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(title page) The Cyclopedia of the Colored Baptists of Alabama Their Leaders and Their Work
(spine) The Cyclopedia of the Colored Baptists of Alabama
Charles Octavius Boothe D.D.
267 p., ill.
Alabama Pub. Co.
Call Number BX6444.A6 B6 (Rare Book Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
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REV. C. O. BOOTHE, D. D
Author of "Plain Theology."
Author of "Plain Theology for Plain People."
Possibly some one may desire at some time and for some reason to know something of the author of this book, and therefore he submits the following short statement:
LINEAGE AND NATIVITY.--His great-grandmother was born on the west coast of Africa and was brought a slave to Virginia, where his grandmother was born. Ere his grandmother had reached her maturity of womanhood, she was sold into Georgia, where his mother was born. While his mother was still a child, she and her mother were carried to Mobile county, Ala., by a Mr. Nathan Howard. In this county, on a lonely looking sand hill amid pine forests, on June 13, 1845, the writer made his advent into this world. (In this year, 1845, the Baptists of America divided.)
EARLY RECOLLECTIONS.--Stored away in my earliest memories I find: (1) The songs and family prayers of my step-grandfather, a pure African, who had not only learned to read his Bible and hymn book, but had also learned the rudiments of vocal music, sufficiently well to teach the art of singing. (2) The tender and constant attention of an old white lady (the only white person on the place), who took my hand as she went out to look after the nests of the domestic fowls and to gather a dish of ripe fruit. (3) A Baptist church in the forest, where white and colored people sat together to commune and to wash each other's feet. (4) The saintly face and pure life of my grandmother, to whom white and black went for prayer and for comfort in the times of their sorrows. (5)
A tin-plate containing the alphabet, from which at the age of 3 years, I learned the English letters. (6) The death of the old white lady, and the severing from dear grandmother and the old home. (7) My introduction at the age of 6 years to the family of Nathan Howard, Jr., where things were not altogether as tender toward me as at the old home, and where I came more into associations with books and with life's sterner facts. The teachers who boarded here at my new home became my instructors, and so I was soon reading and writing fairly well. Here, listening to the reading of the Bible, I was drawn toward it, and began to read it for myself. The gospel story bound me to it with cords which nothing has been able to break. At the close of my eighth year I began to seek the Lord by prayer and supplication, and have, from that time to this, continued my secret devotions and strivings after truth. My association with Col. James S. Terrel, the brother of Judge S. H. Terrel, of Clark county, Miss., at the age of 14, as office boy in his law office, gave me a still broader range of books. I think I can say that the Colonel and I really loved each other.
I am not sure that I know just when I was regenerated, as my childhood prayers were often attended with refreshing seasons of love and joy. But my life was too often very unchristian, breaking out into the wildest rages of bad temper, which was followed by weeping and remorse. In 1860, however, I reached an experience of grace which so strengthened me as to fix me on the side of the people of God. I went at once to reading the scriptures in public and leading prayer meetings; notwithstanding this, I was not baptized until March, 1866, by Rev. O. D. Bowen, of Shubuta, Miss. I was ordained in the St. Louis Street Church, Mobile, December, 1868, by Revs. Charles Leavens and Philip Gambrell.
I taught school for the Freedmen's Bureau in 1867--
taught various schools under our public school system. I have been pastor of the First Colored Baptist Church, Meridian, Miss., Dexter Avenue Church, Montgomery, and held various State positions. The only time I have spent at school was spent in Meharry, the medical department of the Central Tennessee College.
C. O. BOOTHE.
Rev. J. Q. A. Wilhite, Pastor Sixth Avenue Baptist Church, Birmingham, Ala.
THIS effort to give substantial and favorable testimony in the interest of the men and work of the Colored Baptists of Alabama grows out of certain aims and purposes, such as:
1. The desire to produce a picture of the negro associated with the gospel under the regime of slavery. Such a picture will serve to turn our eyes upon the social, moral and religious forces of the dark times and their fruits in the negro's life.
2. The desire to make comparisons--to compare the colored man of 1865 with the colored man of 1895. Such a comparison will help the black man himself to see whether or not he is a growing man or a waning man. It will also serve to show the same thing to the friend and to the foe. "Appeals to Pharoah and to Cæsar" are not so wise as appeals to facts, which prove the negro to be man just as other races are man.
The book is not all history, nor is it all biography; it is something of both and it is more. It gives certain information which can neither rank as history nor as biography: it is the record of special operations in the denomination in different sections of the State with a view to showing the mental status now prevailing. I have been engaged with the book for the past seven years, during which time I have searched and gleaned as best I could; I have not tried to obtain everything, nor have I had space to talk of every person who deserved honorable mention. To do this would require too large a book. I could not do more than get enough together to "round out" my testimony. Where I have spoken of anything that touches
our white brethren or the white people, it has been in tenderest love for them, though my lauguage has been plain and seemingly bold. I think I can risk the statement, that I have no "race prejudice:" all men are in a sense my brethren and I am brother to all men--akin to Christ, akin to me.
If a brother among us deserving mention should not appear, remember that many failed to report to me as I desired them to do, and that I felt I could not do more than give what would make a full showing of our State. Those names that came after the work was done had to be put into a supplement.
It will be seen, therefore, that the purpose which gives birth to this little book is not a desire to present a "vain show" of names, appealing to pride for the sake of gain; but, that it is an humble aim to accomplish some good. It is all attempt to answer the questions: "From whence have we come? What have we done? What have we attained to? What are the possibilities before us?" The book is intended to be a simple statement of facts; which facts, it is believed, will be a sufficient apology for their appearance in book form. The reader may expect faults in arrangement and errors in composition, but it is to be hoped that the sweetness and beauty of the flower will not be rejected because of the thorns upon the stem which bears them. I have not tried to tell everything. If I speak of individuals, it is with a view to giving some of their best things, best deeds, etc. "Straws show which way the wind is blowing," it is said; hence only enough of each biographical sketch is given to show the status and trend of the person spoken of. We are too young, as a people, to make lengthy biography. Coming times will give us this form of literature. It will be remembered that this short period suffices to give only a nucleal point in the matter of writings. I have churned the milk with an eye to obtaining the butter--the richest and best we have. My selection of
material may not be the very best, but something is better than nothing, and I have done the best I could under the circumstances.
With these prefatory remarks, I present you the rose with its thorns, trusting that God will give sweetness and beauty to the former and allow the latter to do no harm. I cheerfully record my debt of gratitude to my faithful wife, Mattie Alice, who has been in this labor, as in all others, my abiding, sure support.
In turning to the subject under consideration it seems fitting that we should first review those facts and events which gave us our denominational existence. Such a course, it seems to the writer, will serve to give us a proper "setting." It is not definitely known just when, where and by whom, Baptist principles were first propagated upon the American continent; it is, however, an historic fact that these principles assumed organic form in Providence, R. I., in 1639, in the constitution of a Baptist church under Roger Williams as pastor. Other churches soon followed, out of the union of which there early rose Associations, Conventions and Missionary Societies.
In 1620, nineteen years before the organization of the church in Providence, the African was brought into Virginia as a slave. The North and the South joined heartily in the work of binding their black brother with the chains of cruel
bondage. Thus the naked savage was taken from his freedom and from his gods and chained to the chariot wheels of Christian (?) civilization to be coerced, dragged into new observations, new experiences, and a new life.
In order to give a glancing look at the progress and decline of slavery in the North, and at the sort of fruit the gospel was bearing in the soul and conduct of the slave, I copy the following from the "Baptist Home Missions in America" (Jubilee volume):
"By 1776 there were about 300,000 slaves in America. In 1793 there were comparatively few slaves to be found in the Northern States. * * * In 1790 there were 697,897 slaves in the United States; of this number there were 17 in Vermont, 158 in New Hampshire, 2,759 in Connecticut, 3,707 in Pennsylvania, 11,423 in New Jersey, and 20,000 in New York. * * * Before 1830 slavery disappeared from all the Northern States. In Vermont it was abolished in 1777; in Massachusetts in 1780; while acts for the gradual emancipation of slaves were passed in other States--in New York, 1799; in New Jersey, 1804. The final act of abolition in New York being passed in 1817, declaring all slaves free on July 4, 1827.
"The native African, fresh from his fetich worship, and incapable of comprehending even common religious statements, seemed an unpromising subject even for the Christian philanthropist. But, though degraded, he is recognized as human, sinful, accountable, in need and capable of redemption through Christ. The obligation to bring him to a knowledge of the truth as it is in Christ, is practically recognized by many Christian ministers as well as by many pious masters and mistresses. At family devotions in many Christian households
Ron A. H. Curtis, Ex-Senator to Alabama Legislature from Perry County.
the domestics are called in to hear the Scriptures read and bow reverently as prayer is offered to God. On Sunday in the same meeting house master and slave listen to the same sermon. Those who give evidence of conversion are received into the church on relation of their experience after baptism, and sit with their masters at the Lord's table.
"The First Colored Baptist Church of Savannah, Ga., dates its organization from 1788. Other colored Baptist churches appear in various parts of the country; in Portsmouth, Va., in 1798 ; the Second African of Savannah, in 1803; the Abysinian Church of New York City, in 1803; the African or Independent Church, Boston, Mass., in 1805; First African of Philadelphia, Pa., in 1809; the First African of St. Louis, in 1827; the Ebenezer of New York City, in 1825; the Union Church of Philadelphia, and a church in the District of Columbia, in 1832." One in Mobile in 1839, of which in 1848, it is said: "They have a fine house of worship built by themselves, and some excellent leaders or licensed preachers among them."
We have it on good authority, that in 1850, there were in America about 150,000 negro Baptists. Thus we see that in 230 years the gospel of Christ, though hampered by the institution of slavery, had done much to redeem the fetich worshiper from his midnight darkness and consequent spiritual ruin--had done much to induce the black man to obtain and retain God in his knowledge.
Often we come upon plants which refuse to give out their sweetness so long as their parts are unbroken and unbleeding, but which will quickly yield up their odors when bruised. So it is with men. It is worthy of notice that these dark days of slavery gave birth to some strong colored preachers. Among others, the following are mentioned by their white brethren: Rev. George Leile, of South Carolina, who visiting Savannah,
Ga., about 1782 or 1783, baptized the famous Rev. Andrew Bryan, of whom the Savannah Association, (white) in 1812, made the following mention: "The association is sensibly affected by the death of the Rev. Andrew Bryan, a man of color, and pastor of the First Colored Church in Savannah. This son of Africa, after suffering inexpressible persecutions in the cause of his Divine Master, was at length permitted to discharge the duties of the ministry among his colored friends in peace and quiet, hundreds of whom through his instrumentality were brought to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus."
In 1820, the Board of the Baptist General Convention of America adopted as their missionaries Revs. Collin Teague and Lot Cary, brethren of color, from the Baptist church of Richmond, Va. These men sailed from Norfolk, Va., to Liberia, Africa, in January, 1821. Rev. Thomas Paul, who was pastor of the church in Boston from 1805 to 1880, is spoken of after a very praiseworthy manner. Touching our own State, we begin at Mobile.
The rise of the work in the Southern section of Alabama appears in the following, copied from Brother Holcombe's work, and originally written for the Christian Index, March 10, 1836:
"About 120 years ago a few Frenchmen came here and made the first little opening in the pine forest. Previously to 1817 it was occupied principally as a place of deposit and trade with the Indians. Now its population is not far from 10,000. Eighteen years ago a single steamboat found her way to this port, now forty-five are employed in the Mobile trade. The Baptist church was constituted March, 1835, by J. G. Collins, R. L. Barnes and P. Stout with ten members. Rev.
G. F. Heard was called to begin the pastorate February 14, 1836.
"At that time they had no house of worship, but met in the court house, and for a time they met in the house belonging to the African Baptist Church. The African Church is in a prosperous condition; their number is about 90."
In this city and county the colored people had more liberty and better treatment than in any other section of the State. The free people and those who hired their time often supported schools for the education of their children. Revs. Wm. Dossey, P. Stout, A. Travis, J. H. Schroebel, Mr. Hawthorne and Mr. Spence (all white) are mentioned as pioneers and fathers of the work at this point. Near this old French town, June 13, 1845, the writer was born, and in this county and city he spent the first fourteen years of his life, and many years since. For some years prior to the late civil war, the Stone Street and St. Louis Street churches (colored) were both noted for their numbers and their financial strength.
This is the "mother church." The father of the Rev. J. B. Hawthorne, in the early part of their history, served them as pastor, receiving a regular salary of them. At the close of the war, Mr. Spence was their pastor, since which time they have been under the leadership of the Rev. B. J. Burke, a man who in many regards is as strong as he is peculiar. This church, however. has not done much in the way of missions, and not a great deal for education. One of the peculiar customs of the pastor is to "bless children." Standing in the pulpit, he holds the child up in his arms while he prays God's blessings upon it.
A case of discipline which came up, in this church many years ago, led to the formation of the St. Louis Street Church, and I am sorry to say gave birth to a very bitter sectional
feeling between the two bodies, which feeling has long been a blight to the Baptist cause in South Alabama.
This church is stubbornly set against all secret societies, so that no secret society people are allowed in its membership. The pastor is elected for life. For the support of its poor it has a fund which is called the "Church Treasury."
This church was for many years especially noted for its missionary enterprise. To this church Alabama owes many of her pioneer preachers. The late Rev. Charles Leavens, who was pastor just after the close of the war, sought to send a pioneer, an organizer, into every section of the State. Their house of worship cost, I am told, about $24,000, and is a two-story brick structure. Since the war their pastors have been: Revs. Charles Leavens, I. Grant, A. Butler, C. C. Richardson, and the present occupant, Rev. Mr. Frazier. This church seems now in full sympathy with its past missionary record, over which no one rejoices more than the writer, since it is from this church that he, under God, received his commission to preach the gospel of the Son of Righteousness.
This church deserves honorable mention. Rev. A. F. Owens led to the purchase of the property on St. Anthony street, and served as pastor for several years--1878 to 1889. Rev. A. N. McEwen, the present pastor, advised the church to sell and purchase at a more desirable point. They are now buying a building on Franklyn street, This church has had an earnest class of workers, who have made great and painful sacrifices for the cause.
This church is another secession from Stone Street. It, too, has some strong people in it. Rev. A. F. Owens is pastor.
There are other churches around worthy of mention. So much is said only to show the rise and progress of the Baptist cause in this section of Alabama. The great need here is more brotherly love, instead of the bitter prejudice which withers every hope of united effort. Of course, many of the good people are already free from its fearful influence, but far too many are still slaves to it.
Among the founders, or ante-bellum members of the colored Baptist work in Mobile, we find the names of Rev. Charles Leavens and wife, James Somerville, Judge Europe, Thomas Sawyer, Rev. B. J. Burke, and Crawley Johnson.
Here is where our Statehood was born, the Constitution being formed here in 1819. Huntsville is our State's first capital. Taking Mr. Hosea Holcombe as authority, the first Baptist church organized in Alabama was constituted within a few miles of Huntsville, in 1808. Their constitutional membership was eleven, and Rev. John Nicholson was their first pastor. The first negro Baptist church constituted in this section of the State was the African Baptist Church of Huntsville, organized about the year 1820. I say 1820, for the reason that in 1821 they are recorded as entering into the Flint River Association, with seventy-six members. Rev. William Harris, "a free colored man," is mentioned as their first pastor. It seems that Brother Harris soon fell under the influence of a white preacher, William Crutcher, and became established in the faith of the Primitive Baptists. Over
seventy years have passed away, and still Rev. Bartlett Harris, a grandson of Rev. William Harris, is preaching the "election of grace." Instead of seventy-six Missionary members, there are now about two thousand Primitives. The Rev. W. H. Gaston is the leading educator among them. He is a man of quiet and humble spirit, and is now trying to establish a school at Huntsville. How we Missionaries need a school in Madison county! Our little Missionary church seems bound hand and foot. At this writing, Rev. Oscar Gray is pastor, and he seems to do as well as circumstances allow.
Perhaps I cannot close this notice of Madison County more profitably than by directing the attention of the reader to the vast consequences, in the form of false views and false practices, which came of one man's decisions. Rev. William Harris decided to follow Mr. Crutcher, and now thousands of people walk in his track as anti-Missionaries.
At Salem Church, near Greensboro, the Alabama State Convention (white) was organized October, 1823, not quite forty-five years before the organization of the Colored Baptist Convention in 1868, and its first anniversary was held at Marion, in Perry County.
Reference is made to these facts in order to introduce other facts bearing a closer relation to ourselves. Within a circle of twenty-five miles of Marion--and Greensboro, is near this point--some of the mightiest influences in support of Baptist views have risen up and gone forth upon the colored Baptists of Alabama. The colored people of Marion, and throughout the country around, are hardly less noted for their refinement than they are for their Baptistic opinions. In this section arose those colored men of power and of pioneer
Mrs. A. A. Bowie, Instructress in Dressmaking, Selma University.
fame--Revs. James Childs, the first pastor of the Marion Church (colored); Henry Stevens, first pastor of the Greensboro Church, and John Dosier, so long pastor of the church in Uniontown. This point, till right recently, has been the educational center of our white brethren, and here in Marion, the first colored State Normal school began, as the result of the influence of the late Hon. A. H. Curtis, of Baptist fame.
Baptist principles manifested themselves in this part of Alabama about 1818-19 in the constitution of the Elim Church, near the city of Montgomery, and Messrs. J. McLemore, S. Ray, and W. J. Larkin, are mentioned as pioneers.
In Dr. Riley's "History of Alabama Baptists," we have the following: "A negro slave, named Cæsar, a bright, smart, robust fellow * * * was ordained to preach. His ability was so marked, and the confidence which he enjoyed was so profound, that Rev. James McLemore would frequently have Cæsar attend him upon his preaching tours. He was sometimes taken by Mr. McLemore into the pulpit, and never failed of commanding the most rapt and respectful attention."
To the credit of the Alabama Association, it is written that they bought this man and gave him his liberty that he might preach among them the gospel of Christ; and it is said, that though he was as black as a crow, he traveled alone and unharmed on the mission of life. Thus the negro appears in the foundation of gospel operations in Central Alabama. Here also appear the victories of the gospel leaven, the triumphs of the love of God over those hearts wherein Christ was king.
The price paid for Brother Cæsar Blackwell is given as
$625. Catching inspiration from the encouragement before them in the form of their brother Cæsar Blackwell's success, and the good will of the Christian white people to whose fellowship they belonged, Nathan Ashby and Jacob Belser (colored) soon became active workers.
Perhaps the first church (white) organized in Jefferson county was organized about the year 1818. Dr. Holcombe's history tells us that in 1823 the "Rock Creek Church," in Tuscaloosa county, received into its membership from South Carolina an African preacher, Job Davis. Mr. Holcombe says of him: "He was an acceptable preacher, a man of deep thought, sound judgment, and was well skilled in the Scriptures of Divine Truth."
The venerable Mr. A. J. Waldrop, of Birmingham, informed the writer that when a little boy he heard Job preach in a camp meeting. He said: "The meeting had been in progress a week or so, and mother and father went to the camp on Sunday morning. The meeting was very cold. Brother Holcombe was wondering who would be the fit preacher to open the day's services, as Job, now free from his daily toil, walked into camp. As Brother Holcombe saw him, he remarked: 'There is our man.' Job was led up to the stand and invited to go up and take a seat. Job replied: 'No, I'll stand down here in front of it.' Job then reached back to the top of the stand and took off the Bible and opened it. I can never forget the deep thrill of devotion which Job's person and manner turned in upon the audience that day; something of the feeling is with me yet. He had hardly parted his lips before men and women began to sob. When he was through with his sermon, it was plain to all that the meeting was no longer a dead meeting. This was the beginning
of a revival which affected much of Tuscaloosa county."
Mr. Holcombe says of Job, in another place in his book: "Job was brought from Africa to Charleston, S. C., in 1806; professed religion in 1812; soon learned to read and write; taught Sunday school for two summers in Abbeville district, S. C.; licensed to preach in 1818; came to Alabama in 1822; died November 17, 1835, in Pickens county. He lived the Christian, he died a saint."
Further, Mr. Holcombe says: "In those days we had but few better preachers than Job."
Thus it appears that not only in wars for independence, but in gospel labors as well, the negro is in the foundations of this country.
Rev. Prince Murrell, who had bought himself some time before the days of the Emancipation, opened the work at Tuscaloosa on the dawn of freedom. Rev. Messrs. M. Tyler and M. D. Alexander came into the van at Lowndesboro.
At Tuskegee, in Macon, was the Rev. Doc. Phillips (a blacksmith), a man who, it seems, refused to accept his freedom at the hands of his white brethren in order that his preaching might be more acceptable to his people in slavery.
At Auburn, in Lee, was the Rev. Thomas Glenn, a man respected and trusted no less by his white neighbors than by his own people for his genuine piety and honorable life.
In Barbour and Bullock, Revs. Jerry Shorter, M. Coleman, William McCoo and Deacon J. E. Timothy possessed the spirit of leadership, and moved forward in the work of organization upon the appearance of liberty. Rev. E. Thornton soon appears.
In this town and county the Rev. Stewart Adams is the pioneer. In 1872 or 1873, he was appointed missionary under the American Baptist Home Mission Society, and was thus enabled to extend his operations, which resulted in the organization of one of the first associations (Union).
Somewhere between 1840-45, a colored church was organized in Selma, the first colored leader of which was a Mr. Samuel Phillips, a man who obtained his liberty (so the late Mr. A. Goldsby reported) by some service he rendered the country in the Mexican war. A. Goldsby and Charles White (late treasurer of our Convention) were principal persons in the organization.
So much has been said to show the ante-liberty growths. It seems fitting to close this chapter with the appearance of freedom as the writer saw it.
From the days of my earliest recollection, freedom's shadowy forms moved before the eyes of the Southern slave. He felt or thought that he felt--he saw or thought he saw--the touch and visage of approaching liberty. In subdued tones it was whispered upon ears that could be trusted, that slavery, with all its accompanying horrors, was soon to be a thing of the past. Praying bands were organized and met in distant groves to pray for liberty. Gathered beneath the sighing trees and nightly skies, they whispered their agonies upon the ears of the Almighty--whispered lowly, lest the passing winds should bear their petitions to the ears of the overseer or master. And often--as with Daniel and, his companions in Babylon--the God who reveals secrets to them that love him, uncovered
before our minds coming events, which caused us to laugh and cry. But we kept these things in our hearts, and it was a wonder to all around that the slave could sing in his furnace of hot afflictions. God, in unfolding hope, was with us in the fire, and so we were sustained.
They fall to dreaming: Contending armies are seen in battle, and the one favorable to the liberty of the slave is seen to prevail. Old trees appear to wither and disappear before trees of new sort.
The war cloud bursts and the slave mingles his prayers with the roar of the booming cannon, tarrying on his knees while the American soldiery contend in mortal strife. It was understood to mean liberty. At last the deadly struggle ceased, and emancipation was declared. It was only the dawning, and therefore the light was dim.
One of the saddest mistakes of the slave was, that he thought so muchof the pleasures of freedom and so little of its weighty obligations. To him, freedom meant mansions, lands, teams, money, position, educated sons and refined daughters, with the liberty to go and to act as he pleased. If he might have burdened his mind with thoughts of his sore destitution of heart, of intellect, of purse; if he might have thought of his poverty as to skill in the arts, sciences and professions of life, as to social status, as to domestic relations, as to opportunities to succeed in a wrestle for life by the side of the victorious white man--if he might have seen that to make himself a strong manhood was his first and his most important duty--if his mind might have been full of these thoughts, it had
been a thousand fold better for him. But, as his mind was on pleasures, he was disappointed when they proved only phantoms, and hence the bud of liberty was bitter.
Indeed, to those who had the ability to discern, the first view of liberty was frightful in proportion as it was seriously considered. Naturally, as the shackles suddenly fell off, there was such a forcible rebounding of life, as in many cases made liberty mean license to live idle and lewd.
I can never forget my first impressions at the full view of freedom. O, what helplessness appeared in our condition!
Every day, for weeks, shoeless and hatless men and women, with half naked, hungry children, passed through the little town where I lived, not knowing whither they went, what were their names, nor what they sought. A certain man, when I first met him, was introduced to me as Mr. M--. A little after this, I was surprised to find that he was not Mr. M--, but was Mr. R--. And my ability to be surprised was considerably lessened when I finally learned that Mr. R-- was now Mr. H--.
Long and anxiously I waited for the appearance of some great colored men to assume leadership in matters of religion and education, but I waited in vain. My heart ached as though it would break, and was at last only partially relieved of its weight when my brother (Rev. J. Gomez) and I had built an humble house in which to worship God and teach the children. Into this we, boys though we were, called the people to meet to hear the reading of the Scriptures and to pray.
In 1864 there were four Colored Missionary Baptist Churches in Alabama, owning property worth about $10,000. Two of these were located in Mobile city--the Stone and the
Rev. L. S. Steinback in the Act of Baptism.
St. Louis Street Churches. Another was located in Selma, and is now known as the First Colored Baptist Church.
Of course there was no association, no convention, no graded school of learning. The colored people of Mobile enjoyed superior advantages over those of other sections of the State and hence many of them had made fair attainments in letters. But in all the State there was but one Baptist preacher, to the writer's knowledge, in April, 1865, who could, with any degree of honesty, claim to be an educated Baptist negro preacher. This was one Rev. Moses B. Avery. I think he is now in Mississippi. Anyhow I know that soon after the close of the war he joined the Methodist brethren and left the State. It will be seen, therefore, that he was no help to the Colored Baptists of Alabama.
The change which the war had wrought as to the civil status of the black man, changing him from slave to freedman, affected his church standing, so that ex-master and ex-slave did not quite fit each other in the old "meeting house," as they had done in days of yore. There was restlessness on one side, and suspicion on the other. The black man wanted to go out and set up housekeeping for himself, while the white man in most cases feared and hesitated to lay on the hands of ordination. We did not know each other. The "negro preacher" on one side of the river had but little opportunity to know his brother on the other side. Truly our beginning was dark and chaotic.
It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. In all ages of the world, and with all peoples, want--a sense of need--has gone before human creations. The black man of the South was like, in this, the balance of human kind. When set at liberty, he was for some time lost in looking upon the wonderful changes that had passed over him. But when he came to himself he began slowly to realize his needs. He
began, for example, to feel the need of church and of school, and out of this feeling of want on these lines there arose thought, discussion, plan, action. Those who were of like faith and gospel practice began to meet for prayer and for conference, and at last to unite in church covenant, forming churches. Then churches, under the leadership of progressive men, were joined in associational compacts. They met first only to sing and pray, and listen to talks from white brethren. Want increased; burdens increased; the horizon of duty and possibility widened. Under a sense of duty and repeated exercise, mind and heart developed into greater strength and into greater capacity for thought, plan, speech, and execution. Kindred spirits sought each other's fellowship and counsel, and talked about the work which might be done. Soon it was felt by some that a general State Convention was both necessary and possible. The desire, plan and call for such an organization ripened among the brethren at and around the Capital City. Perhaps Montgomery was foremost, for the reason that here was the legislature, and here the colored people saw most of deliberative bodies, and heard most about their needs and opportunities.
Mrs. Dinah Smith Jordan, Birmingham, Ala.
The Colored Baptist Convention of Alabama was Constituted December 17, 1868, in the Columbus Street Baptist Church, in the city of Montgomery.
The officers elected were: Rev. Nathan Ashby, president; Rev. J. W. Stevens, of Montgomery, vice-president, and Bro. H. Thompson, secretary.
The following appear in the roll of this session: Revs. N. Ashby, J. W. Stevens, Jacob Belser, J. Epperson, and Bro. H. Thompson, of Montgomery county; Revs. E. Wright and S. Adams, of Greenville; Rev. W. Farris, of Monroeville; Rev. S. Weaver, of Dallas county; Revs. P. Gill and Samuel Morse, of Notasulga; James Finly, of Fayette; Revs. I. Glenn and A. Blackburn, of Auburn; Rev. M. D. Alexander and M. Tyler, of Lowndesboro; Rev. B. Nelson, of Lee county; Rev. Mr. Wood, of Macon county; Rev. H. Coleman, of Union Springs; Rev. W. H. McAlpin, of Talladega; Revs. John Dosier and Henry Stevens, of Uniontown; P. Underwood, Thomas Smith, Ned Atkinson, and Rev. D. M. Phillips, of Tuskegee.
About twenty-seven churches were represented. About $150 was collected, and Rev. Washington Stevens was made Missionary.
This session was held in Montgomery in 1869, and the officers of the previous year being re-elected to their several
positions. Revs. Wm. McCoo, of Bullock county; P. Murrell, of Tuskaloosa; John P. Lucas, pastor of Mt. Meigs; Henry Clark, of Opelika; B. Burke, of Mobile; Frank Quarles, of Georgia, and H. E. Talliaferro (white), agent for the American Baptist Home Missionary Society; Lewis Brown, of Sumter county; A. Cunningham, of Conecuh county, and James Caldwell, of Marengo county, appear in the roll of this session. Fifty or sixty churches were represented; several hundred dollars were raised; the missionary was short in his collections; Home Mission Society was endorsed.
This session was also held in Montgomery on October 5, 1870. As Rev. N. Ashby was sick, Rev. W. Stevens, the Missionary, was elected president, and Rev. M. Tyler vice- president. Rev. Charles Leavens, of Mobile, and Senator A. H. Curtis were enrolled. The ordained ministers present were: N. Ashby, James A. Foster, W. Stevens, F. Brooks, T. Glenn, Chas. Leavens, S. Adams, H. Stokes, C. Blunt, Wm. McCoo, J. Caldwell, S. Weaver, J. Cole, J. W. McLeod, M. Tyler, B. Burke, P. Murrell, J. Dosier, D. M. Phillips, J. Wood, Ned, Watkins, B. Bibb, H. Stevens, R. Mason.
Held in Selma November 1-4, 1871. Brother W. H. McAlpine was prominent. The officers elected were: Rev. P. Murrell, president; Rev. Stewart Adams, vice-president; Rev. W. Stevens, recording secretary; and H. Thompson, clerk.
Revs. D. Alexander, B. Bibb, J. Caldwell and J. Belser have passed away.
About $300 sent in by the churches: twenty-eight churches report Sunday Schools; three Associations appear by their messengers.
Held in Selma, November,Tuscaloosa, November, 1873. 1872. Officers of previous year re-elected. A committee is appointed to confer with the white Convention in session in Eufaula. Two more Associations are enrolled. $300 or $400 collected.
Held in Tuscaloosa, November, 1873. The officers elected were: Rev. J. A. Foster, Montgomery, president; Rev. M. Tyler, Lowndesboro, vice-president; Rev. P. Murrell, treasurer; and Bro. H. J. Europe, of Mobile, clerk. Three other Associations reported. Rev. A. Butler, Mobile, joined at this session. Rev. W. H. McAlpine introduced the following, which was adopted:
"Resolved, That we plant in the State of Alabama a theological. school to educate our young men."
This threw life and aim into the Convention and the signs of activity immediately appeared. Four other Associations entered. Lively discussions ensued. The white Baptist Convention assembled in the same city at the same time advised against the educational scheme. The question whether God needed help in preparing his ministry-- the question which fifty years before had agitated the white Convention of Alabama-- was now stirring the souls of black men. Sunday Schools were allowed representation in the body.
Held in Mobile, in the St. Louis Street Church, November, 1874. Officers of previous year were re-elected. Brother
McAlpine's school resolution was endorsed and ordered on the minutes. On motion of Brother McAlpine the following persons were appointed a committee to manage the school project: Revs. A. Butler, W. H. McAlpine, H. J. Europe, H. Thompson and the writer. Brother McAlpine was authorized and requested to spend six months as missionary and agent of the Convention. Much praying.
Held in Mobile, November, 1875. The officers elected were as follows: Rev. J. A. Foster, president; Rev. M. Tyler, vice-president; Rev. J. W. Stevens, corresponding secretary; Rev. Thomas Smith, treasurer, and Rev. C. O. Boothe, clerk. Ten Associations were enrolled this year. Brother McAlpine reported $90 in favor of the Convention as the result of six months' work. The body was never so much aroused as during this session. Some trouble arose over contentions among the churches in Mobile. Rev. W. H. McAlpine was appointed missionary and agent of the Convention for the ensuing conventional year. Rev. C. O. Boothe was appointed, with Brother McAlpine, to aid in searching for a suitable location for the proposed school, and was authorized to call the attention of our Northern brethren to our needs and operations regarding educational facilities in Alabama. Never did any set of men appear to be more earnest and enthusiastic. Every eye was on McAlpine as the leader.
Held with the Mount Canaan Church, Talladega, November 16-20, 1876. Officers: Rev. M. Tyler, president; Rev. B. J. Burke, vice president; Rev. I. Smith, treasurer; Rev. G. C. Casby, Montgomery, corresponding secretary, and Rev.
C. O. Boothe, at this time pastor in Talladega, was continued as clerk.
This session of the body may be denominated "The Eventful Session." Here the sainted Woodsmall was met for the first time, and bore the Convention the following:
"INDIANAPOLIS, IND., November 11, 1876.
"Dear Brethren of the Convention:
On behalf of the Indiana Baptist State Convention, I greet you with this epistle, bearing their congratulations and sympathy. We are engaged in a common cause with you--the cause of our blessed Lord and Master. * * * So we strike glad hands with you for a renewal and continuance of the gospel warfare till Jesus comes."
This bore the signature of Dr. Wyeth, editor of the Journal and Messenger, and the Secretary of the Indiana Convention. This was good tidings, and the information that Brother Woodsmall had come to hold Ministers' Institutes among us was still better tidings. Thenceforward we were to drink from a very high type of manhood.
Revs. W. J. White, F. Quarles, and Bryan, of Georgia, came with propositions from the Georgia Convention that Alabama should give up her school project and join Georgia in building a school at Atlanta.
A letter received from, Dr. S. S., Cutting, corresponding secretary of the Home Mission Society, to the clerk, informed the Convention that his board had no help for our school enterprise in Alabama, and favored our union with Georgia. A communication from the white Baptist Convention containing the following, was read before the body:
"Resolved, That we deem this a suitable occasion to express to our colored brethren an abiding interest in their welfare, both temporal and spiritual.
"JOHN HARALSON, President."
Brother McAlpine turned over $1,000, which he had raised for the proposed school, and again took the field
The clerk, as committee on location of the proposed school, reported that if the school should be located at Marion, Ala., our students could obtain scientific and literary training in the State school at that point, in which case, the Convention would only be obliged to furnish theological instruction. The Convention did not decide as to the course it would be best to pursue. Brothers Pettiford and Barton joined the work in this session, and the former took a prominent position at once.
Held in Eufaula, November, 1877. The officers of the last convention were re-elected. The school project was turned into the hands of the Board of Trustees elected at the session of 1875. The report of the Board of Trustees recommended that the school be located at Montgomery. When a motion by Hon. A. H. Curtis to substitute Marion had been lost, Rev. E. K. Love, of Georgia, moved to substitute Selma, which was carried by a majority of three. The Board was authorized and instructed to begin operations. Revs. W. H. McAlpine and W. J. Stevens were put out as missionaries. Before leaving Eufaula, the Board appointed a committee to act on their behalf with regard to the management of the school. At a meeting of the Board held in Selma, December 20, the committee reported : "Your committee has been unable to find a suitable house for rent in which to commence school for less than $27 per month. There are one or more buildings here that may be purchased at quite a reasonable figure. W. H. McAlpine, J. Blevins, H. Stevens, committee."
At this meeting there were present the following trustees, besides those above mentioned: M. Tyler, C. Blunt., J. W.
Stevens, J. Dosier and A. H. Curtis. Revs. W. H. McAlpine and J. Blevins, with Bro. A. H. Curtis, were empowered to act as Executive Committee of the Board. After some discussion as to whether to rent or purchase, it was voted to rent, and not to pay over $15 per month. The Committee was so instructed, and was further instructed not to assume over $50 per month for teaching force. The Committee elected Mr. H. Woodsmall, of Indiana, and he at once opened the school in the St. Phillip Street Baptist Church.
On May 30, 1878, the Board held another meeting in Selma. Present: Revs. M. Tyler, J. Blevins, G. C. Casby, Thomas Smith, J. Dosier, H. Stevens, W. H. McAlpine and C. O. Boothe. At this meeting the Committee were authorized to purchase the "Old Fair Grounds" for $3,000. The Baptist Pioneer was started, with W. H. McAlpine, editor; J. Dosier and C. O. Boothe as assistants. The Committee, to the great satisfaction of the Board, reported that the St. Phillips Street Church had donated to the school the use of their audience room, the oil for lights, and fuel, and also that the services of Bro. W. R. Pettiford had been secured at a cost of $20 per month, allowing him time to take lessons in theology.
The following financial report was submitted:
Donations from the North were also reported.
Held in Marion, November. 1878. The officers of the previous year were re-elected, with the exception of Rev. Boothe, who had been appointed Sunday school missionary for the State, under the American Baptist Publishing Society. Bro. N. R. Nickerson was elected clerk.
The Trustees reported that the Old Fair Grounds had been secured, and that the school was in operation. One thousand dollars had been paid on the grounds; $545 had come from the North. Three teachers were supported without charge to the State--Misses Emma Jordan and Emma Heustis, and Mr. M. W. Alston.
Thus the school began. About $2,000 reported.
Held in Opelika, November 12-15, 1879. In this session Rev. A. F. Owens joined, and Revs. A. Butler and B. Burke forsook the Convention. Rev. D. M. Phillips, of Tuskegee, had left the cross for the crown.
The second $1,000 had been paid on our campus, and $700 worth of improvements had been added to the buildings. A missionary society organized by President Woodsmall and operating in the St. Philip Street Church, is reported as giving partial support to Profs. Alston and Pettiford, and to students D. T. Gulley and J. C. Curry.
Held in Marion, November 17-20, 1880. The officers elected were: M. Tyler, president; J. A. Foster, vice-president; N. R. Nickerson, clerk; G. C. Casby, corresponding
Shiloh Baptist Church, Birmingham, Ala., Rev. T. W. Walker, Pastor.
secretary, and C. White, treasurer. Except a small balance due Brother Woodsmall the school was now free from debt, besides owning thirty-six acres of land and temporary buildings.
Rev. S. Adams had gone to the other world.
