Friday, April 19, 2013

The Healing of Annie Griffiths Part 1

This week I decided to go through some old posts and start citing sources I have used. So with the best of intentions I opened an envelope my parents had left me at Christmas. Within were several birth certificates and a copy from a 1905 "Christian Herald" a religious newspaper published in the United Kingdom. I glanced at it and realised it cites several Welsh daily newspapers in recording the healing of my great Grandma Annie Davies nee Griffiths. [There are two sets of Griffiths in my Dad's family tree and so it becomes confusing very quickly.]

The article states:

"Under the title of 'A Modern Miracle at Merthyr,' the daily papers report: "An unusual occurrence has taken place at Penydarren, near Merthyr. A young lady, twenty four years of age, named Annie Griffiths, living with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Griffiths, at 74 Brynhyfryd Street, who had been laid up with an affliction of the hip for some weeks, and who it was thought would not recover the use of her limbs without the aid of crutches, got up completely cured as the result, it is claimed, of faith-healing. Two ministers, the Revs. Mr. Owen, of Elim Baptist Chapel, and MR. Francis, Aberdu, Cabdiganshire [Possibly reads Casdiganshire], visited her, and prayed earnestly for her recovery on the Saturday evening, , and shortly afterwards she got up, dressed herself without assistance, and came downstairs. The following day she took part in all the chapel services, and is evidently completely cured, for she can walk about the neighbourhood, to the astonishment of the residents, without assistance, and looks in better health than ever. She is a young lady of a religious turn of mind, and regards her recovery as having been brought about by the intervention of the Divine will. She says her faith was strengthened owing to the reading in a pamphlet of a similar recovery. Miss Griffiths, although deeply interested in the revival, did not take an unusually prominent part, but in the course of the year her interest in religious matters has become more intense, and her pastor had been much distressed at the fact that she was so very ill."

It is followed by another short article:

"The Doctors Testimony

Dr. Morrison, of Merthyr, said that he diagnosed the case as one of tubercular disease of the hip-joint. His opinion was confirmed by his chief, Dr. Cresswell, and he last saw Miss. Griffiths on Friday, Sept. 15. On September 18 he was astonished to see her walk into his surgery without the trace of a limp (see picture below). "I am cured now," said Miss Griffiths, in reply to the doctor's question. "You have been very kind to me and done all you could for me, but of course you are only an earthy physician and I took my case before the heavenly physician, and here I am well." Dr. Morrison added: "There is no humbug about it. She walked into the surgery apparently well."


The picture supplied is here:



There are other newspapers that record this. I believe my great uncle Roy did the research to discover that 'The Western Mail', 'South Wales Echo', 'South Wales Daily News', 'Merthyr Express', and the Welsh language newspaper 'Tarian Y Gweithwyr' printed accounts of the event. I know my Aunt Norma has a copy of the article from 'The Western Mail' and I am inquiring with the British Library about the others. I hope to post them here when I have received them.

All of these confirm what my Great Grandfather Price Davies [Annie's husband] recorded in his personal testimony shortly before he died. He wrote in a document entitled,

A TESTIMONY, and a brief record of the of the BEGINNING of the PENTECOSTAL MOVEMENT in the MERTHYR BOROUGH, BEDLINOG AND THE ABERDARE VALLEY by PASTOR PRICE DAVIES


"...In 1904-1905, at number seventy four Brynhyfryd Street, [i] Penydarren, Merthyr Tydfil, where Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Griffiths lived with their family, their daughter Annie Griffiths was bedridden with a Tubercular Hip (Hip disease) a large growth on her hip and the one leg shorter than the other, she was a helpless, hopeless cripple.  The doctors gave no hope of her ever being able to walk again.  The family were members of Elim Baptist Chapel, Penydarren, where Mr. Thomas Griffiths was a deacon, the minister was the Rev. O. M. Owen [ii] who had been wonderfully blessed of God during the early days of the Welsh Revival, and he was for many years the Secretary of the Keswick Convention at Llandrindod Wells.  Mr. Owen was very friendly with the family and used to visit Miss Griffiths often and was very much grieved and burdened at seeing her sad plight and suffering as she was.  He was spending much time in prayer with God on her behalf and also on behalf of the family as a whole.  On one of his visits he asked Miss Griffiths if she believed God could work a miracle in our time and heal her.  She said “Yes Mr. Owen, I believe God can do all things.”  “Well Annie,” he said, “I don’t believe it is the will of God for you to be lying there suffering like that.”  He gave her a tract to read that told of a young woman that had been healed in answer to prayer of Spinal Trouble.  He also asked her to read some Scriptures especially James 5: 14-16 which she gladly did. 

            One Saturday night, Miss Griffiths was in fact due to go into hospital the following Monday so that she could be made more comfortable on an Air Bed and also that her mother might be relieved a little; that evening another Baptist Minister from Aberduar, West Wales called.[iii]   His name was Mr. Francis and he was on his way to Fochriw to preach but lost his connection at Dowlais Top and so called at Mr. Owen’s house.   During their conversation Mr. Owen asked Mr. Francis if he believed God could perform a miracle today in answer to prayer.  “Of course I do, why not?” said Mr. Francis. So Mr. Owen told him about Miss Griffiths.  They decided there and then to visit the home and have a definite time of prayer with her father for her, so they came.  After a little talk with Miss Griffiths the three of them knelt and prayed that God would touch and heal her. 

            These are Annie's own words to me, (after the ministers and her­ father had prayed for her and as she was about to ask the dear Lord to heal her), she felt the Lord was there by her bedside and laid His Hand on her head and the Power of God came upon her and went right through her whole body and took the disease away, the bed itself shaking with the Power of God.  Glory be to God she was Wonderfully and Miraculously Healed.  She told the ministers and her father that if they would leave the room she would get dressed.  Praise the Lord for ever.  One minute a helpless, hopeless cripple unable to move without help, the next minute Gloriously Healed by the touch of God.  Hallelujah.

            She asked her mother for her clothes and then got up and dressed; then she walked from the front room where her bed was, through the middle room to the kitchen.  When her father saw her, he leaped for joy shouting “Hallelujah” with a loud voice.  Mr. Owen asked her if he would see her in the meeting, the following, Sunday.  Her father said “You tell Mr Owen that you will be there before him tomorrow morning” ... and she was.  Praise God.  Oh what a stir that miracle caused in the Borough.  Elim chapel was thronged with people night after night for weeks, Open Air meetings were held on the bottom of the street. [iv]  I remember Dai Ruth (D. R. Williams) taking his coat off in one of those meetings and laying it on the ground for people to kneel on it and get converted.[v]  That miracle was published in the Daily Papers and the Christian Herald.[vi]  I remember reading the report in the South Wales Echo September 1905.  Some may ask “Are healings permanent?” Annie Griffiths was healed of a Tubercular Hip when she was twenty one years of age, she passed out of this life to her reward in heaven at seventy eight years of age with never a return of the complaint.  Diolch Iddo Bendigedig."

Roy [A second cousin I believe] made some annotations to describe more of the historical settings and facts concerning the comments in this part of Price's testimony. Where these annotations were made has been indicated in the text. I'll be sharing those in part 2.





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