Crisis and Reorganization
The Salvation Army in the United States was not without crisis in the early years. During the 40 years preceding his command of the Western Territory, Gifford had remained steadfast through two major upheavals.
In 1884 Major Thomas Moore, who had been in charge of American forces, decided to withdraw to form an American organization. This “Salvation Army of America” functioned for some years, mainly in the South, but some of the key officers who had defected later came back to the parent organization.
In 1896, National Commander Ballington Booth, along with other factors, objected to a proposed transfer. Eventually he and his wife resigned, taking many officers with them, to form the “Volunteers of America.” Gifford had joined others, including Major Henry Stillwell, in a letter urging the Founder to reconsider Ballington’s reassignment. However, he was one of those who helped keep the Army together after Ballington’s defection in 1896.
Until 1886, the Pacific Coast Salvationists were considered missionaries and the group received $50 monthly from International Headquarters. After that they were under the National Commander, who was then Commissioner Frank Smith, and organized into divisions. At the end of 1900, the Pacific Coast War Cry was discontinued. Within a few years a headquarters for the Department of the West was established in Chicago, a hub of vigorous Salvation Army activity, and some sessions of West Coast cadets were trained in Chicago.
In 1920 the 11 western states and Hawaii were set aside to make a new Western Territory with headquarters in San Francisco. At that time the Central Territory ran from Indiana to the Dakotas, including Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. The Southern Territory was not a reality until 1927, when it was formed from some parts of the Eastern and Central Territories.