Men of Mark:
Eminent, Progressive and Rising:
Simmons, William J., 1849-1890
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(title page) Men of Mark: Eminent, Progressive and Rising
REV. WILLIAM J. SIMMONS, D. D.
1138 p., ill.
GEO. M. REWELL & CO.
Call number 326.92 S592M (Perkins Library, Duke University)
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-CH digitization project, Documenting the American South.
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Library of Congress Subject Headings, 21st edition, 1998
LC Subject Headings:
- African Americans — Biography.
- African American men — Biography.
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[Title Page Image]
[Title Page Verso Image]
MEN OF MARK:
Eminent, Progressive and Rising.
REV. WILLIAM J. SIMMONS, D. D.,
President of the State University, Louisville, Kentucky.
WITH AN INTRODUCTORY SKETCH OF THE AUTHOR BY REV. HENRY M.
TURNER, D. D., LL. D., BISHOP A. M. E. CHURCH.
GEO. M. REWELL & CO.
GEO. M. REWELL & CO.
PRESS OF W. W. WILLIAMS, CLEVELAND, O.
MURRAY & HEISS, ENGRAVERS.
THIS BOOK IS SOLD EXCLUSIVELY BY SUBSCRIPTION, AND IS NOT
FOR SALE IN BOOK STORES.
THIS VOLUME IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED
THE WOMEN OF OUR RACE,
ESPECIALLY TO THE DEVOTED, SELF-SACRIFICING
WHO MOULDED THE LIVES OF THE SUBJECTS
OF THESE SKETCHES, LABORING AND PRAYING
FOR THEIR SUCCESS. IT IS SENT FORTH WITH
THE EARNEST HOPE THAT FUTURE MOTHERS
WILL BE INSPIRED TO GIVE SPECIAL ATTENTION
TO THE TRAINING OF THEIR CHILDREN, AND
THEREBY FIT THEM FOR HONORABLE, HAPPY
AND USEFUL LIVES.
TO PRESUME to multiply books in this day of excellent writers and learned book-makers is a rash thing perhaps for a novice. It may even be a presumption that shall be met by the production itself being driven from the market by the keen, searching criticism of not only the reviewers, but less noted objectors. And yet there are books that meet a ready sale because they seem like “Ishmaelites”–against everybody and everybody against them. Whether this work shall ever accomplish the design of the author may not at all be determined by its sale. While I hope to secure some pecuniary gain that I may accompany it with a companion illustrating what our women have done, yet by no means do I send it forth with the sordid idea of gain. I would rather it would do some good than make a single dollar, and I echo the wish of “Abou Ben Adhem,” in that sweet poem of that name, written by Leigh Hunt. The angel was writing at the table, in his vision.
The names of those who love the Lord.
Abou wanted to know if his was there–and the angel said “No.” Said Abou,
I pray thee, then, write me as one that loves his fellow-men.
That is what I ask to be recorded of me.
The angel wrote and vanished. The next night
It came again, with a great awakening light.
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed.
And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.
I desire that the book shall be a help to students, male and female, in the way of information concerning our great names.
I have noticed in my long experience as a teacher, that many of my students were wofully ignorant of the work of our great colored men–even ignorant of their names. If they knew their names, it was some indefinable something they had done–just what, they could not tell. If in a slight degree I shall here furnish the data for that class of rising men and women, I shall feel much pleased. Herein will be found many who had severe trials in making their way through schools of different grades. It is a suitable book, it is hoped, to be put into the hands of intelligent, aspiring young people everywhere, that they might see the means and manners of men’s elevation, and by this be led to undertake the task of going through high schools and colleges. If the persons herein mentioned could rise to the exalted stations which they have and do now hold, what is there to prevent any young man or woman from achieving greatness? Many, yea, nearly all these came from the loins of slave fathers, and were the babes of women in bondage, and themselves felt the leaden hand of slavery on their own bodies; but whether slaves or not, they suffered with their brethren because of color. That “sum of human villainies” did not crush out the life and
Page 7manhood of the race. I wish the book to show to the world–to our oppressors and even our friends–that the Negro race is still alive, and must possess more intellectual vigor than any other section of the human family, or else how could they be crushed as slaves in all these years since 1620, and yet to-day stand side by side with the best blood in America, in white institutions, grappling with abstruse problems in Euclid and difficult classics, and master them? Was ever such a thing seen in another people? Whence these lawyers, doctors, authors, editors, divines, lecturers, linguists, scientists, college presidents and such, in one quarter of a century?
Another thing I would have them notice, that the spirituality of this race was not diminished in slavery. While in bondage, it may have been somewhat objectionable, as seen in the practices of our race, it must be remembered that they copied much from their owners–they never descended to the level of brutes, and were kind, loving and faithful. They patiently waited till God broke their chains. There was more statesmanship in the Negro slaves than in their masters. Thousands firmly believed they would live to be free, but their masters could not be persuaded to voluntarily accept pay from the government, and thus save the loss they afterwards bore through the “Emancipation.” They went to war and fought “the God of battles,” but the slaves waited, humbly feeding the wives and children of those who went to battle to rivet their chains. To my mind, one of the most sublime points in our history is right here. We never harmed one of these helpless women and children–they testified of that themselves. And yet
Page 8they tell stale lies of ravishing now, when the war is over, and freedom gained, and when the men are all home. No, God has permitted us to triumph and through Him. He implanted in us a vigorous spiritual tree, and since freedom, how has this been growing? Untrammelled, we have, out of our ignorance and penury, built thousands of churches, started thousands of schools, educated millions of children, supported thousands of ministers of the Gospel, organized societies for the care of the sick and the burying of the dead. This spirituality and love of offspring are indubitable evidences that slavery, though long and protracted, met in our race a vigorous, vital, God-like spirituality, which like the palm tree flourishes and climbs upward through opposition.
Again, I admire these men. I have faith in my people. I wish to exalt them; I want their lives snatched from obscurity to become household matter for conversation. I have made copious extracts from their speeches, sermons, addresses, correspondence and other writings, for the purpose of showing their skill in handling the English language, and to show the range of the thoughts of the American Negro. I wish also to furnish specimens of Negro eloquence, that young men might find them handy for declamations and apt quotations. It was hard to draw the line in making many selections, and I do not claim that a better selection might not be made. Indeed I am aware that many are entitled to a place here, and the reader may think I did wrong in selecting some of my subjects; but I ask no pardon for the names I present. They may be the judgment of a faulty brain, and yet there is
Page 9much to admire in all. The extent of our country makes it impossible to secure all who may be “eminent, progressive and rising.” I trust I have presented a representative of many classes of those who labor. The book may therefore be a suggestion for some one to do better.
The illustrations are many, and have been presented so that the reader may see the characters fact to face. This writing has been a labor of love, a real pleasure. I feel better for the good words I have said of these gentlemen. There is no great literary attempt made. I have not tried to play the part of a scholar, but a narrator of facts with here and there a line of eulogy. The book is full; and has already passed the limit of first intentions. I am in debt to many gentlemen for their kindness–especially to Rev. Alexander Crummell, D. D., for the use of books; Hon. James M. Trotter for the loan of cuts taken from his work ‘Music and Some Highly Musical People;’ Rev. R. De Baptiste for assistance in securing sketches; Rev. B. W. Arnett, D. D., loan of books; Hon. John H. Smythe for assistance in sketches and pictures of E. W. Blyden and President W. W. Johnson; General T. Morris Chester, for picture of Ira Aldridge and facts on his life; Professor W. S. Scarborough for many kind helps; Rev. J. H. Greene, for cut of Augustus Tolton and facts in his life; William C. Chase, John W. Cromwell, T. McCants Stewart, Hon. D. A. Straker, Marshall W. Taylor, D. D., Hon. P. B. S. Pinchback, Hon. H. O. Wagoner, Rev. Rufus L. Perry and many others, and pre-eminently do I feel grateful to Bishop H. M. Turner, my distinguished friend, who trusts his own good name by associating it with this poor effort. May God
Page 10bless him for this kind act to a beginner in book-making. This book goes out on the wing of a prayer that it will do great good.
WILLIAM J. SIMMONS.
- CHAPTER I.
HON. FREDERICK DOUGLASS, LL. D.
Magnetic Orator–Anti-Slavery Editor–Marshal of the District of Columbia–First Citizen of America–Eminent Patriot and Distinguished Republican . . . . . 65
- CHAPTER II.
REV. W. B. DERRICK, D. D.
Minister of the A. M. E. Church–Pulpit Orator . . . . . 88
- CHAPTER III.
PHILIP H. MURRY, ESQ.
Phrenologist–Editor–Philosopher . . . . . 97
- CHAPTER IV.
First Martyr of the Revolutionary War–A Negro whose Blood was given for Liberty–Blood the Price of Liberty . . . . . 103
- CHAPTER V.
GRANVILLE T. WOODS, ESQ.
Electrician–Mechanical Engineer–Manufacturer of Telephones, Telegraph and Electrical Instruments . . . . . 107
- CHAPTER VI.
HON. JEREMIAH A. BROWN.
Legislator–Carpenter and Joiner–Clerk–Duputy Sheriff–Turnkey–Letter Carrier . . . . . 113
- CHAPTER VII.
WILLIAM CALVIN CHASE, ESQ.
Editor of the Washington Bee–A Vigorous and Antagonistic Writer–Politician–Agitator . . . . . 118
- CHAPTER VIII.
REV. JAMES W. HOOD, D. D.
Bishop of the A. M. E. Zion Church–Church Organizer and Builder–Assistant Superintendent of Public Instruction–His many Contests for Civil Rights on Steamboats and Cars . . . . . 133
- CHAPTER IX.
HON. SAMUEL R. LOWERY.
Silk Culturist–Lawyer–Editor . . . . . 144
- CHAPTER X.
WILLIAM STILL, ESQ.
Philanthropist–Coal Dealer–Twenty Years Owner of the largest Public Hall Owned by a Colored Man–Author . . . . . 149
- CHAPTER XI.
PROFESSOR J. W. MORRIS, A. B., A. M., LL. B.
President of Allen University, Columbia, S. C.–Professor of Languages . . . . . 162
- CHAPTER XII.
HON. ROBERT SMALLS.
Congressman–Pilot and Captain of the Steamer “Planter.” . . . . . 165
- CHAPTER XIII.
HENRY OSSAWA TANNER.
A Rising Artist–Exhibitor of Paintings in the Art Galleries–Illustrator of Magazines . . . . . 180
- CHAPTER XIV.
REV. ANDREW HEATH.
A Minister of the Gospel, Eminent for his Piety . . . . . 185
- CHAPTER XV.
H. C. SMITH, ESQ.
Prominent Editor–First-Class Musician–Deputy Oil Inspector of Ohio–Song Writer–Leader of Bands–Cornetist . . . . . 194
- CHAPTER XVI.
REV. JOHN BUNYAN REEVE, A. B., D. D.
Distinguished Presbyterian Divine–Professor of Howard University Theological Department . . . . . 199
- CHAPTER XVII.
THOMAS J. BOWERS, ESQ.
The American “Mario”–Tenor Vocalist . . . . . 202
- CHAPTER XVIII.
REV. NICHOLAS FRANKLIN ROBERTS, A. B., A. M.
Professor of Mathematics–President of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina–Moderator of One Hundred Thousand Baptists . . . . . 205
- CHAPTER XIX.
HON. THEOPHILE T. ALLAIN.
State Senator of Louisiana–Agitator of Educational Measures and Internal Improvement–Contractor for Repairing Levees . . . . . 208
- CHAPTER XX.
“Black John Brown”–Martyr . . . . . 231
- CHAPTER XXI.
PROFESSOR J. E. JONES, A. B., A. M.
Professor of Homiletics and Greek in the Theological Seminary, Richmond, Va.–Corresponding Secretary of the Baptist Foreign Mission Convention . . . . . 234
- CHAPTER XXII.
JOHN WESLEY TERRY, ESQ.
Foreman of the Ironing and Fitting Department of the Chicago West Division Street Car Company–Director and Treasurer of the Chicago Co-operative Packing and Provision Company–Director of the Central Park Building and Loan Association . . . . . 240
- CHAPTER XXIII.
WILLIAM E. MATTHEWS, LL. B.
Broker–Real Estate Agent–Financier and Lawyer . . . . . 246
- CHAPTER XXIV.
REV. JAMES ALFRED DUNN PODD.
Superintendent of Schools–Editor–Brilliant Pastor . . . . . 252
- CHAPTER XXV.
HON. HENRY WILKINS CHANDLER, A. B., A. M.
Member of the State Senate, Florida–Capitalist–Lawyer–City Clerk and Alderman . . . . . 257
- CHAPTER XXVI.
REV. THEODORE DOUGHTY MILLER, D. D.
The Eloquent Pastor of Cherry Street Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pa.–A Veteran Divine Distinguished For Long Service . . . . . 260
- CHAPTER XXVII.
J. D. BALTIMORE, ESQ.
Chief Engineer and Mechanician at the Freedmen’s Hospital–Engineer–Machinist–Inventor . . . . . 267
- CHAPTER XXVIII.
J. R. CLIFFORD, ESQ.
Editor–Lawyer–Teacher–Orator . . . . . 273
- CHAPTER XXIX.
WILEY JONES, ESQ.
The Owner of a Street Car Railroad, a Race Track and a Park–A Capitalist Worth $125,000 . . . . . 278
- CHAPTER XXX.
PROFESSOR JOHN H. BURRUS, A. B., A. M.
President of Alcorn University–Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy and Constitutional Law–Teacher of Political Economy, Literature and Chemistry–Attorney at Law . . . . . 281
- CHAPTER XXXI.
HENRY F. WILLIAMS, ESQ.
Composer–Violinist and Cornetist–Band Instructor . . . . . 288
- CHAPTER XXXII.
REV. EDMUND KELLY.
Christian Letter-Writer–Lecturer and Author . . . . . 291
- CHAPTER XXXIII.
REV. PRESTON TAYLOR.
Pastor of the Church of the Disciples, Nashville, Tennessee–General Financial Agent of the College–Big Contractor . . . . . 296
- CHAPTER XXXIV.
SOLOMON G. BROWN.
Distinguished Scientist–Lecturer–Chief Clerk of the Transportation Department of the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D. C.–Entomologist–Taxidermist–Lecturer on “Insects” and “Geology.” . . . . . 302
- CHAPTER XXXV.
JOHN MITCHELL, JR.
The Gamest Negro Editor on the Continent–A Man of Grit and Iron Nerve–A Natural Born Artist . . . . . 314
- CHAPTER XXXVI.
REV. LONDON FERRILL.
Pastor of a Church Incorporated by a State Legislature–An Old Time Preacher–Hired by Town Trustees to Preach to Colored People . . . . . 321
- CHAPTER XXXVII.
PROFESSOR RICHARD THEODORE GREENER, A. B., LL. B., LL. D.
Chief Civil Service Examiner–Lawyer–Metaphysician, Logician and Orator–Prize Essayist–Dean of the Law Department of Howard University . . . . . 327
- CHAPTER XXXVIII.
CAPTAIN PAUL CUFFEE.
Sea Captain–Wealthy Ship Owner–Petitions to the Massachusetts Legislature against “Taxation without Representation” Petition Granted . . . . . 336
- CHAPTER XXXIX.
REV. ALEXANDER WALTERS.
Financier and Pulpit Orator . . . . . 340
- CHAPTER XL.
Astronomer–Philosopher–Inventor–Philanthropist . . . . . 344
- CHAPTER XLI.
REV. RICHARD DEBAPTISTE, D. D.
Corresponding Secretary and Beloved Disciple . . . . . 352
- CHAPTER XLII.
HON. GEORGE FRENCH ECTON.
Representative from the Third Senatorial District, Chicago–From the Plowhandles to the Legislature–From the Capacity of a Waiter to that of Legislator . . . . . 358
- CHAPTER XLIII.
PROFESSOR NEWELL HOUSTON ENSLEY.
Professor of Rhetoric and Sciences–Hebraist–Musician . . . . . 361
- CHAPTER XLIV.
REV. CHRISTOPHER H. PAYNE.
Preacher, Editor and Soliciting Agent . . . . . 368
- CHAPTER XLV.
PROFESSOR PETER HUMPHRIES CLARK, A. M.
Educator–Editor and Agitator . . . . . 374
- CHAPTER XLVI.
JUSTIN HOLLAND, ESQ.
Musical Author and Arranger–Performer on the Guitar, Flute and the Piano Forte . . . . . 384
- CHAPTER XLVII.
PROFESSOR WILLIAM HOOPER COUNCIL.
President State Normal and Industrial School, Huntsville, Alabama–Editor and Lawyer . . . . . 390
- CHAPTER XLVIII.
REV. JAMES POINDEXTER, D. D.
Advocate of Human Rights–Minister of the Gospel and Agitator–Director of the Bureau of Forestry–Member of the Board of Education of the City of Columbus, Ohio . . . . . 394
- CHAPTER XLIX.
RICHARD MASON HANCOCK, ESQ.
Foreman of the Pattern Shops of the Eagle Works Manufacturing Company, Chicago, Illinois–Mathematician, Draughtsman. Carpenter–Foreman of the Liberty Iron Works Pattern Shops. . . . . . 405
- CHAPTER L.
PROFESSOR W. S. SCARBOROUGH, A. B., A. M., LL. D.
Author of a Greek Text Book–Scientist–Lecturer–Scholar–Student of Sanscrit, Zend, Gothicand Luthanian Languages . . . . . 410
- CHAPTER LI.
REV. SOLOMON T. CLANTON, JR., A. B., B. D.
Instructor of Mathematics–Secretary of the American National Baptist Convention–Agent of the American Baptist Publication Society . . . . . 419
- CHAPTER LII.
PROF. JOHN O. CROSBY, A. M., B. E.
Principal State Normal School, North Carolina. . . . . . 422
- CHAPTER LIII.
HON. FRANCIS L. CARDOZA.
Secretary of State–Treasurer of State–Professor of Languages–Principal of the High School, Washington, D. C. . . . . . 428
- CHAPTER LIV.
HON. JOHN S. LEARY, LL. B.
Attorney at Law–Legislator–U. S. Deputy Collector. . . . . . 432
- CHAPTER LV.
E. S. PORTER, A. B., M. D.
Physician on the Sanitary Force of Louisville, Kentucky–Medical Attendant at the Orphans’ Home and the State University–Lecturer. . . . . . 436
- CHAPTER LVI.
REV. AUGUSTUS TOLTON.
The first and only Native American Catholic Priest of African Descent, through both Parents, on the Continent. . . . . . 439
- CHAPTER LVII.
WILLIAM WELLS BROWN, ESQ.
Author–Lecturer–Historian of the Negro Race–Foreign Traveler–Medical Doctor. . . . . . 447
- CHAPTER LVIII.
PROF. WALTER F. CRAIG.
Solo Violinist–Orchestra Conductor. . . . . . 451
- CHAPTER LIX.
REV. CHARLES L. PURCE, A. B.
President of Selma University, Selma, Alabama. . . . . . 454
- CHAPTER LX.
Distinguished French Negro–Dramatist and Novelist–Voluminous Writer. . . . . . 457
- CHAPTER LXI.
REV. WILLIAM REUBEN PETTIFORD.
A Successful Pastor–Trustee of Selma University. . . . . . 460
- CHAPTER LXII.
HON. ROBERT B. ELLIOTT.
Congressman–Eloquent Orator–Distinguished Disciple of Black-stone. . . . . . 466
- CHAPTER LXIII.
PROFESSOR INMAN EDWARD PAGE, A. B., A. M.
Principal of Lincoln Institute–Oratorical Prize Winner at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. . . . . . 474
- CHAPTER LXIV.
REV. E. K. LOVE.
From the Ditch to the Pastorate of 5000 Christians–Editor of the Centennial Record of Georgia–Associate Editor–Honored of God. . . . . . 481
- CHAPTER LXV.
J. A. ARNEAUX, ESQ.
Professional Tragedian, “Black Booth”–Editor–Poet–Graduate of two French Institutions of Learning. . . . . . 484
- CHAPTER LXVI.
REV. RICHARD ALLEN.
First Bishop of the A. M. E. Church–An Eminent Preacher–A Devout Man. . . . . . 491
- CHAPTER LXVII.
HON. SAMUEL ALLEN MCELWEE. A. B., LL. B. Lawyer–Legislator–President of the Tennessee Fair Association–Orator–Speech in the Legislature on Mobs . . . . . 498
- CHAPTER LXVIII.
REV. LOTT CAREY.
First American Missionary to Africa . . . . . 506
- CHAPTER LXIX.
HON. JOHN MERCER LANGSTON, A. B., A. M., LL. D.
Lawyer–Minister Resident and Consul-General–Charge de Affaires–President of the Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute–Formerly Dean and Professor of Law in Howard University . . . . . 510
- CHAPTER LXX.
REV. WILLIAM H. MCALPINE.
Baptist Divine–President of a College–Editor of a Weekly Journal. . . . . . 524
- CHAPTER LXXI.
REV. ALEXANDER CRUMMELL, A. B., D. D.
Rector of St. Luke’s Church, Washington, D. C.–Professor of Mental and Moral Science in the College of Liberia–Author . . . . . 530
- CHAPTER LXXII.
HON. GEORGE H. WHITE.
A Member of the House of Representatives and the Only Colored State Solicitor and Prosecuting Attorney . . . . . 536
- CHAPTER LXXIII.
HON. JOSIAH T. SETTLE, A. B., A. M., LL. B.
Eminent Lawyer–Assistant Attorney-General of Shelby County, Tennessee–Eloquent Orator–Legislator . . . . . 538
- CHAPTER LXXIV.
WILLIAM H. GIBSON, ESQ.
School Teacher in Slavery Days–Musician–Mail Agent–Revenue Agent–Grand Master U. B. of Friendship . . . . . 545
- CHAPTER LXXV.
HON. GEORGE W. WILLIAMS, LL. D.
The Most Eminent Negro Historian in the World–Author of World Wide Reputation–Legislator–Judge-Advocate of the Grand Army of the Republic–Novelist–Scholar–Magnetic Orator–Editor–Soldier–Preacher–Traveler–inister to Hayti . . . . . 549
- CHAPTER LXXVI.
PROF. WILLIAM EVE HOLMES, A. B., A. M.
Hebrew, German and French Scholar–Professor in the Atlanta Baptist Seminary . . . . . 567
- CHAPTER LXXVII.
REV. RANDALL BARTHOLOMEW VANDERVALL, D. D.
A Self-Made Man–A Graduate From the School of Adversity . . . . . 572
- CHAPTER LXXVIII.
REV. ELIJAH P. MARRS.
Preacher–Soldier–Treasurer . . . . . 579
- CHAPTER LXXIX.
REV. DANIEL JONES.
Presiding Elder of the M. E. Church–His Hair-breadth Escapes . . . . . 583
- CHAPTER LXXX.
REV. HENRY N. JETER.
Baptist Preacher . . . . . 588
- CHAPTER LXXXI.
REV. J. T. WHITE.
Divine–Editor–State Senator–Commissioner Public of Works . . . . . 590
- CHAPTER LXXXII.
REV. G. W. GAYLES.
The last Colored State Senator in the Mississippi Legislature–Moderator of the State Convention–Member of the Board of Police . . . . . 594
- CHAPTER LXXXIII.
HON. MIFFLIN WISTER GIBBS.
Attorney at Law–The first Colored Judge in the United States, and an active Politician–An Advocate of Industrial Education–Contractor and Builder . . . . . 597
- CHAPTER LXXXIV.
WILLIAM H. STEWARD, ESQ.
Grand Master–Secretary–Business Manager–Letter Carrier . . . . . 603
- CHAPTER LXXXV.
REV. FRANK J. GRIMKE, A. B.
Learned and Eloquent Presbyterian Divine–Touching Memorial on leaving Washington, D. C. . . . . . 608
- CHAPTER LXXXVI.
HON. ROBERT HARLAN.
Legislator–A Fugitive from Prejudice–Resident in England Ten Years . . . . . 613
- CHAPTER LXXXVII.
DR. ANTHONY WILLIAM AMO.
A Learned Negro–Student at Halle–Skilled in Latin and Greek–Philosophical Lecturer–Received Doctorate from the University of Wittenberg, and Counselor of State by the Count of Berlin . . . . . 617
- CHAPTER LXXXVIII.
REV. RUFUS L. PERRY, Ph. D.
Editor–Ethnologist–Essayist–Logician–Profound Student of Negro History–Scholar in the Greek, Latin and Hebrew Languages . . . . . 620
- CHAPTER LXXXIX.
REV. BARTLETT TAYLOR.
Financier and Church Builder–Christian Pioneer . . . . . 626
- CHAPTER XC.
PROFESSOR JAMES M. GREGORY, A. B., A. M.
Dean of the College Department of Howard University–Linguist . . . . . 631
- CHAPTER XCI.
REV. DANIEL ABRAHAM GADDIE, D. D.
From the Blacksmith Shop to the Pulpit–Temperance Advocate–Moderator of Fifty Thousand Baptists . . . . . 647
- CHAPTER XCII.
W. Q. ATWOOD, ESQ.
Lumber Merchant and Capitalist–Orator– . . . . . 651
- CHAPTER XCIII.
REV. HENRY HIGHLAND GARNET, D. D.
Minister Resident of Liberia–Distinguished Minister of the Gospel, and a Brilliant Orator . . . . . 656
- CHAPTER XCIV.
REV. LEONARD A. GRIMES.
Imprisoned in Richmond, Virginia, for Assisting Fugitive Slaves to Escape from Slavery–A Lovely Disciple . . . . . 662
- CHAPTER XCV.
REV. JAMES H. HOLMES.
Pastor of a Flourishing Church in Richmond, Virginia . . . . . 666
- CHAPTER XCVI.
GENERAL T. MORRIS CHESTER.
General–Phonographer and Typewriter–Lawyer . . . . . 671
- CHAPTER XCVII.
REV. LEMUEL HAYNES, A. M.
A Distinguished Theologian . . . . . 677
- CHAPTER XCVIII.
HON. H. O. WAGONER.
Compositor–Deputy Sheriff–Clerk of the Legislature. . . . . . 679
- CHAPTER XCIX.
REV. MARCUS DALE.
Shrewd Financier and General Manager–Business Capacity Shown. . . . . . 685
- CHAPTER C.
CHARLES B. PURVIS, A. M., M. D.
Secretary and Treasurer–Professor of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children–Surgeon in Charge of Freedman’s Hospital. . . . . . 690
- CHAPTER CI.
PROFESSOR W. H. CROGMAN, A. B., A. M.
Professor of Classics in Clark University. . . . . . 694
- CHAPTER CII.
HON. BLANCHE K. BRUCE.
United States Senator–Register of the United States Treasury. . . . . . 699
- CHAPTER CIII.
J. DALLAS BOWSER, ESQ.
Editor of the Gate City Press–Grain and Coal Merchant–Principal Lincoln School. . . . . . 704
- CHAPTER CIV.
REV. JESSE FREEMAN BOULDEN.
Member of the Lower House of the Legislature of Mississippi in Reconstruction Times–Agent of the American Baptist Publication Society. . . . . . 707
- CHAPTER CV.
REV. WILLIAM T. DIXON.
Veteran Pastor of Concord Baptist Church. Brooklyn, New York. . . . . . 713
- CHAPTER CVI.
REV. MATTHEW CAMPBELL.
One of God’s Servants, Full of Years and Work for Christ–A Thirty Years’ Pastorate–Married 2000 Couples. . . . . . 719
- CHAPTER CVII.
REV. C. C. VAUGHN.
State Grand Chief of I. O. Good Samaritans and Daughters of Samaria–Preacher and Teacher. . . . . . 723
- CHAPTER CVIII.
REV. HARVEY JOHNSON.
Eminent Baltimore Pastor–Prominent in the Councils of his Church. . . . . . 729
- CHAPTER CIX.
The African Tragedian–The “African Roscius”. . . . . . 733
- CHAPTER CX.
HON. GEORGE L. RUFFIN, LL. B.
Judge of the Charlestown District, Massachusetts–From the Barber’s Chair to the Bench. . . . . . 740
- CHAPTER CXI.
PROFESSOR D. AUGUSTUS STRAKER, LL. B., LL. D.
Dean of Law Department–Lawyer–Orator and Stenographer. . . . . . 744
- CHAPTER CXII.
REV. JOHN HUDSON RIDDICK.
Preacher–Councilman–Deputy Marshal. . . . . . 752
- CHAPTER CXIII.
REV. J. C. PRICE, A. B.
President Livingstone College–Great Temperance Orator. . . . . . 754
- CHAPTER CXIV.
HON. PINCKNEY BENTON STEWART PINCHBACK.
Governor–Lieutenant-Governor–United States Senator–Lawyer–His Daring “Railroad Race”–Eminent Politician–Wealthy Gentleman . . . . . 759
- CHAPTER CXV.
President of Hayti–Skillful Engineer–Educated at the Military School of France . . . . . 782
- CHAPTER CXVI.
TIMOTHY THOMAS FORTUNE, ESQ.
Editor–Author–Pamphleteer–Agitator . . . . . 785
- CHAPTER CXVII.
TROY PORTER, ESQ.
Plumber, Gas and Steam Fitter–Superintendent of Waterworks and Town Clerk . . . . . 792
- CHAPTER CXVIII.
BLIND TOM. (THOMAS BETHUNE.)
A Remarkable Musician–The Negro Pianist . . . . . 794
- CHAPTER CXIX.
REV. HENRY ADAMS.
A Faithful Pastor–A Good Man . . . . . 798
- CHAPTER CXX.
J. C. FARLEY, ESQ.
Photographer and Prominent Citizen of Richmond, Virginia . . . . . 801
- CHAPTER CXXI.
REV. HENRY MCNEAL TURNER, D. D., LL. D.
Bishop of A. M. E. Church–Philosopher–Politician and Orator–Eminent Lecturer–Author–Intense Race Man–United States Chaplain . . . . . 805
- CHAPTER CXXII.
REV. JOHN W. STEPHENSON, M. D.
Church Builder–Financier–Druggist–His Methods . . . . . 820
- CHAPTER CXXIII.
PROFESSOR JOSEPH CARTER CORBIN, A. B., A. M.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction–Linguist–Master of Latin, Greek, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Hebrew and Danish–Profound Mathematician and Musician–Organist, Pianist, Flutist . . . . . 829
- CHAPTER CXXIV.
HON. JAMES M. TROTTER.
Recorder of Deeds–Author of Music and Some Highly Musical People.’ Assistant Superintendent of the Register Letter Department, Boston, Massachusetts–Lieutenant in the Army . . . . . 833
- CHAPTER CXXV.
REV. ALLEN ALLENSWORTH, A. M.
The Great Children’s Preacher of the Gospel–Chaplain of the Twenty-Fourth Infantry of the U. S.–Presidential Elector–Agent of the American Baptist Publication Society . . . . . 843
- CHAPTER CXXVI.
REV. GEORGE WASHINGTON DUPEE.
Eminent Minister–Moderator of the General Association–Editor–Preacher of 12000 Funeral Sermons–Baptizer of 8000 Candidates . . . . . 847
- CHAPTER CXXVII.
SAMUEL C. WATSON, M. D.
Druggist–Doctor–Member of City Council–First Colored Clerk of a Steamboat Owned by a Colored Man . . . . . 860
- CHAPTER CXXVIII.
RT. REV. RICHARD HARVEY CAIN, D. D.
Bishop of the A. M. E. Church–Congressman–Senator in the South Carolina Legislature–President of Paul Quinn College . . . . . 866
- CHAPTER CXXIX.
HON. JOHN H. SMYTHE, LL. B., LL. D.
United States Minister–Resident Minister–Consul-General to Liberia–Attorney at Law . . . . . 872
- CHAPTER CXXX.
J. J. DURHAM, A. B., A. M., M. D.
Valedictorian in the Medical School–A Vigorous, Convincing Debater–Preacher . . . . . 878
- CHAPTER CXXXI.
REV. BENJAMIN W. ARNETT, D. D.
Financial Secretary of the A. M. E. Church–The Statistician of his Church–Author–Editor of the Budget–Legislator–Author of the bill wiping out the “Black Laws” of Ohio . . . . . 883
- CHAPTER CXXXII.
OLANDAH EQUIANO, OR GUSTAVUS VASSA.
A Virginia Slave–Purchases His Freedom–Sails for London–Presents a Petition to the Queen . . . . . 892
- CHAPTER CXXXIII.
JOHN W. CROMWELL, ESQ.
Editor–Distinguished English Scholar–Lawyer–President of the Bethel Literary Society, Washington, D. C.–Examiner and Register of Money Order Accounts . . . . . 898
- CHAPTER CXXXIV.
REV. E. M. BRAWLEY, D. D.
Editor Baptist Tribune–President of Selma University–Sunday School Agent of South Carolina . . . . . 908
- CHAPTER CXXXV.
JAMES W. C. PENNINGTON, D. D.
Able Presbyterian Divine–Greek, Latin and German Scholar . . . . . 913
- CHAPTER CXXXVI.
HON. EDWARD WILMOT BLYDEN, LL. D.
Linguist–Oriental Scholar–Arabic Professor–Magazine Writer–Minister Plenipotentiary–President of Liberia College . . . . . 916
- CHAPTER CXXXVII.
REV. B. F. LEE, D. D.
Editor of the Christian Recorder–President of Wilberforce University for Many Years . . . . . 922
- CHAPTER CXXXVIII.
HON. J. J. SPELMAN.
State Senator–Temperance Orator–Eminent Baptist Layman . . . . . 928
- CHAPTER CXXXIX.
REV. MARSHALL W. TAYLOR, D. D.
Editor of the Southwestern Advocate–Brilliant Writer . . . . . 933
- CHAPTER CXL.
The Negro Soldier, Statesman and Martyr . . . . . 936
- CHAPTER CXLI.
HON. HIRAM R. REVELS.
United States Senator–A. M. E. Preacher–President of the Alcorn University–Planter . . . . . 948
- CHAPTER CXLII.
REV. HARRISON N. BOUEY.
Missionary to Africa–Agent American Baptist Publication Society–District Secretary . . . . . 951
- CHAPTER CXLIII.
COLONEL JAMES LEWIS.
Surveyor-General–Colonel of the Second Regiment State Militia–Collector of the New Orleans Port–Naval Officer–Superintendent of the United States Bonded Warehouses . . . . . 954
- CHAPTER CXLIV.
REV. E. H. LIPSCOMBE, A. B., A. M.
President of the Western Union Institute–Professor of Rhetoric and Moral Philosophy–Preacher–Editor of the Mountain Gleaner . . . . . 959
- CHAPTER CXLV.
HON. JAMES C. MATTHEWS.
Lawyer and Recorder of Deeds, Washington, D. C. . . . . . 964
- CHAPTER CXLVI.
PROFESSOR WILLIAM HOWARD DAY, D. D.
Able and Forcible Orator–Practical Printer–Veteran Editor–Philanthropist–Agitator–Progressive Race Man . . . . . 978
- CHAPTER CXLVII.
REV. BENJAMIN TUCKER TANNER, A. M., D. D.
Editor A. M. E. Review–Twenty Years an Editor–For Many Years Editor of the Christian Recorder–Author of Ecclesiastical Works . . . . . 985
- CHAPTER CXLVIII.
Correspondent of the French Academy of Sciences–Versed in the Sciences of Botany, Natural Philosophy, Zoology and Astronomy . . . . . 989
- CHAPTER CXLIX.
R. C. O. BENJAMIN, ESQ.
Lawyer–Author–Editor–Champion of the Race . . . . . 991
- CHAPTER CL.
HON. JOHN J. IRVINE.
Clerk of the Circuit Court of Chattanooga, Tennessee . . . . . 995
- CHAPTER CLI.
GEORGE T. DOWNING, ESQ.
Aggressive Politician–An Intimate Friend of Charles Sumner–An Old Time Warrior for Free Speech and Human Rights–A Man of Pronounced Convictions . . . . . 1003
- CHAPTER CLII.
MAJOR MARTIN R. DELANEY, M. D.
Scientist–Ethnologist–Lecturer–Discoverer–Member of the International Statistical Conference . . . . . 1007
- CHAPTER CLIII.
REV. J. B. FIELDS:
An Able, Eloquent Baptist Divine–Popular Historian–Lecturer–The Annihilator of Ingersollism . . . . . 1016
- CHAPTER CLIV.
ROBERT PELHAM, JR.
The Able Editor of the Detroit Plaindealer–A Vigorous Writer–An Active Politician . . . . . 1022
- CHAPTER CLV.
PROFESSOR B. T. WASHINGTON.
Principal of the Tuskegee Normal School–A Successful Career–A Wonderful Institution–Industrial Education . . . . . 1027
- CHAPTER CLVI.
REV. J. P. CAMPBELL, D. D., LL. D.
Bishop of the A. M. E. Church–The Theologian of the Denomination . . . . . 1031
- CHAPTER CLVII.
Insurrectionist . . . . . 1035
- CHAPTER CLVIII.
HON. HILERY RICHARD WRIGHT JOHNSON.
President of Liberia–An Accomplished English and Classical Scholar–A Master of German, French and Mathematics . . . . . 1040
- CHAPTER CLIX.
HON. JOHN R. LYNCH.
Prominent Politician–Orator–Lawyer–Congressman–Presided at the National Republican Convention. . . . . . 1042
- CHAPTER CLX.
REV. P. H. A. BRAXTON.
Pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church, Baltimore, Maryland–Writer–Speaker. . . . . . 1046
- CHAPTER CLXI.
PROFESSOR T. MCCANTS STEWART. A. B., LL. B.
Attorney at Law–Professor and Author. . . . . . 1052
- CHAPTER CLXII.
HON. E. P. MCCABE.
Auditor of Kansas–County Clerk–Successful Politician. . . . . . 1055
- CHAPTER CLXIII.
REV. CHARLES HENRY PARRISH, A. B.
A Rising Young Man–From the Position of Janitor to the Secretaryship of a University. . . . . . 1059
- CHAPTER CLXIV.
REV. JOHN JASPER.
“The Sun Do Move”. . . . . . 1064
- CHAPTER CLXV.
JAMES E. J. CAPITEIN.
A Negro Born in Africa–Taken to Europe–Educated in Holland–Latin Poet. . . . . . 1073
- CHAPTER CLXVI.
REV. D. A. PAYNE, D. D., LL. D.
Senior Bishop of the A. M. E. Church–Educator and Author–The Scholar of the Denomination. . . . . . 1078
- CHAPTER CLXVII.
REV. I. M. BURGAN, B. D.
President of Paul Quinn College–Educator–Pioneer. . . . . . 1086
- CHAPTER CLXVIII.
REV. W. J. WHITE.
Editor of the Georgia Baptist. . . . . . 1095
- CHAPTER CLXIX.
HON. ALEXANDER CLARK.
Eminent Mason–Lawyer–Editor. . . . . . 1097
- CHAPTER CLXX.
HON. JOHN C. DANCY.
Editor of the Star of Zion–Eminent Layman in the A. M. E. Zion Church–Recorder of Deeds of Edgecombe Co., North Carolina. . . . . . 1101
- CHAPTER CLXXI.
PROFESSOR CHARLES L. REASON.
A Veteran New York School Teacher–European Traveler–One of the Giants in Anti-Slavery Days. . . . . . 1105
- CHAPTER CLXXII.
REV. JOHN M. BROWN, D. D., D. C. L.
An Active Bishop in the A. M. E. Church. . . . . . 1113
- CHAPTER CLXXIII.
PROFESSOR DAVID ABNER, JR.
A Rising Young Professor in Bishop College, Texas–Editor–Lecturer. . . . . . 1119
- CHAPTER CLXXIV.
REV. A. A. WHITMAN.
Author of a Book of Poems, entitled, ‘Not a Man, and Yet a Man,’ with Miscellaneous Poems. . . . . . 1122
- CHAPTER CLXXV.
E. M. BANNISTER, ESQ.
An Artist Photographer–The Gifted Painter of Providence, who was Inspired to Paint Pictures by a Slur in the New York Herald Twenty Years Ago . . . . . 1127
- CHAPTER CLXXVI.
HON. C. C. ANTOINE.
Lieutenant-Governor of Louisiana–State Senator–Prominent Politician . . . . . 1132
- CHAPTER CLXXVII.
JAMES MATTHEW TOWNSEND, D. D.
Corresponding Secretary of the Parent Home and Foreign Missionary Society of the A. M. E. Church–A Man of Perseverance and Sound Judgment . . . . . 1135
ACCOMPANIED BY A SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF REV. W. J.
SIMMONS, A. B., A. M., D. D.
It is a historic fact that Virginia soil has been rife with Presidents, but truly South Carolina has given to the world more men of note than any other State in the Union. In Charleston, South Carolina, June 29, 1849, Edward and Esther Simmons, two slaves, added to their fortune the subject of this sketch, who though born in poverty, shrouded by obscurity, was destined to make for himself a name honored among men. At an early period in his life, interested parties hurried the mother with three small children northward, without the protection of a husband and father, to begin a long siege with poverty. When the steamer landed at Philadelphia they were met by an uncle, Alexander Tardiff, who left the south some time before. This uncle, a shoemaker by trade, displayed the virtues of a generous nature in caring for the mother, William, Emeline and Anna as well as he could, with prejudice to fight. These were days of hardships and anxieties so keen for the little family that even now the survivors speak of them in hushed tones and with misty eyes. While in Philadelphia
Page 40they were harassed by slave traders who seemed determined to burrow them out of their hiding place. At this time disease laid his hand upon them.
Disasters come not singly;
But as if they watched and waited,
Scanning one another’s motions.
When the first descends, the others
Follow, follow, gathering flock-wise
Round their victim, sick and wounded,
First a shadow, then a sorrow,
Till the air is dark with anguish.
Huddled together in the garret of the three-story brick house where they lived, stricken with the small-pox, almost destitute of food, and fearing to call in medical attendance lest by attracting attention they would be carried back into slavery; while death stared them in the face, fugitive slave hunters rapped at the door of the front room which the uncle used as a workshop. These beasts in human flesh, after many inquiries and cross-questionings were so misled by the shrewd uncle that they went away. Shortly after, the uncle finding it impossible to earn a living at his trade, decided to go to sea. The family was left at Roxbury, Pennsylvania. Here for two years the faithful mother toiled morning, noon and night, at washing and other hard work to support the children and keep them together. At the expiration of this time the uncle returned and carried them to Chester, Pennsylvania, where he was able to do a good business; but the same old trouble arose. The slave traders were on their track again! The family was smuggled away to Philadelphia and remained long enough for the uncle to secure employment,
Page 41by answering an advertisement inserted in the papers by George and Arthur Stowell, Bordentown, New Jersey, for a journeyman shoemaker. At this place it was a daily contest with poverty and a struggle for bread; however, the children were kept together, and none were ever hired out. During the entire boyhood of William, so hard pressed were they because of sickness, dull seasons of work and other difficulties, that never a toy, so dear to childhood, brightened his life; and for days and weeks, milk and mush was his only food. He never attended a public school in his whole school life. The uncle having attended school in Charleston under D. A. Payne, now Bishop Payne of the A. M. E. Church, was a fair scholar and undertook the education of the children, laying a foundation so broad and exact, that in after years college studies for the boy were comparatively easy.
