On This Day in History

On March 10, 1880 The Salvation Army “officially” started our work in the United States. Commissioner George Scott Railton and seven female officers landed in New York City after having been sent from England by Salvation Army founder William Booth to begin their ministry in this country.

However, in truth, The Salvation Army’s Lieutenant Eliza Shirley had already arrived in the US in 1879 to join her parents, who had migrated to America earlier in search for work. That same year she held the first meeting of The Salvation Army in America, in Philadelphia, but it was not officially commissioned by William Booth.

The good news is the Salvationists were received enthusiastically. Shirley wrote to General Booth, begging for reinforcements. None were available at first, but glowing reports of the work in Philadelphia eventually convinced Booth, in 1880, to send an official group to pioneer the work in America.

While Commissioner Railton may get the credit for officially pioneering the work in the US, Lt. Shirley played a significant part in laying the groundwork!

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