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Branford Clarke
Reverend Branford Clarke's traveling chapel
Born March 18, 1885(1885-03-18)
London, England
Died July 7, 1947 (aged 62)
Somerset, New Jersey
Occupation Minister, poet and artist
Employer Pillar of Fire Church
Title Reverend
Spouse(s) Esther May Clarke (1896-1988)
Children Branford Clarke, Jr. (1920-2003)

From Heroes of the Fiery Cross 1928.


"Poor Camouflage." Branford Clarke illustration in Klansmen: Guardians of Liberty 1926 by Bishop Alma White published by the Pillar of Fire Church in Zarephath, NJ.

Branford Clarke (March 18, 1885 – July 7, 1947) was an Evangelical preacher, poet and artist who promoted the Ku Klux Klan through his art which was drawn for the Pillar of Fire Church and their publications.[1][2][3]


He was born on March 18, 1885 in London, England.[4][5] His brother was a Member of Parliament.[6] In the 1920s he converted a Model T into a mobile chapel.[7][8][9][10] He was pastor of the Pillar of Fire Church in Brooklyn, New York for at least several years. From about 1925 to 1928 he illustrated numerous religious and political publications for the Pillar of Fire Church in partnership with Bishop Alma White, the church's founder and leader. Many of his illustrations supported Bishop White's writings by attacking various minorities including Catholics, Jews, and US immigrants and by promoting the Ku Klux Klan.

He died on July 7, 1947 and was buried in the Pillar of Fire cemetery in Zarephath, New Jersey. His epitaph reads "The Cross he bore, through years of service bound, on yonder shore in recompense is found, The Crown."





Several of Rev. Clarke's poems were set to music by his wife Esther and published as hymns in the Pillar of Fire's Cross and Crown Hymnal. Some of Branford Clarke's hymns include: Tell Me of the Love of Jesus, Everything Will Work Out Right, God Keep Me Strong, Prayer Changes Things, Calling Again and Again, Take Heart, and Yonder Shore.

Yonder Shore
Life may have clouds, but when I think of Jesus
The sun breaks thro' its radiance to outpour
And far away I hear the song of angels
Singing, singing, singing on yonder shore.

There is a cross that every one must carry
Long a thorned path whose toils will soon be o'er
Then at His feet shall we lay down our burdens
With the fair immortals on yonder shore.

While trav'ling on to that eternal haven
Here in the heart can be fair Canaan's door
Thro' which the love of Jesus softly stealing
Fills the soul with glory from yonder shore.

There is a death, but it is only mortal
The soul lives on and on for evermore.
How wonderful to dwell for aye with Jesus
Ever and forever on yonder shore.

Singing on that shore
Singing on that shore
Hark, I hear them singing
Singing, ever, singing on yonder shore.


Further reading[]

  • Christianizing the Klan: Alma White, Branford Clarke, and the Art of Religious Intolerance June 2009 by Lynn S. Neal Church History June 2009

External links[]


  1. Lynn S. Neal (June 1, 2009). "Christianizing the Klan: Alma White, Branford Clarke, and the Art of Religious Intolerance". Church History (American Society of Church History).;jsessionid=082DB84E4E57AF966A78CA7E09C158A8.tomcat1?fromPage=online&aid=5635856. "White’s words and Clarke’s imagery combined in various ways to create a persuasive and powerful message of religious intolerance. ...". 
  2. "Branford Clarke". James Pearsall. Retrieved 2009-04-29. "... Rev. Branford Clarke, born in England ca. 1890, died in NJ ca. 1950. Clarke spent many years as pastor of the Pillar of Fire Church, Sterling Place, Brooklyn. He was a notable artist, illustrator and poet. Who were his antecedents in the UK? Any help will be appreciated. Thank you." 
  3. Susie Cunningham Stanley (1993). Feminist Pillar of Fire: The Life of Alma White. The Pilgrim Press. ISBN 0829809503. "Drawings by Pillar of Fire member Branford Clarke illustrated the periodical. Predominantly political in content, Clarke's sketches encouraged women to vote ..." 
  4. "Branford Clarke". Selective Service System. Retrieved 2009-04-29. 
  5. "Branford Clarke". 1920 US Census. Retrieved 2009-04-29. 
  6. Gertrude Metlen Wolfram (1954). The widow of Zarephath. Pillar of Fire Church. "When he told his family of his determination to give up his career and go to America to become a minister in the Pillar of Fire, they were dismayed. He must be overworked. His brother was about to become a Member of Parliament; Branford's decision did not fit into the plans of so prominent a family. But he persisted until his father allowed him to come to America and Zarephath. Brother Clarke became an enthusiastic worker. Early in his career he and another young man held open-air meetings along Broadway and the nearby cross streets" 
  7. Special use vehicles. McFarland. 2003. ISBN 0786412453. "Branford Clarke with the Model T Mobile Chapel (Collections of Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village)." 
  8. "Chapel". Retrieved 2009-04-29. "The Reverend Branford Clarke's Brooklyn-based "traveling chapel" was equipped with stained-glass windows, an organ for his wife to play, and a fold-down steeple to help the whole thing fit in his garage." 
  9. The Wonderful Wacky World of Marketing mobiles. Veloce Publishing. 2006. ISBN 1845840038.,M1. "By 1945 Ford cars have been put to many interesting uses, but this tiny travelling chapel of the Rev Branford Clarke, New York, is in a class of its own" 
  10. The Vintage Ford. 1989. "Branford Clarke, New York, is in a class by itself. Equipped with steeple 'n everything, Rev. Mr. Clarke is prepared to take the Scripture literally and ..." 
  11. Poems and Pictures by a Preacher. The Kingston Printing Company. 1921. "This book is the product of years of experience of this poet, artist, preacher. It marks a new departure in book making." 
  12. Catalog of Copyright Entries. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2009-04-29.