The Billy Paul Branham Family (1966)
Left to right: Loyce, Paul, David, Billy Paul
I would like to thank Brother Williams, the Full Gospel Business Men's chapter here in Phoenix, and the International Directors for this opportunity to speak at this memorial service for my father. As most of you know, I am not accustomed to speaking Somewhere in God's choosing He let me be the one to travel with father for the last twelve or fourteen years, in his evangelist campaigns.
To my knowledge, the first time that I ever gave out a prayer card in a meeting was here in Phoenix, when Brother Branham had the tent service. I believe it was down here on West Buckeye Road I think it was in 1950. Since that time I have traveled with him constantly except for a year while I was away in Bible School.
Brother Williams asked me if I would speak. I said, "No, but then he told me a lot of people had called and wanted to know just how everything happened. I don't know whether I can do that or not, but I will do my best.
Brother Branham and I had planned on going back to Indiana to have a couple nights' service. He had wanted to speak on a subject, entitled "The Trail of the Serpent." He told me to contact Brother Wood, who is a trustee in our church and a very close friend of Brother Branham's, to see about getting the school auditorium for the service. I did this; and before Brother Wood called me back for confirmation, Daddy called me and he said, "I don't think that we should do it." He said, "We will just go back home for the holidays."
So we started back on December 18th. He came over to the house as usual that morning, and you local folks in Tucson Phoenix know the kind of weather we were having. It had been raining for several days prior, and so he had made mention the night before that we would just wear our hunting clothes because he thought we might have bad weather all the way home. He came over that morning about six o'clock.
We left Tucson (my family and I) with his family, and he followed me as he usually did in his station wagon. We left at approximately 6:00 o'clock and had our breakfast in Benson. We drove on to Alamogordo, New Mexico and had our lunch. My son Paul had traveled with his grandpa most of the day, and also because of my brother Joseph.
When we left the restaurant after eating lunch, I made Paul get in my car with me, because I wanted him to take his nap. Dad spoke to me and said, "That is okay. Let him ride with me." So we went on up to Clovis, New Mexico, and we ate supper at a little place, I think it was Denny's Restaurant. We got out, and it was turning very cold. We heard that there was going to be snow around the Amarillo area that night. So before we left the restaurant Dad said, "How far do you think we ought to go, Paul?"
I said, "Oh, I don't care." I said, "Loyce has been feeling bad, so I guess we had better stay in Amarillo." He said, "That is fine." So he got in his car, and for some reason that I do not know, my little brother Joseph stopped and was going to get in my car. You know how things are when you are traveling with children. The car was quite crowded, and normally I wouldn't have let him in there. I am certain my wife wouldn't have, Mother wouldn't, and I know Daddy wouldn't have, unless it was in the divine will of God to do so. So he got in my car with me.
We had just crossed into the Texas line, around eighty or ninety miles from Amarillo, when I saw a car coming, and the headlight of the approaching car was out on the driver's side. I thought it was a motorcycle at first, because it was right in the center line. I didn't pay much attention to it. It was just a little after dark, I would say around 7:30 at night. When it came closer I could see that it was a car, and that one of the headlights were out. As I said, it was on the driver's side. The headlight that I had seen was right in the middle of the line, and so naturally the whole car was on my side of the road.
I swerved to my right, blew my horn, and just glanced in my mirror as I missed him. I saw the car pull back over on the right side of the road. I looked again, and I saw two cars hit. The car had swerved directly into Dad's path. All I could see were two cars going in two directions. Dad's car was coming toward me. My wife hollered. She said, "It is your daddy!" I said, "No there was a car that I had just passed that is between me and Dad." I thought that Dad was still another car behind them. So I hit my brakes to go back to help them.
When I got back to where the scene was, one of the boys was lying in the road. I went up the highway. There was beer, liquor, something (I don't know) all over the road. I saw this car down to my left in a ditch. I turned off the road, and when my headlights hit it, it was Dad. All I could see was his head sticking out. To me, I can just tell you what I thought. I thought that he was gone. I told my wife, "He is dead." So she jumped out of the car and ran over there. It was just like a freight train had hit it. Such a mess.
