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Title: Out of the Briars

An Autobiography and Sketch of the Twenty-ninth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers

Author: A. H. Newton

Contributor: J. P. Sampson

Release Date: June 14, 2022 [eBook #68319]

Language: English

Produced by: The Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)





Decorative imageAn Autobiography Decorative image


Sketch of the Twenty-ninth Regiment

Connecticut Volunteers

Decorative image


Member of the New Jersey Annual Conference of the A. M. E. Church

With Introduction by Rev. J. P. Sampson, D.D.

PRICE $1.25

Printed By
Printers and Publishers
631 Pine Street
Phila., Pa.

Copyright, 1910
By Rev. A. H. Newton



By the Author.

[Pg iv]


Preface vii
Introduction xi
My Life—Ante Bellum 17
My War Record and Sketch of the Twenty-Ninth Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers 29
My Ministerial Life and Labors 91
The Church; What It is. And what It Should Be 147
The Negro Problem 159
Sermons 175
Articles and Contributions 229
Resolutions, Etc. 255

[Pg v]

List of Illustrations

Rev. Alexander Herritage Newton Frontispiece
Rev. J. P. Sampson, D.D. 11
A. H. Newton in Military Uniform 29
Col. W. P. Wooster 33
Rev. T. J. Hill 43
Bethel A. M. E. Church, Woodbury 71
Rev. Alexander H. Newton—A young Pastor 91
Bishop Jabez P. Campbell, D.D., L.L.D. 95
Rev. Theodore Gould, D.D. 97
Bishop William Paul Quinn, D.D. 99
Bishop John M. Brown, D.D., D.C.L. 115
Rev. J. W. Cooper 117
Macedonia A. M. E. Church Camden 119
Bishop Henry M. Turner, D.D. 127
Rev. Joseph H. Morgan 143
Rev. Samuel G. Miller, D.D. 147

[Pg vii]


With no intention on my part to ever put in book form any matter concerning myself, many years ago I began keeping a daily account of the incidents of my life. I entered into this work conscientiously and let no day pass over my head without its record. I did this that I might improve myself and also provide for myself, family and friends, a record and reference. This work has grown into three large volumes. I have found this voluminous diary very valuable on many occasions, not only to myself but to many others.

My comrades of the grand old Twenty-ninth Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers, have frequently written me regarding persons and incidents of the Civil War, and brethren of the ministry have frequently consulted me through this diary for valuable information. This has led me to the conclusion that this knowledge would be more valuable and in better shape in published form.

So I determined that I would undertake the work of publishing my autobiography not in any[Pg viii] egotistical sense, but as an humble service to my race and an inspiration to the young people of my race.

I have named the book, “Out of the Briars,” because the figure is a befitting one in my own life. Although free born, I was born under the curse of slavery, surrounded by the thorns and briars of prejudice, hatred, persecution and the suffering incident to this fearful regime. I, indeed, came out of the briars torn and bleeding. I came out of poverty and ignorance. I did not have any of the advantages of the schools. I learned what little I know by listening to the educated white people talk. I picked up a great deal in this way.

I am sure, therefore, that this volume will be read with the kindly spirit in which it is written. I have told my life story, and am now seventy-two years on my journey through this world. I have but a few milestones further to pass, or it may be, not one more; but at any rate, the chapters of my life are about closed and I am ready at any time to answer the call of the Captain of my salvation.

I sincerely trust that this book will become an inspiration to the young men and women of my race, that they may copy my good qualities and shun my weaknesses. If, in a small way, this supreme end is accomplished, I am amply repaid.

[Pg ix]

I desire to acknowledge my obligations to the Rev. Samuel G. Miller, D.D., Rev. I. W. L. Roundtree, D.D., Rev. C. A. A. Greene, B.S.T., Rev. J. P. Sampson, D.D., Rev. George E. Bivins, D.D., Miss Alice MacParland, and my wife Lulu L. Newton, without whose encouragement, inspiration, advice and assistance, this book would never have been written.

“Take my life and let it be,
Consecrated, Lord to Thee.”

Alexander Herritage Newton, D.D.

[Pg x]

Rev. J. P. Sampson, D.D.

Rev. Dr. J. P. Sampson, a friend and contemporary, whose picture we present, though at that time a junior among them, he stood in the front ranks with Geo. Watkins, Douglas, Garnett, Langston and Phillips as an advocate for freedom, not only with eloquent speech but through his pioneer journal, The Colored Citizen at Cincinnati, making it possible for hundreds, some of whom at that time were slaves, since, themselves leaders, now declining, but who took their lessons from these men, he was largely depended upon by the anti-slavery leaders; scholar, author and advocate for civic righteousness, an exemplar and teacher, a standard for those who followed, an old guard, whose life with others are full of achievement, yet still active, cheerful and happy, editing “A Jolly People,” among other books, running thousands every year, few colored men are better known. He has the largest charity for an enemy, matures gracefully and without asperity; he has given his life of useful service to God and the race. A graduate from two or three of our greatest colleges, especially in theology and law, and filling for some years various positions of honor and trust in the civil service of the government, subsequently giving up all secular prospects, he entered and has been for nearly forty years in the active ministry of the A. M. E. Church.



[Pg xi]


To be requested to write an introduction to a book implies some acquaintance with, confidence in, and respect for, the writer thereof, on the part of the author of the book. Some authors solicit such a service because of the prominent position of the writer, rather than the thorough acquaintance which he has with the author. This may bring an added value to the book and some of the glow of honor to the author. But in this case, we are sure that the author of this book in no way sought such distinction or compliment; for like himself, the writer of this introduction, has come out of the same circumstances and conditions, and by the grace of God and his common sense, is what he is. Dr. Newton has selected a lifelong friend, a comrade in the toils and trials of this world, a co-worker in the great and common cause of humanity, and a brother-minister in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to present him and his autobiography to the public. We were boys together, and he was a schoolmate of my brothers, J. B. K. and Jos. Sampson, being taught by John Steward Stanley, and from that time to this good day, we have known each other as brothers.

[Pg xii]

Dr. Newton’s life has been, what we call a success, neither rich nor poor, but of easy circumstances. This is to his credit, for a man of our race to be on the middle ground between riches and poverty, proves that Dr. Newton has been a great economist in the things of value, such as money, time, ability and opportunity. He has wasted but little and husbanded what he had. We are often tempted to make wealth the basis of our greatness, but Dr. Newton has sought a much grander foundation, that of serving his fellowman. He is, therefore, ending his life career, not in sullen disappointment and poverty, not in the gloated greed of one dying rich, but with the conviction that he has done his work well and fought a good fight and that there remains for him an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled and that fadeth not away. The doctor has grown old gracefully. He is active in his labors, cheerful in his disposition, buoyant in his hopes, and confident in his faith. He is more than three score and ten young, not old; and he looks with the eye of a conqueror toward the glowing sunset of his life battles. Every day that he lives adds new joys to his hopes of a glorious immortality beyond the vale of tears.

This autobiography is the outgrowth of Dr. Newton’s carefully kept diary. It is the fruit of this life tree of his doings. Therefore, it is very[Pg xiii] valuable as the real unfoldment of a real life of constant action, habit and conduct. It is the practical realization of the ideals of the author—this indeed, makes it a real and true monument of his life. Some of these ideals made real, are a true and genuine charity; devotion to duty; a high sense of morality; a love of humanity; a loyalty to government; a hatred of sin and evil; a diligence in business; a faithful husband, father and friend. Like Bishop Henry McNeal Turner, he was too great to be little, and too humble to be great. He always seemed to be less than he was, the fulfilment was greater than his promises, the work greater than the plan. He was always the champion of the down trodden and the oppressed. He was ready to enter their cause with an army and to die with others for their welfare, or to go alone to his death. In all issues of right against wrong, Dr. Newton has been a Daniel.

After his war career, in 1872, Dr. Newton entered the ministry of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he has labored most faithfully to the present time. He has been a most successful preacher of the Gospel of Christ, and great builder of churches, in their membership and edifices. The Church never had a better Presiding Elder, beloved by all the pastors of fine executive ability and sympathetic and wise in his[Pg xiv] advice. He has had a remarkable success during the forty years of his ministerial life.

Before the war, Dr. Newton was a member of the Abolition Movement and did some daring deeds in liberating slaves. From that time on, he has been the faithful friend of the race, seeking in every possible way, to uplift them. He has ever been the staunch advocate of higher education for the masses and especially of the ministry. During the war, as his record herein shows, he was a daring soldier, doing what he could on the battlefield to liberate his race.

He was the trusted adviser of all his Bishops, Past Masters of Thirty-third Degree Masons, Supreme Prelate of the Supreme Lodge of the Knights of Pythias of North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia; Commissary Sergeant in the Civil War; in all these functions of service, he proved himself a worthy officer and servant.

Like Booker T. Washington, he has come up out of great struggles and trials and has made himself strong thereby. He educated all his children in the schools and colleges of our country; bought his own home and was successful in business lines, and last but by no means least, at the age of 70 years, entered the Bible College of Philadelphia and completed the regular course in that institution, mastering New Testament Greek,[Pg xv] Hebrew, Mental Philosophy, and the regular studies of the course. In 1909 he was honored with the degree of Doctor of Divinity from the same institution, a most befitting honor for such a man and such a life.

“Out of the Briars” ought to be a great inspiration to our young people, a real monument to this great man and great life, and a legacy of value to the race. Dr. Newton is an uncrowned Bishop, yet a real Bishop. He has been my faithful and consistent friend through all the ups and downs of my life. In poverty, adversity, in the times of need, he has been the friend, indeed. Whether as chaplain of a State Legislature or the humble pastor of a small church, he has been the same great man of God.

This book will be an ornament to every library as well as a most valuable acquisition thereto. “May his tribe increase,” is my prayer, and may our people follow this heroic and noble leader, to whom he has given his life of faithful, constant and unstinted service.

P. E. Boston District, Asbury Park, N. J.

May 15, 1910.

My Life—Ante-Bellum

I was born in Newbern, Croven St., Craven County, N. C., November the first, 1837. I was born under the regime of slavery, a free child, my mother being a free woman. My childhood was the ordinary child life, of the colored children of the South. As a mere child, I looked out upon the world as beautiful and felt that all men and women were good and kind. I did not know of the distinctions, classes, conditions and grades of mankind. But as I grew older these distinctions were forced upon my tender heart and burned into my mind. I gradually came to realize my said condition, although free, and the sad condition of my race. My father was a slave, so that in my family, I learned what slavery was, I felt its curse in my bones and I longed for an opportunity and the power to play the part of a Moses in behalf of my people. I suppose that this was the wild dream of every child born during slavery. The awful condition of my people, the steel shackles of slavery, the slave block of the market place where husbands and wives, parents and children, were[Pg 20] ruthlessly torn apart and scattered asunder, the whipping post, the slave quarters, the inhuman restrictions, such as denial of our own religious privileges, no ministers or churches of our race, no educational advantages to speak of, no social freedom among ourselves, these were some of the unspeakable conditions of my childhood life. But there was the bright and happy side of my life when a boy. With the thoughtlessness, the happy-go-lucky spirit of the boy, I entered into those plays and pleasures which make up the pastime of youth. I recall the many boys and girls, both white and colored, who were my mates in games and pranks. Like all boys, I had my little adventures, which were not always on the side of the right. One of the first practical lessons, I believe the first, that I ever had regarding the sterling worth of my mother I most vividly recall. Together with some other boys, we were guilty of stealing some peaches. It was not the proverbial watermelon this time. Fortunately we were caught by the proprietor of the orchard. It would be fortunate if all thieves were caught. I was taken in charge. I began to cry vigorously. I was asked what I wanted done with me. I begged to be taken home to my mother. This request was granted. Soon I was facing my mother. The[Pg 21] gentleman told her of my offense. I expected, of course, that my mother would in some way intercede and waited with breathless expectation for some defense or some excuse or some release from my awful predicament. But my heart sank within me when she said to the man, “I have no thieves in my family.” So I was led away to face some fearful ordeal, I knew not what. When a boy’s mother turns against him for his evil-doings, there is no hope for him. But my tears, cries and youth touched the man’s heart and after leading me away from home towards the jail for a distance, he released me with some good advice. I learned in that wrong-doing that I need never expect my mother to uphold me in the slightest departure from the right path. It was a wonderful lesson and I doubt not, had a fine effect on my entire life.

I recall another experience which was much more severe in a physical way. I was bound out to a white man, Jacob G. Gooding, and placed under his foreman, Henry E. Bryan. I was ordered to carry a bench some distance. Then the devil said to me, “You are not a horse, why should you be doing the work of a horse?” I said to myself, this is true. So I decided that I would not do the work of a horse. Well, he soon came to see what the trouble was and[Pg 22] found me and the bench together. He wanted to know why I had not obeyed his orders, I told him that I was no horse, that he could get a horse and cart and have that bench taken where he wanted it. We were soon in each other’s embrace engaged in a street fight. We were arrested and tried and sentenced to a whipping. Well, I was in for punishment, and being a free boy, the slave overseer nor his master could punish me. I was reported to my employer. The punishment decided on was forty lashes save one. So I was stripped and my employer plied the lash thirty-nine times. My back was lacerated and very painful and for three weeks I was unable to do any work. I suppose that I could have gone to work sooner, but I was determined that my punishment should cost my employer something as well as myself. It cost me thirty-nine lashes and the suffering and it cost him the loss of three weeks of my labor. This is but an illustration of the manner in which the colored people, even the free-born, were generally treated for their offenses. They were treated frequently worse than the brutes. For they knew that the Negro had enough intelligence to understand what his punishment meant and that the purpose of it was to reduce and keep him in perpetual servitude. This, of course, had to[Pg 23] be done by mere brute force. But as the result of slavery there were many young men of the race who learned well some trade. They were apprenticed, as in my case, to some good workman, for at least four years or more. At the end of that time they were efficient, practical workmen who, if free, could command good wages. So that hundreds of fine artisans came of slavery who were able to begin at once the laying of the foundation of the history of a free people. They took up their several trades, and for both races, turned their hands to every advantage. It should always be remembered that the magnificent civilization of the South as to its material wealth and prosperity, was built up by the slaves of the South. The cities, the country homes, the plantations and all their improvements, the planting, cultivating, and harvesting of the crops, all was done by Negro labor. So that there should be set over to the account of the Negro race, not only their own progress since the Civil War, but also the progress of the south for at least a century before the war. There is another incident in my life at this time which may be interesting and also illustrate something of the workings of that noted system of bringing slaves to the North. That system of exporting slaves is known in[Pg 24] history as “The Underground Railroad.” I was, of course, deeply interested in this means of travel in those days and tried to get all the passengers for this railroad that I could find. My boss-foreman, H. E. Bryan, had disobeyed his master and was threatened to be whipped. I assisted him to a place of safety. In all the slaveholders’ dwellings, slaves were employed in the house. They practically had full charge of affairs, and especially in the dining room, kitchen, etc. This part of the house was very seldom inspected, excepting to see that things were kept clean and orderly. Well, I dressed this slave up in a woman’s garb and conducted him through the streets to the house of one, Mr. Primrose, a man who stood high in the community, and held the confidence of all slaveholders as one of them and one of their defenders and supporters, a matter of course. I was successful in getting my charge safely into the kitchen. Then with the assistance of the slaves in charge of the kitchen, we placed him in the attic at the rear of the house, above the kitchen. Here we safely secreted him and here he was fed on the best of the land for a long while. There was a most diligent search made for the slave in the town and throughout the country. A reward was offered and he was advertised, but all to no avail.[Pg 25] He could not be found high or low. At last things quieted down and we found opportunity to put him on this mystic train and send him to a clime where he enjoyed his freedom. This was indeed a daring attempt of mine, but it was in me to do it with a great deal of delight. And from that day to this, I have been proud of this one feat of my boyhood life which was on the side of right and humanity.

