Talmage: As I Knew Him

A brief look into the family life of T. DeWitt Talmage.  Just a glimpse. 

Dr. Talmage
Dr. Talmage

However, important stories of how his family learned about the saving power of Jesus Christ.  Remarkable conversions. 


 My father was a religious, hard-working, honest

man. Every day began and closed with family worship, led by my father, or, in case of his absence, by Mother. That which was evidently uppermost in the minds of my parents, and that which was the most pervading principle in their lives, was the Christian religion. The family Bible held a perfect fascination for me, not a page that was not discoloured either with time or tears.

My parents read out of it as long as I can remem-

ber. When my brother Van Nest died in a

foreign land, and the news came to our country

home, that night they read the eternal consolations

out of the old book. When my brother David died

that book comforted the old people in their

trouble. My father in mid-life, fifteen years an

invalid, out of that book read of the ravens that

fed Elijah all through the hard struggle for bread.

When my mother died that book illumined the

dark valley. In the years that followed of lone-

liness, it comforted my father with the thought of

reunion, which took place afterward in Heaven.


To the wonderful conversion of my grandfather

and grandmother, in those grand old days of our

declaration of independence, I trace the whole

purpose, trend, and energies of my life. I have

told the story of the conversion of my grandfather

and grandmother before. I repeat it here, for my



My grandfather and grandmother went from

Somerville to Baskenridge to attend revival

meetings under the ministry of Dr. Finney. They

were so impressed with the meetings that when

they came back to Somerville they were seized

upon by a great desire for the salvation of their

children. That evening the children were going

off for a gay party, and my grandmother said to

the children, ” When you get all ready for the

entertainment, come into my room ; I have some-

thing very important to tell you.” After they

were all ready they came into my grandmother’s

room, and she said to them, “Go and have a good

time, but while you are gone I want you to know

I am praying for you and will do nothing but pray

for you until you get back.” They did not enjoy

the entertainment much because they thought all

the time of the fact that Mother was praying for

them. The evening passed. The next day my

grandparents heard sobbing and crying in the

daughter’s room, and they went in and found

her praying for the salvation of God, and her

daughter Phoebe said, ” I wish you would

go to the barn and to the wagon-house




for Jehiel and David (the brothers) are under

powerful conviction of sin.” My grandparent

went to the barn, and Jehiel, who afterward

became a useful minister of the Gospel, was

imploring the mercy of Christ; and then,

having first knelt with him and commended his

soul to Christ, they went to the waggon-house,

and there was David crying for the salvation of

his soul.  David, who afterward became my

father. David could not keep the story to himself,

and he crossed the fields to a farmhouse and told

one to whom he had been affianced the story of

his own salvation, and she yielded her heart to

God. The story of the converted household

went all through the neighbourhood. In a few

weeks two hundred souls stood up in the plain

meeting house at Somerville to profess faith in

Christ, among them David and Catherine, after-

ward my parents.


My mother, impressed with that, in after life,

when she had a large family of children gathered

around her, made a covenant with three neigh-

bours, three mothers. They would meet once a

week to pray for the salvation of their children

until all their children were converted — this inci-

dent was not known until after my mother’s death,

the covenant then being revealed by one of the

survivors. We used to say : ” Mother, where are

you going ? ” and she would say, ” I am just

going out a little while ; going over to the neigh-

bours.” They kept on in that covenant until all

their families were brought into the kingdom of

God, myself the last, and I trace that line of

results back to that evening when my grand-

mother commended our family to Christ, the tide

of influence going on until this hour, and it will

never cease.


My mother died in her seventy-sixth year.



Author: Editor

An ordained Baptist minister. Worked for 10 years with a Christian publishing ministry where I was the circulation manager for a growing publication, The Sword of the Lord. I also did most of direct mail fundraising and promotion. I have pastored churches in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama & Arkansas. I served for some four years as Vice President of The Spoken Word of God ministry, Orlando, FL. This ministry was active in church planting in India and broadcasting the Scriptures via Trans World Radio and other radio outlets. My associate in this ministry later invited me to join him and his dad in starting a business working with churches providing multimedia equipment. I have done this work for the last 16 years. This blog, hopefully, will scratch an itch I have for communicating the Word of God to a broader audience via the Internet. I would be honored to hear from you via email.

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