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Dig A Little Deeper: Fatherless

Evening News, Dec 1, 1936 William Branham often told stories of his childhood that included a claim that his father died at a very early age. According to Branham, after the death of his father, he was not able to finish grade school. Everything from his poor grammar to his childhood poverty was blamed upon the death of his father, forcing a young Branham to enter the wilderness to provide for his siblings. It was this death and these wilderness experiences that enabled the supernatural. According to Branham, he met God in burning bushes, whirlwinds in trees, and more. In most accounts, Branham describes God telling him "not to drink, smoke, or defile your body in any way, because there would be a work for you to do later."

But when you consider the fact that Branham's father, Charles, did not die until after William was a Pentecostal minister, these supernatural experiences are placed into question. Was William Branham credible?

William Branham claimed that he quit school when his father died, and that this was before seventh grade. Government documents place his birth year as 1907, so this would be claiming Charles died in the year 1914.

My father died young." I said, "I had to work and take care of ten children." And I said, "I-I didn't get much education, just the seventh grade."
Branham, 55-0807

In many instances, Branham mentions his grandfather instead of his father. He also mentiones being raised in Kentucky:

Well, we was raised up in the mountains of Kentucky. And my grandpa used to hunt raccoons. And he would take the grease, and render it up, and make some kind of a little lard out of it. And mama used to keep that raccoon grease setting around, when us kiddies got cold in our eyes, sleeping in an old house with clapboard shingles on it, and a piece of canvas over the top of the bed, keep the snow and rain off of us. No floor, just a stump sawed off at the top for a table, a little old bed with a fence rail around it and a piece of canvas tacked on it and shucks for a bed... Don't know what hard times is... And our eyes would get cold in them, and they'd shut up, swell shut. And little, mama called it, "matter" would get in our eyes. And she'd go get this old bowl of coon grease, and grease up our eyes and make them soft, so that we could open our eyes and see daylight again.
Branham, 58-0302 - Door To The Heart

The problem comes in when you picture the siblings in that cabin in Kentucky, getting the "coon grease." William was born in Kentucky in 1907. His next younger brother, Winferd, was born in 1909 in Kentucky. (The year Branham later claimed for himself after marrying his second wife). These are the only two siblings born in Kentucky, the rest were born in Clark County, Indiana.

I said, "Well, I was raised poor, ten of us children; daddy died when I had to take care of them and my widowed mother," and I said...
Branham, 54-0620A - I Will Restore

Well, I remember the days when a little boy, about... There was about four of us in family. I'm... My mother's the mother of ten children, nine boys and a girl. I was the oldest of the family. Then they come about a year and something different, all the way down to a little girl. {...} And each one would get him a plate full. And we baked our bread, mama baked it in a—in a—a bread pan, corn bread. And she'd cut it in the middle and put it, and set on the table, and... You know Jesus broke bread and blessed it; He never cut it, so each person broke his own piece of bread. That's Kentucky, brother, a way down there.
Branham, 50-0820A - My Life Story

But if you consider the actual, recorded, documented history, Charles Branham died in 1936. At this age, in that two-room cabin, we would have:

  • Ella (his mother).
  • William, age 28
  • Hope (who married William in 1934)
  • Edward Winferd, age 27
  • Melvin, age 24
  • Edgar, age 22
  • Jesse, age 20
  • Henry, age 14
  • Howard, age 13
  • Deloris, age 7

Not only is this unlikely, it is historically documented as inaccurate. William Branham and Hope are listed in the City Directory as living in another house, the parsonage of the Billy Branham Pentecostal Tabernacle.

More information about the death of Charles Branham

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Branham's stories of his father's death:

First thing, I lost my daddy. I run over to the house to see him, picked him up in my arms like that, he looked up at me like that, he smiled. A doctor had give him a dose of medicine that killed him. One overdose of strychnine for his heart, and it killed him. 'Course, there's nothing said about that. The undertaker covers up the doctor's mistakes many times. Nothing I got against doctors, but I say there's nothing said about that.

Now, I'll hurry right through with just the high points of my life's story. Mother can't stay very long, because in this I have to bring in dad. And you know how it is. All right.

And my dad worked hard all of his life. He died young: fifty-two

"Oh, my, my daddy; he'll never die. Look at those big muscles." He was a logger and great big strong arm. I thought, "Oh, my, look at him; he'll never die," but here we have no continuing city. He left, a young man, a lot younger-looking when he died than I am now.

My father drink very, very heavy. Irish and he just... Fact, it's what killed him.