William was by no means a good “Sabbath-keeping-boy” such as we read of in books. He gave considerable trouble at home and abroad. In 1862 he was apprenticed to Dr. Leo H. DeLange, a dentist in Bordentown, New Jersey. So far as giving him necessary instruction, the doctor was kind to him. William had learned so thoroughly all there was to be learned in the profession, that when the doctor was absent he was able to do a large part of the work. Though often rebuffed by white patients, he operated on some of the best families in the city. He endeavored to enter a dental college in Philadelphia, and was refused largely on account of color. Unwilling to enter the profession without a thorough knowledge, such as could be given only in a training school, he decided to
Page 42abandon the profession, but remained with the doctor until September 16, 1864, at which time, becoming disgusted at the treatment received at the hands of the doctor, he ran away and enlisted in the Forty-first United States colored troops.
His army life was not uneventful; he took part in battles around Petersburg, Hatches Run, Appomattox Court House, and was present at the surrender of Lee, the crisis out of which our own happier cycle of years has been evolved. He was discharged September 13, 1865, and in 1866 and 1867 worked as journeyman at his trade for Dr. William H. Longfellow, a colored dentist of Philadelphia, after which he returned to Dr. DeLange.
He was converted in 1867 and joined the white Baptist church in Bordentown, pastored by Rev. J. W. Custis, a brilliant man, under whose influence about one hundred and fifty had joined the church that spring.
Although the only colored man in the church, he was treated with much kindness; and when his call to the Gospel ministry was made known, they rallied to his support, defraying his school expenses three years. The New Jersey State Educational Society aided him to attend Madison University of New York, from which he graduated in 1868, taking the academic course. Both students and teachers were his warm friends and are to-day. The dark skinned youth, though alone, never felt the sting of injustice at their hands. September, 1868, found him matriculated at Rochester University, having been led to make the change by an offer of additional aid by laboring in a small Baptist church in Rochester, and because there he found
Page 43colored people among whom he could associate and do missionary work. At this early date we see cropping out the love for the race which in after years became one of the ruling passions of his life.
One pleasant year slipped by, and the freshman year completed, when his eyes became seriously affected. The trouble was brought on by continuous night study of Greek during his academic year. This prevented school attendance until the year 1871 when he entered Howard University, Washington, District of Columbia, and graduated as an A. B. in 1873. His graduating oration treating of the Darwinian theory, a subject then very popular in literary circles, attracted much attention and newspaper comments. Extracts were printed in a paper in England devoted to science and literature.
At many periods, his school life was a sequel to the days of deprivation of childhood. Time and again he would be forced to stay indoors while having his only shirt laundried. Poor shoes and patched clothes were the rule, not the exception. During his entire course he did not have a whole suit until reaching the senior year. Once he ate cheese and crackers three weeks. During the senior year, September, 1872, to June, 1873, he walked seven miles a day, and taught school; came home and drilled the cadet company from four to five; recited at night, and graduated with the salutatory of the class. That was a happy day; by frugality he had saved three hundred dollars. Commencement day for him ended many deprivations and sacrifices in one sense. Both have come since, but of a different character and easier to bear. In the world one can
Page 44find means of replenishing his purse, and many opportunities of changing his circumstances; but with a student it is different. He must in a degree be stationary, and cannot move around for the purpose of getting benefits.
During these years his mother lavished on him the devotion and pride of a loving heart. She washed, ironed and labored in other ways to help him. In this she was greatly assisted by one Bunting Hankins and his devoted wife of Bordentown, New Jersey, in whose family she labored. General O. O. Howard, president of Howard University, and General E. Whittlesey, dean of the college department, showed him many kindnesses during and after college days. While a student, he showed such aptness to teach in conducting a school at a place called Bunker’s Hill, rebuilding it almost from nothing, that the school-board promoted him to the principalship of a much larger building, with several hundred scholars. This was the Hillsdale Public school, District of Columbia. Here he boarded in the house of Hon. Solomon G. Brown, one of the ablest scientists in this country.
Immediately after graduating, he took Horace Greeley’s advice, and went west, to Arkansas, with the idea of making it his home; was examined and secured a State certificate from the Honorable Superintendent of Education, J. C. Corbin, but soon returned to Washington and taught at Hillsdale until June, 1874.
After marrying Josephine A., the daughter of John and Caroline Silence, in Washington, District of Columbia, August 25, 1874, he went south. By this union they have had the following children: Josephine Lavinia,
Page 45William Johnson, Maud Marie, Amanda Moss, Mary Beatrice, John Thomas and Gussie Lewis. Desiring to better his financial condition he went to Florida, September, 1874, and invested in lands and oranges, but the investment did not prove a paying one. While in Ocala (in 1879) he was ordained a deacon, and was licensed to preach without asking for it. Pastored at a small station a year before ordination, after which time, he was ordained the night before leaving the State.
He was principal of Howard Academy, deputy county clerk and county commissioner. Here, too, his political tendencies received an impetus. He was chairman of the county campaign committee, and a member of the district congressional committee. Stumped the county for Hayes and Wheeler, and when it is remembered that the State went only 147 majority for Hayes, it is quite a material thing that the county in which he lived raised its quota from 525 Republican majority to 986. After this he returned to Washington and taught public school until 1879, when he left to accept the pastorate of the First Baptist church, Lexington, Kentucky. To do great work, God raises up great men.
September, 1880, he was called to the presidency of the Normal and Theological institution (as it was then called), a school conducted under the auspices of the General Association of Colored Baptists of Kentucky. At that time the school had but thirteen pupils, two teachers and an empty treasury. Says The Bowling Green Watchmen, a State paper edited by Rev. Eugene Evans:
Few men of Professor Simmons ability and standing would have been willing to risk their future in an enterprise like the Normal and Theological Institution; an enterprise without capital and but a few friends. But it can be truly said of Professor Simmons, that he has proven himself master of the situation. The school had been talked of for nearly twenty years but no one ever dreamed of its being a possibility. When he was elected president, every cloud vanished, and the sunshine of success could be seen on every side. Some of his students already rank among the foremost preachers, teachers and orators of the State.
As an educator, he has likely no superiors. Discarding specialism in education, he claims that ideal manhood and womanhood cannot be narrowed down to any one sphere of action, but that the whole being–every faculty with which we are endowed–must receive proper development. No boy or girl comes under his influence without feeling a desire to become useful and great. He infuses inspiration into the least ambitious. He has a knack of “drawing out” all there is within. No flower within his reach “wastes its sweetness on the desert air.” If there are elements of usefulness in those around him, he trains and utilizes them. As a president, his executive ability is excellent. Students admire, respect and stand in awe of him; his teachers are proud of him, trust his judgment and abide by his decisions. For poor students he has the tenderest sympathy, especially for those who most desire an education and struggle hardest for it. He rewards those who are faithful in discharge of duty, and for those who accomplish something he has words of cheer, but for idlers nothing.
September 29, 1882, he was elected editor of the American Baptist, and at this time is President of the American
Page 47Baptist Company. As an editor, Dr. Simmons brings before the public every live issue of the day. His editorials are racy, versatile and logical. He contends for rights and cries down wrongs. He is extensively copied, and has the personal respect of every editor and prominent man in the country. A man of forcible character and deep convictions must reveal himself in his writings, and the subject of this article is such a man. His pen pictures are characterized by a rugged strength which takes hold of the reader and fixes the thought in memory more than by elaboration and flourishes which soothe and please, but pass from the mind as water through the seive. In regard to the duty of colored citizens to existing parties he believes “that committed as both parties are to the pernicious doctrine of State Rights, colored people should pay less attention to national politics than to State affairs.” He says:
The days are slipping by and our children are growing into manhood and womanhood–we are fast passing away. Shall we live deluded with the hope that the general government will bring to us a panacea for all our ills? No; we must court the favors of the people of the State. We must be for progress wherever found. We must act wisely. Indeed the Republican party could not, if it would, help us. They are debarred by statutes, and sentiments, stronger than statutes. Let us study State interests, its schools and its development in every direction. Let us cast our votes for liberal men who will help us. We cannot expect those against whom we vote to do so. Take Kentucky; who has secured all the school advantages for the colored race? Why, the colored people themselves. The Republican party did not do it–not a bit of it. The white men of the party and their children were all right. When did they offer to make a special fight for us? Never. When, then, did we secure a change of the forty-eight per capita tax to an equalization of the tax for
Page 48all children alike? By petition of our own and by favor of Democrats, even when put to a popular vote, and by the act of a Democratic legislature. Is it not queer, too, that we never thought to demand of our party that they made the fight for us? The answer is, the colored man is such a slave to party that his blind obedience has befogged his reason so that he has fought the white man’s battles, secured office for him, and fought for his own rights unaided in “Negro Conventions.” White men would have made a broad open fight and demanded the Negro votes. After the convention was over the Negroes would petition the very legislature members whom they had fought and voted against in every county. Negroes attempt to do in convention what they ought to do with their votes, and are driven to it by the policy of the Republican party in the South. We should change this thing.”
Dr. Simmons’ activities are prominently identified with the most important affairs of the race. Several years he has been chairman of the executive committee of the “State Convention of Colored Men of Kentucky.” At the meeting in Lexington, November 26, 1875, he was reelected. The call of the said meeting, a document enumerating in a few words the long catalogue of injustices practiced upon the colored citizens of the State, shows a high degree of statesmanship. It begins thus:
FELLOW-CITIZENS:–When a free people, living in a body politic, feel that the laws are unjustly administered to them; that discriminations are openly made; that various subterfuges and legal technicalities are constantly used to deprive them of the enjoyment of those rights and immunities belonging to the humblest citizen; when the courts become no refuge for the outraged, and when a sentiment is not found sufficient to do them justice, it becomes their bounden duty to protest against such a state of affairs. To do less than vigorously and earnestly enter our protest is to cringe like hounds before masters, and to show that we are not fit for freedom. We are robbed by some of the railroad companies who take our first-class fares and then we are driven into smoking cars, and, if we demur, are cursed and roughly handled. Our women have
Page 49been beaten by brutal brakemen, and in many cases left to ride on the platforms at the risk of life and limb.
We are tried in courts controlled entirely by white men, and no colored man sits on a Kentucky jury. This seems no mere accident, but a determined effort to exclude us from fair trials and put us at the mercy of our enemies, from the judge down to the vilest suborned witness.
When charged with grave offenses, the jail is mobbed, and the accused taken out and hanged; and out of the hundreds of such cases since the war, not a single high-handed murderer has been ever brought before a court to answer. Colored men have been deliberately murdered, and few if any murderers have been punished by the law. Indecent haste to free the criminal in such cases has made the trial a farce too ridiculous to be called more than a puppet show.
The penitentiary is full of our race, who are sent there by wicked and malicious persecutors, and unjust sentences dealt out by judges, who deem a colored criminal fit only for the severest and longest sentences for trivial offenses.
In all departments of the State we are systematically deprived of recognition, except in menial positions. In our metropolitan city, and even cities of lesser note, we are not considered in the appointments in fire companies, police force, notary public, etc. In fact, we are the ruled class and have no share in the government.
Dr. Simmons was chairman of the committee appointed by the convention to lay before the Legislature the grievances of the 271,481 colored citizens. His speech on this occasion was a masterpiece. Says the Soldiers’ Reunion, a paper published at Lexington:
The speech of Rev. W. J. Simmons, D. D.; before the Kentucky Legislature, was one of the ablest efforts ever made in the interests of the colored people. They (the Legislature) have ordered two thousand copies printed.
Only the history of the two races in our beautiful country could give birth to such a scene as this. That we, born Americans, finding distinctions
Page 50in law, should be driven to appeal to a portion of the same body politic for rights and equalities; and though American sovereigns ourselves, because too weak, bend the suppliant knee, craving that we might be given that which appears rightly ours without contest. We feel some pride, and are consequently jealous of the good name of the State and of the United States. We also feel humiliated that a foreigner who has never felled a tree, built a cabin, or laid a line of railway, seems more welcome to this shore, and is accorded every facility for himself and children to make the most of themselves, even BEFORE NATURALIZATION; while we, seeing them happy in a new-found asylum, and knowing you from our youth up-our mothers washed your linen and nursed you, our fathers made the soil feed you, and kept the fire burning in your grate–are compelled to beg, in the zenith hour of 1886, your favors. Two generations are before you; the one born in the cradle of slavery, the other born in the cradle of liberty; the one saw the light mid the discussions of your fathers; the other mingled their infant’s voice with the retreating sound of the cannon. We belong to the South–the “New South.” Your own progress in the questions of human liberty and our own thirst for draughts from higher fountains, and, indeed, in obedience to the demands of our constituents, we venture to lay before you in a manly, honorable way, the complaints of 271,481 as true hearted Kentuckians as ever came from the loin of the bravest, truest and most honored of women, sired by the most distinguished fathers. As Kentuckians we meet you with the feelings and aspirations, common and peculiar to those born and surrounded by the greatness of your history, the fertility of your soil, the nobility of your men and the beauty of your women. We come, plain of speech, in order to prove that we are men of judgment, meeting men who are really desirous of knowing our wants.
At the meeting of the Colored Press convention in St. Louis, Missouri, July 13, 1883, he was nominated for its president, but was beaten by Hon. W. A. Pledger of Georgia by one vote. When said convention met in Richmond, Virginia, July 8. 1885, he was made chairman of the executive committee and at the next meeting, August 3, 1886, Atlantic City, New Jersey, he was elected president
Page 51by a majority of four over Mr. T. T. Fortune, editor of The Freeman.
Dr. Simmons is very much interested in the education of the hand. He has written a pamphlet on “Industrial Education” which has had a wide circulation. A sample of it will be seen below.
If the industrial craze be not watched, our literary institutions will be turned into workshops and our scholars into servants and journeymen. Keep the literary and industrial apart. Let the former be stamped deeply so it will not be mistaken. We need scholars. All men are not workers in the trades, and never will be. If we cripple the schools established, by diverting them largely from their original plan, we shall have no lawyers, doctors, professors, authors, etc. And again, the money in the schools will be divided and neither end will be reached; we will be like clowns trying to ride two horses, and as they get wider apart, we drop in a ditch, and our horses run away from us and break their own necks. Keep these schools apart, and attempt not the task of grinding scholars out of industrial, nor finished workmen from literary schools. Each has a legitimate sphere and let each stick to it. In the colleges, universities and higher schools of the South, not less than a thousand white men are teaching our youth; it is not intended that they will do so forever. I would, therefore, prepare the professors to take their places in the same manner that they were prepared–in literary institutions. In plainer words, let the student be free from industrial trade work when he has made certain grades in his classes. We want good workmen and good scholars, not deluded smatterers in either department. Gingerbread work, fiddling with tools, frittering away time, is not seriously making a mechanic. Industrial work as a sentiment must be crystallized into a profitable reality.
Hence, this feeble effort in Southern schools will only be the means of deceiving many into the notion that they are “workmen,” when they are only botches, and will furnish another poor class of mechanics to supplement a class of which we now complain. It would be wiser to spend ten thousand dollars on a single school per year, and make a first class industrial department, than two thousand dollars on each of five schools. Many will learn to do things for which they can give no reason.
Page 52 The people, the masses, the boys, the girls, the rank and file, must betaken through a thorough English course and made master of a trade. I said this school was needed as a corrective; that is, to teach the dignity of labor. They must learn the gospel of manual labor; not simply as a means of bread and butter, but an honorable calling and duty. Let the buzz of the saw, the ring of the hammer, the whisle of the engine, the spinning of the wheel, the low of the ox, the bleating of the lamb, the crow of the rooster, all be music and inspiration to the rising race. Labor is honorable, but it is fast becoming unfashionable for the colored boy or girl to seek manual labor, and rather than work, many become loafers, dissipates and wrecks. Let us start a current large enough to meet the mental tide and mingling, find the happy medium. Parents must give their children trades. Teachers and preachers must see to this matter.
This school should have a large farm attached, where agriculture in every form should be taught, and by means of which living could be made cheap to poor students. To sum up the words of another, here in this school, the farmer should be educated in science, elementary engineering, mechanics and agriculture; the miner, mineralogy, geology, chemistry, and his own work; the merchant in geography, history, foreign language, political economy and laws; the machinist must master all the known powers of material nature–heat and cold, weight and impulse; matter in all conditions–liquid, solid and gaseous, standing or running, condensed or rare, adamantine or plastic–all must be seen through and comprehended by the master of modern mechanics. Architects, engineers, teachers and all classes of workers require a technical education.
I mean to take the female along too. They must be taught domestic economy, household ethics, home architecture, cookery, telegraphy, photography, printing, editorial work, dressmaking, tailoring, knitting, fancy work, nursing, dairying, horticulture, apiaculture, sericulture, poultry raising, stenography, type-writing, practical designs, painting, repousse work, etc., etc., for if men must make money, the women must know best how to save it, or what is better, help to get it. A saving wife is worth her weight in gold and earns her own board and is entitled to have her washing done from home.
Before I leave this subject, let me say that it may prove the best thing after all that our youth cannot get into the workshops and factories as
Page 53readily as white youths. The latter class have the blessings of good homes and the amenities of a social life beyond that of a colored child. Every library, lecture hall and art gallery is open, and the finest music, sculpture, books, magazines and journals fall as thick around them as autumn leaves. But our youths need to have the moral training which comes from the school-room as well as the skill that comes from the workshop. They need practical drill in habits of industry, care in business, punctuality in dealing with the world, and, in fact, they need the moral bracing up that makes good citizens and square business men and women. Perhaps Providence has so hedged us that out of trials and darkness may come pleasure and light. So now we are driven to do perhaps the best thing for our race by putting our children where head, hand, eye, ear, and in fact the whole man, must be trained.
The great National Convention of colored men held at Louisville, September, 1883, enrolled him as a member. His love for the people is shown in the following little incident. While serving as a member of the committee on education and labor, a proposition was made to ask Congress to pass a bill giving the monies which had been left in the treasury from the unclaimed bounties of colored soldiers to the high schools of the South, which would of course have included the denominational, and excluded the public schools. Against this he protested, notwithstanding he was at the head of the denominational school which would have received benefits, on the grounds that the masses should be aided and not the few, and because it was a lack of statesmanship and knowledge of the laws governing the land to ask aid for denominational schools. The committee voted him down solidly, but when the matter was called up in the convention, he took the platform and made a speech so convincing that the chairman, Hon. D. A. Straker, LL. D., of South Carolina, was called upon to
Page 54change the report, which was done with good grace. At the convention of the Knights of Wise Men, held in Atlanta, Georgia, he took an active part in the deliberations. He has delivered several addresses before the American Baptist Home Mission Society. At the fiftieth anniversary held in New York, May 24, 1872, his oration, “What are the Colored People Doing?” was much spoken of and published in the Jubilee Volume. He delivered another before the same body, May 26-27, 1885, at Saratoga, and has been invited to address the next meeting, May 29, 1887, at Minneapolis. In 1884, he was appointed by Hon. B. K. Bruce commissioner for the State of Kentucky in the colored department of the World’s Industrial and Cotton Exposition held at New Orleans, Louisiana, and succeeded in giving a splendid representation, thereby reflecting credit on the State. The school over which he presided made a creditable exhibit. The trustee board, in making the annual report to the General Association of Colored Baptists, said:
At the suggestion of our worthy president, who was also the commissioner for Kentucky for the World’s Exposition at New Orleans, an exhibition of our University, of both the literary and industrial work, was sent to the Exposition. To say that the display was complete and satisfactory is but to state it mildly. It has done much to advertise our University, and shows the capacity of our people for both education and industrial pursuits.
In September, 1883, Dr. Simmons called together and organized the Baptist women into a convention, for the purpose of raising money for the educational work of the denomination in the State. The body known as the “Baptist Women’s Educational Convention” has met every
Page 55year since, and has and is doing a noble work in paying off the indebtedness of the State University.
Were you to ask me Dr. Simmons’ motto, I would say, “God, my race and denomination.” While holding tenaciously his own religious views, he is willing for other men to hold theirs. Among his strongest friends are eminent preachers, scholars and laymen of every denomination in the United States with which colored people are allied. The fact that the Wilberforce University conferred upon him the degree of D. D. is ample evidence of the friendliness existing between him and the brethren of that faith. The faculty of said school ranks with the most eminent men of America, among whom are Rev. B. W. Arnett, D. D., Professor W. S. Scarborough, LL. D., Bishops D. A. Payne, D. D., LL. D., John M. Brown, D. D., D. C. L., and others of like grace and eminence.
Being impressed with the idea that colored Baptists were not doing what they should for the support and influence of their peculiar views, he suggested, through the American Baptist, April 5, 1886, that a convention be held. This suggestion was heartily endorsed by Baptists throughout the United States. He issued the call at their suggestion, and the result was the organization of the American National Baptist Convention, which met, August 25, 1886, in St. Louis, Mo., and of which he was unanimously elected president, and chairman of the executive committee. He preached the denominational sermon which was published in the minutes. It was rich in statistics and history, pregnant with the faith as handed down from the Apostles. He concluded by saying:
The work of the colored Baptists is marvelous, aye, stupendous. When we remember our elevation to-day, it is not with undue pride; no! no! no! with thanksgiving and humiliation, with self-abasement and lowliness, and with an earnest prayer for more faith, we lift our eyes to the Great Father of souls and pray His righteous benediction, that we bow our heads because we have been unprofitable servants. Yet it is with astonishment that we have reached such lofty heights, and with remarkable pleasure do we look back upon the depths from which we came. Driven out, Hagar-like, we have. Ishmael-like, still become a people and dwell in the presence of our brethren, and to-day, in figures bright and glowing in the ending of the nineteenth century, we count fully 1,071.000–every sign of progress. It might be remarked, if we can rise to this point with few learned men, what shall be the result in the next twenty years? Books, papers, magazines and pamphlets shall be as plentiful as the maple leaves in full blown spring.
The Baptist host is like a cube: throw them aside and they always land on an equal side, and you need never despair when in your trials and doubts in your several churches: remember the God of battles is on your side and that the ages have only increased His glory.
His knowledge of the tenets of the denomination with which he is identified is marvelous. In this direction his research has been thorough and extensive as is shown in an article on “Baptism” published in the A. M. E. Review, October, 1886, in reply to Rev. B. W. Williams.
As an orator Dr. Simmons is pleasing to his audience. A quick thinker, and possessing a rich and ready flow of choice language, a figure that can be seen, and a voice that can be heard at a distance. At times, in the heat of debate, the whole grandeur of his soul is transfused into his countenance; and his hearers are electrified as only true eloquence can electrify.
He was invited to address the students of three different colleges in one year. At Selma University, May 28, 1885,
Page 57his subject was “True Manliness.” The Baptist Pioneer commented as follows:
For nearly an hour and a half the speaker held the large audience spellbound. He was eloquent and inspiring. Rarely have we listened to a more practical oration. At times the audience was convulsed with laughter at the wit, and then immediately made to reflect under the solid words of wisdom which fell from the speaker’s lips.
His address before the Berea College students, subject “The Great Text-Book of the Ages,” received much comment. June 18, 1885, after delivering an oration before the Wilberforce Literary Society, subject “Leaders and Followers,” he had conferred on him the degree of D. D., by that venerable institution. In 1881, he had received the degree of A. M., from Howard University. During the educational movement in Kentucky, in 1885, I think, Dr. Simmons delivered a speech before the Inter-State Educational Convention, which was held in the white Baptist church, subject “The Education of the Negro Race.” In this convention were found the most eminent educators, State superintendents and the most noted thinkers in America. Favorable criticism was made by the New York Journal of Education, the Courier-Journal of Louisville, and other State papers.
He delivered an oration at the Lexington Emancipation celebration, January 1, 1887. Urging the hearers to greater efforts, he said:
The warm blood of the Negro that haunts the channels of his veins with ancient Egyptian and Ethiopian fires has been tempered in the climate of the South and reduced to that proportion which robs it of its sluggishness, subdues it of wild passion and holds it by reason, while the
Page 58trials of the past have been the friction that brightens, the winds that toughen, and the frosts that ripen. No great song, or poem, or book, or invention has yet seen birth south of the “Mason and Dixon Line.” It has been reserved for us. The only American music was born on the plantations and wrung from aching hearts as wine from the luscious grape. It has touched the heart of the learned and engaged the attention of the scientific musician. As the Indian faded in the North, before the white man, so the white man of the South must yield to us, without, however, a bloody conflict. We shall gather wealth, learning and manhood, and occupy the land. This is the asylum of the world: and the tramp of hurrying nations warns us that this is the “Valley of Decision.” On this soil are settled the great questions of the earth. Already the march of empire has bathed its weary feet in the Pacific, and with the exception of watery waste has arrived at its home, and it is possible that He who made all nations of one blood, will here in our land, marry and intermarry, and reduce this conglomerate mass to one distinct nationality, with all the blood made one, and the highest type of consecrated manhood being realized, reduced back to the Adamic color through us; or He may out of the aggregate develop each to its highest type, and let them live to the end of time, carrying out His divine plans, and unerringly accomplishing His decrees. Here in this new South the Negro shall shine in the constellation of the nations, and by his words and deeds hand down to unborn ages the glittering pages of our history. We shall in some prominent way mount the ladder of difficulties, scale the cliff of prejudices and hide our heads among the stars.
Dr. Simmons, in his modesty, does not claim for this work any special literary excellence, but his aim is simply to embalm in some place the lives of these men for future historians, who may take isolated cases and do justice to each. He also wishes to inspire the youth of the land, giving the many trials through which these men have had to pass, and have them further influenced by the great degree of promotion which has been granted to them. His talents, developed by cultivation, are also enriched by
Page 59the love of God and man which reaches beyond the boys of to-day who are trying to be somebody, to the boys of the future, who will inquire into the deeds and achievements of their fathers. As a man, Dr. Simmons is loyal to his convictions, sympathetic, independent, far sighted, therefore a wise counselor, methodical and liberal. He regards money as a trust from God, to be invested in every cause relative to bettering the condition of his fellow men and advancing the cause of Christ. His hand is shut when those who do not want, come to him; but when the really needy and friendless come to him, it is like a strainer full of holes, letting all he possesses pass through. To friends he is faithful; to enemies he shows a steady resistance, but no aggressiveness.
Thus far, I have sketched a few of the prominent phases in the life of the doctor, more in a biographical outline than in analysis of his true worth, reserving for the conclusion a few facts adumbrated in the preceding remarks.
I regard Dr. Simmons as one of the most replete scholars to his age in the country, for all the invincibility that attached to his boyhood and youthful days, enabling him to triumph over every obstacle that confronted him, still incites him to literary research, so that almost every subject within the circle of learning has been pierced by his intellectual prowess. Yet it could not be expected that a man of his age could be the master of every branch, for such exalted attainments only come by years of laborious application, which a young man has not had time to accomplish. The doctor has a large, symmetrically developed head, elevated in the centre at the organ of veneration,
Page 60with a brain texture of the highest type, attesting marvelous powers, when, even in many instances the head is oblong, but infinitely more so when rightly shaped, thus giving the doctor giant powers to use while employed in ferreting out the deep things of science, philosophy and theology, which will, if the doctor lives fifty years, culminate in making him one of the most mighty men of our race upon the globe.
As has been said of liberty, vigilant application is the price of profound scholarship; and this being the charm of his life, nothing but premature death can avert it. Too many of our young men after reaching literary distinction forget the rock from whence they were hewn, and waste their lives in endeavoring to become white, or expend it in worshiping white gods. But this charge cannot be made against the doctor. He is as true to his race as a needle is to the pole, and no stronger evidence is required than the work that will contain these sketches of eminent colored men. The future historian will ponder these pages, glean their contents as he traces the great men of this age, and wonder at the achievements made by them, in the face of so many environments that militated against them. Negro giants now sleeping in the womb of the future, will come forth an Armada that will defy the powers of earth, trample colored prejudice in the dust, write glory, honor and immortality itself upon the brow of black: frown thunders at race distinctions, fire the citadels of manhood discriminations and burn them to the ground; hurl defiance in the face of our defamers and contemners, and with pens of lightning write up the history of our ancestry,
Page 61and present them before earth and heaven as no one now ever dream.
When that time comes, as it will, unless God ceases to reign, this work of Dr. Simmons’ will form the foot-base of the mighty superstructure that will be reared with chancel, dome, spire and minaret, to the undying worth, merits and fame of the Negro. The abominable heresies set adrift by pseudo-philosophers, pseudo-scientists, and other figure-heads as ignorant as they were mean and low, that the Negro race were naturally inferior, and nothing great could ever be evolved from them, will be remembered in the grand hereafter as the overflowing slag or dross which precedes the incandescent rocks dashed from the volcano’s fiery jaws, while hurtled thunders shook the ground as though the gods were in battle arrayed. The Indian represents the past, the white man the present, but the Negro the future. The Indian is old, decayed and worn out; the whites are in the prime of life and vigor; but the Negro is a boy, a youth at school, a mere apprentice learning his trade. When the white race reaches decrepitude, as races are periodical as well as worlds, the Negro will have reached his prime, and being in possession of all he has and will acquire from the whites, and his own genius and industry to manufacture more and lift him to a higher civilization, he will stand out the wonder of the ages. The earth will tremble beneath his tread, while nature opens her bosom and pours into his lap her richest treasures. With mystic keys he will unlock her coffers, and her very arcana will divulge the secrets which she never whispered before into inquiring ears. Then, if not before, the name of Dr. Simmons will
Page 62be as familiar to the millions as that of Herodotus, Josephus, Pliny, Plutarch and other historians enshrined in the gratitude of the world. For him the world will have to look largely for a true narrative of the merits of the men who came upon the tapis at the death of our enslavement, and directed affairs while we were in a transitional state, rather while we were bursting the chrysalis that bound our intellectual and moral pinions, and barred our development until we had thrown off the slave forms, slave ears, slave doubts, as to our ability to live by merit and to claim rank among the more favored of earth.
Little as the common observer may regard it, we men who gather up the fragments of our labors, acts, achievements, sayings, songs, oddities, peculiarities, fun, speeches, lectures, poems, war struggles, bravery, degradation and sufferings, and preserve them for the future, now while they are within reach, will stand out as heroes in the day to come. The future orator, statesman, minister, poet, journalist, ethnologist, as well as the historian, will from these gather materials to build towers heaven-reaching that will monument the grandeur of our race, and still grander struggles that lifted them from the barren plains of the contempt of the world, to the majestic heights that we are destined to scale in God’s Providence. To this book, when Dr. Simmons will be numbered with the dead for centuries, will come the men above described, and others in countless scores, to light their torches, inspire their young, encourage the doubtful, animate the faltering and forward the tide of elevation till the last Negro boy and girl on the globe shall
Page 63be proud of their color, their hair, their origin and their race.
HENRY M. TURNER.
HON. FREDERICK DOUGLASS, LL. D.
Magnetic Orator–Anti-slavery Editor–Marshal of the District of Columbia–Recorder of Deeds of the District of Columbia–First Citizen of America–Eminent Patriot and Distinguished Republican.
WHO can write the life of this great man and do him justice? His life is an epitome ofthe efforts of a noble soul to be what God intended, despite the laws, customs and prejudices. That such a soul as Douglass’ could be found with the galling bonds of slavery is the blackest spot in the realm of thought and fact in the whole history of this government. But such a man as he would not remain in slavery, could not do so. Aye! it was impossible to fetter him and keep him there. He was a man. He was not going to remain bound while his legs could carry him off, and, as he facetiously remarked, he prayed for freedom, but when he made his legs pray, then he got free. He shows himself a man of works as well as faith. And these go together. But eulogy is wasted on such a man. His life speaks, and, when he is dead, his orations will keep his memory fresh, and his name will stand side by side with Webster, Summer and Clay.
Frederick Douglass was born about the year 1817, in Tuckahoe, a barren little district upon the eastern shore of
Page 66Maryland, best known for the wretchedness, poverty, slovenliness and dissipation of its inhabitants. Of his mother he knew very little, having seen her only a few times in his life, as she was employed on a plantation some distance from the place where he was raised. His master was supposed to be his father.
No man perhaps has had a more varied experience than the subject of this sketch. During his early childhood he was beaten and starved, often fighting with the dogs for the bones that were thrown to them. As he grew older and could work he was given very little to eat, over-worked and much beaten. As the boy grew older still, and realized the misery and horror of his surroundings, his very soul revolted, and a determination was formed to be free or to die attempting it.
At the age of ten years he was sent to Baltimore to Mrs. Sophia Auld, as a house servant. She became very much interested in him, and immediately began teaching him his letters. He was very apt, and was soon able to read. The husband of his mistress, finding it out, was very angry and put a stop to it.
This prohibition served only to check the instruction from his mistress, but had no effect on the ambition, the craving for more light, that was within the boy, and the more obstacles he met with the stronger became his determination to overcome them. He carried his spelling book in his bosom and would snatch a minute now and then to pursue his studies. The first money he made he invested in a “Columbian Orator.” In this work he read “The Fanaticism of Liberty” and the “Declaration of Independence.”
Page 67After reading this book he realized that there was a better life waiting for him, if he would take it, and so he ran away.
He settled in New Bedford with his wife, who, a free woman in the South, being engaged to Douglass before his escape, followed him to New York, where they were married. She was a worthy, affectionate, industrious and invaluable helpmate to the great Douglass. She ever stood side by side with him in all his struggles to establish a home, helped him and encouraged him while he climbed the ladder of knowledge and fame, together with him offered the hand of welcome and a shelter to all who were fortunate enough to escape from bondage and reach their hospitable shelter; and never, while loving mention is made of Frederick Douglass, may the name of his wife “Anna” be forgotten.
In New Bedford he sawed wood, dug cellars, shovelled coal, and did any other work by which he could turn an honest penny, having the incentive that he was working for himself and his family, and that there was no master waiting for his wages. Here several of their children were born.
He began to read the Liberator, for which he subscribed, and other papers, and works of the best authors. He was charmed by Scott’s “Lady of the Lake,” and reading it he adopted the name of “Frederick Douglass.” He began to take an interest in all public matters, often speaking at the gatherings among the colored people. In 1841 he addressed a large convention at Nantucket. After this he was employed as an agent of the American Antislavery Society,
Page 68which really marks the beginning of his grand struggle for the freedom and elevation of his race. He lectured all through the North, not withstanding he was in constant danger of being recaptured and sent to the far South as a slave. After a time it was deemed best that he should for a while go to England. Here he met a cordial welcome. John Bright established him in his house, and thus he was brought in contact with the best minds and made acquainted with some of England’s most distinguished men. His relation of the wrongs and sufferings of his enslaved brethren excited their deepest sympathy; and their admiration for his ability was so profound, their wonder so great, that there should be any fear of such a man being returned to slavery, that they immediately subscribed the amount necessary to purchase his freedom, made him a present of his manumission papers, and sent him home to tell his people that
Slaves cannot breathe in England:
If their lungs receive our air, that moment they are free;
They touch our country, and their shackles fall.
Returning to America he settled in Rochester, New York, and established a paper called the North Star, afterwards changed to Fred Douglass’ Paper, also Douglass’ Monthly. These were all published in his own office, and two of his sons were the principal assistants in setting up the work, and attending to the business generally.
There has been a great deal of speculation as to what connection Frederick Douglass had with the John Brown raid. The two great men met, and Brown became acquainted with Douglass’ history. They became fast friends.
Page 69They were singularly adapted to each other as co-workers, both being deeply imbued with the belief that it was their duty to devote their lives and means to the cause of emancipation. They lived frugally at home that they might have the more to give. Their families caught their inspiration, and their lives were all influenced by the one motive-power–the cause of freedom. Many men and women who successfully escaped into Canada, and thence to other places, will tell how, after they had been well fed, nourished and made comfortable by the mother, one of Fred Douglass’ boys had carried them across the line and seen them to a place of safety. When other boys were enjoying all the comforts and pleasures their parents could provide for them, Douglass’ sons were made to feel that there was only one path for them to walk in until the great end for which they were working had been attained.
Brown’s first plan was to run slaves off, and in this Douglass heartily joined him; but when he found Brown had decided to attempt the capture of Harper’s Ferry, he went to him at Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, a short time before the raid, and used every argument he could to induce him to change his plans. Brown had enlisted a body of men to accompany him who felt as he felt, that their lives were nothing as weighed against the lives and liberties of so many who were suffering in bondage. His arms and ammunition were ready, his plans were all laid, and to Douglass’ argument he answered: “If we attack Harper’s Ferry, as we have now arranged, the country will be aroused, and the Negroes will see the way clear to liberation. We’ll hold the citizens of the town as hostages,
Page 70and so holding them can dictate our terms. You, Douglass, should be one of the first to go with us.”
“No, no,” replied the latter, “I can’t agree with you and will not go with you–your attempt can only result in utter ruin to you, and to all those who take part in it, without giving any substantial aid to the men in slavery. Let us rather go on with our first plan of the ‘Underground Railroad’ by which slaves may be run off to the free states. By that means practical results can be obtained. From insurrection nothing can be expected but imprisonment and death.”
“If you think so,” replied Brown, “it is, of course, best that we should part.” He held out his hand. Douglass grasped it. “Goodbye! God bless you!” they exclaimed, almost in the same breath, and then parting forever, were soon lost to each other in the darkness.
It was soon discovered that Douglass and Brown were in sympathy, and that Douglass, besides harboring Brown, had furnished him money to defray expenses, and thus making his safety a matter of great doubt. His friends advised him to leave the country for awhile. They were willing to stand by him, even to fight for him, but felt that it would be wiser to avoid the danger if possible. After much hesitation he was induced to abide by their advice, and the result proved the wisdom of his having done so. He went first to Canada and from there to England. Only a short time after his departure a requisition for his arrest was made by Governor Wise of Virginia. The requisition read as follows:
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, November 13, 1859.
To His Excellency, James Buchanan, President of the United States, and to the Honorable Postmaster-General of the United States–
GENTLEMEN:–I have information such as has caused me, upon proper affidavits, to make requisition upon the Executive of Michigan for the delivery up of the person of Frederick Douglass, a Negro man, supposed now to be in Michigan, charged with murder, robbery and inciting servile insurrection in the State of Virginia. My agents for the arrest and reclamation of the person so charged are Benjamin M. Morris and William N. Kelly. The latter has the requisition and will wait on you to the end of obtaining nominal authority as postoffice agents. They need to be very secretive in this matter, and some pretext of traveling through the dangerous section for the execution of the laws in this behalf, and some protection against obtrusive, unruly or lawless violence. If it be proper so to do, will the Postmaster-General be pleased to give Mr. Kelly for each of these men a permit and authority to act as detectives for the postoffice department without pay, but to pass and repass without question, delay or hindrance?
Respectfully submitted by your
HENRY A. WISE.
Mr. Douglass did not feel it necessary to hasten his return on account of this interesting document, and so remained abroad till it was safe for him to come home. This adventure did not in the least dampen his ardor in the great cause. Wherever and whenever he could do or say anything for it, he never failed to do so. When the first gun was fired at Sumter, he was among the foremost to insist upon the enrollment of colored soldiers. In 1863 he, with others, succeeded in raising two regiments of colored troops, which were known as Massachusetts regiments. Two of his sons were among the first to enlist. His next move was to obtain the same pay for them that the white
Page 72soldiers received, and to have them exchanged as prisoners of war; in fact, that there should be no difference made between them and other soldiers. His work did not end with the war. He recognized the fact that a new life had begun for the former slaves; that a great work was to be done for them and with them, and he was ever to be found in the foremost ranks of those who were willing to put their shoulders to the wheel. His means, as well as his time, he largely gave to the cause. He was one of the most indefatigable workers for the passage of the amendments to the Constitution, granting the same rights to all classes of citizens, regardless of race and color. He attended the “Loyalists’ Convention,” held in Philadelphia, in 1867, being elected a delegate from Rochester. Some feared his presence would do more harm than good, knowing how radical he was; but he felt that it was his duty to go, and nothing could change him. It has been conceded that it was due principally to his persistent work in that convention, that resolutions favoring universal suffrage were passed. A little incident in connection with this convention shows the value of his work in that meeting, by disclosing the feeling of the men he had to deal with. As the members assembled proceeded to fall in line, on their way to the place of meeting, every one seemed to avoid walking beside a colored delegate. As soon as Theodore Tilton noticed it, he stepped to Douglass’ side, and arm in arm they entered the chamber. This act has made them lifelong friends, and these two are both brotherly in their devoted friendship. In Mr. Douglass’ recent visit to France,
Page 73he met Mr. Tilton, who resides in Paris, and had a glorious time.
He established the New National Era at Washington, D. C., in 1870. This paper was edited and published principally by him and his sons, and devoted to the cause of the race and the Republican party. In 1872 he took his family to reside in the District of Columbia. In 1871 President Grant appointed him to the Territorial Legislature of the District of Columbia. In 1872 he was chosen one of the Presidential electors-at-large for the State of New York, and was the elector selected to deliver a certified statement of the votes to the president of the Senate.
He was appointed to accompany the commissioners on their trip to Santo Domingo, pending the consideration of the annexation of that island to the United States. President Grant in January, 1877, appointed him a police commissioner for the District of Columbia. In March of the same year President Hayes commissioned him United States marshal for the District of Columbia. President Garfield, in 1881, appointed him recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia. This last position he held till about May, 1886, nearly a year and a half after the ascendancy to the national administration of the Democratic party.
No man has begun where Frederick Douglass did and attained to the same giddy heights of fame. Born in a mere hovel, a creature of accident, with no mother to cherish and nurture him, no kindly hand to point out the good worthy of emulation and the evil to be shunned, no teacher to make smooth the rough and thorny paths leading to knowledge. His only compass was an abiding
Page 74faith in God, and an innate consciousness of his own ability and power of perseverance.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, in her book entitled ‘Men of Our Times,’ says: “Frederick Douglass had as far to climb to get to the spot where the poorest white boy is born, as that white boy has to climb to be President of the nation, and take rank with kings and judges of the earth.” Again, in the Senate of the United States, in a recent important case under consideration, the following statement formed part of a resolution submitted by that body in reply to the President of the United States: “Without doubt Frederick Douglass is the most distinguished representative of the colored race, not only in this country, but in the world.” To-day he stands the acknowledged peer in intellect, culture and refinement of the greatest men of our age, or any age; in this country, or any country. His name has never been written on the register of any school or college, yet it will ever be written on the pages of all future history, wherever the names of the ablest men of our times appear, side by side with those of the more favored race. His relations with such men as John G. Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Wendell Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison; and such women as Lydia Maria Child, Grace Greenwood, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, have ever been cordial and pleasant. Some men who never graduate from a college have more sense in five minutes than many a conceited graduate who has all his knowledge duly accredited by a sheepskin, but is not the real possessor of an education. The trustees of Howard University honored themselves and their institution, more
Page 75than they did Mr. Douglass, when they conferred upon him the title of LL. D., and when also they gave him a seat in their board.
Mr. Douglass in ‘His Life,’ written by himself, gives the following account of his visit to his old home:
The first of these events occurred four years ago, when, after a period of more than forty years, I visited and had an interview with Captain Thomas Auld at St. Michaels, Talbot county, Maryland. It will be remembered by those who have followed the thread of my story that St. Michaels was at one time the place of my home and the scene of some of my saddest experiences of slave life, and that I left there, or rather was compelled to leave there, because it was believed that I had written passes for several slaves to enable them to escape from slavery, and that prominent slaveholders in that neighborhood had, for this alleged offense, threatened to shoot me on sight, and to prevent the execution of this threat my master had sent me to Baltimore.
