and the press, such as Pilgrims, Tramp Preachers, Go Preachers, Dippers, Cooneyites, etc., they had no legal or official name. The Senior Workers decided to register the name of "The Testimony of Jesus” with the government in Great Britain. Ed Cooney stated:

"In 1914 when all of military age were required to register, Andy Robb registered himself as Independent Faith Mission. I registered myself as Christian, and advised Willie Gill to council all to do likewise, but he said 'Let us take the name we call ourselves by ‘The Testimony of Jesus.’ At that time I am sorry to say I used to go contrary to my conscience, to avoid differing from my fellow workers. I gave in to Willie in this respect and so erred, but have confessed my sin to God, and God has forgiven me. We have committed the same sin in the U.S.A. in calling ourselves 'Christian Conventions.'  We should repent and take the consequences" (Ed Cooney’s Testimony).

The March 23, 1917 London Daily Mail reported a London Southwestern Police Court session in which Brother Worker Hay Halkett was granted an military service exemption as a Minister of the "Testimony of Jesus," a recognized religious denomination. See Chapter 41 for additional military history.

Possibly, the name "Testimony of Jesus" was derived from the following verses: Rev 19:10 "...I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Rev 1:9 "I, John...was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ." Rev 12:17 "...her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the the testimony of Jesus Christ." Rev 1:2 "Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw."

ANNUAL IRISH CONVENTIONS:  After World War I began, large gatherings were discouraged in the interest of safety. In 1914, a smaller four day Convention was held at Coolhill, Eglish, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, Ire. on James Richardson's place with about 400 attendees. Although Irvine was back from his tour around the world that year, he remained in another county and did not attend the convention, where he was usually one of the chief speakers. The local newspaper reported: “Mr. Wm. Irvine is in Co. Meath. His health is stated not to be as good as usual…Edward Cooney and Robert Humphries, two Fermanagh men, were the leaders of this convention” (IR, July 9, 1914, p 8).

1915 and 1916 Conventions were held at Crocknacrieve again. The 1916 Convention lasted a week, and it "was reported that the gathering, while not a record one, was large.”  World War I was still going on. Ed Cooney occupied the platform, along with Geo. Walker, Willie Gill and Wilson Reid who was back from Africa on a home visit.

In 1917 and 1918, no Conventions were held in Ireland due to the war. Instead, many smaller meetings were held. In 1919, Conventions were held at Scarva, Co. Monaghan on Bothwell's property; and at Knock, Belfast in a tent at McKeekins, according to Irish List of "Early Conventions." 2016 was the last Convention held at Monoghan.

OPEN-AIR PREACHING was a method often used by the early Workers. Like the Diamond of Enniskillen, most small towns had a recognized speaking place, where people congregated to to hear speeches or preaching, or to be otherwise entertained. They didn't have radio or television then. There are about 40 references on the TTT website to the early Workers using "open-air" preaching.   Cooney once said: "When John was in the spirit, he was in the place where he could hear the voice of the Lord and it was like a trumpet...I feel the need of a trumpet when I go into the street corners, we need to have something startling to say, when we go into the open-air and in dealing with men and women engulfed in sin."

1917-20 PRINCESS VICTORIA:  Many believe Princess Victoria to have “professed,” due to the three Accounts and some letters she allegedly wrote, although she never attended any meetings. Brother Worker John Pattison wrote: “The essence of these letters...show that, as we have been told, Princess Victoria had a clear revelation of Truth; that she was very close to and influential to her mother, as were also the professing girls who were in service to the household” (Read Princess Victoria’s Contact with the Workers 1917-1920 in the Appendix).

As background, Princess Victoria was born July 6, 1868, at Marlborough House, England. She was the second daughter and the fourth of six children born to Edward VII, King of England and Princess Alexandra of Denmark, who were married March 10, 1863. Their six children were: (1) Duke Albert Victor Christian, (2) King George V, (3) Louise Victoria Alexandra, (4) Victoria Alexandra Olga Mary, (5) Maude Charlotte Mary and (6) John Alexander.

Princess Victoria was the only daughter who remained unmarried. With all her other children married and living abroad, the Princess’ mother wanted Princess Victoria to remain close at her side. When the Princess was 57, her mother died, and she moved to The Coppins in Iver, Buckinghamshire, about 20 miles east of London.  Ten years later, she passed away on Dec. 3, 1935, aged 67. She was very close to her brother, George, the grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II, who was King George V from May 6, 1910, until Jan 20, 1936, when he died just six weeks after his sister.