And my daddy, just before he left, he-he-he called for me. He'd been... He'd... Poor old fellow, I hate to say this. It just kills me to say it here; he died hungry. That's right. My daddy died hungry. And he... It was during the time of the depression. We work-couldn't work, and couldn't find nothing to work, and he was sickly, and we was just barely making on it, just-just dividing what we could divide. But I know he was hungry, 'cause we hadn't eaten since the day before. And he had a heart attack, and I stood by his bed. And I picked him up on my arms, like that, and he looked at me, and went out to meet God. I believe someday I'll see him again. Mother, she's getting aged. It won't be but very much longer. Every time when I leave her, her old quivering lips when she kisses me, she says, "Honey, someday, you'll return and mother will be gone." I said, "Then mother, I will come where you are someday." That's right. I'll get there.

My father died early, fifty-two, with a heart attack.

I remember my daddy died, he just beginning to gray a little bit at the temples. When he laid there in the casket, and I picked up his head, which he'd died right on my arm. And I picked up his head and his locks of hair fall down, I thought, "Oh, Dad." I looked at his hand. He had had his finger cut off there in the shredder one day. I thought of all the heartaches that I'd caused him. It wasn't "the old man." That was my daddy. I don't care who else, what they thought about him; he was still my dad. I loved him, and I love him today. I had the privilege of leading him to Christ.

I'd say, "That's my dad. That's my dad. He will live a hundred years. That's my daddy. When I am an old man, I will still be patting my daddy with big muscles." See? But he died at fifty-two.

He died on my arm, his black, wavy hair laying across my arm, and his little Irish blue eyes looking up at me. Seen a white Angel standing before him; I led him to Christ just before he died. He was my dad, and he had a great respect for me. The last drink he ever taken in his life, he was standing in a little old saloon down there, wasn't two weeks before he died. He started to... Somebody was treating him. It was during the time of depression; he was broke. They give him some drink, and he started to take it up in his hands, and he started spilling it. He tried to drink it, and it went all over his face. And they started teasing him. Before he took it, he said, "Look, fellows," said, "I got a boy standing up there in the pulpit. That boy's right, and I'm wrong." He said, "Don't let this reflect on my boy." Said, "This is the last drop I'll ever take in all my life." And it was. So I honor him today as my dad. It's hard work.

I said, "When I was a boy, my father died. I had ten children to take care of, and I had to work and support my mother and the children. Then since the Lord has sent me out, why, I have-haven't had a chance."

I just loved my daddy. He didn't-wasn't a Christian until a little bit before he died. I led him to Christ. But he was Irish through and through, and a real drinker. And no matter what he did, I don't care what he did; he's my daddy anyhow.

And that's just the last of it though. My daddy died in my arms. And my brother was killed on a-a telephone pole, right in front of... And that night coming home, I told mother. She was all broke up too. Dad had just recently went.

I said, "Well, I was raised poor, ten of us children; daddy died when I had to take care of them and my widowed mother," and I said...

My father died young." I said, "I had to work and take care of ten children." And I said, "I-I didn't get much education, just the seventh grade."

I said, "Yes, sir, that's right." I said-I said, "I know my grammar's awful." I said, "I'm sorry about that." I said, "I was raised in a family of ten, and I was the oldest. And my daddy died, and I had to take care of ten children, and my mother..." I said, "I didn't get a chance to get an education."

My daddy was killed with a dose of medicine, my own father. The doctor come up to see him; he had something wrong with his heart. He give him a little tablet; he lived five minutes. We called in another doctor, and he said, "Well, he-he give him strychnine." And he went and took that strychnine; it was a half grain of strychnine. He said, "I knowed your dad," said, "His-his heart wouldn't of stood a fortieth of a grain of strychnine." But a dose of medicine killed my daddy.

My poor old dad that died on my arm said, "Billy, you can't bring that stuff around this house here." They thought I was crazy. The people... My... I was a single man. My girlfriends that I'd been going with, thought I was crazy. But I knowed something happened. I knowed that I could trust Him. No matter what taken place, I believed Him. And you have to believe Him. Sometimes He calls a total separation from friends and associates. But separate yourself from the things of the world and walk with Christ.

But my father died at fifty-two; drinking killed him. But I may live to be old. Usually they-when they get old, they get the palsy, shake, when they get old. That's just the nature of Branhams. Like it was the nature for Isaac to be blind, and Jacob went blind, and so forth like that. It's just the nature of our family.

I think about my own dad. He's done crossed over. As his locks fell across my arm when a doctor give him a dose of medicine, that killed him with an overdose of strychnine... And it killed him. And he just looked up at me, his little Irish eyes... Wish I could see him walk down through these aisles today. But there's somebody else's dad is here. Will you accept it, brother? Believe on the Lord? All right.