My return, therefore, to this place in peace, among the same people, was strange enough in itself; but that I should, when there, be formally invited by Captain Thomas Auld, then over eighty years old, to come to the side of his dying bed, evidently with a view to a friendly talk over our past relations, was a fact still more strange, and one which, until its occurrence, I could never have thought possible. To me Captain Auld had sustained the relation of master–a relation which I had held in extreme abhorrence, and which for forty years I had denounced in all bitterness of spirit and fierceness of speech. He had struck down my personality, had subjected me to his will, made property of my body and soul, reduced me to a chattel, hired me out to a noted slave breaker to be worked like a beast and flogged into submission; he had taken my hard earnings, sent me to prison, offered me for sale, broken up my Sunday-school, forbidden me to teach my fellow-slaves to read on pain of nine and thirty lashes on my bare back; he had sold my body to his brother Hugh and pocketed the price of my flesh and blood without any apparent disturbance of his conscience. I, on my part, had traveled through the length and breadth of this country and of England, holding up this conduct of his, in common with that of other slaveholders, to the reprobation of all men who would listen to my words. I had made his
Page 76name and his deeds familiar to the world by my writings in four different languages; yet here we were, after four decades, once more face to face–he on his bed, aged and tremulous, drawing near the sunset of life, and I, his former slave, United States marshal of the District of Columbia, holding his hand and in friendly conversation with him in his sort of final settlement of past differences preparatory to his stepping into his grave, where all distinctions are at an end, and where the great and the small, the slave and his master, are reduced to the same level. Had I been asked in the days of slavery to visit this man, I should have regarded the invitation as one to put fetters on my ankles and handcuffs on my wrists. It would have been an invitation to the auction block and the slave whip. I had no business with this man under the old regime but to keep out of his way. But now that slavery was destroyed, and the slave and the master stood upon equal ground, I was not only willing to meet him but was very glad to do so. The conditions were favorable for remembrance of all his good deeds and generous extenuation of all his evil ones. He was to me no longer a slaveholder either in fact or in spirit, and I regarded him as I did myself, a victim of the circumstances of birth, education, law and custom.
Our courses had been determined for us, not by us. We had both been flung, by powers that did not ask our consent, upon a mighty current of life, which we could neither resist nor control. By this current he was a master, and I a slave; but now our lives were verging towards the point where differences disappeared, where even the constancy of hate breaks down, where the clouds of pride, passion and selfishness vanish before the brightness of Infinite light. At such a time and in such a place, when man is about closing his eyes on this world and ready to step into the eternal unknown, no word of reproach or bitterness should reach him or fall from his lips; and on this occasion there was to this rule no transgression on either side.
As this visit to Captain Auld had been made the subject of mirth by heartless triflers, and regretted as a weakening of my lifelong testimony against slavery by serious minded men, and as the report of it, published in the papers immediately after it occurred, was in some respects defective and colored, it may be proper to state exactly what was said and done at this interview.
It should in the first place be understood that I did not go to St.
Page 77Michaels upon Captain Auld’s invitation, but upon that of my colored friend, Charles Caldwell; but when once there, Captain Auld sent Mr. Green, a man in constant attendance upon him during his sickness, to tell me that he would be very glad to see me, and wished me to accompany Green to his house, with which request I complied. On reaching the house I was met by Mr. William H. Bruff, a son-in-law of Captain Auld’s, and Mrs. Louisa Bruff, his daughter, and was conducted by them immediately to the bedroom of Captain Auld. We addressed each other simultaneously, he calling me “Marshal Douglass,” and I, as I had always called him, “Captain Auld.” Hearing myself called by him “Marshal Douglass,” l instantly broke up the formal nature of the meeting by saying, “Not MARSHAL, but Frederick to you as formerly.” We shook hands cordially, and in the act of doing so he, having been long stricken with palsy, shed tears as men thus afflicted will do when excited by any deep emotion. The sight of him, the changes which time had wrought in him, his tremulous hands constantly in motion, and all the circumstances of his condition affected me deeply, and for a time choked my voice and made me speechless. We both, however, got the better of our feelings and conversed freely about the past.
Though broken by age and palsy, the mind of Captain Auld was remarkably clear and strong. After he had become composed I asked him what he thought of my conduct in running away and going to the North. He hesitated a moment as if to properly formulate his reply, and said: “Frederick, I always knew you were too smart to be a slave, and had I been in your place I should have done as you did.” I said, “Captain Auld, I am glad to hear you say this. I did not run away from you, but from SLAVERY; it was not that I loved Cæsar less, but Rome more.” I told him that I had made a mistake in my narrative, a copy of which I had sent him, in attributing to him ungrateful and cruel treatment of my grandmother; that I had done so on the supposition that in the division of the property of my old master, Mr. Aaron Anthony, my grandmother had fallen to him, and that he had left her in her old age, when she could be no longer of service to him, to pick up her living in solitude with none to help her; or in other words, had turned her out to die like an old horse. “Ah,” said he, “that was a mistake; I never owned your grandmother; she, in the division of the slaves, was awarded to my brother-in-law, Andrew Anthony; but, “he added quickly, “I brought her down here and
Page 78took care of her as long as she lived.” The fact is, that after writing my narrative, describing the condition of my grandmother, Captain Auld’s attention being thus called to it, he rescued her from destitution. I told him that this mistake of mine was corrected as soon as I discovered it, and that I had at no time any wish to do him injustice, and that I regarded both of us as victims of a system. “Oh, I never liked slavery,” he said, “and I meant to emancipate all my slaves when they reached the age of twenty-five years.” I told him I had always been curious to know how old I was, that it had been a serious trouble to me not to know when was my birthday. He said he could not tell me that, but he thought I was born in February, 1818. This date made me one year younger than I had supposed myself, from what was told me by Mistress Lucretia, Captain Auld’s former wife, when I left Lloyd’s for Baltimore in the spring of 1825; she having then said that I was eight, going on nine. I know that it was in the year 1825 that I went to Baltimore, because it was in that year that Mr. James Beacham built a large frigate at the foot of Alliceana street, for one of the South American governments. Judging from this, and from certain events which transpired at Colonel Lloyd’s, such as a boy without any knowledge of books under eight years old would hardly take cognizance of, I am led to believe that Mrs. Lucretia was nearer right as to my age than her husband.
Before I left his bedside, Captain Auld spoke with a cheerful confidence of the great change that awaited him, and felt himself about to depart in peace. Seeing his extreme weakness I did not protract my visit. The whole interview did not last more than twenty minutes, and we parted to meet no more. His death was soon after announced in the papers, and the fact that he had once owned me as a slave was cited as rendering that event noteworthy.
His life has been marked by a purity of purpose from its beginning. He has filled many offices of trust, yet in not one position has he ever betrayed his trust. He has been largely, deeply engaged in politics, yet has been no politician. That is, he understood and practiced none of the tricks of politicians. His work has always been honest and conscientious, because he believed in whatever cause he worked for, and
Page 79did not, as most of our public men, have an eye to a personal reward. All the recompense he sought was a consciousness of having accomplished some good. Whatever has been given him in the way of office has been unsolicited by him. Some of our public men have wavered in their fidelity to the Republican party, when after long waiting they fail to see a substantial reward laid at their feet; but not so with Mr. Douglass. He believed implicitly in the Republican party and realized that being composed of human beings it might sometimes err; but he would say, “The Republican party is the deck and all outside is the sea.” Another saying of his is, “I would rather be with the Republican party in defeat, than with the Democratic party in victory.” By such expressions may be seen his faithful adherence to what he believed to be right.
He is generous and forgiving, almost to a fault. On the friendliest terms with Lincoln, Grant, Sumner and many of their compeers, his opinions on public matters were always heard with deference and often adopted. His clear, forcible, yet persuasive way of presenting facts, always carry conviction with it.
And now, after a long and well fought battle of seventy years, we find him still erect and strong, bearing gracefully and unassumingly the laurels he has so nobly won. No one who visits him in his beautiful home at Cedar Cottage comes away without being richer by some gem of thought, dropped by the genial host.
A few years ago Fred Douglass married a white lady, who was a clerk in his office while recorder of deeds. This was much objected to by many of his race, but on mature
Page 80reflection, it has been about decided that he was no slave to take a wife as in slave times on a plantation–according to some master’s wish–but that it was his own business, and he was only responsible to God. He has been invited to the President’s levees and he and his wife shown every mark of consideration. His travel in foreign countries has in no way been embarrassed by this act. If any one thought he was so foolish as to not know what would be said of his marriage, they have mistaken the man. But Douglass did as he thought was right as he understood it. It showed he had the courage to brave popular opinion as he had done on other occasions.
Frederick Douglass enjoys a joke as well as any man I know. I was traveling with him recently from Atlantic City, New Jersey, to Washington. District of Columbia. We had been traveling on the territory of Maryland. Near Harve de Grace, a rather officious white gentleman was particularly attentive to Mr. Douglass, and after introducing himself to the eminent orator stood up and called out to the people in the car: “Gentlemen and ladies, this is Frederick Douglass, the greatest colored man in the United States.” The people flocked around him for an introduction. One white gentleman who was a Marylander, said “Let me see, Mr. Douglass, you ran away from Maryland, did you not, somewhere in this neighborhood, I believe?” “No,” said Mr. Douglass, with that grand air and good humored laugh which is his own property, “Oh, no sir, I did not run away from Maryland, I ran away from slavery.”
There are three great orators in this country, Frederick
Page 81Douglass, John M. Langston and George W. Williams, the first two are a couplet of as magnificent speakers as ever heard on an American platform; the last is a gifted star ascending the zenith. Douglass and Langston are ripe with age and mellow with experience. The young man is now vigorous and full of strength and handles the less exciting subjects of the day. The older men had the subjects of slavery and reconstruction; two greater themes, can and may never engage our minds in this broad land of swift passing events. They showed their zeal and inspiration against wrong; Williams shows his learning, research, and brilliant oratory.
God grant, when in the course of nature the mantle shall fall from his shoulders, that one may spring up to wear it, to guard it as vigilantly as he has, and as lovingly and carefully protect its folds from pollution.
If the extracts here given should be long, let it be remembered that Mr. Douglass, by length of service, by preeminence in public office, by his standing not only in America, but in the world, is entitled to large space. I want the young people also to declaim these extracts. I am tired of hearing every man’s good works repeated and no Negro’s eloquence chain an audience when, too, there are such elegant specimens.
The following is taken from his great speech in the National Convention of Colored Men held in Louisville, Kentucky, September 25, 1883.
The speaker addressed the greater part of his remarks to the white citizens of the country in the nature of a rebuke for their shortcomings towards the colored race, and said:
Born on American soil, in common with yourselves, deriving our bodies and our minds from its dust; centuries having passed away since our ancestors were torn from the shores of Africa, we, like yourselves, hold ourselves to be in every sense Americans. Having watered your soil with our tears, enriched it with our blood, performed its roughest labor in time of peace, defended it against enemies in time of war, and having at all times been loyal and true to its highest interests, we deem it no arrogance or presumption to manifest now a common concern with you for its welfare, prosperity, honor and glory.
WHAT THE NEGROES WANT.
Referring to the antagonism experienced in calling the convention, he said:
From the day the call for this convention went forth, the seeming incongruity and contradiction of holding it has been brought to our attention. From one quarter and another, sometimes with argument and sometimes without argument; sometimes with seeming pity for our ignorance, and at other times with fierce censure for our depravity, these questions have met us. With apparent surprise, astonishment and impatience, we have been asked: “What more do the colored people of this country want than they now have, and what more is possible for them?” It is said they were once slaves, they are now free; they were once subjects, they are now sovereigns; they were once outside of all American institutions, they are now inside of all, and a recognized part of the whole American people. Why, then, do they hold colored national conventions, and thus insist upon keeping up the color line between themselves and their white fellow-countrymen?”
Mr. Douglass then proceeded to answer these questions categorically, and took occasion to administer a basting to those of his people who were too mean, servile and cowardly to assert the true dignity of their manhood and their race, and referred the existence of such creatures to the lingering remains of slave caste and oppression.
To the question “Why are we here in this National Convention?” he answered:
Because the voice of a whole people, oppressed by a common injustice, is far more likely to command attention and exert an influence on the public mind than the voice of simple individuals and isolated organizations: because we may thus have a more comprehensive knowledge of the general situation and conceive more clearly and express more fully and wisely the policy it may be necessary for them to pursue. If held for good cause, and by wise, sober and earnest men, the result will be salutary. The objection to a “colored” convention lies more in sound than substance. No reasonable man will ever object to white men holding conventions in their own interest when they are once in our condition and we in theirs: when they are the oppressed and we the oppressors.
In point of fact, however, white men are already in convention against us in various ways, and at many important points; and the practical structure of American life is in convention against us. Human law may know no distinction between men in respect of rights, but human practice may. Examples are painfully abundant. The border men hate the Indians; the Californian, the Chinaman; the Mohametan, the Christian, and vice versa, and in spite of a common nature and the equality framed into law, this hate works injustice, of which each in their own name and under their own color may complain.
The apology for observing the color line in the composition of our State and National conventions is in its necessity, and because we must do this or nothing.
CIVIL RIGHTS OBSTRUCTIONS.
In vindication of the convention and its cause, the speaker continued:
It is our lot to live among a people whose laws, traditions and prejudices have been against us for centuries, and from these they are not yet free. To assume that they are free from these evils, simply because they have changed their laws, is to assume what is utterly unreasonable and
Page 84contrary to facts. Large bodies move slowly; individuals may be converted on the instant and change the whole course of life; nations never.
Not even the character of a great political organization can be changed by a new platform. It will be the same old snake, though in a new skin. Though we have had war, reconstruction and abolition as a nation, we still linger in the shadow and blight of an extinct institution.
Though the colored man is no longer subject to barter and sale, he is surrounded by an adverse settlement which fetters all his movements. In his downward course he meets with no resistance, but his course upward is resented and resisted at every step of his progress. If he comes in ignorance, rags and wretchedness, he conforms to the popular belief of his character, and in that character he is welcome; but if he shall come as a gentleman, a scholar and a statesman, he is hailed as a contradiction to the national faith concerning his race, and his coming is resented as impudence. In the one case he may provoke contempt and derision, but in the other he is an affront to pride and provokes malice. Let him do what he will, there is at present no escape for him. The color line meets him everywhere, and in a measure, shuts him out from all respectable and profitable trades and callings. In spite of all your religion and laws, he is a rejected man. Not even our churches, whose members profess to follow the despised Nazarine, whose home when on earth was among the lowly and despised, have yet conquered the feeling of color madness; and what is true of our churches is also true of our courts of law. Neither is free from this all-pervading and atmosphere of color hate. The one describes the Deity as impartial and “no respecter of persons,” and the other shows the Goddess of Justice as blindfolded, with a sword by her side and scales in her hand held evenly balanced between high and low, rich and poor, white and black, but both are images of American imagination, rather than of American practice. Taking advantage of the general disposition in this country to impute crime to color, white men color their faces to commit crime, and wash off the hated color to escape punishment.
Speaking of lynch law for the black man, he says:
A man accused, surprised, frightened and captured by a motley crowd, dragged with a rope around his neck in midnight darkness to the nearest tree, and told in terms of coarsest profanity to prepare for death, would be more than human if he did not in his terror-stricken appearance more
Page 85confirm the suspicion of his guilt than the contrary. Worse still; in the presence of such hell-black outrages the pulpit is usually dumb, and the press in the neighborhood is silent, or openly takes sides with the mob. There are occasional cases in which white men are lynched, but one swallow does not make a summer. Every one knows that what is called lynch law is peculiarly the law for colored people and for nobody else.
He next referred to the continuation of Ku-klux outrages, and said generally this condition of things is too flagrant and notorious to require specification or proof. “Thus in all the relations of life and death we are met by the color line. We cannot ignore it if we would, and ought not if we could. It hunts us at midnight, it denies us accommodation in hotels and justice in the courts; excludes our children from schools; refuses our sons the chance to learn trades, and compels us to pursue such labor as will bring us the least reward. While we recognize the color line as a hurtful force–a mountain barrier to our progress, wounding our bleeding feet with its flinty rocks at every step–we do not despair. We are a hopeful people. This convention is a proof of our faith in you, in reason, in truth and justice, and of our belief that prejudice, with all its malign accompaniments, may yet be removed by peaceful means. When this shall come, the color line will only be used as it should be, to distingush one variety of the human family from another.”
THE REPUBLICAN PARTY’S ATTITUDE.
Our meeting here was opposed by some of our number, because it would disturb the peace of the Republican party. The suggestion came from coward lips and misapprehends the character of that party. If the Republican party cannot stand a demand for justice and fair play, it
Page 86ought to go down. We were men before that party was born, and our manhood is more sacred than any party can be. Parties were made for men, not men for parties. This hat (pointing to his big white sombrero lying on the table before him), was made for my head; not my head for the hat. (Applause.) If the six million of colored people in this country, armed with the Constitution of the United States, with a million votes of their own to lean upon, and millions of white men at their backs whose hearts are responsive to the claims of humanity, have not sufficient spirit and wisdom to organize and combine to defend themselves from outrage, discrimination and oppression, it will be idle for them to expect that the Republican party or any other political party will organize and combine for them, or care what becomes of them.
The following is taken from an anti-slavery speech delivered many years ago:
A PERTINENT QUESTION.
BY FREDERICK DOUGLASS.
Is it not astonishing that while we are plowing, planting, and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses and constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron and copper, silver and gold; that while we are reading, writing and ciphering, acting as clerks, merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators and teachers; that while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, breeding cattle and sheep on the hillside; living, moving, acting, thinking, planning; living in families as husbands, wives and children; and, above all, confessing and worshiping the Christian’s God, and looking hopefully for immortal life beyond the grave; is it not astonishing, I say, that we are called upon to prove that we are men?
In the Negro, a monthly magazine, published in Boston, Massachusetts, of date August, 1886, under the head of
Mr. Douglass wrote as follows:
Allow me to say that what is called the Negro problem seems to me a misnomer. The real problem which this nation has to solve, and the solution of which it will have to answer for in history, were better described as the white man’s problem. Here, as elsewhere, the greater includes the less. What is called the Negro problem is swallowed up by the Caucasian problem. The question is whether the white man can ever be elevated to that plane of justice, humanity and Christian civilization which will permit Negroes, Indians and Chinamen, and other darker colored races to enjoy an equal chance in the race of life. It is not so much whether these races can be made Christians as whether white people can be made Christians. The Negro is few, the white man is many. The Negro is weak, the white man is strong. In the problem of the Negro’s future, the white man is therefore the chief factor. He is the potter; the Negro is the clay. It is for him to say whether the Negro shall become a well rounded, symmetrical man, or be cramped, deformed and dwarfed. A plant deprived of warmth, moisture and sunlight cannot live and grow. And a people deprived of the means of an honest livelihood must wither and die. All I ask for the Negro is fair play. Give him this, and I have no fear for his future. The great mass of the colored people in this country are now, and must continue to be in, the South; and there, if anywhere, they must survive or perish.
It is idle to suppose these people can make any large degree of progress in morals, religion and material conditions, while their persons are unprotected, their rights unsecured, their labor defrauded, and they are kept only a little beyond the starving point.
Of course I rejoice that efforts are being made by benevolent and Christian people at the North in the interest of religion and education; but I cannot conceal from myself that much of this must seem a mockery and a delusion to the colored people there, while they are left at the mercy of anarchy and lawless violence. It is something to give the Negro religion (he could have that in time of slavery): it is more to give him justice. It is something to give him the Bible; it is more to give him the ballot. It is something to tell him that there is a place for him in the Christian’s heaven; it is more to allow him a peaceful dwelling-place in this Christian country.
REV. W. B. DERRICK, D. D.
Minister of the African M. E. Church–Pulpit Orator.
The subject of this sketch was born on the Island of Antigua, in the British West Indies, July 27, 1843. Nineteen years after the boon of emancipation was conferred on those islands by the British Parliament, in 1834, Antigua, his native land, was the first island in the British West Indies which had the courage to ameliorate her slave laws, by affording the accused the benefit of a trial by jury; and an act of the assembly, February 13, 1834, decreed the emancipation of every slave without requiring a period of apprenticeship prescribed by the British Parliament. She refused to believe in the virtues of apprenticeship to prepare her bondsmen for freedom; if they were to be liberated, why not at once? And she has never had occasion to repent it.
His father, Thomas J. Derrick, belonged to the highly respectable family of Derricks who were large planters in the islands of Antigua and Anguila. His mother, Eliza, was of medium height, with regular features always lighted up with smiles, of genial disposition, and a mind well stored with witty and original thoughts, which rendered her conversation interesting, animating and devoid
W. B. DERRICK.
Page 89of monotony. Both parents are now slumbering, the former in the cemetery of the village church, the latter beneath the pendant branches of the mahogany tree in the public cemetery of the metropolis of the island. Mr. Derrick when very young was sent to a private school, and at the end of two years was admitted in the public school at Gracefield, under the auspices of the Moravians, and regularly attended from 1848 until the spring of 1856, when the head master of said school was removed to another charge. During these eight years, his progress at every stage in his studies was rapid and substantial, as if he had adopted for his motto “I will excel.” His natural talent, especially for oratory, elicited general applause at the annual examinations, largely attended by the elite of the neighborhood, who took special interest in the cause of education. In his class, conspicuous for his uncommonly large head, high forehead and penetrating eyes, he stood among the few who could manfully grapple with the difficult questions put by the tutor. In the spring of 1856, he was sent to a select private high school in the metropolis, under the tutorship of J. Wilson, Esquire, a fine classical scholar, but a great disciplinarian. Here he remained three years. He was afterward sent to learn the trade of a blacksmith. His parents finally consented to let him go to sea, under the care of Captain Crane, with the understanding that he was to be taught the science of navigation, and at the end of two or three years to return home and embark in business. On the sixth of May, 1860, he was on his first voyage to the United States. The ship was soon enveloped in a violent storm, and driven ashore
Page 90at Turk’s Island, but saved from becoming a total wreck. She took in her cargo, however, and sailed to New York. After a voyage of fourteen days, the merchantman reached the back-waters and continued to glide until she reached Sandy Hook. On coming along the Jersey coast, some altercations, on the term “nigger” being applied to him, took place between an Irishman and himself, which ended in his convincing the young Irishman, pugilistically, that his complexion had nothing to do with his manhood. He did considerable sailing around in ships, visiting the coast of Massachusetts and other places, and finally came to Boston. On this trip he met with a serious accident, namely, the breaking of his leg in two places. The case was aggravated by not having a surgeon on the spot for treatment. After making several trips and being shipwrecked, he volunteered in the service of the United States government for three years, and was assigned to the flagship Minnesota, of the North Atlantic squadron. He was thrown among five hundred other sailors, of all nationalities, who, like himself, were enlisted on the side of right. War absorbed his whole soul, yet with all this he could not repress the old idea, or smother the returning voice of the spirit which seemed to haunt him, urging him to enter the Christian ministry. When he met with the accident previously alluded to, he had had serious thoughts concerning this matter. Like a nail driven in a sure place by “the master of assemblies,” there was no getting away from him who was determined to be heard amid the din and roar of artillery and the shrieks of shells. The hand of the Lord was upon him. He was formally enrolled
Page 91in the list of sailors from 1861 to 1864 and contributed his quota to the gallant exploits and glorious achievements, and shared in the trials and triumphs of those brave ones in their struggles and conquests in the civil war.
Many incidents transpired while he remained on board his floating home, many of which beggar description, as, in the conflict between the Merrimac and Monitor, and in the heartrending scenes of carnage and blood. He was an American citizen now, and having been dismissed from the United States navy, took two steps, one in leading to the altar of matrimony Miss Mary E. White, the only daughter of Edwin White, Esq., of Norfolk, Virginia, and the other to take the initiatory to enter the ministry of the African M. E. Church by joining the church at Washington, District of Columbia, under the pastoral care of Rev., [now] Bishop J. M. Brown, who, after the usual preliminaries, licensed him to preach and at the same time to act as missionary agent, both of which offices he held until 1867. He was then admitted to the regular traveling connection, appointed by the Rt. Rev. D. A. Payne, D. D., LL. D., to Mt. Pisgah chapel, Washington, District of Columbia, where he labored for one year as preacher and teacher. In the year 1868 he was ordained deacon, and transferred to the Virginia conference, which closed before he arrived. His only alternative was to accept one of the most impoverished missions in the district, situated in the Alleghany mountains, almost on the border of the Tennessee line. At the annual conference at Portsmouth, he was elected elder and was ordained by Bishop J. P. Campbell, D. D., LL. D.,
Page 92after which he was appointed pastor and presiding elder of the Staunton church and district. From this time he may be said to be firmly established in the Christian ministry. He was reappointed presiding elder, pastor and conference secretary at the annual conference held in Norfolk in 1870; Staunton, 1871; Richmond, 1872; Portsmouth, 1873; Danville, 1874; Richmond, 1875; Portsmouth. 1876; Wytheville, 1877; Farmville, 1878; and Hampton, 1879; as a delegate to the general conference held in Nashville, 1872, at Atlanta, Georgia, 1876, and at Baltimore, Maryland, 1884, serving on all important committees in the sessions. In politics he has taken an active part. In Virginia, when the question of readjusting the State was agitating the country, and was submitted to the people to be voted upon in the November elections of 1879, he took sides with the party that was in favor of paying the debt as had been contracted. This party was known as the “Funders.” His attitude was in perfect harmony with the platform of the National Republican party insomuch that the administration at Washington sanctioned his course again. As the colored people were considered dangerous and willing tools in the hands of ambitious men, who were unscrupulous and always ready to make use of them in furthering their own ends, regardless of consequences, he publicly denounced the faction known as “Readjusters,” who repudiated the payment of an honest debt. This controversy was considered the most vindictive political war ever waged in that section, and lasted several months, terminating in the triumph of the “Readjusters.” Mr. Derrick was disgusted, and knowing full well that as leader of the
Page 93opposite faction he would have to suffer, he resigned his charge, left the South again, and took a trip to the West Indies in company with his wife. In this tour he traveled in the Bermudas, Jamaica, St. Thomas and Antigua, his native land. After twenty years absence he first visited the home of his oldest sister; then the graves of his departed parents and other members of the family. He preached and lectured to almost all the churches, on popular subjects. Returning to the United States, he resumed his ministerial duties. He has since served churches in Salem, New Jersey; Albany, New York, and Sullivan street church, New York City, where he continues to enjoy the confidence of the members of his church and the community at large.
The doctor has many personal admirers and they will read with interest a book of over three hundred pages, in press at this writing, which will contain a “Tribute to the Life and Labors of Rev. W. B. Derrick, D. D., Minister of the A. M. E. Church.” The contents will be about as follows:
- Preface; Dedication to the Sons and Daughters of Liberty in the United States and the West Indies; Recommendatory Letters from Bishop H. M. Turner, D. D., Rev. Dr. B. T. Tanner, Rev. J. A. Handy, D. D., Professor T. McCants Stewart, LL. B., Rev. W. H. Thomas, A. M., Rev. T. T. B. Reid, B. A.; Outline History of Antigua, Dr. Derrick’s native land; Notices of some of the leading men in the A. M. E. Church–the whole work of his life covering four periods, viz:
- PERIOD I.–His Childhood and Youth.
- PERIOD II.–Life Abroad; or, The Young Man from Home.
- PERIOD III.–In the American Navy during the Civil War.
- PERIOD IV.–Twenty-three years in the Ministry of the A. M. E.
Church; Sermons and Orations and Contributions to the Press.
His sermons, addresses and speeches are noticed in the New York Tribune, Sun, Herald, Times, the Evening Telegram, the Christian Recorder and the leading colored journals in this country, such as the New York Freeman and the Boston Advocate. He is a staunch Republican in politics, a progressive and evangelical preacher of the gospel, filled with the broad benevolence of Heaven and unwearied in his efforts to save immortal souls. The Wilberforce University conferred upon him the title of D. D., in 1885. He is an honorary member of the I. O. G. Templars, the Masonic Body, Odd-Fellows and Good Samaritans, the Publication Board of the A. M. E. Church and trustee of Wilberforce University. He has succeeded in accumulating about five thousand dollars worth of property, and was also the executor of the late lamented Bishop R. H. Cain, D. D., who died at his residence in New York City. He has pain an elaborate tribute to the virtues of the deceased in that city recently. He has been offered the superintendency of the church work in the West Indies, but respectfully declined. He is a diligent student of the Bible and as a pastor is ever solicitous that his flock should be fed with the “bread of life.” His church is justly proud of his works, which show wisdom and care on his part. No man has a higher standing in this country, for his power is felt among all classes. His rich voice and personal magnetism make him powerful in the field of oratory. His qualities of head and heart, his sound patriotism and sturdy manhood mark him a progressive man of the age.
The Evening Telegram, New York, gave “Sketches of
Page 95Some of the Prominent Divines,” had the following, among other good things, to say of Rev. Dr. Derrick:
After leaving Albany. Dr. Derrick became pastor of the Sullivan Street Church, which is situated in the heart of the largest colored colony in this great metropolis. His church is a low-browed and plain brick structure, but it is roomy inside, and is generally well filled with a class of worshipers much more devout than are to be found in many churches frequented by white persons. Dr. Derrick is a short, stout, full and smooth-faced man of light color, with great command of language and exceeding felicity of illustration to suit the plain understanding and comprehension of the people with whom he labors. Outside of the pulpit, he exercises a shrewd business supervision of the personal affairs of his flock, and serves them as legal adviser and political leader. He is an ardent Republican.
As presiding elder, his district embraces Fleet Street Church, Brooklyn, and the African Methodist Episcopal churches at Williamsburg, Flushing, Melrose, Albany, Chatham, Kinderhook, Catskill, Coxsackle, White Plains and Harlem Mission. The church which Dr. Derrick has charge of is valued at $80,000, and the adjoining parsonage is worth $10,000 more. He is paid $2,000 per annum, a furnished house included. They also support a paid choir, under Professor Savage, one of the best musicians of the race. The church membership is 1,000, and the seating capacity of the building 1,500, but frequently more than 2,000 worshipers stand within its walls and listen to the eloquent appeals of its pastor in behalf of human progress.
In June, 1884, he was nominated as a Presidential elector-at-large by the Republican State Committee, at the instance of Fire Commissioner Van Cott. There was considerable opposition among his own race to the nomination. It was headed by John J. Freeman. the then editor of the Progressive American. The opposition alleged that Dr. Derrick was not a citizen, and, therefore, could not serve as an elector. W. H. Johnson, ex-janitor of the State Senate, made affidavit that once after a ward meeting, in Albany, which Dr. Derrick had attended, he asked why Dr. Derrick did not vote, and that Dr. Derrick said he was not a citizen, having been born in the West Indies, and never having taken out naturalization papers. When asked why he had not been naturalized, he replied that he did not wish to give up his allegiance to Her
Page 96Gracious Majesty, the Queen, as he had intended to stay in this country only until he had amassed sufficient means to live like a gentleman at home, where living was cheap.
On July 1 Dr. Derrick declined the nomination. He took this action, however, before he knew of the Albany affidavits, his reason being that he had been chosen by his church to assist in arranging for the centennial celebration of American Methodism, and, therefore, had not time to be an elector. This was the first time his citizenship was called in question, although he had exercised his rights and privileges as a citizen. He proved at the time that he had come to this country when he was seventeen years old, and that when he enlisted in the navy he had taken the oath of allegiance to the United States.
PHILIP H. MURRY, ESQ.
Phrenologist–Editor and Philosopher.
ONE of the brightest and most gifted men among the editors is P. H. Murry. He was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1842. His parents, Samuel and Sarah Murry, were anxious that their boy should have opportunities to make a man of himself. His father was born on the eastern shores of Maryland, in Kent county, and living in a slave State, found that he would not be able to place such advantages before his son. He never was a slave, but as far back as he could trace the genealogical tree, his ancestors were pure, unadulterated Negroes, who came from Africa to America through the British West Indies. The mother is a mixed Negro, Indian and Irish. On the paternal side of his mother’s ancestry, the grandfather half Negro and Indian, bought, during the colonial times, an Irish woman for her passage and made her his wife. It will be remembered in the history of the Virginia colonists that many women were sent over for wives to the fortune seekers, and they were purchased for one hundred and fifty pounds of tobacco apiece. She was born in Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, and Jack, her husband, was free born. On account of the inferiority of colored
Page 98schools in Reading, at the time of his youth, his father only permitted him to attend school about a week. Afterwards he was placed under Father Patrick Keevil for Private instruction. Father Keevil was at this time a castaway, but was nevertheless a scholar, having graduated at Minonth College, England. After passing through the rudiments young Philip entered into a series of scientific and philosophical studies, embracing natural science, natural philosophy and the more liberal works on theology, especially physiology, and the brain as a physical instrument of thought and feeling. This was when he was about the age of fifteen, and these studies no doubt laid the basis of his future investigations. He has studied the whole realm of science and philosophy, going deeper than the surface, inquiring into the “whys” and “wherefores” with patient zeal and unremitting toil. One can scarcely converse with him without seeing and feeling that his thoughts are drawn from a deep well and that the fountain is pure. Later on he was absorbed in the abolition movement, and was an attendant and promoter of the movements which were prevalent before the war. He came frequently in contact with Douglass, Garnet, H. Ford, the Shadds and Watkins, Bishop Payne, Rogers, the Negro Historian, Wolf and Hamilton, the Journalists, and other leading Negroes, including Dr. Martin R. Delancy, who then were foremost in that work. He delivered a series of able, comprehensive and learned lectures on “Cerebral Physiology” throughout New England, and made some useful and important investigations, experiments and discoveries on the temperaments, and the cranium
Page 99as a continuation of the spinal development. As a phrenologist he is a perfect success. The writer remembers when quite a boy he met Mr. Murry in the city of Burlington, New Jersey. At that time examining his head, he accurately told the characteristics so plain to him, but at that time so undeveloped and unknown to the writer that he has been astonished in later years to find that the very things he predicted would be developed, were developed unconsciously, and are recognized as a verification of his deductions. In 1864 he was a delegate to the famous Negro convention which met at Syracuse, New York, and was chosen chairman of the Pennsylvania delegation. When Lee first invaded Pennsylvania, Mr. Murry, anxious to serve his country in the capacity which would do the most good, organized a company of soldiers and offered their services to Governor Curtin, but was refused because Negroes were not then needed to suppress the rebellion. But in after days when the Southern armies had shattered the Northern forces, and doubt was over-hanging the country as to which side would win, the government found out that a Negro could stop a bullet as well as a white man. At the age of twenty-one, he bought the homestead of which his father was about being deprived, and deeded it to his mother; said property being worth about three thousand dollars. In conjunction with J. P. Sampson, he published the first colored journal in Kentucky The Colored Kentuckian. He taught school in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Virginia and Missouri, and took conspicuous and active parts in securing colored teachers for the colored schools in St. Louis and throughout
Page 100Missouri. This idea was projected by him in a convention of teachers which met at Jefferson City, Missouri, in 1876, and for which he made speeches in St. Louis, which were published in all the dailies verbatim, and drew editorial comments as well as universal discussion among the citizens of the city and State. He published the Colored Citizen at Washington, District of Columbia, in 1872, and held the inspectorship of public improvements under a board of public improvement at the same time. During the war he traveled in the South and corresponded for several Northern journals. In 1880, Mr. Murry established the St. Louis Advance, and this paper has for its primal mission the industrial education of the Negro. He was for several years clerk in the Money Order Department of the St. Louis Post Office, also held positions of trust and honor in the comptroller’s office of St. Louis. He has been a delegate to the various State and National conventions during the nine years he has lived in that city. He is now chairman of the Colored State Committee, Missouri. In 1879, he organized the St. Louis Colored Men’s Land Association, which is now a success. As a writer, Mr. Murry is one of the most brilliant in the country. His editorials are always fresh. vigorous, far-seeing and progressive; bristling with argument and backed with facts. His aim in life is to press home the importance of industrial education. His remarks on the subject at the National Press convention. Atlantic City, July, 1886, are worthy to be kept, and as many may read this book we give here a few of the sentences.
Page 101which ought to be read by every colored man, woman and child. Said he:
“I would rather see a colored man on `change than a colored man in Congress. We have produced a Fred Douglass, now we want a James B. Eads. We are in a large degree a landless, a tradeless and a homeless race. We are too much absorbed by politics; the best talent of the Negro is engaged in political machinations, scheming to elect some white man to office, or praying for the “New Jerusalem” to descend down out of Heaven. Emigrants from the most fecund blood of Europe are marching by our doors in platoons of ten thousand deep, to the possession of the fertile lands of the West. They create a “New Jerusalem” for themselves, but the “New Jerusalem” for the Negro never comes. We loiter about in the big cities, living on the offals of the wealthy that overawes and overshadows us at every turn. But we stay until some great city springs up in the West and the trains are burdened with the commerce of the new lands, then we go West with the broom and white jacket. We should have gone West with the hoe and the plow. This is the age of material progress; the engineer has replaced the scholar; the mathematician instead of puzzling his brain over the problems of Euclid, is wrestling with the “Bulls and Bears on `change.” The Greek grammarian has been supplanted by the machinist, and the man who would hunt for a hundred years to find out the meaning of a Hebrew dot only illustrates the intellectual fool of our modern times. Railroads, big farms, manufactories, steam engines, electric lights, cable cars and the telegraph, are the text books of to-day; and if the Negro will not study to understand, control and take possession of these, he cannot keep pace with the progress of the age.
On the subject of emigration he said:
Stop this crying of emigration; lay hold where you are; get together, put your dollars together like you put your votes and see if the result will not bring more lands, houses, and offices too, for the enjoyment of the colored people. Financial unity will establish that bond of interest that brings better social, personal and political harmony and power. Our oath-bound organization may be a strong tic, but an organization bound together by “Dollars,” welded by business, girded by houses,
Page 102trades, lands and manufactories, forms a bond of general, political and personal, as well as financial union to which the obligations of secret organizations appear but as a rope of sand.
In a recent editorial upon the same subject he has said:
Aside from all political considerations, whether the Negro should be Democrat, Republican or Independent or become equally divided among all factions seeking to elevate the national policy or control government, the great need of the race to-day is a thorough knowledge and the skillful training in the various fields of mechanism and labor. If the energies wasted among the Negroes in trying to reach great political prominence, were directed toward acquiring a knowledge of the necessary and useful arts, the next generation of American Negroes would come forth full-fledged and equipped as artisans, and thrifty business men, skilled carvers in wood, iron and stone structures, and whatever enters into the convenience, comfort and facilities of our organization.
Such doctrines as these are calculated to be of immense value to the people. He has vigorously taught and insisted on industrial institutions, and his paper is sound on all questions touching the progress of the race and upbuilding of waste places.
He has a wife and four children, one dead, and his possessions are valued at about five thousand dollars.
First Martyr of the Revolutionary War–A Negro Whose Blood was Given for Liberty–“Blood the Price of Liberty.”
THE subject of this sketch was born in slavery in 1723, and died in 1770. He ran away from his master, William Brown of Farmingham, Massachusetts, on the thirtieth of September, 1750, at the age of 27. He was a mulatto, six feet and two inches high. His master advertised for him in the following description: “Short, curly hair, his knees nearer together than common; had on a light colored bearskin coat, plain brown fustian jacket, or a brown wool one, new buckskin breeches, blue yarn stockings and a checked woolen shirt. Whoever shall take up said runaway, convey him to above said master, shall receive ten pounds, old tenor reward, and all necessary charges paid. And all masters of vessels, or others, are hereby cautioned against concealing or carrying off said servant on penalty of the law. October 2, 1750.”
Only after much meditation and thought, he had broken away from the cruel chains that bound him, and was determined to be a free American citizen. He learned to read at odd times, and he used this accomplishment in understanding the fundamental principles that underlie all regulated
Page 104forms of governments. A fiery patriotism burned in his breast. He was anxious to avenge oppression in every form, not by fighting alone, but by the sacrifice of life, if necessary. twenty years later, Crispus’ name once more appeared in the journals of Boston. This time he was not advertised as a slave who had run away, nor was there a reward for his apprehension. His soul and body were beyond the cruel touch of master. The press had paused to announce his death and write the name of the Negro patriot, soldier and martyr to the ripening cause of the American Revolution, in fadeless letters of gold.
On March 5, 1770, the Boston massacre occurred. The people had been oppressed by British tyranny, they had been treated as inferiors; they were taxed without representation and their souls galled until they were maddened. When British troops, to add insult to injury, encamped upon their grounds, they could withhold no longer. They were greatly exasperated; they formed themselves into clubs and resolved to avenge themselves and gain their rights. They ran toward King street crying “Let us drive out the ribalds. They have no business here.” The rioters rushed fearlessly towards the custom house. They approached the sentinel crying, “Kill him! Kill him!” It has been said that Crispus Attucks led one of these clubs, which has not been denied, but rather assented to. Botta speaking of it says: “There was a band of the populace led by a mulatto named Attucks, who brandished their clubs and pelted them with snowballs.” The scene was horrible. The populace advanced to the points of their bayonets. The soldiers appeared like statues. The howlings
Page 105and violent din of bells still sounding the alarm, increased the confusion and the horrors of these moments. At length the mulatto and twelve of his companions pressing forward environed the soldiers, striking their muskets with their clubs, cried to the multitude, “Be not afraid, they dare not fire. Why do you hesitate? Why do you not kill them? Why not crush them at once?”
Inspired by his words, his followers rushed madly on, and the soldiers, incensed by this act of insolence, answered the war-like cry by discharging their guns. Attucks had lifted his arm against Captain Preston and fell a victim to the mortal fire. Three were killed and five were severely wounded. The cry of bloodshed spread like wild-fire. People crowded the street, white with rage; the bells rang out with alarm, and the whole country was aroused to battle. Attucks was buried from Fanueil Hall with great honor. He had led the people and made the attack. He was the first to resist and the first slain. His patriotism was the declaration of war. It was liberty to the oppressed; it opened the way to modern civilization and independence. It has blessed and will continue to bless generations yet unborn. He is rightly claimed as the savior of his country. No monument has ever been reared to his name. Repeated efforts have been made before the Massachusetts Legislature, and notwithstanding the various testimonies and the histories going to show that he was entitled to the honor we have here accorded him, upon a flimsy testimony the honor has been given to one Isaac Davis of Concord, a white man. George Williams,
Page 106the historian of the race, in his very excellent work, uses these words in regard to Crispus Attucks:
Attucks had addressed a letter to one Thomas Hutchinson, who was the Tory governor of the province, in which he had used these words: “Sir, you will hear from us with astonishment. You ought to hear from us with horror. You are chargeable before God and man with our blood. The soldiers are but passive instruments, mere machines, neither moral nor voluntary agents in our destruction, more than the leaden pellets with which we were wounded.
“You were a free agent; you acted coolly, deliberately, with all that premeditated malice, not against us in particular, but against the people in general, which, in sight of the law, is an ingredient in the composition of murder. You will hear from us further hereafter.