Aided by the Selma Missionary Society, Bros. K W. Alston, L. Ellington, D. T. Gulley, D. L. Prentice, C. Travis, C. R. Rodgers, L J. Green and J. C. Curry had done effective missionary work.
Brother Woodsmall reported that the Baptist Pioneeris free of debt and has $321.03 in cash. He had received $2,399--$899 had come from Alabama in tuition and donations, and $1,500 from the North.
The American Baptist Home Mission Society at this time adopted the school and engaged to give it $2,000 during its session of 1880-81. About $400 were spent on improvements of school grounds. Rev. Wm. A. Burch, late of Philadelphia, now pastor of the First Baptist Church in Selma, and Rev. W. W. Cully, a returned African Missionary, were members of this Convention. Brother McAlpine had raised from all sources 61,976.85. Before the next session Brother McAlpine at Brother Woodsinall's request, became president of the school.
Held in Mobile, November, 1881. The officers of the previous year were re-elected. Revs. A. Cunningham, Belleville, J. Blevins, Selma, and J. Cole, Montgomery, are no longer on earth.
The Home Mission Society gave $3,000 to the present school session. Dr. M. Stone, of Ohio, taught in the school without cost to the board of trustees.
Before the next session Rev. H. N. Bouey, from South Carolina, became State Sunday School Missionary.
Held in Tuscaloosa, November, 1882. Former officers re-elected, except that Rev. J. Dosier was made vice-president.
This year, the same as last, Brother McAlpine was retained president of the school.
Total receipts from Alabama, including tuition fees were $2,588. Donation from Home Mission Society $3,350. The last session made Brother Pettiford financial agent, and the present session was greatly encouraged in view of his excellent success.
Held in Selma, November, 1883, in the First Colored Baptist Church, of which the writer was pastor. Rev. E. M. Brawley, late of South Carolina, was made president of our school, Rev. W. H. McAlpine having resigned in his favor.
Alabama paid $2,511 towards our educational work. Bro. Woodsmall was not present. Rev. A. N. McEwen, late of Tennessee, now pastor of Dexter Avenue Church, Montgomery, was present this session. Rev. H. N. Bouey was made financial agent.
Held in Mobile, November, 1884. Officers of 1882 and 1883 were re-elected; $3,224 reported as coming from the State.
Before the next session "The Minister's Union" was organized in Talladega, with Rev. C. O. Boothe as secretary, and W. H. McAlpine, president.
Held in the Sixteenth Street Church, Birmingham, November, 1885. Officers of previous session re-elected. On the 10th of November, one day prior to the sitting of the Convention,
the Ministers' Union met and appointed a committee on the character of the author of this pamphlet, and which reported the following:
"We, your committee appointed on Bro. C. O. Boothe, beg leave to submit the following: On account of the complications of his marriage relations, his oppositions to the State work, and on account of his want of loyalty to truth, we recommend that we withdraw from him the hand of fellowship as a minister. C. S. Dinkins, J. Q. A. Wilhite, J. Dosier, committee."
The brother, who was excluded (?) by the adoption of this report, asked and was allowed to put in the minutes of the Convention the following:
"To all who may read the resolution passed by the Alabama Baptist Ministers' Union bearing upon me, I affirm my innocence of each and all the charges therein presented, and appeal to the King of Kings, whose just judgment I patiently await.
C. O. BOOTHE."
Dark times follow upon the work and upon many individuals. The total receipts for this year, as reported by Bro. Bouey, were $2,200. Rev. J. P. Barton was made State missionary, and Rev. J. Q. A. Wilhite was made financial agent of the school.
The school was getting into debt, and serious losses threatened. The founders of the work were not sufficiently willing to confer with each other.
Held in Opelika, November, 1886. The same officers were re-elected, except Rev. J. A. Foster replaced Rev. John Dosier as vice-president. Rev. C. L. Purce was made president of the school, Dr. Brawley having resigned. The school was $6,000 or $7,000 in debt. A resolution looking toward moving the University from Selma was adopted. Marion was proposed instead of Selma, and the larger cash donation was
to fix the location. The contest was heated, and here and there rather ugly. The Baptist Leader favored Marion. Finances were rather short. Revs. G. W. Berry, from South Carolina, and E. J. Fisher, of Georgia, were present at this session.
Held in Montgomery, in the Columbus Street Church, July, 1887. The Ministers' Union rescinded their vote passed in Birmingham in 1885, bearing upon the character of Rev. C. O. Boothe. Rev. W. R. Pettiford, of Birmingham, was elected president, and Rev. R. T. Pollard, clerk. Rev. William J. Simmons, of Louisville, district secretary of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, and Bro. Woodsmall, were present. Mrs. M. A. Boothe, president of the State W. C. T. U., addressed the Convention. Mrs. C. Thompson, agent in Alabama for the Women's Home Missionary Society of Chicago, also spoke. Stormy time, and no small amount of bitter feeling. The financial vote sustained Selma, and the University remained at the home of her childhood.
Debts were threatening our property. Mr. Purce endeavored to prevent any increase of debts.
Held in Tuscaloosa, July, 1888. Officers of previous year were re elected. About $4,000 was raised this year. Dr. W. J. Simmons, district secretary of the Home Mission Society, was present with plans for missionary co-operation with our State, which were endorsed. Some of the school grounds had been sold to meet debts, six acres having gone to meet the $7,000.
Rev. W. R. Forbes, of Virginia, pastor at Eufaula, was
present. The board recommended Rev. W. H. McAlpine as State Missionary under the joint plan with the Home Mission Society.
Held in Selma, July, 1889. Officers of previous session were re-elected. Rev. C. S. Dinkins, having severed his connection with the faculty of the University, was successfully operating an academy at Marion in connection with his pastorate. This project the Convention, on motion of Rev. A. N. McEwen, endorsed. Rev. C. O. Boothe was appointed General Missionary of Alabama on the joint plan with the Home Mission Society. This year our women, under the leadership of Miss S. A. Stone, gloriously rallied to the support of the University. About $5,700 was raised in the State. Rev. Washington Stevens, Montgomery, and Deacon D. Lane, Greensboro, had passed away. Time of session was again changed to November. Brethren R. T. Pollard and D. T. Gulley made Sunday Missionaries under the Publication Society on the joint plan. During this year, in May, a jubilee meeting was held in Selma and over $2,000 was raised. In this jubilee meeting we met Rev. H. Stevens the last time on earth.
Held in Sixth Avenue Church, Birmingham, November, 1890. The officers of the previous session and all the missionaries were re-elected. The Home Mission Society gave about $6,000 to Alabama, including $2,600 given for University buildings. The financial agent, President Purce, and the missionaries all made very encouraging financial reports--thousands of dollars having been collected ($5,400). Dr. W. J. Simmons and Rev. Henry Stevens crossed the dark river this year. Drs. Clanton and Brawley were present. This was
a good session--debts fast disappearing under the industrious and wise financiering of President Purce and Agent Wilhite. The missionaries were continued.
The Baptist Leader (once The Baptist Pioneer), which for several years had been successfully run by Editor McEwen, was continued under its old management.
This year, in July, a Baptist Congress was held in Montgomery in the Dexter Avenue Church. It was entertaining and instructive. Also in August a State Sunday School Convention was organized in Union Springs, with Rev. S. Jones as president, and is still doing a grand work, Brother Wells being still presiding officer.
Held in Peace Baptist Church, Talladega, November, 1891. The same officers were re-elected, and also the same missionaries, except that Rev. C. R. Rodgers was chosen to fill the place made vacant by Bro. Pollard's resignation. A grand session--never before in our history had our business seemed to be so much in the hands and hearts of wise, cultivated men and women. The Rev. Mr. Parks and Hon. James White, of Chattanooga, were with us. The mayor of Talladega, pastors of white churches, and everybody else, gave us a word of encouragement and expressed themselves as pleased and profited by our presence. Prof. Peterson, a recent member Of the faculty of Selma University, was introduced to Alabama Baptists. One hundred and fifty churches and forty associations, besides Sunday school conventions and Sunday schools, were represented by two hundred messengers. The year's income from all sources was reported by financial agents as footing up to $12,440. Statistical secretary reported as follows: "Seven hundred and eighteen churches and fifty-eight associations.
Twenty-eight of the associations give an aggregate membership of 83,000. Thirty associations have failed to report their numbers."
Dr. C. S. Dinkins had been operating an academy at Marion, for the use of which he had paid $1,000. Our school property increased in value from $3,000 to $30,000. The president of our Convention, W. R. Pettiford, was at this time president of a successful banking enterprise. Last, and perhaps least, one of our number had made an humble contribution to the literature of the denomination in the form of a little book entitled "Plain Theology for Plain People." Thus had we grown in twenty-four years.
Before the next session Dr. McAlpine was made teacher of institutes, under the Southern Board.
Held in Franklyn Street Church, Mobile, November, 1892. Dr. Dinkins was elected president, and Rev. J. P. Barton, vice-president. With these exceptions, the old officers, as well as missionaries, were continued. Editor W. H. Stewart, of Kentucky; Dr. Clanton, of Louisiana; the Rev. Mr. Luke, field secretary of the Foreign Mission Convention; Revs. T. L. Jordan and C. L. Fisher, of Mississippi, were present. For the most part, this was a good session. However, there were signs of a rising stormcloud, which, it was feared, foretold approaching evil; and perhaps a clogging of our educational and missionary operations would then soon come. A good money showing was made, and new financial plans were adopted. Dr. Pettiford was appointed financial agent and secretary. It was decided to attempt to establish two academies--one in Mobile and the other somewhere in Northern Alabama. Before the next session of the Convention, Rev. C.
O. Boothe resigned his position as general missionary of the State and pastor at Meridian, Miss. Dr. Purce severed his connection with the University, and Dr. C. S Dinkins was elected president in his stead. A division of the denomination was threatened in consequence of the presidential changes.
Again our debts were beginning to be a menace.
Held in Eufaula, November, 1893. Rev. J. P. Barton of Talladega, was elected president, and Rev. R. T. Pollard, secretary. Hon. Ad. Wimbs, of Greensboro, was a member of this Convention. Drs. Morehouse and McVicar, of New York, were with us; also Dr. Crumpton, who represented the Southern Baptists. Many changes were made upon the Board of Trustees. A committee was appointed to plan a change in our school charter. The session was stormy and far from pleasant. Dr. Pettiford made a good financial report. Rev. S. L. Ross was Sunday school missionary. Dr. Dinkins made a good beginning as president of Selma University. Rev. Lewis Brown was elected treasurer.
Held in Mt. Zion Church, Anniston, Ala., November, 1894. Rev. J. P. Barton was again elected president, and Rev. R. T. Pollard continued as secretary. Times peculiar and money scarce. President Dinkins had prevented any increase of the debt of the University, and continued to grow in favor with all sections. The session, however, was not so orderly as it might have been, if there had been less personal feeling and ambition, and more real humility and consecration.
True, our white brethren were hindered by the wild forests, which were pathless and bridgeless, fieldless and cribless, and by the savage beasts and friendless red men, as well as by the slowness of travel, but after all, we may be permitted to compare our progress with our white brethrens' struggles on educational and missionary lines; and I think the foe will feel more hopeful of us, while the friend will see reason for encouragement and pleasure. The white Convention organized in Salem Church, near Greensboro, in October, 1823, but they did not begin a school till 1834--eleven years. We organized in 1868 and started a school in 1878--ten years. Their school continued only about five years, when their property was sold to pay their school debts. Our school still continues at this writing--1895. In 1839, they passed a resolution to encourage young men to study for the ministry under capable pastors, and the money of the Convention was ordered to be paid out in support of operations on this line.
They now owe on Howard College, so I am informed, some $30,000 or $40,000 in the form of a bonded debt, the interest on which they find it hard to pay. Indeed, I very much regret to hear that they are thinking of making an assignment in the interest of their creditors. On careful examination of the records of the Convention, we come upon the following important facts and lessons:
1. The blindness of the leadership as to the work to be done.
In the jubilee meeting, Rev. H. Stevens, said: "When I resolved in 1868 to meet the call of the Montgomery Church for a Convention of delegates, I didn't see what we could do. I went only out of some sort of curiosity to meet other brethren, and to look on. I got a little light before I reached Montgomery, as I listened to some things Brother McAlpine had to
say along the way. And I was not much better off when the Convention closed. I did not know what they were talking about one-half the time." But few saw one inch ahead. The horizon increased only as we advanced. We grew up with the growth of the work.
2. The power of faith to give form and fixedness to ponderous enterprises.
We vacillated till Brother Woodsmall appeared, so far at least as our school project was concerned. As the queen bee draws together her wandering swarm and fixes them in settled habitation and orderly toil, so did this saintly man do for the colored Baptists of Alabama. And his spirit is still among us.
3. Progress is born of progress.
Because we gained one step, we gained another step. Because we made it to the top of one mountain, we could therefore make it to the top of another.
[Under this head appear many points and facts of local interest.]
This District was organized in 1869 by Revs. N. Ashby, M. Tyler, W. Stevens, J. A. Foster, Wm. Jenkins and other leading men of Montgomery and Lowndes counties. From their birth to this time, as an Association, they have been leaders in missionary and educational operations.
Among the leading men of this body we may mention: Rev. M. Tyler, Lowndesboro; Revs. R. T. Pollard, M. D. Brooks, E. W. Picket, A. Moore, G. McKinney, A. Campbell, and D. Ware, Montgomery; Revs. M. C. Merrell, James Davis, and A. J. Knight, Fort Deposit; Revs. P. Gilchrist and B. Moss, Hayneville; Revs. C. H. Payne, S. M. Reeves, and C. P. Cain, Letohatchie; Revs. J. H. Smith and E. Elias, Tallassee; Revs. E. W. Jones, M. Snowdon, L. Barnett, A. Dansey, M. C. Williams, L. Calvary, D. Hall, J. Morris, H. W. Tarrant, W. Harris, D. S. Adams, M. E. Pleasant, post office unknown.
They report about 12,000 members. Their annual donation for general purposes averages $300 or $400. This body contributed largely toward the purchase of our school property, and now liberally supports the school. Rev. S. Jones, Mt. Meigs, is a strong man in this Association, and no man in Alabama has done more for the education of his parishioners than he. Rev. J. C. Curry, also of Mt. Meigs, is one of their
Rev. F. R. Kennedy, Pastor Galilee Baptist Church, Anniston, Ala.
most scholarly men and most able preachers. They talk of dividing into two bodies, hoping thereby to accomplish more for the furtherance of the gospel.
Organized in 1889, is a small body operating chiefly in Montgomery county. They report six churches. Could not ascertain the membership.
Revs. B. Bible, B. Coles, W. Harrison and T. L. Lewis lead them. I submit the following as good supplementary matter to what has been said of the above Associations:
Was organized in the basement of the white Baptist Church (First Baptist Church) just after the close of the war. The corner stone of their present building on Columbus street was laid in 1867. Their first pastor was the late Rev. Nathan Ashby, who, prior to the war, had preached to the colored membership on Sundays in the afternoon, in the basement of the white church. Mr. Ashby being stricken down by paralysis, closed his pastorate in 1870. Under his pastorate this church issued the call for the first session of the State Convention in 1868; hence this church is the source--the mother--of our Convention.
For a few months the Rev. J. W. Stevens supplied the pulpit.
In 1871 the late Rev. James H. Foster was called to the pastoral office, which he served for the space of twenty years, leaving it only to answer the summons of his Master to appear in purer and higher spheres. Under his administration the church increased its membership from a few hundred to
several thousand. He expended some $10,000 or $12,000 on the present edifice. Under his pastorate the Foreign Mission Convention was organized in 1880.
After Mr. Foster's death, December 1, 1891, Rev. A. J. Stokes, then pastor at Fernandina, Fla., was called to their pulpit, and now serves with great success, having added within the last two months about 500 by baptism. So far, his success is a wonder to the people of Montgomery. The special item under his administration is the organization of the young people for training and work.
Old Brother Boykin (about 85 years old) in speaking of the work about Montgomery, said: "The first colored preacher I saw after coming from Charleston, was Bro. Cyrus Hale. He came from South Carolina. He was an old man when I first met him. He was well read, was a good preacher, and the white people 'lowed him to go anywhere there was a call for him. He was the father of the work in this section. Following him, was Bro. Jacob Belser, and then came Bro. Nathan Ashby. Brother Hale must have been ordained, for he used to baptize in slavery time.
While we were worshiping in the white church, we had some 'sistant deacons--Bros. Fayette Vandeville, Jerry Fye, Peter Miles and Abe Blackshear."
Rev. William Jenkins relates the following: "I was born in Montgomery in 1836, and have been here every since. I began to speak in public in 1852, and continued to speak in the city and on neighboring plantations all the while. I was allowed to read the Bible, but I had rather been caught with a hog than with a newspaper; because, for the hog, I was likely to get a whipping; but for the newspaper I might get a hanging. And there was some faith them times. On a plantation out here where I used to preach, there was a balloon coming down one day. The overseer and the people saw it, and
as that was a new thing with them, it frightened them, and everybody fled except one brother, who, on seeing the man in the balloon, and believing that it was the Lord, ran towards the descending balloon, exclaiming as he looked up: 'Lord, I's been looking for you for so long a time, and now you's come at last!' The balloon man said: 'Go away, boy; I'm nothing but a man.'"
Montgomery is no longer what it was when, thirty years ago, Bro. Ashby spoke in the afternoon in the basement of the white church. Six colored Baptist churches now worship within the city and suburbs of Montgomery. The edifice of Dexter Avenue Church, standing near the first capital of the ex-Confederacy, is one of the most substantial and neat brick structures hi the city, and the congregation which worships therein are people of money and refinement. Messrs. H. A. Loveless, the coal dealer, William Watkins, the contractor, and Charles Steers, the upholsterer, are owners and managers of large affairs, involving thousands of dollars.
The colored people of this city own many hundred thousand dollars in real estate. Mr. Billingslea, the barber, is said to own $300,000. Dr. Dorsett runs a successful drug business in one of the lower departments of a two-story brick building owned by himself. The widow or the late Hon. James Hale was built and is maintaining an infirmary for the sick poor people of her race.
Contrast this state of things with thirty years ago, when the colored people, like "dumb driven cattle" before hound and lash, wended their way in the "death march" of slavery, and ask if the negro of to-day is the negro of thirty years ago. There is on Dexter avenue, in the city of Montgomery, an old brick building wherein the trader used to pen his slaves to await his purchasers. Herein the
writer organized the Dexter Avenue Church. Compare the occupants of the slave pen with the audience in Dexter Avenue Church.
This church is a secession from the Columbus Street Church, occurring in the latter part of the year 1877. Its first meeting, with a view to organization, took place in the parlor of Mr. Samuel Phillips. The chief persons in the constitutional membership were Messrs. Samuel Phillips, John Phillips, Alfred Thomas (the father of Mrs. S. H. Wright), C. Sterrs, William Watkins and H. A. Loveless. The meeting for the recognition of the church was held in a hall on Dexter avenue, January, 1878, which in former days had been used as a slave trader's pen. Dr. J. B. Hawthorne, pastor of the First Church (White), with his deacons, represented the white brethren, and Rev. J. A. Foster, pastor of the Columbus Street Church, represented his church.
The writer was the first pastor, but owing to embarrassments which soon followed, he did not remain long in charge of the work. Revs. J. W. Stevens, F. McDonald, J. C. Curry, A. F. Owens, T. Fryerson, A. N. McEwen, Dr. Langridge and others followed in the pastoral charge. The progress of the church was rather slow till the time of Mr. McEwen, under whom their present beautiful building was erected. The present pastor, Rev. R. T. Pollard, seems to be appointed the task of leading not so much on lines of material development as in lines of spiritual growth. Many other good and pious persons have been added to their number, so that no church in the State can now boast of a people more thrifty, aspiring and refined.
Organized in 1870 by Revs. T. Glenn, A Phillips, I. M. Pollard and others. This body operates chiefly in Lee, Macon
Selma University, Selma, Ala.
and Tallapoosa counties. In the beginning of Selma University they contributed largely toward its establishment, and have since given it liberal support. Lately, however, they are struggling, under the leadership of Mr. and Mrs. Wells, to plant a school in Opelika. They number about 8,000 members.
Revs. Glenn and Phillips have left the cross for the crown. Among the present leadership we have the names of Revs. J. R. Howard, M. M. Archer, A. Walton, K. T. Young, T. N. Huguely, J. Wood, G. Germany, H. Clark, A. M. McArthur, G. Moore, J. Jones, J. Thomas, J. T. Torbert, E. L. Goer, M. M. Ross, E. White, E. L. Simms, F. T. Holmes, D. Upshaw, C. Young, E. Cain, R. Burton, J. David, P. Davis. Rev. I. T. Simpson, one of the strongest men in the State, is now in this body as pastor of Opelika.
The school project in Opelika speaks well of its supporters and deserves to succeed. May God bring them in the path of success. The writer regrets to record that he saw something at one session of this body that was by no means creditable to it. It was this selling business. The grounds about the church were almost covered with cake stands, etc., and the sermons could scarcely be heard for the noise made by the salesmen. Associations ought not to meet with any church which does not pledge itself to keep such off the grounds. The Associations of our white brethren are not troubled with such ugly conduct. The communities in which religious bodies convene should do all in their power to bring about the devotional spirit, the spirit of sincere worship.
Organized in 1882, reports about 2,000 members.
Messrs. J. Coles, W. Cooper and J. W. Carroll have served as clerks. They, too, are recorded as contributing for educational purposes.
This association was organized in 1868, and has given more students to Selma University than any other association in the State, nor has any other been more liberal in its gifts of money. A calculation would, perhaps, show that they had not paid so much as the Alabama District and the Uniontown, but it will be remembered that those are the giant associations, having 10,000 or 12,000 members, while this body has not more than 6,000. Rev. C. Roberts, one of the founders of this body, in his opening speech before the session of 1892 said: "When we began, not one among us could write. We organized in Tuscaloosa, and when the work was done, it seemed so insignificant an idea that we had attempted to constitute and operate an association that it took us two days to accept and recognize what we had done. But see what we are now, and what we have done! Of our own sons and daughters, we have with us to-day teachers of the State schools,
teachers in universities, teachers of music, persons of character and of learning. I never in my life, thought I would see so much education in black people." The "Jones Creek Church," the church with which the association had convened in the above named session, was the name borne by the white church organized about 1830, which long ago had become extinct. Rev. L. Brown, who now owns a good part of his old master's plantation, presided at this session, and Rev. I. Dawson was clerk.
Their minutes give the following churches and ministers:
Revs. G. Young, T. Grant, G. Lowe, J. S. Boatright, I. Dawson, L. Brown, C. Roberts, E. Grant.
There are other strong men among them whose names I could not obtain.
Rev. Daniel Griffin, pastor at Gainsville, has especially commended himself for his studiousness, spotless name, and earnest work. Many of our best young men, teachers and preachers, come of this association.
Organized in 1885, report a membership of about 8,000. The post offices of their several churches are given as follows: Calera, Jemison, Strasburg, Lomax, Clayton, Shiloh, Randolph, Traveler's Rest, Maplesville, Briarfield, and Ashley.
The list which the writer found was not full, but we have the following: Revs. H. Zimmerman, Clanton; H. E. Make and A. Thomas, Calera; C. Gentry, Randolph. I am informed that Revs. J. R. Scott, J. S. Printice, J. W. Witherspoon and W. T. Goodson are also members of this body.
Organized in 1876, reports about 2,000 members.
Bladen Springs, Cunningham, West Bend, Rescueville, Coffeeville, Dead Level, Mt. Sterling, Frankville, Ararat, Campbell, St. Stevens.
Revs. C. Long, of Bladen Springs, P. D. Alford, of Cunningham; R. Lewis, F. White, R. Whitley, O. S. Yorke, J.
Whigman, B. White, E. A. Reed, B. Woodson, A. S. Cessions, C. L, Davis, and L. W. Morris. The writer baptized Rev. P. D. Alford about twenty-five years ago, while doing mission work in Mississippi.
Rev. Charles Long was one of the first colored men to begin teaching and preaching after the war. He stands as an honest businessman, as well as preacher of the gospel.
Organized in 1883, is a small body composed of about twenty churches, which have the following post offices: Phenix City, Gerard, Motts, Columbus, Ga., Hatchechubbee, Ladonia, Crawford, Uchee.
They number about 2,000 members.
Organized in 1876, is operating chiefly in Fayette county. The writer cannot give their membership, but they report eighteen or twenty churches.
Revs. G. H. Prewett, W. Bozelle, J. P. Neal, J. M. Maddox, S. Clements, G. W. Brent, A. G. Johnson, J. H. Evey, I. Bizzell, L. W. Bridges, R. L. Gorden, L. Neal, A. B. Richardson.
Revs. J. M. Maddox and J. W. Glasscox seem to be at least the peers of any in their ranks.
Mrs. M. D. Duncan, Principal Female Academy, Demopolis, Ala.
Organized in 1871, reports about 3,500 members. This is the body so long guided by the late Rev. Armstead Cunningham, Bellville. This aided in the purchase of our property at Selma.
Eustis, Grove Hill, Dixon's Mill, Whatley, Thomasville, Glover, Atkerson, Choctaw Corner, Myrtlewood, Putman, Clifton, Octagon.
Revs. C. L. Robertson, H. W. Mitchell, C. L. Davis, E. P. Yow, W. Thomas, P. Kimbrough, J. Williams, M. Dosey, J. M. Houston, R. F. Forman, F. Johnson, A. L. Cleveland, A. Charles, W. M. Kimbrough.
Organized 1872, is a large body, operating in the "Black Belt." They have about 4,000 members. Support educational enterprises.
Crumpton, Gee's Bend, Lasso, Linden, Cylonia, Orrville, Portland, Cahaba, Lower Peach Tree, Selma, Brown's Station, Gaston, Rehoboth, Hazen, Uniontown, Martin Station, Boguechitto, Hamburg.
D. Boyd, W. C. Richards, G. W. Jones, T. Mosely, P. Underwood, W. Sprague, H. Robertson, R. D. Vassar, T. B. Goldsby, E. B. Smith, H. Willer, A. C. Collin, S. Thompson, A. Hardaway, D. M. Coleman, A. Waller, J. Watts, N. Jones, R. Murry, L. Bryant.
Rev. D. M. Coleman deserves praise for his persistent
struggles after education. In spite of every hindrance he, at rather a late point in his young manhood, started and completed a course in Selma University.
Organized in 1885, is a small body, and the Writer has learned but little of them.
Revs. J. A. Jemison, C. Casby, G. S. Bolling, F. Chandler, S. Morse, C. McCord.
Organized 1878, reports about 3,500 members. They liberally support educational and missionary enterprises.
Evergreen, Dunham, Joyville, Fairfield, Red Level, Mason, Brooklyn, Grovella, Garland, Andalusia, Castleberry, Brewton, Williams' Station, Pollard.
Revs. L. and N. Hawthorne, G. Donald, J. Wallace, P. Monroe, A. Clairborne, S. Union, J. McCrery, S. I. Shannon, Z. Michael, J. Salter, R. McCrery, D. May, R. Ingraham, D. Shepard, C. C. Lucious, and C. Jackson. They want to establish a high school at Evergreen, where Rev. L. Hawthorne is now engaged in teaching and preaching.
Organized in 1867, is perhaps the oldest Colored Association in Alabama. Its chief founders were: Revs. William McCoo and Jerry Shorter, and Deacons J. E. Timothy, of
Eufaula, and Byrd Day, of Glennville. This body is peculiarly organized on some lines. For example: Their Sunday School work is divided into districts, which districts, under their several leaders, bold so many meetings a year at different centers of the population. A carefully prepared program is carried out, led on by certain persons who have been previously named and informed. And they have a preachers' association.
Eufaula, Clayton, Glenville, Hurtsboro, Lofton, Pittsboro, Midway, Hatchechubbee, Seale, Jerigan, Cowikee, Oatston, Oswichee, Coal Ridge, Louisville, Hawkinsville, Guerryton, Abbeville, Three-Notch, Enon, Cochran, Batesville, Eufaula is the leading point in the district.
The author has been unable to obtain the post office address of the following names: Revs. S. Allen, R. H. Wright, T. Thomas, C. H. Ammons, P. Shorter, J. Torbert, M. Davis, P. Battle, G. W. Moore, L. B. Mitchell, R. Turpin, P. Johnson, E. R. Joseph, E. Crawford. For several years Rev. L. P. Foster has been the missionary for this body.
Bro. Byrd Day, a pioneer in this part of the State, relates the following interesting story: "As I could read in the days of slavery, and as the people on the place wanted to know the sayings of God, as they called the Bible, they bought me a
Bible and got we to read for them. We slaves were allowed night farms in those days. An acre or so of land was given to each person wanting to work at night. Well, in order that I might study the Bible, the other slaves on the place worked my patch for me. So I studied the book and read it to them."
The writer once spent a month in Eufaula giving Bible instruction to ministers, and was paid by the "Ministers' Association."
Organized in 1884, is a small body of less than 1,000 members, and is the result of a secession from the Muscle Shoals Association. Rev. F. A. Chapman is its principal founder and perhaps is their strongest man.
Revs. F. A. Chapman, C. M. Davis, C. C. Matthews, Flint Station; G. W. Garth, Crowton; R. Wilhoit, Cedar Plains ; B. M. Key, D. Ward, S. M. Robinson, Somerville; A. Brown, S. Gains, A. It. Eason, Huntsville; C. Davis, Whitesburg; W. T. Connor, Madison; E. Powell, Hillsboro.
The writer has greatly enjoyed their quiet spirit and earnest labors. However, he saw at their last session (1894) a rather ludicrous point or gesture in the pulpit exercises. A brother, who is known to be an upright man, as well as a very earnest and industrious man, was making some remarks on the closing sermon of the session, when, becoming very happy, he made a leap upward, which caused his brethren to fear lest there would be a bruise, either in the ceiling, or on top of the minister's head. I would have, if I could have done so with propriety, urged the brother to remember that "bodily exercise profits little, while godliness is profitable unto all things," and that "the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet,"
and "let all things be done decently and in order." However, I remember the day when most of the white preachers in Alabama had in their sermons what some people are disposed to call "the holy tone," which was often accompanied by quite a lot of physical exercise. This has become a thing of the past with them in proposition, as they by culture, have been raised to see that Christianity is Christly believing and Christly living. By the same process, the same conditions will come upon us. So, we will still labor and still wait.
Organized in 1891, is a small body operating in a section lying South of Anniston and Oxford.
Wedowee, Lineville, Rockdale, Graham, Beason's Mill, Heflin, Louina, Micaville, Lamar, Edwardsville, Truet, Gay.
Rev. A. M. Crawley, Iron City, moderator; and J. W. Goss, Wedowee, clerk. Revs. S. A. Banks, L. Dotson, C. T. Early, J. C. Byrd, J. D. Austin, J. R. Heard, D. Welsh, C. Sterling, C. Terry, and J. Culbertson, are mentioned among the principal pastors.
Organized 1881, has some eighteen or twenty churches. The copy of the minutes in the hand of the writer fails to give the membership of the churches.
Farmersville, Gordonville, Selma, Bragg's, Furman, Montery, Haynesville.
Revs. Wm. Moss, W. Baskin, H. J. Kelly, M. Lewis, E. Crawford, J. H. Hartman.
Organized in 1886, reports a membership of about 1,500.
Van Dorn, Gallion, Demopolis, Old Spring Hill, Dayton.
Revs. F. Gilbert, J. W. Belle, Wm. Allen, W. Reese, A. Wilson, W. H. Rone, G. C. Roney, W. E. Sharp, A. Collins, and G. V. Spenser.
Operating in Pickens county, was organized in 1874, and has a membership of about 2,000.
Revs. J. C. Archibald, Bridgeville; D. C. Salmon, Bridgeville; R. Richey, Pickensville; J. Goodwin, Raleigh; J. T., Atty, Memphis, Ala.; J. G. Johnson, Carrollton; J. Clark, Ehren; James Howard, Pickensville. Brother Archibald is liberally educated, teaches school, and is a progressive man on all lines.
Organized in 1885, contains only about 1,000 members.
Trio, Brierfield, Centerville, Harrisburgh, Scottsville, Green Pond, Blocton, Vance.
Revs. T. M, Parker, W. A. Parker, John Bolden, J. A. Foster, S. Page, H. S. Thompson, G. W. Glenn, G. Calhoun.
Organized in 1887, operates chiefly in Mobile, Baldwin and Washington counties. The St. Louis Street Church, Mobile, constituted in 1859, is the principal church in this body. They have churches at the following points: Whistler, Chastang, Calvert's Station, Scranton, Miss., Gondola, Four Mile Post, Moffitsville, Citronelle, Mount Vernon, Chunchula, Cleveland, Cottage Hill, Kushla, Vancleve.
Revs. J. L. Frazier, C. C. Richardson, T. H. Morgan, G. W. Cephas, H. Sims, G. Lewis, A. J. Bolton, E. M. Matthews, S. A. Johnson, M. J. Thompson, T. Benson, C. L. Roberts, C. Reed, W. S. Forbes.
Marengo county, was organized in 1878. They number about 2,500 members.
Gallion, Linden, Faunsdale, Dayton, Magnolia, Van Dorn, Demopolis, Uniontown, Providence, Spring Hill.
Revs. J. Lawson, H. Shade, James Emmerson, J. Shaw, N. P. Anderson, B. Glover, D. S. Thompson, M. D. Agee, James Brock.
Organized in 1874, is operating in Coosa and Elmore counties. Their membership is about 2,000. They have been rather separated from the general work, but perhaps, it is owing to the fact that their location has made it rather difficult for those who have represented the enterprises of the denomination to reach them.
Revs. L. W. Whitaker, Rockford; M. C. Crosby, A. L. Swindall, A. M. Snowdon, A. Jones, J. A. Baker, E. D. Howell, L. W. McNeely, R. T. Lewis, J. H. Smith.
Lockford, Irma, Central Institute, Dexter, Syke's Mill, Pentonville, Equality, Lauderdale, Nixburgh, Weoka, Crewsville, Goodwater.
Organized in 1874 by Revs. W. H. McAlpine, J. R. Capers, and William Ware, with other leading men; occupies the chief mining regions of Alabama. Their last minutes give the following churches and ministers:
Rev. J. P. Barton, Pastor Peace Baptist Church, Talladega, Ala. President Baptist State Convention.
Revs. T. W. Walker, T. L. Jordan, G. W. Parks, William Ware, G. S. Smith, W. A. Shirley, A. J. Fikes, R. Donald, P. C. Caddell, W. T. Bibb, J. A. Peele, S. D. Sanders, William Walker, E. E. Perryman, R. H. Vogle, M. C. Adams, J. P. O'Riley, A. A. Scott, L. V. Ellison, J. E. A. Wilson, V. Huntington, F. M. Miller, B. P. Palmo, H. Neally, F. C. Chandler, S. M. Hall, H. Zimmerman, S. L. Belser, W. E. Craddock, J. B. Gardner, S. A. Latham, Van B. James, P. Woollen, L. J. Green, R. Johnson, L. W. Wells, J. M. Anthony, L. C. Jones.
As educators, they have Messrs. T. H. Posey, J. C. Barker, F. P. McAlpine, and A. J. Edwards. Rev. L. D. James is missionary of their district. Their membership is about 6,000, and their church property is worth not less than $50,000.
The oldest church in the city is the Spring Street Church, Rev. L. J. Green's church, but the Sixteenth Street, Sixth Avenue, and Shiloh Churches are the most influential churches. The Sixteenth Street Church was organized in 1873, it appears, and her pastors appear in the following order: Revs. J. Readon, W. Reed, A. C. Jackson, W. R. Pettiford, and T. L. Jordan. In a property point of view they owe much to Rev. A. C. Jackson, under whom they obtained the present church lot, three other lots, and a small frame building, say about $5,000. This $4,000 or $5,000 went toward the erection of their brick edifice, erected under the pastorate of Rev. W. R. Pettiford. They owe about $3,000 on their building, the payment of which has been much hindered by the scarcity of money. In all the most progressive plans of gospel work in this section, this church has led the way; and their advance on these lines is chiefly due to the presence of Dr. Pettiford and the missionary ladies. The Sixth Avenue Church is the next to appear. Its pastors have been: Revs. Silas Jones, T. W. Walker, J. W. White. They have recently offered the pastoral charge to Rev. J. Q. A. Wilhite, who is expected to assume management this month (May, 1895). They are in debt also.
The church that is the marvel of the city is the Shiloh, under Rev. T. W. Walker. This church was organized May 3, 1891, as the result of preaching service supported by a society known as the "Christian Relief Association." They now have the smallest debt, the largest house and the largest congregation in the city. Often when 1,200 or 1,500 people are in the house, a good part of the street is full of persons who are anxious to approach near enough to hear. Of course the pastor is the source and center of this successful church, but
he has been fortunate in drawing about him some very business-like as well as very agreeable people. The following anniversary program, etc., will give in idea of the church's operations and system. (This program, with facts like it, is given for its suggestiveness):
MAY 3, 1891 MAY 3, 1895
The anniversary of the above named church will be held on Friday, the above date, at the church on Avenue G, between Eighteenth and Nineteenth streets.
All churches in the city and vicinity are cordially invited to be present and take a part in the exercises, as those present will have the privilege to speak on the subjects after they have been submitted to the assembly. The following will be the programme for the day.
All are requested to bring their Bibles, as they will be needed.
J. W. Sampson, J. M. Ross, REV. T. W. WALKER, Pastor. Committee.
The above exercises took place on Friday, and the author of this book was present to
gather evidence of progress.
Closing the chapter on the Mount Pilgrim Association, I submit the following programs in order to give further light on the general operations in their field.
The above gives the topics of the local monthly meetings.
In this meeting the following names appear: Mesdames P. F. Clark, Sallie Hall, R. Callier, A. McKesson, L. Tyrus, E. C. Bellmy, L. Dean, S. Ceephas, A. L. Billheimer, S. A. Donald, M. J. Walker, with the names of the missionaries, Misses Knapp and Boorman.
These topics, etc., show the lines of thought upon which the mind is working. How different things are now from what they were in 1835, when Job Davis, the African preacher, toiled by the side of his fellow slaves all day and dreamed at night of his far off home over the great sea! Now in the valley where his famous camp-meeting sermon melted the heart of the white people into a condition of submission to Jesus and into hope of the coming world--where the black man knew only spade, plow and hoe--we have the Negro M. D., Negro druggist, Negro dentist, Negro banker, Negro author, Negro merchant, Negroes worshiping in brick churches, Negro scientists, and white people using Negro inventions. Here are Banker B. H. Hudson, Druggist I. B. Kigh, Drs. Goin, Brown, and U. G. Mason, Inventor Andrew Beard, with orators and educators many. "What shall the harvest be?"