Reportedly in 1917, when the Princess was 49 years old, she came in contact with a 2x2 maid named Daisy Bassett, who worked in the royal palace. “Daisy was in attendance to Lady Keppel, Lady-in-Waiting to Princess Victoria, and Sir Derek Keppel was Master of the Household, i.e. taking oversight of all comings, goings and doings at the Palace, etc…Daisy passed on her testimony to Lady Keppel, and from then on Princess Victoria was constantly asking questions, and showing her interest.  She valued listening to Daisy's testimony until the Lord gave her a testimony of opening up the Way of Life to her. It was during those free three years that Princess Victoria made her choice” (Princess Victoria’s Contact with the Workers 1917-1920).

A very well known open-air speaking location was and still is Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park, London. Reportedly, Princess Victoria sometimes went to Hyde Park in London in a carriage with drawn drapes, and she was there when Ed Cooney was preaching. 

In July 2004, the Author walked in Hyde Park and took photographs of Speaker's Corner. It is located at the northeast corner of Hyde Park, where two streets meet. There is a single light post in the center of a large bare area where there are no trees or grass, and people can easily congregate there. There is no raised platform or loud speaker system for the speaker. The speaker sometimes took a stool, platform or soapbox, stepped up on it and began to speak to the audience. The term "getting your soapbox" may have originated from this practice.  Click Here for Photo of Speakers Corner in Hyde Park.

Still today, Speaker's Corner is still a traditional site of public speeches and debate, especially on Sunday mornings. Speaker's Corner was created after an 1872 law made it legal for a speaker to assemble a crowd and speak freely on any subject.  By the 19th century, it had become a popular place for people to meet and exercise their right to free speech. Any person may turn up unannounced and talk on almost any subject they wish, although they may be heckled by people holding opposing views. Noted people such as Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, George Orwell and Wm. Morris have spoken there.

In 1637, Hyde Park opened as London's first public park. Surrounded by some of the world's busiest streets, Hyde Park is London’s largest open space, containing 630 acres. Just outside, at the northeast corner is the famous Marble Arch.  Around 10:30 a.m. every day the Household Cavalry rides from Hyde Park Barracks to Buckingham Palace. On royal anniversaries and other important occasions a 41-gun salute is fired in Hyde Park, opposite the Dorchester Hotel.

The Princess had Daisy pass a letter to Ed Cooney, "the man of God." She also corresponded with Sister Workers Maggie Patton and Emily Ruddell for three years (1917-1920) before the palace discovered it and tried to stop her. She used symbols rather than names in her letters to protect others, and signed her letters "VW," which stood for Victoria, Princess of Wales. There are 17 of these letters (Princess Victoria's Contact with the Workers 1917-1920).  The Princess never actually attended any Meetings or Conventions. After Daisy was no longer able to sneak letters to the Princess, and the Workers could no longer communicate with her, the Princess reportedly wrote letters to the Workers after she moved from the Palace to The Coppins. P.S. wrote:

“When Victoria wrote the last of these letters, she was leaving the palace to live at The Coppins, Iver, Buckinghamshire, which seemed to be her personal property. She wrote letters from there, but they appear to be lost. Daisy left the palace at the same time. These letters were written to Maggie Patton, a girl from Ireland that had been in the work some 12 years or so. Two letters from Daisy are also written to her. Victoria's mother, Alexandra, who was known for her kindness, gave Victoria permission to go to Meetings, and she was expected to a Convention in Ireland in 1919, which Lord Stamfordham put a stop to” (Princess Victoria's Contact with the Workers 1917-1920).

1917: THE BOOK "TIMELY WARNINGS" was printed in 1917. It was the first counter-cult book to be published. It was compiled by missionary Wm. Carleton Irvine (W. C. Irvine) from New Zealand, and printed by Loizeaux Brothers, Neptune, New Jersey, USA.  When a second edition was printed, the book name was changed to Modern Heresies Exposed and subsequent to the 1921 edition, the title changed to Heresies Exposed. At some point, possibly in the mid to late 1920s, a chapter was included in the book by W. R. Rule, titled: "The Cooneyites or Go-Preachers and Their Doctrines" pp. 73-78). Heresies Exposed was one of the first widely available books covering new religious movements, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Cooneyites, Christadelphians, Pentecostals and other non-mainstream groups that came to increasing prominence during the 20th century. 