In 1858 I was bound out to Mr. Jacob Gooding to learn the trade of bricklaying and plastering, in Newbern, N. C. I worked for him four years having thoroughly learned the trade. Having finished the course satisfactorily to Mr. Gooding, he gave me $6, a suit of clothes, set of tools, and a Bible, and the advice to be a good boy. Afterwards I worked for Mr. Eusten. Then I decided that I would quit work and seek new fields. The occasion of my coming to this decision was as follows: Mr. Eusten gave orders that I should work on the fourth of July. I made up my mind that I would not work on that day. Of course, this was disobedience and would have called for punishment. So I had to do something. I cleaned up my tools, packed them away, and on the fourth of July, 1857 left for Beaufort, N. C. There I went on board a schooner and became cook, receiving $7.00 for[Pg 26] my services. This schooner was en route for New York City. When I landed at pier 28 East River I had only my wages. I met a friend from the South, Mr. Alexander Hicks, and we arranged a plan by which I should escape from the schooner. He helped me with my trunk and we carried it to a horse car and landed at 100 Sands st., Brooklyn. I soon found my mother who had preceded me to the North. She was engaged in collecting money for buying my father’s freedom. She was aided in this work by the Abolitionists, among whom were Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, Rev. Henry Highland Garnett, Rev. Mr. Bennington, Mr. Arthur Tapin, Mr. Theodore Tilton and others. Mr. Timins, Kinsley, Thomas, and Robert Hamilton, Moses Coss, Ebenezer Chambers and others, assisted me in getting work. I was able to attend school some. While at school I made the acquaintance of Mr. William F. Powell, who has made his mark in the world and was honored by President McKinley with the position of minister to Hayti. Some of the other boys were Ben Myrs and Wash Parker, working against great odds and prejudice but aiming to make themselves an honor and credit to the Negro race. Many of these boys are now filling good positions and have made themselves honorable and law-abiding citizens.

[Pg 27]

In New York I worked some at my trade. But I did other work as I could find it. On the corner of Pack Slip and Water streets, I loaded trucks, chopped tea, weighed cotton, and I also did white-washing of houses (but thank God I have never white-washed evil doers), cleaned carpets and houses.

In 1859 I heard for the first time a minister of the A. M. E. Church, the Rev. James Morris Williams and the Rev. Geo. A. Rue, having also met Bishops Daniel A. Payne and William Paul Quinn. I was deeply impressed with the importance of making my life a means of serving God in the uplifting of my people. I was convinced even then that it does not follow that because our skins are dark and that we are identified with the Negro race that there is no chance for us to become potent factors in the uplifting of humanity and especially my own people; that a man should decide to do right and go ahead and God would certainly care for him all his days and give him the reward of all his labors. It is a great thing for a man to realize the responsibility of true manhood and let others learn this from his example. If these were my convictions in those dark days, what should be the feelings of young men of the race today, when the darkness of slavery has been changed into the light of liberty?

[Pg 28]

Sometime in 1860 Mr. Albert Storm requested me to aid him in getting his mother from the South. She was a slave. Millie, Sally, Ann and John Caraway were brought from the South, by the permission of the owner, by one Dolly Babb, to Brooklyn. Dolly said to my mother, “Now I am delivered from the devil out of hell. I am bound to serve my Heavenly Master and I shall serve Him well.” J. R. V. Thomas, William Isaacs, Rev. William Dixon, Paul Drayton, James Anderson, Dr. Peter W. Ray, Joe Bowen, Chas. H. Lansing, William Still, Rev. George W. Leveer and others, were a few of the men who were engaged in bringing slaves from the South and giving them their freedom. Men of grander qualities, morally, socially and religiously, I have never met.

In 1859 I was married, on June 16th, to Miss Olivia A. Hamilton, a daughter of Mr. Robert Hamilton, editor of an Anglo-African paper. Ada A. William Alexander and Mary Hamilton were born to us.

ALEXANDER H. NEWTON In Military Uniform Commissary
Sergeant 29th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers

ALEXANDER H. NEWTON In Military Uniform
Commissary Sergeant 29th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers

[Pg 31]

My War Record and Sketch of the Twenty-ninth Regiment

In 1861 when President Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 troops I engaged myself for the great Civil War, the War of the Rebellion. I went into the company of the Thirteenth Regiment, of Brooklyn. I went to the front, as the United States was not taking Negro troops. In 1862 there was a riot in New York City. The colored people were being dreadfully treated, being stoned, killed, and shown how despised they were even in the North. An orphan asylum (colored) was burned, having at that time three hundred children in it. I returned to Brooklyn under the command of General B. F. Butler, who had been ordered to put down the riot. While engaged in this mission I got into the very midst of the rioters. Soon they were after me. I ran through the streets of New York like a wild steer, while the rioters cried out, “Head the Nigger Off!” At length, I reached the New Haven boat which brought us safely to New Haven, Conn. While there I engaged at my trade with Mr. W. Clark. On the 18th of December, 1863, I enlisted in the[Pg 32] Twenty-ninth Regiment, of the Connecticut Volunteers, as a private. On March 8, 1864, the regiment broke camp and left New Haven for Annapolis, Md., with Colonel W. B. Wooster in command. On the next Sabbath after we reached Annapolis, I attended the Methodist Church and listened to a powerful sermon by Rev. I. J. Hill, he being an orderly to Colonel Wooster.

While in the camp at New Haven, Conn., we employed our idle time in discussing the great problems that confronted the country at that time. Lieutenant Seymour, Uncle Fred Moore, Horace Louden, Rev. I. J. Hill and myself were the participants in these discussions. The new party, the Republican, was then formed, the prime purpose of which was the freedom of the slaves. We were most frequently surmising and prophesying as to what would be the final outcome and the ultimate benefits to the Negro race. There were vital questions at stake then. The spirit of patriotism and the desire to lift oppression, were afire in every breast of every true American. It would be well for the many young Afro-Americans of today to remember that the supreme purpose of the Republican party when it was organized, was not only to prohibit the further extension of slavery, but to exterminate it as a system of barter and traffic. On the other hand, the Democratic party at that time was in favor of the[Pg 33] infernal system of slavery, and in our day, it is in sympathy with any movement that looks to keeping the Negro race in some kind of shackles. They are still in favor of keeping the Afro-American in slavery in some form. And they are succeeding reasonably well. For at last, we are forced to conclude that no man is really free unless he holds in his bosom the right of franchise and has received the liberty to exercise that right. Have the ten millions of Afro-Americans in the United States that right to-day? The answer comes from many States, NO!

COL. W. P. WOOSTER Colonel of the 29th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers

Colonel of the 29th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers

Inspired with the thought of Shakespeare, who said, “He who would be free, let him first strike the blow himself,” my bosom burned with the fire of patriotism for the salvation of my country and the freedom of my people. I was rejoiced when the Hon. Abraham Lincoln was elected President of these United States, and when it was my fortune to see him emancipate the millions of members of the downtrodden race. I shall never forget when I saw him riding through the streets of New York, with throngs of humanity on either side of him. He was on his way then to the inauguration at Washington, D. C. to assume control of the terror-stricken country and to take the reigns of government in his own hands. While it became necessary that blood should flow freely, I was reminded, that no sin is ever wiped out[Pg 34] without the spilling of blood. This seems to be a decree of High Heaven, even among the affairs of men. And God has made no exception to this decree, in the salvation of men from their personal sins. I was indeed willing to unite with the party, the Republican party and the abolition movement for their high and holy purposes, and to be associated with such men as Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, Rev. Henry Highland Garnett, Theodore Tilton, Lewis Tapen, William Still, of Philadelphia; Charles Sumner, Thaddeus Stevens and many other such men, whose platform was justice and right and freedom extended to all without regard to color or previous condition of servitude, and to enforce these rights and privileges even at the point of the bayonet.

At New Haven we had been promised $15 bounty on our enlistment, but this had not been allowed, no effort, it seems had been made to pay us this money, but we did not shirk our duty because we had not received our just dues. We had long been accustomed to such impositions; but we said that we would honor Old Glory, obey God, and contend for our prize, Liberty, and will contend in this conflict until the sound of clanking slave chains shall be heard no more in the length and breadth of this fair and goodly land, When kings, princes and nobles shall have been swept into merited oblivion and the Civil War[Pg 35] forgotten, posterity will catch the glowing theme of Liberty and enroll with rapture the names of those heroes who bought this boon with blood on the battlefield.

The regiment paraded the streets while multitudes looked with wonder, some laughing, others cheering, mothers with their babies in their arms, crying and holding on to their husbands, as they marched away to do battle for the noblest of causes. It was a scene never to be forgotten. We marched from Chapel street, where we embarked on a Government transport. As I went on board the vessel, mother, father, wife and children, ladies and gentlemen, of my friends, both white and black, were bidding me goodbye and expressing the hope that I might have a safe return. I cannot express the sobbing emotions of my heart, when I ungrasped the hands of these loved ones and friends and turned my face away from them, knowing that I might be going to my death and never again see them in this world.

When we reached Annapolis, Md., we were encamped three miles out of town. Here for the first time we put up our tents. It was cold and damp. We dug holes about two feet wide extending from within outside the tent, and placed sheet iron over these and in these small trenches started our fires. In this way we were able to have heat within and force the smoke outside.

[Pg 36]

The colored people in this place were afraid to speak to us. Their masters looked on us with contempt. On Sunday a reverend gentleman came into the camp to preach to us and we listened to a very interesting sermon. After remaining here for eight or ten days, we received orders to strike tents. We left for Hilton Head, S. C., arriving at this place April 16, 1864. We marched through the main street and went into camp with the Twenty-sixth, of New York. On May 25 the paymaster arrived at Beaufort, S. C., where the Twenty-ninth Regiment was at this time stationed, and our spirits were greatly lifted up when we saw him, for as yet we had received no pay for our services. But when we were told by him that we could receive only $7 per month each, for our services our spirits fell. So I, together with the rest of my comrades, was really disgusted with this failure on the part of the Government to give us a decent compensation for our work as soldiers. The officers advised us to take it and assured us that at the next payment we should receive our full compensation. We decided to follow their advice. We quieted our passions and went to work like good soldiers. My great desire was to get into contact with the Southern forces that we might be working out the decision of this great problem. I had no ill feeling for the Southern white people, some of[Pg 37] them had been my best friends; but this was not a personal matter, but a question of national issue, involving the welfare of millions, and my soul was on fire for the question, Slavery or No Slavery, to be forever settled and that too as soon as possible.

While the troops were at Bermuda Hundred having disembarked from the transport Alabama, I recalled an incident. When my father and mother were sitting at the table of my father’s owner, Master Park Custis, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Custis, saw a piece of pie on the table and started to help himself, without any formalities, my mother objected to his uncouthness, caught hold of him and would have handled him quite roughly, but my father caught hold of her and held her until the youngster got away with his prize. He was very insolent and insulting. It all came over me and I thought how I would like to find him at that time and administer the very flogging which my dear mother started to give him. I was indeed in a proper mood to have done it, if I had came across him. This is but a little illustration of hundreds of incidents that came into my mind when the army was in the South, and as I felt then, that I was duly protected. I confess that I had a burning desire to eke out some vengeance which for years had been pent up in my nature. But, of course, from the Christian[Pg 38] standpoint, this was all wrong. I was all wrong. I was then on a much higher mission than trying to get personal vengeance on those who had mistreated me and mine. I was fighting for the liberty of my people and the righting of many wrongs that belonged to their social and religious welfare. While I had not learned much of the laws of commerce and politics, I knew only a little of the arts and sciences, which I had picked up here and there, by an attentive mind, in mixing with the educated people of the South; I knew nothing of military science, but I had been watching the Southerners drill for several years seemingly getting ready for some unexpected conflict; but I did know that the time was fast approaching when a great problem would have to be settled by bloodshed, when I would be called on to make my life a personal sacrifice on the altar of my country and for the sake of my people. I knew that slavery and its inhuman machinery must be put out of existence and that the simple principles of liberty of thought and action in politics, society and religion must prevail. And, at this time, I was in the full realization of what it meant to be again in the South, not a cringing black man, but a proud American soldier with the Union and Old Glory behind, before, over and under me. I had heard, in the fifties, from the Southerners, that there would be a war and[Pg 39] that if any of the colored people aided the North in it, they would catch them and cut out their tongues and make them drink their mothers’ blood. Well, at this time, I was in the South to have my tongue cut out and to drink my mother’s blood if it had been necessary. But thank God, I helped to save my own tongue and my mother’s blood and my race! This is enough glory for me!

All the soldiers of the Twenty-ninth Regiment, although dark-skinned, felt the full responsibility of their mission. They were in the South to do, to dare, and to die. And while they had not been trained in military tactics at West Point and were backward in their movements, they had been to the armory of God and had received weapons of the heart, that made them daring and dangerous foes—men to be really reckoned with. And I am proud to say, that the history of the colored man in warfare has been an enviable one. He has always showed his patriotism by action, by deeds of sacrifice, by death itself. We had the same muscle, the same strength, the same heart, the same conscience, the same cause, the same right, the same liberty as the white man. We were fighting under the same flag and the same God. I remember the words of General Saxon, “Boys, if you want to make good soldiers you must look a white man straight in the face and let him know that you are a man.” This gave us fresh courage to press forward as soldiers to a certain victory.

[Pg 40]

On the 14th of August, 1864, a time long to be remembered with us, an oppressively hot day, we marched into Virginia. We were worn out, weary, thirsty, hungry, and completely exhausted. We were compelled to carry our blankets, knapsack, musket, and sixty pounds of cartridges. About 4 P. M. we reached the headquarters of General Birney, in the woods and encamped. I was so overcome with the heat that I fell to the ground and was soon asleep. We had no feather beds to lie upon, only the bare ground—but this bed always supplied by Mother Earth, was delightful this time for rest. We had for our dinner, breakfast and supper, half-done salt pork, which was placed on a stick and held over a blaze to warm it; hard tack, on which one could hardly make an impression with the teeth, and sometimes coffee, if it could be gotten. These were some of the hardships of the soldier and these were enough; but when you add to these the mental condition of many, such as myself, almost afraid of my own shadow, ready to shoot at anything that made a threatening noise,—I remember that I shot at the limb of a tree floating down the river, thinking that it was a rebel skiff with spies—it was a sore and trying ordeal. Every soldier was in constant expectation of surprises from the Johnnies, or rebels. Lee’s and Johnson’s army was near Buzzard’s Roost, in face of a rocky-faced[Pg 41] ridge, to pass him meant suffering and death. We were surrounded by Dutch Gap Canal, James River, over which we had to cross on a pontoon bridge, and Fort Hell to be captured and taken. But knowing that Generals Weitzel, Sherman, Doubleday and Butler had 35,200 men under them, we went bravely forward, determined that Old Glory should not trail in the dust.

