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One Army family

MEGAN RAMSEY was en-rolled as a senior soldier by parents Majors Scott and Cherilee Ramsey. Megan marks the seventh generation of the Bawden family to dedicate their lives to Army service.


Who would have ever thought that a man and a woman, both born in the early part of the 20th century, each from a family of seven children, would grow up to hear the call of God to Salvation Army officership, meet at the Western Territory’s training college, fall in love, and eventually marry?

John Bawden, the third son of a Montana coal miner, grew up in Walkerville, Montana. He attended the Butte, Montana Corps, but his “Army roots” went back to when his family met The Salvation Army in its infancy. When the Army went to Cornwall, England, there was no place to hold meetings. They were made welcome in the girlhood home of a person who would eventually become the great-grandmother of John Bawden.

Eva Grace Mitchell was born to officer parents, Thomas and Grace Mitchell, and spent her life frequently moving around the west with her parents and four younger sisters. Just a few years before Eva departed for training from the Spokane Corps, her mother gave birth to twin daughters.

John had a brother and Eva had a sister who both served as officers for a while. Their other siblings were, for the most part, unaffiliated with the Army though many were actively involved in other churches.


EVA (Mitchell) Bawden, Megan’s great-grandmother.

The Bawdens, a well-known officer team in this territory, served as corps officers for 43 years. None of their corps were ever places that were large or glamorous. They were frequently stationed a great distance from headquarters, which was just the way they preferred it. Many of their appointments were at corps that were in difficulty financially, but the Bawdens always left them better than they found them.

It was their calling in life to be encouragers. Many corps assistants were touched by their care and tutelage. Many fellow corps officers, often struggling in their appointments, were the benefactors of their generosity.

Into their home, God sent five children, three daughters and two sons. The “Bawden Five” became fifth generation Salvationists, and grew up being active in every corps their parents served. In the days when the children were growing up, more than one weeknight service, in addition to two services on Sunday was the norm. The kids were there, participating in Corps Cadets, YPL, League of Mercy and corps music sections, as well as helping lead services or whatever else they were called upon to do.

While it is not common for the children of clergymen to follow in their footsteps, this family saw all five children become officers. The subject of officership was not discussed, as such, in the home. It was modeled with excellence. They were taught that officership is a holy calling, a lifetime commitment, and that “if God calls you, then you MUST go. Otherwise, you will be miserable. If God does not call you, do not go.”

The lives of John and Eva Bawden have passed from the scene, but their legacy lives on in the lives of their children currently serving as officers. A total of 452 years of service (to date) have been given to the Western Territory by John Bawden, his wife Eva, their five children, and three (of their 12) grandchildren. Numerous grandchildren are Salvation Army soldiers and actively involved in their corps. The eldest great-grandchild was enrolled Easter 2002 as a senior soldier, bringing the legacy to the seventh generation.

God knows, and time will tell, the way he will use the lives of these young people as they look toward the future.

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