Documenting the American South Logo

One Hundred Years of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; or, The Centennial of African Methodism:
Electronic Edition.

Hood, J. W. (James Walker), 1831-1918.

Funding from the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition supported the electronic publication of this title.

Text transcribed by Apex Data Services, Inc.
Images scanned by Meredith Evans and Joby Topper.
Text encoded by Apex Data Services, Inc., Joby Topper, and Jill Kuhn Sexton
First edition, 2001
ca. 1.1MB
Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,

No Copyright in US

Source Description:

(title page) One Hundred Years of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; or, The Centennial of African Methodism.
Hood, J. W. (James Walker), 1831-1918.
xxii, 625 p., ill.

A. M. E. Zion Book Concern, 353 Bleecker Street, New York City
Call number C287.8 H77o (North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

        The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-CH digitization project, Documenting the American South.
        The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
        Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved. Encountered typographical errors have been preserved.
        All footnotes are moved to the end of paragraphs in which the reference occurs.
        Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
        All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
        All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as " and " respectively.
        All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as ' and ' respectively.
        All em dashes are encoded as --
        Indentation in lines has not been preserved.
        Running titles have not been preserved.
        Spell-check and verification made against printed text using Author/Editor (SoftQuad) and Microsoft Word spell check programs.

Library of Congress Subject Headings, 21st edition, 1998

Languages Used:

LC Subject Headings:

Revision History:






[Title Page Image]



[Title Page Verso Image]



The Two Characters and Two Destinies.

353 Bleecker Street, New York City.

Page ii

Copyright, 1895, by

Page v


General Secretary of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Connection.

        SELECTED out of the thousands of Zion's ministers to write the Introduction for Bishop Hood's notable History, I confess my shrinking from the task; not because my heart is not in perfect sympathy with Bishop Hood's noble aim, that is, to place before the world what has never yet been written, a complete, reliable account of the rise and progress of one of the least known but one of the most prosperous, most aggressive of the many branches of God's Church; or because I have any doubt concerning the ability of Bishop Hood, the author, to perform his task: but for fear that, with all my love for my Church; with all my confidence that it has been and is now, in the hand of God, a grand leader in, and a blessing to, the world; with all my heartfelt desire to do in the best way the necessary work of simply "an armor-bearer," I may not be able to single out with sufficient clearness the essential points of that History, that the truths thereof may be intensified and burned into the thought and life of the millions who, in this time of Christian activity, worship at our Church's altars.

        An Introduction is not really a review, and yet is a review in advance. The Introduction must know what it has to introduce. Neither is an Introduction to be a

Page vi

repetition simply of the History itself. The Introduction simply points the way, like the signpost at the crossing of the roads, and like the signpost it may suggest consideration of the better way. The Introduction is simply the make-up of specimen pages.

        Having said thus much in order to modify any exaggerated notions of the purview of an Introduction, let us see who and what are before us.

        Naturally we ask ourselves, first, Who is James Walker Hood, D.D.? Many of us have met him. For thirty years he has been prominent in Zion Church work. We know he is a bishop, one of the leaders--the senior bishop--the captain of the Zion host. We have seen him presiding over Conferences; we have read his work, The Negro in the Christian Pulpit; we have heard him preach sometimes some wonderful sermons; and we have heard of him as we were told that he planned this or that--that this or that was the result of his maneuvering; that he is able and influential with men, and that his career seems to have the blessing of Almighty God. Yet this looks at and scans him at a distance; what, just now, we need, is an introduction near at hand.

        James Walker Hood was fortunately born to be what he is to-day, most useful in his chosen calling. He was born in a Christian family. His father was one of God's ambassadors; his mother an earnest, busy daughter and subsequently a motherly mother of the Church. He was born when among the colored citizens religion meant live Christianity; the pulses of the people were stirred by the thrilling appeals for active devotion to God; when conversion was a necessity; when the "Ye must be born

Page vii

again!" was echoed from every pulpit and preached in every sermon. He was reared as a boy when vital Christianity was the aim of Church organization. He was reared, too, when and where the doctrines of equality, political and civil, were voiced anew everywhere. He lived on the busy line of "The Underground Railroad," and with his parents and neighbors was made, under the law and over the law, a factor to "proclaim liberty to the captive," and to "let the oppressed go free." He was born into independent manly Church government, and naturally caught the spirit of Father Spencer, Father Varick, Father Rush, and of the other pioneers in pilgrimage to find place for African Methodism, tabooed, discredited, jostled aside, and disgraced because of its color. He was born early enough to know personally these pioneers of religious liberty, and naturally, about the year 1859, we find him an earnest minister of the Gospel in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Connection. Headwise, therefore, and heartwise, he, of all others, is the fitting delineator of the relation which the colored American sustained to Church government in the early day. His "speech bewrayeth him." His voice is not that of one who has simply heard another voice, but of one who lived in the seething caldron of proscription, even in God's Church; and therefore heart and brain and every interest in life are on fire in view of the work already done and to be done. And with his soul aflame he writes his burning words in this History for the Church of his choice.

        But he writes not simply as a Methodist minister, but as a scholarly Methodist minister. His statement in his

Page viii

beginning, his reasons for an Afric-American Church, his argument as to "Nimrod, the mighty hunter," his insight into Nimrod's and God's purposes, respectively, when the vain-glorious people were scattered, dispersed, because their language was confounded--all evince a thoughtful mind, a literary preparation for his work, and, as all through his History, a close study of God's eternal word.

        In his particular account of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in America, and in his statement of the case as between the African Methodist Episcopal and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Bishop Hood not only evinces a thorough knowledge of the differences involved, but has the bravery to place on record what a man less self-conscious, or less confident of his knowledge of the case, might well shrink from; but, as unpalatable as some things which he states may seem, he writes only as his own personal experience has justified. History which is history does not seek to flatter or to tickle pleasantly the sensibility, but gives us the facts as they existed at the time of which the writer discourses. If matters referred to seem harsh, it is because they are harsh as the truth of the hour. And in the "efforts for union" between the African Methodist Episcopal and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Churches, it would be to invalidate the facts to say aught else than the statement by Bishop Hood, that at no time and in no way could it be truthfully said that the failure of union could be laid at the door of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Connection.

        The truth is, as faintly hinted by Bishop Hood, the

Page ix

African Methodist Episcopal Zion Connection, because it is a Christian body, has seemed to be morbidly sensitive upon the subject of union, and especially upon the union of the two bodies named. So frequent has it been, that from various portions of the Christian field the Christian cry for union has been heard that to some who look simply on the surface it seemed as if the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Connection were afraid to go alone; that it must have some company; that it was almost begging the right to exist through the grace or good will of some other Church organization; when, if the other (surface-side) people knew the truth, they would find that the African Methodist Episcopal Zion people were only avoiding unchristianity by the Christian position we assumed, and were--during every moment of talk and thought and negotiations--marching onward in the work of God and winning victories in Christ's kingdom.

        But this book was not written to explain this matter. It is simply an incident in the Church's history which must be mentioned and commented upon, like a hundred other matters which the History must record.

        In the description of the Connection's early struggles and the subsequent connectional division Bishop Hood is particularly happy, for he gives the events as they occurred. The able argument and defense of the Right Rev. William H. Bishop is slightly out of place, because it was not at hand when the main facts of this portion of the History were being recorded, but it is to be found in the volume toward its close, and thus completes the argument of each side of that controversy long since passed away and largely forgotten, except as history.

Page x

        The history of the lives of the pioneers and executives of the Church, from Varick to and including Walters, is not only of interest, but is thrilling. It is not only the record of men, but of men bent upon serving God according to conscience. As completely as Martin Luther stood in his day for defense of the truth he believed; as firmly as John Knox and Calvin stood for Presbyterianism, or the Scotch Covenanters defended their religious rights, listening to the truth

"By Cameron thundered, or by Renwick poured in gentle stream,"

        leaning on their pikes, so devoted that in some cases the moorlands of Scotland were dyed red as their heatherbell, so these new defenders of religious liberty in this professedly free land rose up out of the environments of bondage, where in many instances they were held in chains of iron, and out of a public sentiment which was a clamor for exclusion, stronger even than chains of law, and walking out upon the promises of the Lord of hosts made their demand for exercise of the right to worship God without molestation and according to the dictates of their consciences. And, living or dying, they have left to us a legacy of principle and purpose and piety which during the Church's march of one hundred years has glistened in our path and pointed our way.

        If a resident of another world or a denizen of some foreign country should desire to know, as they will desire to know, where humanity has lifted itself highest; where oppositions have been most notably met and vanquished; where the struggle, even in God's Church, at God's altars, was successively and successfully waged in

Page xi

a Christian contest against unchristian "Christianity;" if such should wish to scan the history of men and women who have risen, risen by force of God-given ability and God-given help; risen from the discomfort and poverty of their enforced condition; risen from the clutches of the mob which sought their harmless lives; risen from the ashes of their dwellings and the embers of their churches fired by the torch of the incendiary; risen from their Golgotha and their Calvary of suffering to respectability and recognition and power, over the law and by the law, he has only to read this book from the commencement to its end to find the truth and be satisfied.

        To sum up the wonderful record of this great, struggling Church, composed of men and women, most of them reared in poverty, I can surely name this book a "History of Prodigies." I look upon the Hon. Frederick Douglass, who came up from the slave plantation, as not only the best known but the foremost, best received colored American in all the world. Read his statement in this book. Who can tell what influence the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church had in shaping his destiny? So of a hundred others, members, at some time, of Zion Church, and, in the more circumscribed sphere of each, as much a prodigy as he. Some pygmies lifted upon stilts have attempted to rob Zion Church of this honor, but Zion will live and flourish when the pygmies are forgotten. The history of some of the men and women whom Zion has helped and who have helped Zion is recorded in this volume. We challenge the world of one hundred years past to produce a brighter record of progress.

Page xii

        In these stirring times, when inquiry is awake, and the indications of the approach of justice are seen, no other book than this need be read to learn all that is necessary of the great problem of the hour in this professedly free land, and how to solve that problem.

        This work comes in the Centennial Year of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. It speaks of progress, churchwise or spiritually, but necessarily it must also delineate the moral, the social, the intellectual, the financial advancement of the classes whom it especially represents.

        In this view it is a most timely contribution to the necessary literature of this age, and a complete defense, without seeking to be so, of the Afric-American citizen.

Page xiii


        FOR several years there has been a call for a more complete history of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church than has yet been published. The author has been impressed with the idea that about the close of the first hundred years of the existence of the Church as an independent body would be a good time to publish such facts as he has been able to put together. He does not put this forth as anything like a complete history. He has not been able to get those interested who might have furnished him very much interesting and important matter. What he has given is very largely what has come within his own knowledge. He acknowledges indebtedness to Rev. E. H. Curry, D.D., for a sketch of the Kentucky Conference; to Rev. W. H. Ferguson for a sketch of the Tennessee Conference; to Bishop C. C. Pettey, A.M., D.D., for a sketch of the Louisiana Conference; to Rev. W. G. Strong, D.D., for some facts respecting the Alabama and Florida Conferences; to M. A. Majors, M.D., for a sketch of the Texas Conference; to Rev. B. F. Wheeler, A.M., S.T.B., for a sketch of the New Jersey Conference. His intention was to publish about one hundred biographies, including persons in every part of the connection, but he has only partially succeeded. Several who promised sketches have failed to send them.

        It was not our purpose to boom men for office, nor to

Page xiv

show what fine things we could say regardless of facts. We wanted simply to present unquestionable facts respecting the subject. We desired in the sketches to present especially three classes: 1. Those who have been distinguished by their great talents, improved and usefully employed. 2. Those who have been great workers. 3. The young people who are preparing themselves for leaders in the near future. Respecting the second class, it was our hope to be able to point to the particular church or churches organized, built, or improved by the subject of the sketch. This we have thought would prove to be among the most interesting features of the history. We have built more than fifteen hundred churches in the last twenty-five years. If we were prepared to say by whose instrumentality each church was erected it would certainly add much to the interest of the book. We have secured the facts as far as we have been able to do so. In some cases we have only been furnished the number of churches organized or built, without any statement as to where or when the work was done.

        Among those who furnished the facts just as were desired are Revs. E. H. Curry, R. H. G. Dyson, J. H. Jackson, C. A. King, J. P. Thompson, C. W. Winfield, J. M. Hill, H. B. Pettigrew, and a few others. These, it will be noticed, were great builders; they built at nearly every place to which they were appointed. We are sure that the list of this class of men, who have been making history and building their own monuments, might have been greatly extended had the author known just how to reach them.

        The work that has been accomplished and the samples

Page xv

of industry we have furnished are quite sufficient to indicate the extraordinary usefulness of our preachers. They have not only preached the Gospel faithfully, but have superintended the erection of churches, and in many cases have worked upon them with their own hands. No body of Christians were ever before found in the condition that the colored Methodists were at the close of the war. They had not been permitted to have separate churches, before the war, except to a very limited extent. At the close of the war they were not permitted to worship with the whites, so that they constituted a large body of Christians without houses of worship. No other one generation of Christians has had to build all of its churches.

        Respecting the sketches, we may remark that several of them are copied from the Star of Zion, or Quarterly, or some other paper, for which credit is given; of some we have only given an extract, because of their great length or superfluity. In requesting the sketches we stated the facts that we wanted, but some, disregarding our request, sent us what we did not ask for and failed to send what we did ask for. In such cases we have done the best we could with what we got, in harmony with our design. One splendid writer sent us a sketch in which he made his subject the "Colored Phillips Brooks." We should not seek to be anybody but ourselves, nor permit anybody to make us other than ourselves; you belittle your subject when you have to go outside of him to find material to build him out of. One of the beauties in the character of Bishop Jones was that he was great in himself. His idea was not to be a Webster, nor a Phillips,

Page xvi

nor a Sumner, but a Jones. A man who amounts to anything is at his best when he is himself. David discarded Saul's armor; the sling and smooth stone were his. In the case we are considering the biographer had no occasion to go outside of his subject for matter. He was writing of a man who has splendid abilities of his own, and we could not permit him to lose his identity; so if the biography does not appear just as it was written, both the writer and the subject will understand the reason why. And some little changes in others may be accounted for in the same way. If anyone should think that we might have gone a little further in the same direction, it must be borne in mind that there are some privileged characters in everything under human control.

        While the book is mainly a history of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, a little outside matter is thrown in to heighten the interest. The second chapter is a sketch of the origin and greatness of the ancient ancestors of the Afro-American race.

Page xvii


Page xviii

Page xix

Page xx

Page xxi


Page xxii

Page 1



        AT the birth of Methodism in this country its handful of votaries were so simple and honest, and so free from any thought of race distinctions in the divine presence, that no special notice was taken of the fact that there were colored people present to their disparagement. When Captain Webb and his associates met in a sail loft in 1765, on what was then known as the Battery, at the south end of New York city, they thought not of the complexion of the attendants, but rather of the salvation of their souls. And four years later, when John Street Church was built to accommodate the congregation of that first formed Methodist Church in America, there were no Negro pews nor back seats nor gallery especially provided for the dark-skinned members. They were welcomed in common with other members to all the privileges of God's house and worship.

        This happy state of affairs, however, did not long continue. As the little despised body of Methodists grew

Page 2

larger and extended its borders, among the increasing numbers Negro haters crept in, and in the course of time affected the entire body with that plague, and, as all know, eventually resulted in division. Previous to the secession of the Southern portion of the Church in 1844 there had been several smaller secessions resulting from the Negro question. In fact, the Negro question has affected every Church in America. Although the Protestant Episcopal Church stood the shock of the antislavery agitation, yet one of the great questions in that Church to-day is the Negro question.

        American slavery for its own aggrandizement attempted to chattelize the whole of one of the three great branches of the human family. To do this effectually it was necessary to deny its consanguinity to other races, and in every way possible to crush out its manhood and make the impression upon the American people that the Negro was of an inferior order of beings. Some went so far as to deny that the Negro had a soul; it was claimed by some that he sprang from some species of the monkey, gorilla, or orang-outang. If those who advocated these notions really believed them they placed the proud Caucasian race in a very unenviable position; for the females of this race, who were thus represented as she animals without souls, were ofttimes the bosom companions of white men and the mothers of their children. Then the question arises, What portion of a soul did the offspring have? The father had a soul, the mother none; did the offspring have just half a soul? But these inconsistent and nonsensical ideas were put forth to quiet the conscience of the American people and

Page 3

to prevent the uprising of a sentiment which would endanger the accursed institution.

        This purpose to maintain the inferiority of the Negro was seen in the effort to close the door of every social organization against him. The door of masonry was so effectually barred against him by American lodges that he is wholly indebted to the English army lodges and to the Grand Lodge of England for the privileges of that ancient fraternity. He has likewise been barred from nearly every social organization in America, at the bidding of the slave power.

        It is easy, therefore, to understand how this same influence would affect the Negro in his Church relation. There was not the same universal disposition to keep him out of the Church; he was wanted in the Church for the support he gave it, for the numbers he enabled sectarians to claim in exhibiting their strength, and, with the minority, who were truly pious, he was wanted there for the good of his soul. For these and other reasons he was not kept entirely out of the Church. But in the Church he was hampered and regulated. His privileges were proscribed and limited; every possible effort was made to impress him with a sense of inferiority. Preachers were selected who delighted in discoursing to him upon such texts as "Servants, obey your masters," and who were adepts at impressing the Negro with his inferiority in the most ingenious and least offensive way. This state of things was not confined to any one particular branch of the American Church, but it was found in every denomination and in every community in which there was any considerable number of the black race.

Page 4

        The first outcropping of this wicked spirit which we have noticed in Church history is recorded in the Minutes of the Methodist Conference which was held in Baltimore in 1780. The twenty-fifth question propounded in that Conference was as follows:

        Question 25. Ought not the assistant [Mr. Asbury] to meet the colored people himself, and appoint as helpers in his absence proper white persons, and not suffer them to stay late and meet by themselves?

        Answer. Yes.*

        * See Compilation of Minutes by Daniel Hitt and Thomas Ware, in 1813.

        This, no doubt, was the origin of that regulation throughout the South which forbade any considerable number of blacks meeting together without the presence of a white person. It was many years after 1780 before this stringent measure was placed upon the statute books of many of the States, but here we find it adopted by a Christian body against a portion of its own members. If they were members in common with others they ought to have been permitted to meet in common with others. It seems that they were not, but had separate meetings, even at that early day, at least in Baltimore and some other Southern cities. If they were obliged to have separate meetings they ought to have been permitted to have leaders of their own. This they were denied, and this denial was a subservience to the proslavery proclivities of the times. This state of affairs did not only exist in the Methodist Church, but in all Churches which had any considerable number of colored members. So that about the close of the eighteenth century there was a general restlessness among the colored members of all denominations, which resulted in a movement unparalleled

Page 5

in the history of the Christian Church; a movement which resulted in the establishment of the Negro Church, not of one denomination only, but of all denominations to which any considerable number of colored people belonged. We can trace the origin of every important branch of the Afro-American Church back to the latter part of the eighteenth or beginning of the nineteenth century. The movement was widespread and nearly simultaneous. In 1796 the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church was organized in New York; in 1804 the Abyssinian Baptist Church was organized in New York; the Joy Street Baptist Church was organized in Boston in 1805; in 1806 the Colored Methodist Church was organized in Wilmington, Del., which resulted seven years later in the organization of the African Union (Methodist) Church in the same city; the First African Presbyterian Church was organized in Philadelphia in 1807; about 1809 the First Colored Methodist Church was also organized in Philadelphia, which resulted seven years later in the formation of the (Bethel) African Methodist Episcopal Church. This was a most remarkable movement, and, we repeat, unparalleled in the history of the Christian Church. It was a general exodus of the colored members out of the white Churches for reasons never before known. Secessions from Churches are generally the result of differences of opinion on doctrine or Church government. But it was neither of these which caused this movement. The seceders in every case formed Churches of the same faith and order, and the same form of Church government as that from which they separated.

        This movement took place when means of travel and

Page 6

of communication were limited and poor. There was but little opportunity for consultation, and yet the race moved as a unit. To one unacquainted with the state of affairs the question would naturally arise in the mind, What could have given rise to this movement of a whole scattered race, of one accord, with one mind and purpose, and in one direction?

        Nothing but the desire for the freedom which was denied them in the white Church could have produced this general exodus. Like causes produce like effects wherever they operate, and the disposition to cramp and proscribe the black brother, operating in all denominations, had the same general effect. The oppression being general, the desire to escape it became general.

        There has been a disposition on the part of several branches of the Negro Church to claim priority in this movement; at least five denominations claim to have moved first. We shall not at this point enter into the controversy on that question; the mind's eye rests upon a higher and grander view; the general movement towers up with such inexpressible grandeur that in comparison with it the consideration of any one branch dwindles into insignificance. Besides this, we have concluded that in one sense each may have been first; that is, in its inception the movement was one. God moved at once upon the heart of the race, and from that time there was a restlessness which resulted in the establishment of the Afro-American Church in general. How else can we account for the conflicting claims? We desire to be strictly fair, and to our mind this was not a Presbyterian or Baptist movement; it was not a Bethel, Union, or Zion

Page 7

movement; but it was a grand united Negro movement. It was the race that was oppressed, it was the race that moved. It was a movement by which a race, hampered, proscribed, regulated, and oppressed, gave a grand united exhibition of its determination to find in its own organizations that religious liberty which was denied it in the white Church.

        In forming these organizations there were many difficulties to be overcome. The ministers of the several denominations were opposed to the movement, especially the Methodist ministers, including a majority of the bishops; and the episcopal form of government was favorable to the purpose of the Methodist ministers to hinder the success of the colored brethren in their effort to be free. The Presbyterians and Baptists had only to find three friendly presbyters in order to secure ordination; but in the Methodist Church the authority to ordain was vested in the bishops and Conferences. The Conference elects and the bishop conducts the ordination. This being the case, it was much more easy to hedge up the way of the colored Methodist. By magnifying the importance of particular forms it was an easy matter to sow discord in the ranks of the blacks, and this was freely done. Much is now said about the folly of having so many branches of the African Methodist Church, but the mother Church is almost wholly responsible for this folly. If she had granted the request of Zion Church when it was first formed, to ordain her ministers, they would have gone forth and built up a connection, and no other could have been formed. We shall have more to say on this point in another place. When we think of the

Page 8

indignities which were heaped upon the Negro in the white Church we cannot wonder that he came out.

        The following address, issued by the founders of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, who were among the most conservative Christians of their day, gives an epitome of the disadvantages to which they were subjected in the white Church, and certainly justifies their action.


To the Members of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in America:

        BELOVED BRETHREN: We think it proper to state briefly that, after due consideration, the official members of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion and Asbury Churches, in the city of New York, have been led to conclude that such was the relation in which we stood to the white bishops and Conference relative to the ecclesiastical government of the African Methodist Church or Society in America, that so long as we remained in that situation our preachers would never be able to enjoy those privileges which the Discipline of the white Church holds out to all its members that are called of God to preach, in consequence of the limited access our brethren had to those privileges, and particularly in consequence of the difference of color. We have been led also to conclude that the usefulness of our preachers has been very much hindered, and our brethren in general have been deprived of those blessings which Almighty God may have designed to grant them through the means of those preachers whom he has from time to time raised up from among them, because there have been no means adopted by the said bishops and Conference for our preachers to travel through the connection and promulgate the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; and they have had no access to the only source from whence they might have obtained a support, at least, while they traveled. Under these circumstances they believe that the formation of an itinerant plan and the establishment of a Conference for the African Methodist preachers of the United States would be essential to the prosperity of the spiritual concerns of our colored brethren in general, and would be the means of advancing our preachers (who are now in regular standing in connection with the white preachers of the Methodist Episcopal Church), whenever it should be found necessary, for the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom among our brethren, to bring forward for ordination those who are called of God to preach the Gospel of our Lord, which may be done from time to time, according to the best of our judgment of

Page 9

the necessity thereof, and not according to the method which it is natural to suppose our white brethren would pursue, to determine upon the necessity of such ordination. We are under strong impression of mind that such measures would induce many of our brethren to attend divine worship who are yet careless about their eternal welfare and thereby prove effectual in the hands of God in the awakening and conversion of their souls to the knowledge of the truth.

        And whereas, Almighty God, in his all-wise and gracious providence, has recently offered a favorable opportunity whereby these societies may be regularly organized as an evangelical African connection, we have therefore resolved to embrace the said opportunity, and have agreed that the title of the connection shall be the AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN AMERICA, and we have selected a form of Discipline, from that of our mother Church (with a little alteration), which selection we recommend to you for the Doctrines and Discipline of our Church, hoping that the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls, the all-wise and gracious God, will be pleased to approve of the above measures and grant that we may obtain and preserve those privileges which we have been heretofore deprived of; that thereby we may unite our mutual efforts for the prosperity of the Redeemer's kingdom among us and for the encouragement of our colored brethren in the ministry.

        Earnestly soliciting your prayers and united endeavors for the same, we remain your affectionate brethren and servants in the kingdom of our ever-adorable Lord,




        The great respect that these men had for the mother Church is seen in the care they took not to use language which might be offensive. This is not only seen in this address to their own people, but it characterizes every document emanating from them during the twenty years or more that they were in correspondence with the bishops and Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, trying to get that body to assist them in their effort to establish in a regular way an ordained ministry in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

        Like those separating from the white people of other denominations, it was the design of the Zion and Asbury

Page 10

Churches to maintain the same doctrine and set up the same form of government as the Church from which they sprung, and they were especially desirous that the bishops of that Church should ordain their ministers. They had no fault to find with the doctrine or form of government; the only trouble was that they could not, in that organization, on account of their color, enjoy the privileges it offered to others. The teaching from the pulpit was, that God is no respecter of persons. The practice was, that the black people were proscribed and hindered from exercising themselves with that freedom which the form of government held out to white members. Both the masses and also those who were favored with special gifts and callings were discriminated against. The colored members were not permitted to come to the sacrament until all the white members, even children, had communed. The line was also drawn at the baptismal font.

        We have heard a story told of a minister who was baptizing children. When he had gotten through with the white children he looked up to the gallery and said, "Now you niggers can bring your children down." A sister brought her child and presented it, when the minister said, "Name this child." The mother said, "George Washington." The minister looked at her for a moment as though she had been guilty of some great crime, and said, "George Washington, indeed! Cæsar's his name. Cæsar, I baptize thee," etc. Now, Cæsar is no mean name; but that mother thought she had a right to select from the list of dignitaries the name most pleasing to herself, and what right had the minister

Page 11

to deny her this privilege? A few of those called were licensed to preach among their own people, but were not permitted to receive holy orders nor to join the itineracy. There were many other little vexations to which they were subjected.

        The things which we have been considering as causes leading to the establishment of the Afro-American Church are what was seen upon the surface of this movement. It has been remarked that beneath a rough and almost useless surface valuable mines have been discovered. We have a notion that beneath this rough and unchristian usage to which the founders of the Afro-American Church were subjected there was a divine purpose, in the unfolding of which the race subjected to this ill treatment is destined to enjoy blessings more precious than silver or gold. In the unfolding of that Providence which underlaid the human meanness which produced the general exodus of the Afro-American race from the white Church, there have come and still are coming to the proscribed race benefits so rich, abundant, and glorious that the sufferings incident are not worthy of mention. They are simply the crucible in which the refining process is carried on, by which the race comes forth as gold tried by fire.

        History frequently repeats itself. We see Joseph sold into Egyptian slavery as the result of the envy of his brethren; that was God's way to exalt Joseph and to provide for a seven years' famine. We see the Egyptians oppressing Israel; that was God's way to get Israel out of Egypt and into the wilderness, where he could form them into a people for himself--that he

Page 12

might make them an elect race--that he might, through them, make himself known to the nations of the earth. Likewise we see the black man oppressed and fettered in the white Church, his life made bitter and his condition rendered intolerable; that was God's way to get him out of the white Church and into an organization of his own, that he might have a field for development untrammeled. Had he remained in the white Church he would have become dwarfed to such a degree that ages must have elapsed before he could have risen to any eminence in the world.

        This is seen in those who have remained in the white Church; you can almost at a glance see the shadow of the white man resting upon them. The argument against making a black man a bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church is that no man has risen among them with the necessary qualifications. That is the best evidence which can be produced that the Methodist Episcopal Church is a poor soil in which to raise black episcopal timber. It dwarfs them. One of their dwarfs once said, "No Negro ever originated an idea." Only one reared in hopeless bondage to the idea of the white man's superiority could exhibit such shameful ignorance of the excellencies of his own race. This was a man possessing a splendid intellect and fine culture; he was a natural giant; he had originated scores of ideas himself; but he belonged to the white Church, and the shadow of the white man was upon him so that he could not discern even his own brightness.

        If such is the condition of the black man in the white Church, notwithstanding the existence of the African

Page 13

Church, which modifies the white Church to a very large degree, what must have been his condition if there had been no African Church?

        It is a remarkable fact that the development of the black man has come almost wholly through his Church. This cannot be said of any other race on the globe. Possibly the Jew ought to be excepted, as he was developed in the same way. There is so much likeness in the history of the black man to that of the Jew that we are impressed with the idea that God has some great purpose respecting the Negro race; whatever that purpose may be, we feel assured that the Negro Church is, and will continue to be, the most important factor.

        If there had been no Negro Church he would have had no opportunity for the development of his faculties, nor would he have had any platform on which to exhibit his vast possibilities. The Negro Church was one of the powerful instrumentalities by which the accursed system of American slavery was overthrown; it was an agency of the Underground Railway, by which communication was kept open between the North and the South; it was a magazine from which antislavery missiles were drawn to be hurled against the ramparts of the doomed institution; it afforded a platform upon which antislavery agitators cried aloud and spared not. No mortal can tell how much the Negro Church contributed to the emancipation of the slave.

        But we regard this as only incidental, the main purpose having been to give the Negro a field for development. Without the Church he was absolutely without the opportunity to rise above the lowest condition in life.

Page 14

We have already mentioned the fact that he was shut out from the social organizations; he was likewise shut out from the literary institutions, from the mechanical arts, and from every learned profession. The common schools in most parts of the country were closed against him, and even in a free State a white lady was mobbed for teaching colored children. We repeat, he neither had the opportunity to develop nor to exhibit his capacity for development. He was shut in on every side, like Israel at the Red Sea; behind him was the slave power, blacker in wickedness and more terrible than the hosts of Pharaoh which pursued Israel; on either side were the mountains of caste prejudice, and before him was the sea of difficulties necessarily attendant upon an effort to form an organization of his own. But he heard the voice of God saying, "Go forward!" Into the wilderness? Yea, but free! He has found it a wilderness of strife within and opposition from without. Not only has he had to contend against the world, the flesh, and Satan, but powerful religious organizations have thrust their forms athwart his way. Nevertheless the God of Israel has led him, not only forty years, but for one hundred years, and still leads him.

        The cramped and hampered condition of the race in general which we have described continued, to a large extent, up to the time of the Emancipation. There was no opportunity for the black man except what his Church gave him. The Church was not only his pillar and ground of truth, but it was all he could lay claim to in all this broad land. For development it was to him what the Church and all other institutions were to the

Page 15

rest of mankind. It was his common school, his lyceum, his college, his municipal council, his legislative hall, and his Congress. Through it he had to learn everything he did learn respecting the laws and usages of society and the art of government. Hence it was that there were comparatively few learned or distinguished black men, except among the ministry. And the few distinguished men who were not ministers were in some way developed through the instrumentality of the Church. If they were professional lecturers the Church made them, brought them forward, and gave them a platform and audience and the opportunity for development.

        Fred Douglass, one of the most remarkable men that the race has produced, admits that he is indebted to the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in New Bedford, Mass., for what he is. As sexton, class leader, and local preacher in that Church he got his inspiration, training, and send-off, which have made him the wonder of his time.

        It must be evident to all who think on the subject that without the African Church at the period at which four millions of bondmen were freed they would have been absolutely without trained leaders of any considerable intelligence. And what must have been the state of things? The white ministers of the South, as a rule, for the first five years after emancipation took no interest at all in the religious instruction of the freedmen; thousands of them have not yet conquered their indifference. We repeat, what must have been the condition of things if the African Church had not been prepared to take hold of the mass of sin and ignorance which was turned loose

Page 16

upon the nation? The Northern white Church was not prepared for the work; white men were not suited to this work, and the situation forbade them undertaking it. To care for the spiritual welfare of people you must be of them and among them. No white man could have lived among the colored people, as it is necessary for a pastor to do, and yet retained the respect, or even toleration, of the white people in most sections of the South. The Methodist Episcopal Church has done a grand, a glorious, yea, a praiseworthy work, in its schools in the South. If it had confined its work to this line it would have been an unmixed blessing to our people. But in its attempt to establish churches among the colored people it has in many places done more harm than good. It has, in many places, hindered us from doing what it could not do; hence in such instances nothing worth naming has been done where much might have been accomplished.

        If that Church had left the Church work among the colored people to the African Church, and spent one half the money through them that it has spent in trying to establish its own Church among the colored people, it would have had five times as much to show as the result of the output, and its work among the white people of the South would have been five times as great; and possibly there would have been by this time a reunion between the Northern and Southern Churches. By its well-meant but mistaken policy it has hindered both itself and us.

        But I presume that an attempt on our part to show that Church the state of things as we see it would be a waste of time. Its policy has always been to retain the colored people, and its agents have not always been very

Page 17

scrupulous as to the means employed, as we may have occasion to note.

        The African Church is the source from which the freedman has received his truest and most efficient leaders. The idea of a Church of his own, for the support of which he was wholly responsible, gave the freedman an object lesson on the importance of self-reliance which he could not by any other means have learned so soon. The agents of the Methodist Episcopal Church came to the freedmen and said to them: "Come to the old mother Church, and she will build your churches for you and she will support your ministers. If you go to Bethel or Zion you will be taxed to death to support the connectional institutions. Come with us and we will give you all you need." Many were thus persuaded to join the Methodist Episcopal Church, and churches planted by this means many years ago are not self-sustaining to-day. The people got used to being carried, and they have not learned to walk yet. Many of these churches are at a standstill, while African churches planted alongside of them, without any outside help, are growing and flourishing. It is impossible to estimate the harm that has been done the freedmen by those who, with zeal minus judgment, have pursued a course which has rendered many of our people indifferent to the importance of supporting their own institutions. The necessity of the situation compelled the African ministers to urge upon the people the importance of supporting the Church and its institutions; and the good effect is seen in the vast number of churches they have erected, and also in a few flourishing institutions of learning.

Page 18

        There was a complaint in the South for a time that the African ministers were generally politicians. This complaint originated in two causes: 1. The suspicion on the part of politicians that black ministers would use their influence with their congregations in favor of the Republican Party. But there are many things about the freedmen which are not known to any except those who have been closely associated with them through all these years; and one of these things is the freedmen's intuitive knowledge of the political situation. They needed no persuasion from their leaders to induce them to vote for the party of liberal ideas; they were often more radical, because less thoughtful, than their leaders. And what was known as the white man's party took no great pains to hide from the black man its purpose to limit, at least, his political privileges. The history of the Negro-hating party for twenty-five years preceding the emancipation was very much better understood by the black people than the white people supposed. Its record has been the support of every measure that was passed to the injury of the black man.

        Reading the articles published in the Christian Index for four or five years from about the year 1870, one naturally got the impression that the purpose of establishing the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church was to control the colored people in politics; but if such was the purpose it was a lamentable failure. In many places, especially in North Carolina, we have known instances in which the leaders in that Church had to vote the Republican ticket to prevent their people from leaving them. There is no greater mistake than to suppose that the colored

Page 19

ministers, as a rule, have dabbled largely in politics; within the range of our observation not one in twenty have been active politicians.

        2. The second cause for this complaint was that in the state of things already narrated, in the want of opportunity for development, the few colored ministers who came South during or soon after the war were the only well-informed leaders the people had, and, whatever their inclination, they were, at that early period, compelled at times to accept positions as representatives to prevent the people from being misrepresented by men too ignorant to do them credit. Here, again, we see the importance of the African Church and the gracious results of a superintending and overruling Providence, in that it was the means of preparing men for that emergency. Far better would it have been for the freedmen, and the nation as well, if there had been many more upright and intelligent leaders at that period. But the Afro-American Church, the only instrumentality for the development of this race, had done what it could during the dark period in the God-appointed work of developing men for the time.

        The wonders they have accomplished in building up the thousands of churches throughout the South, without any means except what they could collect from the freedmen themselves, attests their devotion and sagacity, as also the presence of the Lord among them and his gracious favor toward them. The Negro Church to-day, in its several denominations, has millions of souls under its care, and it is doubtful if any other race has so large a proportion of church-going people. Its institutions are

Page 20

now preparing men and women to go into the dark parts of the world, bearing the lamp of Gospel light to the millions yet in darkness.

        While, therefore, on the surface of this subject we see the black brother driven out from the white Church by a wicked prejudice, underlying this we see the wisdom of a superintending and overruling Providence, molding, fashioning, and moving, and thus preparing a race for its own development, and at the same time making the wrath of men to praise him.

        In the white Church the black man was deprived of the privilege of exercising his spiritual gifts; coming out, he got his pulpit, in which he has developed into a workman of whom none need be ashamed; a divider of truth, who giveth to each one his portion in due season. To reach the top the black man must go up on his own plane, must climb his own ladder. The white man will never step aside to make room for him. We need hardly state that the feeling of superiority is inherent in the white race in this country. No white man will charge us with a misstatement in this, for he boasts of his superiority; we do not admit it; we deny it, but he claims it. With such feelings and such a claim no degree of merit on the black man's part could entitle him to the first position in the white man's estimation. But while white men may not feel it their duty to assist in the exaltation of one whom they look upon as belonging to an inferior race, yet when a black man, on his own merit, and upon his own ladder, has reached the first position, there are many white men who will grasp his hand in recognition, and even in

Page 21

congratulation, because they do not have to stoop to take his hand.

        Hence it came to pass at the Centennial Conference of Methodists in Baltimore, Md., in 1885, black bishops presided in common with others. But if there had been no black bishops there would have been no black men in the position to preside over that body; and if there had been no American Church there would have been no black bishops. A race is judged by its distinguished men, but where there is no opportunity for distinction it is impossible to judge a race by that method. This was for a long time the black man's great difficulty, and is to some extent yet. When the opportunity has been afforded he has made his mark; but his enemies have determined that his opportunity shall be minimized to the last possible degree, and they have to a great extent been able to stop his progress. But the African Church has set before him an open door which no man can shut; has opened for him an avenue which no man can close, and has put him on a line of march for the front by which he may, if he will, reach the acme of human usefulness, and those are only truly great who are truly useful.

        Dr. J. C. Price, without any effort on his own part or that of his associates, was offered an appointment to represent this government at a foreign court. And why? Because the African Church had raised him up and had given him the opportunity to distinguish himself. Black bishops have been invited to fill pulpits in white churches in sections where the same courtesy has not been extended to other ministers of equal ability. The difference

Page 22

shown is because of the distinction. The exalted position the bishop holds in his own Church--a recognized portion of the holy catholic Church--opens the way for him. We have heard white men say that they went to hear black men for the purpose of criticising, and we think it altogether fair that the ability of a race should be tested; but where there is no opportunity for development and no platform for the exhibition of capacity the possibilities of a race can never be known. Such for a long time was the condition of the black man in this country, and such it would have remained if God had not come to his help by the formation of the African Church. That the Negro has military genius is evident from the great conquerors the race has produced; but blinded by prejudice, and, we might add, largely on account of shameful ignorance, the present generation reads of those ancient black heroes without a thought of their having been black. That the black race possesses statesmanship is seen in the fact that it ruled the world for many hundreds of years; but the present generation has passed over this fact without noticing it. We might also speak of his legal lore, of his skill in physics, and of his diplomatic ability; but you might as well make signs to the blind as to attempt to convince this generation of the Negro's capacity by pointing to what he has been. It must be demonstrated by the exhibition of what the race can achieve now.

        Thank God, who has opened the way by which he has given the oppressed race the Church, the best thing he has on earth, as a field for development, and also as a means for the exhibition of his capacity for development. Not

Page 23

only has this instrumentality opened the way for the development of the race in a material and intellectual sense, but the salvation of souls is also involved.

        The black man is much more sensitive to insult than he is supposed to be; there are thousands, yea, tens of thousands, of black men who would not attend church at all if they had to endure proscription. If limited to the gallery or certain back seats they would refuse to accept the means of grace thus offered, and consequently perish in their sins. This is a fearful thought, but such would have been the end of thousands now safe in heaven had there been no African Church. Besides this, with the present state of feeling the presence of black people in the white church frequently puts many white people out of frame for worship. In the city of Portland, State of Oregon, we found as little race prejudice as in any place in this country. We could have had our choice of any unoccupied rooms at hotels, could have lunched at any of the restaurants, or gone at will wherever a door was open for the public. And yet even there a lady told us of an incident happening to herself which illustrates the point we make. She was a Baptist, but there was no colored church in Portland except the Zion Methodist. She therefore, to be with her own people, attended the Zion Church generally; but to receive the sacrament among people of her own faith she retained her membership in the white Baptist church and regularly attended the communion there. On one Sabbath she went early and took a seat on a bench upon which no one was sitting. Pretty soon a gentleman entered who was but little lighter than herself (for she was nearly white). He was

Page 24

about to take a seat beside her, but on observing who she was he walked out into the aisle and found a seat elsewhere. The lady felt very unpleasant over it; several persons noticed it, and they felt badly. Possibly there were a dozen or more persons put out of the frame for worshiping the Lord during that service. The African Church, to a large extent, prevents such scenes in God's house. The Negro Church is the rock of hope for the race; it gives it a distinguishing place in the divine plan for the evangelization of the world. In the holy crusade by which the nations of the earth are to be brought to Christ the African Church forms one of the three grand divisions of Emanuel's army. It is placed upon the left to withstand the right wing of the opposing forces, the host of darkness. The fiery ordeal through which it has already passed has prepared it for this important position.

        Formalism and skepticism have ever been among the most powerful oppositions with which genuine Christianity has had to contend; but the spirituality of the black man makes him the natural opponent of formalism; his religion becomes a part of him. His soul is filled with it. It sparkles out of his eyes, it bursts forth from his mouth, and his hands and feet declare the rapture of his heart. You seldom see a cold and lifeless Negro Church. Neither is he affected with skepticism. The holy fire is kept so continually alive on the altar that both formalism and skepticism are consumed. Ever since Simon the Ethiopian bore the cross of Christ, the Negro, whenever sufficiently enlightened, has stood by it.

        In Egypt, where Christians have been oppressed for

Page 25

ages, and Christianity has been almost crushed out, the Copts, the descendants of the ancient Egyptians or Mizraimites, still cling to the cross, even in that dark land. While skepticism, adventism, universalism, annihilationism, probationism, and many other pernicious isms are gaining ground among the white people the masses of black Christians are still earnestly contending for the faith once delivered to the saints.

        It was probably the purpose of Jehovah in maintaining the identity of the race in this country, and forming the African Church, to make it a stronghold of pure and undefiled religion. A single black preacher is said to have kindled the fires of Methodism at Fayetteville, N. C., about a hundred years ago, which burned throughout that State and into the adjoining State of South Carolina. He first began to preach among his own race and formed a church. Finally, out of curiosity, the white people began to attend his meetings, and many of them were converted, which ultimately resulted in the formation of many churches in that section. His spirit still lives in Fayetteville, and that vicinity has produced more preachers than any other seven towns of its size within our knowledge. Not less than fifty preachers have started out from that section in the last twenty-five years; among the number are three bishops, Lomax and Harris, of Zion Church, and Beebe, of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. There is at least one white preacher who takes pleasure in telling that his father, who was also a preacher, was converted through the labors of Father Evans, the pioneer black preacher. Bishop Capers speaks of him as one of the most remarkable men

Page 26

he ever knew. The Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, whenever it meets in Fayetteville, occupies some time in eulogies of Father Evans, and the speakers refer to him as the Father of Methodism in North Carolina. If such was the abundant yield of that root out of dry ground, what may we not expect as the results of the labors of the cultured sons and daughters of Ham who are now being prepared through the instrumentality of the Afro-American Church to go forth bearing the unadulterated word, free from all pernicious isms?

        The Church having opened the way for the development of the black man, other means have followed, and still others will follow, until his opportunities are equal to those of any other race and his rights and excellencies are acknowledged by all. Possibly there may then be a union of all who are of the same faith and order, without race distinctions. The African Church will then have accomplished its special work--not till then. Till then there must be no faltering, no looking back to the fleshpots of Egypt; every branch of the African Church must use all the means within its reach, to the end that the race may stand in the front ranks of civil and religious liberty.

Page 27


        SINCE we have asserted the ancient greatness of the Negro race, and since assertion is lame without proof, a chapter here on this subject may not be out of place. It is the impression with many that the Negro has no history to which he can point with pride. There could be no greater mistake than this. If it had been in the power of modern historians of the Caucasian race to rob him of his history it would have been done. But the Holy Bible has stood as an everlasting rock in the black man's defense. God himself has determined that the black man shall not be robbed of his record which he has made during the ages. And here again we acknowledge with humility and thanksgiving our great obligation to God for his goodness toward the race. At every step in this investigation we see plainly the hand divine interposed on our behalf; and the more we investigate the subject the more deeply do we feel the obligation the race is under to love, fear, and serve that God who has so carefully watched over our destiny.

        The first and most illustrious of earth's historians has left on record statements which set forth the fact beyond reasonable doubt that an ancestor of the Negro race was the first of earth's great monarchs, and that that race ruled the world for more than a thousand years; and the statements of Moses are confirmed by the testimonies of

Page 28

the earliest secular historians whose writings have come down to our time. Ethiopia and Egypt were first among the early monarchies, and these countries were peopled by the descendants of Ham, through Cush and Mizraim, and were governed by the same for hundreds of years.

        Palestine was peopled by Canaan, the younger son of Ham, upon whom the curse was pronounced, and, notwithstanding the curse, his posterity ruled that land for more than seven hundred years. They were in it when the promise of it was made to Abraham, and four hundred years later, when Israel came out of Egypt, they were still in full possession of it. And although the land was promised to Israel, yet two tribes, the Jebusites and Sidonians,*

        * The Sidonians were never driven out by the Israelites.

resisted the attacks of Israel for more than four hundred years after they entered upon their promised possessions. Neither Joshua nor the judges of Israel could drive them out; not until David became king were the Jebusites driven out from the stronghold of Zion. It was from this ancient seat of the Jebusites, also called Salem, the seat of royalty and power, that Melchizedek, the most illustrious king, priest, and prophet of that race, came forth to bless Abraham, as seen in Gen. xiv, 18, 19. There have been many wild notions respecting this personage, for which there is no good reason. As Dr. Barnes says:

        "The account of this man in Genesis is as simple an historical record as any other in the Bible. In that account there is no difficulty whatever. It is said simply that when Abraham was returning from a successful military expedition this man, who, it seems, was well known,*

        * So well known that no particular account of him was deemed necessary.

and who was respected as a priest of God Most High, came out to express his approbation of
Page 29

what he had done and to refresh him with bread and wine. As a tribute of gratitude to him and a thank offering to God, Abraham gave him a tenth part of the spoils which he had taken.

        "Such an occurrence was by no means improbable; nor would it have been attended with any special difficulty if it had not been for the use which the apostle makes of it in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Yet on no subject has there been a greater variety of opinions than in regard to this man. The bare recital of the opinions would fill a volume. But in a case which seems to be plain from the Scripture narrative it is not necessary even to enumerate these opinions. They only serve to show how easy it is for men to mystify a clear statement of history, and how fond they are of finding what is mysterious and marvelous in the plainest narrative of facts.

        "That he was Shem, as the Jews supposed,*

        * That is, some of the Jews, not all; for their ablest historian, Josephus, as Dr. Barnes remarks, states that he was a pious Canaanite.

or that he was the Son of God himself, as many Christian expositors have maintained, there is not the slightest evidence. That the latter opinion is false is perfectly clear; for if he was the Son of God with what propriety could the apostle say that he 'was made like the Son of God'--that is, like himself; or that Christ was constituted a priest 'after the order of Melchizedek'--that is, that he was a type of himself. The most simple and probable opinion is that given by Josephus: that he was a pious Canaanitish prince, a person eminently endowed by God, who acted as the priest of his people. That he combined within himself the offices of priest and king furnished to the apostle a beautiful illustration of the offices sustained by the Redeemer, as he was, in this respect, perhaps the only one whose history is recorded in the Old Testament who would furnish such an illustration. That his genealogy was not recorded, while that of every other priest mentioned was carefully traced and preserved, furnished another striking illustration.*

        * What Dr. Barnes here mentions is evidently what the apostle means by his being without father, etc. His genealogy was not recorded.

In this respect, like the Son of God, he stood alone; he was not in the line of priests; he was preceded by no one in the sacerdotal office, nor was he followed by any. That he was superior to Abraham and consequently to all who descended from Abraham; that a tribute was rendered to him by the great ancestor of the fraternity of Jewish priests, was also an illustration which suited the purpose of Paul."--Dr. Albert Barnes, "Notes on Hebrews," chap. vii.

        We have copied so much from Dr. Barnes's Commentary for two reasons: 1. Because his opinion agrees with what appeared to us to be the natural conclusion when we

Page 30

first read the account of Melchizedek in Josephus, more than thirty years ago. 2. Because we wished to show that in the opinion we have advanced we are supported by one of the ablest Bible expounders of our time. Barnes is a standard author; his Commentaries have been adopted by the Presbyterian Board. Those who wish to see what further he has to say can consult his notes on Heb. vii, also his notes on Psalm cx, 4. It seems impossible to reach any other conclusion than that Melchizedek was king of the Jebusites; they took possession of that land when the posterity of Noah was dispersed from Babel. At the time that Abraham met Melchizedek they had been in possession of it for nearly three hundred and fifty years, and they remained in possession of it for eight hundred years more.

        Salem, the seat of government, was the same which was also called Jerusalem. Josephus positively states this, and Dr. Barnes says it is the almost universal opinion. The change, it is generally agreed, comes from the name of the inhabitants--the Jebusites--Jebus being changed to Jerus, and that to Jerusalem. In Psalm lxxvi, 1, 2, Jerusalem is called Salem: "In Judah is God known: his name is great in Israel. In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion."

        Rahab and Tamar were both Canaanites, and both, also, the ancestors of the world's Redeemer. It is not quite certain that the Canaanites were black; but there can be no doubt that they descended from Ham, the father of the black race; and "Cussed be Canaan" is a favorite text with those who delight in the idea of Negro inferiority. One may remark that some have

Page 31

claimed that the curse upon Canaan extended to the whole race of Ham; upon what grounds this claim is set up we have never been able to discover except the desire to have it so. The natural conclusion, it seems to us, if we want to make anything more of it than the simple historical statement that Noah cursed his grandson for his son's misconduct, would be that Noah was led to take this plan to avoid the idea that the rest of Ham's posterity was affected by the curse. In naming the younger son we would naturally get the idea that the curse was to fall upon the smaller portion of Ham's race. To our mind this was a prediction which was fulfilled when Joshua led Israel into the promised land, "Servant of servants shall he be." To whatever extent the Canaanites served the Israelites, who themselves had just come from servitude, this prediction was fulfilled, and that was to no very great extent. They were driven out of the land and exterminated to a considerable extent, but they were not made slaves in any considerable numbers.

        The promise of God was not that Israel should make slaves of them--he has never sanctioned slavery--but his promise was to drive them out, not all at once, but little by little. "I will send the hornet before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee. I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee. . . . Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin

Page 32

against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee." See Exod. xxiii, 28-33.

        And yet Israel did make a covenant with them, and in that the prophecy of Noah was fulfilled. Israel did serve their gods, and they were ensnared, and therefore were never able to drive out all the Canaanites. Respecting the covenant that Israel made with the Canaanites (see Josh. ix), the inhabitants of Gibeon came to Joshua and made him believe that they lived in a country far from him, and he made a covenant with them by which the princes of the Israelites agreed to spare their lives, and they agreed to be hewers of wood and drawers of water for Israel; and thus of their own volition they became the servants of a people who had just come from bondage. And thus was fulfilled the prophecy of Noah, "Servant of servants shall he be," etc.

        This, however, was a very small portion of Canaan's race; enough, indeed, to fulfill the prophecy, but not enough to make the noise about that Negro haters have been making for the last two or three hundred years.

        God promised to drive out the Canaanites, that Israel might inhabit the land free from the snares of idolatry, but God's promise was conditional. To avoid the dangerous increase of wild beasts a portion of the Canaanites were permitted to remain until Israel had sufficiently increased to populate the land. During this period of joint occupancy the Israelites were required to keep themselves from idolatry and from all entangling alliances with the Canaanites. The Israelites failed in both these requirements; they worshiped the idols and married the sons and daughters of the Canaanites. Hence God

Page 33

did not drive out all of the Canaanites, and Israel could not drive them out. "And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice; I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died" (Judg. ii, 20, 21).

        We have already mentioned the fact that the Jebusites held their stronghold till David came to the throne; their dislodgment was then necessary to the accomplishment of the divine purpose; but the Sidonians, descendants of the elder son of Canaan, including the Tyrians, were never driven out by the Israelites. They, with their kindred, the Carthaginians, were the most powerful maritime nations of their time. The Philistines, who gave Israel more trouble than any other of the nations in that land, were the descendants of Ham through Mizraim.

        As an evidence of the strength and valor of the nations with which Israel had to contend in the land of Canaan, we have the fact that, during the four hundred years in which the judges ruled, Israel was in bondage more than seventy years to those nations. It was not weakness nor the want of courage on the part of the Canaanites, nor the superiority of the Israelites, which gave Israel a habitation in that land; but God had a purpose in the interest of humanity, and the idolatry of the Canaanites rendered them suitable objects upon which to operate in the carrying out of that purpose.

        Historians tell a story of the Tyrians and Carthaginians

Page 34

which is most creditable to both: "When Alexander was besieging Tyre the Tyrians took that which they valued most highly, their wives and little children, and sent them to Carthage, and although the Carthaginians were engaged in war they received them and succored them with parental care." Caucasian civilization can point to nothing that exceeds this gallantry on the one side and generosity on the other. Considering the period at which this occurred it indicates a marvelous degree of advancement in the knowledge of what is due to the family.

        Carthage has contributed to the honor of the Negro race not only in this, but also in producing one of the most renowned warriors that has ever appeared upon a field of battle. Of course we refer to Hannibal; but besides him there was another, less renowned, it is true, but greater in that he was both statesman and warrior. We refer to Hamilcar, the father of Hannibal. He took Hannibal at nine years of age and taught him the art of war. He had the ability to unite the forces for victory; the lack of this was Hannibal's misfortune and the ruin of Carthage. But in boldness, in courage, and in the splendid management of his forces Hannibal has had no superior and but few equals since man began to fight.

        Hannibal also possessed some ability as a statesman. History informs us that upon one occasion by a persuasive speech he brought the Carthaginian senate to a unanimous agreement on an important matter on which there had been a disagreement. He feared that if the senate was not unanimous there would be dissensions among the people.

Page 35

        Carthage also gave to the world in the persons of St. Augustine and St. Cyprian two of the ablest ministers of which the Christian Church can boast. The simple mention of these names is all that any man at all acquainted with Church history needs. That the Phoenicians, who were the founders of Carthage in union with original Africans, were the descendants of Canaan, there ought to be no question; but since everything honorable to the Negro race is questioned we will simply give the testimony of Rollin.*

        * Rollin, book i, p. 160.

He says: "The Canaanites are certainly the same people who are called, almost always, Phoenicians by the Greeks, for which name no reason can be given, any more than the oblivion of the true one." Thus it is seen that up to Rollin's time there was no question as to the fact that the Phoenicians were Canaanites. Rollin did not know why this, instead of the true name, was given; neither do we know; but we may easily conjecture that, since it was the Greeks that gave this name instead of the true one, it may have been their purpose to hide the fact that the people to whom they were so greatly indebted were the descendants of the accursed son of Ham. This would be in perfect accord with the conduct of the Caucasian race to-day.

        We have also the testimony of Dr. Barnes that the Phoenicians were descended from the Canaanites. In his notes on Matt. xv, 22, of the woman of Canaan who met Jesus on the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he says: "This woman is called also a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth (Mark vii, 26). Anciently the whole land, including Tyre and Sidon, was in the possession of the

Page 36

Canaanites, and called Canaan. The Phoenicians were descended from the Canaanites. The country, including Tyre and Sidon, was called Phoenicia, or Syrophoenicia; that country was taken by the Greeks under Alexander the Great, and these cities in the time of Christ were Greek cities. This woman was therefore a Gentile, living under the Greek government and probably speaking that language. She was by birth a Syrophoenician, born in that country, and descended therefore from the ancient Canaanites."

        On the same text Dr. Abbott says: "The term Canaan was the older title of the country, and the inhabitants were successively termed Canaanites and Phoenicians, as the inhabitants of England were successively called Britons and Englishmen."

        Of Carthage we may remark that through all the hundreds of years of its existence as an independent government it remained a republic. Rollin, speaking of its government, says:

        "The government of Carthage was founded upon principles of most consummate wisdom; and it is with reason that Aristotle ranks this republic in the number of those that were had in the greatest esteem by the ancients, and which were fit to serve as a model for others. He grounds his opinion on a reflection which does great honor to Carthage by remarking that from the foundation to his time (that is, upward of five hundred years) no considerable sedition had disturbed the peace nor any tyrant oppressed the liberty of the State. Indeed, mixed governments, such as that of Carthage, where the power was divided betwixt the nobles and the people, are subject to the inconveniences either of degenerating into an abuse of liberty by the seditions of the populace, as frequently happened in Athens and in all the Grecian republics, or in the oppression of the public liberty by the tyranny of the nobles, as in Athens, Syracuse, Corinth, Thebes, and Rome itself under Sylla and Cæsar. It is therefore giving Carthage the highest praise to observe that it had found out the art, by the wisdom of its laws and the harmony of the different parts of its

Page 37

government, to shun during so long a series of years two rocks that are so dangerous and on which others so often split. It were to be wished that some ancient author had left us an accurate and regular description of the customs and laws of the famous republic."

        While we agree with Rollin in his lament of the want of a more complete history of that ancient Negro republic, yet if those Caucasians who are wont to arrogate to themselves all the excellencies of this world, and to deny that the Negro ever has been great or ever can be, would take time to read what has been written, with sufficient care to understand it, they would lose some of their self-conceit and add much to their store of knowledge.

        Having touched briefly upon the history of the posterity of Ham through his younger son, we shall now take a brief view of the greatness of that posterity as it is seen in his descendants through his second son, Mizraim. That the ancient Egyptians were black both the Holy Scriptures and the discoveries of science, as also the most ancient history, most fully attest. But as some profess to have doubts on this point we shall take some testimony which we think no fair-minded man will attempt to dispute.

        The psalmist calls to memory the wonders which God wrought for his people, and celebrates in song his dealings with Israel in Egypt, and frequently calls Egypt the land of Ham. How can this be accounted for if Egypt was not peopled by the posterity of Ham? But he goes further than this; he calls their dwellings the tabernacles of Ham. He "smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham"

Page 38

(Psalm lxxviii, 51). "Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham" (Psalm cv, 23). "He sent Moses his servant, and Aaron whom he had chosen. They set among them his signs, and wonders in the land of Ham" (Psalm cv, 26, 27). "They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt; wondrous works in the land of Ham" (Psalm xvi, 21, 22).

        The man who, after reading these passages, can doubt that the Egyptians, to whom Israel was in bondage, were the descendants of Ham is beyond the reach of reason. The repetition seems designed to settle this fact beyond question. We might add, if it were necessary, that the Book of Canticles is an allegory based upon Solomon's affection for his beautiful black wife, the daughter of Pharaoh, King of Egypt.

        In the sixty-eighth psalm we have a prophecy which connects Egypt with Ethiopia, as follows: "Princes shall come out of Egypt, Ethiopia shall soon stretch forth her hands unto God."

        Rollin, in speaking of the fact that all callings in Egypt were honorable, gives this as a probable reason, that "as they all descended from Ham,*

        * Rollin calls him "Cham."

their common father, the memory of their still recent origin occurring to the minds of all in those first ages, established among them a kind of equality, and stamped, in their opinion, a nobility on every person descended from the common stock."*

        * See Ancient History, by Charles Rollin, vol. i, p. 152.

        Again, treating of the history of the kings of Egypt, Rollin says: "The ancient history of Egypt comprises

Page 39

two thousand one hundred and fifty-eight years, and is naturally divided into three periods. The first begins with the establishment of the Egyptian monarchy by Menes or Mizraim, the son of Ham, in the year of the world 1816.*

        * See vol. i, p. 161.

        On the next page he says of Ham: "He had four children, Cush, Mizraim, Phut, and Canaan." After speaking of the settlement of the other sons he returns to Mizraim and says: "He is allowed to be the same as Menes, whom all historians declare to be the first king of Egypt."

        In speaking of the settlement of the sons of Ham, Rollin says: "Cush settled in Ethiopia, Mizraim in Egypt, which generally is called in Scripture after his name and by that of Cham (Ham), his father; Phut took possession of that part of Africa which lies westward of Egypt, and Canaan of that country which afterward bore his name."

        That ancient Egypt was the seat of the arts and sciences there can be no doubt; the evidences of this still remain. The cities built by the early kings of Egypt have been the wonder of all succeeding ages.

        Sesostris stands at the head of the list of the great Egyptian warriors. Rollin says:

        "His father, whether by inspiration, caprice, or, as the Egyptians say, by the authority of an oracle, formed the design of making his son a conqueror. This he set about after the Egyptian manner; that is, in a great and noble way. All the male children born on the same day with Sesostris were by the king ordered brought to court. Here they were educated as if they had been his own children, with the same care as was bestowed on Sesostris, with whom they were brought up. He could not possibly have given him more faithful ministers nor officers who more zealously desired the success of his arms. The chief part of their education was inuring them from infancy to a hard and laborious life, in order that they might one day be capable of sustaining with ease the toils of war.

Page 40

        "Sesostris was taught by Mercury, a native Egyptian, whom the Greeks pronounced thrice great. The instruction included politics and the art of government. His first venture in war was against the Arabians, whom he subdued; a nation which had never before been conquered. He next invaded Libya and subdued the greater part of that country. At the death of his father he felt himself capable of undertaking the greatest enterprises. . . . He formed no less a design than the conquest of the world. But before he left his kingdom he provided for his domestic security in winning the hearts of his subjects by his generosity and justice, and a popular, obliging behavior. He was no less studious to gain the affection of his officers and soldiers, whom he wished to be ever ready to shed the last drop of their blood in his service, persuaded that his enterprises would all be unsuccessful unless his army should be attached to his person by all the ties of esteem, affection, and interest. He divided the country into thirty-six governments (called Nomi), and bestowed them on persons of merit and the most approved fidelity. In the meantime he made the requisite preparation, levied forces, and headed them with officers of the greatest bravery and reputation; and these were taken chiefly from among the youths who had been educated with him. He had seventeen hundred of these officers, who were all capable of inspiring his troops with resolution, a love of discipline, and a zeal for the service of their prince. His army consisted of 600,000 foot and 24,000 horse, besides 27,000 armed chariots. "He began his expedition by invading Ethiopia, situated on the south of Egypt. He made it tributary and obliged the nations to furnish him annually a certain quantity of ebony, ivory, and gold.

        "He fitted out a fleet of four hundred sail and ordered it to advance to the Red Sea, made himself master of the isles and cities lying on the coast of the sea. He himself leading the army, he overran and subdued Asia with amazing rapidity, and advanced farther into India than Hercules, Bacchus, and in after times Alexander himself ever did; for he subdued the countries beyond the Ganges and advanced as far as the ocean. One may judge from hence how unable the more neighboring nations were to resist him. The Scythians, as far as the river Tonais, as well as Armenia and Cappadocia, were conquered. He left a colony in the ancient kingdom of Colchos, situated to the east of the Black Sea, where the Egyptian customs and manners have been ever since retained. "Herodotus saw in Asia Minor, from one sea to the other, monuments of his victories. In several countries was read the following inscription engraved on pillars: 'Sesostris, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, subdued this country by the power of his arms.' Such pillars were found even in Thrace, and his empire extended from the Ganges to the Danube. . . . The scarcity of provision in Thrace stopped the progress of his conquests

Page 41

and prevented his advancing further into Europe. . . . He returned, therefore, laden with the spoils of the vanquished nations, dragging after him a numberless multitude of captives, and covered with greater glory than any of his predecessors; that glory, I mean, which employs so many tongues and pens in its praise; which consists in invading a great number of provinces in a hostile way and is often productive of numberless calamities. He rewarded his officers and soldiers with a truly royal magnificence, in proportion to their rank and merit. He made it both his pleasure and duty to put the companions of his victory in such a condition as might enable them to enjoy during the remainder of their days a calm and easy repose, the just reward of their past toils. With regard to himself, forever careful of his own reputation, and still more of making his power advantageous to his subjects, he employed the repose which peace allowed him in raising works that might contribute more to the enriching of Egypt than the immortalizing of his own name; works in which art and industry of the workmen were more admired than the immense sums which had been expended on them."

        In the face of these indisputable facts of history, Mede says: "There never has been a son of Ham who hath shaken a scepter over Japheth; Shem hath subdued Japheth and Japheth subdued Shem, but Ham never subdued either."

        Mede's historical researches must have been barren of results, or he must have forgotten many things. It is amazing what an amount of ignorance and stupidity race prejudice, conceit, and arrogance are responsible for.

        Gardner says: "It is to the Caucasian race that the history of the world must mainly confine itself, for with that race originated almost all that ennobles and dignifies mankind."

        Another outburst of Caucasian wind. These thoughtless scribes shut their eyes to the fact that the race of Ham dominated the world for nearly, if not quite, fifteen hundred years. They shut their eyes to the fact that for fifteen hundred years more dominion was constantly

Page 42

shifting, and no one race held undisputed sway. For the last two thousand years the ascending star of empire has been with the Caucasian races; Japheth, the last, has become first.

        The facts recorded by Rollin concerning Sesostris are not at all liable to the suspicion of having been colored by his admiration of that great prince. Rollin indicates very clearly the absence of admiration; he not only questions that kind of glory which historians accorded to Sesostris, but also criticises his vanity, as follows:

        "Sesostris might have been considered as one of the most illustrious and most boasted heroes of antiquity had not the luster of his warlike actions, as well as pacific virtues, been dimmed by a thirst of glory and a blind fondness for his own grandeur which made him forget that he was a man. The kings and chiefs of the conquered nations came at stated times to do homage to their victor and pay him the appointed tribute; on every other occasion he treated them with sufficient humanity and generosity, but when he went to the temple or entered his capital he caused these princes to be harnessed to his car, four abreast, instead of horses, and valued himself upon his being thus drawn by the lords and sovereigns of other nations. What I am most surprised at is that Diodemus should rank this foolish and inhuman vanity among the most shining acts of this prince."

        Thus it is seen that Rollin was ready to censure even where others praised Sesostris. As a Christian, Rollin was compelled to condemn this unparalleled exhibition of human vanity. At the same time his statement of the fact indicates the high esteem in which this prince was held. That the lords of those conquered nations submitted to thus dishonor themselves to do him honor shows how completely he was master of the situation. It indicates more than this: it indicates the wonderful wisdom and power of that black prince, in that he was able, through a long reign, to hold these chiefs in faithful allegiance without a single revolt.

Page 43

        The record given by Rollin indicates that Sesostris was among the wisest, as well as among the most powerful, monarchs of earth. Napoleon was a great warrior, but he died in exile, a prisoner of war. Alexander was a great general, but he made a foolish march across a desert country, almost to the destruction of his army, for the foolish purpose of worshiping at the shrine and of being called the son of Jupiter Ammon. This so discouraged his forces that he never accomplished the object of his ambition. For this many of his command despised him.

        Sesostris made no such blunders in his campaigns. He went forth conquering until he met a providential interposition; his climax of wisdom was displayed in his turning back when he discovered that not merely mortal beings, but the great Immortal, opposed his further conquest. He returned to his own country to enjoy, in peace and prosperity, the fruits of his unparalleled victories. His conduct toward those cities which resisted his attacks most stubbornly was in striking contrast to that of Alexander; as Alexander advanced to invade Egypt he found at Gaza a garrison so strong that he was obliged to besiege it. It held out a long time, during which he received two wounds; this provoked him to such a degree that when he had captured the place he treated the soldiers and inhabitants most cruelly. He cut ten thousand men to pieces and sold all the rest, with their wives and children, for slaves. His treatment of Betis, the commandant of the forces, was the most shameful of anything recorded in history. Sesostris, on the other hand, was pleased with those who defended their possessions most bravely; the degree of resistance which he had to

Page 44

overcome was denoted by him in hieroglyphical figures on monuments. The more stubborn the resistance the greater the achievement and the more worthy the people to become his subjects. Respecting the foolish march of Alexander which we have mentioned, the following, from Rollin, will explain:

        "At Memphis he formed a design of visiting the temple of Jupiter Ammon; this temple was situated in the midst of the sandy deserts of Libya, and twelve days' journey from Memphis. Ham, the son of Noah, first peopled Egypt and Libya after the flood; and when idolatry began to gain ground in the world some time after he was the chief deity of those countries in which his descendants had continued. A temple was built to his honor in the midst of these deserts, upon a spot of pretty good ground, about two leagues broad,*

        * About five miles.

which formed a kind of island in a sea of sand. It is he whom the Greeks call Jupiter and the Egyptians Ammon. In process of time these two names were joined, and he was called Jupiter Ammon.

        "The motive of this journey, which was equally rash and dangerous, was owing to a ridiculous vanity. Alexander having read in Homer and other fabulous authors of antiquity that most of their heroes were represented as the sons of some deity, and as he himself was desirous of passing for a hero, he was determined to have some god for his father. Accordingly, he fixed upon Jupiter Ammon for this purpose, and began by bribing the priests and teaching them the part they were to act. . . . Alexander had a journey to go of sixteen hundred stadia, or eighty French leagues, to the temple of Jupiter Ammon, and most of the way through sandy deserts. The soldiers were patient enough for the first two days' march, before they arrived in the extensive, dreadful solitudes; but as soon as they found themselves in vast plains, covered with sands of prodigious depth, they were greatly terrified. . . . "They were several days in crossing these deserts, and upon arriving near the place where the oracle stood they perceived a great number of ravens flying before the most advanced standard. These ravens sometimes flew to the ground when the army marched slowly, and at other times advanced forward, as if it were to serve them as guides, till they at last came to the temple of the god. A surprising circumstance is that, although this oracle is situated in the midst of an almost boundless solitude, it nevertheless is surrounded with a grove so very shady that the sunbeams can scarcely pierce it, not to mention that this grove or wood is watered with several springs of fresh water, which preserve it in perpetual verdure.

Page 45

        "It is related that near this grove there is another, in the midst of which is a fountain called the Water of the Sun. At daybreak it is lukewarm; at noon cool, but in the evening it grows warmer and at midnight is boiling hot; after this as day approaches it decreases in heat, and continues this vicissitude forever. The god who is worshiped in this temple is not represented under the form which painters and sculptors generally give to gods, for he is made of emeralds and other precious stones, and from head to navel resembles a ram.

        "The king being come into the temple, the senior priest declared him to be the son of Jupiter, and assured him that God himself bestowed this name upon him. Alexander accepted it with joy and acknowledged Jupiter his father. He afterward asked the priest whether his father Jupiter had not allotted him the empire of the world; to which the priest, who was as much a flatterer as the king was vainglorious, answered that he should be monarch of the universe. At last he inquired whether all his father's *

        * Philip.

murderers had been punished; but the priest replied that he blasphemed, that his father was immortal, but that with regard to the murderers of Philip, they had all been expiated, adding that he should be invincible, and afterward take his seat among the deities. Having ended his sacrifices, he offered magnificent presents to the god, and did not forget the priests who had been so faithful to his interests.

        "Decorated with the splendid title of the son of Jupiter, and fancying himself raised above the human species, he returned from his journey as from a triumph. From that time, in all his letters, his orders and decrees, he always wrote the following: 'Alexander King, Son of Jupiter Ammon.' "

        If the fact that Sesostris had his chiefs to take the place of horses in conveying him to the temple was vain and foolish, what shall be said of the vanity of Alexander in this exploit? But I have transcribed this passage for the purpose of calling attention to the fact that there could have been no such prejudice against the Negro, Ham, at that day, as his race endures to-day. There could have been no thought that he was inferior to Shem or Japheth, for here we see the most distinguished of the warriors descending from Japheth renouncing his own race and his own father and claiming Ham, deified, for his father.

Page 46

        We can hardly think that Alexander was so ignorant as not to know in whose honor and to whose memory this god was erected. The country in which he was situated, his black priests, and all the circumstances surrounding him rendered it impossible for Alexander to escape the knowledge of his identity. This ought to satisfy any reasonable mind that the race of Ham must some time have been uppermost among the sons of men.

        Cadmus, who invented letters and took them to Greece, is admitted to have been either Egyptian or Phoenician (both claimed him); it does not matter which, he was a descendant of Ham; and he may have descended from both by intermarriage.

        The ancient greatness of Ham's descendants on the line of his elder son, Cush, is most strikingly set forth by Moses in the Book of Genesis. The record is as follows: "Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord. . . . And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city."

        The sacred historian generally in recording facts on this side of the flood gives only a particular account of the posterity of Shem, and enlarges upon facts respecting other nations only in some relation to Shem's posterity. The passage just quoted is a departure from this rule, and the reason for the special prominence given to this distinguished Ethiopian is far to seek unless it was Jehovah's purpose that a despised race, in generations

Page 47

following, should thus be able to point to the greatness of its ancestry.

        Take this record, found in the tenth chapter of Genesis, and you will notice that nearly one fourth of the chapter is taken up with the account of this one man. It is the chapter in which Moses gives the settlements of the generations of Noah; all that is said of more than fifty heads of families is contained in this chapter; but, as we have noticed, Nimrod gets the lion's share, and is made to appear more distinguished for his greatness and mighty achievements than any other man from the time of Noah to that of Abraham. The historian could not have given him greater prominence, and the fact that Moses wrote by inspiration heightens the significance of the record and adds to the distinction of this ancient black hero. We may remark, however, that Moses, having married a black woman, was not averse to doing justice to her race, a thing which cannot be said of modern historians.

        In this record it is seen that Nimrod was the first of earth's great monarchs; the first to erect a great empire, the first to bring other nations under his control. He was the beginning or first of mighty ones among men, and also a mighty hunter before the Lord. He was the greatest man that lived during a period of several hundred years. His might was proverbial, so that it was said, "as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord," or "as Nimrod the mighty one." His might is not only expressed in this language, but it is seen in the extent of his empire and in the numerous cities he built; it is also seen in the duration of his empire, for the government continued in his posterity for hundreds of years.

Page 48

Among his successors were not only some of the mightiest men that ever ruled, but also a woman who led to victory the largest army ever marshaled by a female. We refer to Semiramis. It was she to whom Alexander referred when he admitted that a woman had performed mightier achievements in a certain land than he had.

        This Babylonian or Chaldean empire, established by Nimrod and enlarged and embellished by his successors, was the head of gold in the image seen by Nebuchadnezzar in his dream, which went from him and was recalled by the prophet Daniel. It had for hundreds of years almost universal dominion. In support of this position we once more turn to Rollin, book iii, chapter i:

        "The Assyrian empire was undoubtedly one of the most powerful in the world. As to the length of its duration two particular opinions have chiefly prevailed. Some authors, as Clesias, whose opinion is followed by Justor, give it a duration of thirteen hundred years; others reduce it to five hundred and twenty, of which number is Herodotus. The diminution, or rather the interruption, of power which happened in this vast empire might possibly give occasion to this difference of opinion, and may perhaps serve in some measure to reconcile it.

        "The history of those early times is so obscure, the monuments which convey it down to us so contrary to each other, and the systems of the moderns upon that matter so different, that it is difficult to lay down any opinion about it as certain and incontestable. But where certainty is not to be had I suppose a reasonable person will be satisfied with probability; and in my opinion a man can hardly be deceived if he makes the Assyrian empire equal in antiquity with the city of Babylon, its capital.

        "Now we learn from the Holy Scripture that this was built by Nimrod, who certainly was a great conqueror, and in all probability the first and most ancient of all those who have ever aspired after that denomination.

        "The Babylonians, as Callisthenes, a philosopher in Alexander's retinue, wrote to Aristotle, reckoned themselves to be at least of nineteen hundred and three years' standing when that prince entered triumphant into Babylon, which makes their origin reach back to the year of the world 1771, that is to say, one hundred and fifteen years after the deluge. This computation comes within a few years of the time in which we suppose Nimrod to have founded that city. Indeed, this testimony of Callisthenes, as it

Page 49

does not agree with other accounts of that matter is not esteemed authentic by the learned; but the conformity we find between it and the Holy Scriptures should make us regard it. Upon these grounds we think we may allow Nimrod to have been the founder of the first Assyrian empire, which subsisted, with more or less extent and glory, upward of fourteen hundred and fifty years, from the time of Nimrod to that of Sardanapalus, the last king, that is to say, from the year of the world 1800 to the year 3257. "Nimrod: he is the same with Belus, who was afterward worshiped as a god under that appellation. He was the son of Cush, grandson of Ham, and great-grandson of Noah. He was, says the Scripture, 'a mighty hunter before the Lord.' In applying himself to this laborious and dangerous exercise he had two things in view: the first was to gain the people's affection by delivering them from the fury and dread of wild beasts; the next was to train up numbers of young people by this exercise of hunting to endure labor and hardship, to form them to the use of arms, to inure them to a kind of discipline and obedience, that at a proper time after they had been accustomed to his orders and seasoned to arms he might make use of them for other purposes more serious than hunting. In ancient history we find some footprints remaining of this artifice of Nimrod, whom the writers have confounded with Ninus, his son; for Dodonus has these words: 'Ninus, the most ancient of the Assyrian kings mentioned in history, performed great actions; being naturally of a warlike disposition and ambitious of the glory that results from valor, he armed a considerable number of young men that were brave and vigorous like himself, trained them up for a long time in laborious exercises and hardships, and by that means accustomed them to bear the fatigues of war patiently and to face danger with courage and intrepidity.' "What the same author adds, that Ninus entered into alliance with the king of the Arabs and joined forces with him, is a piece of ancient tradition which informs us that the sons of Cush, and by consequence the brothers of Nimrod, all settled themselves in Arabia, along the Persian Gulf, from Thavila to the ocean, and lived near enough to their brother to lend him succor or receive succor from him. And what the same historian further says of Ninus, that he was the first king of the Assyrians, agrees exactly with what the Scripture says of Nimrod, that he began to be mighty upon the earth; that is, he procured himself settlements, built cities, subdued his neighbors, united different people under one and the same authority by the band of the same polity and the same laws, and formed them into one State, which, for those early times, was of a considerable extent, though bounded by the rivers Euphrates and Tigris, and which in succeeding ages made new acquisitions by degrees and at length extended its conquests very far. The capital city of this kingdom, says

Page 50

the Scripture, was Babylon. Most of profane historians ascribe the founding of Babylon to Semiramis; others to Belus. It is evident that both the one and the other are mistaken, if they speak of the first founding of the city, for it owes its beginning neither to Semiramis nor Nimrod, but to the foolish vanity of those persons mentioned in Scripture who desired to build a tower and a city that should render their memory immortal. Josephus relates, upon the testimony of a sibyl (who must have been very ancient and whose fictions cannot be imputed to the indiscreet zeal of any Christians), that the gods threw down the tower by an impetuous wind or a violent hurricane. Had this been the case Nimrod's temerity must have been much greater to rebuild a city and a tower which God himself had thrown down with such marks of his displeasure. But the Scripture says no such thing, and it is very probable the building remained in the condition it was when God put an end to the work by the confusion of their languages, and that the tower consecrated to Belus, which is described by Herodotus, was this very tower which the sons of men pretended to raise to the clouds. . . . "Nimrod was the first who encompassed it afterward with walls, settled therein his friends and confederates, and subdued those that lived round about it, beginning his empire in that place but not confining it to so narrow a compass. . . . Having possessed himself of the provinces of Asshur, he did not ravage them like a tyrant, but filled them with cities, and made himself as much loved by his new subjects as he was by his old ones. . . . Among other cities he built one more large and magnificent than the rest, which he called Nineveh, from the name of his son Ninus, in order to immortalize his memory. The son in his turn, out of veneration for his father, was willing that they who had served him as their king should adore him as their god, and induce other nations to render him the same worship. For it appears plainly that Nimrod is the famous Belus of the Babylonians, the first king whom the people deified for his great actions."

        One difficulty with profane authors respecting Nimrod is that they have overlooked the fact that he possessed himself of the land of Asshur, or Assyria; and another is that one profane author, at some period, fell into the mistake of confounding the acts of Ninus with those of his father Nimrod, and others have copied the error. Like Rollin, we plant ourselves upon the Bible; our first knowledge of ancient history was obtained from that source. Where it speaks at all it is the rule by which all must be squared; where it is silent other creditable

Page 51

authorities are good; but that which is in direct conflict with it must be error. The Bible, as we have seen, sets forth the greatness of Nimrod so clearly that he who reads*

        * Hab. ii, 2.

may run. There are some who think he is set forth in contrast to Abraham; that Nimrod, in his lust for power, his vanity, ambition, and aggressiveness, was the representative of those who have their portion in this world, while Abraham was the representative of those who acknowledge themselves strangers and sojourners here on earth and are seeking a better country.

        The testimony which might be gathered in support of the position we have taken respecting the ancient greatness of Ham's posterity would fill a volume; but the limits of the plan of this book forbid a more extended consideration of the subject. If what is here written shall induce those who come after us--whose better opportunities will enable them to give the subject a more learned consideration--to go to the bottom of this matter, our reward will be ample. Those who take issue with us will, we think, be compelled to pay more attention to the subject than historians generally are wont to do. Those who may be inclined to combat our position will ask, "If the race of Ham was once so great why is it now so small? Why is it that the race everywhere is so degraded, so ignorant, and so wretched?"

        The answer is not far to seek. Ham forsook God and took the world for his portion. The language of Abraham addressed to the rich man in torment might well be addressed to Ham: "Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things." Ham had his day,

Page 52

and made very bad use of it. For fifteen hundred years he possessed the earth through his posterity, and what did he do with it? He led the nations into idolatry. He began at Babel, in Nimrod his grandson, to exhibit his daring impiety. God had said, "Go forth, multiply, and replenish the earth" (Gen. viii, 16; ix, 1). Nimrod said, "No, let us not do that. It is not well for us to get scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. 'Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly,' and 'let us build us a city' (here in Shinar), and let us erect 'a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven' (that we may see it at any distance, that it may serve as a rallying point, a center of gravity around which all our interests shall cluster); 'and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth'" (Gen. xi, 3, 4).

        Of course in this great empire, of which this city was to be the center, Nimrod was to be the sovereign. He was to take the place of the Almighty in the hearts and affections of the people. He was not a tyrant in the ordinary sense of that term; he was a bold, fearless, scheming political boss. He was the more dangerous and the more successful because of his extraordinary sagacity; by his graceful address, his wonderful physical powers, his energy and dash, he won the hearts of the people and swayed them at his will, just as scheming political bosses do now. The purpose of God was to scatter them; the purpose of Nimrod was to hold them together for his own aggrandizement. So God said, "Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.

Page 53

So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth" (Gen. xi, 7, 8).

        Although Moses does not mention the fact, yet we think it quite probable that the difference in complexion, as well as language, had its origin in connection with this purpose of God to scatter the nations over the whole earth. It was not to hinder the building of a city that God confounded their languages, but to scatter them. For God said, "Nothing will be restrained from them which they have imagined to do" (Gen. xi, 6). But so long as they are one people and one language they will continue to hang together. Those who could understand each other remained together. Many remained with Nimrod, who began his kingdom there; notwithstanding the displeasure which God had shown respecting his conduct, he was determined to make himself a name there. He made the name: Baal, Bel, Belus; which in time became Baal-berith, Baal-gad, Baal-moloch, Baal-peor, Baal-zebub, etc. This was the name he made, and not only his own race, but all the nations of the earth forsook God and went a-whoring after it.

        Richard Watson, in his Biblical and Theological Dictionary, page 116, after speaking of the general use of the term Baal among the Babylonians and Assyrians, the Phoenicians, Sidonians, Tyrians, Carthaginians, and other Canaanitish nations, says:

        "It is remarkable that we do not find the name Baal so much in popular use east of Babylon; but it was general west of Babylon and to the very extremity of western Europe, including the British Isles. The worship of Baal, Bel, Belus, and Belenus was general throughout the British Islands, and certain of its rights and observances are still maintained among us, notwithstanding the establishment of Christianity during so many ages. A town in Perthshire, on the borders of the Highlands, is called Tilliebeltane,

Page 54

or Tilliebellane; that is, the eminence or rising ground of the fire of Baal. In the neighborhood is a Druidical temple of eight upright stones, where it is supposed the fire was kindled. At some distance from this is another temple of the same kind, but smaller; and near it a well still held in great veneration. On Beltane morning superstitious people go to this well and drink of it, then make a procession round it nine times, so deep-rooted is this heathenish superstition in the minds of many who reckon themselves good Protestants."

        Thus it is seen that the idolatry established by the posterity of Ham reached the uttermost regions of the Caucasian race. This is the great sin of Ham and his sons; they were the originators and promoters of idolatry, the stench in God's nostrils, the thing of all most hateful and most hated by the sovereign God of all. The greatness which we have been ascribing to Ham's race is the earthly sort, that which profane writers of every race have extolled. It is from their standpoint that we have been writing. We claim that there is no true greatness outside of godliness. The mass of the ancient descendants of Ham were not godly, and therefore not truly great; they were men who, as the psalmist says, have their portion in this life. Ham's race in early times produced a few exceptions to this rule. Melchizedek, before mentioned, was the most distinguished exception. In honor of his righteousness God blessed the Jebusites beyond other of the doomed nations, in that they were permitted to regain their stronghold of Zion for four hundred years after the entrance of Israel upon their promised possessions. His righteous administration was long remembered and its influence long felt. Many of those who enjoyed his instructions and his priestly intercessions were probably induced to lead pious lives, and thus the knowledge of the true God was long retained among them.

Page 55

        Rahab, who hid the spies, and became one of the ancestors of the world's Redeemer, was a believer in the one only living and true God. There were, no doubt, many others, but the mass were idolaters, and this is why the race has felt the divine displeasure. But the promise is that princes shall come out of Egypt, and that Ethiopia shall soon stretch forth her hands unto God. Whatever shall become of the two younger sons of Ham, this promise assures us that the two elder sons shall cast aside idolatry and return unto the Lord. That this prophecy is now in the course of fulfillment the Negro Church stands forth as unquestionable evidence. It is the streak of morning light which betokens the coming day. It is the morning star which precedes the rising sun. It is the harbinger of the rising glory of the sons of Ham. It is the first fruit of the countless millions of that race who shall be found in the army with banners in the millennial glory of the Christian Church.

Page 56


        WE shall divide this part of the history into three periods:


        The Formation Period of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in America--Twenty-five Years, 1796 to 1821.

