From Plowboy to Preacher


Born to Cicero and Ada Biddle on October 11, 1924, Dad grew up on a farm in rural Henagar (DeKalb County) Alabama.  He was the seventh child and youngest son of eight living children. His family owned a small farm from which they made their living and his upbringing was greatly impacted by the Christian influence of his mother.

Now that all the siblings are gone, I realize how little information has been documented about the growing up years.  Most of what I remember comes from those times spent with my grandmother when, in response to our “tell us a story, Granny,” she would tell the same accounts over and over. And with wide-eyed wonder, we listened as if we had never before heard them.

A favorite story was about the peddler that randomly came by the farm.  On one of those occasions, Granny failed to get my dad’s favorite crackers and when she returned to the house, he was so heartbroken that she chased the peddler across the fields to the upper road.  Needless to say, Dad got his crackers.

One other remembrance, although I believe it was Dad that shared this one, was of the time his Mother had dressed him in white knicker-type pants and took him to the services at New Home Church just down the road from their farm. Feeling quite proud as he walked past an open window of the Church building, one of the Oldtimers spit tobacco juice out the window and it landed right on Dad’s white pants. He was not at all happy! I smile to remember that his well-groomed lifestyle can be traced to his childhood.

Some events, the details of which are blurred, involve stories of fun times spent with his best friend and future brother-in-law, George Cordell and with his older brother, Gordon (later known to his friends as Sandy). Other stories relate to the hard times spent behind a horse-drawn plow as a boy and later as a young adult trying to save the farm after his father’s debilitating stroke.   

At some point in the early 1940’s, Dad says he walked up to a vehicle in a church parking lot and saw a cute blond sitting in the car.  His story was that he said that day he was going to marry this girl and he did in 1944.  At the time of their marriage, Dad was unsaved, and the blond-haired girl was in a fight for her health and the assurance of her salvation.

After their marriage and my mother’s subsequent rededication of her life to the Lord, Dad was greatly troubled in his soul as he realized that “Ozell will go to Heaven and I will go to Hell.”  This agony was relieved on September 7, 1947 when in a revival at Pea Ridge Church, Dad came to know the Lord.

The journey from Pea Ridge in 1947 to Tifton, Georgia in 1961 was full of twists and turns – many of which will be the subject of future blogs – but nonetheless a journey that took the “Plowboy” to the “Pulpit” where he became known as “Preacher” Biddle.



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