1919: EXCOMMUNICATION OF ALFRED MAGOWAN: On September 27, 1919, on the Illinois, U.S. Convention grounds, Alfred Magowan was excommunicated by Jack Carroll, Geo. Walker and Jas. Jardine and Walker pronounced Alfred to be"unregenerate." Magowan wrote E. Cooney that he was excommunicated "on the ground of 'incompatibility of spirit. I have never been born again!' " Willie Edwards wrote: "When Alphie Magowan was on trial with the head workers and judges, he asked if he might read a letter from me [Willie Edwards]. Jack Carroll asked if he corresponded with me.  He said, 'Yes.' “Well then, he said, 'We need no further witness, as that is enough' " (W. Edwards letter to Caseys, Dec. 20, 1942). Another cause for his excommunication was a letter Magowan had written to an Irish childhood friend, Tom Lyness. Magowan wrote:

I thought it would be good to set my spiritual relationship house in order by writing to the separators. And so it happened that my first letter was to Jack C. [Carroll]; and then to George W. [Walker]; and it was only a few months ago that a door was opened to write to James J. [Jardine]: these were the three who had to do with my 'going into the wilderness' from the Illinois convention of 1919.

And as I recall, this was the way the matter was put by one of the three: 'If you do not believe in us, why do you come to the Convention?' It was not a matter with me of not believing in men, but of not agreeing with some of the things they did. Then it came as something of a shock when Jack brought a specific charge against me: that I had written a letter to one of the Workers (who happened to be a boyhood companion, and a brother to my stepmother)
[Tom Lyness]. I admitted the writing, but could not see the offence. In the letter I said something to the effect that it would be nice if he and I could return home to Ireland the same year; go over old ground; and perhaps have a mission or two together. But whatever crime Jack saw in it, he said that it barred the way to any understanding and fellowship between them and me; and so there was nothing to do but come away; and I have not seen one of them since"  (letter to Wm. Hughes, July 1, 1957).

Magowan wrote Cooney about the treatment he received after leaving the work: "We have not known persecution in its time-glorified forms; and what we have suffered would hardly be worth mentioning in the light of the greater sufferings of others; but for myself I must confess that there were times when I could have borne very little more. What with slurs and insults, hints and insinuations, misunderstandings and prejudices, dark looks and averted faces where formerly there had been smiles and friendly greetings; and what I considered my good hatefully evil spoken of...My letters have been misread and things found in them that were never in my mind" (letter to Cooney, Nov. 7, 1953).

After he left, Alfred Magowan wrote countless letters, poetry and books, including a hymnbook. In 1917, a friend gave him a typewriter, and he made very good use of it. He kept copies of his writings (excluding letters) from 1939 to 1949. These were typewritten poems and essays, he bound into books 1 to 17, with pages numbered from 1 to 2,728; about 1,000 pages are in verse. Most of his essays are comments on world affairs, starting in 1942. Several books followed: If our Civilization had been Christian, Echoes of World Voices, Purpose and Design, a hymnbook and others. After a heart attack in 1951, when he was 68 years old, he started keeping copies of his typed letters, thousands of pages all bound into books. The author is greatly indebted to his valuable insight and information, some of which was printed. As Alfred explained in his letter to Geo. Walker, Feb. 21, 1954: "a man must express what is given him for that purpose, or be like the man who hid his talent in the earth--miss the purpose of it and lose it into the bargain:

Why do I write? Because I must express
The thoughts that through my mind their waters pour.
Lest in the ocean of forgetfulness
They unexpressed be lost forevermore.

I had a wondrous dream last night--in verse.
When I awoke I thought it would remain.
I lay and laboured to the lines rehearse,
But conscious effort proved to be in vain.

And I have come to that place where I do
Believe we are no more than messengers
Sent to make known the beautiful end true,
And of the old-time witnesses the heirs.

So I have mourned when something I had heard
Slipped from my mind forever undeclared."

1920: LAST CONVENTION AT CROCNACRIEVE - John and Sara West moved their home to Rossahilly, Ballinamallard in 1920. They sold Crocknacrieve to Simon and Penelope (Penny Barton) Loane, parents of the late Warren Loane.  Penny Barton had been an early Sister Worker.

