Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Marine Class President: From the Battles of the First World War

One hundred years ago the War in Europe was intensifying and in less than a year the United States would be sending troops to the battlelines.  One such man was Dutton Stiles Peterson.

Dutton was born in Costello, PA on December 10, 1894 and was dedicated by his mother to the ministry of God soon after birth, yet his path to getting there would take several detours.  He graduated from High School in 1910 and attended Valparaiso University in Indiana from 1910-1912.  He would go on to teach and work at Highland Condensing Company from 1913-1916 where he tested milk.  He would also work as a machinist at Morrow Manufacturing in Elmira, NY from 1916-1917.

Then on April 6, 1917 the United States entered the World War.  Dutton enlisted in the 5th Marine Regiment and was sent to France on June 8, 1917.  The 5th Marine Regiment was also called the "Fighting Fifth" this group fought in some intense battles.  He was commissioned for distinguished service on the field at Belleau Woods, a fierce battle that cost nearly 2,000 lives and injured nearly 8,000. 

In September 1918 he was promoted from Corporal to Lieutenant.  He was captain while fighting in Germany of the Automatic Rifle Team.  This team set a world record at the time.  He also served in the Verdun and Marache Sectors and fought at the Chateau Thierry, Soissons, St. Mihiel Argonne Forest, and the march to the Rhine.

He would return home with over forty physical wounds from his time in Europe and returned to the machine shop he had left in Elmira.  While in Elmira the prayer of dedication his mother had made a quarter of a century earlier would be answered.

In January of 1920 Dutton entered Practical Bible Training School as a student.  He was chosen as the Class President for the class of 1922, the first class to have a yearbook where his information is recorded.

The prayers of a mother and the protection of God in the battlefields of Europe lead this young man to the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Lieutenant Dutton Stiles Peterson went home to glory on October 20, 1964 at the age of 69.  

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

116 Years Ago...The first classes of PBTS

What can you accomplish in 78 days?  That was the amount of time it took an eager 28 year old evangelist, husband, and father of two by the name of John A. Davis to start Practical Bible Training School (now Davis College). 
On April 10, 1900 while preaching in Elmira, NY he had received a one dollar bill from a poor wash woman that had confirmed his calling to start a Bible school similar to Moody's in Chicago.  There was no permanent structure for the new school so John rented a room above Lestershire Home Furnishing on the corner of Main and Arch Streets in Lestershire (now Johnson City), NY. 
The school opened on Tuesday, June 27 and held evening classes on Monday, Thursday, and Friday nights until the closing on Friday, August 17.  John A. Davis taught 105 students from six different denominations of churches during those classes.  His subjects were: How to Use the Bible, Bible Book Summary, Personal [evangelistic] Work, and Introductory Studies in Bible Doctrine.  
The closing service was held on August 20 at the Lestershire Methodist Episcopal Church (now Sarah Jane Johnson Memorial
United Methodist Church).  During the ceremony lead by Rev. Edward Taylor pledges were raised for a permanent building for the school.  They were able to raise $1,279 toward the building that would cost $8,000. 
Due to the success of the first classes that summer a second series of evening classes were held from November 19-30 at both the Lestershire Methodist Episcopal Church and the Lestershire Baptist Church.  The lecture for these students, which totaled 160, was none other than the Rev. R. A. Torrey who was the dean of the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. 
Much can happen in 78 days, but for John A. Davis he used his talents and gifts and began a school that has trained thousands of men and women to preach, teach, and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the community of Johnson City, NY and to the ends of the earth. 

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Dr. Vincent William Griffis has gone home to be with the LORD

Dr. Vincent William Griffis went home to his Savior on Saturday, September 27, 2014. 

Vince was the second son of Dr. Paul and Dorothy Griffis.  Paul Griffis had attended PBTS from 1929 until 1932 where he graduated as Salutatorian of his class.  Paul joined the faculty of Practical in 1952 and became the dean of academics in 1963. 
(L-R) Vincent Griffis, Paul Griffis, Dorothy Griffis, Darry Griffis (1964 Theologue)

Vince became of a student of Practical Bible Training School in the fall of 1964.  He became roommates with Walt Schlundt and friends with Jerry Traister and Dino Pedrone.  The four of them would become life-long friends.  Vince's freshman year was also the senior year for Woodrow Kroll and Gilbert Parker. 