This letter is taken from ‘Adams’ Works,’ Volume II, page 322. Said Williams:
This was the declaration of war and it was fulfilled. The world has heard from him, and more, the English speaking world will never forget the noble daring, the excusable rashness of Attucks in the holy cause of liberty. Eighteen centuries before He was saluted by death and kissed by immortality, another Negro bore the cross of Christ to Calvary for Him. And when the colonists were struggling wearily under their cross of woe, a Negro came to the front and bore that cross to the victory of glorious martyrdom!
A sketch also will be found of his life in the ‘American Encyclopedia’ and in William C. Nell’s books on the colored patriots of the Revolution.
GRANVILLE T. WOODS.
GRANVILLE T. WOODS, ESQ.
Electrician–Mechanical–Engineer–Manufacturer of Telephone, Telegraph and Electrical Instruments.
“SOME men are born great; some have greatness thrust upon them; and some achieve greatness.” To the last class belongs G. T. Woods, who was born in Columbus, Ohio, April 23, 1856. He attended school until he was ten years of age, when he was placed in a machine shop where he learned the machinist and blacksmith trades. In the meantime he took private lessons and attended night school, and exhibited great pluck and perseverance in fitting himself for the work he desired to undertake. He pursued with assiduity every study which promoted that end. November, 1872, he left for the West, where he obtained work as a fireman and afterwards as an engineer on one of the Iron Mountain Railroads of Missouri. While in the employ of the railroad company he had a great deal of leisure, and as saloons had no attractions for him, he took up the study of electricity as a pastime. In December, 1874, he went to Springfield, Illinois, where he was employed in a rolling-mill. Early in 1876 he left for the East, where he received two years special training in electrical and mechanical engineering
Page 108at college. While obtaining his special instructions, he worked six half days in each week in a machine shop, the afternoon and evening of each day being spent in school. February 6, 1878, he went to sea in the capacity of engineer on board the Ironsides, a British steamer. While a sailor, he visited nearly every country on the globe. During 1880 he handled a locomotive on the D. & S. Railroad. Since then he has spent the major portion of his time in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he has established a factory for the purpose of carrying on the business, as indicated at the head of this sketch. A company has been formed recently for the purpose of placing Mr. Woods’ Electrical Railway Telegraph on the market. Mr. Woods says that he has been frequently refused work because of the previous condition of his race, but he has had great determination and will and never despaired because of disappointments. He always carried his point by persistent efforts. He says the day is past when the colored boys will be refused work only because of race prejudice. There are other causes. First, the boy has not the nerve to apply for work after being refused at two or three places. Second, the boy should have some knowledge of mechanics. The latter could be gained at technical schools, which should be founded for the purpose. In this respect he shows good sense and really prophesies the future of the race, and these schools must sooner or later be established, and thereby we shall be enabled to put into the hands of our boys and girls the actual means for a livelihood. He is the inventor of the “Induction Telegraph,” a system for communicating to and from moving trains, and is intended
Page 109to diminish the loss of life and property, and produce a maximum of safety to travelers. In the United States patent office, in the case of Woods vs. Phelps’ Railway Telegraph Interference–L. M. Hosea, attorney for Woods, and W. D. Baldwin, attorney for Phelps–it will be shown that the patent office has decided that Mr. Woods was the prior inventor of this system. His rights having been questioned, he secures this verdict which gives him triumphal possession of a great discovery. The following is taken from the Scientific American:
The public prints give us almost daily accounts of railway collisions in one section of the country or another. Every effort has been made to avert these. The general introduction of the telegraph has unquestionably done much in this direction; but in thick weather the operatives at the railway stations could scarcely be looked to to guard points of the road beyond their ken, and the railway switchman or signalman, as in other walks of life, is fallible. If railway signalmen could be found who require neither sleep nor rest, who are not subject to fits or spasms or spirituous excesses, and, above all, having eyes to pierce the fog, then railroad travel would indeed be divested of its greatest terrors. But, taking human nature as we find it, we learn that so grave a responsibility as the care of human life should never be thrust upon the shoulders of a single man.
The “Block System” recently introduced would, it was believed, prove a reliable means of preventing accidents on the rail, and it is but fair to say that it has made an excellent record; but that it is not, under all conditions and circumstances, to be relied upon, there is abundant evidence. Only last week it failed to prevent a collision between two freight trains at New Brunswick, New Jersey, on the line of the Pennsylvania railroad, in which two lives were lost and property to the value of half a million dollars destroyed. It was of course only by mere chance that these trains were not carrying passengers. From this it may be inferred how pressing is the demand for some system in which the safety of the traveling public is not made to rely on an unthinking and not
Page 110always reliable automaton, or, still worse, upon the action of an over-worked and irresponsible employee, whose perception of colors may be defective.
Many able electricians have believed the solution of this problem to lie within the domains of the electrical science; and those who have followed the drift of recent electrical endeavors are aware of the contrivances, all looking towards the same goal, that have made their appearance. The general principle on which all these have been based was electrical communications between all trains, while en route, and the train despatcher; most of these systems have shown a certain degree of efficiency when tested under favorable conditions, but the best of them were subject to interruptions, and this, from the very nature of the work they were called upon to perform, has been rendered more or less uncertain, owing to the fact that they relied upon a direct contact with the conductor, either by a wire, wheel or brush.
Now comes forward a practical system of train signaling, which does not rely upon contact at all; the electrical induction coil upon the moving train being distant from the conductor, lying between the track at least seven inches.
The future possibilities of these new inventions appear to be very great; just how far the system can be extended and applied it is impossible to foretell. But this appears to be certain; the risk of disaster on railways will be greatly reduced from this time onward.
Mr. Woods claims that his invention is for the purpose of averting accidents by keeping each train informed of the whereabouts of the one immediately ahead or following it; in intercepting criminals; in communicating with stations from moving trains; and in promoting general, social and commercial intercourse. The following appeared in the Cincinnati Sun:
Granville T. Woods, a young colored man of this city, has invented a new system of electrical motor, for street railroads. He has invented also a number of other electrical appliances, and the syndicate controlling his inventions think they have found Edison’s successor.
The Cincinnati Colored Citizen, in its issue of January 29, 1887, says:
We take great pleasure in congratulating Mr. G. T. Woods on his success in becoming so prominent that his skill and knowledge of his chosen art compare with that of any one of our best known electricians of the day.
The Catholic Tribune, January 14, 1886, said of him:
Granville T. Woods, the greatest colored inventor in the history of the race, and equal, if not superior, to any inventor in the country, is destined to revolutionize the mode of street car transit. The results of his experiments are no longer a question of doubt. He has excelled in every possible way in all his inventions. He is master of the situation, and his name will be handed down to coming generations as one of the greatest inventors of his time. He has not only elevated himself to the highest position among inventors, but he has shown beyond doubt the possibility of a colored man inventing as well as one of any other race.
The following appeared in the American Catholic Tribune, April 1, 1887 (Cincinnati, Ohio):
Mr. Woods, who is the greatest electrician in the world, still continues to add to his long list of electrical inventions.
The latest device he invented is the Synchronous Multiplex Railway Telegraph. By means of this system, the railway despatcher can note the position of any train on the route at a glance. The system also provides means for telegraphing to and from the train while in motion. The same lines may also be used for local message without interference with the regular train signals.
This system may be used for other purposes. In fact, two hundred operators may use a single wire at the same time. Although the messages may be passing in opposite directions, they will not conflict with each other.
In using the devices there is no possibility of collisions between trains, as each train can always be informed of the position of the other while in motion. Mr. Woods has all the patent office drawings for these devices, as your correspondent witnessed.
Page 112 The patent office has twice declared Mr. Woods prior inventor of the induction railway telegraph as against Mr. Edison, who claims to be the prior inventor. The Edison & Phelps company are now negotiating a consolidation with the Wood’s Railway Telegraph company.
It is recorded that a very distinguished preacher said: “If everything the Negro had invented was sunk at the bottom of the sea, the world would not miss them, and would move on as before.” This was not true then, is not true now, and will be less so in the future. Hundreds of slaves invented instruments which have been taken by their masters and patented, and many others for want of means to put their inventions through the patent office and manufacture them, have sold their knowledge for almost a “mess of pottage.” The future will bring forth men who will yet astonish the world with inventions of labor-saving character, and add materially to the wealth of the nation, by producing those instruments which will decrease manual labor, multiply articles more rapidly, facilitate communication and benefit mankind.
J. A. BROWN.
HON. JEREMIAH A. BROWN.
Legislator–Carpenter and Joiner–Clerk–Deputy Sheriff–Turnkey and Letter-Carrier.
HON. JEREMIAH A. BROWN, or as he is familiarly called “Jere,” was the first child of Thomas A. and Frances J. Brown, Pittsburgh, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania. In that city on the fourteenth of November, 1841, the subject of our sketch first saw the light of day. His younger days were spent in that city where he attended school, having among his classmates such men as the Rev. Benjamin T. Tanner, D. D., Hon. T. Morris Chester, James T. Bradford of Baltimore, Maryland, and many other distinguished men, who are now prominently before the people. He continued in the pursuits of knowledge with these until about his thirteenth year, when he accompanied his father as a steamboatman on our Western rivers. This avocation engaged his attention until his seventeenth year, when he became very much imbued with the importance of the advancement of himself in such a particular as to secure to him the possibilities of a livelihood. To this end he learned a trade, choosing that of a carpenter and joiner. At the close of his seventeenth year he entered the shop of James H. McClelland, Esq., as an apprentice. This gentleman was the foremost builder in that city at the time,
Page 114and a gentleman known far and wide for his interest in the advancement of the colored people. Upon his entrance into this shop, it was the immediate signal for a number of the employees quitting work, such was the prejudice existing against a colored boy entering upon any of the trades; but Mr. McClelland promptly filled their places, with the remark: “that that boy will stay in this shop until he learns the trade, if I have to fill it with black mechanics from the South.” Thus was the backbone of prejudice broken by this bold stand, and our young man remained and finished his trade with honor to himself, his race, and his friendly employer. After finishing his apprenticeship, his parents decided to remove to Canada West, believing that it would be beneficial to the children, of whom they had six, to be under a government that did not sanction human slavery. They desired to take their children away from its blighting and withering effects; not as practiced in its enormities, but as sanctioned by the laws of Ohio, which were then known as the “black laws,” and against which he has had an opportunity to battle in the Legislature of Ohio. These black laws were very obnoxious to the colored citizens and have constantly provoked unlimited antagonism from them and their ardent white friends. Young Brown accompanied them to Canada and settled near Chatham, Ontario. Upon the inauguration of the Civil War he returned to the United States and located in St. Louis, Missouri, and again returned to steamboating, but from time to time paid visits to his parents.
January 17, 1864, he was married to Miss Mary A.
Page 115Wheeler, of Chatham, Ontario, a sister of Hon. Lloyd G. Wheeler, of Chicago Illinois, and the Rev. Robert F. Wheeler, of Hartford, Connecticut. Returning to St. Louis, he remained there a short time and then he decided to settle in the State of Ohio. With that end in view he went there in 1869 or 1870, stopping at Wilberforce, Ohio, to which place his parents had removed for the purpose of educating their youngest children. After prospecting in several cities in the southern part of Ohio, he determined upon Cleveland as the place where he would locate and lay the foundation for a useful and happy life; and here he has remained ever since. A few years’ residence found him an active participant in the political field. His first political position was a bailiff of the probate court of that county; then he was deputy sheriff and turnkey of the county prison for four years, and clerk of the “City Boards of Equalization and Revision.” Then he obtained a position in the postoffice as letter-carrier and remained in the employ of the general government until the fall of 1885, when he secured the nomination on the Republican ticket as representative in the Ohio Legislature from Cuyahoga county, being elected by nearly three thousand majority over the highest competitor on the Democratic ticket–an honor by no means small. His career has been short, and yet long enough to show that he has made due effort to wipe out those prescriptive laws of the State which we have spoken of above. he made a telling speech on the subject March 10, 1886, a bill having been introduced by the Hon. Benjamin W. Arnett. Said he:
All the colored man desires, Mr. Speaker, is that he be given the same legislation that is accorded to other men. No man can deny that we have proven ourselves other than true, patriotic and honorable citizens. Going back to the early days of the history of our country, where the picture is presented of the black man, in person of Crispus Attucks shedding his blood, the first spilt in the great American war for freedom, we are forced to stand appalled at that country’s ingratitude. When, again, I bring in this galaxy of bright lights, Benjamin Banneker, the great mathematician, and those brave men of my race who fought, bled and died for my country in the War of 1812, I ask you, gentlemen, is such ostracism the reward for that heroism and devotion? But when I contemplate the actions of the American Negro on the battlefield of the South–at the many scenes of carnage in which he was engaged during the late War of the Rebellion–with what heroism he performed deeds of valor, showing and demonstrating his ability even at the cannon’s mouth, my very heart bleeds for the foul blot heaped upon the countless thousands of black men, who laid their lives upon their country’s altar for the establishment and the perpetuity of this government. In that Southland my race put on the blue, shouldered their muskets, and to-day their bones lie bleaching on dozens of battlefields, where they were massacred by those who sought to destroy this fair land. What, gentlemen, I ask you, is the reward Ohio gives those of her black sons whose bones are scattered there?
Further on, in reference to these black laws, he says:
Repeal them, and to your ensign will cluster the friendship of my race–redress our grievances with that power delegated to every American citizen. Defeat this bill, and the wrath of the colored voters will bury you beneath their ballots cast by as loyal citizens as the sun of Heaven looks down upon. Repeal them, and in after years when we show our children these obnoxious and pernicious laws, explaining to them the disadvantages we were subjected to, by and under them, we can teach them to love and venerate the memories of those who were instrumental in giving us equal facilities with our more than favored brethren.
Mr. Brown is connected with the Masonic fraternity of Ohio, by whom he is highly honored and respected, as is
Page 117readily shown by the numerous positions he has held. For a number of years he has held, and is at this time holding, the grand secretaryship of the Grand Lodge F. A. A. M. of the Grand Chapter R. A. M.; Grand Recorder of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templars and of the order of High Priesthood; he is also a member of the Carpenters’ and Joiners’ Brotherhood of America; believing that organization, if good for white men, is equally, if not more, beneficial to the black men. His early education was acquired in the common schools of his native State, with a short course in the Avery College of Allegheny, Pennsylvania. At that time the facilities and opportunities for acquiring an education were far below what are now in vogue. There were no opportunities for black men other than situations of a menial and degrading character to be obtained; but he, imbued with the firm determination to enter the race of life, succeeded in arriving at a point where he can be called a successful man, and has indeed risen from the carpenter’s bench, and a common laborer on a steamboat, to the distinguished position of a lawmaker of the State of Ohio. His religious training was under the A. M. E. Church while a youth, but he is not connected with any denomination now, but attends the Congregational Church, the Sabbath school of which is and has been under the superintendency of his wife for about eight years. In financial affairs he has succeeded moderately, being worth probably five thousand dollars. May his life and success be some encouragement for those who find life hard and labor become unprofitable.
WILLIAM CALVIN CHASE, ESQ.
Editor of the Washington Bee–Vigorous and Antagonistic Writer–Politician–Agitator.
WHATEVER may be said for or against Mr. Chase, it can well be remarked that he is a true friend, an untiring enemy, a defender of his race, and a lover of his home. Mistakes he has made, no doubt, and yet they were in behalf of his convictions or when he has been mistaken as to the justice of the cause which promoted him to act. He has led a life of agitation, turmoil and combats, and has taken and given many blows, and, like the “Black Knight” of Scott’s matchless ‘Ivanhoe,’ he has unhorsed many a Front-de-Boeny and Athelstane–using both sword and battle-axe. Relying as I do on his written views, newspaper articles and other material before me, I have attempted to furnish the facts with little comment. But let it now be said that while Mr. Chase may differ from any one, yet he is a pleasant and agreeable companion at any time, and those from whom he has differed are all distinguished friends of his. His paper has a motto which greatly interprets the man, viz: “Honey for friends and stings for enemies.” The next birthday of Mr. Chase will occur on February 2, 1888, when he will be thirty-four years of age. He is still a very young man. His father,
W. C. CHASE.
Page 119William H. Chase, was a blacksmith, and one of the leading citizens of Washington, District of Columbia, during his day. He was shot by a man named Charles Posey, in 1863, who called at his place of business, pretending that he wanted him to examine a revolver, claiming that it was the one that was used by a man who killed a woman in the southern section of the city. Posey said the revolver was not loaded; but as soon as Mr. Chase was handed, he refused it, and told him to take it away, it might do harm, and before he had finished this remark the deadly weapon went off and he was shot through the heart. His own brother (Chase’s) immediately asserted that it was an accident. Very soon after his death, and before any of Mr. Chase’s immediate family arrived, he was robbed of every cent he had in his pockets. The death of Mr. Chase left his widow with six small children. Young Chase being the only boy, had many hardships to encounter, as will be seen in the history of his life. His mother was a Lucinda Seaton of Virginia, a daughter of one of the most aristocratic colored families of that State, and who is at this time one of the leading citizens of Washington. She is a woman of determined will, who has succeeded in educating her children. One is married to Rev. E. W. Williams, principal of Ferguson’s Academy, which she established, and lives in Abbeville, South Carolina; two are teaching in the public schools of Washington; another is employed in the government printing office at Washington, and has the reputation of having excelled a steam folding machine in folding papers.
During the struggle of Mrs. Chase to educate her children,
Page 120she met with opposition on all sides, mainly from her husband’s relatives, some of whom brought suits, aggregating eight thousand dollars, against her. William H. Chase was also a musician, and it is said that he performed skillfully on the violin and bass violin, the latter of which was the cause of a lawsuit in the Orphan’s court. The instrument was left to his son, and at the time of the death of Mr. Chase, his nephew had it in his possession, and declined to give it up until forced to do so by order of the court. Young Chase did not take to music; his ambition was journalism. To be successful in that, he knew that it was necessary to acquire a good education. He was only ten years old at the death of his father, and knowing that his mother had a heavy responsibility on her, he began to sell newspapers. The prejudice against colored newsboys was so great that they were not allowed by the white newsboys to come where they were. Chase managed to receive his papers through a colored gentleman who was employed by the Star Publishing Company, by the name of George Johnson, who did all in his power to aid him. Young Chase always knew how to ingratiate himself in the good graces of those who had charge of newspapers, so much so that he succeeded when others failed. He was well known around every newspaper office of any prominence in Washington, and became one of the most popular newsboys in the city. Before the death of his father, he attended the private school of John F. Cook, present collector of taxes in the District of Columbia. Leaving this school after the death of his father, he began his noted career as a newsboy. He would sell papers before school
Page 121in the morning, and after it in the afternoon. While so doing, he met a white lady who became impressed with his manners, and she asked him if he did not want a place; he said he did. She gave him her card and requested him to call at her boarding place the next day. Calling as requested, he was given a pen and ink to write his name; he could not do so, but in less than three days he accomplished the task. He was but eleven years old then. Still more impressed was the lady; she secured him a place with Holley & Brother, wholesale hat manufacturers in Methuen, Massachusetts. Not caring much for the business, he attended a white school taught by a lady named Mrs. Swan. He remained there some time, and finally wrote to his mother to allow him to come home. So appealing was his letter that his mother consented. It was in this town that Chase conceived the importance of an education; there, too, he got an idea of the printing business, and his ambition continued to force him to get an education to enable him to become a useful man. He declared when a boy, that he would some day become an editor.
On returning home he took up selling papers again, making himself a kind of utility boy around newspaper offices, and got a good idea of newspaper business. He left the public school and entered the Howard University Model School, “B” class, and remained in that department two years, passed a successful examination, and was recommended by his teacher as qualified to enter the preparatory department. During his stay in Howard University I was his teacher for a short while, and found him one of the brightest in the
Page 122class. His wife was also a pupil of mine. Just as he was about to enter college he received an appointment in the government printing office, at which place he remained two years. He did not get the place promised by the public printer; for this, and injustice to the colored employees in the office, he assigned as good reasons for denouncing the public printer, which he did. This was his first public act, although prior to this he had made himself prominent in politics and was recommended for a consulship, having been endorsed by the most prominent Republican campaign organizations in the city, by members of Congress, and Senator Thomas W. Ferry of Michigan. After leaving the government printing office he filed charges with the President against the public printer, A. M. Clapp, and introduced a resolution in the Hayes and Wheeler campaign club, of which he was secretary. Colored men under Clapp called a meeting for the purpose of denouncing Chase and refuting his charges against Clapp; but Chase arrived at the hall just as the resolution was about to pass, and told them that if such a resolution was adopted he would expose all those who had urged him to denounce Mr. Clapp on account of his injustice to the Negro. The resolution did not pass. He gives the following account of the rupture between himself and Mr. Douglass:
Mr. Frederick Douglass, who had been appointed United States marshal by President Hayes, heard that I was to be given an appointment, said to me that he would like to have me in his office, “and as the President is to give you an appointment,” said Douglass, “tell him if he (President Hayes) will send me a letter, I will appoint you.” I called on President Hayes and informed him of what Mr. Douglass had said. The President, after looking over my papers, wrote a personal letter to Mr. Douglass. The letter was
Page 123handed to him by me. The “Old Man Eloquent” said, “Ah! Mr. Chase, you have caught me on the fly. Come in and I will see what I can do for you.” After entering Mr. Douglass’ office, he said, “Chase, call in, in a few days; I am going to discharge a man and put you on.” In the meantime Mr. Clapp, who had been requested to resign his office, wrote to Mr. Douglass and informed him that he had heard that the President had recommended me to him for an appointment; that the charges I made against him were false. In reply Mr. Douglass wrote to Mr[.] Clapp and said: “Although the President has requested me to appoint Mr. Chase, I don’t know whether I shall do it or not.” I was informed of the letter of Mr. Douglass by a colored man and a friend of his, employed in the press room of the government printing office, to whom Mr. Clapp read the letter. I called on Mr. Douglass and informed him of the letter written to Mr. Clapp, and before Mr. Douglass replied, his son Lewis, then deputy marshal, denied it. I said that such a letter was written, and any one who attempted to deny it was a liar. L. Douglass said: “I won’t appoint you now, any way.” I said it made no difference to me, and demanded that the letter sent to Mr. Douglass by the President be returned to me, and said that I would inform the President that he refused to appoint me, after having promised. Mr. Douglass said “no, as the President’s letter was a personal one to him.” I then asked for a copy of the letter, at the request of ex-mayor Bowen. Mr. Douglass declined. I had become somewhat noted as a newspaper correspondent, and in every letter to the Boston Observer I remembered Mr. Douglass, and would paragraph him in the most pointed manner, and they would appear weekly, greatly to the discomfort of Mr. Douglass and much to my gratification. I returned to President Hayes, but before seeing him talked with his private secretary, Mr. W. K. Rodgers. I was given a card to the President and related to him the actions of Mr. Douglass. The President seemed to be somewhat indignant, and said that Mr. Douglass had nothing to do with the action of the Invincible Club against Mr. Clapp. He gave me a letter to the postmaster-general. Six months later Mr. Douglass met me in the presence of Captain O. S. B. Wall, and seemed to be greatly aggrieved at the letters written by me to the Boston Observer, and asked me what I was doing. I told him; whereupon he invited me to call and see him. I called and told Mr. Douglass that the President had given me a letter to Postmaster-General Key, Doug
Page 124lass volunteered to endorse the President’s recommendation. While my appointment was pending, some of my enemies heard that the postmaster intended to appoint me to an important position. To defeat this, an anonymous letter, denouncing the President’s “Southern Policy,” was written and the name of the secretary of the Hayes and Wheeler Invincible Club signed. The letter stated that I denounced the President’s policy and was organizing a new African party, which would prove detrimental to the President and the Republican party. This letter was sent to the postmaster, and I failed to get the appointment.
Although the Boston Observer had suspended, a new paper had been started, known as the Washington Plaindealer, edited by Dr. King, a West Indian. Mr. Chase was made reporter and the “Chit-Chat” editor. He was considered a valuable news and society editor. Not being satisfied with the policy of the paper, he resigned and turned his interest over to A. St. A. Smith and A. W. De Leon. Mr. Douglass became a supporter of the Plaindealer. Mr. Chase turned his attention to the management of the public schools and endeavored to reform them. He claimed to know of immorality existing in the schools and prepared several specifications of charges against certain trustees. Commissioner Dent requested the trustees, against whom these charges were made to answer them. They were all denied, but were proven by Mr. Chase. One of the trustees was removed, but the other was retained, owing to some doubt on the part of the commissioners, as this trustee had offered the Colored Normal School bill which would have benefited the colored people. Chase called a public meeting and charged these men openly with having corrupted the schools. The meeting was packed by the friends of the trustees with society
Page 125friends. These were charged by Mr. Chase with attempting to hide corruption and keeping a set of corrupt men in office. The meeting was taken from Mr. Chase and his friends, and resolutions adopted endorsing the trustees. Notwithstanding this, Mr. Chase filed his charges and proved them. Previous to this Mr. Douglass had made up with Mr. Chase, but Mr. Douglass had been informed by one of the trustees that Mr. Chase was using the letter sent by Mr. Douglass to Postmaster-General Key in connection with the charges against the trustees. Mr. Douglass came out in the following card in the National Republican of Washington:
WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, September 25, 1876.
To whom it may concern:
Whereas, one William C. Chase, is using a letter of mine in connection with certain charges against the trustees of the public schools, I desire to say that I have lost confidence in said Chase and withdraw my letter of endorsement of him.
Very Respectfully, etc.
Mr. Chase said in a public speech “that Mr. Douglass knew that he was using no letter of his.” The letter referred to was on file in the postoffice department, and was not withdrawn until after the appearance of Mr. Douglass’ card, which was certified to by General O. P. Burnside, the disbursing officer of that department. During this fight President Hayes had given Mr. Chase another letter, this time to the district commissioners, for an appointment. Captain Phelps, one of the commissioners, opposed Mr. Chase’s appointment on representations made to him by the friends of the trustees, while Commissioner J. Dent
Page 126favored it and would listen to nothing said by his enemies. Mr. Chase, however, did not secure the appointment. Presuming that he would give the President a rest for a while, he accepted the editorship of the Argus, which was offered him, at that time edited by Charles N. Otey, one of brainiest men known to the colored race. The Argus was the controlled by a board of directors. Mr. Otey retired and Mr. Chase appointed to succeed him, with Captain G. W. Graham, business manager. He changed the name of the paper to that of the Free Lance. The change of the name excited great feeling among the people, as they knew of the vindictiveness and determination of Mr. Chase to expose fraud and get even with those whom he considered enemies. Nor did he disappoint them. His first attack was made on Senator John Sherman, then the secretary of the treasury: “the schools,” “police force,” and the National Republican committee for not appointing colored men in the campaign. So great was the feeling of the Republicans against him, that the board of directors, who were all office-holders, while they dared not remove Mr. Chase, sold out the paper to L. H. Douglass, H. Johnson, M. M. Holland, and others, office-holders, claimed by Mr. Chase to be his enemies. The sell out of the Argus Publishing Company greatly pleased his opposers, for the name of Chase was becoming a household word, and notwithstanding his many defeats, he conceived the idea that he would sink or swim in his next attempt.
He went to the President and asked for another appointment; this time the President put him off; he left, got additional endorsements from prominent Republicans in
Page 127Virginia, among whom was one of Colonel Sampson P. Bailey, in whose interest he canvassed the Eighth Congressional District, Colonel John F. Lewis and many others. He returned to him and presented a letter which was referred to his private secretary, who was very favorably disposed towards Mr. Chase. When asked where he wanted to go, Mr. Chase replied, “Back to the government printing office; foreman of the lower paper warehouse,” a position then held by a white man. Mr. Chase called on Mr. John D. Defrees whose nomination was pending. He promised to appoint Mr. Chase, but as soon as it became known that Mr. Chase was to return to that office, the friends of Mr. Clapp commenced to work on Mr. Defrees’ prejudice. After his confirmation by the United States Senate, a minor place was offered him, which he declined. At this time an investigation against Defrees, and Clapp was instigated by Hon. Ebenezer B. Finley of Ohio, chairman of the sub-committee on expenditures. Mr. Chase was subpoenaed by that committee, which became known at the government printing office; he was sent for by H. Robert, foreman of the bindery. After this subpoena he was appointed in the government printing office, but remained only one week, as the place was not what he desired. Before Douglass was transferred from the marshalship to recorder of deeds, a public meeting was called by the friends of John T. Johnson to endorse him for the place of Douglass. Mr. Chase opposed the resolution, and asked that Douglass be retained and Johnson be endorsed for recorder of deeds, to which Mr. Douglass was subsequently appointed.
Although Mr. Douglass had been requested not to appoint Mr. Chase in his office, he did so eventually. This was considered a victory for Mr. Chase after the publication of Mr. Douglass’ card. While in this office Mr. Chase wrote a severe criticism on the ‘History of the Negro Race’ by Colonel G. W. Williams, of which Mr. Douglass was accused; it was in this office that Mr. Chase was accused of being inspired to criticise and condemn the political course of Hon. R. Purvis. He was editing the Bee at the time. He denied all accusations against Mr. Douglass. A heated correspondence passed between Messrs. Douglass and Purvis. Mr. Purvis requested the discharge of Mr. Chase, but Mr. Douglass refused to comply, and suggested that Mr. Purvis meet him on equal grounds and not ask him to do that which would not be honorable. Mr. Purvis became very indignant at this, and instigated a criminal libel suit against Mr. Chase, which was subsequently withdrawn.
Mr. Chase was not satisfied with the position in Mr. Douglass’ office, and Hon. B. K. Bruce, who was a staunch friend of his, was accompanied by Mr. Douglass to see the secretary of war, Hon. R. T. Lincoln, to obtain a better place. It is said that instead of Mr. Douglass recommending Mr. Chase, he recommended some one else, which greatly embarrassed Mr. Bruce, who requested Mr. Chase to go with him to see Mr. Lincoln. Two weeks later Mr. Chase was notified to appear in examination, after which he received a probationary appointment for four months, at the end of which, his appointment was made permanent. Then his thoughts were turned to the law department of Howard
Page 129University, where he remained one year, when he was asked to enter the Virginia Republican canvass, which he did, and which necessarily compelled him to give up the study of law. He took an active part in the campaign of ’84, both in person and with his paper, the Bee. In 1885, he went as one of the delegates from the convention of colored citizens to President Cleveland, to request him to review the Emancipation Day parade. At the conclusion of remarks by Mr. Chase, the President produced a copy of the Bee containing the following article:
MURDER AND ASSASSINATION.
We are constrained to say that the time has come when murder and the assassination of black Republicans in the South must cease. The time has come for the Negroes and loyal white people of this country to show to the world that there is purity in American politics. In the State of Louisiana, a few days ago, the most cowardly and bloody murders were committed. Innocent colored Republicans were shot down by Democrats like dogs. The same was a repetition of the past brutalities, when helpless colored female virgins and babes were snatched from their beds and murdered. The scene in the South on last Tuesday has raised the indignation of over five millions of true black American citizens. It is time for every American Negro in the South to make an appeal to arms and fire every Democratic home where Negro-killers live, from a palace to a hut, in retaliation for the foul and dastardly murders that were committed in the South. We speak without fear and in defense of the helpless Negro. It is far more noble to die the death of a freeman than an ignominious slave. The hundred and fifty-three electoral votes from the South were obtained through theft and assassination; schemes of the most outrageous character were resorted to; Negroes murdered; ballot boxes stuffed; peaceable citizens were imprisoned to prevent them from exercising the rights of elective franchise. Under these circumstances it will cost the lives of millions to inaugurate Grover Cleveland.
Mr. Chase informed the President that he was the author
Page 130of the article; that it was written in the heat of the Presidential campaign; that the Copiah, Danville, and Louisiana massacres were the causes of the publication of the article; but since it was decided that he was the legally elected President, no paper had been as conservative as the Bee. Mr. Cleveland said that his life was in danger when the article appeared; he condemned it and called upon all other citizens to do likewise. Nearly every paper in the country had something to say. The Democratic papers were loud in their condemnation of Mr. Chase, and in all directions of the city, groups of persons could be seen discussing “Chase and the President.”
Many Republicans who knew that what Chase said was true, were among those who condemned him. At the request of the President, Mr. Chase sent him different copies of his paper, and it was thought that this would tend to appease him, as Mr. Chase had supported him after his inaugural address, which contained some kind words in behalf of the Negro. On the twenty-fifth of April, about ten days after Mr. Chase had called on the President, he received his discharge from the War Department, by order of the President and W. C. Endicott, secretary of war. Long before the ascendency of the Democratic party, attempts had been made to have Mr. Chase discharged. These charges had no effect with Secretary Lincoln as Senator Bruce frustrated them. Mr. Chase was elected one of the vice-presidents of the Louisville convention, and was first to nominate Rev. W. J. Simmons, president of the National Press convention, to which he was elected, and was himself elected historian of said association,
Page 131August 4, 1886. General Logan said that “Mr. Chase was one of the brightest young men he knew, and one who will succeed.” Mr. Chase has been indicted for libel five times and convicted once, the fine being fifty dollars. He was married January 28, 1886, to Miss Arabella V. McCabe, a very accomplished lady in music and literature. His wedding was one of the grandest that ever took place in Washington. Presents were received from all parts of the country. He is now editor of the Washington Bee, which is flourishing. His office is fitted up in style, all the material of which is his own. Although the fights between Messrs. Chase and Douglass were bitter, they subsequently became friends, and for three successive years Mr. Douglass was elected Emancipation orator through the influence of Mr. Chase. He had become so popular that a young lady, Miss Susie Brown, named her school for him. On account of his great height and massive form, he is often called a “long, narrow, slender slice of night.” This name was given him by the Sunday Capital. In the press convention of 1880, held in Washington, he was the only editor North who read a paper favoring separate schools; when he had finished, his address was endorsed by the entire Southern press; without one exception.
His report at the Press convention, on Southern outrages, was highly commended by the Philadelphia Press. Mr. Chase is a determined man and has an undaunted disposition, and will never give up as long as there is a fighting chance. He delights to have a broil on hand, and seems never happier than when he hears the shouts of battle
Page 132and the clash of arms. The Bee was foremost in the fight concerning the Matthews-Recorder-of-Deeds-muddle. Mr. Chase made a gallant fight, which, while it did not secure the nomination of Mr. Matthews, whipped the Senatorial children soundly and compelled them to confirm Mr. Trotter. They did not dare furnish the occasion for another battle. They dared not go home with the Bee behind them. They had felt its sting already and did not care to continue to need it further. A full statement of the case will be found under the name of Mr. J. C. Matthews. Truly did he furnish “stings for the enemies” of the race.
REV. JAMES W. HOOD.
Bishop of the A. M. E. Zion Church–Church Organizer and Builder–Assistant Superintendent of Public Instruction–His Many Contests For Civil Rights on Steamboats and Cars.
ONE of the most influential men in this country is Bishop Hood. His labors have been crowned with abundant success, and his acknowledged ability marks him as a special favorite. He has a large amount of what is called character. He is the son of a preacher, and his life shows that all “preachers’ sons” are not bad. The names of his parents deserve to be mentioned. The family constituted one of the thirteen families who founded the separate Methodist church in Wilmington, Delaware. He was born in Kennett township, Chester county, Pennsylvania, May 30, 1831. At the age of twenty-five, being converted, he felt a call to preach the gospel. In 1859 he was received on trial in the New England conference of the A. M. E. Zion church. In 1860 he was ordained deacon and sent to Nova Scotia missions. They year 1863 found him stationed at Bridgeport, Connecticut. This same year he was sent to North Carolina, where he now lives “as the first of his race appointed as a regular missionary to the Freedmen in the South.”
He has founded in North Carolina, South Carolina and
Page 134Virginia over six hundred churches, and erected under his supervision about five hundred church buildings. He was elected bishop of the General Conference which held its session in North Carolina, in 1872. He was elected a member of the Ecumenical Conference, in London, in 1881. He has published a volume of sermons, to which Rev. Atticus G. Haygood, agent of the Slater fund, has written a complimentary introduction in which he says:
These sermons speak for themselves; their naturalness, their clearness, their force and their general soundness of doctrine and wholesomeness of sentiment, commend them to sensible and pious people. I have found them as useful as interesting. Those who still question whether the Negro in this country is capable of education and refinement, will modify their opinion when they read these sermons, or else they will conclude that their author is a very striking exception to what they assume is a general rule. Bishop Hood entertains many broad and important views as to the wants, duties and future of his people. He believes that their best interests are to be conserved in preserving the race from admixture with other bloods. They should, he thinks, hang together, and he is persuaded that if his people are to succeed permanently and broadly in this country, they must largely work out their own salvation.
He has twenty-one very able and comprehensive sermons in the book, well worth the reading. Besides peculiarly striking sermons by Bishops S. J. Jones, J. J. Moore, J. P. Thompson, Thomas H. Lomax, some of the themes treated in Bishop Hood’s book, are “The Claims of the Gospel Message,” “Personal Consecration;” “Divine Sonship;” “The Sequence of Wondrous Love;” “Why was the Rich Man in Torment?” “The Streams which Gladden God’s City;” “The Glory Revealed in the Christian Character;” “David’s Root and Offspring, or Venus in the Apocalypse.”
Bishop Hood went to North Carolina in January, 1864. At Newbern, during that year, in the absence of the chaplain, he preached to the colored troops and was often called “chaplain,” but he never held the commission as such. He went there as missionary, under General Butler’s invitation to the churches to send missionaries into his department. Newbern was twice attacked after he went there, so that he understands what it is to be under Confederate fire. Among the “first” conventions, if not the first of them all, of colored men in the South, was the one in October, 1865, in Raleigh. In this meeting he was elected president as the “dark horse.” Three other candidates had packed delegations as it appears, and thus defeated each other. The opening speech in that convention was the subject of much comment from the press, some not very complimentary to the speaker. He was reminded “that hemp grew in that part of the State.” It was the first time that a black man had so publicly stated that the Negro was among those who came from one blood, and among those whom the Declaration of Independence included as endowed with inalienable rights, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; a right to the jury-box, cartridge box, and ballot box, were among the demands which he said the colored people would contend for, and that with the help of God. He was reminded in some of the bitter papers at the time that he would get all these in one box. In 1868 he demanded and obtained cabin passage on the Cape Fear steamers. The agents told him that nothing but the fact that the city was under military authority caused the company to yield to his demand. He advised
Page 136the bishop not to attempt to take advantage of this, as it would be the worse for him when the military was withdrawn. The answer was characteristic of the man. He said he would enjoy it while he could, and trust the Lord for the balance. His right, however, has never been questioned on that river since. This proves what we have often said, that, if colored men would demand what belongs to them they could very many times get it, but because of their indifference and littleness of soul, they are often shoved into places where it is a disgrace to go. He also broke the ice on the railroads in that early day, and in this respect stood foremost in the Southern States. To go a little back, he says:
I have been contending for my rights in public conveyances from boyhood. Time and again, between ’48 and ’63 did conductors try to put me out of the first class cars on the Pennsylvania railroad, but they never did it. Once I think they would have done it, but a Quaker lady called on the passengers to interfere in my behalf. I was carried out of the street cars five times in one night in 1857, and, after, all, rode from the corner of Church and Leonard streets up to 28th street in time to preach, but of course I was a little late. I could give many instances in which I had to contend, but generally made my trip in the car. A thirty-eight years’ fight with railroad conductors seems like a long contest, from which I have come forth without a scar.
Bishop Hood has always been a traveler, more or less, and has traveled 15,000 miles a year. It is doubtful whether any man living has had so many railroad contests. He is getting tired and worn out, and avoids the far South as much as possible on this account, but nevertheless he has opened the way and smoothed the path in these years for others, and has opened up to the traveling
Page 137public better accommodations. In 1867 he was elected as a delegate to the constitutional Convention of the State of North Carolina, and took such a prominent part that the Democrats called the constitution adopted “Hood’s Constitution” until they amended it slightly about 1875.
In this convention he made a speech which was full of sarcasm and ridicule of his opponent, a gentleman who had opposed some measure in which he was interested. He says:
After all I am compelled to acknowledge that I feel myself to be under some obligation to the secessionists. I am compelled to acknowledge that to their folly, in a great measure, we owe our present enfranchisement. The gentleman from Orange remarked last night that his race has always occupied a position more elevated than the rest of mankind. I am astonished at that young man that he has no more regard for his reputation as a historian than to assert such a ridiculous fallacy in the hearing of intelligent gentlemen in the noonday splendor of the nineteenth century. Does he not know that his ancestors, the ancient Britons, were in bondage in ancient Rome, in the days of Julius Cæsar, and ever since that day? Mr. Chairman, the worst that has ever been said of my people was that they were too ignorant to be anything but slaves; but of the Britons it was said that they were too ignorant even to be slaves. A friend of Julius Cæsar, writing to him, urged him not to bring slaves from Britain, for they were so ignorant that they could not be taught music. Now I have never heard it said of colored people that they were too ignorant to sing. I admit that this is not very flattering to the ancestors of the gentleman from Cleveland and Orange. Ancestry is something that they should not go back into, except with their mouths in the dust; but I don’t blame them for this. It is something they cannot help. I am sorry for them, but I don’t blame them for springing from such a low origin. I only think hard of them for making mouths at me.
This speech was considered so valuable that it was used as a campaign document. It is full of such passages, and
Page 138the comment of the press was very favorable, though the information was easily gained by any one who would take the pains to read yet it was considered wonderful because a colored man showed such an acquaintance with the history of his race and turned with such grace and dignity and delivered such a clever shot into the ranks of his opponents.
The homestead and public schools in this convention claimed his especial attention, and he was allowed to have his own way pretty much in regard to these measures. He believed that a good homestead law would secure the ratification of the constitution, and he was not mistaken. It proved to be a very popular measure, and he used it for all it was worth in canvassing. The school law was free from any hint of condition on account of color. He canvassed at the time fourteen counties and carried them all for this constitution, although all but two were regarded as doubtful. He was associated with others, of course, in this canvass, but he enjoyed the lion’s share of attention. Returning home from a meeting during the Presidential campaign in 1868, he received a commission as agent of the State Board of Education and assistant superintendent of public instruction. This appointment was made without solicitation from himself and friends and without his knowledge. The State Board of Education was composed of the governor and other State officers, and created the office and made the appointment, and the first information he had of it was the receipt of the commission, and an accompanying letter asking him to indicate at what time he could enter upon the duties of the office. His salary was
Page 139fixed at $1,500 a year. He filled this position for three years, having his headquarters at Raleigh, and at the same time, with the assistance of a subordinate preacher, built up a strong church at Charlotte, North Carolina, out of which four others have been formed. He would leave Raleigh Saturday afternoon and go to Charlotte, one hundred and seventy-five miles a way, preach three times a day and be back to Raleigh Monday morning. Sometimes he would not have his boots off from Saturday morning until Monday night. He generally filled the pulpit three Sabbaths in the month. One Sabbath in the month he would remain at Raleigh and divide the time among Methodist and Baptist congregations. There was no church of his branch of Methodists in Raleigh at that time, and he thought it was not fair to use the power of his office to establish one. During the time he was in office, he visited the greater portion of the State, lecturing and organizing schools. He received, unsolicited, a commission from General O. O. Howard, as assistant superintendent under the Freedmen’s Bureau, without pay, except that he was allowed three dollars a day, when traveling in the interest of the Bureau, to cover expenses. In 1870 he had forty-nine thousand colored children in the schools, and had a colored department established for the deaf, dumb and blind, and about sixty of those unfortunates, under care and instruction, gathered from all parts of the State. Sometimes he had hard work to get parents to send their children. One blind boy, that he had to go for several times and who would hide when he heard that the bishop was in town, is now making his living traveling as
Page 140Professor Simmons, the blind organist. The department formed at that early day has now a brick building worth $20,000, heated by steam and has every necessary convenience. It is the best institution for deaf mutes and blind of the colored people in this country, and yet there is only about the same number in the institution that he left when he gave up the office, while the statistics show about eight hundred in the State. He was about to establish a State University when the Democrats got control of the Legislature and legislated him out of office.
