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The interview with Jack Vissing; 2014

Jack Vissing, a prominent local attorney in Jeffersonville, knew William Branham and in 2014 he gave an interview to VOGR (Voice Of God Recordings) about his experiences with Brother Branham and about the Second Street Bridge in Jeffersonville. Jack Vissing is not only an accomplished lawyer, but also highly respected member of the Jeffersonville community. His family members have been community leaders for decades. His father, Richard L. Vissing, was the longest standing mayor in Jeffersonville history (20 years), and also a personal friend of William Branham. Jack doesn’t follow the teachings of William Branham or attend an affiliated church; he is a loyal and active member of the local Saint Luke’s Church Of Christ.

Well good morning, I’m Jack Vissing. John is my correct name but no-one ever called me that so that’s how we know who strangers are coming by. They ask for John Instead of Jack.

And I’m the son of Richard L. Vissing and I’m lifelong resident of Jeffersonville, Indiana and I have been a school teacher, I have worked in the boat yards and I am now an attorney and I have been an attorney since 1976.

Even though I’m 65 years old, doesn’t seem right, feel like I’m talking about my Dad, when I’m talk about being 65!

You know I was lucky to be raised by a secure well established man who had no identity problems. My Dad, Richard Vissing, although he served as mayor for 20 years, which is a longest consecutive period of service anybody’s ever had in the city of Jeffersonville, and was offered the lieutenant governorship to run during part of that time, began as a mechanic in a family garage here in Jeffersonville.

Part of the time Dad’s family had too many people eating out of the same basket so we moved to the Jeffersonville motel he built. And that was.. at least our home was there. Our family room was the office and we had a friendly “drop-in” sort of relationship, with anybody who came by. One of the people who came by on a frequent basis was Rev. Branham.

Now we never knew him as Rev. Branham, we always called him Billy and he and Dad were the best of buddies. I think he was a few years older than my Dad but not many. And they were pals.

I recall sitting on the floor, in front of the TV. set, with these two fellows behind me drinking a cup of coffee or a coke, telling stories about how things were. They were friends all through life.

One day my Dad told me, said “You know, Billy Branham fed people” he said “lot of people would’ve starved to death in the depression, but Billy carried a 22 with him when he was out walking the lines and shot squirrels and rabbits and brought them back and fed folks” he said “never thought twice about it.”

Now one of the issues you guys brought up to me was the George Rogers Clark Bridge and the fact that people fell and were involved in the…they’re still there, they’re inside the pillar!

Now that wasn’t really widely reported. That was opened in 1929. My Dad was 14 years old then. They’d taken a car out the garage and sat at the line where the ribbon was, all night long to be the first one to drive over with his cousin and he’s got a little bronze medallion, they were giving away to people on the bridge that day. So that would put that a year and a half to two years earlier when they were building that pillar. My grandmother, Maud, and another lady, Dorothy Phillips, were also St. Luke’s member, were younger people. Dorothy was about my Dad’s age and was standing on the bank and told me this story, that she watched the scaffolding collapse, there were people fell inside the pillar, workmen.

Now the cement just kept coming on top of them and they couldn’t stop the pour because you’d have to run, tear the whole pillar down. So those guys are there today (interviewer: inside the pillar?) Inside the pillar. I guess it was never really widely reported in the news media, but my grand -mother assured me that that was true and I know that Dorothy, who is long since deceased, said she was there and saw it.

Now those are things, that nobody really had instant reporting that we do today where you’re bombarded “ad nauseum” by interviews and reporters but I believe that there’s absolutely no question in my mind that that occurred.

(int.: Your grandmother) yes and Ms. Phillips (and Ms. Phillips …they witnessed?)

I know Ms. Phillips witnessed it, because she went on at length with me explaining about how she’d seen the scaffolding and seen these people up there and there was some kind of contraption where they were pouring a lot of cement inside that pillar. And she said all of a sudden the scaffolding just came apart and men just fell into the pour and they kept pouring. (int.: she didn’t know how many?) No.. She did not recall a count but it was a number of men and I don’t know if there would be any way to recall how many actually went in but it was more than 1 or 2 or 3, it was.. you know she was a kid then, she was panicked on the side of the river watching that. So, you know, could’ve been a dozen, could’ve been more, but it was a significant number of people , that all of a sudden lost their footing, the scaffolding did collapse and concrete kept coming. (Int.: and a lot of people knew about it at that time?) Oh Yeah, at that time. Now nobody wanted to stop the bridge. The bridge needed to get done and I guess the people had, well, looked around, said , “Well, you know, we really had to tear that pillar down and start over again, now what kind of delay would that be?”. And this is just a risk those fellows assumed by taking that kind of work.

