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From the Plow to the Pulpit: Summary

Books>Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives

This autobiography follows the life of Tommie Frank Harper, a country boy from Fayette County, Georgia (the county where Margaret Mitchell set GONE WITH THE WIND) from his birth in 1908 to 1985.

His story is set in the context of his times and circumstances and provides significant information about agriculture, rural history, cultural norms, and religious history in Georgia in the first nine decades of the 20th century. The coming of the boll weevil which devastated cotton farming, the Great Depression, the religious Awakening that swept through the United States (including Fayette County, Georgia) — all these are part of Tommie Harper’s fascinating life story.

The neighbors said…”Tom Harper cares only for his horse, his pistol, and his dogs. If he hasn’t been killed by the time he’s thirty, he’ll be in the chain gang, convicted for life for killing somebody else.”

For twenty years he was the community hellion. Then one night he went to a tent revival. His plan was to cut the ropes on the tent…but he walked away a man of God.

Quality Paperback. ISBN: 0-937897-77-9 Dimensions in inches: 1.0 x 8.50 x 5.50. 27 black/white photographs. $9.95

About the Author

bwM-H160Tommie Frank Harper was born in the small rural community of Brooks, Georgia, in 1908. Though only forty miles from Atlanta, the Harper family’s Fayette County farm, where six mules and assorted men and boys grew 260 acres of cotton, was virtually the only world Tommie knew as a youth.

tommie harper and familyIt was only in 1938, when a Congregational Holiness revival group set up their tent in Brooks, that his prospects for a life beyond that farm suddenly changed. Slipping over to the revival with plans to cut the tent’s ropes, he underwent a conversion experience that resulted in an almost fifty-year career as a Church of God minister and administrator. He was soon conducting numerous revivals of the very type he had sought to disrupt, and went on to serve numerous pastorates.

Tommie Harper preached—and farmed—until he died in April of 1996. The last letter he wrote–the week before his death–was to the Georgia Agriculture Market Bulletin. In the letter he asked, after seeing a picture of such a feat in the Bulletin, for information on how to grow sweet potatoes in a wash tub.

The last sermon he preached in the spring of 1996 was as full of fervor and dedication and commitment as the first he preached in a farmhouse in Fayette County, Georgia, the week after he was converted. (adapted from Georgia Historical Review)

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