Early on January 1, 1915, Paul and Fred Corum, with
three other teen-age boys, were going home after a watch night service.
They crawled through loose fencing to cut across White City Amusement
Park, located on Division Street between Campbell and Boonville avenues
in Springfield, Mo. They prayed that this property and others surrounding
it would be used to spread the gospel around the world.
Fred Corum, attorney at law, who lived in Lowell, Mass.,
gave the details to the Evangel in 1978:
"Our little group of Pentecostal believers in Springfield
had just finished the watch night service and the new year 
was just a few minutes old.
"Our pastor was Bennett F. Lawrence. We had sent
Brother Lawrence as our delegate to the meeting in Hot Springs, Ark.,
the previous April, at which time the General Council of the Assemblies
of God came into being.
"Upon his return to Springfield, our church affiliated
with the new Assemblies of God Fellowship which had its first headquarters
in Findlay, Ohio.
"After the service there was not room for all of
us to ride home in the two-seated buggy, so my brother Paul and I
and three other teen-age boys started walking home, a distance of
about three miles.
"One boy suggested we could save time going from
Campbell Avenue to the corner of Boonville and Division, if we cut
across White City. This was a large amusement park. It was fenced,
but some of the boards were loose, and we crawled through.
"The place was deserted by this time. It was a
carnival-type of park with a large roller coaster. It had a bad reputation,
as it also had been a burlesque place. Many years later it was turned
into a baseball park.
"We knew it was a wicked place, and we felt we
were crossing the devils territory.
"One of the fellows asked, Do you suppose
it could ever belong to God?
"Then my cousin, Laurel Taliaferro, the oldest
of us boys, said, Lets claim it for the Lord.
"So we agreed, and there beneath the stars we knelt
and started praying.
"One boy said, How much shall we claim?
"Another said, Lets claim the whole
"My younger brother Paul said, Lets
claim the other block too from Boonville to Campbell and from
Division to Calhoun.
"I said, We shouldnt take the greenhouse
at the corner of Boonville and Calhoun. We sold peaches to the people
living there, and they are nice people.
"Laurel said, Why not? God will take care
of them. Lets claim it all.
"There in the early morning we prayed that all
this land should be used for the work of the Lord so that His gospel
might go out to the ends of the earth from this place.
"It was a clear, crisp night. The stars were bright.
One boy remarked, Just think. When the Lord told Abraham to
look up and see if he could count the stars, they were the same stars
we can see tonight.
"Another said, Lets pray that the gospel
will spread over all the earth and reach as many people as there are
Two years before the boys prayers claiming the
White City grounds, Rachel Sizelove had a vision. (She was the aunt
of Paul and Fred Corum and was visiting in Springfield at the time.)
A glow rested on Rachels face as she shared her
vision. "Ive just been in the presence of God," she
said. "There I saw a sparkling fountain that came up out of the
heart of Springfield. Its healing waters flowed out to the north,
to the south, to the east and to the west."
As she spoke, a hush fell on everyone present.
"I saw the Lord," she continued. "He
was sounding a bugle for His angels to go forth and do battle for
Springfield. He said, I will do a work in this city that will
astonish the world. "
Through Rachels testimony a few years earlier,
in 1907, members of the Corum family and a few neighbors were filled
with the Holy Spirit. At that time she had come from the Azusa Street
revival in Los Angeles to share Pentecost with her sisters family
in Springfield. The first Pentecostal church in Springfield was formed
in the Corum home with Lillie Corum as pastor. (This was the beginning
of Springfields Central Assembly of God.)
The new church suffered opposition. Two women, Birdie
Hoy and Amanda Benedict, joined Lillie Corum in earnest prayer to
defeat the evil forces arrayed against them. Benedict spent her nights
in the tent praying for victory.
For a year Benedict fasted and prayed for Springfield.
She prayed that from this center blessing would go to the ends of
the earth. During this time she ate only bread and drank water.
In 1914, members of the church rented a small building
and then joined the newly established Assemblies of God with headquarters
first in Findlay, Ohio, and later in St. Louis, Mo. J.R. Flower, my
father, supervised the Gospel Publishing House.
When the building in St. Louis proved to be inadequate,
General Council executives considered moving to various cities. Sensing
the Lords direction to settle in Springfield, in 1918 they established
the Assemblies of God Headquarters on West Pacific Street.
My father brought the printing equipment, most of it
old and secondhand, from St. Louis. My mother, Alice Reynolds Flower,
wrote the Sunday school lessons to be printed in the Pentecostal
Various missionaries already working in foreign lands
joined the Assemblies of God when it formed in 1914. Each year more
missionaries went out, backed by the General Council.
The living waters in Rachel Sizeloves vision were
beginning to flow out of Springfield to the world.
Piece by piece, the property the boys prayed for came
into the hands of the Assemblies of God.
In 1978 Fred Corum visited Springfield and saw the transformation
that had taken place on the land he and his friends claimed in a new
years prayer meeting 64 years earlier.
He said, "When I look on this area now and see
the Assemblies of God Headquarters and Central Assembly on this property,
I am overwhelmed.
"When I see the presses turning out the printed
word and the missionaries being commissioned and the radio programs
going to the ends of the earth, I know there is a God who hears our
prayers. How insignificant one feels to behold His mighty works that
are exceedingly and abundantly above all that five teen-age boys could
Year after year the ministries of the Assemblies of
God have reached out to an ever-increasing number of foreign lands.
Today, after more than 85 years, the fountain Rachel Sizelove saw
is flowing out from Springfield more powerfully than ever. From the
very spot where five boys prayed, the gospel is indeed reaching the
ends of the earth.
historic information gleaned from The Sparkling Fountain, a
book produced by the Corum family; also from an article, "An
Unforgettable New Years Prayer Meeting," December 31, 1978,
Pentecostal Evangel, by R.C. Cunningham. Fred Corum passed
away on June 5, 1982.
Flower Dalton, daughter of J.R. and Alice Reynolds Flower, served
32 years as a missionary to Latin America and Spain. At the time she
wrote this article, first published in the August 14, 1994, Pentecostal
Evangel, she was employed in the Division of Foreign Missions.
She lives in Springfield, Mo.