        The body of believers now known by this title was formed in the city of New York, State of New York, in the year A. D. 1796. Its title at its organization was "The African Methodist Episcopal Church." Under this title it was incorporated in the year 1801. The first church, at the corner of Church and Leonard Streets, was built the same year. This church was called Zion, hence

Page 57

the connection which grew out of this organization came to be called Zion, and for reasons we shall mention hereafter Zion was finally incorporated as a part of the legal title.

        While as an organization separate from the Methodist Episcopal Church it dates only back to 1796, yet the existence of its nucleus as class or classes, in the Methodist Episcopal Church, dates very much further back.

        We see in the Minutes of the Methodist Episcopal Conferences that the colored members met by themselves to hold class and prayer meetings as early as 1780, and that occasionally Mr. Asbury, or some one appointed by him, preached at the meetings.

        The major part of those who first formed the Zion Church had long been members of the John Street Methodist Episcopal Church, the parent church of that connection; some of them had been members of that church from its beginning. When these became a considerable number they were permitted to hold meetings by themselves in the interval of the regular services. These meetings were regarded as prayer meetings, but the leaders frequently gave exhortations--in fact, did such preaching as their abilities permitted. Hence when the separate organization was formed there was a considerable number of the brethren who were quite proficient speakers; some of these were regularly licensed to exhort, and some to preach, even before the separate organization was formed.

        From the foregoing it is seen that the founders of Zion Church as a body of Christian believers had an existence nearly as early as the formation of the John Street Church.

Page 58

Susan Williams and her husband, Samuel Williams, were members of John Street Church from the time that church was first erected. If therefore we should date our Church from the time the members, as a body, began to hold separate meetings, we might have held our centennial celebration as early as 1880. But the objection to this is that the meetings were held in the name of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The true date is the period at which the new title was taken, and at which time the meetings began to be held without any regard to the authority of the Methodist Episcopal Church, under the new organization.

        The services received from the ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church after that period were governed and restricted by a written contract entered into by the Methodist Episcopal Church and the African Methodist Episcopal Church as separate organizations. The Zion Church had preachers of her own, called of God to preach, and qualified to perform all ministerial duties, so far as Heaven's authority was concerned. There are, however, human ceremonials which have the divine sanction; these are not to be lightly put aside. Such was the sentiment of the founders of Zion Connection. They were unwilling to take upon themselves the peculiar functions of the ministry without a regular ordination, according to the forms of the Church from which they sprang. Hoping that the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church would oblige them by ordaining some of their men, and thus enable them to carry out their purpose to evangelize the African race and form them into a body like the mother Church, but separate from it, they used

Page 59

every possible endeavor to maintain friendly relations with that Church. To maintain this friendly relation with that Church they entered into a contract with it to supply their pulpit and administer the ordinances. Their contract starts off as follows:

        "This article of agreement made this sixth day of April, 1801, between the Rev. John McCloskey, in behalf of the Methodist Episcopal Church of the United States of America, of one part, and the trustees of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, in the city of New York, of the other part, showeth for themselves and their successors in office," etc.

        This contract recognizes Zion Church as an independent body, as fully competent to make a contract as the Methodist Episcopal Church itself.

        Under this contract Zion had the services of the ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church for about twenty years. It is remarkable how closely she followed in the footsteps of the mother Church in this respect. That Church was just twenty years without an ordained ministry; the first Methodist meeting was held in New York in 1765, the first ministers were ordained in 1785. Mr. Asbury filled the position of general superintendent (under the title of general assistant) for several years before he was ordained to the ministry. In the Minutes of 1779, of the Conference held in Kent County, Del., we find the following:

        "Question 12. Ought not Brother Asbury to act as general assistant in America?

        "Answer. He ought: first, on account of his age; second, because originally appointed by Mr. Wesley; third, being joined with Messrs. Rankin and Shadford, by express order from Mr. Wesley.

        "Question 13. How far shall his power extend?

        "Answer. On hearing every preacher for and against what is in debate, the right of determination shall rest with him, according to the Minutes."

Page 60

        The ministers generally were called assistants (to Wesley); Asbury, general assistant. In the Minutes of the Conference held in Philadelphia in 1773 we find the following:

        "The following rules were agreed to by all the preachers present:

        Mr. Wesley had authorized these men to preach, but not to administer the ordinances, and this rule was in keeping with his views and instructions. This will appear beyond question in the following extract of a letter which accompanied the appointment of Coke and Asbury as joint superintendents:

"BRISTOL, September 10, 1784.


        "1. By a very uncommon train of providences many of the provinces of North America are totally disjoined from the British empire and erected into independent States. The English government has no authority over them, either civil or ecclesiastical, any more than over the States of Holland.

        "A civil authority is exercised over them, partly by Congress and partly by the State Assemblies. But no one exercises or claims any ecclesiastical authority at all.

        "In this peculiar situation some thousands of the inhabitants of these States desire my advice; and in compliance with their desire I have drawn up a little sketch.

        "2. Lord King's account of the primitive Church convinced me many years ago that bishops and presbyters are the same order, and consequently have the same right to ordain. For many years I have been importuned from time to time to exercise this right by ordaining part of our traveling preachers. But I have still refused, not only for peace' sake, but because I was determined as little as possible to violate the established order of the national Church to which I belonged. "3. But the case is widely different between England and North America. Here there are bishops who have legal jurisdiction; in America there

Page 61

are none, and but few parish ministers. So that for some hundred miles together there is none either to baptize or administer the Lord's Supper. Here, therefore, my scruples are at an end; and I consider myself at full liberty, as I violate no order and invade no man's right by appointing and sending laborers into the harvest.

        "4. I have accordingly appointed Dr. Coke and Mr. Francis Asbury to be joint superintendents over our brethren in North America; as also Richard Whatcoat and Thomas Vasey to act as elders among them by baptizing and administering the Lord's Supper.

        "5. If anyone will point out a more scriptural way of feeding and guiding those poor sheep in the wilderness I will gladly embrace it. At present I cannot see any better method than that I have taken.

        "6. It has indeed been proposed to desire the English bishops to ordain a part of our preachers for America, but to this I object: first, I desired the Bishop of London to ordain one only, but could not prevail; second, if they consented, we know the slowness of their proceedings, but the matter admits of no delay; third, if they would ordain them now they would likewise expect to govern them, and how grievously would this entangle us; fourth, as our American brethren are now totally disentangled both from the State and from the English hierarchy, we dare not entangle them again either with the one or the other. They are now at full liberty simply to follow the Scriptures and the primitive Church, and we judge it best that they should 'stand fast in that liberty wherewith God has so strangely made them free.'


        From this it is seen that for about twenty years the preachers were laboring without holy orders, which they had sought in vain, and they were obliged to get the sacrament from the Protestant Episcopal Church. They had finally to obtain orders in an extraordinary way, a way which some have questioned; but nevertheless the divine blessing has been upon the Church, and no other Church has made such rapid strides. Likewise, Zion had her struggle of a little more than twenty years to obtain holy orders for her ministers. She finally succeeded, but the delay was a sore pullback, and was the fruitful source of the division in the African Methodist Church.

Page 62

        The bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church tell us now that we ought to be united in one body. The fact is, their predecessors are responsible for the state of things which they deplore. They gave to our fathers sour grapes, and the children's teeth are on edge. If they had agreed to ordain a few of our men at any time before the year 1813 there would have been one African Methodist Episcopal Church, of which old Zion would have been the fountain head. Neither Peter Spencer in Wilmington, nor Richard Allen in Philadelphia, could have been tempted to set up a rival organization to one fully equipped and authenticated by the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church. But the long delay, half promises, and final disappointments to which the Zion people were subjected by the bishops were accepted by the people in Wilmington and Philadelphia as evidence that nothing was to be expected from the bishops, and they went forward and made their own ministers in their own way, or as best they could.

        First of all, Peter Spencer, in 1813, was set apart by election and the laying on of hands of three lay elders, who were elected to that office for that special purpose. In this they claimed that they were following the primitive Church, as Wesley did when he appointed Coke and Asbury to be joint superintendents in America. Three years later Richard Allen was made bishop in Philadelphia. We have no undisputed information as to how he was ordained, of which we shall have more to say hereafter.

        The aggressiveness of Spencer and Allen, especially the latter, compelled the Zion people to renew their efforts to obtain ordination by the bishops; the efforts ending

Page 63

in failure, they were at last compelled to accept the offer of friendly clergymen who had seceded from the Methodist Episcopal Church. For a more particular account of the struggles of this period the reader is referred to The Rise and Progress of Zion, by Bishop C. Rush, and the History of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, by Bishop J. J. Moore, D.D. It is not our purpose to give more than an outline of the history of the period so fully covered by them.

        The matter which caused a schism in the white Church and caused some to secede from that Church was regarded by the Zion people as sufficient reason for putting a period to the agreement by which the white ministers had served them, and the authorities of the Methodist Episcopal Church were informed that they were relieved of the trouble of providing ministerial services any longer. As the Zion Church had been recognized as an independent body from the date of its incorporation, and as this agreement only bound the parties during their pleasure, there was no question as to the right of Zion to terminate the agreement. As the minister who was last appointed from the Conference was among the seceders they were willing that he should finish out his year, not as an appointee of the bishop, but as called by the Church. But the time had evidently come, and all things seemed to combine to compel the colored preachers to take charge of the work themselves. The people were clamoring for it, and by no other means could they have been held together had there been longer delay in qualifying the preachers by ordination. Abraham Thompson, James Varick, and Leven Smith were the first three who were

Page 64

set apart to the office of elder, having been previously ordained deacons. The ordinations were performed by Revs. Dr. James Covel, Sylvester Hutchinson, and William M. Stilwell, all Methodist ministers in good standing. Dr. Covel acted as chairman of the Bench of Elders. The three brethren thus set apart to elders' orders proceeded to ordain others.

        During the year 1820 churches were organized in New Haven and Philadelphia. Leven Smith and Christopher Rush were instrumental in effecting the organization in New Haven, and Abraham Thompson and William Miller in Philadelphia. Having passed briefly over the first period, we come to the second.


The Developing Period, 1821 to 1863.

        Having previously mentioned the ordination of the first three elders, we may now state that on July 18, 1822, the Annual Conference was convened in extra session in the city of New York. At this session, on Sunday, July 21, Christopher Rush, James Smith, James Anderson, William Coleman, Edward Johnson, and Tilmon Cornish were ordained deacons in the morning and elders in the afternoon.

        The work of development from this time went forward with considerable rapidity under the supervision of Right Rev. James Varick, the first regularly elected bishop of the connection. He was one of the nine official members who formed the Zion Church in New York city in 1796. He was the leading factor in that movement and in all succeeding steps leading to the establishment of a

Page 65

successful itinerant system. Like Asbury, he served as superintendent before he had received holy orders; he had conducted the efforts of the societies successfully amid great difficulties, and had shown himself equal to every emergency. Hence, when he, with others, received holy orders he was elected as first among his peers to superintend the connection. He served till his death, in 1827.

        At the General Conference the following year, 1828, Christopher Rush was elected to the episcopal office. Rush was possibly the ablest colored preacher living at the time he was made bishop.*

        * See Bishop Moore's History.

        In 1829 the Philadelphia Annual Conference was set off. It was formally organized on the 14th of June, 1829, in Wesley Church, in Lombard Street, Philadelphia. Those who composed the Conference at its organization were as follows: Bishop, Christopher Rush; elders, Edward Johnson, Durham Stevens, David Stevens, George Stevenson, David Crosby, Jonathan Gibbs, Arthur Langford, Tower Hill, John Marshall, Richard Phillips, David Smith, Jacob Richardson, Samuel Johnson, Abraham Green--fifteen in all; delegates from the New York Conference, Jacob Matthews and Timothy Eato.

        The roll of the New York Conference at this time was as follows: Right Rev. Christopher Rush, Revs. Timothy Eato, Abraham Thompson, Charles Anderson, William Carman, George Tredwell, William Miller, Leven Smith, Jacob Matthews, Peter Van Hass, Jehiel Beaman. The total membership was about two thousand. During the

Page 66

ten years from 1830 to 1840 the following were added to the roll of the ministry: Charles A. Boyd, Henry Johnson, William H. Bishop, Hosea Easton, James Simmons, Henry Drayton, David Blake, Adam Ford, Daniel Vandevier, Francis P. Graham, John W. Lewis, George Garnett, William Fuller, J. H. Williams, William Serrington, John A. King, John Tappen, John Dungy, Richard Noyee, Peter Ross, John Lyle, John P. Thompson, John Chester, Nathan Blunt, John N. Mars, J. B. Johnson, Thomas James, Edward Bishop, Thomas Jackson, Dempsey Kennedy, William Tilmon, George Washington, Benjamin Simms, W. L. Brown, John Wells, Samuel Serrington, George A. Spywood, Jesse Kemble, Leonard Collins, Bazel McKall, William Jones, John Jackson, Abraham Cole, Samuel T. Gray, William McFarlan, Philip Lum, Shadrach Golden, Abraham Miller.

        Of this group of ministers, six became bishops, namely, W. H. Bishop, James Simmons, G. A. Spywood, John Tappen, Peter Ross, and J. P. Thompson, of whom a more particular account will be found in Bishop Moore's History. Several of the others were quite distinguished in their day. Rev. S. T. Gray was a most remarkable man; he was a natural born orator; no man in his day could work an audience up to a higher state of enthusiasm than he. His brethren regarded him as a little tricky, but it would be much more just to say that he was exceedingly well equipped. He was unmatched in debate, he was a fine logician and splendid parliamentarian. He was calm and deliberate, and therefore generally master of the situation. As a preacher there was no man in his day who could produce a greater sensation. He was also a very

Page 67

successful medical doctor. Rev. Henry Johnson, better known as "Old Hickory," was a man of great force of character. Rev. John A. Williams was a revivalist, and always kept his church alive. John N. Mars was a man of considerable ability; he was among the early antislavery agitators, and during the late war was commissioned as a chaplain in the army. Rev. Thomas James was more an antislavery lecturer than preacher, and yet he could preach; but he was more ready to fight when he thought of the enormities of slavery. He held a position in connection with the Freedmen's Bureau about the close of the war, in which he distinguished himself by his fearlessness in defending the rights of the freedmen. Dempsey Kennedy was one of the most remarkable preachers of his time; his discourses were seldom taken from any texts in the Bible, but from his observations through the week or on his way to church. He had but little regard for the rules of grammar, and could get away from one subject and on to another without making a period; but somehow he could interest his audience, and many regarded him as a great preacher. Like most of the Zion preachers, he was also a great abolitionist. Rev. Leonard Collins was truly a great preacher and popular pastor, but strong drink destroyed his usefulness and brought him to an untimely grave. He is mentioned as a warning to those who have great talents to beware of strong drink. "Look not upon the wine when it is red." Bazel McKall was not a very great preacher, but was a good and upright man; he lived to be an old man, loved by all who knew him, and was useful to his generations, of which he lived to see several pass away. Abraham Cole was a great preacher

Page 68

and a great and good man. Possibly the most remarkable man of the group we have been considering was Rev. David Stevens; he was a wonderful preacher, generally calm and deliberate, but at times he blazed out and carried everything as by storm. He also became a chaplain in the army. He lived to see more than fourscore years, and was an acceptable preacher till the end.

        It was not our original purpose to say anything of those in this group who became bishops, as we had the impression that Bishop Moore had given a sketch of the history of each. But as his History has not mentioned the following we think at least a short sketch is demanded:

        The first of those of whom Bishop Moore had nothing to say was Bishop G. A. Spywood, who was made bishop in 1852 (a period of which we shall have more to say hereafter). Bishop Spywood was a man of extraordinary force of character; he had a happy blending of the Indian and the African; he had the veneration of the African united with the reckless daring of the Indian, which made him every inch a man; he was rigidly honest, and feared none but his Maker. He was retired from the bishopric in 1856 because there were more bishops than could be used to advantage. For the remainder of his life he was employed as agent of the New England Mission Board, in which position he had very great success--far beyond that of anyone who has succeeded him.

        Next to him, among those overlooked by Bishop Moore, is Bishop Solomon T. Scott. His name appears on the

Page 69

roll of the members of the Philadelphia Conference as early as 1834. He was distinguished for preaching from metaphors. The announcement that he would preach his fish sermon always drew a crowd; and it is possible that this was the first sermon of a Zion minister ever printed in pamphlet form; and though it was read by many, yet people never seemed to tire of hearing it preached. He had also a sailor's sermon from the text, Isa. xxxiii, 23, "Thy tacklings are loosed; they could not well strengthen their mast; they could not spread the sail: then is the prey of a great spoil divided; the lame take the prey." This sermon was especially for sailors, and many of them gathered to hear him. He had also an antislavery sermon, intended to encourage his people to help fugitives who were making their escape from bondage. He was regarded as a great preacher, had a very gentle and humble disposition, and seemed hardly at ease in the bishopric. The period of his bishopric was the most stormy that the Church has known; and considering his peculiar temperament it is not strange that he felt deeply the responsibility of his position. He was retired in 1860.

        The third bishop on whose history Bishop Moore is silent is Bishop Peter Ross, who was set apart to the episcopal office in 1860. We find his name on the roll of members present at the New York Conference in 1834; but as he is not mentioned among those who joined that year we conclude that he joined at least a year earlier. About that period he was sent as a missionary to Providence, R. I. He succeeded in organizing a church there, which is now one of the most flourishing churches in the

Page 70

New England Conference. He was also sent as a missionary to Halifax, N. S. During his ministry he filled the pulpits of some of the most important churches in the East, old Zion included. He was a man of great force of character, pure and upright; he was a forcible and logical preacher. He lived to a good old age and was respected by all who knew him.

        From the year 1828 to 1840 Rush had filled the episcopal office alone, and had filled it well. Every year there was an increase of members, ministers, and churches; new territory was occupied, and the connection increased in strength and influence continually. But at the General Conference in 1840 a disturbing element was introduced, which culminated twelve years later in a split in the connection, which lasted for eight years. This element was the idea of an assistant superintendent. Not that Rush needed an assistant at that time (for the assistant never held a Conference nor performed an ordination), but to satisfy the ambition of one man and his friends.

        Rev. William Miller was the senior elder, and was ambitious to fill the highest position. Miller was one of that class of men that must have what they want or they will make trouble. He was of a peculiar make-up, a mixture of splendid parts united with some remarkably weak ones. He was unstable, and required to be humored and petted to be kept in the harness. About 1813 he was a deacon in the Methodist Episcopal Church, doing all he could to injure Zion. At a little later period he, with the Asbury Church, united with Zion; about 1820 he, with Asbury Church, united with Bishop Allen,

Page 71

and thus formed the nucleus of the present Bethel Church in New York. About 1830 he returned to Zion with a fragment of the Asbury Church. He was a prominent example of that class of ministers who find it hard work to determine just where they rightly belong; yet for all that he was a good preacher, and his influence was not to be despised. While we think the brethren made a mistake in making him assistant superintendent, yet it is possible that we would have done no better. They could not trust him with the reins of government, but satisfied his ambition to some extent by associating him with Father Rush as his assistant. The term was easily borrowed from the relation Asbury once held as assistant to Wesley. Bishop Miller died in 1846, but the work went on under Rush's care as though nothing had happened.

        In 1848 Rev. George Galbreth was elected to the episcopal office; some were in favor of making him a full bishop, but the majority, influenced by the bad example set in 1840, voted that he should be only assistant. The minority, however, was strong and active, and by the sitting of the General Conference in 1852 they were prepared to carry their point. They determined to elect bishops on equality; the program with some, however, included the retiring of Father Rush, who was both feeble and blind. Some were opposed to this part of it, but it was finally carried out, and George Galbreth, William H. Bishop, and George A. Spywood were elected on equality. There was something, however, connected with the election of these three men that all did not fully understand. We have the impression that something

Page 72

was kept from the knowledge of Father Rush, and to keep it securely from him a few others had to be hoodwinked.

        Possibly all would have gone smoothly if Galbreth had lived, but he died in 1853, and then trouble began. It was reported that Bishop Bishop had declared himself the general superintendent. Some wanted him to maintain this position, while others wanted him to adhere to their understanding of the action of the General Conference that all of the bishops were on equality. Finding that there would be trouble, no matter which position he took, he simply said, "I am all that the Discipline makes me." This satisfied one party, but not the other; hence he was called to trial by the dissatisfied party. He evaded trial, and therefore was declared suspended.

        This action caused a split in the connection. Those adhering to the suspended bishop held the territory generally from Philadelphia south and westward, and were called the Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal Church. The others held the most of New York, New England, and Nova Scotia, and were called African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. The East had the larger number of able men, but the West was more compact. The East, affected by Congregationalism, was in favor of a general and assistant superintendent, elected once in four years, as the President and Vice President of the United States are. In the West the idea of Episcopalianism prevailed. There was a little mixture of sentiment in both sections, but there was a stronger minority in the East in favor of Episcopalianism than that in the West in favor of

Page 73

Congregationalism, or a merely elective superintendency. This fact had much to do with bringing about the reunion after eight years of strife, with all its attending evils.

        The following court decision in a legal contest between the parties during the division is possibly the fairest presentation of the issue that we can give. Both sides were well represented, and the presumption is that each did its best in presenting its case. It is evident that the court held that Bishop was technically in the wrong. The point most against him was the changing of the title, striking out "African" and inserting "Wesleyan." This, as the court intimated, stamped him as a seceder, and as such, no matter how large his majority, he could not take the Church property. This decision also tended to hasten the reunion. The fact that it went against the stronger party induced it to accept more readily the overtures which were made by the weaker side, which was more ready to offer terms. But we leave the reader with the foregoing hints to form his own judgment from the record.


        "With no small degree of satisfaction the following decision is presented to all who feel interested in the affairs of our Church, which has been hindered much in its progress on account of the pending difficulty that has existed since 1852 until now. Every effort that has been made to adjust the difficulty having been before the public, therefore we feel obligated to make public the result of another investigation, emanating from the Court of Common Pleas, Williamsport, Lycoming County, Pa., of a recent lawsuit of one of our churches there. Further preliminaries on the subject are not necessary, as the following decision and charge of the judge to the jury contain all that is necessary to satisfy an unbiased mind.


Page 74


        "George Johnson, Ferdinand Capes, and Anthony Stokes, Trustees of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, vs.

        Isaac Coleman, Lewis Hill, David Thomas, Joseph Davis, Isaac Lloyd, James Sherman, George Roach, and Isaac Thompson.

        "Counsel for plaintiffs, Messrs. Dietrick and Scates; counsel for defendants, Messrs. Armstrong, Campbell, and Emery.


        "Of all the disputes that arise those which arise among the professing Christians are most to be deplored, and are the bitterest. Strange as it may appear, it is nevertheless true that these disputes are more difficult to arrange among the disputants than any other, and perhaps more difficult to adjust, rightly and justly, before a court and jury. Each Church has its own peculiar form of government, its Discipline and creed. They are usually governed by a Constitution, each of its members either expressly or implicitly engaging to be bound by it. It is necessary for the good government of all religious organizations that there should be a form of government, without which it would not only be difficult, but perhaps impossible, to keep the members together for any length of time.

        "The parties to this action all profess to belong to the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in the United States. They are not disputing as to the doctrine of the Church, the form of worship, or the Constitution or Discipline by which the Church is to be governed. The dispute is, who has the right to the possession of the church in this place, or had at the time of the alleged trespass? If that right was in the plaintiffs at the time they would be entitled to your verdict. The action is not brought to recover damages so much as to determine the right to the property, which, under the pleadings in this action, may be done.

        "The suit is brought in the names of George Johnson, Ferdinand Capes, and Anthony Stokes, trustees of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Williamsport. Their election as trustees was proven by the minute book of the church.

        "The property in dispute was conveyed by Abraham Updegraff and wife to George Johnson, Ferdinand Capes, and David Thomas, trustees of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Williamsport, by deed, dated on the 21st of June, 1854. Both parties claim under this deed. To determine which of these parties is entitled to hold the property it will be necessary to examine the proceedings of their Conferences, with a view of ascertaining whether Mr. Coleman, the preacher recognized by the defendants and

Page 75

other members of the church, was properly and duly elected and appointed to take charge and oversight of this church. He, as well as his predecessors from the first organization of the church in this place, was appointed by the Philadelphia Conference. The right of this Conference to appoint was not disputed for some time, but the acts of that body were recognized as binding and were submitted to. In June, 1852, a General Conference met in Philadelphia. At that Conference a question arose whether a general superintendent should be elected in Committee of the Whole or General Conference. At that Conference it was concluded to elect a general superintendent and an assistant superintendent in Committee of the Whole, which, it is said, was contrary to the Discipline and Constitution which had been adopted for the government of the Church.

        "At that time Christopher Rush, the old gentleman who appeared on the stand as a witness, was general superintendent, and had been for some years before, and George Galbreth the assistant superintendent. Mr. Rush was at that time nearly blind, and wished to resign his position, that another might be elected in his place. A committee was appointed to name superintendents. They reported the names of Rush and Galbreth, and Galbreth was elected over Rush. A question arose then as to the proper mode of electing these officers. The provision in the Book of Discipline is that the superintendents were to be elected in a General Conference, not in Committee of the Whole. It was concluded that he must be elected according to the Book of Discipline. A General Conference was then entered into, a committee was appointed, who named James Simmons and William H. Bishop. Simmons resigned or declined an election, and Mr. Scott was named as the opposing candidate to Bishop. Bishop was elected over Scott for four years. Galbreth was elected assistant superintendent. Galbreth became dissatisfied, and a motion was made to have three superintendents on equal footing. The Book of Discipline provides for the election of two superintendents--one of them a general superintendent and one assistant superintendent. Bishop then put a motion, and a third superintendent was elected, namely, Spywood. Subsequently Bishop, Galbreth, and Spywood made an agreement among themselves, splitting up the connection, which the witness states they had no right to do.

        "Also, after the election of these three superintendents the Philadelphia Conference issued a circular to change the word 'African' and insert the word 'Wesleyan.' The Quarterly Conference refused to receive the circulars, because they thought the General Conference had taken away the rights of the people. The Conferences would not receive the change at all. Bishop was recognized as the general superintendent, and Galbreth assistant.

        "Bishop went on and held a Conference at Ithaca. Galbreth held one

Page 76

in Pittsburg, and called it the Wesleyan Conference. A charge was preferred against Bishop for permitting it to be called by that name. A copy of the charges was given to him. In the meantime Galbreth died. Bishop appeared at the Conference, but refused to submit to the trial. While Bishop was under censure he held a Conference at Baltimore, came to Philadelphia, and held one there. When he got through at Philadelphia he came to New York Conference. He then wished to hold that Conference without submitting to be tried for his misconduct. He was then informed that he could not take the chair until he was tried. The Conference proceeded to appoint a chairman pro tem., to act till Bishop was tried. Bishop refused to be tried, and denied their right to try him, holding that he could only be tried by a General Conference. Whether his position was correct or not can only be determined by referring to the Constitution or Book of Discipline. He was tried in 1853 and expelled. Before he was expelled Bishop made a motion to go to Williamsburg; a few members of the New York Conference went with him, and some of the Genesee Conference went with him, and four of the Philadelphia Conference.

        "When Bishop was expelled a convention was called to supply the vacancy. This convention met on July 9, 1853. All the elders were warned to attend. A General Conference was organized, the Book of Discipline adopted, and George A. Spywood elected general superintendent, and John Tappan assistant. It is stated by one of the witnesses examined that the General Conference had never before 1852 elected three superintendents.

        "The Philadelphia church is still attached to the General Conference. Simmons and Scott succeed Spywood and Tappan.

        "Mr. Thompson says Bishop was never superintendent since 1853. From the state of facts which the court submits to you, with all the other facts in the case, was Bishop, after his expulsion in 1853, a general superintendent, having the right to act as such? This involves an inquiry into the regularity of the proceedings in the Philadelphia Conference when three superintendents were elected, and the subsequent conduct of Bishop in permitting Galbreth to change the name of the Conference, the charges preferred against him, his refusal to submit to a trial before the New York Conference, his right to occupy the chair, the right of the members of the Conference, while charges were pending against him, to prevent him sitting as the presiding officer, and his right to call a convention or Conference at Williamsburg. If this Conference at Williamsburg was held without authority, and in violation of the Constitution or Discipline of the Church, the members of that convention departed from the form of government of the Church, and cannot, by virtue of such act, claim to be the Church, no matter whether they were a majority or minority. The same remarks apply to other acts enumerated by the court.

        "Which of these parties, the plaintiffs or the defendants, adhere to the

Page 77

doctrine of the Church, the form of worship practiced in the Church, and the government in the Church, must be submitted to you, with instruction that your decision should be in favor of the party so adhering, and having in those respects the regular succession, no difference whether that party be in the majority or minority.

        "Here read from Book of Discipline and Doctrine, Section 4, Art. IV, pp. 35, 36; Art. V, p. 36; Section II, p. 53, of General Conference; p. 56, General Superintendent; p. 57, Assistant; p. 65, Yearly Conference.

        "Mr. Rush was the General Superintendent of the Church for twenty-four years. He appointed elders for Williamsport Church. The Philadelphia church formed part of his charge, which he visited. He, wishing to resign, being superintendent in 1852, Bishop came in after him. The church in this place was attached to the Philadelphia Conference.

        "It is to be hoped that your verdict will repair the troubles that exist in this breach of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in the United States, and restore peace and harmony among the members. This appears to be the desire of the court. We are sure it is your wish, as it is that of the court. If Bishop, when he seceded or called a Conference at Williamsburg, should be considered as acting in violation of the government of the Church, and was properly expelled, then, his power as general superintendent having ceased, he could not confer power upon others to officiate in the Church."

        During the year 1858 the subject of the union of the two factions was uppermost in the minds and conversation of both ministers and members on both sides. Union sermons were preached and union meetings were held. No one could give a good reason for the split nor for the continuation of it. If William H. Bishop had met his accusers when he was called to trial it is not likely that he would have been expelled or suspended. On the other hand, the treatment he received was hasty and ill-advised. The stubbornness of one man and the haste of a few others were about all there was in it. But that one man had his followers, while nearly an equal number were against him; and between them they had kept the Church in confusion. A few determined men, however, made up their minds that the farce

Page 78

had gone on long enough, and they took steps to put a period to it.

        A convention of leading men from each faction met in Newburg, N. Y., and adopted a platform for the reunion, which was presented to the General Conference of the Bishop party which met in Philadelphia on the 25th day of May, 1860. Old Zion Church was taken into the confidence of the movers in this matter through her pastor, and she was induced to say that she would not support either faction unless they united. This induced the Bishop faction to be reasonable, in the hope of getting that Church in case they failed to unite. It had also a good effect upon the Rush faction, and we have no doubt it had very much to do with the reunion. The delegates from the Newburg convention were, on motion of Rev. S. D. Talbot, seated as honorary members of the General Conference in Philadelphia; and the memorial which they presented was made the special order for the next morning. The entire day (Thursday, May 31) was taken up in discussing the memorial, without reaching a conclusion. On Friday, June 1, Rev. S. T. Gray, M. D., arrived with credentials from the officers of old Zion Church, and a letter informing the General Conference that it could meet and hold its sessions in that church on and after the 6th of June, provided there should be no interference with local matters. As the other faction had appointed to meet at that time and place, this was a reminder that they had been acting like spoiled children and bickering long enough, and that the mother wanted them to come home and behave themselves.

Page 79

        Dr. Gray, with his papers, was received. The question of union was resumed, and the memorial prepared by the Newburg convention was finally adopted. It was also agreed to accept the invitation to meet the other faction in New York on the 6th of June. Nothing but routine business was transacted by this faction of the General Conference during the remaining three days. Whatever was offered in the way of legislation was referred to the meeting in New York.

        On Wednesday, June 6, at 4 P. M., the two factions met in old Zion Church, corner of Church and Leonard Streets, New York city, according to agreement. Superintendents Bishop and Clinton were present; Superintendents Simmons and Scott did not appear. Father Rush soon appeared, however, and answered for Bishop Simmons, who had been taken suddenly ill. Bishop Scott's absence could not be accounted for. Nevertheless it was agreed to proceed. All were so anxious for the union that there was no disposition to delay because the active bishops on one side were not present. The basis of union prepared by the convention at Newburg was read, as follows:

        "Section 1. Resolved, That all matters pertaining to former difficulties be laid aside forever.

        "Section 2. Resolved, That these parties agree to use both Books of Discipline*

        * Both parties had revised the Discipline during the eight years they had been separated.

till the sitting of the General Conference of 1860, and at the assembling of the General Conference to proceed to organize under the Discipline of 1851; then to adopt or make a Discipline suitable to the wants of the people or connection.

        "Section 3. Resolved, That this convention recommend the General Conference under Right Rev. W. H. Bishop, which is to meet in Philadelphia, May 30, 1860, that they adjourn to meet in New York, at Zion Church, on the 6th day of June, where the union will be consummated.

Page 80

        "Section 4. And be it further Resolved, That we recommend that they defer the election of superintendents and revision of Discipline till the union is effected.

        "Section 5. Resolved, That we cordially invite the two general superintendents, with their assistants, to meet the adjourned General Conference to reassemble in New York the 6th day of June, at 4 P. M., to assist in consummating the union.

        "Section 6. Resolved, That nothing in the foregoing basis be so construed as to interfere with privileges of any of the members of the General Conference.

        "Section 7. Resolved, That as a convention we stand united on the foregoing basis."

        This was, on motion, received and adopted. The members of the convention which had thus brought about the reunion arose and embraced each other in a most affectionate manner, and the entire body did likewise. Sincere rejoicing, mingled with songs, followed for several minutes, after which the Conference adjourned, to meet the following morning.

        It was agreed that the Book of Discipline of 1858, with such revision as the wants of the connection demanded, be adopted. On motion of Dr. Gray, the words "assistant superintendent" were ordered stricken out of the Discipline wherever they appeared. This had been the bone of contention for years, and as soon as it was out of the way there was nothing to prevent a more perfect union than the Church had known for twenty years.

        On proceeding to the election of bishops for the reunited body Revs. Peter Ross and J. J. Clinton were elected in the order named. After their election the Committee on Districts went out to assign the bishops to their fields, and on returning reported three districts instead of two. It was generally understood that this was done in the interest of Rev. W. H. Bishop; but as

Page 81

all desired harmony and good feeling he was elected with but little opposition.

        This, however, proved disastrous to Bishop Ross, for after a struggle of nearly three years he was compelled to resign through lack of support. The arrangement was that the bishops were to rotate at the end of two years; but for the first two years Bishop Ross was appointed to a district on which both of the other bishops had traveled before, and both claimed back salary, and the General Conference permitted them to go back and get what they could. Two other bishops having full sweep on Ross's district (he a stranger and they both well acquainted) made a poor chance for Ross. When he came to change two years later, he found his new field gleaned, and no hope of raising more than traveling expenses for nearly twelve months. It soon became evident that there was nothing for him but to resign, which he did. Some may think that it was an awkward fix to put him in. That is true, but in those days some ministers were not averse to putting a bishop in an awkward fix when they wanted to kill him off. Ross was used as a means of bringing the two factions together, but he had opponents who were ready to cut the ground from under him, and they succeeded in doing it.

        Ross was a great and good man. As a pastor he was unsurpassed among his companions, but he had not the peculiar qualities for a bishop. The same may be said of five others, who were elected during the eight years of strife. Spywood, Tappan, Henderson, Scott, and Simmons were all good preachers and strong men, and would always have appeared to advantage if they had

Page 82

never been elected to the episcopal chair. Their weakness was shown by placing them in a position to which they were unsuited. The bishops who have distinguished themselves as such and left no doubt about their call to that office were Varick, Rush, Clinton, and Jones.

        In addition to those ministers already mentioned the following were enrolled previous to the close of this period:

        NEW YORK CONFERENCE.--Wesley Marshall, Edward H. Bishop, Isaac Coleman, Jephtha Barcroft, Moses Manning, Josiah J. Long, John G. Erling, Jacob Jordan, William H. Decker, Jacob Thomas, William McFarland, Samuel L. Giles, William H. Pitts, Peter Coster, Noble L. Johns, William R. Brooks.

        NEW ENGLAND CONFERENCE.--G. H. Washington, William F. Butler, Nathaniel Stubbs, John Williams, J. W. Hood, Henry Dumpson, Joseph G. Smith, John F. Loyd, Clinton Leonard, Silas A. Mitchel, Thomas A. Davis, Nelson Turpin, Thomas Henson.

        PHILADELPHIA CONFERENCE.--J. B. Trusty, H. H. Blackson, S. T. Jones, Sampson Talbot, John W. Green, Thomas Harris, William Young, J. J. Moore, George Johnson, Jacob Anderson.

        ALLEGHENY CONFERENCE.--Robert A. Gibson, Robert Squirrell, Isaac Gasaway, W. Nelson Williams, Abraham Cole, Daniel B. Matthews, Joseph Armstrong, John B. Cox, Jeremiah Bowman, Joseph Hicks, Prince G. Lows, Isaac J. Whiting, William H. Johnson, William Hamilton, Jehu Holliday, James A. Jones.

        GENESEE CONFERENCE.--Hezekiah Butler, Henry Davis, R. Johnson, William Sanford, George Bosly, Jermin

Page 83

W. Loguen, Shadrach Golden, John Thomas, J. Goodman, William A. Cromwell, Thomas James, Richard Estepp, James H. Smith, Bazel McKall.

        SOUTHERN CONFERENCE.--R. H. G. Dyson, J. D. Brooks, William T. Biddle, C. J. Carter, Jacob P. Hamer, J. A. Williams, Joseph Sinclair, W. H. Crofford.

        It will be seen that at the end of this second period there were six Annual Conferences, and there had been received into the itinerancy in all 197 ministers. The several rolls show 226, but 29 names were duplicated by transfer. The connection occupied only portions of the Middle and Eastern States. Of the entire number of ministers who had been received into the connection ninety-two were still living and in active service at the close of this period. Of the founders Father Rush alone remained. A few had withdrawn and were at work in other denominations. Among the most prominent of these were the following: John N. Mars, who left and returned and finally left again. He was much more an antislavery lecturer than a preacher; he was hardly a success as a pastor. The occasion of his leaving does not appear; but he left in an honorable way and retained the respect of his brethren. Nelson Turpin also left and returned and finally left again. Thomas Henson went to the Baptist Church, because he believed in dipping, but always retained a friendly feeling toward the Church in which he embraced religion, as we shall have occasion to mention later.

        One remarkable thing about this period is that there were very few expulsions; a few are recorded, but they

Page 84

were exceptions. As a rule the answer to the question, "Who have been expelled?" was, "None." There was, however, very great care taken in receiving persons into the ministry. The fathers in this respect did better than their children are doing. In those days preachers attended Conference several years before they were taken in. They attended, sat in silence and looked on, but were not permitted to take any part in the proceedings. They assisted the preachers in charge until an opportunity opened for them to work up a society somewhere, and then, having evidenced their usefulness, they were received.

        The ministers of that period were, as a rule, good preachers; few of them were what would be called brilliant men, but a large portion of them could preach a good, sensible sermon. Some were powerful, awakening preachers; sinners could not listen without being affected to such a degree that it was impossible for them to hide it. Rev. Samuel L. Giles was a reasoner of great force; his sermons were well arranged, logical, and forcible. They were generally laid off in from three to five general divisions, with a larger number of subdivisions, and his entire discourse would have looked well in print. He and Dr. Gray were our theological instructors. Giles advised us how to behave; he taught us when we went to Conference to take a back seat and keep quiet. As a preacher and deacon he taught us to listen to the elders. If a deacon or preacher, even in full connection, had claimed the floor when an elder desired to speak, he would have received a rebuke that he would never have forgotten. There were ministers then who were neither

Page 85

greatly endowed nor well cultured, but who had peculiarities by which they accomplished wonders. The Church, as a whole, was a power for good.

        The Conferences held long sessions; they were the only theological institutes the ministers had in those days; they generally spent nearly two weeks in session. The Conferences were not held with open doors in the early days of the Church, but gradually the churchmen, and finally the public, were admitted. The ministers in Zion Church, almost from its organization, were more liberal toward the laity than any other branch of the Episcopal Methodist Church. The laity were admitted to representation in the Annual and General Conferences as early as 1851.


The Flourishing Period, 1863 to 1896.

        At the close of the preceding period we had 6 Annual Conferences, 92 ministers, and about 5,000 members. At this time there was a call from the South. Old Zion in New York was known as far south as New Orleans as the mother of African Churches. Quite a number of our members in New Haven, Conn., were originally from New Berne, N. C., and when in New Berne they were members of Andrew Chapel. These members urged the bishop to send some one down to New Berne to look after our people there. Finally, Rev. John Williams was appointed, and the New England Conference Mission Board appropriated fifty dollars to send him. He, however, let nearly a year pass before he had the courage to start. Meanwhile the bishop became impatient, and

Page 86

about the 25th of December, 1863, he appointed Rev. J. W. Hood, and the Mission Board appropriated fifty dollars more to send him. He started at once, taking his family as far as Washington. The Chesapeake Bay was frozen, and he could not get through till near the middle of January. He reached New Berne on the 20th of January, 1864. The church, numbering about four hundred members, accepted his service and agreed to unite with the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; they had previously been connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. A few weeks later the church at Beaufort was added. The Union lines then extended about fifteen miles westward from New Berne; several country organizations were formed between New Berne and Beaufort. About the 1st of March Rev. John Williams reached New Berne. Finding the field at New Berne and vicinity occupied, he went to Roanoke Island and Washington, N. C., and was received by the churches at those points. Early in the month of May Bishop Clinton visited New Berne and ordained William Ryle and Ellis Lavender as deacons. He also visited Beaufort and ordained Enoch Wallace. He started to return to Washington, but the Confederates recaptured that town, and the bishop was obliged to retreat. New Berne was attacked about the same time, but the Union forces were able to hold it. In the month of July Deacon David Hill was sent from the New England Conference and took charge of the work at Beaufort. After the evacuation of Washington the refugees from that and adjacent places formed a settlement over the Trent River from New Berne, and it was called James City.

Page 87

Rev. John Williams made this his headquarters and founded two or three churches in that vicinity.

        About the middle of September the yellow fever became epidemic, and three of our best men were swept away, namely, Deacons David Hill, William Ryle, and Enoch Wallace.

        In December, 1864, the North Carolina Conference was organized; this was the first Afro-American Conference held in that territory over which the Confederate flag had floated. War was still raging, nevertheless Bishop Clinton with his missionaries, gathered around a stove on a cold winter day and laid the foundation for that structure which towers up so grandly to-day. The work in North Carolina is the great central force in Zion Connection. Nine of our large Conferences have grown out of this beginning in North Carolina. The roll of this first Conference numbered twelve, including the bishop, as follows: Bishop, Joseph J. Clinton; elders, John Williams, Ellis Lavender, J. W. Hood, E. H. Hill; deacons, W. J. Moore, H. W. Jones, David Gray, Joseph Green, Sampson Copper, Abel Ferribee; preacher, Amos York. Hill and Lavender were ordained elders at this Conference, also six deacons. In anticipation of the surrender the work was laid off, embracing several points then within the Confederate lines. They were worked up to, however, in every case as laid out but two.

        During the latter part of 1864 Bishop Clinton established missions in Louisiana and Florida. Rev. Wilbur G. Strong was the first missionary sent to that work. Brother Strong is a man of excellent parts, a fine scholar, and generally well equipped, and he had very great

Page 88

success, especially in Alabama, in which State the strength of the Church is second only to that of North Carolina.

        May 25, 1864, the twelfth quadrennial session of the General Conference convened in Philadelphia. The South was represented in this General Conference by a lay delegate in the person of Edward H. Hill, who a short while after that was licensed to preach and ordained deacon and elder, all within a few months' time. He informed the General Conference of the success which had attended the efforts of the missionaries sent to North Carolina, and of the splendid prospect for the Church in that field.

        Preceding the sitting of the General Conference the subject of union between Zion and Bethel had been much talked of. The union of the two factions of Zion four years previous had made the impression with many that it might be an easy matter to unite the African Methodist Episcopal (Bethel) and African Methodist Episcopal Zion Churches, and make them one. Ministers in both Churches had preached on the subject, and it was thought that the people were pretty well prepared for it, and, in fact, many were, but there were also those who were bitterly opposed to union. We shall have more to say in another place as to why the union failed, and possibly must ever fail.

        The first formal proposition for union came from the African Methodist Episcopal (Bethel) Church, and was presented to this General Conference. We take the following from the minutes of the second day's session, May 26, 1864:

Page 89

        "A special committee from the General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, consisting of Revs. A. McIntosh, M. Sluby, and Dr. Watts, were introduced to the Conference and were cordially received. Business was suspended to give them audience. "Rev. McIntosh, the chairman of the committee, after some congratulatory remarks, presented and read a document emanating from that body as to its action and provision made for consolidation of the two connections, namely, African Methodist Episcopal Church and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church: That in order to duly consider the matter a committee of nine had been appointed, with two bishops, to meet a similar number from this General Conference as a joint committee, in the event they deem such consummation possible, shall call a convention consisting of such number of delegates as may be determined by said joint committee. When the convention shall have assembled they shall determine the conditions upon which the union shall be consummated; and said conditions shall be submitted to all the Annual Conferences of each connection. If the terms agreed upon by the convention be ratified by a majority of all the Annual Conferences above mentioned, that the two connections from that date shall be one."

        After a brief interchange of sentiment with the committee touching the subject the following prevailed:

        "Resolved, That we cordially receive the representation made to this Conference by the subcommittee from the Committee on Church Union appointed by the African Methodist Episcopal General Conference, and that we promise to give the subject presented a Christian and fraternal consideration which its importance so justly demands at the earliest opportunity.

        "The committee withdrew. The subject was further deliberated upon, which resulted in the following resolution:

        "Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to present the Christian greetings and resolutions of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion General Conference to the African Methodist Episcopal General Conference.

        "The following were appointed: Revs. S. T. Jones, J. B. Trusty, S. M. Giles. This committee, having filled its mission, returned and reported through the chairman, Rev. S. T. Jones, the cordial reception they met with and the feeling evinced upon the subject of consolidation; that they were upon the point of adjourning that evening, but upon hearing of our approval of their proposition suspended the adjournment until our Conference could get a sufficient quorum to consider the matter properly.*

        * It may be noted that our General Conference met in Philadelphia about the time the other adjourned.

Page 90

He corrected an error in the report of the committee from that body, namely: Instead of two bishops, as was reported, it is the Bench of Bishops to be united with nine from that body, and the same from us or an equivalent in members."

        On the following day, May 27, the following preamble and resolutions, offered by S. T. Jones, were adopted:

        "Whereas, By the working and control of an all-wise and gracious Providence, circumstances and events have so conspired during the present great struggle as clearly to indicate that the set time to favor Zion has fully come; and,

        "Whereas, This is specially manifested as relates to that portion of the Church composed of colored Methodists in America; and,

        "Whereas, We should prove ourselves false alike to the principles of our holy religion, our obligations as the representatives of Christ, and our duty and responsibilities as the leaders of a weak because divided people, should we fail, from any minor consideration, to improve the present favorable opportunity with a view to the future peace and prosperity of the Church, and the moral, social, and political interest of the race with which we are immediately identified; therefore,

        "Resolved, That in the great principle of Christian union and brotherhood we fully indorse all proper measures employed in furtherance of that principle, and that our warm sympathies are with those who are heartily engaged in the effort to unite in one body the African Methodist Episcopal Zion and African Methodist Episcopal Churches.

        "Resolved, That as an evidence of our sincerity, and with a view of facilitating the consummation so ardently desired, this Conference appoint a committee of nine with the Bench of Superintendents forthwith, who shall be authorized and empowered to confer with a similar committee in connection with the Bench of Bishops chosen by the General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church on all matters touching a consolidation of the bodies represented."

        A committee of three--J. W. Hood, J. H. Smith, and J. P. Hamer--was appointed to inform the General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church that in compliance with their wish a committee had been appointed to confer with them on the consolidation of the connections. On returning they reported that six o'clock that evening had been fixed upon for the joint meeting.

Page 91

S. T. Jones, J. W. Loguen, P. G. Laws, Sampson Talbot, G. H. Washington, J. Coleman, J. W. Hood, J. D. Brooks, J. P. Hamer, S. M. Giles, W. F. Butler, with Superintendents Bishop and Clinton, constituted the committee on our part. They reported to the Conference on Saturday, May 28, that it had been agreed to submit the subject of consolidation to a convention composed of twenty-five on each side, and their action to be submitted to all the Annual Conferences for confirmation. Our delegates were as follows:

  • NEW YORK CONFERENCE.--Revs. W. H. Pitts, Isaac Coleman, Jephtha Barcroft, Jacob Thomas.
  • PHILADELPHIA CONFERENCE.--Revs. Sampson Talbot, S. T. Jones, Charles J. Carter, J. B. Trusty.
  • NEW ENGLAND CONFERENCE.--Revs. S. M. Giles, W. F. Butler, G. H. Washington, J. W. Hood.
  • SOUTHERN CONFERENCE.--Revs. J. D. Brooks, R. H. G. Dyson, J. P. Hamer, J. A. Williams.
  • ALLEGHENY CONFERENCE.--Revs. Abraham Cole, J. B. Cox, James A. Jones.
  • GENESEE CONFERENCE.--Revs. J. W. Loguen, James H. Smith, William Sanford, Bazel McKall.
  • RESERVES.--Revs. J. P. Thompson, Jacob Anderson, G. A. Spywood, R. A. Gibson, P. G. Laws, John Thomas.

        The convention met according to agreement and formulated a platform for consolidation. Zion carried out her part of the agreement. To make the final consolidation the more convenient she agreed to meet in Washington, where the other body had agreed to meet; she also changed the date of sitting of the General Conference,

Page 92

as may be seen by the following resolution (p. 50, Minutes of General Conference, 1864):

        "Resolved, That the rule for the sitting of the General Conference on the 'last Wednesday in May' be suspended, and the 'first Wednesday in May' be substituted."

        Our people ratified the platform and the General Conference confirmed it; but for some reason the authorities in Bethel did not submit it to their people. Since that time some of us have gone slow on the union question with that Church.

        Nevertheless, when a proposition came from them again in 1884 desiring to renew the effort, Zion again consented, and appointed a commission to meet theirs, and a platform almost a duplicate of the one prepared by the convention of 1864 was adopted by the joint commission. This was submitted to the bishops with a request that they should submit it to the people for ratification.

        Here again the bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal (Bethel) Church were responsible for the failure; they refused to submit it to their people. To state the matter exactly, all of our bishops who were present voted to submit the platform to the people, and Bishop Payne voted with us; but his colleagues (seven) voted against it, even Bishop Wayman, who, as a member of the joint commission, helped to make the platform and voted with the other members of the commission to request the bishops to submit it to the people; yet in the joint meeting of the bishops he voted against it. Thus the work of the second convention came to nothing.

        At this General Conference (1864) Sampson D. Talbot, John D. Brooks, and J. W. Loguen were added to the

Page 93

list of bishops. The bounds of the several Annual Conferences were fixed as follows:

  • THE NEW YORK CONFERENCE.--The New York Conference to embrace all that part of the State of New Jersey lying north of the Raritan River, and that part of the State of New York lying east of the Hudson River, including that portion of the State of Connecticut not comprised in the New England Conference; and also that part of the State of New York lying west of the Hudson River, bounded by a line commencing at the city of Albany and running southwesterly to the Pennsylvania State line, and also the British Guiana Mission.
  • THE PHILADELPHIA CONFERENCE.--The Philadelphia Conference to embrace the State of Delaware, and all that part of the State of New Jersey south of the Raritan River, and all that part of Pennsylvania east of the Big Valley; Lewistown, Montrose, and Wilkesbarre excepted.
  • THE NEW ENGLAND CONFERENCE.--The New England Conference to embrace Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and all the New England States except that part of Connecticut lying west of Stamford, until such time as those points in the British Provinces warrant the resuscitating or setting apart of a separate Annual Conference.
  • THE BALTIMORE CONFERENCE.--The Baltimore (formerly known as the Southern) Conference to embrace the State of Maryland, District of Columbia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and all that part of Virginia north of the James River, including the city of Richmond.
  • THE ALLEGHENY CONFERENCE.--The Allegheny Conference to embrace all that part of the State of Pennsylvania
    Page 94

    west of the Big Valley, including the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, and Iowa.

  • THE GENESEE CONFERENCE.--The Genesee Conference to embrace all that part of the State of New York not comprised in the New York Conference, including Montrose and Wilkesbarre, in Pennsylvania.
  • THE NORTH CAROLINA CONFERENCE.--The North Carolina Conference to embrace the State of North Carolina, Tennessee, and all that part of Virginia south of the James River.
  • THE CALIFORNIA CONFERENCE. -- The California Conference to embrace Upper California and all that part of Lower California belonging to the United States, and the adjacent territories.
  • THE LOUISIANA CONFERENCE.--The Louisiana Conference to embrace those States south of North Carolina.

        This laying off the nine Annual Conferences looks large on paper, but there was not much in it as to the number of churches at that time. There were less than a dozen churches in all New England, less than a dozen in the Genesee Conference, about twenty-five in the New York Conference; there were less than a dozen churches in all States west of Pennsylvania and Maryland; and in all the States south of Washington there were none except the few which had been gathered in North Carolina during the preceding five months. Nevertheless, the field laid off at that time has been largely occupied. The State of New Jersey, part of which was embraced in the New York Conference and part in Philadelphia Conference, has been made the New Jersey Conference, and is larger now than either the New England, Genesee, or Allegheny Conference

Page 95

was in 1864. The Baltimore and Philadelphia Conferences have been consolidated. The "On to Richmond" which was hoped for when the bounds of the Southern Conference were extended to the James River has not materialized; only two churches have been planted by that Conference south of the Potomac.

        The field westward has been better occupied. First the Kentucky Conference was formed, then out of it the Arkansas and Missouri Conferences were formed. The North Carolina Conference was formed as contemplated, and from it sprang the Virginia Conference, the South Carolina Conference, the Tennessee Conference, and the Central North Carolina Conference; from the Tennessee Conference the West Tennessee and Mississippi Conferences, and the East Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina Conferences; from the Central North Carolina Conference the Western North Carolina Conference; and from the South Carolina Conference the Palmetto Conference.

        The Louisiana Conference has not amounted to much in that State up to this time, but the territory embraced in that Conference, as first set off, has been pretty well worked up. First, the Alabama Conference, which had, and possibly has yet, the largest number of ministers of any Conference in the connection. It has been divided and the West Alabama Conference formed out of it. Then the Florida Conference was formed, which has also been divided. Finally, the Texas Conference and a second Georgia Conference have been formed. The California Conference was formed as anticipated, and the Oregon Conference, of which little was known in 1864, has been formed.

Page 96

        The only section of the work laid off at that time in which we have retrograded, or made but little advance, is the British Provinces. Before the war we had considerable work in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Canada, and one or two of the West India Islands. Two things operated to hinder this work: First, when the way was opened for us to extend our efforts southward, it required every available man to occupy that field, and the kind of men that could be spared for the provincial work were wholly unsuited to it. The sending of them was little better, probably worse, than sending none. Second, about that time Bishop Nazery, of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, went to Canada and established the British Methodist Episcopal Church, which carried everything before it in the Dominion of Canada so long as Nazery lived. As we had not men in the provinces capable of holding our churches they were carried away by this movement. When Nazery died and men got to fighting over his shoes that work went to pieces, and we presume we might easily regain all we lost there if we had the men and means to occupy the field. For about thirty years we have made but little effort in that direction. The Michigan and Canada Conference includes a fragment of the Church we once had in Canada. We have a little work in the Bahama Islands and in Santo Domingo.

        At the General Conference in 1868, held at Washington, D. C., the Discipline was more thoroughly revised than at any other period since the first Discipline was adopted. The idea of a lifetime episcopacy which prevailed at the reunion in 1860 was incorporated and the Discipline was greatly enlarged.

Page 97

        In the platform agreed to in the convention for the consolidation of Zion and Bethel (in 1864) it was agreed that we should adopt the lifetime episcopacy, including the third ordination, as understood by other Episcopal Churches. This was one of the questions submitted to our people for ratification, and it was adopted; and notwithstanding we failed to unite, we revised the Discipline according to the idea thus indorsed by our people. It is doubtful if all the members just realized that fact, and the movers in the matter did not make any more ado about it than was necessary to get the revised matter adopted.

        The question of laying on of hands in the ordination of bishops was not raised, as the Committee on Revision were not willing to risk losing the substance in contending for a shadow. Besides this our ministers have long used the ritual of the Methodist Episcopal Church in performing the ceremonies; hence the absence in the Discipline of the instruction for laying on of hands at a particular point did not necessarily prevent that performance. We may remark, however, that it became a question whether we did or should lay on hands in the ordination of bishops, and therefore in 1888 the few lines which were omitted in the ordination ceremony in 1868 were supplied. So that the ceremony of setting apart a bishop in our Discipline is the same as that in the ritual of the Methodist Episcopal Church, except that the word "consecrate" is substituted for "ordain."

        The General Conference of 1868 made a blunder which cost us very dearly. We met in Washington City according to agreement with the African Methodist Episcopal

Page 98

Church to facilitate the consummation of the union if agreed to. As our people had agreed to the plan adopted by the convention many had high hopes of the consolidation. Our General Conference agreed to the union with only two dissenting votes. But when we informed the other body that we had fulfilled all the requirements of the platform and were ready for the union we were coolly informed that they had not submitted the matter to their people. This made some of our men indignant, and some became reckless, like a person disappointed in marriage and ready to do something for spite.

        Gilbert Haven and others had been courting some of our leading men, to induce us to unite with the Methodist Episcopal Church. The bait held out was that we should have a pro rata representation in the Episcopal Board, which it was understood would give us two or more bishops on equality with the white bishops. Gilbert Haven was perfectly honest, and thought he could manage it. This proposition, made to our General Conference just when we were feeling the sting of Bethel's conduct, was very favorably considered. The result was that we sent a delegate to Chicago. He was well received, and it looked for a few hours as if we should get from that body all we could ask. The majority of that body agreed with Gilbert Haven; but there was a powerful minority, led by a man by the name of Slicer, who would have no Negro bishop. We feel to-day that through the prejudice of that man and his followers God delivered us from a fatal blunder. God makes the wrath of men to praise him.

        If those who had favored the idea of receiving us on

Page 99

fair terms, when they found it could not be done, had just given it up and informed us of the sentiment as they understood it, we should have suffered no loss. But instead of that they played the old game of delay. Some of us fully understood the meaning of this; we could see from the newspaper reports that there was no hope of what Gilbert Haven and others held out to us. They were anxious to do it, but the odds were against them; many of us, therefore, made up our minds to pursue the matter no further. Some, however, were in favor of accepting what was offered--a four years' consideration of the matter. The experience of the preceding four years with the African Methodist Episcopal Church was not lost sight of by the more thoughtful among us; so there was division in our own ranks. The desire to unite with some other branch of the Methodist Church was so strong in some that they were ready to unite on any terms, or even to make an unconditional surrender. Then some of the ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church took advantage of our weakness. There were many places where our people were struggling with heavy church debts, and the church property was not fully secured; in many such cases they were told that if they would go to the Methodist Episcopal Church their property would be paid for and their ministers supported out of the Freedmen's Aid Society. In some cases the contemplated union was used against us, and our people were told that we were going soon to be all one anyway, and those who went first might fare best. The result was that thousands of our members went to that Church. Rev. G. W. Price, Presiding Elder of the Lumberton

Page 100

(N. C.) District, attempted to take his whole district and the church at Wilmington, N. C. He took several churches and about one thousand members. We got the church at Lumberton back, but it took us seven years to do it, and the Methodist Episcopal Church had the advantage of possession and the use of our property all those years, while our people were without a place of worship. Only a few remained faithful under these circumstances; so that we have hardly now regained our former strength in that section, while the Methodist Episcopal Church, which hindered us from doing what we might have done, has but little now to show for the large number of members she took from us more than twenty years ago.

        As in 1860, likewise in 1868, more bishops were made than could be used to advantage. Some of us contended that four bishops were all we needed, but the majority would have six; only five, however, were employed to any advantage at any one time during the four years. It was agreed to pay the bishops one thousand dollars, but not more than two of them received that amount. The additions to the Bench of Bishops at this session were J. W. Loguen, who was elected in 1864 but resigned; J. J. Moore and S. T. Jones. Bishop W. H. Bishop was retired at his own request.

        Since the death of Bishop Clinton there has been some question as to who was senior bishop; sometimes Bishop Jones and sometimes Bishop Moore has been announced as senior. It may be well to explain how this controversy arose. At the time the bishops were elected Bishop Jones was not present; he had gone to Chicago as a delegate to the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church

Page 101

before the election of bishops took place. When he returned, nearly ten days later, some one told him that he was elected first; there are always persons whose enthusiasm carries them beyond the truth as well as beyond reason. Such a person misled Bishop Jones in this matter. Of course there was no reason why he should doubt the statement. Certainly he was the more popular of those elected at that time, and we are sure that if any importance had been attached to the idea of electing him first it would have been done. But we do not believe that those who were most anxious for his election thought of it at all, and so it happened that he was not elected first. Nevertheless, the false impression made upon his mind remained fourteen years unchallenged, because there was no occasion for the question to come up. But when Bishop Clinton died (Bishops Talbot and Loguen having previously passed away) there were none to claim the seniority but Moore and Jones, and it was discovered that some claimed that Moore was senior and others that Jones was senior. But for three or four years no one went to the record, and Bishop Jones, feeling fully satisfied that he had been correctly informed, felt that those who acknowledged Bishop Moore as senior were simply hostile to him, and there finally got to be considerable feeling over it. The writer of this remembered that Bishop Moore was elected first, but as there was some feeling over it he preferred that the record should testify, and it was agreed to go to the record, which is as follows:

        "The election of bishops being in order, the chair appointed G. A. Spywood, J. A. Jones, and W. F. Butler tellers. The roll of Conference was called, and each member deposited his ballot. On counting the votes it appeared that the whole number of votes cast was 74; necessary to a

Page 102

choice 38. J. J. Moore received 59, and was duly declared elected a bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church of America. A second ballot was cast, and on counting the list it was ascertained that 75 votes were cast; necessary to a choice 38. S. T. Jones received 62, and was declared duly elected a bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in America."*

        * Minutes, 1868, p. 24.

        Such is the record made at the time that it was done, and there can be no question that Bishop Moore was senior by a few minutes' time as it respects their election. There was a greater difference as to their consecration. Bishop Moore was consecrated on Wednesday, May 27; Bishop Jones did not return from Chicago till the following day. The General Conference adjourned on Friday, the 29th, but provided that Bishop Jones should be consecrated on the following Sabbath. Since Bishop Jones passed away there is now no question as to seniority; but we have thought it proper to give the facts, as some have continued to speak of Bishop Jones as the senior bishop. We might truthfully have spoken of him as first among his peers, or the ablest bishop. That much even Bishop Moore was willing to accord him.

        Among our best and most useful men of his day we must class Rev. Samuel M. Giles, of whom we have spoken before, but a more extended notice seems demanded. He was for several years secretary of the New England Conference, also secretary of the New England Mission Board. He was a fine scholar, and one of the most lucid preachers we ever listened to. He was not an orator in the ordinary sense of that term; he held the interest of his congregation by what he said. Every time he spoke he said something, and something which came so natural and so well in

Page 103

place that it seemed as if nothing else could have suited so well. He was a model of Christian purity, and was always ready to do good for evil; you might have smitten him on the one cheek and he would have turned the other. If he had occasion to chide one he would pray with him first or hand him a passage of Scripture to read, which would prepare him to receive the admonition. He would never turn a person out of church if he could help it; in fact, he had such influence over his members that he seldom had one to turn out; they would sacrifice their own desires to live in accord with his teaching. He lived in the hearts of his people. He was among the best writers the connection has produced; he wrote rapidly, and the best of language was so ready at command that he seldom had to rewrite. If he had lived a few years longer we should have had such a history as we shall never see.*

        * We regret that the Giles manuscript cannot be found.

His work began where Bishop Rush's ended, and was intended to be as complete for the period ending about 1864. He was a quiet worker in the General Conferences of 1856, 1860, and 1864. After the General Conference of 1864 he was transferred to the Southern Conference, as it was then called, and stationed in Washington City, first at Wesley Zion Church and after that at Union Wesley. He was one of the secretaries at the General Conference in 1860, and also in 1864, and was compiler and publisher of the Minutes. He prepared and published a hymn book, which was adopted by the General Conference of 1860; it was a very fine compilation. Giles was prominently spoken of for the bishopric both in 1860 and 1864, and we fully believe that if
Page 104

he had lived till 1868 he would have been elected instead of Loguen; but he died before the Conference met.

        Rev. James A. Jones was also one of the strong men of that period; he held important charges in all parts of the connection as far east as Nova Scotia, as far west as Missouri, and as far south as North Carolina. He was the first general secretary elected after that office was created.

        Jacob B. Trusty and J. P. Hamer were both men of considerable ability. Brother Hamer was editor of the Zion Church Advocate, and Brother Trusty was connected with him in the management of that paper.

        Abraham Cole and Joseph Armstrong were men of ability and usefulness.

        In 1872 only one bishop was added. Brooks was retired and Loguen died, which left the number five, all that could then be used to advantage, and for the four succeeding years the connection had a steady growth and numbered in 1876 two hundred and twenty-five thousand; so that from 1864 to 1876 the connection doubled five times, or once in less than three years. We doubt whether there is another such record in the Church history of our times.

        In 1876, by a system of log-rolling known to politicians and discreditable to the Church, three bishops were elected. Not because we needed to make that many at that time, but to satisfy the unholy ambition of one man. The result was that the Church was disgraced by one holding the highest office to which man can attain on earth. Not only this, but the one man who was best prepared to build up our work in the South at that time

Page 105

was obliged to take a pastoral charge for four years. Few, if any, know how much harm was done by putting a bishop in that humiliating position. He was the choice of the South, and the treatment he received caused much ill feeling, of which our enemies took advantage, and said that we had made a Southern man a bishop as a sham, but did not mean to let him fill the office. We could name men in high positions in other denominations who used it for all it was worth against us, and had there been a bishop in charge of the Third District who for any reason had failed to meet the situation, the connection would have met a greater disaster than has ever befallen it. The bishop who provided for his colleague by giving him a pastoral charge which was willing to accept such service as he could give them, and at the same time care for his mission work, was blamed; but he fully understood the situation and the imminent danger, and made up his mind to bear any amount of censure in silence, if permitted to do so, or to meet a storm if necessary, as he believed it was the only way to save the connection from disaster. The four years were passed, however, without serious damage; but it was seen that there were certain things indispensable to the continued growth of the connection:

  • It was necessary, as far as possible, to put an end to that system by which unsuitable persons could get into the bishopric by forming combinations. To this end it was necessary to put an end to the farce of reelecting bishops. After 1868 the bishop was made for life, but to be held in active service he had to be reelected at the end of four years; if not re-elected he did

Page 106

    not cease to be bishop, but was held as retired. He was liable to be called into active service in case of a vacancy during the interval of the General Conference. The reelection, therefore, settled nothing except that those who were re-elected were supposed to be certain of work. This being the case, there was a much easier way to get at it, namely, by simply providing for the retiring of a bishop when he ceased to be useful.
  • A better financial system was found to be an indispensable necessity.
  • It was seen that we needed a well-established newspaper.
  • It was fully realized that the establishment of an educational institution was an indispensable necessity.

        It is remarkable that the delegates from two episcopal districts came to the General Conference in 1880 with well-prepared plans to meet all the necessities, and they were all in some degree provided for. Bishop Jones and the bishop of the Third District both realized for the first time how closely their minds ran together on connectional matters, and how important it was for them to unite their efforts for the success of the connection; and from that time till the day of Bishop Jones's death there was no important measure put in motion in the interest of the connection that did not have the best effort of both.

        It was decided at this General Conference by an almost unanimous vote that the bishop should remain in office during good behavior without reelection. There were none added to the board at this General Conference (for the first time since 1844). Bishops Brooks and Talbot

Page 107

had passed away, and Bishop Clinton was broken down, so the active bishops were reduced to six.

        The splendid financial plan which we now have was formulated at that time. It did not then reach its completeness as we now have it; it has undergone little changes of detail, but the main features are the same, and the changes have only brought it more fully up to the idea of the minds that originally conceived it.

        The Star of Zion was adopted by this General Conference. There had been several previous efforts made to secure an organ for the connection. As early as 1860 the Anglo-African was adopted; its editor, Robert Hamilton, was chorister of old Zion Church. When that paper had run its course and failed the Zion Standard and Weekly Review was started by the trustees of old Zion Church, with Bishop Jones, who was then the pastor, as religious editor. A complete outfit was purchased, and $7,500 was spent in the effort to establish a connectional journal. The General Conference of 1868 agreed to purchase the paper at the original cost, $4,000 of which the corporation agreed to donate. In the Journal of that Conference we find the following, which was offered by Rev. S. T. Jones, and adopted:

        "Whereas, The incorporate body of Zion Church, New York, in a commendable public spirit, has commenced and carried on at its own expense the Zion Standard as the organ of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, by which the interest of the Church and the race has been materially advanced; and,

        "Whereas, Said incorporate body has, in a spirit of magnanimity which should command the respect of the General Conference and entire connection, donated to this body the sum of $4,000; therefore,

        "Resolved, That the thanks of this Conference are due and are hereby

Page 108

tendered to the said incorporation for its liberality as well as for the creditable manner in which it has conducted the paper under peculiarly embarrassing circumstances."

        The words we have put in italics conveyed the idea to some of us who were present at that General Conference that possibly we were taking an elephant on our hands, and so it proved. Rev. J. N. Gloucester was made editor, and Abram B. Coss, Esq., business manager; but the paper failed in less than one year. The collapse was so complete that the record of the succeeding General Conference contains no mention of it. About 1872 or 1873 the Zion Church Advocate was started in Washington City by Rev. J. P. Hamer, Jacob B. Trusty, and others. It was conducted by a company until the sitting of the General Conference which met in Louisville, Ky., in 1876. The General Conference agreed to take the paper and conduct it. The Minutes of that General Conference were never published, and we have only memory to rely upon. Rev. W. H. Day was made editor. It was agreed that each minister should pledge $4.50, the price of three copies per year; but for some cause not a copy was issued after the General Conference.*

        * Since the above was written we have learned that three numbers were issued, and the amount sent from North Carolina being all that was sent, was thus used up.

The following is taken from the bishop's address to the North Carolina Conference in 1877:


        "I have frequently urged the importance of an organ through which the Church could speak to all the world and tell whatever is important for the world to know. The General Conference at its last session attempted to establish a journal, but the effort proved a failure. Your money deposited with the secretary at the last Conference was sent to the editor, since which we have received no paper from that source. Tired of being harassed by persons who had sent their money and could get no paper, I went to New

Page 109

Berne and arranged with Brother Tyler for the publication of a paper. The Star of Zion is the result of that effort. While this paper was started to supply a need resulting from the failure of the Zion Church Advocate, its grand success has stamped it as a permanent organ of the connection, whatever may be the success of other enterprises. I commend the Star to your heartiest and most earnest consideration. Let us make it a power in this land--a star so bright that no cloud can hide the beauty of its rays."

        Such is the account given of the origin of the Star by the man who put down the first five dollars to pay for the paper for the first issue.

        A circular was sent to several ministers and a few laymen, requesting each to subscribe $1 per month to run the Star until it became self-sustaining. About twenty-five persons responded. It was thought that not less than $30 per month would be necessary to insure success. The mover in the matter agreed to pay $5 per month to insure success. The North Carolina Conference at its session in 1877 adopted the following:


        "Whereas, The General Conference in its effort to establish a connectional organ did thereby show the great necessity for the same; and

        "Whereas, The plan fixed upon by the General Conference has thus far been a failure,

        "Resolved, That we, the members of the North Carolina Conference, do agree to perpetuate the plan and intention of said General Conference by a hearty support of the paper gotten up through the wisdom of Right Rev. J. W. Hood and edited by Rev. J. A. Tyler with artistic skill through the unshrinking love and zeal he has for the advancement of the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and the cause of our beloved Zion; and,

        "Whereas, This is the first time that the Southern portion of the connection has ever attempted to establish a paper, and a paper is much needed in our midst; therefore,

        "Resolved, That every minister of this Conference be urged to take the paper himself and become an agent to solicit subscribers for the same. And

        "Whereas, Elder J. A. Tyler has been so faithful in editing and upholding and continuing the paper until the sitting of the Conference,

Page 110

        "Resolved, That the members of this Conference do pay him the sum of $25 by way of respect.

        "Resolved, That we do pledge ourselves to maintain and support, in all honorable ways, the paper above mentioned, known as the Star of Zion.

"Respectfully submitted,

"H. C. PHILLIPS, Committee."

"J. MCH. FARLEY, Committee."

"J. W. DAVIS, Committee."

"R. S. RIEVES, Committee."

        The spirit of this report was carried out to a large extent by the members of the North Carolina Conference. The South Carolina and Virginia Conferences also took an active part in supporting the paper, and several leading men in different parts of the connection gave it their influence and support, so that by the meeting of the General Conference in 1880 it had a considerable circulation and was known in every section. The promoters of this enterprise, who had given their means and labor to establish the paper, went to the General Conference and offered the paper, press, and type which they had purchased to the connection free of charge, and with only two conditions, namely, first, that the General Conference would assume a small indebtedness on the type (about $100), and, second, that the paper should never be discontinued. The stockholders had given this pledge to the public when they started the paper, and they were determined that the pledge should be kept; hence they reserved the right to take hold of the paper again if the connection let it fail. The General Conference has kept its pledge, and the Star twinkles for all.

        The fourth important matter provided for at this General Conference was our present splendid Livingstone College. We had been trying for many years to establish

Page 111

an educational institution. The first effort was the Rush Academy, located somewhere in the State of New York; twenty years or more had been spent on this effort without accomplishing anything. Then it was proposed to sell the property in New York, and a lot was bought in Fayetteville, N. C., on which to erect the Rush University. This was regarded as a good location, because it was where there were a large number of our people. But the State Normal School was located at Fayetteville, and the man we hoped to use in establishing the university, Professor C. R. Harris, was selected as principal of the Normal School. Hence Fayetteville proved a failure. About the same time the Zion Hill Collegiate Institute was started in Pennsylvania, near Pittsburg. This was entirely out of the way of our people, and some of us saw from the commencement that this effort could only end in failure. But our beloved senior bishop, J. J. Clinton, had set his heart upon it, and we saw that the end of it would be the end of his usefulness, and we were anxious to postpone the evil day as long as possible; hence we encouraged the effort. The bishop's plan was to get an appropriation from the Legislature. We think the bill passed but was vetoed by the governor. The bishop believed that its failure was the result of treachery in his own ranks, and was consequently greatly depressed in mind.

        The institution collapsed, and the bishop's mental and physical vigor failed, and he never recovered. We shall never forget the forlorn appearance he presented when we visited him after that disaster. We soon found it would not do to talk to him on the subject of the college. He

Page 112

lingered for a while, but was never strong either in body or mind after that.

        We have found that it is pretty hard work to plant a college. They seem to spring up as a natural growth where they are successful. Our Livingstone is not where the attempt was first made to plant it; it was started at Concord. It was, however, at the Annual Conference which met at Salisbury, in 1877, that the first movement was made which resulted in its establishment.

        Several persons have claimed the honor of being the originator of Livingstone College. We think the honor of the very first move in the matter belongs to one who is always too modest to claim honors; he was not only the first to move in the matter, but he has done as much as any other man toward making the institution the religious power it is. We refer to Bishop C. R. Harris, D.D. The following, taken from the Minutes (page 22) of the North Carolina Conference, 1877, speaks for itself:

        "C. R. Harris presented a paper signed by Thurber, Harris, and Rieves, on the establishment of a theological seminary in this State. Adopted. The plan in substance is this:

  • Provides for the election of trustees, who, after the incorporation of the seminary, are to devise the form and have the printing and distribution of the building stock.
  • Shares to be $10 each; minimum limit to be sold, 500; each church to be allowed at least one share.
  • Each share entitles its representative to a year's tuition in the seminary, and may be purchased by individuals.
  • Provides for the returns of elders, and the time and place of annual meetings to frame and to present to the Annual Conference a report of the progress of the work.
"Trustees were then elected, namely, C. R. Harris, William H. Thurber, William J. Moore, Bishop J. W. Hood, R. H. Simmons, Bishop T. H. Lomax, Z. T. Pearsall, A. York, and A. B. Smyer. "Bishop J. W. Hood and E. H. Hill were selected to attend to the incorporation of the seminary."

Page 113

        Such is the record. The document in every line exhibits its authors. We say authors, for while the greater part of it shows the handiwork of Bishop Harris the joint-stock idea sounds very much like William H. Thurber, who has from the commencement shown the deepest interest in the success of the institution. It was he who first interested the people of Concord in the matter and secured the ground on which it was first proposed to erect the college.

        Rev. R. S. Rieves, whose name is associated with Harris and Thurber in presenting the matter to the Conference, was quite young at that time, hence was not honored with a place in the board of trustees; but he was even then one of our best students, and stands to-day in the very first rank among the presiding elders, not only as a worker and preacher, but also as a thinker. There are few men who have a larger or better influence in a deliberative body. The names of Harris, Thurber, and Rieves should be engraved in rock and placed conspicuously somewhere at Livingstone. Nothing has ever succeeded better than that for which they planned.

        At the next Conference, 1878, the bishop in his address spoke as follows:


        "This can be made a success if we so will. I think Bishop Lomax was in the chair when this measure passed the Conference. When I was spoken to about it I gave it no encouragement, but after it passed the Conference I felt it my duty to give the measure a fair trial. With this view I met the board of trustees, and there for the first time learned exactly what was proposed. The prospect of success appeared so much beyond my expectation that I finally fell in with the plan proposed. I, by the advice and consent of the trustees, appointed an agent, who agreed to travel and lecture for sixty days free of cost if I could procure for him

Page 114

free tickets over the several railroads. Colonel A. S. Buford, President of the Richmond and Danville Railroad, granted him a two-thousand-mile ticket over the North Carolina Division of that road. Major John Hughs granted him a free ticket over the Atlantic Road, and Colonel L. C. Jones granted him a free ticket over the Western Road. The best that other roads consented to do was to furnish tickets at clergymen's rates. In order to make use of the tickets the agent had received it was necessary to raise a small amount to pay expenses on other roads. To my surprise I learned that, so far from being willing to raise anything on his traveling expenses, at some places they demanded that the agent pay his board, notwithstanding he was giving the connection sixty days of his precious time free of cost. I confess I was disheartened, especially when I learned that men who sat here and voted for this measure professed to know nothing about it. I was charged with exercising authority not vested in me, and the agent was charged with being an impostor. An impostor, indeed! He asked not a cent. I asked the churches to defray what little expense he incurred in doing our work for nothing. His business was to open the way for the several pastors to sell the shares you had voted to issue. Were you in earnest when you gave that vote? I supposed you were. If you were not I hope you will say so, and we shall know what to do. Let us trifle no longer."

        This address calls to mind the difficulties under which the college was started. The Conference having voted to issue shares of stock, it was necessary to set the idea clearly before the churches; very few of the ministers of that time were sufficiently intelligent to do it. Professor A. S. Richardson, a fine lecturer, volunteered to give sixty days to the cause. We may remark that in working up the institution in its early stage no one did more than Professor Richardson. It was he who worked up the sentiment in Salisbury which induced the white people to subscribe $1,000 to induce the trustees to move the college to that place. From the Minutes of 1878 we take the following:

        "Professor A. S. Richardson, the lecturing agent for Zion Wesley Institute, submitted his report and entertained the Conference with an eloquent speech in behalf of the institute. He gave an itemized account of the

Page 115

shares he had distributed, and congratulated the members of the Conference on the prospect of soon having an institution of our own to reflect its light over the whole country. He counseled united and vigorous action. 'We must deny ourselves,' he said, 'and set the example of taking scholarships and aiding pecuniarily in the work. Votes are powerful; they declare war and command peace, but votes will not build Zion Wesley Institute. [Laughter.] Presbyterians have schools of their faith, Baptists of theirs, Catholics of theirs; we should have one of ours. We shall never firmly establish ourselves as a connection until we have a good seminary of learning. We want a supply of good ministers, and a good institution alone will give them to us. Our people are yearly becoming better educated, and we must have a ministry to instruct and assist them. Education will secure this, and education we must have.' Thanks were tendered to the speaker by a unanimous vote."

        At the North Carolina Annual Conference in 1879 the secretary and treasurer of Zion Wesley Institute submitted his report, as follows:

"To the Board of Trustees Zion Wesley Institute, Bishops, and Conference:

        "BRETHREN: I have no rose-colored report to offer, but such as I have give I unto you. In accordance with a resolution of the last Annual Conference diplomas of honor were prepared by Professor A. S. Richardson. From January 13 to February 21 fifty ministers were supplied with them, express charges being paid from the treasury. A few others were supplied afterward, the total number being five hundred. Nine hundred and thirty-five were printed, eleven sold by the secretary, and three were returned by Deacon Vanderberg, leaving a balance on hand of four hundred and twenty-seven. Of scholarships four hundred and seventy-six were printed, two of them being sold by Elder Bonner last year at Tarboro, and two this year by Elder Harris at Salisbury.

        "In the latter part of June Elder Thurber made a suggestion that we endeavor to raise funds at once to put up a temporary building, so as to start the school on the 1st of December. It was thought that as so much labor had been performed, and some timber could be obtained on the ground, $250 cash would enable us to get the building ready for occupancy by that time. Immediately I wrote an appeal for Zion Wesley Institute and sent it to the Star, which was published in the August number. In it I urged all the preachers in charge of our churches to raise a collection for Zion Wesley Institute at once and forward to the treasury at Salisbury.

        "One or two ministers wrote saying that they intended to comply, but up to the assembling of the Conference none had responded to that appeal but

Page 116

Jerry McNeill, who sent $2 from Swan's Station. All honor to him! Let this epitaph be written over his grave: 'He hath done what he could.' "As further aid in raising funds for the institute the trustees at an informal meeting, held at Concord in August, agreed that the diplomas might be sold on time by paying $1 yearly. The secretary was to inform the financial agents of the arrangements and furnish them with blank due-bills to be signed by parties purchasing diplomas. At the same time several brethren present agreed to advance certain sums to supply demand while the building was in process of erection. Of these Bishop J. W. Hood forwarded to the treasurer $50, $40 being the balance of the Educational Fund of this Conference then in his hands, and $10 donated by himself.

        "No receipts yet from scholarships or diplomas. On the 19th inst. the idea occurred to me that the apathy of the ministers in regard to the collection of funds might be due to the fact that the deed to the land had not yet been placed in the hands of the trustees, although it had been agreed that no improvements should be made till all was done, and the chairman of the Building Committee had been instructed to get the deed as soon as possible.

        "I then thought I would try to secure a piece of land in Salisbury and have it presented to the institution. However, on the 21st I dropped a card to Warren Coleman, Esq., of Concord, one of the most prominent of the trustees, who dedicated the land to Zion Wesley Institute, asking if there was any possibility of having a deed for that land, to be presented to this Annual Conference, and requesting an answer by return mail. Receiving no reply, on Sunday night I called a meeting for Monday night, to see if the citizens would secure land and donate it to the institution.

        "On Monday Mr. Joseph Ballard, an honorary trustee of Zion Wesley Institute, made inquiries concerning places which might be bought. At night he reported that four acres were offered free of cost by Mr. D. L. Bringle, postmaster, but that a more desirable tract, containing forty acres, could be obtained for $200. It was decided to secure said tract, sell thirty acres, and donate the other ten acres to Zion Wesley Institute if the building would be placed upon it. The thirty acres were soon disposed of, and a subscription amounting to $60 was then received for the ten acres to be given to Zion Wesley Institute, the money to be paid by January 15, 1880. J. B. Ballard was made treasurer, and agreed to place in the hands of another a deed for twenty acres of land as security for the trust reposed in his hands.

        "Salisbury is undoubtedly the better location for the institute, both because it is easier of access from the western part of the State and because, there being no high school in the place, it affords a fairer prospect for academical students. But as the location has once been fixed at Concord and it has become evident that the delay in securing a title to the land is not wholly due to the trustees of the camp ground--assurance being given that the

Page 117

land donated will at once be placed in possession of the trustees of Zion Wesley Institute--I will not press the application from Salisbury.

        "I have said I had no rose-colored report to offer, but as some cloudy days end with a golden sunset, so may this report close with a cheering statement. Since coming to Conference the following brethren have paid $55.25 into the treasury, which amounts they had raised during the year, namely, W. J. Moore, A. York, W. H. Thurber, J. C. Dancy, R. S. Rieves, A. G. Kesler, John Hooper, A. B. Smyer, Z. T. Pearsall, and J. H. Mattocks, with a donation of $10 from Bishop Lomax. Besides this, owing to a happy forethought of our silver-tongued orator and the generosity of the Conference and the congregation of this church, $36.11 have been received as the proceeds of the Thanksgiving collection.

        "I now offer my report as treasurer of the institution:

Balance on hand at last Conference $23 13
Receipts on scholarships 37 87
Receipts on diplomas 32 25
Collections from churches 4 00
Thanksgiving collection 36 11
North Carolina Educational Fund 40 00
Donation from Bishop J. W. Hood 10 00
Donation from Bishop T. H. Lomax 10 00
Total $193 36
Expended for printing and distributing diplomas. $27 92
Expended for 100 copies Star sent to trustees 3 70
Expended for circulars and duebills 3 60
Expended for lecturer's board at Wilson 2 75
Expended for envelopes and postage 35
  38 32
Balance in the treasury $155 04

        "Zion Wesley Institute as an institution of learning, conceived in and thus far fostered and sustained alone by the North Carolina Conference, appeals to your warmest sympathies and most energetic labors. I trust that though divided in name we are not in heart, and that every member, both ministerial and lay delegates, will push forward the roll of diplomas and scholarships, and by no means neglect the public collections provided for at this session of the Conference.

"Respectfully submitted,

"Secretary and Treasurer Zion Wesley Institute.

        "It was ordered that the secretary be required to secure an engrossed copy of the Act of Incorporation from the Secretary of State for the benefit of the institute.

Page 118

        "It was further ordered that the words 'Zion Wesley Institute Fund' be inserted in the statistical table instead of 'Rush University Fund.'

        "The trustees of Zion Wesley Institute were instructed to open the school on the first Monday in January, 1880.

        "It was decided that the same rule regulating reports of scholarships be applied to the reports of diplomas of honor. Reports to be made and funds sent to the treasurer at the end of every month.

        "Subscriptions were then taken for Zion Wesley Institute, to be paid by the 1st of March, 1880. These were received: E. C. Davidson, $1; L. S. Hurdle, $2; David Drake, $1.25; J. R. Harris, $5; Thomas W. Payne, $1; David Williams, $1; Sullie Herndon, $1; Peter Caldwell, $1; A. Alen, $1; L. R. Ferebee, $5; Jerry McNeil, $2; H. M. Mosely, $1; J. A. Norwood, $2; John Pillican, $1.50; W. D. Dickerson, $1; J. H. Mattocks, $3.

        "It was ordered that hereafter diplomas be given to all who donate $1 (one dollar) or more to Zion Wesley Institute, the amount to be written on the diplomas in place of the word 'five;' also that all outstanding duebills be canceled on the same conditions."