Miss Hardie Martin, Teacher in Public School, Montgomery, Ala.
Organized in 1882, is composed of only a few churches, chief among which we may mention: Mt. Zion, Mt. Pleasant and Spring Hill, Elba post office; Mt. Calvary, Damascus and Antioch, Rose Hill post office; Friendship and Pleasant Ridge, Henderson post office, Mt. Olive and St. John, Luverne post office. They have between 1,200 and 1,500 members.
Revs. G. Stringer, M. H. Henderson, G. B. Gibson, C. P. Larkin, D. F. White and J. S. Lee.
Organized in 1873, is a small body of very poor churches, located in Jackson county. There were a few rich slaveholders in said county, among whom was the Rev. Charles Roach, Sr. On his plantation there were three preachers, one Methodist and two Baptist. The Baptist preachers were Thomas and Perkins. Like many other ex-slaves, they retained the name of their master, and became known as Revs. Thomas and Perkins Roach. Rev. Robert Caver, at an early date after the close of the war, came into the county a Baptist preacher. These men became the organizers of the work in this county. The county is no longer so full of colored people as once it was, and hence the churches are very small and can't support their pastors. Revs.James Larkin, Lewis Roach, T. J. Roach, Lewis Henshaw, F. Cobb, C. L. Lovelady, J. W. Robinson are doing what they can to keep up the work but they labor under great difficulties. It is the purpose of some to attempt to establish a school at Hollywood. If this project should mature there is a prophecy of better conditions in time to come.
Is among the largest and oldest Associations in the State, having been organized in 1869 by Revs. Henry Bynum, Wm. Coleman and W. E. Northcross, aided by Dr. Joseph Shackelford (white), of Trinity. I was with them as they met in the session of 1893 in the Courtland Church. In 1827, a Mr. D. P. Bestor, a white minister, preached in this section and began the work of organizing among the whites. I was told that the white church, constituted in Courtland in 1827, had long passed away and that of their building "one stone was not left upon another." Only the vacant church lot remained to tell of what had been. The white people were gone we knew not how nor whither, but that the gospel which they had preached was blooming like a green bay tree in the hearts of their ex- slaves, this large Association was tangible evidence. The Rev. John Belle reminded his brethren that the time had been when he was the only man in the body who could write and when committees went out to consult and agree, and then returned to submit verbal reports, which he as clerk was expected to formulate. He compared this state of things with the present condition, wherein the writer was the rule and the non-writer the exception.
This body is noted for church building. The people in Huntsville and Sheffield owe their buildings to the plan and liberality of this Association. The Rev. Paul Jones, for many years their moderator, was full of missionary zeal and wise plans, and pushed things in all directions. His death caused them a great loss.
Their minutes give the following churches and pastors: Tuscumbia church, Rev. W. E. Northcross; Courtland and Sheffield, Rev. G. B. Johnson, of Courtland; Red Bank and Iuka, Rev. John Belle, of Courtland; Pleasant Grove, Mt. Zion and Little
Zion, Rev. E. M. James, of Courtland; Russellville and Florence churches, Rev. E. C. White, of Tuscumbia; Mount Olive, Rev. L. Warren, of Leighton; Palmetto, Rev. M. Jones, of Russellville; Galilee and Mount Pleasant, Rev. B. King, of Leighton; Town Creek and Moulton, Rev. A. J. Owens, of Moulton; Mount Moriah, Rev. H. R. Baker, of Tuscumbia; Macedonia, Rev. A. Troupe, of Town Creek; Elm Grove, Rev. William Weaver, of Oakland; Mount New Home, Rev. William Morris, of Leighton; Huntsville Church, Rev. O. Gray, of Huntsville; Cave Springs, Zion and Bethel, Rev. James Hampton, of Leighton; Zion No. 2., Rev. J. H. Betts, of Florence; Cater's Branch, Rev. A. Davis; St. Peter's, Rev. H. L. Ellis, of Flint; Jerusalem and Salem, Rev. D. Jackson, of Tuscumbia; Mt. Olive, Rev. G. S. Ricks, of Leighton; Decatur Church, Rev. M. J. Hooks; Hillsboro, Rev. B. Swoope; Baptist Chapel, Rev. James Young, of Florence; St. Paul and Hopewell, Rev. S. Wadkins, Tuscumbia.
They report church property worth about $25,000. Their principal work has been in the way of starting missions and building churches. They have 6,000 members, and an excellent territory, but they greatly need a school. Professors H. H. Stewart, of Courtland, and J. P. Gettis, of Decatur, and Dr. Sterrs, of the same place, are the most advanced men of their fellowship. Dr. Sterrs is a successful young physician as well as preacher.
Organized in 1878 and is a secession from the old Pine Grove. They have, perhaps, about 2,000 members in the following churches: At Troy--Pine Grove, Holly Springs, High Ridge, Mt. Olive; Union Springs--Sardis, Low's Field, Lime Creek; Brundidge--Post Oak, New Hope, Mt. Pilgrim.
Rev. A. Martin, Union Springs; Wm. Mullen and M. Flournoy, Troy: W. H. Copeland and E. Mayer, Brundidge.
Organized in 1871, has about 2,000 members, and are generous supporters of Missionary and educational enterprises. Their work is managed by such men as Revs. P. S. L. Hutchins, B. N. Tubbs, R. E. Brown, L. Abercrombie, T. Chandler and A. L. Huggins.
They have churches at or near Marion, Hamburg and Selma. The copy of their minutes which came to the writer's hand is not sufficiently full to make a good record, as is the case with regard to other minutes in hand.
With headquarters at Union Springs, Bullock county, was organized in 1870. No section of Alabama affords better talent than is found within the territory of this Association. The people of Union Springs are noted for their ability and skill in business affairs--merchandise, etc.
The brick church edifice recently erected by Rev. W. C. Bradford and his church in Union Springs, as well as the large and successfully operated stores, is testimony on this line.
The officers of this body are: Rev. E. Thornton, Union Springs, moderator; Prof. F. L. Todd, Union. Springs, clerk; Rev. W. C. Crawford, treasurer.
They have about 2,000 members and the following churches:
They have the following pastors:
For general purposes the Association raises from $50 to $100 a year.
Post Offices Unknown--Revs. T. Hendrix, G.Youngblood, P. Johnson, S. M. Dawson, J. M. Faison, R. Jole, S. Barnes.
Rev. J. W. Jett, a man of Virginia birth, is the oldest member of the body; he was associated with those pioneers of this section, Revs. Peter Johnson and William Townsend. Mr. Jett is still strong and active, and is ready for any good work. Rev. E. Thornton leads this body, and it could not be otherwise, as no man among them is a mightier and more conspicuous individuality.
Organized in 1880, is not so well known as some other bodies. From the minutes of 1888 I glean the following: They have a church at Perote, one at Mt. Andrew, one at Fresco, two at Victoria, one at Midway, and one at Pine Grove. Their membership at this time was small, and the names of some of their chief men appear as follows; Rev. J. H. Burks, W. B. Grubbs, C. G. Wheeler, R. Allen, and R. Dix.
Organized in 1887, rose, it seems, in Pike County.
Revs. J. S. Adair, T. Diggs, G. Whaley, W. S. Pollard, H. Broxton, M. Stinson, W. F. Williams, J. O. Davis, and others.
They endorse educational enterprises.
Organized in 1870. Revs. Henry Woods, W. H. McAlpine, and Isham Robinson were the chief founders of this body. Talladega county is their main territory, though they have churches in Coosa, St. Clair and Calhoun counties.
Rev. E. C. Rivers has been for years their efficient moderator,
and Rev. A. A. Battle is clerk. They report their churches and ministers as follows :
D. Savage, of Mumford; A. Z. Wilson, N. Jemison, B. Jackson, A. Bibb, S. Rivers, P. Jordan, C. C. Curry, R. Garrett, A. J. Vincent, A. O'Neal, A. G. Walker, James Headen, M. H. Cunningham, H. Wood, J. Chapman, A. A. Battle, S. Burt, R.
B. McClellen, J. L. Looney, A. Bryant, A. Davis, S. Marbry, J. P. Barton, M. C. B. Oden.
This body is led chiefly by men who have attended Talladega College, some of whom are not only graduates and scholars, but are strong preachers of the plain old gospel story.
They number about 6,500 members. Talladega and Anniston are their chief points. Talladega is the "Old Indian battle ground," and here the white Baptists formed a church in 1885. Sister Cain, a member of the Mount Canaan Church, Talladega, said to the writer: "There was no town here when I came. The Indians lived here and it was all nothing but wild woods." As she was talking, the Talladega College bell loudly rang out some orders or notice upon the ears of Negro students. I mused: "How the world changes! About the years 1820-1830, negro slavery is established in Talladega county. In 1835 a white church rises up and, unknowingly, begins to prepare to give birth to a Negro church, which will give birth to a Negro Association. In 1865 the slave is free, and in 1870 the white church constitutes the Mt. Canaan Church (colored), out of which comes the Rushing Springs Association. And Negro men and Negro women are carrying diplomas from buildings erected by white Baptists for the education of white people. All this in less than fifty years."
In Talladega county, has a rather peculiar history. The lot was donated in 1849, it appears, by a Mr. William Jenkins, a wealthy slave owner, who lived about eight miles south of the town of Talladega. It is said that in addition to the gift of land and building, he paid a man to teach the catechism to the colored children, and paid annually $150 toward the salary of a minister for the colored people who worshiped with this
Rev. W. R. Pettiford, D. D., President Penny Savings and Loan Co., President Alabama Publishing. Co., Birmingham, Ala.
church. Samuel Jenkins, a slave from South Carolina, was one of their first deacons.
Pastors.--It appears that the following brethren served the church at different times in the capacity of pastor: Revs. D. Reynolds, S. Boils, D. Peeples, W. H. McAlpine, Phil. Davis, A. Lawler, and Jordan Chapman.
The origin of this church is full of suggestion. It shows that in spite of the brutalizing influences of the horrible institution of slavery, humanity and Christianity in the master often triumphed in deeds of love and mercy in behalf of the helpless slave. The memory of such men as Mr. Jenkins inscribed upon such times will be fragrant forever. The plantation to which the above named lot belonged has changed hands several times, but this lot is fixed on the records as the property of the African Church.
Honorable mention is made of Rev. Chesley Johnson and Joe Walker. The latter, it is said, was allowed to give Bible lessons on his master's plantation. The manliness which characterizes Mr. Henry Barclay (Mr. Walker's son) and other decendants, marks Mr. Walker's rare talent.
Organized in 1887, is composed of the following churches:
Revs. A. Clay, J. and E. Mixom, M. Bishop, H. W. Peeples, and E. W. Deampart are mentioned among their leading men. Their church property is reported at $8,000.
Organized in 1871, is a small body in southeast Alabama. I have been unable to obtain data from this body. I learn that they have churches at the following points: Brundidge, Clintonville, Enterprise, and Cox Mills.
Was organized in 1869. Rev, Berry Ware, it seems, was one of its leading founders. They have a membership of about 3,000. They have some excellent men, among whom may be mentioned: Revs. B. M. Mallory, F. Youngblood, H. D. Leathers, of Childersburg; Rev. D. L. Prentice, Aldrich; Rev. J. P. Barton, Talladega; Rev. E. E. Perryman, Helena; Revs. G. R. Nash, F. R. Kenedy, B. F. Singleton, and P. Caddell, Columbiana; Rev. F. Cahill, Harpersville; Revs. J. L. Looney and P. Fancher, Fayetteville; Revs. W. C. Owens and J. H. Moseley, Calera.
The minutes of 1890 give the following post offices and churches:
Rev. D. L. Prentice, Aldrich, is doing a very effective work in the school room, and the people of his town bear the marks of his pedagogic labors. Their meetings, I mean associational meetings, are enjoyable and they give evidence of piety, promise and power.
This body liberally aided in the purchase of Selma University, and has ever been ready for any and every good work.
This Association operates in the extreme southeast portion of the State. I have not been able to secure a full statistical table from them.
They report thirty churches, with a membership of about 2,000. From a mutilated copy of their minutes for 1892 the following names are given as the ordained ministers of the body: J. Craddock, G. Christinar, J. Stith, Thomas Slaughter, M. Spencer, E. P. Langston, J. Cotton, E. Alford, T. Rollins, A. L. Koonce, J. C. Green, Wm. Carter, A. Powell, J. Foston, J. Sampson, James Humphrey, G. R. Hall, R. C. Liferedge, and A. Turner.
Part of the statistical table is torn away, but the following appears as the list of their post offices: Cowarts, Otho, Crosby, Balkum, Headland, Gordon, Shorterville, Halesburg, Zornville, Hardwicksburg, Brackins, Choctawhatchie, Columbia, Lawrenceville, Abbeville, Fort Gaines, Cottonwood. Dothan, Hilliardsville, Ashford. I give this list because to know the post offices of the churches is better than to know nothing at all. They are all right on temperance, and they say they will license no man to preach who cannot read the New Testament.
Is chiefly located in Calhoun and Etowah counties. At present their officers are as follows:
Rev. H. W. Whatley, White Plains, moderator.
Rev. William Munds, Anniston, assistant moderator.
Prof. Lydden Green, Oxford, clerk.
This body was organized in 1869 by Rev. Burrell Snow (whose name it bears) and a few others, aided by the late Rev. Mr. Jinkins, a white Baptist minister, whose heart and hand seemed ever ready to help on every good work among the colored people.
Rev. H. J. Hoke, the efficient missionary of Arkansas, went out from this association. They have something above 2,000 members belonging to the following churches:
Ohatchee, Ohatchee; New Mount Gilead, Markston New Prospect, Choccolocco; Oconee, New Hope, Oxford; Spring Hill, Bynum; Bates Springs, Cane Creek, Greensport; Mount, Olive, Oxanna; Mount Zion, Coat's Bend; Galilee, Friendship, Anniston; Bethany, Iron City ; New Mount Silla, Peaceburg ; Shiloh, Dukes; Zion Hill, White Plains; Antioch, Friendship, Gadsden; New Hope, First Colored, Jacksonville; New Hope, Rock Run; Pleasant Gap, Stock's Mills; Pine Grove, Knotville; Bethel, Alexandria; Mount Sinai, Weaver's Station; Patona, Piedmont; St. Jacob, Tecumseh, and beautiful Borden Springs.
The following are the pastors: Revs. H. Middleton, J. J. Johnson, B. Jackson, H. Green, Thomas Ivory, A. F. Alexander, T. L. Douglass, S. Walker, J. S. Simmons, Gadsden; H. W. Whatley, White Plains; William Munds, N. P. Pullum, Anniston; C. Pyles, Oxford; G. W. Brewton, Alexandria; James Denson, Talladega.
These brethren are all O. K. on the leading issues of the
day. Brother Whatley is, in many regards, a very strong man, hospitable as a host, and genial as a companion, a good citizen and successful business man.
Confined chiefly to Crenshaw county; was organized in 1879. The writer has attended one of their sessions held east of Greenville, a few miles from Luverne.
Revs. James Barrett, Bolling; E. Dunklin, J. H. Henderson, Greenville; M. C. Lowery, E. D. Wallace, Bolling; S. M. Ransom, Oak Streak; S. M. Lowery, Salsoda; Bro. Walter Williams, Glascow and Bro. Henry McLain, Oaky Streak.
Luverne, Greenville, Glascow, Oaky Streak, Salsoda, Rutledge, Pontus, Shell, Bradleyton, Pigeon Creek. They hope to begin a high school, for which purpose they have raised about $300. It is to be hoped that they will secure their money against loss. Far too many times money has been raised for church and school purposes and put into the hands of men who lost it (?) or loaned it out. Such loose management of funds destroys the confidence of the people and injures the cause of Christ. I regret to say that they, at the session referred to, did not unanimously endorse the temperance movement of the day, though there was a strong sentiment in the right direction. They number about 2,000 members. I was impressed with the natural power of some of their leaders. In their number I saw some rising young men, who I think will attain to knowledge of books.
Operating south of Montgomery, was organized in 1874 by Brethren W. W. Lane, Lewis Witherspoon, George Jones, D. Carter, O. Blue, and others.
Revs. S. Adams, T. Ervin, A. Garner, R. Borden, M. Jackson, F. Nichols, William Rollins, William Day, O. Blue, J. Mitchell, W. Mullens, D. S. Adams, I. Davis, John Smith, and E. M. Burkett.
Dr. A. J. Stokes, of Montgomery, has for several years been their moderator. In the session of 1891 they rejected the temperance report; but this year (1893) they vote by a large majority in favor of it. A few, however, claim that they "have a right" to use alcohol if they desire to do so. They have a membership of 5,000 or 6,000. A Rev. Mr. Pollard has been in their employ as missionary, so the writer is informed.
Organized in 1877 and operating chiefly in Wilcox county, presents the following roll of churches :
Antioch, Magnolia, New Hope No. 2, New Hope No. 4, Ruk West, Emanuel Street, and Union Baptist, Camden Post Office; Cedar Grove and Starling, Furman; Little Rock, Tilden; Little Zion, St. Emanuel, St. Peter, Nellie; Mt. Gilead and Magnolia, Bell's Landing; Morning Star and Shady Grove, Miller's Ferry; New Hope No. 3 and St. Wisdom, Canton's Bend; New Hill, Butler's Springs; Oak Valley, Monterey; Pine Flat, Tinela; St. Francis, Caledonia; St. Peter, River Ridge. Antioch of Camden, Cedar Grove of Furman, and Little Rock of Tilden, are the oldest churches in this body, having been organized in 1868.
Their number is between 1,700 and 2,000. Their pastors are Revs. S. B. McCall, George Earl, M. Boykin, V. Pruit, K. Wolfe, F. Williams, W. H. Ray, Jr., L. D. Johnson, M. Lewis, L. Jefferson, S. Boyd, C. L. George, J. C. Blackburn, John Poe, N. Hill, George Earl, M. Ervin, W. G. King, J. A. Lawson. The venerable Henry Allen has been in this section as "a father in Israel."
They are trying to support a high school at Camden. Rev. J. A. Lawson is especially active in educational matters, and all seem ready for any and every good work.
Is a new body, organized in 1889. The minutes of 1891 give the following:
Magnolia Church, Warrior Stand, Rev. E. Moore, pastor; Bethlehem Church, Cotton Valley, Rev. M. Ellington, pastor; Sweet Pilgrim Church Union Springs, Rev. E. Thornton, pastor; St. Paul Church, Cotton Valley, Rev. C. Johnson,
Rev. J. L. Frazier, Pastor St. Louis St. Baptist Church, Mobile, Ala.
pastor; Town Creek Church, Union Springs, Rev. J. Germany, pastor; Antioch Church, Columbus, Ga., Rev. E. A. McCall, pastor; Mt. Nebo Church, Rev. J. Germany, pastor Mt. Pisgah Church, Dick Creek, Rev. W. M. Walker, pastor; Perry Hill Church, Warrior Stand, Rev. J. S. Tatum, pastor; Mt. Calvary Church, Union Springs, Rev. H. Jones, pastor; Oak Grove Church, Cotton Valley, Rev. Mac. Wright, pastor.
They have a membership of about 1,500. Rev. E. Thornton of Union Springs is moderator and E. A. McCall, of Columbus, Ga., is clerk.
The writer has been unable to ascertain all desirable facts. Judging, however, from the character of the men whose names appear in the lead of their work, we may feel sure that they have organized the Association in order to advance educational and missionary interests.
Was organized in 1874 of churches which seceded from the Alabama District Association.
They have the following churches and ministers: Greenville--First Colored, Pine Top, Salem, Old Elm, Pine Level; Pineapple--Arkadelphia, New Virgin; Monterey--Ridgeville, Spring Hill, Mt. Moriah, Rosemary; Bugville--Friendship; Dunham--Long Creek; Simkinsville--Pleasant Hill; Starlington--Pine Level; Allenton --Siloam and Mt. Zion; Minter--Hopewell; Pleasant Hill--Good Hope, Cedar Grove; Snow Hill--Shiloh; Georgiana--Friendship; Furman--Antioch; Manningham--Mt. Olive; Luverne--New Hope; Daisy--Union; Vidette--Star of Hope; New Providence-- Mt. Ida; Farmerville--CedarGrove; Oakfield--Oakfield; Forest Home--Rockwest; Sepulga--Spring Hill; Camden--St.
Mary. Rev. J. Nichols, Greenville, is moderator; Rev. J. W. Smith is treasurer, and Mr. I. N. Carter, of Monterey, is clerk. Their sessions are rather stormy, as may be said of other bodies.
Revs. L. Adams, H. Thompson, J. Young, W. Morast, S. Albrighton, J. Beverly, Q. C. Craig, J. Scott, L, McKee, W. Anderson, J. Barrett, G. Pugh, J. Henderson, S, Skanes, R. Palmer, E. Perdue, M, McLowery, J. Ricks, J. Moss, E. Wallace, E. Stallworth, William Scott, E. Pickett, J. Blackman, R. C. Crane.
Prof. I. N. Carter is a strong man in this body, whose confidence and good will he seems still to hold. They have many naturally fine young men, but they need a school very much.
Organized in 1872 by the late Revs. Henry Stephens, John Dosier and John Blevins, is reported to be next numerically to the Alabama District, containing a membership of about 11,500. They raise annually for general purposes from $200 to $400. Their "Statistical Table" gives the following list of churches and ministers:
Selma--St. Philip Street, Tabernacle, Mount Zion, Little Rock, St. Paul, New Center, Mount Ararat, Beach Island, Everdale, Providence, Elbethel, Mount Zion; Newbern--Newbern, Holly Chapel, Oak Grove; Greensboro--St. John, St. Peter, St. Paul, Mount Moriah, Willow Springs, Salem, Pleasant Grove, Mt Zion; Safford's--New Hebron, Mount Lebanon, Concord; Boiling Springs--First Baptist, New Boiling. Springs; Hamburg--Green Liberty; Brown's--Trinity, Good
Hope; Sawyerville--Bethlehem, Springfield, New Hope; Perryville--Pleasant Hill, Perryville; Uniontown--Mount Calvary, Woodlawn, St. Jawes, Uniontown; Kimbrough--Jerusalem; Prairie Bluff--St. Mitchell; Catherine--Salem, Dixon Grove, Mount Olive; Marion--Second Baptist, Springfield, Willow Grove, Hopewell Bethel, Eagle Grove; Lamison--Macedonia; Scott's Station--Green Leaf, McKinley, Bethel Hill; Faunsdale--Faunsdale, Camben, Rehoboth; Summerfield--Macedonia, Orrville, Peace and Love; Alberta--Macedonia, Christian Light; Felix--Center, Bethany, Marion Junction, Pernell, Colerine, Shiloh; Pleasant Hill--Bethel, Whitsets, Pickens.
Selma--Revs. C. J. Hardy, I. T. Simpson, D. M. Coleman, L.J. Green, G. H. Hobdy, Q. C. Craig, C. J. Davis, J. B. Russell; Newbern--W. H. Reddick, G. Frost, W. H. Huckabee; Greensboro--Wm. Madison, P. Cottrell, P. Umphrey, S. Abrams; Marion--C. S. Dinkins, D. D., A. Billingley; Uniontown--Rev. A. F. Owens, H. Alexander, Wm. Boon; Faunsdale--F. A. E. Beck; Gallion--P. S. L. Hutchins, A. M.; Marion Junction--A. W. Ragland; Hamburg--Y. R. White; Prairie Bluff--W. H. Green; Boiling Springs--E. Slone; Kimbrough--A. Gladen; Camden--J. A. Lawson; Lamison--R. Estridge; Brown's Station--W. L. Lawson; Pleasant Hill--J. R. Scott; Perryville--R. Z. Deyampert; Sawyersville--I. J. Jones; Orrville--G. M. Jones; Post Offices unknown--R. Christian, J. G. Flood, L. E. Hobson, A. Gladen, W. W. Richardson, R. T. Bowden, E. C. Borroughs, W. H. Hatcher, G. M. Jones, G. King, and others. This body has quite a number of pastors from Selma University.
Too much cannot be said in praise of these brethren for the manner in which they have stood by the Selma University under all its changes. And yet we would have been surprised
if such a grand set of men as lead this body should have acted otherwise. Rev. J. Dosier, quite an old man, reads Greek fairly well. Rev. C. B. Davis is a young man of much ability and promise. Rev. F. A. E. Beek appreciates the value of education, is a natural magnet, and draws the people after him.
Rev. A. W. Ragland is loved by all for his brotherly, quiet Manners. But space fails me or I would speak of Revs. Y. R. White, R. Z. Deyampert, J. R. Scott, and others, who are pillars in this organization.
The white Baptists had for many years prior to the late war a prosperous church at this place, with a large membership of white people and colored people--the slaves of their masters. Just about the time of the war the larger portion of the white membership moved away, and from one cause and another, the close of the war found but a few white members remaining, but a large colored membership.
The white members, to whom the property belonged, sold the building and donated $2,000 of the proceeds to the colored members for them to build a church with. This church is the same church that the white people had organized more than fifty years ago.
Rev. H. Stephens was the first pastor of the colored congregation, after they moved their church site, and was pastor for twenty years.
Rev. L. J. Green was pastor for about four years, and Rev W. M. Madison, the present pastor, has been there five years, has built a nice parsonage and greatly increased the membership. There were 300 members (colored) when the church
moved to its present site, They have now a membership of 80.
This is the mother church of nearly every church in Hale county and they have a great many large and prosperous churches in the county. The church property is worth $2,500.
This is saying good things for the white Baptists of Greensboro. Deacon Dock Lane, one of the most honorable and consecrated among men, deserves mention as a pillar in this church. Among the leaders of this church appears the name of Mr. A. Wimbs.
Desiring to make honorable mention of this worthy young man, I requested of him something of his history, and he sends me the following;
"I was born in Greensboro, Ala., September 28, 1860. My mother was named Josephine; she was brought from Washington and sold to A. L. Stollenwerck, of this town. My father was named Addison Wimbs and resided in Washington; he was a slave on account of his mother being a slave, but his father was a free man, and had bought nearly all of his children and sent them to Canada. What education I have, I received at the town school here--Tullibody Academy--under the management of Prof. W. B. Patterson. I have served my church in the capacity of superintendent of the Sabbath School and clerk of the church , was secretary of the Sabbath School Convention of the Uniontown Association and a member of the Executive Board of the Convention. I was at one time editor of a small paper here called the Voice.
"I have been for many years the bookkeeper and general clerk in the law office of Governor Seay. I was, I am quite confident, the first Negro in Alabama if not in the entire South, to operate on the typewriter, and now I think, I am
the first Negro to manage the Edison phonograph for business purposes."
I know of no ex-slave and ex-slaveholder, between whom there is more confidence on one side and high regard on the other, than exist between Governor Seay and Addison Wimbs. This means for Brother Wimbs quietness of spirit and solid worth, as well as a conservative, genial soul in Governor Seay.
This church was organized about the year 1845. The church was composed of the white membership and the church which was composed of the colored membership, agreed to build together, with the understanding that the former should occupy the upper story and the latter should occupy the basement.
This agreement was kept until some time after the close of the war, when the white brethren bought the claims of the colored church, paying $2,000 for possession of the basement. Their first colored pastor was the Rev. Samuel Phillips, a man who had received his liberty as a reward for his services in the Mexican war. Deacon A. Goldsby told the writer that Bro. Phillips was a very earnest, worthy man. Nothing is known of the time and place of his birth, and nothing special is said of his death.
The Rev. John Blevens, who was born in Madison county, Ala., was the next pastor, and served front 1866 to 1878. Under his administration the present property on St. Phillip street was obtained. The Rev. Mr. Blevens was followed by Rev. G. J. Brooks, who, after a short pastorate, resigned, and was followed by Rev. W. A. Burch, from Philadelphia, Pa. Mr. Burch gathered a larger congregation than any other previous pastor, and did more than any other man in teaching the people to give for the support of the church. After two
Rev. P. S. L. Hutchins, Pastor Churches at Newberne and Gallion, Ala.
years, he was called to a pastorate in Boston, Mass., and was followed in the Selma pastorate by the writer, who remained with the church during 1882-87. Except the addition of about 350 members and the secession of the Tabernacle Church, nothing transpired that merits mention. The writer was followed by Rev. S. S. Sisson. At this writing, the Rev. C. J, Hardy, late of Florida, is their successful leader, under whose strong administration they have just completed a two-story brick structure on Sylvan Street. Their property is worth not less than $20,000--finest colored church edifice in Alabama.
It is worthy of mention and praise that the Selma University came to its birth under the fostering care of this church. In the old frame building on St. Phillip street the sainted Woodsmall began to turn upon the negro Baptists of Alabama the morning light, the early dawning, of our denominational school. And this church gave him quarters, fuel and lights without money and regardless of costs, so that in May, 1878, it was reported that the school had paid out nothing for these things. What a good deed is set down to their credit on high! But, in addition to this, they organized a missionary society, which grave regular contributions for support of teachers and other workers in the school.
Deacon A. Goldsby related the following to the writer:
"Forty or fifty years ago we organized a prayer band to pray for our freedom. We met outside of the little town, under a large oak tree, on every Friday night. That we might know when a friend came beneath the tree, we agreed upon a password, which was 'The hindering cause.' Each uttered this softly as he came under the boughs of the tree, and was answered by any other who had come ahead of him. Then he seated himself in the bushes to await the hour for united supplications."
If in years to come the University should desire a picture of itself as it made its advent from the world of hope to the world of fact, it may paint this: A frame structure, the roof of which is supported by a row of upright posts extending the whole length of the building, which is seventy-five or eighty feet in length. On the morning for opening, there enters this building a white man, whose face bears signs of suffering, but is all aglow with the rays of faith and love. He is the faculty. Also, there enters a short, fat, brown-skinned young man, with high, broad forehead. He has heard of the purpose to begin a school on this day at this place, and, hungering for learning, he has come up to enter. This teacher and this student usher in our beloved institution. It was good for the denomination that our lot was cast among such a people, and that we had in Bro. Woodsmall a man who did not faint in "the day of small things."
Organized in 1873, and operating in "Will's Valley" and St. Clair county, reports the following churches and ministers: At Collinsville Post Office--Pleasant Grove Church; Lebanon--Lebanon; Fort Payne--Fort Payne; Valley Head--Bethlehem; Attalla--Mt. Zion, Pilgrim, Bethlehem; Keener--New Hope; Beaver Valley--Pleasant Hill; Ashville -- Mt. Zion; Springville--Springville; Whitney--Evergreen; Guntersville--Bethlehem and Hooper Chapel; Trenton--Trenton; North Alabama--Clogville. Rev. G. Neeley, Ashville, is moderator; Mr. J. R. Dean, Ashville, is treasurer; and Prof. P. R. Sibert, Keener, is secretary. Their pastors are: Revs. N. Kerley, R. Berry, M. Edwards, of Fort Payne; G. W. Brewton, of Alexandria; H. Massey, J. Griffin, A. Jackson, and James M. Stevens. They have about 1,500 members.
Elder A. Kerley and his brother are the chief founders of this body. They greatly need an infusion of light from without. Rev. James Kerley, the pastor at Springville, is an ex-student of Talladega College. While they were in session in Ashville in 1892 the white people gave them the use of their church, and pastors, mayor of the city, and other leading people, turned out to encourage them and to financially strengthen their enterprises. While there, a white minister related to the writer the following story:
"When the late Dr. Renfroe was a young man he was very poor, though, as later in his life, he was a powerful preacher. In the height of a glorious revival, the grass in his crop called him to his field. A colored brother who wanted the meeting to continue, requested his master to allow him to prolong the meeting. His master replied: 'Jim, you can't read, you can't preach.' The slave replied: I can plow and kill grass--can do these for Brother Renfroe.'"
Gleaning from the associational chapter, we obtain
1. The origin and field of each Association.
2. The names of the pioneers in each section in the State.
3. The location and something of the history of churches and communities.
4. Something of the lines of thought and action prevailing in the various gospel enterprises of the denomination.
It was not thought well to try to tell the same things many times over; hence, some things are given in connection with one Association and other things in connection with another--all aiming at the same end, namely: THE GIVING OF A TRUE PICTURE OF THE COLORED BAPTISTS OF ALABAMA.
Rev. W. T. Bibb, A. B., Pastor Baptist Church, Oxmoor, Ala.
ADAMS, REV. STEWART, of Greenville, Butler county, was the chief leader and organizer in that section of the State for the first seventeen or eighteen years of freedom. He was a pure-blooded Negro, and was possessed of a fine personal appearance. His forehead was large and broad, and the sparkle of his eye indicated the presence of mental power. He could read and write fairly well, and in his speeches always succeeded in conveying his thoughts to others. He was for some years missionary in that part of the State under the American Baptist Home Mission Society of New York, during which time he organized many churches, which were united to form the Union Baptist Association. His neatness in dress, and caution in the use of words were everywhere noticeable. It was sometimes thought that he was rather tenacious of his opinions, but I think all his brethren credited him with honesty of purpose, and hence he died in the love and respect of the denomination.
ALLEN, REV. WALLACE, of Greenville, was a very pious, hard-working preacher in the Union Association. The young men delight to honor his memory. The author has been unable to learn anything of his history or lineage.
ANDERSON, REV. N. P., is pastor at Ensley City.
ASHBY, REV. NATHAN, of Montgomery, was born in Fredericksburg, Va., August 5, 1810. He knew nothing of his parents, and to the age of 16 he was under the care and direction
of his grandmother. At this point in his life he was sold, with some horses, to traders, who brought him to Alabama. He says of this trip: "At first I was not aware that I was sold, but thought (as I had been told so) that I was only helping the man to put his horses well into the way. When informed that I was among the stock sold, I wept bitterly at the thought that I could see my dear grandmother no more. While in this state of grief, an old cake woman came on, selling cakes. She, looking into my hand, professed to read as follows: 'Don't cry, for you are born for good luck, The man who will buy you will be more a brother than a master. Fear God and be obedient, and you will do well.'This counsel, no matter whence, it came, removed my fears, and I left off crying."
When about 32 years of age he bought his liberty, paying for the same the sum of $900. His good wife, Mrs. Nancy Ashby, had been freed a few years before by a Mrs. Tate. Both being of an intellectual, industrious and economical turn of mind, it was not long before they were well under way to notoriety and prosperity. Touching her experience in servitude, Mrs. Ashby tells the following: "When I was 16 years old, my mistress, in urging me to be pure and faithful, promised that if I would obey I should serve no one after her. So, when I was 24, she set me free, giving me a daughter that had been born to me."
Bro. Ashby was baptized by Mr. Shrovell in Monroe county, Ala., and was ordained to the full charge of the gospel ministry just after the close of the war, by Rev. I. T. Tichenor, D. D., and others. His labors in the ministry, however, began about the year 1845, from which time he increased in favor with God and man to the day of his death, in 1887. He led to the organization of the First Colored Baptist Church (Columbus street) of Montgomery, in which, under his presidency, the Colored Baptist State Convention was constituted
in 1868. The last seventeen years of his life he was an invalid from paralysis, and four years of this time he was blind. During this time the writer frequently visited him, and it would seem that his faith in God was mightier in the days of his weakness than in the days of his strength. Heavenly sunshine illumined all the way of the dark valley, even to the day of his departure.
Bro. Ashby was a man of naturally fine parts. His sermons and speeches were characterized by order, thought and doctrine. He was not an emotionalist nor dreamer; with him Christianity was faith in the gospel and right-doing. It affords the writer much pleasure to record that each member of his family not only receives, but also contributes honor to his valuable life and honored name.
Mr. Ashby was by trade a carpenter, by which means he was able to earn fair wages, and was not long in coming into the possession of valuable real estate.
In order to show the condition of a free colored man in Alabama prior to the close of the late civil war, I submit a legal document here, bearing upon the good man whose name is now before us:
THE STATE OF ALABAMA, MONTGOMERY COUNTY.
"KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS, That whereas, heretofore, to-wit: on the 1st day of April, A. D. 1859, Charles T. Pollard sold and conveyed to Wm. B. Bell, as guardian or trustee for Nathan Ellis (now called Nathan Ashby), a certain lot in the city of Montgomery, State and county aforesaid, which is described in the deed of said Pollard as 'Lots number three and four in square number fourteen, Scott's plat, in the city of Montgomery.'
"And, whereas, the said Nathan Ellis (or Ashby), is now capable in law of holding property in his own name, and desires to hold the title to said lot and premises in his own name; and the said William B. Bell also desires to relinquish and give up the duties and responsibilities devolved on him by the said deed as the trustee or guardian of said Nathan Ellis (or Ashby);
"Now, therefore, in consideration of the premises and for the further consideration of five dollars, to the said Wm. B. Bell in hand paid by the said Nathan Ellis (or Ashby), at or before the sealing mid delivery of these presents (the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged), I, the said Wm. B. Bell, do hereby release, relinquish, transfer and convey by quit-claim unto the said Nathan Ellis (or Ashby), and unto his heirs and assigns, all my right, title and interest both at law and in equity of every kind or description whatever, in and to the said lot and premises herein above described.
"In witness whereof, I, the said Wm. B. Bell, have here unto set my hand and seal, this -- day of January, A. D. 1872.
"WILLIAM B. BELL."
"A. R. BELL."
This manuscript, is recorded in "Book 4 of Deeds, page 314," March 26, 1872.
NOTE.--Seven years elapsed after freedom was declared before Mr. Ashby received from his "trustee" the transfer of his property. He had been free ever since 1842, but his "trustee" must hold and manage both him and his.
ARCHER, REV. MAURICE M., son of Mr. A. and Mrs. Mary Archer, was born in Camden, Ala., in 1858. He and his parents were the property (?) of Mrs. R. J. Adams. He entered the free public schools at an early age, but did not long remain, because of his father's death and because of the demands
made upon him as the eldest son in a large family. Mr. and Mrs. J. S. McBryde, seeing that he was a very capable boy, kindly aided him in his studies while he was in their employ. Thus he learned to read and write. At 14 Mr. Archer left Mr. McBryde determined on securing an education. Advancing by various means, he was soon able to teach school. In November, 1881, he was baptized into Siloam Church by Rev. A. Gould, which church he served as clerk and superintendent of the Sunday School. Feeling a call to the ministry and desiring to prepare himself for the same, he entered Selma University October, 1883, and passed the session of 1884-5, as he says starting with only 20 cents. By severe sacrifice, by push, pluck and self-reliance, he pressed onward, till in May, 1887, he graduated at the head of his class. He was ordained at Opelika, September, 1889, Revs. G. C. Casby, C. R. Rodgers and others officiating. He has been principal of the Auburn City School. Mr. Archer is one of our clearest thinkers and most fluent speakers, and his language is especially good.
