The details of Charles Branham's life are few. He was born Charles "Branam" in 1884 in Indiana. While he was yet in his 20's, prevailing circumstances forced him to change the spelling of his name from "Branam" to "Branham" as it is spelled today. We will explain this later. We know nothing of his youth prior to his Twenty-second birthday. At the age of Twenty-two he married Eighteen year old Ella Harvey in 1906. Three years later Ella gave Birth to their first son, William. He was the first of eight children.
Charles was a hard working young man and he was known to have had a weakness for whiskey. This eventually caused his health to fail, taking him to an early grave. But it was into this household, under this influence, that God ordained a prophet to be born. William Branham would experience first hand the effect of alcohol on family life. Yet in it all he maintained a great respect for his father. He admired this strong man who stood about 5' 7" tall and weighed 165 pounds. Remembering how hard his father had worked, William Branham said:
We were very, very poor. Daddy had a hard time. He was a very poor man. He worked for seventy-five cents a day in log wood. My father had a bad habit, drinking. I'm sorry to have to say that, but that's true. I seen my daddy work so hard, till when he would come in, his back would be sun burned until his shirt would be sticking to his back, and mother would have to take and clip the shirt loose from his back. I don't care what he done. He's my daddy. I'm not ashamed of my father. I love my daddy. He's gone on today, but he's still daddy.
William Branham vividly remembered the many times he had to carry water to his father's whiskey 'still'. It was during one of these chores that the Angel spoke to him for the first time in his life. At the time William was seven years old. He remembered the times when his father would give him a whipping BUT he confessed that he needed every whipping he received.
Speaking of his father, Brother Branham said:
We had an old piece of a mirror that we drove nails around it in a tree, and a little old wash bench. When dad used come in there, about a hundred and sixty pounds, about five foot, seven or eight inches tall. Man? Oh, my, logger, muscles hanging on him like that. I can seen him roll them sleeves up, that old blue shirt, that old hickory shirt mom made herself, for him; rolled it up like that. When he would go to wash, and the muscles swelling back and forth, I would stand off, I said, "That's my dad. That's my dad. He will live a hundred years. That's my daddy.
Logging is hard at the best of times, but it was especially hard during the 1920's when Charles was struggling to make ends meet and to feed his family. Even then, there were times when there wasn't enough food to go around. But Charles would give up his portion to the children and go back to work on an empty stomach. In the good times and the bad, he stuck with his family.
Of all his children William was the most unusual. There was something different about him - he was a loner who loved nature, hunting and fishing. There was one thing about William that his father absolutely could not understand - William "hated" whiskey. One time when, in the presence of a friend, his oldest son, refused to take a drink of Whiskey, Charles advised his friend that he had raised one sissy. Not wanting to be a sissy, young William reached for the flask to take a drink BUT then he heard "It" again - the same sound he heard a fews years before, when a Voice spoke from a tree and "warned" him not to drink or smoke or defile his body in any way BECAUSE there was a work for him to do when he got older. Charles was unaware of "the calling" on his son's life. Little did he realize that he was raising a "Prophet To the Gentiles".
But it was Charles' weakness for Whiskey and the need to support his family that forced him into brewing illegal Alcohol. No doubt Whiskey played a part in a barroom brawl, at which a number of men were injured and one ended up in hospital in serious conditon. For his part in the brawl, Charles became a wanted man. He fled accross the Kentucky state line, into Indiana. It was then that he "Changed his Name". Before fleeing from the state, he told his wife, Ella that he would write her under 'another name' and let her know where he was. Brother Branham tells about it in his "Life Story".....
Now, I have to be honest. There's things here that I do not like to say, and I wish I could bypass it and not have to say it. But yet, to tell the truth, you must tell the truth if it's on yourself or your people. Be honest about it, and then it's always the same.
In the Old Testament God changed Abram's name to Abraham. The Lord inserted "ha" into the Name of Abram, giving it seven letters, signifying the "completion" of Abraham's Faith. Charles 'Branam' was unknowingly doing God a service by inserting the letter "h" into 'branam' to make "Branham", seven letters, signifying completion, even in the name that his son, William would also carry the rest of his days. Now, ALL three of William's names would contain seven letters each - William Marrion Branham - the Seventh Messenger to the Seventh and last Church Age. Of course, Charles Branham, being far from religious, knew nothing of these things.
Within a year of leaving Kentucky, the "Branham" family was re-united again and Charles continued his struggle to survive and keep his family together. Eventually William moved west for two years, returning only after he heard the news of his brother's death in 1929. Charles and Ella were heart-broken over the death of their young son. It was William's mother, Ella, who persuaded him not to go west again. Within a few weeks he obtained a job with the Indiana Public Works Company.
About two years after Charles' son, Edward had passed away, death came knocking once again on his door. This time it was William. The Doctors words must have been like a knife cutting to the heart when he said, "I hate to tell you this Mr. Branham, but your boy has got about five minutes longer to live." Young William was dying from a ruptured appendix. The poison was spreading throughout his body rapidly. But by the Grace of God, his life was spared. Even the Doctors declared it to be miraculous. Charles was spared the heavy grief of losing another son. Again he was unaware that God was dealing with William.
From this time to the time of his own death, little is known about Charles Branham. We only know that his health began to worsen, till, for a short time he was confined to bed. The Doctor administered a drug to stimulate his heart BUT he had accidently given him an overdose and it resulted in death. William held his repentant father in his arms as he drew his last breath. At the young age of 52 years Charles Branham, on November 30, 1936, passed into another dimension.