        The institute was adopted by the General Conference which met in Montgomery in 1880, and Rev. C. R. Harris was continued as principal.

        The Ecumenical Conference in London, in 1881, was seized upon by the bishop of the Third Episcopal District as a favorable opportunity to put the institute on a firm footing; and to that end he selected Rev. J. C. Price to accompany him to England as a delegate to the great Conference. Not even Price himself knew the bishop's purpose in selecting him. On their way to England the bishop informed Price what he desired him to do. Price agreed to undertake the agency, and he and the bishop began to arrange their plans as soon as they reached England. They did not take a pleasure trip over Europe, as other delegates did, but watched their opportunity; it soon came, providentially, as it appeared, and the result was that by the time the Conference closed a board of Englishmen had been appointed to take charge

Page 119

of the finances, and appointments had been made for Price for a period of several weeks. In less than a year's time he collected $10,000.

        When it was learned on this side that Price was succeeding so well the white people in Salisbury became interested and offered $1,000 toward the purchase of a lot if we would move the college to that city. The offer was accepted, and in the spring of 1882 the present site was secured.

        Because Price had been successful in collecting a large amount of money, and because much more was needed, which it was hoped he might be instrumental in raising, the Board of Bishops, at their meeting at Chester, S. C., in September, 1882, elected him president, notwithstanding Rev. C. R. Harris was the senior teacher in the institution and one of the best disciplinarians that ever walked into a schoolroom. In fact, we have known but few teachers who were the equal of Bishop Harris.

        During this period the Church has had two severe trials to pass through, but passed through both without apparent injury. The first grew out of a misunderstanding respecting the place of meeting of the General Conference in 1872. Bishop Jones, who was sent to Chicago as a delegate, with a proposal for a consolidation with the Methodist Episcopal Church, finding that the union could not be effected at that time, entered into an agreement to continue the effort for the ensuing four years; and as the Methodist Episcopal General Conference had agreed to meet in Brooklyn he agreed to use his influence with his body to have it meet in New York, so that the two General Conferences, being near together, could the more easily

Page 120

consider the matter. But when Bishop Jones got back to Washington he found but little union sentiment. We at Washington had gathered from the newspapers the real sentiment of that body, and had fully realized that Bishop Haven could not secure for us what he desired, and he was not willing to ask us to accept less than a full recognition of our Christian manhood. Bishop Haven's proposition was that in case of union we should have a pro rata representation in the Episcopal Board, and that in all other respects we should have such recognition as our numbers entitled us to. But it was soon discovered that the Methodist Episcopal Church as a whole was not ready for that. But Bishop Jones was kept so completely surrounded with the enthusiastic friends of the movement, who hoped against hope, that it was impossible for him to take in the situation. Having agreed to do what he could to have his General Conference meet in New York, he felt bound to do so. But when he stated the agreement and asked the General Conference to agree to go to New York the point of order was made that he was discussing a question already settled, as we had already agreed to meet in Charlotte, N. C.

        The brother who made the motion to meet in Charlotte had no notion of changing it, but a sense of justice induced him to secure for Bishop Jones a fair hearing; he therefore moved to reconsider the motion by which it was agreed to meet in Charlotte. Bishop Jones made his statement and the Conference adjourned without any further action. The matter was overlooked the next morning, and the General Conference finally adjourned without fixing its next place of meeting. About a year

Page 121

before the time for the General Conference to meet the matter came up at the meeting of the Board of Bishops. Bishop Jones held that the purpose of the General Conference in reconsidering the motion to meet in Charlotte was that it might be changed to New York. The other bishops disagreed with him and voted to hold the General Conference at Charlotte, N. C. They also voted to meet on June 19 instead of May 25.

        It happened that Bishop Jones was chairman of the board, and he assumed to veto the action of his colleagues. He published that the action of the board was unlawful, and as chairman it was his duty to see that the law was carried out, and that the General Conference would meet in New York on the day fixed by law. The other bishops carried the question to the Annual Conferences, and the result was that sixteen Conferences voted to sustain the action of the majority of the bishops. Nevertheless Bishop Jones, with representatives from two or three Conferences, met in New York on May 25. There being no quorum present, they adjourned to meet in Charlotte on June 19. Bishop Jones claimed that by this action they had made the June meeting a legal one.

        As to the date of meeting, we think Bishop Jones was correct. May 25 had been fixed in the Discipline as the day on which the General Conference should meet; it had stood so for years, and the Board of Bishops at that time was not authorized to change it. As to the place, since that had been left unfixed by the General Conference there was no other authority to fix it but the board. In defending his position at the General Conference Bishop Jones made one of his four great speeches. He spoke

Page 122

for four hours, and if a vote had been taken at the close of his speech, as his friends desired, he would have carried a considerable portion of the General Conference with him. But Bishop Clinton followed the next day with a four hours' speech and carried the Conference his way. Bishop Jones saw that the odds were against him, and gracefully surrendered, and the matter was amicably settled. To avoid any such trouble in future the Board of Bishops was authorized to change either time or place of the meeting of General Conference, should it become necessary.

        The other trouble to which we have referred grew out of the trial of Bishop Hilliery. That threatened at one time to become a very serious matter. The conduct of Hilliery had become such that there were frequent complaints. His intemperance had become notorious. His conduct with females was such that families who gladly entertained other bishops would not admit him to their houses at all. There were most scandalous reports respecting him. All the other bishops were urged by leading members to do something to stop Hilliery from disgracing the connection. The bishops all talked to him, but he wholly disregarded their reproof. He claimed that they were jealous of his talents and influence, that he was the only educated man among us and the only original Zionite on the Board. The rest of us, he said, had all come from some other Church and were combined against him, the only "true blue." We presume that Bishops Moore, Jones, and Thompson were members of Zion Church before he was born.

        The complaints continued unabated, and finally, at a

Page 123

meeting of the Board of Bishops in Petersburg, Va., March, 1883, charges were formulated and signed by Bishop Thompson and placed in the hands of Bishop Hood, who had charge of the Kentucky Conference. The charges did not include the grosser matter, but a few of the minor complaints. It was hoped that the calling him up on these minor complaints would induce him to reform. It was possibly unfortunate that the case went to the Kentucky Conference, as it was said that a majority of that Conference was pledged to stand by him, right or wrong. He had charge of that Conference the year previous, and was charged with giving the best appointments to certain men for a consideration. The majority of the Committee of the Whole voted that the charges were not sustained; the chairman fully believed that they were sustained. There is a provision in the Discipline respecting the trial of members that if the chairman of the committee disagrees with a majority of the committee respecting the guilt or innocence of the accused he may carry the case to the appellate court. Under this law the chairman decided to carry the case to the General Conference.

        The question then arose as to what position that placed Hilliery in until the sitting of the General Conference. The bishop was a little slow about ruling on that question. Rev. E. H. Curry pressed him for a decision. After consulting with Bishops Jones and Thompson, who were present, the chairman decided that it left his case pending and silenced him until it could be settled in the General Conference.

        From this decision Hilliery appealed, but his appeal

Page 124

could only be settled by the General Conference; for there is no appeal from a bishop's decision rendered in the Annual Conference except to the General Conference.

        Hilliery then went to Philadelphia and got together a committee to try Bishop Hood for maladministration, based wholly upon his rulings. Without the preliminaries which the law requires, and without waiting to hear from Bishop Hood, the committee declared him suspended. The Board of Bishops declared the action of this committee null and void.

        Hilliery's next hope was to preside at the Virginia Conference, notwithstanding the Board had designated Bishop Jones to hold that Conference. Hilliery hoped by this means to secure a delegation to the General Conference and thus be able to threaten a split in the connection. But the Virginia Conference stood by Bishop Jones, and Hilliery was left without a following.

        At the General Conference the first thing to settle was as to whether or not Bishop Hood was correct in his rulings. 1. That the bishop, sitting as chairman of the Committee of the Whole, in the trial of a minister, may dissent from the decision of the majority and carry the case to the General Conference. 2. Does such action silence the defendant? There were some other minor points on which the bishop ruled during the trial which were in Hilliery's favor, and from which the counsel for the Church appealed. After the whole matter was fully discussed a resolution was adopted confirming all of Bishop Hood's decisions.

        These, however, did not touch the merits of Hilliery's

Page 125

case. It was in substance only a declaration that the matter was properly before the General Conference. If Hilliery had then acknowledged his fault and promised to do better he would have been borne with, but he seemed determined to go to destruction. He finally compelled the General Conference, by his own conduct, to unclothe him of the bishopric and to send the charges to an Annual Conference, on which he was tried and deprived of all ministerial functions. He sued two of the bishops for $25,000 damage, but finally had the costs to pay. He then sued the Connection for $10,400, and the costs fell upon him again; and thus ended one of the most trying difficulties with which the Church has had to contend. We think the moral sentiment of the Church and the sagacity of its bishops are evidenced by the fact that we were able to unclothe a bishop without splitting a single church or losing a member. When we consider the effort he put forth to carry ministers and people with him it is truly remarkable that he accomplished nothing in that direction. He moved into a town in which he was once very popular and married into one of the best families, hoping thus to get a hold upon the Church through his wife's relatives. But he failed, and then forsook his wife. Having borne our full share of that trouble, we hope never to have another like it. It is to be hoped that the Connection will never again exalt such a man to that high position. His election was the result of a combination engineered by himself. A man truly called to the office of bishop does not have any of that kind of work to perform to get there. If you see a man scheming to get into that office you may know that he

Page 126

is not a suitable person to fill it. If he is the right man the office will come to him without any scheming on his part. Since the end of our trouble with Hilliery we have had smooth sailing. There is now the most perfect harmony among the bishops, and each is doing what he can to build up the connection.

        The General Conference which met in New York city in 1884 made appropriations for the several institutions as follows: Livingstone,*

        * The act of incorporation of Zion Wesley Institute was changed in several respects. The title was changed to Livingstone College.

$6,000; Book Concern, $1,500; Star of Zion, $1,200; superannuated ministers, $1,000; African Mission, $800. These appropriations were made on the recommendation of the bishops, notwithstanding they were fully aware that it would prevent them from getting more than two thirds of their salary for the ensuing four years. They believed that the Church in the course of a few years would be able to meet all its demands, but, whatever happened to them, they felt that these institutions could not be permitted to languish for the want of the necessary means; hence the bishops recommended the appropriations, so that the institutions might be liberally provided for. Some who were personally benefited by their great sacrifice have not shown the gratitude that might have been expected; but there is a day coming when all shall get what is due.

        This General Conference did one very foolish thing: it elected Rev. A. L. Scott editor of the Star of Zion. Scott was a very uncertain quantity at best. He had recently come from some other Church and sprang up among us like a mushroom. He had a kind of "singsong"

Page 127

eloquence in preaching which was quite agreeable to many intelligent hearers, but he was a great rambler. He was but little acquainted with the rules of composition, and had none of the qualifications of an editor, unless brass is a qualification. It may appear strange that the General Conference should elect such a man; but such bodies are sometimes led by influences which they do not take time to investigate, and have to repent at leisure what was done in haste. This foolish thing was done for spite, so the brother who engineered it confessed after he had accomplished his purpose. One of the bishops had said that J. C. Dancy was better situated to take charge of the Star than anyone else he knew of at the time. At this several ministers took offense. The bishop did not say then what we will say now, that in our opinion Zion Connection has not raised up another man who is the equal of Dancy as an editor. It is his peculiar calling. But the impression was pretty general that that in substance was the bishop's meaning. The brother who engineered the election of Scott took very great offense. He was connected with the large delegation from Alabama, of which Scott was also a member. He got that delegation to agree to vote unitedly for any one of its members named for any position; he then sprang the nomination of Scott upon the unsuspecting General Conference, and he was elected. The movers in this spiteful affair, however, were not the men who watched the proceedings most closely; they frequently spent hours sight-seeing when important business was being transacted. Some men are seldom absent in time of business. Having accomplished the election of Scott, the movers in

Page 128

this measure went the next day, in time of business, out to Central Park; while they were gone the Conference took action which effectually put it out of Scott's power to take charge of the paper. A motion was adopted that all the money coming from the General Fund should be paid on the debt of the Star until that debt was settled, which amounted to $925. For this debt Rev. J. McH. Farley was responsible. He was also business manager, and authorized to receive all moneys. This left nothing for Scott to work with, and, failing to do, he became liable to the charge of neglecting his duty. Thus, providentially, the connection was saved the disgrace of having an unsuitable person as editor of our Church organ.

        We may learn from this whole transaction the importance of paying attention to business and keeping our personal feelings out of our ecclesiastical duties. In this case, to prevent a connectional disaster, a remedy had to be applied which might have proven as bad as the disease. Farley might, with the power the General Conference gave him, have kept that paper in his own hands for four years, to its great injury. Those who put that power in his hands believed that he would surrender when a better arrangement could be made, and he did not disappoint them. But such dangerous remedies should never be needed, and they would not be if men would act from reason and not from passion.

        There are many men who are not good judges of the qualifications of men for certain positions. When we have those who are experts on that line we ought to give their opinion calm and careful consideration; we ought not to fly in a passion because they express opinions

Page 129

respecting a matter which we think is an overestimate. We are as likely to be mistaken as they are, and in any case they are entitled to their opinion. Besides this, envy is an indication of weakness, and is very sinful. It was envy that induced the first murder.

        The General Conference which met in New Berne, N. C., in May, 1888, did less in the way of lawmaking than any that has assembled within our knowledge. Two bishops were added to the bench, namely, Charles C. Pettey and Cicero R. Harris. Possibly the most important thing was the making of Bishop Thompson chairman of the Book Room and authorizing the bishop to make whatever changes were necessary to put that institution in good running order. The Book Concern is the oldest institution in the connection, but it had not up to that time been a paying institution. Several thousand dollars had been sunk in it with not much to show for it. It is now in a hopeful condition.

Page 130


        THE first account of contention among Christians was at Corinth. The seeds of contention there sown have produced a fearful crop. The contention has not been limited to individual Christians, but has extended to Christian bodies. Not only has one said, "I am for Paul," and another, "I am for Apollos," but each has anathematized the other. One Christian body has tried to destroy another Christian body. This spirit, in our opinion, is that beast which is to be destroyed before the millennium. See Rev. xix, 19, 20. This beast is supposed to symbolize papacy. And so it may symbolize the persecuting spirit of papacy. But that spirit is just as bad anywhere else as in the Church of Rome. That Church has had a better opportunity to exhibit its persecuting disposition than any other. We believe there are other Churches which have the disposition to swallow every other Church in as large a degree as the Church of Rome. And we presume that nearly every branch of the Christian Church has been opposed by some one particular branch more than all others. The conflict between the Wesleyan Methodist Church in England and the Primitive Methodist Church was the cause of the only unpleasant episode that occurred in the sittings of the great Ecumenical Conference in Washington, D. C., in 1891. A person who watched closely could see

Page 131

that there was a pretty sharp contest between the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

        It has fallen to the lot of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church to have the African Methodist Episcopal (Bethel) Church as its great antagonist. That Church has shown more opposition to Zion than all others put together. There has been much talk of union between the two Churches, but there is in fact very little union sentiment in Bethel Church, either among members or ministers. There has never been much desire in that Church for a union with Zion. There has been a desire in that Church from its earliest existence to absorb the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. Bishop Allen was hardly warm in his office before he cast an avaricious eye upon the little nucleus of the rising African Methodist Episcopal Zion Connection, the Zion and Asbury Churches. He found himself a bishop with only two churches. There was an independent colored Methodist Church in Wilmington, Del., but Peter Spencer had been made the chief minister of that organization, and was Allen's senior by three years, and a man of strong will, great energy, and a natural born leader. There was, therefore, no chance for Bishop Allen to extend his episcopal oversight in that direction. The only other colored Methodist Churches North at that time were the Zion and Asbury Churches in New York city, and a few other small organizations in that vicinity, connected with them. To these he went, hoping they would recognize his bishopric and take shelter within his fold. His followers long cherished that hope. His

Page 132

appearance among them was entirely too arrogant, especially so in consideration of the fact that they knew from whence his bishopric was derived. He failed utterly with Zion, but through the influence of William Miller, who united with him, he secured a portion of the members of Asbury Church, and was thus enabled to form the nucleus of his Church in that city. He also captured the church at Flushing, L. I. These were the first secessions from the Zion Connection, and were induced by the bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which thing has been occasionally repeated and has been a cause of bitterness between the two Churches.

        A little later some of the Zion brothers went to Philadelphia and received the Wesley Church, which Bishop Allen expected to cover in that city, and this was regarded as secession from Bethel; and from that time onward, occasionally, a church has been detached from one of these organizations and taken into the other. The Bethel Churches in Middletown, N. Y., Middletown, Pa., and in York and Mechanicsburg of the latter State, and St. Paul's African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, are all splits from the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. The same is true as to the African Methodist Episcopal Churches at Kingston and Elmira, N. Y. The Bethel Church at Bridgeport, Conn., was originally a Zion Church; some Bethel members from other places became connected therewith and succeeded in electing a majority of the board of trustees, and these voted to have a Bethel minister. When this was done the Zion people left their own church and

Page 133

built another. Bethel still has our church. During the last ten years we have occupied a few churches which formerly belonged to Bethel; but in each case we have stepped in and bought the church after they had lost it. We have not stolen any of their churches. That Church has through all its history been making attacks upon us from one standpoint or another. One of the stories which has been circulated by them is that Zion is a split from Bethel. The only possible foundation for this story is that in a few instances Churches have split off from Bethel and come to Zion. But for this very same reason Bethel might with greater propriety be called a split from Zion, for the third church that Bethel had was a split from Zion. But in perfect fairness it cannot be said that either is a split from the other. Both of these Churches came out from the Methodist Episcopal Church, Zion in New York and Bethel in Philadelphia, and each independent of the other. Each is an offshoot from the mother of Methodist Episcopal Churches.

        Bethel has claimed to be the older Church, and has used this claim very freely in her attempts to supplant Zion in places where Zion had the start. This claim, for many years, was based upon the idea that Zion was formed in 1820. This idea is erroneous. About 1821 is the time when the first regular Conference was held. The Church had then been in existence about twenty-five years. It was incorporated in the year 1801. The Act of Incorporation is still on record in New York city. The Church was organized in 1796, and was beyond all question the first Methodist Church, white or colored, that was formed independent of the Methodist Episcopal

Page 134

Church. The organization was composed of colored members of the John Street Methodist Church, the first of American Methodist Churches. The title under which it was incorporated was "The African Methodist Episcopal Church;" but because the first Church was called Zion, and to distinguish ourselves from Bethel Church, which took the same title, "Zion" was added as a part of the connectional title. Up to 1864 the connections were generally spoken of as Bethel and Zion, and in many places in the North they are still so designated. In going South the Bethel people undertook to represent their Church as preeminently the "African Methodist Episcopal Church," and to that end they tried to drop the "Bethel." We say "tried," for they did not always succeed; sometimes a Church was organized by a minister accustomed to harping on Bethel, and in such places Bethel became as "pat" as it is in Philadelphia.

        The fact that Zion Church had the service of the Methodist Episcopal preachers up to 1820 is taken as evidence that Zion had not separated from the Methodist Episcopal Church; but the kind of service received from the Methodist Episcopal Church at that time might be received now. As a matter of convenience Methodist Episcopal preachers, for a consideration, might render all the service now which was then rendered without interfering with our independence; they simply preached and administered the sacrament. This service was rendered under articles of agreement between the Methodist Episcopal Church of the United States of America on the one part and the trustees of the African Methodist Episcopal Church on the other part.

Page 135

        In this agreement two distinct Church organizations are recognized, the Methodist Episcopal Church and the African Methodist Episcopal Church. And this agreement was made in April, 1801. Here the record shows that Zion Church in 1801 at New York was recognized as an independent body known as the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Article V provides and declares that none but Africans and their descendants shall be chosen as trustees of this Church, or of any other Church property under this incorporation. In Article VI it was provided that no persons should be admitted into close connection with their classes, or be enrolled on their books as members, other than Africans or their descendants.

        The fact that there were five churches represented and six or eight ministers present at the first Conference shows that they had been working up a connection prior to that time. Bishop Jones, in his generosity, admitted that while as a Church Zion was the older body, yet Bethel established her itinerant system first. I am not sure that we should admit that much. Bishop Jones was so anxious for a union between the two bodies that he always handled Bethel as tenderly as possible, except when they drew him out by some unreasonable assumption. At Columbia, S. C., eight hundred members in a body went out from Bethel and sent for one of Zion's bishops to go and receive them into our connection. Unfortunately for Zion, Bishop Jones was then on that district, and when he went to receive them they wanted an assurance from him that there was no likelihood of a union between Zion and Bethel. Negotiations were then

Page 136

in progress, and Bishop Jones had great hope of union, and manifested vexation at their request for such an assurance. He failed to receive them. Had this writer been there he would have received them. He could honestly have given the assurance they wanted, for he has never, since 1864, thought there was any likelihood of a union. Bishop Jones could not honestly have given such assurance; his desire for union was so great that he thought he could see it coming.

        Since it has been shown that 1796 was the date of the organization of Zion Church some men in Bethel Church have attempted to get behind that date and to claim that the first movement for the organization of Bethel Church was in 1787; and an attempt was made to get up a centennial celebration in 1887, but it proved a most ridiculous failure, because it was known to be a sham. Their history shows that Richard Allen, their founder and their first bishop, was a member of the Quarterly Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1804. If he founded a separate Church in 1787, how was it that he continued a member of the Quarterly Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1804? It will not do to make a man too many things at once. There was a movement about 1787, but it was not the Bethel movement, nor did it result in establishing an African Methodist Episcopal Church. It is quite likely that it had that object in view in its inception, but if it had it was turned aside from its purpose.

        About this period, or a little later, a considerable number of the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia desired to have a church and preacher of their own. The authorities of the Methodist Episcopal

Page 137

Church refused to grant their request. They appealed to Bishop White, of the Protestant Episcopal Church. He agreed to their request provided they would unite with his Church. They agreed, and Absalom Jones was taken under course of instruction, and ordained, first a deacon and afterward a priest. Thus was formed St. Thomas's Protestant Episcopal Church. This was the result of the movement in 1787, or later, of which historians of the African Methodist Episcopal Church have made so much, and which they have tried to make people believe had some connection with the history of the formation of their Church, which, according to their own history, took place twenty-nine years later.

        This story reminds us of an anecdote we have heard told of a slaveholder who frequently spun hard yearns, and if they were doubted would turn to a slave boy, who was pretty good at fixing up such stories, to substantiate what he had said. One day he told a story of an extraordinary shot he had made. He had put a ball through a deer's right hind foot and right ear. When the crowd seemed to be doubtful the boy was appealed to as usual. "Yes, that's so," said the boy. One of the crowd then asked, "How was it done, Sam?" "Why," replied Sam, "just as massa was about to shoot the deer put up his hind foot to scratch his ear and the ball passed through both." He got his master out of the difficulty, but when they were alone again he said, "Massa, don't spread the ball so much next time; I had hard work to get that one together."

        This story of twenty-nine years from the time they began to organize till the organization was an accomplished fact is spreading it out pretty well. It will take

Page 138

a mighty scratching of the ear with the hind foot to get that ball through both these periods.

        Bishop Allen, according to his own statement, given by Bishop D. A. Payne in his History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (vol. i, chapter xi), made no attempt to organize an African Methodist Church until about 1793, and that proved a failure. Bishop Allen, speaking of the church erected at that time, says:

        "We intended it for the African preaching house or church; but finding the elder stationed in the city was such an opposer of our proceedings of erecting a place of worship, though the principal part of the directors of this church belonged to the Methodist Connection, and that he would neither preach for us nor have anything to do with us, we held an election to know what religious denomination we would unite with. At this election it was determined. There were two in favor of the Methodist, Rev. Absalom Jones and myself, and a large majority in favor of the Church of England. This majority carried."

        Thus it is seen in this history of Bishop Allen, written by himself, that his effort to provide a preaching house for colored Methodist preachers was a total failure. When the test came there was only one besides himself who favored remaining in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the preference of that one (Absalom Jones) was overcome by Bishop White, who ordained him a deacon and made him pastor of this colored flock in the Protestant Episcopal Church.

        But what was this movement which failed? Certainly it was not a movement looking to the establishment of an independent African Church. That seems not to have been thought of. The only question considered was which of the white denominations they chose to adhere to.

        Mr. Allen was offered the pastorate of this flock, but

Page 139

he refused it, declaring that he could not be any other but a Methodist. Though the ministers had not treated him nor his people fairly, he saw nothing to do but remain under them. We have the notion that if the idea of an independent African Methodist Church had dawned upon him as it did upon James Varick he might have held that people over whom he was having so great influence.

        In 1794 he commenced again in the interest of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He bought a blacksmith's shop and had it fitted up for a house of worship. Bishop Asbury accepted it as such and preached in it, and thus encouraged the work. Though not a member of Conference, Allen had for many years traveled as an itinerant preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church. Asbury had taken a special interest in him, and as he had remained after Absalom Jones, with nearly all the colored members, had gone to the Protestant Episcopal Church he enjoyed special favors and was permitted to preach to the flock he had begun again to gather, and in 1799 he was ordained a deacon.

        It was not until the cruelty and unfairness of the preachers stationed in Philadelphia became utterly unendurable that Allen was driven, contrary to his inclination, to establish an independent Church.

        It is a remarkable fact that Bishop Payne gives a very interesting history of the life and work of Bishop Allen, written by himself, and covering the period of ten years from 1784 to 1794, but there it suddenly breaks off. The question naturally arises in the mind, Did his personal account of himself end in 1794 (thirty-six years before

Page 140

his death), or has it been found necessary to suppress it? After 1794 we have only a very fragmentary account of him till near the year 1816, at which time he came out from the Methodist Episcopal Church. After that till his death we have a very satisfactory account.

        It does not need a microscope to discover that during the twenty-two years about which there is silence he was trying as hard as he could to work for the upbuilding of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, and that if God had not purposely made the Methodist Episcopal preachers mad, or hardened their hearts as he did Pharaoh's, in the interest of his oppressed people, Allen would have remained in that Church. But Varick had formed a separate organization in New York, and Spencer had formed a separate organization in Wilmington, and it became a necessity for Allen to do the same. To get the lead of those who had started on the independent line before him, he had himself proclaimed a bishop, though he had received only two ordinations.

        It fell to our lot to be particularly well situated to learn the early history of the Bethel Church in Philadelphia. Our mother in her youth was a member of that church. We have frequently heard her tell the history of that church, and that of Peter Spencer's church, in Wilmington, Del., the second church to which she belonged. Nothing is more firmly fixed in our mind. Our mother was a woman of extraordinary intelligence, and deeply interested in the Church and whatever pertained to the interest of the African race in America. Though circumstances compelled her to leave Bethel Church, yet she always retained a high regard for that church, and

Page 141

she attended it till the time of her death when in Philadelphia. Four of her daughters have been members of that church; one died a member, and two still remain members, and she could have had no interest in misrepresenting it. Its history, as coming from her, is that the building of Bethel Church was commenced about 1809. The church was built under the title of the Methodist Episcopal Church, but the purpose of the colored people was to have an organization of their own, which, after a struggle during several years, they succeeded in effecting in 1816. She had, however, left Philadelphia before they separated from the white Church. She married our father in 1813, and moved to Wilmington, Del., his home. Leaving Philadelphia, she took a certificate from Bethel Church, which was then under the Methodist Episcopal Church. She arrived at Wilmington about the time Peter Spencer withdrew from the Methodist Episcopal Church under the following circumstances: Spencer was a leading member of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Wilmington, called Zion (Zion seems to have been a favorite title with the colored Methodists). In 1806 they built a new house of worship, called the "stone house," corner of Ninth and French Streets. The colored people built it themselves, and supposed that when they had built it they could control it. But, like the people in Philadelphia, they made the mistake of taking the deed for the ground in the name of the Methodist Episcopal Church. When the church was completed the bishop appointed a preacher in charge without consulting their wishes. This brought on a lawsuit which lasted for seven years. Delaware was a slave

Page 142

State, and there was not much chance for colored people against a body of white people as strong and influential as the Methodist Episcopal Church. Spencer found that the courts were against him, and he made up his mind to give up the stone house, which he had held up to that time by appeals from court to court, the court of last resort having decided against him. He called a meeting, announced the situation, and said, "You that are with me, follow me." He had purchased a lot on the opposite side of the street, and thereupon built a house which his enemies called a "pigeon box."

        When our mother reached Wilmington with her certificate from Bethel, Philadelphia, those who had remained with the Methodist Episcopal Church in the "stone house" endeavored to persuade her to deposit her certificate there, as that was the same as the church from which she had come. She declined, saying, "No, I will go to the 'pigeon box' with my husband." Thus we see that Bethel Church still remained in the Methodist Episcopal Church at the time she left it, and there never would have been any pretense that the African Methodist Episcopal (Bethel) Church had any organization earlier than 1816, only for the purpose of claiming to be older than Zion.

        Bishop Turner, in his Church Polity, speaks of Peter Spencer as having been connected with Bishop Allen. Nothing could be more erroneous; Spencer's movement as an independent Church began before Allen's, and he left the Methodist Episcopal Church three years before Allen. He claimed to be the "first of all colored leaders" to declare a complete and absolute ecclesiastical independence of the white Church. Hence it is seen that

Page 143

Bethel was not the first but the third organization of colored Methodists.

        There is another point upon which Bethel has made Zion Church the special object of attack; that is, the bishopric. Small preachers have gone through the country saying, "Zion has no bishops." One preacher in North Carolina used to say, "Hood's no bishop, he is an elder." In this he showed his ignorance, for a Church that can make an elder can make a bishop if it so desires. But such ignorant statements have their effect upon ignorant people, and we know from experience that for several years in many places in the South thousands of people have been kept out of our Church by the efforts of men who made it their business to convey the impression that something was wrong with Zion's episcopacy. Nor has it been small men alone who have made this fight; even bishops have descended to this low style of attack. We remember visiting a Conference held in Raleigh, N. C., by a Bethel bishop several years ago, and he introduced us as "Hood of Zion." He had been telling his men that Zion had no bishops, and he could not consistently introduce us as bishop. We have seldom visited any of their Conferences since that time.

        The question may arise as to why this Church is so anxious to discount our episcopacy. We think it is because they have set up a claim for themselves which the facts do not warrant, and they hope to divert attention from their own by raising a dust about ours. Some of their ministers have gone so far as to claim apostolic succession; and this is based upon the claim that Bishop White, of the Protestant Episcopal Church, ordained

Page 144

Richard Allen. Now, the absurdity of this claim will appear at once to any man who thinks. Was a bishop of a Protestant Episcopal Church ever known to ordain a bishop for any other denomination? Absurdity is stamped upon the face of this story. Another claim set up is that Absalom Jones, a priest in the Protestant Episcopal Church, ordained Richard Allen. We have it on good authority--that of his daughter--that this statement, coming to the ears of Absalom Jones, was denied by him. He said he was present as a spectator but took no part in the ceremony. Does it look reasonable that a priest in a Protestant Episcopal Church could ordain a Methodist bishop and not be called to account for it? Moreover, it is not generally conceded that a single priest can ordain a bishop. But if Absalom Jones ordained Allen, as one portion of the African Methodist Episcopal brethren claim, what has become of that claim of another portion, just as strongly put forth, that Bishop White ordained him? It is questionable whether Absalom Jones was an elder in 1816. We know that the Episcopal Church (even with white ministers who have had better advantages than we can suppose Absalom Jones had at the period in which he lived) moves slowly.

        But the third claim of the African Methodist Episcopal historian is that Richard Allen was ordained by five elders. Now, if this is true the two former claims were not true. If either of them was true when they were positively stated by Bishop Quinn and others, this is not true.

        We have heard well-informed Bethel men, even bishops, at different periods set up the three conflicting claims,

Page 145

and each told his story as positively as if he knew it to be true. In these three conflicting statements respecting Allen's ordination who is to decide which is true or whether or not any of them is true? Let us look at this last statement in the light of some stubborn facts. It is agreed that Allen was the first man in that Church who was made a minister. Those ordained by him are supposed to have been ordained after he was made a bishop. Where did the five elders come from? There was no other colored Methodist elder in existence except Peter Spencer. If five regularly ordained white presbyters officiated why were their names not given? Does not any thoughtful man know that if this were true the names of the elders would have to be laid in rock, graven with an iron pen? They would not for many years have circulated the story that Bishop White ordained Allen if they could have given the names of five white elders who performed the ceremony.

        But we have it from two eyewitnesses that there was not an elder present. Rev. David Stevens, whose honesty and straightforwardness were proverbial, told us that he was present and saw the ceremony performed, and that there was not an elder present. Mr. Vanbrackle, a member of Bethel Church, told us the same thing. Both of these eyewitnesses state that Absalom Jones was present, but that he was at that time only a deacon. Hence we state on the authority of two witnesses that there was not an elder present at that ceremony.

        Now, in all this confusion and uncertainty about the origin of their own episcopacy, it is easy to see why they seek to discredit ours. We were the only body of Christians

Page 146

likely to raise a question as to the validity of their episcopacy; therefore, if they could have gotten us to accept it it would have been safe. If in the platform adopted by the convention of 1864 we had agreed that they should ordain our bishops, their purpose would have been accomplished. Their discovering, at the last moment, before the adjournment of the convention, that we intended to ordain our own bishops, before the consolidation, was the secret cause of their refusing to submit the platform to their people for ratification. We then had superintendents elected for four years and put in office without any written ceremony. It is a fact that three of the first four superintendents served as long as they lived, the other one until long after he lost his eyesight; but the form of an election was gone through with once in four years. It was seen that it was only a matter of time when we would elect for life and install by a ceremonial consecration.

        The Bethel people thought that if a union could be effected in 1864 under the agreement that all the bishops should be made for life, and they could have the privilege of ordaining our bishops when the consolidation took place, they would at last have accomplished what Allen went to New York for soon after he was made bishop. We suppose many have wondered why they failed to submit to their people the platform which they had helped to build in 1864. There is no mystery about it with those who studied them during the sitting of that convention. They failed to accomplish that for which they hoped when they went into convention. The Zion men sized them up quickly, and maneuvered to keep them

Page 147

from learning till the last moment that they could not accomplish their object. There were several points of difference in the two connections. Most of them were considered of minor importance. Two or three points of difference had respect to the rights of the laity. On these points Zion was unwilling to yield much, as they knew that anything which would have the tendency to arouse opposition among the laity would damage the prospect of union. There were some other points of difference which we were more willing to yield. We got over the question of title quite easily. The two connections were distinguished by Zion and Bethel, and it was agreed to drop these terms and call the consolidated connection the "United African Methodist Episcopal Church." There was no difficulty about adopting this title then. Bethel had not up to that time specially harped on the term African. Up to that time Zion was as much the African Methodist Episcopal Church as Bethel was. But the effort since that time to make the Bethel Church preeminently the African Methodist Episcopal Church has changed the relation of the two churches to that title.

        The main question about which there was any difficulty at that time was the episcopacy. Zion had an elective superintendency, and Bethel had the lifetime bishopric. One thing which made this an opportune time for the union was the fact that a majority of the ministers in Zion Connection were ready for the change to the lifetime bishopric, and were only held back by a small minority. This majority was the more ready for a union because they saw that it would be the easier way to reach

Page 148

their object. Nevertheless we made a show of fight, as though we were unitedly attached to the elective superintendency.

        The question of episcopacy was about midway in the articles of agreement as first drawn up for discussion. The articles which preceded it were adopted after a lively but very pleasant discussion. But when we came to the question of episcopacy it was found that we were going to have an interesting struggle. It was then that S. T. Jones made the speech which made him a bishop four years later. He would possibly have been elected at that time, but the men to be elected had been agreed upon, as is too often the case, before the General Conference met. When we reached this subject the whole question of episcopacy came up. Bishop Payne made a long and learned speech defining the position and claims of his Church. Bishop Jones in reply stated our position. He stated, in substance, that there was authority lodged within the Church to make such officers as it needed for the efficiency of the work; that our Church, having regularly ordained elders, had the power to make bishops, if it chose to do so; that we had an elective superintendency, elected for four years as matter of choice; that our superintendents were bishops in fact to all intents and purposes; that for the sake of union our people might possibly consent to adopt a ceremonial consecration and to elect our bishops for life, or during good behavior.

        This speech drew from Bishop Payne the acknowledgment that if our General Conference should elect our bishops for life, and elect three elders to ordain them, they would be as legal bishops as he was. Bishop Payne

Page 149

was an acknowledged authority in that Church, and some of his men seemed to regret that he had been compelled to make that admission. But in view of the fact that the Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church provides that in case there be no bishops three elders shall be elected to ordain a bishop there was no other conclusion to come to. At this point some of the Bethel men began to show a disposition to give up the union. They began to see the tendency of things, that after all we were not dependent upon them or anybody else for the lifetime bishopric when we got ready to adopt it. And we began to understand them as we never had before. Up to that time they had hoped to make bishops for us in case of union, and they felt that to fail in that was to lose all the glory of the union; without that there was nothing in it for them.

        It seemed for a time that we could get no further. Rev. J. W. Loguen (afterward bishop) suggested that we go to the other end and work up to the bishop from that end. He said he had noticed that sometimes when the cars were on an upgrade and could not go forward they backed. He thought as we had run up to this article on one side we might go to the other side and back up to it. If we found that we could agree on every other article there would be the greater reason to try to come to an agreement on this. We had agreed among ourselves to accept the lifetime bishopric, when we came to that point, but did not intend to let it be known until the time came to meet that question. Loguen's suggestion was agreed to, and we went to the other end of the articles of agreement and worked back to the

Page 150

question of episcopacy from that end. We agreed upon every article almost unanimously. We arranged every detail for submitting the platform to the people, the Annual and General Conferences. Everything else was completely provided for, so that if we could come to an agreement on the bishopric there would be nothing to do but to adjourn and go to the people with the matter, with the hope of a union in about fifteen months' time. And if the Bethel delegates and bishops had gone to their people in the same spirit that the Zion men did that would undoubtedly have been the result.

        When everything else had been settled we approached the vexed question. It was not nearly so much of a question with us as it may have seemed to them, as we, at the commencement, had calculated on yielding to them on that question by adopting the lifetime bishopric. We therefore came to that subject with the following propositions: 1. That we adopt for the united connection the superintendency as it exists in Zion Church, or the lifetime bishopric as it exists in Bethel Church, as a majority of the convention shall decide. 2. Provided that in case we agree to adopt the lifetime bishopric the General Conference of the Zion Church shall be called in extraordinary session and our bishops elected for life and ordained before the union is consummated, so that when we meet for the consolidation we shall each have bishops of equal standing.

        It seems to us that a more reasonable compromise could not have been asked nor less accepted than this. But the sequel will show that the Bethel men had other notions. The first question voted on was that we adopt

Page 151

the superintendency as it exists in the Zion Church. As it had been agreed that just enough of our men were to vote with them to defeat this proposition it was defeated by a close vote.

        The next proposition was that we adopt the lifetime bishopric. This was adopted by a close vote. The last proposition to be considered was the proviso that before the final consummation of the union the General Conference of the Zion Church should be called in extraordinary session and the bishops elected for life and ordained. On this question the convention was a tie; but according to the rules of the convention in case of a tie the chairman had the casting vote. Bishop Clinton was in the chair and voted for the proposition, and it was then adopted. When the announcement was made Rev. R. H. Cain and A. L. Stanford cried out almost simultaneously, "To your tents, O Israel!" A delegate on the Zion side asked, "Why to your tents so hastily?" This set them to thinking, and the cooler heads soon devised a means to get out of the difficulty. The chief secretary and the assistant, who had kept the minutes, were Zion men. If they had left the convention unceremoniously they would have placed themselves at great disadvantage. They had allowed us to do nearly all the work, and the papers were all in our hands, and Bishop Clinton was chairman of that session. If they had left the convention we had only to publish the facts to show that they were entirely to blame for the failure to unite. They therefore asked that we have another session. We asked for what another session was desired, when everything had been completed. There was absolutely nothing

Page 152

more that we could do to further the union. We believed that they had some scheme to get the advantage, but we could not think what. We thought, however, that we had nothing to fear, and we consented. Notwithstanding it was our day to have the chairman, they took advantage of the fact that this was an extra session, and had Bishop Campbell in the chair before the hour to which we had adjourned.

        When we assembled one of their delegates (Chaplain Hunter or A. L. Stanford, we are not certain which) had a long preamble and resolutions; the preamble stated the facts of our having assembled and what we had accomplished. The substance of the resolutions was that we put off the final consummation of the union for four years, each party doing all it could for its own side during that time. For this all their delegates voted. All of our delegates voted against it, but Bishop Campbell gave the casting vote in its favor, according to their arrangement. We then understood that at least a part of their purpose in having another session was to get Bishop Campbell in the chair to give the casting vote. A recess long enough to prepare the resolutions would have been all that was necessary otherwise. There would have been no harm in those resolutions if they had honestly intended to take the four years in preparing their people for the change as they stated. But that was not their purpose. They meant the same as when they cried, "To your tents, O Israel!" except that they did not act so honestly. They meant to defeat the union, because they believed that we intended to make our own bishops. This was shown by the fact that they did

Page 153

not submit the matter to their people at all. We had thousands of copies of the platform published at our own expense, and supplied their ministers, one of whom admitted that he had a satchel full of them, and did not even show them to the ministers stationed nearest to him. It is doubtful if any considerable number of the Bethel people ever saw that platform or had any idea why the measure failed.

        We have not believed since that time that there has been any honest purpose on the part of a majority of the leaders in that Church to unite with Zion Church on any fair terms. Bishop Payne has honestly desired and worked for a union, and he alone of the older bishops. We think possibly of those later elected, Bishops Gains, Handy, and Grant may be counted as honestly in favor of union. If we were asked to-day our opinion respecting the union of these two bodies we should say we think there is but little hope. We have elected and ordained our bishops for life, and they have now given up all hope of gaining anything on that line.

        Since the foregoing was written the union movement has been started again, and a very vague and unsatisfactory platform, adopted by the two General Conferences, is being submitted to the people. The result of this third effort will be a subject for the future historian. We expect nothing but talk.

Page 154


        EVERY denomination has its peculiar characteristics. We know the ministers of some denominations almost at a glance. Each denomination seems to fix its mark, more or less distinctly, upon its members. The founders of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church were quiet, unassuming, humble, and unpretending men. They had deep convictions as to the civil and religious rights of men. They meant as far as possible to maintain their own rights, but they went about it in an unostentatious manner. They were distinguished for firmness of purpose, but the carrying out of their purpose was accomplished with as little noise as possible. This may be seen in the ministry and membership to-day. This characteristic has been taken by some for want of snap, and by some we have been underestimated. This fact was especially noted in the convention of the two African Methodist Episcopal Churches in Philadelphia in 1864. The Bethel brethren presumed that their men were generally so much stronger than the Zion men that they had no occasion for a careful selection of delegates to meet the Zion men; any of their men were thought to be sufficient. But we had not been in session long when it was discovered that the men they had selected were no matches for the Zion men. The numbers were equal, and the

Page 155

fact that a platform was adopted with which we were entirely satisfied, but which they were unwilling to submit to their people, shows that the Zion delegates were abundantly able to take care of their own interests. Exactly the same thing happened in the second effort to unite the two connections. The joint commission which met in Washington City in 1885 adopted a platform, which our bishops were willing to submit to our people; but the Bethel bishops, with one exception, voted against it. The third attempt to unite the two connections seems likely to result as its predecessors, and for the same reason.

        It thus seems evident that by some means our delegates in convention were regarded as having taken too good care of our interests. The idea in Zion is that there is not much in noise. Some of us in this day think that we have been too quiet, and the present tendency is toward a little more show. Some of our young men are inclined to imitate the ostentation of somebody else; but it will be a long while before the connection loses its quiet characteristics.

        Another characteristic is the disinclination to proselyte. We have frequently heard our ministers in times of revival say to the people, "Get religion, and then join whatever church you choose." We have said it ourself. And when the converts are wavering and undecided we say, "Let them alone, let them be persuaded in their own minds." Some of our members say, "They shall not say I persuaded them;" and thousands of those converted by our ministry are thus encouraged to go to other denominations, or at least permitted to go without any effort on

Page 156

our part to induce them to come to us. This foolish thing is carried so far that even parents often refuse to make any effort to keep their own children within their own Church. The Church is making some improvement on this line, but the improvement is not near rapid enough. It is well enough for evangelists to tell people to join what Church they choose, but the ministers of a regularly organized Church should do what they can, in reason, to gather their converts into their own Church. If they do not feel to do this they are better fitted for evangelists than for pastors.

        The Church has taken a high stand on moral questions. Some writer has said that the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church has peculiar notions on the subjects of marriage and divorce. That writer must have been at a loss to know what to write. There is not a particle of truth in the statement. The views of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church on this subject are in accord with those of the other branches of the Methodist Church. The law is as follows:

        "No man who has two or more living wives, nor woman who has two or more living husbands, shall be admitted as a member of our Church, except they were unavoidably separated by slavery, so as not to have the least prospect of being together again in this life; or except the separation was on scriptural grounds, fornication (Matt. xix, 9); in both of which cases the clearest proof must be given to the pastor in charge, called upon to take cognizance of the case. And if any pastor in charge receiving information to that effect respecting any person or persons applying for membership in our societies shall fail to investigate the case and shall thereby admit such person or persons in the Church wrongfully, such pastor shall be deemed guilty of immorality.

        "Divorce. Our ministers shall discourage the procuring of divorces except where they are to be procured on scriptural grounds. All divorces not thus obtained shall subject the person so offending to trial according to Discipline."

Page 157

        The first exception in the foregoing recognized that some slaves were parted against their will. This was a separation unavoidable on their part, and it frequently happened that they never met again. In such cases they were allowed to marry again. Of course when there ceased to be any such condition of affairs there was no further application of that exception to the law. It remains in the Discipline as a relic of the accursed institution, and reminds the children of what their parents endured.

        There is no Church more pronounced in its opposition to loose marriage laws. No looseness of life is tolerated in our Church. The law is sufficient and its administration rigid. It is not always that the accused gets the benefit of a reasonable doubt. In our experience we have found it harder to protect those as to whose guilt we were doubtful than to convict those whom we believed to be guilty. No doubt but there are guilty persons among us who escape punishment, as there are in all Churches; yet it is not on account of a lack of effort to maintain a pure Church. Both the ministers and laity in Zion Church know that they are expected to live pure lives, and if they fail to so live the fact must be kept well hidden. And there is no one so high but he can be reached. Well-supported charges against a bishop would be investigated as surely and as quickly as against a less important personage. We can name quite a number of ministers who have been expelled from our Church after conviction on charges of gross immorality who are now occupying the pulpits of other denominations.

        Our Church has always supported the temperance

Page 158

cause. The use of intoxicating drinks is forbidden. The law at one time read, "Except for mechanical or medicinal purposes;" but an abuse of this section having been discovered it was stricken out. No person would be called to account for taking medicine prescribed by a physician, but the members can learn this without having it stated; hence it was deemed unnecessary to continue this exception in the Discipline. Men who come up to be received into the ministry are required to pledge themselves to abstain from all intoxicating drinks as a beverage, and also from the use of tobacco. This last requirement was adopted at the General Conference of 1880.

        In the efforts to restrict the rum traffic our ministers have generally stood in the front ranks. We know one of our ministers who failed to take his stand on the right side, and a large portion of his members left the church and asked the bishop to allow them to form a temperance church, with a pastor in accord with their views. That minister showed contempt for the rebuke thus administered, but a curse seems upon him, and he has never prospered since. The temperance influence is so strong in the Church that the man who attempts to oppose it may expect to come to grief as this man did. It is not a thing of recent birth, but a sentiment as old as the Church itself, which has grown with the growth of the Church, so that we claim temperance is one of its cardinal principles.

        The committee to give expression to the sentiment of the Church on the subject of temperance is a standing committee in our Annual Conferences. In the New

Page 159

England Conference there is but one minister who uses tobacco in any form. In the days of slavery the Zion ministers were generally the leaders of the antislavery movement, and their pulpits were always open to the antislavery lecturer. If no other house could be obtained for an antislavery meeting it was known that the Zion Church could be had. The doors of that Church were never closed against one who wanted to plead for the oppressed. In fact, the leaders have always stood foremost in every movement tending to the advancement of the race.

        We have mentioned the fact that Zion was the first among the Methodist Episcopal Churches to grant to the laity representation in the Annual and General Conferences. We may add that this Church was the first in granting to woman that recognition to which she is entitled. In 1884 the word "male" was stricken from the Discipline, thus removing every restriction. Since then, in Zion Church, it is not a question of sex, but one of fitness, when any position in the Church is considered. Women are class leaders and superintendents of Sabbath schools; they may be trustees if there is nothing in the civil law to prevent. They are exhorters and preachers; and, notwithstanding this freedom, we have never had any considerable number of female preachers, and we have heard of but one female preacher who gave us any trouble, and that trouble was the result of a blunder, and she was a white woman, and we fully believe it was a righteous retribution. When you sow the wind you may expect to reap the whirlwind.

        The Methodist Episcopal Church is now agitated over

Page 160

the question of admitting women as delegates to the General Conference. That question did not require an hour's debate with us; it was settled when the word "male" was stricken from the Discipline. Possibly it may be asked, "What are the chances of women getting seats in the General Conference?" In the first place, if she is president, secretary, or treasurer of any board elected by the General Conference, she is by virtue of said office a member of the General Conference and entitled to all its privileges. Secondly, the lay delegates are chosen by an Electoral Conference made up of lay delegates attending the Annual Conference. The lay delegates to the District Conference are elected by the members of the circuits and stations. Since there are generally more females than males in our churches it would be an easy matter for them to send as delegates to the District Conferences representatives of their sex, and that body in turn could elect females to the Annual Conferences. Therefore at least in some cases it would not be difficult to elect a female. In fact, we believe in almost any case where there was a female present as a candidate, whose general fitness, combined with piety and intelligence, made her the best representative, she would be selected, and largely by the votes of the males. Our idea is that we should not be hindered from using such instrumentalities as God is pleased to raise up, on account of sex. This is the position of Zion Church on the woman question. That the colored ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church have voted by a large majority against the admission of women as delegates to the General Conference has been severely criticised.

Page 161

This is regarded as a display of ingratitude in consideration of the fact that the women of America were among the foremost advocates of liberty and the enfranchisement of the Negro. But we would remark that the black minister must not be judged by those who remain in the Methodist Episcopal Church. The black man can never be seen at his best when he sits in the shadow of the white man. As the spreading oak dwarfs the grass beneath its shade, so does the superior number of white members in the white Church, with their ideas of their superiority, dwarf the black man who remains in that communion. To see the black man at his best he must be seen in his own institution, and managing his own affairs. White institutions as object lessons are an advantage to him, and when the occasion arises he takes pattern of the best he can see.

        In Zion the black minister has shown the height to which he can rise respecting the rights of women when he is where there is nothing to hinder him from following his best convictions. In his own institution he makes his own sentiment, thinks for himself, and takes his own responsibility, keeping pace with the best thought of the age in which he lives. We are willing to be judged by the standard we set up for ourselves, but not that action which grows out of a standard made for us, or the result of secondhand opinion.

Page 162


First Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Connection, the Founder of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in America, the Originator of the Idea of a Negro Church, the First and Foremost of the Negro Race Leaders Who Have Appeared upon the Stage in Modern Times.*

        * See Frontispiece.

        THE subject of this sketch was born in the State of New York, near Newburg, as nearly as we have been able to learn, about 1750. We have not been able to find certain information on this point, but from other known facts we think his birth could not have been either much earlier or much later than the date named; at least this, we think, is as near as we shall ever be able to get to the exact time of his birth. Bishop Moore, in his History, says:

        "Bishop James Varick was one of the nine male members who made the first movement toward the establishment of the Zion Church in 1796. . . . He was a man of great firmness, patience, perseverance, forethought, caution, and uprightness. Plain but orthodox in his preaching, his memory is one of the revered relics of Zion Connection."

        In the Quadrennial Address of the bishops to the General Conference in 1892 we find the following:

        "The Afro-American Church is the one great developing and elevating agency, in comparison with which all others sink into insignificance. There is one name connected with this movement of which comparatively little

Page 163

is now said, which coming generations will rescue from the obscurity in which we have permitted it to rest. Our children's children in their search for information respecting this movement which has done so much to develop the race will find the name of James Varick, and will discover that to him is due the credit of starting a Church organization for the race. We know more of Father Rush, because our immediate predecessors were all acquainted with him and have told us more about him. We know still more about Clinton and Jones, and their praises hang upon our tongues. But we have only to read between the lines of the meager history which has come down to us to realize that the idea of a great Afro-American Church was conceived in the mind of James Varick, and that he, of all the men of his day, built most wisely. His skillful hand is seen in the Act of Incorporation, drawn up in 1801, which secured the independence of the Church, and yet, while it protected the Church property from the encroachments of the white bishops, he managed to hold their friendship, or at least avoid their open hostility."

        Thus it will be seen that the bishops in 1892 unitedly declared that James Varick was the real leader in the formation of Zion, the first African Methodist Episcopal Church in America. We call special attention to this fact here because there are so many who thoughtlessly speak of Rush as the founder and first bishop. As Joshua followed Moses, so did Rush follow Varick. Like Moses, Varick led his people about forty years, for he was a class leader and local preacher long before he formed them into a separate organization. He held meetings separate from the whites possibly as early as 1780. It is quite possible that his separate meetings were aimed at by that twenty-fifth item in the rules adopted by the Conference in 1780, as follows:

        "Question 25. Ought not the assistant to meet the colored people himself, and appoint as helpers in his absence proper white persons, and not suffer them to stay late and meet by themselves?

        "Answer. Yes."

        He led the separate organization through its formation period and continued its leader for more than thirty

Page 164

years. Like Asbury,*

        * See statement respecting Asbury on page 59.

he presided at the Conferences before he received holy orders at the hands of men; he was ordained of God to feed the flock of Christ, and did so long before human authority recognized him as a bishop. That he was well equipped for a leader is evident from the several special characteristics which Bishop Moore attributes to him. And these are all seen in the splendid picture which forms the frontispiece of this book. "Firmness, patience, perseverance, forethought, caution, uprightness, and a phenomenal memory" are the characteristics ascribed to him by Bishop Moore. The man who has all these characteristics is a remarkably uncommon human being, and yet they are just the qualities needed for the ordeal through which the foremost religious leader of the oppressed race in America had to pass. His forethought is conspicuous in that he wholly avoided the difficulty that later movements had to contend with respecting the title of Church property.

        Every account we have of Richard Allen's secession from the Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia informs us of a hard and long struggle and litigation over the Church property. From the best information attainable the struggle was about seven years long. Peter Spencer, in Wilmington, Del., had a seven years' struggle, and was finally obliged to give up his first church to the possession of the white bishop and build another. Long and disappointing experience taught him to do in the end what Varick's forethought enabled him to do at the beginning, twelve years earlier. The Church property of the organization led by Bishop Varick was all deeded

Page 165

to their own incorporation, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, commonly called Zion. There was therefore neither litigation nor angry contention; no, not even a question raised as to the absolute right of the congregations to dismiss the white preachers at pleasure.

        By Varick's forethought he had the assistance of Methodist Episcopal ministers as long as it was well for him to use them, and when he could no longer use them without creating discord in his own ranks he dismissed them without losing their friendship. His patience was seen in his long waiting on the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church for the realization of his hope, which they held out to him, that the petition of his people to grant him holy orders would be complied with. This was deferred from time to time for twenty years. A patience that holds out for twenty years may well be regarded as a natural characteristic of its agent. Perhaps it may be said that he could do nothing else but wait. Peter Spencer did something else; his congregation elected three laymen and called them elders, and they ordained Peter Spencer and called him elder minister. He then assumed all the functions of a bishop.

        Richard Allen did not wait, but got his ordination in some way (concerning which a statement is given in another place). James Varick waited, and because of this other organizations much later formed claimed priority because they in some way (however questionable) obtained ordination earlier than he. This claim is set up in face of the fact that the organization of Zion Church as an independent body was as complete in the eye of the civil law in 1801 as it or any other Church is to-day.

Page 166

This was fifteen years before Richard Allen came out from the Methodist Episcopal Church.

        Varick's long and patient waiting was finally rewarded by his receiving ordination from the hands of Methodist ministers, whose right to ordain has not and cannot be questioned by any who admit that three presbyters can perform the ceremony of ordination. So much for his patience. Firmness was another of his peculiar characteristics. This is so closely allied to patience that he who enjoys the one is seldom destitute of the other. To his firmness Zion Connection is indebted for its existence as an independent body to-day. As we have seen, he had waited for nearly twenty years for ordination at the hands of the white bishops. Near the end of this period Richard Allen visited New York, claiming to be a bishop. We have no doubt but that Varick had been informed how Allen was made bishop; nevertheless Allen's offer to ordain him if he (Varick) would unite with his (Allen's) organization was tempting to a man who had been seeking ordination for twenty years. Who of us to-day would have stood firm under such circumstances? None but those whose firmness is characteristic. William Miller and some others yielded and went with Allen; yes, and afterward became dissatisfied and returned to Zion. Varick stood firm, and because he stood the connection stands to-day a monument to his fixed and steady purpose of mind. His purpose was to have ordination at the hands of men of whose authority there could be no question. He stood firm to the end, faithful amid the faithless.

        Another peculiar characteristic ascribed to him is perseverance.

Page 167

What we have already said renders his perseverance conspicuous. He had a purpose from which nothing could turn him aside; his eye of faith rested upon a prize, and he persevered until the jewel of holy orders rested upon him from the hands of ministers whose authority had come down as regular as history could make it. His caution was also marked. It takes a very cautious man to hold men through a long course of years to the interest of his purpose when they at the same time have even a different purpose, to say nothing of an opposite purpose. He started out to establish an independent Church. The bishops and ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church were opposed to it, and determined, if possible, to get him and his organization back into the Methodist Episcopal Church. He determined to maintain his own organization. He quietly had his way, and yet he held the bishops and ministers to his interest, so that one or more of them assisted him in every move he made. Even after his people had determined to hold a Conference he had the assistance of some of the most distinguished men in the Methodist Episcopal Church. Rev. Joshua Soule, who afterward became bishop, acted as secretary of the first Annual Conference.

        Varick was marked for his uprightness. Through all the trying years of his leadership nothing is recorded of him, or known by those who still remember him, to his discredit. There is a lady still living in New York who remembers him as a man who was greatly respected by all who knew him. He had a wonderful memory, and was a successful student of men. In fact, he united

Page 168

in himself all the qualifications of a great organizer. He left to his successors a Church organization fully qualified for the great work of uplifting the race and of saving souls. He died shortly before the sitting of the General Conference of 1828.


        Bishop Rush was born in Craven County, N. C., in 1777 (the same year that slavery was abolished in the State of Vermont). His parents were of slave descent; he was of genuine African type. He embraced religion in 1793, at the age of sixteen years. He came to New York in 1798, five years after he embraced religion, being then twenty-one years of age; in 1803 he joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church (afterward known as the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church); in 1815 he was licensed to preach, and in 1822 he was ordained a deacon and elder on the same day in the first Annual Conference. On May 18, 1828, in General Conference, he was elected General Superintendent or Bishop of the connection. In this office he served twenty-four years. His discontinuance in the office some years before his decease was in consequence of the loss of his sight, which was not only grievous to him, but also to the Zion Connection; it was an irreparable loss.

        His personal constitution: physically he was of low stature, of prominent muscular development, a bilious temperament, and a healthy constitution; he was capable of great physical endurance. His intellectual faculties were deep-seated, strong, and vigorous; as a reasoner he was clear and cogent; as a contestant he was insuperable;

Page 169

as a theologian he was profound. His fund of knowledge was vast and varied; his mental ability and general knowledge were so ample that he was ever prepared to hold sway with public criticism on all popular



and great questions of the day. Although he was debarred by the prejudice of caste from collegiate training, yet by his extraordinary work of self-culture his scholarly attainments astonished all that came in contact with him.

Page 170

        His manners: he was reserved in manners, stern in address, but agreeable and entertaining in his conversation, always instructive. He was an uncompromising foe to slavery, to intemperance, to American Negro proscription, to episcopal dominancy, and to ecclesiastical oligarchy; equally uncompromising to human pride, ostentation, and vanity.

        His common personal demeanor: in his deportment he was plain, unassuming, and uninsinuating; he was homely in his attire, common in his diet, and easy to serve. It was a studied habit with him to give as little trouble as possible to his attendants, either at home or abroad; this was a style of deportment he vigorously inculcated among all the young ministers, with many other highly important lessons.

        His ministerial bearing: his deportment as a clergyman was always grave and dignified in all circles of society. In the pulpit he was always very earnest, indicative of his consciousness of the responsibility of the work laid upon him. He was very observant of the conduct of his young ministers, and always had a word of good advice to give them in relation to their studies or on their ministerial deportment. He was ever willing to share in the hardships of his ministers, and took common fare in life with them.

        His style as a preacher: as a preacher his style was commanding; his voice was full, clear, and musical; he was profound in thought, earnest and pungent, and sometimes vehement. He maintained at all times great self-possession in the pulpit, never aimed at embellishment in his discourses, but impressed his subjects upon

Page 171

attentive hearers, edifying the religious and awakening the unconverted.

        His ministerial work: he entered the itinerancy early in his ministerial career, and as a traveling preacher was very constant, zealous, and successful in his evangelical labors; he had to suffer hardships and privations, which were the lot of all colored ministers in his day. But his love for Christ and the salvation of souls, his interest in the Church and the well-being of his race, prompted him to endure hardship as a good soldier. He was possessed of extraordinary legislative ability, was farsighted in scanning the doubtful results of ecclesiastical measures, and his opinion generally controlled Church legislation. He was most conclusive in his deductions on all questions submitted to his judgment, and was peculiarly cautious in making any new departure in the economy of the Church government. After being elected to the office of bishop he filled the position with great ability and to the full satisfaction of all his subordinates, whether ministerial or lay. During the entire period of episcopal office he conducted the executive affairs with the highest degree of efficiency, and when deprived of his sight, being disqualified for executive duties, his counsel was eagerly sought by his successors in office and the Church generally; and, although thus afflicted, he would attend the Annual and General Conferences that he might take part in their legislation on vital subjects. This he continued to do until he became too feeble to visit the Conferences. He was finally confined to his room for several years before his demise, and died in the full triumphs of faith.

Page 172


        Bishop Clinton was born October 3, 1823, in Philadelphia, Pa. He studied the common branches of English education in the famous Mr. Bird's school at Philadelphia, thence went to the Allegheny Institute. He embraced religion when fifteen years of age, and was licensed as a local preacher when seventeen. In 1843 he joined the itinerancy and became a traveling preacher; in 1845 was ordained a deacon and in 1846 an elder; was elected to the episcopal office in 1856. He had a high and holy ambition to make himself qualified to do good among his fellow-men; when he was a youth he would sacrifice comforts and pleasures to pursue his studies successfully. His sympathetic nature was strongly developed; sanctified as it was by the spirit of Christianity, he was always willing to share the sufferings of others. He was faithfully devoted to the cause he espoused, and no service was too hard, no sacrifice too great, for that cause. His attainments were of no ordinary character; his knowledge of human nature, the importance of his holy calling, his social relations--filial, conjugal, parental--these had their true development in his whole life's deportment. He rendered to all classes their just dues, from the highest to the lowest. All good institutions had his favor and cooperation. Through his instrumentality one hundred thousand Sunday school scholars were brought into our connection; during his episcopal office he organized ten Annual Conferences, and also took into the connection seven hundred itinerant preachers. As an executive officer he had no superior; for twenty-five years he filled

Page 173

the office with complete success and satisfaction to his Church. In the pulpit he was a prince in power, dignity, and effectiveness. There was in his oratory the happiest result of nature and art combined; his eloquence would sometimes seem to be charged with divine electricity,



stirring the most stoical. The topical was generally his method of homiletical arrangement; in his discourses he was concise, perspicuous, forcible, and masterly. In his last conversation with loved ones, who gathered round his bedside, he said, "All is well, I am ready for the glorious change." He fell asleep May 24, 1881, at Atlantic City, N. J., after a protracted illness.

Page 174


        Bishop Moore was born about 1804 in Berkeley County, Va. He was therefore about eighty-nine years old at the time of his death. He was born free, but his mother was kidnapped and carried into slavery, from which she finally escaped with two of her children, including John.



who was bound out to a farmer in Bedford County, Pa. He was taught to read and write, and acquired a knowledge of farming, for which he showed a fondness long after his strength to perform it forsook him. The man to whom he was bound robbed him of two years or more, and would have continued the robbery but for a friendly Quaker, who informed him that his time was out, and advised him
Page 175

to leave, and agreed to stand by him if the man claimed longer time. The fact that the man made no effort to get him back was regarded by him as evidence that the information he had received was correct. In Bishop Moore's History of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church his birth is put in the year 1818. That is evidently a misprint or mistake, for according to the statement which follows he could not have been much less than twenty-five when he visited Harrisburg, Pa., about the year 1830. If it is a fact, as he believed, that he was robbed of two years' time, he was twenty-three when he left the man to whom he was bound. Then he worked six months for another man, to pay a debt contracted during his bondage. Afterward he worked for himself until he had saved $15, before he went to Harrisburg. As wages were low and clothing comparatively high in those days it took a young man some time to fix himself up and save money enough to start off to the city with, the city being more than a hundred miles away. From what the bishop says of his occupation there it must have been at least three or four years before his return to Bedford in 1833. He could not then have been less than twenty-eight or nine, whereas if born in 1818 he would only have been fifteen years old. It is therefore evident that 1818 is a mistake by at least from twelve to fifteen years. Supposing that he was twenty-five when he went to Harrisburg and that he remained there four years before returning to Bedford in 1833, that would make him twenty-nine years old, and would make the year of his birth 1804. This accords with other facts. He and Rev. David Stevens were young men together, and it was always understood that

Page 176

Stevens was five years older than Moore. This was understood at a period when there was not much difficulty in fixing upon his age as nearly as it could be known. Stevens died in 1882, at about eighty-three years of age. Hence he must have been born in 1799. If Bishop Moore was five years younger he must have been born in 1804.

        Walter Booth died in 1891, in his seventy-seventh year. He used to say that Bishop Moore was a man grown and preaching when he was a little boy. He supposed that there was at least fifteen years' difference in their ages. Let us suppose that he was mistaken by five years, and that there was not more than ten years' difference. Booth was born in 1814; this again would put Bishop Moore's birth in the year 1804. We think this is as near as we are likely to get to his exact age. The bishop himself, when we last talked to him on the subject, was inclined to accept our figures as about correct. It was then that he told us of the two years of which he was robbed by the man to whom he was bound for service.

        The bishop embraced religion while in Harrisburg, Pa., in 1833, and was soon after impressed with his call to the ministry; was licensed to exhort in the same city in 1834, and to preach about a year later. He felt his lack of the education necessary for the ministerial work, with the importance of which he was deeply impressed. During his minority he had only received instruction for a few weeks each year from the time he was bound to service.

        In 1836 he employed private teachers and took lessons in the English branches, and also in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and thus acquired sufficient knowledge in all of

Page 177

these languages to enable him to pursue his calling so well that he soon became one of the most noted black preachers of his day. He was soon designated as the "silver-tongued orator." He was also noted for extraordinary penmanship. He united with the Philadelphia Conference, as an itinerant preacher, in 1839, and continued a member of that Conference until he was made bishop in 1868.

        He sailed for California in 1852, where he succeeded in planting the standard of Zion. He established churches at San Francisco, San José, and Napa. The one at San Francisco is the largest colored church on the Pacific coast; the one at San José is also a flourishing church; the one at Napa has ceased an active existence because the colored people have forsaken the place. He came East in 1868, and was set apart to the episcopal office. During his episcopate he had charge of California, Canada and Michigan, Florida, Arkansas, New York, New England, Philadelphia and Baltimore, Virginia, West Tennessee and Mississippi, Georgia, and all the Carolina Conferences. He was not a great organizer; he had not the peculiar ability to marshal forces for success, but he was truly a great preacher. He was regarded as the greatest black preacher on the Pacific coast, and some spoke of him as the greatest preacher, regardless of color. His eloquence was enrapturing, and his imaginative and descriptive powers were marvelous.

        On his way across the ocean to England he preached for the passengers, who were so pleased that they raised for him $150, and he was a wonder to the people on the other side of the ocean. He was decidedly conscientious,

Page 178

and would not suffer malice to rankle in his bosom. If he thought one had treated him wrongfully he sought an early opportunity to speak of it, and a very little apology satisfied him if he believed it sincere. He had an excellent Christian character and an untarnished moral reputation. We could not agree with him in all his theological notions, but he was broad and liberal, and thought he had scriptural support for every idea advanced. He loved his Church, and was willing to make great sacrifices for its advancement. He had an ambition to travel as much and do as much as any other bishop, notwithstanding his great age. He had great love for his race, and gloried in its every honorable achievement. He fell at his post.


        Among the distinguished men developed by the Church Bishop Singleton Thomas Webster Jones holds the first rank. He was what is called a self-made man. His early advantages were poor. When he entered the ministry he had scarcely the rudiments of an English education, but he was sensible of the importance and responsibilities of his calling, and he went to work to prepare himself; and it is wonderful how much he accomplished on that line. He so acquainted himself with the English language that he could select the most choice and fitting words to express his ideas, and could form most beautiful and expressive sentences. He was a fine and logical reasoner, and as a theologian he was entirely safe. He was original without being wild. He kept to the old beaten path of Methodism, but he was constantly bringing

Page 179

to view new beauties along that old path. We never knew him to make a theological utterance which seemed to us unsound. He had the title of Doctor of Divinity, but he was that and more, he was Doctor of Laws as well. In debate he was hard to equal; he would find the weak places in the position of his antagonist and then show them up with terrible effect. He was an extraordinary organist. He seemed to throw his whole soul into the organ, which responded to his touch and gave forth the sweetest notes. He possessed a most lively faith; as to his spiritual state, he never seemed to have a doubt. Future and eternal happiness with him was a foregone conclusion. His pastoral work covered a period of nineteen years, and he was always successful. We have heard him say that one of his best appointments was one to which he went with very great reluctance; he believed that his appointment was the result of unfriendly feelings on the part of the bishop, but it proved not only a blessing to the Church, but resulted in his securing the home which he left to his family. His last pastoral charge was the mother Church, Old Zion, in New York. Rev. A. Walters, who took charge just twenty years later, was the first to surpass Bishop Jones's record in the number of converts in one revival.

        Bishop Jones was born March 8, 1825, in Wrightsville, Pa. He embraced religion in Harrisburg, in February, 1842, was licensed to preach in 1846, joined the Annual Conference in 1849, received elders' orders in 1851, was elected bishop May 19, 1868, and was consecrated May 31. He departed this life on Saturday, April 18, 1891. His

Page 180

funeral was attended by all the surviving bishops of his own connection, two of the bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and more than fifty ministers. He was the fifth of our bishops who died in active service. His arrangements for the Conference which was held soon after his death were carried out as nearly as they could well have been if he had lived. The two things which engaged his thoughts most during his last days were his family and his Church. For these he had given his life, and death alone gave him rest from the care he had assumed.


        We find that Bishop Moore, in his History, passes Bishop J. W. Loguen in silence. Among the men of his day there were few more distinguished than he. A fugitive from bondage himself, he made it his business to aid others in making their escape from that hell on earth. It is doubtful if any one man did more than Bishop Loguen in aiding those who were in search of liberty; hence he was called the "Underground Railroad King." He was an intimate friend of Fred Douglass; Douglass's son married his daughter, and they both had considerable means and vied with each other in giving the young people a start in life.

        Bishop Loguen was not a great preacher; he was more suited to the platform as a public lecturer, especially on the subject of slavery. As such he was scarcely less popular than Douglass himself. It was this, and not his ability as a preacher, that brought him to the front in the Church. He was elected bishop in 1864, but discovering

Page 181

that he was likely to be sent to Southern work, and thinking it too early for a fugitive to return to that land, he resigned.

        In 1868 he was brought forward again. He met some opposition because he had resigned when first elected. They could easily have beaten him but for the fact that they had determined to have six bishops (two more than were needed). The rule then was to send out a nominating committee, who arranged to get the man they wanted elected by putting up a man against him whom nobody expected would get elected, but upon whom the opposition could throw away their votes. Sometimes, however, they would run in what is known in politics as a dark horse. The attempt was made to beat two of the regular nominees at this General Conference in that way. Hence it will be seen by the Minutes that notwithstanding J. P. Thompson, who was nominated against Loguen, refused to run, yet another brother, who was not on the ticket presented by the nominating committee, received thirty-one votes, and there were four scattering votes, which left Loguen forty-one, only six majority. He was appointed to the Fifth District, including the Allegheny and Kentucky Conferences and adjacent mission fields. At the end of two years he was to change with Bishop Jones and go to the Second District, including the Genesee and the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conferences. He thus had four years of very pleasant work. But in 1872 he was appointed to the oversight of mission work on the Pacific coast, which appointment he did not long survive. We do not think he reached his field of labor.

Page 182


        Bishop Moore, in his History, gives us only a good picture of Bishop J. D. Brooks. He was elected in 1864. He was a man of great natural ability; was a good plain speaker, and could, under some circumstances, rise to wonderful force in presenting truth. As a pastor he was too rigid and dogmatic for great success in building up the church. He thought it better to have twenty members who were according to his notion than a church full who were not. For his members to appear at the sacrament with earrings or finger-rings or ruffles or flowers was sufficient provocation for him to pass them by. He did not need much more to induce him to turn members out of church. If members talked about his rigid course it was an easy matter to get some one who agreed with him to bring charges against them for sowing discord, and members thus unreasonably brought up are quite likely to be stubborn, and their stubbornness would seem to justify him in excluding them. The establishment of the St. Paul's African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington City was the result of a split in Wesley Zion Church during his administration; it commenced by his passing a few prominent members at the sacrament. The feeling produced lasted for many years; thirty years have passed, but we are not sure that all the wounds are yet healed. Those who held with him would almost have suffered martyrdom in his defense, for they believed him to be an extraordinarily good man. He had a strong moral character, and was regarded as a very devout Christian. Those who held to him believed

Page 183

that he was hated because he was strict and good. We thought he was one of the best men we ever met. He got up in the pulpit once after we had preached to a packed house and publicly rebuked us for not saying more on a single point in our subject. He had no complaint to make of what we had said, but claimed that we left the subject too quickly. We had said something about pride, but did not dwell on the subject long. He thought that we should at that point have given the people a general tongue-lashing about fine dress, etc. He said the Spirit was driving us in that direction, but we, like a miserable coward, had dodged. Our reverence for him was so great that we received his rebuke with the meekness of a child. We have no reason to-day to change our opinion respecting his honesty of purpose or sincerity of intention; but a man of less practicability could hardly have been found. He had none of that notion announced by Paul when he said, "I become all things to all men; that I may by all means gain some." This, it seems to us, is a common-sense view; do the good you can in whatever way you can.

        It is a great deal easier to let down the fence at another place and drive out a hog than it is to make him go out through the hole under the fence at which he went in. But there are men who would try to make the hog go out at that hole if they lost three or four hours in the attempt. We have known quite a number of good men who, like Bishop Brooks, failed for the want of that sagacity which enables a man to see that it is best to do what you can or make the most of your situation. Lead men to see as you see, if you can, but do not attempt to drive them. Bishop

Page 184

Brooks failed as a bishop for the same reasons that he had failed as a pastor, and has left us the admonition that if a man is a failure as a pastor it is unwise to make him a bishop. After his first four years' service there was an attempt to drive him from the field by compelling him to resign. He was appointed to the mission field on the Pacific coast. He tendered his resignation, but finally withdrew it with the understanding that he was to remain inactive during the period of that appointment. In 1872 he was retired and made chairman of the Book Concern. He died in a good old age.


        We have mentioned Bishop W. H. Bishop in connection with the split, but think a more extended notice is due to his memory. He was truly a great man in many respects: he was well equipped as a leader; he had a fine, commanding figure; he stood at least six feet high and was well proportioned; he was a splendid specimen of the full-blooded Negro; he had a melodious voice and pleasant face; he was a natural, easy, and fluent speaker, frequently carrying his congregation up to a degree of rapture which would cause them to break out in shouts of praise. Notwithstanding the stormy time in which he served the Church, it is doubtful if any man was more loved by his people than he. He was retired at his own request in 1868.


        Another of the very distinguished men of our Church was Bishop S. D. Talbot. He was elected bishop in 1864. Bishop Talbot was regarded as one of the best

Page 185

men as well as one of the best preachers of his day. During his pastorate he had charge of the most important churches in the connection, including New York and Boston; and the man who was a success in either of those churches was considered a strong man. Bishop Talbot was always a success as a pastor, and was equally so as a bishop. He had charge of the First District, including the New York, New England, and Genesee Conferences, for two years, and then went to the Fourth District, including the Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana Conferences. After fourteen years' service he died at his home in Georgia. He will long be remembered in that section as one of the pioneer bishops. Respected by all classes, and considering that he lived in the hottest region during the hottest period of the reconstruction, and he a Northern man, this speaks volumes for his sagacity and Christian bearing.


        Bishop Hood was born in Kennett Township, Chester County, Pa., May 30, 1831. He was early impressed with his accountability--as early, he thinks, as his fourth year. At about eleven he experienced a change, but such was the extravagance in the professions of many around him that he struggled amid doubts and fears for seven years before he was satisfied that it was well with his soul. His own sister, Charlotte, was the means finally of leading him to see that faith was all that a penitent sinner needed.

        At about his twenty-first year he was impressed with his call to the ministry; he mentioned the matter to a preacher, whom he supposed would present it to the

Page 186



Quarterly Conference. He there let it rest, and tried to feel that his own responsibility was at an end. In this he was entirely successful so long as he remained within the jurisdiction of the Quarterly Conference to which that preacher belonged. But when he moved to New York and united with the church there he felt that the responsibility rested again upon himself. After some further delay he finally petitioned for license to preach, which was granted in the latter part of 1856. The following year he moved to New Haven, where he was received into the Quarterly Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. In June, 1858, the pulpit of that church became vacant by reason of the failure of the minister appointed to appear. He had heard that the church did not want him, and thought he would let the people see that he could get along without them. In this state of affairs the bishop took up the subject of this sketch in the interval of the Annual Conference and put him in charge of the church. At the close of that Conference year he was received into
Page 187

the New England Annual Conference on trial and appointed as a missionary to Nova Scotia. As there were no funds on hand to send him out he returned to New York and went to work in a hotel for thirteen months, at the end of which time he had saved enough to provide for his family and to take him to his field of labor. He was ordained a deacon in Boston, Mass., the first Sunday in September, 1860, and sailed for Halifax the following Wednesday. At the end of one year he sent for his family. In 1862 he met the Conference in Hartford, Conn., and was ordained elder. At the end of three years he brought his family with him to meet the Conference at Boston. His success had not been great; he had, however, succeeded in supporting his family in a strange land without aid from the Mission Board, except six dollars toward getting his wife out of Washington (at the time of the battle of Bull Run) on her way to New Bedford, Mass.

        He organized one church composed of eleven members in a settlement of Hard-shell Baptists. When he first reached that settlement, after walking forty-five miles through a strange country, he went to every house in the settlement before he got a stopping place. They told him there were no Methodists there and that they did not want any. But the only hope that he had of staying in that country was to plant a church there, and he succeeded. The place was called Englewood, about a mile from Bridgeton. He traveled and preached at private houses and at white churches; but this small congregation was all that he had to depend upon among his own people.

Page 188

        On his return to the States in 1863 he was stationed at Bridgeport, Conn. After six months' service in that charge he was sent as a missionary to North Carolina. He had charge three years at New Berne, two at Fayetteville, and three and a half at Charlotte. In 1872 he was set apart to the episcopal office. He was a delegate to the Ecumenical Conference in London in 1881, also in Washington City, 1891, and was the first colored man who presided over that body. He is the author of a book of sermons, which has been adopted by the General Conference as a standard work.


        "Joseph P. Thompson has resided in this city for many years. The highest honors of his Church have been conferred upon him, and in his official capacity he has exerted a wonderful influence with his people and done much to elevate their moral and social condition.

        "Bishop Thompson was born in slavery at Winchester, Va., December 20, 1818. He ran away from his master while yet a youth, and found a home with a kind-hearted man in Pennsylvania. He was brought up in a good family, under moral and religious influences, and encouraged to improve all the advantages that could be afforded him for his future welfare. He was sent to night school and permitted to attend the district school during the winter months, and thus acquired a common school education. He was naturally studious, loved books, and early determined to qualify himself for some useful vocation in life. Though his opportunities were limited, he was ambitious, and resolved to enter a profession or calling where he

Page 189

could help his less favored people. It so happened that he had the opportunity to study medicine with a physician residing at Middletown Point, now Matteawan, N. J., a study which he has continued through life. But serious thoughts of preferring holy orders to any other profession



gave a happy turn to his mind, and he decided in favor of the ministry. He read theology under the direction of the late Rev. Dr. Mills, of Auburn--a privilege which he has often mentioned to his friends with an indelible
Page 190

sentiment of gratitude. He was licensed to preach in 1839, and attracted much attention and drew large crowds to hear him. His sermons were delivered with animation and zeal. . . .

        "In 1853 he was sent by his Church to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he preached with acceptance, and found great demand for his medical skill. In this he was so successful that he concluded to return to the States and take a regular course in a medical college. He succeeded in this resolve and graduated from the University of Medicine in the city of Philadelphia with the degree of Doctor of Medicine, his diploma bearing date April 1, 1858. Since then he has devoted his life to the service of his Church and people, equally competent to preach the Gospel and administer to the sick and dying.

        "By precept and example he has taught and encouraged his people, and been to them a benefactor and faithful friend. He has served almost all the churches in the Zion Connection along the Hudson, and was three times pastor of the Zion Church in this city. His faithful and efficient services have not been unrewarded; and in July, 1876, he was consecrated to the bishopric of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in the city of Louisville, Ky. This distinguished mark of confidence and esteem on the part of his denomination at once commended him to the attention and respect of all other sects and creeds, and he has become one of the most popular and honored men in the ministry. Officials at Washington have frequently conferred with him on public measures, especially on affairs in the South. In 1881 he was invited to England, and by special request read a paper before

Page 191

the Ecumenical Conference of Methodist Churches convened in London from all parts of the world.

        "During the last fifteen years he has been engaged in his duties as a bishop, a position of great importance and responsibility. Mrs. Thompson,*

        * Deceased since the above was written.

the partner of his youth, is still spared to him. She is a most estimable woman, deeply interested in her husband's lifework, and for many years past the treasurer of the missionary funds of their Church. They have one daughter, the wife of Professor D. B. Alsdorf, residing in this city."--Copied from "Newburg, Her Institutions and Leading Citizens."

Bishop of the Fifth Episcopal District of the African Methodist
Episcopal Zion Church.

        Bishop Lomax was born 1836, in Cumberland County, N. C. He is the son of Enoch Lomax and grandson of William Lomax, who came to America with General La Fayette from the French Colony in Africa. William Lomax joined the Revolutionary War under General George Washington and General La Fayette, fighting faithfully to the close of the war to secure the liberty of America. He was a pensioner until the day of his death. He died in full triumph of gospel faith as a Methodist at the ripe age of one hundred and five years. He was honored with a military burial by the remnant of his regiment.

        Enoch Lomax, the father of our subject, was united in marriage to Rachel Hammonds, the daughter of Isaac and Dicy Hammonds, and was of Indian descent.

Page 192

        Thomas Henry Lomax, the seventh son of Enoch and Rachel Lomax, joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in the year 1848, under Dr. Pritchard. He was converted in 1849, in the town of Fayetteville, N. C., and was made a class leader in 1850. He, with the assistance



of others, erected the first brick church in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Connection in the South, at Fayetteville, N. C., named Evans Chapel.

        He was licensed to preach in 1867 by Bishop J. W. Hood; was ordained a deacon by Bishop J. J. Clinton and

Page 193

an elder by Bishop J. J. Moore. He was sent to the Whitesville mission field, where he built a church; he organized and built churches at Flemington, Swamp, and Christian Plains; reorganized at Shady Grove, Brown's Chapel, and Goose Creek. He took charge as presiding elder of all the churches in the following counties: New Hanover, Brunswick, Bladen, Columbus, Sampson, and Duplin during the fight of Price and Lavender against the connection; and in the same year organized five churches in Marlboro District, S. C. The next year he reorganized at Laurinburg, and was appointed elder in charge of the church in Charlotte, N. C., where he served three years. During his first two years as pastor he added seven hundred members to the church and organized Little Rock Church. He was elected to the bishopric by the General Conference at Louisville, Ky., in 1876, and was appointed to a missionary field in Canada, Ont., where he organized the Michigan and Canada Conference. He ordained twenty-nine elders and deacons at this Conference, brought in twenty-eight churches valued at $15,000, and had the Conference chartered in the name of the Queen of England. He organized the Texas Conference, in which he ordained eighteen elders and deacons and brought into the connection $18,000 worth of property. He was appointed to the Seventh Episcopal District, embracing West Alabama, Louisiana, and California Conference. He was next appointed to what was then known as the Fifth Episcopal District, in which he labored three years with his usual success. During this period he organized the Missouri and South Georgia Conferences. He was appointed

Page 194

to the South Carolina District, where he ordained fifty elders and deacons.

        His next appointment was to what is now known as the Fifth Episcopal District, where he organized the following Conferences: South Florida, East Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina. On this district ninety-six new churches have been built in the last three years.

        Through his instrumentality and influence the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Publication House was secured at Charlotte, N. C., in which the Star of Zion, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Quarterly, and all our Sabbath school literature will be published. This building is to be called the Varick Memorial Building, and bids fair to become a center of attraction.

        Bishop Lomax has always been careful to provide for the best interests of his ministers, from the highest to the lowest, as well as for the churches.

        He is a self-educated man, comparatively speaking. When quite a youth he employed himself in grubbing stumps at night to procure funds for his night schooling; in this way he learned to write, read, and cipher before the war. From that time until now he has been a hard student. Just after the war he taught a flourishing school at Whitesville, N. C., and other places, and has always been interested in educational work. As an evidence of this fact we point with pride to the erection of the Greenville High School, located at Greenville, Tenn.; also to the prospective erection of the Lomax and Hannon High School at Greenville, Ala. It will be remembered that he was one of the committee who selected the site upon which Livingstone College stands, paying the first

Page 195

ten dollars on college certificates. He also assisted in laying the first brick in the foundation of the first dormitory erected on the college grounds, and is now one of the trustees of that institution. He has planned with others to erect a high school at Bartow, Fla., having agreed to donate the land in connection with Rev. W. C. Vesta and Thomas H. Darley. Thus he has shown himself a friend and advocate of education.

        Bishop Lomax's sermons are original, profound, and inspiring, his style of preaching singular and impressive. He received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Livingstone College, and wears it with honor.