BARKER, JOSEPH C.--This patient and cool-headed young man was born December 20, 1863, near Laneville, Hale county, Ala. His parents, Sherrod and Caroline Barker, are both living and members of the Spring Street Missionary Baptist Church, Birmingham, Ala. They are living monuments of temperance, patience and obedience. Young Joseph was sent to school when still quite young. Filled with self, family and race pride, and feeling grateful toward his parents for their strenuous efforts to educate himself, his sister and brothers, and desiring to help them in return, at their consent, he sought employment with a benevolent merchant, who, after noting his higher qualities, gave him every advantage and privilege available. After three years of pleasant and profitable services, he left his beloved employer (Mr. J. M. Manders), who gave him a final settlement accompanied by a
worthy recommendation and valuable presents. He is widely experienced in mercantile enterprises.
He had two years experience on the United States jetty and log boats under Capt. J. McKee Gould, who gave him such an honorable and flattering recommendation as would have been more suitable for a pilot than for a cabin boy. By studying at home and attending summer schools he was prepared to enter Selma University in the session of 1884, remaining two scholastic years. Under President E. M. Brawley, D. D., he won a prize for map-drawing over forty-eight competitors. He has taught successfully in the schools of Jefferson and other counties. Was four years secretary of the Jefferson County Teachers' Institute. Re-entered Selma University in 1893, and won the only prize offered for drawing over twenty or thirty competitors under President Dinkins, D. D. He is now preparing specimens to exhibit at the Atlanta Cotton Exposition in September. He is employed by the Monarch Book Company, of Chicago, Ill. To know him, is to know a man possessed of a great soul, affable, and naturally gifted in making friends. He is a financier, and is rapidly acquiring means. As an artist and penman, he is a prodigy. In the session of 1884 he was converted to the Christian religion, and was baptized in the University pool by Rev. E. M. Brawley, D. D., and joined the St. Phillip Street Baptist Church under Rev. C. O. Boothe, D. D. On removal to Birmingham in 1886, he united with the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, of which Rev. Dr. Pettiford was pastor.
Last term, he was principal of the Oxmoor public school. He is now corresponding secretary of the Mt. Pilgrim Sunday School Convention. On all lines of manhood, Mr. Barker is a genuine success.
BARTON, REV. J. P., of Talladega, comes of Virginia parentage, and was born in Colbert county, Ala., October, 1844.
In 1871 he united with the Little Zion Baptist Church in said county, and was baptized by Rev. W. E. Northcross, of Tuscumbia. In 1877 he entered the work of the gospel ministry in his native section, doing valuable service within the bounds of the Muscle Shoals Association, especially in line with the Sunday School work. He has led to the organization of two Sunday School Conventions and eight churches, and built five houses of worship. His speeches before our State Convention have been largely conducive of the sentiment and system which have given birth to our women's work and State mission operations. He has held official positions in connection with our State Convention and University, and is now chairman of the Board of Visitors of the Colored Deaf and Dumb Asylum of Alabama. He is easy in society and pleasing in address. He carries the youth and the masses, and so uses everything at his command as to impress one that he is an excellent general as well as a successful pastor. He is full of movement and plan, and is quick of discernment and clear in expression. He is a lover of science. He obtained his education in the Talladega College. Mr. Barton says that he owes much to his wife, whom the writer would honor as one of our noble women. Mr. Barton is still full of life and growth.
Our general work has always found in Brother Barton a ready and generous helper. He deserves credit for his industry and enterprise--in material as well as in church affairs. He relates the following: "In the winter of 1876-77 I chanced for the first time to meet the late Harry Woodsmall in one of his Ministers' Institutes. He remarked: 'On to-morrow we will discuss the subject of sanctification and here is a little book worth only 15 cents which will be of service to you.' I said to myself: 'What is sanctification?' I never heard of
such a thing before. I bought the book from Brother Woodsmall, and, coming upon my subject, I read till late at night, in order that I might be in line with things next day. When the hour came I was up on the subject of sanctification, much to the pleasure of the teacher."
Mr. Barton is ever ready to contend for his views, but is remarkably free from bitterness in discussion, is hardly ever wrong in his opinion on things, and is a remarkably winning preacher with the masses. Mr. Barton is now president of our State Convention.
BACOTES, REV. Mr.--As the Cyclopedia goes to press the Rev. Mr. Bacotes comes to the charge of the Marion Academy and Marion Church. The writer wishes he knew something of the history of one so much favored and so highly recommended as Mr. Bacotes is. He has important trusts in hand.
BATTLE, REV. AUGUSTUS A., of Hurtsboro, Russell county, the son of Deacon A. A. and Mrs. Jennie Battle, was born in Tuskegee, July 4, 1860. As his parents were pious people, he was very early the subject of religious impressions, which in 1881 culminated in a public profession of faith in Christ. On the third Sunday in August he was baptized by the Rev. Richard Lloyd, of Georgia. In the year 1879, aspiring for a liberal education, he entered the Talladega College, in which he graduated from the normal and the theological courses.
He is a young man of high moral tone, and his agreeable manners have won for him many friends. At present he is pastor at Sylacauga, and teacher of the city school in Talladega.
P. S.--Since the above was written, our good Bro. Battle has been called to the Mt. Zion Church in Anniston, and under his industrious and wise leadership his people have constructed a two-story brick edifice. To do what he has done
in these hard times, in the way of raising and expending money, is to prove himself a man of no ordinary parts. The writer has enjoyed the hospitality of his quiet Christian home, where he has learned that the young minister has found helpful companionship in the person of a modest, intelligent wife.
BATTS, REV. J. H., of Florence, is an aspiring young man, and is very active in the enterprises of the Muscle Shoals Association and Sunday School Convention. Evidently, he has not enjoyed early access to books and schools, but his thoughts are orderly and clear, and he does not hesitate to give expression to his views.
BEAVERS, REV. JASPER, was born May 9, 1825, in St. Clair county, Ala. His father and mother were slaves, and of course, he inherited their lot. He now lives at Easonville, in the county in which he was born, and is still a useful, as well as a very pious man. In 1851, he was baptized by the Rev. Jesse Collins (white), and in 1868 was ordained to the work of the gospel ministry by Revs. Henry Wood, J. Collins and T. Bush.
He was the first moderator of the Rushing Springs Association. In spite of the laws of the master forbidding such things, he, in slavery time, learned to read and write. By his industry and economy he has obtained real estate worth about $2,000. Brother Beavers is a man of fine personal appearance, is modest, genial, industrious, honest, firm. In the early days of our work, there was no more efficient man in St. Clair County than he. A large family of children are the support of his old age.
Since the above was penned, Brother Beavers has passed to the world that lies beyond. He was the most self-possessed and of the most commanding figure of any man in the Rushing
Springs Association, though no man among them was more modest and humble.
BELLE, REV. JOHN, of Courtland, was born in the State of Georgia and came to Alabama after the close of the war. He says: "In Stuart county, Ga., in the first part of 1861, I followed the white preacher to his different preaching stations, and he would preach to the white people in the morning and I would speak to the colored people in the evening. I could not say anything about Moses and the children of Israel.
I went on preaching without any trouble for some little time, till at last, as I could read a little, it was decided that I should be hung. As I was ready for execution, and as I was praying God for help, a dispute arose between the white people which resulted in my release. I again went on, till on one occasion when I had displeased my mistress with reference to some garden work, and when, as she started to strike me with the rake, and I fled, she reported to her husband that I had tried to kill her and that she only saved her life by running into the house out of my reach. Of course, it was decided at once that I ought to and should die. On the night before I was to be executed, the lady became very ill and owned that she was only angry with me for getting out of her way, and that I had done nothing. She died that night. However, her dying words had set me free and so I returned to my work for God, feeling that I could not die till my work should be accomplished."
Brother Belle has labored in different States, but his principal labors have been in Northern Alabama, where he has been one of the chief organizers of our work in this section, beginning his operations here in 1868.
It appears that Brother Belle was ordained in Helena,
Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Birmingham, Ala.
plain and his doctrine is in line with the teachings of the "Good Book."
BERRY, PROF. J. S., son of Jack and Clara Berry, of Uniontown, is one among the most proficient Sunday School workers in Alabama. He is president of the Sunday School Convention of the Uniontown Association. His happy, unselfish spirit fills all his work with pleasantness and sunshine. He is now about 35 years of age.
BLEVINS, REV. JOHN, long the leading man and pioneer of Dallas county, the first pastor of the St. Phillip Street Church after the close of the war, was for his opportunities and times a very strong man in the work of organization. May it ever be told of him that he led his people--his church, to become the foster mother of Selma University in the time of its infancy and weakness. This fact is one of the brightest spots upon his memory, and should never be forgotten.
The buildings in which the St. Phillip Street and the Green Street Churches now worship were built by Mr. Blevins. He died eight or ten years ago at the age of 65.
BIBB, REV. WM. T., son of Linzy and Caroline Bibb, was born in Montgomery, Ala., in 1853. Brother Bibb is one of the most worthy of our rising young men. He is not noted for brilliancy, but for constant application in the race for knowledge, for pushing things to a finish in search for truth, for the purest life and loftiest piety, he is hardly to be excelled. Already he has been entrusted with various pastorates, including one at Marion and another near Birmingham. I had the best opportunity to learn him while I was pastor at Selma. Here he was superintendent of my Sunday School and aided me in my ward prayer-meetings. He completed two courses at the Selma University, graduating with the title of A. B., and with the highest confidence of all the faculty. In looking
upon his open countenance one instinctively feels the impress of an honest, earnest man--a man free from hypocrisy and guile.
BRADFORD, REV. WILLIAM C., pastor of the First Colored Baptist Church, Union Springs, son of Henry and Elizabeth Bradford, was born in Montgomery, Ala., in 1862. His early years were spent in the Swayne school in said city, in which he succeeded in laying the foundation of a liberal English education. In his eighteenth year, and two years after his father's death, he was baptized into the fellowship of the Columbus Street Baptist Church, Montgomery, by the late Rev. James A. Foster. Feeling a call to the work of the gospel ministry, he, with a view to fitting himself for this solemn charge, entered Atlanta Theological Seminary. In school as well as out among his brethren, he has managed to occupy a place with those who formed the van.
In the person of his good wife, once Miss M. H. Allen, of Georgia (daughter of Rev. T. M. Allen, ex-member of the Georgia Legislature), whom he wedded in 1884, he has found happy and efficient help in his studies as well as in his calling. For awhile Mr. Bradford followed the tailor's trade, but at the call of the Gilfield Church in Wetumpka, the Dexter Avenue Church, Montgomery, in 1886 set him apart to the work of the gospel ministry. At Wetumpka, he built a church edifice worth about $700. While pastor at Clayton he led to the erection of a building worth $1,000, and just now is rejoicing with the good people of Union Springs on his entrance into the new brick structure which was dedicated on the second Sunday in October, 1892. He was principal of the city school while in Clayton, and now holds several positions of honor and trust. Mr. Bradford is one of the strongest and is among the most successful young men in Alabama. His affable manner commends him to all. He is now at Tuscaloosa.
BROOKS, REV. G. J., of Selma, Ala., son of Joseph and
Nancy Brooks, was born in 1830 near Richmond, Va., in which
city he lived till his eighteenth year, when he was carried to
New Orleans, and from thence to Texas. 1849 was spent
in St. Louis, Mo., and in 1850 he was brought to Huntsville,
Ala. In this same year he was baptized into the Primitive
Baptist Church of Huntsville by Rev. Wm. Harris (colored).*
It appears that this denomination, Primitive Baptists, had some one or two ordained colored ministers.
Of this period of his life Mr. Brooks says: "By the will of a Mr. Kenedy I was left free, but as the administrator of the will, a Mr. Clark, refused to execute this point in the will, I remained a slave." In 1867 he united with the Marion Church, under the pastorate of the Rev. James Childs. Near this town he taught school, till in 1872 he went to Kentucky, where, in 1873, he was ordained to the work of the ministry. After serving various offices in the work in Kentucky, he came to Selma in 1875, where, after a few years, he became pastor of the St. Philip Street Church. By the assistance of the white family he learned to read at the age of 14. In Marion he extended his studies under Prof. Card, and under Presidents Woodsmall, McAlpine and Brawley he further prosecuted his studies in the Selma University. Brother Brooks has held various offices of trust under the State Convention and the Uniontown Association. His health is now rather below his usual strength, but his love for the Master's cause seems nothing abated. His wife, Mrs. Anna, is among the leading women of Alabama.
BROWN, REV. LEWIS, of Epes, Sumter county, was born near St. Louis, Ala., March 23, 1835, and came to Alabama in his tenth year. He united with the church in 1863, and was baptized by a Mr. Edmonds into the fellowship of the Jones' Creek Church, by which church he was called to ordination in
the fall of 1868. The chief persons in the presbytery were Revs. Abner Scarber (white) and Mr. Wright. Mr. Brown's main pastoral charges have been Jones' Creek, nine years; Sumterville, thirteen years, New Bethel, thirteen years; and Mount Olive, four years. He has long been moderator of the Bethlehem Association, and is known and recognized as a firm and tried friend of education and missions; and his children give evidence of pure and wise aspirations.
Mr. Brown was married to Mrs. Elizabeth Brown, a slave girl on the same plantation with himself, in 1852. Seven sons and one daughter are the fruit of the marriage. He is a very industrious and economical man, and has possession of valuable property, worth $15,000. Seven or eight hundred acres of his farm once formed part of the plantation on which he (with 500 others) worked as a slave till 1865. He says that his master, Mr. Brown, was a Christian, and that after the close of the war this plantation gave to this county most of its religious leaders.
BURWELL, L. L., M. D., the son of Charles and Amanda Burwell, was born in Marengo county, Ala., October 25, 1867. At the age of seven years he was given to his brother, Charles A. Burwell, of whom the Doctor says: "To him my success is largely due." For quite a while he lived with this brother on a farm in Perry county. He attended the county schools till he entered Selma University in the winter of 1883-84. His love for books and his quickness of apprehension were early manifestations of native talent which, if properly cultivated, would unfold to his own honor and to the profit of his people. Each vacation found him upon the farm, earning money with which to re-enter school. During his entire course at Selma University his mother was able to spend upon him but $30. In 1886, he graduated from the above named school with the honors of valedictorian, and in the fall of the same year
he entered Leonard Medical College, Raleigh, N. C., to take a course in medicine. The course extended through four years, but he completed it and received his diploma at the close of the third year, again receiving the honors of valedictorian of his class. In 1889, he passed an examination before the State Board of Medical Examiners of Alabama, and began the practice of medicine in the city of Selma, where he now resides amidst many friends, a paying practice, and a successful drug business. Commencing without a dollar, he has saved from his income about $4,000. In school he was called artist, orator, scholar. He says: "As a doctor I have for my motto Crurare Cito."
BROWN, REV. R. E., of Selma, the pushing, energetic leader of several associations, deserves honorable mention as a man of pluck and push--a man of courage and observation.
BYNUM, REV. HENRY, of Leighton, Ala., was born in Baltimore, Md., January, 1820. In 1851, in Colbert county, Ala., he was led to exercise faith in Christ by the humble conversation and pious life of a fellow-slave by the name of Isaac. As his master did not believe in the Bible and its Christianity, his baptism was delayed till 1854. In 1867 he was set apart to the office of the gospel ministry by two white ministers, one of whom was Dr. Joseph Shackelford, of Trinity, Ala. He and Rev. Steven Coleman were the first ordained colored preachers in northern Alabama. He was married the first time in 1857, but his family were soon taken from him and he has never seen them since. His present wife is a most excellent lady, and affords him that help which only a good woman can bestow. He has good property, and he and his wife keep one of the most hospitable homes in northern Alabama. Bro. Bynum was the first colored minister in this section to administer the rite of baptism. He is now awaiting his change with triumphant hope, and still enjoys fair health.
CADDELL, REV. PERRY, pastor in Shelby, Ala., son of Edmond and Edie Caddell, was born September 9, in Centreville, Bibb county, Ala. He was baptized into the Bethel Baptist Church, Calera, by Rev. John Trainholm, in February, 1873, and was set apart to the work of the gospel ministry, December, 1877, by Revs. Henry Wood and Mack Jackson. He learned his letters at the age of 12 years, and, though he has never had any help from teachers except such as he could get at night school, he has been a steadily growing man till the present time. He feels that he owes his beginning in letters to his mistress (Mrs. Caddell), who, after the close of the war, taught him to read, and to write his name. Of his father he says: "He was, no doubt, a believer; but in slavery time he refused to unite with the church for the reason that he felt that master and slave all the week could not be brothers on Sunday. And after the close of the war, he would not join for the reason that there was no colored Baptist church near his home."
Bro. Caddell is an exemplary man in his family. I have found no family where the mother and children study the Word of God with more system and regularity. He has a ready command of language, both in speech and with pen, and is sociable and genial everywhere.
CAPERS, REV. J. R., of Elyton (since gone to Oklahoma), was born in Camden, S. C., April 22, 1828. In 1845 he was baptized into the Marion Baptist Church (white) by the Rev. Mr. Devotie, and in 1869 he was solemnly set apart to the sacred office of the gospel ministry by Revs. Henry Wood, of Talladega, and Arthur Hall, of Jonesboro. He, with Revs. W. H. McAlpine, Berry Ware, Jasper Beavers, and others, organized the Mt. Pilgrim Association, in Mt. Pilgrim Church, in 1868. Of this association he was the moderator for eleven years. Bro. Capers is known among his brethren and neighbors
as an intelligent, industrious, thoughtful, faithful, Christian man and earnest gospel preacher. He is a successful carpenter, and by industry, skill and economy has attained to the possession of a good deal of choice property. No doubt he owes much to his good wife, whom he married in 1850, and by whom he has a large family of thrifty children. Bro. Capers was an organizer in the Jefferson county work, and has left the impress of his decided character upon the workers of this section. He is now in Oklahoma Territory.
CHAPMAN, REV. F. A., of Flint, Morgan county, Ala., was born in the county and State in which he now lives, November 12, 1843. In 1861 he was baptized into the Sand Hill Church by Rev. M. A. Verser, and in April, 1868, he was set apart to the work of the gospel ministry by a presbytery which was presided over by the brother who about eight years before had administered the rite of baptism.
Mr. Chapman is one of the most sober, quiet, pious, earnest, hard-working preachers in the valley of the Tennessee river. He aided in the organization of the Muscle Shoals and Flint River Associations. Most of his time has been spent in mission and pioneer operations. In 1868 he was wedded to Miss Alabama Garth, by whom he has a large family of interesting children. Their home is a retreat for weary preachers and a Christian example in their community.
In a speech which he made before our last State Convention, he said: "The brethren ordained me in 1868, not because of my fitness for the work, but in recognition of a necessity. There was need for a Negro to baptize Negro believers, and I was chosen as an answer to this want without any examination."
CHANDLER, REV. F. C., is pastor of Walnut Street Church, Rosedale, and bears a good name.
Rev. S. L. Belser, Pastor Red Mountain Baptist Church, Bessemer, Ala.
CLARK, REV. HENRY, son of David and Patience Clark, both of Virginia birth, is one of the fathers of the work in Lee county.
Brother Clark was baptized at Auburn, Ala., by Rev. H. C. Toliver, of Tuskegee, in 1860. He was set apart to the work of the gospel ministry June 27, 1868, by Revs. W. E. Lloyd, D. D., and Thomas Glenn, since which time he has been busy going about and doing good. He has been a harmless, industrious pioneer preacher, laying foundations upon which others have builded. He is a tried and faithful friend of missions and education. The writer always felt that his every pledge was worth every cent it promised. Notwithstanding he has had no educational advantages, still he has, by study of books and by association with men of letters, obtained no inconsiderable store of knowledge.
The churches of Lee county and the Alabama Association owe much to the faithful, efficient labors of Brother Clark. His loving heart ever adorns his face with the smiles of peace and good will. Truly, he is a harmless man, ever ready to do a brotherly deed.
COLLEY, REV. MOSES, of Talladega, son of Rev. Boney Sawyer, who was a preacher over fifty years ago is about 55 years of age. He has never had any school advantages, but has attained to a fair knowledge of books. He is a remarkably clear headed man, dignified and self-possessed. Mr. Colley is a hard working, successful farmer, and by this calling, he has obtained a comfortable support for himself and family. He was baptized by Dr. Renfroe in 1856, and was ordained to the ministry in 1872. He held several important pastorates in Talladega, and was once moderator of Rushing Springs Association. He is guarded in speech but his manners are always affable. No act of folly or crime mars his good name.
For many years he has held the pastorate at Mardisville, where he is esteemed no less for his piety than for his sound doctrine.
COLLINS, REV. ASA CYRUS, of Hazen, Ala., was born November 1, 1861 in Dallas county of this State. Lost both parents at the age of 8 years. Was baptized by Rev. A. Waller, in his sixteenth year, and soon began preaching. In September, 1881, he was officially set apart to the work of the gospel ministry. Mr. Collins has been pastor at various points, and is held in high esteem by his brethren. For several years he has been moderator of the Dallas County Association, over which he presides with credit to himself and with pleasure to the body. Brother Collins is still a rising young man.
CURRY, J. C., of Mount Meigs, Montgomery County, the son of Rev. Philip and Venus Curry, was born in Marion, Ala., October 17, 1852. He was baptized at Felix, Ala., by Rev. D. R. Willis in 1873. On the occasion of his call to the pastorate of the Friendship Church, Shelby, Ala., he was ordained to the work of the gospel ministry by Revs. P. Caddell, M. Jackson, and Henry Scott. Mr. Curry is liberally educated, having been among the first Students of Selma University. He is a close, clear thinker, a forcible speaker and a good preacher. He has been pastor at Shelby, pastor of the Dexter Avenue Church, Montgomery and is now pastor at Mt. Meigs and Tuskegee.
At different times he has been engaged in the newspaper business; and I am informed that he is now assisting Prof. B. T. Washington in collecting certain statistics for the Tuskegee school. Mr. Curry is a man of rare energy and will force, and being endowed with good intellectual gifts there is no reason why he may not become one among the strongest men of the State.
CURTIS, HON. A. H., of Marion, Ala., was born in Raleigh, N. C., December 29, 1829. He came to Alabama in 1839 with the Haywood family. He was the property (?) of E. Haywood, and served as a waiting boy in the store of Stockton & Hunt for many years. He moved to Marion in 1848 and was the body servant of R. T. Goree for two years. After this he was barber for some years. Succeeding by industry and economy in obtaining some cash, he, in 1859, paid Mrs. E. Haywood $2,000 for his freedom and during the same year went to New York and was emancipated. After the war he engaged in mercantile pursuits and the barber business. In 1870 he was elected to the lower house of the General Assembly of Alabama, and in 1872 he was elected State Senator from the Twenty-second senatorial district. No other colored man ever presided over the Senate of Alabama. He was connected with the legislature of the State for eight years, and not only enjoyed the respect of his fellow legislators of all parties but closed his service in this connection with growing confidence in his integrity. He was baptized in 1851. In 1850 his marriage occurred. His wife was a suitable helper for him and is still alive enjoying the honors and success which justly crown their offspring. The Curtis brothers and sisters are a praise to their parents. The senator was a strong man in society, in church, in State. He died near Marion, July 20, 1878, as the result of a bruise from a fall from his buggy. Three of his sons are successful physicians; two are north; Dr. A. J. Curtis is in Montgomery.
DAVIS, REV. PHILIP, late of Talladega, was born in 1813, in the State of Virginia, near the North Carolina line. He was baptized in 1841, and about the year 1843 he began to speak to his neighbors of the doctrines and hope of the gospel. Early in life he married, and became the father of a large family. After he was brought to Calhoun county, Ala., he
continued his labors in the ministry of the gospel, as he had opportunity, constantly increasing in favor with both God and man; and this was true of him to the day of his death, which occurred December 30, 1881. I first met this pious man in December, 1875, in Talladega. He was not a learned man, but he knew the holy scriptures, and was wise in the things of salvation. The more he was known the better he was loved; and his unassuming, gentle, chastened, self-forgetting spirit, as exhibited at home and abroad, was simply charming, As I have looked upon this unmixed, full-blooded representative of the Negro race, arrayed in the beauty of the Christian spirit, I have felt proud of him as a witness for my people. He was not fully installed in the ministry until the close of the war. The late Dr. J. J. D. Renfroe was the leading man in the presbytery who officially set him apart to the sacred office. His last words were: "Like one of old, I have finished my course and am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is come." He left a pleasant home for his family.
DAVIS, REV. C. M., of Flint, Morgan county, was born in the State of Tennessee. He was led to faith in Christ and was baptized by the Rev. F. A. Chapman. He says that his early life was rather wild, but when his eyes were opened he turned with all his heart. In 1885, in May, he was set apart to the ministry by Revs. F. A. Chapman and C. C. Matthews. Mr. Davis is one among the most promising young men in the Flint River Association. He is a discerning, aspiring man, who believes in studying to know the truth, so that he may not have reason to feel ashamed of his teaching, nor spend his time and energies without producing effects. The writer had special opportunity to know him at the State school, where the former was teacher and the latter was student. He is clear-headed, kind and conscientious.
DAWSON, REV. IVERSON, of Eutaw, is a man rich in natural endowments both of body and mind. Upon no man in Alabama has nature been more profuse in the bestowment of choice gifts. He is tall, well proportioned, kind hearted, genial, sociable, magnetic, clear-headed and ever sanguine. He is, no doubt, the strongest man in the Bethlehem Association; of which body he has been clerk for many years; and in every section of the State, and in every phase of business, he is recognized as a man of power and character. As a public speaker, he is both pleasing and instructive.
The vote, which in 1887 retained our university at Selma, was largely owing to his influence and labors.
Mr. Dawson has a pleasant home and an interesting family in the town of Eutaw, where he now serves as pastor. His home is placed on the roll of asylums for tired missionaries. He is a brave, fearless opponent and a true and trusty friend. At this time, he is editing a paper in his town in the interest of the republican party. The writer sincerely wishes that every motion of his strong manhood might be laid wholly upon the church's altar, and that he could consent to leave the running of political papers to others.
DINKINS, CHARLES SPENCER, D. D., general Sunday School missionary of Alabama for the American Baptist Publication Society, was born September 15, 1856, near Canton, Miss. Mr. Dinkins never knew his father, and his mother, Mrs. Sarah Dinkins, died when he was only 13 years of age. One year prior to her death, he was led to faith in the salvation of God as presented in the gospel, under the preaching of Rev. Jordan Williams, by whom he was baptized into the fellowship of the Mount Zion Church, Canton, in the fall of 1868. For such a boy, at such a time, to make the favorable acquaintance of such a man as Mr. Williams, was a peculiar providence.
As in the cases of Saul and Ananias, and Philip and the eunuch, God brought the parties together.
Mr. Williams, perceiving the superior talents of the youth, privately inquired of him whether or not he desired to educate himself, and when the affirmative reply was obtained, he at once influenced his church to provide the means. On Friday night, January 28, 1870, Mr. Dinkins took the cars for Nashville, Tenn., arriving at that point on Sunday morning. That day he met the good Dr. Phillips, cordially accepted him at once, and remained his admiring friend to the close of his (Dr. Phillip's) long and useful life.
In referring to his early life, Mr. Dinkins says: "When I was 9 years old, my mother bought me a blue back speller and taught me the alphabet, which I learned in one night. My first teachers were Mrs. and Miss Highgate, of Philadelphia, and Hon. J. J. Spellman, now of Jackson, Miss. Before leaving the old plantation, I saw something of the horrors of slavery, which I can never forget."
At the age of 16 he began teaching, which work he pursued during summer, returning to Nashville to continue his studies in the fall and winter. He graduated from the classical course of the Roger Williams University, Nashville, in the spring of 1877, as valedictorian of his class, among whom were Messrs. N. H. Ensley and H. M. G. Spenser. In 1878 he returned to take a post-graduate course and was appointed a member of the faculty. In the latter part of this same year he entered Newton Theological Seminary, near Boston, Mass., where, during the time of a full course, from which he graduated in 1881, he was associated with some of the most prominent educators of the country. In this course he took theology, church history, Hebrew, Greek, homiletics, etc. How Mr. Dinkins was seen by this institution, the following story may be allowed to signify:
Dr. U. G. Mason, Physician and Surgeon, Birmingham, Ala.
Just before the death of Dr. Phillips, the writer met him in Nashville.
Dr. Phillips--How is Brother Dinkins?
The Writer--He is well and doing well.
Dr. P.--He is a very capable and worthy person. Dr. Hovey, the president of Newton, said to me on one occasion when I asked after some students who had gone from us to him, "Mr. -- is very sensitive, but Mr. Dinkins is very sensible."
Dr. Dinkins has held various prominent positions, among which may be mentioned: Member of the faculty of the State University of Kentucky; pastor York Street Church, Louisville, Ky; teacher of languages in Selma University; pastor Second Baptist Church of Marion, Ala.; and principal of the Marion Baptist Academy; and has been tendered the presidency of the University of Kentucky, and many times he has been earnestly solicited to return to the faculty of Selma University. His examination for ordination before the ministers of Louisville, Ky., in 1883, was an occasion of much comment by both white and colored pastors, in praise of his ability. The writer has had occasion to watch him very closely since his entrance upon work in Alabama, and he does not hesitate to write that Charles S. Dinkins, in point of scholarship, industry and high sense of honor, is not excelled by any man we have had among us. In 1890 the State University of Louisville, Ky., then under the presidency of the late Dr. W. J. Simmons, conferred on him the title of D. D. On the day which closed his twenty-fifth year, the 15th day of September, 1881, he was wedded to Miss Pauline E. Fears, the friend and classmate of Miss M. A. Roach (now Mrs. M. A. Boothe), by his fatherly instructor and faithful friend, Dr. D. W. Phillips. The marriage took place in the Roger Williams University, Nashville, Tenn., a school of which they are both
graduates. Perhaps some future historian will write of Mr. Dinkins: "An eventful life, not the least eventful point in which is the finding and wedding of a woman so well suited to a man of such rare gifts."
Five children--two boys and three girls--grace their home as the fruit of the marriage.
Closing this sketch, the writer would remark that if Mr. Dinkins has a fault, it may be described thus: An exceeding tenderness of conscience, whereby one may be so entirely possessed by present views of law and duty as to forget that new light and other views may modify appearances.
P. S.--He is now the trusted president of Selma University, and none of his predecessors have made, in the same length of time, a better mark than he has made. His personality moves in lofty purposes and is a source of pure thoughts and pious emotions which affect all his surroundings.
DOSIER, REV. JOHN, the founder and for twenty years pastor of the church in Uniontown, was a man of great moral worth. I once heard a politician who was associated with him in the legislature of Alabama, remark:
"John Dosier was an honorable man everywhere, and I never saw a man who did not believe every word he said."
He, like Mr. A. H. Curtis, passed through his political preferments with stainless reputation.
He was a very old man at the time of his death, which occurred only a few years ago. He was born somewhere near the beginning of the present century. By some means he, during the days of his bondage, learned to read Greek, which knowledge he turned to good results upon his study and interpretation of the Scriptures. He was one of Alabama's most worthy pioneers. He was a temperance man. Upon one occasion in a session of the Uniontown Association, some
one complained that he smelled a very disagreeable whiskey odor in the house.
Mr. Dosier remarked: "With the consent of the body I will find the man who has been drinking." It was agreed that he might make the search. Accordingly, he passed from man to man, requesting that he might smell his breath. He located the man, who, for lying about it, was excluded from the body.
The writer never met a man for whose veracity he had a higher regard.
DONALD, REV. R., of Birmingham, was born in Alabama June 10, 1854. He is the founder of the Tabernacle Church, Birmingham, and the builder of the First Church, Pratt Mines. He has worked hard and sacrificed much for the cause. His name will remain in many churches. He owes much to his noble, patient wife.
EDWARDS, REV. A. J., of Lowndes county, is a teacher as well as a preacher, and in different sections of the State he has labored with good results in the interest of morality, education and religion. Mr. Edwards is blessed with much body as well as with much soul. Good health and jovial spirits abound, and hence he is ever an enjoyable companion. He is still a young man, full of manly pride, commendable ambition, and a love for the pure and charitable, in view of which we may hope that his day is only in its dawning, and that a brighter noon and evening are before him.
ELLIS, REV. HENRY, of Flint, Morgan county, son of William and Martha Ellis, was born in May, 1856. He was baptized in 1871, and in 1875 he was ordained to the ministry by Revs. Charles Davis and M. J. Hooks. He is now pastor of St. Peter's Church, which is composed of some of Morgan county's best citizens. He deserves special praise for his attention
to his Sunday School. Mr. Ellis also preaches to a church near Courtland. This brother is a warm friend to missionaries and delights to aid good causes.
FISHER, REV. C. L., B. D., son of Alexander and Elizabeth Fisher, was born in St. Bernard parish, twenty miles below New Orleans, La., February 16, 1866.
On the first Sunday in February, 1875, he was baptized into the Broadway Street Baptist Church, New Orleans, La.
Ordained--He was set apart to the work of the gospel ministry by the Second Baptist Church in Evanston, Ill., September 29, 1887, where he was student-pastor.
Educated--He graduated from the college department of Leland University, New Orleans, La., May 28, 1884, with the degree of B. A., and graduated from the Baptist Union Theological Seminary, Morgan Park, Ill., May 5, 1887, with the degree of B. D. On May 27, 1891, he received from Leland University the degree of Master of Arts.
Positions--In 1888 pastor of Mt. Zion Church, Little Rock, Ark. In 1889-92 he is teacher of languages and instructor of ministers in Selma University, Selma, Ala. For the last two years of this time he is pastor of the Tabernacle Church of the city of Selma. In the office of State Sunday School Missionary, under the American Baptist Publication Society of Philadelphia, he has for several years rendered very profitable service for the Baptists of Alabama as well as Mississippi. He has recently been recalled to the pastorate of the Tabernacle Church, Selma.
Than is Charles Lewis Fisher, Alabama Baptists have no more thorough scholar, profound logician and industrious pastor. His physical form is a little frail. Should this not hinder length of days, early future years must present him to the world as one of our greatest theologians and metaphysicians.
He is not less modest than he is learned, not less benevolent and respectful than he is self-reliant and dignified.
FYKES, REV. A. J., of Pratt City, is the much beloved pastor of the Canaan Church, Bessemer.
FLUKER, SOLOMON, of Sylacauga, Talladega county, was born in March, 1833; was baptized in 1866 by a Rev. Mr. Smith (white), of Talladega. He soon began to preach, and ere long he had become a leading minister in his section of the country. For nine years he was pastor of the church in his town. He is a very meek, unassuming man, careful for the welfare of his family, and hospitable towards his brethren. Of late he has been a great but patient sufferer, and hence has been compelled to cease from active labors in the ministry. We owe much of our success in this section of the State to the industry and exemplary character of this faithful man. He has left the cross for the crown.
FOSTER, REV. L. P., of Selma, was baptized by Rev. Jerry Shorter in Eufaula in 1876. Mr. Foster, some time after his marriage and mature manhood, moved to Selma and graduated from the normal course of Selma University. He is a stirring, industrious, self-reliant man, who purposes to make his own way in the world without striding the back of any other man. He has occupied different pastorates and has served as missionary of the Eufaula Association. He has a comfortable home--free of debt--and lends a helping hand to missionary and educational enterprises.
FOSTER, REV. JAMES A., late of Montgomery, was born in the State of Kentucky, in which he grew to young manhood. He died in the city of Montgomery in December of 1891--died as he had lived, in love and honor with men and in peace with God. Twenty-five of his fifty-four years had been spent
in the gospel ministry, from the sacred offices of which he retired in great joy. He was ordained to the work of the gospel ministry by Revs. I. T. Tichenor, D. D., Nathan Ashby and Jacob Bellser, in the city of Montgomery, in the year 1867. His first pastoral charge was the church at Mt. Meigs, which he served till he resigned to accept the call of the Columbus Street Church in 1871. He was the first recording secretary of the State Convention, and was the next man to Mr. Ashby to preside over the Convention as president. He was trustee of the State Normal and Swayne Schools, and moderator of the Spring Hill Association.
Mr. Foster was a man whom nature had variously and richly endowed. Had he possessed early educational advantages--advantages suited to his rich natural resources--he would have held a place among the sons of the giants. His sermons were always earnest, and frequently his vast audiences were melted into weeping by a pathos that was as mysterious as it was mighty. He was loved, honored, followed, and obeyed. In the two churches in which he was pastor he, it is said, baptized 10,000 persons, married 600 couples, and preached 4,000 sermons. His loving, courtly manners won and maintained for him such a tender regard as few men ever possess. Nor was this confined to his own flock and race, but it was shared more or less by the whole people, white and black. The following will show something of his liberality:
"MONTGOMERY, May --, 1891.
"Dear Bro. Boothe:
On hearing that you need some money for your work, I look over my account with the Lord and find that I owe him five dollars. Enclosed you will find this amount.
May God bless you."
The last letter I received from him, one month before his death, contained a donation to the mission work.
His wife says of him: "Some time before his sickness, he talked of nothing but heaven. I could plainly see that his mind had left the world. I tried to interest him in house and home affairs; but he would talk of nothing but of God's grace and of the home of the saints."
He was a model husband and father, and is sadly missed from his home, as well as from his church and community. A good man has gone from labor to reward--from cross to crown. He was thoughtful of the welfare of his loved ones, and hence carried an insurance on his life, the payment of which has rendered them some assistance since his death.
He was one of the original incorporators of Selma University, and was a life member of the Home Mission Society.
"Servant of God, well done;
Rest from thy sweet employ."
FORBES, REV. W. R., now of Columbus, Ga., is still associated with our Alabama work. He is now about 37 years of age, is possessed of a fine personal appearance, is affable, studious, sociable and industrious. He is a Virginian by birth and came to Alabama in 1889 to begin work at Clayton and Eufaula.
