Review: The Davis Sisters

The Davis Sisters: Their Influences and Their Impact, compiled and written by Patricia P. Pickard. Bangor, ME: the author, 2009.

This delightful book is a tribute to the legacy of two Southern aristocratic ladies named Miss Carro and Miss Susie Davis who became Pentecostal evangelists and founders of Pentecostal churches. After these twin sisters from Macon, Georgia, were converted to Pentecost, they hit the streets of Macon, powerfully charged with the gospel and the Holy Spirit. Later they felt directed to establish Pentecostal churches in Maine and New Brunswick. They ended up in Saint John, New Brunswick, where they founded a Pentecostal congregation and became copastors for many years.

Miss Carro and Miss Susie Davis were twins whose parents died when they were young. They were from a well-to-do family, so their Aunt Minnie accepted the task of raising the twins. The family lived a fashionable life on a plantation outside Macon, Georgia. Both girls decided to become schoolteachers. Around 1910 they were converted to Pentecost and became dedicated Christians, desiring to serve God in every way they could. Through their aunt, they learned about the baptism in the Holy Spirit. When they planned a vacation trip to Chicago, Aunt Minnie urged them to visit a Pentecostal Persian Mission which had been established by Andrew Urshan. They also attended a series of meetings which were conducted by William Durham, where a mighty Pentecostal outpouring was taking place, and where Miss Carro received Spirit baptism. Miss Susie received the Pentecostal blessing shortly after she returned home.

Eager to share this good news in Georgia, they returned and shared this news with their associates and with their friend, Professor J. Rufus Moseley, who had already received the Baptism.  Not long afterwards, Professor Moseley, the Davis sisters, and their aunt were refused admittance to the Presbyterian Church they attended because of their Pentecostal beliefs.

This led the two sisters to begin traveling the streets to tell others about the good news of God’s love. They held street meetings, conducted house and tent meetings, and established churches in Georgia and Florida among African Americans and whites. They suffered persecution, but God blessed their ministry. Four “unusual men from Maine” (that included Clifford A. Crabtree) arrived at the plantation in 1922, and spent the winter helping the ladies and Professor Moseley in their work of evangelism. Soon they heard an inward “voice” that spoke to them to “Go north, Miss Carro and Miss Susie.” They started out like Abraham, not knowing just where they were to go. Arriving in Bangor, Maine (with Crabtree as their young chauffeur and assistant), they started holding revival services which resulted in the establishment of a strong congregation in that city which is now Glad Tidings Church.

Later they felt a call to go to Saint John, New Brunswick. Unbeknownst to them, Arthur Saunders, and several other men of the Reformed Baptist Church in Saint John had been meeting each week to pray for revival in their city. They had seen revival in times past, and they wanted to see it again. When Miss Carro and Miss Susie Davis arrived at Saint John in 1924, they preached Jesus Christ as the Savior, Baptizer, Healer, and Coming King. This is just what the prayer warriors needed to hear.

The Davis Sisters and Crabtree were invited to hold services in the Reformed Baptist Church, and crowds began to flock to the building. After only a few days of this revival, the leading denominational elders in Moncton came to see what was happening, and they refused to accept this “full gospel” message. The services were stopped, and members of the church who wished to follow this “strange doctrine” were given their membership cards and asked to leave.

The sisters and their followers continued services in Clayton Hall on Prince Edward Street in Saint John. Later the services were moved to the Pythian Castle for a period of time. In the meantime, the congregation at Saint John continued to grow, and branch assemblies were started.

The Davis Sisters pastored the Full Gospel Assembly at Saint John for 37 years before Miss Susie passed away at the age of 78 in 1962. Miss Carro was 91 when she passed away in 1976. It is reported that seventy-five or more preachers and gospel workers eventually went out into ministry from this congregation that the Davis Sisters founded. Their legacy lives on.

Reviewed by Glenn W. Gohr, Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

285 pages, photographs, bibliography and index; paperback. $25.00 (includes postage, USA) or $30.00 (includes postage, Canada). Order from the author, Patricia Pickard, at 144 Poplar St., Bangor, ME 04401. Contact by email at primrose301@msn.com.