        Charles Calvin Pettey, son of Jordan and Fannie Pettey, was born December 3, 1849, on the banks of the North Yadkin River, about four miles east of Wilkesboro, the county seat of Wilkes County, N. C. This valley is very rich in sandy loam, and leaving the river the rolling hills and rocky ridges abound in minerals. From the door of their two-roomed log cabin could be seen variegated nature; and looking northward the eye beholds many brooks and streamlets, the waters of which appear to be as transparent as crystal, roaring, sparkling, and foaming as they rush down the mountain side, sinuous in their course through hills and rocks in great haste to unite with the foamy spray of the Yadkin, along whose banks can be seen huge rocks lifting their precipitous heads from fifty to one hundred feet above the surrounding landscape, careening as if peeping down upon the golden-finned and silver-sided fish that are accustomed

Page 196

to throng the shoals on a beautiful springlike day. Just beyond and all around, if in midsummer, our eyes behold meadows green and waving fields of wheat covering the great plains that stretch away toward the mountains



on either side, with here and there a huge bowlder that appears to have fallen from Nature's dump cart during that dreary epoch when icebergs in a sweeping avalanche carried them from the top of the Blue Ridge to
Page 197

the shores of the Atlantic, dropping them here and there in confused heaps. Then come the rolling hills with their verdure green, which rise higher and higher until their lofty buttes seem to kiss the vaulted blue. In summer they appear to be thunderheads; but when chilly Winter cools the earth with his icy breath and shrouds these buttes in snowy white the landscape can be better imagined than described or mocked by an artist. Farming in this section is the leading industry. Such were the surroundings of the birthplace of Charles Calvin Pettey, who was a slave until his sixteenth year. During this period he served in the capacity of house boy and farm hand. After being emancipated he conducted his father's farm until he became of age. He learned his alphabet after leaving his master, and so great was his thirst for knowledge that he never went to the gristmill or paddled a solitary person over the river without having in hand his pocket companion, namely, Webster's blue back speller.

        The first contract made was with a young white lady. She was to instruct him in his speller as far as "baker" for the making of a pair of shoes. This being accomplished, he kept on and on until he could read and write. Then commenced an indefatigable conquest of every book to be found. Hearing of Biddle Institute, at Charlotte, N. C., he determined to wend his way thither. So after working hard for his father all day he would make baskets, brooms, and shoes by pine torches at night, catch muskrats for their hides, and sell them. At last he restored to railroad work. In a few years, by using the closest economy, his savings amounted to $95.45. On the

Page 198

last day of August, 1872, he left home for the desired seat of learning, wearing a pair of shoes of his own make and a suit of clothes which he had helped his mother to spin. On the following day he entered Biddle Memorial Institute, where he studied for seven years, paying every cent of his board and tuition save seventy-two dollars given him by the North Carolina Conference and friends. While in college he assisted a brother of his in the same institution and sent a niece to Scotia Seminary. During his stay at Biddle he organized a literary society, which still exists as the most important literary association in the now Biddle University. He won the respect of students and professors alike, and for seven long years was never absent at roll call without an excuse. On the 5th of June, 1878, he graduated with high honors, being the Latin salutatorian of his class, and received the degree of A.B.

        Having been converted at the age of seventeen, he joined the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, and long before leaving home for college he was in deed and in truth his own father and mother's class leader, also a public school teacher. He was licensed to exhort August 4, 1868, by Rev. George Frost, at Wilkesboro, N. C.; licensed to preach by Bishop Hood, August, 1872. On December 11 of the same year he was ordained deacon by Bishop Hood. From that time until he graduated he had charge of country circuits in the vicinity of Biddle University. His summer vacations were spent in teaching. By this means he made his way through college, frequently walking fifty miles from Friday evening until Monday morning in order to fill his appointments.

Page 199

Immediately after graduating he was elected principal of the city school in Charlotte, N. C., which position he resigned four months later, was ordained elder by Bishop J. W. Hood, at Chester, S. C., and sent to take charge of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church at Lancaster Court House, S. C. While there he founded the "Pettey High School,"*

        * Now called Lancaster High School.

and was its principal for three years in connection with his church work. Many of his students, of whom he feels justly proud, are now conspicuous race leaders. Prominent among them we find the Clintons, Colberts, and the present principal of said school, Professor Douglass. In 1880 he was elected Recording Secretary of the General Conference, in Montgomery, Ala., and became conspicuous in said Conference because of the active part he took in its proceedings. In December, 1881, he was transferred to the East Alabama Conference and appointed by Bishop J. P. Thompson, M.D., D.D., to the charge of Clinton's Chapel, better known as the "Old Ship," Montgomery, Ala., where he served acceptably for three years, paid off its church debts, more than doubled its membership, and as an evidence of his value to them as pastor they paid him one hundred dollars per month, which was remarkable for that period. He was also a member of the General Conference which convened in New York, May, 1884. Even there he was mentioned as a candidate for the episcopacy while yet under thirty-five, and was elected general secretary. When the connection was about to lose its membership and property in Knoxville, Tenn., he of his own free will and accord consented to leave
Page 200

Montgomery, and went to Knoxville without the hope of a dollar, to save Zion in Tennessee. While there he was smitten with pneumonia, came near losing his life, but was nursed back to health and vigor by his first faithful wife. He resigned his pastorate, and was unfit for further service till the latter part of 1885, when he was assigned to Chattanooga, Tenn., preparatory to going to California. During his stay of four months in Chattanooga he greatly revived the church, paid off all debts and trebled its membership, then exchanged pulpits with Rev. A. Walters, of San Francisco. While in California he made for himself and the connection a name that will not soon be blotted out. For two years he was pastor of Stockton Street African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and Presiding Elder of California and Oregon.

        When elected to the bishopric in New Berne, N. C., May, 1888, he was presiding elder of the coast and general secretary of the connection. After his election he was assigned to the Sixth Episcopal District, embracing the West Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, and California Conferences. Under his judicious and energetic management these four Conferences have enlarged into six. And the report of the rapid growth and spread of the Church under his administration was very encouraging to the last General Conference at Pittsburg, Pa., where he was again, by the special request of his several Annual Conferences, returned to the Sixth Episcopal District. On the morning of September 19, 1889, he was married to his second wife, Miss Sarah E. C. Dudley, of New Berne, N. C., who has traveled with him extensively in the United States, Mexico, Great Britain, and continental

Page 201

Europe. He has occupied some of the most noted pulpits of the world. In July, 1890, he was tendered a seat upon the rostrum of the British Wesleyan Conference which convened at Bristol, England. He was cordially received by Dr. Parker and the lamented Spurgeon, of London. He assisted in administering sacrament in City Road Chapel, John Wesley's old church, and had the distinguished honor of preaching the Sabbath school anniversary sermon at London Square Chapel, Cardiff, Wales, where he completely captivated his audience. He was right royally entertained by "His Grace" the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, at his home, "Lambeth Palace," London. He was frequently complimented with tickets to both houses of Parliament. As an educator he has done yeoman service for the race; not long since he founded the Jones Institute of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and served as its first president.

        As a preacher and pulpit orator he stands high. About four years ago his alma mater conferred the degree of A.M. upon him; about the same time Livingstone College gave him the degree of D.D. He is a natural born scientist, well versed in belles-lettres and classic lore. He is an original thinker. He reads men and things at sight. He is a true specimen of fully developed manhood, tall in stature, symmetrical in figure, courteous in manner, pleasing in expression, affable and, withal, dignified in appearance; a most devoted husband and tender, loving father. He presides with grace and ease over his Conferences, and preaches with a wonderful magnetism, never failing to electrify his audience.--A Sketch of Bishop Pettey's Life, by Mrs. Sarah E. C. Dudley Pettey.

Page 202


        Bishop Harris is the youngest of a family that have made their mark in the various fields of theology, medicine, teaching, and technical industry, thus representing an unusual degree of versatility and success. He was born in Fayetteville, N. C., August 25, 1844. His father died when he was three years old, and at six years of age he, with the rest of the family, was taken to Chillicothe, O., where his education immediately began. His narrow escape from drowning, about a year afterward, may be construed as a special manifestation of providential care.

        In 1854 the family moved to Delaware, O., and in 1857 to Cleveland. He continued attending school in Ohio uninterruptedly till 1861, when he finished the course in the Cleveland Central High School. It might be here remarked that while Mr. Harris took the training of the superior schools of Ohio he is in a notable degree a self-taught man. His life has been an unbroken period of rigid study and steady acquisition from books and from nature. The following trio of dates might probably be termed his tripod of destiny, namely: 1863, when he joined the American Wesleyan Church, Cleveland, O., Rev. Adam Crooks, pastor; 1867, when he joined the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Fayetteville, N. C.; and 1866, when, with his brother Robert, under commission of the American Missionary Association, he began teaching in Fayetteville, N. C.

        The first date and its occurrences represent his affiliation with Protestant Christianity, and there has been no

Page 203

truer and more intelligent representative of it in the land among the colored race. The second date and its occurrences represent his attachment to African Methodism, in which, through his particular branch, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, he became a licensed preacher in 1872. In the same year he joined the North Carolina Conference. As a member and minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church his labors have been legion and his success signal, while no man in his denomination has commanded a wider or more sincere appreciation. The third date and its occurrence represent his connection with the profession of teaching, to which, in Fayetteville, Charlotte, and Salisbury, N. C., he gave so many devoted and fruitful years.

        Christianity, African Zion Methodism, teaching--these three have been the great signboards of Bishop Harris's destiny; these have engaged his best and most arduous labors, and these have brought to him not only greater and more fruitful labors but constant promotions and enduring honors.

        In January, 1874, he was ordained a deacon. In December of the same year he was ordained elder in Concord, N. C. The reader of this sketch should not conclude that there was undue haste in these ministerial promotions, for Mr. Harris had been such an industrious and successful student that he was able to pass with distinction all the examinations leading to them. He had also demonstrated his capacity and merit by his success in organizing and pushing forward church work. But it would be proper here to refer to that pursuit of Mr. Harris which has been largely coordinate with, if not antecedent

Page 204

to, his work as a clergyman, namely, his experience as a teacher. In this capacity he doubtless received his largest preparation for his permanent lifework in the higher callings of the Church. For a number of years in Fayetteville, Charlotte, and Salisbury he was a favorite instructor, always impressing his pupils not only as an exceedingly lovable friend, but as an accurate and specially well-founded teacher. His mind was not only healthy and vigorous by reason of a wide range of information, but his daily preparation for his school room duties gave him the mastery of the subject under consideration and reassured his pupils of something fresh and entertaining at every recitation. At Fayetteville he was assistant to his brother, Robert, founder of the North Carolina State Colored Normal School, and now of honored memory.

        In 1880, at the General Conference, then in session at Montgomery, Ala., Bishop Harris was appointed business manager of the Star of Zion, the chief connectional journal of the Church. In connection with the editor, Professor A. S. Richardson, he conducted the paper with success, but in consequence of added duties and responsibilities he resigned his position in 1882 in favor of the Rev. J. McH. Farley, of Petersburg, Va. His connection with the educational work of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church began with the founding of Zion Wesley Institute (now Livingstone College) at Concord, N. C., in 1879, and from that time till he was elected to the bishopric in 1888 he was a leading light and most trusted factor in the faculty of that institution, either as principal or treasurer and business manager. Around him as about no one else centered the fortunes and

Page 205

hopes of the larger number of the students, and to the day of his resignation no one dared forecast the future of the college with Professor Harris absent from the pilot house. But this varied and extended experience as educator, while referred to heretofore as coordinate with, was more truly preparatory to, his great work as a Christian minister and bishop in the Church of his choice, if it might not be considered as measurably complementary to it. It was said that "all roads lead to Rome." It is seemingly equally true that Mr. Harris's entire experience seemed to have been only on converging lines leading up to deservedly high stations in the Church. The bishop had been a member of every General Conference of his Church since and including the quadrennial session of 1876, when the Conference assembled in Louisville, Ky. At this Conference he was chosen assistant to the general secretary, and two years later, in the interim, was appointed by the Board of Bishops as general secretary. In 1880 he was elected general steward, and as such held all the moneys and valuable administrative documents of the Church, thus filling both offices of general secretary and general steward till 1884, when these offices were separated, but without giving entire satisfaction to the Church. It should be observed that this partial dissatisfaction had its rise very largely in the fact that our subject had executed the duties of the combined office with such extraordinary proficiency. Mr. Harris's integrity, diligence, and efficiency continued to commend him to the favor and recognition of the Church till 1888, at the regular quadrennial session at New Berne, N. C., when he was elected and consecrated by

Page 206

the General Conference as bishop. He had thus by rapid but safe and merited strides attained the highest honor of his Church and received its bestowment with universal esteem and good will.

        The chief characteristics of the bishop's style are lucidness, elegance, and force, always choosing apt and expressive words and combining them according to the rules of grammar, as well as in harmony with the principles of the best English.

        Bishop Harris is essentially a logician, preferring the a priori method of reasoning and always leaving his arguments so well supported that there remains no loophole for a would-be antagonist or contestant. In fact, his discussions beam with such a flood of sincerity that one hesitates to take issue with him lest the opponent should be regarded as callous.

        The bishop's mind is systematic and well poised. As a preacher he is persuasive and forceful, never losing confidence in the power of "the word." As a Methodist he is strictly orthodox, and believes in evangelical religion pure and simple.

        We now come to the broader view of our subject as man, friend, and husband. One only need look into his face and shake his hand to be impressed with his geniality and good spirit. But to find out what manner of man he is it is necessary to know him as a friend. As a friend the bishop is confiding, but not to a fault; and while this confidence remains unshaken he may be counted on to be absolutely faithful. As a husband he is devoted and constant, always displaying most commendable zeal for the comfort and happiness of his family.

Page 207

        This sketch would be incomplete without mentioning the bishop's lovable and highly intelligent wife. Their marriage took place on the 17th of December, 1879, and a more mutually helpful union must be hard to find. Mrs. Harris, hardly less than the bishop himself, has commended herself to the favor of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, serving for several years as matron of Livingstone College, and secretary of the Ladies' Home and Foreign Missionary Society of the Church. She is thoroughly in sympathy with all the bishop's work, and one rarely thinks of him without thinking of her. Fortunate is he who comes under their roof and observes and shares the joys and comforts of their home.

        The bishop's worth and scholarship have not escaped the notice of competent judges outside of the Church and in the literary world. In the spring of 1891 he was honored by Howard University with the degree of Doctor of Divinity. This itself would be sufficient proof of distinguished merit, for Howard University bestows her honors with due caution. Withal Bishop Harris is a rare man of rare attainments, in the prime of life, and with a future of unbounded success and still larger rewards stretching out before him.


        Bishop Clinton was born in Lancaster, S. C., on the 22d of May, 1830. His owner, Irvin Clinton, although a leading lawyer, did not debar his human chattels from the privilege of gaining knowledge from books. He rather took delight in assisting them to learn. Hence the subject of this sketch received the rudiments of an

Page 208

education before the surrender. He was the trusted foreman and confidant of his master while a slave, and continued in the chief management of his business after emancipation, until he acquired sufficient property of his own to occupy his attention. He began to preach before emancipation. He had the privilege of preaching to his



people in the afternoon in the same church in which the white people worshiped. He, too, taught private school on his former master's plantation soon after the war.

        In 1866 he organized the Mount Carmel Church, about eight miles from Lancaster, at which place he established a public school. When Bishop J. J. Clinton went to South

Page 209

Carolina to organize the Conference he found the then preacher, I. C. Clinton, ready to take hold of the work. (He regarded Isom Clinton as one of the strongest men he had met in the South.) He received holy orders at that time and entered upon his great missionary work. He was made presiding elder in 1872, and continued in office until he was elected to the bishopric. He was Conference steward from the time that office was created until the district steward was provided for in 1880. He was district steward until that office was abolished, and in 1888 he was elected general steward, which office he filled until he was set apart to the bishopric. He received the honorary degree of D.D. from Livingstone College in 1887.

        At the General Conference in 1892 he was elected and consecrated a bishop. He was for four years the treasurer of Lancaster County during the Republican régime, and when Wade Hampton was chosen governor he complimented Clinton by retaining him in office for several months, when not another Republican treasurer was retained. He has obtained a large store of scriptural knowledge, and is a very able preacher.--Extract from the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Quarterly.


        Bishop Walters was born in Bardstown, Ky. At an early age he manifested deep concern about spiritual things. At the age of eight he became a pupil under Mr. Brown, of Wickliffe, and at twelve years of age he joined the Church. For four years he was employed in hotels and on steamboats at and about Louisville, Ky. In

Page 210

1876 he moved to Indianapolis, Ind. Here he began the study of theology under private tutors. In 1877 he married Miss Katie Knox, of Indianapolis; was licensed to preach May, 1877, by the Quarterly Conference of Blackford



Street African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; joined the Kentucky Annual Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Connection at Indianapolis, September, 1878, and was sent from that Conference to
Page 211

Corydon, Ky. Here he was very successful in financial and revival work. He remained in this appointment two years. He was ordained a deacon at St. Louis in 1879, and was appointed to Cloverport, Ky., in 1880, where he remained one year. In 1881 he was appointed to the Fifteenth Street Church, Louisville. His spiritual and financial success in this charge surprised his most sanguine friends and admirers. In 1882 he was elected secretary of his Conference and treasurer of Zion's Banner. In 1883 he was transferred to Stockton Street African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, San Francisco, Cal. This church is the finest and largest Afro-American church in the far West. Here he was successful in three years in raising fifteen thousand dollars, lifting a mortgage which had been on the church for many years. His spiritual success with this charge was phenomenal. In 1886 he was transferred to the Tennessee Conference and stationed at Chattanooga. He began a revival on the first Sabbath there which resulted in the conversion of one hundred and seventy-five souls. His financial success was equally as great. Sickness prevented him from remaining longer than one year in this charge, and he was sent from Chattanooga to Knoxville. Here he was crowned with his usual success, both spiritually and financially. From Knoxville he was transferred to the New York Conference and stationed at mother Zion Church, New York city, where he has been for four years. In that time he has taken in nearly seven hundred members, and has raised over thirty-two thousand dollars. In April, 1891, the degree of D.D. was conferred upon him by Livingstone College, Salisbury, N. C. The honor was

Page 212

a merited one. In 1889, through the kindness of the members of his church and friends, he was permitted to travel through Europe, Egypt, and the Holy Land. Bishop Walters is intensely a race man; he never lets an opportunity pass without saying something to better the condition of the race. At Pittsburg he was elected bishop by a good majority during the General Conference, and was duly consecrated to that office.--From the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Quarterly.

Page 213



        NEW YORK has the honor of the first Methodist meeting held in this country. In a work called Lost Chapters of Early Methodism we are informed that Captain Webb, with a few others, met in a sail loft in Shelby Street, at the south end of New York city, in 1765. The John Street Church in that city was built in 1769. The first African Methodist Episcopal Church was also formed in this great city. Here the nucleus of Negro Methodism was first formed by James Varick and his coadjutors. From this point that movement started which has resulted in the establishment of Negro churches in every section of our broad land.

        The preachers of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Connection had occasional Conferences as early as 1812; but the first regular meeting of the New York Conference of which we have a record was held in New York city June 21, 1821. There were nineteen preachers at this session. Dr. Phoebus, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, by invitation, presided, and Rev. Joshua Soule (afterward bishop) acted as secretary. This shows the kindly feeling of a portion of the Methodist Episcopal ministers toward our organization. The Rev. Freeborn Garrettson, the first presiding elder of the New York District

Page 214

of the Methodist Episcopal Church, visited the Conference and gave his colored brethren words of cheer. At the Conference which assembled in 1822 Bishop James Varick presided. This Conference has at times been pretty large, much larger than it is at present. It was the only Conference organized during the first thirty years of the history of the Church. It continued to be the largest of all until the formation of the North Carolina Conference, which took and still holds the lead of all the Conferences.

        In 1829 the Philadelphia Conference was set off, and at later periods the New England, Genesee, and New Jersey, making in all four Conferences set off by the New York Conference. Besides this the Mission Board of the New York Conference furnished the means and the Conference furnished the men with which Bishop Clinton carried Zion's banner to the far South and organized the Louisiana Conference. Out of the territory originally embraced in the Louisiana Conference some seven or eight Conferences have been formed, so that the New York Conference may truly be called the "mother of Conferences." It is still the largest of the Northern Conferences, except the Philadelphia Conference, which was made larger by being consolidated with what was once called the Southern Conference. This Conference, in the early history of the Church, exercised a very large influence in the legislative body, and of the ninety-one delegates at the General Conference in 1860 thirty-nine were from the New York Conference. It has furnished the connection nine bishops, as follows: James Varick, Christopher Rush, William Miller, William H. Bishop,

Page 215

G. A. Spywood, John Tappen, James Simmons, Peter Ross, Sampson D. Talbot. The present roll is as follows:

  • Presiding Bishop, J. W. Hood, D.D.
  • Presiding Elder, M. A. Bradley.
  • Elders, Revs. *Jacob Thomas, D.D., T.O.R. Williams, *Clinton Leonard, *W. H. Decker, *Jephtha Barcroft, Abram Anderson, T. E. G. Thomas, J. R. B. Smith, R. H. Stitt, G. E. Smith, H. S. Hicks, Floyd Mills, E. S. Prime, C. E. Waters, W. A. H. Pringle, S. F. Dickson, W. J. Smith, E. G. Clifton, W. T. Carpenter, E. J. Miller, J. H. Jones, George H. Simmons, Charles H. Teneycke, C. E. Steward, A. J. Talbot, A. M. Walker, W. H. Abbott, J. S. Caldwell, Lewis Williams, *J. H. Smith.

            * Those thus marked were received in Conference previous to 1864.

  • Deacons, Revs. P. M. Jackson, J. M. Butler, C. W. Randall.
  • Local Deacons, Revs. William Phillips, E. H. Smith, B. F. Foy, J. H. Steward.
  • Vice President Ladies' Home and Foreign Missionary Society, Mrs. Alice Stitt.

        Of the sixteen ministers now living who were members of the General Conference in 1864 six are members of this Conference. Revs. J. Barcroft and C. Leonard are superannuated; Rev. Peter Coster*

        * Died since above was written.

is supernumerary. He reminds us more of the old time than any other now living; he is wonderful on his knees. He is over six feet high, broad shouldered, has heavy eyelashes and a free, open countenance. He is a very acceptable preacher yet. The other three, Revs. W. H. Decker, Jacob Thomas, D.D., and James H. Smith, are all able men. Father
Page 216

Decker, as he is now called, has filled all the important stations in this Conference, having been a member of it for fifty years. We know of no other man of the race who has been a member of one Conference so long. Through all of these years he has maintained a good character. Jacob Thomas, too, has been a long time a member of this Conference, and has probably built more brick churches than any other man in the connection. J. H. Smith is the ablest preacher of the lot, and has done good work. The break made in his record by his going to the Methodist Episcopal Church some years ago lost him the influence and the place he would have otherwise occupied in the history of the Church. There are a number of promising young men in the Conference, of whom, no doubt, the future historian will have something to say.

The Deceased Wife of Right Rev. J. P. Thompson, of the
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

        The late Mrs. Catherine Thompson, wife of the Right Rev. Joseph P. Thompson, M.D., D.D., of Newburg, N. Y., was born February 7, 1817, at North Hampton, Lehigh County, Pa. She was a daughter of Simon Cornelius and Elizabeth Gilchrist. She was married in Williamsport on November 16, 1841. She was an exceptional woman in many respects--amiable, pious, devout. She was a great organizer, and had wonderful executive ability. Her greatest delight was in the Sunday school work. She devoted hours of earnest thought and prayer to the most effective means of attracting the youthful mind to the truths of the Scriptures. In the work she was earnest

Page 217

and persevering, and by her winning manner captivated the hearts of the children, drew them together, and her labors were almost always bountifully rewarded. In Church society work Mrs. Thompson occupied the highest place among her sister laborers; always willing, always ready, no sacrifice seemed too great for her to make for the good of the cause. She was long honored as the president of the Sons and Daughters of Conference of her Church (African Methodist Episcopal Zion), and was always active in perfecting plans for its advancement. The Bible was her book of books, and her familiarity with its contents was as remarkable as her many faculties. Indeed, in depth of learning she ably coped with many of the clergy of her day. She was a valuable helpmate to her husband, and many long hours found them together discussing intricate scriptural doctrines.




        During the dark days of slavery her mind was riveted on the work of allaying the suffering of her unfortunate fellow-creatures. Many clever schemes she devised in effecting their escape from bondage. The incidents she and the bishop have related have been most thrilling in detail. The last official place Mrs. Thompson held was

Page 218

as treasurer of the Ladies' Home and Foreign Missionary Society of the connection. She died March 4, 1893, leaving her life-partner and one daughter, Mary A. Alsdorf, wife of Professor D. B. Alsdorf, and three grandchildren to mourn her loss.--From "Ringwood's Journal."


        E. G. Clifton, D.D., whose portrait is herewith given, was born in the city of Basse-Terre, St. Kitt's, British



West Indies, on February 4, 1862. He was educated in the schools of his native city and came to New York in 1877. There he attended college, his eyes failed, and he
Page 219

was compelled to travel South, going as far as St. Augustine, Fla., then through the West Indies during the winters of 1881 and 1882. He visited St. John's, Newfoundland, and studied theology at the Royal Theological Seminary, at which place he was asked to go to Rome and finish his studies, after which he was to work for the cause in that Church. He did not go to Rome, but was ordained deacon by Bishop J. W. Hood, D.D., on May 19, 1889, at Troy, N. Y. He was also ordained elder by the same on May 18, 1891, at Port Chester, N. Y. On May 15, 1893, Grenada University conferred the merited degree of Doctor of Divinity. In the encyclopedia of young divines the Rev. E. G. Clifton stands in the front rank. He is very active, and is as popular in social circles as in the field of Christian labor. On August 13, 1885, he was married by the Rev. J. S. Cowles to Miss Ida Rogers, of New York. A cultured and refined lady is Mrs. Clifton. She is a great help to her husband, and he attributes his success to her sound judgment. She visits and attends all the services, and is a factor in Methodism of this century.


        Mark Anthony Bradley was born in Sussex County, Del., June 20, 1847. He entered the United States service September 9, 1864; was assigned to the Thirtieth United States Colored Troops; mustered out September 15, 1865. He was converted July, 1870, in Delaware, and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church there; moved to New Haven, Conn., March 10, 1875, and united with the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in that city.

Page 220

Two years after he was licensed as an exhorter by Rev. George H. Washington, pastor of the church. December 6, 1881, he was licensed as a local preacher. While acting in that capacity he successfully organized a church at Derby, Conn.; joined the Annual Conference held in the



North Russell Street Church, Boston, Mass., presided over by Bishop S. T. Jones, June 20, 1883. During this time he organized a church at Hamden, Conn. (now called High Wood), with four members, and augmented the number to thirty-five, and was by Bishop Jones appointed pastor in charge. Here he purchased a lot and erected a church edifice. At the Annual Conference
Page 221

held at Hartford, Conn., June, 1884, he was reappointed to the pastoral charge of the Hamden Church. June 3, 1885, at the Conference held in New Haven, Conn., he was ordained deacon by Bishop Jones, and appointed to Norwich, Conn., where he purchased and paid for a church edifice worth three thousand dollars, reorganized the church with five members and took in forty additional. He was reappointed to this charge by Bishop Hood, at the Conference held at Bridgeport, Conn., in June, 1886. At the Conference at Providence, R. I., June 8, 1887, presided over by Bishop Hood, he was appointed in charge of the church at Attleboro, Mass., where he remodeled the church and added seven to the membership; remained there one year. On June 13, 1888, he was ordained elder, transferred to the New York Conference, and appointed to the New Rochelle charge, where he erected and paid for a parsonage worth one thousand dollars, and added twenty-five to the membership. At the Conference held at Troy, N. Y., May 15, 1889, he was appointed in charge of the church at Port Chester, N. Y. At this point his capabilities as a builder of churches was severely taxed, but with an indomitable will he not only built a fine church edifice, but an elegant parsonage as well. He remained at this charge four years, during which period he raised $13,725, and added forty to the membership of the church. During the last year of his pastorate at Port Chester he was appointed to the oversight of New Rochelle, and there purchased a lot worth $1,200 and built a church thereon costing $2,500. He was elected a delegate to the General Conference held at Pittsburg, Pa., May 4, 1892. At the Annual

Page 222

Conference held at Brooklyn, N. Y., May 17, 1893, he was elected Presiding Elder of the "Mother" Conference, New York.





        This popular pastor of "Mother Zion" we regard as among the most promising of our rising men. He is level-headed and well balanced, brilliant and always successful, and yet humble and unassuming. Of all the young men at the last General Conference no other so fully met our ideal. He never flew off, but was always reasonable and safe. He showed no disposition to aspire for position, but gave the strongest possible evidence that his whole desire was to do what was best for the connection. He was born in Mecklenburg County, N. C., in August, 1862. His opportunities for an early education amounted to less than two months in the year; but he made good use of his time, working all day and studying at night. He was converted at the age of nineteen, married at the

Page 223

age of twenty, entered the ministry at the age of twenty-one, and notwithstanding the care of a family he entered Zion Wesleyan Institute (now Livingstone College) in 1883, completed a course at that institution, and was graduated in 1888.

        Before going to New York he had charge at Elizabeth City, N. C., where he distinguished himself as a church builder, and at Petersburg, Va., where he showed that he could successfully handle a large debt. He joined the Conference in 1884, was ordained deacon in 1886, and elder in 1888. While at school he had charge of work near the college, and preached while he was getting his education. There is not an ungrateful streak in his nature. This is more than we can say for all young men.


        Rev. Jacob Thomas was born in the city of Philadelphia, Pa., December 20, 1823, and was educated in the public schools with the exception of two or three years of private instruction by Mr. B. Reeves, a Quaker in whose family he lived a number of years. Some portion of his early life was spent in a printing office, where he learned the trade of printing sheet music. He came to New York about 1840, and embraced religion in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church of New Rochelle. He married when about twenty-one years of age. Having joined the Church, he applied himself at once to the study of theology under the most distinguished ministers in Zion Church at that time; he was licensed as a local preacher when about twenty-three years of age. He continued his studies and assisted the circuit preachers until

Page 224

he joined the New York Conference, in 1857; he was ordained deacon by Bishop W. H. Bishop, in 1859; a week later he was ordained elder in the Sixth Street Church,



New York, which was then about uniting with Zion Connection. At the Conference of 1867 he was elected Recording Secretary of the Conference, which honorable office he filled for eight successive years. He has served the following churches: White Plains, two years; Poughkeepsie,
Page 225

six years--two terms; during his first term he, with the assistance of Abram Bolin, built a church costing $6,000. He was then appointed to Troy, N. Y., which church he served six years in succession, building a church and parsonage at a cost of $15,000, and in the meantime superintended and (with the assistance of Mrs. Amanda Foster) collected funds and built a church and parsonage at Tarrytown, costing $10,000. Upon leaving Troy, in 1867, he took charge of this church at Tarrytown, serving three years. In 1889, after serving as general book agent of the connection for ten years, the church at Tarrytown requested his return, which was granted by Bishop Hood, and he served until 1893, about seven years in all. In 1870 he was sent to take charge of the church at Newburg, which he enlarged and remodeled at an expense of $2,000; at the end of the year the trustees of Zion Church, New York city, requested Bishop Clinton to appoint him over that church, to which request the bishop acceded; he was therefore compelled to leave Newburg at the expiration of one year. He was appointed to the New York church in 1871, remaining there four years, during which time he urged the establishment of the Old Folks' Home, and saw it in operation before his time expired. Dr. Thomas was also a prime mover in the erection of a monument to the memory of Bishop Christopher Rush. He was next appointed to the church at Williamsburg, which he served four years, during which time he remodeled the church at a cost of $1,000. He was then given charge of the Harlem church, serving there four years. On leaving this charge he devoted his whole time to the duties of the Book Concern.

Page 226

In 1889 the Livingstone College of Salisbury, N. C., in recognition of faithful services, honored him with the degree of D.D.


        The Philadelphia Conference was organized May 25, 1829, Bishop Christopher Rush presiding. There were seventeen preachers present, including three from the New York Conference. This Conference originally included about half of New Jersey and the whole of Pennsylvania; in 1837 its bounds were extended to include Washington, D. C., and in 1844 Baltimore was added. The western part of Pennsylvania was taken from this Conference in 1849 to form the Allegheny Conference, and in making up the Genesee Conference a few counties in the northwestern part of the State were taken off of the Philadelphia Conference. This Conference was also weakened at a little later period by the formation of the Southern Conference, afterward called the Baltimore Conference, so that in 1864 it was the smallest Conference in the connection excepting the Southern Conference. In 1872, however, it and the Southern (or Baltimore) Conference were consolidated, and it is now known as the Philadelphia and Baltimore, and is the largest of the Northern Conferences. This Conferences has furnished bishops as follows: J. J. Clinton, S. T. Scott, J. D. Brooks, and J. J. Moore. The present roll is as follows:

  • Bishop, C. R. Harris, D.D.
  • Elders, Revs. George Bosely, R. H. G. Dyson, D.D., S. S. Wales, C. E. Pepkins, J. W. Davis, W. H. Day, D.D., M. M. Bell, J. E. Price, P. E., J. B. Small, D.D.,

Page 227

    J. H. Anderson, R. J. Daniels, P. E., J. S. Cowles, L. G. Mitchel, I. R. Johnson, W. H. Wright, J. H. Hector, J. W. Martin, J. W. Smith, Charles Roles, S. T. B. Grace, J. W. Fairfax, G. W. Offley, D.D., T. H. Scott, J. T. Tilman, Logan Johnson, C. H. Wye, A. J. Spencer, F. H. Norton, Z. T. Brown, M. J. Snow, Henderson Butler, G. G. McFarland, J. F. Page, P. C. Lewis, M.D., J. W. Ruff, J. C. Turner, W. H. Tilman, J. W. Hall, N. B. Bell, G. W. Kincade, Milton H. Commile, A. C. Washington, S. L. Mills, J. H. Williams, J. L. S. Huff, G. W. A. Talbot, J. C. Brown, James Stokes.
  • Deacons, Revs. J. S. Johnson, J. H. Mason, William H. Johnson, S. R. Summerville, J. D. Adams, W. H. Cook, W. J. E. Roley, R. J. Lisby, D. F. Bradly, J. E. Williams, C. H. Hunter, W. W. Turner, William Johnson, Franklin Pierce, J. E. Nichols, J. H. Brooks.
  • Preacher, W. L. Wilson.
  • Local Elder, Rev. Charles Dingle.
  • Local Deacons, Revs. Lloyd Watts, Benjamin Jones, B. H. Freeman, Stephen H. Stanford, Basil Chase, W. Sawyer, George Tucker, W. L. Wilson, George L. Webb, Joseph Dent.
  • Vice President Woman's Home Missionary Society, Mrs. Rev. J. P. Hamer.


        Robert Henry Garland Dyson was born in Washington City, D. C., in 1832. His parents were born slaves; but his mother, being a favorite of her old mistress, was set free before her marriage, that her children might be free, the child following the condition of the mother.

Page 228

His mother was married at sixteen; at twenty she was left a widow with four children--Peter, John, Elizabeth, and Robert, who was only six weeks old when his father died.

        There were but two schools for colored people in Washington at that time, and they were private schools. As


REV. R. H. G. DYSON, D. D.

the Widow Dyson did not feel able to undertake the education of all her children she thought it best to spend her efforts on her daughter. Robert, when about eight years old, seeing that his mother had to work out all day and then come home and work till late in the night, sometimes nearly all night, begged her to let him go out to work. Soon after that he was hired out to a gentleman for five dollars a month, which was raised to eight at the
Page 229

end of the first month. He had the opportunity to attend Sabbath school only, which he attended at Ebenezer Methodist Episcopal Church, until some trouble in that church caused about one hundred members to come out and form the Wesley Zion Church. A Sabbath school was then formed, and young Dyson's name was first on the list. The instruction he received in Sabbath school was the whole of his scholastic training.

        When about twenty years of age he organized a choir in John Wesley Church, Connecticut Avenue, while that congregation was still worshiping at the private residence of the late Rev. John Brent, where the church was organized. He gave the first thousand bricks for the church on its present site. He was early impressed with the importance of giving his heart to God, but had rested in the outward law until November, 1852. At this time a revival was going on at Wesley Zion, and Dyson was impressed to leave his choir in charge of his assistant and go down to Wesley Zion. He was deeply interested in the service from its commencement, and before the meeting closed he had passed from death unto life. This was the second Sunday in November. On the following Sunday, at eleven o'clock, he joined John Wesley Church. Three months later he was appointed leader of the Young People's Meeting, and was also elected superintendent of the Sabbath school. At the end of six months he was received in full connection, and the same week was made class leader. In September, 1857, he was licensed to exhort, and at the next Quarterly Conference he received a local preacher's license. In April, 1858, he was recommended to the Annual Conference, which met in

Page 230

Philadelphia, was received on trial, and was appointed to the Washington City Mission. He organized Galbreth Chapel in a small room with three members, but soon had to get a larger place. He secured a lot and erected a church, which was dedicated in March, 1862, and 390 members were enrolled.

        At the meeting of the Conference that year the Union Wesley Church on Twenty-third Street was reported to be $6,000 in debt and likely to be sold; they were allowed less than one year to meet the obligation. The delegate asked for Dyson, and he was sent. Not only had he the debt of $6,000 to meet, but they were worshiping in the basement; and the main audience room was simply inclosed. The debt was cared for, money raised, and the church finished and dedicated on Christmas Day, 1863. He remained in this charge two years.

        Rev. Joseph Hicks, who was stationed at Richmond, died suddenly, and Dyson was sent to that point. The mistake made by Bishop Brooks when he went to Richmond to plant Zion seems to have made our efforts at that point hopeless, and even Dyson was unable to resurrect the opportunity which Brooks had buried.

        In 1866, at the request of the church, he was sent to South Howard Street, Baltimore. He did not have his usual success here, and brethren who regarded him as the bishop's pet criticised him for leaving that church and accepting an appointment at Hartford, as the church in Baltimore was lost soon after he left it. The financial condition of that church was such that it is not likely that it could have been saved by any means within our reach at that time. We see no reason to blame Dyson for

Page 231

accepting the appointment at Hartford. The "pets" of sensible bishops are the men upon whom they can depend in great emergencies. The church at Hartford was in bad condition, and Bishop Talbot wanted a man of special ability; he had a very high opinion of Dyson, and therefore transferred him to that work. Dyson's four successful years in that charge proved that the bishop had not mistaken his man. If these men who whine because somebody else is preferred before them would study how to be useful and make themselves indispensable necessities they would soon find themselves added to the list of the bishop's "pets."

        While Dyson was stationed at Hartford he organized a mission at Windsor, Conn., with sixty-five members, and one at Plainville with forty-five, both of which were permitted to go down under his successor. He went from Hartford to Providence, where he remained four years. While here he organized the church at Attleboro, which is now a good station. From Providence he went to Boston, remaining five years, and organizing the church in Cambridge, Mass., now a fine charge. His next appointment was at New Haven, Conn.; while here he organized the church at Derby, Conn., which bids fair to become one of the best appointments in the New England Conference.

        At the end of one year, against the wish of the church, Bishop Moore transferred him to the New York Conference and appointed him to Old Zion Church. This is supposed to be the great objective point, but there are many charges in which a minister can do quite as much for the Master, with less labor, and possibly with more

Page 232

satisfaction. Dyson did well there, but we venture to say that it was neither the most pleasant nor the most profitable of his several charges. He remained three years, and was petitioned for for the fourth year, but the bishops believed that a change would be better. We say bishops, for the presiding bishop was so much exercised over it that he consulted his colleagues. Dyson was then sent to John Wesley, Washington City, which church had long wanted him. The study was damp, and he took rheumatism; he therefore asked for a change at the end of one year. The church had not boomed as was expected, and hence the congregation raised no serious objection to his leaving. It is quite possible that the Lord disappoints us sometimes lest we should become worshipers of men.

        Dyson was next appointed to Wesley Zion Church, South Washington, where he did the best work of his life; possibly we ought to except the first four years, in which he built up a flourishing church, starting with nothing. His appointment to Wesley Zion was unexpected to him, as also to the people. It was an alternative on the part of the bishop; he had made up his mind to nominate Dyson for presiding elder or give him this charge. Dyson was unwilling to take the presiding eldership, and was rather inclined to take a transfer, but he made no objection when he heard his appointment. He found the church in a dilapidated condition, but made it one of the finest in the connection. He remained six years in this charge, in the church in which he was converted and in the Sabbath school of which he was the first scholar enrolled. He is now serving his second year in Galbreth Church, the successor of the original

Page 233

Galbreth Chapel, organized by himself about thirty-four years ago.

        Dyson is one of about a dozen elders who have come down from the second of the three periods into which we have divided the history of the Church. He is the only one of them in active service in the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference. Rev. George Bosley belongs to the number, but he is not now at work in that Conference. Of the number of that class who remain, whom I have referred to as coming down from the second period, or who were elders prior to 1864, Dyson, Wilbur G. Strong, Jehu Holliday, Jacob Thomas, and W. H. Decker have distinguished themselves as pastors, organizers, and church builders. They have all done well, and deserve to have honorable mention while time shall last. If Dyson had gone South instead of East in 1868 he could hardly have escaped the bishopric. He received the honorary degree of D.D. from Livingstone College in 1891. He has frequently been a delegate to General Conference.

REV. J. B. SMALL, A.M., D.D.

        John Bryan was the only child of John Bryan Small, but not of Kittie Ann, his mother. John is from a long range of ancestry whose progeny can be traced as far as about 1720, according to record, and prominent relations still exist in St. Joseph's Parish, Barbadoes, British West Indies.

        John was born on the 14th day of March, 1845, at Frazer, St. Joseph's Parish; his mother died in 1853, when he was eight years of age, and, as the boy was a favorite in his family for brightness, modesty, and candor, his

Page 234

father sought to give him the best advantages possible. He received home instruction from a half-sister. Mr. J. W. Hewett was his first public instructor, and by recommendation of Bishop Parry, of the Established Church of England, he was sent to St. John's Lodge, where in four years he completed its curriculum, graduating at the head of his class of fifty-six (white and colored) young men, delivering the valedictory address; and the following four years were spent in Codrington College, on the island of his birth, carrying with him first honor, favorable prophecy, and kindest wishes of his instructors and acquaintances.



REV. J. B. SMALL, A.M., D.D.

        In 1862, at his request, his father sent him to visit Jamaica and other islands, and thence to the West Coast of Africa, where he spent three years and three months, and while there learned to speak the Fantee language, and was present when England crowned Quakuduo king of the Fantees. During his residence in Africa he visited and spent his time in observing the customs, language,

Page 235

etc., at Sierra Leone, Cape Coast, Elmena, Dix Cove, Accra Lagos, Badagry, Bathurst, Gambia, Fort Bullin, etc. On his return from Africa he spent five years in Balize, British Honduras, where he was engaged as orderly room clerk, and finally became her majesty's chief clerk of the brigade office.

        Mr. Small's father was a strong Episcopalian of the Established Church of England, and so educated his son for its ministry; but while in Honduras he professed a hope in Christ and joined the Wesleyan Methodist Church of that place, and finally its ministry. In 1867 Mr. Small sent to his alma mater two documents, namely, "Greek Elements of Syllabication, Accent, and Punctuation," with an "Exegesis of Acts V," in the original, and in the following year received the degree of A.M.

        On his way to England Mr. Small came to the United States in 1871, and, being induced by Rev. R. H. G. Dyson and the late Bishop J. J. Clinton, D.D., united with the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church two weeks after his arrival. He served many charges in the New England Conference, and was secretary of that Conference from the time he met it until he was transferred. He served eight years in the North Carolina Conference, where he filled very important appointments, and resigned from the presiding elder's office after a year to avoid undue exposure of health.

        The Star of Zion of June 2, 1887, contained the following: "Trustees of Livingstone College have voted the degree of D.D. be conferred on the following well-known ministers: Revs. J. B. Small, R. R. Morris, I. C. Clinton, and Professor William Howard Day." Dr. Small has

Page 236

won the name of a Christian gentleman, is a brilliant penman, an accomplished poet, and reads several languages.


        Perhaps one of the most notable and noteworthy examples of what perseverance and indomitable will-power can accomplish, when coupled with natural ability, is clearly shown in the career of the subject of this brief sketch, Rev. G. W. Offley, D.D., present pastor of Wesley African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, who was born in Hartford, Conn., in 1848. He attended school in both Hartford and New York until about twelve years of age, when he was bereft of a fond mother. At sixteen years of age he entered the United States Navy, and served with much credit for three years. In 1867 he returned to school and attended a private institution at New Bedford, Mass. The oppressive nature of the condition of affairs at this time perhaps stimulated young Offley to greater efforts, and he, regarding the peculiar condition of his people at that time, which was deplorable, was among the first pioneer teachers who went South for the purpose of carrying the "torch of enlightenment." His first experience was in 1869, at Wilmington, N. C., which was at a time when it "tried men's souls," during the reconstruction era. Together with other things that made his stay in this section endurable was perhaps his meeting and final marriage to Miss Lizzie Richardson.

        The year 1870 found him at Mullin's Depot, S. C., where he remained for several years, holding many prominent positions of trust as well as honor. For more

Page 237

than a year he was a member of the Board of School Examiners. In 1871-72 he was appointed by Governor Scott as auditor of Marion County, and in 1874 was elevated as a trial justice by Governor Chamberlain, and was once elected as warden and twice nominated to the Legislature from the same county. He was a supervisor of election for the presidential campaign of 1876, and also stumped the county. He had the proud distinction of nominating Hon. J. H. Rainey for the last time to the United States Congress. Possibly few, if any, had narrower escapes from death than our subject while on the stump during the campaign of 1876. During these many hairbreadth escapes he was converted to God, in the fall of 1876. In the Church he has proven himself equally as earnest a worker and defender of his race as on the stump. After one year he entered the ministry as an itinerant in the North Carolina Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he held some most important charges, which are as follows: One year on the Shaw Branch Circuit; three years at Durham, at which place he built a most handsome church, and two years at New Berne. He has proven a success in each of the charges held by him, and was much beloved by the people whom he served. In 1884 he joined the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the denomination in which he was reared from childhood, and, as he frequently puts it, "of which every living relative is a member."

        In this Conference he has been given some of the most important and responsible charges in the connection. He was pastor at York, Pa., three years, Harrisburg one

Page 238

year, and is at present serving the fourth year *

        * He is at this time serving his sixth year.

at what is known as "Big Wesley," this city, located at Fifteenth and Lombard Streets, where he has been very successful in bringing many souls to Christ. His work and influence exerted since his pastorate at Zion Wesley has been most pronounced, over four hundred persons having connected themselves with the Church, and there has been almost a continuous revival. Scarcely a month passes without some one confessing Christ. He is so well beloved by his congregation, both members and friends of the church, that there is a movement in progress, we understand, inaugurated by many not even members of his church, to ask for his return. As a preacher Rev. Offley is most impressive and forcible and fully imbued with a deep spiritual insight, and possesses all the essential qualities of a scholar and a preacher. The Board of Trustees of Livingstone College at a meeting in 1891 conferred the degree of D.D. upon Rev. Offley.--From the "Weekly Standard Echo," Philadelphia.


        James Harvey Anderson was born in Frederick City, Md., June 30, 1848. His widowed mother, unable to support her large family, put James out at seven years of age to work for his food and clothes during his minority. The white people by whom he was thus employed treated him so cruelly that he ran away when he was about fourteen, and as there were no papers drawn his mother was the successful defendant in the suit entered for his recovery. In 1862 the Thirteenth New

Page 239

Jersey Regiment passed through Frederick City, and James hired himself as servant to Lieutenant H. Wells. This officer, being severely wounded at the battle of Chancellorsville, was dismissed, and returning home took James with him. Here for a short time he attended school, and made rapid advancement in the rudiments of an English education. He was converted March 4, 1870, licensed to preach February 2, 1871, joined the New York Conference May, 1872, was ordained deacon 1874, and elder 1876. He has filled several important stations in the New York, New England, and the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conferences.




        During his pastorate in Providence, R. I., he was instrumental in securing the repeal by the Legislature of the obnoxious marriage laws of that State. His speech before the committee who had charge of the bill was a masterly effort. Indeed, this was the first thing that brought him to the writer's notice. He led the political revolt in Rhode Island in 1882, which nominated Sprague for governor upon the Independent Republican ticket. He was the first colored man who received the nomination as a candidate for the State Legislature. He declined in favor of Joseph H. Banks, who was elected. He has served as

Page 240

secretary in each of the three Conferences to which he has belonged, and as compiler of the Minutes in the latter two. He was elected delegate to the General Conference in 1884, 1888, and 1892. He is the author of Class Leaders' Record, which received the indorsement of the last General Conference. He is now in charge of the Church at Harrisburg. Through all his years in the ministry he has been a hard student. He is a fine orator and a very popular preacher.


        J. W. Smith was born in Fayetteville, N. C., January 27, 1862, and was reared by his grandmother, who took charge of him at his mother's death, he being then only three years of age. He commenced his education in the graded school taught by the Harris brothers, Robert and Cicero. He was remarkably witty, even to a degree bordering upon clownishness. At the public exhibitions of the school when he appeared everyone expected something laughable. With his humorous points there was, however, always a moral; they were meant to hit, and he seldom missed the mark. He was of that turn of mind which gives a thoughtful person some concern; if rightly trained such make useful men. John was fortunate in his teachers, and has done well. He entered the State Normal School in his native city, was graduated in 1878, and delivered the valedictory. He was one of the number of between five or six hundred converts at a revival conducted by Rev. J. W. Davis, commencing the first Sunday in January, 1880. He was not among the early converts; hundreds had embraced religion before

Page 241



he yielded, among the number some of his companions; but he yielded at last, and was converted on the 4th of March. He was one of three hundred who were received in full connection on the 6th of June, 1880, and was licensed to preach October 4, 1880. He was admitted on trial in the Central North Carolina Conference in 1881, and acted as assistant secretary of the Conference. He also passed the examination, and was ordained deacon at that Conference. The New Haven pulpit having been left vacant by the transfer of Elder Dyson, Bishop Hood, who succeeded Bishop Moore in charge of the New England Conference, found much difficulty in finding a man for that church. After several unsuccessful efforts he concluded to try Smith; the church was consulted, and was found willing to take him, young and inexperienced as he was, if he was ordained an elder. The bishop consented to this, called a council of elders to meet him in Hartford, Conn., where Smith passed a satisfactory examination and was ordained elder on the 4th of September, 1882. The bishop was severely criticised for ordaining Smith without his election by an Annual Conference, but the salvation of the church was
Page 242

at stake, and the bishop remembered that the Saviour intimated to the Pharisees that it is always lawful to do good. Smith's success showed that the Lord was in it.

        Another bishop followed, and persons who were envious of Smith's promotion misled the new bishop, and Smith was left without work. When the bishop learned the situation it was too late to provide for Smith in that Conference. If he had been sent to the Second Church, Providence, we would not have had the long struggle to regain that church, which a woman, who ought never to have had charge of it, took from the connection. The person responsible was the greatest sufferer by it.

        Smith was sent to the Arkansas Conference to labor until the sitting of the Kentucky Conference, to which he was transferred, and was appointed to the Fifteenth Street Church, Louisville, Ky. When the critical condition of Galbreth Chapel, in Washington, D. C., in the early part of 1884, made it necessary for Elder N. J. Green to take charge of that church, Smith was again transferred to fill the vacancy thus made at Baltimore. Since that time he has continued a member of the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference, and has had very great success, both in the temporal and spiritual work of the Church; especially at Union Wesley, Washington City, and at Harrisburg, Pa. He is now engaged in completing a splendid parsonage at Carlisle, Pa. He has been Secretary of his Annual Conference for nine years, and Corresponding Editor of the Star of Zion for about the same length of time. He was a delegate to the General Conference in 1888 and 1892. He has an entertaining style of writing, and loves to fight with his pen,

Page 243

but not otherwise. In Conference he is quiet, and in society decidedly agreeable.


        The New England Conference was organized in Hartford, Conn., June 21, 1845. There were seven churches, as follows: Nantucket, Mass.; Providence, R. I.; Middletown, New Haven, Hartford, Stonington, and Bridgeport, Conn., 360 members. This is the second offshoot from the New York Conference. The ministers who were set off with this Conference were Thomas Henson, David Vandervere, Leven Smith, James Simmons, G. A. Spywood, Thomas James, John P. Thompson, and Dempsey Canady.

        This Conference, when we first became acquainted with it, was regarded as the strongest intellectually of any in the connection, and was foremost in the advocacy of whatever tended to the elevation of the race. Its standard for the reception and advancement of young men was higher, we think, than any other African Conference of that day. It was understood that no one could receive holy orders in that Conference without passing a creditable examination. There was a literary society connected with the Conference, and young men were encouraged to improve their minds by the offer of rewards for the best essays. There were in that Conference at that time seven of the strongest men of the connection, namely: Samuel T. Gray, Samuel M. Giles, Sampson D. Talbot, James A. Jones, George A. Spywood, Peter Ross, and Joseph Hicks. It is seldom that one Conference contains so many strong men.

Page 244

        Among the promising men of that day were Revs. R. R. Morris and William F. Butler. That Conference led all others in its advocacy of total abstinence from all intoxicating drinks as a beverage. The effect of the healthful moral influence of those days is still seen in that Conference: neither the baneful effect of strong drink nor of tobacco is noticed upon the ministry of this Conference. It also maintains its record for intelligence and advanced religious thought. The present roll is as follows:

  • Bishop, J. W. Hood, D.D., LL.D.
  • Presiding Elder, N. J. Green, D.D.*

            * Deceased.

  • Elders, Revs. G. H. S. Bell, G. L. Blackwell, A.M., S.T.B., A. Day, L. H. Taylor, J. F. Waters, E. G. Biddle, W. B. Bowen, J. E. Evans, W. B. Fenderson, C. D. Hazel, S. C. Burchmore, J. B. Colbert, A.M., C. Fairfax, G. M. Payne, C. C. Ringold.
  • Deacons, Revs. Samuel E. Robinson, J. H. Young, W. J. Holland, S. W. Hutchins, C. Hatfield.
  • Preachers, J. S. Johnson, A. J. Young, S. D. Wainwright, R. E. Brown, John A. Hall.
  • Local Elder, Rev. David Davis.
  • Local Deacons, Revs. Allen F. Cooper, Richard Grant, Thomas Taylor.
  • Vice President Ladies' Home and Foreign Missionary Society, Miss Eliza Gardener.

        The old men of this Conference have all passed away. It has given the connection only one bishop, namely, J. W. Hood. Bishops Spywood, Simmons, Ross, and Talbot were all members of this Conference for several

Page 245

years, but none of them entered the ministry there. They are therefore credited to New York.

        The New England Conference had at one time the most successful local mission board. As much as a thousand dollars a year was raised and expended for missionary purposes. The great work in the South was started by this institution. Three missionaries were sent to North Carolina by this board within a year; before the war it sent missionaries to Nova Scotia and to the West Indies. This Conference still leads in raising funds for missionary purposes. It has the credit of forming the North Carolina Conference, which is the pioneer in our great Southern work and the mother of many other Conferences.

        Miss Eliza A. Gardener has been the most conspicuous and the most useful woman in this Conference, if not in the entire connection. She has always been true to her Church.


        George Lincoln Blackwell first saw the light at Henderson, N. C., July 3, 1861. He is one of the eleven children of Haley and Catherine. His father died in 1885, his mother in 1890. George was reared and received his first schooling in Granville County, near Oxford, N. C. He embraced religion in 1876, in his fifteenth year, and connected himself with Union African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. He was received in the North Carolina Conference in 1881. His trial sermon was by all odds the best to which the writer ever listened. His first appointment was to the Morehead

Page 246

City Circuit; he remained there only one year and built one church. Many were converted and added to the church. At the next Conference he asked to be relieved of pastoral work that he might enter Livingston College. He was ordained deacon at this Conference. He had only two dollars when he reached the institution;



he says he hardly knows himself how he managed to squeeze through his first session.

        It so happened that just as the institution closed in 1883 Bishop Hood, who is noted for his great interest in progressive young men, having a vacancy in the Manchester Circuit, Central North Carolina Conference, appointed him to that work, where, during his summer vacation, he received $250 from church and public school

Page 247

teaching, which set him on his feet once more financially. He, in connection with his studies at school, held this appointment for nearly two years, traveling a distance for most of the time of one hundred and seventy-five miles fortnightly to reach the charge.

        At the Conference of 1884 he was left without an appointment so that he could give more time to study; but in May, 1885, another opening was made just at a time when he needed some financial help. Rev. Abner Hill had caused some disruption in the mountainous section of the Conference which necessitated some changes to be made; hence, Rev. Blackwell was appointed to Lincolnton Station to fill out the unexpired term of Rev. E. L. Campbell. Before entering on the work Bishop S. T. Jones, D.D., ordained him an elder, having been elected to orders at the previous session of Conference. He was reappointed to this station, where he achieved wonderful success. It was here that he, with the assistance of Revs. R. S. Rives, D.D., and J. W. Thomas, published the first daily Conference journal during the sitting of the Conference. In 1886 he was appointed to the Charlotte station; but the dissatisfaction of the former pastor over his removal caused Blackwell to resign his appointment, and he was then sent to Statesville, where he spent one year of great prosperity. In 1888, after six consecutive years in Livingstone College, Rev. Blackwell graduated in a class of ten--the second class to graduate from the classical department of Livingstone--with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He was transferred to the New England Conference and stationed at Bridgeport, Conn., during 1888-89. He was removed at the

Page 248

Conference of 1889 to Cambridgeport, Mass., where he was sent especially to manage the debt on that church, which he did with great success. During his first year there he entered Boston University School of Theology, from which he graduated June 1, 1892, in a class of thirty-eight, of which he was the only colored member with the degree of S.T.B. This school of theology and Drew Theological Seminary, from which Rev. B. F. Wheeler graduated, are the two best divinity schools of the great Methodist Episcopal Church and among the best in the country.

        May, 1891, Rev. Blackwell was appointed to North Russell Street African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Boston, Mass. He has met with marvelous success in his work there. In the first six months of his pastorate he, with the assistance of his excellent corps of workers, was able to pay off the entire indebtedness on the church, which was one of twenty-six years' standing. In his great rally on December 13, 1891, he raised in a single day the sum of $2,015, perhaps the largest amount ever raised by a Zion minister in one grand rally. He was reappointed to this charge last June. Since then he with the trustees has had the church thoroughly repaired at the cost of $3,000. It was formally dedicated the third Sunday of September, 1892, by Rev. N. J. Greene, D.D., of Providence.

        In December, 1887, Elder Blackwell was wedded to Miss Annie E., eldest daughter of Presiding Elder D. I. Walker, of Chester, S. C., by Bishop S. T. Jones, D.D. She is a graduate of Scotia Seminary, and withal a young woman that thoroughly understands herself. She was a

Page 249

highly successful school-teacher, and taught with great acceptance in Statesville and Charlotte, N. C., and at her home in Chester, S. C. Her excellent attainments are pronounced, and she is a great help to the elder in his literary and parishional work.

        As to Elder Blackwell's ability as a scholar, his colleagues easily concede to him a foremost place. His services as secretary of the Conference and compiler of Minutes, both in the Central North Carolina Conference and the New England Conference, have been of high value. It is said by many who ought to know that his style of publishing Minutes and the accuracy of the contents make the Minutes of the New England Conference surpass those of any other Conference. His ability to preach was acknowledged by the students while in college, and all the General Conferences at which he has had to preach concede his superior ability in this respect. Bishop Hood said in open Conference that "Blackwell is the best manuscript preacher in Zion Connection. He reads his sermons almost as well as any can extemporize, and makes an impression at the end of every comma and period."

        Brother Blackwell, in copartnership with Rev. N. J. Greene, D.D., Presiding Elder of the New England District, has undertaken the preparation of an encyclopedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. The title has been copyrighted, and the work is being pushed to completion as rapidly as reliability and accuracy will allow. Rev. Blackwell was a delegate to the General Conference at New Berne in 1888, and at Pittsburg in 1892.--From the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Quarterly.*

        * Rev. Blackwell is now professor of theology in Livingstone College.

Page 250


        Nathaniel James Greene was born August 6, 1849, in Philadelphia, Pa. He began school life at five years of age, completing the grammar and high school course.

        In July, 1864, he enlisted in the navy, and remained three years, serving upon the following vessels: Pawtuxet, Chocura, Roman, Norman, Constellation, North Carolina, Pensacola, Vermont, Ram, Nashville, and was steward at the hospital at Warrington, Fla.; steward also for Captain De Camp, on board of the United States frigate Potomac, from which he was honorably discharged, at Philadelphia, July 5, 1867. Belonged to the North Atlantic Squadron, and was on the blockade, and present in both of the bombardments of Fort Fisher and Caswell, also among the first to enter Wilmington, N. C., the morning after the silencing and evacuation of the forts and the surrender of the city to the Union army. He was present also during the bombardment of the forts up the James River and the subsequent surrender of Richmond, Va., and participated in the capture of blockade runners, and received some prize money; encountered several severe storms, and had some miraculous deliverances. He was converted to Christ October 24, baptized in the Delaware River November 28, 1867, and became an ardent member of Zion Wesley Church, Lombard Street, below Sixth, in Philadelphia, and served in nearly every capacity in that church, and was a class leader and local preacher also. He became an itinerant preacher in Zion in 1880, and was ordained deacon by Bishop W. H. Hillery, and sent to Eutaw Chapel, Baltimore, Md., serving three years.

Page 251



During this period the congregation was removed from Eutaw Chapel to their present church home. There was also a congregation covered by Zion that worshiped on Pearl Street, an organization at Ellicott City, and at Laurel, Md., where through his energy a church was built and dedicated by Right Rev. J. J. Moore, D.D., and called Moore's Chapel. In 1884 he was removed by Bishop Hood to Washington, D. C., and placed in charge of Galbreth Chapel, to serve out the unexpired term of the late Rev. John A. Muligan, who had been relieved from the pastorate. The church was a frame structure on L Street, between Fourth and Fifth, N.W., and the people were anxious to purchase the church they now occupy, but because of a disagreement between pastor and people had failed; their prize seemed to have been lost to them, and they were in a state of despondency. Rev. Greene soon obtained the confidence of the entire people, and, with the assistance of Rev. J. S. Cowles and Bishop Hood, soon regained lost time and territory and secured to the people one of the finest churches we have in that city, at a cost of $16,500. The sale of the old church, and the transferring
Page 252

of the money arising from such sale to the purchase of the new, left the debt on June 10, 1886, $12,700. Large revivals followed his labors in each of these charges. In Baltimore during his stay there were 146 who claimed conversion.

        In Washington, D. C., during his pastorate 210 were converted; 115 of this number were in his last year and in one revival. In June, 1886, he was removed to Providence, R. I., to lift up the heads of a people who for nine years had been struggling beneath what seemed to them to be a heavy debt, and in one year succeeded in cancelling the mortgage of $1,400, with lumber and coal bills, as well as back salary owed the presiding elder. He raised nearly $200 toward the building fund, also established a circulating library for the benefit of the youth of the church.

        In June, 1888, he was elected the Presiding Elder of the New England Conference, which office he has filled with profit to the Church, honor to the connection, and credit to himself, and won the respect and confidence of the Conference and of the several communities in which he is called to labor.

        He was several years the Secretary of the Philadelphia and Baltimore Annual Conference, and was also a prominent member of the examining board of holy orders and ministerial studies. He served also as book steward for the same Conference, and was one of their representatives in the General Conference of 1884 and in the centennial of Methodism in Baltimore in 1884; also at Washington, D. C., as commissioner to effect a basis of organic union between the African Methodist Episcopal and the African

Page 253

Methodist Episcopal Zion Churches. He was ministerial delegate to several Annual Conferences, and a delegate to the Ecumenical Conference of Methodism that met at Metropolitan Methodist Episcopal Church at Washington, D. C., October, 1891, and was the guest of the Western section of Methodism, as also the Methodist family*

        * This refers to receptions given to delegates at the close of the Ecumenical Conference.

of Philadelphia, each of whom gave large receptions in the most prominent halls of their respective cities. He was ministerial delegate to the General Conference at Pittsburg, Pa., May, 1892, and was one of the twelve commissioners sent to Harrisburg, Pa., from the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, to meet a like number from the African Methodist Episcopal Church, to prepare a basis of organic union, to be submitted to each General Conference, then in session, one in Pittsburg and the other at Philadelphia, Pa.

        In the General Conferences of 1884 and 1888 he served as secretary, and upon important committees; in 1892 he also filled important positions upon committees, such as Book Room, Ecumenical Conference, Audit, Revision, and Finance.

        As a preacher he is logical, forcible, and enthusiastic. He received the degree of Divinitatis Doctor from Livingstone College, Friday, April 17, 1891.

        In 1885 he published in pamphlet form two sermons. He has written frequently for the Star of Zion, Boston Advocate, African Methodist, and several other papers, and is now engaged in the preparation of an encyclopedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, in copartnership

Page 254

with the Rev. G. L. Blackwell, A.B., S.T.B. This work is to be a wonderful addition to the literary aspect of the Afro-American. He has completed his term of four years in the office of presiding elder, and has won for himself the love and respect of the entire New England district over which he has so ably presided.--Extract from "The New England Torch Light."*

        * Since the foregoing was published Elder Greene has passed away. We unreservedly indorse what is said of him. He was among the best presiding elders that we have known.


        Samuel C. Birchmore was born in Baltimore, Md., 1841; was converted in Orchard Street Methodist Episcopal Church in 1856, and united with that church. He attended school in Baltimore under Rev. Harrison Webb and Dr. G. T. Watkins; came to Providence, R. I., in 1861, and united with the First Church in 1865, under the pastorate of Rev. G. H. Washington; was licensed as a local preacher in 1866; was made a missionary and ordained by Bishop J. J. Clinton in Providence, August, 1868, and sent to Key West, Fla., by the Mission Board of New England, remaining during 1868 and 1869, doing successful work in organizing churches in Tampa, Simmons, and Hammock, covering Dade and Marion Counties. He was transferred in 1870 to the New England Conference and stationed at Bridgeport, Conn., remaining three years. In 1873 he was appointed to Middletown, Conn.; in 1874, 1875, and 1876 he served at Hartford, repairing the church and increasing its membership greatly by revivals. In 1877 and 1878 he served the Second Church,

Page 255

Providence, and in 1879 was transferred to the New York Conference and stationed at Oyster Bay, having Oyster Bay, Hempstead, and Jerusalem as a circuit. Here he saved the church at Oyster Bay, which had been split and an African Methodist Episcopal Society organized. He




        built a parsonage and repaired the church. The circuit was for the first time divided; Hempstead was made a station, and he was appointed pastor in 1881. In 1882 he was sent by request to Poughkeepsie, and remained three years, repairing the church and adding to its membership. In 1885, 1886, and 1887 he served at Troy, N. Y.;

Page 256

in 1888 he was transferred to the New England Conference and stationed at Boston, Mass., remaining there two years, repairing the church and paying off eleven hundred of the twenty-two hundred dollars of debt, and increasing its membership. In 1891 he served Providence, Second Church, remaining two years. In 1893 he was sent to Bridgeport, Conn., and at the death of Presiding Elder N. J. Greene succeeded him as presiding elder of the New England Conference. He has been a member of the General Conferences of 1868, 1876, 1880, 1884, and 1892, always serving upon the Committee on Districts.


        J. B. Colbert was born in Cedar Creek township, Lancaster County, S. C., June 28, 1861. He attended the common schools of the county until he was eighteen years of age, when he attended the Lancaster High School. At the age of twenty-one years he entered Livingstone College. After teaching several terms in the State of South Carolina he entered Livingstone College in January, 1883, and was converted the third day after. He was licensed as a local preacher in Concord, N. C., 1884; joined the South Carolina Conference 1885 as a traveling preacher, and was stationed on the Indian Hill Circuit, where he served one year, during which time he raised more general fund than ever was raised by any of his predecessors, and built a splendid frame church. He was ordained deacon by Bishop S. T. Jones in 1886, ordained elder 1888, and was stationed at Rock Hill, S. C., where he conducted a glorious revival and many souls were added to the church. The parsonage was handsomely repaired

Page 257

and much-needed improvements made in the church. His next appointment was the Fort Lawn Circuit, where



he remained only a few months before he was transferred by Bishop Jones to the New England Conference and
Page 258

was appointed to the Zion Church at Derby, Conn., by Bishop Hood. Here the long-standing debt which had remained on the church since its erection was liquidated the first year of his administration. He remained here two years; the last year he pursued a course of theology at Yale Divinity School in connection with his pastoral duties. Bishop Hood moved him from Derby against the wishes of the congregation, and sent him to take charge of the First Church, Providence, R. I. The people at Providence had been without a church for nearly three years, and were then worshiping in a hall, having been compelled to sell their church to make way for railroad improvements. Many of them had lost all hopes of ever rebuilding the walls of Zion. During this interval many of the older members passed away, while the younger ones lost interest in the church. With this condition of things Rev. Colbert commenced the arduous task of reviving their wavering interest and restoring their lost confidence. He did not find it the easiest task in the world, but he went about it with a determination to do the best he could under God.*

        * His predecessor, Rev. W. B. Bowen, had paid for the church lot $4,500, and had raised and put in bank over $3,000, which Rev. Colbert had to begin with. He (Rev. Colbert) inaugurated a most unique financial plan, which resulted in over $1,400 in the interest of the building fund of the proposed new church.

In less than eighteen months the vestry of the church was completed at a cost of $16,143.17, including the lot upon which it is erected; the building alone costing over $12,000, all of which is paid for up to date (February, 1894) except about $5,300. The vestry was dedicated by Bishop Hood, November 26, 1893, assisted by visiting clergymen.

Page 259


        William Benjamin Fenderson, A.B., S.T.B., was born at Swansboro, N. C., November 7, 1856, and when eleven years old united with the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, but did not receive the evidence of the new birth until he had reached his eighteenth year. He began the work of self-education late in life, having gone to school only two months prior to reaching his majority. He attended the State normal schools at Fayetteville, New Berne, and Plymouth, N. C., and in 1884 went to Livingstone College, Salisbury, N. C., where he entered the senior class in the normal department, from which he graduated with the class of '85, the first class sent out from the college. In the fall of 1885 he entered the classical department of the college, and graduated with the class of '89, with the degree of A.B.

        While in college he became deeply impressed with what he had realized eight years previous--a divine call to the ministry, which he had formerly resisted because of his limited education; but as God had so signally blessed him in his efforts to procure a liberal education he felt that he could no longer refuse to enter upon the work to which God had called him; so at the age of thirty he was licensed to preach, and in the following year, 1887, joined the Western North Carolina Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, and was ordained deacon at the same Conference.

        During his last three years in college he preached at China Grove, Second Creek, and Cleveland, N. C., at which places God greatly blessed his labors. Many souls

Page 260

were converted and the churches repaired and beautified.

        In the fall of 1889 he entered the Gammon Theological Seminary at Atlanta, Ga., where he studied a year and a half. While there he accepted a transfer to the North



Georgia Conference, was ordained elder and sent to Stone Mountain, Ga.

        In 1891 he was transferred to the New England Conference, and stationed at Cambridgeport, Mass., where he is now serving his third year. His labors at this church have been a decided success, having greatly reduced the

Page 261

debt and conducted the most successful revival in the history of the church.

        Shortly after coming to Cambridge he entered the Boston University School of Theology, and graduated with the class of '93, receiving the degree of S.T.B.

        In May, 1891, Rev. Fenderson was married to Miss Emma Frances Hooper, a teacher in the city schools of Wilmington, N. C., and a graduate of Hampton Normal School, Hampton, Va. She has been helpful to him in both the pastorate and study.


        William B. Bowen was born at New Berne, N. C., March 12, 1853. He went North during the war with Surgeon J. M. Rice, of the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts Volunteers, and made Worcester, Mass., his adopted home. He was educated in the public schools of Worcester, having graduated from the grammar school and spent a year in special preparation for the ministry at Worcester Academy. He was happily converted December 19, 1867, and joined the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. An association of physicians volunteered to educate him for the medical profession, but he refused this offer because he believed God had called him to preach the glorious Gospel. He was an active member of the Worcester church, and a trustee, class leader, superintendent of the Sunday school, and local preacher when he joined the New England Conference, having been made class leader when seventeen and filling the office eleven consecutive years; received exhorter's license August 11, 1875, and local preacher's license February 4,

Page 262




Page 263

1876, from Elder M. H. Ross. He entered the New England Conference June 16, 1879. The Conference appointed him to a scholarship at Zion Hill Collegiate Institute, but as the school was not in a flourishing condition Bishop Clinton, in the absence of Bishop Moore, who was in England collecting funds, advised him to enter the Worcester Academy, which he did. He was ordained deacon April 12, 1880, at New Haven, Conn., and elder June 6, 1881, at Worcester, Mass., by Bishop Moore, served one year at Waterbury, Conn., and three years at New Bedford, where he repaired and beautified the church and entertained Conference. Bishop Jones sent him to Cambridge to build up the mission work there. During his five years' pastorate in that city nearly a hundred souls were converted during several gracious revivals; a lot was bought and the Rush African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church erected. In 1889 Bishop Hood appointed him to the pastorate of the First Church, Providence, where he remained three years, bought and paid for the beautiful site, and raised part of the money with which the new and commodious church was erected, recently dedicated by Bishop Hood. At Providence his labors were crowned with two glorious revivals, about one hundred and fifty professing to have found a Saviour's love. He is now serving his second year at Derby, Conn., and they have been years of ingathering of souls. A lot on which to erect a parsonage has been purchased. During his fourteen years' service in the New England Conference very nearly three hundred persons have professed to find the pearl of great price, nine thousand dollars has been collected and paid in the purchase of

Page 264

land and the erection of churches for God and Zion, besides the annual collections for educational, missionary, and other connectional and charitable purposes.


        No history of this Conference would be complete that failed to mention Rev. G. H. Washington, who was for a long time regarded as the strongest man in the Conference. Through his energy he kept this Conference in the lead in finance. It was the first Conference that raised its full quota of fifty cents per member on general fund. The New Jersey is the only other Conference which has come to that point yet. He was long the Conference steward; also the district steward during the period that the bishops were paid by districts. The church in New Haven is a monument to his memory as a church builder. He also secured the church in Boston. He died in good old age, and was buried in the honors of the Christian war.


        The fourth Conference was the Allegheny, which was the first offshoot from the Philadelphia Conference. This Conference was formally organized in 1849, but for nearly twenty years before that it had been designated as the Western District of Pennsylvania, and there were ministers who labored altogether in that district. The following named ministers were laboring in that district as early as 1829: Jacob D. Richardson, Samuel Johnson, and Abraham Green. Bishops George Galbreth and S. T. Jones were among the number of those of whom this Conference was formed. This Conference was more

Page 265

affected by the split in the Church than any other. It seems to have gotten a setback at that time from which it took a great while to recover. But during the last eight or ten years it has gradually improved and has been divided, and the Ohio Conference has been set off from it. This Conference has given the connection two bishops, namely, George Galbreth and S. T. Jones. The present roll is as follows:

  • Bishop, C. R. Harris, D.D.
  • Presiding Elder, N. J. Watson.
  • Elders, Rev. L. D. Blackson, J. T. Writt, G. W. Clinton, A.B., R. E. Wilson, P. R. Anderson, S. Claiborne, S. J. Whiting, M. M. Bell, J. C. Docket, N. Williams,* P. L. Cuyler.

            * Lately deceased.

        This Conference contains at the present time quite a number of promising young men.

Pastor of John Wesley Church, Pittsburg, Pa.

        Smith Claiborne was born in Barren County, Ky., in 1847; was married in 1869 in Louisville. He embraced religion a little later in the Fifteenth Street African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, and joined the Vine Street Church under the pastorate of Rev. E. H. Curry. Three weeks after becoming a member he was elected superintendent of the Sabbath school, which position he filled to great satisfaction until 1876, when he joined the Annual Conference. Since that time he has been pastor, with a high degree of success, in the following churches, namely: Mount Olive, Eminence, Ky; Manson Tabernacle,

Page 266

Memphis, Tenn.; Sherman Chapel, Lebanon, Ky.; Bloomfield Circuit, Nelson County, Ky.; Logan's Temple, Knoxville, East Tenn.; Walker's Chapel, Madisonville, Ky.; Washington Chapel, St. Louis, Mo.; the second



largest church in the Conference. He was at this point two years, and met with the most flattering success in every way. A thing that scarcely ever happens makes a memorable epoch in the life of this model man, namely, he was a very successful pastor of the church in which
Page 267

he was converted; many of the members sang and prayed for him while he was lying at the anxious seat struggling for life eternal. He served this, the Twelfth Street African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Louisville, Ky., for three consecutive years, and that, too, with a degree of success superior to that of any other man before or since his time, notwithstanding it is said that a prophet is not without honor save in his own country. In Jacob Street Tabernacle, which stands on the same spot of ground that Vine Street Church did, in which he was first licensed to preach, he was elected presiding elder in 1888 and assigned to the fourth district of the Kentucky Conference, which district now constitutes the Missouri Conference. A very bad state of affairs stared him in the face at nearly every church on the district. A complicated disease of financial and spiritual indigence threatened the loss of a number of them. But, unlike many, this brave and honest man met these troubles, and with the cooperation of his pastors and their parishioners he prayed and labored diligently, honestly, and patiently for three years, at the end of which time he left the district clear of debt with but two exceptions, there having been paid between $800 and $1,000 on these, which put them out of danger; and besides that, four new churches had been built, three new societies formed, and church property valued at $1,200, with a good membership, was brought into the connection at Greenfield, Ill., all of which was paid for when he resigned the office of presiding elder at the Annual Conference held at Henderson, Ky., September, 1891, except $70, leaving the district two hundred per cent better than it was when he

Page 268

took charge of it. He has always made commendable reports at the Annual Conferences, which were backed up by a character that has been and is now beyond reproach or impeachment before the most scrupulous judges. He has reported more general fund in proportion than any other member of either the Kentucky or Missouri Conference. He was a delegate to the General Conferences of 1880, 1884, 1888, and 1892. He always pays close attention to business and is a safe legislator.

Editor of the "Star of Zion," the Official Organ of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

        The subject of this sketch was born in Lancaster County, S. C., March 28, 1859. His father having died when he was but two years old, he was brought up in the home of his grandparents, with whom he and his mother lived until he was sixteen years old. He received the training of the common schools of Lancaster County, and entered the senior class of the preparatory department of the South Carolina University, an institution which has sent out some of the first men of the South, in both civil and ecclesiastical spheres. He remained in the South Carolina University until he had completed his sophomore year in the classical department. This was the year 1876, when Wade Hampton was elected by the Democratic party Governor of South Carolina, and as a consequence colored students were compelled to withdraw from the University. His education being thus suddenly broken off, he returned home, assisted his mother and grandmother in harvesting the crop of that

Page 269

year, and then began his career as a teacher in the public schools of his native State. It may be observed here that young Clinton was very much devoted to his mother, and that this devotion was largely the natural result of the



pious training which she had given him. The death of his father when he was so young necessarily brought him more fully under the care and training of his mother and more constantly in her association.

        While at home young Clinton was appointed to the position of clerk in the office of C. P. Pelham, Auditor

Page 270

of Lancaster County, and remained in this position till called to larger fields as a teacher of his race. One incident in connection with his experience in this office deserves special mention because of its suggestion of the guidance of the unseen hand of Providence. In connection with his other duties he began the study of law in the office of two leading Democratic lawyers of Lancaster, and, as it was recommended by Blackstone, he undertook a close and earnest reading of the Bible. His interest in the Bible soon outgrew his interest in Blackstone and Kent; and, having believed on Him who saves to the uttermost, he abandoned law as a profession and was licensed to preach on February 14, 1879. This was the turning point in his life. He continued preaching and teaching until November, 1891, when he joined the South Carolina Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, and "forsook all and followed Him." From this time on Rev. Clinton's history is a part of the history of his Church in South Carolina and in the nation, as a preacher and religious teacher, with both tongue and pen.

        His first appointment as an itinerant preacher was near Chester, S. C. He resided in the town, and in order to complete his college course connected himself with Brainard Institute, a high-grade institution located there. This was another characteristic and significant step. He must complete the foundation upon which he proposed to build the education of a lifetime.

        While studying in this institution he so commended himself as an earnest and successful student that he was given by Rev. Samuel Loomis, A.M., the principal, a position as teacher, which afforded some remuneration

Page 271

and at the same time permitted him to carry out his resolution to complete his college course. He graduated with high rank, and entered more regularly upon the work of the itinerant ministry in his Conference. He continued in this capacity five or six years, when he was transferred by Bishop S. T. Jones, D.D., to the Allegheny Conference to take the difficult appointment of John Wesley Church, Pittsburg, Pa., perhaps the most important appointment west of New York. In this appointment he followed one of the most experienced and successful men in the entire connection, and one who, it was thought, had carried "John Wesley" to its high-water mark. But our subject made a new mark for her, and gave her a record and standing which alike astonished and delighted the membership and the chief pastors under whom he labored. The proof of the success of his management of this church was given in the manner in which it entertained the great General Conference of 1892. This appointment may be considered to mark the end of the first stage of Rev. Clinton's career as a rising young divine in his Church.

        Before proceeding to review the second stage of his career it would be proper to remark that during almost the entire period of Rev. Clinton's itinerancy in the South Carolina Conference he was without question the leading man of the Conference, confessedly the standard by which the best material of the Conference was gauged. He was a sort of standing secretary of the Conference and perpetual compiler and publisher of the Minutes. This distinction was due in no sense to an inclination to favoritism on the part of the Conference; he won it by

Page 272

his merit as an accurate, painstaking, scholarly worker, and nobody thought of anything else than that this business of the Conference was in his hands. When he was transferred he was Conference steward, or connection treasurer for the Conference, showing that his colleagues saw in him not only scholarship, but sound business methods and unwavering integrity. These characteristics of Rev. Clinton had already opened up to him the columns of the leading papers of his State, like the Charleston News and Courier, the Charleston Sun, the Century, the Union Times, and the Lancaster Ledger; and all the colored journals sought him. His contributions to these periodicals always furnished evidence of thought, literary taste, and scholarship.

        Editor Clinton's popularity in his Conference and his influence in his State were the means by which the writer first came to a knowledge of his usefulness and prospects.

        Returning now to the beginning of the second stage of his career, we find him the accomplished, eloquent, and popular pastor of the John Wesley Church, Pittsburg, Pa. From this time on South Carolina can claim him only in common with other portions of the great Church of which he has now become a leading figure. Even before he left South Carolina, as a representative of his Conference in the General Conferences at New York and New Berne, N. C., his merits were acknowledged by the general Church in his being chosen assistant secretary at both these Conferences, and at the latter he was also created one of the commissioners of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church to confer with similar representatives of the African Methodist Episcopal Church on

Page 273

organic union. But along with his appointment to Pittsburg the Church urged consideration of him as a suitable man to succeed Hon. John C. Dancy as editor of the church organ, the Star of Zion. Rev. Clinton had long ago demonstrated his right to such consideration by his luminous contributions to the papers above referred to as well as to the Star of Zion, and in Pittsburg as editor of the Afro-American Spokesman, to which position he was chosen by the colored ministers of western Pennsylvania of all denominations. He proved beyond a doubt that he had talent and calling in that direction.

        But he gives further and conclusive demonstration of his fitness for the position that was evidently looming up for him by projecting, founding, and running the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church Quarterly. This effort showed not only his genius for organization, but his ability to manage successfully a large and important literary venture. He ran the Quarterly on his own resources for two years, and then turned it over to the General Conference in Pittsburg without a cent of cost to the connection. The Quarterly is now one of the established institutions of the Church, and if Editor Clinton had originated and established no other great enterprise this would be sufficient to give him perpetual fame in the Church. But brilliant and creditable as is this effort of his, it is only the door by which he enters into larger avenues of usefulness to his Church and his race. At the General Conference in Pittsburg in 1892 he was elected by a good majority to the place of editor of the Star of Zion, his Church organ. He was by this choice elevated to one of the most responsible and distinguished positions in his

Page 274

Church--a position of honor, and one matched only by the presidency of Livingstone College in its requirements for scholarship, broad culture, and sound judgment as a good business man and high executive officer of the connection.

        At the early age of twenty-one he married Miss E. J. Peay, of Rock Hill, S. C., who was also a student at Brainard Institute, the alma mater of her husband. This was a most happy union, and it is but just to say that Mrs. Clinton was a large factor in the rapid progress and advancement of her husband. The writer was an eye-witness of the halo of grace and gentle inspiration which her presence cast around the home of which she was the center. But, alas! as the bud fadeth in the time of its sweetest fragrance her soul eluded the grasp of time and was transplanted to the great beyond, where it fadeth not for evermore.



        This successful pastor of the church at Johnstown, Pa., was born in Charleston, S. C., July 8, 1864. He received his early training in the public schools. In 1880 he completed his normal course at "Avery Institute," in his native city. Being inclined toward the legal profession, he entered the law office of Lee & Bowen, where he successfully prosecuted his studies until the fall of 1881, when he entered Claflin University with the intention of taking the classical course. Lack of means compelled him at the end of two years to leave school and engage in teaching. As principal of the Florence graded school he gave great satisfaction to

Page 275

trustees, parents, and scholars. He was converted in 1881 at a revival in Charleston, was licensed to preach in 1884, was received into the Annual Conference in 1885, and, realizing the necessity of a better preparation



for the work, he entered the Gammon School of Theology, Ga., where he successfully pursued the course, and at the same time served a circuit as pastor. He returned to South Carolina in 1887, and served acceptably the charges to which he was appointed. In 1890 he was transferred by Bishop Jones to the Allegheny Conference,
Page 276

and stationed at Johnstown. He is the only colored minister in that city, and is a member of recognized ability of the Ministerial Association, before which he has read papers which were highly complimented. Rev. Wilson is a young man of fine promise.


        This Conference was organized September 13, 1849. This was the third offshoot from the New York Conference, and was the last Conference organized by Father Rush. He presided at this Conference without an assistant. Possibly the distance was so great that it was not convenient for Bishop Galbreth to be with him. Ithaca, the seat of that Conference, we presume, was not so easily reached in those days. Bishop Rush had one Conference when he entered upon his bishopric. During his twenty-four years he added four, and was able to deliver five to his successors when he retired.

        The Genesee Conference is in the western part of New York, including a few points in northeastern Pennsylvania. The bounds remain there as fixed in 1864. Very few new points have been added, because the field was pretty fully occupied at first. Several fine new churches have been built during the last ten years, and the membership has been increased, but there is not a very large number of our people in that region. When the Conference was organized there were twelve preachers in attendance and two lay delegates. From this it is seen that lay delegates were admitted as early as 1849. Only one hundred and thirty-five members reported. There was quite an increase during that year, for at the

Page 277

next Conference three hundred and twelve were reported. This Conference was unfortunate in giving to the connection the only bishop who was ever brought to trial for disgraceful conduct. We have mentioned his name before; we will not repeat it here. The character, however, of this Conference must not be judged by this fact. It has produced and is still producing men of intelligence and moral worth. Besides the bishop who was a disgrace this Conference also furnished one who was a man of great distinction, Bishop J. W. Loguen, of whom we have spoken.