Vince graduated from Practical Bible Training School in 1967 along with Walt, Jerry, and Dino. 

During his studies at PBTS, Vince met Suzanne Sisson.  The two would marry on January 24, 1969 after Vince received his Bachelor degree from Calvary Bible College. 


Vince's Senior Picture (1967 Theologue)
Vince and Sue moved to New England soon after being married where Vince taught at the Rhode Island School for the Deaf.  He was called onto becoming the headmaster for the Christian of Greater Fall River.  He served there for fourteen years.  In those years all four of their children were born: Aron, Andrew, Abigail, and Adam. 
The LORD still had a work for the Griffis family.  In 1988 Vince and Sue joined Wycliffe Bible Translators.  After training they were sent to Cameroon.  Vince started the Rain Forest International School for the Missionary Kids (MKs) and nationals.  They returned to the States in 2007. 
Vince and Sue
Vince and Sue with Dr. Dino Pedrone (2008)
On Saturday, May 10, 2009 Vince was given the first honorary doctorate from Davis College at the commencement.  He also delivered the main address to the graduating class. 
Vince Speaking to the graduating class of 2009

(L-R) Sue Griffis, Vince Griffis, Walt Schlundt, Jerry Traister, Dino Pedrone, Janice Chandler
Vince had been fighting cancer for many years, but was still able to come to Homecoming at his Alma Mater including his 45th class reunion in 2012. 
Class of 1967 (45th reunion)
Vince had been fighting cancer for sixteen years when the LORD called His faithful servant home to glory.  At his memorial service on Saturday, October 4, 2014 in Swansea, MA friends and family remembered his love for family and friends and his mischief.  He was able to say goodbye to all of his kids before his homegoing. 
You will be missed Vince.  Thank you for serving our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ with your whole heart. 
To read his obituary click here
Donations can be made to the college.  A fund has been setup in his name:
Vincent Griffis Memorial Fund at Davis College, 400 Riverside Dr., Johnson City, NY 13790

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dr. James "Scotty" Little has gone home to glory

Dr. James "Scotty" Little (class of 1957) has gone home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He passed away on Sunday, February 23, 2014. Dr. Little attended PBTS from the Fall of 1954 until graduating in 1957.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Why Davis College?

Here is a great group of current Davis students telling why they choose Davis College.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

80th anniversary of Charles J. Davis' death

Today marks 80 years since John and Etta Carr's youngest son Charles Davis died. To read an article from a few years ago about the circumstances surrounding his death click here.

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Davis College History Timeline

Something that I have been working on. Tell me what you think and also suggest other events that could be added.

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Grace Fabian (Class 1959) shares Testimony

The same month and year man landed on the moon, Grace and her husband Edmund landing in Papua New Guinea

Grace with a photo of her husband Edmund on the PowerPoint

Grace holds up a completed Nabak New Testament

Grace wearing the headdress given by the Sanau clan.

Grace (Jones) Fabian, PBTS class 1959, spoke in chapel on Thursday, April 28, 2011. She shared her testimony with the students, faculty, and staff. No matter how often I (Corey J. Adams) hear her testimony it still touches me. Grace shared about her journey to Papua New Guinea with her husband Edmund. If you have never heard her story I would encourage you to buy a copy of her autobiography: Outrageous Grace: A Story of Tragedy and Forgiveness. You will be challenged as the students were hearing the testimony.

"Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place." ~ 2 Corinthians 2.14

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A decade ago...(Thursday, February 22, 2001)

John Terry (Class 1986) seen here at Homecoming 2009

Today marks one decade since Thursday, February 22, 2001. On that Pastor John Terry (Class 1986), a friend (Mike McCall), and I (Corey Adams) traveled down to Practical Bible College. It would be the first day I would step onto the campus of PBC. I was a sophomore at Southern Cayuga High School and Pastor Terry had invited Mike and I down to his Alma Mater. I had heard of Practical Bible College as several of the pastors I had known through the years had graduated from Practical. I still remember coming up to the campus from Riverside for the first time and getting the first view of the campus.

We pulled up to the administration building/admission building at that time, and met up with Suzanne Graham who was in admissions and she was going to take us on a tour of the campus. It was still in the early 9 the students were just waking up and getting ready for classes. As we were getting ready to go on the tour we met Dan Rathmell and Dr. George Miller III, the president of the college. The group of four of us walked over to the men's dorm, Patterson where the students were getting ready for classes and heading out. I saw a few of the guys I had attended with at Immanuel Baptist School in Auburn, NY.