The only office he held under the State and National government was magistrate under a provisional government, and deputy collector for a few months. The latter position he resigned. He was the choice of the colored delegates for Secretary of State at the Republican State convention in 1872, as unanimously declared by the caucus, and declining it he was allowed to name a man who was nominated and elected. This gentleman promised to appoint a colored man as chief clerk and he did so. He never desired a purely secular office and did not regard his educational position in that light. He was made temporary chairman of the Republican State convention in 1876, and gave such satisfaction that the gentleman who was selected for permanent chairman wanted to decline in his favor. He was a delegate for the State-at-large to the National convention in 1872, which nominated Grant for his second term. He was Grand Master of the Masons in his State for fourteen years, and has twice declined unanimous election since. He was elected and re-elected Most Eminent Grand Patron of the Order of the Eastern
Page 141Star, until he quit attending the annual meetings. Besides he held very many minor offices. He has been High Priest, D. S. H. P. and D., inspector of the Thirty-third degree. At the great Centennial gathering of all branches of the Methodist church, black and white, held in Baltimore, 1885, he was elected to preside the first day. This body was presided over by one State governor, and one lieutenant-governor and a number of bishops in turn. He was elected to preside, but as he was not present, they sent a telegram for him, but he could not reach there in time. He was informed that an effort was made to get another colored man appointed, but a white bishop was finally selected. Notwithstanding his absence, when called for, another appointment was made for him, which he filled. Early in the day a couple of smart black men gave him an opportunity to show what he knew about parliamentary usage. His rulings were cheered and for the balance of the session both white and black tried to keep within the rules, and only made points of order when somebody was out of order.
He has been married three times. First, in his twenty-second year, he married Miss Hannah L. Ralph of Lancaster City, Pennsylvania, who died of consumption in 1855. In his twenty-seventh year he married Miss Sophia J. Nugent of Washington City. By that marriage he had seven children, four of whom are living, aged respectively fourteen, sixteen, eighteen and twenty. Three younger ones are at Zion Wesley College. His last marriage was celebrated in June, 1877, to Mrs. K. P. McKoy of Wilmington, North Carolina. By this marriage he had three
Page 142children, two living, one five and one seven, and the youngest one dead. The bishop is a very liberal man, and in the building of the many churches over which he has had the oversight in the last twenty years, he has given over one hundred dollars to a single church and says he has no idea of the number of churches to which he has given the sum of twenty-five dollars and upwards. The bishop is a strict temperance man. From boyhood he has been an opponent of the liquor traffic, and has ever been ready to oppose intemperance and slavery. He says: “I have been called crazy on the subject of tobacco and whiskey. I have been able in some of the conferences over which I have presided to influence men who were not teetotalers to become such, and large numbers have discontinued the use of tobacco. Rev. Jacob Adams, leading minister of the New York conference, visited the Central North conference at its last session and said: “That for intelligence and sobriety, as well as in many other respects this conference was the banner conference of the church, as he knew that this was regarded especially as ‘Bishop Hood’s Conference.’ It having been said that if he winked, the men in it would nod, it can be readily seen that he was paying a high compliment to said conference; and that being a leading member of the oldest conference, he knew some of its history, and it was indeed a compliment that he should declare in open conference the superiority of this recently built up Southern work.” The Bishop has been connected with many temperance societies, the most noted of these is the Good Templars, in a lodge of which he accepted a position of outside guard to encourage others to accept
Page 143minor places. He was at the same time holding the position of Grand Worthy Chief Templar of the State, and Right Worthy Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of the world. While in England he delivered many temperance speeches and received many notices of value from the temperance press. He has taken part in every temperance contest in the State of North Carolina.
Bishop Hood is a big man, and has nerves of iron and back-bone of steel; and, it may be well added, a face of flint which he constantly sets against error and wrong. May he live many years to continue his arduous labors for the bettering of his race.
HON. SAMUEL R. LOWERY.
Silk Culturist–Lawyer and Editor.
NO man in our broad country has exhibited more perseverance and pluck than this patient toiler. On December 9, 1886, he was fifty-six years old. A hard worker and earnest investigator and a courteous gentleman, he excites my admiration and challenges my good judgment, even when I think he has suffered enough privation and sacrifice to make him abandon his project. Nashville, Tennessee, has no other man exhibiting such a large amount of that self-sacrificing spirit as shown by Mr. Lowery. His mother was a free woman, a Cherokee Indian, and his father a slave, living twelve miles from the said city, and was purchased by his wife; God bless the woman. The old gentleman still lives in Nashville, aged seventy-six. Mr. Lowery lost his mother when only eight years old. The young man tried to get learning by working at Franklin College and studying privately under the Rev. Talbot Fanning, a famous Christian preacher, and who is of blessed memory now to Mr. Lowery. At the age of sixteen, our subject taught a school for the first time and had wonderful success for four years. In 1849 he united with the church of the Disciples and began preaching and continued till 1857. One year after this he pastored
S. R. LOWERY.
Page 145the Harrison Street church of that faith in Cincinnati, Ohio. He married in 1858, and becoming displeased with the country, went to Canada where he remained for three years, when he returned to this country, settling on a farm which was given him by his father in Fayette county, Ohio, near West Lancaster. In 1863, when Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was issued, he went to Nashville, preaching to the freedmen and colored soldiers, commanded by Colonel R. K. Crawford, of the Fortieth United States Colored troops. Not getting his commission as chaplain, he was transferred to the Ninth United States heavy artillery as chaplain, appointed by the officers, where he remained until the close of the war. Then he moved his family from Ohio to Tennessee, where he began preaching and teaching school. He commenced about this time the study of law in Rutherford county, Tennessee. Political excitement was running very high at that time, and his school was broken up by the Ku Klux, and his affairs much disturbed. Being admitted to the bar he began the practice of law in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1875 he moved to Huntsville, Alabama, and continued practicing law and preaching. He also practices before the United States Supreme Court, having been admitted on the motion of Belva V. Lockwood. His daughter Ruth, then a girl fifteen years of age, living in Nashville, visited with her father and sister, Annie L. Lowery, ten years of age, an exhibition, of silkworms, given by one Mr. Theobald, and she persuaded her father to purchase her some silk-worm eggs, which he did. She hatched them in Huntsville, Alabama, and by the aid of the leaves of the
Page 146white mulberry tree, succeeded in starting the enterprise in which Mr. Lowery is now engaged. After her death, which occurred in 1877, her father took up the enterprise. He now became disgusted with politics and began to devote his whole time to the silk-worm culture. He visited Paterson, New Jersey, and there met John Kyle, the pioneer silk manufacturer in the United States, who encouraged him to plant trees and raise the silk cocoons. He also visited South Manchester, Connecticut, and met Mr. Frank Cheney, the largest silk manufacturer in the United States, who also encouraged him, giving him ten years to succeed in the enterprise. Returning home, he imported some white mulberry seed from France, from which he has a fine nursery of mulberry trees in Huntsville, Alabama. The seedlings grown from this seed have produced the largest leaves of the kind in the world, and received the highest prize at the World’s Exposition at New Orleans. Mr. Lowery has received but little encouragement from the people of Huntsville, Alabama, but there are a few noble exceptions to this rule. Our government paid a Frenchman a thousand dollars for making his exhibition, while Mr. Lowery, poor and unaided, made his display, and triumphed without aid from any source whatever. We give below an extract from the Birmingham (Alabama) Manufacturer and Tradesman. As the facts are known by me to be true, they only add additional weight to my own statements:
Mr. Lowery has visited, the last two seasons, at the Southern Exposition in Louisville, and received the first medal over several competitors from other nations. At New Orleans he took a premium over eighteen
Page 147competitors from China, France, Japan, Italy, Mexico and other exhibitors in the United States, and was the only successful propagator, raising over 100,000 worms and cocoons on the grounds, while his competitors were unable to raise one. He has had forty acres of land given him near the city of Birmingham to go into the silk culture on a large scale, and has formed a company composed of the following leading citizens:
William Burney, Dr. H. M. Caldwell, W. A. Handley, C. C. Brenemen and himself, directors; with W. A. Handley, as president; C. C. Brenemen, secretary; William Burney, treasurer, and himself superintendent. He is an intelligent, conservative man, steadily refusing to mix up in any way with the disturbing element of his race. He is a lawyer by profession, and also publishes the Southern Freeman, and he constantly devotes his time to the advancement of the colored people of the South, and is very well respected by the people of that city and at his own home in Huntsville. His past experiments in the silk worm culture, with the strong backing he now has, assures success in the present enterprise. He owns shares of stock in the undertaking. Birmingham will be known well as a silk manufacturing center.
Mr. Lowery has an idea that the culture of the silk worm will take the place of cotton, and give to the women and children a refining and remunerative employment, which only takes six weeks in a year, and at the same time gives two-and three-fold more pay than they could earn all the year in their present employment.
I have never failed to have him address the students of the institution over which I have the honor to preside, and his enthusiasm has made a profound impression on his hearers; his genial manners, fund of information, knowledge of men and places, make him a welcome visitor and agreeable talker. He is yet destined to rank as a great benefactor to his race. He has had the faith of Columbus and the perseverance of Barnard Pallissey. Although famous, yet
Page 148he has nothing. In conversation with me he said: “My dear sir, I am very poor. I have not yet struck a bonanza, but I still hope for a competency yet ahead. Hope is a large faculty in my organization. I have tried to abandon it and become indifferent to its inviting fields. When I do, I am really not myself; yet I know I do not hope vainly or recklessly.” Let us pray that he will yet realize his hopes, and that his cherished plans may be the means of furnishing to the race the sure road to wealth and refinement. When success shall fully crown his labors, may the trademark of the firm be his daughter Ruth’s picture, as an honor to the humble girl, who died and did not live to see the success of her plans. She is worthy of this distinction.
Philanthropist–Goal Dealer, and Twenty Years Owner of the Largest Public Hall Owned by a Colored Man.
THIS distinguished gentleman, who made himself prominent during the dark days of slavery, by helping escaped fugitives at the peril of his own life, was born October 7, 1821, in Shamong; County of Burlington, New Jersey. He was the youngest of eighteen children of Levin and Charity Still. Mr. Still worked at farming and wood chopping until he was twenty-three years old, at which time he left New Jersey, the home of his birth, to stem the current of life alone. He had no education except what he had acquired when the weather prevented his working out of doors, and what he could pick up here and there from observation, conversation and other odd means.
Being a stranger, he was thrown wholly on his own resources, as he entered the city of Philadelphia with less than five dollars in his pocket. This was in 1844. While quite a boy he had pledged with himself never to touch intoxicating liquors, which pledge he ever kept; and it was, no doubt, the corner stone of his prosperity, and the means by which he has made a man of himself, thereby set
Page 150an example for many of those fast young men who hope to succeed in life, and yet indulge in intoxicating drinks and riotous living.
He professed Christ many years after. In 1847 he obtained a clerkship in the office of the Pennsylvania Antislavery society, and occupied this position for fourteen years. He had seen so much of the cruelties of slavery that his heart was full of sympathy for the oppressed, and he determined to spend his time and his life in securing liberty for all over whom his influence might be exerted. His house was known as a safe and convenient refuge for all who were making their way to a land of liberty. Two of his brothers were left in bondage by the flight of their mother, and were lost to their parents for forty years. This seemed to have deepened his interest in the slaves, and yearly hundreds of escaped bondsmen found in him a friend. He was chairman and corresponding secretary of the Philadelphia branch of the “Underground Railroad” for the last decade of slavery. He wrote out hundreds of narratives from the lips of fleeing fugitives and kept them secreted in the loft of the Lebanon Seminary till emancipation, when privacy was no longer a necessity. These same narrations make up his famous book, which bears the name of the corporation for which he labored. He, alone, of all the thousands who aided the fugitives, succeeded in preserving anything like a full account of the workings of the “Underground Railroad,” as it was called, before emancipation.
His book, “The Underground Railroad,” which is well known by all readers, was published in 1873. This volume
Page 151of eight hundred and fifty pages, was highly commended by the leading men of the nation and reviewers of the country. It had a large sale and will continue to sell for many years to come. It is a valuable book, and every colored man ought to have it in his library. We cannot do better than frequently recur to its pages for the purpose of measuring our present greatness by looking back on the path through which we have come, filled with thorns and precipices. It might not be out of place here to give one of the narratives which he has recorded in his book. It will show the character of the work, and revive in some measure the memories of those days of bitter persecutions and trials. The narration which is here selected is that of prominent personages whose history is largely familiar to the older people, and cannot fail to be interesting to the younger ones.
A quarter of a century ago, William and Ellen Craft were slaves in the State of Georgia. With them, as with thousands of others, the desire to be free was very strong. For this jewel they were willing to make any sacrifice, or to endure any amount of suffering. In this state of mind they commenced planning. After thinking of various ways that might be tried, it occurred to William and Ellen that one might act the part of master and the other the part of servant.
Ellen being fair enough to pass for white, of necessity would have to be transformed into a young planter for the time being. All that was needed, however, to make this important change was that she should be dressed elegantly in a fashionable suit of male attire, and have her hair cut in the style usually worn by young planters. Her profusion of dark hair offered a fine opportunity for the change. So far this plan looked very tempting. But it occurred to them that Ellen was beardless. After some mature reflection, they came to the conclusion that this difficulty could be very readily obviated by having the face muffled up as though the young planter was suffering badly with the toothache;
Page 152thus they got rid of this trouble. Straightway, upon further reflection, several other very serious difficulties stared them in the face. For instance, in traveling, they knew they would be under the necessity of stopping repeatedly at hotels, and that the custom of registering would have to be conformed to, unless some very good excuse could be given for not doing so.
Here they again thought much over the matter, and wisely concluded that the young man had better assume the attitude of a gentleman very much indisposed. He must have his right arm placed very carefully in a sling; that would be a sufficient excuse for not registering, etc. Then he must be a little lame, with a nice cane in his left hand; he must have large green spectacles over his eyes, and withal he must be very hard of hearing and dependent on his faithful servant (as was no uncommon thing with slaveholders) to look after all his wants.
William was just the man to act this part. To begin with, he was very “likely looking,” smart, active and exceedingly attentive to his young master–indeed, he was almost eyes, ears, hands and feet for him. William knew that this would please the slaveholders. The young planter would have nothing to do but hold himself subject to his ailments and put on a bold air of superiority. He was not to deign to notice anybody. If, while traveling, gentlemen, either politely or rudely, should venture to scrape acquaintance with the young planter, in his deafness he was to remain mute; his servant was to explain. In every instance when this occurred, as it actually did, the servant was fully equal to the emergency–none dreaming of the disguises in which the underground railroad passengers were traveling.
They stopped at a first-class hotel in Charleston, where the young planter and his body-servant were treated as the house was wont to treat chivalry. They stopped also at a similar hotel in Richmond, and with like results.
They knew that they must pass through Baltimore, but they did not know the obstacles that they would have to surmount in the “Monumental City.” They proceeded to the depot in the usual manner, and the servant asked for tickets for his master and self. Of course the master could have a ticket, but “bonds will have to be entered before you can get a ticket,” said the ticket master. “It is the rule of this office to require bonds for all negroes applying for tickets to go North, and none
Page 153but gentlemen of well known responsibility will be taken,” further explained the ticket master.
The servant replied that he knew “nothing about that”–that he was “simply traveling with his young master to take care of him, he being in a very delicate state of health, so much so that fears were entertained that he might not be able to hold out to reach Philadelphia, where he was hastening for medical treatment;” and ended his reply by saying, “My master can’t be detained.” Without further parley the ticket master very obligingly waived the old “rule” and furnished the requisite tickets. The mountain being thus removed, the young planter and his faithful servant were safely in the cars for the city of Brotherly Love.
Scarcely had they arrived on free soil when the rheumatism departed, the right hand was unslung, the toothache was gone, the beardless face was unmuffled, the deaf heard and spoke, the blind and the lame leaped as a hart, and in the presence of the few astonished friends of the slaves, the facts of this unparalleled underground railroad feat were fully established by the most unquestionable evidence.
The constant strain and pressure on Ellen’s nerves, however, had tried her severely, so much so, that for days afterwards she was principally very much prostrated, although joy and gladness beamed from her eyes, which bespoke inexpressible delight within.
Never can the writer forget the impression made by their arrival. Even now after a lapse of nearly a quarter of a century, it is easy to picture them in a private room, surrounded by a few friends–Ellen in her fine suit of black, with her cloak and high heeled boots, looking, in every respect, like a young gentleman; in an hour after having dropped her male attire and assumed the habiliments of her sex, the feminine was only visible in every line and feature of her structure.
Her husband, William, was thoroughly colored, but was a man of marked natural abilities, of good manners, and full of pluck, and possessed of perceptive faculties very large.
It was necessary, however, in those days, that they should seek a permanent residence, where their freedom would be more secure than in Philadelphia; therefore they were advised to go to headquarters, directly to Boston. There they would be safe, it was supposed, as it had then been about a generation since a fugitive had been taken back from the old Bay State, and through the incessant labors of William Lloyd
Page 154Garrison, the great pioneer, and his faithful coadjutors, it was conceded that another fugitive slave case would never be tolerated on the free soil of Massachusetts. So they went to Boston.
On arriving, the warm hearts of Abolitionists welcomed them heartily, and greeted and cheered them without let or hinderance. They did not pretend to keep their coming a secret or hide it under a bushel; the story of their escape was heralded broadcast over the country–North and South, and indeed over the civilized world. For two years or more not the slightest fear was entertained that they were not just as safe in Boston as if they had gone to Canada. But the day the Fugitive Bill passed, even the bravest Abolitionist began to fear that a fugitive slave was no longer safe any where under the stars and stripes, North or South, and that William and Ellen Craft were liable to be captured at any moment by Georgia slave hunters. Many Abolitionists counseled resistance to the death at all hazards. Instead of running to Canada, fugitives generally armed themselves and thus said: “Give me liberty or give me death.”
William and Ellen Craft believed that it was their duty as citizens of Massachusetts to observe a more legal and civilized mode of conforming to the marriage rite than had been permitted them in slavery, and as Theodore Parker had shown himself a very warm friend of theirs, they agreed to have their wedding over again according to the laws of a free State. After performing the ceremony, the renowned and fearless advocate of equal rights (Theodore Parker), presented William with a revolver and dirk knife, counseling him to use them manfully in the defense of his wife and himself, if ever an attempt should be made by his owners, or anybody else, to re-enslave them.
But, notwithstanding all the published declarations made by the Abolitionists and fugitives, to the effect that slaveholders and slave catchers in visiting Massachusetts in pursuit of their runaway property would be met by just such weapons as Theodore Parker presented William with, to the surprise of all Boston, the owners of William and Ellen actually had the effrontery to attempt their recapture under the Fugitive Slave laws.
His reasons for writing this book are given in the preface of the edition of 1886, and I cannot but give his own
Page 155words as his apology for placing such a book before the reading people. There are many of our people who are so foolish as to desire to rub out all the traces of our past history, and would do away with all emancipation celebrations and everything that reminds us of a past, which though painful and full of bitterness, cannot yet but be remembered with praise to God that he has permitted us to pass through these trials and come out more than conqueror. He very happily refers to the fact in this preface that the bondage and deliverance of the children of Israel will never be allowed to sink into oblivion. The world stands, and the Jews do not hang their heads in shame because of their bondage, but tell it with some pride, that God, though they were in bondage, did not forget them, but finally brought them forth and made a people of them. Quotations are here given because it is in the line of instruction that is badly needed and which should be heeded by our people, and he does well to send these thoughts through the country in each of his books, that they might influence at least the readers of that section in which he says:
Well conducted shops, stores, lands acquired, good farms managed in a manner to compete with any other, valuable books produced and published on interesting subjects–these are some of the fruits which the race are expected to exhibit from their newly gained privileges.
This gains our highest approval. It is the very thing for our people to consider. But let me without further elaboration give a passage in this preface, which one, in the reading, will find full of truth and instruction.
And in looking back now over these strange and eventful providences, in the light of the wonderful changes wrought by emancipation, I am more and more constrained to believe that the reasons which years ago led me to aid the bondmen and preserve the record of his sufferings, are to-day quite as potent in convincing me that the necessity of the times requires this testimony.
And since the first advent of my book, wherever reviewed or read by leading friends of freedom, the press, or the race more deeply represented by it, the expressions of approval and encouragement have been hearty and unanimous, and the thousands of volumes which have been sold by me on the subscription plan, with hardly any facilities for the work, makes it obvious that it would, in the hands of a competent publisher, have a wide circulation.
And here I may frankly state that but for the hope I have always cherished, that this work would encourage the race in efforts for self-elevation, its publication would never have been undertaken by me.
The race must not forget the rock from whence they were hewn, nor the pit from whence they were digged.
Like other races, this newly emancipated people will need all the knowledge of their past condition which they can get.
Those scenes of suffering and martyrdom, millions of Christians were called upon to pass through in the days of the Inquisition, are still subjects of study and have unabated interest for all enlightened minds.
The same is true of the history of this country. The struggles of the pioneer fathers are preserved, produced and reproduced, and cherished with undying interest by all Americans, and the day will not arrive while the Republic exists when these histories will not be found in every library.
While the grand little army of Abolitionists was waging its untiring warfare for freedom prior to the rebellion, no agency encouraged them like the heroism of the fugitives. The pulse of the four million of slaves and their desire for freedom was better felt through “The Underground Railroad” than through any other channel.
Frederick Douglass, Henry Bibb, William Wells Brown, Rev. J. W. Logan and others, gave unmistakable evidence that the race had no more eloquent advocates than its own self-emancipated champions.
Every step they took to rid themselves of their fetters, or to gain education,
Page 157or in pleading the cause of their fellow-bondsmen in the lecture room, or with their pens, met with applause on every hand, and the very argument needed was thus furnished in a large measure. In those dark days previous to emancipation, such testimony was indispensable.
The free colored men are as imperatively required now to furnish the same manly testimony in the support of the ability of the race to surmount the remaining obstacles growing out of oppression, ignorance and poverty.
The angels have recorded the deeds of this noble-hearted man, and God will reward him. It is impossible to do justice to those men and women who held their lives as nothing when the cries of the slaves reached their ears. There was never greater heroism than that shown by William Still. Think, reader, of the pain his heart has undergone. Think of the moments of intense agony he bore. Think of a life of care, suffering and prayer; then tell me we are destitute of the finest feelings held by any other race.
They said we were not men, but if not men then we have been angels. For indeed the history of our sufferings and the manner in which we have borne them without revolution and bloodshed, without falling to the depths of infidelity, but still holding to a trust in God, mark our career as more than marvelous.
Is it not a wonder that in all these dark shadows we did not lose our faith in God and cry out, “There is no God”? Is it not a wonder that in all these years there was not stamped out of us every feeling of mercy, generosity and manhood?
What could have been expected of a race that was deep in the well of ignorance, hidden from the light of day? What could have been expected of us and our children, except
Page 158that we would be brutalized and destitute of all the finer feelings of our nature.
It does seem as if we were made of finer material than others, that even so many good men, philanthropists, strong Christian men, preachers and faithful workers in every missionary department of life, could have been gotten out of this race so cruelly treated, so badly despised. Here is an example in the life of Mr. Still worthy of record. In the ‘Book of Ages’ how many look back and thank him for succor, for comfort, for food, for clothing, for money, and for liberty? This is a wonderful record. The deeds which were done in his office, the acts of charity, would almost form, as it would seem, a special volume among the records of Heaven.
O God! We thank Thee for such a man as William Still. Men who, like their Master, went about doing good. Men who fulfilled the teachings of the Scriptures and who shall be on the right hand and hear these words: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger and ye took me in: naked and ye clothed me: I was sick and ye visited me: I was in prison and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him saying, Lord when saw we Thee an hungred and fed Thee? or thirsty and gave Thee drink? when saw we Thee a stranger and took Thee in? or naked and clothed Thee? or when saw we Thee sick or in prison and came unto Thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them: Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto
Page 159one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Mr. Still’s name should be in the mouths of all lovers of philanthropic deeds, and his name is fittingly placed here that he might be known by the rising generation. His work is no less eminent than those who were partners in the labor of love, and yet extreme danger, namely, Abagail Goodwin, Thomas Garrett, Daniel Gibbons, Lucretia Mott, J. Miller McKim, H. Furness, William Lloyd Garrison, Lewis Tappan, William Wright, Elijah F. Pennypacker, Dr. Bartholomew Fussell; Robert Purvis, John Hunn, Samuel Rhoades, William Whipper, Samuel D. Burris, Charles D. Cleveland, Grace Anne Lewis, Frances Ellen W. Harper and John Needles.
In 1859, when old John Brown with one bold dash opened fire for freedom at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, several of his officers who were with him in the hottest battle at the Ferry, escaped with heavy rewards hanging over their heads, and sought shelter under the roof of William Still, who kindly received them. He also comforted and ministered unto the wife, daughter and sons of Brown who had come, utter strangers, to Philadelphia while the old hero was in prison waiting his execution. All this was cheerfully done while conscious of the fact that his deeds of charity were imperiling his own life. In 1850 he recognized one of his brothers who had been separated by slavery from his mother, when a child of only six years. In 1860 he left the antislavery office with the most hearty sympathy and confidence of his antislavery friends and at once turned his attention to
Page 160business of his own. Having some knowledge of the stove business, he opened a new and second hand stove store. In less than three years he was well established and quite successful. In the meantime, the civil war broke out and the curse of slavery ended unexpectedly. The secretary of war furnished him with a post sutler’s commission at Camp William Penn, at which point colored soldiers were stationed for Pennsylvania. In 1865 he purchased a large lot, built an office and entered the coal business, and for over twenty years he has successfully conducted this branch of business, amassing quite a fortune. He is the owner of Liberty Hall, the largest public hall in the country owned by a colored man; and to the credit of the race, be it said, that it is well patronized.
He still keeps up his philanthropic work; always ready to help the needy and to contribute of the world’s goods which God has given him in order that others might have their suffering lessened. He was a member of the Freedmen’s Aid Union and Commission, organized at the close of the war by the leading philanthropists of the country to prosecute educational work and aid the newly emancipated generally.
For many years he has been vice-president and chairman of the board of managers of the “Home for the Aged and Infirm Colored Persons” in Philadelphia; also for many years he has served as a member on the board of trustees for the “Soldiers and Sailors Orphan Home” and “Home for the Destitute Colored Children.” His interest in the educational work has been so manifest that he has been
Page 161selected, and has served for many years, as member of the board of trustees of Storer College. He has served as an elder of the Presbyterian church, which position he has held for quite a while, and was sent by the Presbytery of Philadelphia as commissioner to the General Assembly at Cincinnati, Ohio, which convened in 1885. He was one of the original stockholders to the amount of one thousand dollars in the stock company of the Nation, a member of the board of trade of the city of Philadelphia, and the corresponding secretary to the “Social and Civil Statistical Association” of Philadelphia. His literary labors have not been confined to the underground railroad. He has also published a pamphlet entitled “Voting and Laboring,” and another “The Struggles for the Rights of the Colored People” of Philadelphia. In 1884 the centennial and general conference of the M. E. church which convened in his city, honored him with a vote of thanks for entertaining the colored delegates from the South.
He still lives in Philadelphia, a quiet and honored citizen, an upright business man and a devoted friend of his race. May his last years be crowned with honor, and may he go down to his grave with the best wishes of the nation on account of the manner in which he has lived and served his God and his people.
PROFESSOR J. W. MORRIS, A. B., A. M., LL. B.
President of Allen University, Columbia, South Carolina–Professor of Languages.
THE subject of this sketch was born in Charleston, South Carolina, August 26, 1850. His parents were John B. Morris and Grace Morris. He was born of free parents and enjoyed early advantages for education. In early childhood he was sent to a private school taught by Simeon Beard, then a distinguished teacher in the city of Charleston. After the close of the late war he entered the public schools of his native city, passing through the various grades of the same, until he left the high school, to take a collegiate course at Howard University. While attending the public schools he was sent in the afternoons to learn the printing trade, which he completed under that celebrated scholar and printer, the late Hon. R. B. Elliott, who was at that time editor of the Charleston Leader. Afterwards this paper was merged into the Missionary Record, edited by the late Bishop R. H. Cain. He was elected principal of a parochial school, and while in this capacity he worked as a compositor on the Missionary Record, which was a weekly paper.
While a pupil of the Normal school of Charleston he was twice awarded a prize for proficiency in Latin by that eminent scholar and instructor, Professor F. L. Cardoza, now of Washington, District of Columbia. Young Morris evincing, in early life, so great a tact and aptitude for learning, was sent to Howard University, which institution he entered in the fall of 1868. After spending six years at the university, he graduated in June, 1875. While at the famous seat of learning he was regarded as an excellent student. At the Junior exhibition of 1874, he took the first prize awarded his class for oratory.
After graduation he returned to his home in Charleston, South Carolina. In the fall of 1875 he entered the law department of the South Carolina University, Columbia, South Carolina, under the tuition of that celebrated judge and jurist, Chief-Justice F. J. Moses. He graduated with distinction from this department, December, 1876. He applied for admission to the Supreme Court of his native State, and, after passing a most critical and searching examination, was admitted to practice in all the courts of the State. His first case was an interesting and prominent one; he won it. He was elected in 1876 one of the commissioners of public schools for the city of Charleston, but as this office would interfere with his law studies, he refused to accept the position. He also received in the county convention of Charleston, the nomination for the legislature, but, again for the same reasons, refused to accept.
After much persuasion and the earnest solicitation of personal friends, he was induced to abandon what promised
Page 164to be to him a very lucrative practice, to accept the principalship of Payne Institute, the educational work of the A. M. E. church in the State. He served for four years as principal of this institution, until it was merged into Allen University, a demand being made for a more central location for the work. While principal of Payne Institute, he was a lay delegate to the Ecumenical Council, which met in London, England. While in Europe he visited Paris and Geneva, Switzerland.
He was now elected professor of mathematics and ancient languages, principal of Normal and Preparatory departments, also secretary and instructor of the law department of the Allen University, which positions he held until elected president–the position he now holds. The writer was impressed with the quiet unassuming manners of President Morris while in college at Howard University. His position is only the reward of faithful toil and well directed effort. He was always in earnest; he enjoys fun as well as any man, but his “Life is real; life is earnest.” He is a fine student, a gifted writer and a man of high standing.
HON. ROBERT SMALLS.
Congressman-Pilot and Captain of the Steamer Planter.
This daring and cool headed man was born in Beaufort, South Carolina, April 5, 1839; and being a slave was of course limited in the opportunities for gaining book knowledge; but some men can no more be bound than the waves of the ocean, and despite all opposition he learned to read and write. “Where there’s a will there’s a way.” In 1851 he moved to Charleston, where he worked as a “rigger” and thus became familiar with ships and the life of a sailor by actual experience. He first became connected with the Planter, a steamer plying in the harbor of Charleston as a transport in 1861. His further connection with the steamer is given in the following, taken from the record of the House of Representatives, Forty-seventh Congress, second session, Report No. 1887. The document was a “Bill authorizing the President to place Robert Smalls on the Retired List of the Navy:”
JANUARY 23, 1883.–RECOMMITTED TO THE COMMITTEE ON NAVAL AFFAIRS
AND ORDERED TO BE PRINTED.
MR. DEZENDORF, FROM THE COMMITTEE ON NAVAL AFFAIRS, SUBMITTED
[To accompany bill, H. R. 7059.]
The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the bill to retire Robert Smalls as captain of the Navy, beg leave to report as follows:
This claim is rested upon the very valuable services rendered by Robert Smalls to the country during the late war. The record of these has been very carefully investigated, and portions of it are appended, as exhibits, to this report. They show a degree of courage, well directed by intelligence and patriotism, of which the nation may well be proud, but which for twenty years has been wholly unrecognized by it. The following is a succinct statement and outline of them:
On May 13, 1862, the Confederate steamboat Planter, the special dispatch boat of General Ripley, the Confederate post commander at Charleston, South Carolina, was taken by Robert Smalls under the following circumstances from the wharf at which she was lying, carried safely out of Charleston Harbor, and delivered to one of the vessels of the Federal fleet then blockading that port:
On the day previous, May 12, the Planter, which had for two weeks been engaged in removing guns from Cole’s Island to James Island, returned to Charleston. That night all the officers went ashore and slept in the city, leaving on board a crew of eight men, all colored. Among them was Robert Smalls, who was virtually the pilot of the boat, although he was only called a wheelman, because at that time no colored man could have, in fact, been made a pilot. For some time previous he had been watching for an opportunity to carry into execution a plan he had conceived to take the Planter to the Federal fleet. This, he saw, was about as good a chance as he would ever have to do so, and therefore he determined not to lose it. Consulting with the balance of the crew, Smalls found that they were willing to co-operate with him, although two of them afterwards concluded to remain behind. The design was hazardous in the extreme. The boat would have to pass beneath the guns of the forts in the harbor. Failure and detection would have been
Page 167certain death. Fearful was the venture, but it was made. The daring resolution had been formed, and under command of Robert Smalls, wood was taken aboard, steam was put on, and with her valuable cargo of guns and ammunition, intended for Fort Ripley, a new fortification just constructed in the harbor, about two o’clock in the morning the Planter silently moved off from her dock, steamed up to North Atlantic wharf, where Smalls’ wife and two children, together with four other women and one other child, and also three men, were waiting to embark. All these were taken on board, and then, at 3:25 A. M., May 13, the Planter started on her perilous adventure, carrying nine men, five women and three children. Passing Fort Johnson the Planter’s steam-whistle blew the usual salute and she proceeded down the bay. Approaching Fort Sumter, Smalls stood in the pilot-house leaning out of the window with his arms folded across his breast, after the manner of Captain Relay, the commander of the boat, and his head covered with the huge straw hat which Captain Relay commonly wore on such occasions.
The signal required to be given by all steamers passing out, was blown as coolly as if General Ripley was on board, going out on a tour of inspection. Sumter answered by signal, “all right,” and the Planter headed toward Morris Island, then occupied by Hatch’s light artillery, and passed beyond the range of Sumter’s guns before anybody suspected anything was wrong. When at last the Planter was obviously going toward the Federal fleet off the bar, Sumter signaled toward Morris Island to stop her. But it was too late. As the Planter approached the Federal fleet, a white flag was displayed, but this was not at first discovered, and the Federal steamers, supposing the Confederate rams were coming to attack them, stood out to deep water. But the ship Onward, Captain Nichols, which was not a steamer, remained, opened her ports, and was about to fire into the Planter, when she noticed the flag of truce. As soon as the vessels came within hailing distance of each other, the Planter’s errand was explained. Captain Nichols then boarded her, and Smalls delivered the Planter to him. From the Planter, Smalls was transferred to the Augusta, the flagship off the bar, under the command of Captain Parrott, by whom the Planter with Smalls and her crew were sent to Port Royal to Rear Admiral DuPont, then in command of the Southern squadron.
Captain Parrott’s official letter to Flag Officer DuPont, and Admiral DuPont’s letter to the secretary of the navy are appended hereto.
Captain Smalls was soon afterwards ordered to Edisto to join the gunboat Crusader, Captain Rhind. He then proceeded in the Crusader, piloting her and followed by the Planter to Simmons’ Bluff, on Wadmalaw Sound, where a sharp battle was fought between these boats and a Confederate light battery and some infantry. The Confederates were driven out of their works, and the troops on the Planter landed and captured all the tents and provisions of the enemy. This occurred some time in June, 1862.
Captain Smalls continued to act as pilot on board the Planter and the Crusades, and as blockading pilot between Charleston and Beaufort. He made repeated trips up and along the rivers near the coast, pointing out and removing the torpedoes which he himself had assisted in sinking and putting in position. During these trips he was present in several fights at Adams’ Rum on the Dawho river, where the Planter was hotly and severely fired upon; also at Rockville, John’s Island, and other places. Afterwards he was ordered back to Port Royal, whence he piloted the fleet up Broad river to Pocotaligo, where a very severe battle ensued. Captain Smalls was the pilot of the monitor Keokuk, Captain Ryan, in the memorable attack on Fort Sumter, on the afternoon of the seventh of April, 1863. In this attack the Keokuk was struck ninety-six times, nineteen shots passing through her. She retired from the engagement only to sink on the next morning, near Light House Inlet. Captain Smalls left her just before she went down, and was taken with the remainder of the crew on board of the Ironside. The next day the fleet returned to Hilton Head.
When General Gillmore took command, Smalls became pilot in the quartermaster’s department in the expedition on Morris Island. He was then stationed as pilot of the Stono, where he remained until the United States troops took possession of the south end of Morris Island, when he was put in charge of Light House Inlet as pilot.
Upon one occasion, in December, 1863, while the Planter, then under command of Captain Nickerson, was sailing through Folly Island Creek, the Confederate batteries at Secessionville opened a very hot fire upon her. Captain Nickerson became demoralized, and left the pilot-house and secured himself in the coal-bunker. Smalls was on the deck, and finding
Page 169out that the captain had deserted his post, entered the pilot-house, took command of the boat, and carried her safely out of the reach of the guns. For this conduct he was promoted by order of General Gillmore, commanding the Department of the South, to the rank of captain, and was ordered to act as captain of the Planter, which was used as a supply-boat along the coast until the end of the war. In September, 1866, he carried his boat to Baltimore, where she was put out of commission and sold.
Besides the daring enterprise of Captain Smalls, in bringing out the Planter, his gallant conduct in rescuing her a second time, for which he was made captain of her, and his invaluable services to the army and navy as a pilot in waters where he perfectly knew not only every bank and bar but also where every torpedo was situated, there are still other elements to be considered in estimating the value of Captain Smalls’ services to the country. The Planter, on the thirteenth of May, 1862, was a most useful and important vessel to the enemy. The loss of her was a severe blow to the enemy’s service in carrying supplies and troops to different points of the harbor and river fortifications. At the very time of the seizure she had on board the armament for Fort Ripley. The Planter was taken by the government at a valuation of $9,000, one-half of which was paid to the captain and crew, the captain receiving one-third of one-half, or $1,500. Upon what principle the government claimed one-half of this capture cannot be divined, nor yet how this disposition could have been made of her without any judicial proceeding. That $9,000 was an absurdly low valuation for the Planter is abundantly shown by facts stated in the affidavits of Charles H. Campbell and E. M. Baldwin, which are appended. In addition thereto their sworn average valuation of the Planter was $67,500. The report of Montgomery Sicard, commander and inspector of ordinance, to Commodore Patterson, navy-yard commandant, shows that the cargo of the Planter, as raw material, was worth $3,043.05; that at anti-bellum prices it was worth $7,163.35, and at war prices $10,290.60. For this cargo the government has never paid one dollar. It is a severe comment on the justice as well as the boasted generosity of the government, that, whilst it had received $60,000 to $70,000 worth of property at the hands of Captain Smalls, it has paid him the trifling amount of $1,500, and for twenty years his gallant daring and distinguished and valuable services which he has rendered to the country have been wholly unrecognized.
The following is the testimony in proof of the facts alleged in the bill:
REPORT OF FLAG OFFICER DUPONT.
PORT ROYAL HARBOR, SOUTH CAROLINA, May 14, 1862.
SIR: I inclose a copy of a report from Commander E. G. Parrott, brought here last night by the late rebel steam-tug Planter, in charge of an officer and crew from the Augusta. She was the armed dispatch and transportation steamer attached to the engineer department at Charleston, under Brigadier-General Ripley, whose barge, a short time since, was brought out to the blockading fleet by several contrabands.
The bringing out of this steamer, under all the circumstances, would have done credit to any one. At four o’clock in the morning, in the absence of the captain, who was on shore, she left her wharf close to the government office and headquarters, with Palmetto and Confederate flags flying, passed the successive forts, saluting as usual by blowing her steam-whistle. After getting beyond the range of the last gun, she quickly hauled down the rebel flags and hoisted a white one.
The Onward was the inside ship of the blockading fleet in the main channel, and was preparing to fire when her commander made out the white flag. The armament of the steamer is a 32-pounder, or pivot, and a fine 24-pounder howitzer. She has, besides, on her deck, four other guns, one 7-inch rifled, which were to have been taken the morning of the escape to the new fort on the middle ground. One of the four belonged to Fort Sumter, and had been struck in the rebel attack on the fort on the muzzle. Robert, the intelligent slave and pilot of the boat, who performed this bold feat so skillfully, informed me of this fact, presuming it would be a matter of interest to us to have possession of this gun. This man, Robert Smalls, is superior to any who have come into our lines–intelligent as many of them have been. His information has been most interesting, and portions of it of the utmost importance.
The steamer is quite an acquisition to the squadron by her good machinery and very light draught. The officer in charge brought her through Saint Helena Sound, and by the inland passage down Beaufort river, arriving here at ten o’clock last night.
On board the steamer when she left Charleston were eight men, five women and three children.
I shall continue to employ Robert as a pilot on board the Planter for the inland waters, with which he appears to be very familiar. I do not know whether, in the views of the government, the vessel will be considered a prize; but, if so, I respectfully submit to the department the claims of this man Robert and his associates.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant.
S. F. DUPONT,
Flag Officer, Commanding, &c.
HON. GIDEON WELLES,
Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.
UNITED STATES STEAMSHIP Augusta,
OFF CHARLESTON, May 13, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to inform you that the rebel armed steamer Planter was brought out to us this morning from Charleston, by eight contrabands, and delivered up to the squadron. Five colored women and three children are also on board. She carried one 32-pounder, and one 24-pounder howitzer, and has also on board four large guns, which she was engaged in transporting.
I send her to Port Royal at once, in order to take advantage of the present good weather. I send Charleston papers of the 12th, and the very intelligent contraband who was in charge will give you the information which he has brought off.
I have the honor to request that you will send back, as soon as convenient, the officer and crew sent on board.
I am respectfully, &c., your obedient servant,
E. G. PARROTT,
Commander, and Senior Officer present.
Flag Officer S. F. DUPONT,
Commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
WASHINGTON, D. C., January 3, 1883.
SIR: Your communication of the twenty-sixth ultimo, in relation to your
Page 172services on the steamer Planter during the rebellion, and requesting copies of any letters from General Gillmore and other officers on the subject, has been received.
The records of this office show that the name of Robert Smalls is reported by Lieutenant-Colonel J. J. Elwell, Hilton Head, South Carolina, as a pilot, at $50 per month, from March 1, 1863, to September 30, 1863; and from October 1, 1863, to November 20, 1863, at $75 per month.
