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This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the interview of Vernon William Patterson (CN 5, T7) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words have been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. Foreign terms which are not commonly understood appear in italics. In very few cases words were too unclear to be distinguished. If the transcriber was not completely sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted after the word or phrase in question. If the speech was inaudible or indistinguishable, "[unclear]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. The transcribers have not attempted to phonetically replicate English dialects but have instead entered the standard English word the speaker was expressing.
... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker.
.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.
( ) Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
[ ] Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.
This transcript was made by Wayne D. Weber and completed in May 2001.
Collection 5, T7. Interview of Vernon William Patterson by Paul Ericksen, March 5, 1985.
Continuation from Tape 6.
[NOTE: Because this interview was conducted while Ericksen was driving, automobile noises and Patterson's intermittent directions can be heard throughout the recording. In some cases the automobile and traffic noise makes it difficult to understand the interview. Mrs. Vida Patterson is a passenger and she periodically interjects a comments, sometimes inaudible.]
ERICKSEN: Okay. He had worn out his voice.
PATTERSON: He had...he had just about worn out his voice speaking before huge crowds, that were huge during...in view of the...in...in the light of the possibility of being heard in large audiences. They didn't have no amplifiers in that day and he just had to strain his voice. So his voice was very weak and he wasn't well. Well, Mrs. Torrey and Vida's mother became very intimate friends ri...right...almost after he moved there. And they were very close together. And wh...when Dr. Torrey got really sick there in his last days she stayed with Mrs. Torrey a...a great deal and when he got really dangerously sick she went up and spent night with her. She was there the night he died. And Vida you tell him there what you said because you remember exactly. Vida?
VIDA PATTERSON: [unclear]
PATTERSON: You tell him what you said.
VIDA PATTERSON: [unclear]
PATTERSON: No, I'd...I...you...
ERICKSEN: I think it...it....
PATTERSON: Well, she said that Dr....that Dr. [pauses]...Dr. Torrey...Mrs. Torrey went in to see him while...where he was sick and he was so sick he could hardly smile. And she bent over him and...and talked to him and he said, "Well, if my lips are not smiling my heart is." And the next night I believe he died and Mrs. Welfley, Vida's mother, was there with her. And they went in and found him dead the next morning. She didn't want to go in the room by herself and Vida's mother went in with her and found that he had breathed his last.
ERICKSEN: Now this is switching gears a bit but last night you mentioned the Edenton [North Carolina] Campaign?
ERICKSEN: Could you...and you mentioned that that was a city where there was a true revival.
PATTERSON: That was Eden...
ERICKSEN: Could you talk about that?
PATTERSON: ...that was Edenton. Now in the...in the material I have sent you there is a complete record of that all written up in detail. [there is no corresponding material which the Archives ever received from Patterson] I wasn't there but I set the meeting up and this is how that occurred. I was suffering badly at that time with a case of bursitis in my left arm. But several men, leaders down in Edenton (that was the old colonial capital of North Carolina down on the seacoast)...I was asked by several of the leading men down there to come down and tell them how to set up a meeting. So I drove down there and spent the night with them and I gave them the...the method of setting up a meeting and made it clear to them.
ERICKSEN: Could you describe what you told them?
PATTERSON: Well, I have written out that in detail in the material you have.
PATTERSON: So you can read that but I'll do it again [pauses] verbally. First, to get a good strong committee to...backing the...the meeting. I suggested they start with outstanding laymen there and then ask the pastors to join with them. And I went on to tell them about how to organize it. Appoint a committee for the finances, raise as much of it as...in advance as...as they could and...and then advertise it properly. And I went through the details of organizing and get prayer meetings over time, get the people to pray and broadcast it. One of them was...had...was one of the officers of the radio...of the radio down there. And then have a series of prayer meetings over time praying for revival. Those are some of the major details.
PATTERSON: And then [clears throat]...and get...I think I told them what I had...what we had come to do regularly at that time.
VIDA PATTERSON: You got the speakers there?
PATTERSON: Well, yes I...I forgot about that. I...I forgot to tell you we...this was a laymen's crusade. The laymen decided on having the crusade and then they invited the ministers to come in and join with them. But it was a laymen's crusade. And the way that was done was this. There were stro...there were a number of very strong lay...laymen that could give a...a really powerful gospel message. So, I lined up for them a...a group of men that would cover the crusade. We would usually put two men up as speakers. And we would have a song leader, that would be three. A song leader to lead the opening part of it singing the old gospel hymns. And then we would have another man who had a...a strong testimony, a real touching testimony to give his testimony. And then we would have the...a third speaker (but that would be the second speaker...the...not counting the...the leader of the music)...have him give a strictly a...a...the Bible teaching...a...a biblical exposition of the plan of salvation, and how a man...a person could be saved and through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross, His bodily res...His death, burial, and resurrection.
ERICKSEN: Did you set up speakers for the Edenton meetings?
PATTERSON: I...yes, I...I set...that's where...that's the main part I did. I set....
VIDA PATTERSON: [unclear] General [William] Harrison, he's got that [unclear]
PATTERSON: Yeah, I...I got...I...
VIDA PATTERSON: [unclear]
PATTERSON: ...I called on General Harrison, on Tom Wheeler on Wil...Jim Coville and I...and I think [pauses] oh, a number of outstanding laymen. And I lined up a really outstanding list of laymen. And we...they...the way the program ran was we would have the song leader lead them in...in prayer and in singing some of the Gospel songs at the start. Then we would have this first layman, who had had an outstanding testimony and was a good speaker, to give his testimony. And then we would have the one that was giving the real bibl...biblical plan of salvation and giving the invitation to speak last. That was the general setup.