"The Irish Independent reported: "A Miss Barton, a member of an old Fermanagh Co. family, told one evening how she had given up her fine dresses and money and ease, and her horses, in order to go out and preach the Gospel" (II, Aug. 20, 1907) Ms. Barton's sermons at Crocknacrieve Convention were mentioned in the Impartial Reporter from July 1908 thru 1909. Some family background of the Bartons was reported in the Impartial ReporterJuly 29, 1909. No mention of Penny Barton is made again until she appears at the 1914 Crocknacrieve convention, having returned from Italy and Switzerland: "Two preachers, one of whom is Miss Barton, Pettigo, have lately returned from North Italy and Switzerland” (IR, July 9, 1914). Penny Barton was one of the first Workers to go to Switzerland. 

Mildred Penelope Matilda Barton (Penny) was born April 25, 1885 in Pettigo, Co. Fermanagh. She was the 8th child, and her sister, Susie, was the 9th child of Capt. Charles Robert Barton and Henrietta Martha Mervyn Richardson, members of the Landed Gentry (the gentry who own land—considered as a class). It has been said that the Barton girls played with Queen Victoria's children. The Barton's of The Waterfoot in Pettigo, Co. Fermanagh have a long history in Ireland, England and France. Penny and her sister Susie were both in the Work for a time; however, on August 27, 1918, Penny married Simon Christopher Loane, a cattle dealer, and they had four sons. Penny died August 6, 1971. Her sister, Susan Cecil(e) Grace Barton (Susie) was born December 24, 1886 in Pettigo, Co. Fermanagh, and was a Sister Worker until she died March 2, 1968.  Penny left the fellowship and her children were not brought up in it. No one else in the Barton family professed. See: http://www.thePeerage.com.

Subsequent Conventions in Co. Fermanagh were held at Mullaghmeen on the property of William West, a brother of John West. In 1928, when the group split, the previously scheduled convention at Mullaghmeen for July 1929, was attended mainly by those who allied with Edward Cooney. The other group of Friends and Workers began holding their annual Convention at "Greenhill, near Brookeborough, where Mr. Albert Pogue placed his house, out-offices and lands at the disposal of those attending" (IR, July 9, 1931). That Convention was later moved to the Reids' place at Gortaloughan, where it is still being held today (in 2017) with a different owner. 

1921 STAFFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND WORKERS' CONVENTION (aka Dimsdale Hall):  It was held in 1921 at Dimsdale Hall, Staffordshire, England, a photo of which is in the Photo Gallery of Telling the Truth. There are 208 Workers shown on the photograph. Ed Cooney is shown (No. 69), along with Geo. Walker (No. 17), Jas. Jardine (No. 12), Willie Gill (No. 49), and Jack Carroll (No. 93). In the house behind the Workers lies Duncan Watson, a Worker who died during this Workers' Convention.

This was the first large Workers' Convention after WW1. Wm Irvine had gone to Jerusalem in 1919 and was likely one of the subjects they discussed at this Workers Meeting. Also, purging his memory may have begun there. Cooney's being "out of step" as he insisted on being allowed to go wherever the Spirit led him was discussed, and the decision was reached for him to travel worldwide in the territories of other Overseers, observing their organization and hopefully changing his ways. He boarded a ship the month after the Convention and did not return to Ireland for seven years, when he was excommunicated in 1928.

THE IRISH WAR OF INDEPENDENCE: Ireland was ruled by England from early 1500 until 1921. During that period, the vast majority of the Irish people were heavily oppressed. Their overall state was one of abject poverty, and conditions were often extremely harsh. Most of the land in Ireland was seized by British authorities and given to Irish sympathizers of the British Crown (i.e. King or Queen) or to "planters"–people brought into Ireland from England who were oftentimes given hundreds of thousands of acres. This land belonged to native Irish people who were evicted from it, and were forced to rent it back from the new owner. In addition to paying rent, they were often times required to supply the new owner with a share of any crop they harvested from the land.