        J. W. Lacey was born of slave parents, in Fauquier County, Va., 1832; left the South when a lad about seventeen years of age, and found his way to the city of Harrisburg, Pa., where he was converted in 1856, joining the church there under the pastorate of Rev. J. P. Clinton. He next came to Binghamton, N. Y., where he received local preacher's license from Elder William Sanford in 1858. In 1861 he went to Hayti, West Indies, where he received deacon's and elder's orders under Superintendent Clingman; in the same year (1863) he was elected General Superintendent. During that year the two branches of Methodists, Zion and Bethel, held a convention at Gro Mound and united under the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Discipline. Superintendents Pierce and Clingman resigned at this convention, and he was elected superintendent of the united societies called Zion, the headquarters being in St. Marc, where they had a fine church edifice. While

Page 278

holding the office of superintendent of Zion on the island of Hayti he ordained S. S. Wales and Wesley Youngs as elders, and George Evans as deacon, besides several others. In 1869 he returned to the United States and



joined the Genesee Conference, which convened in Wilkesbarre, Pa., September 4. In 1870 Bishop J. W. Loguen appointed him to the Ithaca charge, where he remained four years and repaired the church at a cost of twelve hundred dollars. In 1875 he was appointed to the
Page 279

Rochester charge, securing during his three years' pastorate twelve hundred dollars on subscription, which amount was collected by the next pastor and put into a new brick church. September 4, 1877, Conference convened in Binghamton, N. Y., Bishop J. J. Clinton presiding. Rev. Lacey was appointed to the Syracuse charge, where he paid off a mortgage of two thousand dollars and raised five hundred dollars for improvements, making two thousand five hundred dollars in that charge in two years. In 1880 he was appointed to the Binghamton charge; the people were groaning under a heavy debt, and only the basement of their new brick church completed. He finished the auditorium, and paid four thousand four hundred dollars in five years, leaving a balance of fifteen hundred dollars which the Ladies' Aid Society of the church raised and paid since his departure. While pastor there he also secured a good church for the people at Deposit Station, valued at two thousand dollars.


        In the city of Wilkesbarre, Pa., the subject of this sketch was born. His religious instruction commenced very early. He was converted when about sixteen years of age in a revival during the administration of Rev. Isaac Stewart, January, 1876, and joined the church. Soon after he was elected superintendent of the Sunday school, secretary of the board of trustees, and May 10, 1876, received local preacher's license. Leaving the grammar school, he pursued a special course of study preparatory to entering the Genesee Conference, September, 1877, in Binghamton, N. Y., Bishop J. J. Clinton presiding. His

Page 280

first appointment was the Deposit, Walton, and Delhi Circuit, where he met with unprecedented success. His youthfulness, pleasant, attractive, and impressive address



attracted the attention not only of the colored citizens, but thousands of whites, and in Walton and Delhi, where his predecessor failed, the largest white churches were filled
Page 281

to overflowing to hear the "Boy Preacher," and his services were in constant demand throughout Delaware County. After the sudden demise of Rev. Singleton Thompson, Binghamton, N. Y., he was appointed by Bishop Clinton to succeed him. While managing affairs there successfully, overcoming much prejudice because of his youth, he organized a society at Norwich, N. Y., forty miles distant, and secured a beautiful frame church valued at over four thousand dollars, debt two thousand three hundred dollars, formerly occupied by the African Methodist Episcopal denomination At the succeeding Conference, at Syracuse, N. Y., September, 1880, Bishop J. J. Moore ordained him elder, he having been ordained a deacon by Bishop Clinton at Auburn, N. Y., two years before. Although hardly of age Bishop Moore left him in charge (Syracuse, N. Y.), and he soon built up the largest congregation in the Conference. Successful revivals were held each year, and nearly two hundred persons were admitted into the church. In the largest revival one hundred and fifty, persons professed conversion. Aside from meeting current expenses nearly two thousand dollars was raised for church improvements. In 1884 Bishop J. P. Thompson appointed him to Ithaca, N. Y. Here his earnest efforts met with the usual success. He collected and paid nearly one thousand dollars in beautifying the church. He is now spending his fourth year as pastor in Rochester, N. Y. During his administration the society has doubled in membership, Sunday school increased to over one hundred and fifty members, and plans and specifications arranged for a new church costing $10,000.

Page 282

        He has had several calls to the first churches in the connection, but has preferred to remain in the Genesee Conference. He was elected a delegate to represent his Conference at the General Conference, 1884, 1888, 1892. For several years he has been a diligent student. His contributions to the Star and Church Quarterly have been thoughtful and scholarly, alike creditable to his Church and race. The degree of Bachelor of Divinity was conferred upon him by Livingstone College in 1893. He is now engaged in preparing a history of the Genesee Conference. Young and ambitious, earnest, diligent, and faithful as a minister of Jesus Christ, a bright future awaits him.


        This Conference was comparatively short-lived. We find it represented in the General Conference in 1860. At a later period its title was changed and it was called the Baltimore Conference. In 1872 it was consolidated with the Philadelphia Conference and called the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference. There is some talk now of dividing that Conference again; in that case the part of the work which was originally the Southern Conference is likely to be revived as the Washington Conference.

Secretary Woman's Home and Foreign Missionary Society.

        Mrs. K. P. Hood was born in Wilmington, N. C., August 10, 1844. Her mother was a free woman, and therefore she was born free. She began to learn to sew at five years of age, and before she was fully grown she

Page 283

was a first-class dressmaker. Her art in dressmaking, her habits of industry and careful attention to business, secured for her most desirable customers. She was only twenty-one when the war closed, and though handsome, both in feature and form, yet such was her sedateness



and her natural modesty, together with that awe which is inspired by the character of a woman whose purity is conspicuous in every line of her face and every motion of her body, that notwithstanding Wilmington was occupied by both the Confederate and the Federal armies, yet she was never once insulted during the entire war. About two years after the close of the war she had saved a
Page 284

sufficient amount of money to pay for her board and tuition at St. Frances Academy, Baltimore, for something more than a year. She was married in 1871, but her husband died in about six months after their marriage. Before his death he had bargained for a house and lot, on which he had made a small payment. She was unwilling to give it up, and therefore undertook to pay for it, which she accomplished with her sewing machine in about four years, sometimes sewing all day and most of the night. She has a determination to go through with what she undertakes which knows no discouragement, but laughs at difficulties and pushes forward. She was married to Bishop Hood June 6, 1877. She attended Sabbath school in the Episcopal Church, was confirmed in that Church, and was a very devout member, having embraced religion at a Methodist camp meeting. After she married the bishop she thought it her duty to join his Church, which was also her mother's Church. She has proven a most useful member.

        As stepmother she had a most trying position. Beginning with four children, ranging from five to eleven years, she had to raise them herself, for the bishop was seldom at home. The children had plenty of advice from meddlesome people who delighted in making trouble for the Wilmington lady. In this trying position she succeeded so well that a stranger would never suspect that the children were not all her own. She has succeeded also in keeping them all in the right path, morally and religiously; she has been much more than the ordinary mother, she has been teacher, guardian, and guide. By precept and example she has tried to impress upon them

Page 285

her own notions of chastity, of which she is a paragon, and she seems to have been successful to a large degree.

        As Vice President of the Woman's Home and Foreign Missionary Society she has taken great interest in the mission cause. She was the first lay member of the Church who contributed fifty dollars toward Livingstone College.

        The last General Conference honored Mrs. Hood with the position of secretary of the Woman's Home and Foreign Missionary Society. She holds the place with reluctance, because she thinks that the secretary should possess extraordinary literary attainments.


        William J. Moore was born in Beaufort County, N. C., April 4, 1837. At twelve years of age he took to the sea and endured hard sailor's fare for fourteen years. While on shore three winters during this period he attended night school. He embraced religion in 1855. In 1862, while sailing from the West Indies to New York, he was captured by Commander Lynch, master of a privateer, and taken to his home at Washington, N. C. Here for a year he was compelled to serve as cook for the Tar River Navigation Company. He was licensed to preach in August, 1863. He was one of the twelve members who composed the North Carolina Conference at its organization in December, 1864, and was ordained a deacon at that session. During the latter part of 1864 and nearly the whole of 1865 he was engaged with others in organizing. Each of them had charge, but were not at all confined to their pastoral work, for the Macedonian

Page 286



cry was heard on every hand, and the disciples scattered themselves as much as they could to meet the calls for help. This accounts for the rapid progress of the work during that year. As a result of their labors nearly every part of the State was represented at the next Conference, and of this work Brother Moore had done his full share. At the second Conference, in 1865, he was ordained elder and appointed to Fayetteville Church. During this year he did a great deal of missionary work in the vicinity of Fayetteville, and brought up a considerable number of candidates to the Conference in 1866. His next appointment was Beaufort, and from there he went to Granville County and gave Zion a good start in that Baptist stronghold. At Salisbury and Statesville he exceeded all his predecessors; in fact, no man since his day has had the church as well in hand at Salisbury as he had it. In Charlotte, Wilmington, and New Berne he made a record equal to any man who has had those charges. He was Conference steward for about seventeen years. As presiding elder no one in the connection has made a better general record. At the Annual Conference in 1892 the bishop,
Page 287

having heard a great deal of clamor among the men for a change of presiding elders, had determined to let Moore down; but when the delegates reported it was found that every church on his district had petitioned for him. He still holds the position. He has organized 68 congregations, built 11 churches, and improved many others; he has licensed 54 local preachers. He was among the number of those who paid a dollar a month for nearly four years to give the Star of Zion a start. He was also among the first to put down fifty dollars for the institution now so well known as Livingstone College, and has been from the beginning a trustee of that institution. In consideration of his great services the faculty of that institution recommended him to the trustees for the honorary degree of D.D., which was unanimously conferred.

Presiding Elder of the New Berne District, North Carolina

        Owen L. W. Smith was born a slave in Giddinsville, Sampson County, N. C., May 18, 1851. After the war he went to New Berne, N. C., where he attended a private school for a short while. Leaving there at about sixteen years of age, he hired himself to Colonel C. W. Smith, an extensive farmer in Pitt County, N. C., who had a school on his farm for the benefit of his employees. Owen took advantage of this opportunity to obtain the rudiments of an education. He left the farm, and after drifting about for a while he obtained a school in South Carolina and began to teach on March 20, 1871. In 1873 he was appointed magistrate by Governor F. J.

Page 288

Moses. He then began to study law. In 1874 he obtained a State scholarship and entered the State University. After leaving the university he continued to study law and teach school. He married a good Christian



woman at Whiteville, N. C., on the 9th of April, 1878, and was converted at a camp meeting in 1880. He joined the North Carolina Conference in 1881, and was appointed to the Stantonburg Circuit. The following year he was appointed to the Magnolia Circuit. He increased the amount of general fund on this circuit from
Page 289

$4.80 to $74.98, built three churches, and organized a new society at Faison. His next appointment was to the Elizabethtown Circuit, from which he made a good report. His next appointment was to the Ingold Circuit, on which he labored three years. Here he built four churches and made an increase on general fund from $20 to $100. He had charge at Kinston one year, and did well, notwithstanding his health was poor. After a few weeks' service on the Snow Hill Circuit, Cumberland County, he was appointed presiding elder of the Raleigh District. He has great ambition and untiring energy, and is truly loyal and devoted to the interests of his Church. He makes a good presiding elder.


        This Conference was organized December 17, 1864, by Bishop J. J. Clinton. There were twelve members, including the bishop. Small as was the number, this Conference sat for more than a week. It was, however, more a school than a Conference; the men were instructed how to go to work to build up the kingdom of God. Only three of the twelve remain, and one of that number, Rev. David Cray, is one hundred and seven years of age.

        We have spoken elsewhere of the beginning of this work, but possibly a more extended statement may be interesting. The first of the missionaries who arrived on this field was J. W. Hood. He was not the first one appointed; John Williams was appointed early in 1863, but wasted several months in getting ready. It was generally believed that he thought it not safe to go. Some of the members of the Mission Board which had furnished the

Page 290

money for his mission became impatient and urged Bishop Clinton to send Hood. As soon as the bishop learned that he was willing to go he sent his appointment. Hood received the appointment about the middle of December, 1863; by the 1st of January he had moved his family to Washington City, and was on his way to his new field of labor. But there was so much ice in the bay that the Norfolk boats had to lay up. There was a thaw about the middle of January, and on the 20th of that month he arrived in New Berne. He found the Methodist church there in much confusion. Bishop Baker, of the Methodist Episcopal Church had sent Rev. J. E. Round to New Berne in 1862, and he had succeeded in getting the colored Methodist church, known as Andrew Chapel, to accept his services, with the purpose of taking it into the Methodist Episcopal Church. Some time in the year 1863 a young white man by the name of Fitz, who was a Congregationalist, got in with our people, first as a Sabbath school teacher, then as an exhorter, and finally obtained license from Round to preach. His object was to supplant Round in the hearts of the people and then make it a Congregationalist Church. In this he was backed by Chaplain James, a congregationalist minister, who was Superintendent of Negro Affairs. When Round found that Fitz had some influence he thought the best way for him to utilize it was to appoint Fitz as pastor and to act himself as presiding elder. By this means he kept the people quiet so long as there was no one there representing a colored organization. Though quiet they were not satisfied; they had heard of old Zion Church in New York, and of Bishop

Page 291

Rush, who was a native of New Berne. They had heard, too, that a missionary from that church had been appointed to look after them. There were about three factions in the church. There were some who preferred Round to Fitz because he was a Methodist, and they were satisfied that Fitz was only a Methodist for a purpose. There were some who preferred Fitz to Round because he knew better how to play a "part" with Negroes than Round did, but was much less honest. Then there were some who did not want either Round or Fitz. It can very easily be understood that a church in this confused state could accomplish but very little for the Master.

        On the same day that Hood arrived in New Berne two preachers from Norfolk, representing the African Methodist Episcopal Church, also arrived. This increased the confusion. But it soon became evident that, so far as the colored people were concerned, the two white men were not considered. The contest was between the two colored organizations. The smallpox was raging and the churches were closed by military order. But the two delegates from Norfolk spent the time from Wednesday till Sunday in making a canvass from house to house. Hood was taken sick on Thursday, the 21st, and was unable to get out till Sunday. Several of the leading brethren of the church called on him, however, and he thus learned the stories which the men from Norfolk were telling. He learned that they had told many things which he knew they would not be able to stand to in his presence.

        Sunday came, and, although public worship had been forbidden, yet it was thought that there would be no objection to a meeting of the official board, which numbered

Page 292

about forty members. They met in a private schoolhouse belonging to the wife of one of the members of the official board, namely, Joseph Green. The brethren from Norfolk were permitted to speak first. Hood called their attention to several things which he had heard of their saying which they had omitted in his presence. As they were not prepared to make good their statement, wildly spoken, he had them at a disadvantage, and by several skillfully put questions about the connection, of which they knew but little, he made it appear that they knew less about their own connection than he did, and that they knew of their own personal knowledge absolutely nothing about his connection, as they had never been north of Norfolk. The result was that after Hood and the men from Norfolk retired the official board voted unanimously to unite with Zion. The fare of the other two brethren was paid back to Norfolk, and they were requested to return at once and make no further effort. To this they agreed. This, however, was not the end of the contest. Both Round and Fitz were still on the ground and disposed to contend for what they claimed were their rights. Fitz, as a local preacher, was easily disposed of. He was informed that the Quarterly Conference had the power to revoke his license, and that his continuing to hold license depended on his good behavior. This put a stop to his open fight, but, with the assistance of Chaplain James (the Superintendent of Negro Affairs), he did a deal of secret work. Among other things he went to the commandant of the post and tried to have Hood driven out of the department by charging him with having held a religious meeting contrary

Page 293

to military orders. Hood was sent for; his papers were examined, and when it was found that he had a pass from General B. F. Butler granting him extraordinary privileges he was told that he was fortunate and all right. He noticed that from that time the officers appeared strangely partial to him, but not till some time after the close of the war did he learn why he had been sent for and had his papers examined, nor why he had been dismissed with words of encouragement. Soon after the war, however, Fitz and one of his accomplices fell out, and then Hood learned the whole secret.

        Fitz could do nothing but plot in secret, but Round was not so easily disposed of. Hood had the people, but Round claimed to have authority from Bishop Baker to take charge of any Methodist church within the Union lines whose pastor had gone with the rebels, and that Bishop Baker's action was based upon authority from the Secretary of War. The claims of each side were carefully prepared by Round and Hood, and were sent to the Secretary of War through General Butler's headquarters. General Butler examined the papers and presented to the Secretary of War his own view of the case. He said:

        "So far as I am informed both Hood and Round are regularly ordained ministers, and are both men of good character. The point at issue is, shall a congregation of colored people, who have owned their church and worshiped in it for twenty-five years, have the right to elect their own pastor, or are they compelled to have a pastor forced upon them by Bishop Baker's delegate? There is an old Church maxim that a bishop cannot delegate his power."

        The Secretary of War simply wrote under this:

        "The congregation worshiping in Andrew Chapel are permitted to select their own pastor. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War."

Page 294

        The papers were sent up about the 1st of February, but it was near the middle of March before the answer came from Secretary Stanton. During the interim Hood went to Beaufort and received the church at that point into the connection. Round claimed this church also under Bishop Baker's authority, as also all the other churches in that section within the Union lines; and if the case at New Berne had been settled in his favor Hood would have been shut out completely from that department. Round therefore paid but little attention to Hood's movements; the result was that by the time the question at New Berne was settled Hood had the whole of the three thousand members which Round claimed, except about fifty in New Berne, who held out for a time, but finally came to Zion. About the time that the decision came from the Secretary of War the smallpox had so much abated that it was considered safe to open the church. It is possible that the prohibition was purposely continued until the contest was over. As soon as the secretary's decision reached New Berne Hood was informed of it. All the papers were sent to him, and he was also informed that the church might be opened for service on Easter Sunday. During the week preceding Easter Sunday the church was whitewashed and put in good order. Hood took the pains to have it announced that he would preach on Easter Sunday, even before Round knew of the decision. Hood was also early in the pulpit, as he knew that he who has possession has nine points in law. The official board had decided to come to Zion, but the congregation was yet to be heard from. It was a beautiful spring Sabbath

Page 295

morning, and a beautiful spring morning in New Berne is hardly excelled anywhere under the sun. The occasion was great; a preacher had come to serve his own race, a new thing under the sun. Besides this was the fact that his claims were disputed by a white man, and the question was to be decided by themselves. The black preacher had already become their hero by securing to them the right to decide for themselves. He had spent two weeks in Washington, D. C., at his own expense, visiting the office of the Secretary of War in their interest, and his mission had proved successful, of which fact he would that day give full evidence by papers from him. The church was packed, and the street in front of the church was full of people; the congregation outside was nearly as large as that within. The preacher had spent several days in prayer to meet the occasion. He was certainly never better prepared to preach than on that occasion. He took for his text Matt. xxviii, 6, "He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay."

        The presence of the Lord filled the house, and the people were truly joyful. At the close of the service the papers from the Secretary of War were read, and his decision. The question was put to the house, and the congregation unanimously agreed to unite with Zion Connection and to accept the minister who had been sent to them.

        Round gave up the contest, and he and Hood have continued friendly up to the present time. But Fitz continued the fight, not on Hood, but on his flock. Through Chaplain James he represented to General Butler that there

Page 296

were thousands of idle Negroes in New Berne who might be profitably employed on the Dutch Gap Canal. General Butler, not suspecting any wicked design, ordered that they should be sent to that work, but was careful to require that no one should be taken who had a visible means of support, nor anyone who was not able-bodied and possessed all his members. Notwithstanding this Fitz gave in the names of nearly all the leading members of Andrew Chapel, including men who were making as high as five dollars a day, and also four class leaders who were each blind of one eye and possibly fifty years of age. All of these class leaders he succeeded in getting away before their friends could intercede for them. Hood went to General Palmer, commandant of the post, and secured the release of most of his official members and some others. On one occasion he had to go to General Palmer's house at nine o'clock at night, and as he could not pass the sentinel by the front door he was let in the back way by the general's body servant. As the boat was to leave that night General Palmer took a lantern and went down to the landing. Chaplain James was superintending in person; he assured General Palmer upon his honor that the man he was looking for was not aboard. But just at that moment the man hallooed out, "Yes, I am on here, and I want to get off." General Palmer turned on Chaplain James and gave him such a tongue-lashing that Zion's members were safe from that time till the war closed. He said to the chaplain in conclusion, "See to it that I hear no more complaints."

        In May, 1864, Bishop Clinton arrived in New Berne. Great was the joy of the people at being permitted to see

Page 297

a bishop of their own race, and especially a bishop who was willing to become all things to all men, that he might by all means gain some. Bishop Clinton had no hide-bound notions; whatever was necessary for the success of the Church he was ready to do. At his suggestion several persons were licensed to preach, most of whom made successful preachers.

        At the first Conference the work reported covered only that small portion of the State which was then occupied by the Union forces, including Roanoke Island, New Berne, Beaufort, and the small strip of country lying between New Berne and Beaufort. But the close of the war the following May opened up the whole State, and each of the ministers who attended the first Conference did what he could to spread the work.

        Elder E. H. Hill went as far west as Charlotte and organized the church called Clinton Chapel. He licensed Bird Hampton Taylor, and put him in charge of the church. He came to Conference that year, and Bishop Clinton was so well pleased with him that he ordained him deacon in the morning and elder in the afternoon, and sent him back to Charlotte. He went back so happy that he just preached himself to death. He not only cared for and built up the church at Charlotte, but also went out in every direction and organized churches. He stopped not at the state line, but extended his efforts into South Carolina to the distance of fifty miles. It is quite safe to say that he formed the nucleus of as many as twenty churches. He did not live to finish his year's work, but while he was at it he did more than many a preacher has done in ten years. The work was extended eastward to

Page 298

Edenton and Elizabeth City, and several men were licensed who organized extensively in that section.

        Jeffrey Overton showed a license which he received in 1831, the year of Nat Turner's insurrection, after which time the Methodist Episcopal Church refused to renew the license of colored preachers. J. W. Hood, therefore, had the pleasure of renewing in 1865 licenses which had not been renewed since the year that he was born.

        Thomas Henderson was also one of the early organizers who did wonderful work. He organized many of the churches in the vicinity of Salisbury. After doing missionary work for two or three years he was appointed to the church at Fayetteville, where hundreds were converted by his labors. From there he went to New Berne, where he died in the midst of a glorious work.

        Rev. William H. Pitts came to this Conference in 1865, and organized several churches in Edgecombe, Pitt, and Martin Counties.

        Rev. G. B. Farmer was also among the early preachers, and made his mark. The St. Luke Church in Wilmington was commenced under his pastorate. He held the pastoral charge at both New Berne and Fayetteville, which were regarded then as the most important stations in the State. He was among the strong men of his day.

        Rev. Daniel C. Blacknell was also a successful organizer and among the best and most useful men of his day. He was greatly respected by the white people as well as by his own race.

        The North Carolina Conference and those Conferences which have been set off by it have always shown a larger proportion of members to the number of ministers than

Page 299

other Southern Conferences. The reason for this is that in these Conferences the New England idea has been followed, which sets a high standard for the reception of ministers. In 1882 the East Alabama Conference had 140 ministers and 14,000 members, or 100 members to each minister. The Central North Carolina Conference had 100 ministers and 20,000 members, or 200 members to each minister. Four Conferences have been set off by the North Carolina Conference, as follows: The Tennessee, Virginia, South Carolina, and Central North Carolina. Out of the Central North Carolina the Western North Carolina has been formed; out of the South Carolina the Palmetto has been formed; and out of the Tennessee Conference the West Tennessee and Mississippi and the East Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina; and out of the West Tennessee and Mississippi, the South Mississippi, making in all nine Conferences that have sprung from the North Carolina Conference. The territory embraced in these Conferences (excepting Tennessee) formed the Third Episcopal District for several years, and has for the last ten years raised fully one half of all the general fund raised by the entire connection. The sons of the Carolina Conferences are scattered all over the connection, and are everywhere making their mark. The roll of the North Carolina Conference is as follows:

  • Presiding Bishop, C. R. Harris, D.D.
  • Presiding Elders, Revs. W. J. Moore, F. K. Bird, D. T. Mitchel, John Hooper, O. L. W. Smith, L. R. Ferrebee, Secretary,* W. A. F. Moore, Assistant Secretary.

            * Deceased.

  • Elders, Revs. H. J. Blanks, William Badger, C. Campbell,

Page 300

    J. L. Cole, B. K. Elliby, W. H. Graham, J. N. Rasberry, J. H. Steward, I. B. Williams, Harmon Parmerly, Steward McKoy, A. M. Moore, A.M.; W. A. Keyes, S. H. McKoy, H. C. Phillips, R. McKinsey, W. H. Wilder, W. J. Solomon, J. C. Price,* H. C. Harrison, J. S. Henderson, E. Morten, A. R. McKoy, T. H. Lovick, P. W. Lawrence, E. D. Jones, John Mosely, A. G. Smith, Hubbard Bell, E. A. Carroll, J. W. L. Council, A. T. Dove, J. H. T. V. Gray, F. B. House, William Sutton, E. Williams, J. W. Jacobs, S. I. Turner, A. McIver, G. W. Lomax, Joshua Nelson, N. L. Overton, E. S. W. Simmons, D. L. Maultsby, R. Spruell, C. K. Smith, R. S. Rieves, S. B. Hunter, A. F. Moore, J. H. Mitchel, W. W. Lewis, J. W. Levey, D. L. Johnson, L. B. Williams, L. R. Jefferson, Lewis Williams.

            * Deceased.

  • Superannuated, Revs. C. Kelly, C. F. Moore, David Cray, F. B. Moore, Peter McNatt, Godfrey Caraway.
  • Deacons, Revs. H. W. Farrior, W. A. Hall, W. H. McKoy, B. J. Hill, S. M. Lloyd, C. T. Simmons, T. H. Hicks, T. C. Battle, E. W. Pritchard, R. Culbreth, A. B. Joyner, H. Whitley, Joseph Moore, Joseph Keyes, T. D. Harrison, J. E. Hussey, W. W. Lee, J. M. D. Hill, B. D. McIver, T. F. Shepherd, G. W. Turner, David Drake, T. H. Hall, P. A. Swindall, J. B. Smith, L. B. Blackledge, Amos Parker, Stanly Boyd, J. T. Tarbor.
  • Local Deacons, Revs. H. S. Jones, Mingo Alexander, Brister Harris, Lewis H. Bryant, O. T. Salters, Fayton Taylor, William Williams.

Page 301

  • Preachers in Full Connection, T. H. Herring, A. M. Martin, H. D. Jones.
  • Preachers on Trial Second Year, James Tucker, Lot Green, J. H. Mosely, John Morris, N. W. McMillen, Hector Smith.
  • Preachers on Trial First Year, W. J. McCall, R. G. Smith, J. E. Morris, H. Smith.

        This Conference has furnished the connection three bishops, as follows: Thomas H. Lomax, of Fayetteville, N. C., consecrated in 1876 at Louisville, Ky.; C. C. Pettey, of Wilkes County, N. C., and C. R. Harris, of Fayetteville, N. C., consecrated at New Berne, N. C., 1888.


        Robert Harrison Simmons was born in Duplin County, N. C., April 14, 1839. His father's name was Briten Aldredge, a slave; his mother's name was Drusilla Simmons, and was freeborn. His father and mother fled with their children to Cumberland County to prevent the white people from having them bound out. They were left in the care of their grandmother, who could read, and it was her pleasure to teach her grandchildren. Rev. Simmons first felt the workings of the Holy Spirit when quite young, and joined the Old Fleehill Methodist Episcopal Church, six miles east of Fayetteville, when about fifteen years old, but made no open profession of religion until 1870. He had been a member of Evans Chapel before conversion; joined this church while Rev. G. W. Price was pastor; was converted while filling four public offices: school committeeman, deputy sheriff, jailer, and justice of the peace. Simmons was impressed to read the Bible to the prisoners on Sabbath days. It was while reading the word of God to his prisoners that his own sinful

Page 302

heart was melted and he felt the need of the blessed Saviour's love and pardon for his many sins. In the year 1870 he found the Lord in a quiet meeting conducted by the pastor, Rev. Thomas H. Henderson, in Old Evans Chapel, Fayetteville. After doing much work in the Church before and after conversion he was licensed to exhort May 22,



1872. It was Simmons, in connection with others, that prevented Rev. G. W. Price from taking Evans Chapel out of Zion Connection. Price was appointed to the Lumberton work from the Annual Conference by Bishop Moore; he (Price) was determined to remain in charge of the church in Fayetteville. Returning from Conference he called the trustees together on Sabbath afternoon and got them to agree to keep him as their pastor
Page 303

instead of Henderson, who had just been assigned to the work. Simmons informed Brother D. A. Bryant, the chairman of the board of trustees, of Rev. Price's plans to take the church and people to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South or North. Brother Bryant recalled the trustees on the same Sabbath, changed Rev. Price's plans, and let him go at once. Rev. Price claimed that the bishop and Conference had treated him unjustly.

        Rev. Henderson took charge of the church and everything was working well. Very soon Rev. K. O. Burton, a white preacher of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, came as an agent to take the church out of Zion and turn it over to the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. But Rev. Henderson and people prevented him from explaining his intention in the church. It was an exciting time. The white people feared that the colored people would burn the church and endanger the property of the town. A wealthy white man, whose name was A. W. Steel, sent for Simmons and asked him to stop the Negroes, for he was afraid that they would burn the town. Simmons saw his chance, and said to Steel that he could not stop the colored people when the whites were trying to take their church that they had paid for while in slavery. At this remark of Simmons he was informed by Mr. Steel that he as a white man and a Methodist would prevent any further attempt to take the church. This agreement has never been broken. Simmons was granted a local preacher's license by the Quarterly Conference in the fall of 1872, and joined the North Carolina Annual Conference at Fayetteville in November of the same year. He was

Page 304

ordained deacon by Bishop Hood, in Fayetteville, N. C., December, 1872, and served Evans Chapel under Rev. J. A. Tyler, one year. In connection with his work in the home church he organized a church seventeen miles west of Fayetteville, named St. John. It is now a strong church. The next year he asked his bishop to give him an appointment away from home. The Annual Conference met in the city of Wilmington in 1873, and Bishop Hood appointed Simmons to the Dudley Circuit, in the county of Wayne. He built a church at Dudley, and bought the land on which to build Wesley and St. John's churches on the same circuit. In 1874 the Annual Conference convened in Newbern, N. C.; Simmons was ordained elder by Bishop Hood and sent back to the Dudley work. He was also made Presiding Elder over the following circuits: Clinton, Magnolia, and Duplin. From the Annual Conference held in Concord he was sent to Washington, N. C., to Farmer's Temple, and served this church for three years with continued success. He completed the church and entertained the North Carolina Annual Conference in 1875. The membership increased nearly twofold in three years, the entire indebtedness was paid off, and he received a living salary. He was also principal of the Graded School at a salary of forty dollars per month. The white citizens sent a petition to the bishop and Conference asking for the return of Rev. Simmons the fourth year. The church also made a strong plea for his return, but the bishop sent him to Goldsborough, N. C. Goldsborough at that time was considered a pastor's spiritual graveyard. But, to the surprise of all concerned, the Lord very soon gave him the people in a grand revival

Page 305

of religion, and more than one hundred souls were added to Zion. The people wanted Simmons to remain the second year, but Bishop Hood said, "No, I want him for Salisbury, as the church there is a little off, spiritually." From the Annual Conference held in Lincolnton, 1879, he was appointed to Salisbury, N. C. There he found a fine people, but very hard to move spiritually. He had less success there in one year building up the church than in any other charge; added only about forty members to the church, but increased the general fund considerably. At the close of the Conference year the people petitioned the bishop and Conference for his return, but he was made Presiding Elder of the Fayetteville District. He served the district four years with success, assisting the pastors in their spiritual and financial work, building and repairing churches, etc. The churches built during the four years are as follows: Manchester, Jonesboro, Oak Grove, Long Ridge, Norrington, Beaver Creek, Egypt, New Zion, Zion Grove, Orr Hill, Mount Olive, Mount Zion, and Hood's Chapel (commenced).

        He was next appointed by Bishop Jones Presiding Elder of the Wadesboro District. Here he met another fine class of people and pastors, who gave him their cooperation in building up the churches and work on all lines. They built several new churches during the four years, namely, Marven, Centenary, Forestville, New Zion, Ansonville, Mount Airy, Pleasant Hill, Luther, Goodwin's, Gibson's, St. Matthew's, Laurinburg, and Kyzer's Chapel. Many souls were converted and added to the churches; the general fund and pastor's salary increased

Page 306

annually. The pastors and membership petitioned the bishop and Annual Conference to reappoint him for the fifth year, but Bishop Moore saw fit to send him back to the Fayetteville District as presiding elder, where he served for one year and a half. Thus he had served for ten years and a half as presiding elder. In the month of May, 1890, Rev. J. B. Small resigned his pastoral charge of St. Luke's Church, Wilmington, N. C. Bishop Thompson, the presiding bishop of the North Carolina Conference, came to Fayetteville in company with Bishop Hood and thought it best for Rev. Simmons to give up his district as presiding elder and take a transfer to the North Carolina Conference, that he might put him in charge of St. Luke's Church. After consideration he accepted the Wilmington church, after the bishop had brought the matter before the membership, they agreeing to ask the bishop to appoint him. He had grand success in bringing the scattering members back to the fold, three hundred and sixteen joining the church during the two years and a half he was in charge. The church was in debt, but before the Annual Conference nearly every dollar had been paid, and more than $100 in bank. The pastor was paid in full each year before he left for the Annual Conference.

        Having raised the general fund to $265, and the Sabbath school and church having $775 in the treasury, he thought it a fitting time to leave the charge. So he asked Bishop Harris not to send him back another year. Just as his time expired at Wilmington, Bishop Moore asked him to take a transfer to the Western North Carolina Conference and to take charge of Clinton Chapel,

Page 307

Charlotte, N. C., which he did after prayerful meditation and consultation with Bishop Lomax and others. He came to the Conference at Hickory with his transfer, and received the appointment to Clinton Chapel. An attempt was made to take the church out of Zion, but the rebellious parties were met by Rev. Simmons at every point of civil or ecclesiastical law. Failing to take the church, their next move was to run the pastor away by misrepresentations and slander, but in this they also failed.

        He has been the Annual Conference Steward for twelve years; first in the Central Conference, then in the North Carolina and now Western North Carolina Conferences. He has been twice married; his first wife was Miss Francis A. Pettifoot, of Fayetteville. His present wife was Miss Julia A. Covington, of Rockingham, both estimable Christian ladies.


        The subject of this sketch, Franklin Kesler Bird, was born December 1, 1856, at Rutherfordton, N. C. He was the only child of his father, William Bird, who died when young Franklin was two years of age. He and his mother, Mary Martha, lived with his grandfather, the "Blacksmith," Wylie Morris, until 1867, when his mother was married to Cain Gross.

        By early industry and economy Wylie Morris succeeded in purchasing his freedom for $2,000, and marrying a freeborn woman. All of Franklin's relatives were freeborn, and strict members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, until after the close of the war, when they connected

Page 308

themselves with the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, which remains the choice of the family. Young Franklin connected himself with the Church of which he is now a member at the age of eleven years, and soon afterward manifested much usefulness and devotion. His stepfather being engaged yearly in a large farming business, in which Franklin was regularly



employed, together with the meagre school system of his home section, deprived him of early school advantages, except one or two months occasionally in some private or public school.

        In 1869 his grandfather moved and settled at Newport, Tenn. In 1871, while visiting him, he was favored with one year's instruction in the high school of that place,

Page 309

under Professor William H. McGhee as instructor. On his return to his native home he had made sufficient advancement to obtain a third grade teacher's certificate, and taught his first school at Mykle's Chapel Schoolhouse, near his home. This was the small beginning of an eventful life of public usefulness.

        It was while teaching this small school that he grasped the opportunities of educating himself. He paid out of his income for private instruction to one Professor --, a white teacher, at the rate of $2 for three recitations each week at night, on condition that he would never divulge his teacher's name. During this time he succeeded in completing his studies in arithmetic, grammar, geography, history, etc. He also cultivated his talent in vocal music, and while teaching the same his fame had reached Marion, N. C., from which place he received a call to the principalship of a large school, which gave him from five to six months' employment in each year. He remained at the head of this school for six years consecutively, during which time he found his way to Biddle University, Charlotte, N. C., where he spent four terms, paying for the same with the money he obtained by teaching. He professed faith in Christ June 24, 1874, served in every local official capacity in his church, was licensed to exhort July 4, 1876; received local preacher's license in November of the same year, and joined the North Carolina Annual Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, at Salisbury, N. C., December 4, 1877. He took his first appointment in the following year at the hands of his Presiding Elder. Rev. S. S. Murdock, to a part of the Marion Circuit.

Page 310

At the following Conference, Goldsboro, N. C., he was ordained deacon and appointed in charge of the entire circuit. This work was so enlarged that it became the work of two pastors at the end of his two years' administration. At Lincolnton, N. C., in 1879, when the North Carolina Conference was divided, and the Central and North Carolina Conferences formed, he was appointed to Wilson Station, in the North Carolina Conference. At the end of the year the property, which had been long involved in litigation, was redeemed, and the church doubled in membership. At Tarboro, N. C., 1880, he was ordained to the office of an elder and stationed at Concord, N. C., where he rendered efficient service to Bishop C. R. Harris, as business manager of the Star of Zion. On April 7, of this year, at Wilson, N. C., he was united by marriage to Miss Agnes M. Barnes, a student of St. Augustine Institute, Raleigh, N. C.

        During this year he also met President Mattoon, D.D., of Biddle University, with whom he arranged, and in the next year reentered the university, filling at the same time the pastorate at Biddleville Station. He remained in the university five terms, during which he completed the normal course and advanced rapidly in the classical course. He was considered by the faculty as being one of the brightest students in that institution. He is yet a student, and has mastered many of the studies most helpful to him in his work by persistent effort and private instructions.

        In February, 1883, Bishop Hood secured his services by transfer, and stationed him at the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Exchange Street, Worcester,

Page 311

Mass., where he rendered more than three years' successful service, to the general satisfaction of the people. He was then removed to the church, corner Broad and Gregory Streets, Bridgeport, Conn. Here he had a splendid financial success. At the end of two years, feeling that his services could be more effective in the Southern field, he transferred back to his native State, and has since filled with success the pastorates at St. Paul Station, Tarboro, N. C., Farmer's Temple, Washington, N. C., and St. James Station, at Goldsboro, N. C. He has filled the position of secretary in all of his Conferences, receiving all his ordinations under the administration of Bishop Hood, and has been in attendance upon the last three General Conferences, where he was an able representative of his Church and race.

        While at the General Conference at Pittsburg, Pa., May, 1892, he received notice from the President of Bethany College, at Lumberton, N. C., that the trustees of said institution had, without solicitation, conferred upon him the degree of Divinitatis Doctor. Upon refusing to accept their proffer he found on his arrival home the certificate awaiting him at the express office. At his Conference on December 6, 1892, he was unanimously elected to the position of presiding elder, as the result of a long-expressed desire upon the part of the ministers, and was appointed Presiding Elder of the Wilmington District of the North Carolina Conference, where he is doing a great work in building up and extending the borders of Zion. He is unassuming in public life, affable, congenial in disposition, self-sacrificing, and devoted to his calling in the ministry.

Page 312


        This Conference was organized March 13, 1865, by Bishop J. J. Clinton. There were fifteen preachers present. This was the second Conference formed in the Southland and the last one formed before the close of the war. The work preparatory to its organization was superintended largely by Bishop Clinton in person. Soon after organizing the North Carolina Conference he went by sea to New Orleans, which, like New Berne, had been captured by the Federal forces.

        Among the Conferences laid out on paper at the General Conference in 1864 was the Louisiana Conference. It was to embrace the States south of the North Carolina Conference. Starting at the James River one was to work southward, and starting at New Orleans the other was to work northward until they met. However wild this scheme may have seemed in 1864, when the Federal forces had only a foothold, so to speak, in North Carolina and in Louisiana, yet the men who fixed the boundaries of the Conferences, then in embryo, had faith in the success of the course of freedom, and their expectations have been quite fulfilled. They built more wisely than they knew.

        The Louisiana Conference itself has not met our expectations. In 1871, four years after the Alabama Conference had been set off, it reported 10,124 members; in 1879 it reported only 1,680. We may suppose that the exodus had much to do with this large falling off; but from the best information at hand we learn that we were unfortunate in some of the men employed in this field, while other denominations were more fortunate.

Page 313

        While within the present bounds of the Louisiana Conference our expectations have not been fully realized, yet in that vast field included in the Louisiana Conference as laid out by the General Conference in 1864 the success has been only second to that of the work which started at New Berne, N. C., a little earlier in the same year. Five Conferences have been set off by the Louisiana Conference, as follows: The Alabama, the Florida, the Georgia, the Texas, and the North Louisiana Conferences. Out of the Alabama Conference the West Alabama Conference has been formed, out of the Georgia the South Georgia, and out of the Florida the South Florida has been formed, making in all eight Conferences which have sprung from the Louisiana Conference.


        T. F. H. Blackman was born in Goldsboro, N. C., March 9, 1852. He received his early training in the Freedmen's School maintained at that place partly by Northern aid. He entered St. Augustine Normal School, at Raleigh, but failed to finish the course by reason of having to work to care for his father. He has finished the course in the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, also a course in Hebrew. He was baptized when about thirteen or fourteen years old; was converted and taken into full connection May 30, 1869, at Wilson, N. C., where he was engaged in teaching school. He received a local preacher's license at Mosley Hall, March 4, 1871. He was received into the Annual Conference and ordained deacon at Lincolnton, N. C., December 1, 1871, and was ordained elder at Concord November 30, 1875. His first

Page 314

appointment was to the Evergreen Circuit, Brunswick County, N. C.; here he served for two years. His next appointment was Mount Pleasant, Columbus County, for three years. He was then sent to Lincoln, where he remained for four years. During these nine years in the pastoral work he had uninterrupted success. He built up the church spiritually, improved the church property, and paid off debts. The church at Lincolnton has never since been in as good condition as it was when he had charge. In 1880 he was appointed Presiding Elder of the Statesville District, which position he filled with credit for one year, during which time he succeeded in establishing the church at Morganton, where we had long labored in vain to get a start. He then filled a missionary appointment in South Carolina for one year in the interest of the church in Columbia, and raised ninety dollars above his salary and expenses. He then had a very successful year as pastor of the church at Lancaster, S. C. His seventh appointment was to Opelika, Ala. This was among his most pleasant charges, and he had very great success.

        From this point he was transferred to the Tennessee Conference and appointed to Chattanooga, where his usual success attended him; he paid more than one thousand dollars on the debt. At the end of two years' service he was appointed to Maryville, Tenn.; here he improved the church both spiritually and temporally, leaving it in excellent condition. He was then appointed to the Shiloh Circuit in Buncombe County, N. C.; but Presiding Elder White, of the Bristol District, having resigned, Rev. Blackman was appointed to fill the vacancy

Page 315

for the balance of the year. He filled that position to the great satisfaction of both bishop and pastors for two years. He is now serving the second year as Presiding Elder of the Asheville District.

        Brother Blackman has had a very quiet but successful ministry. While Presiding Elder of the Statesville District he secured the first lot for a church in Winston. He has been a painstaking and industrious member of several General Conferences. He was married in 1881 to Miss Lillian M. Carson, who has been a faithful helpmate.


        G. H. S. Bell was born in the town of St. George, in the islands of Bermuda, alias Somers Islands, the 16th of December, A. D. 1858. His father and mother, Inkle and Hannah Bell, were both formerly slaves in what was known as the British West Indies slavery, but were, by an act of the British Parliament, emancipated on the 1st of August, 1834. His grandfather, Mr. Peter Herbert, by his mother's side, was a freeman, and was the first appointed class leader in the Wesleyan Methodist Church or Society in Bermuda. This information was gained from the memoirs of Rev. John Marsden, the second appointed and officiating Wesleyan minister in that colony.

        From the age of six to fourteen years he was a strict attendant and ardent scholar in the parochial schools under white and colored teachers of no mean ability. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to a Mr. Thomas Worth to learn the tailoring business in the town of Hamilton, Bermuda. At the expiration of six years' apprenticeship,

Page 316

having finished the trade, he worked about two years as journeyman tailor, and served as parish constable at the same time. This position was occupied by him for the purpose of pulling down race prejudice. The first duty he was called to perform in this office by the mayor was to serve a warrant and arrest a mutinous crew of six stalwart seamen of an American schooner. Big Tom and his five followers very readily submitted to the little man and accompanied him to the jail.

        Ambition prompted the journeyman tailor to start into business for himself, which he did, and continued for about a year and a half. His great desire to study when a schoolboy never left him. It rather became greater, and all his leisure moments were applied in that direction. He often made a sacrifice of pleasure for the purpose of gaining knowledge. He was not designed to remain long as a master tailor, for the dean and rector of St. George's Parish urged the request to relinquish the trade and take charge of a government school in his diocese, which he accepted after passing examination. When he became established in this new calling he fully realized the benefit of continual studying. For fifteen years he continued in the capacity of a public teacher in his native home, when he resigned that position to enter into one of more responsibility.

        About the year 1856 he came into possession of the History of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, written by Bishop C. Rush. By it he became interested in the subject of colored churches and their ministry. Being always associated with an amalgamated church membership, he was not much acquainted with white and

Page 317

colored churches in the civilized world. This rekindled his childhood ambition to be a "preacher of the Gospel," but the opportunities were in the far distant and inconceivable. In 1868 an opportunity was offered by an Episcopal clergyman to give instructions in such branches of a higher education as to qualify a candidate for examination to ministerial orders; the offer was readily embraced and pursued to the satisfaction of the preceptor. It was the wish of his educational benefactor that he should aspire to the Episcopal ministry. When he discovered three years later that Mr. Bell was connected with the Methodists, especially as a preacher, he became so indignant that he refused to recognize him on the streets; he even caused the lord bishop of the dioceses to visit him with persuasions against being identified with the colored Methodist Society. All arguments failed in causing any change, as, seemingly, there was a divine ruling in the man who loved the welfare of his race.

        In the year 1870 the inhabitants of Bermuda--particularly the colored--were considerably interested in the rumor that a colored bishop intended visiting their island home. Prompted by curiosity, on April 23, 1870, he adjourned school for half a day to be one of the first to see a colored bishop, when, about 2:30 P. M., the New York mail steamer entered Hamilton harbor bearing the distinguished guest, Bishop Willis Nazrey, of the British Methodist Episcopal Church of the Dominon of Canada. While numbered with the anxious lookers-on the voice of his father-in-law, Mr. James T. Butterfield, was heard directing him to look after the bishop's baggage. Deeming the request a proper one, he hastened to comply.

Page 318

Two days later a public meeting was convened in the spacious hall of the Odd Fellows' building, at which time this bishop delivered an address on the colored people of America and Bermuda. Mr. Bell attended this meeting as a curious spectator. When the exercises took the turn of a business form he was the choice for secretary pro tem; but he was destined to go beyond that. From that night the greater part of his leisure time, especially nights, was devoted to traveling and speaking in the interest of the new church society. In the year 1872 he was granted local preacher's license, and on the 18th of May, 1873, was ordained to the order of a deacon in the British Methodist Episcopal Church and in the first Bermuda Annual Conference by Bishop W. Nazrey. He continued to follow teaching school, visiting his charges on Sundays and once during the week days. As no clergyman in Bermuda at that time was allowed to exercise all the functions of his office without permission from the governor and council, who had first to approve of credentials and qualifications, he was approved and licensed January 24, 1876. At the General Conference of the Bermuda Methodist Episcopal Church which met in St. Catharine's, Ont., in September of the same year, he was on the 17th day ordained to elders' orders. He returned to Bermuda and pursued his usual avocations till July, 1877, when he was transferred to the Nova Scotia Conference and assigned to the church at Liverpool, where he remained for two years. He also taught a government school during his pastorate. When about to leave the superintendent of schools offered him a room in the academy if he would remain. The offer was

Page 319

tempting, but not enough to induce him to forsake what he considered God's call to the ministry. His next charge was at St. John's, N. B. His entrance to that city was by no means encouraging. The people had become dissatisfied and discouraged on account of some misdemeanors of former pastors, and did not want to "have any more ministers." For nine hours he and his wife walked the streets of that city looking for a place to stop or a home. The Sunday following his arrival there he held service, and the people subscribed largely to his support. He fared sumptuously all that year, leaving with the heartfelt regrets of many.

        During his stay in St. John's he decided to carry out the wishes of earlier days, and that was to spend a few years in the United States. Learning what time the African Methodist Episcopal Zion and African Methodist Episcopal Bethel Conferences would meet, he proposed to visit them both, and the one that pleased the better he would try to join. Consequently, in April, 1880, he came to America and visited the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Conference in the city of New Haven, Conn., where, from the affable disposition and gentlemanly manner of Bishop J.J.Moore, D.D., and the members of that Conference, he decided to make application for membership. Being still connected with his Nova Scotia Conference, and having no recommendation, only credentials of ordination, the Conference determined he should fill an appointment before it took any action pro or con. The next day, after complying with the Conference's request, he was unanimously accepted and appointed to Cambridgeport, Mass. As Secretary of the Nova Scotia Conference he

Page 320

had to return there and deliver up their books. At the time he went to Cambridgeport Zion was numerically small and influentially weak. God in his divine power visited Zion there in 1882 with a great revival spirit, when a large number professed conversion to God. From that time little Rush Zion began to take her stand, not among the nations of the earth, but among the churches of cities. The interest of the work had so much increased that all floating debts were met, and by the time for the sitting of the Annual Conference in 1884 over one hundred dollars had been banked toward the purchase of land for building purposes. In 1884 he was appointed to the charge at Hartford, Conn., where he remained three years. He served the church at Middletown Conn., two years and from there he went to Worcester, Mass., remaining in the pastorate three years. His next appointment was at Waterbury, Conn.

        In 1881 he was elected Assistant Secretary for the Annual Conference, and in 1882 was elected Secretary of the Annual Conference, and served in that capacity till 1884, when he was appointed and elected Conference steward and was made a member of the General Conference, which sat in New York city that same year. He is now serving his ninth year and third appointment to that responsible office. He was also a member of the General Conference of 1888, at New Berne, N. C., and 1892 at Pittsburg, Pa. He has been connected with the Local Mission Board of the New England Annual Conference for ten years, serving in the capacity of secretary all but one year, when he was president.

        Brother Bell is a man of high Christian character and

Page 321

greatly beloved by his people. During the long period that he has held the position of Conference steward his accounts have been well kept, and not a cent has gone astray, and the expense of running the office has been exceptionally and surprisingly small. We venture the assertion that no living man is more straightforward or trusty in his dealings.

General Secretary of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion

        William Howard Day was born in New York city, October 16, 1831. His father, John Day, was a sailmaker. He died from an accident when the subject of this sketch was only three years of age. Mrs. Eliza Day (née Dixon), his mother, became both father and mother. Being the youngest of the family, this boy and his mother seemed almost inseparable. The mother was originally a member of John Street Church, the mother church of Methodism in America. To this place she often led her boy. They continued attendants here and at mother Zion, New York, until circumstances seemed to justify her in becoming a regular member of Zion, the mother church of African Methodism. Long previous to this, however, Zion was the center-post of her religious life, and the two younger of the four children of the family were transferred with the mother, and became regular members of the mother Zion Sunday school. Long previous to this, too, as early as 1825, this home became the visiting home of Zion's pioneer ministers. Right Rev. James Varick, the first

Page 322

superintendent, baptized William Howard Day. Right Rev. Christopher Rush, Rev. Timothy Eato, Right Rev. William Haywood Bishop, Right Rev. James Simmons, Right Rev. George Galbreth, Rev. Dempsey Kennedy, Rev. Edward Matthews, Rev. Jehiel C. Beman, Right Rev. Joseph P. Thompson, Rev. Jacob Thomas, Rev. John Dungy, Rev. J. P. Thompson, 2d, Rev. Joseph Hicks, Rev. Father Van Hass, Rev. Daniel Vandeveer, Rev. Charles Gardner, Rev. Jacob D. Richardson, and a host of others, bishops, pastors, and laymen, were often visitors and always welcome guests. Prayer meetings and class meetings were often held here, and the presence of the God of Israel was manifested in power. The subject of this sketch was brought up in the midst of such influences. No wonder that he was called early to consider his ways and to seek the Lord. Any boy with such a mother is rich indeed. When about four years of age "William Howard," as his mother always familiarly called him, was sent to an infant school on White Street, under the charge of Mr. Levi Folsom and mother and sister, and at six years of age, we are told, William could read anywhere in the Bible. He has a book presented by the noted member of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, Mr. Murray, as a premium for reading in a competitive contest in that school. Later on he was sent to Public School No. 2, on what was then Laurens Street, but now South Fifth Avenue, under the principalship of Mr. Ransom F. Wake, and later on was sent to the private school on West Broadway under the charge of Rev. Frederick Janes, of Massachusetts. Here the distinguished chemist and philanthropist, John Payson

Page 323

Williston, came to pay a visit to Rev. Janes and his school. As a result of the examinations and exhibition Mr. Williston made a present in money to this boy, and in two weeks called upon his mother to ask that he might be allowed to take him to Northampton, Mass., and adopt him as almost his son. The mother, recognizing this as a call from God, with tears said, "Yes," and in two weeks more Honorable Samuel Williston, of East Hampton, Mass., the founder of Williston Seminary, came to take charge of the boy on his (then) long journey. The mother accompanied him as far as Hartford, Conn.

        It would occupy too much space to detail his subsequent history. Suffice to say he encountered fearful prejudices from the outside world in his new relationship; but, with some perseverance and a faithful and just guardian behind him, and with a faithful teacher, Rev. Rudolphus B. Hubbard, he entered the high school and won recognition of merit. Here he prepared for college, presumably for Williams College, where went several of his classmates, notable among them the young man who is now William Dwight Whitney, Professor of Sanskrit, etc., in Yale College; but the hydra-headed prejudice of the United States said, "No!"

        In the meantime William Howard had learned the printing business, newspaper, job, and book work, and he found at Oberlin, O., not only a course of study equal in every way to that of Yale or Williams, but, to his surprise, a printing office, from which his color did not debar him, and where he could pay nearly all his bills during college by setting type. Thus the hand of God seemed to lead him and point the way. Reading in the

Page 324

National Cyclopedia of American Biography, a few days since, we find it speaks of William Howard Day as "graduating, one of the leaders of his class." Before going to Oberlin, under the devoted philanthropist and Christian who was his guardian, and under the personal effort of Rev. Charles Stewart Renshaw, Evangelist, William Howard gave himself to God; but after reaching Oberlin he received the blessing which confirmed him and gave him the assurance of faith. He then united with the college church, to which nearly all the students, while in school, of every evangelical belief, were attached, but did not then feel, in view of the wrongs to be combated, that he ought to go into the ministry. Therefore he devoted himself to the lecture platform, and traveled almost everywhere in the defense of the colored citizens. He readily accepted the invitation of Rev. William King (the Clayton of Mrs. Stowe's work, Dred) to go to England, Ireland, and Scotland, to secure the means to erect a church and four schoolhouses in the Elgin settlement at Buxton, in Canada, which Horace Greeley declared was the "greatest problem in social science that had been wrought out on this continent." Rev. King and Professor Day raised £7,000, or $35,000, for the purpose. During his absence in England he was more directly called to the pulpit, and occupied a large portion of three years in preaching, acting for months as stated pastor of a congregation in England, composed of English people. Upon his return, while serving Zion as editor of the Zion's Standard and Weekly Review, he was received by letter into full membership of John Wesley Zion Church, Washington, Rev. Singleton T. Jones

Page 325

pastor, and soon after, at Petersburg, Va., at the establishment of the Virginia Conference, was ordained deacon and elder by Right Rev. Joseph J. Clinton. This was in 1866. He has held the pastorate and has been offered some influential churches, but preferring missionary and educational work he has usually been assigned thereto. Soon after his ordination he was, as it were, loaned from the Virginia to the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference, and up to 1886 or 1887 retained that relationship, meeting the Virginia Conference when able, but being usually represented by letter. This arrangement was not entirely of his seeking, but was providential.

        Intending to cast in his lot with his brethren in the South, and to remain in the Virginia Conference, soon after he was ordained he bade farewell to his editorial work in New York, left relatives and friends behind, and started for his Southern field of labor. At Baltimore, Md., he took occasion to call to pay his respects to General E. M. Gregory, an old friend in the order of the Sons of Temperance, who had been appointed by Major General O. O. Howard Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. He explained to the general whither he was going, and to his surprise was informed by the general that he had telegraphed that morning to him in New York to become Superintendent of Schools for the District of Maryland and Delaware. Professor Day demurred, the general talked of Day's being under martial law and obliged to acquiesce, which for some time he would not do, as he was intent upon going further. But the opening was

Page 326

really in the South, he would be the only colored citizen a superintendent of schools; and it looked like a providence, as Day had had nothing whatever to do with the matter and knew nothing of it until his visit to the general. At last Professor Day, after filling some engagements previously made, came back and had charge of 140 schools, 160 teachers, and 7,000 children. At the close of his service Major General O. O. Howard wrote of him, "One of my excellent superintendents of schools." Professor Day's relationship was, on motion, favorably referred to by the General Conference of 1868, when he introduced Major General O. O. Howard to that body.

        In 1876, at Louisville, Ky., the General Conference elected him general secretary; after an interval of twelve years he was again elected by the General Conference at New Berne, N. C., and in 1892 again reelected by the General Conference which met in Pittsburg, Pa. He is also Secretary of the General Board of Home and Foreign Missions, composed of the Board of Bishops, and in his own Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference has been presiding elder and is now general missionary, intellectual instructor, supervisor of missions, and general home and foreign agent for educational and missionary purposes. He received the degrees of A.B. and A.M. from Oberlin, his alma mater, and the degree of D.D. from Livingstone. Besides filling other important posts he has been twice unanimously elected the President of the Harrisburg, Pa., Board of School Control, and is still an influential member of that important body. He is the only colored citizen in that organization of twenty-five members. With all his other labors he is engaged

Page 327

in assisting other brethren of the churches in preaching the Gospel at camp meetings and special revival services. Assisted by the Masonic fraternity he laid the corner stone of the Zion Church at Mechanicsburg, Pa., and in 1890 assisted Bishop Thompson in laying the corner stone and dedicating the Zion Church at Saratoga Springs, N. Y., and in laying the corner stone of the Thompson Zion Church at Auburn, N. Y. Two years previous he assisted Rev. B. F. Wheeler, B.D., in laying the corner stone of his new Zion Church in Somerville, N. J.

        Professor W. Howard Day is one of the best orators of the race, and if his scholarly attainments are taken into consideration he has no superior. The fact that he has held for several years the chairmanship of the Board of Education of the city and county of Harrisburg, Pa., he being the only colored member of the board, is certainly remarkable. No other colored man has held such position under like circumstances. As to his ability to keep books he takes foremost rank among the men of our race. As a preacher he is sound in theology, logical and eloquent. He has great respect for those who have authority over him, whether his equals intellectually or not.


        This Conference was organized June 6, 1866, by Bishop Sampson D. Talbot, at 4 P. M., in Center Street Church, Louisville, Ky. The following ministers and preachers were present: Rev. William F. Butler, Samuel Elliott, Leroy Brannon, R. Bridwell, Anthony Bunch, R. Marshall, William H. Miles, William Koger, E. H. Curry, Peter McCormick, Henderson First, Henry Huges, David

Page 328

Cole, Henry Brown, Douglas Coward, Thomas Henry, Cicero Hazlewood, Samuel Sherman, William Corneil, Lewis Arnold, and Charles Rodman. Besides the members the following distinguished persons were present, namely: Bishop J. J. Clinton, Rev. J. A. Jones, of the Philadelphia Conference; Rev. S. T. Jones, of the New York Conference; Rev. J. W. Loguen, of the Genesee Conference; and Rev. J. J. Whiting, James Armstrong, and J. Bowman, of the Allegheny Conference.

        No such body of distinguished colored men had ever before met in Louisville; a very fine impression was made, and no Conference ever started off with better promise. At this first session 1,841 members were reported. During the first year after the formation the increase was most encouraging. The membership reported at the second Conference was 3,253. But an unfortunate matter at the third session of the Conference created schism, which, together with some troubles in Tennessee and Georgia, resulted in the formation of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church.

        Rev. William F. Butler was a man of decided ability, but not well balanced. He did things sometimes to vex regardless of consequences. Sometimes no serious harm results from such conduct, but it is a kind of sport that seldom pays. He knew that Rev. W. H. Miles was somewhat ambitious, and he pretended to boom him for bishop in 1868. It is not likely that Miles would have thought of it if Butler had not made him believe that his chances were good. He seemed as happy, loyal, and true as any delegate there. But when the election took place and he was not mentioned he felt that he had been fooled.

Page 329

        The following, kindly furnished by Rev. E. H. Curry, will give a clearer view of the conflicts and trials through which this Conference has passed.


        "The Kentucky Annual Conference was organized June 6, 1866, in Center Street Church, in the city of Louisville and State of Kentucky, by Right Rev. Sampson Talbot, General Superintendent of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Connection, assisted by Superintendent Joseph J. Clinton. The membership of the Conference was made up of men of no experience in the itinerant work, and without a knowledge of the polity of the Church. They were sent to their appointments in many places without a church edifice, nay, without any members; nevertheless they went trusting in God for success. The superintendent left and was seen no more until the next Annual Conference, and the only guides left to instruct the Conference were Rev. W. F. Butler and Rev. W. H. Miles. The latter was appointed general missionary and supported from Center Street Church by the Daughters of Conference, or at least in part.

        "At the reassembling of the second Annual Conference William Haywood Bishop, general superintendent, presided. Rev. W. F. Butler was removed from Center Street Church and succeeded by Rev. W. H. Miles. Hence some feeling of unpleasantness sprang up between those two divines. The superintendent, however, left again, to be seen no more until the sitting of the third Annual Conference, at which Rev. J. W. Loguen, general superintendent, presided. Then began the scene of trouble in the Conference, and the Rev. W. H. Miles tendered his resignation, which was finally received. This created quite a feeling, and many of the leading men of the higher rank left, until the Conference was left with only seven elders all told, and many of the churches followed in rapid succession; yet there were a few who dared to hold on to Zion, and continued to struggle against all opposition. Rev. Richard Bridwell, Samuel Elliott, Rev. A. Bunch, Samuel Shurman, Leroy Brannon, J. B. Stansbury, William T. Biddle, with one other man, were all the elders left in the Kentucky Conference. One year later showed a gradual decline in both churches and communicants. This rigor in the Conference discouraged both members and ministers, and all the more because the ministers being returned to their former charges it was easy for them to confuse the minds of the people by trying to carry them into the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, and that by the same men who led them into the Zion Connection at a date still fresh in their memory.

        "One year later reports showed the following churches lost: Falmouth,

Page 330

Ky.; Millersburg, Ky.; Carrollton, Ky.; Flemingsburg, Ky.; Owensville, Ky.; Glasgow, Ky.; Sharpsburg, Ky.; Elton, Ky.; Frankford, Ky.; Burksville, Ky.; Greenburg, Ky.; with Center Street Church, of Louisville, Ky. But there were a faithful few who still stood up for Zion.

        "The next event worthy of special mention was the appointment of Right Rev. S. T. Jones, D.D., to the Third Episcopal District, which gave new life and impulse to the Kentucky Conference. The work settled to a firmer base during the twelve consecutive years of his administration, notwithstanding there was some dissatisfaction in the Board of Bishops and among leading men about organic union with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Conference being told by those in authority that the union would be consummated in the near future it was hard for them to tell what they were. This had much to do in shaking their faith in the firmness and stability of Zion Connection. But the fight ended, and the faithful few were seen doing what they could to build up Zion. The Kentucky Conference carried the standard of Zion into Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri, and organized the Arkansas and the Missouri Annual Conferences."

        Rev. Y. Carr was the first man to raise the standard of Zion in Arkansas, and was succeeded by Rev. A. J. Warner, and he by Rev. J. M. Washington. The Conference was organized, however, under the administration of Rev. A. J. Warner, with seven members, by Bishop S. T. Jones, D.D., but under Rev. J. M. Washington the work increased very fast. The above named elders were the pioneers in the work. The Missouri Conference was also set off by the Kentucky Conference and organized by Bishop T. H. Lomax, D.D., in the town of Greenville and State of Kentucky.

        It has been the pleasure of the Kentucky Conference to have the following named bishops to preside over her deliberations: Right Rev. Sampson D. Talbot, Right Rev. W. William Haywood Bishop, Right Rev. J. W. Loguen, Right Rev. S. T. Jones, D.D., Right Rev. William H. Hillery, Right Rev. J. W. Hood, D.D., Right Rev. T. H. Lomax, D.D., and last, but not least, Right Rev. Alexander

Page 331

Walters, D.D., all of whom we regard as men of ability in their high office.

        This has been called the Brick Church Conference, on account of the large number of brick edifices within its borders. It has a number of very promising young men. It has shown commendable interest in the educational work, and has established a high school at Madisonville, which, under the supervision of Rev. G. B. Walker, is doing good work. This Conference has two offsprings, the Arkansas and the Missouri Conferences. It has furnished one bishop in the person of Right Rev. A. Walters, D.D. He is not only the peculiar product of the Kentucky Conference, but is also a native Kentuckian. The roll of members is as follows:

  • Bishop, Right Rev. Alexander Walters, D.D.
  • Presiding Elders, J. B. Johnson, E. H. Curry, D.D.
  • Elders, J. M. Washington, H. Campbell, A. R. Jackson, W. A. Walker, W. T. Hays, M. W. Steward, James H. McMullen, A. Nichols, J. W. Rice, J. J. Moore, J. R. Irvin, G. B. Walker, I. W. Selectman, R. T. Anderson, W. W. Dorsey, S. Young, C. R. Lennox, J. H. Gough, S. B. Jones, B. Lynch, W. A. Forman, J. R. Ealy, W. H. Tucker, J. J. Kennedy, D. L. Irvin, N. L. Slaughter, J. H. Morton, G. R. Edmondson, J. H. Barner, R. L. Cherry.
  • Deacons, Robert McGuire, J. Freeman, N. R. Morgan, J. F. Thomas, L. N. Scott, Willis Adams, J. H. McElroy, S. J. Clemens, R. B. Orndorf, M. F. Gatewood, Amos Howard, J. M. Hurt, D. H. Jones, S. Gatewood.
  • Preachers, I. B. Walters, R. Devine, T. H. Hutchinson, J. A. Jones, J. Moore.

Page 332


        James Bartlett Johnson was born a slave in Taylor County, Ky., about March, 1830. Like most slaves he does not know the exact date of his birth. He was reared by a Christian mother, and at the age of eighteen years was converted and joined the Church. From his



conversion, he says, "I felt the call to preach, but not knowing how to read I did not answer my call for ten years. I bought a spelling book and carried the same in my pocket until I learned to spell, and then I soon learned to read. I commenced the reading and studying of the Bible, which was continued for eight years before I tried to preach." In January, 1853, Elder Johnson married
Page 333

Miss Mary A. Buchanan, of the same State and county in which he was born and reared. She was given her freedom when but three years of age, in accordance with the will of her mistress. On February 22, 1856, they were separated by the young husband being sold to a slave trader who carried him to Louisiana. "There," he says, "I preached my first sermon, in 1858, though I was not allowed to claim that I was even a Christian; I organized my first church, had a revival, many souls were converted, and God stood between me and the whites, who threatened to whip me if I preached to black people on the plantation." In 1861 the war broke out, and in 1862 he enlisted in the Union army, serving three years and preaching during the time. A second church was organized, known as the Regimental Church. On December 24, 1865, at the close of the war, he returned to Kentucky and found his wife and child, from whom he had been nine years and nine months. The family was moved to Louisville, Ky. "Here," he says, "I joined the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and tried to hide the fact that I was a preacher. However, I could not remain hid, and joined the Conference July 1, 1867. For nearly twenty-six years I've been a member of the Conference and steadily in the service of the Church." Mr. Johnson was ordained a deacon by Bishop W. Haywood Bishop, in Center Street Church, Louisville, July, 1867. His first appointment was to Springfield, Ky., where he found only twenty-four members and no Church property at all; in fact, at this time Zion had no property in Kentucky. The first of his three years' stay on this circuit he received $166 in salary, and

Page 334

in two revivals added sixty members to the Springfield Church. Another church was organized, known as the Mount Zion Church, with twenty members. Bishop Loguen ordained him elder in 1868. About this time a split was made in the church, and especially at Lebanon, Ky., was the split so serious, being occasioned by Elder Miles (the late Bishop Miles, of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church), that the church was burned, and, the members being scattered, the Conference combined Springfield and Lebanon into a circuit under Elder Johnson. The church and congregation were subsequently restored, and both are now stations. His next appointment was Russellville, Ky., where he served from 1870 to 1872, holding several revivals, resulting in many additions to the church and raising money for the erection of a new brick church.

        A return of four years to Springfield secured for that congregation a new church and ground costing $3,300. In 1876 it was found necessary to send him to Greenville, Ky., because the church was not finished and the congregation was split. The labors of one Conference year finished the church and united the people, ready for the reception of the Conference, August, 1877. From there in 1877 he went to New Albany, Ind., served one year, paid off many debts, added many members to the church, and in 1878 was appointed to the church in Indianapolis, where he found that the property had been sold. The property was secured again, and after another year's work he took charge of Twelfth Street Church, in Louisville. A heavy debt was hanging over this church and several notes were paid off. Money was also deposited

Page 335

in bank for the payment of the next note, when he was appointed, in 1880, to the Jacob Street Tabernacle. Two years were spent here with as many revivals and large additions to the church. Returning in 1882 to Twelfth Street, he resumed his task of paying off the indebtedness and in the meantime renovated and beautified the church at a cost of four hundred dollars. In 1883, with but little prospect of success, he was sent to Bardstown: from there in 1884 to Springfield for two years more, building one church at Pleasant Run and buying lumber for another at Beachland. Then, in 1886, he was made presiding elder under Bishop Hood and given charge of the Second District. He was on this district six years, and now has charge of the First District. For sixteen years he has been the steward of the Kentucky Annual Conference. He has been honored four times as a delegate to the General Conference. First, in 1872, he went to New York city, where the lamented Bishop S. T. Jones, D.D., attempted to hold the General Conference at the usual time, but he was not able to do so because the majority of the bishops had voted to hold it at Charlotte, N. C., about a month later.

        The next he attended was in New York, in 1884, New Berne, N. C., 1888, and Pittsburg, Pa., in 1892. His life and Christian character have won for him the esteem of everyone, and in the Kentucky Conference no man is more respected.

        Seven children have been born during the happy union, covering now a period of over thirty years. Of this number only two reached their majority; the oldest, Mrs. Nannie J. Demby, died July 27, 1877, leaving a husband

Page 336

and two children. Benjamin A. Johnson, now a young man of twenty-five years of age, is the only child living, and is one of the instructors in Livingstone College, from which institution he graduated in 1890, receiving the degree of A.B.


        The following sketch of the Tennessee Conference is furnished by Rev. W. H. Ferguson:

        "The Tennessee Conference was organized at Knoxville, Tenn., October 6, 1868, by Bishop J. J. Clinton. The first two annual sessions were held in the above named city. Elder J. W. Loguen, who was afterward made bishop, organized the first African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in the State at Knoxville.

        "Rev. Alfred E. Anderson, A. B. Kline, H. Debose, Henry Rowley, J. A. Tyler, John Dogan, T. A. Hopkins, W. H. Hilliary, and others were among the founders. Bishop Clinton held four annual sessions. During his episcopal stay the work increased very rapidly. More than six thousand members were added in the period mentioned above. East Tennessee, Western North Carolina, or that part of it west of the Blue Ridge, Northern Georgia, and Southwestern Virginia were well organized.

        "When Bishop S. D. Talbot took charge of the district in 1870 the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church was the most influential Church in all the territory named above. There was no opposition to our onward march. During Bishop Talbot's administration hundreds were added to the Church. The bishop added, comparatively speaking, a new set of ministers to the Conference. Many of the original members had transferred, and some had joined other denominations that had been created.

        "Rev. James A. Zachary, Robert R. Russell, Thomas Warren, Joseph Pugh, J. P. Jay, Henry Tipton, John N. Brown, D. W. Wells, W. H. Ferguson, and James D. Rogers were among those who composed the Conference when Bishop S. T. Jones took charge in the fall of 1872. It is fair to say when he came to the district it was in its most flourishing state. He presided over the Conference for ten years. During this period numbers were added to the Church, and many of them drifted away into other denominations that offered better facilities for educating them than our beloved Zion at that time could afford. Several efforts were made during the ten years to establish a high school, but all failed. The Presbyterian and Methodist Episcopal Churches are principally

Page 337

made up in East Tennessee of members from our Church. This is not generally known outside of the territory referred to.

        "For fifteen years our Church had undisturbed reign in East Tennessee. Since that time we have only managed to hold our own. Bishop W. H. Hilliary held one annual session of the Conference, and added nothing materially to the Conference; if anything, he imbued a few of the ministers with an indifferent spirit about the growth of the Church. Bishop J. P. Thompson held one session. He was loved and respected by a majority of the ministers.

        "There was no advancement during these two years in the rural districts. The larger towns and cities held their own. When Bishop J. W. Hood, D.D., came to the district he found the work in a dormant state. This was not without cause. Rev. D. W. Wells, with over six hundred members, had rebelled and gone out of the connection at Knoxville. The Conference has never completely recovered from the shock. Several small charges followed in the wake of the Knoxville rebellion. Bishop Hood, however, was not discouraged. Feeling that he was equal to the situation, he went to work, and in less than six months had the entire district in a growing condition. He won the confidence of both clergy and laity. The waste places of Zion began to rebuild, and in two years' time the membership nearly doubled itself, new churches sprang up, and confidence was once more established on the part of the people.

        "Bishop T. H. Lomax, D.D., the present incumbent, has had charge of the work five years up to date. The Conference has had a steady growth. The General Fund has more than doubled itself. Good churches have been erected throughout the bounds of the Conference. The Greenville High School has been made a fixture. It has over one hundred regular pupils in daily attendance, with three teachers. R. E. Toomey, A.M., is principal. Rev. B. M. Gudger, now one of the most prominent ministers in the connection, was the originator of this school. The property is worth ten thousand dollars.

        "The Weekly Watchman, a Conference journal issued weekly by the Conference, is the most promising sheet in the connection aside from the Star of Zion. It was founded January 1, 1891, by Rev. W. H. Ferguson, A.M., at Athens, Tenn. The paper has had much to do in forming and molding public sentiment in favor of our Church. It was through its columns the donation that opened the Greenville High School was obtained. The office is worth eight hundred dollars. The Tennessee Conference represents one hundred thousand dollars' worth of Church and school property. The Conference was divided in 1892. Among the more active men we would mention B. M. Gudger, T. J. Manson, F. M. Jacobs, A. S. Monroe, J. W. Wright, J. H. Manley, D.D., W. H. Ferguson, A.M., J. H. Starling, M. M. Montgomery, George W. Christmas, E. J. Harris, B. J. Arnold,

Page 338

L. S. Baker, T. F. H. Blackman, F. R. White, H. Bayless, A. G. Kesler, H. B. Moss, A. L. Cowan, B. F. Tipton, J. T. Gaskill, D. B. Branner, F. A. Mouldin, William Walton, J. D. Rodgers, and M. M. Morris.

        "The Conference bids fair to be one among the strongest."

        The following is the roll of members of the Tennessee Conference:

  • Bishop, Right Rev. T. H. Lomax, D.D.
  • Presiding Elders, T. F. H. Blackman, F. R. White, M. M. Montgomery, H. Bayless, A. G. Kesler, T. J. Manson.
  • Elders, F. M. Jacobs, A.B., L. S. Baker, A. J. Jones, J. E. Kilgore, N. N. Norris, F. A. Mouldin, J. H. Starling, A. L. Cowan, James T. Gaskill, J. H. Manley, Jordan Alexander, J. J. Allen, George Christmas, E. J. Harris, H. B. Moss, E. J. Carter, A. S. Monroe, J. A. Bowerman, J. J. Kelly, M. M. Morris, George Brazleton, J. D. Rodgers, William Walton, B. F. Tipton, J. W. Wright, William P. Mouldin, Thomas Taylor, B. J. Arnold, W. F. Fenderson, D. J. Young, C. C. Snowden, T. H. Braxton, George W. Hampton.
  • Deacons, R. R. Mouldin, W. H. Frazier, D. D. Goode, P. Moore, H. S. Brown, B. H. Stanford, S. T. Davis, J. L. Matthews, J. M. Barnes, G. P. Barnes, Lewis Donaldson, B. B. Brown, J. L. McDonald, D. C. Calaway, D. S. Howard, G. W. James, B. F. Johnson, W. C. Vanhook, E. H. Henry, A. B. Morrow, A. S. Henry, D. B. Branner, Joseph Wilson, William Johnson, F. M. Jordan, Gilbert Smith, J. D. Gaither, J. P. Pitlet, E. D. Brooks, R. Gaither.
  • Preachers in Full Connection, J. M. Connell, G. W. Washington, C. H. Madison, J. M. Barnes, Claiborne Henry, Josie Mayes, George Shields.

Page 339

  • Preachers on Trial, B. F. Felder, H. Flouse, A. F. Wear, T. B. Hackett, J. F. Houston, William Anderson, C. B. Tate, R. D. Chandler, L. J. Lee, William Lyons, A. B. Rorex.

Presiding Elder of the Knoxville District of the East Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina Conference.

        The subject of this sketch was born in Roan County, ten miles east of Salisbury, in the State of North Carolina, December 28, 1842. When but a child he was sold, and thus he, as was the usage of the time, took the name of his second owner.

        In 1857 he became earnestly awakened as to the needs of the soul. He was convinced through the preaching of Rev. Mr. Barrett, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. In 1858 he connected himself with the Providence Methodist Episcopal Church, South. He began to learn the alphabet at the age of six or seven years. So desirous of an education was he that in some peculiar way he secured a tutor and attended night school. This was in opposition to the customs of the times, but like many others, he secured for himself a knowledge of the common branches of an English education. This composed the scholastic life of this successful minister, determined church builder, and successful Gospel preacher. His education amply prepared him for the work he expected to enter when a child and has so ably prosecuted since matured to manhood. He has shown himself a minister approved of God. He makes no pretensions to great learning, but is an ardent friend of higher education for the race, and especially for the Negro ministry. He evidenced

Page 340

this in later years by contributing with willingness to the support of Rev. J. C. Price while attending college, and since his graduation and presidency of Livingstone College he has endeavored to prove himself the friend that he was to that institution by a hearty response to every call made upon him for the advancement of its interests and permanent establishment. He was married to Miss Sarah Winslow, of Beaufort, N. C., in 1863. She was a helpmeet indeed. But God saw fit to remove her from the world--from labor to reward--in 1877. He was again married, in 1885, to Mrs. N. A. Spriggs, of New Berne, N. C., July 25.




Page 341

        The first knowledge Brother Kesler got of the Zion Society was at the time of its organization at Salisbury, N. C., in the fall of 1865, by Rev. William H. Pitts. Before this organization he had removed to Salisbury and was a prominent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, at that place. When Rev. Pitts began the advocacy of the division of the colored members from the whites and the organization of a colored society he was among the first to join him in this undertaking, and was a member of the organization of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church at this place in 1865. Long before this time he felt that God had called him to carry the word to the poor and teach all men by the preaching of the Gospel. But in the days of slavery he was not accorded the privilege of his call. He, however, looked forward to and earnestly prayed for the time to come when he could be free to exercise the functions of a Gospel minister, satisfying himself with what he was allowed to do at prayer meetings and class meetings by the permission of his superior, the white pastor. He felt that in the organization of the colored society his prayers had been answered, and he hailed the day with joy and thanksgiving to his God. Accordingly he joined with willing heart the new organization, and began laboring for and serving his Lord as if in a new atmosphere and in a clime more invigorating and pleasant. God signally blessed the new society, and it grew rapidly. In 1865 he made application for and received local preacher's license under Rev. B. Hampton Taylor, Presiding Elder of the Salisbury, or Western, District of the North Carolina Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion

Page 342

Church. In this capacity he served till 1867, and was responsible to the Quarterly Conference of the Salisbury Church. While serving in this capacity he organized the society at Trot's School House, now known as the Second Creek Church.

        In 1867 the Annual Conference met at Fayetteville, N. C. At this session, according to the rule then prevailing, he was recommended by his presiding elder as a suitable person to join the traveling connection; the Conference accepted the recommendation, and he was appointed to the pastorate of the Salisbury Station. He had been one of the leading factors in the building of the church at this place from the time of its organization to its completion. Little did he know that his appointment would prove a godsend to that church, for while serving his first year a storm felled the building to the ground. He, with the assistance of his faithful colaborers, began work at once, and by the time the Conference convened he had built a more magnificent structure than the former one, built by Rev. T. H. Henderson while he was a lay member of that church.

        At the next Conference, 1868, he was assigned to the Second Creek Circuit by Right Rev. John J. Moore, D.D. Here he remained two years, having been reappointed in 1869.

        At the Conference of 1870 he was assigned to the Cedar Grove Circuit, continuing for two terms. During the first year he organized the church at China Grove, or Sandy Ridge, as it is now called. At this place there had been failures till he came. He found the people discouraged of ever perfecting any organization, and decided

Page 343

to abandon the idea. He preached his first sermons to them in an old arbor out in the open field. These efforts brought about new zeal, and the people became newly aroused and in better spirits, deciding to follow as he led. Knowing no failure, he went forward, success crowning his efforts.

        He purchased at this place a site and built a church in 1870. In the same period he built a church at Hatter Shop, near the place where he found Christ. Here there had been many failures, but God evidenced his pleasure and seal of his calling by again giving him success where others had failed. In 1872 he was assigned to the Cedar Grove Circuit, three of the churches being in Iredell County and three in Rowan County. In that year the church at Sill's Creek was erected under his direction and superintendence.

        In 1868, in the interval of the Annual Conference, Bishop J. J. Clinton ordained him with three others to the order of deacon in the Church. All except himself have gone to their reward and have refreshed themselves after their labors. He pastored all the churches of his native county, laboring for God and Zion, and principally supporting himself by his trade, a tanner. The year 1872 closed his career in this section of the country, and well did he serve the Church and the cause of his Master.

        At the Conference which met at Fayetteville, N. C., in 1872, he was ordained an elder by Right Rev. James W. Hood, D.D., and assigned to the Granville Circuit in Granville County. Here he remained till 1877. He built Mount Moriah, Kesler's Temple, Harris's Chapel,

Page 344

and St. Mary's during the five years he remained on the work. He feels that the end of this pastorate was the most brilliant of all the successes he has had since he has been preaching. He found when he went on the work about two hundred and fifty members; but when he left the membership had increased to about nine hundred or one thousand, and two new societies had been organized. In 1868 and 1869 he was at Wadesboro; here he found an old open building and the people discouraged. He began in his usual way to excite an interest in the people, which resulted in the erection of a very creditable edifice. In 1880 and 1881 he was assigned to the pastorate at Kinston, N. C. He remained here two years, and erected a very creditable church in a more suitable section of the place, where, as he felt, better success would attend the labors of the society.

        In 1882 he was assigned to the Jonesboro Circuit. Here he remained one year, and completed the churches at Paradise and Norrington, and raised a good amount to assist in the purchase of the church at Raleigh.

        In 1884 he was assigned to the Shelby Circuit. During the first year he purchased a sufficient amount of material to erect a church building, but by reason of an appointment that operated against the connection the church was not built for Zion, his successor having revolted. He also collected material for the erection of the church at King's Mountain, a part of the circuit.

        The failure of the year succeeding his pastorate there caused him much pain, inasmuch as he had made such great sacrifices for the church at Shelby, and the work he had done went in the way it did because proper

Page 345

judgment had not been exercised in the appointment of his successor. This to some extent blasted his energies for a time, and he was somewhat discouraged in consequence. He felt that he ought to have been allowed to perfect the work he had so well begun.

        The next appointment was Mount Pleasant Circuit. Not much was accomplished beyond keeping the church together. The reason given for this inactivity was that he felt he had not been dealt with justly the year before, and what he had done had been so wantonly squandered.

        In 1885 he was assigned to the pastorate at Morganton. Grand temporal and especial spiritual success attended his labors here. Perhaps the greatest revival Morganton has ever had was conducted by him; so say the people. This ended his labors in the Carolina Conferences.

        In 1886 he was transferred to the Tennessee Conference by Right Rev. S. T. Jones, D.D., and was appointed Presiding Elder of the Asheville District, to finish the term of Rev. W. H. Ferguson, who had been transferred to the New York Conference. He was reluctant in submitting to the change, but at last consented at the earnest request of Bishop J. W. Hood, D.D., then bishop over the Tennessee Conference. In this capacity he served four years and a half. The district has been blessed with many new organizations and new church edifices. There were few churches on the work there suitable for winter services; but by the usual energy characterizing his labors he went to work, and now it is safe to say that there are as many churches on the work suitable for all-year services as on any district in the connection, all things taken into consideration.

Page 346

        Although he has labored incessantly through twenty-seven years, bridging many hardships and doing the work of an evangelist, he is yet quite as active as most of our young men. He has been five times elected a delegate to the General Conference of the Church, and always advocates advanced thought both in that body and upon the floor of the Annual Conferences. He is a devoted Christian and a man possessed of rare piety, universally beloved by those who know him and respected by all for his becoming demeanor in public and private life.



        Frederick M. Jacobs was born at Camden, Kershaw County, S. C. His parents were Benjamin and Hannah Jacobs. Frederick was placed in school at the early age of six years, remaining until he had completed the common English course. Thirsting for knowledge, he entered the Jackson College, preparatory to the South Carolina University, which he entered in 1873. He was rapidly advancing when the partisan politics of the State changed from Republican to Democratic, which faction, by legislation in 1877, disallowed to Negro students the privilege of attending, and closed these doors of learning against young men anxious to perfect themselves. This checked for a time the scholastic preparations of our subject, but his aspirations for a higher development could not be daunted even by a judicial enactment.

        In 1880, just when he was in a position to assist, both his mother and father died, which added still greater

Page 347

difficulties to the completion of his college course. Being constitutionally ambitious, he sedulously applied himself to private study, under efficient teachers in the Charleston Military College, devoting his spare time to his



trades of photographing, butchering, brick masonry, and barbering.

        While at Charleston he felt the need of a Saviour to pardon him of his sins, that he might become an object of God's love and mercy. Having been reared by very

Page 348

careful and pious persons, he felt that his moral training was almost sufficient unto salvation. But it was under the preaching of Revs. Segare, of the Baptist Church, and Laurence, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, that he saw himself the sinner he was; for three months he wrestled with Satan and sin, and by continual supplication to the Spirit for aid and for the blessing he triumphed and was adopted into the heavenly household. Being undecided as to what Church doctrine suited him best, he did not connect himself with any until he had fully settled in his mind this one very important step. He became acquainted with the clergy of each denomination in the city, and learned from them the leading doctrines and usages of their respective Churches. In 1882 he went to Charlotte, N. C., where he became acquainted with Rev. R. S. Rieves, D.D., and after gaining a knowledge of the progressive spirit and scriptural doctrines of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church he decided to join it, sought admission, and was received into the Church and baptized by that faithful servant of God, Dr. Rieves.