He was then transferred to Captain J. L. Kelly, assistant quartermaster, November 20, 1863, by whom he was reported as pilot from November 21 to November 30, 1863. He is reported by that officer in same capacity from December 1, 1863, until February 29, 1864, at $150 per month.
The name of Robert Smalls is then reported by Captain Kelly as captain of the steamer Planter, at $150 per month, from March 1, 1864, until May 15, 1864, when transferred to the quartermaster in Philadelphia.
He is reported by Captains C. D. Schmidt, G. R. Orme, W. W. VanNess, and John R. Jennings, assistant quartermasters at Philadelphia, as captain of the Planter, at $150 per month, from June 20, 1864, to December 16, 1864, when transferred to Captain J. L. Kelly, assistant quartermaster, Hilton Head, South Carolina, by whom he is reported to January 31, 1865.
From February 1, 1865, he is reported as a “contractor, victualing and manning the steamer Planter.”
I respectfully inclose here with a copy of a letter, dated September 10, 1862, from Captain J. J. Elwell, chief quartermaster, Department of the South, in relation to the capture of the steamer Planter, which is the only one found on file in this office on the subject.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ALEX. J. PERRY.
Deputy Quartermaster-General, U. S. A.,
HON. ROBERT SMALLS,
Member of Congress, Washington, D. C.
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF QUARTERMASTER,
HILTON HEAD, SOUTH CAROLINA, September 10, 1862.
GENERAL: I have this day taken a transfer of the small steamer
Page 173Planter, of the navy. This is the Confederate steamer which Robert Smalls, a contraband, brought out of Charleston on the thirteenth of May last. The Navy Department, through Rear-Admiral DuPont, transfers her, and I receipt for her just as she was received from Charleston. Her machinery is not in very good order, and will require some repairs, etc.; but this I can have done here. She will be of much service to us, as we have comparatively no vessels of light draft. I shall have her employed at Fort Pulaski, where I am obliged to keep a steamer.
Please find enclosed a copy of the letter of Rear-Admiral DuPont to General Brannan in regard to the matter.
I am, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
J. J. ELWELL.
Captain and Assistant Quartermaster.
J. G. CHANDLER,
Deputy Quartermaster-General, U. S. A.
Personally appeared before me Charles H. Campbell, of the city, county, and State of New York, who, being by me duly sworn according to law, deposes and says as follows:
That during the year 1862, and from that time up to and including the year 1866, he was doing service in the department of the South, headquarters at Hilton Head, South Carolina; that he knows Hon. Robert Smalls, of Beaufort, South Carolina; that he was present when the steamer Planter, of the city of Charleston, came into Hilton Head on or about the thirteenth of May, 1862; that he went on board the Planter and made a personal examination of her condition, and found she was built of live oak and red cedar, and a first-class coastwise steamer, well furnished and complete in every respect; that he was, and is, well acquainted with the value of steamers, and has been engaged in the business of steamboating, both as captain and owner, for the last fifteen years; that the steamer Planter was fully worth, at the time she came into Hilton Head, the sum of $60,000 in cash for the boat alone; that the United States government was paying at that time for steamers of her class $400 per day under a charter-party agreement with the chief quartermaster at that place, the government finding both wood and coal; that he chartered to the United States government at or about
Page 174that time the steamer George Washington for $350 per day, which was only about half the size of the Planter, and not more than half her value; that he executed seven charters for steamers with the government, and also had a valuation set on them in case of loss, and the above statement is made in accordance with the prices paid by the government at Hilton Head and elsewhere during the time the Planter was in the service; that, at the close of the war, and while the Planter was laying up in Charleston and in a very bad condition from the nature of her past services, I was commissioned by her former owner, Captain Ferguson, to purchase the Planter from the government for the sum of $25,000, which sum I did offer, and the same was refused on the part of the government of the United States; that the steamer Planter was an extra strong built boat, her frame was live oak and red cedar, and built as strong as possible; she was built expressly for the coastwise trade, and she is running out of the city of Charleston to-day, and is considered by steamboat men one of the strongest and best built steamboats in the South.
CHARLES H. CAMPBELL.
Subscribed and sworn to before me the twenty-third day of March, 1876.
JAMES A. TAIT,
Personally appeared before me, a notary public, E. M. Baldwin, of the city of Washington, District of Columbia, who was by me duly sworn according to law, deposes and says:
That during the year A. D., 1862, and afterwards was doing service for the Navy Department at Hilton Head, South Carolina, in the South Atlantic blockading squadron; that he was captain of the steam-tug Mercury, and was one of the first persons that boarded the Planter at Hilton Head on the thirteenth day of May, A. D., 1862.
That he has been for years, and is now, engaged in the steamboat business as an officer and owner, and is familiar with the prices paid for charters by the quartermaster at Hilton Head, and the value of steam boats generally at that time and since; that he examined the Planter when she came into said harbor at Hilton Head, and found her a first-class steamboat, built of live oak and red cedar, and her outfit and
Page 175findings complete in every particular; that she could have been readily sold at the time she arrived at Hilton Head for $75,000 in cash for the steamboat alone, or could have been chartered to the government for $400 per day, which at that rate would have paid the purchase money at the price aforesaid in less than one year, and would have left a large surplus to the purchaser; that she was considered by both the officers of the Army and Navy, on account of her light draft and great strength, by far the best steamer for that coast service in the Department of the South.
E. M. BALDWIN.
Sworn to before me and subscribed by him in my presence this twenty-fifth day of March, A. D., 1876.
JAMES A. TAIT,
Exhibit of the estimated values of certain ordnance and ordnance stores on board the Rebel steamer Planter, which came out of Charleston, South Carolina, to the United States blockading fleet on the fifteenth day of May, 1862. [Tabular Data]
For the services Mr. Smalls ought to have been rewarded. The bill did not pass on the ground that there was no precedent for placing a civilian on the retired list of the navy, but some other reward should be granted. This record is preserved in full for the benefit of history.
After the Planter was put out of commission in 1866, Captain Smalls was elected a member of the State Constitutional convention. He was of course the hero of an important act in the drama of the late war, and his people always delighted to hear him tell, in his own style, the story of the capture. His zeal, good sense and pure disinterestedness, easily made him the idol of his people, whose faith in him was unbounded. Indeed, even to this day he is very popular. It was recently reported in the papers that two colored men, partisans of his, were talking on the corners. Said one to the other “I tell you, Smalls is the greatest man in the world.” The other said, “Y-e-s, he’s great, but not the greatest man.” “Pshaw, man,” replied the first speaker, “Who is greater than Smalls?” Said No. 2, “Why, Jesus Christ.” “O,” said No. 1, “Smalls is young yet.”
This, though it may be only a joke on the general, illustrates his popularity with the masses. At the general election in 1868, he was elected to a seat in the House of Representatives of the State and signalized his efforts by the introduction of the Homestead Act, and introduced and secured the passage of the Civil Rights bill. He continued in this capacity until Judge Wright was elected as associate judge of the Supreme Court of the State, when he was elected to fill his unexpired time in the Senate in 1870, and,
Page 178at the election in 1872 he was elected Senator, defeating General W. J. Whipper. His record here was brilliant, consistent, and indeed he led in all the most prominent measures. His debating qualities were tested, and he was acknowledged a superior and powerful talker. He was on the “Committee on Finance,” chairman of the “Committee on Public Printing,” and a member of many other leading committees. An old sketch says of him:
His character is made up of some of the best traits of human nature. He is generous, daring and true. His mental faculties are acute, sensitive and progressive. He is, in fine, one of the most distinguished of his race, and may justly be deemed one of its representative men.
Taking much interest in the military affairs of his State, he was appointed lieutenant-colonel of the Third regiment, South Carolina State militia, in 1873. Afterwards he was promoted to brigadier-general of the Second brigade, South Carolina militia, and later major-general of the Second division, South Carolina State militia, which position he held until the Democrats came into power, in 1877.
He was a delegate to the National Republican convention at Philadelphia, in 1872, which nominated Grant and Wilson, and also to the National Republican convention, which met at Cincinnati, in 1876, and nominated Hayes and Wheeler; also delegate to the National Republican convention which met at Chicago and nominated Blaine and Logan; was elected to the Forty-seventh and Forty-eighth Congresses, and was re-elected to the Forty-ninth Congress as a Republican, receiving 8,419 votes against 4,584 votes for Elliott, Democrat, and 235 votes scattering.
Page 179He was also a candidate at the last election but was counted out, not beaten, by the Democracy. He will contest the seat of the man holding the certificate. The general affiliates with the Baptist church, and is of a high spiritual tendency, and can be seen attending the Berean Baptist church, Washington, D. C., every Sabbath morning. His mother, wife and daughters are all members of the same faith.
HENRY OSSAWA TANNER, ESQ.
A Rising Artist–Exhibitor of Paintings in the Art Galleries-Illustrator of Magazines.
The story goes that many artists die in garrets, poor, desolate and friendless; that unborn generations do justice to their works and pay high prices for their master-pieces; the merest daubs become highest specimens of art, and people go into rhapsodies over those pictures which are no better in after days than they were in the days they were made. The poor artist, perhaps, died for want of a meal, and was unable to get the necessary comforts for the sustenance of life. But in these days of activity, enterprise and speculation, meritorious work of every character secures good prices, and the man who has lived to make a good thing need not go far to find a market.
Says a distinguished writer:
The true artist does not begin his picture or statue as one does the brick wall of a house, laying it out by metes and bounds and erecting it with line and plummet, according to fixed mathematical rules; but, in the dream of the artist or artisan, a beautiful dome with all its elegant finish, is instantly brought into being and spanned above his head. A statue or picture comes to him like a dream, and the secret of art power
Page 181is to hold those models in the memory until the faculties of constructiveness, form, size and order have wrought out and fixed the image in material form.
This is very largely true of this young man. His whole nature and temperament bespeak the artist. While by no means he is affected in his manner, yet his thoughts are of the finest character, and are delicately expressed on the canvas before him. His taste is somewhat on the order of that of Landseer and Bonheur, who love animals. These artists did not look upon them simply as so many bones, with hide, horns and other necessary parts thrown in, but they delighted to portray their nature, habits, affections, symmetry and beauty. This is indeed an exaltation of their Maker and the dignifying of God on canvas, by employing their genius in portraying the characteristics mentioned.
These and other thoughts engage the mind of the true artist. Pictures are to them the solidifying of the imagination, an embellishment of an idea, a thought made tangible. Indeed a picture is the impression of one’s thoughts upon canvas in such a way that it leaves the thought fixed thereon and becomes a means of communication to others. Often so delicately expressed, and so very carefully presented, that pictures are sometimes said to almost speak, so faithfully do they convey the idea of the painter. It can be readily seen how, in ancient times, hieroglyphics were used for writing, and surely they were nothing more than pictures. Pictures are to the eyes, then, what the type is in the book to the same organ-a vehicle of thought, though of a much higher grade than writing.
“Boss Tweed” used to say, “Print what you please about me but spare me from the pictures of Tom Nast.” So powerfully did his pictures portray the stealings and villanies of that New York alderman.
Abraham Lincoln told Nast, “transfer your talents to me and you can take my place.” It can readily be seen what power is in the hands of the man who controls the pen, pencil or brush.
This young man, then, will gain a widespread influence if he continues to supply illustrations to Harper Brothers, for the Harper’s Young People and for Judge Tourgee’s paper Our Continent as he has done. The firm of Harper & Brother does much to encourage colored men, and in employing Mr. Tanner, deserves here to be mentioned.
His services rendered in this capacity for so old and well established a firm, show that he is a talented young man and that brains will win every time. Young men need not mope around, smoking cigars, carousing, and whining about prejudice and proscription. Let them go to work; let them do something.
Mr. Tanner is the son of the well known Rev. B. T. Tanner, D. D., and has his father’s talent and progressiveness. He was born June 21, 1859, at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. His school advantages have been good, and he is fairly fitted for life’s work. He studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he has lived for many years. His pictures take high rank. No favoritism is shown in the selection to enter the academies and galleries of this country. Each
Page 183specimen must pass the committee of eminent men, who are art critics of long standing. This is stated lest many might think he is patronized by rich men or through the influence of his father, or because some one takes pity on him, trying to help a colored man to rise. No! It is merit; let that be understood at once. Perseverance, pluck and brains is any young man’s capital. Let him use them.
He has exhibited pictures, as has been said, at several galleries. He exhibited “The Lions at Home” in 1885, and “Back from the Beach” in 1886, at the National Academy of Design and at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. This first named picture was sold at the National Academy of Design, New York City. He also exhibited “Dusty Road” at the Lydia Art gallery, at Chicago, where it was sold. Exhibited picture “The Elk Attacked by Wolves” at the International Exposition at New Orleans, in the department for the colored people. Being commissioner from Kentucky, I remember this picture very well. It attracted my attention at the time on account of its size and naturalness. He has also exhibited pictures at Washington and Louisville. At the last named place he exhibited “Point Judith.” This picture I also remember and was very much pleased with it, though I did not know at the time that it was the work of a colored artist.
He is constantly engaged in furnishing work upon special orders. I visited his gallery and was shown quite a number of his pictures; especially was I pleased with one of a lion in his den, where it was shown that he was eating
Page 184bloody meat. It was truly life-like and the lion’s head with all its fierceness, seemed so natural that one would almost feel like looking toward the door for egress. The bloody meat, as it lay before him, seemed as if it lay upon the floor. Let me explain here that the picture was out of its frame and was standing upon its edge upon the floor, leaning against the easel. The lion’s massive paw, seemed as if he were about to lift it and reach out for the meat, just before him.
Indeed, it was true and life-like as I have said. This artist has been encouraged by many of the leading men of his profession in the city, and his future seems brilliant.
I earnestly hope that those of our race who deal in pictures will not forget to encourage such men as Mr. Tanner. Mention is made of him not simply that the book might be filled and space employed, but that knowledge of him may extend throughout the country and he be encouraged by those who read of his ability. Be satisfied that the statements here made are true and his work as described.
REV. ANDREW HEATH.
A Minister of the Gospel, Eminent for his Piety.
REV. ANDREW HEATH, after a long illness, has gone where there is neither sorrow, pain nor death. He was born in Henderson county, Kentucky, February 20, 1832, and died February 19, 1887, at the age of fifty-five years. At an early period in life he became a Christian, and spent forty of the best years of his life in working for the Master. In 1851 he was married to Miss Lucy Hamilton, who has worked bravely by his side. In 1867 a council, composed of Revs. Henry Adams, William Troy, R. DeBaptiste, R. T. W. James and Professor Green, ordained him to the Gospel ministry. In 1868 he became assistant pastor of Fifth Street Baptist church, Louisville, Kentucky, and in 1872, on the death of Rev. Henry Adams, became its pastor. The first Baptist convention ever held in the State, in 1863, enrolled him as a member, and in all the years since he has never withheld his hand from any work that would advance the interest of the race and the denomination. He has served the General Association in being a member of the Executive board and chairman of the same about sixteen years. During his pastorate
Page 186about fifteen hundred persons have been baptized by him. We may safely say that no minister in the State held a higher place in the estimation of the people who knew him. Every charitable cause found a ready helper in him, the orphans a father and the Christian church a true leader. His character was pure; his reputation never received a blur in all the years of his ministry.
His death, though he had been ill a long time, was unexpected and created general and profound regret. The church appointed the assistant pastor, Rev. J. H. Frank, Deacons Thomas Parker, Shelton Guest, Q. B. Jones, Moses Lawson, Horace Crutcher, R. M. Hightower, R. Hamilton, and Messrs. William H. Steward, W. L. Gibson and George W. Talbott a committee to arrange for the funeral, and Mt. Moriah Lodge, F. and A. Masons, appointed Messrs. E. W. Marshall, Felix Sweeney, Edward Caldwell, Matthew Goodall and Enoch Maney. During Saturday, Sunday and Monday, thousands of people who had admired this noble man in life called at his late residence to view his remains and tender sympathy to the bereaved family. Sunday at the church was a sad day. The heavily draped building was a silent reminder of the mournful event. Monday morning the several meetings of the city pastors and the students of the State University passed suitable resolutions and agreed to attend the funeral services in a body.
Tuesday morning, long before the hour for the opening of the church, the street was literally packed with a mass of humanity, and when the doors were opened the church was instantly filled. So eager were the people to witness
Page 187the ceremony that hundreds stood patiently for hours. While this interest was being shown at the church, sad and heartrending scenes were occurring in the home of sorrow, from which his body was soon to be borne. A few minutes before eleven o’clock the funeral cortege started for the church. So dense was the crowd that it was almost impossible to force an entrance. The funeral requiem on the great organ, in deep and solemn tones, announced the procession. No evidence more convincing of the love and esteem of this people for their lamented pastor could have been given than the spontaneous and unfeigned expressions of grief when the body entered the church in charge of the following pall-bearers: Revs. E. P. Marrs, A. Stratton and W. P. Churchill, Messrs. Q. B. Jones, Wm. Morton, Shelton Guest, Isaac Morton and Willis Adams. About two hundred ministers, representing the several ministers’ meetings and associations, were present. The white Baptist clergy being represented by Rev. J. A. Broadus, J. P. Boyce and W. H. Whitsitt of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Revs. T. T. Eaton, H. Allen Tupper, C. M. Thompson and A. C. Caperton; also the presence of a large number of ministers from abroad, including Revs. G. W. Bowling of Elizabethtown; E. J. Anderson of Georgtown; S. P. Young of Lexington; E. Evans of Bowling Green; M. Allen of Shelbyville; R. Reynolds of Pee Wee Valley; M. Bassett of New Albany, Indiana; Willis Johnson of Bloomfield; J. Jacobs of Harrodscreek; J. W. Carr of San Antonio, Texas; Wm. Miller of Jacksonville, Indiana; J. M. Washington of Indianapolis, Indiana; and B. T. Thomas of Clarksville, Tennessee. The large audience,
Page 188despite the uncomfortable surroundings, listened attentively and eagerly. Rev. J. H. Frank opened the services with a short introductory address, paying a deserved tribute to the deceased. Rev. H. Allen Tupper, pastor of Broadway Baptist church, read the favored hymn: “Is my name written there?” which was sung with much feeling by the choir of the church; Professor J. M. Maxwell read an appropriate scripture lesson and Rev. Lee Y. Evans, pastor of Quinn chapel, offered a fervent prayer.
The old familiar hymn–“Why Should We Start and Fear to Die?”–was lined by Rev. G. E. Scott, pastor of Zion Baptist church.
Resolutions of different organizations and telegrams of regret from friends and fellow ministers were read by Revs. C. H. Parrish, S. P. Young, R. Harper and Mr. William H. Nelson.
Mr. M. Lawson made a statement expressing the views of the deceased as related to him a few weeks prior to his death, bearing expressly upon the relative importance of masonry and the church.
Rev. William J. Simmons, D. D., then preached the funeral sermon from Acts, 20: 24-27. “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from
Page 189the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”
The sermon was a warm tribute to the memory of a good minister of Jesus Christ and found a response in the heart of every person present.
At the close of the sermon, remarks were made by Revs. G. W. Ward and A. Barry by request of the family, and by Revs. A. C. Caperton repesenting the Baptist Ministers’ meeting (white), by Rev. C. C. Bates, representing the Executive Board, and Rev. D. A. Gaddie representing the General Association.
Rev. T. T. Eaton, pastor of the Walnut Street Baptist church, gave out the hymn “Asleep in Jesus.”
When the hymn was concluded the benediction was announced by Rev. Spencer Snell, pastor of the Plymouth Congregational church.
The floral offerings, which were profuse and beautiful, were removed from the casket and the march for the cemetery begun.
The streets were lined with people who, being unable to get into the church, waited patiently to pay the last tribute of respect to a faithful minister.
The procession, which was as large as ever followed a man to his last resting place in this city, reached the cemetery about four o’clock. The funeral service of the Masonic fraternity was rendered by William H. Steward, the Grand Master of the State, in the presence of an immense number of people, when the body was placed in the vault.
The following resolutions were passed by the church of
Page 190which he had been pastor and by the Ministers’ and Deacons’ conference of this city.
WHEREAS, It has pleased the Ruler of the universe, the great Head of the church, the Disposer of all things, to call, February 19, in the year of our Lord, 1887, at 7:53 A. M., our dearly beloved and worthy pastor, the most faithful and wonderfully wrought workman of the gospel ministry of our community, and
WHEREAS, But a few have, with such exemplary fidelity, exerted an influence for good in the Master’s vineyard. A man of fair literary attainments, acquired under many disadvantages, strong, spiritual inclinations, sound and conservative doctrine, ardent and unostentatious in piety, spotless in character, unblemished in reputation, dignified in appearance and “faithful in his house;” therefore be it
Resolved, That we, the members of the Fifth Street Baptist church, believe he was truly a bishop of the description of 1st Timothy 3, “blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre, but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruled well his own house, not lifted up with pride and having a good report of them which are without.” The church has indeed lost a good pastor, the Sunday school a strong support, his wife a kind husband, the children a devoted father, the widows and orphans a friend, the poor and needy a comforter, and missions an advocate. We mourn his death yet it is a consolation to know that our great loss is his eternal gain. We extend our sympathy to the bereaved family and a helping hand in time of need.
Resolved, That in token of our respect and esteem, the church be draped in mourning for thirty days, and a copy of these resolutions be presented to the stricken family, spread upon the records of the church and published in the city papers.
JOHN H. FRANK,
GEORGE W. TALBOTT,
Q. B. JONES,
WILLIAM H. STEWARD.
MINISTERS’ AND DEACONS’ CONFERENCE.
The Fifth Street church and the Baptist denomination of this vicinity and State have met with a great loss in the death of Rev. Andrew Heath, which occurred in this city the nineteenth inst. We feel desirous of expressing ourselves as follows:
He was a devout Christian for nearly forty years, connected with the General Association since its origin, for fourteen years pastor of the Fifth Street Baptist church of this city and also a former member and ex-chairman of the Executive Board of the General Association. He has long resided in our midst, and here in this city achieved his honorable and noble success as a Christian pastor. With comparatively limited means and opportunity, he has woven his name into the inmost soul of this community. With a liberal heart he has promoted all the true interest of society and religion. A noble, honest and true man, an humble and consistent Christian has fallen. His counsel, kind and fair; integrity, clear; and fidelity, beyond reproach. In his home he was the model Christian, husband and father. Therefore be it
Resolved, That we sincerely deplore his death, for in it we have lost a true minister and exemplary Christian.
That in honor of his great worth, a memorial meeting be held at Fifth Street church next Sunday afternoon at three o’clock; that said meeting include all the ministers of the city, and such visiting ministers as may be present, of all denominations.
That our fullest and tenderest sympathies are hereby extended to his afflicted family and church.
That we attend his funeral in a body.
That we wear a memorial badge for thirty days.
That these resolutions be sent to the family, spread upon our minutes and published in the city papers.
D. A. GADDIE,
T. M. FALKNER,
G. W. WARD,
G. E. SCOTT,
J. W. LEWIS,
C. H. PARRISH, Secretary.
Resolutions were also passed by the choir of the Fifth Street Baptist church, and by the State University, of which he was a former pupil, by the Lexington ministers and deacons in assembled meeting, by the Junior class of the State University, of which a daughter is a member, and by the Louisville Ministerial Association, composed of brethren of other denominations.
Telegrams were received from the following persons expressing grief and sympathy: E. W. Green, Maysville, Kentucky; G. W. Dupee, Paducah, Kentucky; R. Bassett, Indianapolis, Indiana; J. K. Polk, Versailles, Kentucky; O. Durrett, Clinton, Kentucky; Mrs. A. V. Nelson, Lexington, Kentucky; R. H. L. Mitchem, Springfield, Kentucky; James Allensworth, Hopkinsville, Kentucky; Peter Lewis, Louisville, Kentucky; M. Harding, Owensboro, Kentucky. All of these testified to his high standing as a Christian gentleman, a man of many virtues, of varied graces, and who seemed to have no enemies. Sunday, February 27, the memorial services, in honor of Rev. A. Heath, at Fifth street, were held and largely attended.
Rev. D. A. Gaddie presided and made the introductory address. The choir sang several appropriate anthems and hymns. Rev. W. J. Simmons, D. D., read the Scripture lessons. Revs. B. Taylor and J. Mitchell offered prayer; Rev. G. W. Ward portrayed him “as a preacher,” and Rev. E. P. Marrs, “as a pastor.”
Remarks were made by Revs. B. Taylor, M. F. Robinson, R. Hatchett, J. W. Lewis, and Messrs. Thomas Parker, Q. B. Jones, Albert Mack and Albert White. At the conclusion of the addresses, a committee, which had been previously
Page 193appointed, submitted a tribute of respect which was approved as the sentiment of the meeting.
A touching tribute to this truly good man is given by J. C. Corbin, Pine Bluff, Arkansas, who was an associate with Elder Heath in his early life. He writes: “Elder Heath was modest, teachable and unassuming; that he succeeded was not due to extraordinary gifts of eloquence, scholarship or other talents. It must have been the result of his earnest piety, pure character and entire consecration to the work of his ministry. These secured for him the favor of Almighty God.”
He was the “architect of his own fortune,” and now he rests from his labors and his works do follow him.
“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.”
I might have said more in way of eulogy from my own standpoint, but I felt that his death brought forth the testimony sufficient to show how he lived, and this chorus of praise is far more telling than my own feeble utterances.
H. C. SMITH, ESQ.
Prominent Editor–First-class Musician–Deputy Oil Inspector of Ohio–Song Writer–Leader of Bands–Cornetist.
MR. SMITH is what we might call a self-made man, as it is largely through his own energies that he has reached his present station in life; but he says he owes his education and training to the devotion of a faithful mother, assisted by his sister. He was born in Clarksburg, West Virginia, January 20, 1863. His parents were named John and Sarah Smith. It was twenty-eight days after the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation by “Old Abe.” He went to Cleveland with his widowed mother in 1865 or 1866, and there his mother and sister toiled very hard to educate him. After leaving the grammar schools of Cleveland, with the aid of his cornet, which he had learned to play without a teacher, having secured the rudiments of his musical education in the schools of Cleveland, he made much of the money so earned, by which he secured advantages. He was constantly employed in playing in orchestras and brass bands; by this means also he was able to assist in the support of his mother and sister. He attended the Cleveland Central
H. C. SMITH.
Page 195High School, entering in 1878, and finished a four years course of what was known as the Latin and English course. In 1882, while at the high school, he corresponded for papers in Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Springfield; and at different times during the last year and a half he wrote for a weekly paper called the Cleveland Sun–a white journal. After leaving school he followed music as a profession for about a year and a half, directing a colored band and orchestral and vocal organization, at different times. The summers of 1881 and 1882, he spent at Lakewood, Chautauqua Lake, New York, playing the cornet in the orchestra. He was director of the Amphion male quartet; director of Freeman and Boston’s orchestra, a well known organization in the northern part of Ohio, for two or three years; was president and director of the First M. E. and Central High School orchestras–white organizations, and leader of the famous Excelsior reed band of the city of Cleveland, and captain of several athletic organizations, the members of which were white persons, with the exception of himself. While at High School, in August, 1883, he was one of a company of four that started the Cleveland Gazette. He was general manager and editor, having a one-fourth interest in the venture. He soon bought out each of his partners and is now sole proprietor. His views, as expressed in the Gazette, are clear, concise and easily comprehended. He never fails to speak most earnestly for the race and its representatives.
Having been brought up in the mixed schools of the city, he has always antagonized the color line in the most fearless manner. Says Professor W. S. Scarborough:
Page 196Mr. Smith has always wielded a fearless and able pen for right and truth. He has fought squarely in behalf of his race, demanding recognition wherever denied. No other proof of this is needed than the Gazette itself; though at times he has been severely criticised, he has never wavered from what he considered his duty. He believes that the Republican party can serve best the interests of the Negro, and thereupon he becomes its able and active defender. He also believes that mixed schools are best for all concerned, and especially for the Negro, as separate schools simply imply race prejudice and race inferiority, and, therefore, he becomes a relentless antagonist to the color line in the schools.
Read what that eminent colored divine, Rev. J. W. Gazaway of Ohio and Indiana, has to say of
THE CLEVELAND GAZETTE.
The most healthful signs of life and a highly useful career are indicated in the existence of the above named paper. That it is a paper of brain and culture cannot be doubted when the fact is remembered that in its columns are found communications from the wisest and best minds of our race. It is a paper for the people it represents, and it can be relied on as a friend of every colored man, though his face may be of ebony hue. The Gazette is a practical demonstration of what can be done by the young men of our race. The editor is a young man, who, by dint of industry and economy and fair dealing, has succeeded in giving to the colored people of Ohio and the country a paper worthy the patronage of all. Having been a reader of the Gazette since its first appearance, and having watched its course, I feel that, in justice to the paper, the editor and the race, I should urge upon the people generally to support the paper that is practically identified with the colored people, and is in harmony with the interests and success of all without regard to complexion.
His paper is now in its fourth year, and is one of the newsiest and most successful in the United States. He claims that it is not only paying its way but is actually making money; this can be said of but few colored journals
Page 197in the United States, and marks his paper as popular and in demand. He has given constant attention to the questions which have arisen in Ohio. Besides being editor of this prominent journal, which has steadily assumed a powerful interest and influence, he is one of the two colored clerks who secured appointments in the city, having been appointed by a non-partisan board of electors; his appointment in the Thirteenth ward was a compliment to his journal, to himself and a recognition of his worth. Through the agency of Governor Foraker he was also appointed Deputy State Oil Inspector at a handsome salary. He not only is fitted to fill this position but he is thereby recognized as one of the factors in holding the party together, and he is especially deserving of it because of the noble manner in which he championed Governor Foraker’s cause in the canvass. No other colored man holds a similar position in the State, and never has held such.
It should be mentioned here that as a musician he has taken very high rank, as has been shown by what has been written above. He has written several songs which are deservedly popular and can be found upon the pianos of thousands of homes. Among the most popular is the song, “Be true, bright eyes.”
He is one of whom the race is justly proud and from whom we shall hear much in the future. Already he has been mentioned as a possible candidate for legislative honors, and he will be deserving of all the honors that might be thrust upon him. He is by no means one of those who seek to reap that which he has not sown, but is modest and retiring. His intellectual qualities, his goodness
Page 198of heart and generous nature always bring him to the front among his friends, who are loyal and true to him. He is manly and in every way shows his superiority over the common man. May he continue to prosper in worldly goods and honors as he is now prospering. He has attained some wealth and delights to use it as a slight contribution to the loved ones at home, his mother and sister, who labored so hard to give him the opportunities to make the most of himself.
REV. JOHN BUNYAN REEVE, A. B., D. D.
Distinguished Presbyterian Divine–Professor of Howard University, Theological Department.
IN Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, lives one of the oldest and most respected Presbyterian preachers in America. One whose virtues and long life of devotion to the precious Gospel are known far and wide. A worthy nobleman of feeling so tender and sympathetic, that while he ever listens to you with deep and lasting interest, it pains you to see how keenly a tale of sorrow affects him. He is a man of large physique, commanding stature, and impresses one as a gentleman of strong convictions and earnest purpose.
He was born October 29, 1831, at Mattatuck, Suffolk county, New York. His parents and grandparents had long lived in that neighborhood, and in this place he had his home until he was seventeen years of age. He attended district schools while young, and worked on a farm. From 1848 till 1852 or 1853, he lived and worked in the State of New York, during which time he became a member of the Shiloh Presbyterian church, during the pastorate of the Rev. J. W. C. Pennington, D. D. His parents were
Page 200Presbyterians, and his mother had early dedicated him to the ministry. A mother’s prayers, personal conviction, and the pastor’s counsel prevailed over him, and in 1853, after having taught school for a few months at New Tower, Long Island, and having been received under the care of the Third Presbytery of New York city, as a candidate for the Gospel ministry, he entered the preparatory department of the New York Central College, then at McGawsville, New York, where he spent one year in the preparatory and graduated from the college department in June, 1858. He then entered in September, 1858, the Union Theological Seminary of New York city, from which he was graduated in April, 1861, and the same month was licensed to preach the Gospel by the Third Presbytery of New York city, and was then dismissed to the Fourth Presbytery of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. June 14, 1861, he was ordained by the latter body and installed pastor of the Lombard Street Central Presbyterian church, Philadelphia, where he remained until September, 1871. Then he resigned his pastorate to accept the invitation of General O. O. Howard, and the appointment of the American Missionary Association, to organize a theological department in Howard University, Washington, District of Columbia and teach therein.
He remained in this work, faithfully serving the institution until June, 1875, when he resigned to accept a recall to the pastorate in Philadelphia. He was reinstalled pastor of this church in September, 1875, where a kind Providence still permits him to serve.
He has never sought any high honors, and with extreme
Page 201modesty and dignified deportment, he has gone through life thinking that his “highest honor was that of having had Godly parents; the Rev. Dr. Pennington, when in his prime, as the pastor and guide of his youth, and the late Hon. William E. Dodge and the Rev. Asa D. Smith, D. D., then his pastor, and later president of Dartmouth College, for his patrons when a poor student.” He was made moderator of the Presbytery of Philadelphia in 1865, and a commissioner to several assemblies the same year.
His talents being of such a high order, his personal popularity so well known, and the purity of his life so marked, that Lincoln University, in Pennsylvania, in 1870, honored herself in conferring upon him the degree of D. D. He is beloved by his congregation, which he has served for many years, and with whom it is presumed he will end his labors and go to the haven of rest prepared for the people of God; and his lasting influeuce over the lives of those to whom he has ministered will be as a grateful incense ascending to God.
THOMAS J. BOWERS.
The American “Mario,” Tenor Vocalist.
THE American “Mario” was born in Philadelphia in 1836. In childhood he was very fond of music, and exhibited rare talent in that direction. His father, a man of considerable intelligence, and filled with anxiety to have his children learn this fine accomplishment procured a piano and a competent instructor for his oldest son, John C. Bowers, thinking if he became proficient he should teach the others. This purpose was accomplished, and our subject was instructed by his brother to perform upon the piano forte and on the organ. In a short time he became a master of the art and succeeded his brother as organist of St. Thomas church, in Philadelphia. He was restricted from becoming a public performer for a long time because of his parents. As a tenor vocalist he attracted the attention and excited the admiration of many persons. His voice was extraordinary in its power, mellowness and sweetness. At Samson Street Hall, in Philadelphia, in 1854, he was induced to appear with the Black Swan as her pupil. It was not on this occasion that he made his fame, yet the Press of Philadelphia spoke of his
Page 203performance in flattering terms and called for a repetition of the concert. After this repetition, a critic, commenting upon the voice of Mr. Bowers, styled him the “Colored Mario.” Colonel Woods, once manager of the Cincinnati museum, hearing of the remarkable singing qualities of Mr. Bowers, came to Philadelphia to hear him. He was delighted and entered into an engagement with him to make a concert tour of New York and the Canadas. Mr. Bowers was accompanied by Miss Sarah Taylor Greenfield, the famous songstress. They were highly applauded, and met with great success wherever they appeared. During this tour, Colonel Wood urged that he should appear under the name of “Indian Mario,” and again under that of “African Mario.” He hesitated for quite a while before he would accept either, but at last he consented to that of “Mario.” As a lover of his race, Mr. Bowers engaged in public performances more for the purpose of encouraging colored persons to take rank in music with the more highly cultured of the fairer race, than for that of making a display of his rare abilities, also for the enjoyment which he derived from it. Writing to a friend, he says:
What induced me more than anything else to appear in public was to give the lie to Negro serenaders (minstrels), and to show to the world that colored men and women could sing classical music as well as members of the other race, by whom they had been so terribly villified.
A love of filthy lucre nor his care for fame ever caused him to yield to that vulgar prejudice that compelled the colored persons to take back seats or go to the galleries.
Page 204If they did not receive the same treatment as the whites he refused so sing, which was manly to say the least. He had an occasion to take this step and stood firm, and thereby broke down the prejudice that many encourage.
Mr. Bowers sang in many of the States, and even invaded the slavery cursed regions of Maryland. Many very favorable comments had he from different papers. He was ranked among the most cultured of his day, and as a tenor vocalist surpassed all of his contemporaries. As Mr. Bowers is dead, and we were unable to secure material for this sketch, we are largely indebted to ‘Music and Some Highly Musical People’ for much of the above, and also for permission from the author to use the same.
REV. NICHOLAS FRANKLIN ROBERTS, A. B., A. M.
Professor of Mathematics–President of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina–Moderator of 100,000 Colored Baptists.
AMONG the rising young men of the old “Tar Heel State” is the one whose name is at the head of this article. He has reflected honor upon the State that gave him birth; he is a young man who has risen from the drudgery of farm life to the prominence of a professor in a university, and is therefore a representative of his people. There are many older persons, of course, who might be selected, and some may bring the charge of “young men” against some of the characters in this book, but if in early life they have placed themselves at the head of great enterprises, it seems fitting that they should be noticed for the encouragement of others who come behind them. Then the depths from which some people rise, and the heights to which they climb, is worthy of notice. Now is there reason for the farmer boy who reads this sketch to be discouraged because he has hard work, plowing, cutting and hauling wood, caring for the pigs, feeding the cows, and other laborious work? It seems not to me. The advantages of a farm life are many, though there may be rough spots and
Page 206difficult passages. Indeed, the days of a farmer are well spent in being influenced by nature and thus being led up to nature’s God. Boys in the country have their minds measurably kept pure and untainted by the things that destroy the purity of the mind, and many of these “young men” referred to are mentioned as a means of encouragement to those who still are behind in the race of life.
He was born near Seaboard, North Hampton county, North Carolina, October 13, 1849. At the age of twelve years he relates that he had a thirst for learning, which made him apply himself to his books very diligently. He would study very late at night, often all night. The young man was especially apt with figures, easily leading the other boys, with whom he was associated, in all efforts at mathematical calculation. With ease every problem was solved by him in common school mathematics before he ever attended school. His mathematical mind was the subject of much comment, and he has only accomplished in that sphere what was prophesied for him. October 10, 1871, he entered Shaw University, then known as the Shaw Collegiate Institute. Here he pursued an eminently satisfactory life, entering the lowest grade and passing up the line through a college course, eliciting the praise and commendation of the president and faculty. May, 1878, he graduated with much honor and received the applause of his fellow-students and the congratulations of his friends.
Having been converted March, 1872, and feeling a call to the ministry, he was ordained to the work of a gospel minister May 20, 1877. Rev. Roberts’ ability as a mathematician
Page 207has steadily promoted him in this department of educational work, and the professorship of mathematics has been held by him in his alma mater ever since graduation, except one year when he labored as general missionary for North Carolina, under the auspices of the American Baptist Home Mission Society of New York, and the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. God has thus given him an extended field of usefulness where he might develop into a powerful man. Blount Street Baptist church, Raleigh, North Carolina, called for him to serve them as their pastor on July 2, 1882. This pastoral work has been done in connection with his work as professor, and they have been of mutual help to each other. There is great love existing between the pastor and the people, and the church has prospered, adding year by year to their numbers “such as shall be saved.” As a Sabboth-school worker, earnestness and love to God has characterized his life. From 1873 to 1883, a period of ten consecutive years, he has held the position of president of the State Sunday School convention, and in October, 1885, he was unanimously elected president of the State Baptist convention, which position he now holds, esteemed by all the brethren of the State. His position makes him the representative of 100,000 colored Baptists, and as such he is recognized and respected. His position in the university gives him prestige among the educated, and his indorsement by the convention shows the people are in favor of education.
HON. THEOPHILE T. ALLAIN.
State Senator of Louisiana–Agitator of Educational Measures and Internal Improvements–Contractor for Repairing Levees.
AFTER the battle at Salamis, the generals of the different Greek states met in council to vote to each other prizes for distinguished individual merit. Were the task mine to pick from the ranks of Louisiana’s sons those who have in the face of opposition towered head and shoulders above their fellow men, shedding lustre on the name of the sons of Ham, the subject of my sketch would take front rank. Having passed through forty-one years of the most eventful period of the Nation’s history, it is but natural that he should have from boyhood thought on and traced the struggles to which the race has been subject, and that his heart would be stirred with that patriotic devotion which sacrifices luxurious idleness on the shrine of duty. Opposition calls forth resistance, and it may be well that the Africo-American has prejudice to fight, otherwise Mr. Allain, with scores of other noble men, would be quietly performing personal duties, letting the world surge in at their windows, but never going out to meet it. October 1, 1846, on the Australian Plantation
T. T. ALLAIN
Page 209Parish of West Baton Rouge, was born Theophile, a boy who evinced at an early age those signs which point to future usefulness. His mother, “a pretty brown woman,” possessing all the taste and attractions found among those of more fortunate circumstances than falls to the lot of a slave, attracted the attention and affection of her master, a millionaire of culture, who was the father of this son. Mr. Sosthene Allain, in the prime of life, was surrounded by all the comforts which taste and a princely income can give. Setting at naught the sentiments of the land, he shared these comforts with the mother and his dear “Soulouque,” often refusing to take his meals unless the boy ate with him. Mr. Allain always spent his summers North or in Europe, but not without taking Theophile, who received the same accommodations. When he was ten years old his father, who was in Paris, sent for him, and he was sent in charge of Madam Boudousquie, an accomplished actress, who treated him with love and kindness. When the ship landed at Havre, ten thousand people were there to welcome the Emperor Soulouque of Hayti, but instead it was the “Soulouque” of our sketch. These yearly visits, the contact with other customs, was a more liberal education to the observing boy than could have been acquired by years of application to books. He was present at the christening of the Prince Imperial at the church of Notre Dame de Paris, attended bathing school and accompanied his father everywhere he went. Returning to America he entered school in 1859 under Professor Abadie, New Orleans, Louisiana, and in 1868 entered a private school in New Brunswick, New Jersey. In 1869
Page 210he returned home and went into the grocery business in West Baton Rouge and Iberville and remained until 1873, when he invested largely in sugar and rice cultivation. Genius in one man may run in the line of literature, in another, art, but in this man business seems to be the ruling passion. For twenty years he has been a successful shipper of sugar, syrup, molasses and rice, and every day brings him in business contact with the leading commercial men of the South. Every Exchange in the city of New Orleans is open to him. In 1883 the total crop on his plantation was estimated at four hundred barrels of syrup. Although living in competency, his sympathies are all with the laboring class. At the Sugar Planters’ convention which met in New Orleans, August 20, 1884, a resolution was offered for the appointment of a committee to collect “data as to the cost of land, labor, food, stock, fuel, etc., with the idea of producing cheaper sugar. Hon. Allain opposed it on the ground that it meant simply the cutting down of wages for the laborer.” At another time in the Legislature, he said: “I tell you, gentlemen, that when you cultivate any spirit of animosity between the tillers of the soil on one hand and the proprietors on the other, you cut your own throats. Nature and nature’s God have so arranged it, that labor and capital are mutually dependent upon each other.” Besides this business he is giving work to more laborers than any colored man in the “public works of the country,” being under bond and contract with the State of Louisiana to put up within three years one hundred and fifty thousand yards of levee. When the levees of the Mississippi were in a deplorable
Page 211condition, the Republican Executive and Financial committee of the Third Congressional District of Louisiana, of which Hon. L. A. Martinet was secretary, met April 8, 1882, and adopted the following resolutions. We give the full statement and all the immediate outgrowth thereof. Mr. Allain counts the following as the champion record of his life. He desires this record handed down to his children.