From early 1500 until early 1800, religious freedom did not exist in Ireland. In the early 1530s King Henry VIII of England ceased to recognize the Pope as the ultimate ruler of the Catholic Church when he would not grant him a divorce from his then wife Catherine of Aragon. King Henry set himself up as head of the Church in England. As England also ruled Ireland at this time, he imposed his wishes and beliefs on both countries. King Henry's successors over the next few centuries made it increasingly difficult to practice Catholicism in Ireland. Catholics were forbidden to practice their religion, forced to accept changes to the Bible, and Catholic priests and bishops were outlawed, imprisoned or shot if found saying mass. Most of these conditions existed with various degrees of severity, depending on the British King or Queen, at any given time until 1829 when Catholic Emancipation was introduced. 

In the mid 1840s, the potato famine struck Ireland. The failure of the potato crop meant that the Irish poor were deprived of their staple diet. Because the tenant peasants could not earn a living from the land they rented, they were evicted by the landowners. Those who did not die from hunger immigrated primarily to America. Prior to the famine, the population of Ireland was 8 million; after the famine, the population was 4 million.

Many failed uprisings occurred between 1500 and 1900 in efforts to gain Irish freedom from England. The First World War had nearly ended when the Irish War of Independence commenced. British troops were battle weary and lower in numbers than usual, and the Irish war on this occasion was particularly tough. It began in January 1919, and a truce was not signed until July 1921. This led to the end of the British rule in all of Ireland, except for six northern counties which remained within the United Kingdom as Northern Ireland.

The British Government, to supplement their regiments in Ireland, sent two groups: "The Auxiliaries" who were part-time soldiers and the second group known in Ireland as the "Black and Tans." This name was given to them by the Irish as they wore khaki tunics and trousers and dark green (almost black) caps. The Irish said they looked like a famous Tipperary hunting hound. Perhaps of all British troops sent to Ireland, the Black and Tans were the most despised by the Irish people. Regarded and described by many as "the scum of the earth," these troops were non-regular soldiers of fortune, many of whom were allowed out of British prisons on condition that, for a minimal payment, they go to Ireland and ruthlessly suppress the rebellion. These troops executed their orders with apparent great relish. They indiscriminately burned, looted, murdered and pillaged all sections of the population. This triggered tit-for-tat killings and atrocities by the IRA. Anybody even remotely sympathetic to the British occupying forces, or where there was even a suspicion, was regarded as a legitimate target by the IRA. During this period (1919 - 1921) all reason was abandoned by both factions in the conflict. A wave of a hand, a courteous greeting or even a smile in the direction of one side or the other could quickly be interpreted as being sympathetic to either side. No one was interested in the circumstantial or factual content.  

1921: THE COOLACREASE MURDER OF ABE AND DICK PEARSON - Around 1911, William and Susan (Pratt) Pearson purchased a 341 acre farm at Coolacrease, Co. Offaly, Ireland. Originally from Ballygeehan, Co. Laos, they reportedly purchased the property from a Protestant family and moved there with their family of 7 children. They were considered Protestant large land owners.

In the 1901 and 1911 Irish censuses, the family is listed as Church of Ireland. It is not known when they became "Cooneyites," which some regarded as Protestants, but it was common knowledge, and most likely took place before they moved to Coolacrease. Several Pearson family relatives were deeply immersed in the 2x2 church, and a cousin of Wm. Pearson was the owner of Carrick Convention.

During the Irish War of Independence, all Protestants and large landowners were suspected of giving information and loyalty to British rule. At the time, there were many burnings of Protestant homes and murders, and those who escaped were fortunate. This was the nature of the political climate when the tragic Coolacrease murders took place. The ruins of Coolacrease house lie one mile northeast of the hamlet of Cadamstown in the Co. Offaly, formerly King's Co. The atrocity happened like this:

"It was here at Coolacrease that on the 30th June 1921, a band of thirty, perhaps forty armed and masked men descended on the house torched it, then in the courtyard shot the two eldest sons of the household, aged nineteen and twenty four. The shooting took place in the presence of family members. These were the mother of the two boys, their three sisters and youngest brother. Also present were two female cousins. The sisters were aged sixteen, twenty one, and twenty three, the youngest brother fourteen. The older of the visiting cousins was twenty and the younger was a child of not more than eleven years of age" (I met Murder on the way by Alan Stanley, p, 13).