I had left Joseph and my son, Paul, in the car, and had rolled up the windows and locked the doors, and had told them to sit there. Dad and I have traveled many miles together, and we have seen lots of things, lots of accidents, and I have seen lots of people die. I have seen lots of people killed instantly on the road. It was a sight that I had seen before. So in my conscience, I knew that he was gone because his eyes were open, and his face looked swollen. It was just that look that lots of us have experienced.
I got out of the car. I just didn't know what to do. I ran to him. Joseph started screaming, and when he did, his head dropped. I picked his head up in my hand, and he said, "Who was that?" I said, "That was Joseph, Daddy." I said, "Are you okay?" and he just looked at me. He didn't say anything.
This has a special meaning to me because of a tape that he spoke on, "Sirs Is This The Time?" I cannot say that this is true, but I know that he never responded until Joseph cried for his daddy! Then Dad said, "Tell Joseph everything is O.K."
My wife was over talking to Mother, and trying to arouse her. She hollered for me and she said, "Billy, your mother is dead." I ran over there, and I finally found her up under the dash where the heater was. I laid my hand over on her. I felt her arm but I could feel no pulse. I felt her heart and I couldn't find any. I can't say; but I just couldn't find any pulse.
I looked in the back seat, and my sister Sarah was lying there, just moaning. So I came back to Dad, and he was so caught in the car to where he couldn't move. His left arm was in the door, and the metal was just jammed in up on it. His left leg was wrapped around the steering wheel. Most of his body, his head and shoulders, were projected through the windshield, just lying on the hood.
To give you just a little something I want to say here, a few weeks before that Brother Gene Norman, a friend of ours from Tucson, Don Wertz, and myself went hunting with Brother Brewer, (I don't know whether he is here or not) up to Kaibab, and while we were hunting, I became ill. I have kind of a nervous condition - melancholy I would say, I don't know - I just went up into the hills. It was night time. I started crying, and I lost my supper. Just nerves, I suppose. I came back down. I saw Daddy take off his hat and bow his head standing by the fire. In just a few minutes you know it was all gone.
Then as he stood around the fire, he couldn't eat his supper. I asked him if I could fix him some soup or something. He said, "No," and he took off, walking down the road. When he came back I could see there had been tears in those eyes. I told the brethren, "You just don't know what, he is going through." I said, "You just don't know!"
He came back to the fire and I stepped over by him after awhile when I didn't think the Brethren were looking. (I don't know if they were or not.) I said to Dad, "Are you feeling all right?" And he said, "It is okay."
Just before we went to bed that night he said something that I have never heard him say before, that I can remember. He spoke to Brother Norman, a friend of ours from Tucson, and said, "Did you all see Billy go up into the bush a moment ago?" And they all said, "Yes." He said, "You see, that is the reason Billy likes to always be with me. He says he knows that if I will just pray for him, it will be all right."
He said, "Brother Norman, you remember a few weeks ago when you fell off the fence when we were hunting and tore up your ankle?" He said to him, "You didn't think that you could walk on it for many, many days, and I just laid my hand over on you, prayed for you, and in a couple of days you were back to work." Brother Norman acknowledged this to be true.
He said, "I was hunting several months ago, and I just made a little sprain on my ankle." Then he started unloosening his boots and he said, "Look at this," and it was still black and blue. He said, "Billy was so nervous that he didn't think that he could make it." He said, "You are okay now, aren't you, Paul?"
I said, "Yes."
He said, "It is just that little touch." He said, "I have prayed for this ankle, and it is still the same. I prayed for this nervous condition, and it is Still here." He said, "It is not for me. It was sent for you." I didn't realize that then. It was just words to me then. But the night of the accident, he looked at me and he said, "Can you get me out?"
Well, I tried, I really tried. I said, "No, I can't, Dad." I said, "Dad, look at me." He opened his eyes. I said, "You speak the word, and you will come out of there." I had his head in my hands like this. He turned his head to the right, never spoke a word, but just tumed his head from me like that. Then I knew what he meant when he said it wasn't for him, it was for us.
To emphasize this to you; after I went over and saw Mother before the ambulance arrived, I came back to him and said, "Dad, I know you are hurt bad, but I think Mom is dead." I said, "Sarah is okay, but I think Mom is dead." I will never forget that.
