• In 1865, William Booth, an ordained Methodist minister, aided by his wife Catherine, formed an evangelical group dedicated to preaching among the "unchurched" people living in the midst of the appalling poverty in London's East End. Booth's ministry recognized the interdependence of material, emotional and spiritual needs. In addition to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, Booth became involved in the feeding and sheltering of the hungry and homeless and in rehabilitation of alcoholics
  • Booth and his followers, originally known as The Christian Mission, became The Salvation Army in 1878, when the organization evolved in a quasi-military pattern. Booth became "the General" and officers' ranks were given to his ministers
  • In 1880, George Scott Railton and the "Seven Hallelujah Lassies" (as they were called by the local newspaper) arrived in New York City to "officially" open the work of The Salvation Army in the United States. They immediately set about to preach the gospel of Christ and serve the poorest of the poor through practical acts of compassion
  • The Daily Leader, Lexington, KY, February 7, 1886, read, "Salvation Army to Bombard Lexington Tonight." The gospel was preached in an open-air meeting at the Courthouse on Main Street drawing a huge crowd. Meetings followed for a time in rented halls. The Salvation Army, which had closed due to lack of funding, re-opened for good in 1903
  • The kettle tradition was started in 1891 by Captain Joseph McFee in San Francisco to help fund a Christmas dinner for the poor. He received permission to place a pot at the Oakland ferry landing to raise money for the poor. Today, the Christmas kettle stands as a symbol of service, a refreshing reminder amid the commercialism of the holidays that people do still care for one another


For more detailed information and an in-depth look at the history of The Salvation Army, visit:
The International Heritage Centre