We crossed the pontoon bridge near Deep Bottom and marching about two miles, halted in a corn field. Here we rested, but in momentary readiness for a call to action as the rebels were very near us. We were soon aroused and called to the fort at Malvern Hill. Here we entered into an engagement with the rebels and many were wounded, killed and taken prisoners. I had a very narrow escape and thought several times that “my time” had come. I remember a twenty-pound cannon ball coming towards me, I could see it distinctly through the smoke. It looked like it had been sent especially for me. I said quickly, “Lord, you promised that a thousand should fall at my side, but that it should not come nigh me.” It was quick praying, quick thinking, quick coming; but when the ball was within about three feet of me it struck the ground and bounded over my head. So I was saved. God’s promise was fulfilled in my case.

[Pg 42]

On the 16th we joined the Third Division, Tenth Army Corps, General Birney’s Brigade, composed of the Twenty-second, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Twenty-ninth, United States Cavalry Troops, numbering 5000 men. We took up our march for Jones’ Landing, recrossed the pontoon bridge under very disagreeable circumstances, rain, mud and slush, but we were thankful and cheerful; glad that we had not been killed, or wounded or taken prisoners, in the encounter just passed through. Again we camped in an open field and raised our tents, prepared our bacon and coffee and hard tack. We were soon ready to take a good night’s sleep. I remembered my loved ones and wondered how they were faring and my privations, but I found myself willing to undergo all this for the cause of liberty.

On the 17th we arose early and received word to advance. In a short time we were in a fierce battle. Our lieutenant colonel was wounded in the engagement. Again, I thought that my time had come. By some awkward movement, I was thrown into the line of the enemy. The Johnnies were very much excited and did their best to capture me, but I succeeded in getting back into the Union lines. I knew then that the prayers of my good old mother were being heard; for surely the Lord delivered me from the snare of the fowler and from the noisome pestilence. Our lieutenant[Pg 43] colonel had his horse shot from under him and Orderly I. J. Hill was wounded.

REV. I. J. HILL Orderly 29th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers

Orderly 29th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers

I prayed in this battle whenever I had opportunity to look towards Heaven, for grape and canister and bullets of all shapes and sizes were falling thick and fast about me. We were in close quarters with the enemy and our ranks were being thinned by reason of the wounded and dead lying on the battlefield. Although I came out of this battle pretty well shaken up, excepting for a few scratches, my life was on the altar for my country and my people, and I was not especially concerned as to the outcome regarding my own life; but I was determined to do all that I could to bring our cause to a victorious end. The Union forces moved back and remained all day about twelve miles from Richmond.

On the 18th, the Twenty-ninth Regiment, of which I was commissary sergeant, and the Third Division, moved down the valley, halting in the open fields for two hours. We were opposite the pontoon bridge which crossed the Chickahominy, and remained until the bridge was put in repair. While here I gave out hard tack and pork to the soldiers as best I could. For myself, I built a little fire and roasted a bit of pork over the fire, which together with water from the river, formed my meal. On the 20th we marched for the forts on the right of Point Rock Hospital,[Pg 44] near Petersburg. On the 21st we were almost flanked by the rebels and retreated to Malvern Hill and repaired the breastworks. Here we had another skirmish. Some lost their lives and others were wounded, but we were successful in capturing seventy-five prisoners.

On the 23d we crossed the James River on the pontoon bridge, passing the heights where the New Jersey Battery was stationed. They greeted us with shouts and “Hurrah boys! we are here to stay!” Such a round of cheers you never heard. You would not have thought that they were on their way to battle, and some to death and the Judgment Throne. Uncle Freddie Moore and Orderly I. J. Hill were the only preachers we had with us, excepting the chaplain. They used to say to us, “boys get ready, for if there ever were a time when you should be ready, it is now; for you do not know when you may be called to go, you are continually in death’s jaws.”

We were soon in front of Petersburg, Va., looking upon the doomed city. We were greeted by a shell from the rebels, or Grey Backs, as we sometimes called them. It fell near the colonel, who was sitting on his horse at the right of the brigade. We countermarched and fell back to the woods, where we remained until 5 o’clock, when orders were received from the general to fall back to the fort and protect the pontoon[Pg 45] bridge. On our way we met a lot of troopers making their way to the front, who wanted to know our reason for returning. We told them that the rebels were after us. It was very amusing to see them falling into line. Some of them could march faster than we. We reached the fort, but when we found that the Johnnies were not coming after us, we became anxious to see them and meet the issue. We found quite a number of our associates from New Haven and Hartford, Conn., and Woodbury, N. J. We were all delighted that our lives had been spared to see each other again in the flesh and chatted freely about our friends at home, our wives, mothers and children. I had often heard of the horrors of war, but now I began to experience what it meant, in the joy of meeting friends whom I never expected to see again on the earth, or at least some of them. There was a sense in which I had a new understanding of that marvelous passage of Scripture, regarding death, “Oh death, where is thy sting; Oh, grave, where is thy victory.” We had not yet felt the sting of death and we had not experienced the victory of the grave, yet we had been in the very midst of both.

Once again we marched in front of the horrible pit, Petersburg. Some of the whites said, see they are taking those colored soldiers to the[Pg 46] slaughter pen. Truly, they had said so, for I never saw such a scene the first night. Shot and shell were raining fast around us. Henry Migs, a native of Africa, was killed. He died as a soldier, true to his adopted country, but a stranger to God. I thought that every bullet was sent for me and was doing some real praying. We do not know what prayer is, until we are reduced to our extremity. Then we realize with a new experience, that our extremity is God’s opportunity. I told the Lord that He had promised to “Rescue the perishing and care for the dying,” and that I wanted Him to keep the promise of that song, so far as I was concerned. Well, praise His name, He did so. Thank God to-day that I am still living and permitted to write this bit of fearful experience, so others may know what it is to trust in God.

On the 24th, Private Sam Bertim, of Company E, was killed, having been shot through the head. Private George Porter was also killed. Colonel Wooster was taken sick and was carried from the rifle pits to the rear. The rebels captured one of our officers, while changing those on picket duty. Two men from the Twenty-ninth were slaughtered, they were members of Company A. The colored troops did some good fighting in this engagement. We were told by the enemy that if we were captured our tongues would be cut out,[Pg 47] or we would be starved to death; that there would be no exchange of prisoners in our case. So this was a rather fearful inspiration, but it served its purpose, of causing us to fight to the best of our ability; for we really feared that in case we were captured that such barbarities might be administered to us.

On the 1st of September we were ordered to strike tents and to move on, we knew not whither we were going. We did not care either, for now we were thoroughly enthused with the issues of war. We had tasted of the dangers of battle, and this taste brought out the desire that we should fight to the finish. Some of our dear friends had laid down their lives already, and we reasoned that if it should be necessary for them to give such a sacrifice, that we were no better than they. So in our judgment, we were becoming calm, and in our determination, we were becoming more and more fixed.

With President Lincoln and our great generals and loyal soldiers, we felt that the issue was assured. Of course we did not forget the divine side of the question, that God was on His throne and that right and justice and mercy would at last prevail. While it had always been said that this was a white man’s country, we were determined that the black man should share in this honor of ownership. And the best way that this[Pg 48] ownership could be established was through the loyalty of the black man on the battlefield. For surely it will be conceded that when a man has bought his adopted country by his blood, it is his own. While, as a race, the Negro race, this is our adopted land, yet as individuals, it is our native land, our fatherland.

The colored troops numbered at this time about 75,000. The Twenty-ninth Regiment, which was my own, formed the center. We were in line of march toward the city but were turned in our course and crossed the pontoon bridge, which landed us near the city of Petersburg. When daylight came we were on the Old Market Road and headed for Richmond, Va. We were very much exhausted and were hoping for a rest, when we heard the music of the bugle, which told us that our rest had come.

At this time it was dangerous for live things to get in our way, we were hungry for something besides hard tack, bad coffee and salt pork. We wanted fresh meat and plenty of it. So it was a bad time for chickens and terrapin, for when we could find these living edibles, we generally appropriated them without any thought of the criminality of the act or of the danger of being detected or arrested. Our hunger gave us license to satisfy it in the quickest and best way available.

[Pg 49]

On the 2d of September we were once again in front of the enemy and ready to do battle. We entered the engagement with enthusiasm and rapidly drove the enemy before us. We were assisted by a large Mogul, which we called the Petersburgh Express and one or two gunboats on the James River, which fired balls half as big as a common sized water bucket. Soon victory was perched on our banners and with flying colors, we advanced by a right flank and entered the rebel lines after a bad fought battle of six hours, leaving many dead and wounded on the battlefield. My brother, William Henry Newton, was in the same regiment with me, not as a soldier but as a valet, he attended Captain Griswold. We charged two of the rebel forts, the left of the line was charged by the Eighth United States Troops, supported by the Twenty-ninth; the center was charged by the Ninth Maryland, supported by the Seventh United States Troops. In the history of my war record, I shall never forget this day’s experience. The rebels fought hard and nobly, but the colored troops defeated them and gained another victory in favor of the Union army. Our loss was very heavy and the true story of the suffering and heartaches will never be known until the Judgment Day.

Captain Thorpe and Lieutenant McDonald were wounded. I came on my rounds, bringing[Pg 50] refreshments and stopped where the surgeons were at work. I shall never forget the fearful sight that met my eyes. It was indeed sickening. There were arms and legs piled up like hogs’ feet in a butcher shop. The dead and the dying were strewn over the battlefield for five miles. Drum Major John D. Cowes, of New Haven, with his corps, were busy carrying the wounded off the battlefield. I said to myself, war is a terrible way to adjust differences, when it might be done by the implements of peace. But I remembered that it is much easier to wield the sword than to use the pen; much easier to give a command which will send hundreds to their death, than to be a master of assemblies and speak the word which gives peace and happiness to millions. We lay all night in front of the rebel works and in the morning we were warmly saluted by fierce bombarding. So we were again in the midst of battle which waged hotly. The enemy carried their dead and wounded out of their trenches as lively as they were able. They did this so as to keep from tramping on them and to have room for the soldiers who were doing the work of death. In this engagement several were wounded but not many killed. Our colonel was not able to do duty and our lieutenant colonel was sick at Fortress Monroe.

On the morning of the 4th, we advanced to the[Pg 51] left of the line, planting our flag under the rebel fire of grape and canister, bombshell and musketry. The dead were lying in every direction and the wounded were falling everywhere, cared for by the rear guard. On the 5th and 6th, we had to endure the hardships and exposure of the rifle pits, with advance pickets stationed in front of the rebel garrison. It was the fighting of a duel, so to speak, between two armies, although quite a distance apart. After while the Twenty-Ninth was ordered to headquarters, but did not get far on its way, when a fire broke out in our midst, we were shifted into a double-quick and returned to the breastworks where we held our position until the 8th, when we moved on the right to support the Forty-fifth, on Lookout Mountain. We were worn out and had hoped that we would be allowed to rest; but we received orders to take position on the front to support the Eighth United States Cavalry Troops, who had charge of the breastworks. Six days of hard fighting, fatigue and exposure, was our experience here. Under orders of the general we scouted and explored the territory and drove the enemy from the woods. We were able to take charge of the situation, much to our pride; still holding the rebels at bay and driving them further, to hunt new quarters.

[Pg 52]

On the 14th we abandoned the breastworks, General Birney leading the Third Division, Tenth Army Corps, numbering 75,000 colored troops. We were not formed into a fighting position at this time, perhaps for the reason that the enemy were too strong for us. So we were brought to the rear of the breastworks. For a long while the rain had been pouring in torrents and there was not a dry place to be found nor a dry thread on our bodies, we were covered with dirt and mud from head to foot, and not only felt to be in a terrible plight, but must have looked worse. The troops were ordered to prepare two days’ rations and to get ready for light marching. I had opportunity now to be in the company of commissioned officers for a few hours at a time, when we halted for rest. We would spread our meals on the wet ground, not a very inviting table, but the best that we could find. I somehow had the feeling that something was going on, or was going to happen, that would require one to be wise and cunning. The officers had a queer expression on their faces, and in fact all the field officers seemed to be uneasy. Three o’clock one morning, my surmises were justified, for the long roll was sounded and soon we were in line for[Pg 53] work. We engaged in a bloody struggle. We moved to the right and some one began to sing,

“Sure, I must fight if I would win,
Increase my courage Lord;
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word.”

We thus cheered ourselves by the singing of songs while we fought and while we marched through the Virginia mud, such songs as “Tramp, Tramp, the Boys are Marching,” “Beneath the Starry Flag.” The rebel lines were fortified, but under our noble leaders, we marched on to certain victory and the old Twenty-ninth was ready for any fray. The rising sun would seem to say to us, after he had broken through the darkness and the clouds, “Cheer up boys, don’t be despondent, but vigilant, strong, courageous, protecting the flag, the country, women and children, rights and liberty, and all things will come out right.” Thus it will be seen, how often God speaks to us through nature, how often we are cheered and helped by a bright day. How dependent we are upon our surroundings, for support. I do not say that this should be so, for a soldier should be strong, regardless of such things, but nevertheless they have their effect.

We were on the extreme right of the front and within three miles of Richmond, where our white troops were repulsed. The colored troops were commanded to halt and line up for action in front of the woods. Again the thought came to me, although[Pg 54] this is called the white man’s country, they need us in war as in peace, to make and to keep the country. And why is not this fact fully realized by the white people? We are more than ten million strong and are ready at any time to lay down our lives for the nation and to give our lives in service, in times of peace, in all lines of activity. This we are doing. The progress which the Negro race has made since the war is an enviable one. No people or race would be ashamed of it. We have made this progress as honest, industrious citizens. We have shown our manhood in both times of war and peace, and our record has been written. Then why are we not accorded the place that we have rightly merited? In the sentiment of the white people there lurks a deep-rooted prejudice against us, and in their course of action discrimination is made against the Negro. We do not understand why this should be, unless there is a feeling on the part of the white people, that there is danger that we should become too prosperous and too many—the feeling which the ancient Egyptians had against the Hebrews—hence, they took steps to check the Hebrews. These may be the steps taken by the white man to check our progress. But the same God who overruled the destinies of the Hebrew slaves and brought them to their Promised Land, will take care of us and, we too, one day, shall[Pg 55] enter our Promised Land, of equal rights and liberty.

