Photo Friday: Remembering Jabbok

This historical marker in Thomas, Okla., points visitors to the site of the former Jabbok Faith Orphanage and Missionary Training Home (later Jabbok Bible School), which was owned and operated by the Brethren in Christ from 1909-1955. (Courtesy of

Today’s Photo Friday installment highlights an historical marker in Thomas, Oklahoma, situated just a few miles south of the former site of the Jabbok Faith Orphanage and Missionary Training Home, a institution operated by the Brethren in Christ in the early part of the twentieth century.

In 1901, Abe Eisenhower — a colorful Brethren in Christ evangelist and uncle of U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower — and his wife, Annie, petitioned the Territory of Oklahoma for permission “to maintain a missionary home and bible school for the training of missionary workers for home and foreign mission work.”

Granted a permit by the territory, the Eisenhowers operated Jabbok Faith Orphanage and Missionary Training Home until 1909, when transfer of ownership was shifted to the General Conference of the Brethren in Christ Church.

After the close of the orphanage in 1923, the church ran the Jabbok Bible School (in addition to two church-sponsored schools in Grantham, Pennsylvania, and Upland, California) until 1955. According to the site,

Approximately 305 students from 15 states attended Jabbok. Many of the graduates and students served as missionaries, church administrators, pastors, Sunday school teachers, church board members and Christian lay workers.

Interestingly, the site also indicates that “Since the closing of Jabbok, the members of the Thomas Brethren in Christ congregation have cultivated the land. [The] proceeds go the mission program of the church at large.” I wonder if the church has continued this program since wrote their brief history in 2006.

For more pictures of the historical marker and the monument mentioned on the marker, visit For more information on the history of Jabbok, see Carlton O. Wittlinger, Quest for Piety and Obedience (Nappanee, Ind.: Evangel Press, 1978), p. 270, 306-308.


About Devin Manzullo-Thomas

Father to Lucas. Husband to Katie. Prof and administrator at Messiah College. PhD student at Temple University. Member of Grantham BIC.
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2 Responses to Photo Friday: Remembering Jabbok

  1. Doneen Dourte says:

    This is great to see this post because I wrote a paper on Jabbok for a class of Dr. Sider’s; I think it was Historical Writing or something like that.
    It wasn’t one of my better papers, though!
    I’ll dig through my stuff, reread it and decide if it would be fun to pass along to you!
    Doneen Dourte

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