Harry Ironside

Harry A. Ironside
1876 – 1951

Few preachers had more varied ministries than this man. He was a captain in the Salvation Army, an itinerant preacher with the Plymouth Brethren, pastor of the renowned Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, and conducted Bible conferences throughout the world. Sandwiched between those major ministries, Ironside preached the Gospel on street corners, in missions, in taverns, on Indian reservations, etc.

John and Sophia (Stafford) Ironside, Harrys's parents,  were a godly couple with his occupation being that of a bank teller. They were both tremendous soul-winners. The father spent evenings at street meetings, in halls and in theaters, and on Sundays held services in the park. His mother likewise testified everywhere. They were identified with the Plymouth Brethren. The father was known as "The Eternity Man," because every time he met someone he asked them, "Where will you spend eternity?" In the providence of God this amazing soul-winner died at age 27 from typhoid when Henry was two years old.

Two nights after being saved, at age 13, Harry Ironside attended a Salvation Army street meeting and could not wait for a chance to say something. He asked if he could testify and fire away he did. He preached from Isaiah 53:6 for one-half hour forcing the Captain to pull his coattail, because they were late for the meeting at the hall. The next day he won his first convert to the Lord -- a 70-year old Negro. He was taunted at school but held firm. In June he graduated from grammar school.  He took full time employment with the Lamson Photo Studio, and every night would attend one of the Salvation Army meetings. He spoke so often he was called, "The Boy Preacher." He began to educate himself with books. When not attending Army meetings, he would be giving out tracts or holding his own street meetings. Soon Ironside was identified with the Salvation Army. His zeal matched theirs, and soon he was put in charge of children's work. At age 16 he was urged to become a cadet, and he decided to accept. He left the photography business for the preaching business -- full time.

Ironside moved to a home in Oakland in 1900 and Harry continued with his ministry as doors were opened, speaking in some place nearly every night, and often two or three times a day. He was beginning to be in greater demand among believers who were helped by his expository preaching. When he had no meetings, he would go to the street corners and preach to the passersby. Oakland became their headquarters until 1929. He preached in tents, Missions, Bible conferences and churches whenever he was invited.