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William Marrion Branham was an evangelist who has been called the "pacesetter of the healing revival"  and a "prophet". He was born in rural Kentucky, raised in Indiana, and in the 1940’s his healing ministry skyrocketed him from a rural pastor to an international evangelist.
William Branham was compulsively deceptive with those around him. He often embellished stories, facts, and scriptures to his own advantage. What you hear on William Branham's recorded sermons is only one side of the story, yet that story often blatantly contradicts documented history.
This life story account is based on both his recorded sermons and as many historical documents as we could find. Any statements that can be substantiated by written historical documents are referenced. Hopefully this will let you decide for yourself whether William Branham was honest.
Charles Branham and Ella Harvey were both born in 1887. . They were 20 years old when William Branham was born on March 10, 1907 in Cumberland County, Kentucky.  They were 21 years old when William Branham was born on April 8, 1908.  But his father was eighteen and his mother was fifteen years old when William Branham was born under an alignment of stars  on April 6, 1909 , when a pillar of light entered the shack and scared the midwife. 
The Branham family moved from Kentucky to Indiana when William Branham was a young boy. William Branham claimed this was his first fulfilled prophecy.  Charles Branham was in trouble with the law at the time, which may explain why he used the name as “Brainon” on the 1910 census records.
William Branham’s father brewed his own moonshine and established a speakeasy in Indiana. While William Branham’s hatred for alcohol and women stemmed from this time of his life, he never stopped admiring the man who provided the booze and drew the crowd:
William Branham said that he received two visions as a young boy in Indiana. The first was when his father asked him to haul water for the moonshine operations. William Branham said that a voice spoke to him out of a whirlwind in a tree and said, "Never drink, smoke, or defile your body in any way, for I have a work for you to do when you get older."  By his own testimony, William Branham never drank alcohol in his life – other than in Church as part of communion.
William Branham also told of a second vision that happened a few weeks later when he was playing marbles with his brother. He said that he saw the construction of the Louisville Municipal Bridge being built across the Ohio River, and 16 men falling off to their death during its construction. He said the vision told him that this would take place 22 years from the time of the vision.  The Louisville Municipal Bridge opened on October 31, 1929 which means that this vision took place either before William Branham was born or while he was an infant.
When William Branham was 14 years old, he was shot in a hunting accident, and spent several months in the hospital. His hospital bills were paid for by the Ku Klux Klan and the Masons. 
Charles Branham broke horses for Otto Wathen, and later became his private chauffer.  Otto Wathen owned the R.E. Wathen Distillery as well as the Louisville Colonels baseball club. William Branham said that their family lived on Wathen’s residence for a time.
William Branham recalls that compared to other families, the Branham's were poor. At school his shoes were often torn, and he would sometimes wear a closed jacket when he had no shirt to wear.  William Branham also said that his father died when he was a young man, forcing him to drop out of school and become the bread-winner for the family. He did this successfully by hunting and trapping, where he learned to shoot straight in order to preserve costly ammunition.
By 1926, (at the age of 16, 17 or 18) William Branham had enough money to buy a new Model-T Ford.  He also claimed to have been initiated as a hunter on a trip to New York’s Adirondack Mountains , and to have hunted as a young man in Maine with the famous naturalist Burt Caul (who he called “the most cruel-hearted person I ever seen”).  Through his teenage years William Branham did not want to have anything to do with God, or church. It was during this time that a fortune teller told him that he was born under a rare alignment of stars.  In 1928, he told his mother he was going camping in Green’s Mill, Indiana, and left to work as a ranch-hand in Arizona.  He returned after he received news that his brother Edward had died on June 20, 1929 at the age of 19.  Edward's funeral was taken by a close family friend, Rev. McKinney, who made a salvation call that William Branham refused.  William Branham was in Arizona during the time of the construction of the Louisville Memorial Bridge in 1929. As a result, he was not aware that Richard Pilton and Lloyd McEwan were the only two men who died during the construction of the Louisville Municipal Bridge, and that neither drowned.
Joining the Church
William Branham said that he was overcome by fumes while checking meters at the Gas Works in New Albany in 1931. When he went to a specialist, however, he was told that he had appendicitis and had to have an operation. Afraid, he requested a minister from the First Baptist Church to stand by him. During the time of the operation, he promised to preach the Gospel if God would restore his health. William Branham said that after this experience, he went into a field to pray, and saw a vision of a light that formed a cross.  William Branham also said that he was converted in a Baptist Church , a coal shed , a saloon that had been converted into a colored Pentecostal church , and in a Jewish Hospital.
One of the churches William Branham visited during his recovery was the First Pentecostal Baptist Church of Jeffersonville at 328 Watt Street, which was pastored by Rev. Roy Davis, a member of the Ku Klux Klan. It was here that William Branham first met Hope Brumbach (born July 16, 1913), who was a youth leader and speaker at the church, and a seamstress at the shirt manufacturer M. Fine & Sons. 
Hope’s parents Charles and Hazel Brumbach divorced on November 1, 1931. Charles Brumbach quickly remarried to Grace Creigh February 15, 1932 and moved away from Jeffersonville to Fort Wayne, Indiana (a 3.5 hour drive from Jeffersonville on modern roads). 
William Branham asked for Hope's hand in marriage after a sermon preached by Roy Davis after a Wednesday night sermon. They talked about it as they walked to her parent’s house from the church. William Branham said he stood on the porch of her parent’s home, Charles stopped playing the Victrola and came out to the porch. William Branham asked Charles if he could marry Hope while Hope remained inside and talked with her mother. 
