History of The Salvation Army

Or Founder, William Booth

Our founder, William BoothIn 1865 William Booth, a young British minister, left the Methodist New Connection to begin a mission in the poverty-ridden London East End. With his wife, Catherine, he "reached for the worst," rather than cultivate the comfortable middle class.

In 1878, the name was changed from the Christian Mission to The Salvation Army. Immediately, the movement captured the public imagination.

Incorporating paramilitary ranks and uniforms, the movement spread throughout the British Isles.

In 1880, the first missionary, George Scott Railton, was sent to New York. With the aid of seven untutored women, The Salvation Army was soon on its way along the east coast of America.

Social Services
William Booth's ministry recognized the interdependence of material, emotional and spiritual needs. In addition to preaching the Gospel, Booth became involved in providing: food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless and alcohol rehabilitation for the addicted.

The basic social services developed by William Booth have remained an outward, visible expression of The Army's strong religious principles.

Evolving Services

In addition, new programs that address contemporary needs have been established:

  • disaster relief services*
  • addiction recovery*
  • child care centers
  • summer camps*
  • holiday assistance*
  • services for seniors
  • hospitals and medical facilities*
  • AIDS care and counseling facilities
  • shelters for battered wives and children*
  • family and career counseling*
  • vocational training*
  • correctional services*

*Services offered by The Salvation Army in Lee, Hendry and Glades

Today, The Salvation Army ministers in more than 120 countries worldwide. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached by its officers in 114 languages.

Additional historical information can be found on The Salvation Army's International, Salvation Army USASouthern Territory, and Florida Division web sites.


 About Us

90¢ of every dollar raised by the Lee, Hendry, Glades Counties Command is used to sustain life-changing programs that bring hope to hurting souls.

The Salvation Army assists more than 33 million individuals throughout the year in the United States – over 6 million of those during the holiday season alone.

What Others Are Saying

Executive Compensation - what do top officials make at charities?
Scroll through the list researched by The Chronicle of Philanthropy and find The Salvation Army. This list confirms that your donations to The Salvation Army go to programs and services, not to bloated executive salaries.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy
November 16, 2013

"One of the top 10 charities that shine...one that gives supporters more bang for their buck."
Forbes Magazine,
December 2003

The Salvation Army is “America’s favorite and most trusted charity” according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy


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