Eugene R. Fitzgerald
Eugene Russell Fitzgerald was born to A.T. and Emma (Grafton) Fitzgerald on November 16, 1877 in Denton, Texas. He grew up in a minister's home but did not dedicate his life to the Lord until May of 1900. On August 22, 1900 he married Myrtle Cromwell in Sherman, Texas. Eugene and Myrtle had ten children, Raymond, Ollie, Thelma, Abner, Dora May, Dorothy, Eugene, and Melvin (2 names are unknown). He began preaching just in 1902 and became an ordained minister on February 14, 1907. Just a short time later he had an encounter with the Holy Spirit and immediately began preaching the Full Gospel message. He first appeared in the Courier-Democrat conducting Holiness Revivals around the Russellville area in 1909. On April 20, 1911, a ballad that was sung by Rev. Fitzgerald during his revival meetings entitled "Jacob's Vision" was published in the Courier-Democrat.
During this same time Rev. E. N. Bell, editor of the Word and Witness, sent out a plea to "all the churches of God in Christ, to all Pentecostal or Apostolic Faith Assemblies who desire with united purpose to co-operate in love and peace to push the interests of the kingdom of God everywhere" to meet at the Hot Springs Opera House on April 2-12, 1914. Eugene Fitzgerald, Luther Lee & Josie Riley, Vera Riley, Fred Lohmann, Mathew Mack Pinson, Dollie Drain Simms, and Grace Ashmore Reed, all of which have been affiliated with Russellville First Assembly, were in attendance at this convention. It was during this convention, now known as the first General Council of the Assemblies of God, that the Assemblies of God was created to unite Pentecostal churches and ministers in fellowship.
Immediately following first General Council, E. R. Fitzgerald, L. L. Riley, and Dollie Drain came to Russellville with the intent of establishing a Pentecostal Fellowship in this city. They set up a tent and began conducting revival meetings on the southeast corner of North Boston and East G Street on April 28, 1914. This revival lasted for seven weeks and the Holy Spirit moved in a mighty way. It has been reported that many times during the revival the presence of the Holy Spirit was so strong that the sides of the tent would wave in and out as though a breeze were blowing. During this revival 92 people were saved, 35 were baptized, 45 were added to the church membership, and 65 were filled with the Holy Spirit. An estimated 1,000 to 3,000 people were in attendance each night. Many miracles were also reported during the revival. This revival came to a close on Sunday, June 21, 1914. Shortly after the revival, construction began on the first church building that was built on the northeast corner of North Boston and East G Street. This cement block structure was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 26, 1914. The church was officially recognized as an Assemblies of God affiliated church on June 18, 1917. Several early District meetings were held at Russellville First Assembly including the Arkansas District Councils in 1914, 1918, 1921, 1925, 1928, 1936, 1937, 1942, 1944, and 1945.
Bro. Fitzgerald pastored Russellville First Assembly from its inception in 1914 until 1919. Around 1921 Bro. Fitzgerald moved back to Russellville and pastored First Assembly until 1923. Between 1919 and 1921 Bro. Fitzgerald held tent revivals and temporary bible schools around the state. He also served as pastor at Wesson, AR and Malvern, AR. He held the position of Chairman/Superintendent of the Arkansas District of the Assemblies of God in 1914-1915, 1917-1918, and 1927-1928. He was also a member of the General Presbytery from 1916 until 1927. Eugene Russell Fitzgerald passed away at age 51 of appendicitis on March 20, 1928 in Malvern, Arkansas.
Bio by Ryan Morris