        He applied for license to preach, and the Quarterly Conference, presided over by that dignified and scholarly presiding elder, J. A. Tyler, granted him a license. The fall of that year he joined the Central North Carolina Conference, but feeling that he would like to be prepared fully for the work he decided to reenter college. In 1884 he left North Carolina and entered Howard University, at Washington, D. C., to review the college studies and take the regular three years' course in the seminary, from which he graduated with the degree of

Page 349

A.B. in 1888. In 1886 he joined the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference, presided over by Bishop J. W. Hood. At that Conference, for proficiency in the studies examined, Bishop Hood, to encourage him, gave him a copy of his sermons and ordered his name added to the list of candidates to be examined for deacons' orders. By request of Dr. Dyson he was appointed junior pastor of the Wesley Zion Church, Washington, D. C., of which Dr. Dyson was then pastor in charge.

        In 1887, while still pursuing his course at the university, he was appointed city missionary for Washington. Two months after the session of the Conference a vacancy occurred at Baltimore, Md., by the transfer of Rev. M. H. Ross to the Genesee Conference. The members became discouraged and scattered like sheep gone astray. Bishop T. H. Lomax appointed him to take charge and fill the vacancy. He went immediately about the work, discouraged, yet he felt assured that God would assist him. Zion had lost its standing; the Church had gone to naught; there was literally no congregation, but ere the Conference convened the membership had been increased from almost nothing to 226. He was zealous of his Zion's interest, and wanted to see her as strong in Baltimore as any other church. He searched the sections of the city for a suitable site to build the church he so well loved. There had been an organization in North Baltimore, but it had been abandoned. Finding the place, and one or two Zion members, he got together others to the number of thirteen, and reorganized the Clinton African Methodist Episcopal Zion Mission, placing it under the care of a local preacher, Rev. Johnson. Still

Page 350

desirous of spreading Zion in the city, he took another of his local preachers, Rev. Samuel I. Mills, found a suitable locality in the western part of the city, rented a house, and organized a Sabbath school of over forty children. After the first Sunday he authorized Rev. Mills to hold divine services, and called the people who attended to meet him on Wednesday night, upon which night he organized an entirely new society, composed of nine members, and named it the Mount Olive African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. The mother Church entered a protest against the new Church, but he was determined that Zion should occupy an unoccupied ground in that place. A revival started, and when Conference convened the new Mount Olive Church was received into the connection at the session held in Washington, D. C., 1888, with seventy-nine members. The mother Church in Baltimore sent a strong petition to the Conference for his return for another year, but he did not desire to return, thinking that he had sacrificed enough for the church at that point. He was ordained an elder at this Conference in 1888, in John Wesley Church, Washington, D. C., by Bishop Lomax, and was appointed to the pastorate of the Wesley Union Church, Harrisburg, Pa., to succeed Rev. G. W. Offley. There was a small debt remaining on the church for repairs, made under Rev. R. J. Daniels, which was cancelled during his first year's pastorate. This appointment was made six weeks before the graduating exercises at Howard University, but the faculty permitted him to go on to his charge and at the proper time return and take the examination, which he did, standing second in the class of '88.

Page 351

        At the Conference in York, Pa., in 1889, Bishop S. T. Jones reappointed him to the Wesley Union Church. A vacancy occurred in the West Harrisburg Church, the second African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, by the transfer of Rev. J. F. Waters to the New England Conference. Bishop Jones wrote to him to hold both the churches until he could secure a minister. After preaching at his own, the first church, often he would go out and preach a second sermon in the same night's service. With the assistance of his local preachers he held these two city churches, both having two services per day, for three months. During this year the church at Mechanicsburg, Pa., was about to be sold; hearing of it, he set about securing the money, none too soon to save it to the connection.

        At the Conference which met at Baltimore he was transferred to the East Tennessee Conference, filling out an unexpired term, until the Conference met at Chattanooga, Tenn., October, 1890. He was then assigned to Hopkins Chapel, Asheville, N. C. During the first year all outstanding debts were paid and a handsome five-room parsonage was built and paid for. God signally blessed the church with spiritual gifts and many accessions. He was returned in 1891, and after many attempts and many failures the West Asheville Mission Church was established. A lot was purchased and all but $33 paid on it. The most peculiar thing in the organization of the second church in the city proper was that Rev. Jacobs bought and paid for the new church lot, with the assistance of the officers and members of the first church, Hopkins Chapel. The second church

Page 352

shows promise of being the leading church of that place. At the Conference of 1891, which met at Maryville, Tenn., he was elected a delegate to the General Conference which convened at Pittsburg, Pa., 1892. Pursuant to this meeting he precipitated discussion which resulted in the organization of the mission department in the Church. He was a candidate for the position of General Secretary of Missions, but by the earnest request of friends consented to enter the race for General Steward, receiving the second best vote, Rev. J. W. Alstork receiving the greatest number. Bishop Hood appointed him one of a commission to meet a similar commission from the African Methodist Episcopal Church to formulate plans and basis of organic union between the two bodies, and to decide upon a name for the new united church. In the election of the members of the General Board of Education he was chosen as one to represent the Fifth Episcopal District. In 1892, at the Conference which met in Bristol, Tenn., he was assigned to Logan Temple, Knoxville, Tenn. Here he met stubborn conditions he had not expected. The church was under mortgage to secure a loan to cancel the debt so long standing. The church and public had been informed that Logan Temple was free from debt; when the truth was known it fell like a thunderbolt upon the people. There was a very short time left in which to raise the money. The people were discouraged, and it required much care that the forces and friends of former pastors might render assistance. Opposed by many, yet encouraged by a few, he set about to raise the necessary money to liquidate the debt upon the church and save it to Zion.

Page 353

It seemed that he would fail, but single-handed and alone he gave a "World's Fair" entertainment, from which he cleared a sufficient amount to save the church and stay any proceedings. Before the Conference year ended the debt had been paid off, and the church, Logan Temple, one of the most imposing structures and important charges in the connection, was cleared of all embarrassment, mortgages, deeds of trust, and notes.

        Brother Jacobs has for his lifetime companion the daughter of Bishop Lomax, a most worthy helpmeet.


        This Conference was organized by Bishop J. J. Clinton in 1866. There were about twenty-five preachers present at the organization. We write from memory. Among the number were the following: Rev. J. B. Trusty, from the Philadelphia Conference; Revs. Noble L. Johns and James Howell, from the New York Conference; Rev. John Williams, A. M. Ferribee, Jeffrey Overton, and J. W. Hood, from the North Carolina Conference; also the following became members at this session, namely: Charles Heath, James Crocker, J. McH. Farley, Griffin Irby, Chapel Irby, Wyatt Walker, Elliston Overton, W. C. Butler, Samuel Sunderlin, and William Howard Day. Brother Day was ordained an elder at this session. If he had taken work in that Conference at that time, and had bent his best effort to the work of building up that Conference, Zion might easily have been as strong in Virginia as she is in North Carolina. He was very much better equipped than any other man we had in the South at that time.

Page 354

        Dr. Day has sometimes been spoken of in connection with the bishopric. If he had captured Virginia for Zion it would have been impossible to have kept him out of the bishopric. His extraordinary ability, and the forces of his own making, would have pushed his claims, which would have been irresistible. We have a notion that there comes to every man a special opportunity in this life; some even have more than one, but it is never entirely safe to neglect the first opportunity.

        The Virginia Conference was laid off to embrace all that portion of Virginia which lies south of the James River, except what is included in the Tennessee Conference, and also fourteen counties in the northeast part of North Carolina. Eight of the counties in North Carolina and eight in Virginia have been pretty well occupied. There are now three presiding elders' districts, all well arranged and presided over by good, efficient men.

        This has led all the other Southern Conferences in raising the General Fund in proportion to membership, and is in every respect among the very best Conferences, both as to ministers and membership. The three presiding elders were all raised up in this Conference. The moral character of the men is such that it has not been necessary for several years to appoint a committee on complaints. The present roll is as follows:

  • Presiding Bishop, J. W. Hood, D. D.
  • Presiding Elders, Rev. R. A. Fisher, C. W. Winfield, T. R. V. Harrison.
  • Conference Steward, Rev. A. L. Newby.
  • Elders, Charles Heath, Samuel Story, Nathaniel Davis, J. C. Coleman, J. H. Wilson, M. N. Levey, H. C.

Page 355

    Phillips, C. W. Jones, Joseph Woodhouse, S. M. G. Copeland, S. P. Cook, W. H. Snowden, E. Overton, H. H. Whitbee, J. L. Overton, D. W. Bowe, A. Pindle, J. R. Davis, O. G. Jenkins, J. L. Griffin, J. T. Lowery, H. B. Jones, M. Gordon, J. McH. Farley, R. H. Dick, W. C. Butler, H. B. Pettigrew, W. L. Clayton, C. B. Hogans, Mack Lynear, S. A. Chambers, J. S. Nichols, N. C. Collins.
  • Deacons, I. Billips, S. A. Brown, J. C. Edney, W. Tyler, E. J. Archer, A. W. Lowther, D. Thompson, W. A. Sawyer, William Wooton, J. W. Bowe, C. W. Griffin, B. F. Harrison, R. E. Cousins.
  • Preachers, G. W. Brown, E. S. Williams.
  • Local Ministers, Jacob Fisher, J. J. Franklin, R. T. Smith, B. Stitt, Griffin Irby, W. B. Long, W. M. Fagan, C. Irby.

        Among the men who have passed away Rev. A. Paxton stood the highest in the estimation of his brethren. He was a very strong and at the same time a very meek man. There were none truer to his Church than he. He was the first preacher licensed to preach in that part of the State. He was licensed less than two months after the war, at the time that the Church in Edenton was received into the connection. His ministerial labors, which covered a period of about twenty years, were always successful. He was among the class of preachers who could stay four years in a place to the benefit of the Church. He was an upright man himself, but had great compassion for weaker brethren. Revs. James A. Jones and J. P. Hamer, of whom we have spoken elsewhere, both died while laboring in this Conference. Rev. G. W. Conner did

Page 356

good work for a short season, but died at Petersburg before the close of his first year. Rev. Watkins Jones was also among the successful builders in this Conference.

Missionary Secretary.

        Rev. J. H. Manley, D.D., is one of the few young men of the race who, by virtue of his own self-reliance, perseverance, and faith in God has pushed himself to the front, and is to-day one of the leading divines of his connection, as well as the Sankey of the race. He is a native of Elkton, a little city in Maryland, and is the only Doctor of Divinity that city ever produced. Four years after he entered the schools of his home, so rapid was his progress in learning that he was offered the teacher's chair, which he filled with great satisfaction. He was for a number of years President of the Young Men's Christian Association of Elkton.

        Dr. Manley is a good, practical Gospel preacher and an excellent pastor, and is successful in winning his people regardless of creed. He was the Presiding Elder of the Virginia Conference for two years, and was afterward pastor of the Zion Church in Petersburg, Va. He has been twice elected delegate to the General Conference of his Church, and is now pastor of Logan Temple African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Knoxville, Tenn.

        George W. Cruikshank, editor of the Cecil Democrat, of Elkton, Md., who knew him from a boy, after hearing Rev. Manley lecture, said: "There is neither money, nor honor, nor politics in our well-considered declaration

Page 357




Page 358

that what Rev. James H. Manley said last Monday evening amazed while it pleased us. We felt inclined to rub our eyes and thrice wonder if it could be that that little urchin who used to take orders for rare beefsteak and shyly laugh at our chagrin when it came cooked to dryness was the developed pulpit orator who stood before us. His manner of speaking was up to the most cultured rules of modern eloquence."



        W. H. Newby was born at Belvidere, N. C., in the year 1852. He was reared by Quakers and sent to school, where he acquired the rudiments of an education, but still is practically a self-made man. At an early age he took charge of a free school in Pasquotank County, N. C., and taught for several years. He married at twenty, and has a family of three daughters. He entered the ministry in 1880 at Bay Branch, N. C., under Bishop J. W. Hood, presiding bishop of the Virginia Annual Conference. The first work he did was at Nixonton, N. C., where he built a very nice church costing $1,200. The largest portion of this money was donated by white friends on Staten Island, N. Y. He made a special friend on this island in the person of Lawyer A. De Groot, who is still a friend of the cause he represents.

        The second church he built was at Franklin, Va., where he started with only three members, and in less than six months he had nearly completed a building costing one thousand dollars. At the close of two years many had been added to the church and the debt paid

Page 359

off excepting about three hundred dollars. He was next sent to Norfolk, Va., where his most successful work was done. From there he went to Union Wesley African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Twenty-third Street,



Washington, D. C. Here he raised more money in 1893 than had been raised in one year since the pastorate of Elder Dyson. He is still meeting with success.


        This Conference was organized by Bishop J. J. Clinton (accompanied by Revs. W. J. Moore, F. B. Moore, and Thomas Henderson, from the North Carolina Conference), March 24, 1867.

        Horace Clinton and Titus Hogans walked through the

Page 360

country from Lancaster County, S. C., to New Berne, N. C., to meet the North Carolina Conference in 1866. They were received and ordained deacons, and sent back as missionaries. It was then agreed to set off the South Carolina Conference. Of the original members only three are now living on this side of the Jordan of death, as follows: Bishop I. C. Clinton, Elders D. I. Walker and Barney Burton.

        This Conference has had rapid growth. There are about one hundred churches, all of which have been built during the last twenty years, except the one at Lancaster, in which the Conference was organized. The men in this Conference have the laudable ambition to keep this Conference abreast with the foremost in the connection. Certainly no Conference has been more loyal to our connectional institutions. The Book Concern, the Star of Zion, the College, and the Sabbath School department, have all received great encouragement from the South Carolina Conference. This is the more praiseworthy when we consider that the Lancaster High School, which is only second to Livingstone College itself, is located in this Conference. This institution is doing a most commendable work. Men raised up in the South Carolina Conference are filling important pulpits in the New England, Allegheny, and the Kentucky Conferences. This Conference has been recently divided and the Palmetto Conference set off. Below we give the roll of members:

  • Bishop, Right Rev. I. C. Clinton, D.D.
  • Conference Officers, Rev. F. Killingsworth, Conference Steward; Rev. T. P. R. Moore, Secretary and Compiler; Rev. D. C. Baum, Assistant and Recording Secretary;

Page 361

    Rev. W. M. Robinson, Statistical Secretary; Rev. Y. J. P. Cohen, Corresponding Editor to Star of Zion; Professor W. A. Walker, A. B., Editor South Carolina Herald; Rev. G. W. McDowell, Reporter to Rock Hill Herald; Rev. M. Ingram, Reporter to Chester Reporter; Rev. R. I. Apostle, Reporter to the State; Professor W. R. Douglas, A.B., Reporter to the Ledger; Rev. J. H. Jackson, Timist; Rev. William Clark, Post Office Messenger; Revs. N. A. Rice and A. C. Cureton, Marshals; Mrs. Bishop I. C. Clinton, Vice President of Women's Home and Foreign Missionary Society.
  • Presiding Elders, Revs. D. I. Walker, N. A. Crockett, T. P. R. Moore.
  • Elders, Revs. A. M. Moore, M. Ingram, J. H. Jackson, T. J. Benson, S. L. Jones, C. C. Alexander, W. M. Robinson, I. J. Jackson, P. R. Nichols, F. R. McKoy, S. W. Burton, R. W. Wilson, S. J. Sterling, A. R. Russel, F. Killingsworth, J. A. Jackson, Y. J. P. Cohen, S. P. Gibson, N. A. Rice, R. A. McCreary, R. T. Terry, L. G. Gregory, J. M. Erwin, A. McLeese.
  • Deacons, Revs. F. Adams, C. Dunlap, R. W. Miller, J. B. Ellis, Z. Belton, T. Miller, T. P. Dunlap, William Clark, J. R. Blake, T. Cowsar, A. C. Cureton, Joseph Stephens, B. Stroud, R. Nelson, William Hagans, A. W. Wilson, York Harris, J. J. Stradford, H. K. Edwards, J. C. Choen, G. W. McDowell, R. I. Apostle.
  • Superannuated Ministers, Revs. M. Jones, William Hagans, R. Stroud.
  • Traveling Preachers, Revs. J. L. Rainey, W. M. Boulware, A. J. Jackson.
  • Preachers on Trial: Third year, York Harris, J. R.

Page 362

    Blake, C. C. Crawford, J. C. Choen. Second year, Revs. William Jackson, A. W. Wilson, J. E. Robinson, D. C. Baum, L. G: Gregory, M. J. Edwards, C. H. Hood, J. J. Stradford, H. K. Edwards. First year, William Thompson, J. J. Johnson, J. A. Beckham, R. B. Smith, J. J. Parks.


        * Brother Crockett has been one of our most successful men. This sketch, written by himself, fails to do him justice.

        N. A. Crockett was born two miles west of Lancaster Village, Lancaster County, S. C., November 25, 1842. He joined the Methodist Episcopal Church the first Sunday in March, 1859, under Rev. B. Stevens, pastor, at the age of sixteen years; professed religion in 1862. Married at the age of twenty-three. He had no educational advantages excepting the Blue-back Speller. After the "surrender" he was enabled to acquire a somewhat slight knowledge of Davies's Arithmetic, grammar, and geography, and Swinton's Word Analysis. He received a local preacher's license from Rev. I. C. Clinton, then Presiding Elder of the Lancaster District, at Old Ebenezer, Kershaw County, S. C., in August, 1868. In 1869, serving as a local preacher, he built Mount Zion's first church, which stands now--Mount Nebo. In 1871 he served at North Corner, Lancaster County, as a "supply" local preacher; built there Corner Stone Church. Joined the Annual Conference 1872, in Lancaster Village, S. C., and was ordained deacon. Sent as "supply" to Steel Hill Mission by Rev. R. Wilson, presiding elder, in 1872; built Steel Hill Church the first

Page 363

year, and bought ground and built Camp Arbor in 1874, building the same year White Oak Church.

        After remaining on the above-named circuits from 1872 to 1875, was sent by Bishop Hood to Mount Hope, on Camphor Creek, and built Mount Carmel and Mount Moriah churches. In 1878-79 served at Pineville Circuit.



In 1881 served Clinton Chapel, Yorkville, and White Hill, York County, painting and ceiling Clinton Chapel, and building the church parsonage there. In 1886-88 preached at Mount Zion Church, Chester Station, S. C., re-covering the church and erecting belltower. In 1888-89 preached at St. John's Church, Fairfield County, building within fifty feet, more or less, of the old church, a structure that rivals any "country"
Page 364

church in the South Carolina Conference. In 1889 he was elected presiding elder in the South Carolina Conference, in session at Chester, S. C., Bishop S. T. Jones, presiding; served three years on the Chester District, two years on the York District, and now (1894) serving his third year as Presiding Elder of the York District. Built his last church up to this time at Blacksburg, York County, S. C. (1893).

        In all of his church building he took in hand the entire business relations, etc., connected therewith, had the immediate oversight of all the work, and performed with his own hands principally all the manual labor, such as carpentry, masonry, etc.


        Bishop Clinton was never happier over the organization of a Conference than at the formation of Georgia Conference. He had taken into the connection that fine Trinity Church in Augusta, Ga., said at that time to be one of the finest colored churches in the South. In this church he had held the Conference, one of the best Conferences, he thought, that he had ever held, and the outlook for Georgia was most promising. He thought Edwin West, who was in charge of Trinity, one of the grandest men he ever met. Notwithstanding all of this fine promise, this was one of Bishop Clinton's very few failures. His man "Friday" was not with him. He had two men in this Southern work who sustained that relation, but unfortunately neither of them was with him on this occasion. The greatest general needs aids in all great undertakings. But the bishop's aids were so

Page 365

situated that they could not be with him, and he was obliged to go alone. He thought he had made sure work, but he was mistaken; the man upon whom he had leaned failed him. Edwin West "went back on him." Soon after the close of the Conference, Trinity Church, with Edwin West, its pastor, withdrew from the connection, and our hopes for Georgia were lost. Augusta was one of the three important points in Georgia at that time. The Methodist Episcopal Church held Atlanta, the African Methodist Episcopal held Savannah, but if we could have held Augusta we should have been in as good fix as any of them; but we failed to hold Augusta, and so lost Georgia. Our work there ever since that time has been up hill. All things considered, however, the few who were faithful to Zion's cause after the break have struggled on like heroes, and have maintained the organization, and Zion still lives in Georgia.

        Not only this, but the Georgia Conference has become a mother. The South Georgia has been set off by the Georgia Conference, of which we shall speak in its turn.


        This Conference was organized in State Street Church, Mobile, Ala., April 3, 1867, Bishop J. J. Clinton, D.D., presiding, and Rev. W. Strong, secretary. It has the largest number of ministers of any in the connection.

        The work in Alabama is next to that in North Carolina in importance. In one respect we had from the beginning an advantage in Alabama which we had not in North Carolina. In the latter State Bethel got the lead on us, both at the capital and at the metropolis. In

Page 366

Alabama we got both capital and metropolis. This gives Zion an influence in that State which our efficient young men are beginning to use to great advantage. There is no Conference in which the prospect is brighter or the possibilities greater. Being further south, and more affected by the blighting influence of slavery, the men who began the work there were not so well equipped as those who were nearer to the northern border; but their sons are beginning to exhibit the effects of their better opportunities.

        There were private schools for colored children in New Berne, Wilmington, Fayetteville, and some other points in North Carolina long after they ceased to be tolerated in any other part of the South, and the effect thereof is seen upon North Carolinians wherever dispersed. In Alabama and other more southern States the flame of intelligence in the mind of the slave was more effectually quenched; hence when emancipation came there were fewer in that section who had the intellectual capacity for the work of the ministry. The men were there in greater numbers than anywhere else in the land. They had the piety and zeal, but the opportunity for culture had been wholly denied them. The wonder is that they have done so well.

        Among the men who have distinguished themselves in the building up of that work we may mention Rev. W. G. Strong, who was the first missionary sent to that field. He was especially selected by Bishop Clinton for that field, and Bishop Clinton seldom made a mistake in the selection of his man. A bishop cannot always get the man he wants, and has to take a second, sometimes a third choice.

Page 367

        In Strong, Bishop Clinton was fortunate in getting the man he wanted for that particular work. He was exceedingly well equipped--in fact, the best equipped of any man he had in the South at that time. He had a good education and was a splendid preacher. He was affable, genial, and pleasing in his manners. No one could know him and not love him. Among the most distinguished of the men whom Bishop Clinton found on the spot and ordained for the work in Alabama we must mention Revs. Allen Hannon, Solomon Derry, Lewis Oliver, M. G. Thomas, Lander Fannin, and Miles Page, who still survive. E. D. Taylor, a man of great energy, S. W. Jones, who was well equipped for work, Samuel Wilson, a man of an excellent Christian spirit, and J. M. Butler, the great organizer, have all passed away.

        Father Hannon, though aged, is still full of zeal, and attended the last General Conference, as he has every one since 1872.

        H. Shuford came in a little later, but ranks among the older men of the Conference. Among the rising young men we may mention Revs. J. W. Alstork, J. W. Cooper, T. A. Weathington, Joseph Gomez, and A. J. Rodgers. We copy the following from the Minutes of 1892:


        This is the twenty-fourth session of the Alabama Annual Conference, presided over respectively by Right Rev. J. P. Thompson, M.D., 1880 to 1882; Right Rev. J. W. Hood, D.D., 1883 to 1885; Right Rev. T. H. Lomax, D.D., 1886 to 1888; reappointed from General Conference, New Berne, N. C., four years, reappointed in General Conference at Pittsburg, Pa., 1892 to 1896. The Alabama Conference has five Presiding Elder Districts. Presiding Elders: Revs. J. W. Alstork, D.D., H. P. Shuford, R. R. Morris, D.D., M. G. Thomas, S. Derry.

Page 368

        PROMINENT STATIONS.--Clinton Chapel, Montgomery, built by Rev. Allen Hannon, 1873; its present pastor, Rev. A. J. Rodgers. Mount Zion, Montgomery; beautiful structure, built by Rev. T. A. Weathington, 1889; cost $3,000; built, dedicated, March 4 to August, first Sunday; the entire debt paid within nine months; Rev. J. W. Cooper is its present pastor. Zion Star, Hilliard Chapel, Ebenezer and Bibb Town Mission, all in the city. Our church in Tuskegee, Ala., is a handsome building, erected by Rev. P. J. McIntosh, and completed and dedicated by Rev. A. J. Rodgers; pastor, Rev. J. T. McMillan. At Talladega, Ala., we have a fine church in course of erection by Rev. Joseph Gomez. Anniston Church is destined to be one of our best. Greenville Station is a spacious and beautiful church; it has been well pastored; it is a charge much to be desired. Wetumpka Church was built by Rev. A. J. Rodgers, and bears his name; Rev. R. Taylor, pastor. Hayneville Station can hardly be surpassed; it is grand in appearance; Rev. J. H. Hale is pastor. Thompson Chapel, Opelika, is a good station, having been pastored by some of our ablest ministers; built by Rev. J. W. Cooper, 1880. Ebenezer Church, in West Montgomery, was built by Rev. H. Salley, 1883. Stone Chapel ranks among the finest of our country churches, attracting the attention of all passers-by; built by Rev. A. S. Watkins, 1883.

        There are ninety-six appointments in the Conference. The Conference has been held since 1879 in the following cities and towns: 1880, Tuskegee; 1881, Greenville; 1882, Montgomery; 1883, Talladega; 1884, Montgomery; 1885, Opelika; 1886, Union Springs; 1887, Montgomery; 1888, Greenville; 1889, Montgomery; 1890, Opelika; 1891, Talladega; 1892, Montgomery; 1893, to meet at Anniston.

        General officers connected with the Conference (3): Rev. J. W. Alstork, D.D., General Steward; Rev. R. R. Morris, General Superintendent Sunday School Department; Rev. T. A. Weathington, Financial Secretary Sunday School Department.

        We give below a list of the officers and members of the Alabama Annual Conference, Twenty-fourth session, 1891 and 1892:

  • Presiding Bishop, Right Rev. T. H. Lomax, D.D.
  • Secretary, Joseph Gomez.
  • Assistant Secretary and Compiler, T. A. Weathington.
  • Statistician, J. J. Taylor.
  • Post Office Messenger, A. L. Trimble.

Page 369

  • Marshals, M. Mahorn, H. Talley.
  • Conference Steward, J. W. Cooper.
  • Presiding Elders, J. W. Alstork, R. R. Morris, D.D., H. P. Shuford, M. G. Thomas, S. Derry.
  • Traveling Elders, T. A. Weathington, Dr. R. R. Morris, A. S. Watkins, Joseph Gomez, A. J. Rodgers, T. L. Holt, William Curry, Alexander Stokes, Jeremiah R. Gill, Allen Hannon, William Worthy, L. S. Peterson, A. Gregory, William Eastley, William Brown, L. A. Oliver, Matthew Jackson, T. R. Rodgers, C. L. W. Hamilton, Samuel Allen, George W. Drake, L. Fannin, C. C. Allison, J. H. Hale, Robert Taylor, C. McClain, Benjamin Freeman, H. Talley, William Finley, Thomas Crenshaw, M. Rankins, C. Jerman, Silas Lipscomb, C. Hubbert, A. L. Green, A. L. Trimble, S. J. Odom (suspended), M. Mahorn, Tobias Matthew, J. Wingfield, T. L. Jackson, J. R. Rustin, L. Lewis, William Jacobs, C. T. Green, R. L. Boyd, D. C. Calhoun, McDuffey Sharp, W. S. Medows, C. C. Crawford, J. J. Taylor, L. D. Workman, P. S. Samuels.
  • Supernumerary Deacons, T. M. Moore, W. H. Harmon, G. M. Barry, M. D. Alexander, Silas Smith, Regdon Harris, H. C. White, C. L. Johnson, F. P. Martin, R. Kemp, J. T. Scales, Alford Mobley, A. White, Moses Pitts.
  • Superannuated Deacon, Abram McGee.
  • Supernumerary Elders, Revs. Robert Clopton, Samuel Hill, A. Davis (blind), Nelson McGee, J. Hensler, Cornelius Doan, Lewis Jackson, W. Simpson, H. Heard, G. Sexton, S. Williams, Nelson Bibb, H. C. Sampy.
  • Superannuated Elders, Revs. Henry Lawhorn, R. Wilcox.
  • Traveling Deacons, Revs. J. C. Harris, J. G. Gulley,

Page 370

    Albert Mahoney, S. Gains, N. R. Richmond, A. Waters, N. H. Brown, M. Rollins, F. L. Bell, C. F. Brown, J. W. Armstrong, S. Green, Wilson Everet, G. W. Davidson, A. Chapel, E. Sneed, C. L. Alexander, Noah Bowen, J. Goode, S. McClain, D. Davis, J. Barnett, G. G. Green, J. W. Booker, P. W. Laremore, J. H. Hubbard, David Wright, Robert Jacobs, R. C. Shepard, Thomas Barnett, T. H. Mitchell, S. Carter, Thomas Jones, D. D. Green, J. C. Hill, J. H. Lee, James Chamblis, C. W. Motley, G. W. Lee, D. Hubbard, J. W. Smith.
  • Preachers in Full Connection, Revs. A. Bowen, B. Dorsey, Dennis Gulley, Henry Tillis, William Duncan, Prince Johnson, Sidney Saunders, Robert Jacobs, J. Starkley, William Scott.
  • Preachers on Fourth Year, Revs. W. A. Lewis, William Dickinson, M. D. Davidson, James Ardis, N. G. George, W. N. Lewis, C. F. Brown, W. B. J. Lee, B. H. Bowles.
  • Preachers on Second Year, Revs. J. B. McLain, A. W. Williams, O. P. O'Neil, C. E. Baker, J. T. McMillen, D. C. Davenport, R. B. Jones, W. L. Jones, Aaron Kitchen, Peter Earley, William Talbott, Frank Ward, J. W. Cooper.
  • Preachers on First Year, Revs. Nathan Durits, F. H. Hubbert, A. Z. Brown, S. P. Wood, William Meadows, Henry Johnson, William Perry, W. J. Gresham, I. S. Smith, Henry McGee, James Jones, James Hawkins, E. M. Brooks, L. A. Bell.


        Solomon Derry was born in North Carolina of slave parents. He cannot tell his age nor the county where

Page 371

he was born; he was brought to Alabama when but a babe in his mother's arms, and has never seen his father. His mother's name was Margaret Huggins. When about seven years of age his mother had him taught the alphabet while she would watch; for it was almost death to any person found teaching a Negro to read and write, and equally as dangerous to the Negro who tried to learn.




        However, his instructor succeeded in carrying his student as far as "she fed the old hen," etc. Here Solomon was left to continue his studies or not, as he saw fit. His good and thoughtful mother had him study alone, then spell and read to her each night. But soon he was hired out and his progress was somewhat retarded; having a strong desire to improve, however, he continued his

Page 372

studies, and soon learned to read and write. He gives his faithful mother all the credit for his early success in life. He gave his heart to God when but a boy and joined the grand old Methodist Church; he has spent about forty-two years in the service of God. He was for a long time superintendent of the Sunday school of the Old Ship, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Montgomery, Ala., and was also a member of this church. He was licensed to exhort in 1861 by Rev. F. G. Ferguson, presiding elder, and licensed to preach June, 1865, by Bishop J. J. Clinton. On November 19, 1865, he joined the Louisiana Annual Conference and was ordained deacon by Bishop J. J. Clinton. He was one of the first colored teachers of the day school in Montgomery, Ala., taught in the Old Ship Church.

        In 1867 he was ordained elder by Bishop J. J. Clinton, and appointed to Union Springs, Ala., where he planted Zion and organized the following churches: Derry's Chapel, at Union Springs, Ala.; St. Paul, at Magnolia; Lee's Chapel, at Aberfoil; Zion Church, at Thompson's; Mallard's Chapel, at Pea River; Bascom's Cornerstone, at Bascom's Mill; Moore's Chapel, at Raimer's; Ross Chapel, at Hurtsboro; Henderson's Chapel, and Little Zion, at Orion; Anderson's Chapel, at Euchee; Zion Church, at Perote; Zion Church, at Columbus, Ga. He taught school in Derry's Chapel for a considerable time with one hundred and fifty pupils. At this place he went through untold suffering for God and Zion. The Kukluxes were ranging that section, whipping, shooting, hanging, and burning churches and schoolhouses. He was visited by them and ordered to leave the place, but

Page 373

he refused to obey men, choosing rather to obey God by holding his ground; remained six years, and was the means of sending out seventy-five local and traveling preachers and brought in six hundred and twenty-five members--a total of seven hundred.

        In 1873 Brother Derry was appointed to Tuskegee, Ala. He held this charge four years, repaired the church at a cost of $240, built a schoolhouse out of his own pocket and gave it to the church. The normal school at Tuskegee began in that schoolhouse.

        He taught school at this place for four years, with an enrollment of two hundred and fifty scholars. He also established camp meetings, made arrangements with Mr. Ogletree for ten acres of ground, and built a shed 40 x 75 feet on the same for camp meeting purposes. Thousands of people still gather there annually in camp meeting, and scores of souls have been happily converted on that ground. He planted Zion at Camp Hill and Opelika, Ala., and rebuilt the church at Tallassee.

        He was appointed to Butler's Chapel, Greenville, Ala., by Bishop J. P. Thompson; here he greatly revived the church, taking in one hundred and seventy-five souls the first year; he was also preparing to build a new church, but, being hindered, he launched out into the country and built two churches, one at Bragg's Hill and one at Snow Hill. Those that opposed him at Greenville did all in their power to keep him from succeeding, but in spite of them he filled the place with music, the result of which is seen to this day.

        The next year Bishop Thompson gave him a mission field, and at the end of the year he reported two churches

Page 374

that he had built. The following year he was left without an appointment; he returned to Union Springs and taught school; from there he went to Midway, Ala., and taught a government school, then returned to Union Springs. Bishop Hood came to the district as presiding bishop, and found Rev. Derry teaching school in Derry's Chapel (African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church). The bishop told him to meet the Conference at Talladega, Ala., which he did, and was appointed pastor in charge at Talladega (the Athens of the South, educationally speaking), Wesley's Chapel, and Anniston. He found the church at Talladega without a deed, but he secured one and had it properly recorded. He was next appointed presiding elder over the Evergreen District of the East Alabama Conference, to succeed Rev. W. G. Strong, presiding elder, who was transferred to the Florida Conference. He is one of the best organizers in the connection. He is a champion Sunday school worker and sound in the faith of the Methodist Church. He is a disciplinarian. Five times he has been a member of the General Conference: at Charlotte, N. C., 1872; Louisville, Ky., 1876; New York, 1884; New Berne, N. C., 1888; Pittsburg, Pa., 1892. He assisted in organizing the following Conferences: Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. He claims to have built twenty churches, and to have baptized two thousand adults, and five hundred children.

General Steward.

        John Wesley Alstork was born in Talladega, Ala., September 1, 1852. He attended school part of the year

Page 375

1867. In 1868 he entered the Longwood Institute. Here he made such rapid advancement that he was soon given the position of assistant teacher. In 1871 he entered Talladega College. He joined the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in 1873. He married a most amiable and intelligent young lady, with whom he has



lived happily through the years since past. He was licensed to preach in 1878, and joined the Alabama Conference in 1879; was ordained a deacon in 1882 and elder in 1884. He built a church in North Alabama during his first year.

        In 1882 he was appointed to the Opelika Station.

Page 376

During the two years he held this charge he added one hundred and thirty-seven to the membership, quite one hundred per cent increase. In 1884 he was appointed to Clinton Chapel, Montgomery, known as the Old Ship. It was thought by many to be a mistake on the part of the bishop to ordain "that boy" and put him in charge of the biggest church in the Conference. Some had the impression that none but a distinguished elder, transferred from some other Conference, could follow Rev. C. C. Pettey in that charge. But the bishop thought he knew his man, and he wanted to teach that church that it could be supplied from the Alabama Conference. Moreover, the bishop had discovered that Alstork had the courage to teach the people that they were as much obliged to pay their connectional dues as they were to pay their local, and he determined to have a better showing from that church. It is, to a very large extent, the big elders who come short in connectional collections. They are so anxious to have the name of getting big salaries for themselves that they wink at the shortcomings of the church on connectional claims. The bishop believed, from what he had seen of Alstork, that he would look out for the connectional interests, and he was not disappointed. Alstork remained four years in the charge, and the amount of the general fund increased each year. His local work was also equal to that of any of his predecessors. He raised fourteen thousand dollars in the four years without resorting to entertainments. He paid off a heavy debt, and bought a parsonage worth three thousand dollars. He was made Conference Steward in 1883, and continued to hold that position until he was elected

Page 377

General Steward. He was elected presiding elder in 1889, and still holds that position. He has held many prominent positions in literary and social institutions. He was delegate to the General Conference in 1884, 1888, and 1892.

        A short time before the last General Conference the writer intimated that Alstork stood fair for the bishopric. Some thought it a very wild intimation, but it was discovered before the election came on that he developed amazing strength. In fact, at one time during the General Conference it was doubtful whether it would be Clinton and Walters, Clinton and Alstork, or Walters and Alstork. A combination between the Clinton and Walters men, and the agreement that Clinton's name should head the ticket, secured their election. Even then Alstork was a close third man in the race, closer to Walters than Walters was to Clinton. No man in the connection has risen faster than Alstork, and his race has been safe and sure as well as rapid.


        Titus A. Weathington was born November 25, 1854, at Tallahassee, Fla., and is the twenty-second child and the twelfth son of Rev. George and Matilda Weathington, slaves of Bryant Crooms. Was converted February 22, 1876. Received in church February 28, 1876, Clinton Chapel (Old Ship), Rev. A. Hannon, pastor. Granted local preacher's license June 10, 1877. Joined the Alabama Conference December 12, at Selma, Ala. First appointment, Hilliard Chapel, Montgomery, Ala. Second appointment, Monroe, Walton County, Ga. Third appointment,

Page 378

Barkeville, Ala.; here his usefulness began as a minister of the Gospel. In the Conference of 1879 he was ordained deacon at Big Zion Church, Mobile, Ala., by Bishop J. P. Thompson, M.D., D.D., and elder by the same in 1882 at Clinton Chapel, Montgomery, Ala.



Fourth appointment, Hayneville Circuit, Hayneville, Ala. Fifth appointment, Evergreen Station; two years under Bishop Thompson and two years under Bishop J. W. Hood. Sixth appointment, Mount Zion Station, under Bishop T. H. Lomax, D.D., five years, 1886-91; here a magnificent church and parsonage were built to the glory of God, the honor of Zion, and the credit of
Page 379

the race, at a cost of $4,000, dedicated and paid for within nine months. Seventh appointment, Zion Star, Montgomery, Ala.; he found this church $506.29 in debt; before the sitting of the Conference of 1893 this debt was liquidated to $20. He served the East Alabama Conference consecutively for thirteen years as its recording secretary. He was elected in 1888 financial secretary of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Sunday School Department. Reelected 1892. Was delegate to the second Ecumenical Conference, held in 1891 at Washington, D. C. He was a candidate in 1888 at New Berne, N. C., for general secretaryship, and received fifty-four votes against Rev. William Howard Day, D.D. Has been a member of three General Conferences, in two of which he served as teller in the election of bishops and general officers. In the East Alabama Conference at Anniston, 1893, he was unanimously elected presiding elder, and appointed to the Montgomery District. He was married in 1877 to Miss Mamie Drayton, daughter of Cyrus and Lavenia Drayton. They have three children, two boys and one girl. He is president of the Mechanicville Literary Society, established by himself in 1888.


        This Conference was organized by Bishop J. J. Clinton, on Wednesday, June 10, 1868. The following preachers were present: J. J. Moore, Adam Smith, J. B. Handy, W. B. Smith, J. B. Wilkenson, James C. Lodge, A. T. Rodgers, R. T. Hudson, and R. Bradford. There were three churches represented and one hundred and eighty members. For many years this Conference

Page 380

languished, owing to the mismanagement and misconduct of William H. Hilliary, who was by far the ablest man on the coast, and if he had made the best use of natural abilities he could have planted the Church wherever there were enough of the race for the purpose. But he failed, and when the work was visited by Bishop Lomax, in 1881, there were only the original number of three churches. When Rev. A. Walters was sent to that work he succeeded in strengthening the things which remained, which were ready to die; and from that time there has been continual growth. Rev. C. C. Pettey followed with a considerable emigration from the East, and succeeded in planting several new churches, so that there are now sixteen traveling preachers and six hundred and fifty-five members. So hopeful is the work that the Oregon, a new Conference, has been set off.


        This Conference was organized by Bishop J. J. Clinton in Pensacola, April 22, 1869. There were thirteen preachers present and three hundred and forty-eight members reported. The growth of this Conference was slow. In 1882 only one thousand and thirty-seven members were reported. In 1888 Bishop Lomax was assigned to that work, and since that time the growth has been much more satisfactory. The South Florida, a new Conference, has been formed, and the increase on every line has been more than one hundred per cent.

        The old Conference is now known as the West Florida.

        The following is the present Conference roll:

Page 381

  • Bishop, Right Rev. T. H. Lomax, D.D.
  • Presiding Elder, Rev. S. L. McDonnell.
  • Elders, Revs. T. H. Darley, H. Taylor, M. Stokes, S. W. Jackson, A. Robinson, I. L. Ferby, Simon Brown, J. M. Sims, W. H. Smith, B. F. Stevens, Wilson Perry, H. E. Jones.
  • Deacons, Revs. Joshua Edwards, Jacob Simons, J. D. Peterson, E. W. Morand, William Ardis.
  • Licentiates, Revs. W. A. Neal, J. L. Cook, H. Graves, B. F. Mitchell, G. G. Hornsby, S. Allen, G. Powell, M. Godfree, S. L. Agger.
  • Superannuated, Rev. Harrison Williams.
  • Supernumerary, Joseph Linnix.
  • Lay Delegates, E. P. West, Adam Reese.
  • Conference Missionary, Sister M. V. Anderson.


        This Conference was organized by Bishop J. J. Clinton not later than 1871, possibly a little earlier.* It was represented in the General Conference at Charlotte, N. C. in 1872, by William Merphy, Grandison Simms, and Alexander Coleman. This Conference was the culmination of two great efforts, the one, starting in New Berne, N. C., in 1864, and pushing out through East and West Tennessee into Mississippi, and the other, starting up from Louisiana and Alabama a little later, met and formed the West Tennessee and Mississippi Conference.

        * Have not been able to find a record.

        The leading factor from the southern side was Rev. William Merphy, a man of wonderful energy. It is the impression with many that he traveled and preached himself to death. But he did a great work while he was at it.

Page 382

        Another great worker in this Conference was Rev. L. J. Scurlock. He took up the work where Merphy laid it down, and was the leading spirit in the Conference for more than fifteen years.

        Rev. Alexander Coleman has also been one of the pillars of this Conference for more than twenty years. It has had gradual growth, but the unsettled state of things in that part of the country and the denial of civil and political rights to our people in that section have been a great hindrance to the growth of the Conference. It has recently been divided and the South Mississippi Conference formed. The roll of the West Tennessee and Mississippi Conference is as follows:

        Bishop, Right Rev. A. Walters, D.D.

        Ministers, Revs. J. P. Meacham, H. H. Bingham, D. Pitts, L. R. Brown, N. L. Lockey, W. C. Lewis, J. H. Miller, R. G. Gates, C. R. Anthony, B. E. Babannon, M. F. A. Easton, W. L. Carr, G. W. Rumage, J. W. Ruff, M. W. Waters, A. P. Pettey, G. W. Simms, A. M. White, E. D. Little, W. B. Bain, J. E. Jones, W. S. Cooper.


        This energetic Presiding Elder of the South Mississippi Conference was born in 1861. He was licensed to exhort in 1879, was granted local preacher's license a year later, and joined the Annual Conference in 1881. He was ordained a deacon by Bishop Jones the same year. His first appointment was Salem, Ala. By his labors 55 were added to the church the first year, 75 the second, 125 the third. There was also a large increase in general fund, $60 the first year and $135 the second year. This, in a

Page 383

Conference which only raised about $400 all told, was a large amount for one man. He was ordained elder in 1883 and appointed to the Eureka Circuit; 64 members were added to the church, and $75 raised on general fund, which was more than had ever been raised on that circuit.



In 1884 he was sent back to Salem, and 80 members were added to the church. In 1885 he was sent to Pope's Circuit. He remained on this circuit three years, and improved it every year. Fifty-two members were added the first year, and $64 raised on general fund. The second year 99 members were added and $140 raised on general fund. He also ceiled the church at Pope's Station.
Page 384

The third year 127 were added to the church, and the general fund increased to $162.25. He built the Wesley Chapel, and ceiled the church at Courtland, Miss.

        In 1888 he was appointed to Batesville, Miss. During this year 91 members were added to the church and $156 raised on general fund. He also seated the church at Batesville.

        In 1889 he was nominated for presiding elder by Bishop Harris, was elected by the Conference, and appointed to Batesville District.

        In 1890 he was appointed to the Canton District, where he was so successful that a new Conference was composed of that District, of which he is still the Presiding Elder.

        Brother Adams's opportunities for mental culture have been very poor, but he has made good use of what opportunities he has had and is fairly well equipped. A good Christian character and untiring energy have made him a success. He was a delegate to the General Conference in Pittsburg in 1892, from the young Conference formed by his effort. He made a good impression in that body. He was ordained a deacon in the twentieth year of his age, an elder at twenty-two, and was made presiding elder at twenty-eight. Should he be blessed with long life the future historian will be likely to have something to say of him.


        The following historical sketch of the New Jersey Conference, from 1874 to 1893, is by Rev. B. F. Wheeler:

        In the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Seventh Street, Troy, N. Y., Wednesday evening, May 20, 1874, as the New York Conference was beginning its forty-second annual session, Bishop J. J. Clinton, the presiding

Page 385

bishop of the Conference, in his annual address to the Conference, among other important things said: "It must be apparent to the members of the Conference that the New York Conference is too large, and consequently ought to be divided. I would therefore recommend that the Conference at its present session appoint a committee on boundaries, whose business it shall be to set off the new district, to be called the New Jersey Conference."*

        * See New York Conference Minutes for 1874.

        In accordance with this recommendation a special committee was appointed to consider the matter, and that committee subsequently reported in favor of setting off the new Conference, "the division line to run between Long Island and Staten Island, and embracing the whole of New Jersey." The date for the organization of the new Conference was also fixed by the following resolution:

        Resolved, That the New Jersey Conference be organized at Red Bank, N. J., on Thursday, July 2, 1874.*

        * See also Conference Minutes of New York Conference for 1874.

        FIRST SESSION.--In accordance with the above resolution the New Jersey Conference met in its first annual session in Red Bank, N. J., on Thursday, July 2, 1874, at 4:30 P. M., with Bishop J. J. Clinton in the chair. Deacon J. A. Wright was elected secretary. Although the new Conference embraced the whole of New Jersey and Staten Island, it has always been styled by the ministers composing it "the baby Conference." The following are the charter members of the Conference:

  • Bishop, Right Rev. J. J. Clinton, D.D.
  • Elders, Revs. Charles W. Robinson, Cyrus Oliver, L. B. Henry, Clinton Leonard, John A. Roberts, Samuel J. Berry, William H. Purnell, John A. Evans.
  • Deacons, T. W. Johnson, J. A. Wright.
  • Preachers, Anthony Jackson, John Smith, Henry Cook.
  • Missionary Agent, M. G. Laning.

        There were three visiting brethren in attendance at this Conference, namely, Rev. H. M. Wilson, D.D., Rev. William H. Dumpson, and deacon J. P. Thompson, all from the New York Conference. There were also two fraternal delegates from the New York Conference to this Conference, in the persons of Rev. Jacob Thomas, in charge of "Mother Zion," New York city, and Rev. J. P. Thompson, M.D., in charge of the Zion Church at Troy, N. Y., afterward elected a bishop. Space will not allow a great deal to be said of these charter members. They were all, as a rule, grand and earnest men, and while we may not have space to praise them as they deserve they will each, no doubt, be surprised when they reach heaven to find how much the recording angel has set to their credit for their godly and zealous efforts in establishing this little Conference.

Page 386

        Bishop J. J. Clinton, D.D., is affectionately remembered as the founder of the Conference. He was one of the grandest men our Church has produced.*

        * See sketch of his life on p. 172.

        All the elders composing this Conference have since gone to their final reward with two exceptions, namely, "Father" Clinton Leonard and Rev. J. A. Roberts. "Father" Leonard is in New York at this writing (1894), loved and revered by all who know him. Rev. J. A. Roberts five years ago (1889) left the Church and joined a sister Church. Of those who have died Rev. Cyrus Oliver and Rev. S. J. Berry were especially noted for their great work as revivalists. Rev. Oliver did most of his work in the New Jersey Conference at the Jersey City church, which society he served two different terms with great success, from 1871 to 1874, and from 1876 to 1878. He finally died in Jersey City in poverty. Rev. S. J. Berry, after preaching with good success for many years, finally died in Rahway, 1890, in most straitened circumstances. Rev. C. W. Robinson, Rev. L. B. Henry, Rev. William H. Purnell, and Rev. J. A. Evans were grand men, and died as might be expected, in the triumph of faith.

        Deacon J. W. Johnson was afterward ordained an elder, and became an active member in the Conference. The church at Trenton to a large extent was built by him, but not paid for by several hundred dollars. He improved the churches at Burlington, Red Bank, and Jersey City.

        Deacon J. A. Wright afterward joined another denomination. He was an earnest and intelligent man, and served the Church with credit while he remained in it.

        Preacher Anthony Jackson became an elder in the Church and was known throughout the Conference as a revivalist. His camp meetings in the summer months usually attracted very large crowds. He was a man of sunny disposition and was loved by his brethren. His last and best work was done at Hempstead, L. I., where he built the beautiful Zion Church, now standing as a monument to his active efforts in the closing years of his life. He died at Hempstead after his church was completed.

        Preachers John Smith and Henry Cook, after remaining members of the Conference for some time, finally dropped out without rising to the higher orders in the ministerial ranks.

        Missionary M. G. Laning, after traveling a few years in our Church, left and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church.

        This first session of the New Jersey Conference was a very short one, convening as it did Thursday afternoon at 4:30, and closing the following Monday; yet some very important work was done. Special attention was given to the Sunday school work, a convention being called to meet the following October, by motion offered by Dr. Jacob Thomas.*

        * See sketch of his life on p. 223.

This Sunday
Page 387

school work started well, but fell through, so far as the conventions were concerned. It was reorganized and permanently established in 1890.

        Rev. Thomas Davis was received into the Conference from the Methodist Episcopal Church this year, and transferred to the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference.

        A literary society was formed by this Conference, and it proved a source of great benefit to the members for several years. It had for its name The Clinton Literary Society. It finally disbanded.

        The missionary work came in for its share of attention at this Conference. By resolution offered by Rev. W. H. Purnell, "each minister was required to organize societies in his charge for both adults and children." There were eleven appointments in the new Conference, and they were the following: Jersey City, Paterson, Somerville, Red Bank and Eatontown, Macedonia and Matawan, Lodi and Paramus, Rahway and Newark, Rossville and Port Richmond, West Field and Plainfield, Greenville, and Hackensack. Of Dr. H. M. Wilson, Rev. William H. Dumpson, and Deacon J. P. Thompson, who visited this Conference at this first session, more will be said further on.

        This first, short but pleasant and profitable session of the New Jersey Annual Conference closed Monday afternoon, to meet in Rossville, S. I., second Wednesday in June, 1875.

        SECOND SESSION, 1875.--Although the Conference adjourned to meet in Rossville, S. I., it was changed to Red Bank, N. J. At Red Bank, then, on Wednesday, June 9, 1875, the Conference convened, with Bishop J. J. Clinton presiding. Rev. J. A. Wright, secretary.

        Among the new names that appear on the Conference roll this year are Elder Nelson Turpin, Deacon J. P. Thompson, and Preacher J. S. Cowles. Received on trial, Brother John H. White.

        Elder Turpin had been an active minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He was stationed at Jersey City. While acknowledged by his brother ministers to be a good preacher, he was not a success in managing his church. He did not remain long in our Church, but returned to the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

        Deacon J. P. Thompson rapidly rose in the Conference, and soon became one of our great church builders. See account of him elsewhere. Some of the fields of his labors in this Conference are Paterson, Camden, Red Bank, and Asbury Park; outside the Conference, Philadelphia, Washington, York, Pa., St. Louis, and Indianapolis, Ind.

        Preacher J. S. Cowles came from the New England Conference, was admitted into this Conference in full connection, was ordained a deacon and made collecting agent for the Rush Monument this year. He did not remain in the Conference long, but soon rose to distinction in the Church, having filled some of the most important charges in the Church. Of a

Page 388

sunny disposition, affable and gentlemanly in his manners, he is favorably known throughout the Church. Brother John H. White, who was received on trial this year, was soon received into full connection, and has remained in the Conference ever since. He has filled many charges with acceptability in the Conference. Gentlemanly in his bearing, deliberate in judgment, he stands well with his brother ministers.

        The highest amount received by any minister this year was $600 paid by the Jersey City church, and the lowest amount $30, paid by the mission point, Freehold. The Conference adjourned to meet in Jersey City.

        THIRD SESSION, 1876.--This session met in Jersey City, with Bishop Clinton in the chair. A most interesting session this proved to be, and much good, solid work was accomplished. Jersey City was the leading station in the Conference.

        FOURTH SESSION.--The fourth session met in Somerville, N. J., 1877. The Conference convened at four o'clock in the afternoon. Bishop J. J. Moore, D.D., was the presiding bishop this year, and Rev. J. H. White secretary. Rev. Charles W. Robinson was bishop's steward, an office which was long since displaced by our present Conference steward. Of the presiding bishop of the Conference this year we would like to say a great deal here, but the fact that his life is treated at length elsewhere in this History prevents us. While Bishop Clinton is appropriately styled the founder of the Conference, Bishop Moore, because of the many years he presided over the Conference, is instinctively thought of as a father, if not the father, of the Conference. For eleven years he presided over the Conference and was greatly loved by the brethren, as were all the bishops who have presided over the Conference. Elders J. A. Williams, Jacob Trusty, John H. Jones, and T. W. H. Hinton appear for the first time on the roll of membership this year. Elders Williams and Trusty have long since died. Elder Trusty was one of the active ministers of the Conference during his short stay in the Conference. He soon transferred to the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference, where most of his work was accomplished.

        Rev. John H. Jones, after traveling a few years in this Conference, located within the bounds of the New York Conference, to which he subsequently transferred. He is still living at this writing (1894), and is full of the oldtime fire, which is very manifest when warmed up in preaching.

        Rev. T. W. H. Hinton, after serving the Church with credit in the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference, transferred to the New Jersey Conference and filled many charges with credit to himself and the Conference. He finally lost both his sight and hearing. He is now on the superannuated list. He resides at Somerville, his last charge, where he enjoys the respect and sympathy of the whole community. Deacons Israel Jackson, Moses K. Harris, and Preachers Joseph D. Jackson and William Brogdon appear on the roll this year. None of these brethren remained long in the Conference,

Page 389

but soon returned, most of them to serve their respective churches in local capacity.

        FIFTH SESSION, 1878.--The fifth session convened at Trenton. Bishop Moore was the presiding bishop, and Rev. J. H. White secretary.

        Elders Adam Jackson, W. J. Dorsey, and Deacon James Pinion were the new members received this year.

        Rev. Adam Jackson had transferred from the New York Conference. He is a man of pleasant address and a good preacher. After serving with acceptance several churches in this Conference, he returned to the New York Conference. He was loved by his brother ministers in this Conference. Elder W. J. Dorsey did not remain long in the Conference.

        Deacon James Pinion came to this Conference from the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference. He built the beautiful little chapel at Flemington in 1879. He afterward became a superannuated preacher and resided at Pine Brook until 1892, when he died.

        SIXTH SESSION, 1879.--The sixth annual session convened at Camden with Bishop Moore in the chair. Preacher D. D. Brown was elected secretary. After attending to the usual business, the Conference adjourned to meet in Burlington. Asbury Park was admitted as a new society this year.

        SEVENTH SESSION, 1880.--This seventh annual session convened at Burlington with Bishop Moore in the chair and Rev. J. H. White secretary. Several new members appear on the roll this year. Among them were Revs. W. H. Griffiths, Abram Anderson, T. H. Harris, and J. H. Hector, and Deacons Daniel F. Bradley and J. C. Palmer.

        Rev. W. H. Griffiths was a strong man intellectually, and a most powerful preacher. In fact, he had but few equals as a pulpit orator among the race, but he was indiscreet in conversation, hasty in conclusions, and rash in action, and his impetuous temperament brought him no small degree of trouble. He did not remain long in our Church. Having been stationed at Jersey City, trouble arose between him and the church, which resulted in his withdrawal from our Church to join the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Rev. Abram Anderson served as the first regular presiding elder of the Conference. He remained but a short time in the Conference. He transferred to the New York Conference.

        Rev. T. H. Harris came from the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference. He is still living, and is one of the oldest members in the Church. He is a practical preacher, severe in discipline. He is loved by his younger brethren in the ministry. He is a superannuated preacher now, residing in his own home in Burlington, N. J.

        Rev. J. H. Hector is an active worker, humorous in disposition, and a ready talker. His time is spent mostly in the temperance work. Were his time given entirely to the ministry he would, no doubt, soon take a

Page 390

high place among the clergy of the Church. He transferred to the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference after spending a few years in the New Jersey Conference.

        Deacon D. F. Bradley came from the New England Conference. He filled several leading appointments in the Conference, and in 1892 transferred to the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference. Deacon J. C. Palmer was a man of studious habits, a devout Christian, and would doubtless have arisen to distinction in the Conference had he not died so soon, at Pine Brook, N. J., in 1883.

        EIGHT SESSION, 1881.--Bishop J. J. Moore was the presiding bishop of the eighth annual session, which met at Red Bank. Rev. J. C. Palmer was the secretary. The reports for this year's work show that improvements were being made in all departments of the Conference work.

        NINTH SESSION, 1882.--The ninth session convened in Camden, April 19, 1882, with Bishop Moore as the chairman and Rev. J. C. Palmer secretary. This year brought to the Conference Elders William H. Dumpson, H. M. Wilson, D.D., G. W. Brown, and J. T. Marshall.

        Rev. William H. Dumpson, though appearing for the first time on the Conference roll as a member, was not unknown to the Conference. He is one of the veterans in the Church, having spent most of his time in the New York Conference. He is a good, spiritual preacher, a hard worker, and full of old-time Methodist fire. He is still in the active pastorate.

        Dr. H. M. Wilson was a man of pronounced scholarship, an indefatigable worker, a polished gentleman, easy in manners, affable in address, a good conversationalist, and a devout Christian. He had been educated as a Presbyterian minister, but early joined our Church. He was for years connected with our Book Concern. He filled important charges in the New York Conference, and also in this Conference. His crowning effort was the erection of our Newark church on Pennington Street. He died just as he had finished this church, in 1889. He was loved by all who knew him. Rev. G. W. Brown was from the Presbyterian Church, Savannah, Ga., and was sent to the church at Newark from this Conference.

        Rev. J. T. Marshall entered the Conference three years earlier as a preacher. Silas Holmes, as far back as 1881, appears on the Conference roll as missionary agent. He holds this place up to this writing.

        T. T. B. Reed and H. S. Hicks appear as preachers this year. They did not remain long in the Conference, but located. Up to this date, 1882, there had been no presiding elders in the Conference, but this year the Conference was divided into two presiding elder districts, and Dr. H. M. Wilson and Rev. J. P. Thompson placed in charge. They had their regular charges from which they drew their salaries. They visited the churches in their districts as time and opportunity would allow.

        TENTH SESSION, 1883.--The Conference met this year in Jersey City.

Page 391

A new presiding officer occupied the chair this year in the person of Bishop J. P. Thompson, M.D., D.D. He is a man of commanding presence, an ardent lover of his Church, and a successful financier.*

        * See cut and sketch of his life on p. 188.

Rev. J. C. Palmer was elected secretary.

        ELEVENTH SESSION, 1884.--Conference convened this year at Trenton, with Bishop J. P. Thompson in the chair, and Rev. D. F. Bradley secretary. The new members this year were Elders P. L. Stanford, E. Hamet, A. A. DeFord; Deacons M. M. Edmonson, J. Tilghman; Preachers R. F. Butler and F. E. Owens.

        Rev. P. L. Stanford, while a new member in the Conference, had been preaching for many years in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He is happy and congenial as a companion and a man of deep-seated piety.

        Elder Hamet also came from the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Though coming into the Conference a comparative stranger to many, by his high Christian character, his untiring and successful labors in every charge he has had since entering the Conference, he has succeeded in making a most favorable impression on all his brother ministers. He built the beautiful church at Pine Brook.

        Deacon Morris M. Edmonson joined the Conference in 1882, and was ordained an elder in 1886. Beginning at the very bottom of the ministerial ranks, he has by hard work and studious habits risen to be one of the principal members of the Conference. He has not only filled successfully some of the leading charges in the Conference, but has been one of the leading spirits in all the Conference interests, such as missionary, church extension, and Sunday school work.

        Preacher R. F. Butler, joining the Conference this year, was ordained elder in 1888. He has been a hard worker since joining the Conference, and has made a success of all the points to which he has been appointed. He gave the Hackensack church its present beautiful appearance. Of a happy disposition, he is well thought of by his brethren.

        Preacher F. E. Owens was ordained an elder in 1888. He is a man of a studious cast of mind, and has served the Conference several times as statistical secretary. He is an active worker, and loved by his comrades in the ministry. Rev. J. H. White was appointed Presiding Elder of First District this year. Rev. J. P. Thompson retained the Second District. Bishop Thompson had associated with him this year that far-sighted, clear-headed, logical thinker, Bishop J. W. Hood, D.D., who has but few, if any, equals among Afro-American bishops as a presiding officer.*

        * See sketch of his life on p. 186.

        TWELFTH SESSION, 1885.--This session was held at Red Bank, with Bishop Thompson presiding, and Rev. D. F. Bradley secretary. The new members were Elders W. T. Biddle and E. M. Stanton, Deacons J. F. Robinson and Fillmore Smith, Preacher A. J. Reed.

Page 392

        Rev. William T. Biddle came from the Genesee Conference. He has long been known as one of the best preachers, not only in the Conference, but in the Church. He joined the itinerancy in 1860, and was ordained an elder two years later. He is a logical thinker and strong debater, and well informed on ecclesiastical law.

        Rev. E. M. Stanton came from the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference. A devout Christian, a hard student, a polished gentleman, he stands well in the Conference. His sermons are plain but practical. He is at this writing the Conference steward.

        Deacon J. F. Robinson, a bright and intelligent young man, was ordained elder the next year, 1886. He did good service in the Church for six years, and then joined the Baptist Church.

        Deacon Fillmore Smith was ordained elder in 1886. He possesses a good deal of originality, is a fluent talker and a good debater. He has done some good work in the Conference, his principal work being done in Paterson.

        Preacher A. J. Reed did not remain long in the Conference.

        The presiding eldership as arranged prior to this date was this year abandoned, and Rev. Abram Anderson was appointed the regular presiding elder over the entire Conference.

        THIRTEENTH SESSION, 1886.--This session met at Atlantic City. This was the first time Atlantic City had the chance to entertain the Conference. Bishop Thompson was the chairman, and Rev. M. M. Edmonson secretary. The usual Conference business was attended to.

        FOURTEENTH SESSION, 1887.--The Conference met this year in Asbury Park, Bishop Moore presiding, and Rev. M. M. Edmonson secretary. Bishop Hood associated with Bishop Moore this year.

        Rev. J. H. Barnes appears on the roll for the first time this year. There were several young preachers who joined this year. Among them were G. H. Cole, M. T. Anderson, P. H. Tinson, W. H. Wayman, A. Watson.

        Rev. G. H. Cole was ordained a deacon in 1890 and an elder in 1893. He is an active worker, and has succeeded well wherever sent. He built a beautiful church at Park Ridge. M. T. Anderson was ordained deacon in 1892. He is an earnest and faithful worker, and has succeeded in building a neat little chapel at Ridgewood.

        P. H. Tinson was ordained a deacon in 1890. He is an earnest and faithful worker. The regular presiding eldership was disposed of this year and the old system restored, with the exception that the Conference was now divided into four districts instead of two.

        FIFTEENTH SESSION, 1888.--At Hackensack the Conference met for the first time this year. Bishop Moore was the chairman, and Rev. W. T. Biddle was secretary.

        Rev. J. B. Saunders was the only new member this year. He came

Page 393

from the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference. He has filled several appointments in the Conference. He is loved by his brother ministers.

        SIXTEENTH SESSION, 1889.--This session convened at Paterson. The new members were Revs. G. H. Carl, J. F. Page, G. H. W. Smith, and B. F. Wheeler. Elder Page came from the Virginia Conference, and transferred before the year was out to the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference. Rev. G. H. Carl came to us from the Baptist Church; after serving a year or two in the itinerancy he located at Asbury Park. Rev. G. H. W. Smith had been a member of several different Conferences in our Church. He was stationed at Flemington, of which Rev. B. F. Wheeler had the oversight. He was expelled from the Church at the next session of the Conference at Trenton. Rev. B. F. Wheeler had been a member of the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference. He studied four years in Oberlin Preparatory School; had finished his college course at Lincoln University, and was now a student in Drew Theological Seminary, Madison, N. J., in his senior year. He took charge of the Somerville work. He joined the itinerancy in 1885.

        SEVENTEENTH SESSION, 1890.--This year the Conference met in Trenton, April 16, 1890. Bishop Moore was the chairman, and Rev. B. F. Wheeler was elected secretary. Rev. John G. Urling was added to the Conference roll this year. He had been a missionary in Demerara for twenty-five years. He had been placed in charge of the church at Newark, at the death of Dr. H. M. Wilson, during the interval of the Conference. He transferred this year from the New Jersey to the Genesee Conference. Elder Urling is a good Hebrew scholar, affable and gentlemanly in his manners.

        EIGHTEENTH SESSION, 1891.--At Camden, Wednesday, April 22, 1891, Bishop Moore called the Conference to order. Rev. B. F. Wheeler was elected secretary. Rev. J. A. D. Bloice joined the Conference this year. He had transferred from the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference. He is the first graduate from Livingstone College, is now a student in Union Theological Seminary. He began to preach in 1885, was ordained an elder in 1888. He is an able preacher and a devout Christian.

        At this session four presiding elders were abandoned and one presiding elder placed over the whole work. Rev. J. H. White was elected to that office.

        NINETEENTH SESSION, 1892.--The Conference convened this year in Somerville, with Bishop Moore in the chair and Rev. J. A. D. Bloice secretary. The new members this year were Elder E. Forman, Deacon J. H. Mason, Preachers L. G. Mason, Louis Hicks, and E. C. Black.

        Elder Forman came from Genesee Conference, and after one year's good work at Matawan transferred to the New York Conference.

Page 394

        Deacon J. H. Mason had been a member of the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference. He was ordained an elder at this Conference and assigned to Pine Brook and Reveytown churches. He did good service there, but the next year, 1893, was sent to Newark. His efforts at Newark have been very successful.

        Preacher L. G. Mason is a brother to Elder J. H. Mason. He accomplished a good work at Englewood, his first charge, having purchased a lot and built a beautiful little chapel there, most of it paid for. The church, however, was not entirely finished inside. He was ordained a deacon next year and warmly praised by the Committee on Ministerial Studies for the proficiency he showed in his studies.

        Louis Hicks located this year.

        E. C. Black has continued in the Conference up to date, and is loved by brethren especially on account of his good spiritual singing.

        TWENTIETH SESSION, 1893.--This session met at Burlington, April 26, with Bishop J. P. Thompson, M.D., D.D., the presiding bishop. Bishop Thompson being unable to be present on account of sickness, Bishop J. W. Hood, D.D., LL.D., was requested to preside, which he did. Bishop Alexander Walters, D.D., was associated with Bishop Hood. Rev. J. A. D. Bloice was elected secretary. The new members were Elders C. E. Steward, J. T. Tilghman, Luther Duffin, and Preacher R. S. Cottene.

        There being no regular appointment for Elder Steward he did not remain idle, but organized a good and flourishing society in Bayonne City, N. J.

        Elder Duffin came from the Union Church, and was during the interval of the Conference placed in charge of the church at Asbury Park.

        Preacher R. S. Cottene came to the ministerial ranks with a good deal of experience in finance and real estate, and will no doubt succeed well in the ministry. He has greatly improved the church in Englewood, and bids fair to keep up the good record he has made thus far.

        The New Jersey Conference, though one of the smallest in the Church, has always been an aggressive body.

        The Sunday school work began when the Conference was organized. But that work soon went down so far as its annual conventions were concerned. It was reorganized and firmly established in 1890. Rev. B. F. Wheeler was elected president successively for the years 1890, 1891, 1892, 1893, and Rev. E. M. Stanton president for the year 1894.

        The Church Extension Board has been in operation in the Conference for many years. That and the Missionary Society were united in the year 1882, at Red Bank, and from that time these two branches of our Church work have been run as regularly incorporated bodies. The present officers of this incorporated body are Rev. William T. Biddell, President; Rev. M. M. Edmonson, Treasurer; Rev. J. B. Saunders, Secretary; Rev. B. F.

Page 395

Wheeler, President Board of Trustees. For many years Mrs. Letitia Clinton, widow of the late Bishop Clinton, was Vice President of the Woman's Home and Foreign Missionary Society, but this amiable mother in Israel having died, Mrs. Katie Walters, wife of Bishop Walters, was in 1893 elected to that office, which she still holds with great credit to herself and the Church.

        Up to date, 1893, three bishops have had regular charge of the Conference: Bishop Clinton, 1874-1876; Bishop Moore, 1877-1882; Bishop Thompson, 1883-1886; Bishop Moore, 1887-1892; Bishop Thompson, 1893. Fifty-two elders have been members of the Conference, sixteen of whom were ordained by this Conference, twenty-eight were ordained before joining the Conference, and eight were charter members.

        The time and place of convening of the Conference, with the bishop and secretary of each session, are as follows:

1874 Red Bank. J. J. Clinton. J. A. Wright.
1875 Red Bank. J. J. Clinton. J. A. Wright.
1876 Jersey City. J. J. Clinton.  
1877 Somerville. J. J. Moore. J. H. White.
1878 Trenton. J. J. Moore. J. H. White.
1879 Camden. J. J. Moore. D. D. Brown.
1880 Burlington. J. J. Moore. J. H. White.
1881 Red Bank. J. J. Moore. J. C. Palmer.
1882 Camden. J. J. Moore. J. C. Palmer.
1883 Jersey City. J. P. Thompson. J. C. Palmer.
1884 Trenton. J. P. Thompson. D. F. Bradley.
1885 Red Bank. J. P. Thompson. D. F. Bradley.
1886 Atlantic City. J. P. Thompson. M. M. Edmonson.
1887 Asbury Park. J. J. Moore. M. M. Edmonson.
1888 Hackensack. J. J. Moore. W. T. Biddle.
1889 Paterson. J. J. Moore. D. F. Bradley.
1890 Trenton. J. J. Moore. B. F. Wheeler.
1891 Camden. J. J. Moore. B. F. Wheeler.
1892 Somerville. J. J. Moore. J. A. D. Bloice.
1893 Burlington. J. P. Thompson. J. A. D. Bloice.

        The following table of statistics may be studied with interest:

Churches 16 Churches 22
Members 544 Members 975
Probationers 138 Probationers 33
Sabbath School Scholars 427 Sabbath School Scholars 1,186
Volumes in Library 1,690 Volumes in Library 3,927
Value Church Property $22,000 Value Church Property $40,645

Page 396

        We give below the Conference appointments for the years 1874 and 1893:

1. Jersey City. 1. Jersey City.
2. Paterson. 2. Paterson.
3. Somerville. 3. Somerville and Flemington.
4. Red Bank and Eatontown. 4. Red Bank.
5. Macedonia and Matawan. 5. Pine Brook and Reveytown.
6. Lodi and Paramus. 6. Lodi and Park Ridge.
7. Rahway and Newark. 7. Newark.
8. Rossville and Port Richmond. 8. Rossville.
9. Westfield and Plainfield. 9. Hackensack.
10. Greenville. 10. Asbury Park.
11. Hackensack. 11. Atlantic City.
  12. Burlington.
  13. Camden.
  14. Eatontown.
  15. Matawan.
  16. Paramus.
  17. Ridgewood.
  18. Trenton.
  19. Timbucto and Kincora.
  20. Englewood.


        The subject of this sketch was born in Charlotte, N. C., February 6, 1854. He was born again in Mother Zion Church, New York, January 20, 1876. When a child he was baptized in Clinton Chapel, Charlotte, N. C., of which church all his relatives were members, He was a Sabbath school scholar at Clinton Chapel under Elder J. W. Hood, now bishop. He has now in his possession books given him at that time by that distinguished divine for excellence in Sunday school work. These books he cherishes highly. Always of self-reliant cast of mind, he early left home to make his own living and "to get rich." He had attended the free schools at Charlotte, conducted by the friends at the North. He was always fond of worldly pleasure, and into it he plunged with all the ardor of his soul. In 1874 he came to New York. This he did against

Page 397

the strong protest of friends and relatives at home, who knew too well of his worldly inclinations. In New York he soon gathered around him a large circle of friends nearly as worldly as himself, from the South, especially



from the "Old North State." Of these young men whom he gathered around him for social pleasure the place of leader was at once accorded to him because of the unbridled audacity with which he plunged into sin. In the
Page 398

midst of his wild revelings he was converted in Zion Church, New York, in 1876, Rev. J. H. Smith then pastor. He at once felt called to preach. He did not stop hunting up his old comrades until every one of them had been brought into the fold. The pressure of his call to preach became so great that he resolved to obey at once. But he felt that he sadly lacked the qualifications for the ministry of to-day. Hence he decided upon taking a thorough course of training for the work; he went to Oberlin and entered the preparatory department of that school in 1877. The first year was devoted to English branches. Then he went through the regular junior, middle, and senior classes of the classical preparatory department. One more year was spent in reviewing certain branches over which he had gone. The hardest pecuniary struggles of his life were experienced while at Oberlin in trying to pay his own way through school with what money he could earn during the summer vacation of two and a half months. It often happened that on returning to school by the time he paid up expenses and debts of the preceding year he would not have money enough to matriculate. But he worked for his board, sawing wood in the middle of winter from four o'clock in the morning, by candle light, until day; and by getting credit for his room rent and other necessary expenses he would pull through the school year. For months he would be without even a penny with which to send a postal card home. But it was no disgrace to be poor at Oberlin. Most of the students were poor, ninety-two per cent of whom were white. He never told any of his friends at home or elsewhere of his dreadfully straitened circumstances. He now

Page 399

regards those days of adversity as not among the least agencies in fitting him for the stern realities of life. He entered the sophomore class at Lincoln University in 1883 and graduated with the class of 1885 with the degree of A.B., and pronounced the oration in Greek on class day. He entered the theological department of the same school the next year, and while pursuing his studies in theology was engaged by the faculty as tutor in Greek in the preparatory department. He was licensed to preach in 1884, was received into the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference in 1885, ordained deacon in 1886, and elder in 1888. He graduated with the degree of S.T.B. In the fall of 1888 he entered the senior class of Drew Theological Seminary and graduated with the degree of B.D. He was delegate to the General Conference in 1888 and 1892. His success at Summerville has been marvelous.


        This Conference was organized by Bishop J. P. Thompson, December 16, 1877. Wilbur G. Strong, who attended the bishop in nearly all his efforts in the far South, was also present with Bishop Thompson at the organization of this Conference. There were fourteen ministers present, several of whom were from the Florida Conference. Eleven hundred and seventy-four members were reported. Below we give the roll of Conference membership:

  • Elders, Joseph Sexton, W. C. Vesta, G. W. Maize, W. A. Bain, J. R. Harris, J. M. Sims.
  • Deacons, R. R. Frederick, James Dudley, W. J. Sanders, A. Long.

Page 400

  • Preachers, H. E. Jones, A. L. Higgs, R. W. Ballard, J. D. Ballard.
  • Candidates, J. H. Jordan, J. F. Fobbs, D. E. White, H. W. White.


        This Conference was organized by Bishop Lomax in the city of Detroit, Mich., September 11, 1879. The number of preachers present was thirty-two. Four hundred and ninety-nine members were reported. This was the second effort to organize a Conference in Canada. At the General Conference in 1860 there was a delegation from Canada, which indicates that there was at least the nucleus of a Conference at that time. But when the great Southern field was thrown open to our efforts the work in the British domain was neglected, and it was not until we had began to reap a harvest of preachers from the Southern field that we were able to take up that work again. Bishop Lomax was decidedly successful, but unfortunately he was not continued long enough on that work, and it is languishing again. In fact, this is one of the very few points in the entire connection that is not showing satisfactory progress. The roll of members at the organization was as follows:

  • Bishop, T. H. Lomax.
  • Presiding Elders, D. Butler, J. R. Alexander, J. B. Holliday, R. M. Johnson.
  • Deacons, A. Tol, G. W. Gordon, G. Solomon, N. Scoles, S. Stevens, T. J. C. Green, T. T. Brown, J. Cornelius.
  • Preachers, W. B. Campbell, I. Sisco, William Fleming, A. Wilson.

Page 401


        This is the fifth offspring of the North Carolina Conference. It was set off and formed in the last week in November, 1879, by Bishop J. W. Hood. It included about twenty-five counties west of Raleigh and east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The colored people are not so numerous in that part of the State as they are in the section occupied by the mother Conference. But the larger portion of the young and more progressive men went with the new Conference. Besides this, in the central portion of the State there is less opposition. In some of the counties in the east the Baptists are strong. It is not so much so in the section occupied by the Central Conference. Besides this, the African Methodist Episcopal (Bethel) Church has a strong hold in the east. The main strength of that Church in the State is in the vicinity of Wilmington and Raleigh.

        In most of the section covered by the Central Conference that Church is hardly known. There is nowhere in the connection a better behaved set of ministers than those of the Central Conference. They express themselves on any subject in Conference readily and freely, but do not waste time. It is very seldom that a member of that Conference rises to speak unless he has something to say and something that is worth saying. Quiet dignity is the characteristic of these ministers. A dignified Christian ministerial bearing is their apparent aim. This Conference has also an offspring, namely, the Western North Carolina Conference, which has reduced it to about half its former size. It has now four presiding

Page 402

elders' districts, presided over by able and energetic men. Elder Hill, the senior presiding elder of the Conference, was always a favorite pastor, and could stay any number of years. Although he is not so fond of the position of presiding elder, yet he makes a most excellent officer. Elder Thomas's ambition is to be excelled by none, and he will keep the man busy who excels him. Elder Mattocks as a pastor has long been known as one of the best disciplinarians in the State, and there is no doubt of his success in his new field. Elder George H. Miles is well equipped, and ought to succeed. The following is the roll of the Conference for 1892 and 1893:

  • Presiding Bishop, Right Rev. J. J. Moore, D.D.
  • Presiding Elders, Revs. James M. Hill, John W. Thomas, John H. Mattocks, George H. Miles.
  • Annual Conference Steward, Rev. M. S. Kell.
  • Secretary, Rev. J. T. Gibbons.
  • Recording Secretary, Rev. S. J. Hargrave.
  • Statistical Secretary, Rev. G. R. Morris.
  • Episcopal Secretary, Rev. W. J. Sides.
  • Compiler, Rev. J. M. Hill.
  • Fraternal Delegate, Rev. C. D. Hazel.
  • Elders, Revs. J. E. McNeill, R. M. Thompson, A. M. Barrett, W. H. Goler, D.D., C. W. Simmons, J. H. Love, W. H. Waddill, T. B. McCain, J. S. Settle, W. R. Hunter, J. W. Harris, A. J. McDonald, R. Hasty, D. A. Williams, G. B. Kelly, R. C. Moore, D. A. Kelly, G. W. Grange.
  • Deacons, Revs. W. B. Gordon, M. G. Gains, C. B. Fletcher, Kanest Gibson, W. J. Gains, W. O. Waddell, T. H. Stevenson, R. L. Edwards, A. S. Hubbard, W. D.

Page 403

    Dickerson, I. A. Cameron, Dennis Hogans, Jr., C. P. S. Harrison, N. B. Stelly, W. A. Darwin, H. C. Chambers, D. G. Howie, W. H. Davenport, J. F. Torrence, S. J. Hargrave, G. W. Williams, Jack Murchison, C. R. Leak, C. McNeill, John J. Stitt, James Mask, E. B. Bennett, D. W. Smith, J. B. Bailey, R. H. Bright, R. Allen, G. Sneed, J. C. Cox.
  • Preachers, Brothers A. J. McNeill, B. J. Walker, G. W. Richardson, D. H. Little, M. G. Wadkins.
  • Delegates, Professors E. B. Wall, R. A. Simmons, -- Watkins. Brothers H. G. Moose, M. P. Thompson, G. W. McDougald.


        Mr. Warren C. Coleman was born a slave in Cabarrus County, N. C., on March 25, 1849. His boyhood was not eventful before emancipation, except it might be noted that he learned the shoemaker's trade and under the compulsion of a slave pursued the same to some extent in the interest of the Confederate cause. Being a minor at the emancipation, he was detained as a bound boy, and was required to perform the most menial and laborious work. This undoubtedly contributed to arouse his ambition to find a way to better things for himself, or to resolve, if he could not find a way, he would make one. Mr. Coleman very early manifested that tact in business which has characterized his success along that line in later years. After reaching his majority for a while he engaged himself variously in trading and peddling, and with varying results, all the while evincing an insight into business methods that was sure to gain success by

Page 404

being cherished and developed. He concluded to set up a barber shop in connection with a bakery, a somewhat novel combination, but all along the line of Mr. Coleman's nature--that is, his life, must be active and reflective of perseverance. Perseverance has been a prominent characteristic of the man, and this, coupled with a trustworthy



intelligence, has brought him the "future good, and future meed." In 1870 he went to Alabama, but returned in 1871, in the meantime receiving instruction in books from his former young master, William M. Coleman. After returning from Alabama, Mr. Coleman followed farming, but it was apparent his calling lay upon a more select if not a higher plane of activity, and, at the suggestion of his former young master, he went in
Page 405

1873 to Howard University, bearing a recommendation from Bishop J. W. Hood and reaching the university at the close of the session. The surprise which this last clause must certainly arouse would suggest that up to this time Mr. Coleman had not made sufficient acquaintance with literary affairs to know the order of school terms and sessions. But, nothing daunted, he holds on, inspired by his characteristic intelligent perseverance, and enters at the opening of the next session. He had not money sufficient to bear his expenses, and was therefore under necessity to support himself by extra service on the school grounds. For this Mr. Coleman was well prepared by temperament and otherwise. He also made some money while there by selling jewelry and articles in kind. It is in the field of barter and trade that the subject of our sketch finds his most attractive and effective school. In 1874 he returned to Concord.

        Of course Mr. Coleman found it necessary to do what most successful men have done, namely, take to himself a helpmeet in the struggle of life, and accordingly married in the fall of 1875. Mrs. Coleman has been a crowning addition to Mr. Coleman's equipment, which has given him the honorable and successful career that has attended him since his marriage. He at once secured a home and began purchasing lots and building houses. This he has continued to do until he carries on his regular renting list over one hundred houses. This fact speaks for itself, and affords an example that should be a constant stimulus and encouragement to the entire colored race. The subject of our sketch has extended his substantial acquisitions to a much wider range. He

Page 406

has purchased and owns excellent farms, and has equipped them with stock and other appurtenances necessary to progressive agriculture.

        Mr. Coleman entered the field to which he is specially adapted--merchandise. In this he has been very successful. In 1885, when he was burned out, he was acknowledged to be among the foremost dealers and business men of Concord. In this fire he lost outright seven thousand dollars. He had not one cent of insurance, but the rapidity and permanent success with which he re-established himself in the same business places him among our heroes.

        In 1881 he became a stockholder in the North Carolina Industrial Association, an organization for stimulating laudable endeavors among the colored people in North Carolina along the line of agriculture, mechanical arts, and general handicraft. He became at once an active member of the association and a large and varied contributor to its annual exhibits. His devotion to the good of the association continually promoted him on the roll of officers to fill successively the office of vice president, treasurer, and president. Mr. Coleman's official connection with the association was a positive gain and constant stimulus to the organization. His interest in education has been no less marked than his push and zeal along other lines. He has always demonstrated a profound interest in all educational endeavors, in school or otherwise, among his people. As part proof of these assertions the following is noteworthy: he has carried one student through Howard University, one through Livingstone College, is supporting and helping several

Page 407

students at Shaw University, the Oxford (North Carolina) Orphans' Home, Livingstone College, Scotia Seminary, and other schools. His contributions to the educational uplifting of his race are manifold and important. Mr. Coleman might well be ranked as a philanthropist. He took a large part in offering inducements for Livingstone College to be located at Concord, N. C., when it was organized as Zion Wesley Institute. He had aided Professor R. M. Alexander in the development of the Coleman School at Welford, S. C., which is now in successful operation. Mr. Coleman has always contributed generously and cheerfully to the Church. He aided in building the Zion Hill Church at Concord, N. C., and is now taking a leading part in erecting Price Memorial Temple at that place. He has made his way from a very humble beginning to position and fortune. Starting out inexperienced and poorly informed, to-day his experience is by no means limited and his information decidedly above mediocrity. Beginning empty-handed, to-day he controls tens of thousands of dollars' worth of property. He is a man of great urbanity and hospitality, sparing no pains or reasonable expense to make his home a joy to his family and his house a home to his friends.



        This popular Presiding Elder of the Fayetteville District of the Central North Carolina Conference was born in Carteret County, N. C., October 18, 1850. He began to receive instruction in Sabbath school when he was about nine years old. The school was taught by a white lady.

Page 408

Here he first obtained knowledge of the universe and its Maker, his own relation thereto, and his moral responsibility. The impressions made upon his mind in this little biblical institute were lasting and had much to do with the shaping of his course of life.




        About the same period he entered a day school supported by the Congregational Church and conducted by three Northern white lady teachers. Here he first learned something of the advantage of an education and began to feel a thirst for knowledge.

        Brother Hill professed religion when sixteen years old, and joined the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

Page 409

under the pastoral care of Rev. I. B. McLiece. He served the Church in the capacity of class leader, preacher's steward, and trustee for several years successively. He was licensed to preach by Rev. Sampson Copper in 1871. Two years later he was recommended to the North Carolina Annual Conference, which met in Wilmington, November, 1873. He was received, ordained a deacon, and appointed to the charge of the Swansboro Circuit, near where he was raised. During two years in this charge he built two churches, added largely to the membership, and greatly improved the circuit in every respect.

        In 1875 he was sent to the Mooresville Circuit, in the Central North Carolina Conference. He remained on this work four years, built three churches, and ceiled one that had been previously built. During his stay on this circuit he made it one of the best in the Conference, both spiritually and temporally.

        In 1877 he entered the Chautauqua reading circle, located at Plainfield, N. J., from which he received some valuable instruction.