The two Pearson brothers, Richard Henry ("Dick") and Abraham Pratt ("Abe") Pearson who were executed were the sons of William and Susan Pearson, Sr. While their father and a younger brother, Sidney, were attending a Convention about 35 miles away, these two older unmarried sons were shot by a firing squad numerous times in their back yard and left to die. As none of the shots were fatal, the two sons suffered agony for 6 and 14 hours respectively before they died. The women dragged a mattress away from the burning house into the field and somehow managed to get the two dying men onto it.

The younger brother, David, rode about 13 miles on a bicycle to get help. A doctor bicycled to Coolacrease and dressed their wounds. Police arrived and removed the wounded men to Birr Military Barracks, where they died. Many years later David Pearson wrote an account of the family tragedy he witnessed that day, which is included in Alan Stanley's book, Chapter 6, page 46. The two Pearson sons were buried in the cemetery of Killermogh Angelican Church, close to the village of Ballacolla in Queen's County, which is now called Co. Laois. The strange burial details are given in Alan Stanley's book.

William Stanley, a 21 year old friend, was living with the Pearsons and working in the field when it was suddenly surrounded by rebel forces. Being a fast runner, he managed to escape in spite of being fired upon. Wm. Stanley's son, Alan Stanley, published a book in 2005, titled: "I met Murder on the way – The Story of the Pearsons of Coolacrease." His book gave rise to the documentary "The Killings at Coolacrease," which was a segment of the Irish RTE, a television series "Hidden History of Ireland" which was broadcast on October 23, 2007. According to Alan Stanley's book, the most accurate account of the tragedy is contained in a newspaper (now defunct) called King's Co. Chronicle, July 7, 1921. See also: Wikipedia article "Killings at Coolacrease."

Reportedly, the Pearsons had a visit from British troops. Add to that an incident where the Pearson sons tried to prevent the IRA from felling a tree on their property, and that was reason enough to place the Pearsons in the category of British 'sympathizers,' and therefore 'legitimate' targets. In the eyes of the IRA, these events placed together could be considered sufficient 'evidence' that the Pearsons were British sympathizers, spies and informers. 

The reason for the murders has never been determined with any certainty. One of the rebels told a sister who asked "Why?" that it was NOT because they were Protestant. The Irish Times stated: "There was never a shred of evidence to justify the Pearson murders and there still isn't." The perpetrators were never caught or tried. David Pearson said the family viewed the murders as a way to grab their land. At that time, the common mixture of reasons for committing atrocities of that kind were: Land, Religion and Nationality. During this period, some of the worst atrocities of any of the wars in Ireland were carried out. Sadly, the type of savage act perpetrated on the Pearsons and others by the I.R.A. was replicated in many parts of Ireland at that time.

After receiving compensation for their land, the Pearson family moved to Australia in stages, the last family members arriving on January 17, 1930. One daughter, Emily, married and lived in England, while the rest of the family relocated to Australia until their deaths. William Pearson Sr. was born in 1863 and died in 1934. His wife Susan was born 1870 and died in 1947 in Victoria. Her death certificate states the Minister at her burial was J. F. Jones, Christian Assemblies of Australia. According to Alan Stanley's book, their son Sidney Pearson continued to be a 2x2 but David did not. The church affiliation of the other Pearson family members is not known. David (Dave) Pearson died April 25, 1991.

The first convention at Carrick, Rathdowney, Co. Laois was held in 1912 and is the oldest Convention still being held in Ireland (in 2017). John Pearson, owner of Carrick House, was a cousin of Wm. Pearson. John was born 1856, died in 1938 and was married to Rebecca Jane Bennett, who died in 1894. They had nine children, one being sister worker Minnie Pearson. John Pearson then remarried Annabella Wallace, who died in 1938, one day after her husband passed away. Together they had 6 children, and one of them was Irvine Pearson (born 1908 – died 1997), who was Overseer of Ireland for a time. It is not known who was the first person to profess in the Pearson family or when they professed. Reportedly a Sunday morning meeting has been held in the same front room of the Carrick House since 1905, or a year close to that.

Quotes from Book: I met Murder on the way - The Story of the Pearsons of Coolacrease
By Alan Stanley, Quinagh, Carlow, Co. Carlow, Ireland
Published in 2005 by The Leinster Leader Ltd, Naas, Co. Kildare, Ireland

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Preserving the Truth
The Church without a Name
and its Founder, William Irvine



William Irvine
1863-1947


Founder of the
Church with No Name
aka 2x2 Church,
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Cooneyites and "the truth"