Honorary Captain JD Morrow


Rev Oswald Smith, who went on to become a famous minister himself, recounted some impressions of Rev John Doole Morrow just before he left for service overseas. “At the time, the Rev. Morrow was the first man in Toronto, if not in Canada, to go without a hat, He had vowed that he would not wear a hat until he got enough money to put a roof on his church. And he kept his vow. He wore his hair long and bushy at the back and was a familiar figure on the streets of Toronto. Everybody knew him. The policemen were his friends. Each Monday evening he sat in court, watching for .an opportunity to take charge ,of someone who had erred, whom he might bring home and help. All the street car conductors were acquainted with him. One time he borrowed a “Pay as you enter” box from the Street Car company, and for months he and I took turns standing by it at Yonge and Shuter streets, collecting funds for his church. Sometimes he got animals from the zoo, including bears, and took them into his pulpit to attract children. And they came in multitudes. Moreover, he was a gifted evangelist and a most effective gospel preacher. He knew how to put on a bright, evangelistic service, and thus attract crowds. The way he told stories, actually acting them out on the platform, sang his own mother songs, and pled for decisions, always brought tears to the eyes. Many decided for Christ under his ministry. He was very active and energetic. And he was most generous. He loved the common people and never felt more at home than when among the poor. To provide for the destitute was his greatest delight. His critics were many, especially in ecclesiastical circles. He died young. Had he lived he might have become one of the world’s greatest evangelists. Never will I forget the night he first appeared with his hair cut. ‘He had been made Chaplain of the Sportsman’s Battalion, the 180th, and was dressed in the uniform of a Captain. For a long time he hesitated behind the curtain. Finally he told me to go first. I stepped out and he followed. In a moment the great congregation burst into applause. When the time came for him to speak he took as his text, `So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God,’ and preached with all his old-time fire, pausing in the midst of his sermon to sing a verse of his favourite song, `Where is my Wandering Boy Tonight?’ Pleading again, and then singing the second verse, as the choir, led by `Sandy’ Grant, came in softly on the chorus, he made his appeal. Handkerchiefs were used freely throughout the congregation. A woman wept aloud. In the gallery a man bowed his head and sobbed as though his heart would break. Oh, what power!”

Adding to his popularity the chaplain also wrote three songs: “Memories of Home, ” “Don’t forget” and “”Your Bet Your Life” We All Will Go”

Morrow died in Los Angeles after illness complicated from WW1 service


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