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William Branham, John Barleycorn, and William D. Upshaw

Seek The Truth Blog

William Branham, John Barleycorn, and William D. Upshaw:

Recently, we published newspaper articles that detail the account of how strong an impact the alleged "healing" of former Congressman William D. Upshaw was to Branham's ministry, as well as articles that place this "healing" in question. In 1915, Upshaw himself claimed to have been healed for 20 years, and witness testimony describe the Congressman physically running in Washington. This raised more than a few eyebrows for those in the "Message," the cult following of "Divine Healer" William Branham. William Branham claimed to have "healed" Congressman Upshaw from a bedridden and wheelchair-bound condition in 1951 when the former Congressman entered one of Branham's meetings [allegedly] pretending to be confined to a wheelchair. Many were shocked to read William Branham's own transcript apparently pretending not to know Upshaw by claiming that his father died before he finished grade school. Those familiar with Branham's "Life Story" are aware that Branham also claimed that his father died in 1937, decades later, which matches the death certificate and newspaper obituary.

Last year, we published several articles detailing the impact William D. Upshaw and Roy E. Davis had on the second and third waves of the Ku Klux Klan. Upshaw was a well-known temperance leader and close personal friend of William Joseph Simmons, Imperial Wizard of the 1915 Ku Klux Klan. Davis was a high-ranking member who helped write the 1915 Klan Constitution, ritual, and by-laws according to his own confession in the 1960's. When Davis and Upshaw reconnected in San Bernardino California in 1944, all of the pieces fell in place to lift William Branham into fame and eventually lift Davis into power as the Imperial Grand Dragon of the Original Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

Along with posts detailing the Ku Klux Klan, we also included a great deal of Jeffersonville, Indiana history that most cult members were not aware. Louisville, Kentucky and Jeffersonville, Indiana were lawless gambling towns that were home to a thriving liquor industry -- one that supplied the Chicago and Cincinnati mobs with alcohol during prohibition. Gangsters Al Capone, John Dillinger, and more frequented the Jeffersonville area for gambling and recreation during the day, while visiting the distilleries behind closed doors. Many more eyebrows were raised when we described the close connection between the Branham family and Otto Wathen, owner of the Wathen Distilleries and son of famous distillery owner R. E. Wathen.

The combination of this information was almost overwhelming for many. Branham's dishonesty to conceal his knowledge of Upshaw, the Jeffersonville liquor industry, and the Ku Klux Klan were parts of Branham's "Life Story" that many did not know. And these seemingly isolated pieces of information are strongly linked in the fact that the 1915 Klan was strongly supportive of the Temperance movement. Upshaw's connection to Simmons was both personal and politically motivated; with the Klan supporting his speeches on the evils of alcohol for the Anti-Saloon league, Upshaw had the support of literally thousands.

But there is another angle to this story still unexplored: John Barleycorn.

William D. Upshaw's fight against alcohol was widely publicized, all the way from Georgia to California. There are so many newspaper articles published about the Congressman's fight to abolish alcohol from the nation that we could never publish them all. Literally thousands of articles are published, hundreds in each newspaper. Many started asking: "Did the Jeffersonville newspapers print articles about Congressman William D. Upshaw?"

Jeffersonville, as we mentioned, was home to a thriving liquor industry. Any move in Washington to limit production was big news, whether it was from Congressman Upshaw or from any other Congressman. As the nation entered Prohibition, those employed by the distilleries faced hardship -- as we see with the Branham family according to newspaper accounts.

As such, Jeffersonville newspapers printed articles about William D. Upshaw and his fight against alcohol. One such article, printed in the Jeffersonville Indiana "Bulletin" January 8, 1922, gained an almost full-page spread. "Prohibition vs. John Barleycorn."

The beginning of the article described the negative effects Upshaw's work had on the nation. Representative Gallivan of Massachusetts declared that "the past two years of prohibition enforcement had been hell. In brief, he argued that nothing is being accomplished and that the country is in a worse condition than ever before."

This would have excited the Jeffersonville and Louisville communities, both those who supported the liquor industry and those who opposed it. Upshaw defended the movement by describing the number of indictments and fines collected. One can only imagine the conversations that news of the Anti-Saloon League would have had in a city filled with saloons.

