J.K. Alwood

life and ministry

Life of J.K. Alwood
Josiah Kelly (J.K.) Alwood was born near Cadiz, Harrison County, Ohio on July 15, 1828. His parents were Ephraim Kelly and Elizabeth (Salsbury) Alwood. Along with other Alwood and Salsbury family members, the family migrated to what is now Fulton Co in northwest Ohio. The trip was made via Canal Dover up to Lake Erie, then by boat to Detroit and overland to their destination. He converted to the United Brethren Church in the early 1850s after walking fifteen miles to attend.
In 1854 he married Elizabeth Dinius . In his early years, he had worked as a carpenter, then began preaching in 1857 and was ordained in 1859. His wife Elizabeth died in September 1868 leaving J.K. with seven children, one of whom was ill with the effects of the "spotted fever."
Since the ministers of that era were circuit riders and could serve widely separated areas, the children were farmed out to different homes. Two year old Lettie was lodged with the Frye family. Mrs Frye had a thirty-eight year-old sister, Sarah Hodges, who was a spinster school teacher and a devout United Brethren follower. J.K. and Sarah married in February 1869, and along with being a mother to J.K.'s six surving children, Sarah became mother to a son of her own, Olin Good Alwood, who later became a minister as well.
Although J.K. continued to preach, the Alwoods spent much of their married life in Morenci, a small Michigan town, just north of Fulton County, Ohio. In February 1908, J.K. was stricken with paralysis and died January 13, 1909 in Morenci. He and Sarah are both buried in the Oak Grove cemetery.

J.K.'s ministry

In 1857, J.K. began preaching without salary, and was ordained in 1859 at Delta, Ohio. In those days, United Brethren circuit riders traveled to areas could be widely separated via horseback through swamps and creeks, often preaching in wet clothing. J. K. preached primarily in what became the North Ohio conference (covering northwest Ohio, southern Michigan, and northeast Indiana) and became its presiding elder in 1863 - serving as a pastor 25 years and presiding elder for 23. He strove to improve his education, traveling to Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio by horseback - selling the horse when he got there to pay for schooling. He also served on the Otterbein board in the 1870s.

In the 1880s, the issue of secret societies - primarily Freemasonry - divided the United Brethren church. Feelings were very strong over this issue. J.K. wrote of them: "...they are well calculated to mislead their members with reference to true, saving, religion." His son O.G. Alwood wrote fifty years later: "All evils hide behind the cloak of secrecy and organized secrecy makes evil all the more formidable." The division could not be reconciled and in 1889, after a church election approved accepting secret societies, Bishop Milton Wright (father of Orville and Wilbur) led a group of delegates who declared themselves to be the true Church of the United Brethren in Christ and faithful to the church constitution of 1840 that disallowed secret societies. J.K. was part of the group that stayed true to Bishop Wright.

J.K. was considered one of the United Brethren church's main theologians and authored several articles and books. One of the books had the daunting title of Twenty-eight Objections Against the Doctrine of Double Birth Perfection Commonly Called the Second Work Sanctification Together With a Clear Statement of the Bible Doctrine Concerning Christian Perfection.

Continue on to the writing of the Unclouded Day