Roy Davis preached strongly about the Pentecostal revival, advertised regularly in the Jeffersonville Evening News, and wrote that William Branham received the Holy Spirit in his front room. Even though William Branham said that he did not join a church, it was at this time that he became an elder in the First Pentecostal Baptist Church, and was president of the PBYPU (Pentecostal Baptist Young People) in March 1933. 
Early Signs of a Supernatural Ministry
In 1932 when William Branham first prayed for the sick: a Mr. Merril and a Mrs. Mary Der Ohanion were both healed that year. 
In June 1933, William Branham had his first evangelistic tent meetings, in which 14 people were converted. William Branham received front page news coverage for these meetings in the Jeffersonville Evening News.  William Branham distributed a tract saying that a light appeared in August 1933 when he was baptizing the 17th person on the Ohio River, while 3,000 people watched from the shore.
William Branham later said the newspapers reported that a light appeared while he was baptizing the 17th person on the Ohio River, while 10,000 people watched from the shore.  The population of Jeffersonville was only 12,000 people at the time. 
William Branham said that in June 1933, he experienced a series of prophetic visions foretelling major events up until the end of the world. William Branham describes these visions inconsistently, but in summary they are:
William Branham claimed to have started construction on the 'Pentecostal Tabernacle’ in Jeffersonville in 1933 before he was married (this later became known as the 'Branham Tabernacle').
However, the last advertisement for Roy Davis church in the Jeffersonville Evening News was on February 10, 1934,  and William Branham said he was the assistant pastor of Roy Davis’ church at the time it burned down.  Roy Davis then moved back to Texas, and William Branham started construction on his own church. The first advertisement for William Branham’s church, The Pentecostal Tabernacle, appeared in the Jeffersonville Evening News appeared on August 17, 1935. 
William Branham told of a vision he had on the morning he was laying the cornerstone for his new tablernacle. The vision was of an orchard, with places for new trees on either side of an aisle leading to the cross. Plum trees were on one side, and apple trees were on the other side, and both types of fruit were found in the cross. William Branham was instructed to walk between these trees (which he identified as the Trinitarian and Oneness Pentecostals), and do the work of an evangelist, as both types of fruit were found in the cross. Later in his ministry he began preaching that the Trinity and Oneness doctrines were of the devil – in direct violation of this early vision.
William Branham continued to work and preach, and married Hope Brumbach on June 22, 1934 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. 
Already married, and a pastor of a Pentecostal church, William Branham travelled north to a town called Mishawaka, where he was received warmly by a group of mixed European-American and African-American Pentecostals. William Branham often said that these Mishawaka meetings were his first introduction to the Pentecostal people.  Without Roy Davis around to enforce his KKK agenda, William Branham began accepting a number of invitations to preach at various Oneness and mixed-race Pentecostal churches.
The summer of 1935 was a whirlwind of events.
William Branham’s brother Charles died in an accident on August 5, 1935. Then Hope Branham’s mother remarried to John Cardwell on August 22, 1935. Soon after, Billy Paul Branham was born to William and Hope on September 13, 1935. The 1935 and 1937 city directory listed William Branham is pastor of the Pentecostal Tabernacle, and residing with his wife Hope at 430 Graham Street in Jeffersonville. 
In 1936 William Branham said he was pressured by his mother-in-law not to accept invitations from Pentecostal Churches. How William Branham agreed to follow his mother-in-law’s advice is a mystery, because he was the pastor of a Pentecostal church at the time. What he did do was begin to refuse invitations from Oneness, colored and mixed-race Pentecostal Churches. 
In the fall of 1936, William Branham claimed to have a vision that the Ohio River would flood, and reach 22 feet over Spring Street in Jeffersonville.  A daughter named Sharon Rose Branham was born to William and Hope Branham on October 27, 1936. A month later, William Branham’s father Charles passed away for real on November 30, 1936. William Branham later said that he had terrible grammar because of his father’s early death.
Tragedy and Recovery
The Ohio River flood lasted from January 5 to February 5, 1937. William Branham tells a story of how he left his Bible on the pulpit during the flood, and when he came back they found out that the pulpit had floated up during the flood, and rested on the same spot with the Bible still open and dry.  The newspapers, however, packed a story of the pews and pulpit rising and falling to a crest of 15 feet during the Ohio River flood in the First Presbyterian Church in Jeffersonville, because the wooden floor had loosed from the side walls. 
William Branham tells how he lost contact with Hope during the flood, and found her dying in a hospital with a hole in her side to collapse her lungs. Hope's nurse was also a personal friend of the Branham family, and William Branham identified her as Hilda/Juanita/Evelyn/Louise Cook/Hale. He ties the story of Hope’s death so closely to the flood, that he makes is sound as if she died in February of 1937.  But Hope fought pneumonia for a number of months before passing away on July 21, 1937. Sharon Rose Branham also passed away from disease a few days later on July 26, 1937.  William Branham blamed the death of Hope and Sharon Rose on his decision to respect his mother-in-law’s request not to associate with Pentecostals. 
William Branham relays little about the years after the death of his wife and daughter. He mentions that it was a period of extreme trial, depression, and responsibility as he worked and looked after his son and pastored a Pentecostal Church. William Branham said that he attempted suicide twice during this time.  The Jeffersonville City Directory named William Branham as a collector for the Public Service Company in 1939 and 1941, which indicates that he may have stepped down from pastoring for a few years.
The hard times soon faded and William Branham married Meda Broy on October 23, 1941. (Meda was the daughter of Frank and Emma Broy, and was born on April 16, 1919. Emma Broy had divorced her first husband Daniel Lawton in 1907 before marrying Frank, who she divorced on April 3, 1929.) William Branham was then once again listed as the pastor of the Pentecostal Tabernacle in the 1943 Jeffersonville City Directory.