It´s significant to note that after that bridge was completed, it was a toll bridge and World War 2 came and the Indiana Army Ammunition plant came and they paid it off, nearly took a short order because the people working at the plant were using that bridge and there really wasn´t another new bridge that was built until about the early 1960´s. So it was the last of a big construction boom. Social security : there was no health insurance, there was no concern for the welfare of the small worker. Workers were, you know, at mercy.

This is a time when labor unions were being started because of the horrible conditions for the working person. So no, there wouldn´t have been any thought, wouldn´t have been anybody to care, wouldn´t have been a union steward to come by and report that. People were just there and some of them were out of town, I´m sure some of them were local. And the construction company that built the bridge would not have been a local company, would have been a specialty contractor and these are people who would probably work regularly for those people.

(int.: Did they hear anything about Bro. Branham giving this prophecy? Or would they have been in the loop there, as far as attending his church?) Well they never attended any of Billy`s churches, they were always at St. Luke´s out here, so we´ve never been a part of the congregation there with bro. Branham; although on special occasions we have attended functions that he had but I don´t recall any of them telling me directly. Now I know that my Dad said that bro. Billy had a gift of psyche and a gift of …you know.. he was clairvoyant in a lot of things. And I know that at the motel, remember that was in the fifties when we lived there, a lot of bro. Branham´s (..?..) or friends or people who came to him for healing stayed with us and they would rent a room and I recall my Dad on a Sunday afternoon taken me aside and say “See that guy there?” said “yeah” said “he came in here, on crutches or in a wheelchair, and he´s walking out of here today”. He said “Bro. Branham healed him” (int. : and that was the Jeffersonville Motel?) Jeffersonville Motel.

Dad built that up a little bit at a time and started out at 12 little units, then he built another section, which put our house in it. So we actually were a part of the…, we lived there and the office of the motel was really our family room. So when people came in to register they sort of walked by the TV. and we had a counter back there for them and our kitchen for the house was next door. So Mother frequently served coffee and meals to people there. It was hard to say what was work and what was social. Bro Billy was there frequently and, you know, he´d have a cup of coffee with Dad and sometimes it would be up at the table or sometimes through the door or out in the family room, office.

Frequent visitor. And his people were always happy and they were always glad to be there and gracious and, you know, we had a good relationship with him. There´s good stories.

One day he walked in with a parcel of butcher-paper and said “Edna, come here, I´ve brought you something.” It was bear steaks. He had shot a bear and he’d had had it cut into steaks. “I bet you´ve never had bear-steaks “and she said “well, you´re right, I´ve never had bear-steaks!” and there was a challenge for her to figure out how to cook them! But it was an event. The whole family got to participate and the extended family as well. So the only time I ever had bear was from him.

I never really understood how significant he was, because he and my Dad were just guys in shirt sleeves, just buddies. It wasn´t somebody: we´re doing something here for a purpose, to enhance my picture or enhance my credibility in the community … These guys just lived.

My Father ran the records for the garage, even after he had the motel, and he would go out and retrieve cars at night and if there was a wreck or somebody broken down or a criminal act and they would haul away a vehicle, my Dad would get the call and I got to go with him a lot of times, as a little guy. And it was fun.

One year he broke his back and he was laid up and I recall bro. Billy coming by to see him, while he was in this contraption; it went all the way around down from his hips to his shoulders and laced up. And er..think Armand Fisher put that together for him back in 1957.

In 1958, I had rheumatic fever and I woke up one morning, I´d had an ear infection. They did not have tubes for kid´s ears at that time. And my hands were locked about like this and my back was twisted and I couldn´t move. So Mother, of course, was in a panic and then the whole day was spent in taking me straight to the doctor and then straight into the St. Edward’s Hospital, New Albany, where I spent the next 3 weeks with rheumatic fever. They found out that I had a heart murmur and they were terrified. They were pretty much concerned that this could be a fatal experience for a 10 year old. I recall bro. Billy coming by and seeing me when I got home and saying “Don´t worry, you´ll be alright.”

Well I still have the heart murmur, but here I am, I´m 65 years old. It did not kill me and he gave my parents great comfort and, you know, I´m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I keep going.

I could sit around telling bro. Billy stories all day long. He was kind of a man´s man, you know. He didn´t worry about how people viewed him, he just was who he was, much like my father. I mean, they did not have a public image and a personal image. They were the same 24/7. And you know, it’s like Dad said, I always thought a lot of him because he fed people who were hungry. He never said anything about it, never told anybody about it; he just did it. And that´s how men do. There are a lot of people who are male but really aren’t what I call a man.

So I was lucky I was raised by a bunch of guys who really had no self-esteem, questions, they knew who they were. Bro. Billy was one of those kind of guys. I´m lucky to have been around him.