Popularly known as the “apostle of Pentecost in the South,” Cashwell was instrumental in bringing the Pentecostal message to South Carolina in the opening years of the twentieth century.
Cashwell, Gaston Barnabus
Clergyman. Popularly known as the “apostle of Pentecost in the South,” Cashwell was instrumental in bringing the Pentecostal message to South Carolina in the opening years of the twentieth century. Cashwell was born on April 5, 1862, in Sampson County, North Carolina, and spent most of his active ministry based in North Carolina. In 1898 he married Helen Lee Lovie. The couple had five children.
Ordained in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Cashwell came under the influence of Ambrose Blackman Crumpler, a fellow North Carolinian who left Methodism to help organize the Holiness Association of North Carolina. Cashwell joined the Pentecostal Holiness Church in 1903. He went to Los Angeles in 1906 when he learned of the revivals there, which were led by the African American evangelist William J. Seymour and where persons experienced gifts of the Spirit, such as speaking in tongues.
After receiving the gift of tongues, Cashwell returned to North Carolina, where he led a Pentecostal revival in Dunn. In 1907 he journeyed to Toccoa, just across the Georgia state line from Oconee County, South Carolina, where he led another successful revival. On his way back to North Carolina, he planted Pentecostalism in South Carolina through upstate revivals in Anderson, Iva, and West Union and also in Lake City and Clinton. The Presbyterian pastor Nickels John Holmes, then living in Columbia, attended the revival in West Union and became a confirmed Pentecostal. As a result, he made his Altamont Bible and Missionary Institute, later renamed as the Holmes College of the Bible, a center for Pentecostal activity in the state.
Although Cashwell published a Pentecostal periodical and is credited with introducing Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) founder Ambrose J. Tomlinson to Pentecostal thinking, in his later years he distanced himself from the movement and returned to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Before his death he turned his attention to social issues, founding a home for reforming prostitutes and also an orphanage in North Carolina. Nonetheless, he is credited with stirring many southern holiness churches, including those in South Carolina, to move into such Pentecostal denominations as the Pentecostal Holiness Church, the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee), the Pentecostal Free Will Baptist Church, and the Assemblies of God. Cashwell died on March 4, 1916, in Dunn, North Carolina.
Anderson, Robert Mapes. Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.
Synan, Vinson. The Holiness-Pentecostal Tradition: Charismatic Movements in the Twentieth Century. 2d ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1997.