FRANKLIN, REV. SAMUEL, of Mt Meigs, was born June 4, 1849. He was converted to the Christian faith January, 1866, and ordained to the work of the ministry March, 1876. Brother Franklin is among the energetic enterprising men of his part of Montgomery county. Notwithstanding he earns his living at farming, he is busy in the interest of the affairs of the house of God. At present he is pastor at Pike Road Church.
FRANKLIN, REV. WILLIAM, of Mt. Meigs, was born October 30, 1852. He was baptized by the late Rev. Washington Stevens, of Montgomery, July, 1871. He was ordained in
REV. J. P. O'Riley, Trussville, Ala., Pastor Compton Baptist Church
1881 by Revs. P. Lucas, W. Stevens and his brother, Rev. Samuel Franklin.
He is a thoughtful, enterprising man, and has the pastoral charge of several country churches. Being self-reliant, persevering, as well as economical with time and means, he has risen somewhat above the crushing heels of poverty and want. At the age of 25 years, he did not know the English alphabet, but by persistent application to study, he now reads and writes and keeps his own accounts.
His face bears those hospitable marks which make one feel easy and at home in his company and restful amid his family.
On a trip to Mobile, our train stopped at the bridge of the Tensas river to allow a freight train to clear the track. Mr. Franklin's gaze upon the bridge led the writer to think he was frightened. As the freight train left the bridge, Mr. F. remarked: "If it will hold up that train, it will ours, too." I said: "Maybe that train has just put it into the condition to let us through." "Yes, and I'll pull my shoes off now in time to swim," said Mr. F.
FREEMAN, REV. JAMES H., of Moulton, Lawrence county, is one among the very worthy young men of our State. He has had comparatively no advantages for learning and yet his sober and comprehensive views of life have spurred him onward in search of information, till now we have but few young men in Alabama who use better language, have clearer ideas of the Christian life, and make a more orderly speech than Mr. Freeman. Better still, his neighbors speak of him as a good man--a man whose conduct is a living epistle of the faith which he professes.
FRENCH.--Of the many substantial people of Talladega county who deserve honorable mention, none are more worthy
in all regards than the French family. Messrs. Emanuel, William, and Prince French would be an honor to any race of people, no matter what the degree of their civilization and the purity of their moral culture. The two first named teach in the public schools; the latter is a preacher, and all of them are prosperous land owners, as well as faithful members of the Baptist church.
GACHET, REV. ADAM, of Barbour county, Ala., was born in Randolph county, Ga., March 10, 1837. At the age of 16 he was carried to the county and State in which he now lives. His childhood was wholly deprived of parental love and care, and he says he never knew anything of a relative. Depressed by his loneliness, he early felt the need of the friendship of God, which he sought and soon obtained, to the great joy of his heart. With this sweet peace soon came an impression that he was called upon to speak of this wondrous love to his fellow-slaves. In April, 1854, he was baptized into Enon Church. On June 7, 1869, he was set apart to the work of the gospel ministry. He is one of the pioneers in the work of the Eufaula Association, having preached the introductory sermon of the first session of that body. From the first till now he has been a member of their executive board, and is now a member of the board of trustees of Selma University. Notwithstanding Bro. Gachet has had no educational advantages, he reads intelligently and writes some. He has labored, and now labors, in some of the most important churches in his section of Alabama. He is still active on all lines of progress. He has a large family, who seem to do him honor. Bro. Gachet is no more.
GOLDSBY, ALEXANDER, was born February 6, 1819, in Edgefield district, S. C. He came to Alabama in 1830. His father, who was a native African, was born on the ocean while
his mother was on her way to America. His mother was born in Maryland. In 1844 he was baptized into the white church at Selma, Ala., by the Rev. Mr. Collins. In 1845 he was ordained to the office of deacon, in which position he served for thirty-eight years. He was a very honorable man, and was not less respected by the white people than he was loved and followed by his own. He was a successful blacksmith, usually hired his time, and hence he was to a very considerable degree his own master. In 1843 he married Miss Nicey Goodwin, and a large family of children is the fruit of the marriage. His massive head and deliberate manner, his strong will and dauntless spirit, his good sense and genuine piety made him a leader of the people and a pillar in the house of God. A man more capable of friendship at great personal costs, I have never known. Especially from him, aided by Deacons Charles White, Nick Claiborne, Tall Underwood, and E. Ross, our cause in Dallas county has risen. At or near the close of his seventy-third year, "Father Goldsby" bravely, triumphantly and peacefully passed from the earth to that city which knows no night and needs not the shining of the sun. He was one of the chief leaders of the band which met on Friday night, near Selma, forty or fifty years ago, to pray for freedom. His name is honored in his children.
GREEN, REV. LAWSON J., son of Lawson and Martha Green, was born near Livingston, Sumter county, Ala., August 4, 1859. Though he was so young, he says his heart still bears the impress of the horrors of slavery. Under his father's direction, he soon learned how to farm. Notwithstanding the colored people of this county were greatly hindered by the kuklux, Mr. Green utilized every educational facility within his reach to attain to a knowledge of letters. After he had gone as far as he could in the schools in and
around Livingston, in 1879 he entered the Selma University, then under the management of Rev. H. Woodsmall, of Indiana. From this institution, he graduated in 1884 under the presidency of Dr. E. M. Brawley. At different times and places he has followed the work of teaching. He taught in his own county, was principal of Tullabody Academy at Greensboro, was a member of the faculty of Selma University, and was also of the faculty of the Baptist Academy at Marion. His principal pastorates have been at Greensboro, Ala., and Selma, of the same State. As Brother Green is full of good health, pluck and mental energy, there is no reason why he should not have a long and useful life as a Christian leader. He has held various honorable positions in the general work, and is now secretary of the Board of Trustees of Selma University.
P. S. He is now in Birmingham, pastor of the Spring Street Church and principal of an independent school on the south side of the city. He will long be a power in the denomination, if watchfulness and temperance attend him.
GULLEY, DANIEL T., of Selma, son of John L. and Amy Gulley, was born near Snow Hill in Wilcox county, Ala. He was the property of James Gulley, whom he served as "waiting boy" till the close of the war. Doubtless this position was favorable in the direction of refinement and culture. A taste and relish for the study of books would naturally come of such environments. Utilizing some school advantages which came to hand, he soon, as the result of hard work, attained to such a beginning in letters as enabled him to officiate as clerk of the Antioch Church.
At the opening of Selma University on January 1, 1878, he, at 9 o'clock A. M., was the only student on the ground. He completed a course in this institution with the class of
1884. On the fourth Sunday in February 1873, he was baptized into the Antioch Baptist Church by the Rev. Willis Stalworth. Here he served as clerk of the church and as superintendent of the Sunday School. From the beginning, he has been a substantial friend of ministerial education. He was ordained in the session of the State Convention held in Selma in November, 1883, Revs. M. Tyler, W. H. McAlpine, J. Dosier, E. K. Love, F. M. Brawley, W. R. Pettiford, H. Stevens and the writer, officiating as presbytery. He has held various pastorates and different positions in the general work, and is now Sunday School missionary under the Publication Society.
HAMPTON, REV. JAMES, of Leighton, Ala., was born and reared near where he now lives. On July 25, 1858, he began life's journey a slave, in line with the condition of his race. In 1869--in September--he was baptized into the Mount Pleasant Church by "Father" Henry Bynum and on June 18, 1882, he was solemnly set apart to the work of the gospel ministry by Revs. B. King, H. Bynum, O. Jackson and T. W. Morris. Brother Hampton is one of the leading men of the Muscle Shoals Association, and justly so, for added to his natural talent are many graces of character which come only of labor, aspiration, study, faith, and exalted purpose.
Without the aid of schools, he has attained to a creditable knowledge of letters. He is a builder, an organizer, a pastor and business man. With him and his family, the tired missionary may find a place for rest and refreshment. He lives upon his own fruitful farm near Leighton, in Lawrence county, and is a light which shines upon all the Christian enterprises around him.
HAWKINS, PROF. D. D., of East Lake, Jefferson county, deserves honorable mention for his services for religion and
education. The people of East Lake are comparatively prosperous and progressive, and to no man are they more indebted for this condition of things than to Deacon and Professor Hawkins. As church officer and as school teacher he has long and faithfully served his church and his community, and his spirit and labors have been like the leaven which the woman hid in the meal.
The writer has ever found him a quiet, industrious, hospitable brother, with ready heart and open hand in support of every good work. He is an honor to his school--Selma University.
HALL, REV. S. M., pastor of the First Colored Baptist Church at Warrior, Ala., is one of our most robust, handsome and spotless young men. He was born in Walker county, Ala., October 26, 1867. Attended the public schools of his community for five years. In October, 1885, he joined the Oak Grove Church in Walker county, receiving baptism the same month. He has attended the Birmingham Institute two years, and has given three years to the work of teaching. He is one of those jovial, happy, friendly souls which one always enjoys. His hard work in the study of books shows that he sees and appreciates the value of knowledge, and recognizes that there is no easy, lazy road to learning, to culture and refinement.
HAWTHORNE, REV. LAMBERT, of Evergreen, was born March 15, 1859, in Pine Apple, Wilcox county, Ala. When he was only six years of age his mother, Mrs. Sarah Hawthorne, died and left him and two other sons to such cold charities as might chance to fall in their way. From the time of his mother's death till he was 18 or 20 he was an apprentice to Col. J. R. Hawthorne, of his native county. This gentleman sent him to school, sometimes paying $2 per month to
Miss Ella Knapp, Missionary, Birmingham, Ala.
his teacher, thus enabling him in his early years to lay an educational foundation upon which he has continued to build. As might be expected of any person possessing his native talent and industrious turn of mind, he has successfully drawn upon every literary opportunity that has fallen in his way, to increase and beautify his store of knowledge and wisdom. He studied in Talladega College, entering that institution 1875 and leaving in 1879.
In 1879 he was induced, doubtless by denominational influences, to enter Selma University.
Both as teacher and as preacher he has been a very busy man. At different times he has been principal of the city schools of Opelika and Union Springs, and now he presides over the Evergreen High School. His most prominent pastorates have been the First Church, Union Springs, and the Bethel Church, Evergreen. For the latter church Mr. Hawthorne is now completing a good church edifice. In 1873 he was baptized at Pine Apple by Rev. W. Allen. In 1883 he was ordained to the ministry in Opelika by Revs. Thomas Glenn, H. Clark, N. B. Robie, D. D. (white), and others. In 1880 he was wedded to Miss Laura E. Drake, of Opelika, an affable lady, by whom he has six children. Mr. Hawthorne is energetic, sociable and full of work.
HOLLOWAY, REV. W. H., who spent two years in the Presbyterian Theological School at Tuscaloosa, is preaching and teaching at Thomas. Affable and industrious, he is making friends and followers.
HUNTER, REV. HENRY, of Faunsdale, son of Reuben and Abigail Hunter, is now (June, 1892) about 77 years of age. He was baptized by Rev. James Caldwell since the close of the war, and in 1866 he was set apart to the work of the gospel ministry in a council of which the Rev. James Caldwell
was chairman. Speaking of his education Brother Hunter says: "By chance I learned to read the Bible." He is one of the pioneers of Marengo county in the work of the colored Baptists. He is naturally talented, is unassuming, deeply pious, and is known by his brethren as being sober, upright and honorable. He has property worth about $1,000. He is quietly expecting a peaceable end to his earthly career, and like Abraham, has his eyes upon another country where the wicked shall cease from troubling and the weary shall be at rest.
HUTCHINS, REV. P. S. L., of Gallion, son of Reuben and Sylvia Hutchins, was born October 13, 1862, in Barbour county, Alabama. In 1879 he was baptized into the Eufaula Baptist Church by the Rev. Jerry Shorter. He, in youth, was a person of observing, active mind, and hence by the time he came to early manhood he had fairly prepared himself for the position of school teacher. He took the college course in Selma University, from which institution he graduated with the degree of A. B. in May, 1890. On May the 31st, of the same year, he was publicly and officially set apart to the work of the gospel ministry, Revs. M. Tyler, C. L. Purce, C. L. Fisher, J. Q. A. Wilhite, R. T. Pollard, L. J. Green, A. N. McEwen and the writer, officiating as presbytery. At the time of this writing Mr. Hutchins is pastor at Gallion and also at Newberne. At both these points he has succeeded in leading his flocks to the erection of good church edifices. He is full of energy and pluck as well as of literary aspiration. Like O'Bryant and other rising men among us, he is a moving man, and has muscles as well as brains.
He is physically as well as mentally strong, and so, if wisdom, prudence and Providence shall continue to be his companions, a long life, a growing life, a useful life, an honorable life is to be his.
P. S.--Since writing the above Mr. Hutchins has been abundant in labors in building houses of worship at different points. Great physical strength is proving to be a very convenient instrumentality under the powers of a strong mind.
JACKSON, REV. A. C., the son of Roderick and Ellen Jackson, was born in Pickens county, Alabama, December 13, 1848. He was baptized into the African Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa, Ala., by the late Rev. Prince Murrell.
He was ordained to the work of the gospel ministry at the request of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Birmingham by Revs. J. R. Capers (one of the most worthy organizers of the Alabama work), Henry Wood and N. G. Scurlock. The writer first met Brother Jackson in Mobile, in 1875, in company with Rev. P. Murrell. His Birmingham work was crowned with success. Beside what he did in the matter of increasing the membership, he laid at the hand of his successor in the pastorate of the Sixteenth Street Church about $3,000 worth of salable land and the present church site. He is accepted by his brethren as being an honest, earnest, industrious, studious man, especially noted for his hospitality to his brethren. Beside the pastorate above mentioned, he has been a builder and leader of other churches. He is now president of the Sunday School Convention of the Mt. Pilgrim Association and chairman of the Ministers' Conference of Birmingham. He has had sore trials, but in all his changes his love for Jesus has been manifest to all.
JACKSON, REV. JOHN W., pastor of the First Colored Baptist Church of Eufaula, was born at Whitesville, Ga., about thirty years ago.
Educational Advantages.--He has enjoyed only such advantages as the free public schools of Atlanta, Ga., afforded
him, but because of his native talent and studious application to the study of books, and his association with men of thought, he is possessed of a fair education. His unassuming manner and happy, brotherly spirit win and hold for him the love of his brethren in the ministry as well as the tender, confiding respect of his flock.
He was led to faith in Christ in his sixteenth year. In December, 1890, he was installed into the work and office of the gospel ministry by a council, in which Revs. W. H. Tilman and E. J. Fisher, of Atlanta, Ga., officiated. He was called to labor in Alabama May, 1892. The Eufaula Church, of which he is pastor, was organized about the year 1867, and is therefore one among the oldest churches in the State. This church began on the river bank in a little board shanty, but they now worship in a nice large frame building on a main street of the city. Mr. Jackson follows in this pastorate Revs. J. Shorter, J. Q. A. Wilhite, G. W. Berry, Mr. Forbes, and Mr. Bassett; and he feels gratified with the assurance that he leads a church from which have gone forth some of the best people in the country. "Be thou strong, therefore, and show thyself a man."
JACKSON, REV. DENNIS of Tuscumbia, is an honest, industrious man who has a large place in the love of his brethren.
JAMES, REV. LEWIS D., son of James and Priscilla James, was born in Sumter county, Ala., December 24, 1859. Baptized by Rev. A. Gordon, of Gainesville, Ala., in August, 1875. Had limited educational advantages in youth, but has since his manhood increased his stock of information by study, in which labor he has been aided by Prof. E. D. Lord and Dr. A. F. Owens, of Mobile, and Dr. Pettiford, of Birmingham. He was ordained to take charge of the Bethel Church at Warrior, Ala., October, 1888, by Revs. A. C. Jackson, J. W. White, A. D. Jemison and W. R. Pettiford, D. D. His brethren
of the Mount Pilgrim Association have laid on him various positions of honor, such as president of the Sunday School Convention, district missionary, etc.
JAMES, REV. VAN B., pastor at Avondale, is a brother of Rev. L. D. James. He is a progressive, industrious young man, whose breast is filled with longings for a higher life for his people. His preaching is characterized by thought rather than by emotion. In all the interests of the devotion he shows himself substantially concerned.
JOHNSON, REV. GABRIEL B., of Courtland, Ala., son of Beverly and Sophia Johnson, was born in King George county, Va., in 1849. Two years before the beginning of our civil war, the subject of our sketch, with three other children and his mother, were brought to Alabama as slaves. He was led to seek Christ in consequence of a revival conducted near Courtland by Revs. F. Bowman and S. Watkins. In 1867, in February, he was baptized by a white brother. Shortly after his baptism, he began to speak for Jesus in the public meetings under the authority of a license from his church. In 1873 he was solemnly set apart to the sacred office of the gospel ministry, Revs. G. Garrett, J. Belle, B. Swope and C. S. Gibson officiating, after which he was called to the pastoral charge of the Courtland Church, in which capacity he now serves. His first marriage was to Miss Millie Davis, daughter of Harry and Susan Davis. As the fruit of this marriage, there were seven children born to him, four of whom still live. In 1887, and some time after death had robbed him of this good woman, he was wedded to Miss Mariah Jarman, daughter of John and S. Jarman, of Leighton, Ala.
He has had but poor educational advantages, but has used to considerable effect such as have come within his
reach. He has had some access to the free public schools and a few months in the Roger Williams University, Nashville Tenn.
He has been Sunday School missionary under the joint appointment of the Muscle Shoals Association and the American Baptist Publication Society, has for several sessions assisted Prof. H. H. Stewart in the Courtland public school, and is at present the moderator of the Muscle Shoals Association. He has the confidence and love of his brethren, and will doubtless ascend into still greater things. Being physically strong, he will be a young man for years to come. His kind manner and polite disposition readily commend him to the favor of all persons who are inclined to be friendly, and hence a host of friends follow him with good wishes.
JOHNSON, REV. DANIEL, Oakland, Lauderdale county, Ala., son of Lewis and Martha Johnson, was born near Florence, Ala., November 11, 1844. Baptized by Rev. H. Beckwith in 1872. Ordained by Rev. H. Beckwith, Thos. Bruhes and A. Davis, in January, 1880.
Brother Johnson has been pastor of Zion No. 1 for some time past and is a cheerful supporter of all the general enterprises of the denomination.
JOHNSON, REV. RICHARD, pastor of St. James Church, Birmingham, is one of our worthy pioneers in the Macon county churches.
JONES, REV. C. P., pastor Tabernacle Church, Selma, hails from Arkansas. We have nothing of his history. He comes to us highly recommended by those who knew him best, and so far he is making an excellent impression in his praise. Beside his moral worth and fine intellectual talents he has other personal graces very rarely seen.
Rev. J. H. Eason, A. B., Professor in Selma University.
The writer loves especially his earnest devotion to his sacred calling. He is of Georgia nativity, is about 27 years of age and is a good scholar. He has been in Alabama only three months. What he has accomplished in books is proof that he is a man of studious habits.
P. S.--Since the above was written Brother Jones has gone to Mississippi, forcing from Alabama Baptists an acknowledgment of his exalted piety, child-like faith, sound sense and superior pulpit power. Brother Jones is now in Mississippi, still growing in grace and popularity.
JONES, REV. SILAS, of Mt. Meigs, Montgomery county, son of Jupiter and Caroline Jones, was born May 1, 1847. He was baptized into Elam Church, May 1, 1866, by Rev. John Holmes, (white). Was ordained to the work of the gospel ministry May 29, 1870, under the auspices of the white Baptist Church, of Wetumpka, Ala., by Revs. A. Carleton, J. Cole and Thomas Smith. The writer first met Brother Jones in Mobile in 1875--has been with him in his pastorates at Wetumpka, at Sandy Ridge, at Mt. Meigs and at Calhoun. He did not learn the alphabet until after he was about 18 years of age, and hence his very manly struggles for a knowledge of books have not been attended with the perfection which comes of early training. But he is a man of natural ability and rare tact, and what he knows is most thoroughly utilized. His home Christianity includes a system of regular Bible study for children as well as for hired help. He is an exemplary pastor. He is an industrious Bible student and preaches the truth with telling effect. His urbanity and other elements of personal magnetism bind his people about him with strongest cords of confidence and affection . No one man has done more for the education of his people than he, as the schools at Mt. Meigs and Calhoun must show. Brother
Jones is still young and strong and promises a long life. He has good property. His family does him honor. He is a strong man and coming days will give him the honors due him as a man great in service for home and country.
JONES, REV. POPE, of Russellville, was born near Tuscumbia, Ala., June 15, 1839. He was baptized some time between 1862 and 1866, and was set apart to the work of the gospel ministry in 1869 by Revs. Joseph Shackelford, D. D. (white), and W. E. Northcross. Brother Jones was in many respects a very remarkable man--no man in the Muscle Shoals Association, no man in Northern Alabama had so much power over the masses of the ministry and the great body of the laity as he. He was an executive man and a natural magnet, and men gathered about him and cheerfully submitted themselves to the sway of his opinions. He was as affable as he was firm, as joyous as he was earnest. He peaceably passed from this life in 1888.
JONES, REV. Wm. B., of Demopolis, was born in 1847 in Marengo county, Ala. Was baptized June 16, 1867, by Rev. John Scott. He has accomplished some work in the churches.
KENNEDY, REV. F. R., of Columbiana, was born December 20, 1864, in this State. He was baptized at Calera by the Rev. Henry Clay in 1881, and in 1886 he was set apart to the work of the gospel ministry by Revs. P. Fancher and John Tranholm. Mr. Kennedy at the age of 18 did not know his letters, but perceiving at an early age the value of book learning he resolved at the time named to attain to some knowledge on this line. He has availed himself of such facilities and opportunities as have fallen in his way, and in consequence he now reads and writes fairly well. No doubt much of his advancement and general success are due to the knowledge, aspiration and persistence of Mrs. Kennedy, whose educational advantages
have been superior to her husband's. Brother Kennedy has been pastor in his own town, in Birmingham, at Calera, and now he preaches in Anniston.
KENNEDY, REV. SAMUEL, once pastor Union Church, Mobile, is one of those unassuming, modest, friendly men whose heart pours forth in kindness upon everybody. Like many others his chief misfortune is that he bears the marks which declare his want of early school advantages. However, he deserves praise for many good qualities and commendable labors.
KING, REV. BOLING, of Leighton, Ala., was born in Orange county, Va., August, 1836. He was converted to faith in Christ under the ministry of Rev. Henry Bynum, by whom, aided by Dr. Shackleford, he was baptized into the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church near Leighton. In 1868, in same church and by the same brethren, he was solemnly set apart to the work of the gospel ministry. Though he never attended school he can read and write, and is a natural leader. He is pastor of some of the largest churches in the Muscle Shoals Association. He is an industrious, honorable man and has accumulated about $1,700 worth of real estate. He is one of the pioneers of the work in this section of Alabama. He is still of youthful vigor and leads in the Sunday School the same as in the church.
KOYTON, PROF. ABNER C., of Tuscaloosa, son of Henry and Susan Koyton, was born in Marietta, Ga., but was reared in Summerfield, Ala. Mr. Koyton graduated from the State Normal School, Marion, Ala., in 1880, and delivered the first annual address to the alumni of this institution.
Under his principalship and on his plans, so the writer is informed, the city schools (colored) of Tuscaloosa began to operate under their present graded system. He is now just inaugurating the Tuscaloosa Baptist Academy. He is young,
but studious and progressive. His youth is dignified by his gravity and piety.
LAWSON, REV. A. J., of Camden, son of Mr. A. and Mrs. Julia Lawson, is doing a good work at Camden. His chief educational advantages have come of the Camden schools, and what he has accomplished in the way of letters, is evidence of his vigilance and application with reference to the opportunities which came to his hand. He was baptized by Rev. David Small, of Clark county, in 1886, two years after which time he was set apart to the work of the gospel ministry at Camden by order of the Camden Church, which was then under the pastoral care of Rev. J. W. White. His labors are well spoken of by his brethren.
LAWSON, REV. A., of Union Springs, the pastor of Mount Pleasant Church, now about 45 years of age, is one of the leading men of the "Old Pine Grove Association." Like most of the men of his time, his education has been hindered. However, he is a very clear-headed man and, having a large following, has done much good in Bullock county.
LEAVENS, REV. CHARLES, the man who led to the erection of the brick structure in which the St. Louis Street Church now worships, was of Virginia nativity, and was born about 1805. The writer is of the opinion that no man in Alabama did so much in pioneer days to organize the Negro Baptists in the State as Mr. Leavens. At the close of the war he was not ordained, but was the most enterprising pushing, sanguine and influential man in his church. Naturally, therefore, the work of guiding the flock fell upon his shoulders. As he could not get ordination of his white brethren, he sought it in New Orleans. Finding himself now possessed with the commission of a gospel minister, he sought to touch and commission men for the other cities and towns of the State. The Rev.
Philip G. Gambrell was ordained about the same time. Calling in this man's services and assistance, Mr. Leavens ordained Messrs. P. Murrell, of Tuscaloosa; J. Bleavens, of Selma; James Caldwell, of Demopolis; the writer, and a great company of others, who went out into the various sections of the State to organize the people into churches. Of course, as might have been expected, he sometimes put out the wrong man, but it was a time to do so and dare. His excuse for hasty action was: "This is a peculiar time whose peculiar circumstances call for bold methods." His chief questions to applicants were: "Can you and do you read the Bible? Do you believe it, pray about it, and practice its teachings? Are you a good, whole Baptist? Are you a republican?"
LEACH, REV. JAMES, of Birmingham, son of Alfred and Elizabeth Leach, was born July 16, 1832 in Marengo county, Ala. In 1846 he was baptized by the Rev. Mr. Fox, of Uniontown, and on November 26, 1867, in the African Baptist Church of Tuscaloosa, he was set apart to the work of the gospel ministry by Revs. P. Murrell, P. Bowler and James Caldwell.
In 1855 he was married to Miss Mary Martin. He was once pastor of the African Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa, and one time presided over the Bethlehem Association (organized in 1877) as moderator. Mr. Leach has held various pastorates, is a hospitable man, and has a very pleasant family.
The writer has often found--when weary and sick--a pleasing and invigorating refuge within the quiet home of these good people.
LEFTWICH, JOHN C., Of Montgomery, once editor and now manager of the Baptist Leader, is noted especially for energy and independence. He is, at the time of this writing, temperance lecturer for the State of Alabama under the "National
Temperance Society." Doubtless he inherits his push and ambition from his father, who was at one time a member of the Alabama legislature. He is quite a young man, and if wisdom shall rule over his purposes and plans in years to come, he will write himself upon the men and the occasions of future years.
LEWIS, REV. C., is pastor of Macedonia Church, Birmingham. He appears ready for any good word and work.
LOONEY, REV. J. T., of Fayetteville, Talladega county, was born in Coosa county, Alabama, May 2, 1847. He was baptized into the Fayetteville Church by Rev. Berry Ware in 1867, and in 1885 he was set apart to the work of the ministry by Rev. H. Morris and others. At the time of this writing Mr. Looney is pastor at Alpine. He is a quiet and unassuming man, ever friendly to education and missions, and hospitable toward his brethren.
LOFTON, REV. J. B., is pastor at Smithfield, near Birmingham.
LOVELADY, REV. C. L., of Hollywood, Jackson county, is noted among his brethren for his interest in missions and education. He followed Rev. Lewis Roach in the moderatorship of the Mud Creek Association. He helps in the building of churches, and is a liberal supporter of schools.
LOW, REV. GREEN, of Livingston, is one of the most matter-of-fact sort of men with whom the writer has ever had any business. No man can beat him wearing his whole heart right on his face. He is uncovered, outspoken and fearless, and yet all seems so natural, so honest and so kind, until what would otherwise appear hard and ungenial is really enjoyable. Mr. Low is among the leaders of the Bethlehem Association.
Miss A. L. Bowman, Missionary, Birmingham, Ala.
MCALPINE, REV. W. H., at present teacher of Ministers' and Deacons' Institute, under the appointment of the Southern Baptist Mission Board, was born in Buckingham county, Virginia, June, 1847. At the age of three years, he, his mother and a younger brother were brought to this state by a "Negro speculator," who sold them to a Rev. Robert McAlpine, of Coosa county. At the age of 8 years and on the occasion of the death of this Presbyterian minister, he became the property (?) of Dr. McAlpine, with whom he remained till the close of the war. In this family he was the nurse of the white children for about ten years. As Mrs. Dr. McAlpine was very anxious and cautious as to the quality of the first moulding influences touching the childhood of her children, and as the schools around were hardly up to her ideal, she had her children instructed at home. As the nurse's position placed him and kept him in constant association with the children, and as he was possessed of a literary turn of mind, he soon began to imbibe a knowledge of letters, advancing into reading, writing, grammar, geography and arithmetic. From 1855 to 1874 he saw nothing of his mother, and for sixteen years of this time did not know where she was. Naturally this incident started a train of serious reflections touching the facts and hopes of human life. About the year 1864 or 1865 he was converted to Christianity and some time after was baptized into the Talladega Church (white) by his friend, Dr. Renfroe. At the close of the war Mr. McAlpine first worked at the carpenters' trade, which he left for school teaching. In the winter of 1866 he entered the Talladega College, supporting himself by laboring during the morning and evening hours--before the opening and after the close of the school. In 1873 he severed his connection with this institution having been aroused to undertake the establishment of a similar institution for his own denomination. In 1871 he was
ordained to the work of the gospel ministry, and accepted a call to the pastorate of the Mt. Canaan Baptist Church, Talladega, which he resigned in 1875 in order to give his whole time to his school project.
To no man in Alabama has been committed trusts more varied and more weighty. While connected with the Talladega College he occupied the position of State canvasser under the appointment of Mr. Cravath. He has been pastor at Talladega, Jacksonville, Marion and Anniston, and president of Selma University. His special excellence is not of that mental style which gives birth to fine psychological and metaphysical discernments and distinctiveness: it is that sort of mental something which strikes with broad side and ponderous weight. The breadth of his rear head would seem to indicate that all his faculties are driven forward by a force that starts from a broad base. The writer first met Dr. McAlpine in Mobile, in November, 1874, the year following that in which he brought forward, at the Tuscaloosa session of the Convention, his school idea. My first impression of him was that he was a man of special mission, and I immediately sympathized with him and with the school project, throwing myself fully into line with his plans.
In referring to his childhood life, and while talking with reference to the power of secret prayer, he once remarked to the writer: "Upon one occasion, though without my knowledge, Dr. McAlpine had resolved to punish me for a trivial matter on my part which had caused him some displeasure. I had gone to feed the horses, and in the crib I was on my knees at prayer. The doctor had followed me with his whip. I was not aware of his presence or purpose, and hence as he did not speak I got through with my prayer and fed my horse and returned to the house. I learned afterward that my
prayer had subdued him, and that he had expressed himself as being ashamed of his purpose."
Alluding once to some mistakes he had made, he observed: "We grow wiser as we grow older." He has been happily married twice. By his last wife he has a large family of beautiful and promising children. The Rivers family, into which he married, are a people of very sterling qualities, and no doubt these happy associations have conduced to his success in all regards.
The act of the University in conferring upon him the honorary title of D. D. is evidence of the high esteem in which he is held by the trustees and faculty of the school. He is now theological instructor in the school and is supported by the Southern Board.
MCALPINE, F. Percy, son of J. D. and Jane McAlpine, was born August 1, 1865, in Forkland, Ala. He entered the world amid that good heritage which call come only of the exemplary life of parents. Though his early life was spent on the farm, his youthful days were blessed with some educational facilities, which his discerning, appreciative mind turned to good advantage. After completing primary grades in his home schools, he, against the wish of his mother and protest of brothers, entered the State Normal School at Marion, Ala., with only $15 to begin the course of study prescribed. The next year he entered Selma University, studying during the school session and teaching in summer till 1888, when his mother, his only support since the death of his father, fell asleep. He says of this time of struggle:
"I owe a lasting debt of gratitude to President Purce, who never left me without an encouragement which it was possible for him to bestow."
In 1890 while in his junior college year, financial straits
forced him to give up study and go out to work. Applying for the principalship of the Bessemer City School, he made an almost perfect mark in his examination and obtained the position. While in this capacity, aided by Mr. J. C. Barker, he edited a paper known as "The Marvel Age." In 1893, he and Mr. Barker operated a bookstore.
The writer knows but few young men who equal Mr. McAlpine in modesty, industry, courage, push and beauty of moral character. An honorable future awaits him, and of friends he shall have many. Talented and studious, he must still advance in scholarship. He became a member of the Missionary Baptist Church in 1885, and lives according to his profession. He expects to complete his university course in 1896.
McEWEN, REV. A. N., pastor of Franklin Street Church, Mobile, lately editor of the Baptist Leader, is a native of the State of Mississippi, where he was born April, 1849. When he was about 18 years of age he went to Nashville, Tenn., in search of better things than those to which slavery had introduced him. Here he entered the Roger Williams University, remaining only a very short while. Here also he found and wedded a wife. Being controlled by industry and economy he soon saved enough from his small wages to purchase a horse and wagon. This was the first of a series of financial successes by means of which he soon rose above poverty and want into comfortable circumstances for himself and family. While attending the services of Mt. Zion Church in Nashville in 1870 he was led to faith in Christ which he professed by receiving baptism.
Shortly after he began religious work, and in 1876 he was ordained to take charge of the pastorate at Tullahoma, Tenn. Five or six years after this he came to Alabama to take charge of the Dexter Avenue Church. Mr. McEwen since his en
trance into Alabama, has been intimately connected with all our state operations, educational and missionary, and no man among us has been more successful as a church financier. He has bestowed special care upon the education of his children, all of whom he has reared for the most part without their mother's aid, as she died when they were young. The Dexter Avenue Church building was constructed under his leadership.
McCALL, REV. E. A., at present pastor in Columbus, Ga., the son of Rev. H. A. McCall, was born May 15, 1855, in Russell county, Alabama. In 1872 he was baptized into the Hawkinsville Baptist Church by the hands of his father. In September, in the twentieth year of his age, he was set apart to the work of the gospel ministry by Revs. A. Gachet, S. Fantroy, J. Daniel, J. H. Davis and H. A. McCall. It will be seen that he entered the sacred office at a very early age--at an age rather soon in most cases--rather early for the good of the minister as well as for the good of the people and the cause. But though in youth he was possessed of very poor educational advantages, by talent, push, courage, ambition, observation and application to books, he has made surprising advances. He is strictly a self-made man. He speaks with ease and performs well on the organ.
He has had a wide range of operation, having been pastor at different times of eleven different churches, some of them equaling the best pastorates in the country. Among them the church at Union Springs may be mentioned. No man in Alabama is more companionable than he.
McCORD, REV. C., of Selma, was set apart to the work of the gospel ministry by the St. Phillip Street Church while the writer was pastor in 1884. He started the study of books late in life, but by associating with men of advanced ideas and
close application to books lie is now considerably ahead of the masses of the ministry. He is a sober, judicious man, peaceable and ever ready for work.
MADDOX, REV. J. D., the son of Daniel and Tabitha Maddox, was born in Barbour county, Ala., near Midway, in 1854. His father was sold away from him when he was only three days old, and his mother when he was three years old, and hence he came up without knowing anything either of father or mother.
This friendless condition early impressed him with the desire to obtain the friendship of God, which in his eleventh year, he sought and found. He was baptized into the Rama Church by the Rev. Mr. VanHoose (white) during the same year.
In his seventeenth year, a desire to read books came into his mind. By good fortune he came into possession of 25 cents which he invested in a "blue back speller." In order that his book and purpose might not come to the notice of the white people he decided that he would tear out and learn one leaf at the time. Thus he began to spell, aided by a more fortunate fellow slave. The widow of a Baptist minister encouraged him with the statement that if he could read she would give him a hymn book and a Bible. On one Sabbath he learned the Ten Commandments. Doubtless he owes much of his success to his excellent wife, who is no less enterprising than she is devout and faithful. He said to the writer: "My wife makes me study."
In 1879 at the call of the Friendship Baptist Church of Barbour county, he was set apart to the ministry by Revs. J. Shorter, A. Gachet and E. Alexander. Brother Maddox is a good man, a faithful preacher, and a successful builder--a leading man in the Eufaula Association, and is as gentle as a woman, and simple hearted as a child.
Rev. M. Tyler, D. D., Lowndesboro, Ala.
MADERSON, REV. WILLIAM, of Greensboro, was born in Virginia in 1849, and came to Alabama in 1866. In the fall of 1872 he was baptized into the Second Baptist Church at Marion, Ala., and in the following year began to enter upon the work of the ministry, speaking in public as he had opportunity. While the Convention was in session in Marion in 1880, the hands of ordination were laid upon his head by order of the Marion Church, and by the same presbytery that ordained Dr. Pettiford. He spent some time in study in the Selma University, under the presidency of the late Rev. Harry Woodsmall. Mr. Maderson is a man of fine natural gifts which, considering his early, meagre advantages, have been well developed. He is remarkably capacitated for imbibing what is pure and elevating in good men and good books. He is dearly beloved no less for his stainless character than for his refinement and wisdom. After serving various other important pastorates, he was called to the pulpit of the Salem Church at Greensboro, where he now serves with success, greatly increasing the membership and purchasing a neat parsonage. For the past seven or eight years he has been the moderator of the Uniontown Association--the largest Association in the State. Should he continue as he has began, coming years must increase his power with God and man.
MERRELL, REV. MASON C., of Fort Deposit, son of M. C. and Harriet Merrell, was born in Dallas county, Ala., June 26, 1849. As his parents were poor, he was apprenticed to the Rev. H. Talbird, D. D., of said county, who sent him to the schools of the neighborhood. By such means he was early placed in conditions where he was able to lay the foundation of a liberal English education. Much of Mr. Merrell's time for many years has been spent in teaching in the State schools. The money thus earned has been a supplement to the meagre
support given him by the small churches of which he is the efficient pastor. He was baptized into the fellowship of the Carlowville Church October, 1867, by the hands of his benefactor. In 1879 he was set apart to the work of the gospel ministry in the city of Montgomery, Revs. J. A. Foster, W. J. Stevens, Wm. Jinkins and R. Aarons officiating as presbytery. Brother Merrell is a sociable, genial companion, a careful speaker, an earnest Christian, and a firm believer in missions and education. On all the moral questions of the times he is as straight as a shingle. He, by his various pastorates, is associated with the Alabama District and the Union Associations, and in both bodies he is held in high esteem by all the thoughtful and pious persons.