On the 29th, there as a fierce encounter. The battle was indeed a slaughter pen. The enemy fought like tigers. The battle became general along the entire line. Adjutant Spaulding was wounded. Corporal George Burr, Company L; Corporal Sidney, of Company E, and many others were killed. Private George E. Peters, Sergeant George Halstead, James Evans and many others were wounded. I, myself, feared, shook, and thought that my time had come. I was full of thoughts of my loved ones at home. I knew that they were praying that I should be delivered from the jaws of death. This thought cheered and comforted me; and yet I saw friends falling around me, whose loved ones and friends, were also praying for their protection. Their prayers were not being answered and why? Why should I think that the prayers offered for me were more availing than those offered for them? Why should I have any special reason for encouragement? These thoughts come to one when he is in the midst of circumstances which seems to upset many of our principles of religious faith. They come to us not only in war but in work. They must be reckoned with. The only answer that I could find as to why the prayers offered for me were availing up to this time, was that my[Pg 56] time had not come, and that it had not come because God had not ordered it, and God had not ordered it because He had something for me to do. Of course, He had heard the prayers which had been offered for me and they entered into His decree regarding my life. The only answer we can find to many perplexing questions which come in life is, “It is God’s way, His will.”

I was very busy in supplying the regiment with food, vinegar and water, and such edibles as I could get together. The doctors were busy sawing off legs and arms, and binding up wounds, and giving medicines to the wounded and sick. The women were busy in preparing bandages, lint, and doing what they could in the alleviation of human suffering. God bless the dear women who had the faith and the courage to breast the trials and hardships of soldier life. These scenes would have made your heart sore. Dear reader, the wounded and dying scattered over the battlefield thick, the hurrying to and fro of the physicians and the nurses; the prayers and groans and cries of the wounded, the explosion of bombs, the whizzing of bullets, the cracking of rifles; you would have thought that the very forces of hell had been let loose. And, indeed, it was a hell, the horrors of which no one could ever forget.

We finally retreated under the cover of the cavalry. The colored troops were the first to enter[Pg 57] the field and the last to fall back. We thereby demonstrated to our President, Abraham Lincoln, and our General, U. S. Grant, that we were among their best supporters. The white man had no record to make. He was known as a fighter for centuries, our record was to be made and we were making it. The flag of our regiment could be seen floating among the pines. We were glad that Old Glory was above us with her folds pierced with many bullet holes. We returned to camp and took our former position in front of Richmond, where we remained for awhile.

We were again in battle array, having been marched up to the rifle pits. Our field officers being absent, we were under the command of Captain Camp, of Company D, our own colonel, W. B. Wooster, was at home on sick furlough. Lieutenant Colonel W. L. Ward, who had been promoted to the rank of colonel, was in charge of the Forty-first United States Cavalry Troop. The lieutenant colonel said to us, “Boys, we must fight to-day, let me have your best. Duty demands it. I will stand by you until the last. Watch, keep in line, and obey orders.” He brought us up double-quick to the rifle pits and the bugle sounded charge. We charged, firing, yelling, using our bayonets and our arms in the most cruel manner, but still in accordance with the tactics of warfare. We were there to kill in[Pg 58] every manner possible. We held the pits for twenty-four hours, brought the rebels to their knees, brought down their flag and unfurled the Stars and Stripes to the breezes.

This was a disastrous battle, probably the most disastrous I had ever witnessed. I should probably make exception of the Fort Pillow Massacre, in which my brother, Steven Newton, was killed. He was a member of the Fourteenth, Rhode Island Battery. Charles Beeman, Rev. Amos G. Beeman and Corporal W. W. Wilkins were with him to the end and were able to make the report of his death to me. We lost in this battle over one hundred, i. e., I am counting only the loss of the Twenty-ninth Regiment. This regiment fought most bravely, gaining great praise, and receiving many compliments from the officers high up in rank. When the battle was over, we fell back and camped in front of Richmond. While there we attended the funeral of Private Charles Bently, who was killed early in the engagement. He died a champion for liberty and an earnest Christian. Jones Spriggs and thirteen others were buried at this time.

Many of the veterans went out on foraging expeditions. While resting we would engage in religious and patriotic songs. One of our favorites was, “Tenting on the Old Camp Ground.” About this time, the Third Division, Tenth Army[Pg 59] Corps, Twenty-ninth Regiment, and General Birney, were surprised with the presentation of the United States national colors, which greatly pleased the boys. The flag was presented by the Forty-fifth United States Cavalry Troop to our lieutenant colonel, in a most pleasing manner. He spoke of the great bravery of the soldiers in battle. Colonel Ward replied that he had 672 guns which would speak whenever occasion demanded it. He also said that his boys were filled with as noble sentiments as any that had ever filled the breasts of boys before the guns.

While on dress parade we received the sad announcement from our lieutenant colonel that he would leave the regiment, as he had been promoted to the rank of colonel. This was indeed sad news to us. He had been with us in many hard-fought battles. We had learned to love him and had great confidence in his ability. He knew what course to pursue in order to avert many of the tricks of the Johnnies, not only being well up in military science, but well acquainted with many little games that are often played in war.

We remained in front of Richmond five days. While there we were quiet and enjoyed the much needed sleep that we had. We were greatly annoyed here as well as in other places with what the soldiers called greybacks, not the rebels, however; they were genuine creepers. They molested[Pg 60] us no little. Whenever I could get off I would go to the creek and disrobe myself and pick them out of my clothes, then wash my clothes and hang them on the bushes to dry. Then I would dress myself and feel like a king, because once a again I was clean and free from these unearthly vermin.

From the first to the eighth of November, 1864, we were at Malvern Hill. I was Commissary Sargeant and was careful to keep as near the regiment as possible with my department. Sargeant Quartermaster D. L. Lathrop had charge of the ammunition, knapsacks, etc., under the command of our regimental quartermaster, there was always detailed a guard to protect us. We always followed the army with our train. I remember once that I got into the line of the Johnnies and I ran as if the hounds of hell were after me. I heard the whizzing of a bullet over my head, but it missed me. So I said, well they did not get me that time and Libby Prison has been robbed of an expected treasure.

While here the Twenty-ninth Regiment had charge of the fort until the third of December.

It was whispered about that Generals Lee, Johnson and others were in a position to watch our movements and that we might expect an attack at any time. But we were not worried over this report with such Generals as U. S. Grant,[Pg 61] Sherman, Howard, Weitzel and others. We knew that they would be able to flank any movement that they might make.

On Monday the fifth, we took up our line of march to a destination unknown to us, there were all kinds of rumors as to where we would stop, but at last we found ourselves to the left of Fort Harrison on the left of the line. Here we camped under orders. We engaged in the usual preparations for a stay, putting up our tents, building huts and making things convenient for all concerned. But the next day the Colored troops were ordered to prepare two days’ rations and to advance. Then our countenances changed. We did not know but that another fierce battle was in store for us; and we had had quite enough fighting to satisfy us for a long while. On Wednesday, we were in front of the Johnnies, with our breastworks thrown up ready for fight.

The Colored regiments were consolidated in the Second Division, Third Brigade, Twenty Fifth Army Corps. A number of detached men were taken from the regiments. Orderly I. J. Hill was Brigade Postmaster. I was with the commissary department. All things were quiet along the lines excepting the laughing and yelling of the Johnnies. Once in a while they would throw a shell into our camp. At this time we would hear their cheers and laughter.

[Pg 62]

On January the first, we were in front of Richmond, Va. Here we engaged in battle with the Rebels, which was terrific. The anxiety, suffering, slashing, shooting, were beyond description. Many lay dead on the battlefield, baking in the sun. There were dead animals which had been exposed for two weeks, the stench was unbearable. These are some of the indescribable tortures of war.

The rebels soon retired from their position, for they would not have been able to withstand the Union Army. They were in constant expectation of the coming of Sherman who at that time was in the vicinity of Atlanta, Ga. We were under marching orders until the thirteenth. Colonel Wooster received orders to place his headquarters near our own regiment. I was determined that I would keep up my enthusiasm and do all in my power to supply the boys with something to eat.

On the twenty-third the rebel fleet moved down the James River towards the Dutch Gap Canal and opened fire on Fort Bradley keeping it up all night. The following morning the whole line was drawn up for action, at long range with reinforcements in the rear. The shelling was terrific all day. I was in the basement of a house, when a shell came through the window, burst and tore its way through the building. This[Pg 63] house was used for headquarters. Fortunately none of us were hurt. Only the everlasting arm of God protected us, for all our friends who witnessed the shell and its devastations, supposed that we were all killed. The Quartermaster having received a wound in his knee, the Quartermaster Sargeant and I had to do all the work. At this time Orderly I. J. Hill and others were let off on parole and went home for twenty days. The Confederates made another dash to retake their lost territory and to make sure of the permanent establishment of the Slave Traffic which has been the curse of every nation or people who has adopted it. Their plan was to out-flank us and to effect a great slaughter and capture many of our men and guns and ammunition. And it seemed to us that they were after the Colored troops. But our leaders were too shrewd for them and they were repulsed and their depot, magazines and machine shops at Beaufort, N. C., were blown up and also at Newberne. A great battle was fought about Fort Fisher and the Rebels were overcome. Hundreds were killed and wounded in this battle.

The Colored troops in front of Richmond were moved from the breastworks on the left at Fort Harrison, to the hill in the center, where we built up a fine elevation overlooking the Rebel works in Richmond. Here we remained several[Pg 64] days under heavy cannonading. We held the enemy so that they were unable to make any gains on us for four weeks. They made several attempts to storm and to cut off our supply, but they signally failed. But our men understood how to construct railroads and we would frequently hear the whistle of a locomotive in some direction bringing in our supplies. Our forces were well guarded on every hand by squads which were experts in caring for the welfare and needs of an army. We could hear the result of our bombarding in such cities as Petersburg, etc., and knew that our forces were gradually gaining and that the Rebels were gradually losing in their strongest holds.

On the twenty-seventh of March we struck our tents and moved on to Richmond. We were soon formed in line of battle in front of this city. The Rebels blew up three gunboats and evacuated their works immediately in front of us. There was heavy cannonading from the gunboats in the James River, the Monitor and other boats.

At this time there were many refugees coming to us by the hundreds. This was in part the result of Sherman’s march to the sea. He left in his wake many monuments of this famous march. There were deserted villages, chimneys standing without the houses about them, and troops of stragglers following the army.

[Pg 65]

Colonel Wooster ordered the 29th Regiment to advance and to do some daring work in the digging up of buried torpedoes which had been planted to impede the march of the Union Army. We were however equal to the task. We captured five hundred pieces of artillery, six thousand small arms, and the prisoners I did not count, but when we looked on them in the prison pen, the number seemed to be enormous.

We were present in Richmond when President Lincoln made his triumphal entry into the city. It was a sight never to be forgotten. He passed through the main street. There were multitudes of Colored people to greet him on every hand. They received him with many demonstrations that came from the heart, thanking God that they had seen the day of their salvation, that freedom was theirs, that now they could live in this country, like men and women, and go on their way rejoicing. Orderly I. J. Hill said that he saw a colored woman trying to get a look at the president, at last he came along and Orderly Hill said to her: “Madame, there is the man that made you free.” She shouted, “Is that President Lincoln? Glory to God, give Him praise for His goodness.” The President, with his son, and Admiral Porter, together with others walked over a mile to the headquarters of General Weitzel, at the mansion of Jeff Davis. A colored man acted[Pg 66] as the guide. There were six Union soldiers as advance guard, then came President Lincoln, his son, and Admiral Porter, while on his right and his left were other officers. He was followed by six sailors with their carbines. This march created the wildest enthusiasm of the Colored people. They had lived to see the day of their liberty dawning. I was reminded of what had been done for the ancient Hebrews by Moses when he led them out of the land of their bondage, into the land of their promised liberty. Lincoln was indeed our Moses. He led us forth. He gave us our freedom. I noticed one white lady in a window, who turned away from the whole scene as if in utter disgust. There were still two sides to the question, then and there are two sides to it today. How long will these two sides remain, is the question. As the President looked out upon the poor Colored people and remembered how many lives had been lost in working out their salvation, he was not able to keep the tears from his eyes. They were tears of gladness and sorrow, of regret and delight; but the tears of my own people were the tears of the greatest joy.

The President went to the state capitol where he made a short address in which he said: “Now you Colored people are free, as free as I am. God has made you free and if those who are your[Pg 67] superiors are not able to recognize that you are free, we will have to take the sword and musket and again teach them that you are free. You are as free as I am, having the same rights of liberty, life and the pursuit of happiness.”

While at Richmond, we engaged in many foraging expeditions. We found such things as eggs, chickens, butter, bread, fruit, tobacco. There were bales of tobacco in the streets free for every one who enjoyed the weed. And I must say that many were delighted with their free smokes. There was plenty of Confederate money too, which was often blown about by the wind as so much worthless waste paper. Well it was waste paper. With the passing of the Confederacy, the money value passed away on all such currency.

On April 16th, 1865, we were painfully shocked to hear of the death of President Lincoln, at the hands of an assassin. No one can measure the consternation which struck our hearts. This great and wonderful man who had guided the Ship of State through four years of such perilous waves and winds, that he should thus pass away and in such an infamous manner, was more than we could stand. But it was so. Our faith was almost staggered, that faith which had sustained us in so many battles, was now staggering under a blow which was severer than any[Pg 68] battles, the death of our Immortal leader. Thus in four years from the first shot fired on Fort Sumter, four years from the very day of the first shot, the shot was fired from the hand of Booth, that removed one of the greatest men the world ever knew, from the scenes of human action. He was removed too at a time when he was most needed. Yes, he was more needed, than when the nation was in the midst of a bloody conflict. He was now needed to set up the battlements of peace, which is a more difficult work than the forts of warfare.

On the twenty-fourth, we moved from the camp near Petersburg, to Camp Lincoln where we enjoyed our camp life for awhile. We had lost many of our numbers through death on the battlefield and disease in the camp, but losses were now being recruited by volunteers coming to us. I was kept busy filling our regimental papers, ordering and issuing rations. Some of our men had become so rum thirsty that they would offer me ten dollars for a canteen full of whisky. But I was not allowed to sell it, and to give it out only on the orders of the Quartermaster.

We were not here long. We embarked on the Demolay for Norfolk, Va. General Russel and staff came on board to tell us goodbye. I had two barrels of supposed corn beef, the boys[Pg 69] called it salt-horse, which I suppose was nearer the truth. I had also a barrel of sugar. These I could not ship, so I left them on the ground, for some poor fellows that could use them. Colonel Wooster came also and saw us off. We left many friends, some of them with tears in their eyes. They had become very dear to us. We had shared together the hardships of camp-life and of the battlefield. Human suffering makes men very near akin. As we glided swiftly down the James River, for a while we could hear their cheers and when sound was out of touch, we could see their salutes of hats and handkerchiefs. We enjoyed the day as soldiers on board the vessel. I was astonished at the behavior of the soldiers. They gave themselves over to all kinds of sports and jestings, which disgusted me most thoroughly. Many were unruly, even threatening the lives of those who favored going to Texas whither we had been ordered for garrison duty. Some of the gang were arrested for their insubordination. My heart was made to shudder at the degrading and shameful life which was manifested on board the ship. Their swearing, drinking, gambling, dancing, etc., was heartsickening. It was indeed a revelation and shows what men will do when not under the eye of authority. Human nature is indeed most sinful, and were it not for the restrictions[Pg 70] which are thrown about us, none of us know what might come to pass. We arrived at Norfolk and anchored for the night. With having witnessed the debauchery on board the vessel and at the same time wrought with anxiety for my wife and two babies, my father and mother at home, I confess I was in a most depressed condition of mind and heart. “Be strong and of good courage,” came to me like a flash and I was strong and buoyant in a little while. How grand is the truth of God, when we find it such a rock of refuge in times of trouble; I was thus greatly consoled and went to bed looking up at the shining stars, as if they were so many angels, sent by God, to guard me.