When searching the transcripts of William Branham's sermons, it seems that the issue of Prohibition vs. John Barleycorn did excite him. Numerous times he spoke harshly against John and Charley Barleycorn, just as Congressman Upshaw did from coast to coast during the early 1910's, 20's, 30's, 40's, and 50's.

Here are some examples:


I seen a picture one time of old John Barleycorn, they call him: the whiskey man. He had his hat setting on the back of his head, and if he wasn't a horrible looking scarecrow. They painted him up now; they put him in bumpers; but he's still old John Barleycorn, the same old fellow. That's exactly right.
Branham, 52-0720A - Life Story

Just like they took the old Charlie BarleyCorn with that scarecrow hat on, Old Charlie… Put him in bumpers in a can, put him in the ice box. You dress him up a little bit, but he's still Charlie BarleyCorn.
Branham, 53-0613 - God's Provided Way

Used to be a long time ago, when prohibition was in, they had the old whiskey jug called "John Barleycorn," with a great, big old straw hat on it, and a big funny looking eyes. And he was a horrible looking thing. You know what? They took old John Barleycorn down, and they put him in little tin bumpers, in little cans.
Branham, 54-0719A - God's Provided Way Of Healing

In the place where they used to think it was wrong to drink beer, in a place where they used to think, John Barleycorn, what a great ornery fellow he was…
Branham, 56-1125E - A Blushing Prophet

Years ago, they used have old Charlie BarleyCorn, a horrible looking creature with his hat pulled down over his ears, and looked like some prehistoric animal. That was the Charlie BarleyCorn of a few years ago.
Branham, 58-0109 - The Called-Out

Oh, it used to be the John Barleycorn, many, you old people can remember, in prohibition, he looked like a scarecrow. But today, he's all shined up, he sets in every icebox, nearly, and he's in bumpers now; but he's still John Barleycorn, the same ol' sinful drug that sends you to hell, but he's polished up.
Branham, 58-0130 - The Handwriting On The Wall

You know, a few years ago when I was just a little boy I was—lived in the time of prohibition. And they had old Charlie BarleyCorn, they called him. Many of you can remember that hideous looking person, his hat all caved in, and his st… shoe—shoulders stooped over, and such a horrible looking critter he was. That was Charlie BarleyCorn. 8 But you know, today he's become a polished-up man. He ain't no more in the little brown jug and out on the corner where the red-light district is. He lives in a bumper in everybody's ice box, but he's still Charlie BarleyCorn just the same, same old evil one.
Branham, 58-0326 - United Under One Head

But you know, today he's become a polished-up man. He ain't no more in the little brown jug and out on the corner where the red-light district is. He lives in a bumper in everybody's ice box, but he's still Charlie BarleyCorn just the same, same old evil one.
Branham, 58-0326 - United Under One Head

You see, there's nothing new; it's just got a new name. Old Charlie BarleyCorn that you grandmothers, they used to say is a old scarecrow with his hat pulled down, liking to feel that old whiskey and beer. He was old Charlie BarleyCorn.
Branham, 58-0618 - Handwriting On The Wall

You know, they used to have old Charlie BarleyCorn. Some of you older people remember him, with the hat pulled down over his ears. And even a crow would be scared of him: Charlie BarleyCorn.
Branham, 60-0301 - He Careth For You

He ain't an old John Barleycorn, whiskey pouring out of his mouth; he's a polished up devil in these days, I'm telling you.
Branham, 60-0608 - Having Conferences

And it ain't always old Charlie Barleycorn out there with his hat pulled down; sometime that's a real honest heart.
Branham, 60-0716 - From That Time

Satan hasn't got a forked hoofs, and a—and a—and a pointed tail, and—and like that. He isn't old John Barleycorn out, with coat hanging up, and—and ears hanging down.
Branham, 62-0531 - The Conflict Between God And Satan


What do you think? Did William Branham know about Upshaw before allegedly "meeting" Congressman Upshaw for the "first time?" Is that why he gave false testimony about his father's death? Was the Klan's fight against John Barleycorn part of the reason Branham strongly supported Upshaw and Davis?

Our page on Congressman Upshaw has been updated!

More information on the connection between William Branham and Roy E. Davis can be found in "Stone Mountain to Dallas - The Untold Story of Roy E. Davis":