        In 1879 he was ordained elder by Bishop Hood and sent to Statesville. During his three years in this charge he paid off a long-standing debt of several hundred dollars, remodeled the church, and greatly improved it, both spiritually and temporally. In fact, by his good conduct he gave the church a standing with all classes it never enjoyed before. The best white people in the place frequently attended his services.

        In 1881 he was sent to Concord. The Zion Wesley Institute had just then been moved to Salisbury, and the

Page 410

Concord people were mad clear through about it. They were mad at the bishop and Conference and everybody connected with it. The bishop knew their feelings and the danger of the breaking up of all the churches in the county, and Hill was selected to meet the emergency. It was the bishop's opinion that he was the only man he then had to whom he could intrust the work. He met the people, and they poured upon him their pent-up wrath against the bishop and Conference. He simply informed them that he was not at all responsible for the matter of which they complained, except to the extent that any one individual member of a body is responsible for the acts of that body; that he was there, by appointment, to do what he could for the upbuilding of the church. If they wanted him to stay and do the best he could he was ready to go to work; if not, he would report to the bishop that they were not willing to receive him, and would get work elsewhere. His quiet Christian bearing melted their hardness and consumed their wrath. His reputation had preceded him, and they perceived in him better qualities than they had even imagined, and hence were unwilling to let him go. He stayed four years, paid four hundred and fifty dollars for a new church lot, built a parsonage and a brick church, which was then the finest brick church in the Conference. Here, as elsewhere, he gave the church a standing in the community it never enjoyed before, and gained for himself a reputation very much higher than any predecessor or successor ever enjoyed. In his honor the church he built was called the Zion Hill Church.

        In 1885 Bishop S. T. Jones appointed him to Fayetteville,

Page 411

notwithstanding a unanimous petition for his return to Concord for the fifth year. He remained in Fayetteville three years. He paid off a long-standing indebtedness of fifteen hundred dollars, put in a three-hundred-dollar bell, and was preparing to commence a new church when, in 1888, Bishop J. J. Moore sent him to Clinton Chapel, Charlotte. When he took charge of this church it was in the worst condition that it has known during its entire history; but he succeeded in gathering the scattered flock, remodeling the church (at a cost of three thousand dollars), putting new life in the membership, and restoring to the congregation much of its lost prestige. Considering the low condition of the church when he took charge of it, and the shortness of the period of his administration, this may be regarded as one of his greatest achievements. In 1890 he was nominated by Bishop Moore for presiding elder, and unanimously elected, and was appointed to the Fayetteville District, of which he still has charge, and is one of the most popular presiding elders in the connection.

        Bishop Jones appointed him to the office of Conference Steward, which he held during the two years that he was stationed in Charlotte, during which period the Conference made the best report of any years in its history. (When Bishop Moore appointed him presiding elder he made the mistake of relieving him of his stewardship, and appointing another who did not do so well.)

        Elder Hill has been elected a delegate to every General Conference since, and including, 1880, and has always been one of the most faithful and reliable delegates--always thoughtful and conservative, and always

Page 412

apparently actuated by the best of motives. We can say for Elder Hill, what we are only prepared to say for a very few who have been any length of time in the ministry, namely, that he has never been changed on his own account or with the view to his own benefit. Every appointment that he has ever received has been given him for the purpose of benefiting the church or churches to which he was appointed. Not a charge that he has ever had was willing to give him up at the time he left. Any charge he has ever had would hail his return with delight, and we fully believe that he would be to-day the first choice of any charge he ever held.


        Robert Stephen Rieves was born near Carthage, in Moore County, N. C., June 16, 1848. He learned the English alphabet in a few minutes; when only six years old he had religious impressions, and a sense of his call to the ministry nearly as early. The twenty-third Psalm, which he learned at a very early age, and the fourteenth chapter of John, made a deep impression upon his mind. Notwithstanding the effort to keep colored children from the knowledge of books, he got a few lessons in Webster's Speller. At about his tenth year he experienced a change of heart. His mistress, notwithstanding she was a member of the Presbyterian Church, discouraged him by threats from owning the name of Jesus. The dominant race of that period will have a fearful account to give. They encouraged in their slaves the enjoyment of whatever amusements were degrading, but nothing that was elevating. They

Page 413



were permitted to go to low-down dancing parties, but not to church. Soon after the surrender he made public profession of his faith, joined the Church, and became at once a very active member, filling all the positions of a layman. He was married in 1870, and has a very interesting family. He joined the North Carolina Conference in 1874. At that time a young man had to prove the material he was made of before he was given important work. Rieves had to work his way up. His first appointment was two hundred miles from his home, and he received only $31 for his year's salary. To support his wife and two children he had to teach school. He has held several important charges. At Statesville he remodeled the church and had very great spiritual success. He had charge of Clinton Chapel, Charlotte, for three years, during which time five hundred members were added to the Church. Over $3,000 was raised by festivals during his pastorate. He was made presiding elder, in which position he labored successfully for about ten years. Through all these years in the ministry he has been a hard student. Before he entered the ministry he had a few weeks schooling in the common schools, taught by a colored lady who had received but little training herself. In 1879, while stationed at Manchester, N. C., he attended the State Normal School at Fayetteville
Page 414

for four months. He studied physics, theology, and Latin under private instructors. He took the Chautauqua Course, and has his diploma from that institution. Rev. Rieves is a man of extraordinary ability and of great energy. He has a strong Christian character, and is a natural leader of men. He is modest, quiet, and unassuming, but a great worker in Conference. When the Central North Carolina Conference was set off he went with it, where he continued to labor for thirteen years. In 1892 he was transferred to the North Carolina Conference and appointed to the pastoral charge at Goldsboro. He was a delegate to the General Conference in 1880, 1884, 1888, and 1892. He was also a delegate to the Centennial or Christmas Conference of all the Methodist Episcopal Churches in America, which was held at Baltimore in 1884. He has also been a member of two joint commissions on organic union. Whatever position he occupies he is a credit to his Church.


        Robert Russell Morris, who celebrated his fifty-sixth anniversary May 27, 1893, was born at Halifax, N. S. His parents were both natives of the above named place, and were among the first in establishing Zion Church in the peninsular city of the province of Nova Scotia. Robert embraced religion at ten years of age, during the pastorate of Rev. Peter Ross. He attended school when but four years of age, where, during his early years, he received a fair education, after which he was sent to Gorham College, Liverpool, N. S. At the close of two years the college was destroyed by

Page 415

fire and never rebuilt. During the time Brother Morris was at college he felt he was called to preach the Gospel; for a time he strove against the impression, but at last he was compelled to yield and give himself to the Lord to be his willing and obedient servant After conversing



with the pastor, Rev. S. M. Giles, he applied and obtained local preacher's license. Shortly after he went with Rev. J. P. Thompson, who is now a bishop, to New York, and joined the Annual Conference. He was sent from there to attend the New England Conference, where he was elected secretary. At the close of the Conference he was appointed to go to Nova Scotia, where he labored
Page 416

for two years in the mission field, during which time he was successful in erecting a building which answered for church and school purposes at Mauroon Hill, fifteen miles from the city. He also attended the Presbyterian Theological School, studying mental and moral science, Church history, theology, Greek Testament, Hebrew, and Syriac.

        At the expiration of two years, again in company with Bishop J. P. Thompson, he met the New York Conference, which convened in Newburg, where he was ordained deacon, and, being again sent to the New England Conference, where he served as chief secretary, he took an active part in the proceedings of the sessions, and when the appointments were announced young Morris was assigned to Nantucket, the smallest and poorest appointment in the district. He, however, accepted the appointment, took his young wife and went to his work on the island.

        The minister he succeeded gave him no flattering account of his charge, so that Morris was somewhat prepared for whatever would confront him; therefore he went, not trusting in collegiate acquirement, but relying upon Him who said, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

        Upon reaching the place his opposition and conflicts began, yet he remained at his post. During that winter navigation closed, so there was no communication to or from any place for one month; but the labors of the young minister were blessed, the church membership increased, and some needed repairs made upon the church. From Nantucket he was appointed to Worcester,

Page 417

Mass., to follow Rev. J. N. Mars, one of Zion's stalwart sons, whose popularity and labors were not only known in our Church, but also recognized by all classes of people as an able, successful antislavery lecturer. Brother Morris says it was with reluctance and timidity that he entered upon this charge, which such a great man had filled. Two years at Worcester endeared the people to him, both of the whites and colored alike. The church was saved from being sold, the property improved, and scores added to the society. Brother Morris was delegate to the General Conference which met in New York in 1860; he was secretary to the Rush party to confer with the bishop's party, which convened at Philadelphia, where the two were brought together and became one connection. Springfield was the next appointment, where great good was done.

        About this time the war broke out. Brother Morris thought Africa the best place for him. As he was preparing for the far-off land he received a letter from his parents begging him not to go so far from home. In the meantime the president and authorities of the island of Hayti were inviting persons of all classes to go there. Rev. (now Bishop) Holly, rector of St. Luke's parish, New Haven, Conn., learning of Brother Morris's intention of going to Africa, called upon him and had him consent to go to Hayti. Morris wrote Bishop J. J. Clinton, who, after advising him to remain in the United States, gave his consent to go, praying that God would be with him. Brother Morris went, but the climate was against his health. He buried his wife, an excellent Christian woman, also two children. The next year he

Page 418

returned to his native land, to find, to his regret, the old church not supplied by Zion ministers. The field having opened in the South for our ministers rendered it impossible for Zion to keep up the work in Nova Scotia.

        While Brother Morris was recuperating his health he was offered and accepted the principalship of the city public school, as a large number of the colored people desired separate education. The church being without a pastor at the time, he was requested to take the place, and after some deliberation he gave consent. Not many days after Right Rev. Willis Nazary, Bishop of the British Methodist Episcopal Church of Chatham, Canada, who had been at St. John, New Brunswick, hearing of the condition of the church at Halifax, seized the opportunity of visiting it. He found the church without a pastor, and he, being the Bishop of the British Methodist Episcopal Church, succeeded in advising and inducing the members and congregation to go under his jurisdiction. Subsequently a Conference convened at Liverpool, N. S.

        Brother Morris was sent to St. John, N. B., where he was successful in raising the school building twenty feet and made the lower part a commodious room for divine services. This place is in use now, and is known by the name of St. Philip's Church. Before going to St. John he married his present estimable and talented wife. From St. John he went to Bermuda, where, with the aid of his partner, he established the first colored church on the island. One thousand and fifty persons became members and followers in less than two years. Seven years' stay on the island was the means of doing good;

Page 419

the result will only be known in eternity. Brother Morris was made assistant superintendent of the Church work at Bermuda, and performed all the duties of a bishop except ordaining. He held three Annual Conferences. While there Rev. G. H. S. Bell, the Conference Steward of the New England Annual Conference, was one of the members who joined under his administration.

        After seven years spent in Bermuda he went to St. Catharines, Ontario, where he filled one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. From there he went to Bridgeport, Conn., Bishop Moore being the bishop over that Conference, and was successful in repairing the parsonage and made a host of friends, both in and out of the Church. He then went to Hartford, staying five years, doing noble service and gaining many friends.

        Brother Morris was Bishop Moore's special correspondent during the bishop's visit in England. He was delegate to the General Conference in New York in 1884, and was appointed one of the commissioners to meet a similar commission of the Bethel Church, which met in Washington City to consider the basis for organic union. He was then transferred to the North Carolina Conference, and remained until appointed by the Board of Bishops General Superintendent of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Sunday Schools and editor of the Sunday school literature. In addition Brother Morris was pastor of the Old Ship three years, and served two years as presiding elder over the Montgomery District ot the satisfaction of the Church.

Page 420


        R. Haywood Stitt, the subject of this sketch, was born of slave parents in Mecklenburg County, State of North Carolina, fourteen miles from the city of Charlotte, January 22, 1861. His parents dying when he was quite young, he was left alone to grapple with the stern realities of life. His father and mother being Presbyterians, he received his first religious impression in that Church, but was converted at a Methodist protracted meeting in 1882, at China Grove Church, near Charlotte, whither he had gone to make sport.

        He entered Livingstone College the same year, and was licensed as a local preacher in the following year (1883) at Pineville, N. C., by Rev. J. A. Tyler, D.D. He was admitted to the Central North Carolina Conference, which convened at Monroe, N. C., in 1884. He was ordained deacon in 1886 at Lincolnton, N. C., and elder at Petersburg, Va., in 1888, by Bishop J. W. Hood.

        He graduated from the theological department of Livingstone College in May, 1888, and on the evening of his graduation was married by Dr. Price, assisted by Professor Goler, to Miss Alice M. Ury, of Concord, N.C., a graduate of Scotia Seminary. During his term in school he pastored several country charges, and was sent to Charlotte, N. C., after the formation of Grace Church. Here he was successful in securing a plot of ground, and built Grace Church, but was not permitted to finish it. Within two weeks of its dedication he was transferred to the New York Conference, and stationed at Newburg.

Page 421

Here he remained two years, paid off the mortgage (that was old as himself), together with other incidental expenses,



repaired the church, increased the membership, and improved the work in general. He was then removed
Page 422

against the wishes of the people, both white and black, to Williamsburg, where he had good success repairing the church, paying incidental expenses, and raising the interest on the great debt that burdens this church. Serving one year at Williamsburg, he was then sent to Fleet Street, Brooklyn. Here his success has been phenomenal. Three gracious revivals have attended his efforts, increasing the membership not only of his own church, but also of the Baptist, Presbyterian, and other churches of the city. The financial state of the church is better than ever before. Crowds are turned away from the doors every Sunday evening for want of room. In fact, Fleet Street stands to-day the most popular colored church in the city of Brooklyn.

        On going to Brooklyn he saw that one of the needs of the place was to get the young people interested in the work of the church; hence he organized the Progressive Literary, which has become a flourishing institution composed of some of the best talent of the City of Churches. The Sons and Daughters of Zion, organized next, took in and held a large number of the converts of the first year's revival.

        In 1893 he organized a young people's society of Christian Endeavor, with eighty-five members, which is doing a good work both in the church and community. He represented his Church in the International Convention of Christian Endeavor Societies at Montreal, Canada, in 1893, serving on an important committee which issued a circular to the Methodism of the world. He was a member of the General Conference of 1892, which met at Pittsburg, Pa. He has served as secretary of the New

Page 423

York Conference since 1889; and is also Superintendent of the Sunday schools of the New York Conference District.

        Brother Stitt is a sound gospel preacher, his sermons showing depth of thought and careful preparation. Calm and deliberative at the outset, he sweeps along until the climax is reached, carrying his audiences with him and holding them spellbound by his eloquence. Kind of heart, ready to give his support to every good word and work, a man of the people, he stands to-day one of the most popular pastors in the City of Churches.


        This Conference was organized by Bishop J. P. Thompson, December 14, 1881. It includes that portion of the State lying west of the Alabama River. It numbered at its organization 114 preachers and 17,144 members. Many of the men who now compose the Conference are among our stronger men. Among them we may mention Revs. William Spencer, A. J. Warner, J. S. Sanders, F. A. Clinton, E. Hunter, and S. Sherman. One of the most successful builders in this Conference, Rev. J. M. Butler, has recently passed away. The success the Conference enjoyed was largely due to his faithful effort.

        The Jones University is located in this Conference. It bids fair to become a great seat of learning. The following is the roll of the West Alabama Conference, December 10, 1890:

  • Bishop, Right Rev. C. C. Pettey, A.M.
  • Secretary, Rev. J. C. Lodge.

Page 424

  • Assistant Secretary, Rev. P. R. Pittman.
  • Compiler, Rev. F. A. Clinton.
  • Reporter to the "Star of Zion," Rev. H. R. Gaines.
  • Conference Steward, Rev. E. Hunter.
  • Sunday School Superintendent, Rev. H. W. Goode.
  • V. P. W. H. F. M. Society, Mrs. Bishop C. C. Pettey.
  • President S. and D. of Conference, Mrs. M. C. Johnson.
  • Secretary S. and D. of Conference, Mrs. C. A. Bridges.
  • Treasurer S. and D. of Conference, Mrs. W. P. Scott.
  • Presiding Elders, Revs. J. M. Butler, William Spencer, F. A. Clinton, E. Hunter, J. C. Saunders.
  • Elders, William Spencer, J. C. Lee, J. A. Lewis, P. Washington, G. W. Gains, W. J. Caver, I. Fluellen, Z. H. Booker, H. C. Banks, H. Hamner, E. R. Rose, Robert Steele, A. J. Warner, William A. Murphy, J. Bryant, Samuel Sherman, S. P. Collins, George Golightly, Virgil Burks, S. M. Gains, A. G. Alstork, N. Mason, M. Rosser, S. C. Gratten, I. S. Ruffin, George Bolden, M. W. Bynum, J. T. Melton, H. J. Starks, E. D. Taylor, Sr.; H. C. Smith, J. C. Lodge, P. R. Pittman, Allen Lewis, C. A. White, M. L. Blalock, J. G. Lewis, J. C. Saunders, H. Washington, J. W. Henderson, M. Rosser, M. Monzingo, M. C. Crawford.
  • Deacons, Revs. Isaac Goodwin, George W. May, C. O. Wilkerson, M. S. Cost, J. H. Hall, John O. Donalds, Jacob Miller, J. H. Alexander, J. F. Seymore, O. Levett, Price Chaney, Stephen Hurst, Sr.; Albert Lynch, E. D. Taylor, Jr.; J. L. Jackson, Charles Green, Henry Albritten, B. Clark, L. H. Hurst, James Bernard, F. L. Fulken, George Lynch, Emanuel Bryant, J. S. Simmons, Willis Wilson, Richard Long, J. R. Beckham, J. R. Gaines, J. E. Lucas, Loveless Bryant.

Page 425

  • Preachers in Full Connection, P. S. Lucas, Henry Owens, C. A. Cook, Luke Fulker.
  • Preachers on Trial, J. W. Hooper, S. Fluellen, B. G. Sanders, J. B. Evans, R. H. Hurst, M. C. Graham, James Hall, A. Nobles, J. H. Horton, C. O. Wilkerson, N. R. Rodes, A. J. Sanders, Samuel Johnson, J. K. Jackson, J. G. Alexander, A. H. Hommer, P. C. Wilcox, George May, T. J. Sykes, R. H. Brown, C. J. Johnson, Z. W. Williams, William Chaney, H. A. Barkley, A. A. McCommack, W. D. Davis, W. H. Turner, G. W. Johnson, J. A. Walls, W. M. Gilmore, J. H. Sylvester, W. E. Buzelton, J. T. Hampton, W. M. Banks, T. H. Jones, J. H. Bell, J. H. Tobin.
  • Superannuated Ministers, John Bryant, Thomas Windfiel, Virgil Burks, Stephen Hunt.


        Franklin A. Clinton is one of the most affable, influential, and brilliant young men in Zion. He is big-brained and big-hearted, and is a natural leader of men. Whether in the kingdom of Clintons in South Carolina or in the Conferences of Alabama, Franklin A. Clinton is a commanding leader, and men follow the shibboleth of his magnetic voice like the tides of ocean that flow after the moving queen of night. As an able scholar, logical theologian, brilliant writer, and eloquent orator young Clinton is a representative Afro-American. He is full of love and personal magnetism, and hence has many personal friends. His presence is sunshine and his path beams with light diffusing from a summer-like nature. Franklin A. Clinton is a son of a mother. With

Page 426

head pillowed upon the breast of an affectionate and intelligent mother close by the glittering fireside of an embellished and refined home, Franklin A. Clinton was taught the principles and moral elements of God's admired



manhood. It is said that she died in 1881. She is not dead! She lives in the exemplary lives of her noble sons and darling daughters, and in the hearts of all that ever heard her motherly advice and caught her winsome smile. Mother! Home! Heaven! Clinton is tall and
Page 427

graceful. He was born near Lancaster Court House, S. C., in 1860, and is the son of that eminent divine and distinguished leader, Bishop I. C. Clinton.

        Franklin A. Clinton attended the public schools of his neighborhood and completed his education in the University of South Carolina. He likes the higher mathematics, belles-lettres attract his admiration, and he is a close observer of current history. Bishop Pettey says that Clinton is one of the best-informed men in this country. He is broad and liberal in his views, which are highly valued, whether in an Annual or General Conference. Statesmen have sought his advice and association in statecraft. He is regarded where known as a well-balanced, full-rounded man. He has preached and lectured in some of the largest churches in America. He attracted great attention on the Pacific coast when he held Conferences in California and Oregon for Bishop C. C. Pettey, A.M., D.D. In 1887 he preached the Thanksgiving Sermon for the Tuskegee Normal School, presided over by Professor Booker T. Washington. He also delivered a powerful and magnificent address to the graduating class at Emmerson Institute, Mobile, Ala. Clinton did not reach his present height in paths of roses and flowers. His father educated him and then rightly thrust him in the arms of a cold world, so that the son, like father, might gain experience, breast storms, and develop confidence, independence, and self-reliance. After returning from college he was engaged as instructor in the Pettey High School, and afterward taught school in Yorkville, S. C. While in Yorkville in 1883 he was converted and united with the African Methodist

Page 428

Episcopal Zion Church, and at once began active Christian work; six months later he was granted license as a preacher by Presiding Elder D. I. Walker, of the Yorkville District. In November of the same year he joined the traveling connection of the South Carolina Conference, under Bishop T. H. Lomax, D.D., and was stationed as pastor of the Rehoboth Circuit. During his pastorate of this charge he was very successful, both in the temporal and spiritual work of the church. Some of the oldest men of the community were happily converted, turned from lives of wickedness, and added to the church. He recalls a striking incident of an old man seventy years of age, who had been for many years a confirmed drunkard, but having come to the church out of curiosity he became so deeply impressed while the eloquent Clinton was preaching that he repented of his sins, was happily converted, and became a faithful and consistent member of the church.

        Clinton was then stationed at Steele Hill, where he built a parsonage and added to the church many improvements. At this point he conducted a large revival. The members of this church unanimously petitioned for his return, but he was transferred to the West Alabama Conference and stationed at Tuscaloosa, where he served with great credit one of the finest and most cultured churches in the South. While pastor here he liquidated a heavy mortgage debt and conducted a large revival, adding one hundred and twenty-five souls to the church. Cultured Tuscaloosa unanimously requested his return for the third year, but the bishop decided to send him to take charge of the church at Birmingham, Ala., which was in a critical condition at that time. The

Page 429

property was in litigation, and the spiritual condition of the church was low, but he soon mastered the situation. He was reappointed for the second year, but owing to some trouble in State Street Church, Mobile, he was removed from Birmingham and sent to that charge to adjust affairs, but found the church in such a state of confusion that he accepted a call from Bishop S. T. Jones, D.D., to take charge of the church at Pensacola, Fla. At this point the usual success crowned his efforts until his health failed and he was advised by his physican to return to Alabama. He was then elected as one of the presiding elders and assigned to the Mobile District. Under his administration this district became the banner general fund district of the Conference. He is now Presiding Elder of the Selma District in the West Alabama Conference. He is loved by his associates and ministers. He is popular and grows stronger and stronger.

        In the General Conferences of 1888 and 1892 he was a leading spirit. He will shine in any great body because he is full of wit, wisdom, and eloquence. He is the logical secretary of the Conferences which he meets. He is a close theological student and preaches with power, grace, and beauty. As a writer he has furnished some interesting and timely contributions to his own Church and many secular papers. His clear and orotund voice has often won victories in great debates and oratorical contests of lion-like men.



        P. J. McIntosh was born in Palmyra, Ga., August 15, 1854. He graduated with distinction from the theological

Page 430

department of Talladega College, June 10, 1880. He is one of the most profound scholars of the race, and is a thoughtful, polished, and eloquent pulpit orator. After the Emancipation Proclamation he attended the free public schools of Palmyra. Then he taught school until he entered Talladega College. While attending college he did mission work. He combined theory with practical work. This was important, because it made him a student in the great university of experience. While attending Talladega College he built a parsonage at Anniston and established a flourishing church. Immediately after his graduation he founded McIntosh Institute at Anniston, Ala., as an auxiliary to Talladega College. He remained principal of said institute for several years, and served with marked ability. To a great degree it is true that when one graduates at college he has but the alphabet of knowledge. He is just prepared to study, read, and learn. Even now Dr. McIntosh is a diligent student and close observer. Dr. McIntosh was ordained eight days after his graduation to the holy orders of an elder. At Lawsonville, Ala., and at Howel's Cove, Ala., he served faithfully as pastor and teacher of the public school. He was stationed at Tuskegee, Ala., as pastor of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church for four successive years. Here he built a fine church in the city, and one twelve miles from Tuskegee. In 1887 he was appointed to Zion Church in Montgomery, Ala., where he succeeded grandly, and attracted hundreds of people wherever he preached by the force of his arguments and magnetic eloquence. He was sent to the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church on Stockton

Page 431

Street in San Francisco, Cal., November, 1888. Said church is one of the largest and most popular colored churches on the Pacific coast. It is the pride of San Francisco and the glory of the Zion Connection in the West.

        Dr. McIntosh stormed the wild Pacific. He served in



the twofold capacity of pastor and presiding elder over the Pacific coast work for two years. At the Conference held in September, 1890, he respectfully declined a unanimous reelection to the presiding eldership. In two years he raised for the church at San Francisco the sum of five thousand dollars. He is an all-around man and
Page 432

easily succeeds as a financier. He has tact and judgment, and is master of all the intricacies of human nature. The Prohibition Party in California nominated him as a candidate for the Assembly, and though he made no personal canvass he received a magnificent vote, which was largely white. On Tuesday, December 9, 1890, by the invitation of County Committeeman Hon. W. W. Palley, a delegation of leading gentlemen of color assembled in the grand court of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, where Dr. McIntosh was unanimously chosen spokesman for the occasion to deliver an address of welcome to his Royal Majesty King Kalakaua, King of the Hawaiian Islands. His address of welcome sparkled with gemlike thoughts and jewels of eloquence. On December 22, 1890, he with other invited guests, attended the king's funeral at Trinity Church. On the 14th of December, 1890, at a grand rally he collected $1,050 for the San Francisco Church. The last Sabbath in December, 1890, he presented the church in gold and silver the sum of $2,000 in clear profit from a fair.

        In December, 1891, he was transferred by Bishop C. C. Pettey to the West Alabama Conference, and was stationed at Tuscaloosa, where he did special work for Jones University, and greatly improved and benefited the church at said point. Bishop Pettey sent him to State Street African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church at Mobile, December, 1892, and he has made it one of the most popular and high-toned churches in America. He was a delegate to the Ecumenical Conference which met in Washington, D. C., in the year 1891.

Page 433

        At the General Conference in Pittsburg he was chosen Secretary of Education for the Sixth Episcopal District, and fraternal delegate to the African Methodist Episcopal General Conference, then in session at Philadelphia. Dr. McIntosh has been a member of every General Conference since he was made an elder. He is well and favorably known throughout the Zion Connection.



        This Conference was organized by Bishop S. T. Jones, D.D., in March, 1882. This is the first offspring from the Kentucky Conference. The work was started by men from the Kentucky Conference, especially Zamoth Carr, A. J. Warner, and J. M. Washington.

        In more recent years the work has enjoyed the successful labors of Revs. A. Goslen and H. Bingham, from North Carolina. The following is the roll of members of the Arkansas Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church:

  • Presiding Bishop, Right Rev. A. Walters, D.D.
  • Conference Steward, Rev. A. F. Goslen.
  • Minute Fund Treasurer, Rev. A. J. Coleman.
  • Secretary, Rev. W. A. Blackwell.
  • Statistical Secretary, Rev. D. W. Poe.
  • Assistant Secretary, Rev. J. C. Williams.
  • Compiler, Rev. S. L. Corrothers.
  • Elders, Revs. A. Arnold, P. L. Boyd, R. J. Simmes, H. E. Evans, J. H. Harden, H. C. Mooney, R. B. Macon, W. M. Craig, J. G. Ray, J. H. Smith, W. S. Conley, W. J. Brooks, W. M. Matthews, F. L King,

Page 434

    H. C. Jones, S. M. Bess, G. W. Morris, R. S. Babbitt, G. G. W. Taylor, J. T. F. Hemphill, E. M. Martin, R. Moorman, W. S. Smith, W. M. Reed, M. J. Harrison, H. H. Huggins, George Graham, M. Meacham.


        S. L. Corrothers was born at Yorkville, S. C., December 3, 1864. He was converted August 17, 1886. On



October 17, 1886, he was licensed to preach by Elder D. I. Walker; joined the South Carolina Conference November 27, 1888; was ordained deacon December 3, 1889. He served one year in the South Carolina Conference on the Newberry Mission, had sixty-four conversions, built one church, and organized one mission with a good membership. In 1890 he was transferred to the Arkansas
Page 435

Conference and assigned to St. Paul Station, Little Rock, Ark., by Bishop Harris. Here he found the church $1,005 in debt, which has been paid; the membership has increased from twenty to one hundred and forty. The church and parsonage have been improved at a cost of $764, and the general fund has been raised from $18 to $70.50. He is a most promising young man.


        Although the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church was founded away back in the dim vista of an almost oriental age, and, in fact, comes very near colonial times, a work which remained to be done by the resolute had long been neglected, and that the organization of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Connection in Texas. It remained for Bishop Lomax to explore those untrodden solitudes and gather, if possible, those rich fruits which had for so long ripened to an abundant harvest where only the footprints of other denominations had trodden. When we consider the ease and facility characteristic of the Church in the North, East, and Atlantic coast it required almost the courage of a Columbus to make a voyage to Texas, mindful of the fact that it was not only a cattle State, but a territory which has for years been the haven of all the isms save that of our beloved cognomen.

        The Texas Conference was organized in November, 1883, by Right Rev. Bishop Thomas H. Lomax, D.D., at Stoneham. Elders present, J. D. Mead, W. W. Kanna, and Barnabas Calaway officiating. The deacons that were ordained in that year were G. R. Washington,

Page 436

S. Miller, Z. McKindrick, and Isaac Hambright. Preachers received were E. Carter, Henry Johnson, and G. J. Johnson.

        In November, 1884, Conference convened at Bobbin, Bishop Thomas H. Lomax presiding. Elders present, J. D. Mead, W. W. Kanna; deacons, G. R. Washington, S. Miller, Z. McKindrick; ordained to deacons, E. Carter, G. J. Johnson, and Henry Johnson.

        In November, 1885, the Conference convened at Navasota, Bishop J. P. Thompson, D.D., M.D., presiding. Elders were W. W. Kanna, V. Vincent; deacons, G. R. Washington, Z. McKindrick, I. Hambright, S. Miller, G. J. Johnson, E. Carter, Henry Johnson.

        In 1886, through some misunderstanding, there was no Conference held, owing to Bishop Thompson's feebleness.

        In 1887, for the above cause, there was held no Conference. In consequence of there being held no Conferences these last two years the work went down, and when Bishop Pettey was elected in 1888, and assigned to the Sixth Episcopal District,*

        * He postponed the Conferences from the fall of 1888 until February, 1889.

he found in the State of Texas only one organization and thirteen members, at Stoneham. The indifference and gloomy appearances of prospects, if indeed there were any, suddenly loomed up before him as a mockery. The work at this stage required a risk of life, health, and the sacrifice of finance. It was only four weeks from the time of his arrival in the State until the convening of the Conference. There was not a minister at his post. The sacrament of the
Page 437

Lord's Supper had not been administered in fourteen months. The four remaining preachers who had not left Zion's fold were engaged on cotton farms and ranches. The members, becoming disheartened, lost all connectional interests and sought protection in more inviting churches. The bishop at once took in the situation, and with courage bold commenced a tour through the State. Securing the services of the distinguished Rev. F. A. Clinton, they traveled, preached, lectured, and organized churches for a month. The second Wednesday in February, 1889, found Bishop Pettey holding Conference in Stoneham. Only one elder responded to the roll call, and that was W. W. Kanna (F. A. Clinton being present). Elders ordained at Conference, G. R. Washington, S. Miller, and Isaac Hambright. Deacons, G. J. Johnson, Henry Johnson, E. Carter, Z. McKindrick, and T. R. Gaines. Conference adjourned to meet the third Wednesday in October, 1889, at Hearne.

        Apropos to date Conference met in October, 1889 (third Wednesday), at Hearne, Bishop C. C. Pettey presiding. Elders present responding to roll call, H. C. Philips, who had been transferred to the Texas Conference from North Carolina, W. W. Kenna, G. R. Washington, S. Miller, Isaac Hambright. Deacons, Z. McKindrick, E. Carter, G. J. Johnson, Henry Johnson, T. R. Gaines; and M. S. Jordan, who had been transferred from Alabama, was ordained to elder's orders and succeeded Philips as presiding elder, Philips being transferred back to North Carolina.

        In 1890 Conference convened at Stoneham, third Wednesday in October. Elders present, M. S. Jordan,

Page 438

G. Z. Washington, S. Miller, and W. W. Kanna. Deacons, G. J. Johnson, Henry Johnson, B. McKindrick, and E. Carter.

        In 1891 Conference convened at Navasota, third Wednesday in October, Bishop Pettey presiding. Elders present, M. S. Jordan, G. R. Washington, S. Miller, W. W. Kanna, E. W. King, and R. C. O. Benjamin. Deacons, G. J. Johnson, H. Johnson, E. Carter, and Z. McKindrick. George Beard was ordained and added to the deacons' list in this Conference. Preachers received, George Pugh and Giles Williams.

        In 1893 Conference convened at Calvert, Tex., first Wednesday in February, Bishop Pettey presiding. Elders, P. R. Pittman, G. R. Washington, W. W. Kanna, E. W. King, S. Miller, J. A. Russell, J. Steptoe, and R. E. Shelton. Deacons, G. J. Johnson, H. Johnson, E. Carter, and George Beard. Ordained, Dr. M. A. Majors. Preacher, George Pugh. Received, William Beneford. Thus ended the last Conference up to date held in Texas. For unforeseen causes the time of convening was changed from October, 1892, and hence did not meet until February 1, 1893. The redemption of Zion in Texas seems to have been assigned to Bishop Pettey. The work having almost suspended, it remained for him to restore and throw light upon the dark places, give strength to the weak, and give to the connection such an impetus that has never before been witnessed in the Lone Star State. The force of his genius as well as the concentration of his spiritual power seems to have added to the work the long-wanting features of African Methodist Episcopal Zion expectations.

Page 439

        While Bishop Lomax poses as the leader and organizer of the work in Texas, Bishop Thompson the second bishop to carry farther the pioneer beginning of an undertaking destined to be great, Bishop Pettey poses as the rebuilder and restorer of the work which had grown into a state of despondency and gloom.

        The next Annual Conference will convene third Wednesday in October, 1893, at Waco, making two Conferences for the year 1893, in consequence of the postponement in 1892.--M. A. Majors, M.D., Secretary of Texas Conference.


        This Conference was organized by Bishop T. H. Lomax, D.D., in 1885, as the offspring of the Georgia Conference. It includes the northwestern part of the State of Georgia, including Atlanta, the Gate City. The roll of North Georgia Conference is as follows:

  • Bishop, Right Rev. I. C. Clinton, D.D.
  • Ministers, Revs. W. D. Smith, D. M. Pinkard, G. A. Smith, O. S. Williams, S. P. Jones, J. E. Transue, J. C. Dunbar, J. F. Flemington, J. R. Turner, H. Wilson, J. J. Park, C. G. Hill, A. Tompkins, A. P. Herne, L. W. Taylor, R. Holl, L. P. Freman.


        This Conference was organized by Bishop T. H. Lomax, D.D., on January 14, 1891. The following is the roll of members:

  • Presiding Bishop, T. H. Lomax.
  • Elders, Joseph Sexton, G. W. Maize, W. G. Strong,

Page 440

    J. R. Harris, W. C. Westes, B. R. Harris, W. A. Bain, J. M. Sims.
  • Deacons, R. R. Frederick, W. J. Sanders, James Dudley, A. Long.
  • Preachers, H. G. Jones, R. W. Ballard, J. H. Jordan, D. E. White, A. G. Higgs, J. D. Ballard, J. F. Fobbs, H. W. White.


        This Conference was organized by Bishop T. H. Lomax, D.D., September 17, 1890, in Washington Chapel, St. Louis, Mo. It started off under very favorable auspices. It had at its organization twenty-six members. Rev. Anthony Bunch, one of the oldest members of the Kentucky Conference, headed the roll in this new Conference. There are few men living who can equal Elder Bunch in organizing and building up a church under adverse circumstances. The following is the roll of members of Conference:

  • Bishop, T. H. Lomax, D.D.
  • Presiding Elder, Rev. Smith Claiborne.
  • Elders, Anthony Bunch, Yarmouth Carr, Edward Jackson, Adam Wakefield, W. F. Jones, J. P. Thompson, E. Stokes, T. J. Manson, J. H. Hardin, J. U. Browder, D. J. Donohoo, W. H. Ealy, M. A. F. Easton, Alfred Nichols, H. W. Smith.
  • Deacons, E. Scott, Joseph Bunch, C. N. Payne.
  • Preachers, Peter Shelton, David Jackson, Daniel Shelton, Lewis Norton, Paul Shelton, Henry Parker.
  • Lay Delegates, George Boldrew, first division; J. E. Couch, second division; Joseph Stroughter, third division. Rev. John W. Alstork, fraternal delegate by letter from Alabama Conference.


        This Conference was organized and set apart by the Louisiana Conference November 20, 1890, in the city of New Orleans, under the administration of Bishop C. C. Pettey, A.M., D.D. Its first session was held at Thompson's Chapel, near Mann's Station, in the country six miles west of Vicksburg, in the State of Louisiana, which session convened at twelve o'clock the first Wednesday in November, 1891, Bishop C. C. Pettey presiding. S. M. Morgan was elected secretary. Roll of members: H. W. Barnett, presiding elder and steward. Elders, J. H. W. Inge, J. W. Johnson, W. S. Davis, R. S. Shelton, and J. W. Eason. Deacon John Steptoe was ordained an elder. Deacons, none. Preachers received, A. I. Inge, Washington Betheny, Henry Carrell, P. C. Saunders, Peter Adams, George Carrell, Smith M. Morgan, Robert W. Williams, M. J. Roper, and Jefferson Williams.

        This Conference was largely attended, and great interest was manifested by the entire community. After an interesting session of seven days, accompanied by the Holy Ghost, the Conference adjourned to meet in Delhi, La., the first Wednesday in November, 1892.

        The North Louisiana Conference convened in Townsen's Chapel, Delhi, La., the first Wednesday in November, 1892, Bishop C. C. Pettey, A.M., D.D., presiding, Smith M. Morgan, secretary. H. W. Barnett, presiding elder and conference steward. Elders on roll, H. W.

Page 442

Barnett, J. W. Eason, J. W. Johnson, J. H. W. Inge, W. S. Davis, and R. S. Shelton, Elder John Steptoe having transferred to the Texas Conference. The following preachers were ordained deacons: Abraham I. Inge, Smith M. Morgan, Morris J. Roper, William Cooper, Pollard C. Saunders, Richard W. Williams, Peter Adams, Henry Carrell, and Sandy Jones. Preachers, George Carrell, Jefferson Williams, and Washington Betheny. This, the second session, was quite interesting, but quiet. The financial reports were not very encouraging, in consequence of the high water, which did much damage to the cotton farmers of all that section. Spiritually and numerically we all had cause to rejoice in the reports. This Conference, set apart in 1890 with eight ministers and traveling preachers and about one hundred and twenty members, reported at Delhi with six elders, nine deacons, and three preachers, and having more than four hundred members on roll.

        This Conference has a promising outlook, situated as it is in the great cotton belt of Louisiana, but able and devoted Christian ministers are greatly needed. After a glorious session this Conference voted, as did all of the Conferences of the Sixth Episcopal District, for the union of the two great Negro Methodist Churches, and adjourned to meet at Saint James Church, Madison Parish, La., the first Wednesday in December, 1893.

        We give below the roll of members of the North Louisiana Conference:

  • Presiding Elders, Solomon Johnson, L. W. Oldfield.
  • Elders, H. W. Barnett, J. H. W. Inge, S. H. N. Wallier, Edward D. Armstead, J. N. Davis, A. Washington,

Page 443

    A. Humble, Paul Brimage, P. S. Burton, Allen J. Seals, Thomas Jones, S. M. Johnson, J. W. Johnson, Sandy Thompson, H. McNeal, C. F. Gurtie, I. Pitts, I. C. Nicholas, P. E. Jones, J. P. Gundry.
  • Deacons, William Baker, Daniel Lard, H. Jones, R. Williams, R. Carroll, S. Jones, Samuel Ard, J. W. Kelley, L. M. Morgan, R. Roper, H. Carroll.


        This Conference was organized by Bishop J. J. Moore, in November, 1891. It is composed of counties on the east side of the Blue Ridge, extending southeast as far as Mecklenburg and northeast as far as Forsyth County, forming nearly one half of the territory previously within the bounds of the Central North Carolina Conference. This is a splendid region of country, and, like the other Conferences in North Carolina, this is composed of active and intelligent men. This is the seventh Conference formed out of the territory originally within the bounds of the North Carolina Conference. Bishop Moore was on his way to meet this Conference in Charlotte when he received the fatal dart of death at Greensboro, N. C. Following is the roll of members:

  • Presiding Elders, Revs. George H. Haines, A.M., M. V. Marable, Henry L. Simmons.
  • Elders, Revs. P. A. McCorkle, B. F. Martin, G. G. Musgrave, S. F. Hamilton, D.D., William M. Johnson, P. J. Holmes, A. L. Newby, R. C. Collins, S. D. Wadkins, S. W. Jackson, E. C. Davidson, D. E. Best, A. T. Clement, S. Carter, D. C. Covington, Robert H. Simmons, H. B. Bennett, S. S. Murdock, F. Archie, D. A. McKoy, S. Herndon, W. J. Benjamin, E. L. Campbell, J. W. Jinkens, W. M. Little, R. B. Bruce, H. L. Hyatt, Eli Alexander, W. O. Wadell, L. N. B. H. Wyche.
  • Deacons, Revs. Charles H. Artis, J. A. Miller, C. Roberts, J. S. McRae, S. M. Pharr, J. M. Fullenwider, H. Hooser, L. A. Barber, M. Caldwell, C. W. Vanderburg, M. M. Smith, J. S. Smith, Peter Caldwell, J. D. Williams, W. M. Smith, H. J. Simpson, A. D. Dunlap, C. L. Bias, W. L. Alexander, S. Speight, Garrison E. Carter, George Clement.
  • Preachers, W. H. Wolf, P. C. Helton, H. J. Simpson, T. S. Grier, F. M. Stitt, R. D. Davis, J. J. Blanton.


        G. S. Adams, was born in Burke County, N. C., ten miles from Morganton, November 6, 1868. He is the oldest of four brothers. George was always regarded as a very good boy; from early boyhood he was prayerful, good-natured, and studious.

        When but five years old he was baptized by Rev. Samuel Alexander, and was by the same minister received into the Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Gaston County, at eleven years of age. When twelve years old the same minister succeeded in getting him to accept the religion of Jesus Christ. He immediately became an active Christian. At fourteen years of age he became a Sabbath school teacher, at sixteen years of age a class leader of a young converts' class.

        When seventeen years old he was licensed as a local preacher by Presiding Elder E. L. Campbell, September

Page 445

12, 1885. Young Adams taught in the public schools from 1885 to 1890. He entered Livingstone College in 1886, where he received his college training. During his college days he was received November 21, 1887,



by Bishop J. W. Hood, D.D., into the Central North Carolina Annual Conference, then in session at Concord, N. C., as a traveling preacher. He was then nineteen years old. Bishop Hood made him a missionary that year. He built and brought into the Conference,
Page 446

which met in Fayetteville, N. C., that year two churches. He was greatly eulogized for his work, and as a token of appreciation was given a scholarship in Livingstone College. Dr. Goler presented him to the Conference, and said he was a fine-looking and worthy young man.

        In 1889 he was elected a deacon at Charlotte, and was by Bishop C. R. Harris ordained to that office at Salisbury, December 23, 1889. Young Adams was petitioned for and sent to Thomas's Chapel, Hickory, N. C. He stayed there two years and met with great success. He had many converts, almost doubled the membership, repaired and refurnished the church.

        When the Annual Conference assembled at Statesville he was elected an elder and ordained to it by Bishop J. J. Moore, November 25, 1890. August 6, 1890, he was married to Miss Lillie G. Fleming, of Morganton, N. C., Rev. George H. Haines officiating. She is a most excellent Church worker, a good Christian, and a splendid minister's wife. She knows how to make and hold friends.

        In 1891 Rev. Adams was appointed to Grace Church at Charlotte. He had the largest and most successful revival and the largest congregation known in the history of that church. He cleared that church of debt in twelve months and added forty persons to the church.

        May, 1893, he took a notion to transfer, and asked my opinion. I told him, inasmuch as he was a young, scholarly, and wide-awake preacher, to come North. He saw Bishop Hood, who transferred him last May to Yonkers, N. Y., where he was warmly received by his church

Page 447

and is meeting with great success. White and colored are flocking to hear him. He is arranging to build a parsonage. Of his success and preaching the editor of the Star of Zion says in one of the July issues, "Rev. G. S. Adams, who was recently transferred to the New York Conference and stationed at Yonkers, N. Y., has already shown himself to be admirably adapted to the place and people. The amount raised by him on Children's Day last Sunday was fifty dollars, which greatly excels any sum raised in that State outside of New York city and at Mother Zion."

        Speaking of his sermon before the Tennessee Annual Conference last fall a year ago, Editor Clinton, in the Star, said, "Adams is a good speaker and a fine sermonizer."

        In conversation he is very entertaining, and impresses one with the fact that he is a deep thinker. He is frequently called the "boy preacher." The Bible and human nature are his text-books. He carefully prepares his sermons, which are always interesting and instructive to the hearers. His fraternal address delivered before our Conference last May was frequently punctured with applause and highly commended.--J. W. Smith, in Star of Zion.


        The subject of our sketch first saw the light in Halifax, N. S., on January 1, 1846. The circumstances of his childhood and youth were such as to develop the masterful traits of character which have stood him in such good stead in all his later life. Being early deprived of parents, and

Page 448

hampered by other infelicities of home life, he was thrown out to make his own way in the world. Young Goler enjoyed for a time the advantages of the public schools of the city of Halifax, and these advantages he used with his characteristic diligence and application until his fifteenth year, when he was apprenticed to the firm of Coleman & Brown, bricklayers and plasterers of that city. In 1867, during a revival held by Rev. Stephen Goosley, then pastor of Zion Church at Halifax, he was happily converted. He at once became an active member of the church. Rev. R. R. Morris, now Dr. Morris, Superintendent of the Sabbath School Union of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, was pastor in the city of Halifax, and personal contact with Dr. Morris and the doctor's sermons greatly impressed Mr. Goler and exerted upon him an influence which strengthened and stimulated him in after years. Although Mr. Goler felt drawn to the ministry his high ideas as to the preparation of head and heart necessary to the right performance of the solemn duties of the gospel ministry caused him to shrink even from making it known. But, faithful to the inner voice that prompted him to go and preach, he decided to leave his home and kindred for the purpose of preparing himself to heed the call.

        In 1870 he went to Boston and entered upon the prosecution of the business of his trade. He stuck to his business with great industry and economy for three years, during which time he reaped some of the large pecuniary harvest which was the good fortune of Boston contractors during those years of plenty, and saved up therefrom the means upon which he entered Lincoln University, in 1873.

Page 449

Having given most of his time to manual pursuits up to this period, it was but natural that he should find himself at a disadvantage in entering the regular college department of the university, but he was able to enter the freshman class after only one year in the preparatory department.

        In the year 1875 he met E. Moore, now Dr. E. Moore,



of Livingstone College. This is a notable incident in the life of our subject, because he and Dr. Moore have been associated as fellow-professors in Livingstone College for the past ten years. At the same time he also met Dr. J. C. Price. He and Dr. Price at once became attached to each other, and there sprang up between them a friendship which was only strengthened with the passing years. During the summer months he earned money enough by
Page 450

all sorts of honorable labor to defray his expenses during each succeeding school term. He graduated in June, 1878, the valedictorian of his class, and received the degree of A.B. In September of the same year he entered the theological seminary connected with his alma mater, and Rev. J. C. Price was his classmate. He took the full three years' seminary course, and graduated in April, 1881, with the degree of B.D. While prosecuting his course in theology he, in company with Revs. Dr. J. C. Price, S. P. Wood, and Dr. W. H. Weaver, traveled extensively in the interest of the university, going into the principal cities of New York State, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan. In 1883 he accepted from Dr. Price an invitation to join him in the work at Livingstone College, then Zion Wesley Institute, but he did not enter fully upon duty there until March; 1884. He preached the first annual sermon for the college at its commencement in 1884, when the eloquent and lamented Bishop S. T. Jones, D.D., delivered the annual oration. This sermon might perhaps be termed in some sense Professor Goler's inaugural address at Livingstone, for by his sound views, eloquently expressed, he won every heart and placed himself before the trustees and church as an eminently desirable man for a place in the faculty of the institution as professor, either in the classical or theological department. Thus it came to pass that Professor Goler was regularly installed as a member of the faculty of Livingstone College.

        During the first year of his professorship at Livingstone he held the pastorate of St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church at Winston, but soon withdrew from the Methodist

Page 451

Episcopal Church and was received by Bishop Hood into the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. He was appointed by Bishop Jones to the Salisbury (N. C.) station, where he remained three years, inspiring the entire Church with new life and giving it new impetus. It was Professor Goler who conceived the idea of "The Soldiers' Memorial Church" and started the fund for that purpose. He gave inception to the plans which were wrought out so admirably by Rev. P. A. McCorkle in the building of the magnificent new church at Salisbury. By this time Professor Goler had shown that he could do things that few others could do, and so Bishop Moore appointed him to Winston to restore Zion's footing in that growing city. During an incumbency of two years he succeeded in bringing Winston up from a mere point on a circuit to be a creditable station. Against untold and unknown odds he recovered Zion's lost ground there and erected for the connection a fine brick church, one of the handsomest houses of worship in the State. All this was done at great personal sacrifice and labor. Not only did he give freely of his small salary, but labored incessantly with his own hands on the walls of the building, and did not come down until it was finished. He was then sent by Bishop Moore to Greensboro to do a similar work. In this he was compelled to begin at the beginning--even to the extent of effecting a permanent organization for the connection in that city. This he soon did, and then secured a most eligible site for a church. He erected a temporary chapel, and proceeded to formulate plans and raise money for the elegant new church to be built there. Professor Goler's merits and

Page 452

distinguished ability soon gave him the position of a leader in his new Conference, a position which can be attained by a new man only through rare talents and genuine force of character.

        Professor Goler, in order to complete his equipment for the large field which he was now to occupy, betook to himself a companion to lighten up the path of life's devious way.

        He married Miss Emma Unthank, the accomplished daughter of Mr. Harmen Unthank, a leading citizen of Greensboro, N. C. In this selection he showed a peculiar genius for the good, the true, and the beautiful, all of which are highly characteristic of Mrs. Goler; and one can think of Dr. Goler's success only in the light of Mrs. Goler's constancy and helpfulness. His energy and usefulness caused him to be chosen a delegate to represent his Conference in the General Conference of 1888, held in New Berne, N. C. He played his part in this session of the chief council of the Church with such dignity and power that the brethren were impressed that he was an eminently fit man to be returned, and consequently he was among the first of the delegates to be elected to the General Conference of 1892, to be held in Pittsburg, Pa.

        The best evidence of his standing in this session of the General Conference is in the fact that he was chosen the fraternal messenger to represent the connection in the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, then in session in Omaha, Neb. He was also chosen a member of the commission on behalf of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church to confer with a like

Page 453

commission of the American Methodist Episcopal Church on the subject of organic union.

        In April, 1891, he received from Lincoln University the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity, an honor unsought, but thoroughly merited. The reader may get an idea what estimate is placed by his alma mater upon Dr. Goler's worth and ability from the following statement of Dr. I. N. Rendall, the president of the university. Dr. Rendall says: "He (Dr. Goler) is one of our best men, in ability, in attainment, and in character. His self-sacrificing and successful work in Livingstone College, as an associate of the late President J. C. Price, reflects great credit on his alma mater." In this statement Dr. Rendall has called attention to Dr. Goler's chief work, in speaking of "self-sacrificing and successful work in Livingstone College, as an associate of the late President J. C. Price." In this did Dr. Goler indeed demonstrate, not only an unwavering devotion to his beloved chief, but an unselfishness and capacity for labor that are no less remarkable than astonishing to all who know of his extraordinary work in "Livingstone." The trustees of the college showed the high estimate which they placed upon this great service by electing him at their annual meeting in 1883 to the position of dean of the college, with all the powers and prerogatives of president when the president should be absent; and the executive committee of the trustee board, at their recent annual meeting in Charlotte, unanimously nominated him to succeed to the presidency made vacant by the death of the lamented Dr. Price. Personally Dr. Goler is one of the kindliest and most philanthropic of men, and a

Page 454

genial, never-failing friend. As a business man he is one of the safest and most prudent. In this he presents a splendid but rare combination. It is not a very common thing for a successful literary man to demonstrate signal financial ability. In many instances they hardly command enough money to guarantee to them a competence. But in this respect Dr. Goler has honored his race, furnishing one of the best illustrations the race has of a professional educator who has also through industry and rigid economy acquired some means, and evincing at all times a tact and success in business that, should he choose to follow mercantile pursuits, would give him high rank in the commercial world. But he has studiously stuck to his calling as a plain school-teacher and humble preacher of the Gospel, all of which is in keeping with his modesty and retiring, unassuming habits.

        Dr. Goler is never eager for a conflict, and yet he is fearless and independent in the expression of his views, and, where honor and duty require it, aggressive and unyielding. As a husband and host he is devoted and most dutiful, always exerting himself industriously and unstintedly for the comfort of his family and the entertainment of his friends. In placing the subject of our sketch at the head of Livingstone College, the trustee board and connection are to be congratulated.

        In the first place this carries out the implied and expressed wish of Dr. Price, whose inestimable services to the college and the Church command that his will must not be ignored in any place where it can be found out. And again, in electing him president, the trustees have committed the destiny of the college to the hands of one

Page 455

of the best equipped, most resourceful, all-round men, not only in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, but of the race.



        This Conference was organized by Bishop J. W. Hood, September, 1891. It is the offspring of the Alleghany Conference, and includes all that part of the State of Pennsylvania lying west of the Alleghany River, and is intended to include as much of the State of Ohio as can be occupied. At present there are only a few appointments in that State. For some reason the connection has not made much impression on Ohio. We had a good start there in the days of Rev. Joseph Armstrong, a most faithful and highly respected minister, but he was transferred to Washington City, and the work he had so well begun was suffered to languish. Rev. Jehu Holliday might have pushed on the work, but he was transferred to the Kentucky Conference. The men who were left to carry on this Ohio work were unfaithful. Some let their characters run down, some were slow, and some failed to improve their intellectual capabilities and were unable to entertain the people; so that at the time of the organization of the Ohio Conference there were only four churches in the State of Ohio. By transfer we now have several young and active men in this Conference, and with a most efficient presiding elder we hope to see soon an improved condition. We cannot expect very rapid progress, for broken-down work is harder to build up than new work; nevertheless, we hope to see a flourishing Ohio Conference. Of the men who have long labored in

Page 456

this section Revs. J. H. Trimble and George W. Lewis are the most distinguished. The present roll is as follows:

  • Bishop, J. W. Hood.
  • Presiding Elder, J. H. Trimble.
  • Elders, George W. Lewis, E. J. Little, W. H. Darsey, R. J. Strother, M. R. Franklin, C. W. M. Cypress, H. Ross, H. Butler, D. Mathews, J. S. Cowles, Thomas H. Slater, D. G. Moore, C. Campbell, and W. H. Hamilton.


        This Conference was organized by Bishop C. R. Harris, D.D., in December, 1891.


        This Conference was organized by Bishop C. C. Pettey, D.D., in 1891. Following is the roll of members:

  • Bishop, Right Rev. I. C. Clinton.
  • Ministers, Revs. E. Hinton, J. Dunning, W. M. Weatherspoon, W. W. Thompson, S. L. Deas, D. S. Miller, J. R. Iberd, H. Williams, J. Brown, L. W. Lee, W. W. Hall, S. P. Meek, C. H. Hood, R. B. Williams, J. A. Morris, W. Johnson, L. W. Steward, S. L. Jones, S. C. Smith, J. Lucon, E. Gales, G. W. Murphy, F. Adams, A. G. Williams, C. A. King, F. Archer, J. R. Bickham, J. B. Robeson, H. Blake, A. McNeil, D. P. Edwards, L. J. Hendrick, J. R. Blake, R. K. Kerant, J. M. Newton.


        Set off by the California Conference in 1892.

Page 457


        This Conference was formed by Bishop Thomas H. Lomax in 1892. It has four presiding elders' districts, and covers that region of North Carolina which lies west of the Blue Ridge, with the adjoining section of south western Virginia and the section of Tennessee east of Knoxville.


        The following is the roll of the General Conference held at Pittsburg, Pa., in 1892.

        Bishops, Right Revs. J. J. Moore, D.D.; J. W. Hood, D.D.; J. P. Thompson, D.D., M.D.; T. H. Lomax, D.D.; C. C. Pettey, D.D.; C. R. Harris, D.D.; I. C. Clinton, D.D.,* A. Walters, D.D.*

        General Steward, Rev. J. W. Alstork, D.D.*

        General Secretary, Rev. W. H. Day, D.D.

        Agent of the Book Room, Rev. Jehu Holliday, D.D.*

        Editor Star of Zion, Hon. J. C. Dancy.*

        Editor of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Quarterly, Rev. G. W. Clinton, A.B.*

        President of Livingstone College, Rev. J. C. Price, D.D.

        Missionary Secretary, Rev. J. H. Manley, D.D.

        Educational Secretary, Professor S. G. Atkins.

        Sunday School Department, Rev. R. R. Morris, D.D., Superintendent; Rev. T. A. Weathington, Secretary.

        Bureau of Statistics, Rev. N. J. Green, D.D. (deceased), Chairman; Revs. J. H. White, J. S. Caldwell.

        * These were elected at this Conference.

        * Dancy and Clinton changed places.

Page 458

        Women's Home and Foreign Missionary Society, Mrs. M. J. Jones, President; Mrs. K. P. Hood, Secretary; Mrs. Sarah Pettey, Treasurer.

        Publishing Committee, Bishop J. W. Hood, Chairman; Rev. R. H. Stitt, Bishop A. Walters, Revs. W. H. Day, J. B. Small, J. H. White.




        The officers of the Book Room included the entire Board of Bishops, with an Executive Committee, composed as follows: Bishop A. Walters, Chairman; N. J. Green (deceased), J. H. White.

Page 459

J. C. PRICE, D.D.,
President of Livingstone College.

        We first knew Joseph C. Price, we think, as a little boy in Sabbath school, a member of our wife's class, about 1866; but we have a more distinct recollection of him at a later date. In 1869 or 1870 we visited the school in New Berne, taught by a Miss Merrick (who we think was, at a later period, married to the reconstruction governor, Reed, of Florida). Joseph Price was, in Miss Merrick's opinion, her most promising boy. There was another boy in school at that time who was thought by some to be Joseph's superior. He was a mulatto, while Joseph was a pure black; and there were those who at that time held the idea that whatever smartness the Negro possessed was inherited from the Anglo-Saxon race; such believed that in the long run this mulatto boy would excel. Miss Merrick, however, pinned her faith to her black boy, and well did he vindicate her opinion. We have no need to say that she took great interest in his development. Her successor was not her equal as a teacher, and Joseph concluded to seek a better school. He entered Shaw University, but found it not quite to his mind, and therefore went to Lincoln University, from which he graduated.

        About the year 1875 he embraced religion in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church at New Berne, N. C., of which church his mother was a faithful member, and in the Sabbath school of which he had received his earliest instructions.

        In the year 1876 he was licensed to preach by the Quarterly Conference, and in the same year, while still a

Page 460

student in college, he was recommended to and received into the North Carolina Annual Conference. Objection was raised against his admission because he was not present; but Elder J. A. Tyler was anxious to have him sent as a delegate to the next General Conference, and for that purpose it was thought necessary to get him in at that session. The bishop was informed of Elder Tyler's purpose, and threw the weight of his influence in the young man's favor; he held that the point raised was more a matter of custom than of positive law. At the next ensuing Conference the question of ordaining him deacon created quite a discussion, because he had not traveled nor held a pastoral charge; he had not even met the Conference. The bishop could see no objection, and the motion to ordain him prevailed, the bishop being authorized to ordain him at sight. At the end of his third year he was elected to elder's orders, and elected a delegate to the General Conference which assembled in Montgomery, Ala., May, 1880.




        We know of no other man being thus received into an Annual Conference and advanced to deacon's and elder's

Page 461

orders and elected a delegate to the General Conference without ever having met the Annual Conference.

        The beauty of it was that Brother Price had no part whatever in his rapid advancement; he simply acquiesced in what was done. Without his asking it the leaders of the church in New Berne recommended him to the pastor; the pastor appointed a time for him to preach a trial sermon, on which the pastor and leaders recommended him to the Quarterly Conference and he was licensed to preach, and soon after that was recommended by the Quarterly Conference as a candidate for membership in the Annual Conference. The pastor carried that recommendation to the Annual Conference and he was received on trial. He was finally received into full connection in the Annual Conference, and all these steps were taken without any word from him.

        We feel quite sure that he had no idea that he would be ordained deacon at the time he was, until after the Conference had passed upon it. He may have had some previous inkling of his promotion to elder's orders and of his election as delegate to the General Conference, and yet we are not certain that he had. He failed to meet the Conference at its session because he was in school at the time of its sittings, and it was thought better to excuse him than to put him to the expense of the trip from Lincoln University to the seat of the Conference in North Carolina. Not only the expense, but the loss of time was considered.

        That the North Carolina Conference could thus favor and honor a young man who had done no pastoral work, with nothing upon which to base its action except someone's

Page 462

opinion that he was destined to be a great man, without strong opposition, was not to be expected. Rev. J. A. Tyler, his elder, deserves great credit for the manner in which he stood by his boy from the time he first presented his name to the Annual Conference. There were objections when he was received into the Annual Conference, objections to his ordinations and to his election as delegate to the General Conference; but in all these cases Rev. Tyler espoused his cause. Dr. Price certainly knew nothing of these contests till they were over; we are not certain that he ever knew. It was the policy of his friends that he should not know, that he might not be discouraged. We did not know him then as we did later, or we might have spared ourselves the fear of his becoming discouraged by opposition. He was not made that way.

        At the General Conference in 1880 some of us expected opposition to his being seated, and it came. Some busy-body informed the Committee on Credentials that Price had not traveled four years, as the law required; it lacked six months of being four years from the time he was received on trial. Here was thought to be a case in which it seemed that the law was clearly against his admission; but the bishop of the district from which Price was a delegate heard of the purpose to leave Price out, and he went before the committee and convinced them that Price ought to be seated, and he was seated without a contest on the Conference floor. There was, however, a little private grumbling for several days. But in the early part of the session a fraternal messenger from the African Methodist Episcopal (Bethel) Church presented his

Page 463

credentials, and an hour was fixed for him to deliver his message. While he was speaking the bishop, who was presiding, beckoned to Price, who approached the altar, and the bishop whispered to him that he wished him to respond to the fraternal message. Price returned to his seat, and we noticed that his eyes were shut and his lips were in silent motion. When he arose to speak there were few who had any knowledge of his ability; and as the message to which he was to respond had been fairly well delivered by one who wore the title of D.D., there was, for the first few seconds, great anxiety, which was followed by deep interest, and this, in turn, by astonishment; finally the entire General Conference was filled with uncontrollable rapture, which found vent in most hearty applause.

        We have heard Dr. Price on many occasions, when he well sustained his reputation as "the world's orator;" but never have we listened to him with deeper interest or greater satisfaction than on that occasion. He completely vindicated those who had been charged with pushing him forward regardless of law; and those who had been complaining view with his former friends in lavishing praise.

        The remarkable thing then noticed was that praise did not affect him. In all our knowledge of men we have never seen another upon whom praise had so little apparent effect. It absolutely had no perceptible effect upon Price.

        Praise causes some to blush and others to boast; it makes some feel humble and fills others with pride; but the closest scrutiny could not detect any effect of any

Page 464

kind upon Dr. Price. This was one of his peculiar characteristics and was one of the secrets of his success. He was so perfectly at ease under all circumstances that everybody felt like accommodating him, and very few had the nerve to say "No;" and those who did so put it in a shape which relieved it of all harshness.

        After Senator Stanford had given him five thousand dollars for Livingstone College he called on Mr. Crocker, another millionaire, who could have given him largely if he had so chosen, and he was satisfied that Price knew it. He thought for a moment and said, "Mr. Price, this thing doesn't appeal to me." That, of course, closed the effort, for certainly you cannot expect a man to contribute to a cause which is out of the range of his sense of duty.

        Dr. Price's denominational career commenced with his appearance at the General Conference in 1880. His voice was heard in debate upon all the important subjects disposed of by that assembly, as it has been by every General Conference since that time. And yet the institution upon which he has so completely fixed his impress, and for which he labored so hard and faithfully, received but little attention from him at that time. We do not remember that he took any prominent part in securing its adoption by the General Conference as a connectional institution. It was then known as the Zion Wesley Institute, projected by the North Carolina Conference and incorporated by the Legislature of North Carolina. It was simply on paper, however, like many other projects.

        The church at Concord had donated seven acres of land to secure its erection at that place; but nothing had been

Page 465

done in the way of erecting buildings. It, however, had been decided to open school at that place the following winter. Rev. C. R. Harris (now bishop) had been elected principal.

        It was in 1881 that Dr. Price began to be known in all the world, first by his speeches in North Carolina during the Prohibition campaign in that State. Hon. William E. Dodge, of New York, was asked to assist in that campaign, and he agreed to furnish one speaker of his own selection. Price was the person selected, and no other speaker made a better impression. White ladies who had never listened to a Negro orator before were so pleased that they lavished bouquets of flowers upon him, and the best men of the State were proud to occupy the same platform with him.

        During the same year he was sent as a delegate to the great Ecumenical Conference which assembled in City Road Chapel, London, England. It was there that, in a five-minute speech, he secured the attention of the world, for which he was called "the world's orator." The wonder to people was that, while he was a stranger to nearly all the delegates, the audience seemed to know him. The secret was that he had captured an audience of about two thousand people at the town of Hastings, where he had lectured a few days previous, and there were possibly a hundred of those who had heard him there who had come to London hoping to hear him again; they were scattered about in the galleries, and hence when he arose to speak there were calls for Price from all parts of the house, except that portion reserved for the delegates.

Page 466

        To intensify the feeling in Price's interest, the chairman had made the mistake of assigning the floor to another speaker by a private understanding, although it was evident that Price had addressed him first. The speaker to whom the floor was thus assigned fumbled with his manuscript till his time was up, and made nothing clear. During the five minutes thus wasted the audience had been swelling with impatience, and when Price made the second attempt to get the floor the unanimous call for him indicated to the chairman that they did not intend to be cheated again. As his clear voice rang out over that vast assembly in most polished English, he was heard in all the committee rooms, and committees, breaking off from their work, stopped and asked each other, "Who is it that is creating such extraordinary enthusiasm?" The committee rooms were soon deserted, and the doorways leading to them were filled with delegates who had left their work in the committees to see who or what manner of man it was who had set the Conference wild with pleasing emotions. Five minutes never before seemed to pass so quickly, and when the chairman's gavel fell the audience cried with one voice, "Go on." Nor did they cease until the chairman stated that Mr. Price had too great a sense of propriety and was too orderly to go on contrary to rule. A little later, however, on the same day, Price again got the floor, and we had another explosion. So it continued until the Conference closed. He was the favorite of the audience, and the sound of his voice was the signal for the wildest enthusiasm, no matter how dull the session may have been before he began to speak.

Page 467

        At Bristol a grand reception was given to the delegates from abroad in a hall which held three thousand five hundred people. Price was kept back for the last speaker so as to hold the audience. It is hard work to hold an English audience after nine o'clock. Bishops Peck and Walden and other white men spoke. Bishop Walden's speech was a little lengthy, and some became impatient and started to go; but when he closed and Price arose (about ten o'clock) you would have thought that the roof was coming off the house. Those who had started out turned back, and when he stopped they repeatedly cried, "Go on," though it was nearly eleven o'clock.

        On his way to England the bishop who had chosen him as delegate informed him of his purpose in selecting him, namely, that he might make use of his (Price's) oratorical powers in raising at least ten thousand dollars for Zion Wesley Institute. Price thought for a while, and finally agreed to undertake it. We know it cost him a struggle, for he had other plans in his own mind. He had intended spending several months in Europe seeing the Old World and lecturing in his own interest. There might have been more money in that for him at that time, but we all know now that he took the wisest course. In fact, it was his good fortune generally to take the wisest course. His action in this case was the more honorable because the connection had furnished no money to send him. The money he received from Mr. Dodge for his temperance work in North Carolina supplied him the means for this trip, which he thought he was taking for his own personal benefit. We presume he

Page 468

remembered how his friends in the North Carolina Conference had stood by him, advancing him step by step, and also the honor conferred in his appointment as a delegate to this great Conference, which had given him a great opportunity; and his fine sense of gratitude due for what had been done for him forbade his refusing this, the first thing he had ever been asked to do for the Church.

        We have no doubt he also called to mind how pleased his mother would be to know that he was at work for the Church, for which work, to prepare him, she had sacrificed so much.

        When we requested certain Wesleyan ministers to form a board and take charge of his financial efforts in England, they hesitated on account of his youth and brilliancy, and the fact that the ladies were so charmed by his eloquence. And it is a fact beyond question that no other man in all the four hundred delegates was so much a favorite as he. But we pledged them our honor for his good conduct. From his boyhood we regarded him as a model of purity and honor, and we were willing to put our honor at stake for his good behavior. They accepted the bond and took charge of his work; and when it was finished and he had returned to this country, the president of the board wrote us that Mr. Price had fulfilled our word and vindicated our honor; that he had watched him personally, and had the testimony of others that there was not the smallest variation from the reputation we had given him. He went further, and spoke of Price's ability as an orator of an extraordinary order. To give us an idea of his estimate, he said:

Page 469

"He is not an orator of the American type, but that of a cultured Englishman." Intensely English as he was, he could have said nothing stronger.

        We told Price that we wanted him to raise at least ten thousand dollars, and, including what was given him on traveling expenses while in England, he raised just that amount. We were assured that if he had remained longer he could have raised twenty-five thousand dollars. It was our hope to have him go back and raise the balance. The state of his health, of which he had been fully sensible for many months, was the main thing that prevented him; he was doubtful whether he could stand another voyage across the ocean. We hope some one will yet rise up to complete that work.

        While Mr. Price was in England the news of his success reached this country, and the white people of Salisbury, hearing of our purpose to establish a college, offered one thousand dollars if we would locate in that city. This offer was accepted, and the present location was purchased with money raised by Price, added to the one thousand dollars subscribed by the white people of Salisbury.

        Mr. Price returned in the fall of 1882, and was elected president. He secured from the Legislature an amendment changing its title from "Zion Wesley Institute" to "Livingstone College."

        During the first six years of Price's management of the institution, associated with Bishop Harris, it possessed a religious power beyond any institution that we have ever known. Bishop Harris's great piety in the schoolroom and Dr. Price's force of character, both

Page 470

within and without the institution, constituted a religious force which sin itself seemed powerless to resist. Scarcely could any one, male or female, go there and not embrace religion. We speak without fear of successful contradiction when we assert that it is the best of all the schools in the land established for the education of the Negro. Others are good on one or more lines; this is good on every line.

        Dr. Price enforced the idea of an education which included the culture of the head, the hand, and the heart; and you will see his impress upon his students if you watch them, scattered as they already are in various parts of this broad land.

        Dr. Price had not the power to read character quickly, but he could soon discover by practical tests whether or not a man was suited to the work; and he had the courage to tell a teacher that he must adapt himself to the peculiar demands of the situation as he understood it, or give it up. This ability to discover quickly a man's capacity by practical tests atoned for his lack of power to read character at sight.

        Dr. Price was not only an educator; he was deeply infatuated with a desire for the elevation of his race, and the school was to him simply a means to that end. His lectures, his essays, his sermons, and his social intercourse were all charged with the same holy mission. We used to regard him as especially a splendid lecturer; we were disappointed in the effect of his sermon at Hastings, England (the only one we heard him preach in that country); it was well prepared and clearly delivered, but it did not seem to affect the audience as we had hoped it

Page 471

would. They were attentive, but not responsive, as they had been in the morning service. The trouble was, it lacked the usual pathos that was expected by an English audience in a Negro preacher's discourse. But his pathos increased as time wore on, and in later days his preaching became as eloquent and enthusiastic as his lecturing, and the last sermon we heard him preach was a masterpiece, both in matter and the power of its delivery. We have seldom heard its equal from any man's lips, and have never heard it excelled.

        Dr. Price's end was not unexpected to himself, and there were a few of his friends who were warned of the sad coming event. Six months or more before his death a distinguished doctor in Boston said that he had Bright's disease, and that his case was incurable; that the end might come at any time, and certainly would within a few months. When we met him at the Commencement last May we noticed that he was losing flesh rapidly and seemed feeble, and at times wore an expression which produced sadness in us. We felt a strong sympathy for him at that time.

        Early in July, 1893, we met him at Elizabeth City; he seemed better and spoke with much of his usual eloquence and power; but the last of August, after his stroke of paralysis, we saw him again and realized that the end was fast approaching. On the 10th of October we met him in Philadelphia, and we took supper together for the last time. He had been to Saratoga for a month by the advice of a physician in New York, who had told him to come back to see him at the end of a month. He had done so, but received little encouragement, and was on

Page 472

his way home to die. He talked cheerfully about his condition and about the outlook for the connection and its several interests. He was especially pleased at the appointment which had just been made to the church in Boston. We felt then that we should never see him again in this life.

        We know of no man who has accomplished so much for the benefit of mankind and for his own imperishable glory in so short a period. Like a splendid meteor he blazed and flashed and passed away; but unlike that, he has left behind him a monument which shall endure for ages, yea, till time shall be no more.

        Dr. Price is not dead, but sleepeth; there is no death for such a man. John says he was told to write, "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them." The institutions they establish or advance continue; their works go on, and still go on; the movements which they set in motion roll on with ever-increasing magnitude and velocity, like the river which is made up of innumerable smaller streams which empty into it, increasing the volume of its waters till it empties into the ocean and is there swallowed up.

        We see a Fenderson, a Colbert, a Stitt, a Bloice, a Caldwell, a Blackwell--all the outcome of Price's work--keeping the ark moving, pushing on the work which Price so well begun. They are the results of his workmanship; they live, and he still lives in them, as in others also who have come out from the same institution. Thus, in the language of the angel which talked with

Page 473

John from heaven, "his works do follow him;" and looking down the untold ages, as the fruits of the labors of the countless numbers of others, trained by those who have been trained by him, shall appear upon the stage and perform their parts, still carrying on the blessed work of lifting up humanity and conveying gladness to the hearts of men, we have an exhibition of the wonderful work of this great man. No, Price is not dead; he lives in the men he labored to make, and will live on in the men they, in their turn, labor to make; and on and still on the stream of his usefulness will roll through time until time is swallowed up in the ocean of eternity. Eternity alone will tell the size of the movement set in motion and so faithfully advanced by his untiring efforts.

        However strange his early departure may appear to us, God knows why it was best. For about a year, according to the best information we have, Dr. Price had been almost continually preaching from one text, "It is expedient for you that I go away: if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you." We all know that this was the language of Jesus to his disciples. But it may be that the Holy Spirit thus moved upon Dr. Price to warn us of his own departure.

        In New Berne, last November, at the place where he commenced his ministry, he preached from this text, and it was the last that he ever preached in that place. On his last visit to Elizabeth City, the place of his birth, he preached from this same text and bade them farewell forever. The last sermon we heard him preach was preached in Providence, R. I., and that was his text. We

Page 474

were struck with the wonderful power with which he delivered that discourse in a hall the sound of which was so bad that it was almost killing for any one to preach.

        In our shortsightedness, and in our propensity to praise those we love, some of us have said that Price's place cannot be filled, and so it seems to finite mortals. But are we not in danger of being chargeable of limiting the infinite One? Great as Price was, God can give us his equal if he chooses to do so. We must remember that God gave us Price. We think that his place can never be filled; we truly hope that in this we are mistaken. We have faith that in God's good providence he has something in store for us of which we have no conception. Who knows but that the sympathy for the institution caused by the apparently untimely death of its distinguished president may induce some one to come forward with means to endow the institution? In such a case we should easily realize the force of his text, "It is expedient for you that I go away." However this may be, what we may consider as his dying words and the goodness of God will lead us to hope and expect more from his death than could have come from a longer life. Hence we shall humbly bow in submission to the will of Him who doeth all things well.

        We have been severely tempted at times to complain of this strange providence, but are thankful to say that faith has gotten the victory. With our departed brother we feel that all must be well. He rests from that anxiety, that burden of care, which he carried for about ten years, and no mortal knows how heavy it was. The sunshine in his nature prevented him from showing to others

Page 475

what he felt himself; but he is now really and truly at rest.

                         "The eyes he so seldom could close,
                         By sorrow forbidden to sleep,
                         Now wrapped in immortal repose
                         Have strangely forgotten to weep."

        We might mention two lessons that can be learned from the life and character of our deceased brother. First, the importance of having a purpose in life and sticking to it. Dr. Price was subject to many allurements, many temptations to turn aside from his God-appointed work. Distinguished men in other Churches sought to draw him off by promises to do better by him than Zion Connection could do. Politicians tried to use him to their purposes. He could have had a collectorship at one time, possibly a seat in Congress, and was offered the position of Minister Plenipotentiary to a foreign court, as the representative of this, the greatest government on the face of the globe. But he put these things aside and went on with his own work. His admirers made him appear as a candidate for the episcopal office, and we feared at one time that they had succeeded in gaining his consent; but at the critical moment he arose to the dignity of the brave and true man of God that he was and bade defiance to his tempters, declaring his purpose to stick to that work to which he had consecrated his life. He declined each and all these offers with an apparent ease that was truly surprising. He had a work, and nothing could turn him aside from it.

        The second lesson to which we refer that may be learned from his life and character is, that it is not necessary for a man to be a white man in order to receive due credit

Page 476

for his merit. Many colored men have been discouraged because they have seen no hope of reaching the object of their desires. Many years ago a brother of ours left this country, never to return, he said, because there was no chance for a black man here. Whatever ground there may have been for this feeling in the past, we learn from the success Dr. Price had in overcoming "Negrophobia" that success may be attained.

        When Dr. Price made his first great speech before a white audience in Raleigh, N. C., in 1881, there was a man present who would hardly have put himself to the trouble of going to hear a Negro speak. He told us soon afterward of his experience on that occasion. It was an assembly of the temperance workers of the State, composed largely of the best men and women of the old North State. After several of the most distinguished white orators of the State had addressed that convention there were calls from all parts of the house for "Price, Price, Price!" This gentleman said that he did not know "Price," had never heard of him before; he supposed, of course, that the man the audience called for was some white man: but imagine his surprise when he saw, as he put it, "a great big black Negro, with very white teeth," walking up the aisle. As the speaker stepped upon the platform, faced the audience, and began to speak, this gentleman said to himself, "Now Webster will catch it; and as for the ladies, what will become of them?" He was almost beside himself with fear that something uncouth or unbecoming would be heard. His suspense was, however, of very short duration, for the speaker had not uttered a half dozen sentences before the

Page 477

fear of the gentleman referred to had given place to astonishment. The black speaker was delivering, in the best of English, one of the most eloquent discourses to which it had ever been his privilege to listen. He turned to the man who sat next to him and saw that his mouth was wide open, and that he, like himself, was spellbound by the Negro's matchless eloquence. This man was a county superintendent of education, and had long been acknowledged as one of the leading educators of that section, and therefore was, we think, a very competent judge. He admitted that Price had convinced him of the capacity of the Negro, and changed his ideas respecting the race. During the same campaign Dr. Price spoke at Durham, which was one of the most intensely Democratic cities in the State. Several distinguished white speakers spoke on that occasion; but, as was almost always the case, Price was the favorite speaker of the day.

        Knowing, as we do, the power of that silly caste sentiment which holds sway over a vast portion of the white people in some sections, preventing them from rising to the height of their own real greatness of soul, we regard the treatment which Dr. Price received from the white people of the South as simply marvelous. On one occasion, at Spartanburg, S. C., Dr. Price was invited to address the students of a white institution. An institution of learning in that section is about the last place where a black man is expected to be found, except as a servant. In some States there is a law forbidding the coeducation of the races. We are not quite certain that it was not a violation of the spirit of the laws of South Carolina for Price thus to deliver words of instruction to white students

Page 478

(as the laws in many places forbid the teaching of white schools by colored teachers). But whoever thought of law, or anything else, when it stood in the way of hearing Dr. Price? The students of that institution voted him a gold-headed cane, raised the money and bought it, and had to hurry to the railroad station to present it to him on the platform while he awaited the coming of the train.

        At his funeral four of the leading white lawyers of Salisbury asked, and were permitted, to act as pall-bearers. When we were holding memorial services in the Central North Carolina Conference, Dr. Poole, ex-President of the University of North Carolina, was offered an opportunity to make a few remarks. He said, in part, that we claimed Price, as we had a right to do, because he was a colored man, to which he did not object; but he could not admit that we had an exclusive claim. He, too, claimed Price. We claimed him because he was a colored man; he claimed him because he was a man, a great and good man, a splendid specimen of our common humanity, a most useful citizen of the State of North Carolina, an American citizen who had given his life in the interest of his State and nation. He claimed him also because they had a common birthplace; they both first saw the light of life in the same city--Elizabeth City, N. C., was the birthplace of both these distinguished college presidents.

        Hon. G. C. Montgomery, a leading Democrat of Concord, N. C., where the Conference was held, was also offered an opportunity to speak, which he embraced; and so great were his emotions that he could not speak calmly.

Page 479

He was one of those who were captured by the eloquence of Dr. Price in that first great speech at Raleigh in 1881, and the spell was still upon him.

        If ever one man exhibited affection for the memory of another Mr. Montgomery exhibited, in that speech, his affection for the memory of Dr. Price. His manner and remarks indicated very much more than mere respect for a man or admiration of his eloquence. No other word but that which we have used, "affection," can express the feeling exhibited by Mr. Montgomery. He showed that he was not simply amused by Dr. Price's wit, or enraptured by his oratory, but he seemed to regard Dr. Price as his ideal of splendid manhood. Southern Democrat as he was, with all his fancied superiority of the white race, the color of Dr. Price's skin did not count at all; he saw no color--he saw simply the orator, the statesman, the great leader who did what he could to make the world better while he stayed in it, and to leave behind him an example worthy of imitation. Mr. Montgomery voiced the sentiments of thousands of the best white men in the Southland; and the sentiments of the best white women have not been publicly voiced, except in showers of bouquets lavished upon the deceased on many occasions.

        The fact has been mentioned that not a newspaper in all the land, as far as known, has published a sentence except in his praise. We think it may be said that few distinguished men of this or any other age have received so little unfavorable criticism as Dr. Price. We repeat that from him we learn the lesson that it is not necessary for a man to be white to get due credit for real worth.

Page 480

        Price was certainly a black man. To see anything white about him we should have to size him up as a colored sister sized up Sam Jones. She said, "Brother Jones, I loves to hear you preach; you preaches just like a nigger; your face is white, but your heart is black." If a white person wanted to compare Dr. Price with himself in color, he would have to make the comparison on his heart, and not on his face.



        Eli George Biddle, of the New England Conference, son of James E. and Sarah J. Biddle, was born at Black Rock, Pa., January 7, 1844. His father having been killed in a railroad accident, he accompanied his mother to Providence, R. I., in 1858, attended school there for a short time, then was sent to Boston, Mass., and learned the trade of sign and fancy painting.

        He was converted and joined the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Boston during the pastorate of Rev. Sampson Talbot; shortly afterward he enlisted in Company A of the 54th Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, and served his country till the close of the civil war, being severely wounded at the battle of Fort Wagner, July 18, 1863. Returning to Boston in 1865, and listening to the admonition of Miss Eliza A. Gardner, the present New England Vice President of the Woman's Home and Foreign Missionary Society, who was then, as now, an active laborer for souls, he reentered upon the church work, was soon after made church clerk, and in 1871 was elected superintendent of the Sunday school, which position he retained until 1883. During these twelve years

Page 481

the Sunday school of Zion Church, Boston, was the largest and in many respects the most efficient of the schools of the race in New England. In 1881 he received a local preacher's license from the hands of Rev. R. H. G. Dyson, D.D.; in 1883 joined the New England Annual



Conference, and was sent by Bishop S. T. Jones to the charge at Attleboro, Mass., ordained deacon in Hartford, Conn., by Bishop Jones in 1884, and by him ordained elder in New Haven, Conn., June, 1885. After three years' successful pastorate in Attleboro he was appointed to Worcester, Mass., and at the expiration of
Page 482

three years' successful labor was appointed by Bishop Hood to the New Haven Church, where he served five years. May 14, 1894, he was appointed by Bishop Hood to the charge of Zion Church, Jersey City.

        In Attleboro, the membership was increased from eight to sixty-four. and an embarrassing debt liquidated. In Worcester the membership was more than doubled. In New Haven outstanding indebtedness was removed and the church thoroughly repaired at an expense of nearly $2,000, which was paid, the running expenses met, and at the same time the church gave more than twice as much to the general connectional interests as ever before; the membership was nearly doubled, and the church held the lead of the six or seven colored churches of the city.

        During this pastorate he was a close and diligent student in Yale Divinity School, completing the full course in the theological, and pursuing special studies in philosophy and ethics in the academical department.

        The subject of our sketch was married September 1, 1873, to Sarah E., youngest daughter of Rev. William H. Decker, of Newburg, N. Y., and he has found in his wife a true helpmeet.


        John Campbell Dancy was born in slavery at Tarboro, N. C., May 8, 1857. He early exhibited a thirst for education, and was, therefore, immediately after the close of the war, put under the instruction of the best teachers from the North. His father, John C. Dancy, Sr., was a skilled mechanic, and was the leading builder and

Page 483

contractor of the county. By reason of his intuition, genius, and foresight he became a county commissioner, the most responsible and honorable office in the gift of



the county. Hence he kept his son constantly in school, determined, as he expressed it, "to make a man of him." Young Dancy did not disappoint his father. He studied
Page 484

hard and led every class he entered without apparent difficulty--finding as much time for play as any other student--and he prided himself on his ability as an athlete. The teachers never had any trouble with him.