Indeed, he is respected by all who know him, white and black. Because of his quietness and sunshine, as well as for his musical talent and skill, he is in special demand at our annual and extra meetings.
MURRELL, REV. PRINCE.--Rev. Prince Murrell was born in Savannah, Ga., January 1, 1817. His mother, who descended of a Congo prince, was born in Providence, R.I. His father was the son of an Englishman, of the name of Murrell. Some of his youthful years were spent with his parents in South Carolina. In the year 1838, his mother with seven children, he being the youngest, moved to Tuscaloosa, Ala. At this time no member of the family knew anything of the Christian life. In 1839 his mother was baptized, which incident excited such serious impressions in her son as resulted in his baptism in August, 1842. About this time he began to speak and exhort as he had opportunity. At the close of the war he had been a member of the Tuscaloosa Church (white) about ten years, and was the only colored Baptist preacher in Tuscaloosa. This brother has had a
rather remarkable career. In the year 1855 he bought his freedom, and in 1856 started to Liberia, Africa, going as far as Savannah, Ga. His aspiration for liberty, his unaided toiling for the mastery of letters and books, his tact and perseverance in organizing the colored Baptists of his section into churches and associations, and his success in accumulating property with many other things, mark him as no ordinary man. His marriage to Miss Mary Drisdell in the year 1842, was no doubt largely conducive to his energy and success, for she--even up into old age--was a woman of strength and industry. The first colored school ever taught in Tuscaloosa was taught by him, and taught at a time when to teach a colored school was to put one's life at the muzzle of the shot gun. Touching this phase of work, he related to the writer the following stories: "When we were just set at liberty I went to a white Baptist who had in times of slavery shown himself friendly toward black people, and said, 'Mr. S--, we need a school teacher, can't we secure you?' He replied, 'Do you think I would disgrace myself by teaching a negro school? Besides this, it would be only throwing into the waste my time, my talent and my strength. I might as well drive into a room a drove of sheep or a herd of swine, and put books before them as to put books before kinky-headed nigger children.'
"On one occasion, two white men who had come into town to bring a prisoner, walked into my school room with their ropes and chains in hand, and teacher and school, feeling sure that the ropes and chains were for their necks, were so dismayed as to excite the pity of the dreaded visitors, and they sought to remove our fears and to encourage us to continue on in our good way."
Speaking of the organization of colored churches in the South, he remarked to the writer: "I was in Savannah when
the white people were discussing the propriety of organizing colored churches." He opened the first Sunday School for colored people in the city of Tuscaloosa the first Sunday in December, 1866. He claimed to owe most of his success in the study of divine truth to the Rev. Chas. Manly. On July 1 he organized the African Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa with 25 members. As he did not begin reading till he was 22 years old he was not faultless in his mastery of the English language, but was a good speaker, self-possessed and ready in words. Mr. Murrell was one of the leading fathers of the Alabama work. His children were a pride to him in his old age.
In the last years of his life he spoke tenderly of his old mistress who encouraged him to learn to read, and of his maiden mistress, who in many ways saved him from oppression and aided him in securing his liberty.
Since the above sketch was commenced Mr. Murrell and his good wife have exchanged the cross for the crown.
NICHOLS, REV. JAMES, of Greenville, moderator and missionary of the Union Association, was born in Virginia May 10, 1842, and was brought to Alabama September, 1856, locating at Selma, where he joined the church and was baptized by the Rev. Mr. McCraw, who was then pastor both of the colored and of the white churches of that city. At this time, as the dates will show, he was a young man. It was in this same church and city that he began the work of the ministry during the days of slavery.
His first marriage was to Miss Emma Allison, of Dallas county. The fruit of this marriage was two sons and one daughter, neither of whom is now living. His present wife has two living children. He has an humble home of his own.
Mr. Nichols is a man of energy, industry and decision of
character; he has opinions and has the courage to express them. No man has any trouble in times of controversy to locate him, and yet in his rulings as presiding officer of the above named association, the writer has seen evidences of prudence and commendable flexibility.
His early life was robbed of literary environments, and hence he is not an extensive reader of books; but his knowledge of things is superior to many whose advantages have been far better than his have been. He says that he knew absolutely nothing of letters till since the close of the war, when he had a little opportunity to attend night school at Uniontown.
He was ordained in 1873 at Georgiana, Butler county, by Revs. Dan Shepard, Nelson Briggs, Jesse Holens and others, and he has done a good work in his section.
NORTHCROSS, REV. W. E., of Tuscumbia, Colbert county, was born in Colbert county, Ala., in 1840, and ordained to the gospel ministry in 1867 by Rev. Mr. Slater (white) and Rev. Henry Bynum.
Mr. Northcross is strictly a pioneer. He, Rev. Stephen Coleman and Rev. Henry Bynum, aided by Dr. Joseph Shackleford (white) laid down the foundation stones in Morgan, Franklin, Colbert, Lauderdale and Lawrence counties.
He is a peculiar man. He is a man of very positive nature--with him it is yea and amen.
To those who do not know him as well as to those who vacilate and pretend, his sternness is repelling. But behind and below external appearances there is a heart that is as tender as it is brave, and as kind as it is firm. Except a little time spent in the Roger Williams University, he has had no school advantages, but he reads and writes, fairly well.
The Tuscumbia, Barton and Sheffield churches, were built
up under his labors. In the formation of the Muscle Shoals Association at Tuscumbia in 1869, he was one of the leading spirits. He relates the following incidents:
"Before the close of the war I was captured by the Federal troops and carried to Decatur, where I joined their army. As I had a crippled foot I was allowed to remain with the commissary department. While we were camped at Athens, General Forest came upon us and defeated, captured and killed until we were almost literally wiped out of existence. I had been kind to some little white children by which I had won their love and, of course, the love of their parents. Therefore, in the time of danger, I rushed to this house, and the good people hid me and changed my clothes. Hence when I was found, I was taken for one of the gentleman's slaves. When I was permitted by the man to try to return to Tuscumbia and had gone some distance, I was caught by deserters from the Southern army, who voted to shoot me. They bound me and kept me over night, intending to do away with me the next day. It was in a lonely desert on the Tennessee river. I could not sleep, and so all night I prayed to God, and all night the wives of the men prayed for "the poor nigger "--prayed to their cruel husbands. Their cries and tears prevailed, and I was robbed and let go after I had vowed not to reveal their whereabouts. I left loving God and believing in his faithfulness to his people as I had never done before."
For years Mr. Northcross has been the trusted treasurer of the Muscle Shoals Association. He is the pastor of the largest church, and has the best edifice, in northern Alabama.
ODEN, REV. M. C. B., of Sylacauga, was born in Charleston, S. C., December 24,1839. He was baptized by Rev. J. J. D. Renfroe, D. D., in September, 1865, and in 1873 he was set
Mrs. Rebecca Pitts, Member Board of Trustees Woman's State Convention, Uniontown, Ala.
apart to the work of the gospel ministry, Rev. W. Wilks, and others, officiating as presbytery. He, in speaking of the rise of the work in this section, says: "I came from South Carolina in 1858, a Methodist. There were nineteen or twenty other slaves on our place beside myself. I, and one other, professed to be Christians. The master of the place permitted us to hold prayer services, and allowed the slaves of his kin people to attend. The Lord blessed these meetings and at the close of the war this humble beginning was ready to unfold into the Harpersville Church. At the close of the war, I began to teach night and Sunday Schools, and thus introduced the study of letters, though in the Sunday School as well as in the night school, we had nothing but the 'blue back speller.' "Brother Oden is an honorable, outspoken, industrious, prosperous man, whose hospitality is known far and wide. His home has often been an asylum of rest to the writer, as well as to other missionaries of Alabama of all denominations.
O'BRYANT, REV. L. F., of Eufaula, the son of Frederick and Rose O'Bryant, was born on the Dent plantation in Barbour county, Ala., in the year 1860. In 1879 he was converted to the faith of the gospel under the preaching of Rev. Jerry Shorter, and was baptized. into the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. At the call of the above named church, he was set apart to the work of the gospel ministry in 1885 by Revs. J. A. Wilhite, A. Gachet, J. D. Maddox, E. May and J. A. Alston, of Arkansas. Notwithstanding his educational advantages have been very meagre, he has, by constant study and observation, advanced to a fair knowledge of books. He is a loving husband, a successful pastor, a strong preacher, a genial associate, and carries sun shine everywhere. The writer was associated with him for some weeks in the institute work at Eufaula, and was truly delighted with his urbanity and innocent
wit. He is a young man of hopeful prospects--if his present wise course should continue to the end. His father before him is a Baptist minister, whose life is held in high esteem, and hence the subject of this sketch comes into his public career having his own excellent personal graces savored by the good name of his revered ancestor.
OWENS, REV. A. J., of Moulton, is an ex-student of Selma University; he is an agreeable companion, a kind father, an orderly thinker and a forcible preacher. The writer has greatly enjoyed the hospitalities of his home and the abundance of his good humor.
OWENS, REV. ALBERT FRANKLYN, editor of the Baptist Leader and pastor at Mobile, was born in Wilcox county, Ala., January 1, 1854. Early in life he left Alabama for Louisiana, in which state he was led to exercise faith in the Son of God and was baptized into Little Mt. Zion Church by the Rev. G. Stemley, of Avoyelles Parish. In April, 1873, he was licensed to enter upon the work of the gospel ministry. At the call of the Third Baptist Church, Mobile, Ala., he was ordained to the functions of the ministerial office by the Common Street Baptist Church, New Orleans, La., May 28, 1877, by a council of which Rev. Marsena Stone, D. D., of Ohio, was chairman, and Rev. A. M. Newman was secretary. His longest and hitherto most prosperous pastorate has been with the church who called for his ordination, and whom he led to the purchase of their neat brick edifice on St. Anthony Street.
Beginning with them in the spring of 1887, he left them for Uniontown, September, 1890, in excellent quarters and free from debt. This he did at such patient self-sacrifice as may be found in only a very few men of his age.
In 1873 he entered Leland University, New Orleans,
where he remained four years, persuing the classical and theological courses under Drs. Gregory and Stone.
While in Louisiana he was engaged in teaching school and was intimately associated with the general Baptist work, being at one time editor of their state organ, the Baptist Messenger. In 1884-85 he was editor of the Baptist Pioneer, located at Selma, Ala., and has served as general superintendent of missions for the State of Alabama. For many years he has been on the Board of Trustees of Selma University, and in recognition of his solid worth and general information he is now the bearer of our denominational standard.
Mr. Owens is a typical, Christian gentleman. No other man among us has a library so select, so varied and so valuable as he has, nor has any man in Alabama a clearer evidence of literary talent and literary relish. He is a many-sided man, and the beauty of his solid personal qualities is greatly enhanced by his indigenous vivacity, unstinted hospitality, and perennial benevolence. In the hovels of the poor and in the times of the sources of disease, no man among us is more welcome than he, neither is there one of his brethren whose duty renders more heedless of danger or blind to personal privations and material losses. Whether he builds houses of worship, preaches, lectures, teaches, writes--whatever may be the engagement of the hour, that engagement focusses the whole man. The following incidents will show something of the style of his mind: On one occasion when severely tried in administering discipline, and when he had allowed his feelings of indignation to run too high, he was so distressed that for many nights sleep almost entirely forsook him. The writer overheard him on this occasion, saying, "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight."
Upon another occasion in the midst of a session of the Convention, and as one of the policemen of the town
walked in and was seated, he arose and remarked: "Brother president, I see in our assembly a policeman of the city in which we are convened. I think this a fit time to give notice to any who may feel inclined to be unruly that they must observe good order or I'll have them arrested." This came in just at a condition of the meeting when a bit of humor was just the thing most needed.
The St. Anthony Street Church, Mobile, is a tangible memorial of his energy, self-sacrifice and patient industry. Beside the pastorate of the St. Anthony Street Church (the Third Baptist), he has served in the pastorate of the Dexter Avenue, Montgomery, and in the pastorate of the church at Uniontown.
His speeches are characterized by originality, clearness, force and dignity. He is still a growing man--growing in worth of manhood and in the confidence and love of the denomination; and should his health and life continue, the historian who will write of a brighter day than this--a day not far in the future--will point with pride to this man of rare gifts, giving more space than is here accorded him. With special pleasure the writer records the name of Albert F. Owens, D. D., high upon the roll of his personal friends.
And this short notice of a worthy man can hardly close at a point of greater beauty than in an humble tribute to his other self, Mrs. Mary Mims Owens (once Mrs. Taylor), whom he wedded in 1882, and who is held in high esteem as a leader in church and educational circles.
PETTIFORD, REV. W. R., D. D., son of William and Matilda Pettiford, was born in Granville county, N. C., January 20, 1847. He was, when a boy, of an industrious turn of mind, working faithfully at whatever his hands found to do. At one
time he was with the tanner, and at another time he was running his father's farm.
At the age of 21 years he united with the Baptist Church of Rocksboro, Person county, N. C., and was immersed by the Rev. Ezekiel Horton, of Salisbury. While he was serving this church as clerk, he told his mother, as a secret which he greatly desired she would not reveal, that he felt called to the gospel ministry. As Brother Horton often put up at their home he soon got possession of the secret. Dr. Pettiford now says: "When I was called into an examining council and learned that my secret was out, I was very much frightened; but the advice given upon this day has ever been helpful to me." The writer met the subject of this sketch for the first time at the session of the State Convention held in Talladega in November, 1876. He and the late Senator A. H. Curtis were messengers from the church at Marion. At this time the only traits that were especially noticeable were the frankness of his countenance and the geniality of his manners. At the commencement of Selma University in the winter of 1877-78, he joined Brother Woodsmall, becoming a member of the pioneer faculty of the school. It was here that he was seen as the studious, patient, industrious man loved no less by tender youth than he was trusted by riper years. He was called to ordination by the Marion Church, Marion, Ala., and dedicating hands were laid upon his head in Marion, Ala., in the midst of the conventional session held there in November, 1880. After this he severed his connection with the school as teacher and as financial agent, to enter the pastorate in Union Springs. His open, earnest face, tact, and urbanity of speech, made him one of the most successful financial agents the University has ever sent upon the field. He relates the following incident in connection with his field work for the school: "I was about thirty miles southeast of Greenville, Ala.
A colored man by the name of Turner had just been mobbed in Clark county. The colored people along the road were exceedingly frightened at the threatening attitude of the whites, and hence refused to entertain any stranger. I knew not where I was and it was now dark. My horse was broken down. Family after family turned me off. At last one man agreed to entertain my tired horse. Thankful for this little drop of kindness, I stopped and fed my animal. Then I started off--I knew not whither. After awhile I saw through the boughs of the pines a dim light, which seemed far away. Turning towards this light I wended my way through sage field and bush, until I stood beside an old log hut, a rickety relic of an old time Negro quarter. With ease this tiny spark peeped through the great opening in the dirty cabin full into my weary face. Herein, with husband and wife and babies, and a lot of dirt, I was allowed to rest my tired limbs and heavy heart till morning.
"Upon one occasion while Bro. D. T. Gulley and I were on mission work together, we were delayed in Marengo county. Waters were up, Brother Gulley was sick, and the people had no money to give for educational purposes. I went to begging milk cows and succeeded in getting the people to donate six ."
Mr. Pettiford married his present wife, Miss Della Boyd, of Selma, Ala., November 22, 1880. She is an excellent woman and comes of a fine family. As might have been expected the marriage has been a happy one for both parties.
Dr. Pettiford is a clear thinker, a concise speaker, a firm friend, a lover of his race, and a fine presiding officer. Every feature in his bearing is indicative of the true gentleman and earnest Christian. He is a firm friend of Selma University, and by this school he has been honored with the degree of D. D. He is at this time (1892) president of the "Alabama
Rev. W. C. Bradford, Pastor First Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Penny Savings Bank" and of the Baptist State Convention of Alabama. He is further noticed in connection with the chapter on "State Convention" and "Selma University" as well as in other chapters.
Closing this sketch, it seems fitting that I should remark that though he excels in many virtues, he is especially peculiar in these:
1. He is abundant in plans and measures, so that the variety of his operations almost wholly exclude the monotony so often felt in church work.
2. He is in a peculiar degree a patient man. In all conditions he seems to possess his soul in patience.
Since the above was written, he has been elected financial secretary of the State work.
He is now organizing the Alabama Publishing Company. He is full of enterprise.
PHILLIPS, REV. D., of Tuskegee, was a "Father in Israel." Those who are old enough to remember him as a slave, say that he sat in council with the white ministers and was permitted to speak in their associational gatherings. Nothing seemed to disturb his peace; no amount of heated discussion ever caused him to break from his strong hiding place of pious humility. He was a large man with strong will, but every "jot and tittle" of his ponderous being was under submission to his consecrated will, which ruled all like the helmsman steers the great ship. He was about the age of Mr. John Dosier, eighty years. He refused to accept freedom till all were free.
PEELS, REV. J. A., pastor of the First Colored Baptist Church in North Birmingham, is a rising young man in the Mount Pilgrim Association. His church, though a new enterprise, is a success, and all plans for gospel aggression find in
him a ready and substantial friend. His brethren love him because he is peaceable and benevolent in his dealings with them.
POLLARD, REV. ROBERT T., son of Rev. R. T., Sr., and Mrs. Mary F. Pollard, was born in Gainesville, Ala., October 4, 1860. A few years after the close of the late civil war, Rev. R. T. Pollard, Sr., moved with his family to Enterprise, Miss. There the subject of this sketch received his first impressions--impressions which were to serve as the foundation of his future character. At the age of 12 his mother left him for the better country. The boy, reflecting over his sad loss in the death of his mother, turned unto the Lord, and was baptized into the fellowship of the Mt. Pleasant Church, in which he immediately became clerk and Sunday School teacher. Thus, starting right, we are not surprised at the righteousness of the course he now pursues.
By studying at night under his father's instruction, he, at the age of 12, could read and write. At 16 he was known as "the boy preacher." At the age of 20 he entered a school taught by Prof. Paul D. Jones in Meridian, Miss., in which school he studied arithmetic, algebra, English grammar and Latin. He remained here two years. In 1882 he entered Selma University, under Prof. Woodsmall. Of this good man he says: "His consecrated life did much toward fixing my character in the spirit and doctrines of Christ." From this institution he graduated with the class of 1884 as valedictorian. In the same school and in the same year he entered upon the college course and completed the freshman and sophomore years. During this time he was assistant teacher in the University. By all, and throughout all, he has been and is now accepted as a student, a thinker, a rigid moralist and faithful Christian. In March, 1885, he was ordained to the gospel
ministry in Selma, Revs. E. M. Brawley, D. D., W. H. McAlpine, H. N. Bouey, A. N. McEwen, C. L. Price, and C. R. Rodgers, officiating as presbytery. After this he entered upon and served acceptably different important pastorates in Perry county. With credit to himself and with profit to the denomination, he has, as teacher, as moderator, as recording clerk of the State Convention, and as district Sunday School missionary, served the Baptists of Alabama. At this time he is the successful pastor of the Dexter Avenue Church, Montgomery. Thus this quiet, hard working young man has risen up till there are but few that go before him. Mr. Pollard is a philosopher, clothed with the spirit of a child. In him a full heart balances a well stored head.
POLLARD, REV. I. M., of Lochapoka, is one of the few men of whom we sometimes feel that they are Nature's favored children. So evenly balanced are all his tempers and passions, hopes and fears, that we are almost compelled to think that so much self-government must have come largely as the gift of nature. The writer has reasons to know him as an honest man--as a man who can handle the money of his neighbor without fault to himself or loss to his friend. Mr. Pollard is held in high esteem by all who know him--white and black. He was born about the year 1840. He possesses a fine personal appearance, a gentlemanly bearing, and is a good preacher of the plain old gospel.
POSEY, PROF. THOMAS H., of Bessemer, the son of Wesley and Patience Posey, was born September 15, 1854, at Bessemer, Ala. He was baptized into the Canaan Baptist Church about the year 1872 by Rev. William Ware. Brother Posey deserves honorable mention for his faithful services as an educator. He graduated from the normal course in Selma University in the spring of 1884, and has proven himself to be
not only a power in the affairs of secular education, but a very efficient, faithful worker in the church and Bible school.
PRENTICE, REV. D. L., of Selma, Ala., son of James and Caroline Prentice, was born in Shelby county, Ala., December 25, 1852. The home of his youthful days, like that of the writer, must have been in a wild country infested by wolves; for he, in speaking of how he had to go after wood and water into the thick swamps before the break of day, says: "On one morning as I found myself surrounded by wolves, I cried to God for help and was delivered. In my prayer for deliverance I made a vow of consecration, which was the beginning of a new life." In 1875 he was baptized by Rev. Berry Ware. About the year 1865-66 he began studying Webster's speller, and sought information, he says, of every person that he thought had any information to give. He learned to read and write and began figuring under the instruction of a Mr. J. W. Strong, a man, so it is said, who used to be mayor of Selma, Ala. The writer first met the subject of this sketch while he was student in the Talladega College, and since his graduation from the Selma University, his course and success as pastor, teacher missionary and lecturer, has been watched with pleasing interest. He was ordained to the ministry May, 1882, by Revs. Joe Smith and Henry Scott. He is a genuine friend of religion and education, and being young and strong he has large opening for future usefulness and fame.
PRINCE, REV. J. T., of Gallion, Ala., son of John and Mary A. Prince, was born March, 1853, in Marengo county, Ala. He was baptized into the fellowship of the Bethlehem Church by Rev. D. R. Willis the third Sunday in April, 1871. In 1884 in the St. Philip's Church, Selma, he was set apart to the work of the gospel ministry by Revs. E. M. Brawley, H. N. Bouey, C. R. Rodgers, L. P. Foster and the writer. He attended Selma
University under the different presidents--H. Woodsmall, W. H. McAlpine, and E. M. Brawley. He began his education by studying under a white man, whom he paid $1.00 a week. Attended a public school after he was 23 years of age. He taught in the State school. Is now district missionary. He is an industrious man and owns good property.
PULLUM, REV. H. P., of Anniston, son of Lawrence and Caroline Pullum, was born in Pickensville, Ala., March 23, 1862; baptized at Carrolton August, 1882, and entered immediately upon the work of the ministry, but was not ordained until March, 1889. At the request of the First Colored Baptist Church at Bessemer, which he had organized and built up, Mr. Pullum received the hands of ordination from Revs. P. Murrell, W. A. Shirley, S. Page, A. J. Austin, D. M. Sewell, and J. C. Crawford. He has a large following wherever he goes.
PURCE, REV. C. L., ex-president of Selma University, is noticed in this work only so far as other authors have not been able to see him in his peculiar relations to the work in Alabama.
It was in 1886, I think, in the most trying period of our history, that Dr. Purce was unexpectedly called (upon the resignation of Dr. E. M. Brawley) to assume the presidential office in the Selma University. The school was burdened with $7,000 of debt, its credit was about gone, its debtors were impatient, its supporters divided, and denominational strife was at white heat. The former president was not only a peculiarly brilliant and cultured man, but had enjoyed special advantages looking toward fitness for the presidential chair. Many feared for Mr. Purce.
However, it was thought by some that caution and economy were the special characteristics called for by existing
conditions. We needed a man who could shun the strife of factions, keep cool under severe pressure, and cause the school's expenses to drop below its income. Some who had watched Mr. Purce, were willing to trust him with the difficult duties of this trying hour, and the writer records with much pleasure, that he kept clear of the quarrels, and meanwhile did much to remove the debt by putting the school on plain and well regulated fare.
Dr. Purce has done the Baptists of Alabama very praiseworthy service, not only as an educator, but as an example in the matter of school management; and those who follow him will profit by heeding his caution and economy. And, to his honor it may be said, we have had no president who has been more generally loved by the school.
PYLES, REV. CARTER, of Oxford, Ala., born in Talladega county, Alabama, December 15, 1845, of Christian parents. He was baptized in 1865 by Rev. Mr. Jenkins, a white minister, who devoted much of his time to evangelical work among the colored people. In 1876 he was officially set apart to the work of the gospel ministry by the Rev. Mr. Jenkins, William Taylor and B. Snow. Mr. Pyles is among the leading men of the Snow Creek Association. His pastorates at Jacksonville, Choccolocco and other points prove him to be a leader of ability. He is now undertaking a new work at Oxanna, Ala.
RIVERS, REV. E. C., of Talladega, Ala., was born January 5, 1847. He is the eldest son of Mr. Edward and Mrs. H. J. Rivers, two very worthy old citizens of Talladega. In his twenty-fourth year he was married to Miss Jane Moore, of Talladega, by whom he has a large family of children.
He has a fair English education, having attended the Talladega College for parts of five sessions. In 1867 he united
with the Mt. Canaan Baptist Church, Talladega, and was baptized by the late Rev. Phil. Davis.
He was called to ordination by the Salem Baptist Church in 1884, Revs. J. P. Barton and Moses Colly officiating in the rites. He is an industrious, prudent man, and has accumulated property worth $3,000 or $4,000. At this time he is the moderator of the Rushing Springs Association, over which he has presided with dignity for several years. He is a model citizen and substantial man, sociable and aspiring.
RIVERS, REV. S. A., of Talladega, the son of Mr. Edward and Mrs. H. J. Rivers, was born in Talladega, November 10, 1854. In a series of meetings, held by the writer in Mt. Canaan Church, he was led to exercise faith in the religion of Jesus Christ in 1876. In the same year he was united with the church by baptism.
He immediately began laboring as a leader in Sunday School work, in which he at once proved himself to be a very capable person. He was soon appointed Sunday School Missionary for the Rushing Springs Association, in which position he was remarkably successful. In 1877 he married Miss Elizabeth Walker, by whom he has three promising daughters. He is a graduate from the theological department of the Talladega College. He is an industrious business man, a Christian gentleman, a clear thinker, a ready speaker, a social genius. No man among us of his age has brighter prospects than he, none more admired and loved. The manner in which he has succeeded, under trying circumstances in the Mt. Canaan Church, is simply amazing. Toward God he is faithful, toward man he is kind, gentle and full of service. He was ordained in 1889 to take charge of the Mt. Canaan Church.
RIVERS, REV. ALEXANDER A., of Midway, Ala., the son
Rev. H. Woodsmall, of Franklin, Ind., First President Selma University.
of John and Violet Rivers, was born near Glennville, Ala., in the year 1851.
In his twentieth year he was baptized into the Spring Hill Zion Church by the Rev. A. Gachet, under whose preaching he had been led into repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
It was not long before he felt that he was called of God to the work of the ministry. At the call of the Enon Church he was set apart to the sacred office by the Revs. A. Gachet, P. Johnson and F. Randall. Brother Rivers is one of the strong preachers and successful pastors of the Eufaula Association He has had very limited educational advantages, but he is a constant reader of books and a close observer, and hence he has made considerable educational attainments. He is quiet, unassuming, even and hospitable. The writer enjoyed a very pleasant stay with Brother and Sister Rivers at their home in Midway. He once held a very fine pastorate in Texas, which he had to give up because of the poor health of Mrs. Rivers and return to his old home in Alabama.
ROACH, REV. PERKINS, of Stevenson, father of Mrs. M. A. Boothe and of Rev. Thomas Jefferson Roach, was born in Tennessee. He, with Rev. Thomas Roach (who was the first ordained colored minister in Jackson county), and Rev. Robert Caver, organized the work in northeast Alabama. He was noted for his magnanimity and joyfulness of heart. It is said that his life was as one continuous song of gladness. When a child he was a house boy, which position brought him into continual contact with persons who knew books. He so far utilized this advantage as to learn to read, but his knowledge of writing was delayed till since the close of the war his daughter (now Mrs. Boothe) had sufficiently advanced in her studies to instruct him. This story is told of him: During
the war his mistress, the widow of Rev. Charles Roach, Sr., fearing the Federal soldiers, left home and fled across the Tennessee river into Sand Mountain. The slave remained at home to care for things about the place. With the view of preventing want to the widow and those who were with her, he, regardless of the dangers of his undertaking, and while the shades of night hid his operations, would bear across the river and up the Mountain such things as he thought they might need.
He has been dead some eighteen years. His widow, Mrs. Charlotte Roach, has done nobly in rearing and educating the children.
ROACH, REV. LEWIS, of Fackler, deserves mention as a hard working, poorly paid gospel preacher. Many years he led the Mud Creek Association as moderator. He, Rev. James Larkin, Rev. Lewis Henshaw, and others, are trying to build an academy at Hollywood, Ala. They deserve success.
ROACH, REV. T. J., of Hollywood, is an industrious and honorable man. He has served the Mud Creek Association as missionary, has been pastor at Bridgeport, and now preaches at Paint Rock.
ROBINSON, REV. ISHAM, of Eureka, Talladega county, was born in Greenville, S. C., October 10, 1814. While he was the property (?) of Mr. John Truss (in 1833) he took to wife Miss Aggie Truss, by whom there has been born unto him a large family of sons and daughters, who are now grown and are honorable members of society. Brother Robinson was baptized by a Rev. Mr. Joseph Byers in 1840. He said to the writer: "I was licensed in 1850, but could not preach except when I could secure the presence of two slaveholders. I was licensed by the Mount Joy Church, the first church organized
in our section of the State. I was ordained in 1865, by a council over which Rev. A. J. Waldrop presided. I was so hindered in my ministry in slavery time that Brother Henry Wood and I covenanted together to take our case to God and beg for liberty. We agreed that we would go at sunrise at least once each week and pray to God for freedom. It was eighteen years before the victory came, and often appearances caused our faith to waver." Mr. Robinson is now quite old, but is still in fair health. His sons are leaders in the Baptist church and helpers in every good cause.
RODGERS, REV. C. R., missionary for the western district of Alabama under the American Baptist Publication Society, was born at Hamburg, Perry county, Ala., August 4, 1859.
In early life he had opportunity to attend the country school of his neighborhood, beginning under the instruction of Rev. G. J. Brooks, now of Selma.
Living on the farm, his early activities were in line with his calling. He was a farmer boy, and hence he drew his bread and bed from the handles of the plow and the hoe.
In November, 1878, he entered Selma University, graduating from the normal course in 1884, with Messrs. R. T. Pollard, L. J. Green, R. B. Hudson, D. T. Gulley, -- Hines, Miss S. A. Stone and Miss Eliza Washington (now Mrs. R. T. Pollard). The next year he began the college course and completed with Messrs. Pollard and Hines the sophomore year.
Mr. Rodgers was converted in his fifteenth year, and was baptized by Rev. R. Windham September, 1874.
On June 11, 1884, he was set apart to the full work of the gospel ministry in the St. Philip Street Church, Selma, by Drs. E. M. Brawley, C. L. Puree and C. O. Boothe, aided by Revs. H. N. Bouey and G. J. Brooks. From the time of his ordination till December, 1890, he served the pastorate of the
First Colored Baptist Church, Tuskegee, but since this last date he has been successfully operating in his present position.
In January, 1889, he was wedded to Miss Lily B. Foreman, of Opelika. Bro. R. is a man of excellent spirit, quiet, unassuming, and makes changes in men more on the order of the sunshine than in the manner of the storm spoken of in the fable of the contest between sun and wind. Perhaps no man among us has so few enemies as he has.
From 1889 to 1892, he has presided over the Auburn Association. He is an easy, pleasant speaker, and a choice man.
ROSS, REV. S. L.--It was March 9, 1861, when the subject of this sketch was born of slave parents--Luckie and Emily Ross--near Rehoboth, Wilcox county, Ala.
He had the advantage of a pious, Christian mother, and was hopefully converted at the age of 12 years, and united with the Pine Grove Baptist Church by baptism, Rev. Wallace Richardson, pastor, officiating.
He was taught his "A B C's " by his mother and grandfather. As soon as free schools opened he was placed in school, which were simply poor, for schools in those days were kept, not taught.
In December, 1879, he was sent to Selma for the purpose of attending school. He united with the St. Philip Street Baptist Church--Rev. W. A. Burch, pastor. For a number of years he was clerk of the church and superintendent of the Sunday School.
It was while he was superintendent of the Sunday School that Mr. Ross felt called to the gospel ministry, in order to a better preparation for which he entered (1883) the Alabama Baptist Normal and Theological School (now Selma University), where he spent a number of years.
Having received a call to the pastorate of the Hamburg Baptist Church, near Marion, Mr. Ross was accordingly ordained March 31, 1889. Ordaining council: Revs. Charles L. Purce, president Selma University; R. T. Pollard, Sunday School Missionary; William Madison, J. H. Hunter and L. J. Green. Dr. C. O. Boothe and Rev. Charles L. Fisher were, also present and participated.
Rev. Ross was married to Miss Emily C. Boyd, of Selma, August 7, 1889. October 1, of the same year he resigned the Hamburg Church, the Forkland School, which he had taught for a number of years, to accept the principalship of the Eutaw public schools, Eutaw; Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Boligee, and Liberty Baptist Church, Blocton.
Owing to her thorough training and long experience as instructress in the city schools of Selma, Mrs. Ross has contributed much to the success of her husband.
Against the wishes of friends, patrons and churches he resigned his school of 3,50 pupils and the two churches named, to accept the position as treasurer and instructor in the State Colored Normal School, Normal, Ala.
July 1, 1893, he severed his connection with that school and became pastor of the Steele Street Baptist Church, Huntsville.
October 1 of the same year he resigned the pastorate of the Steele Street Church to take charge of the Sunday School Missionary work in the State under the American Baptist Publication Society, Philadelphia, Pa., which position he now holds.
SAVAGE, REV. DANIEL, of Mumford, pastor of several large churches, deserves to be mentioned among the praiseworthy, busy men of the Rushing Springs Association. He is held in high esteem for his self-reliance, stainless reputation,
agreeable manners, public spirit and earnest Christian labors. He preaches for Shady Grove Church, Jenifer, and Sycamore Church, Talladega. The writer has seen him during the past fifteen years--in many meetings where there were hot words and hotter feelings and yet with him there was the same quiet spirit, the same smiling face. "He that ruleth his own spirit is better than he that taketh a city."
SAMPSON, MR. JAMES WILLIAM, son of Rev. Green Sampson, of Wetumpka, is a young man of high rank in the order of the Knights of Pythias, but is no less a solid efficient member of the Shiloh Baptist Church, of Birmingham. He deserves consideration as a man of discernment and enterprise concerning racial questions and denominational interests.
SCOTT, REV. JOHN, late of Demopolis, led to the erection of the edifice in which the First Colored Baptist Church of Demopolis now worships. After the Rev. James Caldwell, Rev. Scott was the chief leader of the people in his section. He died five or six years ago at about 50 years of age, and his pastorate is now filled by the Rev. Mr. Wallace.
SCOTT, REV. ANDERSON, is at this writing pastor of the Tabernacle Church, in Birmingham, but began his ministry at Selma, where he appears among the organizers of the work. He has undergone a good many changes, but because of the presence of a very large amount of vitality and will force he is still pushing on among his brethren. His life may give this useful lesson, namely, "keep the face to the lion, never give the back to the foe"--forgetting the things that lie behind us, vigorously reach for the good that lies before us. Brother Scott is one of the pioneers and his name lies in the foundations.
SCOTT, REV. HENRY, of Blocton, is of Maryland parentage. He is a man of piety, of integrity and industry. He has
labored as a missionary of the Shelby Springs Association, and has rendered valuable services in support of Selma University. He is an uncompromising foe of low morals. Recently his health has been poor, and hence his work has been hindered.
When Selma University existed only in purpose he very substantially aided the purpose toward materialization. He and Rev. D. L. Prentice collected over a hundred dollars from one church and sent it up to the writer in Talladega in 1876.
SHIRLEY, REV. W. A., was born in Tuscaloosa, Ala., June 12, 1857. He began the work of mastering letters in his native city at the age of seven years, by attending the public schools provided for by the State. Later he attended three sessions (of nine months) of the city school in Columbus, Miss. For seven years he worked in a whiskey saloon, where, he says, that while at work behind the bar, he was converted to the faith of the Christian religion. Joined the church in 1878 in Mississippi, under the pastorate of Rev. T. L. Jordan. Studied theology in the Presbyterian school at Tuscaloosa. Was ordained in the African Baptist Church of Tuscaloosa under the pastorate of the Rev. J. X. Mason. His pastorates have been at Hull's and Birmingham, Ala.
For ten years he served the Antioch, Bethlehem Association, as clerk. He has built three church edifices.
Mr. Shirley is possessed of that easy, joyous, friendly turn in manners and address, which make him agreeable to all classes of reasonable people. He is studious and observing, which fact, coupled with his native talent, offers him an ever broadening field of operation as the years shall come and go. "Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation."
SIMMONS, REV. J. S., at present pastor of the Gadsden Church, son of James and Annie Simmons, was born in Alabama
August 16, 1859. He was baptized by the Rev. Henry Stevens into the Greensboro Church May 27, 1878. Mr. Simmons is a man of talent, and is a graduate of the Lincoln University, once located at Marion. He was set apart to the work of the gospel ministry by the Sixteenth Street Church, Birmingham, in April, 1889, Revs. W. R. Pettiford, D. D., A. C. Jackson, and R. Donald, officiating as presbytery. Since his ordination he has served the Galilee Church at Anniston, and now serves the church at Gadsden, where his labors have been especially successful. Everywhere he has borne the reputation of an honorable and pious man. He has been fortunate in finding and winning a helpmeet for him in his spiritual and intellectual labors in the person of a very excellent lady.
SIMPSON, REV. I. T., of Selma, Ala., was born in this State August 1, 1858. He was baptized into the Belleville Church December, 1876, and in 1883, he was ordained to the work of the gospel ministry by Revs. D. Shepherd and C. Travis. He attended the State University at Montgomery and is now soon to close a course in Selma University. Brother Simpson is a man of fine sense, is a good speaker, and with heed on his own part, sympathy on the part of his people, and blessing from above, his opportunities for increasing usefulness and honor are very encouraging. Already he has attained a reputation as a pastor and builder as well as orator.
P. S. Since the above was written, Brother Simpson has completed his course at the University, and is now pastor at Opelika, where he is already the peerless preacher and successful leader.
The writer has the good fortune to know something about the good order of his home, and of the hospitality of his refined and agreeable wife. He is peculiarly himself and
Rev. J. E. A. Wilson, Pastor Rising Star Baptist Church, Pratt City, Ala.
not another--clear headed, comprehensive, reasonable, self-reliant, genial, in his home as well as in the public harness. Doubtless the historian who comes after, will tell of the fruits which shall hang upon the ripened years of this strong man. May God help him to remember that Sampson's strength was the source of his ruin. "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."
