One Godly Man Started an Awakening
Mr. Lanphier was born at Coxsackie, Greene county, N. Y., on September 3, 1809. At the age of sixteen Mr. Lanphier went to Albany to learn the tailor’s trade. After serving his apprenticeship he travelled considerably, working in various places. Later, he returned to Albany, where he studied music under the supervision of George Andrews who afterward engaged with him in the tailoring business in this city, in Broadway, near Fulton-St.
Mr. Lanphier in his characteristic way gives an account of his entering into business on his own account. He had an interview with Samuel M. Blatchford, the proprietor of the clothing house to whom the assignment was made. He said:
Mr. Blatchford was an entire stranger to me, but I felt impressed to call on him to inquire about the establishment of which he held the assignment. Our interview was short. Mr. Lanphier said to Mr. Blatchford, “I am familiar with the business, for I worked in that store for some time, and I called to see if I could make arrangement with you to continue the business.”
We are strangers,” he said. “Yes” I replied, “but we can soon make ourselves known to each other.” “Are you a Christian?” “No. I attend church, however.” “Have you any capital?” he said. “Not much.” I replied. “Have you any reference?” “Yes, I can give you a good reference,” which I did. He said “Call to-morrow.” I went there the next day, in the afternoon, and he met me smilingly, with the keys of the store in his hand. “Young man, I am satisfied by your reference, and I am going to repose great confidence in you,” he said, at the same time handing me the keys. There is about $5,000 worth of stock in the store. Take an inventory and report to me,” which I did. I was enabled to satisfy him that his confidence was not misplaced.
Later, he became connected with the choir of the Broadway Tabernacle, and while attending this church, of which the Rev E. W. Andrews was the pastor, Mr. Lanphier became a Christian.
After some time, he was living near the old North Dutch Church, and in this way became acquainted with one of the members of the Consistory of the North Church, who told him that the Consistory had decided to employ a layman for missionary work, with the especial object of reaching guests of the nearby hotels. He offered the place to Mr. Lanphier, who a much deliberation accepted the office and wound up his business in June; and entered upon the work on July 1 the same year.
He devoted himself entirely to this missionary work until old age compelled him to retire, and he was noted in this particular for the noonday services established as the Fulton-St. “prayer-meeting for business men. Eternity alone will reveal the marvelous results of this Fulton St. prayer-meeting, which Mr. Lanphier began alone.
Just one man with a passion to see people come to Christ and Christians come before God in prayer was responsible for one of the most powerful, spiritual movements in America. Is there a Joseph Lanphier among us?