There was quite an excitement on board when it was whispered about that the officers had covenanted together to take the soldiers on board, to Cuba, and sell them as slaves. There was quite an indignation against I. J. Hill, for it was thought that he was in some manner party to this arrangement. The men were suspicious also of Sam Brown, a clerk. I, together with others, had the good fortune to escape any insults or indignities. While at Norfolk, we went to church and saw quite a number of well-to-do Colored people. Rev. J. M. Brown, of the A. M. E. Church, I think was pastor. He treated us very cordially indeed. We were introduced to many[Pg 71] of the congregation. This church had a Sunday School of six or seven hundred members. It was an inspiring sight to see them nicely dressed and to hear them sing so sweetly, many beautiful Sunday school songs. But the time had come when we had to leave the many dead of our comrades. We had done all that we could for them in the last sad rites of death and now their bodies were resting under the cold sods of the South, awaiting the Resurrection Day, when we will all meet again and hear our record of the deeds done in the body and the judgment based on these deeds. The memories of war are one of the saddest features thereof. These memories can never be blotted out; for as we grow older they seem to become more vivid.

BETHEL A. M. E. CHURCH Woodbury, N. J. Built by Rev. A. H. Newton, D.D.

Woodbury, N. J.
Built by Rev. A. H. Newton, D.D.

We took shipping on the transport, Blackstone, for Texas. We were about fifteen days on the waters, the ocean was calm. There were six or seven hundred on board. It was no little job to take care of the hungry stomachs of these men. But we had a most pleasant trip and enjoyed the ocean waves and breezes. The officers spent most of their time in fishing. Once in awhile a fish six or seven feet long would be hauled in. For two days we were out of sight of land and only one small schooner passed us. There was much complaint on board on account of the army food which I was compelled to give them salt-pork[Pg 72] or hard tack and bad coffee. They thought that being on board of ship warranted better food, but I told them that I had to give them what I had. And so we fought the battle of the stomach. There were many however who were afflicted with sea-sickness and had no concern for something to eat. We had a burial at sea. The poor soldier was sewed up in a blanket and consigned to a grave in the bottom of the deep. The funeral service was very impressive to many of us, for it was the first burial at sea we had witnessed. I must confess that there was a grandeur about it that inspired one—as the boundless ocean received the body of our comrade, eternity had received his soul. I thought of his loved ones and that in all probability they would never hear of him. Then I wondered if that grand song could not be an interpretation of this burial,

“Rocked in the cradle of the deep,
I lay me down in peace to sleep,
In ocean cave still safe with Thee,
The germ of Immortality.”

At this time I was not a member of the church. But my father had taught me to pray. And as I have frequently related, I often prayed in battle when I thought that my time had come. I had a sense of the guilt of sin and of the need of[Pg 73] confession of my sins. So I had also, the sense of peace which comes from a man’s justification through Jesus Christ. My case I am sure is but an illustration of the cases of many men and women who have not connected themselves with the church. They are real Christians as I was, having all the ordinary experience of the Christian, but not having made any outward profession. We are therefore unable to know who are the children of God, for certainly there are believers outside of the church. Our judgment therefore must always be a charitable one. Yet I do not want the impression to be made that I, in any sense, approve of believers remaining outside of the church. An outward profession of faith in our Blessed Lord, Jesus Christ, is an open badge of our religion which men can see. We should not hide our light under a bushel, but put it on a candle stick that all about us may see what we are by what we live. When we rounded the Florida reefs, the boys’ hearts were gladdened, because they had seen the land once again and their thought was that they were nearing the end of the voyage. We had some sickness on board, such diseases as yellow jaundice, malaria, chills and fever. We were huddled together like a lot of wild ducks and the sanitary conditions were against our health. When about seven days on our trip, our drinking water failed[Pg 74] us. We were on the water, yet we had no water to drink; but we did the best we could under the circumstances.

We were glad when we came into the harbor at Mobile, Ala. Here we found many transports lying in the harbor. Fort Gaines was to our right and Fort Morgan to our left. The boys were all delighted, because they were wild to get to land again, and especially to get a drink of good water. How dependent we are on mother earth after all for our lives. After passing the forts a short distance the anchor was dropped. The surroundings were grand. There were gunboats lying in the stream, with their artillery of death-dealing cannon looking forth from the decks and thoroughly manned with the smaller-implements of naval warfare. But our hopes were not fulfilled, for a command came that we were to sail immediately to New Orleans. The men were bitter in their disappointment, but such is the experience of war. Men are not free, they are the parts of the gigantic machine of death, so many cogs in the wheels, or so many wheels in the machine, or so many parts of the machine. They soon became reconciled however. We had plenty of hard tack and salt horse left us, and with this we could not starve to the death. Our voyage was an uneventful one, save for the good weather and fine ocean. We were soon in the[Pg 75] channel for New Orleans. When we reached the forts Jackson and Phillips, a signal stopped us for inspection. We were told that we could not go to New Orleans, that none of the men or officers could go any further without an order from General Grant. The officers telegraphed to Washington to General Grant. We were in rather a dilapidated condition, about out of coal and in need of better fuel for the stomach, with the men completely worn out with the voyage.

We were however permitted to go on land at Fort Jackson. This was a magnificent fort with its seventy guns overlooking the water inlet. There were many alligators in this place and we amused ourselves by killing them, which of course was a greatly desired thing. I had plenty of hard tack and this seemed to attract the reptiles. I remember one fellow over seven feet long I killed.

At this place the Colored troops had been shamefully and barbarously treated. As I thought of the outrages which they had suffered only about one month before our arrival, I felt that if I could, I would like a little revenge on their account. But there was no opportunity for such outlet of wicked feeling. At last we received an order from General Grant to take the transport to New Orleans, to get a supply of coal and[Pg 76] oil, and to have the transport repaired. But to our dismay, only the officers were permitted to go. We were left at Fort Phillips.

I managed however, to get to New Orleans, in that I had charge of the commissary department. We were already beginning to forget the hardships of the battlefield. Our minds were turning to the ordinary life which we live, and looking forward to the pleasures connected with home and with business. And I assure you, my dear readers, that it was a happy release. We had the constant joy in our hearts that our beloved people had their freedom, bought with the blood of those who now slept the last sleep on many battlefields; but we did not believe that the price paid for this boon of liberty was too dear. The price of human liberty can never be estimated. This is especially true of those who knew what slavery meant. And the Colored Race has an endless debt to pay their White friends who bought their liberty with their own blood. While it is true that the White people brought our forefathers here and sold them into slavery, which of course they had no right to do, this does not diminish the price which this same race had to pay in order to buy us out of the slavery into which they had sold us. And it does not in the least diminish the debt of gratitude which we shall owe them as long as time exists.

[Pg 77]

I had a short but very pleasant stay in New Orleans. On Sunday we went to the A. M. E. Church, of which the Rev. William A. Dove was pastor. This was the St. James A. M. E. Church. We were most cordially received by the pastor and members. They were kind enough to take care of us while in the city. We learned from the members that while we were on the battlefield, they were at home fasting and praying that our grand cause might be victorious. “Fight and pray” is sure to win the day for any just cause. The services were very pleasing and profitable. The pastor preached in the morning and our orderly I. J. Hill, at night. I and others, were much lifted up and realized anew what it was to draw water from the wells of salvation. We spent much of our time in seeing the sights of the unique city of the South. Our friends were more than kind to us during our stay. We lacked nothing for good beds and good food and good society; and we were in good shape to appreciate these things, because of the privations, losses, suffering, and fears through which we had passed.

Our transport having been repaired and furnished with needed coal and oil and food, we were soon on our way back to the fort. We had not gone far on our course until there was an alarm of fire. This created quite a panic, but[Pg 78] the blaze was soon put out and we were enjoying our trip down the “Father of Waters.”

We arrived at Fort Phillips with more soldiers for the Twenty-ninth Regiment, they having been brought in from other quarters.

We were soon off for Texas. With the transport loaded with human freight, we started for Brazos De Santiago, Texas. We found the gulf quite rough on our entering it. This produced sea sickness with a great many. I remember one fellow who was very sea sick. I was unable to do anything with him. He was continually calling out “New York, New York.” “There goes my liver,” he cried, having spit up some blood. Our great trouble on this voyage was the lack of water. They had a condenser on board which reduced the amount of salt a few degrees, but we could easily taste the saline property of the water. We found Brazos a most undesirable place, there were plenty of fleas and mosquitoes and sand burrs. We had our headquarters at this place which was knee deep in water. Our Colored troops were nearly perishing for water. The suffering was most intense. It was heart-rending. I cried out to God to send us some help. We had but little water and that was quite brackish. Our means of condensing the water gave us only about five thousand gallons when we were in need of not less than ten thousand[Pg 79] gallons. We paid ten cents a canteen for water and would have been willing to have paid fifty cents, or any price.

After a while we met some Mexicans who had brought water from the Rio Grande and sold it for ten cents a canteen. Colonel Sadrick was very indignant over this hardship. When he saw our scars and realized how much these good soldiers had suffered and the privations through which they had already passed, he saw General Wietzel and requested that the troops should be taken from Brazos. He met with success and we took our line of march for White Ranch on the Rio Grande River about ten miles south of Brazos. The march was one of great trial. We were in mud knee deep and in some places the water was waist deep. When we reached the Ranch, the soldiers were well nigh famished. They made a mad rush for the river and while many of them were on the bank, it gave way, and several of them were drowned. We were all greatly saddened over this misfortune. It seemed enough that men should have given up their lives on the battlefield, this was matter of course; but when men who had stemmed the tide of death which swept the battlefield were drowned, it seemed more than we could stand to see them cut off from their loved ones by a mere accident. But it was the Lord’s way to take some more of them home.

[Pg 80]

It was not a hard matter for us to sleep the first night. We spread our rubber blankets on the bare ground and enjoyed our rest as much as if our beds had been made of feathers. The next morning we saw the body of a man floating down the muddy river. He too had evidently met with some accident, or had been killed and thrown into the river. It was not our duty to make any investigation.

I prepared the best breakfast possible for the boys. Our fuel was gathered from the woods and rail fences. I said woods, but unfortunately there was not a tree in the whole country, so we had to do the best we could. But we had coffee, rice, sweet potatoes and our regular rations. We put up our tents here and soon had the camp under military discipline. Then we left for Brownsville, Texas, a distance of twenty miles. The march was a trying one on account of the bad roads. We were not able to keep our stores with us on this account and left a detail of soldiers to guard them. Many a solder sickened and had to be taken to White Ranch to be cared for by Orderly Hill. Some of the men died on the way and were buried under the Texas sod with no stone to identify them. One boat was on its way to Brownsville with rations. I remember my homesickness at this time. After the battles had been fought, I was anxious to return to[Pg 81] my loved ones. I felt that my duty had been done towards my country and that now I must take up my duty to my dear ones. We were soon joined by Orderly Hill. He said that he had gotten tired waiting for the boat and had come on to be with us. He threw a few chunks together and started a fire and lighted his pipe. After a few moments reflection, he said: “These light afflictions are but for a moment, for they work for us a far more and exceeding weight of glory.” We met a drove of hungry wolves which made two or three attempts to come to us, but about fifteen shots from our guns were enough to satisfy them they had no more need of us than we had of them. In time we reached Brownsville. We saw strange things there. The houses were little huts; the people dressed in their shirts and drawers; the women dressed in a long shirt with their breast exposed, seemingly caring nothing for decency or modesty. It did not look to me that the people here had ever known what it was to know or to serve the true and living God. They were certainly far from any such practical knowledge, judging from their daily lives. I thought “If the righteous scarcely be saved where then shall the sinner and the ungodly appear?” The next morning I was not feeling well. I went to one of the streams and bathed. There were plenty of lizards, frogs and horned toads about.[Pg 82] The horns of the toad reminded one of the horns of a goat. It was a place of trials. Some of the men swore and cursed, others were kept too busy scratching, while others were praying. It was a time of sore trials. One of our officers, Captain Clark ought to have been with the Greys instead of the Blues, he had so little use for the Colored troops. So he marched them almost to death on this march. Colonel Wooster, a man of tender feeling and of a proper sense of right and justice and without prejudice against the Colored people, saw the outrage perpetrated against us and put Clark under arrest. He was kept there until Colonel Wooster resigned. After he left, we were again under the command of Captain Clark. Orderly Hill was very sick and was ordered to the General Hospital. As I looked upon him I said to myself, Hill you are a very sick man and your warfare is about ended. There were about seven hundred in the hospital sick. They were treated as if they had been brutes, doctors and nurses being without any feeling. They were dying at the rate of ten a day. The stewards would search the dead, take their valuables, then report them dead. What a contrast between our camp on the banks of the James River and the camp in this far off, God-for-saken town of Brownsville, Texas.

And now after all our hard fought battles, our[Pg 83] fears and foreboding, our privations and losses, we received the news from the War Department that the Twenty-ninth Regiment was ordered home. It is needless to say, that the home-fever spread more rapidly than any fever that had ever prevailed in our ranks. We looked for and patiently awaited the day when we would be ordered out. On the fourteenth day of October, 1865, at nine o’clock a. m., the recruiting officer was on the ground, at which time Company K. was mustered out. We were escorted through Brownsville by the Ninth U. S. C. T., Colonel Bailey being in command. We marched to an open field where the two regiments bid each other goodbye. It was an impressive scene, for these regiments had shared each others fortunes and misfortunes through the war. They had become inseparable, but now the best of friends must part. How happy we were that we should be permitted to breathe the fresh air again and to tramp through the country as free men. Yet I had the feeling that the Civil War was the mighty struggle of the White Race and that the struggle of the Colored Race was yet in the future. There is such a thing as a man having to work out of his own salvation, and this is also true of a race. Our salvation had been bought for us by the nation, but it is ours now to work out this salvation. As we marched out through the grand[Pg 84] country and these thoughts came to me, I cried out to God, “Can these dry bones live? Will this country give the Colored man an equal chance in the marts of trade, in industrial fields, and in the professions? He is yet untried in the ranks of an aggressive civilization, for he has been a slave. Can these dry bones live?” These were the prayer-thoughts that were filling my mind and heart. Our march was a trying one on account of the bad condition of the roads, but we were going home. No one but the soldier who has been honorably discharged after an issue has been settled, knows the joys that well-up in the heart as he turns his face homeward. The feeling is indescribable. There were several boys sick, but their spirits were revived on account of home-going. We soon reached Brazos where we spent the night. I was very glad to say goodbye to my Texas friends and experience. They could live on the sandy plains of Brownsville, as long as they pleased; they could eat the strips of dried goat meat until they were satisfied; they could drink and relish the muddy water of the Rio Grande considering it the best water in the world; but as for me, I would choose other quarters. Now that the Confederacy had surrendered, now that the Palmetto flag had been lowered forever and Old Glory floated in its stead, now that millions of people were made free and could live and[Pg 85] think as real men and women, I was more than happy to say goodbye to all these things and begin life anew.

