Cuddy and His Wagon

H.L. Mencken

Baltimore Morning Herald/April 29, 1899

The Evangelist Who Predicts the World’s End in the Twentieth Century, Now Here.

W. A. Cuddy, evangelist, prophet of evil and founder of the unique Willow Tree Alley Mission, in Washington, will preach from his gospel wagon in this city today and tomorrow. He is a familiar figure at the Capital, where for three years he has preached on street corners and vacant lots from a somber, black wagon, which bears on its sides weird warnings of the approach of the judgment day, and glaring inscriptions setting forth the articles of his doctrine.

The world, he prophesies, will surely come to an end during the 20th century. To properly give notice of the coming catastrophe, so that saints and sinners alike may prepare for its trials, he is starting on a tour of Europe, which will include visits to all of the capitals and chief cities. By traveling northward from Baltimore by easy stages, he expects to reach Dwight L. Moody’s home at Northfield, Mass., in time to attend the special meetings of Christian workers in August, after which he will turn his wagon over to his wife, and cross the ocean to begin his trans-Atlantic wanderings. His itinerary embraces stops at London, Brussels, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, St. Petersburg and Rome, Berlin, Madrid, St. Petersburg and Rome, after which he expects to visit Constantinople and Jerusalem, “the City of the King,” which in the 20th century, according to his pamphlet, “the prophetic alarm” will become the “theatre of action of the world.”

Mr. Cuddy will remain in Paris several months, during the progress of the Exposition of 1900, and will daily explain the chart with which he attempts to prove the truthfulness of his claims. He has done much good in Washington, and his five-cent lodging house in Willow Tree alley, has, during the past few years, sheltered hundreds of homeless men. While Camp Alger was in existence he used his gospel wagon to haul donations of ice and food to the troops and supplied food and fuel to the suffering poor during the blizzard weather experienced during the past winter.

Mr. Cuddy founds his appalling warnings on the description of the ten toes of the image in the second chapter of the Book of Daniel, and the ten horns described in Revelations, 12,13, and 17. These signs have been elaborately worked out, and are fully explained in the “Prophetic Alarm.”

“The present governments of Europe will be overthrown in the 20th century.” says Mr. Cuddy. “The 23 governments now within the boundary of the ancient Roman Empire will be reduced to ten to fulfill the signs in Daniel and Revelations. The ten new governments will rally under a false Messiah, who is to come to restore the Jews to Jerusalem, destroy the city of Rome, and overthrow America. The career of the false Messiah and the false millennium will be ended by the appearance of Jesus Christ and all of His true followers will be caught up to meet Him.

“The complete destruction of all nations will rapidly follow, and the world will come to an end. All of these things will surely come to pass in the 20th century and are predicted by me as the mouthpiece of Jesus Christ.”

The evangelist’s meeting today will be held at 8 P. M., corner Cross and Charles streets. Tomorrow he will speak at 11 A.M., corner Lombard street and Market Space, and at 3.30 and 7.30 P.M. corner Baltimore and Light streets.   


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