SMITH, REV. G. S., is pastor of the Red Mountain Church Bessemer.
STEINBACK, REV. L. S., ex-pastor African Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa, was born in Marengo county, Ala., March 12,1852. He was set free at 12 years of age.
He says: "One year, all the wages I received above my scanty meals and rough clothes, was one dozen apples. Often I was glad to obtain a good meal of parched corn. At 19 I worked in Uniontown for 50 cents a day."
It was at this time that he learned his alphabet, studying at night school. He says that as he went to his meals and to his work, his spelling book was ever with him. He attended school after he had married--using such time as he could spare after crops were "laid by."
He was ordained to the ministry in October, 1883, Revs. John Scott, F. Gilbert and A. Wright officiating as presbytery. By industry and perseverance, he has been able to teach in the free public schools of the State, has been missionary in his association, and is now pastor of one of our largest churches. He lives, he says, on his own plantation, for which he has paid three thousand dollars.
This is an example which is well calculated to encourage poor, struggling young men to overcome difficulties and rise anyhow--rise in spite of difficulties. Brother Steinback has served the pastorate of the Tuscaloosa Church and also edits a newspaper, The Christian Hope.
STEVENS, REV. HENRY, of Uniontown, son of Harry and Agnes Stevens, was born near Port Royal, Va., May 5, 1820. At the age of 21 he was baptized into Flat Run Church, Orange county, Va., by the Rev. B. Hodge. He came to Alabama in 1843, at which time he began to speak concerning the grace of God in the redemption of sinners. In 1845 he began for the first time to read the sacred Scriptures, and in the same year he married Miss Clarissa Clay, by whom ten children were born to him.
Mr. Stevens was one of nature's noblemen. He was an honest, outspoken man, an orderly citizen, and a very forcible preacher of the plain old gospel.
In 1868 he was fully set apart to the work of the gospel ministry by his white brethren, Revs. T. M. Bailey and Drs. McIntosh and Curry.
His every word was believed by all who knew him, and his perfect honesty no man doubted. For nine consecutive years he was moderator of the Uniontown Association. He was one of the founders of the State Convention, and also of the Selma University. In 1890 he exchanged the cross for the crown, dying as he had lived, loved and respected by all. He left his family in possession of good property, worth about $5,000, and, above all, a name that has no blemish. Often our school sought refuge from want in the purse of Elder Stevens. He was two years older than his brother Washington, who died before him in Montgomery.
STOKES, REV. A. J., pastor of Columbus Street Church, Montgomery, was born in Orangeburg county, S.C., July 25, 1858. He was led to exercise faith in Christ at the age of twelve and a half years. He entered the work of the ministry in the Methodist church, but soon became convinced of the correctness of Baptist views, and, joining the Baptist people, he was baptized by Rev. Edward Green, of Branchwell, S.C.,
May, 1871. After studying two terms in Crafting University and two terms in the State University, he entered Benedict College, from which he graduated in 1884. In 1874 he was solemnly set apart to the work of the gospel ministry by Revs. E. Green, Jacob Govan, Henry Harvey, and Harry Reeves. Brother Stokes has been missionary, editor and school commissioner, and is one of the most successful preachers and pastors in all the land. During the two months in which he has been preaching in Montgomery he has added, by baptism, about 500 members. The writer tried to learn something of his methods, by visiting his meetings and young people's classes, and the following points seem worthy of mention; his preaching is characterized:
1. By the idea of salvation by grace through simple faith.
2. By narrative and portraiture and illustration. There is no cold obtruse reasoning nor loud emptiness in his speeches.
3. By pointedness and sympathy. Each man seems to feel that the pastor is talking to him and that the heart that speaks has a care and tenderness for all.
Then he is sociable, approachable to all, from the lowest to the highest, old folks and children, rich and poor, great and small, wise and otherwise--all seem to find in him a ready echo in view of his power and of his youth, prayer spontaneously rises to God that he may be kept in watching, in humility, in faith and in faithful service.
It is worthy of remark that during his short time with Columbus Street Church, he has bought a neat and valuable parsonage for the church from means raised above the necessary expenses.
TAYLOR, REV. WILLIAM, Choccolocco was born in April, 1836, in the State of Georgia. He was the property (?) of a
Rev. W. A. Shirley, Pastor Sardis Baptist Church, Enon Ridge.Mr. B. Jenks, whose daughter married a Mr. Taylor. He says, "When in my ninth year my mother bade me farewell with this charge: 'Don't kill, don't steal, don't keep bad company, don't be impolite to old people, don't be disobedient to those who own you, and you will never be abused.' I have never seen her face since, but her words have ever been with me to confirm me in the right way." Brother Taylor has now been in the ministry about twenty-four years, having entered upon his public career 1868. He is one of the leading men of the Snow Creek Association, and has attained to a fair knowledge of letters, though he has had no educational advantages. Brother Taylor has been careful of the welfare of his family and interested in the affairs of the house of God. He lives on his own farm near Choccolocco, respected by his neighbors, both white and colored.
THORNTON, REV. ELBERT, of Union Springs, son of E. Thornton and Matilda Thornton, was born in the State of Georgia, December 8, 1838. In 1853 he was moved into Barbour county, Alabama, where he remained till he was emancipated in 1865. In June, 1861, he was baptized into the white Baptist Church at Midway, Ala., by the Rev. Mr. Brooks. In 1868 he was united with the church at Union Springs, and was one among the colored brethren who drew out from the white church to organize a colored Baptist Church in Union Springs--the first colored church in Bullock county. He was chosen one of the first deacons. It was not long ere his brethren urged him to enter the work of the ministry, which, under a deep sense of duty and after some hesitancy, he did. On the 5th day of June, 1874, at the call of his church, he was solemnly set apart to the sacred office of the gospel ministry by Revs. C. H. Thornton, B. Clark and others. When he took charge of the church it was in debt, but this debt was soon
removed and the membership was increased, during six years pastorate, from 48 to 188, and the pastor's salary was raised from $30 a year to $25 per month. From 1874 to 1881 he was moderator of Pine Grove Association, and since his return from his gospel labors in Arkansas he has been reelected. Brother Thornton is no less commanding in his personal appearance than he is in his strong, clear intellect. He is a strong leader.
THORNTON, REV. C. H., of Aberfoil, Bullock county, was born in North Carolina, in 1842. He was baptized in 1862 by a Rev. Mr. Brooks, of Midway. In 1869 he was ordained to the work of the gospel ministry by Revs. R. Wright and J. C. Jett. He organized and built up the Aberfoil Church. For several years he was moderator of the Pine Grove Association. Mr. Thornton is a strong, industrious, economical, persevering man. He has obtained property worth about $3,000. The people whom he serves at Aberfoil are honorable and aspiring, and hence each--pastor and people--finds in the other the elements of success.
It was within his comfortable home that the writer, weary from overwork and exposure in constant travel, found in February, 1890, a quiet retreat in which to finish "Plain Theology for Plain People."
TROUPE, REV. AARON, of Town Creek, Lawrence county, was born February 14, 1851, in Morgan county, Ala. Immediately after the close of the war his parents moved to Courtland, Ala., where Aaron was brought up. He was baptized in 1869 by Rev. John Bell, the pastor of Red Bank Church. Feeling that it was his duty to preach the gospel, and not willing to enter upon such a responsible mission without previous preparation, he, for about four sessions, attended the
Selma University, known at that time as the Normal and Theological School. On his return home he taught in the public schools. On May 16, 1886, he was ordained to the work of the ministry by Revs. G. Garth, M. J. Hooks, A. J. Owens and M. James. Brother Troupe has served in the church at Huntsville, and is now the successful pastor of Macedonia, near Town Creek. In 1882 he labored as district missionary under the Publication Society. He promises well. He and his brother, Deacon Troupe, are in the bone and sinew of the north Alabama work, and in them every good thing finds a ready echo and a tangible response.
TYLER, REV. MANSFIELD, of Lowndesboro, was born about twelve miles from Augusta, Ga., in the month of November, 1826. When very young he was moved into the city of Augusta and lived in the family of his great aunt, the wife of Rev. Jacob Walker. He was early brought under the influences of the Springfield Baptist Church of that city--a church of colored people, which as early as 1845 was reported as numbering 1,100, members, and it was added: "This large community, with the pastor and a large corps of exhorters, are all of the colored race." Rev. M. Tyler remained in this Christian family and attended the services of the above named church till he was 18 years of age. He says: "I was with them when the stars fell."
At this time, as he was a slave, he was removed by his master to the State of Alabama, where he has remained until this writing. In April, 1855, he made a public profession of faith in Christ and united with the people of God by baptism. Shortly after this he felt impressed with a call to enter the work of the gospel ministry. This call he tried to obey as far as his condition and fitness would allow. "The work," he says, "was exceeding difficult, as we were not allowed to know
books and might receive only oral instruction on religious subjects." When a very young man he married his first wife, with whom he lived for twenty-six years--till her death.
At the close of the war he located at Lowndesboro, where he went immediately to work to organize a colored Baptist church. Success attended his ministry and many were brought to faith in Christ. In 1867 he succeeded in organizing the colored Baptist church in Lowndesboro. On June 27, 1868, he was ordained to the work of the gospel ministry, since which time he has baptized 1,000 persons into the Lowndesboro church and 500 at White Hall.
When the Alabama District Association was organized in 1871, he was elected moderator, and is moderator at this time. He was a leader in the organization of the Baptist State Convention over which he presided from 1876 to 1886. He is one of the originators, stockholders, and trustees of the Selma University, and is now, and from the beginning of the University, has been the chairman of the board of trustees. He is a man dearly beloved.
In recognition of his Christian manliness, his faithful labors, and his knowledge of the word of God, the above named university in 1890 conferred upon him the honorary title D.D.
He is studious, industrious, devout, urbane; and though he is about 68 years of age, he is still so full of sunshine as to be acceptable to youth as he is to old age. His present wife heartily joins him in every good word and work.
He has succeeded in accumulating considerable property, and is greatly to be praised for the care he has bestowed upon the culture of his sons. He has been among the chief financial supports of all the worthy measures of the denomination. He is very sociable, and possesses rare powers as a preacher. No man in Alabama has so much power over the Alabama
Baptists as Dr. Tyler; his works as well its words make him the beloved.
WALKER, REV. WILLIAM, of Avondale, was born November 30, 1848, near Jacksonville, Ala. In August of 1866 he was baptized into Bethel Baptist Church, Alexandria, by Rev. George W. Brewton. Mr. Walker's ordination took place in August, 1876, Revs. G. W. Brewton, S. L. McLean and James Miller officiating as presbytery. It was late in life ere he came upon opportunities for book learning, but finally some good white friends, seeing his desire to learn, assisted him in making a beginning upon which he has made a fair improvement. His preaching is characterized by self-abnegation, application to the subject, and earnestness of style. Indeed in several regards he is really a strong preacher. He is no less forcible in the pulpit than he is agreeable in the parlor. He has served the pastorates at Gadsden and Anniston, and now presides over the church at Ashville. The following will give some evidence of his standing among all classes: While the Wills Creek Association was in session a few weeks ago in Ashville the white Baptists allowed him the use of the house of worship for the session, and the Rev. Mr. Montgomery (white), of this town, informs me that the white people aid in his support, some of them constantly attending upon his services.
WALKER, REV. T. W., of Birmingham, the son of Rev. Emanuel and Charlotte Walker, the property (?) of Benjamin Walker, of Coosa county, Alabama, was born in Coosa county, Alabama, September 5, 1852.
He joined the old Elam Baptist Church, Montgomery county, Alabama, in May, 1879, and was baptized by Rev. Jerry Cole in the same month. On February 26, 1884, he was ordained to the gospel ministry at the call of the Sixth Avenue
Rev. L. S. Steinback, Pastor Second Baptist Church, Demopolis, Ala.
Church, in the city of Birmingham, by Revs. W. R. Pettiford and J. R. Capers. His success has been marvelous.
The writer first met the subject of this sketch in Montgomery county in the year 1879, when, though he was not a Christian, he was acting as Sunday School superintendent. He says that on this occasion the question, "How can you lead others in the road to heaven when you, yourself, are not walking therein?" destroyed all his security and false ease, and was the beginning of a change in his life.
I doubt if any man among us has had more power over the masses than he. While he was building the Sixth Avenue Church there was a constant demand for more room for his audiences. And since he has been serving at the Shiloh Church, the writer has seen not only the building filled to its utmost capacity, but hundreds of eager listeners standing without at the door.
Those who know him best feel that his power over the masses is largely owing to his common sense, goodness of heart, and his simple, steady faith in God, his cool self-reliance and his hard work for and among the masses of the people.
Future historians will no doubt find reasons for recording his name high on the best pages of their books.*
He relates the following incidents of his early childhood "When I was five years of age, I, for the first time, enjoyed a ride to town. When I got off the wagon Mr. Harrison rolled up my shirt sleeves and the legs of my pants and placed me on a block on the street in the middle of a great crowd of people. I enjoyed it, as I seemed to be the person especially noticed by all. I saw my mother and father weeping, but I could see no reason for it. When I came down from the block, I, with two sisters and a brother, went home with a Mr.
House, where the crack of the whip, the yelp of the hound and the howl of the wolf were the most frequent sounds that fell upon my ear. The fact and horrors of slavery were first branded into my heart by the tying and whipping of my father before my eyes. When I asked father what it meant, he replied: 'The lash which I fear will soon fall upon yourself, my son, will too early explain what is meant.'"
A white man to whom he hired himself taught him at night his alphabet, and started him to spelling and reading during his eighteenth year, and now he reads, writes, and manages his own figures in business. He is a grand man.
He has organized a building and loan association with about 2,000 members.
WARE, REV. WILLIAM, of East Lake, Jefferson county, Ala., was born in said county October 5, 1837. He was converted to Christianity in his thirteenth year, and was baptized into Union Church, near Birmingham--that is, where the city now is--by the Rev. Willis Burns (white). He was ordained to the work of the gospel ministry November, 1868, by Revs. Edmond Burris and Allen McAlpine.
The Rev. A. J. Waldrop (white) says of Bro. Ware: "We never had in Jefferson county a man of more stainless character. He is not an educated man, but he is earnest, honorable and upright."
The writer has found Bro. Ware to be one of the meekest and gentlest of men. He, with Rev. Henry Wood, organized the Mt. Zion Church in 1878, and he was the first moderator of the Mt. Pilgrim Association. He has held various pastorates, and has held them always with credit to himself and profit to the cause.
He lives on his own pleasant home and quiet farm a few miles northwest of East Lake. He is still an active worker,
and enjoys the love and confidence of the people among whom his light so long has shone to the glory of God.
WARE, REV. BERRY, was one of the pioneers of the work in Shelby, Jefferson and Talladega counties. Few men in those early days had more power over the masses than he. He died some sixteen or seventeen years ago, and I have nothing of his history or nativity. He baptized the Rev. D. L. Prentice, and started the church at Aldrich.
WEBB, REV. GEORGE W., of Eufala, Ala., was born in Russell county, Ala., in 1844. Fortunately for him, Capt. W. H. Redd carried him, while he was still quite young, to Columbus Ga., where his perceptive mind was permitted to imbibe such ideas of refinement as did not exist on the plantation. Here, under the advice of his parents, he entered upon a sort of irregular course of study, which led to some success in book knowledge. As Gen. Wilson's army was passing through Georgia, he enlisted as a soldier, remaining in service till he was mustered out in 1866.
He was baptized into the fellowship of the white Baptist church at Abbeville, Ala., by the Rev. L. R. Sims. In 1868 he married Miss Eliza Collins, and in 1869 was among those who led in the organization of a colored Baptist church at Abbeville. In 1870 he assisted in organizing the "East Alabama and West Florida Association." In 1878 he moved to Eufaula. He was ordained to the gospel ministry about 1874-75. Mr. Webb is a very energetic man and a successful builder of churches. He took a leading part in the organization of the Eufaula District Sunday School Convention, and much of its success is due to his missionary labors. He is a friend of education and missions, and believes in progress on all lines.
WHATLEY, REV. W. H., of White Plains, is of Georgia nativity, but came to Alabama while young. Without doubt
Mr. Whatley is the most influential man in Calhoun county, and yet no man in the county is more modest, deferential and unassuming. He is a man of power, and yet he does not seem to know anything about it. For years he has been the moderator of the Snow Creek Association, and except something unusual shall occur he will continue to preside for years to come.
I know of no moderator who has better government in his association than Mr. Whatley, and yet there seems to be no effort to command. He exercises an oversight over every branch of his associational work, appearing in all the general meetings whether the interest at stake pertains to local church work, to missions, to education, or to Sunday School. He is an ex-student of the Georgia school, and attended while it was located at Augusta. And it is a, fact, much to the credit of his white brethren, that they made it possible for him to attend school. He lives on his own valuable farm amid his children, who are now maturing, his son Charles being now a young man.
WHITE, REV. E. C., of Tuscumbia, was born about the year 1842 in Chester county, S. C. In 1859 his master brought him to Alabama, where he has since resided. He was converted the fourth Lord's day in October, 1869, and in the same month was baptized into the Russellville church by the late Rev. P. Jones.
Brother White says: "In April, 1868, my wife was baptized by the Rev. W. E. Northcross, and her devoted life constrained me to desire peace with God. My wife overthrew all my old ways and lovingly compelled me into the ways of the Lord." At once he became zealous for the cause of Christ, and soon began to speak as opportunity offered itself, first at Russellville and then at Tuscumbia. At the request of a church which he had built up near Tuscumbia, Rev. W. E. Northcross called a council, and on October 8, 1873, solemnly
set him apart to the office of the ministry. He has attained to some knowledge of books, of which he is still an industrious student. Before his whole time was employed in the ministry he taught in the public schools.
The good people of Russellville and Florence have long held to him as pastor.
Brother White owes much to his excellent, Christian wife, who has been a helpmeet for him since 1865. He is a hospitable brother and faithful Christian minister.
WHITE, REV. J. W., the son of Claburne and Elizabeth Hatcher, was born in Dallas county, Ala., in October, 1839, eleven miles south of Selma, on the Alabama River. He takes his name from the Mr. White who owned his mother. He was baptized into the St. Phillip Street Baptist Church, Selma, by Rev. John Blevins, in September, 1868. He was ordained to the work of the ministry by the above named church, in August, 1875, Revs. J. Dosier, J. Carter, Henry Stevens, and John Blevins, officiating presbytery. Bro. White was at one time moderator of the Uniontown Association; was for some months missionary under the American Baptist Publication Society; was pastor, at different times, of the Mt. Zion, the Summerfield, the St. Paul, and the Providence Churches, near Selma; was pastor at Camden, Ala., and recently retired from the pastorate of the Sixth Avenue Church, Birmingham. He has from the first been officially connected with the Selma University, in which he studied for about three sessions, being the first ministerial student who was enrolled. He is an earnest preacher and a studious man, so that it may be said of him that he is an elevator of the people on all lines. He relates the following story: " During the war, and at a time when things looked rather dark for the South, my stepfather and I were attending a Presbyterian meeting, when he was
called on to pray God to 'drive back our enemies.' Father prayed: 'O Lord, drive back our enemies.'When we were at home alone I told him that I found fault with his prayer, for it was really against the interest of his people. The old man answered: 'The our meant the colored people, and the word enemies referred to our oppressive chains.'"
At this time, extending from a time long before, there was an organized prayer circle in Selma, which met on every Friday night beneath a great oak tree in the woods, to pray to God to bring liberty to the slave. Brethren Alex Goldsby and Charles White were among the leaders of this meeting. Doubtless Bro. J. W. White, knew of this meeting and of its purpose, and hence was hardly prepared to bear a prayer so seemingly contrary to the wishes and needs of his people.
WHILHITE, REV. J. Q. A., of Selma, was born August 13, 1854, in Louisville, Ky. He was baptized in 1866, and in 1878 was ordained to the office of the gospel ministry in his native city. The presbytery of the occasion was Revs. C. C. Stamm, D. A. Gaddie, W. W. Taylor and others. Shortly after this he entered the gospel work in Alabama, beginning as pastor of the Second Baptist Church, Eufaula, He came to supersede the Rev. Mr. Bassett, who for some reason had returned to Indiana. Under his administration the Eufaula Church rose into success and beauty unequaled by anything that had passed before. Beginning with 1886 he was for several consecutive years financial agent for Selma University. Resigning this work he was for sometime pastor of the church at Uniontown, where he was attended by his usual prosperity, both in gathering the people and in raising finances. This position he resigned in order to assume once more the office of financier for the University. At the present writing he is treasurer of the University.
Mr. Wilhite's success is largely owing to the following: Self-reliance, industry, tact, perseverance, adaptability of himself and methods to the condition of the people.
He is an ex-student of the Roger Williams University, Nashville.
In 1872 he wedded Miss Kate Talbert, who has presented him with a large family of promising young folks, to whose education he is giving special attention. He is to be commended for that economy, as well as industry, which has enabled him to possess a comfortable home for himself and loved ones. He has not been forgetful of the welfare of them over whom God has made him guardian. Like very few preachers, he is a good business man as well as a good preacher.
P. S.--He has recently built a brick edifice at Uniontown. He is now a successful pastor in Birmingham.
WlLSON, REV., J. E. A., pastor of the First Colored Baptist Church, Pratt City, comes to our denomination from the Methodist Church. He was born January 1, 1861, in Fayette county, Alabama, and was led to submit to Christ as his Savior, September, 1882. He was regularly inducted into the Baptist ministry, September 27, 1887, by the laying on of the hands of a council consisting of Revs. A. C. Jackson, V. Huntington and others. He has served acceptably at Patton, Corona and Jasper. He is unpretending, quiet, brotherly and has a good report from all circles. His school advantages have been rather meagre, but with his youthful vigor and self-control, coupled with the abundant facilities for an increase of knowledge common to these times, he may yet be a man of learning and a leader in letters. Of course no man can hope to attain to knowledge beyond his ability to study forever and without any thought of tiring or despairing.
Notwithstanding he is a man of strong emotions, he has rare executive ability and is hard to equal as a leader.
WOOD, REV. HENRY, of Talladega, was born August 15, 1825, in Greenville, S. C. His father was a lawyer in South Carolina. He came to Alabama with his mother when eleven months old, and was settled in Jefferson county, near Elyton.
He was baptized into the white church by Rev. Joseph Bias, who, at the time, gave it as his opinion that "Henry" would be a preacher. Ordained to the work of the gospel ministry just after the war (1867), he was a timely instrument in the special mission of organization. Mr. Wood has been one of the pioneers of our work in Jefferson, Talladega, Calhoun and St. Clair counties. In speaking of his struggle after knowledge in slavery time, he says: "I had been reading for some time and had begun to learn to write fairly well, when the fact came to the notice of the white people. They tied me up and laid 600 lashes on my back; and, I tell you, I lost all my knowledge of writing after this." Referring to his missionary and pioneer work since freedom, he relates the following: "For the most part the white people have treated me well. Sometimes, however, I have been troubled with drunkards and 'negro whippers.' As I was riding on my missionary work in Blount county, I once met a man who gave me such a crack over my shoulders with his horse whip as almost broke the skin; but as I did not so much as look toward my abuser, he let me go with no further harm. I passed on, thanking God that it was no worse with me."
Brother Wood is a man of excellent spirit--is as jovial as he is earnest. His life has been temperate, and chaste, and he is approaching the death shadows and the tomb with triumph and in peace. He has occupied good pastorates and honorable places in the associations. His first wife (Miss Dicey Truss,
St. Louis Street Baptist Church, Mobile Ala., Rev. J. L. Frazier, Pastor.whom he married in 1844), has preceded him to the goodly land, and both their children have passed before him. He now lives in Talladega with his second wife (the widow of Mr. Thomas Barclay), in very easy circumstances, and still finds plenty of work to do in the cause of the Master. Few men are more widely known and more generally beloved than he. For wrath and malice he is entirely a child. Nothing could more surprise his brethren than to see him in a fit of ugly temper, or to hear from his lips expressions of ill will. Brother Wood speaks in praise of Revs. Messrs. McCain, Mynett and Law (white) as friends to their colored brethren in the time of the latter's weakness and inexperience in church work.
P. S.--Our dear Brother Wood has gone to his crown on the ever bright shore. Peace hover over thy dust, O thou man of God!
WOOD, REV. R. T., of Huffman, pastor of Pleasant Hill Church, and son of Mr. Henderson Wood, of the same place, is the eleventh child of a family of thirteen children. While he was still very small two older brothers were killed by the "K. K. K.," which clan terrorized the country after the close of the war. In consequence of which sad incident, it is thought, his father died of mental depression, leaving the subject of our sketch without a father's presence, guidance and support. Nothing daunted by this host of sorrows and misfortunes, Mr. Wood, industriously and with patient spirit, notwithstanding his delicate constitution, gave himself to such engagements as came to his hand, making horse collars and brooms as well as aiding his widowed mother in spinning, knitting and weaving. In his thirteenth year he was minded to seek for peace with God, and so at an early age, he began to attain to experiences of grace which have increased with the growth of years.
Evidently the family is possessed of sterling qualities, as may be seen in their aspiration and courage. The other members of the family whom I have met live an independent home life in the mountains near Huffman. Mr. Wood hopes he may find an opening through which to enter the mission field in Africa, and his name has been sent in to the mission authorities. If his life should be spared for a maturer development he will be a tower of strength in good things. He is a graduate from the Grammar Department of Selma University, in which institution he expects to take a higher course.
It is to be regretted, perhaps, that this volume has in it a feature which must be considered a supplement. But doubtless the author will be excused when he tells the reader that many have delayed till now--long after the completion of the book--to send in their names. New men, strong men, have lately come to us from other States--men whose names could not well go into the main body of the book, for the reason that this has been done for some time. Also, young men of our own State have risen in to such favorable notoriety as to merit honorable notice.
In the body of the book I have placed the names of persons in their alphabetical order. Not so here: I have entered the names as they came into my hands. The printer was hurrying me, and I could not stay for proprieties.
CLARK, MR. PETER F., son of P. F. and Daphney Clark, was born in Hale county, Ala., near Gallion, on the Taylor plantation. He first attended what in his neighborhood was known as the Vaughn Hill School, and afterward studied at a night school taught, he says, "by one who would have been my mistress had slavery continued." Bro. Clark has been remarkably successful in business, which is largely due to his industry, economy and courteous manners. He is vice-president of the Penny Savings Bank in Birmingham, as well as one of the directors. In speaking of the line of work out of which he derived his start in business affairs, he remarked to the
writer: "I remained with one firm twelve years." As we see his success in the light of this statement, we are reminded of the old saying, "The rolling stone gathers no moss." So many fail on all lines because they move about so much. Mr. Clark is sociable, hospitable, and courteous.
O'RILEY, REV. J. P., pastor at Compton and Trussville, gives the following sketch of himself: "I was born in Saint Croix, Danish West Indies, August 1, 1850. In 1870 I entered a Catholic school in Baltimore, with a view to preparing for the priesthood. In 1874 I joined the Protestant church, and in 1880 I was ordained to the ministry of the Baptist denomination. My pastorates in Alabama have been in connection with the St. Paul Church at Greenville, Coalburg Chapel, Mt. Nebo at Patton, Mt. Joy at Trussville, and Mt. Olive at Compton."
Bro. O'Riley is a vigorous worker, and is blessed with social qualities which make him an agreeable companion.
FRAZIER, REV. JEREMIAH LEMUEL, son of Richard and Phoebe Frazier, was born in Abbeville county, S. C., June 18, 1857. He says: "My parents were among the poorest of the slaves." In 1867 his parents moved to Florida, where, in 1874, their son was baptized into the Bethlehem Baptist Church, near Madison Comity Court House.
His Education.--He has had no public school advantages, but being possessed of a quiet, appreciative, observing, aspiring turn of mind, he availed himself of such educational facilities as came in his way. In the fall of 1874, he entered a night school and continued his studies during the long nights of the winter, paying the teacher one dollar per month. Being called off from this advantage by the demands of the farm, he sought knowledge in the Sunday School, and in the study of such books as he could command. He speaks with
pleasure of the fact that his mother prayed that he might learn to read the Bible, that he did learn to read it, and that he read it to her in her weary hours of sickness. The affectionate son is now the affectionate man.
His Work, etc.--On informing his pastor that he was called to preach, he was advised to take up a course of study, which he did, continuing it for about ten years, during which time, 1878, he was wedded to Miss Ida Paul, a young lady sufficiently skilled in letters to render him valuable service in his books. He was ordained in March, 1885, to take charge of the Zion Baptist Church, Enterprise, Fla., since which time he has been pastor in Sanford, Fla. He is now the beloved, successful pastor of the St. Louis Street Church, Mobile, Ala. He is a good preacher, good pastor, good financier, good man. The above named church was organized in 1854 ; their building is worth $20,000.
KELLER, REV. R. H., of Birmingham. This young man is brought into special prominence by his missionary operations in the "Magic City." He began at Avondale as pastor, but seeing that so many people were absenting themselves from the churches, he conceived the idea that where the people would not or could not go to the gospel, the gospel should go to them. Mr. Keller went to work at his idea, speaking in empty store houses, etc., in the most ignorant and most polluted neighborhoods or sections of the city, to such of the people as he could induce to attend. At last he stirred such interest in favor of his project and plans as influenced many of the good people of the white churches to render substantial aid.
At present all the white and all the colored ministers of Birmingham--except the Catholic and Episcopal--are united in Mr. Keller's support. It is rather a strange fact in gospel
work that this man should thus represent both races and all creeds. His talks before the white people, so I'm informed, have caused the white women of Birmingham to propose a work upon their part that has for its object the betterment of the home life of the colored people.
" The Union Conference of the White and Colored Ministers of Birmingham " is a result of Mr. Keller's labors. Evidently he is a man of strong hope in and strong grasp upon his purpose as well as patience, amidst discouragements.
LOVELESS, HON. H. A., of Montgomery, was born November 24, 1854, near Union Springs, in Bullock county, Ala. His ex-master retained him on the old farm for five years after the war was over on the plea that his mother was unable to assume his management and support. Finally, however, he escaped to Montgomery, where he found employment for small wages. Being industrious and economical, he soon obtained a little money ahead which he invested in the butcher's business. His business tact, push, courage, kindness of heart, politeness and integrity soon won for him the confidence and respect of his neighbors, who marked him as a youth of merit and promise. He soon became an earnest, consistent Christian man, from whose hands the poor and needy were daily fed, and at whose house pastors and their families were entertained for years without cost.
Now (1895) in addition to his old business of butcher, he operates a hack and dray line, a coal and wood yard, and an undertaker's establishment, giving constant employment to about twenty-five persons at a daily outlay of about $25. His wife, once Miss Lucy Arrington, whom he married in 1875, is a suitable help for him, no less in his labors of love than in his business enterprises. He is worth not less than $15,000. His life is an inspiration to poor young men starting the
journey of life. Mr. Loveless is an honest man, which in the language of another, is the noblest work of God. The character of the man may be seen in his advice to his laborers: "Pay your debts if it takes the last cent you have."
EASON, REV. JAMES HENRY.--Among the younger and scholarly men of Alabama is Rev. James Henry Eason. This energetic Christian worker and model of moral courage was born October 24, 1866, in the "piney" woods, eight miles from Sumterville, Sumter county, Ala.--fifteen miles from the railroad.
His father, Jesse Eason, has served as deacon in the Sumterville Baptist Church for a number of years, and is highly respected by both races in his community.
His mother, Chaney Eason, is a faithful Christian worker in the church, as well as a devoted wife and mother. Mr. Eason's strength of character, talent and success are, to a large degree, heritages from this good woman. His mother taught him his alphabet one Sabbath when he was only five years of age. The early part of his life was spent with his parents on the farm, and he attended public school near his home. His first teacher was a Mr. Poe, a white man, who said to him, as they were coming from school one day: "You will be a smart man one of these days."
James did not advance very far in his books under this teacher, who taught the old method of going through the spelling book first, next the reader and then review. Besides, the schools only lasted three months in each year. His marked improvement was not made until his parents moved to Sumterville, and he began studying under Rev. C. R. Rodgers and H. D. Perry from Selma University. It was in the Wednesday evening prayer meetings, held in the school by Rev. C. R. Rodgers, he received a deep and effectual religious impression.
Rev. T. W. Walker, Pastor Shiloh Baptist Birmingham, Ala. Moderator Mt. Pilgrim Association.
A year afterward--October, 1881--he was baptized into the Sumterville Baptist Church by Rev. G. Lowe. In November of the same year he entered the Alabama Baptist Normal and Theological School at Selma, Ala., now Selma University. In 1885 he graduated from this institution with the highest honors of his class--his class being the second class to graduate from this institution. Along with the normal course he took the college preparatory course, and began his college course in the fall of 1885. After spending about two years in this course he abandoned it on account of financial embarrassment and other unfavorable circumstances. To this point he had kept himself in school by working on the farm during the summer months.
In 1883 he took a little school at Ohio, Ala., and in 1886 he canvassed and sold the Colored Chieftain. In 1887 he was elected principal of Garfield Academy, Auburn, Ala. It was in this position his noble qualities claimed the attention of the public as a teacher and preacher--yes, as a leader. Here the desire of higher education burnt again upon his heart and, against the protest of patrons, he resigned this position and entered Richmond Theological Seminary, Richmond, Va., in 1887. After three years of hard study he graduated ahead of his class in 1890 with the degree of B. D., and returned to Alabama and began work as professor of mathematics in Selma University--a position he still holds. He was ordained in Tabernacle Baptist Church, Selma, Ala., in 1891, and took charge of Union Baptist Church, near Marion, Ala. He has baptized one hundred persons. He is moderator of New Cahaba Association, and managing editor of the Baptist Leader. As a teacher he is admired by the pupils and respected by the faculty. He is a hard student and takes high rank as a preacher, and excels in persuasive oratory. He is original,
broad minded and good natured, and is much respected among the brethren of the State.
MASON, DR. ULYSSES GRANT.--We feel justified in saying, that among the rising and foremost young men of Alabama is the one whose name heads this article. He is the youngest son of Mary and Isaac Mason; was born November 20, 1872, in Birmingham, Ala., which city is still his home.
Until the age of 16 his school advantages were limited to the rural districts, where educational facilities were few. But his desire to learn soon exhausted the shallow draughts of the primary school, and therefore he entered the State Normal School at Huntsville, Ala., now located at Normal, Ala., where he drank more freely from the deeper springs of science and art. Aside from his regular course, he pursued the carpenter's trade, at which his success was soon apparent; for, two months after entering, he was advanced to the position of foreman over some of his older colleagues. He graduated from the above named school June 1, 1891. As a student and teacher the thought uppermost in his mind was that of serving his race by helping to lift it to a higher plane of intellectual culture, for he was not slow to see the moral and physical disadvantages under which it was laboring. To effect this result, he dedicated all his energies to the social and educational betterment of his race. After finishing the course at this school, he taught, as a stepping stone to further usefulness, having held with honor and respect the principalship of the Calera public school. He resigned this position, much to the regret of the school board and patrons, to enter the Meharry Medical College, Nashville. His success as a student of medicine surpassed even his previous career, causing the surprise and even the envy of many who claimed to have towered far above him in the literary world. He was appointed
prescriptionist for the clinic, and assistant professor of clinical medicine in the absence of Prof. R. F. Boyd, B. S., M. D., D. D. S., in which capacity he proved very efficient. He refused the honor of valedictorian of his class, and was unanimously elected treasurer.
Dr. Mason is now located at his home, Birmingham, Ala., and is one of our best physicians. His kindly and affable manner has won to him the love and confidence of all. There can be no question is to his future success, as this is assured in his good qualities, skill, and the confidence of the people.
SISSON, REV. SAMUEL S.--The subject of this sketch was born in the little town of White Plains, Calhoun county, Ala., June 11, 1863. He lived with his parents on a plantation, helping them in every possible way. He was converted and baptized in 1871. He attended the public schools as opportunity allowed him. In 1882, being convinced that he was called to preach, he entered the Alabama Baptist Normal and Theological School (now Selma University), under the presidency of Dr. W. H. McAlpine. Here he studied hard, paying his own way.
In 1884 he was called as pastor of the Baptist Church at Stock Mill, Ala., Cherokee county. He served this church four years, during which time he baptized and added to the church 250 persons. Not being satisfied with his education, he returned to Selma University in 1888. He was in school only two months when he was asked to supply the pulpit of the St. Philip Street Baptist Church, Selma, Ala., as pastor pro tem.
He served them in this capacity three months, when he was elected pastor, in which capacity he served the church about five years. A great many doubted the ability of the young Timothy to stand in the shoes of such noted theologians
as Rev. Wm. A. Burch and Dr. C. O. Boothe. He himself felt that his task was very difficult. He could only trust in Him whose power is inexhaustible.
It was not long until his congregation outnumbered any other in the city. He states that during his five years as pastor he added 1,142 members to the church. Six hundred and forty-two by baptism.
He also laid plans to build a new church. Three thousand three hundred and ninety-seven dollars, so he informs the writer, was raised under his administration for the new church building. Feeling that his work was about accomplished in this field, he resigned as pastor in the fall of 1893. He was then called to Milton, Fla., to pastor the Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church. He served the church only five months. His own State, Alabama, not being willing to give him up, he accepted a call by the Jerusalem Baptist Church, Bessemer, Ala. He is now serving this church and is building up a strong congregation for the Master. He is active in church work and much loved by his brethren throughout the State.
In 1888 he married Mrs. Roxie Drake, of Auburn, Ala., and to this fortunate union is due much of his success. She is to-day the organist of his church. Rev. Sisson has high hopes for the future of his people and does everything possible to advance them. He is friendly and, therefore, has friends everywhere he works. He is a hard student of God's word. As a preacher he is sound in practice and doctrine.
JORDAN, MRS. DINAH SMITH, was born in Walker county, Ala., March 26, 1869. Her early days were spent in Arkadelphia, Blount county, and in 1883 she came with her mother to live in Birmingham, Ala. Mrs. Jordan, from a child, loved to read that Book of all books the best, the Holy Bible, and in April, 1885, gave her heart to God. The new-found love in
her heart now brought new motives and new aspirations into her life. She was in a new kingdom, and wanted to work for her King. A sermon preached by her pastor, Rev. W. R. Pettiford, on "Christian Growth and Usefulness," very deeply impressed this young Christian, and to this day is an inspiration to her. Another one whom she dearly loved was Mrs. M. A. Ehlers, a missionary under the Women's Baptist Home Mission Society, who was at that time in Birmingham, and who she says will never know the help she has been to her in her Christian life, until the lights of Eternity dawn upon her. She began by doing the little things that came to her hands to do--faithfully attending the services of her church, bringing children to the Sunday school, and seeking in her home to honor her Savior. As grand a motive may be had in doing those things which in the eyes of the world seem small as in doing that which the world calls great and admires; and Mrs. Jordan, we believe, had this true motive, the love of Christ constraining her.