We embarked on the transport Alabama, for New Orleans. Our voyage on the gulf was a rough one on account of a heavy storm. We were forced to cast anchor. We passed Galveston and were much pleased with the place. We found the citizens much more sociable than we had expected, for we knew that they were Secessionists and Rebels and that they had about as much use for Negro soldiers as the Devil has for Holy Water. Nevertheless, we went through the town and made the acquaintance of some of our brethren. We met an old lady who had been a slave. When she saw us and realized that the victorious end had come, she cried at the top of her voice. “The Lord, the Mighty One has conquered and we are all free! Glory to God!” We took on wood and I regulated my rations for we were four hundred and fifty miles from New Orleans. We were again on board the transport for New Orleans, but we were unable to leave the harbor on account of a fearful gale that swept the gulf. We made an attempt, but were forced back again into the harbor. The soldiers became quite unruly owing to their impatience and also, I suppose the feeling that they could do as they pleased. After a hard voyage we[Pg 86] landed safely in New Orleans. We found an open lot in the south side of the city and put up our tents and made ready for a good night’s sleep. We felt that we could sleep now. That we had taken part in a mighty conflict and had shared in the victories of the war, it was now our right to rest. It was the sleep of the just man.

We had a quiet Sunday in New Orleans. Our chaplain preached for us. Great crowds came out to visit us and to give us their most hearty congratulations. They gave us coffee, sandwiches, fruits, etc., in token of the appreciation of our services in their behalf. We saw strange things in New Orleans. We found the mixture of French and Negro, called the Creole, speaking a dialect of the French. We found the Octoroon and that some of these unions had from one to seven children. We found that marriage among them was rather an uncommon thing and that a man could establish almost any relationship that pleased him and enter into the Creole life and be received and welcomed as one of them. We found that they drank more claret, champagne, whisky, beer, etc., than they did water. They of course had no sense of their obligation to God and I suppose that many of them really had no conception of the Real and True God. Their lives gave no evidence of such a knowledge.

[Pg 87]

The first annual conference of the A. M. E. Church was being held by Bishop J. P. Campbell. We enjoyed the services very much being in the spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ. We were in New Orleans two weeks. At the end of this time one of the men was shot. This created quite an excitement among us. We broke camp soon and marched through the streets to the wharf where we took ship. We were enthusiastically greeted on every hand, receiving god-speeds and congratulations and blessings. I shall never forget the musical voices of the people as they sang. The music sounded like a thousand silver harps, so soft and delicate and stirring it was! We went on board the steamer Champion. We said goodbye to the old city of New Orleans and to many of the new friends which we had made. We had a heavy sea. The storms were terrific. Our clothes were almost continuously wet owing to the rocking of the vessel, for days it was impossible to find a place to sleep. The voyage was quite rough all the way to New York. At last we arrived at New York City. It was morning. We remained on board until about two p. m., when we left the boat and marched through the principal streets, receiving cheers and salutes. We had not forgotten our former experiences here however. And we were inwardly revolving the thought that as Black men we had done our part[Pg 88] in bringing about a change of sentiment that would make a new city out of New York and every other city in the Union. And we felt that it was but just that we should receive some of the plaudits of praise and reward. When we passed down Broadway in front of the St. Nicholas Hotel, the flags of the Nation and of the state were suddenly hoisted by a Colored man and we gave three lusty cheers for the flag and country and home. At last the orders came to fall into line for our final trip. We marched to pier twenty eight East River where the steamer, Granite State, was waiting to carry us to Hartford, Conn. The distance was about one hundred and fifty miles. We were cheered by every town and village that we passed. We arrived at Hartford and were escorted to the camp grounds and tendered a fine reception by the citizens, a most pleasing welcome.

At eight o’clock one morning we were paid off, all but one hundred dollars bounty which was to be paid at some future date. Some went to their homes, others remained in Hartford, until they had spent all their money and were locked up in the prisons by the police officers. After having cleared up my commissary department and turning over my books and papers to the proper custodian, and having said farewell to my comrades, I took a midnight train for my home in New Haven.

[Pg 89]

The occasion of my sudden departure from Hartford is very interesting. One of our soldiers was passing a Jew store. He was begged to go in and buy a suit. He got the suit of clothes and walked out without paying for it. The soldier came into camp and soon the Jew followed. I would not allow him to enter camp and arrest the soldier. Not long afterward, I went down town and the Jew had me arrested and locked up. I was in jail until about midnight when some of my friends liberated me. Immediately I made my way to the station and left Hartford. I do not know that the Jew got his money and I was not much concerned.

I arrived at home at seven o’clock in the morning and found my wife and children, my father and mother, ready to give me the most hearty welcome and greeting which I received with a glad heart. I was not seen out of my house for about three weeks. I simply wanted to rest and to drink in the joys that were awaiting me. Then I went to Brooklyn, my wife’s home, and registered as a citizen of the United States. I again thanked God that the war was over and that slavery was dead. “Now unto Him that hath loved us and washed us from our sins in His blood, to Him be glory and dominion and [Pg 90]power, now and forevermore. Amen!”


A Young Pastor

[Pg 93]

My Ministerial Life and Labors

After I had returned from the war, I took the needed rest, enjoyed the company of my family and got myself together for a new life. I had the consciousness of having done my duty to my country, of having contributed something to the liberation of my people from the galling yoke of slavery, and now the time had come in my life for me to determine upon what course I could enter that would contribute most to the working out of the salvation of my people upon lines of peace and prosperity. This was no little task. I decided that the best way to find out what God wanted me to do, was to follow the leading of His Providence in my life. I knew of no other way by which a man can ascertain the will of God. God is in the life of every individual as fully and really as He is in the life of a race or a nation. So I surrendered myself to His leading, determined that I would follow Him whatever might be the cost. I felt a double assurance now that He had delivered me from death in many bloody struggles, that He had something of importance for me to do. I was[Pg 94] not content to take up the old life that I had lived before the war, to remain in the fields of manual labor, not that I considered myself above such a life, but I felt that there was a course that would be vastly more valuable to my brethren, to my race. And I did not consider it egotism to honestly conclude that God had given me talents that warranted me in seeking such a course. “To every man according to his ability,” is the law of service. A man must find out what his ability is, God already knows what talents He has already alloted to this or that man according to his ability. In this way and this way only, can God and man be brought together, in the work of life.

BISHOP JABEZ P. CAMPBELL, D. D., LL. D. Who gave me my first appointment

Who gave me my first appointment

On the evening of May sixth, I was received on probation, into the Fleet Street A. M. E. Church, of which Elder Gould was then pastor. I served as assistant superintendent and Secretary, Elder Cope being superintendent of the Sunday School; Robert Turpin, one of the preachers, was a close friend. I was engaged while in this church together with others in a Social Betterment work. This work was conducted in a house to house canvass, or visit. Great work was done during this year at the Bridge Street A. M. E. Church the Rev. Wm. Winder being pastor. There were about one hundred and fifty young people added to the church on profession of their[Pg 95] faith in Christ. The Revs. Williams, Boyer, and Turpin, were the ministers who assisted in this revival.

I preached my trial sermon at the Fleet Street Church on the evening of September the 18th, 1871, and received Exhorters’ license from Elder Theodore Gould. On the following Sunday, I went with Rev. Matthews and others to Paterson, N. J., where we organized the A. M. E. Church. The people of Paterson seemed to have been greatly lifted up and great good was done in their city for the A. M. E. Church. Later on Bishop J. P. Campbell told Elder Gould that he wanted a young man to take charge of a church where a school was located. Brother Gould was kind enough to tell him of my desire for work and doubtless recommended me. Bishop Campbell took hold of me and gave me my first appointment at Pennington, N. J., where I took charge of the church and attended the school, Pennington Seminary. The leaders of the new church, Brothers Allen, Ely and Amanias Johnson looked at the new preacher very inquiringly and doubtless were laughing up their sleeves for I had not gotten the flimsy, panhandle, look off me as yet, and they were a little slow in taking hold of me and I did not know how to take hold of them. However, I managed to get on the good side of Bro. Allen. I told him the troubles[Pg 96] of my heart and got his sympathy. One of these troubles was that I did not know much. He said that he would help me all he could and that I must stay close to the cross of Christ. So with the assistance of God’s grace and the help of Brother Allen, I was able to surmount all obstacles. I organized a church in the house of Lewis Schenks, at Lawrenceville.

I organized the church at Birmingham, having been assisted by Brothers Jos. Long and Maxwell Frost of Trenton. This church was afterwards reorganized and moved to Langhorne by Dr. John W. Stevenson. I attended the Pennington Seminary under the presidency of Dr. Hanlon. Rev. Mr. Marshall and the sister of Dr. Hanlon were of great service to me in my preparatory course. One day I was walking through the campass when I met Dr. Hanlon. He stopped and fixing his eyes on me said: “Young man you should walk upright before God and remember that all your strength comes from Him.” I shall never forget the deep impression that his advice made on me. It deepened my conviction of the Divine life in man and of the necessity of living that life daily. I felt no doubt like Naaman that I had need to go to the Jordan, the river of Israel and be washed from my leprosy of sin. This was the first time that I had charge of a church and I felt the keen responsibility.[Pg 97] And I do not doubt that those who heard me preach had the feeling that instead of my having charge of them that they should have charge of me. But such things are of the ordering of the Lord who chooses babes to confound the wise and the weak things of the world to confound the mighty. There is a time when a man feels that the best thing that he can do is to get out of self into Christ. Self is one of the greatest blessings if Christ is its center, but if man himself constitutes the center of life it is the stronghold of every sin.

REV. THEODORE GOULD, D.D., Who gave me my first license to preach

Who gave me my first license to preach.

While engaged in this work I frequently had to walk ten miles to Sorel Mountain, one of my appointments, which was a part of this circuit. My salary was indeed very small, but they fed me and cared for me the best they could, and God did the rest. I closed my work here with twenty-three converts added to the church. As I write these lines, I look back to see the ravages of time and what they have wrought. Those who were received into the church by me at that time, with very few exceptions, have finished their battle of life and completed their labors, long since, and have gone home to render a better service than they could have rendered here.

I made improvements on the Church buildings of the circuit and was able to make a good report to the Conference which met at Philadelphia.[Pg 98] At this conference I was received into membership by Bishop Paul Quinn. It was here that I made for the first time, my acquaintance with Dr. B. T. Tanner, Rev. T. G. Stewart, Rev. Frisby Cooper and others. Rev. Joshua Woodland was my presiding elder. I was permitted to attend the Lincoln University, in Chester County, Pennsylvania. I was supported by Mr. Amos Clark Junion of Elizabeth, N. J., and preached on Sundays in the Siloam Presbyterian church. Here I made the acquaintance of a local preacher, Rev. David Croshon, of the A. M. E. Church and Brother Scisco from whom I learned a great deal about church work. Being wholly inexperienced and poorly educated, I felt the curse of the regime of slavery, although I had never been a slave. I longed for the equipment that comes from a thorough education and realized that if in some way I did not educate myself, I could never amount to much. So it is hard for me at my time of life although a closer student than ever, to understand or to be in sympathy with any preacher who in his ignorance, is satisfied to remain so. There is something sadly lacking in such a man and I greatly fear those qualities without which no man is either acceptable to God or to the church, as a minister of the Gospel.

BISHOP WILLIAM PAUL QUINN Who received me into the Conference

Who received me into the Conference

I realized also that in addition to my own[Pg 99] weakness that this world was no friend to grace to help me on to God. I had many foes within and without me to overcome.

In June, 1870, I was requested by Bishop J. P. Campbell to report at the Philadelphia Conference, he having, in the interval, taken me up and sent me to the Pennington circuit. I reported at the conference and was transferred to the South under the care of Bishop John M. Brown. I was sent to Pulaski, Tenn. This was about the time that the Ku Klux Klan was having its sway in the south. These men were engaged in every kind of intimidation and cruelty in order to keep the Negroes from voting the Republican ticket. They would kill, torture, or do anything that came into mind in order that their purpose might be realized. At this time there were many Colored people holding office in the South. The unrest and the mental suffering of these times were as severe a strain almost as the period of the war itself. When I arrived at Pulaski, Tenn. I was introduced to what I might expect in the South. I presented my check to the baggage master for my trunk. He refused to take the trunk off the car, but threw it upon the platform in the roughest manner. A White man standing near, saw that I was very much surprised at such treatment and approaching me, asked if I did not like that kind of treatment and that if I did not[Pg 100] he would proceed to give me some more of it. I told him that I had made no complaints at all. He asked me where I was going and what I was doing, and I was glad to slip away and find the steward of the church. I related these things to him and he told me that I had acted wisely in being calm and making no fuss over the matter. He told me that the White folks were Ku Kluxing the Colored people without mercy and going out of their way to find provocations for such devilish work. The steward told me that I would have to be very careful as a minister in and out of the pulpit, that the Klu Klux Klan was especially after the preachers to force them to use their influence to make the Negroes vote the Democratic ticket in elections.

They found me a boarding place with a Mrs. Batts. I found that the Colored men of this community were doing good business. One was a cotton merchant, a Mr. Harris, I remember. I was greatly assisted in this charge by my local preachers. They were more experienced than I in the work of the pastorate and I felt them to be my superiors in everything. The meetings were good. Souls were converted and many were added to the church. There was not much money in circulation and the salary was small. They used cards to trade with, postage stamps, and whatever of value would be accepted or exchanged[Pg 101] for what you wanted. I remember one night the Klu Klux Klan came to the house of one of my members, a Mr. Pleasant Rector, called him to the door and shot him down as if he had been a dog. His wife and children were frightened almost to death. One of his daughters asked me what she must do. I could tell her that nothing would help such dreadful matters, so we all went to the church and prayed over the matter, and I consoled them as best I could. These were dreadful times. The hatred and the revenge of the Southern White man who had been whipped by his Northern White Brother, were now visited upon the still helpless race. We had to receive the very wounds which the Southerners would loved to have visited upon his White brothers, and which they tried to visit upon them in war, but failed. We did a good work here along temperance and missionary lines.

In September, 1873, the Conference convened at Memphis, Tenn. This was the annual conference of the A. M. E. Church and it convened at the St. Andrews Chapel of that city. Rev. B. L. Brooks, preached the opening sermon. The Bishop, John M. Brown, was belated, so the conference proceeded with business, having made Elder Page Tyler chairman, and Elder Brooks, secretary. The regular routine of business was purposed. Bishop Brown arrived on the fourth[Pg 102] day, having gotten his dates mixed, then he was afraid that at that time it was unwise to hold any public meetings owing to the presence of yellow fever in the city. The Conference remained in session until it had completed its business. Yellow fever at this time was raging in Memphis. A friend told me that he stood at a street corner and counted seventy-four funerals as they passed. In the house where I was stopping, there was a yellow fever case in the room next to mine. The meeting of the Conference in Memphis was a very successful one considering the obstacles contended against.

The following Conference held a year later, was in Nashville, Tenn. This Conference was presided over by Bishop Brown. At this conference several were ordained as deacons, among them myself. While at Nashville, the Conference visited Fisk University and also the Tennessee college.