The credentials below were furnished him in Louisiana, and he went to Washington, District of Columbia, and appeared before the committee on commerce:
Mr. Allain, upon being introduced by the Hon. R. L. Gibson of Louisiana, presented to the committee the following credentials:
Resolved, That Hons. T. T. Allain and George Drury be appointed a committee to proceed to Washington to lay before the President and those in authority, the deplorable condition of the Mississippi levees, and urge the necessity on the part of the National Government of taking early action toward building and maintaining the same, and also to ask a continuance of government aid to the sufferers from the present overflow.
Resolved further, That the said committee is hereby authorized to present to the President the condition of political affairs in this State, so far as the Third Congressional district is concerned.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, April 8, 1882.
To all whom it may concern:
I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true copy of resolutions adopted at a meeting of the executive and finance committee of the Third Congressional district of this State, held in this city March 27, 1882.
L. A. MARTINET,
Secretary Republican Executive and Finance Committee,
Third Congressional District, Louisiana.
NEW ORLEANS, April 5, 1882.
To the honorable Senators and Representatives in Congress from the State of Louisiana:
The undersigned Republicans and Federal officials here regard with great pleasure the selection and appointment of Hon. T. T. Allain, a sugar planter, and representative Republican of the parish of Iberville, by the Republican committee of the Third Congressional district of Louisiana, to proceed to Washington, District of Columbia, and endeavor to enlist the services of our Representatives and Senators and the National administration for the purpose of rebuilding and maintaining of the levees of the Mississippi river by the National Government, and we commend him to the attention of the authorities, and trust his mission may be eminently successful.
DON. A. PARDEE.
EDWARD C. BILLINGS.
A. J. DUMONT.
T. B. STAMP.
M. V. DAVIS.
A. S. BADGER.
P. B. S. PINCHBACK.
L. A. MARTINET.
ROBT. F. GUICHARD.
NEW ORLEANS, April 8, 1882.
To the Senate and House Committees on the Improvement of the Mississippi River:
Mr. T. T. Allain having informed me of his intention to visit Washington, and as a sugar-planter interested in the reparation and maintenance of the levees in this State, and as a Representative of the colored people of this State, it gives me pleasure to indorse and recommend his mission as one of much importance.
I regard the colored laborer as well adapted to the cultivation of sugar and to the diseases of this climate, and should consider it as a misfortune
Page 213if it should be discouraged and driven away by the inability of the planter to restore the levees.
Congress, in protecting the great American interest of sugar, may incidentally provide employment for a great number of her colored race, estimated at more than one hundred thousand.
Mr. Allain deserves approval for his public spirit in urging upon Congress the importance of promptly assuming charge of the levees of Louisiana, and will be entitled to the gratitude of the planters and laborers for any influence he may exercise in securing the adoption of a system which will prevent Louisiana from the calamity of an overflow, and the public from the abandonment, and possibly the destruction of the sugar crop, which now retains at home more than $25,000,000, otherwise exported for the purchase of foreign sugar.
Your obedient servant,
R. S. HOWARD,
President Chamber of Commerce.
NEW ORLEANS COTTON EXCHANGE,
NEW ORLEANS, April 6, 1882.
Hon. T. T. Allain, Louisiana State representative, is entitled to full encouragement and assistance from our Senators and Representatives in Congress, as a delegate from the suffering people of the overflowed section of Louisiana.
We therefore recommend him to their good offices, and earnestly request that he be granted such hearing as the importance of his mission warrants, which mission is to show fully the dire necessities of our people and their claims upon the general government for assistance in protecting themselves from a recurrence of the terrible disasters through which they are now suffering,
THOMAS L. AIREY,
President New Orleans Cotton Exchange.
NEW ORLEANS STOCK EXCHANGE,
NEW ORLEANS, April 8, 1882.
The New Orleans Stock Exchange cordially indorses the mission as represented by Hon. T. T. Allain to succor the distressed sufferers from
Page 214the overflow, and trusts that his efforts to bring influence to rebuild our levees will be successful.
T. S. BARTON,
A. A. BRINSMADE, Secretary.
NEW ORLEANS, April 6, 1882.
To Hon. W. P. Kellogg, U. S. Senator from Louisiana, and Hon. C. B. Darrall, Representative Third Congressional District of Louisiana, Washington. D. C.
GENTLEMEN: The undersigned, members of the Americus Club of this city, beg to commend to your favorable attention Hon. T. T. Allain, representative from Iberville Parish in our present State Legislature, who has been appointed to visit Washington, District of Columbia, by the Third Congressional District Committee of the State of Louisiana, with the view of obtaining National aid in rebuilding and maintaining the levees of the Mississippi river.
We ask that your aid and influence be given him in accomplishing this desirable object, and thanking you for your joint and individual effort in behalf of these interests, subscribe ourselves,
WM. A. HALSTON,
Secretary Executive Committee.
P. LANDRY, Corresponding Secretary.
JAS. E. PORTER,
First Vice, Acting President.
GEO. H. WALKER,
Secretary Americus Club.
Treasurer Americus Club.
F. Moss, Vice-President.
F. M. WARD,
Chairman Executive Committee,
THOMAS J. BOSWELL.
A. P. WILLIAMS.
GEO. G. JOHNSON.
J. E. MARTINEZ.
W. S. WILSON.
JAMES D. MACARY.
C. A. PHILIPPI & Co.,
COTTON FACTORS AND COMMISSION MERCHANTS,
No. 48 UNION STREET, NEW ORLEANS, April 6, 1882.
To our Senators and Representatives in Congress:
GENTLEMEN: Hon. T. T. Allain, a prominent representative of the parish of Iberville, is delegated by a large number of planters and business men of Iberville and this city to proceed to Washington, to intercede with our Senators and Representatives in Congress, in asking the National government to build and maintain the levees of the Mississippi river. We desire to state that we furnished him on and for making his sugar crop about $4,000 within the last two years, all of which he has paid.
We therefore take pleasure in recommending Mr. Allain to our delegation in Congress, and ask a favorable consideration for the cause he advocates, and commend his statements.
C. A. PHILIPPI & Co.
OFFICE OF RENSHAW, CAMMACK & Co.,
COTTON AND SUGAR FACTORS, No. 32 PERDIDO STREET,
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, March 28, 1882.
To whom it may concern:
We have had business relations with the Hon. T. T. Allain, of Iberville parish during several years, and feel satisfied that any statement he might make concerning the condition of the levees and the consequent needs of the river parishes may be confidently relied on.
RENSHAW. CAMMACK & Co.
AR. MITTENBERGER & POLLOCK.
E. B. WHEELOCK.
STAUFFER MACREADY & Co.
HANSELL & WEBSTER
J. W. BURBRIDGE.
I fully and cheerfully indorse all that is said above, and commend Mr. Allain to the Louisiana delegation in Congress, and respectfully request their thorough co-operation in his patriotic purpose.
I. N. MARKS
CITIZENS’ BANK OF LOUISIANA,
NEW ORLEANS, April 8, 1882.
To the Hon. Senators and Representatives of the State of Louisiana in Congress, Washington, D. C.:
GENTLEMEN: The bearer, the Hon. T. T. Allain, a sugar planter of excellent repute, from parish Iberville, in our State, and no doubt known to most of you, comes to Washington accredited as a delegate from his parish and district, to intercede with members of Congress for an early and ample appropriation toward rebuilding the Mississippi river levees for the future protection of agricultural interests against a repetition of the disastrous and ruinous flood which has this year desolated so large a portion of our State.
We earnestly solicit from yourselves and associates in both houses a favorable consideration and prompt action toward the desired end, never so indispensable as now.
Very respectfully, your obedient servants,
E. L. CARRIERE,
JAS. J. TARLETON,
OFFICE OF TERTROU & PUGH,
COTTON AND SUGAR FACTORS,
NEW ORLEANS, March 28, 1882.
HON. R. L. GIBSON, Washington:
DEAR SIR: We take pleasure in introducing to your acquaintance Hon. T. T. Allain, a prominent planter of the parish of Iberville, in this State, being a neighbor to a plantation whose owners are in Paris, and of whom we are the agents. Mr. Allain is from a parish in which are many large plantations and wealthy planters, and is personally known to us. He intends visiting Washington for and on account of levee purposes.
We therefore recommend him to your consideration and any aid or information which he may need, and extend to him, will be appreciated by,
TERTROU & PUGH,
I cordially indorse Hon. T. T. Allain as worthy and intelligent. Any courtesy extended him will be appreciated.
OFFICE OF THE MANHATTAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY,
156 AND 158 BROADWAY, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, March 28, 1882.
HON. B. F. JONAS, Washington, D. C.:
DEAR SIR: Hon. T. T. Allain, of Iberville parish, visits Washington in the interest of levee protection for the State at large, and has the influence of our best citizens to aid his mission. As Mr. Allain represents the combined political elements of his parish, doubtless his visit will result in great benefit, just at this condition of distress arising from present high water.
I have the honor to be, respectfully, etc.,
H. M. ISAACSON.
Mr. Allain said:
MR. CHAIRMAN: The papers and documents which I have had the honor to present to you from the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, the Cotton Exchange, and a number of prominent, wealthy, and deeply interested merchants and other business men of that city, together with the indorsement and recommendations of the Republican committee of the Third Congressional district of Louisiana, are the sanctions of authority and the credentials on which I venture to appear before you; not, however, without a profound sense of my inability to do full justice to a subject of such vast importance as the preservation of the levees of the Mississippi river by the National government, the advocacy of which I am charged with.
And, cheerfully as I respond to the obligations thus imposed, my diffidence is not at all diminished, and especially, when I remember how frequently, fully, forcibly–and, we had hoped, conclusively–it has been shown by facts, figures, arguments, and demonstrations that it was–and as it now is–the interest and the duty of the National government to build and keep in repair the levees of its mighty river, the Mississippi.
It is mine to-day, sir, to once more tread this beaten path, and if it be true that there is no evil without its corresponding good, it is mine to seize the lamentable opportunity, the moment when millions of acres of cultivable and cultivated cotton, sugar, and rice lands are many feet under water; when thousands of families are flooded out of their homes, are taking refuge everywhere, anywhere from the angry flood; when a
Page 218hundred thousand laborers, driven by the waters, have fled in every direction, to the utter demoralization of labor; when horses, mules, oxen, and innumerable, but valuable lesser animals are destroyed or sacrificed in one way or the other; I say that at this moment of our deepest affliction I am commissioned to come here and appeal to you and to the government to use every exertion, to relax no effort to save our section (as far as human agency and human effort can rescue us) from the periodic recurrence of these calamitous overflows.
I may state, as an absolute fact, that the States whose lands are periodically overflowed by the Mississippi river are utterly unable to build and maintain the levees to meet these occasional emergencies.
This argument in itself would not, I know, constitute any valid basis for our claim that the National government should therefore assume the task of efficiently providing against the disasters.
I have, therefore, been at some pains to prepare my statements to fortify the position I now assume, and that is, that it is the interest and the duty of the United States Government to construct and maintain an efficient system of levees along the banks of the Mississippi river, and that upon it must rest the enormous moral responsibility, at least, of the incalculable suffering and losses which are entailed by the overflows.
It is not necessary for me to labor to show you that the United States possessing and exercising the powers and prerogatives of absolute ownership of this mighty inland sea, is placed thereby under obligation to adopt every necessary precaution to keep it within bounds.
I take it that this branch of the subject having been so well and so frequently set before the government I need not dwell on it here.
I cannot resist the temptation, however, to quote the following forcible language from the speech of Hon. James B. Eustis, late United States Senator from my State:
“We know, Mr. President, that the jurisdictional authority of the United States Government is exclusive over that river throughout its length, and we know how that jurisdictional authority was acquired. It was acquired by the statutes of the United States and by the decisions of the Supreme Court. In the early period of our history there was a conflict going on between the Federal authority and the State governments, with reference to the jurisdiction over navigable streams, a controversy which was as acrimonious upon the bench of the Supreme Court
Page 219as was the slavery question. It was finally determined, after twenty-five years of contest, that the maritime and admiralty jurisdiction over those streams was exclusively vested in the Federal government; and only a short time ago, as high up as Shreveport, on Red river, it was decided that the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction over that stream was exclusively vested in the United States Government. That jurisdiction is an exhaustive jurisdiction. It denies to the States any authority, or any power, or any responsibility, or any obligation whatsoever touching the Mississippi river. The United States Government can bridge it; the United States Government can determine what commerce shall be carried on that river, what shall be the means of transportation on that river, who shall have the privilege of navigating that river; and it is even said in one of the decisions of the Supreme Court that it has the authority to change the channel of that river.
“Now, I ask, Mr. President, why is it, if every individual in this land, every corporation, is obliged to discharge the obligations and the responsibilities and the duties arising from the mere tutorship or control of property–I ask upon what ground can the United States absolve itself from that obligation and from that responsibility, particularly when we consider the immense loss and devastation and ruin which result from omitting to discharge that obligation? And I do not understand that there is any such thing as degree in national duties and national obligations. If I can convince the Senate that it is the duty of the United States Government, that it is an obligation of the United States Government, it then follows that it is as much a question of national faith to discharge that duty, to discharge that obligation, as for the Government of the United States to pay the interest on its public debt.”
Passing from this branch of the subject to the ability of the government, I presume that there is not one well-informed citizen of this great Republic that raises this question.
Then, if all these things be true, the only essential lacking is the willingness of the government to recognize the propriety, the justice, and the obligation to undertake this work.
And I hold that it is as much to the interest as it is the duty of government to undertake the task of protecting the lands on both sides of its river from incursions by its occasionally turbulent stream.
It is the interest of the National Government because of the enormous revenue–the support–which it derives from the section of country which suffers from overflows.
I am aware that this is an appeal to the Nation on the lowest plane–the sordid motive of self-interest, but the argument I hold is sound and the conclusions I shall draw most just.
Taking Louisiana as the illustration, look at our production and the revenue which the National Government derives as the necessary direct result of our agricultural products.
Not to be tedious, Mr. Chairman, I will offer the tabulated statement of Hon. R. L. Gibson, one of our congressmen, in his recent specch on the Hawaian treaty and sugar.
I give you our production of sugar from 1870 to 1880, and rice from 1877 to 1880:
In the matter of cotton it is as important as it is interesting to note a few particulars.
The Southern country produced in 1880 the enormous amount of 2,770,000,000 (two billions seven hundred and seventy millions) of pounds of raw cotton, which is nearly four-fifths of the entire cotton crop of the world.
During the war we had no production to speak of; but after that dreary period, and when we had resumed cultivation under the new and improved order of things, the increase in the production of this staple became marked.
Every year since 1866-’67, except in overflow years, we have increased our cotton production until 1880, when we reached the magnificent figures of 6,611,000 bales, as will be more fully seen by the following extract from the report of “Louisiana Products,” by Commissioner W. H. Harris, to the Legislature of 1881:
COTTON CROP OF THE SOUTH.
- Year. . . . . . Crop.
- 1872-’73 . . . . . 3,930,508
- 1873-’74 . . . . . 4,185,534
- 1874-’75 . . . . . 3,832,991
- 1875-’76 . . . . . 4,669,283
- 1876-’77 . . . . . 4,485,423
- 1877-’78 . . . . . 4,773,765
- 1878-’79 . . . . . 5,074,155
- 1879-’80 . . . . . 5,761,252
- 1880-’81 . . . . . 6,611,000
The value, sir, of these staple productions of our lands, which are largely subject to overflow, make an aggregate value that to me, at least, is perfectly bewildering.
I have heard it declared the conception of a million was an overtax on an ordinary mind. But, sir, when we figure up the annual value of our sugar, cotton, and rice crops, we cannot but be astounded to find that we run up into hundreds of millions of dollars.
This year, sir, unfortunately we shall find no difficulty in computing and comprehending the value of our production.
But when it is taken into account that we pay cheerfully into the National treasury our proportion of the taxes for the support of government, and that from such an exhibit, brief and incomplete as it is, it can be readily seen that in this matter we are not paupers, and that we need feel no hesitancy in coming up here urging and demanding that the National Government, which so generously, but not always wisely, donates millions upon millions to railroads, should return to us a modicum of our contributions in the shape of the preservation of the levees of the great Father of Waters.
The loss in revenue to the United States Government this year will be greater than the few millions we are asking and which we deserve to have.
Again, the expenditure of over a million of dollars in rations, which have been hurried to our rescue so promptly and so cheerfully, is an expenditure that might have been better utilized.
Build the levees and keep them in order, and then we shall not need to appeal for bread and meat, and tents and medicines.
Demoralizing as we know these things to be, we earnestly desire to dispense forever with the reliance on charity for food and shelter. But driven by our extremities, we have been compelled to once more tolerate the call for and dependence on “rations.”
It seems to me, Mr. Chairman, that where so many important channels of profit are neglected that there must be some duty in the matter, and hence I say that it is the duty of the National Government to undertake without further delay the construction and keeping in order an efficient system of levees along the Mississippi banks.
For years we have had river committees, and river conventions, and Mississippi Valley conventions, and public meetings, and public speeches, and monster petitions, all in the direction of urging on Congress the duty of undertaking this work, but up to this date all of our appeals have been unavailing.
I say, sir, that we hold it to be the constitutional prerogative and duty of Congress to provide “for the welfare of the United States.”
We form, in the relations we have alluded to, no inconsiderable portion of the United States, and our welfare is materially injured by the trespass of the river, and when we observe Congress recognizing the loud and just clamor raised against the imprisonment abroad of American citizens, and dealing with the the question as suits a free republic; when we see the interest taken in projects to check the influx of Chinese, even to the practical abrogation of a solemn treaty with China, without the consent of “the other party;” when we see Congress undertaking the laudable, if gigantic, task of even regulating the polygamists of Utah; when we see, last, but not least, the beneficent propositions seriously made by a revered Senator to provide for the education of the aboriginal Indians of our country, and I reflect that the warrant and the authority for the accomplishment of these diversified objects, and that these all are regarded as duties of the United States Government, I wonder whether the interests of a million of people in Lousiana, a people who feel that by
Page 223every just and patriotic consideration should–are entitled to have their “welfare” considered by the government to the extent we are seeking.
A continued neglect of the performance of the duty cannot but result in permanent disaster to the sections periodically overflowed, and the responsibility for the decay, the ruin, the bankruptcies, and the neglected fields will rest on the shoulders, on the only proper, the only competent, and the only efficient power to avert them–the Government of the United States.
I present you the following statement, made by one of the best informed men in the State, on the overflow, Major E. A. Burke, who has personally visited and inspected the crevasses, the condition of the levees, river, and the cost that the State would incur in rebuilding the levees. He says:
“Eighty-one crevasses in State, from 300 to 1,500 feet each. Say an an averge of 900 feet in length of each levee washed away, making a running length of 72,900 feet, or say 1,043,000 yards of levee swept away–costing $260,750. To reconstruct the same levees, owing to the effect of the crevasses on the land requiring extra wings to gulches, etc., would require earthwork of at least double that quantity, or say an expenditure in Louisiana of $521,500, as a result of the flood of 1882, and without estimating the crevasses previously in existence. Those crevasses were the Bonnet Carrê, in Saint John Parish, Morganza, in Pointe Coupee, Diamond Island, in Tensas, and Ashton, in East Carroll, all large crevasses broken a length of about nine miles of extra large levees, seventeen and eighteen feet in height, or 1,800,000 cubic yards. Owing to the great height of levees, the cost of rebuilding would be fully fifty cents per cubic yard, or $900,000 to reconstruct old levees. Thus we find that it would cost over $1,400,000 to reconstruct the levees broken by crevasses in Louisiana, a sum utterly beyond our ability.”
Add loss cotton, sugar, miscellaneous, fences, stock.
I speak of demoralization, scattering of people, rising of water, under the head of crevasses.
But, sir, my vocabulary is too limited to express to you what “crevasses” in the banks of the Mississippi mean. I will therefore again borrow from the speech of Mr. Eustis. He says:
“Now, sir, a crevasse in the levees of the Mississippi river is something of which the imagination, unaided by observation, can scarcely form any
Page 224accurate conception. At first it may be but a slender thread of water percolating through a crawfish hole, or a slight abrasion in the upper surface caused by the waves set in motion by a passing steamer or by a sudden storm, but in a few hours the seemingly innocent rill is swollen to a resistless torrent, the great wall of earth has given way before the tremendous pressure of the mighty river, and the waters rush through the opening with a force which soon excavates it to a depth of thirty or forty feet, with a roar which rivals the voice of Niagara and with a velocity which is great enough to draw an incautious steamer into the boiling vortex.
“The effect is not simply that of an overflow, which may subside in a day or two. The level of the river, at its flood, is above that of the surrounding country; and, consequently, when the embankments break, it is as if an ocean were turned upon the land. In a short time the neighboring country is converted into a sea. Cattle and horses are swept away and drowned, or forced to seek refuge on the few dry spots which remain among the seething waters; the crops are destroyed, and the people in many cases are forced to abandon their homes. Sometimes, indeed, the land itself is greatly injured by these inundations; for, while the floods which come from the Red river, or the Ohio, or even the Arkansas, bring some compensation in the fertilizing character of the deposits which they leave behind, those of the Missouri, being charged with sand and alkaline earths swept down from the great deserts of the west, have a pernicious and sometimes even a ruinous effect on the lands which they invade.
“In the year 1874, the phenomena which I have feebly described occurred on so extensive a scale that the catastrophe may well be regarded as a national calamity. Through the thirty Louisiana crevasses and the permanent openings in Arkansas, and through the breaks on the left bank a vast body of water overspread a district of country more than three hundred miles in extent from the north to the south, and averaging fifty miles from east to west. I take no account, sir, in this statement, of the vast tracts inundated by the overflows of tributary rivers. I limit myself to the direct influence of the Mississippi waters from the Arkansas southward, and within this region, more than three hundred miles in length by fifty miles in width, as I have said, about 22,000 square miles, much of it arable and cultivated land, much of it the most productive portion of the southwest, was laid under water for many weeks.”
And strong and pointed and forcible as is this description, it is but a faint representation of the present condition of affairs in Louisiana. I have here, sir, a map of the State showing the overflowed districts of 1882.
There are a million of acres of the richest and most productive sugar, cotton and rice lands under water.
There are a hundred and twenty thousand human beings driven from their homes to seek shelter anywhere from the ravages of the flood.
Conjure up the picture, sir, if you can; look down the river as far as the eye can reach, every curve, every bend straightened; look on the right hand and then on the left as far as the eye can reach, and see the vast and apparently illimitable ocean of water.
Water, water everywhere.
Remember, now that underneath this vast body, this “crevasse,” lay buried the seed cane, the cotton-seed, the rice, the cereals, the homes, the all of over one hundred thousand people.
The picture of calamity can not be depicted by human pen or tongue. And remembering that these dire afflictions are of periodical recurrence, I am the more impressed with the necessity of using every legitimate appeal to the justice, and philanthropy, if you please, of this great Nation to come to our rescue.
And I cannot let this opportune moment escape me, as the representative of a class who, born and held in bondage until the utterance of the ever-living, ever-abiding decree of the immortal Lincoln gave them unconditional liberty, to specially invite consideration to an important feature of this question.
By this overflow, for the third time since freedom, our country has been flooded and desolated.
For the third time a hundred thousand stalwarts, yeomen, to the manor born, inured to toil, and living and laboring equally safe in the burning suns of August, the epidemic period of September, or the genial season of March and April.
For the third time, sir, this large, this necessary, this indispensable class, starting with nothing of this world’s goods, but with “heart within and God o’erhead,” assumed their new relations, determined to justify the act of their enfranchisement, determined to vindicate their title to the exalted position of equal citizenship in our great country, determined to
Page 226erect homes, acquire property, build up their families, establish churches, support schools, cultivate the arts of peace, and so rise in the scale of humanity, and all the while contributing to the material prosperity of the section in which they reside.
But they cannot continue living and laboring under the apprehension of having their all remorselessly swallowed up every four or five years.
It requires no gift of prophecy to foretell that if this government persists in its refusal to keep its river confined to its regular channel (and we don’t care how you do it) and thus prevent these overflows, there will be an exodus, a serious and permanent change of abode by a vast number of our laboring population, who cannot continue to endure the losses entailed by the disastrous overflows.
And in these days of railroads and enterprise, of openings up of sections of our common country not subject to overflow, and with climates as genial for us as our own, the danger of the loss of this element is considerably increased.
So speaking for this element, I say to the representatives of that glorious party which enacted the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth amendments to the Constitution of the United States, come once more to our rescue and save us from the necessity of abandoning our homes, the land of our birth, the clime and the products to which we are suited and which are suited to us, and the sympathy and increased loyalty of every black man, woman and child in Louisiana, yes, and in the United States, will be cordially given to you for this act of justice and humanity.
We are all, in Lousiana, “without regard to race, color, or previous condition,” solicitous to avert the damages from overflow, and hence the unanimity among the representatives of the business and the wealth of our State, and of the two great parties, with which I have been authenticated to you, to all of whom I extend my humble and heartfelt thanks.
Finally, sincerely thanking you for the patience and attention with which you have honored me, I have but to say that if you keep the Mississippi our of our lands and homes we will in the near future turn 7,000,000 bales of cotton; we will send to market 250,000 hogsheads of sugar, 20,000,000 gallons of molasses, 25,000,000 pounds of rice, and develop a new industry dawning upon us; we will send to the North in March our early cereals, our spring poultry, and Southern home products, while the snow and the ice of winter remain on your lands and fields.
Sir, we make three appeals for protection.
We appeal against the ravages of the mighty waters of the Mississippi; we appeal against the admission of foreign sugars to our markets free of duty; and, thirdly, we, the Negroes of the South appeal to you to protect us, our properties, and our lives against the annual overflows of the great river, in order that we may enjoy the benefits of liberty, husband the fruits of our industry, educate our children, and continue to increase our productions, and protect the fruits of our labor, which now is two-thirds of the cotton crops, four-fifths of the sugar crops, and very near all the rice crops.
We appeal to the National Government, which, in the name of Almighty God, we thank for all that we have, to take charge of the levees of the Mississippi river, and under the direction and supervision of officers of the government to maintain them.
Finally, again thanking those who commissioned, and you who so patiently listened to me, I rejoice above them in the proud reflection that, in the sublime language of Frederick Douglass, I appear here “in the more elevated character of an American citizen.”
This speech was made Tuesday, April 18, 1882, at eleven A. M., before the following committee on commerce: Hon. Horace F. Page, of California, Chairman; David P. Richardson, of New York; Amos Townsend, of Ohio; Roswell G. Horr, of Michigan; William D. Washburn, of Minnesota; John W. Candler, of Massachusetts; William Ward, of Pennsylvania; John D. White, of Kentucky Melvin C. George, of Oregon; Richard Guenther, of Wisconsin; John H. Reagan, of Texas; Robert M. McLane, of Maryland; Randall L. Gibson, of Louisiana; Miles Ross, of New Jersey; Thomas H. Herndon, of Alabama.
It will be remembered that the question of levees affected more directly the prosperity of the State than all the others combined. It is not a small matter that this colored man should be selected by the most prominent business
Page 228men of the section. President Arthur said: “No man can present papers from any part of the country that could say more.” He pleaded well for his constituents, telling the true state of affairs and giving a reason for every demand made. Hon. Allain possesses a large amount of perseverance. Ten years before this, 1872-74, while serving his first term in the Legislature he agitated this question. In 1875 he was elected to the State Senate and remained until 1878. 1879 finds him a member of the Constitutional convention, and from ’79 to ’86 in the House of Representatives again. Sixteen years of public life is no short time for one who is still young. Hon. Allain is a strong advocate of popular education, and is second to no man in the State when it comes to educational matters for the colored people. He was the first man after the war to organize public schools in West Baton Rouge for both the white and colored children. In 1886, Mr. Allain introduced a bill in the Legislature asking for an appropriation of twenty thousand dollars and secured fourteen thousand dollars for the purpose of erecting the College buildings of the “Southern University.” In a speech at the laying of the “corner stone” he said: “I look forward to a period not far distant, when Louisiana will be able to have a white and colored school-house dotting every nook and corner in the State of our birth, the home of our choice, with a public sentiment advocating for high and low, for white and colored popular education.” January 27, 1877, he offered at the “Farmers’ State Association,” a resolution requesting the association to recommend the passage of an act by the
Page 229Legislature to establish an Industrial school for the education of colored people. Under the caption “A Good Move,” January 15, 1887, the Weekly Iberville South quotes from the Louisiana Standard:
Hon. T. T. Allain has succeeded in having designated as Depositories for Public Records the four institutions in our city which are attended almost exclusively by colored children, viz: Straight, Southern, Leland, and New Orleans universities. Mr. Allain deserves credit for the interest he takes in educational affairs, and as a business man is a success. While a member of the Republican party, he has always advocated unification between the two races.
The Terrebonne Times in the September 18, 1886, issue, accused him of drawing the color line, to which he replied:
I propose to issue a plan for “Unification” in 1888, and will ask the colored people in each of the fifty-eight parishes of Louisiana–including the city of New Orleans–to stand solid and support the nominees of the National Republican party for President, Vice-President, and for the members of Congress, but when it comes to State and local offices the colored man in Louisiana must not allow himself to be bulldozed by newspaper “Scare-crows.” We know, much better than you can tell us, Mr. Editor, as to who among the “white Republicans” in “Louisiana” that have been “pure” and “true” to us–and God knows that the graves of thousands of our “best” men in the South, because of our support to “white Republican” candidates, should settle and put at rest forever the question of “gratitude.” We must look to the peace, quiet and wellbeing of our people. We must have Normal and Industrial schools for our children, and more public schools in the parishes of the State, and we will go in and vote for the white men of Louisiana in 1888, who have the moral courage to give to their colored fellow-citizens a fair living chance, and the “enjoyment” of “full American citizenship.”
Hon. Allain is an acute thinker, a man of sympathetic and benevolent nature and large culture. He is known as
Page 230one of the “Colored Creoles” of Louisiana, and speaks French fluently, better than English. He has six children; the family affiliates with the Catholic church; the children are being educated for future usefulness at Straight University.
“Black John Brown”–Martyr.
NINETEEN years before the opening of this century, on the island of St. Thomas, was born a child who was destined to become a martyr for his race. Men may differ as to what makes a martyr, and believe it comes through the flesh or the wicked one; but martyrs are made of such material as fit men to attempt great things for what they believe to be right. Denmark was purchased by a man named Veazie, after whom he takes his name. He was fourteen years old when he was purchased. In 1800 he drew a prize of fifteen hundred dollars in a lottery. Of course we do not approve of his playing lottery by any means, but he made good use of six hundred dollars of the money, securing his freedom thereby. He was a carpenter by trade, and was the admired of all his companions, because of his strength and activity. Twenty-two years later he formed a plan to liberate the slaves of Charleston, South Carolina. His plan was to put the whole city to fire and the sword on June 16. He had particularly objected to any slave joining the conspiracy who
Page 232was of that class of waiting men who received presents of old coats, etc., from their masters, as such slaves would be likely to betray them. At 10 o’clock at night, the governor having been informed of the conspiracy by the treachery of some of the Negroes, had military companies thrown around the city, and no one was allowed to pass in or out.
The slaves who were to come from Thomas Island, and land on the South bay, and seize the arsenal and guardhouse, failed to do so. Another body that was to seize the arsenal on the Neck, was also thwarted in its plans. All the conspirators, finding the town so well protected, did not attempt that which they intended. On Sunday afternoon, Denmark Veazie, for the purpose of making preliminary arrangements, had a meeting and dispatched a courier to inform the country Negroes what to do, but the courier could not get out of the city, and thus the project was a failure, but the leader died a martyr upon the gallows, and the slave who had betrayed him was purchased by the Legislature, thus putting a premium upon the betrayal of any one who should attempt an insurrection of this kind. From William C. Nell’s ‘History of the Colored Patriots of the American Revolution,’ we take the following:
The number of blacks arrested was 131: of these 35 were executed, 41 acquitted, and the rest sentenced to be transported. Many a brave hero fell, but history, faithful to her high trust, will engrave the name of Denmark on the same monument with Moses, Hampden, Tell, Bruce, Wallace, Toussaint L’Ouverture, La Fayette and Washington.
I have stood in the arsenal yard and seen the place where these men were executed, and the memory of their attempt will never fade from the history of the Negroes of South Carolina.
PROFESSOR J. E. JONES, A. B., A. M.
Professor of Homeletics and Greek in the Theological Seminary, Richmond, Virginia–Corresponding Secretary of the Baptist Foreign Mission Convention.
PROFESSOR J. E. JONES was born of slave parents in the city of Lynchburg, Virginia, October 15, 1850. He remained a slave until the surrender. Against the earnest protestations of his mother he was put to work in a tobacco factory when not more than six years of age. This was in that period of the country’s history when the question of human slavery was agitating the minds of the people from Maine to the Gulf. Then, when the feelings of the people of both sections of the country had almost reached their limits, the Southern States deemed it expedient to enact some very stringent laws with respect to the Negro. Therefore, the State of Virginia passed laws that prohibited anyone from teaching Negroes how to read and write, and if anyone was caught violating this law he would be imprisoned. Young Jones’ mother believed, with all her heart, that the time would come when the colored people would be liberated. She did not hesitate to express that belief; she not only expressed it to her colored friends, but, on one occasion, went so far as
J. E. JONES.
Page 235to tell her owners the same thing. They regarded this as simply madness; but the idea took such hold on her that she, though ignorant herself, determined that she would have her son taught to read and write. At once she secured the services of a man who was owned by the same family as herself. This man agreed to come several nights each week to give this boy lessons. At this time–during the year 1864–things were getting to a desperate state in the South. Soon, Joseph’s teacher began to think that he was running too much risk in giving these lessons at the boy’s home. He decided that he could not continue. However, after some reflection another plan was tried. It was arranged that the pupil should go once a week to the room of his teacher. The time chosen was Sunday morning between the hours of ten and twelve o’clock. It was selected because the white people usually spent this time at church, praying(?) for the success of the Confederacy and the continuance of human slavery. Toward the close of the war, the master of the teacher discovered that he could read and write, and sold him. But this did not discourage the mother, she was determined, more than ever, to have her boy taught. After some time she succeeded in getting a sick Confederate soldier to teach him. She paid this man by giving him something to eat. The instruction by this man was cut short after several months by the surrender of General Lee. Immediately after the surrender, young Jones’ mother placed him in a private school that had been opened by his first teacher, the late Robert A. Perkins. Up to this time, while the boy had made some progress, it could not be said to have
Page 236been satisfactory. His was of a fun-loving, mischievous disposition. On account of this fact, combined with the irregularity of his lessons and other circumstances, he had not been impressed very seriously of the importance of an education. But when he commenced going to school after the surrender, his progress was more marked. He continued in this school for two years. The most of this period he stood head in his classes. The winter following he spent as a pupil in a private school taught by James M. Gregory, now a professor in Howard University, Washington, District of Columbia. He was one of the best scholars in this school. In the spring of 1868, Joseph was baptized and connected himself with the Court Street Baptist church of the city of Lynchburg, Virginia.
In October of the same year, he entered the Richmond Institute now Richmond Theological Seminary, with a view of preparing himself for the gospel ministry. He spent three years there, taking the academic and theological studies then taught. In April, 1871, he left Virginia for Hamilton, New York, and entered the preparatory department of Madison University, from which he graduated in 1872. The following fall he entered the university and after a successful course of study, graduated June, 1876. The same year the American Baptist Home Mission Society of New York appointed him instructor in the Richmond institute, and entrusted him with the branches of language and philosophy. In 1877 he was ordained to the ministry. In 1879, his alma mater conferred upon him the degree of Master of Arts “in course.” For two years Professor Jones has occupied the chair of Homeletics
Page 237and Greek in the Richmond Theological Seminary. He has not only performed well his work in the class room, but has taken an active part in all the denominational movements as well as other questions relating to the welfare of his people. He is a member of the Educational Board of the Virginia Baptist State convention. November, 1883, Professor Jones was elected corresponding secretary of the Baptist Foreign Mission Convention of the United States of America. This convention has grown considerably since he has occupied this position. The Religious Herald of Richmond, Virginia, in speaking of the subject of this sketch says:
Professor Jones is one of the most gifted colored men in America. Besides being professor in Richmond Theological seminary, he is corresponding secretary of the Baptist Foreign Mission convention. He has the ear and heart of his people, and fills with distinction the high position to which his brethren North and South have called him.
Professor Jones has constant demands made upon him both to speak and to preach. He took an active part in getting colored teachers into schools, both in his native city and the city of his adoption. He has corresponded considerably for newspapers, and at one time was one of the editors of the Baptist Companion of Virginia. He was six years president of the Virginia Baptist Sunday School convention. In June, 1880, he was requested by the corresponding secretary of the American Baptist Home Mission Society of New York, to deliver an address at the society’s anniversary at Saratoga, New York. His subject was, “The Need and Desire of the Colored People for these Schools.” He spoke in the public hall to a vast
Page 238audience which seemed to be perfectly spellbound as he told the tale of the Negro’s condition and surroundings. The Examiner of New York, in commenting on the address said:
Mr. Jones is a young colored man, prepossessing in appearance and manners, and his address would have been creditable to any white graduate of any Northern college. It was sensible, witty and eloquent.
The Watchman of Boston, in speaking of the same address, said:
The speech of the evening was that of Professor Jones, a colored man. His manly, strong, and sensible address made a stronger appeal for the education of his race than the words of the most eloquent advocate.
Two years later, on the twenty-first of June, Professor Jones was married to Miss Rosa D. Kinckle of Lynchburg, Virginia, a graduate from the Normal department of Howard University, and was then a teacher in the public schools of her city. This young man is doing a most excellent work for the general advancement of his race. He is very hopeful as to the future of the race. He holds, however, no utopian ideas respecting them. He believes, he says, “If the race would rise in the scale of being, they must comply with the same laws that conditionate the rise and development of other people.” He points with pride to not a few of the young men who have gone out from the Institute since he has been connected with it. Some of them are succeeding admirably well as doctors, lawyers, teachers, and ministers of the gospel. Dr. Cathcart, in the ‘Baptist Encyclopædia,’ says:
Professor Jones is an efficient teacher, a popular and instructive preacher, and a forcible writer. In 1878 he held a newspaper controversy with the Roman Catholic Bishop Keane of Richmond, in which the bishop, in the estimation of many most competent to judge, was worsted. Professor Jones is regarded as one of the most promising of the young colored men of the South.
In following the career of Professor Joseph Endom Jones, and observing and marking the changes in it, we can but say that it was simply marvelous–it must have been divinely ordered and superintended. In his manners he is princely and attractive. He is never excited, and, while an enthusiast in his work, is never more careful than when discussing or planning the preparatory part thereof. Nothing overthrows him. With great consideration, careful and accurate information, he seldom makes a mistake. It might seem to one that his interest might be lacking in any given affair–for he can sit all day and show no desire to speak, and when all are through he will pointedly show that no thought was wasted on him, but that he had given strict attention to the whole matter. Such is the man.
JOHN WESLEY TERRY, ESQ.
Foreman of the Ironing and Fitting Department of the Chicago West Division Street Car Company–Director and Treasurer of the Chicago Co-operative Packing and Provision Company–Director of the Central Park Building and Loan Association.
JOHN WESLEY TERRY is only about forty-one years of age, having, as near as can be ascertained, seen the light of day in Murry county, Tennessee, in 1846, and began life a poor, miserable slave, owned by William Pickard till emancipated by the war of the Rebellion. His mother’s name was Mary, and his father’s name was Hayward Terry. When he was but a crawling babe, and needed a mother’s tender care, he with his dear brother, but little older than himself, were put into a pen that had been fenced off in one corner of the lot, and there, on the bare ground with no covering or shelter, had to crawl around on the ground, unattended from early morning, when his mother had to go out into the field to work, till it was too late to continue, when she had to come to the house and spin “ten cuts” of yarn or cotton before she was permitted to go to her children and take them from the pen. The only attention they received through the
Page 241day was a pan of food placed in the pen by their mother to which they could go and eat.
In 1863, while the Federal army was in possession of Columbia, Tennessee, his mother took him and his brother and started for the Union lines. She succeeded and found protection for herself and her two boys. Henry, the older, being of sufficient age, enlisted in the army, leaving his mother and brother at Columbia. John remained with his mother till a Colonel Myers was placed in command at that point, and who delivered all slaves in his lines to their masters when they came for them. John and his mother were unfortunate in being carried back to Murry county by their old master, who came in search of them. Colonel Myers had been superseded in command at Columbia, and the Union forces had advanced and taken possession in Murry county, at which time John says: “I proclaimed to the old master, Pickard, my freedom, and at the same time threatened him with the Union army for harboring and feeding ‘Rebel soldiers’ as he had threatened me with the Secession army for attempting to gain my freedom.” The old man begged him not to inform them against him and proposed to hire him for wages if he would not leave him. He worked two years for the old man for wages, who said he thought it was “hard to have to pay wages to a ‘nigger’ he had owned.” After this he worked one year with his father on the “Terry farm,” on Tennessee pike, near Sandy Hook. The latter part of 1866 he went to Nashville, Tennessee, to look for his mother, who had made her second attempt of escape before the Union army took possession
Page 242of the country around the old farm in Murry county. Finding her, he worked on the steamboat in 1867, during which time his mother kept house for him.
In 1868 he took charge of the farm department known as the “Younglove Fruit Farm,” on “Paradise Hill,” and remained till 1869. Returning to Nashville, he and his brother Henry opened a “Tailor, Dye and Repair shop,” and worked at it for about one year; then he entered the employ of P. J. Sexton, contractor and builder. Remained at the trade with him in Nashville till he went with him to Chicago, in 1872–the year after “the great fire.” In 1873 he professed a hope in Christ, united with the Olivet Baptist church, in Chicago, and was baptized into its fellowship by the pastor, Rev. R. DeBaptiste. March 11, 1873, he was united in marriage to Miss Catharine Brown of Nashville, Tennessee, in Olivet Baptist church, Rev. DeBaptiste officiating. In 1875 he entered the employment of the Chicago West Division Street Car company, in their “car shops,” and worked with them for two years, purchased a house, but leased the ground. Having a neatly, though not a costly, furnished little cottage home, he began to reflect upon his duty to the Saviour and perishing souls. He soon decided to enter some institution of learning and take a higher and more extended course of studies than had before been his privilege. His faithful wife consented to go with him and aid him in the accomplishment of his noble aspirations so far as she was able. They “stored” their furniture, broke up housekeeping, rented their house, and, in 1877, entered Wayland Seminary, Washington, D. C. He remained there four years,
Page 243finished the normal course and received his diploma He took the theological course of studies there, and returned to his home, in Chicago, 1881, and was ordained to the work of the gospel ministry by a council composed of pastors and delegates from the churches of the city and vicinity, called by the Olivet Baptist church. Having contracted some debts in the prosecution of his studies, and his house having been sold to meet a part of this indebtedness, and not obtaining a support from his ministerial work, he sought and very readily obtained employment again in the shops of the West Division Street Car company.
After one year he was promoted to be foreman of the ironing and fitting department. He was the only colored man in this department, or indeed in the shops, and he had from seven to twelve mechanics under him and subject to his orders–all of them whites, of various nationalities.