He said, "Where is she?"
I said, "She is over to your right."
So somehow, I don't know how, but I know he moved his right hand, and he laid it over on her, and to the best of my knowledge this is what he said: "Lord, don't let Mommy die. Be with us at this hour."
When I came back to her, Mom was moaning and moving. I asked him, "Should I move Mother?" He said, "No, just leave her." I asked him about Sarah. He said, "Leave her also."
The ambulances came, and took Sarah and Mom away. We still couldn't get Daddy out. When the ambulance returned, we still hadn't gotten him out. They made two loads with the other car, and we still couldn't get him out.
The traffic was lined up for 6 miles in both directions. Finally a man came with a four wheel drive truck. He had a logging chain on the truck, and they put it around the door and tried to pull it off. But they couldn't. I asked them if they would put it up in the windshield, where that brace comes down. I said, "If you pull it long enough that I can get under there, I can get him out." So they did. They pulled it until the front gave way so that I could crawl over Daddy's right shoulder, go down under the front seat, and untangle his legs that were under the dash and the steering wheel. He spoke to me and said, "Catch me, Paul." He fell over in my arms, and I pulled him from the car.
We took him to the hospital. When we got there they had brought the others in. The boy that hit him was dead on arrival. Mother and Sarah were in the emergency room, then they brought Daddy in. After he got in there the Doctor said, "Is that your daddy?"
I said, "Yes Sir."
He said, "Well I don't give him much of a chance, Son."
I said, "Yes Sir." I didn't know whether to call for help or just what to do, so I just sat there and tried to pray and hold on to what he had taught me.
They took him in for X-rays. He said, "We are going to take him to Amarillo because he needs special care. They all have to go, but your daddy has to go first because he doesn't have that much chance." Then Daddy went into shock, (or so they call it) and they couldn't send him. They sent Mom and Sarah on up and made another load up with the Mexican boys.
When I came out the doctor asked me, "What type of blood do you have?"
I said, "I don't know, sir."
He said, "Well we have to give him blood immediately. He is getting too weak."
I said, "Well, we will go check." It wouldn't work with my type of blood. They looked in the blood bank, and they didn't have any. They sent to Amarillo and told them to bring back, I think it was three pints of blood from there. They got hold of the sheriff because he had the same type as Daddy.
He was so far gone when they gave the blood to him, that when I walked into the room, they had him in some kind of a bed, in the emergency room, that stood him directly on his head. They said he couldn't receive the blood lying down flat. He took this blood for approximately eight hours, I would say. Then they told me, "I don't know how he is living." I forget the doctor's name, but he said, "When I came to give him the first bit of blood, his blood pressure was zero over zero. I have his blood pressure up now." He asked me if I could go in the ambulance with them to Amarillo. I said, "Certainly."
So a nurse and I took him to Amarillo, which is eighty or ninety miles from Friona, Texas. We left about six o'clock that morning, and we got there around seven thirty. The doctor was there to meet us. He checked him just the same. Daddy was still unconscious. He checked his X-rays and so forth, and said, "Is that your father?"
I said, "Yes sir."
He said, "I saw you praying for him."
I said, "Yes sir."
He said, "I hate to tell you this, but you would be better off to pray that be would die."
I said, "No sir. I can't do that, sir."
He said, "A man can't live with that many injuries."
I said, "I believe he can."
He lived for six days in the hospital. I can't say that he was conscious, and I can't say that he wasn't because he would make motions to me and to different brethren that went to see him. We prayed. We got ahold of men of God and prayed. I have always heard Daddy say, "Outside of God there is no hope." How true this is.
On the fourth day they said, "We are going to run a test on him. I guess you have been noticing him. We have watched him for the last forty-eight hours. His left eye is going shut." The doctors term (I don't know what it was) either meant that he had a blood clot or else he had a stroke. He said, "I believe that he will die tonight. We are going to run a test." I forget what they call it now. It is kind of a dye they run into the main artery of the heart, and then they see where it goes from there and how it goes into the brain. He said, "If it is a blood clot on the brain, we will have to go in there and take it out."