During this time I remained at Campbell Chapel, Pulaski, Tenn. We bought ground and made brick and quarried stone, for the basement of a church. There were about fifty members added to the church.

I cannot refrain from speaking frequently of the great injustice done the Colored man in the South at this time. Prejudice was rife. It showed its hydra-head in every possible way and was[Pg 103] a serpent with a venomed sting. I remember an incident which illustrates how fearful this prejudice was. I saw a White man bring his horse up to a public watering place, and about the same time a Colored man drove his horse up to the same trough. He said to the Colored man, “A Nigger’s horse can’t drink with my horse,” and ordered him away. Immediately a mob gathered and beat the man to death for this “crime.” I preached the funeral of the poor fellow, but was not allowed to refer to the circumstances, or I suppose there would have been another funeral in a day or so. My report at the end of this year was a reasonably good one, the number who had joined the church was about one hundred and ten and for all purposes we raised about $2,518.00. I was indeed very well satisfied with the work of the year.

The next Conference met in Chattanooga. This conference was presided over by Bishop Brown, assisted by Bishop Ward. The various reports showed the church to be in a growing and prosperous condition. The Conference report showed 9527 members of the A. M. E. Church in this Conference, 1122 probationers, 210 local preachers, 120 exhorters, 114 churches, valued at $106,101.00. This was a good showing so soon after the war. At this Conference I was appointed to a charge in Chattanooga, Tenn., with Elder[Pg 104] R. French Harley as my presiding elder. We had a fearful flood during this year in Chattanooga. There was great suffering and loss of property. I did not do well in this charge, however I completed, the church and added 86 to the membership of the Church. I found that it was necessary to turn two men out of the church, for their misconduct. They gained the confidence and bias of the presiding elder, and he moved me from this place. Thus it is that a man must suffer for the right that he does, while many go unpunished for the evil doings. But that should afford no reason for not always doing the right. We, as ministers of the Gospel, must take our stand for the uprightness of character and the righteousness of conduct, without any consideration of the price which this stand will cost us. Bishop Brown transferred me to the Arkansas Conference, which met at Pine Bluff, Arkansas. At this conference I was ordained Elder by Bishop Brown and sent to the Bethel A. M. E. Church at Little Rock, Arkansas.

I found in this city the prejudice against the Colored people rife and that they had to contend against very great odds on every hand. But in spite of this, many of the Colored people were in a flourishing condition. There were men prominent in the ministry who had gone out from this place, such as Revs. H. H. Pettigrew, Reuben[Pg 105] Johnson, A. A. Williams, J. F. A. Sission, J. T. Jennifer, Andrew J. Chambers, and others. The Hon. Judge Gibbs, William Rector, and Elias Rector who was fulfilling a prominent place in the post office were leading business men. The church here was built by Brother J. T. Jennifer, D.D. My daughter Ada was with me at this time, my son William Alexander, having remained in Tennessee. There were many noble workers in this church, viz: Joseph Stone, Jerome Lewis, Nelson Warren, Sam White, Willie Oliver, and others whose names are too numerous to mention.

My wife, Olivia Newton having died in 1868, and being a widower, while here I became acquainted with a young lady, Miss Lulu L. Campbell, secretary of the Sunday School. I found her to be a noble Christian woman and felt that the Lord had brought us into contact for a great purpose. After having considered the matter and having consulted my daughter and finding that she approved, we were married June 1, 1876.

After paying off a little more of the debt on the church and adding about ninety souls to the membership of the church, I finished my first year’s work. The Conference met the following year at the Bethel Church, Little Rock. At this Conference I was transferred by Bishop Ward to the Louisiana Conference and was[Pg 106] to have been stationed at the St. James Church, New Orleans, but owing to some miscarriage in the appointments, I was given the station at Algiers, La. There as in other places, I was not long in arranging and drilling my forces for active work. We succeeded in repairing the church, but were greatly hindered by the ragings of smallpox and yellow fever in this section. I remember a fearful example of the work of the K. K. K. in this section. A woman had been taken by this devilish clan and they had cut off her breasts. She showed her bosom to a few and they had done their work well, for her bosom was as flat as a man’s. These were some of the outrages that were continually committed on the Colored people. It is sometimes wondered at, that the Colored people are so slow to place confidence in the White Race, that they too, have a deep seated prejudice which now and then crops out in some vile offense against the White Race, if our White friends only understood that these fearful atrocities committed then and even now, against my people, are not easily forgotten, they would the better understand. Human nature is the same and it will require a great deal of the grace of God to smother out all the horrible memories that have passed from individual hearts into the heart of the Race to which I belong. But the time will doubtless come and then we will see a different state of affairs.

[Pg 107]

I remember another incident at this place. As I have said, the smallpox was raging. I was invited to conduct the funeral of a small boy who had died of this disease. When I went to the house and was seen by the mother, she rushed to me and threw her arms about me and wept. Of course she had been nursing the child. I was greatly annoyed by this foolish act which threatened the health of my own family, but as the good Lord willed, nothing came of it. After doing my best here, I decided that I would not stay longer. I consulted Bishop Ward and others. They told me that I was making a very unwise step, but I got a transfer and went to Bishop Brown in the North Carolina Conference. The Conference met November 14th. at the Gaston Chapel, Morgantown, N. C., presided over by Bishop Brown. The regular routine of business was taken up and the reports showed a growing condition of the church. Dr. H. M. Turner, manager of the Publication Department and J. H. W. Burley, financial secretary, appeared and made their reports. The number of members in the Conference as reported were, 5131; probationers 877; churches 58; support of pastors $4749.51. I was received into this Conference and appointed to the station, Raleigh, N. C.

I had instructions to go to Mr. Norfleet Dunson, but he was away and I was sent to Mr. Stewart Ellisons.

[Pg 108]

When I went to Raleigh, I had a very discouraging experience. I drove up to a Brother Ellisons’, rapped on the door. A lady came to the door. I told her that I was the preacher who had been sent to the St. Paul’s A. M. E. Church. She informed me that all her family had gone to the funeral, so I had my trunk brought upon the porch and sat down upon it. She had evidently expected me to come in when the trunk was safely on the porch. But I remained in the porch, being worn out and out of patience.

Presently she came out and invited me in. I told her that no one was at home but herself and that I would remain outside until the folks came home. She said, “Now I don’t want any foolishness around here, if you have been sent here to be pastor of our church, you come right in.” Well, that was hearty enough a reception, a positive command, of course I obeyed orders, I had learned this in the army. Soon the family returned. They were delighted to see me, built a fine fire, made ready a fine supper, and after a social time I was sent to a good bed. After I retired I felt very much ashamed of myself for the ugly feeling I had harbored and repented of my sins. It never pays to allow one’s bad feelings to get the better of their good feelings, for they always pay a big price for the victory. My official board was made up of John O’Kelley,[Pg 109] Stewart Ellison, Norfleet Dunson, Seth Nowell, and Henry Hunter. They were a very fine set of men. We went to work in earnest, bought a lot and paid off a great many debts. There were over 230 accessions to the church, of whom I baptized about 150 by immersion. I received a salary of $1000.00 which was very large at that time in our Connection. They gave me $75.00 that I might bring my wife and daughter from Algiers, La. The Colored people at this place were very successful in business and of good reputation and character. The White people, that is those especially interested in us, were very kind indeed. A Mrs. Dorr, (white) was principal of the school for Colored children. She did a great deal for the uplifting of the Race. Mr. Tupper, (white) was the president of Shaw University, a Baptist school of the Colored people. My daughter, Ada, taught rhetoric, in the Shaw University.

I concluded my work at this place and was able to carry to the Conference fine reports. This was largely due to the fact that the church was very spiritual. It was on the Lord’s side on all those questions which affect the religion of a community. Sometimes a minister is looked upon as the cause of the failures of a church, in its work, as a rule he is blamed, but this is a mistake. The general cause is to be found in the[Pg 110] church. A good church with a poor pastor will succeed, but a bad church with a good pastor is liable to fail. Christ could do no mighty works in a certain place because of their unbelief. There are many good preachers who are unable to do good work because of the unbelief of the people and the consequence of this unbelief. It acts as a kind of paralysis, and indeed it is, a paralysis of the church.

I left this church for the station of Newberne, N. C. This was my birthplace. I was really glad to get back to the place where I first saw the light. I had been absent for twenty years. I saw that great changes had taken place during this time. There were no slave gangs, no whipping posts, no slave pen, no auction block. One of the first things that I did was to go to see a tree opposite the house of Bob Walker, in an old field, the spot where Tom Lewis had been whipped nearly to death for attacking a White man. After they had nearly killed him they took him down to the boat and put him on it and told him that he was never to put the prints of his feet on that part of the country again.

I was received very cordially by the church members. Many of them I remembered as my friends twenty years ago and longer. I had charge of Rue’s Chapel. My first year was a very successful one. I was returned again the second year.

[Pg 111]

Newberne has quite a history. It is situated on the banks of two rivers, the Neuse and Trent rivers. The elm trees are magnificent. Here lived the Stevenses, Jenkinses, Bryans, Webbs, and others, all old slave owners. They were of course deeply interested in the traffic and did all in their power to keep the regime from passing away. There was a Colored man at this place that owned slaves also, a Mr. J. S. Stanley. Newberne was a great turpentine center. There were turpentine distilleries here and about here. But great changes had taken place. The magnificent dwelling house of the Stevens was now occupied by a Colored man and run as a hotel. A Mr. George H. White was the superintendent of the public schools, (Colored) at this place and had also a law office. He afterwards became solicitor of state and a member of the U. S. Congress. He is now the president of a Savings Bank, on Lombard Street, Philadelphia, Penna. Mr. Sylvester Mackey and Judge Mumford were merchants. Presiding Elder, Edward Hill, of the Zion A. M. E. Church, was a wealthy planter. Mrs. Edward R. Richardson was a clerk in the Post Office. Mr. John Willis was a deputy sheriff. These and other men and women had made good their opportunities. They had not only welcomed the change from slavery but they had taken their places as freedmen among the citizens[Pg 112] of this country and had demonstrated that they had in them that out of which the best citizens are made. I forgot to mention that the Rev. J. C. Price, D.D., former president of Livingston College, Salisbury, N. C., was born at this town. Dr. Price was one of the most distinguished orators, educators and scholars of the country regardless of color.

After my second year at this place, I attended the General Conference of the A. M. E. Church which met in St. Louis, Mo. I took my wife and baby and we went up on boat. My daughter Ada returned to Shaw University, Raleigh, N. C. where she was an instructor. At St. Louis, I met a great many ministers whom I knew and many more with whom I got well acquainted. I was quite indisposed while there, but was able to attend the sessions of the Conference. It was at this Conference that Elder R. H. Cain, D.D., made his defense against the charge of maladministration in office. And I am sure that it was his noble defense that brought about his election to the office of Bishopric. While in St. Louis, I visited some of the places of interest. I called upon Mr. J. Milton Turner, editor of the Freeman’s Journal who afterward represented the U. S. as minister to Hayti.

I visited a large Catholic (Roman) school. This was my first visit to a Roman Catholic[Pg 113] institution of any kind. I was deeply impressed with the services, with the use of crucifixes, and the place that images held in their service. It was very strange to me. I could not understand how their minds and hearts could be fixed on God while at the same time they were giving so much time to these genuflections, rituals, and ceremonies. I remembered the second commandment. I saw that this commandment was being broken. For there were the images and likenesses of things in Heaven and on the earth, if not under earth. And yet at the same time these people seemed to be in earnest, they did what they had before them with a devotion that attracted. But it was all wrong because the Word of God in one of the Ten Commandments condemned it. The Roman Catholic Church with all its pomp, pride and wealth, is wrong in its fundamental principals and is therefore guilty of idolatry—they are not worshipping God only, they are worshipping saints and other divinities.

On Thursday, May 20, 1880, Revs. H. M. Turner, R. H. Cain, W. F. Dickerson were elected bishops of the A. M. E. Church. Bishops Payne, Wayman, Campbell, Shorter, Ward and Brown, together with the required number of elders, officiated. I left St. Louis and on my way home, stopped over in Little Rock, Ark., spending Sunday there. It was my pleasure to preach in[Pg 114] Bethel Church on Sunday afternoon, for the Rev. Dr. J. T. Jennifer, the pastor of the church. I enjoyed meeting my many old friends. I was soon back at my work in Newberne, N. C., and remained there until the end of the year. Quite a number of members united with the church and debts were paid off. My work at this place was reasonably successful.

I attended the Conference that met in Raleigh, N. C. On account of my mother’s health I requested a transfer from this section to the North, and at this Conference I was transferred to the Conference of New Jersey. I received appointment to the station of Morristown, N. J. I arrived at Morristown with my daughter, Ada. It was midnight and very cold. I was somewhat discouraged. My daughter said to me, father, it is very cold and the outlook is a gloomy one, but I am here to stay with you and help all that I can. (Poor child, long since she passed away to that country where the inhabitants are free from the tribulations of this world.) I was reminded of a couplet in one of the old hymns,

“Thy saints in all this glorious war
Shall conquer though they die.”

BISHOP JOHN M. BROWN, D.D., D.C.L. Who ordained me as an Elder

Who ordained me as an Elder.

I was sent to the Morristown station to fill out the unexpired term of the Rev. Mr. Smith deceased. We spent the night at the parsonage, then Mr. Henry Ader, a prominent contractor and steward in the church, came to see us and took us to his house until the parsonage was put in shape for us. We were most pleasantly entertained by him. While in this field of labor I sought out a secret spot where I might meet with God and talk over with Him all the work that I was entering upon in this field. I realized that such an arrangement with God was best and one that every Christian who is doing business for the King, should have. So I regularly kept my engagements with God in this place. I put before Him all my plans and went over them, seeking His wisdom and help. It is wonderful how He brings to our assistance His strength and grace when we honor Him as we should in this way. The Saviour Himself taught that we should have our closet, that is, a secret place, where we talk with God about everything that interests us. That we should not do as the Pharisees and Scribes, who loved to talk with God on the street corners and public places that they might be seen of men. “When thou prayest enter into thy closet and thy Father who seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

Mr. Henry Ader, Lansing Furman, George Yates, Nicholas Miller, Henry Johnson, Robert Gale, Preston Garland, together with their wives, were the active members in this church and they were indeed a noble band of workers. There[Pg 116] was harmony in the church between the members and a zeal marked with wisdom in their work. I was soon able to have my wife and children come on from Little Rock, Ark. This getting together again was a happy reunion of my home. I found the Y. M. C. A. in this place to be a noble band of workers and very much interested in the colored people. Such influences as this are very inspiring to my people. I met and had the pleasant acquaintance while here of the pastor of the Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Dr. Erdman (white). I found him to be a noble Christian man and very deeply interested in the uplifting of our people. He not only used his influence but contributed of his means for our welfare. I had the pleasure of preaching for him in his own pulpit. I might mention also a Dr. Owen, a physician (white), who did a great deal for our people and cause. He assisted us in paying off the mortgage on our Church and in getting the Church out of debt. In all these things I was able to see the gleams of the light of God’s love shining down upon us every day. For we must remember that the love and the friendship of our white friends are but the sunshine of God’s love falling upon us to bless us and to teach us that God has His own chosen ones in this world who are living on the table land of Christian thought and activity, far above the swamps of prejudice[Pg 117] and racial animosity. We, too, should daily seek to live on these same highlands of God’s love and peace.

