Meredith Woodson Miracle was a Primitive Baptist preacher, and an active participant in Sacred Harp singing in Texas. Meredith W. Miracle was born in 1857 in Kentucky, the son of John Dixon Miracle and Mary Ann Phillips. The 1860 census records Meredith living in Booneville, Owsley County, Kentucky in the home of his father and mother (his mother died circa 1865).
He married first Martha A. Hughes in Logan County, Arkansas, December 24, 1878. Miracle received a State of Arkansas Teacher’s License, October 21, 1879 to teach in Logan County, which was good for two years. The 1880 census shows he, his wife, and young daughter living at Clark, Logan County, Arkansas. He was a school teacher. In 1883 his wife Martha died, possibly in or after childbirth. Miracle’s memorial to her (see below) describes two girls who died before she did. M. W. Miracle married Mary Evans in 1888.
Through newspapers and censuses we can trace some of the movement of the Miracle family. He was a teacher, businessman, and newspaper editor. When he was licensed and ordained as a Primitive Baptist minister is not clear.
- 1857 born in Kentucky (Booneville, Owsley, County, according to his death certificate)
- 1889 living in Boston, Madison County, Arkansas[i]
- 1895 living in Huntsville, Madison County, Arkansas and “engaged in the business of selling organs.”[ii]
- 1900 living in War Eagle Township, Huntsville, Madison County, Arkansas, Census and a farmer[iii]
- 1905-1906 living in Springdale, Washington/Benton counties Arkansas; sold a fire-escape patent[iv]
- 1907 living in Fayetteville, Washington County, Arkansas[v]
- 1908 living in Ardmore, Carter County, Oklahoma, and had a patent on steam washing machine[vi]
- 1910 Dallas, Dallas County, Texas as manager of a supporter factory[vii]
- 1912 Dallas, Dallas County, Texas[viii]
- 1917 died in Dallas, Dallas County, Texas
As a businessman, M. W. Miracle supported his family through various endeavors – from farming, inventions, selling organs, and managing a factory (which may be what brought him to Dallas). He received a patent on an Automatic Computing Device in 1912.
Elder M. W. Miracle began publishing The Sacred Harp Monitor in December 1912, under the auspices of the State Sacred Harp Association of Texas.[ix] Around 1915 Elder Miracle moved on to edit “The Good Old Songs Department” in C. H. Cayce’s periodical The Primitive Baptist. In a 1938 newspaper article, James R. Stotts says that he and Miracle purchased the Huntsville Republican newspaper from M. W. Peach. He does not indicate what year.[x]
In addition to writing in The Sacred Harp Monitor and The Primitive Baptist., Elder Miracle wrote at least on book – The Gospel In Shadows, published posthumously in 1919.[xi] It is my understanding that he served as pastor of the Primitive Baptist Church in Oak Cliff, Dallas County, Texas, and doubtless several others.
Zack C. Hull, the publisher, advertised it this way in Zion's Landmark, June 15, 1919, p. 351:
Written by Elder M. W. Miracle, deceased. This is a book that should be in the hands of all lovers of truth. It is very inspiring and instructive. The book is bound in cloth and contains thirty-four chapters. The price of the book is $2 postage paid. If you are not satisfied with the contents and do not feel that it is worth a great deal more than the price, we will refund your money. Send for the book now.
Elder Miracle’s death certificate appears to say he died of stomach cancer, noting his age as 60 years, 5 months, and 2 days. Any other information on Meredith Woodson Miracle will be appreciated.
A memorial of Martha A. Miracle, from The Gospel Messenger and Primitive Pathway, January 1886, p. 41:
MRS. MARTHA A. MIRACLE.
My beloved companion, Martha A. Miracle, departed this life the 31st day of October, 1883, aged twenty-two years and twenty-two days. She was the mother of three little girls; the younger two having passed on before. The oldest one, (a beautiful and lovely child of six years.) is still spared to comfort me with its sweet prattle. She never made any outward profession of religion, but all who witnessed her resignation to the will of her Redeemer in her illness, and for some time before, have strong evidence that she was an humble child of Jesus. At the time we consigned her last dear babe to the solemn tomb, she knelt at its side and poured out her soul in prayer to God to prepare her to meet her babies in heaven. In about two weeks she was severely taken with typho-malarial fever and only survived thirty-one days, during a greater part of which time she was conversing with her departed infants and shouting praises to the God of her salvation. One evening, about a week before she feel asleep, she looked up to me, with a supernatural expression, and requested me to listen to the beautiful music, and after suffering and rejoicing thirty-one days, she sweetly, as in a dreamy slumber, fell asleep in Jesus. She was a firm believer in the doctrine of salvation by grace. It is a great consolation to me to think that the second death hath no power over her. I feel that the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak, therefore I ask the prayers of God's people in my sad bereavement.
I remain a sinner in hope, M. W. MIRACLE.
Melson, Ark., Oct. 4th, 1885.
[i] St. Paul Republican (Saint Paul, Arkansas), Friday 17 May 1889, Page 1
[ii] The Mountain Air (Saint Paul, Arkansas) Saturday 11 May 1895, Page 3; Daily Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock, Arkansas) Tuesday 06 Nov 1894, Page 5
[iii] 1900 Madison County, Arkansas Federal Census
[iv] Arkansas Democrat (Little Rock, Arkansas) Thursday 30 Mar 1905, Page 4
[v] Fort Smith Times (Fort Smith, Arkansas) Sunday 03 Feb 1907, Page 6
[vi] Berwyn Light (Berwyn, Oklahoma) Thursday 03 Sep 1908, Page 1
[vii] 1910 Dallas County, Texas Federal Census; All Purpose Supporter and Shoulder Brace Manufacturing Company
[ix] It is not clear how long the Monitor was published, but a surviving October 1913 issue indicates it was still in print at that time. The rise of The Sacred Harp Courier in 1914 probably succeeded the Monitor.
[x] “James R. Stotts Writes Story of His Old Home and Friends,” The Madison County Record (Huntsville, Arkansas) Thursday, 18 Aug 1938, Page 1
[xi] Atlanta, GA: Zack C. Hull, 1919. Elder Miracle’s “Preface” is dated January 31, 1916.