The group of us heading to the Main Building and we were told there was a debate going on in the Acts Class over the Jerusalem Council. We decided that we would go to the bookstore before we headed to chapel in Lowe/Wagner Hall. There were two classes going on and the divide between the two class rooms had to be opened so there would be enough room for chapel.

After Chapel we sat in a class with Dr. Leigh Upchurch in Lowe Hall. Dr. Upchurch was speaking about Third Culture kids in a Missionary life class. We popped out of the class before it was done and headed down to lunch in the Klee dining hall and met up with some of the other professors and students. I remember I was very interested in the end times and I was told a good person to speak to was Dr. Parker in the Academic's building. It seems funny now, but I was getting lost trying to figure out how to find Academic's behind the Gym. The Cafe was under construction at the time and I remember seeing that being worked on during that visit.

I found Academics and asked someone where Dr. Parker's office was, turns out it was Dr. Parker I was asking. We had a good chat about Eschatology and he gave me a copy of a book about the Antichrist.

That afternoon before we headed back to the Finger Lakes I remember walking on sidewalk by the old administration building and knowing that God wanted me to go to Practical Bible College when I graduated from Southern Cayuga. I remember saying out loud to God, "So God this is where you want me to go? OK." One of best choices of life after accepting Christ as my Savior.

I would go to two Preview Days at the college during the next couple of years before finally going the college in August of 2003.

Thank You LORD for opening the doors to my Davis Family

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Part 1--100 years on Riverside: Harrison and the White City

47 Harrison Street Johnson City

47 Harrison Street Johnson City

The entrance to the White City Park

The fountain and Roller Coaster in the center of the White City

One hundred years ago when the midnight arrived on Sunday, January 1, 1911 the Practical Bible Training School was preparing for a move and transition. The transition had already begun the previous summer in 1910 when the White City had gone bankrupt. From the 1934 Theologue the events happened like this:

This brewery-backed resort was a separate organization for the purpose of selling liquors. As such, it had the backing of the brewery and liquor interests, and any effort to obtain the grounds for other purposes would naturally meet with the determined resistance of those financially interested.This resistance was felt keenly. There was many a struggle and many a prayer. For two years John A. Davis waited for the manifestation of the hand of God. It appears that some of the stockholders, desiring to obtain an advantage, started a fight within the amusement organization which resulted in finally throwing the “White City” corporation into the hands of a receiver. At this time Evangelist Davis was holding a campaign in one of the larger cities of central Pennsylvania.
Between 1907 and 1908 John A. Davis began to pray for the grounds of the White City as the next location for PBTS. The 47 Harrison Street location had been outgrowing its location since soon after moving into the grounds in 1901 (only a decade earlier). In the summer of 1908 John A. Davis went onto the ground of the White City. The 1934 Theologue records it like this:

Mr. Davis, always keenly alive to the needs of the School and realizing the possibilities of this place, if it could be secured, one day paid the admission fee through the gates and visited the grounds. He saw the beautiful oak trees, the elms and other trees, among them evergreens, and visualized the possibilities of the place as a permanent home for the Practical Bible Training School. As he walked about the grounds he happened to glance into the bar-room and saw the men and women lined up three-deep around the bar, some of them in an advanced state of intoxication. As he turned to leave, he vowed to himself, “With the help of God I’ll smash this place, “ and with that resolve in his mind, as he was outside of the gate, he knelt beside the high wire fence and prayed to God to give him this place for His work.
God answered John's prayer two years later with the park going bankrupt. As mentioned earlier he was at a campaign in Pennsylvania when the sale occurred. It was bought by "a Binghamton business man [From what I can tell this Binghamton business man was Mr. Kilmer (though it is unclear which Kilmer it was)] interested in the School, though not aware of Mr. Davis’ hopes regarding the park, secured a short term option on the property and wired Mr. Davis rushed back, and within three hours had called his board together and exercised their option, which gave them title to the property with all the buildings on it, one of the which was a large and roomy hotel" (1934 Theologue).

Thus began the change from The White City Amusement Park to Bible School Park, NY

To be continued in part 2 (100 years years on Riverside: The transformation and move)

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