ERICKSEN: So that's what you set up for Edenton?
PATTERSON: Yeah. And....
ERICKSEN: So what happened after you met with the committee and explained all these things to them?
PATTERSON: Well, I...I laid it all out for them. I was suffering badly with this bursitis at the time and they took notes on it and they...I had to leave the next morning, but they followed that plan right out and I...I then, when I got home...I wrote to the speakers I had suggested and got them to agree. And I set up that part of the...the program for them. The speakers were lined up for the period of time they were going to have the meeting. And among them was General Harrison and Tom...
VIDA PATTERSON: [unclear]
PATTERSON: ...yeah, and Tom Wheeler and...and so on and they would usually come two at a night.
ERICKSEN: So you arranged for...you made the arrangements with the three men to [unclear]
PATTERSON: I...I...I made the arrangements by correspondence [unclear] to contact...personal contact with the speakers.
ERICKSEN: And then what happened?
PATTERSON: And [unclear] I got them to agree to come at different nights. Well, they followed that plan. They followed it...the men down at New...at Edenton followed the...the plan I'd laid out strictly and advertised it over the radio. (One of them had access to radio. He was, I believe, one of the regular speakers on part...maybe part of the ownership of it.) And then I asked him...I...I included in that that they...after they had decided on the meeting...
PATTERSON: ...asked the ministers of the city to as many as would to cooperate with us.
ERICKSEN: And did the ministers of Edenton...?
PATTERSON: Well, yes, they were...with that program many of them, I think, most of them did. But we didn't ask them to set it up. We asked them to participate. They...we went on and made our plans and then asked them to...to sup...support it.
PATTERSON: And we had prayers in the churches and then the...the people...the ministers were very cooperative there and they...they cooperated right at the first. And they...they had prayer meetings before, several weeks before the meetings came about. And I...I'd written...I'd gotten the speakers lined up. I knew them when the men in Edenton didn't.
PATTERSON: So I knew them and I lined them up to come and to set the dates for them. And Jim Coville came down and...from New York and led the singing and among the speakers was General Harrison one night.
VIDA PATTERSON: I have that letter he wrote.
PATTERSON: Yeah...and yeah.
ERICKSEN: What...what happened in the meetings?
PATTERSON: Well, the whole city had a real genuine revival. That's written up in detail in those papers that I sent [pauses] last fall, the big box. And I had that little sheet which I gave you yesterday...
PATTERSON: ...that I had planned to put on that Edenton meeting so that you'd be sure [claps hands] to read that. (Oh-oh, going too fast, I guess. That's old Providence Church, organized back in 17...
VIDA PATTERSON: Were we going too fast?
PATTERSON: ...in the 1750s...
PATTERSON: ...1754 I think or 5 that was...that church was organized.) Well, so the..I remember Ward Malloon down in Orlando who was one of the speakers in the latter part of the meeting said when he got in the outskirts of the Edenton he felt [laughs] that the...he felt the feeling of...of revival when he got...even when he went into the city. The whole city cooperated. I mean they...they...it...it was a...a great...a great revival that really just shook that city. Now you have that written up in detail in some of those papers I sent last time.
PATTERSON: And I want...and this little...this little piece of paper I gave you yesterday I wrote up to put on that Edenton...
ERICKSEN: Pocket folder.
PATTERSON: ...that Edenton meeting.
PATTERSON: And I left it off. I wanted you especially to...to read about that Edenton meeting.
ERICKSEN: Maybe we...you could just talk a little about some of the evidences of how widespread the revival was?
PATTERSON: Well, the whole city was just moved and there...there was a...it...it really just touched the schools, the churches, and the whole city and it...it lasted for years there in its affect on Edenton. The...the write-up that you have...have on these last papers that I sent up there explains what happened there. It was a real citywide revival.
ERICKSEN: What was the size of Edenton?
PATTERSON: Well, I don't know just what it was but it...it was origin...Edenton...
VIDA PATTERSON: [unclear]
PATTERSON: ...was the original capital, colonial capital of North Carolina. It was one of the earliest settler...settlements in...in the...in North Carolina. And it probably...it also...
VIDA PATTERSON: [unclear]
PATTERSON: ...it also has restored the old capitol down there. But I suppose it was probably a...a city of least twenty-five thousand. (Now you could turn left right here. No, I don't mean right. Left, left right here.
ERICKSEN: Well, I think we've...we've fairly well covered....
PATTERSON: Well, you see what we were pushed to do actually but we developed this as our program. We did not go to the...the ministerial association and ask their permission to hold it because the probability would have been negative. They'd give all sorts of excuses for not holding the meeting. And then if we went against them we'd...it would be this or that. So we ins...we...instead of that we went ahead and made our own plans and then announced it to the ministers. And maybe personally, very likely personally first went before the ministerial association, told them our plans and urged them to cooperate. But whether or not they did we had the plans made. They couldn't...they couldn't keep us...they couldn't stop us. So...so many of them seeing that we...we already had the plan and were going ahead, many of them probably who would have opposed it decided to go along and...and make the best of it. But we avoided that conflict by making our plans and...and then urging the ministers to cooperate. (Now let's see, how about turning right here.
PATTERSON: All right, let's go on further then.)
ERICKSEN: Well, I think we've covered...covered everything. We're at a good stopping point. So Mr. Patterson thank you very much for these interviews. They've been very instructive.