The superintendent and master mechanic of the shops said to him: “You have attained your position in these shops by your merit, and not from having any individual influence or backing, or from any consideration of sympathy. Your color is not considered here, but your skill and ability, and if any of the men of your department refuse to respect and obey your orders, send them to the office.” He had no occasion to do this, for the men of the shop respected him and stood ready to resent any indignity that might be offered him on account of his color. Some one was heard once to say something about him and used the word “nigger” in the shops, and there was raised in all the shops such a feeling of indignation, and the inquiry from
Page 244one to another, “Who said it?” that whoever it was that used it was considerate enough not to let himself be known.
He united with the Knights of Labor in 1866, and was chosen by the men of the shops to represent them on the committee to settle the great Chicago strike of that year at the “stock yards,” and was elected judge-advocate of the Charter Oak Assembly of Knights of Labor, March 29, 1886. Being the only colored man in the organization, he was elected only because of his ability, and was reelected at the end of the year. During the stock yard strike he was one of those who suggested the formation of the “Chicago Co-operative Packing and Provision Company,” which held its first successful meeting January 2, 1887, and he was elected a director of the same. In February he was elected treasurer of the organization and gave up his position in the car shop. This organization has in running now a main office and a wholesale department, and several flourishing markets in different parts of the city. In 1886 he was elected a director of the Central Park Building and Loan association. December, 1886, he was sent as a delegate to the Cook County Political Assembly of the United Labor party; at the first assembly of the same, was chosen one of the executive committee. Was a delegate to the city convention of the United Labor party which met February 26, 1887, and was then put in nomination for alderman for the Thirteenth ward, to be voted for in the spring election.
I am proud of such men. What a hellish curse was slavery that a mind so strong, so ingenious as his should be
Page 245stunted and crippled by such treatment as was dealt out to the infant Terry, penned like a hog, neglected all day by a mother who labored in the field with an aching heart. Let the boys and girls of to-day thank God that slavery has been wiped from the face of our country and condemned by our statutes.
WILLIAM E. MATTHEWS, LL. B.
Broker–Real Estate Agent–Financier and Lawyer.
MR. WILLIAM E. MATTHEWS, the subject of this sketch, was born in the city of Baltimore, July, 1845. His father died when he was a boy at the age of twelve, and he at once assumed the responsibilities which devolved upon him as filling the place of a father. While in the city of Baltimore he was a prominent member of the literary institutions, especially the Gailbraith Lyceum, which wielded a wonderful influence at times. He was the agent of this society which had been organized by the loyalists of Maryland, for the purpose of assisting in the education and training of the colored people of the South, and especially of that State. As such, he traveled through the State, organizing schools and addressing the people on all questions which were intended to improve their morals, and encourage them to establish homes and enlighten them upon the duties of the new citizenship, which they had just received. In 1867 he became the agent of another body which was organized by Bishop D. A. Payne and others for the purpose of founding schools and building churches in the South among the freedmen. This work he
Page 247continued for three years, being engaged most diligently, speaking in many of the wealthiest and most refined churches in the East, such as Dr. Bellows’, Dr. Chapin’s, Rev. Dr. Adams’, Mr. Frothingham’s and Dr. Vincent’s and others of New York, and Drs. Cuyler, Storrs and the Plymouth church in Brooklyn. At Mr. Beecher’s church on one occasion, after speaking a few minutes he secured fourteen hundred dollars. His subscription book contained the names of such men as Henry W. Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, Oliver Wendell Holmes, William Cullen Bryant, James G. Whittier, which show to a great extent the appreciation of his efforts. In 1870 he severed his connection with the society and was appointed to a clerkship in the post office department by Hon. J. A. Cresswell. He is the first colored gentleman ever appointed in that department. In 1873 he graduated from the Law Department of Howard University. Previous to this he had devoted much of his spare time after office hours to business in real estate, mortgages, loans, bonds, etc., amassing considerable wealth, and gaining a great experience which befitted him for larger operations which he undertook in after years. He is a prominent man in the community, being one of the most liberal supporters of the 15th Street Presbyterian church, and has been a long time chairman of its board of trustees. Mr. Matthews is a gentleman of pleasing address and entertaining manners–a leading man, whose opinions weigh, and are always sincerely sought for in the interest of right. His devotion to the race is shown in his liberality and earnest efforts to improve their condition, and benefit the poor in any and
Page 248every way. Few things are discussed or attempted for good that they do not receive his cognizance. It is said that his first effort as a speaker was made when he was quite a boy, at a great meeting of the State loyalists held at the Front Street theatre, Baltimore, 1863, to discuss the question of abolition in the border States, Hon. John Minor Botts of Maryland, presiding. On the stage were a large number of leading Republicans of the South, including Hon. Horace Maynard of Tennessee; Thomas H. Settle of North Carolina; J. A. Cresswell, Judge Bond and others of Maryland. The theatre is said to have been packed by an audience of three thousand. When Mr. Matthews was called on to speak, he carried the house with a brief but enthusiastic speech, which was noted for the boisterous and enthusiastic manner in which it was received. He has some distinction as an orator, though of later years he has done very little speaking. In 1880 he was invited by a prominent gentleman of Boston to deliver a eulogy on the life and character of the Rev. John F. W. Ware, an eminent Unitarian preacher (white). He was pastor of the church in Baltimore during the war, and did much by his sterling work and great ability to strengthen the new cause and aid the colored people in emancipation and education. On this occasion the meeting was presided over by the Hon. John D. Long, Governor of the State. The audience was a notable one, including Edward Everett Hale, James Freeman Clark and Dr. Rufus Ellis, Dr. Foote of King’s Chapel, and the late Judge George L. Ruffin. An excerpt from that speech will show his estimate of this gentleman and also his style as a writer and speaker. Said he:
W. E. MATHEWS.
You know of his patriotic work for the soldiers in tent, field and hospital; of his sermons at our beautiful Druid Hill Park, where thousands of all climes, tongues, colors and conditions would hang on his words as he out lined some grand thought in a way which was charming and captivating to the simple as to the educated, on noble living, high thinking, or passionate devotion to one’s country; of his theatre preaching on winter nights, when he would, week after week, hold his audiences of two thousand spellbound, from the newsboys and shoeblacks who sat in the gallery of the gods, to the solid merchant or eminent judge who sat in orchestra chairs. All this you know, but I am not so certain that you know that to the colored people of the city and State he was our William Lloyd Garrison, because he was our emancipator; our Horace Mann, because he was our educator; our Dr. Howe, because a philanthropist; our Father Taylor, because a simple preacher of righteousnes; and our John A. Andrew, because of his inflexible patriotism. All this he was, and, I might also add the Charles Sumner, for statesman he was also, braver and greater than many who held seats in the great hall at Washington.
This speech was put in pamphlet form by a vote of that meeting. In 1881 the private business of Mr. Matthews grew to such proportions that he severed his connections with the post office department, in which service he had been for eleven years, and opened a real estate and broker’s office in Le Droit Building, Washington, District of Columbia, in which business he has met with great success. Few men among us understand so well as Mr. Matthews the true handling of money and the way to make it pay, as was shown in his able article in the A. M. E. Church Review for April, 1885, which the editor, Dr. B. T. Tanner, declares the most finished and exhaustive article on economic subjects that has ever yet appeared. The subject treated was, “Money as a Factor in the Human Progress.” The business integrity of Mr. Matthews is
Page 250one of which any man might be proud. His best indorsement is, that his check is good for ten thousand dollars at any banking house in the city of Washington. Since he has been in business he has handled one hundred thousand dollars belonging to colored gentlemen, among whom might be named Hon. Frederick Douglass, Bishop D. A. Payne, D. D., LL. D., James T. Bradford, Dr. C. B. Purvis, Dr. Samuel L. Cook, Dr. William R. Francis, T. J. Minton and Bishop Brown. Mr. Douglass on his recent departure for Europe closed his account with Mr. Matthews. It was then shown that he had handled over forty-nine thousand dollars of Mr. Douglass’ money. As an evidence of his appreciation of his business talent and strict honesty, he writes in these words:
William E. Matthews, Esq.
My Dear Sir: It gives me pleasure to inform you and all others, that in all the pecuniary transactions in which you have handled my money, you have given entire satisfaction, and I take pleasure in commending you to all my friends who may have occasion to loan money through your agency.
Very truly yours,
Washington, District of Columbia, September 3, 1886.
The office of this gentleman is visited by all persons of national celebrity who sojourn in Washington, and as he himself is widely known, we do not hesitate to say that the future has much in store for the man who began without a penny and to-day can be considered one of our wealthiest men, and besides this he has never been known to enter into a questionable business transaction of any
Page 251kind, maintaining his integrity, though many men have fallen far short of the expectations of their friends.
He is a natural financier, easily understanding all financial combinations; and were he a white man he would readily be classed with Sherman of America and Rothschilds of England. It is indeed gratifying to have the name of so distinguished a financier and broker, with such eminent abilities as a business man, to present to our readers. Success in business has not marked the pathway of many colored men, for lack of training while young. Had he depended on this, he too would have fallen by the wayside. In this respect we claim that his ability is natural more than acquired. It is refreshing to notice the high grade of intellect he possesses in this department of life.
REV. JAMES ALFRED DUNN PODD.
Superintendent of Schools–Editor–Brilliant Pastor.
REV. JAMES ALFRED DUNN PODD was a native of Nevis, a West India island belonging to Great Britain, leaward group, latitude 17 degrees, 10 minutes North, longitude 62 degrees, 40 minutes West. It is a little one, area 20,000 square miles, separated from the south end of St. Christopher’s by a channel two miles across. Its population about the time of his birth was 10,200 souls. He was born March 16, 1855. His parents moved to the island of St. Christopher when he was yet quite young. His father, a leading minister of the gospel in the Wesleyan Methodist church, in addition to a careful home training, endeavored to give him a liberal education. He was given the advantage of the best schools in the island where he was born and raised. In St. Kitts he pursued a preparatory course, graduating from his academic course quite young, and gave promise at a very early period of becoming a brilliant scholar.
With the view of preparing himself for the ministry in the Episcopal church, he went to England to take a more
Page 253extended course of studies in the venerable and highly cultured educational centers of the mother country. Being admitted into a collegiate school under the patronage and management of the Church of England, he received a literary and classical education that shone brilliantly in his life as a scholar, and adorned so beautifully the work he did in the pulpit and on the platform. He was strongly attached to the institutions and forms of service in the Episcopal church (from cultivation, no doubt, while pursuing his studies in the institutions of learning under the Church of England, and from being in constant attendance upon its services), and this would assert itself often in his manner of conducting his pulpit services, even after he had connected himself with a church whose simpler rites and plainer forms of service showed such a marked contrast.
Leaving England he returned to his home in the West Indies, seeking a field for his future labors. He was tendered and accepted of appointments under the civil government of his island home, in connection with the department of education, being at one time superintendent of schools for the island. His inclination and taste for literary work induced him to accept of the editorship of a journal that was published on the island in the interest of education, literature and religion. In these various capacities he showed aptitude and ability, and gave to the interests of his people, the islanders, the vigilance and care his talents and education so well fitted him to do.
However useful he may have been in these spheres of service, God had a higher calling for him, and so ordered
Page 254his providence toward him that he should find that to “go preach the gospel” was for him the life work.
The death of his mother, and other unfortunate occurrences in his home life, so completely upset all his cherished plans that he could no longer content himself to remain at home in the West Indies. Thus unsettled, he turned his eyes toward the continent of North America, and leaving his island home and the scenes and associations so familiar and dear to him, he came to Canada. There he connected himself with the British Methodist Episcopal church, and entered its ministry, served in the pastorates of several of its congregations.
Having undergone a change of view upon the ordinance of baptism, he united with the Baptist church at St. Catherines, Ontario, and received from the church a call to its pastorate. Having served that church for a short time, his talents soon attracted the attention of other churches, and the Baptist church of London, Ontario, was the next to extend him a call. Having been previously recognized as a minister of the Baptist denomination by a regularly constituted council called for the purpose, he accepted the call to the pastorate of the London church, and served it two years. December, 1881, he received a call from the Olivet Baptist church, Chicago, Illinois, which he accepted on February 1, 1882. The Bethesda Baptist church having been organized in the south part of the city, a new field and a new congregation was opened for him, and in February, 1883, he took charge of the congregation that had been organized for him. Under his leadership its membership commenced immediately to increase, and his preaching
Page 255attracted large congregations to its services. His pulpit ministrations were of marked ability. The increased interest in his ministry, and the growth of his congregations occasioned several changes of location and removal to more spacious quarters for accommodations to meet their demands, for his preaching, polished in literary finish as it was, was yet clear and forcible in its presentations of the truths of the Bible, and continued to increase in popular favor.
The financial strain occasioned by the expensiveness of the temporary occupancies, determined the pastor and his little flock to begin the purchase of property and the erection or purchase of a house for a permanent church home. This enterprise drew out and put into exercise his fine pastoral qualities as an organizer, and resulted, after an heroic struggle, in the settlement of the church in its neat and well furnished quarters, in the pretty little chapel at the corner of 34th and Butterfield streets.
The strain on both pastor and flock was very severe, and hastened his death. The last time I saw him was at the Baptist National convention, where he read a paper on the subject of African mission. It was evident that his heart was filled full of the work, and indeed his remarks impressed the convention, because of his earnestness and zeal in this department of Christian labor. At the close of his remarks he made a very strong appeal to the convention to contribute to the cause through Rev. T. L. Johnson, the missionary. Mr. Podd would impress one as intellectual from his personal appearance. His classic countenance was interesting, and his health being at the
Page 256time very feeble, he gave one the impression of a man able to meet the demands of any occasion when in full health. It could be seen then that he was near the end of life, and his words for this reason had the more weight and secured careful attention.
He was not narrow in the exercise of his gifts and talents, but with a large heart and generous nature, he laid his hand to every good work for the uplifting of his race and the cause of humanity.
Death cut short his earthly labors at Jacksonville, Florida, on Thursday, December 23, 1886, in the thirty-second year of his life.
HON. HENRY WILKINS CHANDLER, A. B., A. M.
Member of the State Senate of Florida–Capitalist–Lawyer–City Clerk and Alderman.
OCALA, Florida, is proud of the Hon. H. W. Chandler, whom she honors so often in sending him to the State Senate.
Reared in a State in which there was little or no discrimination, he enjoyed excellent school advantages. His father has been for many years a deacon in a white Baptist church and superintendent of the Sunday school; it can be seen, therefore, that he has had little of the embarrassments of life which go to make difficulties for young colored men.
He was born in Bath, Sagadahock county, Maine, September 22, 1852. He pursued the usual course of studies in the common schools of his native city, graduating from the College Preparatory Department of the High school in June, 1870, and the following September entered Bates’ College, Lewiston, Maine, where he graduated, in 1874, with the title of A. B. September, 1874, he entered the Law Department of Howard University, Washington. D. C., and at the same time became instructor in the
Page 258Normal Department of the same institution. He pursued his law studies at the university and privately till June, 1876. He went to Ocala, Marion county, Florida, in October of the same year and engaged in teaching. In 1878 he was on, examination, admitted to the practice of law. In 1880, was nominated and elected State Senator for the Nineteenth Senatorial district, comprising the county of Marion. At the expiration of his term, in 1884, he was renominated and elected for a term of four years.
Mr. Chandler was a delegate to the Republican National convention in 1884, and has been prominently connected with the Republican State and Congressional committees. Since he entered politics, in 1878, he has held various positions of honor and trust–clerk and alderman of his adopted city, Ocala; delegate to the recent State Constitutional convention, in 1885.
October 2, 1884, he was married to Miss Annie M. Onley, a teacher in the Staunton Grammar school, Jacksonville, Florida, and the daughter of Mr. John Onley, a prominent contractor and builder in that city.
Mr. Chandler still resides in Ocala, Florida, where he wields a very large and powerful influence, politically and socially. He is deacon of the Mount Moriah Baptist church of that city, and was baptized by Rev. Samuel Smalls, now deceased.
He had the good fortune of meeting true and staunch friends in the persons of Watson Murphy, F. C. W. Williams, Reuben S. Mitchell and others, who have always been devoted to his interests. The writer was a resident of Florida, and was largely instrumental in Mr. Chandler’s
Page 259settlement in that State. Having gone there first, he invited Mr. Chandler, with another friend, to make their homes in that State, and here, in this volume, I wish to testify to the generosity, the whole-souled respect, which these gentlemen have shown, not only to Mr. Chandler but to himself, as they are men made in uncommon moulds. No better men live; they are as true to a friend as the needle to the pole, and can only be spoken of with tenderness and love.
Mr. Chandler had only two dollars and one-half in his pocket when he settled in Florida, but by hard work, honest methods and kind treatment to all with whom he came in contact, he has been enabled to secure a vast amount of property, and to-day his real estate is worth probably twenty thousand dollars.
Senator Chandler is a man of fine scholastic taste, discriminating in his choice of books and of the subjects which he treats. He is already a successful lawyer. As a politician he is shrewd, calculating and far-seeing. His speeches are specimens of eloquence, rhetoric and polish; in every case a subject is exhausted by him before dropped. He generally anticipates his opponent’s argument, and so presents them that he would be ashamed to use them afterwards. His style is both analytical and synthetical. His life is an inspiration for those who come after him.
REV. THEODORE DOUGHTY MILLER, D. D.
The Eloquent Pastor of Cherry Street Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania–A Veteran Divine, Distinguished for Long Service.
THE subject of this sketch was born of Henry and Sarah Miller, in the city of New York, September 19, 1835. He was a very bright and active boy, whose winning ways won him many friends, who have maintained their pleasant relations for many long years. When he began studying he was a pupil of the well known teacher, John Patterson, of colored school No. 1, where he remained for ten years and secured an excellent common school education. In July, 1849, he was examined, passed and received a certificate as a teacher, and at once entered upon his profession, becoming first assistant in the Public High school. He was brought up in the Episcopal church (St. Phillips), was confirmed and became a member of the choir for many years. Though privileged, he was conscientiously opposed to accepting communion, and left that organization to form a part of the newly organized church of the Messiah, also Episcopal, under the rectorship of Alexander Crummel, D. D., who is now rector in the City of Washington, District of Columbia. His father died when he was
Page 261an infant, and his mother was very suddenly called away when he was about sixteen years of age, leaving him alone in the world to fight the battle of life. He had an older brother, but he had gone many years before to California when the popular rage for gold was at its height, and never returned, being lost in the wreck of the steamer Golden Gate.
From 1849 to 1851 he spent his evenings and Saturdays as a pupil of the St. Augustine Institute in the study of the classics, determined to thoroughly equip himself to make a mark in life. During a revival of religion at the Baptist church he was converted and brought to the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Though uniting with no church, not being able then to reconcile the Baptist views of baptism and church fellowship with his own, he determined to study all the creeds and compare them with the Bible so as to stand on a Bible platform and defend himself in his religious views against all encroachments and entreaties from the many who were seeking his services, both in the church and Sunday-school. In the year 1851 he left New York City to assume charge of the public school in Trenton, New Jersey, which he held for years, during which time he united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth P. Wood of that city. He made himself useful in the formation of a young men’s association, and in the choir and Sunday-school of the Mt. Zion A. M. E. church, his religion being of that liberal nature which constrained him, regardless of their names, to aid in any way the onward march to Christ. In the year 1856 he left Trenton, New Jersey, and took charge of the public school at Newburgh,
Page 262New York, during which time, as a result of much study and prayer, he decided to accept the views of the Baptists, believing them to be in accordance with the Bible; and his wife, also having just been brought to a saving knowledge of Christ, accepted the same views, and they were both baptized February 22, 1857, in the Hudson river. He at once felt impressed to do something to advance the interests of his Master’s kingdom. Having felt keenly the loss of several years service in a decision as to Bible views, he joined the Shiloh Baptist church, but they having a white pastor, and he being naturally jealous of his abilities, which were noticed and which led to frequent invitations to participate publicly in their services, every obstacle to advancement was put in his way. But despite the pastor’s opposition he was chosen as a teacher, then superintendent of the Sabbath-school, then a trustee of the church, then a deacon of the church. But here the pastor determined must be the limit; he was rising too fast. But Mr. Miller was determined not to be outdone. He opened his own house Sabbath afternoons and preached each Sunday night, or rather exhorted, for they had refused to license him. He was sent by the church as its messenger to the American Baptist Missionary convention, held at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with the request that they hear him preach, and if they approved, license him. They gave him a hearing, which was highly satisfactory. It being out of their province to license him, they sent back a unanimous recommendation to that church to at once grant him the license, and stated to the candidate that if they refused to so do, that he should sever his connection and unite with the
Page 263First Baptist church (white), who, knowing his abilities and prospects of usefulness, had promised to give him a license. Fearing to rebel, they granted the license. He continued speaking and teaching in all the churches until 1858, when he received a call from the Zion Baptist church of New Haven, Connecticut, which he accepted. He was ordained to the gospel ministry January 19, 1859, at the Concord Street church, Brooklyn, New York, by the unanimous decision of a large council, composed of many white men, who sought, though vainly, to retard the progress of the rising young colored man. His fame spreading, reached Albany, where the field being barren and long a desert, they desired an active young man; so they extended him a call, which after deliberation and prayer he accepted. Bringing the church up by gracious revivals, he remained over five years, a longer period than any preceding pastor for twenty years, and leaving only against a strong and united protest and tears. During this time he fortified himself with a full course of theological studies, under the tutelage of that noted scholar and preacher, Dr. E. L. Magoon, whose pulpit, with those of several others (all white), he often occupied, often exchanging pulpits.
In 1864 he was invited to visit Oak Street Baptist church, West Philadelphia, with a view to their pastorate. While there the Pearl Street church, the old mother church organized in 1809, which has had but four regular pastors, situated on Cherry street, also invited him to spend a Sabbath with them with the same view, after which calls were extended to him from both churches, and he accepted that of the latter, beginning services with
Page 264them August 1, 1864, in whose service he still remains, the oldest pastor in continued service in the city, but one. During his pastorate, the membership has been quadrupled, he having baptized over six hundred in the successive revivals, the largest of which, in the history of the church, occurred in the spring of 1886, in his twenty-second year of service, among whom were two of his own children, a son and daughter having previously been baptized, making four of his children in the church, a blessing accorded to but few pastors. His oldest son is a very eminent musician and is the organist of the church, and also clerk in Wanamaker’s great clothing establishment, his oldest daughter being accomplished in the manufacture of fancy hair work and a dressmaker, while the other two are fitting themselves for positions of usefulness. During his long pastorate many calls have been extended to him, some with larger salaries, among them the Nineteenth Street Baptist church and a position in the Howard Theological Seminary, all of which he declined. His progress has been really wonderful and crowned with success. Crowded audiences greet him every Sabbath morning to catch inspiration from his thoroughly prepared discourses. The other many offices he has filled prove the just appreciation of his gifts. He was for many years corresponding secretary of the American Baptist Missionary convention and is now recording secretary of the New England Baptist Missionary convention. On every occasion of note his services and voice have always been demanded. He has occupied more white pulpits than any other colored pastor in the city, and the first and only
Page 265colored man that by their own appointment was privileged to occupy the high position of preaching the introductory sermon for the Philadelphia Baptist Association–the oldest in the country, three years ago. By the united request of the Sunday school and church, he assumed, though reluctantly, owing to his own pastoral duties, the charge of the Sunday school. The wisdom of the choice was manifested in the large revival breaking out in the school, from which over ninety were baptized and united with the church. He has also organized a church at Princeton, New Jersey, and has a branch of his own church at Germantown, and rendered them valuable assistance.
During his pastoral duties he has licensed and sent forth to the work of Christian ministry, Milford D. Herndon, missionary to Africa, Benjamin T. Moore, Ananias Brown, James Banks, Henry H. Mitchell, Benjamin Jackson and others. Our subject is admired by his flock, and faithfully upholds the doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ. Who can count the good of this man’s life; twenty-two years of true teachings has not failed to bless both teacher and pupils. The writer remembers a sermon which he heard him preach in 1870. The text was “God is Faithful,” and to this day it is just as distinct in his mind as it was the day he heard it. He is a man of oratorical powers, a clear reasoner, forcible writer and elegant talker; a man highly respected for scholarly attainments, strictest integrity, honor and common sense.
Recognizing the good qualities in him, a university conferred on him the title of D. D. A sketch of his life appears
Page 266in the ‘Baptist Encyclopedia’ by Cathcart, which pays him the following compliment:
Mr. Miller was appointed to preach the introductory sermon before the Philadelphia Baptist Association in 1879, the first colored man that ever occupied that position, and he was not placed in it by political power, but as a simple recognition of his Christian work. His sermon showed the propriety of the choice.
Mr. Miller is a man of scholarly taste. He is one of the best colored preachers located in Philadelphia, and his piety is of a high order. May he ever live to proclaim the riches of “His mercy” and the truth of that Saviour of souls and bring to his kingdom those who have wandered away.
J. D. BALTIMORE, ESQ.
Chief Engineer and Mechanician at the Freedmen’s Hospital–Engineer–Machinist–Inventor.
JEREMIAH DANIEL BALTIMORE first saw light in Washington, District of Columbia, April 15, 1852 His parents, Thomas and Hannah Baltimore, were free, the former a Catholic and the latter a Methodist. The boy, following the goodly walks of his mother, adopted the same faith, joining the Wesley Zion church and filling every position in the Sabbath school, from pupil to superintendent; also secretary of the board of trustees of the church, having united with it in 1866. He was a scholar in Enoch Ambush’s school for quite a while, but when he left could neither spell nor write his own name. He then attended the district public school. Prior to this he spent most of his time planting old tin cans and coffee pots in the ground for steam boilers. He would make so much steam and smoke that his mother would often be compelled to shut herself up in the house. After he had worked with the tins for a year or longer, he weighted the tea-kettle lid down with a flatiron, and succeeded in generating sufficient steam to raise the lid and produce a noise by its escape
Page 268that caused everybody in the house to predict that he would soon blow his head off, if he didn’t stop such dangerous pranks.
One day he told his mother that he would get to be an engineer, but she said, “No, my son, it takes a smart man to fill that position. I am sure there is no way for us to get you through school.” He said he could go through, though his skin was dark.
His further experiments consisted of a piece of stove pipe and old brass bucket hoops, etc. With these he made a steam boiler, to which he attached an engine that he had constructed, but it would not work. It was highly spoken of by all who saw it. The Rev. William P. Ryder placed it upon exhibition in the Wesley Zion Sabbath school. It was then placed on exhibition in the United States Treasury department, and was examined by the officers and employees, who pronounced it the work of a genius. This so encouraged him, he tried to make a better one; he took a piece of soft brick, cut the shape of the wheel and of other details deep enough to hold the molten metal. Then taking an old flower pot and lining it thickly with clay, he thus succeeded in melting his brass with an ordinary fire in the kitchen stove. With the aid of a file, a pair of old shears and an old knife used for a saw, he finished his engine, which was a horizontal high pressure one with a tubular boiler. The engine was first placed on exhibition in the public school, in the room of which he was then a pupil. It was carried to the patent office, and by the aid of Anthony Bowen, a very distinguished colored member of the City Council of Washington, the attention
Page 269of the public and the press was called to it. One morning soon after, an article appeared in the Sunday Chronicle, headed like this: “Extraordinary Mechanical Genius of a Colored Boy.” This boy desired to do something to further his own cause, and one day seeing the people going into the President’s house, he was bold enough to send the paper with the sketch in it to the President. When the usher returned he announced that, as it was “Cabinet day,” the President could not be seen. Not having any idea that the President would become interested in the matter, the boy had started out with the crowd. Soon, however, the usher called him and said: “The President wants to see you, young man.” He went in and found General Grant with his feet on the desk and a cigar in his mouth. He turned to him and inquired if he was the young man of whom he had just been reading. To this the boy, being put at his ease by the kindly manner of the general, replied, “I am, sir.” The general said: “You must have a trade,” and handed him a card with these words on it:
Will the Secretary of the Navy please see the bearer, J. D. Baltimore. I think it would be well to give him employment in one of the United States Navy yards, where he can be employed on machinery. Please see statements of what he has done without instruction.
U. S. GRANT.
This card he presented to the Secretary of the Navy and was immediately appointed as an apprentice in the department of steam engineering at the Washington Navy yard, where the prejudice was very strong, and after standing it a few months, he complained of his treatment, and Professor
Page 270John M. Langston interviewed the Secretary of the Navy who said to him: “Young Baltimore shall go to another navy yard if you desire it.” He was transferred to the Navy yard at Philadelphia, where he studied very hard. He was ostracized by the men, who told him that the President might send him there, but couldn’t make them show him anything; and there were very few of the men who would have any friendly dealings with him. But he would arise at 4 o’clock in the morning and study until it was time to go to work. He would study all the dinner hour and late at night. He was admitted to the Franklin Institute at Philadelphia, being the second colored man enjoying that privilege. The chief assistant engineer noticed his close application to the duties of the shop and scientific studies, and on one occasion, when lecturing to the apprentice boys, Chief Engineer Thompson of the department of steam engineering, asked this question. “How many of you can tell the strength of a steam boiler by mathematical computation? Can you, Baltimore?” He answered “Yes, sir,” and from that moment the hatred of the men and boys increased. They would nail his coat to the wall, steal his tools and destroy his books, and do everything that would make it unpleasant for him, but he still held out. He graduated from this department obtaining his certificate, which contained these words:
UNITED STATES NAVY YARD.
To all whom it may concern:
This certifies that Jeremiah D. Baltimore of Washington, District of Columbia, has served as an apprentice to the United States in the Machinists’ Department at the Navy yard at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for the term of three years and six months, and until he had arrived at
Page 271the age of twenty-one years. During that time his general character has been very good. His proficiency in both trades very good. His term of apprenticeship is hereby honorably closed.
JAMES W. THOMPSON, JR.
Given at the Navy yard at Philapelphia, this fourth day of December, 1873.
G. F. E. EMMONS, Commandant.
J. W. KING, Chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering.
September 6, 1873.
He was then detailed to go to the Naval station at League Island on the Delaware river, to assist in repairing four of the United States monitors. When it became necessary to reduce the force, he was placed in the front ranks. He then took a position in charge of a large mill, receiving twenty-seven dollars per week, but after awhile the work was stopped, and the firm paid him ten dollars per week, which he accepted for a few weeks and then concluded to seek employment in one of the machine tool manufacturing establishments in Philadelphia. He tried Cramp & Sons, who did a great deal of work for the government. They said, “Mr. Baltimore, we have heard of you and would like to employ you, but if we do, all of our men will leave us, as they refuse to work with colored mechanics.” It can be seen that prejudice existed in the North as well as in the South, for a colored man can find work in the South. He then went to Sellers & Brother six times, and five times he was put off with all sorts of excuses. The sixth time he was refused at first, but insisted that he wanted work, not because he was a colored man, but because he could do the work. After some deliberation they concluded to give him employment. He held
Page 272this position until he resigned on account of ill health. Returning to Washington, May 29, 1872, he was married to Miss Ella V. Waters, to whom he owes much of his success. In a private letter to a friend he said once: “She is to me what the governor is to a steam engine, or the helm to the ship.” After he was married he opened a general repair shop, which he carried on for twelve years. He has been employed as engineer of the United States Coast Survey at Washington, District of Columbia, and at this writing holds the position of chief engineer and mechanician at the Freedmen’s Hospital, Department of the Interior, Washington, having been appointed August 2, 1880.
Mr. Baltimore has realized from his labors about five thousand dollars. He is the inventor of a pyrometer, which was on exhibition in the colored department of the New Orleans Exposition. He is a member of the Mechanics’ Union in Washington, and at a recent meeting, the two bodies came together, one which has only white members, and the other which has both. Mr. Baltimore at this meeting made a speech and criticised very severely the white class, which forced the president to say that one year from now the constitution of his Union would not have that clause in it. Mr. Baltimore is interested in every subject that touches his race, and has lectured very frequently for the benefit of churches, upon the subject of heat, steam, and other scientific subjects. His triumphal success over many severe difficulties marks him as a man of genius, firmness and talent.
J. R. CLIFFORD, ESQ.
THERE are but few names in West Virginia well known to the public; but among these stand prominent Editor Clifford. He is progressive, independent and ambitious. He is a native of the State, having been born at Williamsport, Grant county, West Virginia, September 13, 1849. When quite a lad he was taken to Chicago, by the Hon. J. J. Healy, and given a rudimentary education. In early life he followed the barber’s trade, and not being satisfied with a little learning he received in Chicago, he went to Zeno, Muskingum county, where his uncle dwelt, who sent him to a school taught by one Miss Effie McKnight. In this place he attended a writing school taught by Professor D. A. White, from which he took a diploma in that art. In 1870 he went to Wheeling, West Virginia, and conducted a large writing school with nearly one hundred attendants; in the years 1871, ’72 and ’73 he taught a similar school at Martin’s Ferry, Ohio. Not yet satisfied with his attainments, he attended Storer College, at
Page 274Harper’s Ferry, graduating in 1878. He was called to the principalship of the public school at Martinsburg, West Virginia, which he held for ten consecutive years, and only resigned to give attention to the Pioneer Press, a vigorous, influential journal which he so ably, fearlessly and consistently edits. The Republican party has had a strong friend in him. Being delegate to the State convention in 1884, he was elected a delegate to Chicago by a majority of fifteen, and the white delegates went around to the several delegations and persuaded them to withdraw their votes from him after the vote had been cast and counted, thus defeating him. This outrage was not forgotten, and the metal of the man is shown, who, when he had an opportunity, paid these men back in their own coin. Mr. N. H. W. Flick, a white Republican, was leader in the defeat of Mr. Clifford, and in the last congressional election he was nominated by the Republican party, but was bitterly opposed by the Pioneer Press, which defeated him. They have indeed cause to fear such a man, who not only has power and influence to back him, but who will stand up for his rights and accept nothing which reflects upon his race. As a delegate to all the conventions of the State, he has many opportunities to give as well as to take defeats. I first made the acquaintance of this gentleman in the Knights of Wise Men Convention, held at Atlanta, Georgia, where he delivered the oration of the day. In that body were Hon. F. L. Cardoza, Bishop H. M. Turner, D. D., LL. D., Hon. Richard Gleaves, J. W. Cromwell, the eloquent R. P. Brooks, now dead, and some of the most gifted men of the country. Mr. Clifford was but little
Page 275known to many of us. On the cars going from Nashville, Mr. Brooks said to Mr. Cromwell, “Who is that over there?” pointing to Mr. Clifford. Mr. Cromwell answered it was the orator. Brooks laughed in his hearty way and replied it would be a hard oration, and he wanted to be absent when it took place. Brooks himself was totally unassuming, however, and was also one of the most polished orators of the Old Dominion, yet when the speech was heard, the house was electrified, and Brooks led the movement in securing a contribution to present Mr. Clifford with a gold-headed cane, which was presented in the State house by Lawyer William H. Young of Nashville, Tennessee, in a very elaborate and complimentary speech. Mr. Clifford has delivered many orations since. As honorary commissioner of the colored department of the New Orleans Exposition he served his State faithfully and did all in his power to aid the general work. When only sixteen years of age he enlisted in the United States heavy artillery (Kentucky), Company F, and served as a corporal, but finally appointed nurse in a hospital, serving there until the war ended, when he was mustered out at Louisville, Kentucky. He studied law under J. Nelson Wirner, in the city of Martinsburg, and has had some success as a lawyer. Fortunate in his marriage, he is now on the road to success, and has accumulated a little capital as a basis for competency. One John T. Riley of Martinsburg, West Virginia, editor of the Herald, and who is described by the Independent as “a young man with a downcast look and a pusillanimous nature,” and having “a mean, uneasy countenance,” saw fit to make an
Page 276attack on Mr. Clifford. Some comic writer has said: “It pays to have a few redhot enemies, as it always develops a few redhot friends.” It proved true in this case, as the following, taken from the columns of the Independent, July, 25, 1885, conclusively proves:
Riley is envious of the good reputation and high standing of Professor J. R. Clifford, the brainy and intelligent principal of the colored schools; and for several years, through running a Republican organ, has endeavored to asperse his character and discharge him from his position. In every effort he has been defeated, although we are reliably informed, in the last proceeding his associate, Tolliver Evans, threatened never to vote again for the members of the Board of Education, which is amusing. The truth is, Clifford’s standing in the community is in advance of either Riley or Evans. Intellectually, and in the point of education, they will never reach his standard. Therefore, they envy this colored man and try to down him. It cannot be accomplished. His moral standing and his friendship with the leading men, best thinkers and most respected citizens cannot be assailed. We doubt if any man living in our midst can present a better certificate of character than the following, which, when handed the Board of Education, put to flight his accusers, viz.:
TO THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF MARTINSBURG:
Gentlemen:–The undersigned bear willing and cheerful testimony to the good character, correct habits and unquestioned moral standing and quiet, law-abiding qualities of Mr. J. R. Clifford, as a man and citizen. On none of these essentials can he be successfully impeached.
- CHARLES P. MATTHAEI,
- C. R. O’NEAL,
- WILLIAM GERHARDT,
- J. NELSON WISNER,
- JOHN N. ABELL,
- F. M. WOODS,
- J. A. HOFFHEINS,
- R. H. PITT,
- A. S. HANK,
- R. C. HOLLAND,
- JOSEPH E. BERRY,
- Z. T. GROVE,
- WM. MCKEE,
- HENRY WILEN,
- ROBT. DOUGLASS ROLLER,
- A. R. MCQUILKIN,
- J. S. BOAK,
- E. C. WILLIAMS, JR.
- R. A. BLONDELL,
- WILLIAM WILEN,
- S. N. MYERS,
- J. W. MCSHERRY,
- J. H. BRISTOR,
- C. W. DOLL,
- JNO. A. Boyer,
- S. H. MARTIN,
- BLACKBURN HUGHES,
- GEO. S. HILL,
- W. L. JONES,
- LEE M. BENDER,
- H. A. FRAZER,
- C. W. WISNER,
- C. O. LAMBERT,
- GEORGE KNAPP,
- J. H. GETTINGER,
- KINSEY CREQUE,
- CYRUS H. WAYBLE,
- N. D. BAKER,
- S. L. DODD,
- GEORGE W. FEIDT,
- G. A. CRISMAN,
- J. T. PICKING,
- WM. S. HENSHAW,
- JOHN C. HUTSLER,
- I. L. BENDER,
- J. W. BISHOP,
- W. H. KEEDY,
- J. W. PITZER,
- W. A. PITZER,
- WM. H. CRISWELL.
The above list has the names of the ministers of the Protestant churches, the magistrates of the town, the mayor, sergeant, constable, president of the county court, president and cashier of the National bank, physicians, lawyers, superintendent of the town schools, ex-county superintendent, of the town school, ex-county superintendent, teachers, teller of People’s National bank, ex-sheriff, clerks of the county courts, and leading merchants. Such a certificate cannot be beaten in this town. The man who merits the esteem of such citizens is beyond the reach of the venomous pen of John T. Riley or his abettors.
WILEY JONES, ESQ.
The Owner of a Street-car Railroad, a Race Track and a Park–A Capitalist Worth About $125,000.
THE amount of enterprise shown in the life of the gentleman of whom I now write, is worthy of commendation. That an uneducated slave-boy should amass such wealth, is a surprise to many. His business tact and steady perseverance is marvelous. There are those who believe in luck, but sometimes no such thing can be seen in our lives; strive we ever so hard, live we ever so honest, labor we ever so faithfully, we do not seem to have that good fortune which many term “good luck.” Of course there is no such thing as luck; all success is the result of qualities within, labor expended or fortuitous circumstances, brought about, perhaps, by what might seem to be an accident, or because of circumstances over which we have little or no control. Mr. Jones can content himself with the thought that an over-ruling power has thrown this money into his hands that he may do some great and lasting good with it. Surely his name could live long after he is dead if he would contribute to the special aid of his race in some direct manner.
His young life began in that State which had such severe regulations for Negroes in slavery days, that it was considered the place where they should be sent when they were refractory. He was born in Madison county, Georgia, July 14, 1848. His parents, George and Ann Jones, are both dead. At five years of age he was taken to Arkansas. and waited on his master, Fitz Yell, and performed the duties of a houseboy, and drove the family carriage. This he did for two years or more. Then he followed his master into the Federal army during the war. After that he went to Waco, Texas, and drove a wagon from the Brazos river to San Antonio, hauling cotton to the frontiers. After a while he returned to Arkansas and worked on a farm at twenty dollars a month. By this time it was 1868, when he began working at the barber’s chair, and continued thereat until 1881, when he went into the tobacco, cigar and other businesses, which realized him this very large fortune of which he is now possessed. His brother, who is faithful to his interests, managed the business for the first two years, while he was working at his trade. Mr. Jones had no school training, and consequently his education was very limited. He had to rely entirely on what he could pick up through life, as he came in contact with men and things.
This school of adversity is often the best teacher for some men, for really good men are often spoiled by trying to give them what is vulgarly called education, and the truth of the matter is they would be much better and more properly educated if they felt the conflicts which come to those who battle with the world against the
Page 280many adversities common to life. He extended his operations by securing the charter for the street car line in the city of Pine Bluff, where he now lives. This was secured August, 1886, and he had one and one-quarter miles completed and ran the first car on October 19, 1886, the first day of the annual fair of the Colored Industrial and Fair Association, of which he is also treasurer. He is also the sole owner of the grounds the fair was held on, and of the race track and park which covers fifty-five acres, located one mile from Main street. The street car stables, which cover forty by one hundred feet, are also located on the grounds.
He carries a stock of goods in his business of fifteen thousand dollars, and estimates his wealth at a figure not below one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars, which consists of his business, real estate and cash. He is also a great fancier of fine blooded stock, and owns a herd of Durham and Holstein cattle, and is also breeding trotting stock, the best of which is the noted stallion “Executor,” that has made a record of 2.24¼. On his farm he has about twelve choicely bred mares, and hires a professional driver to handle them, which insures him first-class handling and develops their speed to perfection.
Mr. Jones can be accounted as one of our most successful business men, and the only hope is that he will use his wealth wisely, and to the honor and glory of God. He has not yet seen fit to marry, and therefore has no one to whom he may look as the heir of the large property which he has accumulated.
J. H. BURRUS.
J. D. BALTIMORE.
J. R. CLIFFORD.
PROFESSOR JOHN H. BURRUS, A. B., A. M.
President of the Alcorn University–Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy and Constitutional Law–Teacher of Political Economy, Literature and Chemistry–Attorney at Law.
AFTER many struggles as a waiter in hotels and at other hard work, Professor Burrus has attained prominence among men, and has been called to the head of a very flourishing institution. This gives him the endorsement of the State officers of Mississippi. Regardless of political bias, he has maintained his position from year to year under the scrutinizing eye of a Democratic Legislature. These things show that worth is being recognized wherever found. The surrender of 1865 found James B., John H., and Preston R. Burrus with their mother in Marshall, Texas, with the remnant of Bragg’s Mississippi Confederate army. They were brought to Shreveport, Louisiana, thence to New Orleans, and afterwards to Memphis, Tennessee. Here John H., then a boy, found work as a cook on a stern-wheel boat. When opportunity presented itself for better things, he took advantage of it. About 1866 he removed to Nashville, where he worked hard as a hotel waiter, studying much of the time at night