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Ballington Booth is Born

Today in Masonic History Ballington Booth is born in 1857.

Ballington Booth was a British born Christian minister.

Booth was born on July 28th, 1857 in Brighouse, England. He was the second child of the founders of the Salvation Army in 1878. As a teenager he was preaching at some of the early open-air meetings leading to the Salvation Army. He often ended the meetings with a song and playing his concertina. By the age of 23 he had become a colonel in the Salvation Army. He was a training officer and was sent to Australia, the United States and Canada.

In 1886, Booth and his wife were assigned to the United States where they became American citizens in 1895. During the 1891 Depression, Booth established men's shelters for those impacted by the Depression. Booth and his wife were instrumental in establishing the Salvation Army infrastructure in the United States.

Booth and his wife left the Salvation Army shortly after becoming U.S. citizens. This was largely due to a conflict with his brother who had become the Chief of the Staff of the Salvation Army and wanted to transfer Booth and his wife to other parts of the World. After leaving the Salvation Army the Booths established God's American Volunteers, which was renamed to Volunteers of America (VOA).

When Booth left the Salvation Army he took many of the American Salvation Army officers and soldiers with him. Possibly more important was the fact he also took with him many of the bigger American donors.

Booth became the "General" of the Volunteers of America and with the title spoke with President Woodrow Wilson regarding the effect of World War I on society. Booth offered the service of the VOA, which Wilson turned down. Wilson also allowed the Salvation Army to send personnel with the American Expeditionary Force. Despite the setback with Wilson, Booth later spoke with President Franklin D. Roosevelt about providing relief during the Great Depression.

Booth led the VOA until his passing on October 5th, 1940.

Booth was a member of Montclair Lodge No. 144 in New Jersey. He later became a member of Charter Oak Lodge No. 249 in New York City, New York. He was also the Grand Chaplain for the Grand Lodge of New York. He was a member of the York Rite and Scottish Rite as well as a member of Kismet Temple of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.