They took him up, and about an hour and a half later they were back. They called us into the room. He said, "We could find no blood clots." I might be wrong, but to my knowledge he said "The blood wouldn't go through the jugular vein." He said, "Your daddy's bra;n is swelling. When the brain touches the skull, that is all." He said, "I will give him a little bit of room here so it can swell, and I will give him some medicine to try to reduce the swelling. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't." This they did, and he lived for two more days, as they expected.
Then the night before he passed away, we were singing in the waiting room of the intensive care unit. We were all sitting outside, singing, and praying. It was very dark. I believe one of the brethren mentioned this last evening. To my knowledge we were singing, "It Shall Be Light About The Evening Time" because we knew that Daddy loved that song so very much. As we were singing, the sun broke through the clouds, and the sun looked just like this pillar of fire we have seen many times in the meetings. I knew then the time was close.
On December the twenty-fourth, Christmas Eve, I was downstairs Brother Pearry Green came and said, "Doctor Hyde wants to see you." It didn't alarm me, because that wasn't Daddy's main doctor. He was a bone specialist. So I went up and he said, "Mr. Branham." I said, "Yes sir." He said, "I have the sad news to tell you, your father passed away at 5:49."
Well, you could just.. . you know what I mean. So I came out while the brethren were standing there, and told them. I said, "One thing I remember, he said, 'If you ever hear that I am gone, you stop for just a minute and take your hat off and sing one chorus of Only Believe." This we did.
Brother Pearry Green then said he would take the body to Jeffersonville, where I had requested that the funeral be held. I had to tell Mom and Sarah, who were still in the hospital. I didn't tell you about their injuries. Mother had a broken left leg and head injuries, and my sister Sarah had a broken back in several places.
When I told them, they, said, "We are going back to Indiana." I told the doctor they wanted to go, so we tried to get things ready. The only way the doctor would let us go with them, was to get a ambulance plane. Brother Moseley and the brethren here we with us. They got the plane. We chartered two planes and took them back to Jeffersonville. When we arrived they were put in the hospital, and we went on down to the funeral home.
When I looked at that body, it didn't look like my dad. The I thought, "He is not there at all." I know it was for some reason that I thought that way. We had the funeral on a Wednesday. Many many people came. Those who couldn't come sent their sympathy and their love, and we appreciate this so very much.
I know it has been asked, so I must tell you. We did not bury our father. I said, "Lord, if you let me get through this funeral service, that is all I can do. I can't commit him to the ground Mother will have to make that choice." I went to her, and she said "I don't know whether I want to live in Tucson where Daddy had just built a home for us." (They were planning on moving in after we came back from Jeffersonville.) She said, "I don't know just where I want to be, but where I am, I want him to be there also."
I asked the coroner, (who is a very good friend of mine) if he would give me permission to keep him there, or if I could just put him in a vault or something like that without committing him to the ground, till after Mother decided what she wanted to do. He said "I love that man too much for that. I will keep him here in the funeral home. When you decide, then you can have the service." Up to now we don't know, but we must make a choice within the next few weeks. We know that Mother will make the right choice. So we desire you to pray for us.
My mother is home in Jeffersonville in the parsonage now. My sister is still in the hospital. She is able to walk, but she can't sit. Just as soon as she is able to sit, then we are going to bring her back to Tucson, to our home here, or wherever the Lord leads.
I don't know how to tell you of what I have to read to you now, but I said, "Lord I have never spoken much before, maybe five or six words before a congregation." When Brother Williams asked me to come, I said, "Brother Carl, I can't come out there. So many times I have brought him in to that old platform, I just can't do it right now, Brother Carl." Then I thought, "Now Dad wouldn't want me to be that way." So I prayed, and I came.
Brother Williams gave me his room over here, and as you know, Daddy always said, "I can't get Paul out of bed." I kind of like to sleep late. But somehow this morning I woke up about 6:00 o'clock, which is very unusual, and I couldn't go back to sleep. When I woke up I thought, "I am so lonesome for Dad." This might not mean anything to you, but I would like to read you something that just came to me this morning. Please excuse the way I read the words, but I want to read something that was a comfort to me, in my heart. I would like to title this "My Dad."
Branham's Car Wreck and Tomb
The Cloud Hoax
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