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William Branham and the Tragedy of Hope Branham

William Branham used the tragic death of his first wife, Hope Branham, for the creation of later versions of his stage persona. According to Branham, God smote his wife and daughter, Sharon Rose Branham, during the 1937 flood. Heart wrenching tales of fighting the surge of flood waters to reach the hospital during her final days captured the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people. Branham claimed that her death in 1937 convinced him to heed his calling to become a “faith healer”.

Her death was tragic, but the alterations to the stage persona do not match history. Hope was diagnosed with tuberculosis in January of 1936, two full years after the first documented case of Branham touring as a healing revivalist, and over six full years after the timeline given by Branham’s mentor, Roy E. Davis. She died July 21, 1937, four months after the flood waters subsided. Sharon Rose died five days later on July 26, 1937.

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