William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, was born in Nottingham, England in 1829. At the age of 13 when he was sent to work in a pawnbroker's shop he found that he did not enjoy it as it made him aware of the poverty in which people lived and how they suffered because of it. During his teenage years he became a Christian. Even back then he was often found evangelising.
After he had been an apprentice at the Pawn Shop for some time he moved to London, to work in a pawnbroker trade. He joined a local Methodist Church and later decided to become a minister.
He married Catherine Mumford (aka Catherine Booth) in 1855 he then spent a number of years travelling the length and breadth of the country as a travelling preacher. After some time had passed a strong conviction came over him that he was to do more, and so he returned to London with his family, having resigned as a Methodist minister.
In 1865 in the East End he was preaching outside the Blind Beggar pub. Some ministers who heard him speaking and were so impressed by his preaching that they asked him to lead a few meetings that they were organising in a large tent.
Soon Booth realised that he had found his destiny. He formed his own movement, which he called 'The Christian Mission'. When in 1878 William Booth changed the name to The Salvation Army the outworking changed. It was remoulded as an Army fighting sin. This caught the minds of people and the movement grew rapidly. Booth delivered fiery sermons and used sharp imagery which helped to drive his message home
William Booth died on the 20th of August 1912.
The following are some quotes taken from William Booth:
"While women weep, as they do now, I'll fight; while little children go hungry, as they do now, I'll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I'll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I'll fight-I'll fight to the very end!" From: "Booth The Beloved", by J Evan Smith (Oxford University Press, 1949
"Go Straight For Souls, And Go For The Worst"
'Why Should The Devil Have All The Best Tunes?'
The above material was adapted and inspired by various Salvation Army articles and texts.