Her marriage, which took place on June 7, 1887, to Mr. Andrew Jordan, had been made a subject of special prayer. The husband thinks he has one of the best of Christians in his wife, and through her consistent life he was led, in the fall of 1892, to say, as did Ruth of old: "Thy God shall be my God." The Women's Missionary Society opened up new avenues of usefulness to her, and as they came she gladly went forward--visiting the sick, doing religious visiting in the homes of non-church-goers, and holding fireside schools for the children in her neighborhood. She rejoices that in these she has had the blessed privilege of directing the minds of the little ones to Jesus. Her work as teacher in one of the industrial schools conducted by the missionaries has been faithful, earnest, and a means of great strength to them, and her gentle ways have won the love of the pupils.
She loves the work of the young people, and is a member of the board of the associational B. Y. P. U. Her consistent Christian life in her home and in the circles in which she moves has made her life a blessing to all.
DUNCAN, MRS. M. D.--This lady who began and is now operating a female academy, was born in the year 1864, March 8, in Jefferson county, Ala. She, for one, has made her mark in life. She professed a hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, in the year 1876--was baptized by Rev. E. T. Winkler (white), and joined the Baptist church of Marion, Ala. She worked her way in school. After she finished the primary department (taught by Mrs. Frances Nickerson,) she entered the Lincoln Normal University, where she was graduated in 1882. Then she was thrown out on the great voyage of life, to meet the many hindrances and obstacles that fall in the pathway of life. But being a brave and persevering woman, she triumphed over them all. She commenced teaching school in 1879, in Marion, Perry county. In 1882, she taught a three months' term in Bibb county. She was then highly recommended by the President of L. N. University to Tuskaloosa, where she taught in the city school for two terms; then removed to York Station, Sumter county, and there taught two terms, and in 1889, taught one term in Forkland, Greene county. She was then called to Demopolis, to take charge of the Female Institute, where, for five years, and up to the present time, she has given mutual satisfaction to the entire city and community.
The above is given to show the spirit of enterprise among us and to excite others to work on the same line.
Closing the chapter which brings into prominence notable individuals of the denomination, the author feels that it is only just to remark that many of the most cultured and deserving of our number are not mentioned. This comes of the facts that limited means made the production of a large book impossible, while, on the other hand, as the author was hard pressed with other business, his survey of the field was necessarily imperfect. Such persons as the learned and industrious Prof. J. W. Beverly, of the State School at Montgomery; Prof. A. H. Parker, principal of one of the city schools of Birmingham; Prof. R. B. Hudson, principal of the City School of Selma; Prof. E. W. Knight, of the faculty of Selma University; Prof. Phillips, principal of one of the city schools of Montgomery; Mr. Edgar A. Long, the business manager of the "Alabama Publishing Company," Birmingham; Mrs. A. A. Bowe, teacher of the sewing department of Selma University; Mrs. M. A. Boothe, the first president of the Colored W. C. T. U. of Alabama, and Mrs. S. L. Ross, the first secretary; Mrs. S. A. Hardy (once Miss Stone) who led the women in their successful money effort in interest of our brick school building at Selma; Mrs. C. Copeland and Miss Octavia B. Boothe, who have been in the employ of the Baptist Women's Home Mission Societies as missionaries; Mrs. Amanda Tyler, of Lowndesboro; Mrs. R. T. Pollard and Mrs. S. H. Wright, of Montgomery; Mrs. Rebecca E. Pitts, of Uniontown; Mrs. Alice Gray, of Talladega; Mrs. Lula Patterson (once Miss Lula Watkins), the very capable teacher of music in Selma University; Doctors Robert and Felix Tyler, of Lowndesboro; Prof Samuel Roebuck, of Elyton; Rev. T. W. Robinson, of Gurleys; Rev. H. Zimmerman, the efficient leader of Bibb County Association; Mrs. Nancy Nickerson, the first teacher of colored children in Perry county; Rev. F. Jordan, pastor of the Sixteenth Street Church, Birmingham
--of all these, with many other worthy persons, our book fails to give any notice. Their absence from the biographic sketches is to be accounted for solely in the reasons mentioned, namely, that means were limited and the author's time and energy were divided between so many different lines of work as necessitated an imperfect survey of the field.
We now turn our pen toward the conclusion, on our way to which we will briefly consider: (1) From whence we have come; (2) How we have come; (3) The point we now occupy.
We have seen the tree--dwarfed and yellow-leafed--in the sterile rockbound soil of the mountain peak, and we have felt that its life was a mere existence, a mere hair's-breadth remove from death. The fearful regime of slavery had reduced the mental life of the Negro to the point where its activity was a simple, natural struggle for existence. By the terms mental life are designated especially the knowing faculties and voluntary powers, as well as that part of the emotional nature that has to do with character-making. I mean to say that in his intellect, will, and moral sense, the Negro was, by slavery, reduced to the minimum. It could not be otherwise for these reasons: (a) It was unlawful for him to know books; he must know nothing save what his master told him, and must never ask for a reason. (b) He was not allowed to have any will of his own except in minor points, with reference to a brute or a fellow slave. His master's will was substituted for his, and out of his master's choice his words and deeds must proceed, even as concerned the most sacred relations of life. At his master's choice he took the wife, and at his choice he gave up the wife. (c) He was not allowed to
Rev. J. W. Jackson, Pastor Eufala Baptist Church.
have any conscience, except where his master had no choice. Whatever the master said the slave must do, that he must do, conscience or no conscience. Now this state of things had gone on for over 200 years. From this condition we came forth into liberty, and with this eking existence of wilted life we must make a beginning as freemen. With nothing of that sort of manhood which comes only of the well ordered domestic circle, we had to put our shoulders beneath burdens which come of the family institution. The duties of citizenship were imposed upon us, notwithstanding we had never felt or studied anything of the privileges and obligations which center in individual sovereignty. Though we were ignorant of the gospel for the most part and knew nothing of the order of business in church meetings, we found ourselves suddenly forced into the management of church affairs. We had now to look to our own heads for light, to our own hearts for courage, and to our own consciences for moral dictation. So much for the hindrances from within ourselves.
The master and the slave were each pulled from his place as by a mighty force--a force which did no little tearing on both sides, especially on the side of master. For this reason the master was sore. The South had grown rich in slaves. This property the war pulled from its fists, and left in its midst. The Southern people who were rich one day were poor the next day. That the presence of the former slave, clothed in the sovereignty of citizenship, amidst his ex-master's poverty, should chafe and madden the master, there can be no wonder. Well, it did madden him, and because of this fact, the pioneer Negro leader often found himself "headed off" or hindered with reference to some church or school project in his mind. Often did he hide or turn from his course to escape
punishment or death by the hands of persons who suspicioned him as a bad man to be among "the Negroes of the neighborhood." The writer has had many narrow escapes and painful experiences.
We needed help, but whither should we go to obtain it? Thank God for the few white people who had grace in such a time to extend a helping hand to us in our and in their time of weakness.
(a) Not long since a white merchant of this state remarked to me: "No people have ever improved so much in so short a time as your people have." I replied: "I think no people ever had a more faithful, self-sacrificing leadership." I think it may be said of us that we have done what we could. The work began when we owned neither land for home nor land for church house--when there was no church, no association, no mission board to offer any pay for labor. I speak of course of the rule. True, there were a few colored churches in "slavery time," three missionary and one primitive; but what were three churches in the midst of such a vast population, scattered over so much territory? What could they do in their poverty and want of training to support 400 or 500 pioneer organizers? We went to the battle at our own charges. With homeless mothers and fathers, with homeless wives and children, and with oppression on every side--with all these burdens and much more which cannot be told upon us--we bravely undertook the work of building the walls of Zion. The writer knows a minister who, (between 1866 and 1875, especially between '66-'77, during the reign of the "K. K. Klan," when the people could not in many places be induced to open their doors after dark for fear of being shot), has endured
some of the severest privations and performed some of the hardest toils known to the ministry, at his own charges. This case is only one in hundreds. Our ministry, whatever the faults and imperfections which have attended them, have wrought nobly and wrought to good results.
The following will serve to show why the writer is inclined to believe these early pioneers were often especially favored of God in controlling the people for good: On one occasion two preachers met for the first time. The younger man spoke, and the elder was one of the hearers. The sermon was ended. The two preachers, approaching each other and grasping hands, spoke to each other thus: The younger man: "I feel the Lord wants me to preach, but I am not able to preach." The elder man: "God has called you to preach the gospel, but you are not now in the spirit of the ministry, You are proud and 'pend too much upon yourself. You get self out so God can fill you up with his spirit. Go and pray to God for the spirit of the gospel ministry." This advice was heeded and the end revealed the correctness of the elder man's views. Another case:
A young man of some attainment in letters, who taught school under the "Freedmen's Bureau," being anxious to rid himself of a sense of duty to preach the gospel, decided to go off to another state where his church connections were unknown. He did so. After he had quit the train and put down his baggage at the home of a family who had consented to entertain him, and as evening drew on, he was requested by his hostess to attend the preaching which was to come off at a neighbor's house that evening (there was no church house). The young man went. A pen picture of the preacher is given after this fashion: Lean, brown skin man, whose shirt showed much of his breast; whose feet were sockless and in shoes which left the toes uncovered; whose stiff locks held a comb.
He told us of a wicked city that was laying beneath the pending judgments of God.
It needed a message of warning--only this, and it would face about and clothe itself in humble penitence. God had the message, and He imparted it to the messenger and ordered him to go. Here the preacher drew a picture of Jonah: He is shrinking from his glorious charge--has his back toward Nineveh, and is fleeing in an opposite direction; is boarding a ship that he may go to regions over the sea; is going down into the hold of the ship; is fast asleep. Here the storm and the raging deep receive notice: A cloud rises and quickly covers the skies; winds attend it with a fury hitherto unknown to the shipmen, who seem at once to discern in the storm the tokens of judgment; the sea is wild; the sailors, as a last resort, awake Jonah and cast lots; the lot falls upon Jonah, and he is cast into the maddened sea, where a sea monster swallows him. At this point, changing his voice more into the imperative tone, the preacher said: "I 'spect there is a Jonah here to-night, and I warn him to take the message of his God and carry it to poor, lost sinners who do not know their right hands from their left; I warn him to go before he shall be in the belly of hell." The reader is left to imagine how this affected the young school teacher who was fleeing from his duty. In some parts of Limestone county the people use an improvised lamp, the oil vessel of which is a snuff bottle. This is a rough vessel, but it holds the oil which feeds the flame. This reminds us of Mr. Spurgeon's beer-bottle candlestick. Well, I want to say that God used these men, whatever were their imperfections--they had power. But we have had help from without.
(a) Our white neighbors--some of them, at least--have aided us. They have helped us build our church houses and, in some cases, contributed to our schools. They have taught
in our Sunday schools, preached in our pulpits, helped us in the work of organizing associations, etc. They have taught ministers' classes and held ministers' institutes among us. The writer once held the position of teacher of institutes under the appointment and support of the white Baptist Convention of Alabama, and Dr. McAlpine now serves under the appointment of the Southern Board. Several of our best men were enabled to attend the Home Mission schools on money given by their white brethren.
(b) We have been improved by our public schools. It is a strange providence which, in our public school system, now returns upon the black man something of the interest due him in consideration of unrewarded labors. These schools have given us some choice men and women, who are strong in the work of the church. However, it is in place to say that we have not derived from our public school system all the good which it is capable of bestowing, first, because poor teachers have far too often been put upon the people. But, on the other hand, there has been loss because we have not properly appreciated our needs and opportunities, as considered from an educational point of view. The sessions of the public schools could be supplemented and extended in most cases so as to cover six or eight months of each year.
(c) The Publication Society has rendered substantial aid in the gift of books to our ministers and Sunday Schools as well as by the personal touch and teaching of their Sunday School Missionaries.
(d) The Missionary Societies of the Baptist women of Chicago and Boston have done a great work among us. Their good missionaries, such as Misses Moore, Knapp, Voss and others whose names will ever be precious to our people, have given themselves to work among our women and girls. They have breathed into our home life their beautiful piety, and
First Baptist Church, Selma, Ala, C, J. Hardy, Pastor.
they have acquainted our mission bands and church workers with the latest and best methods of labor. We have seen with their eyes and felt with their hearts.
(e) THE SELMA UNIVERSITY, with one exception, is the source of our greatest blessing. It is simply impossible to estimate the good that has come to Alabama Baptists out of this institution. What it has done is beyond the power of calculation. Only Omniscience can reckon up the good effects of its power upon the people. God be praised for Selma University! When we began the school in 1878, we hadn't one single graduate in our midst. Since that time graduates have gone forth as follows:
R. T. Pollard, S. A. Stone, W. W. Posey,T. H. Posey, R. B. Hudson, L. J. Green, C. R. Rodgers, A. A. Bowie, D. T. Gully, A. W. Hines, and Miss Washington, now Mrs. R. T. Pollard.
J. A. Anthony, W. E Large, J. H. Eason and Mrs. Thompson.
W. S. Matthews, H. L. Thomas, Dr. L. L. Burwell and Mrs. H. M. Baker.
M. M. Archer, S. H. Campbell, J. C. Copeland, W. T. Bibb, W. A. Watson, F. P. Tyler, J. H. Culver, P. A. Kigh, C. H. Patterson, Mrs. R. B. Hudson, Mrs. A. W. Hines, Vannie Brooks.
S. H. Abrams, D. A. Bible, R. D. Taylor, Mrs. M. F. Wilson, E. J. Nelson and Mary F. Williams.
R. M. Williams, E. L. Blackman, Mrs. P. F. Clark, Mrs.
W. T. Bibb, P. E. Gresham, D. L. Prentice, J. R. Willis and Dr. W. R. Pettiford.
W. J. Bryson, R. T. Payne, J. F. Payne, Dr. R. Tyler, Dr. L. Roberts, E. W. Knight, J. C. Leftwich, L. A. Sinkler, Mrs. W. B. Johnson, Mrs. G. A. Brown, Wm. Cooper, Emma Garrett, M. Turner, Mary L. Smith, P. S. L. Hutchins.
P. B. Taylor, C. E. Clayton, Mary Osborne, Lula Gray, Ida M. Wilhite, Viola Hudson, Mamie U. Welch, A. M. Jackson, J. McConico, J. H. Hutchinson, M. M. Porter, E. T. Taylor.
R. L. Hill, G. P. Adams, E. M. Carter, W. T. Coleman, I. B. Kigh, B. R. Smith, Chas. White Jr., M. J. Brown, A. E. Gilliam, Pattie Richardson, Amelia Tyler and Maggie Johnson.
J. A. Graham, W. M. Montgomery, H. E. Grogan, Eva Green.
I. T. Simpson, C. J. Davis, W. H. Wilhite, Annie Stone, T. W. Calvary and Eliza Fuller (Mrs. Knight).
Lula E. Ware, Annie L. Jones, Comer E. Carter, Benjamin F. Sanders, Lila L. Jones, Julia L. Sanders, Mary F. McCord, Emma P. Jones, Earnest W. Brown and Donnie E. Hillson.
We see very little that these names mean except we associate them with the masses of the people in the various walks of social and business life. But, associating them thus, we see them as so many stars lighting up the dark places around
them. However, to do this is by no means to place ourselves where we can see the whole truth. What has been wrought upon the thousands of students who failed to finish the prescribed course? They are elevated and they have borne their elevation to their neighbors. From their teachers and from the refining atmosphere of the school, they have drunken purer thoughts, loftier aims and a stronger manhood. This they have carried to others less favored than themselves, and now it works as the leaven in the dough. Again, the school has strengthened us by its weight upon our hearts and hands. Labor, well directed, develops strength in the laborer. We are greater because we have been compelled to care for that institution, and it has caused us to have faith in ourselves. We now know that it is possible for us to maintain an educational work. It is needless to say that by means of it, we have looked larger in the eyes of others. Somehow, he who can do something good and great commands our respect.
(f) THE HOME MISSION SOCIETY.--This society has served us to greater results than any other agency. To this society the university owes above half the money which has given it support all these years. They have given us missionary aid which has served to produce higher life and better order in our churches and associations. And from their schools beyond our state we have received many of our most capable persons, among whom we may mention Drs. Dinkins, Purce, Stokes, Owens, our eloquent Fisher, and Jones, our scholarly Peterson, the urbane Jackson of Eufaula, the industrious Bradford, and others whose names I cannot at this moment recall. Mrs. C. S. Dinkins, as well as Mrs. C. O. Boothe, came to us from the Roger Williams University, a Home Mission Society School. But what has been said will suffice to show us how we have come to be a wiser and a better people than we were thirty years ago. And if we see what has blessed us
in the years gone by, no doubt we shall be able to see that the same things may, if we will permit them to do so, bless us in the years to come. May our steps not be forgotten by our children.
Thirty years we have been beneath the opportunities and duties of free manhood, which is to say that for thirty years we have been associated with the family institution as husband, as wife, as parent, as sister, as brother, as son, and as daughter. Three decades with the family, developing affection and making patience.
Thirty years of business life has passed upon us, which is to say that we have for this length of time been associated with those facts which grow out of our physical wants, such as labor, system, economy, competition, skill, etc.
We have had thirty years over our own consciences, over our own wills, over our own church affairs. We have had thirty years with books and schools. We have had thirty years under the duties of citizenship. What have we attained to in this time? Have these years given us any fruits? Are we where we were in 1865? Let us see.
(a) CHURCH PROPERTY.--At the close of the war we owned (?) two frame buildings in Mobile and owned (?) the brick basement of the building now occupied by our white brethren in Selma, worth--all told--about $8,000. We now own nine brick buildings, worth not less than $100,000 above their indebtedness. And we cannot make an estimate of the church property whereon are frame structures. The property of this sort in the city of Birmingham and vicinity is worth $15,000, in Montgomery $26,000, in Mobile $12,000, in Talladega $10,000, in Greensboro $3,000, in Eufaula $6,000, in Tuskegee $2,500, in Opelika $2,500, in Eutaw $2,000, in Demopolis
Miss Joanna P. Moore, Nashville, Tenn., thirty years Missionary to the Colored People of the South.$3,000, in Decatur $1,500, in Florence $1,500, in Courtland $1,200, in Gadsden $2,000. But, it is not intended, and is not necessary, to mention every point, as the aim is to show that throughout the State we have churches in their own quarters, on their own land. Everywhere we have put our work not only into mind but we have put it into dirt, brick and stone. Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars worth of church property scattered throughout the State, as it is, affords a good foundation for future operation.
(b) SCHOOL PROPERTY.--Our school at Selma is now worth about $30,000. It was bought in 1878 for $3,000, and has been in constant operation ever since, though at one time a debt of about $8,000 threatened its life. We owe a debt of a little over $3,000 at this time. The Howard College, the leading school of our white brethren, owes it is said a debt of about $33,000, and lately the report has come to the writer that the management had thought of assigning, because they could not see how they could raise money enough to meet the interest. I mention this only to show that our struggles are similar to the struggles of other good people, and that we have abundant cause for rejoicing and hope.
Well, we have in Selma University an educational foundation. The Marion Academy, worth about $2,000, begins academies.
(c) EDUCATED MEN AND WOMEN.--Over one hundred young people have received diplomas from Selma University. Graduates have come to Alabama from other States. Baptists have graduated from other schools in this State--schools like Talladega and Tuskegee, the school at Huntsville, and the school at Montgomery. This statement of facts is calculated to turn our minds toward a possibility and prophecy of the
near approach--even on the part of the masses--of that state of mind which lives and moves in the higher pleasures and to the more sacred ends of life.
(d) HOMES.--The wandering life which characterized the masses of the people in 1865, is fast giving place to settled home life. We have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in town lots and farm lands, where we are quietly and contentedly rearing our loved ones, studying the good of our community, and arranging for the prosperity of the house of God. In other words, we are fixtures in the country and fixtures in the cities and towns. We have attained to affairs--to the possession of money and other forms of material value--so that we have power in the world of exchange. Prof. B. T. Washington is a wonder among men as the builder and manager of the greatest school in Alabama, and his friend, Mr. Logan, proves that the colored men can manage great money schemes, while Mr. B. H. Hudson and others, of Birmingham, establish the Negro as a banker.
(e) ORGANIZATIONS.--We are now together--acquainted, organized. In the beginning of 1865, the minister in one part of the State did not know the minister in the other part. There was no union, no plan of agreement. Now there are about 800 churches, all organized into associations. Each church may be reached and affected through its association, with regard to any line of work. We have created a strong sentiment in favor of education and a strong sentiment against intemperance, so that the masses of the people may be easily led in right directions. The day of pioneering lies behind us, and most of the pioneers are gone to their long home. We are now at the point for action on new lines. As individual Christians we need to turn our attention more directly upon the one aim of human life, namely, God-like character building
in ourselves and in them with whom we have to do. As churches, we need to see to it not only that we win souls, but that we train them in Christian work also. All other points being equal, the trained soldier is the man to trust with the battle. The Sunday school work and the young people's unions are very available as training institutions. May God put it into the hearts of the leaders of this new day and new chapter in our history to see to it that these organizations shall serve the ends for which they are so well suited. May their hearts wholly enter into the possibilities and purposes of every sacred organization!
I take courage, and there arises in my mind glorious prospects coming down the future, as I see the faith and push of our Sunday school and our women's conventions. If our present Sunday school leaders should succeed in wrapping their mantles about men who will be as faithful under the midday light as they have been in the dawning, the future must find an ever broadening compass of Bible influence, and an ever-increasing beauty in our words and lives.
The Women's State Convention organized in 1886, marks a new era in the history of our denomination. The present brick building on our school grounds owes its existence chiefly to this organization. They came into the field in a dark time, and at a time when the wheels of the school dragged heavily. The circumstances which sent Miss S. A. Stone before the people of the State seemed a providence. The time, the conditions, needed the heart of a woman to control them. And the Women's Convention conquered the hardness of heart and the division of opinion, prevailing among the people, by sending Miss Stone among them. Most grandly did she conquer.
Well, what is the lesson here? It is this: let the women still be encouraged, let them continue to operate. We need all our forces in line.
Too much praise cannot be bestowed upon Mesdames G. J. Brooks, R. T. Pollard, C. J. Hardy, A. A. Bowie, W. R. Pettiford. A. J. Gray, M. Tyler, S. H. Wright, E. W. Armstead, J. A. Craig and the other noble women associated with them, for the services they have rendered the state in the support they have given their Convention. The times demand that this work shall still be faithfully continued. I am glad that we are up in our ideas of woman, and the fact that we are argues progress on our part.
It is a praiseworthy fact that we colored Baptists occupy advanced ground with regard to the questions which involve the powers and rights of women. I remember that upon one occasion just after the close of the war, my mother returned from church rather disgusted because a woman had been called upon to lead in public prayer. Now, too, the singing, the reading and the praying in our congregations, are assuming forms suited to our advanced or advancing state of mind. The song is suited to the text and fewer stanzas are sung. The music is not so slow and is rendered with more harmony and life. In the sermon, the preacher aims to give his audience thoughts rather than feelings, and longs to make his hearers wiser rather than happier. He who reads the Bible to others, whether he reads in family or church, reads by paragraphs--taking in a single thought or fact at the time--in place of the old custom of reading a whole chapter in connection with which no one idea was raised into prominence. In short our gospel reformers seem now to realize that saving faith in the truth is that exercise of soul regarding truth that satisfies the intellect, impresses the sensibilities and bows the will beneath the gospel forms and gospel spirit. Of course
this is not true of all our teachers, but it is true of many of them; and the tendency upon the part of the whole people is in this direction. Individual human essence leavened with the Divine essence, is the goal in the eye of the representative leader of our people. Largely we have attained to the confidence of our white brethren. In the union conference of the white and the colored ministers of Birmingham, recently held, I plainly saw that the white Baptist ministers were more at ease with the colored brethren than the white ministers of other denominations, except perhaps, the Presbyterian brethren. And I think they were not so much disturbed about the social question. I call attention to this fact in order to say that their joint work with us has enabled them to see our good qualities and concede to us the claims which belong to intellectual and moral culture. And as our Christian culture shall widen its radius and deepen its impressions upon all who may be touched by us, the prejudice and barriers incident to our color must retire behind the curtains of the past.
Were I so tall to reach the pole,
Could grasp creation in my span
I'd still be measured by my soul--
The mind's the standard of the man."
I delight to record that we are attaining to humility as a Christian grace. This is the crowning grace. Some years ago the writer called at the home of Dr. J. M. Pendleton, in Upland, Pa. The doctor was upstairs. A servant answered the door bell, and the visitor was conducted to the parlor to await the famous man's entrance. As the visitor was in every way a very little man, and as he thought of Dr. P. as being in every way a very large person, he feared the sound of every footstep. He expected to be over-awed by the majesty and dignity of the great man. As the door knob turned he was almost annihilated. But how different the
Rev. C. J. Hardy, Pastor First Baptist Church, Selma, Ala.
sight! There stood the noted writer in the spirit of a child. How mighty, yet, how meek and lowly! How charming, how winning was this child-like simplicity and hospitality! With the bewitching smiles and musical tones of childish innocence, he repeated, "Brother Boothe, from Alabama, I suppose."
Toward this end we, too, are coming. The time has been when the best man among us would air his big words, hang out his learning (?), strut because of a fine suit, boast of his school advantages, laud his superior graces, gloat in his empty titles. Not so now. To be meek and lowly in heart, to be full of prayer and watchfulness, to be charitable and self-abasing, to be pure and pious--these things are before us now.
The old plan of collecting money for church work regardless of system and regardless of the duty associated with Christian giving, must also soon retire to the past; for forces are now appearing which will work as the leaven in the dough.
Dr. Pettiford has recently brought out a book titled, "God's Revenue System," wherein the author labors to bring before the people the Bible methods of giving. Arguments are presented and proof texts are given in their support. This work is being widely circulated among the churches and ministers. And the writer served a church where the following plan prevailed: At the end of each year the church appointed a committee to figure on the expenses of the ensuing year, and to help the members and friends apportion the burden among themselves according to their several abilities. Each person took upon himself what he thought he might be able to pay, and, dividing his share as the church might have need, he paid it in installments. Usually the money was collected in the conference meetings. Another church came under my notice that had in it "the tithe band," which gave a tenth of their income to the house of God. In a session of the Sea
Coast Association I witnessed the following, it was what they called "Women's Day."
One woman, holding her money in her hand, said: "I am president of a mission band which meets once a month to learn of our duty to missions. We tax ourselves one nickel a month, and this is our donation to the work."
Another said: "I raise chickens. One hen in my yard I've given to God. This money is from her eggs and chickens."
Still another: "In my orange orchard there are some trees which I have dedicated to God. The money which comes of the sale of the fruit grown on these trees goes to the cause of Christ." And she laid her donation on the table.
In a Christian home I saw on the mantelpiece a little box marked, "God's bank." Into this money was dropped at stated seasons in order that there might never be any want of consecrated money in the house. In a certain home sickness had cut off income. The missionary secretary sent to this home for money. In order that a donation might be sent in, the family agreed to leave the sugar off the table for a certain length of time. Thus a small amount was saved for the cause of Christ. Thank God, that truth on all lines is finding an echo in our souls! We are not only learning the value of money and enterprise, but we are also learning that "a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesses."
Wedlock is becoming more sacred. More and more the people are growing into a responsiveness to the sacredness of the marriage relation. The husband has increased in knowledge regarding his duty to his wife; the wife sees better her relation to her husband; the parents more clearly perceive what is possible and proper with reference to their children; and, therefore, we can claim thousands of homes which are sources of refinement, of love, and of purest pleasure. Music
is brought in, and in many homes the family choir contributes to the enjoyment of children and parents, whose hearts feast upon mutual, sweet affection. Not long ago the writer had the pleasure of receiving the hospitality of a family in which such a choir existed. Each member had his place somewhere on the staff; either he was in the tenor, or in the alto, or in the soprano, or in the bass. Mother, father and children delightfully partook of the feast of song. Their Scripture lesson was not a long, disjointed chapter, but a single thought, namely: "The wisdom that is from above." Its qualities were considered--they were: (1) Pure; (2) peaceable; (3) gentle; (4) approachable; (5) merciful; (6) fruitful of good works; (7) impartial; and (8) honest. This lesson was in a scheme on the blackboard, kept in the home for such purposes, thus:
|6. Fruitfulness in good works.|
This plan gave opportunity to discuss in a few words each designated quality. Each person large enough to take part was encouraged to do so. One part of the evening hour was spent in amusing literary games, like the following:
A word was suggested, and so many minutes were allowed to elapse, during which time each member of the family sought to make the greatest number of words out of the letters composing the word suggested. At the close of this allotted time, spelling was compared, and the difference as to the number of words made by each was noted. The exercise was pleasant, exciting and profitable. The writer mused:
"This is so much better than gossip, unsociableness, sullen silence, and quarreling." From the word abatement, for example, came the words: At, mat, bat, bet, tab, mate, am, an, ant, tent, beat, abate, Abe. At other times problems in mathematics furnished the wrestling point; then points in geography and history were entertained. "Name as many cities as you can containing so many thousand inhabitants, and tell where they are," was proposed. Thus an hour or so of the early evening was profitably passed away in shunning evil and gathering knowledge for good.
We dare hope that every home will seek to improve on this line. Evil cannot be kept out of the home except in proportion as we fill it with what is good. And the quality of the home life must determine the quality of the social life, of the church life, and of the political life, as well as of the business life, of any people.
As a further illustration of the influences and plans operating among us--as a fitting conclusion--we present the following from Miss Knapp, one of the faithful missionaries of the Women's Baptist Home Mission Society:
Many are the blessings God has bestowed upon missionary work in Birmingham and it is a real pleasure to state briefly some of the methods employed which have given the workers so much joy, and which our Heavenly Father has used to advance his cause.
Religious visiting in the homes of the people is a very important part. God's word never returns unto Him void, and when it is carried into the homes and its truths taught and heart to heart talks given only eternity will reveal its results in leading lost souls to look to a loving Savior, and arousing indifferent Christians to the fact that God has chosen them
Rev. S. L. Ross, Sunday School Missionary for Alabama, under Auspices Alabama Baptist Publication Society.
and ordained them that they should go and bring forth fruit. Again, the teaching of the children is a work never to be overlooked, for the future of any race or nation depends upon the moral and religious instruction given to the young. The Sunday schools, children's meetings and industrial schools are means which are accomplishing great good. From two hundred to three hundred meet each week in the industrial schools during the school year. We have one session each week in each of the schools. They are held in the different churches. About one half of the time in each session is spent teaching different kinds of sewing, and the remainder in giving moral and religious instruction. The progress made by many of the pupils in sewing and in gaining Bible knowledge is often a marvel to the missionaries. The strong temperance stand taken by many of the children is truly a delight, and when one after another professes a hope in Christ we are led to say, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy Name." The welfare of the young people also has a large place in our hearts, and with the faithful co-operation of pastors and the young people themselves, there are about forty local B. Y. P. U.'s which are united in an Associational Baptist Young People's Union. Great things are expected of these young people from the Bible knowledge they are acquiring and instruction which they are receiving concerning Christian work.
Perhaps no richer blessings have been given than those which have fallen on the efforts which the women are putting forth. Well can we remember when there was but one missionary society in Birmingham that was trying to obey our Savior's last loving words: "Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth."
They stood alone, but were inspired to go forward by their
pastor, Rev. W. R. Pettiford. Though few in number, the blessings of God rested upon them. After a time they had a public missionary meeting. The subject was "The Indians." It was held on Sunday night. Hearts were enlarged; the work was better understood by the membership of the church, and as a result new members were added to the society. The sisters in one church after another organized and joined the ranks. The society of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church no longer stood alone.
The object of the work is given as follows in Article II of the Constitution: "Its object shall be to promote the purity, intelligence and happiness of our homes, and to educate the women of our Baptist churches in a knowledge of missions, to cultivate in them a missionary spirit, and thus lead them to help in mission work at home, in the State, in our country, and in foreign lands."
The following blanks are used by the sisters in reporting their work from month to month:
On July 26, 1893, a day memorable in the, history of the work, the local societies were united in a "Women's Missionary Association." Mrs. Cordelia Taylor was chosen as its president.
The local societies number about twenty-five. We meet
twice a year, for a one day's meeting. These meetings are largely attended, well conducted and of real profit to the work.
The study of the uniform subjects which have been prepared for the use of the local societies have greatly helped the mothers in their great work in the home, in the Church work, and given a more intelligent knowledge of missions in ours and other lands. The public missionary meetings are being held on Sunday afternoons or nights in the different churches and are proving the same blessing as the first one.
Miss Moore's paper, Hope, is being taken and read by scores of the sisters, and is an untold blessing to all.
The "Mother's Pledge " has been signed by quite a company and is rich in results to both mother and child.
Several of the earnest, Christian women are having fireside schools for the children in their neighborhoods, and the books are being purchased by many, thus affording good and helpful reading in many homes.
Our hearts go up to God in gratitude as we call to mind the co-operation of pastors and people in the plans suggested by the former as well as the present missionaries, and the bountiful way in which God has blessed the efforts which we have together put forth, and we would say in the words of the Psalmist: "Many, O Lord, my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which to usward, they cannot be reckoned up in order to Thee; if I would declare and speak of them they are more than can be numbered."
Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Ala., Rev. R. D. Pollard Pastor.
WE have done well, but we could have done better. George Ruskin gives birth to a great river of thought in the expression, "The more my life disappointed me, the more solemn and the more wonderful it became to me." We have suffered, it is true, and still we suffer, beneath the prejudice of a mighty people, the movings of whose will and passions none but God can stay. But, as we remember that the Almighty can rule the hearts of men, and that He has promised that the meek (He doesn't respect person) shall inherit the earth; that this prejudice about us is not a human essence, but a mere accretion upon human life, rising from abnormal social conditions which are passing away; that disappointment, instead of cowering and disarming us, should rouse us to nerve ourselves with a firmer resolution to endure suffering, to toil, to economize, to increase in knowledge and skill, to fill our homes with love and beauty, to be still more pure in heart and upright in word and deed--as we remember these things, we must confess that we could have done better.
Our greatest needs now are: (a) A closer walk with God; (b) more love and peace at home; (c) purer thoughts and more prayer in our hearts; (d) a nearer approach to gospel plans in all departments of our church work; (e) more race pride and race confidence; (f) more of the spirit of Christ in our annual meetings; (g) co-operation in business, such as banking and mercantile enterprises.
We earn millions of dollars, a large part of which we ought to and can keep among ourselves, and thus strengthen the financial standing of the Negro Race.
We need to establish and maintain money operations among ourselves, especially for the following reasons:
(1) No moneyless people have any power or voice in the solid things of life, in those facts which command homes, farms, store houses, railroads, live stock, steamship lines, furnaces, manufactories, merchandise, banks, and the like. We need plans of co-operation which will enable as to come together with our little savings until they aggregate to an amount that is large enough to support some sort of business. Saving societies or circles should be organized all over the country, for the purpose of studying methods for money saving and money investment.
Of course, it must be admitted that money raised by our people in this way has fallen into the hands of men who have made way with it. But this danger may be put out of the way by compelling the man who holds the money to give good security in the form of a bond, legally made and properly signed. The money thus raised should be deposited in the bank till the amount obtained is large enough for some business project. The Alabama Penny Savings Bank of Birmingham started somewhat after this fashion, with a small beginning, but now they command in one way and another nearly one hundred thousand dollars. This bank gives the colored people of Birmingham a power in financial circles that they could obtain by no other means.
(2) Our young people need something to do. When the young white man completes his course at school, he returns to find a job ready for him--a job as clerk, bookkeeper, collector or something so. Not so with the young black man--he returns to an empty void so far as concerns the business
Rev. C. L. Purce, President, Louisville, Ky.
world. He comes home to be a loafer, or a boot-black, or a buggy boy, or a cook, or a waiter, or a barber, or a prisoner. He comes home to despair, to temptation, to ruin. And this sad state of things can never change by accident: if a better condition of things shall ever be our lot, it must come about as the result of forces which the Negro himself shall put in operation. Our white neighbor looks upon the facts that we earn the millions and can't control the cents, as proof that we are an inferior race. They say we can be preachers, teachers and doctors, but we can't manage money and can't unite in great business enterprises. We seem not to realize that the handling of business affairs conduces to the formation of moral character. The writer dares to hope that there are better things in our hearts on this line than have yet appeared, and that ere long they will appear in our united action and in our substantial investments. However, "Fear God and keep His commandments."
And now our book is at its end. How well it serves the purpose for which it was produced, the reader will determine. We gratefully recognize the substantial services rendered by friends, as during the past ten years we have hunted and gleaned for subject matter. The author is under special obligations to Messrs P. W. Williamson, F. D. Davis, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Walker, Rev. T. W. Walker, Dr. Waldrop, Dr. and Mrs. Pettiford, Mrs. Rachel Jenkins, Mrs. H. C. Bryant, Mr. and Mrs., W. S. Simpson, of Birmingham; Mr. Tom Posey, Besse and Hon. H. A. Loveless, of Montgomery.
To such as may feel disposed to credit me with ability to continue at work, I would say that but for the faithful toil and sacrifice of my wife, Mrs. M. A., and of my daughter,
Octavia B. Boothe, it is hardly likely that my name would now appear in its humble place on the roll of writers. They have borne the burden with me, and we together have performed these humble tasks. With them I cheerfully divide my meagre honors. The writer lays down his pen at the end of a pleasant but arduous task, fully believing that what we have done is but the bud and prophecy of what we can and will do in the years to come. This book can only tell of our infancy and youth, while the historian who shall come upon the stage after twenty or thirty years beyond this date, will bring forth a book wherein shall appear a portraiture of our ripened manhood, out of which shall have grown great enterprises, manned by unity, wisdom, wealth and righteousness.
It is our Object to Act as a Medium Through Which Knowledge of Matters of Vital Importance to the Welfare of our Race can be Carried to the People.
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