I said, "You know, if I had a hundred million dollars laying here in a pile, and I had a little button here, if I press this button, I lose my hundred million dollars, but I get to talk with my old dad that's gone on, as one hour a mortal being again, what would I do? No hesitation, I'd press the button. I'd give a hundred million dollars this morning, to sit my dad down in this chair while I teach this lesson. But what's money worth? How much more is a soul than money? See?

I thought the same thing a few days before that, when Doc, my brother there, picked up his own brother, cut through the throat where a fellow drinking hit a post, and broke the car, and killed him. And he died in my brother's arms. And seeing dad come down the street with Mrs. Kelly, Mr. Kelly's house over there crying with his old black hat in his hand... In a few days later holding him in my arms as he was dying... I stood there and watched the old rocking chair without anyone in it, begin to rock back and forth as Ruth, my sister-in-law, was going to meet God. And I said, "Honey, shall I hang the picture of Jesus over here?" She said, "Billy, no. He's before me always."

And Satan come to me. He said, "Now, will you serve Him? Now, what do you think about Him? Your daddy died about a-two weeks ago in your arms. A doctor killed him with a dose of medicine." Said, "Your brother, less than a month ago, was killed up there on a-on the road, and you picked him up and his blood running out of his body, where a drunk run over him." Said, "There lays your wife down here in the morgue. And now, He's taking your baby out of your arms." Said, "You still love Him?"

Some time ago, there was a-a fellow at Fort Wayne, Indiana, said to me, he said, "Brother Branham..." And he was behind the stage at the Fort Wayne Gospel Tabernacle. He said, "It's a shame, your grammar." I said, "I know it's awful." I said, "I didn't get an education, there's ten of us children. And dad died, and I had to take care of the other nine."

Then, I suppose, next will come my dad. He was the next link to go. And no, I think Charles was the next link, a younger brother. He had a automobile accident when just a little boy. He always drug his right leg as he walked. But you know, when I see him, he won't be dragging that leg. It'll be all done away with, will stand in the splendor of a young man. And he will say to me, something like this, as he smiles. He will say, "Yes, Bill, there's no accidents up here. And I remember the night before I was taken in the automobile accident, you talked to me, standing in the little archway of our little humble home," and I'm looking on the top of right now. "You talked to me about the Lord just a few hours before going. And you were in the pulpit preaching when I left." Then will come dad. Oh, I can see him. Though he give me many hard whippings, just exactly what I needed, but I will see that shock of black, wavy hair, more brilliant than ever at that day. And he will look at me and say, "My boy, you know, daddy will never get up from the table here any more, hungry, to let his children eat, for here we have plenty. There is never a want here." To see him when he would work, and at fifty or seventy-five cents a day, and then get up from the table so the children could eat, go back to work again... And he worked so hard till his shirt would sunburn to his back, and mom would cut it loose with a scissors. I can hear him say something like this, "Bill, you remember that night you and Brother George come to pray for me when I was going? You know, I told mama that there were two white Angels standing at the bed, and a red angel at the foot. And the red angel was trying to get me, but the white Angel stood between. They finally packed me home."

And this morning when that drunk man, maybe setting present now, moved up there to the car and asked for enough-a nickel or a penny, to help him get a drink, while putting my arms around him and said, "Brother, my daddy died drinking. Don't do this. I could not give you money to drink, 'cause I'm a minister." And the tears coming down his cheeks, asking You to bless him.

And there He let your daddy die right on your arm with an overdose of medicine that killed him." A doctor killed him. Not knowing what he was doing, give him a half grain of strychnine, and it killed him. And I... And he died right on my arms, looking me in the face.

My daddy died in my arms giving God praise. So I-I-I trust that it doesn't reflect anything. But see, the truth... If it's bad about me, let me say it anyhow, because it's the truth. See? Just...

Before my father died, I saw the vision of him going.

The next one to go was dad, went in a heart attack, died in my arms. I committed his soul to God: went suddenly, quick.

I stood the other day watching my mother, me holding her on my arm. I held my dad a little before that, and watch him go.

And, here, my daddy dying on my arms. And my brothers died, was killed while I was stand in the pulpit down here at this little, colored Pentecostal church, preaching. Come told me, "Your brother was killed up on the highway. A car hit him and killed him." His own brother's blood dripping off his shirt, where he picked him up on the highway. Right after I buried him, my daddy died. Then, there laid my wife out there.

As I told you a few Sundays ago; when I stood by my dying baby, and Satan standing there and said, "There is your daddy, died in your arms the other night. There is your wife laying down there in a-in the morgue, and here is your baby going. And you asked Him to answer you, and He pulled your... He pulled a shade down over you. Now, and yet He's a good God, and yet you said He was a Healer. And you, who are standing for what you said was right, you're wrong." Oh, every reason, every mental faculty had to agree that it was right; and he was right, that much.

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