        In 1873 he entered the printing office of the Tarboro Southerner, a white Democratic newspaper, as office boy, but was soon given a case by direction of the foreman, a Scotchman, and in a few months he was an acknowledged acceptable "typo." The sentiment of the white press of the State was decidedly, yea, unanimously, against this state of things, and so expressed itself. Consequently Dancy left the office and entered school at Howard University, Washington, D. C. He soon won an enviable position in his class there, but had to leave after a short stay, owing to the sudden death of his father. He returned home and applied himself to teaching and study, though only seventeen years of age. Through the influence of Hon. John A. Hyman he was appointed to a position in the Treasury Department at Washington, D. C., which he filled acceptably until he resigned, in order to return South and assist in the elevation of his people. In the interim, however, he had continued his studies at Howard University. The resignation astonished many of his intimate friends, as it is rarely the case that a person ever resigns, unless asked to do so; but his resignation was voluntary, as the acceptance of the same shows. He is strict in his attendance upon religious service, delights to beg for money for Church purposes, and always has a regular class at Sunday school, which he credits largely for any success he has had in life. He loved his mother with a

Page 485

devotion bordering on worship, and when she died, in December, 1891, he was powerless to overcome the shock for a long while. She was his guide and counselor always. He was secretary of the State Convention of Colored Men held at Raleigh, N. C., in 1887, and chief secretary of all the State Republican conventions held in the State since 1880, including 1880, 1884, 1886, 1888, and 1890. The general verdict is that as a reading clerk he has but few, if any, superiors. All these conventions except the first named were composed chiefly of white men. He was president of the convention of colored men held at Goldsboro, in 1881, to consider the all-absorbing question of placing colored men on the jury in all the counties of the State. His speech on that occasion attracted wide attention. He opposed ring rule in his county, and led the opposition which resulted in its overthrow in 1878. Two years later he was elected Register of Deeds of Edgecombe County by over two thousand majority, leading all the tickets, both State and national. His canvass that year as the leader of his party was one of the most memorable in the history of the county, and the victory was correspondingly complete. He was reelected in 1882, but was defeated in 1884, owing to a split in the party. It seemed to be a year of disaster to the best Republican hopes almost everywhere. He was the chairman of the Republican Executive Committee of Edgecombe County for eight years, and always led the party to certain victory. He claimed to be the original Blaine Republican of the State, having declared at once for him on hearing his memorable speech against giving amnesty to Jefferson Davis in the House of Representatives

Page 486

in the winter of 1876. In later years his love for the Maine statesman greatly abated, owing to the latter's indifference to the recognition of colored men in official positions.

        Mr. Dancy has been a member of three National Republican conventions. In 1888 he represented the State at large in the memorable convention held at Chicago. He received the highest vote of any man running, a majority of the convention being white men, and several whites running against him. He seconded the nomination of General John A. Logan at Chicago in 1884 and of Hon. John Sherman in 1888, and on each occasion captivated the convention by his eloquence and ringing sentences. Hon. Frederick Douglass declared his speech in favor of Mr. Sherman one of the best he had heard, and ex-Governor Foraker, who also spoke, declared it "timely, able, and brilliant." The newspapers paid him many high compliments.

        During the campaign, by direction and request of the National Committee, he canvassed the white districts of the western part of Virginia, and also Tennessee and West Virginia, to assist in allaying color prejudice, and the people turned out to hear him by the thousands. He spoke day and night, and made a favorable impression everywhere.

        In 1892, by request of the National Republican Executive Committee, he canvassed Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana, and met an ovation everywhere. At the capitol in Springfield, Ill., the home of Lincoln, the daily papers pronounced his speech one of the grandest delivered there during the campaign.

Page 487

        During President Harrison's administration he was indorsed by a convention of colored men of his native State for minister to Hayti. His merits and valuable services were not rewarded by this appointment, but by the appointment as collector of customs at the port of Wilmington, N. C. This office had not been held by a colored man before, and the fact that Mr. Dancy's appointment to it met the approval of black and white Republicans alike attested his popularity with his party. He easily furnished the required bond, $40,000. The significant part about this was that his bondsmen were colored men. Mr. Dancy held the office three years. Upon turning the office over to his successor the highest praise was given him for his management of affairs. There was no adverse criticism of any kind, and Democratic officials testified that there was no office in the Treasury Department with a better record.

        Mr. Dancy went abroad in 1879 as a delegate from his State to the Right Worthy Grand Lodge of Good Templars, and was elected marshal of that body. He attended the previous meeting in Boston, in 1878, when he first heard the great orator, Wendell Phillips, welcome the body to Boston.

        He spoke at the great Henrique's Cirque in Liverpool, with Joseph Malins, the well-known temperance advocate, and Rev. George Gladstone, of Scotland, nephew of the great English statesman, to about five thousand people, and at Crystal Palace, in London, with Dr. Talmage, where forty thousand people were assembled. He lectured extensively in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. He afterward lectured in his native State.

Page 488

        Mr. Dancy is considered the most prominent layman in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. He has helped to make the laws of this Church in four General Conferences. Twice have the African Methodist Episcopal and African Methodist Episcopal Zion Churches met through representatives in joint commission to formulate a platform upon which they might unite. The first meeting proved futile, so far as desirable results were concerned. The second has shared a similar fate. He was a member of the commission in each case, and ably represented his Church. He was chosen editor of the Star of Zion by the Board of Bishops in 1885, after having successfully edited the North Carolina Sentinel at Tarboro for three years. He was unanimously reelected by the General Conference at New Berne, in May, 1888--a high compliment to a layman, indeed. He was appointed a member of the Centennial Conference of Methodism which met at Baltimore in December, 1884, but could not attend.

        At the General Conference in Pittsburg, 1892, he resigned the editorship of the Star of Zion, being succeeded by Rev. George W. Clinton. However, he was urged to become editor of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Quarterly, which had been founded and edited by Rev. Clinton.

        Twice has he delivered the annual address to literary societies of Livingstone College, the last time representing Colonel Alexander McClure, editor of the Philadelphia Times, who could not be present.

        The most recent honors bestowed upon him by his Church were his election as trustee of Livingstone College,

Page 489

to succeed the late Bishop Moore, and his being made general manager of the Centennial Jubilee to be held at New York in September, 1896.

        He has been twice married. His first wife was Miss Laura G. Coleman, of Morganton, N. C., a most beautiful, lovable, and accomplished young lady. Five children were the result of this happy union, two boys and three girls; two girls died in infancy. Mr. Dancy sustained a great loss in the untimely death of his first wife in December, 1890. In March, 1893, he married Miss Florence Virginia Stevenson, another very beautiful and accomplished lady of Allegheny City, Pa. She is a most amiable lady, a perfect queen in the home, and her rare literary talents contribute greatly to the success of his journalistic pursuits.

        When he took charge of the Star of Zion it was an obscure sheet, but the brightness of his editorials soon brought it into national prominence, and to-day it is considered one of the leading journals of the race. As editor of the Quarterly he sustains his reputation of being naturally adapted to journalism. He is in great demand as a public speaker, and well sustains his reputation wherever he is heard. He is now chairman of the Executive Committee of the National Afro-American Press Association.

        He is a close student and reads the best literature and newspapers. His editorials evince careful preparation and mature thought. He takes great delight in defending his race against the aspersions and criticisms of its enemies, and in this he is a foeman worthy of the best of their steel.

Page 490


        The following are the delegates by Conferences to the latest General Conference in the order of organization:

  • NEW YORK.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. Jacob Thomas, D.D.; R. H. Stitt, M. A. Bradley, Adam Jackson, George E. Smith. Lay Delegates, Benjamin Judd, Fannie B. Vanbrunk.
  • PHILADELPHIA AND BALTIMORE.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. J. W. Smith, J. B. Small, D.D.; J. E. Price, J. H. Anderson, Thomas H. Scott, Logan Johnson, G. W. Offley, D.D.; R. H. G. Dyson, D.D.; J. S. Cowles. Lay Delegates, John Henry Butler, J. E. Rodgers.
  • NEW ENGLAND.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. N. J. Green, D.D.; S. C. Birchmore, G. L. Blackwell, E. George Biddle. Lay Delegates, J. B. Colbert, G. H. S. Bell.
  • ALLEGHENY.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. Jehu Holliday, G. W. Clinton, A.B. Lay Delegates, J. P. Young, H. P. Derrett.
  • GENESEE.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. P. A. L. Hubert, S.T.B.; J. E. Mason, W. A. Ely. Lay Delegates, H. J. Callis, H. H. Coleman.
  • NORTH CAROLINA.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. John Hooper, R. H. Simmons, J. H. Steward, S. B. Gaskill, W. J. Soloman, A. McL. Moore, O. L. W. Smith, F. K. Bird, L. R. Ferrebee, W. J. Moore, A. F. Moore, W. H. Thurber, L. B. Williams, A. G. Oden. Lay Delegates, P. H. Davis, Virgil A. Crawford.
  • LOUISIANA.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. Solomon Johnson,

Page 491

    Logan W. Oldfield, Joseph Seales, John W. Eason. Lay Delegates, Hattie James, T. Butler.
  • KENTUCKY.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. E. H. Curry, D.D.; J. B. Johnson, W. H. Chambers, G. B. Walker, R. T. Anderson, W. A. Walker, J. M. Washington. Lay Delegates, Professor W. H. Lawson, J. B. Foster.
  • TENNESSEE.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. W. H. Ferguson, T. J. Manson, F. M. Jacobs, A.B., B.D.; B. M. Gudger, A. G. Kessler, B. J. Jones, J. H. Manley, D.D.; J. W. Wright, E. J. Carter, T. F. H. Blackman, M. M. Montgomery, P. E. Lay Delegates, Professor R. E. Toomey, John Burns.
  • VIRGINIA.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. R. A. Fisher, D.D.; C. W. Winfield, J. S. Caldwell, A.M.; W. H. Newby, T. R. V. Harrison, H. B. Pettigrew, M. N. Levy, J. McH. Farley, Lay Delegate, James M. B. Holmes.
  • SOUTH CAROLINA.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. T. P. R. Moore, M. Ingram, F. Killingsworth, J. A. Jackson, W. M. Robinson, Y. J. P. Cohen, N. A. Crockett, R. A. McCreary, J. B. Ellis, J. H. Jackson, R. W. E. Wilson. Lay Delegates, Professor W. R. Douglas, A.B.; S. E. Fewell.
  • GEORGIA.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. J. A. Peak, J. W. Mills, S. Hall. Lay Delegates, Samuel Brown, Wade Collins.
  • ALABAMA.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. W. G. Strong, J. W. Cooper, J. W. Alstork, H. P. Shuford, M. G. Thomas, T. A. Weathington, R. R. Morris, D.D.; J. J. Taylor, T. L. Holt, A. J. Rodgers, A. S. Watkins, Matthew Jackson, Allen Hannon, L. A. Oliver, Joseph Gomaz,

Page 492

    William Finley, S. Derry, C. C. Allison, C. Jermon, J. T. McMillan, C. L. W. Hamilton, R. L. Boyd, L. S. Peterson, A. L. Green. Lay Delegates, H. Fewell, H. Judkins.
  • CALIFORNIA.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. J. H. Brown, Tilghman Brown. Lay Delegates, Mrs. J. V. Campbell, Mrs. E. E. Davis.
  • FLORIDA.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. W. H. Smith, S. L. McDonell, B. F. Stevens. Lay Delegates, James Brown, E. P. West.
  • WEST TENNESSEE AND MISSISSIPPI.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. W. L. Carr, J. P. Meacham. Lay Delegates, M. Clough, F. E. McConico.
  • NEW JERSEY.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. William T. Biddle, M. M. Edmondson, B. F. Wheeler, A.M.; E. M. Stanton. Lay Delegate, William H. Vancleif.
  • WEST TENNESSEE AND MISSISSIPPI.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. W. L. Carr, J. P. Meacham. Lay Delegates, M. Clough, F. E. McConico.
  • BAHAMA.--Not represented.
  • CANADA AND MICHIGAN.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. J. R. Alexander, P. H. Williams, Thomas Lawrence.
  • CENTRAL NORTH CAROLINA.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. J. M. Hill, G. H. Miles, A.M.; J. W. Thomas, J. H. Mattox, M. S. Kell, R. Hasty, J. E. McNeil. Lay Delegates, Professor E. Evans, P. A. Miles.
  • WEST ALABAMA.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. William Spencer, F. A. Clinton, M. L. Blalock, C. H. Smith, S. Sherman, B. Hunter, A. R. Gaines, A. G. Alstork, P. J. McIntosh, A. B. Smyor, W. J. Caver, H. J. Storks, J. C. Saunders, A. J. Warner, G. W. Gaines. Lay Delegates, J. S. Jackson, O. B. Goshun.

Page 493

  • ARKANSAS.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. A. J. Coleman, A. F. Goslen, A.M.; S. L. Carruthers. Lay Delegates, M. M. McNair, A. H. Claiborne.
  • NORTH GEORGIA.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. J. E. Transue, N. T. Hearn, E. W. Gibson. Lay Delegates, J. Smith, J. H. Wheeler.
  • TEXAS.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. M. S. Jordan, G. J. Johnson. Lay Delegates, Charles E. Griffin, Mrs. Laura Williams.
  • MISSOURI.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. Smith Claiborne, J. P. Thompson, J. J. Moore, Adam Wakefield, D. J. Donohoo. Lay Delegates, Buford Cates, Henry Hall.
  • SOUTH FLORIDA.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. Joseph Sexton, J. N. Clinton, W. C. Vesta, George W. Maize. Lay Delegates, James H. Hannibal, Thomas Simmons.
  • NORTH LOUISIANA.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. J. W. Johnson, W. S. Davis. Lay Delegates, R. W. Williams, H. R. Watson.
  • WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. J. A. Tayler, D.D.; M. V. Marable, W. H. Goler, A.M., D.D.; M. R. Franklin, H. L. Simmons, E. L. Campbell, G. H. Hains, A.M.; R. A. Morrissey, A.B. Lay Delegates, Professor S. G. Atkins, A.M.; J. T. Williams, M.D.
  • PALMETTO.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. E. Hinton, H. Blake, S. T. Meeks, R. E. Wilson, S. R. Gatteroy, B. F. Walker. Lay Delegates, J. H. Dennis, R. B. Hemphill.

Page 494

  • OHIO.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. W. H. Snowden, J. H. Trimble, J. H. McMullen. Lay Delegates, Robert Holms, D. S. Curtis.
  • SOUTH MISSISSIPPI.--Ministerial Delegates, Revs. D. J. Adams, J. E. P. Marshall. Lay Delegates, M. W. Spaight, A. J. Prindle.

        Total number of Conferences represented, 29; total number of ministerial delegates, including bishops and general officers, 192; lay delegates, including ladies, 64.

        Among the lay delegates were several young men of very fine promise, among the more conspicuous of whom were the following: Hon. J. C. Dancy, Collector of the Port of Wilmington, N. C.; Professor S. G. Atkins, principal of the graded school at Winston, N. C.: H. B. Derrett, of Johnstown, Pa.; Professor P. H. Davis, of Beaufort, N. C.; Professor W. R. Douglas, of South Carolina; Professor R. E. Toomey, of Greenville (Tenn.) High School; Dr. J. T. Williams, of Charlotte, N. C.

        The able and distinguished ministers were too numerous to mention. They constituted a body of which both the Church and the race at large had a right to be proud. According to the statements of the papers it was by all odds the most orderly of the three General Conferences then in session; indeed, it would be hard work to find a body of the same size more orderly. There was intense earnestness, which is to be expected in a meeting of such importance. Sometimes the chairman creates confusion by failing to decide quickly who has the floor when several arise nearly at one time. It is the custom with some bishops to say, "I cannot decide; all be seated." They sit down and try it again and again, and sometimes several minutes are lost in this way amid much confusion. The fault in such cases is in the chairman; it is his business to decide at once. If there is an interesting discussion

Page 495

going on he should be careful not to show favor to either side. If it is known that he is on one side he will need to be specially careful not to show favor to that side. If he guards this point well his recognition of members will give general satisfaction, even if he should make some mistakes. Besides this, from his position on the platform, if he is attentive to his business, he will see as quickly as any one can who arises and addresses him first. It is also the business of the chairman to study the faces of the members, that he may know them and be able to announce the name of the person recognized.

        There were two things done by the General Conference which were liable to unfavorable criticism. The first was the election of general secretary out of time. The law provides that the general secretary shall be elected on the last day of the session. The real object of this law was that his term of office should commence at the close of the General Conference, so that if there was a new secretary elected the retiring one should continue in office till the close of the General Conference. It is easy to see the importance of this provision when a new secretary is elected, and at the same time of how little importance the provision is when the secretary is to succeed himself. Yet law is law, and ought on all occasions to be obeyed. It was claimed by some, after the election of the secretary, that the chairman ought to have ruled the nomination out of order. But they were all in such a happy mood at that time, and there was such unanimity of sentiment, that the chairman did not care to exercise that prerogative of his own volition. If the point of order had been raised he would have been compelled to

Page 496

rule; in the absence of such a demand he failed to take the responsibility. Before the General Conference closed, however, he had reason to regret that he had not kept them strictly to the law; for on the closing day of the session, when more than one half of the members had left, a proposition was made to amend the Discipline in order to accomplish a special object which had been defeated a day or so before, when the house was full. The question of no quorum was raised, and on actual count it was found that there was not a quorum present. The Discipline provides that "it shall require a majority of all the delegates elected to the General Conference to constitute a quorum for the transaction of business." The whole number, if we include the bishops and others who are members by virtue of their office, was 256; but if, by strict construction, only those elected by the Annual Conferences are to be taken into account in finding a quorum, the whole number would be 230 and a business quorum would be 116. There were found to be only 93 present, including all the bishops and some of the general officers. Yet it was by vote declared that the 93 then present was a quorum, as follows:

        Resolved, That it is the sense of this General Conference that a majority of the delegates in attendance at the General Conference shall now and hereafter constitute a quorum.

        This being adopted, the presiding officer said that since the General Conference had decided that there was a quorum present he ruled that the resolution pending was adopted. Following is the resolution declared adopted:

        Resolved, That within thirty days after the adjournment of the General Conference all circuits and stations held by pastors or presiding elders who are salaried general officers shall be declared vacant.

Page 497

        The spirit of lawlessness could scarcely be better evidenced than by these revolutionary resolutions. They show how one of the most sedate and orderly bodies that ever assembled could for a moment forget its dignity. And why this revolutionary movement? Simply to get G. W. Clinton out of John Wesley Church two months before his year was out. Somebody else wanted the charge.

        The purpose intended was not accomplished, and could not be. The trustees had a contract with him for a year's service; they had informed the bishops that, owing to the expense incurred to support the General Conference, they, with Clinton, had assumed obligations which made it absolutely necessary for him to remain till the close of the Conference year.

        The resolution says the charge shall be declared vacant, but does not say who shall declare it vacant. The fact is, it is generally possible to drive a horse and wagon through all such hasty and ill-considered legislation. The bishop has the appointing power in the Methodist Church. He is expected to appoint according to his godly judgment. If this resolution had been in due form and legally adopted, declaring John Wesley or any other pulpit vacant at the end of thirty days, there would have been nothing to hinder the bishop from filling the appointment with Rev. G. W. Clinton for the remaining two months; and unless he wanted to break up that church there would have been nothing else for him to do. The principle laid down that a majority of those present constitute a quorum is a very dangerous one. For if ninety-three can declare a majority of themselves a quorum,

Page 498

nine or even three can do the same. Any number who remained after a majority had left might undo half or even all that had been done. A great deal of business is done in bodies without a quorum; but the law respecting a quorum is to prevent recklessness in the absence of the majority.

        The action failed to accomplish its purpose in this case; but the law was permitted to be declared unanimously set aside, because those who saw the evil thought it best to let the storm blow itself out.

        We give below the Bishops' Address.


        Coming to the last session of the General Conference for the first hundred years of our beloved connection, it seems fitting that we should take a glance backward over the scene through which we have passed in our journey toward the central point in the history of this branch of Immanuel's army.

        Ninety-six years ago the most important event which has ever taken place in the history of the African race in America transpired in the city of New York, namely, the organization of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. This was not like some other movements which took place about that time, or a little later, which simply resulted in the formation of colored members into a church under the control of a white organization. The St. Thomas Protestant Episcopal Church in Philadelphia was possibly formed before the Zion Church in New York, but was, when formed, and still is, a colored church in a white organization. The Colored Methodist Church at the corner of French and Ninth Streets, Wilmington, Del., was formed in 1806, but it was then and still is a part of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and under the control of white bishops.

        The Bethel Church in Philadelphia was organized about 1809, but it was organized in the name of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and remained under the-white bishops till 1816. Zion was not founded as a Methodist Episcopal Church, but as the African Methodist Episcopal Church. As such it entered into a contract with the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which contract two distinct and independent bodies were recognized as early as the year 1801.

        The African Methodist Episcopal Church was then a corporate body. Zion was not a part of its corporate title at that time, but was the local

Page 499

name of the first church. Soon after there were other churches formed, which were served by our colored preachers. First among them was the Asbury Church in the city of New York. There was also a church at Flushing, on Long Island. These formed the nucleus of the present wide-extended organization. This was the commencement of that race movement which has culminated in the establishment of independent organizations among the colored people of most of the leading denominations. Up to 1864, the period at which the connection started upon its rapid growth, there had only been five bishops who gave such satisfaction as to be retained in active service until removed by death or retired by reason of physical disability. Varick and Galbraith had fallen upon the field of battle; Rush had been retired because of the loss of his eyesight, and was very aged and in feeble health, etc.; Bishop and Clinton were still on the field of battle.

        Up to that time six Conferences had been formed, as follows: New York, Philadelphia, New England, Alleghany, Tennessee, and the Southern, which included Baltimore and Washington city. In all, 206 ministers had been enrolled, of whom 92 were still living; the number of members was about 5,000. There were less than one hundred churches. The value of church property was about $200,000. Of the ninety-two ministers then on the roll, there remain to-day only fifteen, as follows: Bishops, J. J. Moore, J. P. Thompson, and J. W. Hood; Elders, W. H. Decker, Jacob Thomas, Jeptha Barcroft, James H. Smith,*

        * Since deceased.

Peter Coster,*

        * Since deceased.

Clinton Leonard, John Thomas, N. Williams, Jehu Holliday, R. H. G. Dyson, Henry Dumpson, W. T. Biddle, Thomas Harris, and R. R. Morris.

        During the years 1863-64 J. W. Hood, Wilber G. Strong, John Williams, and David Hill were sent to the South as missionaries. Hill lived only a few months after reaching North Carolina, and John Williams was not a success. The work during those years was mainly carried on by Hood and Strong, one in North Carolina and the other in the far South. The North Carolina Conference was formed in 1864, and out of it the South Carolina and Virginia Conferences were formed in 1866. The Louisiana Conference was formed in 1865, and out of it Alabama and Georgia Conferences were formed in 1867. William F. Butler was sent to Kentucky, and that Conference was formed in 1866. Since that time seventeen Conferences have been formed, as follows: The two Florida Conferences, a second Georgia Conference, the Palmetto Conference, the Central and Western North Carolina Conferences, the two Tennessee Conferences, the Arkansas Conference, the second Louisiana Conference, the Texas Conference, the California Conference, the Missouri Conference, the Ohio Conference, the New Jersey Conference, the Canada and Michigan Conference, the South Mississippi Conference, and the Oregon Conference. One of the

Page 500

original six, the Southern Conference, has been consolidated with the Philadelphia Conference, forming the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference. We have at this time twenty-nine Conferences; we have also the nucleus of Conferences in Liberia and in the Bahama Islands.

        This increase of five hundred per cent in the number of Annual Conferences indicates about the increase in membership. In every other respect, however, the advance has been much greater. In 1863 the only thing we had in the way of a Church organ was the Anglo-African, simply indorsed by the connection. The whole of the Book Concern was carried about in the agent's trunk; we had not even the nucleus of a college or high school of any kind; we had no financial system, and not even a single general officer with a fixed salary.

        We have now the Star of Zion, which is acknowledged to be the equal of any religious paper published by the race, with several others published by our ministers in different parts of the connection.

        Our Livingstone College stands at the head of colored educational institutions, and there are several other institutions of ours which promise well for the future. We have now a Book Room which is a credit to the connection. We have an original financial system without a single borrowed feature, complete in all its parts, and only needing loyal obedience to its requirements by our ministers and members to make it yield all the means needed to meet all our immediate demands.

        In place of the self-taught preachers of 1863 we have now a considerable number of cultured theologians. In place of a few old-fashioned houses of worship we have now hundreds of temples. Our Church was then hardly known, except in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Baltimore, and Washington city. Now it is known in all parts of the world. It was the very first to contribute its full quota in support of the second Ecumenical Conference, for which it was specially commended by the chairman of the Finance Committee. It furnished the only colored layman who read an address before that body, an address acknowledged to be the equal of any one delivered. It furnished the first colored president of that body, and there are only three of the sixteen branches of Methodists on this side of the ocean which have a larger number of the committee to arrange for the next meeting. The three bodies which have a larger representation are the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and the Methodist Church of Canada.

        We now proceed to lay before you in a more detailed manner the present condition of the Church by districts as reported by the episcopal officers in charge during the last quadrennium. In doing so it becomes our painful duty to record the demise of the brilliant and eloquent bishop who was placed in charge of the Second Episcopal District, Right Rev. Singleton Thomas Webster Jones, D.D. After a severe illness of many months

Page 501

this distinguished leader of Zion's hosts departed this life on April 18, 1891, at the ripe age of sixty-six years. The Board of Bishops, then in session in Philadelphia, adjourned in deference to his memory, and attended the funeral at Washington, D. C., in a body.

        The Conferences comprising the Second District were severally placed in charge of Bishops J. W. Hood, C. C. Pettey, and C. R. Harris, and their condition will be reported by three episcopal functionaries in connection with the districts assigned them.

        Since the General Conference will want to construct its own expression respecting the removal of our distinguished colleague, we will not anticipate what may be said by any eulogistic remarks at this point.


        This is the smallest of all the districts. It is composed of three Conferences, including four presiding elders' districts, as follows: New York, 1; New England, 1; Virginia, 2. It is as convenient for travel as could possibly be desired. If necessary one half as much more could be added without making it too large. Collected for all purposes during the four years, $271,367.65. Probable value of church property, $417,110. It would be hard work to find anywhere a better state of affairs than that which prevails in this district. There is complete harmony and good feeling and a manifest interest in whatever tends to the upbuilding of the connection. The ministers are so well suited to their work, and the people are so well satisfied with their labors, that many of them can remain any number of years in one charge, and the matter of appointment gives the bishop but little concern. In several instances ministers have been petitioned for, and they have been returned the fifth year. (This may seem to some hardly in keeping with the letter of the Discipline, but the bishops have followed the idea that the law is to help, not to hinder, the work; and if we rightly understand that clause in the Discipline which governs appointments it is most advantageously used flexibly. We incline to the opinion that the fathers built more wisely than they knew, hence we have not found it necessary to change our laws, as others have, to keep up with the necessities of the times.)

        The ministers receive their appointments, as a rule, with a cheerfulness which indicates entire satisfaction, and where there is not enthusiasm there is a quiet acquiescence which indicates entire confidence in the appointing power. The bishop has confidence in the ministers and the ministers have confidence in the bishop, and the people have confidence in both, and the general belief is that God inspires what is done. The best evidence of this is the general prosperity of the work and the fact that each man seems to get where he can do the most good. There are a few churches in this district which used to think they could not be suited at all unless they were

Page 502

allowed to choose their ministers, but they have now given it entirely up to the bishop to exercise his godly judgment. There is not now a single church in the district which goes beyond a respectful representation of what seems to be its necessities.

        The idea of rejecting a minister sent from the Conference, which used to be common, is a thing almost unheard of now. Of course, the bishop takes care to inform himself of the condition and wants of each and every church, and labors to avoid making mistakes. The bishop has been fortunate in the selection of presiding elders. It would be difficult to find more efficient elders than the four that have charge in this district. The fact that we hear no objection to the system coming from this district is the best evidence of their efficiency. It is only necessary to get the right men into that office to stop the clamor against it by reasonable men.

        Some men never will believe that the yoke of Christ is easy, because the one they are wearing, which is heavy, is not his. Such are wolves in sheep's clothing, and their barking exhibits their true character.

        To the true Methodist minister the presiding elder's yoke is an easy one, and its burden rests lightly upon the faithful. At least such is the sentiment in the First District, and it may be attributed somewhat to the sagacity and faithfulness of the presiding elders who labor there.

        A considerable number of new houses of worship have been erected during the last quadrennium. Some have been finished and others have been remodeled, and still others are in course of erection or materials are being got together for that purpose. Quite one half of the more than $270,000 raised has been spent in this direction.

        At Providence, R. I., the old church which was on the side of the town where but few colored people live, and was expensive to reach, has been sold and a lot purchased in the heart of the city, near a point at which a half dozen street car lines converge. It can be reached from any direction by paying a single five-cent fare. It is near enough to be reached by a few minutes' walk by members who used to have to pay sixty cents each Sabbath, if they went three times a day. The average saving to each member will be at least one half of that amount. If we include the congregation the saving by this change will amount to at least $90 per Sabbath, or $4,680 a year. This amount of car fare saved would in a few years pay for a fine church, to say nothing of the vast increase in the congregation, which may be expected in the more convenient location. The lot has been paid for, the plan for a new building drawn, and between $3,000 and $4,000 raised for building. The work will be commenced when $5,000 is in hand. This may be regarded as one of the most important enterprises in which we are now engaged, as it will put Zion in the lead of all the colored churches in that growing city.

        The long-standing debt on the church at Boston has been paid off, and

Page 503

they are proposing to greatly improve the church, which is in a most healthy and growing condition.

        A nice little church has been built at Meriden, Conn., where for many years we have been struggling to maintain a mission, ofttimes with uncertain prospects. Just when the prospect seemed most hopeless to the bishop and Conference, Presiding Elder Green took up a local preacher and sent him there. He built a church and is now serving his third year, where two or three preachers failed in one year.

        We are now in a fair way to redeem the second church at Providence, R. I., which was lost some years ago by mismanagement.

        The church at New Haven, Conn., has been greatly improved at a cost of more than $2,000, and is now the leading colored church in that city, not only in numbers, but also in the moral, intellectual, and religious tone of its congregation.

        The church at Derby, Conn., has been finished and paid for.

        At Waterbury, Conn., a parsonage has been erected and the church greatly improved.

        At Port Chester, N. Y., a splendid church has been erected at a cost of more than $5,000, and entirely paid for. Also a very fine parsonage, on which there is only a small indebtedness. A few months before the appointment of the pastor who led in this great work the people were apparently hopelessly discouraged; but they are now among the most happy and hopeful congregations in the connection.

        The church at Poughkeepsie has been remodeled at a cost of about $3,000, and is now a beautiful structure. Zion has long had her own way without let or hindrance in Poughkeepsie, and still holds her own.

        A beautiful little new church has been built at Hempstead, L. I. This was the last great effort of Rev. Anthony Jackson, of whom we shall have more to say in another place.

        Four years ago the Fleet Street Church, Brooklyn, N. Y., was in a very uncertain condition. It was the one thing in the district which caused the bishop most concern. Order has been brought out of confusion. The church has been greatly improved and is now the leading congregation in that city.

        Dr. Thomas, who had charge of the Bridge Street African Methodist Episcopal Church four years ago, and had the finest congregation in the city, says he was up there on a visit not long since, and seeing only a small congregation there he asked where all the people were, and was informed that Stitt had them around at Zion.

        The church at Sag Harbor has also been greatly improved, and is in better condition than it has been for many years.

        A very nice parsonage has been built at New Rochelle.

        At the New York Conference, which sat in New York city in 1888, the

Page 504

trustees of Old Zion Church requested the bishop to go to the General Conference and find them a new man. They said they had made a similar request when S. T. Jones (afterward bishop) was sent to them, and no man since his time had equaled him. The church had run down in congregation and behind in finance, until they were many thousand dollars in debt. Bishop Payne, in his History, says that Bethel Church, in that city, is the leading church there. We cannot say that that statement was not true when it was written, but it is not true to-day. Old Zion has regained her rightful place as the leading church in that city as a religious power. Zion connection has not the strength in that city that she ought to have, considering the lead she once had. She ought to have a half dozen churches there; but, considering how much was lost by mismanagement, the improvement made in the last four years is simply wonderful. The church has been improved at a cost of more than $5,000, and is now the finest church in the connection.

        In the Virginia Conference a parsonage has been bought at Petersburg at a cost of $1,500, and yet that long-standing debt has been reduced about one third.

        The new brick church, which was in course of completion at Norfolk four years ago, is now not half large enough for the congregation, and a fine lot in a better location has been obtained, on which a tabernacle has been erected which will hold fifteen hundred people. This has been crowded to its utmost capacity. When a brick church has been erected upon this spot, and paid for, there will be no church in the city to exceed it in progressive Christianity. This is the only enterprise in the district for which the bishop feels called upon to make special appeal. Norfolk is destined to be a great Southern city. Our people are going there by hundreds from eastern North Carolina, and we should have accommodation for them. For the want of this some years ago many of our best members, from other points, joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and are now among their best members. Some have come home; but with the help of hundreds of our members Bethel has built a very fine and very large church there. We cannot expect them to come home while we have not room in the church for one half of our members. As many as three hundred have been turned away at one service for want of room. We ought to have the General Conference there in 1896, but will hardly be ready by that time. However, if the connection will help them to build a metropolitan church on Lincoln Street they may easily be ready four years later.

        The lot, for which we only had a conditional deed, in Portsmouth, Va., has been secured by deed, in fee simple. A fine church has been erected upon it, and the prospect is brighter than ever before.

        The church in Berkeley has been remodeled, enlarged, and improved.

Page 505

This makes three churches on the Norfolk Bay, where eight years ago we had nothing but missions.

        A new church has been erected at Moyock, N. C.; and the church at Good Hope, which stood for ten or fifteen years in an unfinished state, has now been completed.

        The church at Elizabeth City has been rebuilt, and is now one of the prettiest churches in eastern Carolina.

        The church at Bay Branch has also been remodeled, and takes rank among the first churches.

        A fine new church has been built at that notable place, Jamesville, N. C.

        The church at Macedonia has been completed and beautified.

        The church at Hamilton, N. C., has been finished.

        A new church has been built at Williamston, N. C.

        A church has been built in Chowan County, N. C., known as Cannon Chapel, which is a very fine church.

        There are also churches in course of erection at several other points in the Virginia Conference, the exact stage of which we are not prepared to give.

        The district mourns the loss of several distinguished ministers. Ex-superintendent Peter Ross, whose name is found on the Minutes as far back as 1834, and who was the first missionary sent to Rhode Island, has passed away, falling at the place where his ministerial labors were so effectual in his early life.

        Rev. G. H. Washington, a member of the New England Conference for more than thirty years, has also passed away.

        Rev. John F. Loyd, a member of the Conference for about the same period, has gone to his reward.

        Rev. W. B. Smith was not quite so long in the ministry, yet he was quite an old man--about eighty. He also has joined the ranks of the redeemed on the other shore.

        Rev. Joseph G. Smith joined the New England Conference in 1858, was a long time a member of that Conference, served some time in the New York Conference, returned to New England Conference, and was finally transferred to the Canada Conference in 1890, but only lived a few months after reaching his last appointment.

        Rev. G. M. Given was cut down in his youth.

        In the New York Conference Rev. Silas Mitchel, a father in Israel, and one of the best men living for many years, has bid us adieu and gone up higher.

        Rev. J. W. Brown, who died at his post in Brooklyn, was one of the ablest preachers in that Conference. He was a member of the last General Conference, and gave faithful attention to business.

        Rev. Anthony Jackson, who was the last victim of death in that district, was also a member of the last General Conference, and, although not a

Page 506

delegate to this Conference, he intended to be here, if only to look on. The last four years of his life were the most successful. The beautiful church which he erected at Hempstead stands as a monument to his memory.

        In the Virginia Conference, Rev. W. H. Pitts, who was with us at the last General Conference, has finished his work. He was one of those who began ministerial work before the war. He also entered upon the work in the South at its early stage. He was a member of the Virginia Conference from its organization till his death, except a few years that he labored in the North Carolina Conference at New Berne and Beaufort.

        Rev. Samuel Sanderland was among the first preachers of the Virginia Conference.

        Rev. J. M. Ferribee completes the list of the victims of death in these Conferences.

        The character of the men in this district is indicated by the work they have done. The efficiency of the presiding elders has already been mentioned. Something praiseworthy might be said of nearly every minister, but some have specially distinguished themselves by their work. It may be said of the ministers in this district that, to a very large extent, they are entirely free from the use of intoxicants as a beverage and from narcotics as a habit. In the New England Conference there is but little, if any, exception to this rule. The general moral tone of all the ministers is so high that there is seldom any necessity for a committee on complaints in these Conferences.

        In electing delegates to the General Conference the Conferences in this district have selected delegates from among the men who have been most useful. They were not, however, entitled to a number of delegates sufficient to exhaust the list of those who have distinguished themselves for great usefulness. They could have doubled the number, and still the list would not have been exhausted. Besides the three most efficient presiding elders we have in the list of delegates the brother who paid off that long-standing debt on the church at Boston; the brother who is redeeming the second church at Providence; the brother who has improved and put new life into the church in New Haven; the brother who built the new church and parsonage at Port Chester and the parsonage at New Rochelle; the brother who has beautified the church at Tarrytown; the brother who is carrying all before him in Brooklyn; the brother who has restored the scepter to Old Zion Church in New York; the brother who built that beautiful church at Elizabeth City, and now holds forth at Petersburg; the brother who finished and beautified the church at Berkeley; the brother whose untiring efforts are making for Zion a name in Norfolk; the brother who built the parsonage at Edenton; and last, but not least, the great church builder, whose latest great effort has been spent on three churches in one year on the Jamesville Circuit.

Page 507

        The Conferences have raised $1,500 more on General Fund during the last two years than ever before. In the Virginia Conference the increase in one year was thirty-three per cent. The New York Conference is the first of all the Northern Conferences to reach its quota of $700 per presiding elder's district. The New England Conference has raised an amount equal to fifty cents for every member, including probationers and minors, and $54 besides; or, if probationers and minors were discounted, as is the rule, it has raised an amount equal to seventy cents per member.


        Since the death of Bishop Jones the Bishop of the First District has had charge of the Alleghany Conference, and hence the report of that work necessarily comes in at this point.

        The Alleghany Conference is one of the older Conferences. It stands fourth on the list, as it was not regularly set off until 1849; but as early as 1829, when the Philadelphia Conference was formed, this section was spoken of as the "Western District," and Jacob D. Richardson was present from that district. During the twenty years which elapsed before it was regularly organized this part of the State was thus designated. Bishops Galbraith and Jones were of this Conference, and many other distinguished men have labored in it in bygone years. The improvement in this work during the last four years has been very marked. Bishop Jones took pains to select a number of intelligent and pious young men to fill the vacancies caused by death, superannuation, and transfer. These, added to the faithful veterans, gave such impetus to the work that it was deemed best to divide the Conference.

        The Alleghany Conference now includes only one presiding elder's district. That man who has done more than any other living man to increase the utility of this Conference is the successful presiding elder. You have only to go up the alley and take a look at the little hid-away building in which John Wesley congregation worshiped when he came to this charge and compare it with the splendid edifice in which this General Conference has assembled, to form an idea of his great work here.

        There has been a splendid church erected in the city of Bedford. Also one at Hollidaysburg.

        The church that was carried away by the flood at Johnstown has been restored.

        A parsonage has been purchased at Union Town.

        A very fine church has been built at Huntingdon.

        The church at Mt. Pleasant has been completed, and a fine parsonage has been built in connection with the church in which we are assembled. In addition to this the splendid organ you behold speaks for itself, and reminds us of the untiring energy of the present pastor.

Page 508

        The Homewood congregation are soon to have a new church, and we have a good prospect at Holliday's Chapel, in this city.

        The new Conference set off is called the Ohio Conference, and includes that portion of Pennsylvania which lies west of the Alleghany River, and all that we now have in Ohio. This young baby of the connection promises well for the future. That the presiding elder was a happy selection was indicated by the enthusiasm which the announcement of his name kindled in the Conference, but he has more than filled the best expectation. He is organizing churches so fast that the bishop has not been able to find men to hold the points he has taken.

        In this part of the work there has also been much improvement in the way of church building.

        A fine church has been built at Franklin, Pa., also one at New Castle, and there are several others now in course of erection. There is no more promising field at present than the Ohio Conference.

        Like the other part of the First District, these two Conferences selected delegates from among their most active and useful men. The bishop regrets that the limit of representation deprives us of the service in this General Conference of several others. There are at least a half dozen more men in these Conferences who would have made most useful delegates.

        It may be impossible to devise any plan which will enable us to get together all our best workers without having a body so large as to be unwieldy.

        There is one inequality, however, which the bishop thinks constitutes an evil. That is, in some Conferences there is a large number of supernumeraries as the result of receiving candidates on a lower standard of intellectual development than that adopted in other Conferences. This, it must be seen, will tend to give ignorance a preponderance to which it is not entitled; for a delegate representing supernumeraries, who are such because they will not make the necessary improvement to be employed, is one representing ignorance, and yet having the same weight in this body as one representing our most intelligent and useful ministers.

        To protect themselves against this inequality of representation the more intelligent may come to feel it a necessity of the situation to also receive candidates of a low grade, and thus the whole body may be dragged down to a lower standard. To avoid this it will be well to guard more carefully the door of entrance to all the Conferences. Supernumeraries are a very scarce article in the First District, and nearly all of the small number ought to be on the superannuated list, if the connection were able to care for them. They are generally those who came in at a period when opportunities were poor, but served well their day, and now are worn out. The district is not burdened with youthful supernumeraries as the result of the want of care in the admission of candidates.

Page 509

        Among the victims of death in the Alleghany Conference, besides the distinguished bishop who was one of the original members, was Rev. John A. Mulligan, who was a member of the last General Conference. Also one of our most distinguished laymen, Brother Harris, who was at our last General Conference, has gone to his reward.


        This district, when assigned to Bishop Moore four years ago, embraced two Annual Conference districts, namely, the Central North Carolina Conference and the New Jersey Conference; now it embraces three Annual Conferences, the Central North Carolina Conference, the Western North Carolina Conference, and the New Jersey Conference, the Western being a division of the Central Conference. The two Conferences in Carolina embrace within their limits twenty-three counties, beginning in Cumberland County, in the southwestern portion of the State and include portions of Cumberland County, Robinson, Moore, Montgomery, Anson, Union, Harnett, Chatham, Guilford, Forsythe, Davie, Davidson, Iredell, Rowan, Stanley, Cabarrus, Catawba, Burke, Lincoln, Cleveland, Rutherford, Richmond, Mecklenburg, and McDowell Counties.

The number of stations in the Carolina Conferences 20
The number of circuits 45
The number of missions 9
The New Jersey Conference, number of stations 17
Number of circuits 3
Number of missions 6

        Making the total in the Third Episcopal District of stations, circuits, and missions one hundred.

Financial Receipts and Disbursements.

Received on General Fund $18,028 80
For Church Extension 40,881 24
For pastor's salary 79,425 00
For presiding elders 17,050 80
For Conferences and charities 4,870 32
For home and foreign missions 370 04
For local missions 692 92
For Children's Day 2,050 04
Grand total $163,369 16

Churches and Parsonages.

Number of churches in the two Carolina Conferences 245
Number in the New Jersey Conference 16
Their value, with twelve parsonages $190,828

Page 510

Institutions of Learning in the District, and their Value.

  • The Livingstone College, in Salisbury, N. C., with its fifty acres of land adjacent to the town, and with its three large brick buildings, and a large fine frame building accommodating from 260 to 300 students. The institution is valued at $125,000.
  • The Moore's Academy at Lincolnton, N. C., having four acres near the town, which is valuable.
  • A district school at Norwood, N. C., with a very valuable piece of land of several acres donated by generous gentlemen.
  • There are several parochial schools established recently in the district. Many new churches have been built during the last four years, and others remodeled and enlarged, and others are in course of erection. The ministry in these Annual Conferences, second to none, have been greatly advanced in mental culture, ministerial experience, and devotion to our beloved Zion. Their conduct has won the confidence and plaudits not only of their humble executive, but the thousands of the people whom they have most faithfully served.


Right Rev. J. P. Thompson, Presiding Bishop.

        This district is composed of three Conferences, including six presiding elders' districts, the North Carolina Conference, the Genesee Conference, and the Michigan and Canada Conference. Amount collected for all purposes during the four years, $162,499.44; probable value of church property, $310,000. The condition of the district is good, both spiritually and financially. We are glad to say that great progress is being made in the moral condition of the work; the ministers in this district are free from the use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage, and there is increasing opposition to narcotics.

        At several points in the district there has been marked material improvement. At Wilkesbarre a new church has been built and nearly paid for; a handsome little church has also been erected and paid for at Auburn; a new church has been built at Saratoga and paid for by a white lady friend. The church at Johnstown has been improved and partly paid for; the indebtedness on the old church at Rochester is about paid off, and there is a fine prospect of a new edifice being erected in the near future. A church has been built at Watertown, with all indebtedness paid off, and another at Oneida, also free from debt. The debt on the church at Schoharie has been paid off.

        In the Michigan and Canada Conference the church at Chatham has been improved and the debt nearly liquidated.

        In the North Carolina Conference the long-standing debt at Raleigh,

Page 511

which has given the bishop so much trouble, has been paid, and the outlook for the church in the future is good. The church at Wilson is being improved by the addition of a steeple. A new church is in course of erection at Henderson and nearly ready for dedication. At Beaufort the church has been improved and beautified. Improvements have also been made on the church at Lumberton, and the outlook is good. A church has been established at Tomahawk, and a mission at Dunn. At Elizabethtown a very fine church has been erected. A new church has been built on the Lisbon Circuit, also one at Roseborough and another at Magnolia.

        The church at New Berne, as well as the entire connection, has suffered a great loss in the death of the able and respected elder and delegate to the General Conference, W. H. Thurber. "Peace to his ashes!"

        Rev. John Davis has also fallen out of the ranks since the last General Conference.

        The work has not been visited as much as the bishop desired because of attacks of rheumatism, but by the assistance of an able corps of presiding elders the work has been kept in a good condition.

        Financially the North Carolina Conference leads the entire connection in the matter of general fund, having raised an average of $875 for each presiding elder's district for last year.

Report of North Carolina Conference.

Number of churches 187
Number of Sunday schools 179
Total amount collected $162,499 44

Report of Genesee Conference.

Number of churches 20
Number of Sunday schools 19
Total amount collected $43,112

Report of Michigan and Canada Conference.

Number of churches 25
Number of Sunday schools 25
Total amount collected $8,300

Report of Book Concern, Bishop J. P. Thompson, President.

        At the close of the last General Conference a resolution prevailed which authorized the bishops to overhaul the Book Concern. We had some difficulty at first in getting at the work, and it was not until the middle of the summer or beginning of the fall of 1889 that we could get properly at the business. The bishops appointed a committee to examine the books and accounts, who made a thorough investigation and reported an indebtedness amounting to over $3,000: $2,000 of this amount was due the

Page 512

agent, Dr. Thomas, for which sum it was agreed to allow him to collect all outstanding debts, which he accepted as a final settlement of his claim. The value of the stock in the Book Room was hardly worth mentioning. Because of the financial embarrassment of the Concern the agent resigned. That the new administration might be better able to continue the work (the Concern not being in a condition to pay a salary) Rev. A. Walters, D.D., was asked to take charge of it without a salary, which he did. The amount due the Methodist Episcopal Book Concern, $732, was settled at a very great discount, as were also some other outstanding debts. Bishop Thompson advanced considerable money to put the Concern on its feet, for which he deserves the thanks of the entire connection.

Since the 15th of October, 1889, there has been collected $4,505 03
Outstanding credits 800 00
Total $5,305 03
Expenses $4,505 03
Outstanding credits 800 00
Total $5,305 03

        The brethren have not patronized the Concern as we would like, and those who have patronized it have not paid up. We regret this very much. If the brethren will help us out, give us their patronage and pay up their debts, the Concern can be made a great success. It is now worth $3,000 clear of all incumbrance.

        We recommend that the General Conference leave the matter of General Agent in the hands of the Book Committee and the Board of Bishops.

        We further recommend that the appropriation be left as it is.


Right Rev. T. H. Lomax, Presiding Bishop.

        The Tennessee Conference has more than doubled itself. The Alabama Conference greatly increased in General Fund. The Florida Annual Conference is doing grandly. The Kentucky Conference is a little behind the other Conferences financially. There is room for improvement; some of our dear brethren do not keep the law in collecting and sending to the steward monthly; they wait till near the sitting of the Conference to collect the General Fund. It should begin in time, according to the financial plan, thereby giving the members time to pay the General Fund. The presiding elders should see that every cent is collected, for it is quite certain if we are to run the connection we must raise the General Fund. Your bishops are far behind on salary, and some of them must cease to

Page 513

travel unless they are better paid, for they cannot support their families and represent the general interests of the connection unless they are better provided for. Some of our brethren seem inclined to elect a traveling missionary for the connection. We think that this proposition is intended more to erect a new object for financial aid than a connectional benefit. We are fully satisfied that the very best thing to do is to collect mission money and bring the same to the Conference, to be given to the ministers who are actually engaged in building new churches. If we had to-day $1,000 in mission funds we could very easily send out ministers who would bring back a glorious and most satisfactory report. The good Lord has most wonderfully and signally blessed our past efforts. We rejoice greatly in the achievements of the past. We know of no connection that has made such advancement in numerical and financial strength, as well as educational development. All that Zion needs at present is to have God on her side, and she may take the world for him. Let all her watchmen, old and young, combine in one unbroken phalanx, unfurl Zion's banner to the breeze, and the field will be ours, in holy triumph won.

        Logan Temple, Knoxville, has been burdened with a large debt for six or seven years, but through the efforts of Rev. J. H. Manley and others she is now free. The educational department, in the same Conference, under Professor R. E. Toomey, is simply grand. A high school, located at Greenville, Tenn., is in operation. The building is forty by sixty feet, two stories, in good order. There is about $200 still due on the ground. The work will be reported by Professor Toomey and Rev. B. M. Gudger.

        At the close of the last General Conference this district included the Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Florida Conferences. Since that time the Missouri Annual Conference, has been set off which was organized September 17, 1889, and the South Florida Conference, organized 1890.

        Vast improvement in every respect has been made in the district during this quadrennium. The Missouri Conference had one presiding elder in the person of Rev. Smith Claiborne; his two years of administration were crowned with much success; yea, the work grew so fast that the bishop found it necessary to divide it into two districts, under Revs. A. Bunch and D. J. Donohoo.

Report of Missouri Conference.

Circuits and stations 40
Sabbath schools 20
Officers and teachers 100
Amount collected for General Fund (for two years) $1,474
Amount collected on pastor's salary 8,296
Amount collected for presiding elders 1,474
Total $11,244

Page 514

        The Kentucky Conference is composed of some of the most intelligent and faithful men in the connection. It is divided into two districts, and is blessed with two able presiding elders of fidelity and courage. The work is in a good condition, both spiritually and financially.

Report of Kentucky Conference.

Circuits and stations 40
Sabbath schools 39
Scholars 2,798
Officers and teachers 101
Amount collected for General Fund (for four years) $2,772 24
Amount collected on pastor's salary 2,104 47
Total $4,876 71
Probable value of property $101,000 00

Report of Tennessee Conference.

Number of districts 4
Presiding elders, B. M. Gudger, W. H. Ferguson, T. F. H. Blackman, H. Baylis.  
Sunday schools 116
Scholars 4,730
Teachers 528
Amount collected for General Fund $2,915 82
Amount collected on pastors' salary 4,948 48
Amount collected for presiding elders 6,448 00
Total $14,312 30

Report of Alabama Conference.

        This is the banner Conference of the district, and one of the leading Conferences in the far South. It remits more General Fund than any other Conference, except the Carolinas. There has been a general increase in this Conference all along the line. Her ministry is able, dignified, and reliable. It has five presiding elders: Revs. M. G. Thomas, S. Derry, J. W. Alstork, H. P. Shufford, and R. R. Morris, D.D.

Circuits and stations 183
Sabbath schools 250
Scholars 17,000
Officers and teachers 275
Amount collected on General Fund (four years) $9,220

        The Sunday School Department, stationed at Montgomery, Ala., by the Board of Bishops, has proved a grand success. It stands greatly in need

Page 515

of financial aid. Rev. R. R. Morris, D.D., General Superintendent, and Rev. T. A. Weathington, General Secretary, will make a full report.

        Mrs. M. J. Hale, one of the vice presidents of the Home and Foreign Missionary Society, has donated to the colored people of Montgomery the Hale Infirmary, an institution costing $7,000. It is under the control of a board of trustees. She takes the lead in this direction in the South, and is a member of the Old Ship Church.

Report of the Florida Conference.

        This Conference is composed of thirty ministers. Prominent among them are Elders J. H. Darley, S. L. McDonald, O. V. Jackson, J. N. Clinton, Simon Brown, and I. Ferby.

Circuits and stations 19
Sabbath schools 18
Scholars 1,200
Amount collected on General Fund (four years) $1,264 00
Amount collected for pastors' salary 5,495 96
Amount collected for presiding elders 1,706 80
  $ 8,466 76
Value of church property $30,000 00

        The last Conference held was the most prosperous of any.

Report of South Florida Conference.

        Among the most prominent elders of this Conference are Revs. W. C. Vesta, J. Sexton, S. W. Maize, and W. A. Baine.

Circuits and stations 25
Sabbath schools 20
Scholars 1,500
Officers and teachers 100
Amount collected on General Fund (two years) $470

        The general condition of the work is good.


Bishop C. C. Pettey in charge.

        This district embraces West Alabama, Louisiana, North Louisiana, Texas, California, and South Carolina (since the death of Bishop Jones).

        This district has fully kept pace with the advancing tide of the Church. Possibly no part of our work has grown more rapidly during this quadrennium than the Sixth District; it has more than doubled itself in the last four years, as statistics will prove.

        In 1888 the California Conference had 105 members and probationers,

Page 516

4 traveling preachers and ministers, and 2 local preachers. Money raised for all purposes, about $3,000. Now the California Conference has on roll 16 ministers and traveling preachers, with 655 members and probationers. Amount of money raised for all purposes this last Conference year was about $9,000. Total amount raised this quadrennium in this Conference, about $18,000.

        Texas has done equally as well. In 1888 there were only 26 members and probationers, with 6 preachers on roll. Whole amount raised for all purposes was less than $100. This Conference year we numbered 460 members and probationers, 17 preachers on roll, and raised for all purposes about $1,000. Total amount raised during the last four years about $2,000.

        The Louisiana Conference in 1888 had about 300 members, 30 preachers on roll, and raised that year for all purposes about $1,200. Now we have two Conferences in the State--the Louisiana and the North Louisiana Conferences. In the Louisiana Conference we have nearly 3,000 members, 56 preachers on roll, and raised last Conference year for all purposes about $5,000. The North Louisiana Conference has 463 members, 19 preachers on roll, and raised last year about $2,000. Total amount for both Conferences for the past four years, about $17,500.

        The West Alabama Conference in 1888 had a membership of 10,000, with 112 preachers on roll. Amount of money raised for all purposes $23,000. Now we have on roll 152 preachers and about 96 local preachers, with about 20,000 members and probationers. This Conference raised last year for all purposes $41,000. Total amount for the four years $120,000. One year ago last December this Conference decided to establish a connectional school within the bounds of the Conference district; hence no pains were spared or time lost in establishing in Tuscaloosa, Ala., what is known as the "Jones University," named in honor of our late senior bishop, Right Rev. S. T. Jones, D.D. We have secured a very fine piece of property about one mile from the courthouse. We have one large frame building containing a chapel with a seating capacity of two hundred, and eight large recitation rooms. We also have a two-story brick outer building, which we propose to connect with the main building. In our music room we have a fine piano. We have just closed a very successful session of six months. Number of instructors, 7; number of students, 175. All notes on property are paid up to date. With a little encouragement and aid the Jones University will, in the near future, be one of the leading universities of the South. The South Carolina Conference four years ago had about 10,000 members, 86 preachers on roll, and about 50 local preachers. Money raised for all purposes $25,000. Last year we had about 25,000 members, about 90 local preachers, and 162 ministers on roll, and raised for all purposes about $45,000. Total amount for the quadrennium, $150,000.

Page 517

        The value of the church property has increased at almost every point, either by the erection of new churches or remodeling the old ones. Many fine churches have been built on this district recently, and many valuable parsonages erected. Especially is this true of the rural districts in South Carolina and Alabama. The country churches, with their bells and organs, compare very favorably with our city work. This shows the moral and intellectual growth of the ministry and the cultivated taste of the masses. In fact, the wonderful increase of the Church, financially and numerically, must be attributed very largely to the general advancement of the race, both in the pulpit and pew. The morals of all have been raised proportionately with their educational and religious advantages, and the Church is hopeful of her highest aims. We are glad to note that not a single minister in this entire district has been called before the Conference bar, charged with immoral conduct, during the last four years. We especially note this fact because this district embraces a large portion of that section where the colored people are massed, and where the colored ministry is wont to be disgraced by the common enemies of the race and Church. Wherever our churches are in a healthy condition there the people are generally attended with peace and prosperity. And this, we think, is largely due to the fact that our ministers teach the people to secure land and build homes; consequently, many of our members in the South are owners of large tracts of land and many more are rapidly becoming their own landlords. And hence we feel that the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in America is to play an important part in solving the great problem of the South.

        The spiritual condition of the Church is good. Our large increase has come almost entirely from conversions. We have lost no churches by lawsuits, nor ministers by withdrawals that we desired to keep with us. We have set apart two new Conferences for your approval or disapproval--the "Palmetto" from the South Carolina Conference, because it was too large, and the North Louisiana from the Louisiana Conference, for the sake of convenience. We also offer the Jones University as a connectional institution.


        This district, to which Bishop C. R. Harris was assigned, was composed of the Georgia, the North Georgia, the West Tennessee and Mississippi, and the Arkansas Annual Conference Districts. The Georgia Conference embraced the eastern part of the State of Georgia, extending from Oglethorpe County to Burke County, with a membership of about 700. The North Georgia Conference reached from Athens, in Clarke County, to Columbus, in the extreme western part of the State. It embraced the central part of that State, and had a membership of about 500. The West Tennessee and Mississippi Conference stretched from Memphis,

Page 518

Tenn., southward to Canton, Miss., and thence eastward to Meridian and Cooksville, Miss., and included a small portion of western Alabama. It had a membership of about 2,000 under one presiding elder. The Arkansas Conference reached from Conway County eastward to Forest City, and southward to the Louisiana line adjoining Ashley County, and included several churches in Louisiana. In this latter county, through the assiduous labors of Rev. A. J. Coleman, lay most of the membership of the Conference, which amounted to about 500, the total membership of the district being considerably less than 4,000.

        At the first session of the Tennessee Annual Conference that was held after the last General Conference the presiding bishop, by request, cut off that part of the Conference lying within the State of Georgia, and assigned it, with the preachers belonging to it, to the North Georgia Conference, thus adding from 200 to 300 to the membership of the Seventh District.

        Though widely scattered, the district has comparatively few charges, and the presiding bishop was enabled during the first year to visit more than half the churches composing the district, in some instances preaching in parts never before visited by a bishop of any denomination.

        Our work in all these Conferences is scattering and very irregular in shape, and entails much travel in reaching churches of small membership. Hence there were few paying circuits, and much difficulty was found in supplying the several charges with competent and reliable preachers. Able, upright, self-denying, and intelligent ministers are, indeed, greatly needed. The bishop has to some extent succeeded in supplying this want, but not as fully as he desired. The crying need in our Church of an adequate Mission and Church Extension Fund has been sorely felt in this district. For lack of it the extension of our work into towns and cities has been almost blockaded. Still, we have made some progress in that direction. Atlanta and Waynesboro, in Georgia, Durant, and Greenwood, in Mississippi, and Harlow, Warren, Brinkley, and Pine Bluff, in Arkansas, are the most notable instances of churches organized during the last quadrennium in towns where no Zion Church previously existed. Churches better than the average have been erected in Memphis, Tenn.; Grady, Ark.; and Summerville, Columbus, and Atlanta, Ga. Besides these churches have been built or greatly improved at Pleasant Hill, Bethlehem, Spring Hill, Monroe, Prospect, Stony Point, and La Fayette, in Georgia, and Bayne's Cornerstone, Harlow, and Little Rock, in Arkansas.

        In Arkansas, and especially in Mississippi, in the region commonly designated as "The Bottoms," our Church has most rapidly extended. Many mission churches, comprising several hundred members, have been organized in the latter district alone.

        Owing to the enlargement of the work, and the fact that the West Tennessee

Page 519

and Mississippi Conference was very extensive, that Conference was divided at its last session. The northern portion--from Memphis, Tenn., to Greenwood, Miss.--retained the original name, the southern part, from Yazoo City to Cookesville, Miss., and Sherman, Ala.--being named the South Mississippi Conference, each having two presiding elders' districts. The newly set off district already reports several mission points organized since Christmas.

        Through the rascality of imported preachers we lost ground in Athens and in Columbus, Ga., but have to some extent regained it. This may account for the zeal of the bishop in reiterating in various forms the truth that constant insistence upon the intellectual and moral improvement of the ministry is an imperative demand upon us. This done, Zion will have no need, even apparently, of welcoming to her fold deserters from other denominations. Should this remark seem gratuitous we but quote the adage, "A burnt child dreads the fire."

        On the whole the prospect in the entire district is hopeful, and gives promise of greater vigor and growth in the immediate future, for which God be praised!


        Many who have been in attendance upon the sessions of the General Conference in recent years will remember the tall, courtly figure of a presiding elder from Mississippi, the Rev. L. J. Scurlock. A prominent worker on committees, thoughtful and dignified, he gained immediate attention whenever he obtained the floor in debate. For many years he occupied a leading position among the people of his own State, and in the Conference he exercised a commanding, yet gentle, influence. He has passed from the ranks of the Church militant to his place in the Church triumphant.

        Not long after his decease another veteran, known to many of you, lay down in the sultry heat of the Mississippi bottoms, folded his arms as though awaiting the roll call, and breathed his last on earth. It was Elder Wallace Jones, a pioneer in Georgia, and, later on, in Mississippi.

        Occupying a similar position in the North Georgia Conference was the Rev. Cambridge Smith, often called the father of the Georgia Conference. He, too, has been called to enjoy the reward of a long life devoted to the service of God.

        The West Tennessee and Mississippi Conference, during its last session, suffered the loss of still another elder, who, though a member of the Conference for a few years only, was rapidly gaining in the esteem and confidence of the brethren. In the death of Dr. W. D. Van Ryan the Conference lost a vigilant and active leader, and his loss is deeply mourned.

Page 520

        Among others who have fallen victims to death from the ministerial ranks in the district during the last quadrennium are Revs. S. Strickland, M. Hawkins, Peter Trammell, and R. E. Scott. Peace to their ashes!

The Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference.

        On the demise of the lamented Bishop S. T. Jones, who had charge of the Second Episcopal District, the Philadelphia and Baltimore Annual Conference was placed in charge of the bishop of the Seventh District. It embraces the District of Columbia, Maryland, Delaware, and the eastern part of Pennsylvania. During the past few years considerable progress has been made in this district. The leading churches have increased greatly in membership. A church has been organized in Wrightsville, Pa., the birthplace of the late Bishop S. T. Jones, and a handsome little stone church erected through the enterprise of Dr. Jamison and his coadjutors, valued at $5,000. At Arlington, Va., a beautiful and commodious church has been built, and also one in Rockville, Md. We have also at Lincoln University finished a brick church, 28 by 45, and one at Avondale is nearly completed, of the same size. We have also organized churches at Potsdam and Marshallton. The church at West Harrisburg has been much improved, and cleared of its debt. Shippensbury Church has been remodeled, and is now in fine condition. The following new societies have been added to the Conference district: Trinity Church, Washington, D. C.; Forks, Md.; Lock Haven, Pa.; Parkersville, Pa.; and Alexandria, Va. At Brownsville and Huntsdale, Pa., lots have been secured for the erection of churches. At Newtown the church has purchased a fine lot in a much more desirable location. In Baltimore, Md., the church building has been presented to the connection by Mr. F. W. Bennett, and means are now being raised to purchase the lot upon which it stands, after remodeling the church.

Page 521




Page 522


        WE have found it necessary to insert a miscellaneous chapter since beginning the work, having come across a few relics which we think will be interesting to the reader. We have noted the fact that "African Methodist Episcopal Zion" was made the legal title in 1868. Since that we have discovered in the possession of Sister Hasbrook (an aged member of the church at Kingston), a number of the Minutes of Conferences from 1845 down, among them a copy of the Minutes of the General Conference of 1848, from which we learn that the title "African Methodist Episcopal Zion" was adopted at that time, as the following minute will show:

        "Rev. J. J. Moore was appointed to read the minutes of the Committee on Revision, and the house took up the subject by sections. The subject of Church Title was considered as follows: 'The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in America.' Rev. G. A. Spywood moved to strike out the word African, and proceeded to show reasons why it should be stricken out. Rev. S. T. Gray followed in an argument on the opposite side. The discussion was continued up to the hour of adjournment. Monday morning, June 5, 1848, Conference met according to adjournment, Bishop Christopher Rush in the chair, associated by Bishop George Galbreth. After the approval of the minutes, discussion on the connectional

Page 523




Page 524

title was resumed, at the close of which it was finally decided to adopt the title as reported by the committee, 'The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in America.'"

        General Conference was occupied from June 3d to the 13th almost wholly in the consideration of the report of the Committee on the Revision of Discipline, which, after much debate and many amendments, was finally adopted. At this session the boundary of the New York Conference was determined upon, and other Conferences set off as follows: "The Allegheny Conference to be bounded east to Bedford and Hollidaysburg, and including all that part of the State lying west of the Allegheny Mountains, extending to Lake Erie, thence south, running to the Ohio line, thence east to the Allegheny Mountains on the Maryland line, including Pittsburg and Allegheny cities; the Genesee Conference to include that portion of the State of New York lying west of Albany and extending to Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. The Allegheny Conference shall meet on the third Saturday in August, 1849, and the Genesee the second Saturday in September, 1849."

        Three book agents were appointed by this Conference, as follows: Rev. Edward Johnson, Rev. John J. Moore, and Rev. James Simmons. At this General Conference Bishop Rush gave the information that he had purchased a tract of land for the establishment of a connectional industrial school in the county of Essex, State of New York.

        The following preamble and Constitution were read and adopted by the General Conference:

Page 525


        Whereas, We, the ministry of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in America, feeling as we do that many of the difficulties against which we have to labor grow out of the fact that there is a great lack of education among us. Man, viewed as a being susceptible of happiness and capable of responsible action, sustaining a thousand relations, involving as many duties; whatever, therefore, tends to increase this susceptibility and enlarge this capacity must exalt his nature and promote the benevolent purpose for which he was created. Such is the tendency of a well-directed education, of virtuous example, of sound philosophy and theology--indeed, of everything which gives the understanding a controlling influence over the grosser passions, of everything which purifies and regulates the feelings, without diminishing their ardor or depriving them of their appropriate objects. And among the many causes which conspire to produce this effect, none is so efficient as a well-directed education. Therefore those persons whose names are here connected do agree to form an institution having for its object the establishment of prominent schools of education preparatory to the ministry, and, with other useful information calculated to elevate our whole people, do agree to be governed by the following Constitution and other By-laws which may be found necessary for carrying out the object set forth in this preamble:



        This institution shall be known by the name of the "Rush Academy," Essex County, State of New York.


        Every subscriber for one dollar and fifty cents, or more, per annum, shall be a member of this institution, and shall be entitled to the privilege of membership.


        The funds raised by annual subscription, or otherwise, shall be appropriated, under the direction of the Committee of Managers, to defraying the necessary expenses, as well as the general expenses of the institution.


        Every subscriber, at the time of subscribing, shall direct to what particular department the amount of his or their subscription shall be appropriated--all donations shall be deemed the permanent property of the institution. The institution may, however, at its annual meeting, or other

Page 526

legal meetings, authorize a sale of any of its permanent property for the purpose of reinvestment for others more desirable or advantageous.


        The officers of this institution shall consist of a President, four Vice Presidents, Corresponding and Recording Secretaries, a Treasurer, a Committee of Twenty, five of which shall be located in and about the city of New York with the Corresponding and Recording Secretaries. Each set of committees not provided for in this Constitution shall have power to appoint their own secretaries and agents.


        It shall be the duty of the President to preside at the annual meetings of the institution, to watch over its interests generally, to recommend such measures as he may deem calculated to promote the object of the institution, and to call meetings of the same when he may think the good of the institution requires it, or when requested so to do by the Committee of Managers. The Vice Presidents shall sit as chairmen in their different sections of the committee, possessing all the power of the President in their respective bodies.


        It shall be the duty of the Corresponding Secretary to institute and carry on the correspondence between the General Committee of Management, the secretaries and agents of the different departments, and to lay before the General Committee all letters and communications he shall receive; to pay over to the Recording Secretary monthly, or oftener if required, all moneys that shall come into his hands, and to perform such other duties appertaining to his office as may be prescribed by said Committee of Managers.


        It shall be the duty of the Recording Secretary to keep the records of the institution and of the General Committee of Management, to receive all the moneys of the institution, and to pay over the same monthly, or oftener if required, to the Treasurer, taking his receipt therefor. He shall have in charge the seal of the institution, and shall affix the same to such documents and papers and in such manner as shall be ordered by the Committee of Management. And he shall attend to and perform such other duties appertaining to his office as the President may direct.


        It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to receive all the moneys of the institution from the Recording Secretary and disburse the same as shall be directed by the General Committee, or by such subcommittees as they

Page 527

shall appoint or substitute, keeping regular books of entry and accounts of all such receipts and disbursements, and to report to the Committee of Management the state of the treasury as often as requested so to do. He shall, one week previous to the annual meeting of the institution in each year, render to the Committee of Management a full and complete report of all moneys received and disbursed by him and of the state of the treasury.


        The General Committee of Managers shall have the general supervision and management of the interests and affairs of the institution; they shall open and conduct all negotiations for the purchase of any property for the institution, taking care, however, to respect each branch of the Committee, as the actual funds of the institution may warrant. They shall provide for the preservation and increase of the property of the institution. They shall have power to appoint committees or agents, as the interests of the institution shall seem to them to require; to prescribe their respective duties and fix their compensation; and they may adopt and execute generally such measures as shall to them appear to be proper in emergencies and necessary to carry out the objects of this institution.


        The Committee of Management shall, at every annual meeting of the institution, render a full report of their proceedings during the year, stating the principles governing them in their selections or purchases, entering into such details as they shall think proper and of interest to their associates.


        All annual subscriptions to the institution shall be for the current year, expiring on the first day of the following year. No subscriber shall be entitled to the privileges of membership until his subscription has been paid.


        It shall be the duty of the Committee of Managers to frame a code of By-laws for their own as well as for the further government of the institution, providing such By-laws are not repugnant to this Constitution. Which By-laws for the latter shall be submitted to the members at a meeting of the institution for their approval.


        This Constitution may be altered or amended at the annual meeting of the institution, or at a meeting called for said purpose, by a two-third vote of the members present.

Page 528

        The foregoing Constitution was adopted by the General Conference, June 16, 1848. On June 17 the following resolutions were passed:

        By motion of the house the Rev. George Galbreth was appointed president of the Rush Academy, and the Rev. Christopher Rush treasurer of the said institution, and also the Rev. Peter Ross was appointed by the Conference vice president of the Rush Academy for the New York Conference.

        The General Conference authorized Superintendent Rush to appoint the secretaries and the other three vice presidents of the above institution. It was, on motion,

        Resolved, 1. By the General Conference, that the Constitution of the School Fund be so altered or amended as to allow each vice president appointed by the Conference from time to time to organize a committee in his district sufficient to meet the demands of the Constitution.

        2. That the central committee draw a plan of said building and an estimate of the cost of the same, and submit it to their acting committees as soon as possible.

        3. That the central committee of the School Fund are requested to appoint their agents and make their appeal to the public as soon as practicable.

        On motion of the house the following Constitution was received and adopted by the General Conference:



        This Society shall be called the Preachers' Mutual Benefit Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in America, and is established for the benefit of destitute superannuated preachers, their widows and orphans.


        Any preacher of this Connection may become a member of this Society by paying one dollar initiation and the further sum of one dollar annually.


        No minister shall be entitled to share in the benefits of this Society who is not a contributor, and who has not done at least five years' effective service in the itinerancy of the Connection.

Page 529


        The funds of this Society shall be paid over to the General Agent of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Book Concern, and shall be considered a loan to said concern so long as they may be needed.


        It shall be the duty of the Agent to keep a separate book for such funds, which shall contain the names of each contributor and the Conference within whose bounds he or she may reside.


        Dividends shall be made annually of the interest at six per cent to each yearly Conference in proportion to the amount which has been paid from within the bounds of each Conference, which dividends shall commence when one thousand dollars have been paid in, and which the Conferences may have added to the capital, when there are no such cases as specified in the first and third Articles.


        The General Agent shall give his receipt for all moneys paid him for the above purpose, which receipts shall be entered in a book kept by the several yearly Conferences for that purpose.


        When the permanent funds of this Society are no longer needed in the Book Concern they shall be loaned at six per cent on security of real estate to at least twice the amount of the loan, and the interest shall be paid annually to the General Agent, who shall pay the same to the several Annual Conferences as specified in Article 6.


        The business of this Society shall be conducted by a Committee appointed by the General Conference, to consist of an equal number of ministers from each Annual Conference.


        When contributors shall remove from one Conference to another, or when alterations shall be made in the boundaries of Conferences, the book of the Agent shall be so regulated as to give each Conference its proper claim, he being duly notified.


        Each yearly Conference shall appropriate its portion of dividends among its proper claimants according to the judgment of necessities.

Page 530


        This Constitution may be altered or amended by a majority of the members at any General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in America, so as not to affect its general principles.

        The General Conference adjourned after eighteen days' session, to meet on the fourth Saturday in June in Wesley Church, city of Philadelphia, Pa., 1852.

        CHRISTOPHER RUSH, General Superintendent.

        GEORGE GALBRETH, Assistant Superintendent.

        SAMPSON TALBOT, Secretary.

        The reader may be puzzled to know why the General Conference adopted the title African Methodist Episcopal Zion in 1868, when that title had been adopted by the General Conference in 1848. The explanation may be found in the fact previously mentioned, that the connection split in 1852, and was sundered for eight years. During that period the eastern portion was called Zion and the western portion Wesley. After the reunion, which took place in 1860, the titles got slightly mixed; it therefore became necessary in 1868 to declare again the correct title.

        In speaking of the disruption, we have mentioned the fact that there were some circumstances connected with it which were not entirely clear. In the package of Minutes which we found with Sister Hasbrook are the Minutes of 1857, in which we find the following circular, published by Bishop William H. Bishop, giving his version of the matter. Most that we have previously given came from the other side. We should have inserted this with the other matter if we had discovered it in time. We insert it here:


        In the Annual Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Connection for the Philadelphia District, 1857, the defense of our cause being the special order of the day, the following prevailed, to wit:

Page 531

        Whereas, The circular emanating from the pen of the general superintendent, William H. Bishop, presents a clear and lucid exposition of the grounds of the difficulties which resulted in the excommunication of a number of the ministers formerly belonging to this connection--now following the lead of James Simmons and Solomon T. Scott (the so-called superintendents), under the falsely assumed title of this connection; therefore,

        Resolved, That this Conference fully indorse the views therein contained and set forth, and that there be, and it is hereby ordered, that five hundred copies of said circular be printed for circulation through this District.

To the Ministers, Members, and Friends of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in America, greeting:

        BELOVED BRETHREN--We doubt not you have seen and read a circular letter sent to certain individuals, emanating from George A. Spywood and John Tappin, calling themselves general and assistant superintendents of the above-named connection. Dear brethren, you should not be hasty in your conclusions in reference to so great and important a matter, but hear both sides of the question and judge impartially, and not suffer your minds to be prejudiced, but examine carefully and prayerfully, with an eye single to the glory of God and the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom.

        Beloved brethren in Christ, suffer me here to say to you that there is some truth set forth in that circular, accompanied with a great deal of what is not strictly true. Notice first, in regard to the Constitution in reference to making new rules or revising those already made. See Discipline, page 68, article 1st, 2d, and 3d, and page 69, etc. Dear friends, every section and every article we hold sacred. Sirs, I have been a minister in this connection for some time; I joined it, the Zion's Church in New York, in September, 1825. In May, 1826, I joined the Annual Conference as a traveling preacher. Father Abraham Thompson, one of the founders of Zion's Church, and Rev. James Varick, the first superintendent, were then living. He, Varick, served the first term as superintendent; he was elected for the second term, but before the expiration of that term God was pleased to call him from labor to reward. We then numbered about ten Conference ministers, and of that number there are but three living, who are of no longer standing than myself, and here you have their names: Rev. Levin Smith, Christopher Rush, and George Tredwell.

        After the death of the first superintendent we elected Rev. Levin Smith, who was then our choice, but he declined; we then elected Rev. Christopher Rush to that office. The superintendent is elected to serve four years and no longer, unless reelected. Rev. Christopher Rush was elected in 1828. From that time he was reelected every four years until 1852, making twenty-four years, during which time he became destitute or

Page 532

deprived of his natural sight, so that he could not perform the duties of a superintendent any longer. As a matter of course, the members of the General Conference, feeling it their privilege as well as their duty, which right belongs to them, to elect to the superintendency a man of their own choice, they did elect Rev. William H. Bishop general superintendent in 1852, and did unanimously elect him general superintendent in 1856, and did also unanimously elect Rev. Joseph J. Clinton assistant superintendent.

        Dear friends, I am not a stranger in the connection. Many of you know me from the time I joined the connection. I was called and owned as a worthy brother, and held in high repute up to 1852. But when I was elected superintendent, then those office seekers showed themselves to be my enemies. In their circular they inform you that we wish to deprive you of your privileges; those statements are not true, but to the reverse, for instead of depriving the Quarterly Conferences of their privileges, the intention of the General Conference of 1852 was, and still is, to give them more. It is true, we know that we cannot alter or change our rules without the consent of two thirds of the Quarterly Conferences of the entire connection, as you may see in the circular in reference to the convention.

        Again they say, I lost or gave my office by putting an unconstitutional motion. Ah, how low the acts of those men are, striving to take advantage and making wrong impressions upon the uninformed and weak minds! God will, ere long, set matters right. They say that the rule was suspended to get the third superintendent, and the rule remained so. Ah, how erroneous the idea is! How often is the like done in deliberative bodies; yes, even in Congress, in Parliament, and among religious bodies. But it is so strange. The suspension of rule is part of their own doings in General Conference of 1852, when we were all together, but they (having lost their power, as they thought), when arriving in New York, called their council and there devised these low, cunning plans to effect their unrighteous designs, and to captivate weak minds, telling those innocent ones that we wanted to take their property away from them, thus flattering and deceiving them; while at the same time were they taken helpless to-morrow they would have to be sent or compelled to go to the poorhouse, the aged home, after spending their hard earnings to pay for that property. . . .

        It is true that our book of Discipline knows but two superintendents, the general and assistant. The book of Discipline never knew any assistant until 1848. But C. Rush tolerated it, and it was said to be right. Much more here might be said which was unconstitutionally sanctioned by the Rev. C. Rush. Had he and his party been set at the head of affairs in 1852, all would have been right with them to-day--for the acts in that General Conference are but as ciphers compared with the General Conference of 1840. See that book signed by himself unlawfully, and in 1843, sitting in Conference with the same, asking questions out

Page 533

of that unlawfully revised book, and then assumed the power that was not guaranteed to him in that he told the members of the New York and Philadelphia Conferences to use either or both books of Discipline until the General Conference. This was wrong; but no one tried to remove Rev. C. Rush from office for putting that unconstitutional motion in the General Conference of 1840. I here forbear. Again to the book of Discipline. The present book knows but two superintendents, the general and assistant. We were all in General Conference assembled in Philadelphia, in 1852, and were in the act of revising the Discipline. The sentiments of that body, even those who now strive to take the advantage, were that, in their judgment, the connection stood in need of three superintendents. But we could not get the third one unless we suspended the rule and elected one prospectively, but not to act as such, until there should be sanction given to the revised matter by a two third vote of the Quarterly Conferences of the entire connection. Here the question may arise, why was Spywood's name on the circular with Rev. William H. Bishop and Rev. George Galbreth? The answer is, that it was the expressed opinion of that body that at the next annual session the consent of the required majority of the Quarterly Conferences would be obtained, as they had already the consent of a great number of them.

        The circular pointing out the defect, with the alterations which were wanting to be made, was sent out in good faith. But ah! to our surprise, the disaffected office-seeking brethren, instead of acting in good faith, ran to the old church and raised a hue and cry, saying that William H. Bishop and the General Conference were about to destroy their church, their old Mother Church, by changing the name of the connection, which caused a great excitement. They said if the name was changed they would lose their property, their beloved Zion in New York.

        This game went on till 1853, when that party called a convention, as they say, while I was in Allegheny City, Pa., holding an Annual Conference, at which time, they say in their own publication, they resolved themselves into a General Conference--which is truly a new thing under the sun; and that done in Zion, called the Mother Church--with closed doors, and there elected, as they say in their own publication, three superintendents, namely, George A. Spywood, Robert C. Henderson, and John Tappin.

        They elected three superintendents in open violation of the Constitution of the Church, and now that broken, disaffected party, in a circular letter, charges the General Conference proper with violating the rules of the Church. It is well known that the presidential election of these United States takes place every four years; there are two or more candidates for that office; one of these candidates, with his vice, is elected in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution of the United States. Let

Page 534

us suppose a case: suppose that the friends of the minority candidates, being dissatisfied, should meet in one of these United States, in one of the cities or towns, and enter into some hall, and there with closed doors should hold an election with their candidate, then come out and publish to the world that he, whomsoever he might be, was President of these United States, would that be true? The answer is at hand, No. You would look upon that party as rebels. This is a parallel case. The party now cleaving to the old house, corner of Church and Leonard Streets, New York, is the party that pursued this rebellious course, and they are making a noise before the public, claiming to be the connection proper, which is not true.

        Zion was never a connectional name until 1848. At that General Conference our present book was revised, and the present name of the connection given for the first time. The book was published in 1851. Look at the 7th page, Committee's Address, page 8, the names of the said committee; see the old book of 1820, which is or was the name, the doctrine or discipline, of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in America. This was the proper name of the connection until 1848, when the committee, as named on the 8th page of the present book, named the connection, which was sanctioned by the General Conference. Read for yourselves, and do not be deceived.

        Spywood and Tappin, who were said to be their superintendents, did not continue their four years, but instead of four years their party was glad to get rid of them in three years; no doubt of that, for notwithstanding things as they are, there are honorable exceptions, for there are brethren and sons among them who are near and dear to me.

        James Simmons and Solomon T. Scott, of the disaffected party, were elected by that party, the former general, the latter assistant superintendent, in June, 1856. He (Scott), who was an office seeker in 1852, but he being disappointed in that, he was not elected superintendent, but he received an appointment from me until the last Conference, 1855, when he (Scott) located and joined the Quarterly Conference of Wesley Church, Lombard Street, Philadelphia, held his standing as a local elder, went to work holding private council with the disaffected party in New York, and he (Scott) for less than a mess of pottage sold himself and joined them, after calling them after the names of many of his fish, as set forth in his sermon, and he called them anything but Christians and gentlemen wherever he went. After all this, thinking there was not a chance for him in the connection proper, he was determined to look out for a chance once more. Away he goes and salutes the disaffected party, and by his acts says, Hail, brethren! and kisses them. They made him their assistant superintendent. He, of course, will be a stool pigeon, to try to draw away from our beloved connection members by a refuge of lies.

Page 535

        Ministers, official boards, members, and friends of our beloved connection, stand together, be upon the watch, stand firm; the good Lord has enabled us to guide the ship safely through that trying term, I may say single-handed, and as the brethren have given me an assistant, under God we feel to be strong.

WILLIAM H. BISHOP, General Superintendent.

JOSEPH J. CLINTON, Assistant Superintendent.

        In the Minutes of 1853 we find specimens of the poetical genius of Bishop J. J. Clinton and Rev. Henry A. Thompson:


        * Lines written and dedicated to Rev. William H. Bishop, the General Superintendent of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in America, by Rev. J. J. Clinton.

                         While anxious mortals strive in vain
                         The summum bonum to obtain,
                         Each takes a different way.
                         Their aims are leveled in the dark,
                         Their arrows drop before the mark,
                         Or far beyond it stray.

                         The miser heaps up golden ore,
                         Surveys the glittering mammon o'er,
                         And thinks he's gained the prize;
                         His bliss, alas! is soon destroyed,
                         His treasures vanish unenjoyed,
                         And he, repining, dies.

                         Others pursue the path of fame,
                         Striving to gain a lasting name,
                         Toil up the steep ascent;
                         Whilst the least blast that scandal breathes
                         Mildews their never-fading wreaths,
                         And mars the true content.

                         God, who is love, decreed it so,
                         Lest we should fix on things below,
                         And never look to Him
                         Who only has the power to bless,
                         From whom derives all happiness,
                         The fountain and the stream.

Page 536


        * Dedicated to Rev. William H. Bishop, General Superintendent of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in America, by Rev. Henry A. Thompson.

                         Be bold, be firm, be strong, be true,
                         And dare to stand alone;
                         Strive for the right whate'er ye do,
                         Though helpers there be none.

                         Nay, bend not to the swelling surge
                         Of popular sneer and wrong;
                         'Twill bear thee on to ruin's verge
                         With current wild and strong.

                         Stand for the right though falsehood rail
                         And proud lips coldly sneer;
                         A poisoned arrow cannot wound
                         A conscience pure and clear.

                         Stand for the right, and with clean hands
                         Exalt the truth on high;
                         Thou'lt find warm, sympathizing hearts
                         Among the passers-by.

                         Men who have seen, and thought, and felt,
                         Yet could not singly dare
                         The battle's brunt, but by thy side
                         Will every danger share.

                         Stand for the right, proclaim it loud;
                         Thou'lt find an answering tone
                         In honest hearts, and thou'lt no more
                         Be doomed to stand alone.


        Mrs. Katie Walters, wife of Bishop Alexander Walters, and daughter of Louis and Kittie Knox, was born in Louisville, Ky., August 18, 1856. She had the advantages of the public schools in Louisville, has been a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

Page 537

since 1877, and was married to Bishop Walters, August 28, 1877, at Indianapolis, Ind. Mrs. Walters is an exemplary and very successful minister's wife; she understands the art of adapting herself to her surroundings; is intelligent, modest, cultured, thoughtful, and in every way fitted for the position which she occupies. She has



served faithfully with her husband in the following charges: Corydon, Cloverport, and Louisville, Ky.; San Francisco, Cal.; Chattanooga and Knoxville, Tenn.; and New York city. She has been vice president of the Woman's Home and Foreign Missionary Society of the California and New Jersey Conferences, and was successful last year in raising the largest amount
Page 538

reported in the New Jersey Conference for many years. She is a model housekeeper, a hospitable entertainer, an earnest church worker, an affectionate wife and mother, has a kind word and smile for all, and is greatly loved by those who know her.


        We have desired greatly to present a sketch of the life of Sister Mary Roberts, the founder of the society known as the Daughters of Conference. The great work accomplished by these societies is a monument to her wisdom. No other organization did so much for the building up of Zion Church in its early history. The Daughters of Conference furnished the means to send missionaries to the South, by which the borders of Zion were extended to that land.

        Sister Mary Roberts was elected president of the first society of Daugh