11 Comments

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11 responses to “Review: The Davis Sisters

  1. Alan Gee

    Great book, great review and awesome author…..a must read if you are from Ga or New England!

  2. Charles D. Flewelling Sr.

    I just received my personal copy from the author and am privileged to add it to my collection of books telling the stories of early Pentecost. I am the son of Charles S. Flewelling who was one of the three other men referred to when Cliffor Crabtree is mentioned.
    Thank you Pat for the use of your talents and dedication that leaves a record for generations to come.

  3. Carolyn Cameron

    I am from Saint John NB and as a young child sat under the ministry of the Davis sisters. My mother, Hazel (nee Fowler) Melvin was converted at 16 having attended services with her grandmother Adeline Saunders who was Reformed Baptist. Hazel went on to study at Zion Bible Institute in Rhode Island. She took me as a young child to Full Gospel Church in Saint John. The church at that time was located on Charlotte Street and I attended Sunday School there. I would so love to get a copy of the book that was written about the Davis Sisters. Clifford Crabtree was a friend of my parents and David Crabtree was the minister who preached the sermon at my Mother’s funeral.

    I now attend a PAOC church in Nova Scotia. I hope that you can help me get a copy of this great book that I hear so much about.

    • David Jackson

      Carolyn,

      I do believe that you and I may know each other, even if only remotely. I started going to the Davis Systers church on Charlotte Street when I was 4 years old. I believe that was 1951. My family attended their church until 1962 at which time we moved to the States.
      In the Capitol Theatre building, I used to play trumpet in the orchestra. I wasn’t much good at it, but I tried.
      I saw David and Dawn Crabtree just before they retired. They retired to West Palm Beach and(as David told me) they will be involved with Bob Hoskins Ministry.
      It would be great to talk with you.

      Dave Jackson

      • I remember how excited my grandmother was when the Davis sisters were in Saint John . That would have been around 1951, when I was sixteen. She lived on 26 1/2 Brook Street in the North end (Brook Street no longer in existence) and as I recall I attended a church across the street – corner of Sheriff and Brook. Can anyone confirm this? I would love to see any photos there might be.

  4. Stephen Gough

    I,m excited of the possibilities of having a copy of this book. My Grandfather & GrandMother (Roy & Reta Hampton) as well as myself were members of the Full Gospel Assembly when the Davis Sisters were pastoring there. I came in 1971 just before Sis. Carro passed away. I loved her …she was a humble, but great diciple of the Lord. I founded a church and have mentored others who are pastoring …Does anyone have an email for the author?
    Thank you.
    Rev. Dr. Stephen Gough

  5. David Jackson

    Making this posting because my e-mail address has changed.

  6. I am both privileged and humbled to be pastor of this great church as I refer to it. I did not have the honor of meeting the sisters as they passed on before my coming to Saint John. My wife and I came to Full Gospel some 29 plus years ago and are still excited about what God has in store for not only this congregation but for all of Gods people in the various congregations in this city. The Book was a fantastic read and I so much enjoyed reading the history of the sisters leading up to their coming to Saint John. I have heard many stories over the years by wonderful folks who were here when the sisters founded the church back in 1925. many of these godly men and women have now passed on but they along with the founders who left us a great heritage, example and legacy to follow! many thanks to the author who did a great job! Many in our present congregation quickly bought up the two orders of books that we originally received and were blessed in reading it.

    Steven: the authors email if you have not gotten it yet is primrose301@msn.com

  7. Rosena Norris

    I have emailed the author in hopes I can obtain a copy of this book. I did not even know it existed until I happened to see it on Rev. Dr. Stephen Gough’s website. My late Mother (Isabelle Norris) was the song leader at Full Gospel at the time I was born. Several years later I was baptized by Rev David Crabtree in Lily Lake. Those of us who attended Full Gospel under the Davis Sisters have such a rich heritage. I love to tell my daughter how church used to be when growing up there. May God richly bless you all.

  8. I too was brought up under the Davis Sisters ministries and Pastor D Crabtree i was so thrilled to hear of the book. Today because of our spiritual heritage my 3 girls and their families are serving Jesus, 2 of which are in ministry along with my husband and myself. How I wish we could have that old time praise and worship again. What a foudation we got planted on and in. To God be the Glory great things HE has done Blessings on you

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