REV. J. W. COOPER, Treasurer of the New Jersey Conference

Treasurer of the New Jersey Conference.

The Conference met at Princeton, N. J. I was received into the membership of this Conference and entered into the active duties thereof on committees on which I was assigned. I found the brethren very cordial in their welcome and pleasant as co-laborers in the Lord’s work. I met here for the first time, Elders J. W. Cooper, J. H. Bean, George A. Mills, J. H. Morgan, R. Faucett, J. T. Diggs, Winston Taylor, J. R. V. Pierce, Wilson Patterson, S. B. Williams and others. I was assigned to Morristown and was much pleased with the appointment. We had a very pleasant year as well as profitable. The Conference the following year was entertained by my Church. This meeting of the Conference was a very pleasant and profitable one. The reports showed that in every way the denomination in this part of the vineyard was doing its work reasonably well. The Conference had the pleasure while here of visiting Drew Seminary. Some of our Bishops and leaders made addresses, which were kindly received judging from the responses on the part of the Faculty of this noble institution. This is a theological school of the M. E. Church. After the adjournment of the Conference I slipped away for a much needed rest, not letting my congregation[Pg 118] or even my wife know where I was going. I went to New York City for a few days. Sometimes it is necessary for a man to get away from every work that he may recuperate himself.

About this time I attended the funeral of my cousin, John Harris, living on Lombard street, Philadelphia. While here I met Bishops Wayman and Brown; Financial Secretary, B. W. Arnett, (since made Bishop, but now deceased), and Judge Allen (colored), of South Carolina. I visited the Philadelphia Conference which met at West Chester, Pa. This was a very delightful meeting of Conference.

I soon returned to my field of labor, at Morristown, very much refreshed and entered upon my labors with new zeal and, I trust, more wisdom. All through my ministry I have been deeply impressed with the fact that we must do all that we can for our young people. They are, in their own time and generation, to do all in their power to work out the salvation of their people. They must be trained to take up the labors of their fathers and mothers with more zeal and wisdom than their parents, so that the cause of the race may be greatly advanced by them in their day. When I think of the ten millions or more of my people in this country, and their destiny will be largely fixed by the coming generation of Afro-Americans; I almost tremble for the outcome, because[Pg 119] I fear that the fathers and mothers of this day and generation have not done their work as well as they could have done it. There are great odds against us in this country, and it will require strong bodies, characters and minds, together with the power and wisdom of God, to bring my people to the place where they can become potent factors in this mighty civilization. At Morristown I furnished the parsonage, paid off all debts and added 40 members to the Church. I also organized the Church at Madison, N. J.


Camden, N. J.
Built by Rev. W. H. Yeocum, D.D., and Rev. A. H. Newton, D.D.

On April 18, 1883, the New Jersey Conference met at Bridgeton, N. J., in the Mt. Zion A. M. E. Church. My report was as follows: Contingent, $1; salary, $580; traveling expenses, $12; P. E. support, $49; Dollar Money, $27; Missionary Fund, $12; Sunday School, $22; number of members, 61; probationers, 4; Sunday School scholars, 120. I was sent from this Conference to Trenton, N. J., where I spent two years in the pastoral work. I increased the membership of this Church from 62 to 180 during this time and paid off a great many debts and advanced the cause of Christ in many ways. After this pastorate, I served the Macedonia A. M. E. Church, Camden, N. J.

I attended the General Conference in Baltimore, which was a wideawake meeting. While living and working in Camden I bought my first[Pg 120] house and became a property owner. I did this because the parsonage could not be vacated at the time I needed the house. I have never regretted this step. And I hope that many who read this volume will take a similar step. There is no comfort like living under your own “vine and fig tree.” My work in the Camden Church was very successful. I had associated with me Mr. C. W. Robinson, Taswell Green, W. Starr, James Hunt, James Martin, George Rice, Mary White, Lizzie Green, Mary Merril, Emma Pitts, Mary Stevenson and other helpers, whose loyalty and faithfulness were most praiseworthy.

We had the great pleasure of entertaining the Conference, which was a most profitable meeting. The Conference was opened by a sermon from Bishop Campbell and presided over by Bishop Wayman. I was complimented at this meeting by the brethren along the strain that God had special blessings prepared for me and that in a peculiar sense He had cared for me. I told them that I praised Him for all that I was, and had been able to do for Him; that they all knew that I had started without any education in the schools. I had been blessed with good health and ordinarily good sense; that my school was the school in which Jesus Christ is the Principal and the Holy Spirit the Teacher; that I had associated every day with my schoolmates, the sun,[Pg 121] moon, stars, rivers, trees, grass, flowers and birds; that the world was my blackboard, and the mountains my college walls. Here is where I got my start. As I now look out on the young men who are entering the ministry and see the splendid opportunities they have of acquiring an education, I am really appalled that they do not improve these opportunities. It is a mystery to me. I hope that the Holy Spirit will awaken in the minds and hearts of the young men of my race who expect to preach the Gospel, the determination and effort to thoroughly prepare themselves to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I was left at the Macedonia Church for another year. We were able to complete the Church during this year, and it was dedicated on the 24th of October, 1886, by Bishop Wayman. The collection which we were able to raise at this dedicatory service was $900. The church building is a fine edifice, with stained glass windows and a fine pipe organ. We were very proud of our work. At this service I performed two marriages between Mr. Frank Miller and Miss Georgia Stratton, and Mr. Charles J. Cloud and Miss Sarah J. Beatty. I finished my work in Camden, paid $11,000 on indebtedness, was blessed with 200 conversions, of whom 160 united with the church and paid for my house at No. 332 Washington[Pg 122] Street, Camden, N. J. I left an indebtedness of $5000 in the church.

The Conference of 1886 met at Trenton, N. J., and was presided over by Bishop Wayman. It was a very profitable meeting. The Conference appointed a committee to call on the Governor of the State. They arranged a time and had a most pleasant meeting with this official. Rev. W. A. S. Rice, D.D., was the spokesman of the committee, which consisted of Rev. J. P. Sampson, D.D., W. A. S. Rice, D.D., and Rev. A. H. Newton, D.D. The Governor afterwards sent for Dr. Rice and asked him what the Conference wanted in making a call upon him. Dr. Rice was not able to say anything definitely. Then he told Dr. Rice of a provision which the legislature had made for the founding and maintaining of a Colored Industrial School. The outcome of this conference of Dr. Rice with the Governor was that the Industrial School at Bordentown was established and that Dr. Rice became its honored founder.

I would like to say in this connection that the chairman of this committee, Rev. J. P. Sampson, D.D., my life long friend, has ever been prominent in the work of the church. He is a man of fine ability, of sound judgment, and of noble Christian character. He has been tested by me during a long life and I have ever found him[Pg 123] to be tried and true. I always know where to find Dr. Sampson on any great and important question, he is on the right side.

I was sent to Bridgeton, N. J., and served this charge with cheerfulness and success. At the next Conference I was appointed by Bishop Campbell, pastor over the Millville Circuit. I made my home at Vineland, N. J. I looked after the church in Vineland. This being a very poor charge, my wife raised chickens and the children gardened, and we were able to live. I went back to my old trade at odd times, that of bricklayer. I did not fear to take off my coat, roll up my sleeves and go to work. I made $3.75 a day, paid off the debt on the church, preached to them on Sundays and added quite a number to the church. I went from here to New Brunswick, N. J., and was quite successful. I found the people thoroughly alive to the interests of the Kingdom of Heaven. This church had the honor of entertaining the Eighteenth Annual Conference of the A. M. E. connection at the end of my first year. This Conference showed a deeper interest in the cause of education than any other. The speech that stirred the Conference was made by editor L. J. Coppin. The reports at this Conference showed a total membership of 4352; Probationers, 1200; Accessions, 1036; Preachers,[Pg 124] 71; Sunday School Scholars, 3694; Dollar Money, $1538.52; Pastors’ Support, $18,000. I remained at this charge for another year. I determined that I would do the best work of my life this year. In examining myself I found that I was as full of zeal as when I first entered the ministry and that the secret motive was to please the Lord by serving Him to the best of my ability. I was greatly aided in my work by the Rev. J. H. Morgan, the presiding elder. He had the tact and good sense to bring about a most pleasant relationship between pastor and people. The Rev. Mr. Pockman, of the Reformed Church, aided me very much in my work. I always sought the advice and help of my Methodist brethren, as well as the brethren of other denominations. William Stiles, Dorie Davis, Josiah Henson, Thomas March, Alice Thompson, Mrs. March, Samuel Dowdie, Harriet Henson, and others were my valuable co-workers during this year. We paid off the debt, furnished the parsonage, repaired and carpeted the church building, paid the mortgage of 15 years’ standing and were blessed with an addition to the membership of forty-two souls. I was therefore able to take a good report to the next meeting of the Conference. The reports at this Conference showed splendid progress being made by this branch of the Methodist Church. And it requires[Pg 125] but a brief examination to prove that this is also true of every denomination represented among my people. I submit a few facts and figures that may be of great encouragement to my friends who have the patience to read this volume. There are 55,784 church organizations; 56,228 church buildings; 2,672,977 members of all denominations; church property is valued at $32,510,448; when I enlisted in the Civil War we had practically no schools, because before the war it was a misdemeanor to teach Colored children in school, now there are upwards of 2,000,000 Colored children attending well taught schools. This is a record of which we are very proud, but by no means satisfied with the achievement. We must press forward along all lines of work and enterprise. There is no time for idling, there is no place for drones, there is no reward for ignorance.

My next assignment was Cape May, N. J. During the pastorate of Rev. J. Height Bean, D.D., this church had bought a lot on which was a house used as a parsonage. We were greatly favored here by a Mr. Ogden, who aided us in procuring lumber. He was a most kind man to the poor and needy and in his kindness he knew no color line. The church building was not plastered or seated, so we decided to borrow money for this purpose. We needed $500[Pg 126] and owed a mortgage of $1200. We had not a cent. Therefore the Board decided on a rally. At this rally we had with us the Rev. Israel Derricks, of the Conference of New York. On that day we raised $168 in cash and $50 in subscriptions. On another Sabbath later we raised $250. Rev. Levi Coppin aided us very materially that day. So that at last we were able to pay in cash $468 of the $500 which we had expected to borrow. The School Board at Cape May applied to me for two teachers to fill vacancies in public school. I recommended Miss Gertie Pierce, of Trenton, N. J., and Miss Fannie Worthington, of Washington, D. C. They were accepted and given positions. Our church at this place supplied two of the school teachers, this year, for the teaching of the Colored children. The Misses Gertie Pierce and Fannie Worthington were the young ladies. Through the spiritual activity of the members we had a splendid revival during the year which resulted in forty members being added to the church, and in all 62 members. We installed a pipe organ also. I am glad to say that the members of this church were in dead earnest. So I had no trouble with mud-slingers and evil doers. How much time of a pastor is frequently taken up in fighting against the Devil who is incarnated in some of the members of the church!

BISHOP HENRY M. TURNER Who appointed me Presiding Elder

Who appointed me Presiding Elder

[Pg 127]

The next Conference met at Morristown, N. J. It was a great delight to return and meet my old friends and co-laborers. The reports of this Conference showed a steady growth and advancement along all lines.

I am often reminded of the courage of Bishop Allen, who, when he and his friends were declared a nuisance in the White church and while on their knees in prayers were taken hold of, and ordered to the back part of the church, went out and organized the A. M. E. Denomination. God went out with him as results have shown. And on account of this most un-Christian treatment which the founder of our church received, I have given my life with redoubled zeal to its establishment in this land. Our church has stood for an independence which has been an uplifting power in the Race. While in some cases this may have been carried too far by unwise persons, yet on the whole no one can gainsay that the A. M. E. Church has been a Divinely appointed agency in the life and labors of the Negro Race of the United States of America.

At this Conference I was made a Presiding Elder of the Trenton District by Bishop H. M. Turner, D.D. I moved my family to Philadelphia, Pa. With the aid of my friends, my family was pleasantly domiciled in Philadelphia and I started on my first rounds as a P. E. This was[Pg 128] the most difficult part of my ministerial life. I found that there was no church in the N. J. Conference that wanted to see the presiding elder. They looked upon him as an unnecessary part of church machinery. They considered him as a dependent on their gifts and that every time that he came it meant “more money, more money.” My first quarterly meeting was to have been held at the church at Mt. Holly but I found that the pastor was not ready to hold the meeting, so it was postponed. I went to another place and the pastor told me that “things were very unfavorable there.” The result of my first round was that when I came back to Camden, I had to borrow ten dollars. I attended during this year the General Conference which met in the Mother Bethel Church, Philadelphia. I witnessed the ordination of Revs. B. F. Lee, M. B. Salter and James A. Handy to the Bishopric. The Conference created a great deal of enthusiasm for the connection. I returned to my work with the determination that I would do more for the Lord than I had ever done before. I closed my Conference year with reasonable success. I received as a salary $680 and $57 for traveling expenses. But I believe that I succeeded in convincing the people that the presiding elder may be of great assistance to the local church in doing its work in[Pg 129] that the minister is often not able to cope with things as they exist.

My report at the Conference which met at Princeton, N. J., was about as follows: Trenton pastorate, new church built and 59 converts; new church built at Trenton Mission; new church at Jordantown; mortgage burned at Bordentown; church finished at Jamesburgh; the other work was the routine work of the presiding elder. I was again appointed presiding elder of the same district. During this year I had my daughter, Ada, with me, having come North and brought her husband, Albert A. B. Cooper. Bishop Turner gave my son-in-law an appointment at Bethel, South Camden, which pleased us all very much. My wife and children not being well pleased with their residence in Philadelphia, I moved them to our own house in Camden. During this year as presiding elder I took up a campaign against worldliness in the church. I found that our young people were drifting off to places of amusement, such as theatres, parks, etc. This work was carried on by the pastors in my district and I am glad to say that there was a great change for the better. I do not think that our young people are malicious or wilful in such matters, but that it is largely on account of the indifference on the part of their pastors. It is not enough to go into the[Pg 130] pulpit and enter into a tirade of denunciation and scolding; this will do more harm than good; but reason must be employed. The world and the church are at enmity, they never have been and never can be friends until the world, as an individual, has been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. As long as this relation of hostility exists between the world and the church, members of the church cannot be friendly to both. They cannot be followers of the world and its ways and at the same time consistent members of the church.

At the Newark Conference, I was quite sick, but able to get through the work. My reports as presiding elder during this year were very satisfactory. I was given an appointment as a pastor at this Conference by Bishop B. T. Tanner, my station was South Woodbury.

Sick as I was, I was determined to attend the General Conference which met at Wilmington, N. C. The trip was not a very pleasant one for me although everything had been done to make it pleasant. We arrived at Richmond, Va., and stopped twenty minutes for a meal. I was carried into the dining room and seated with the brethren. I was impressed there with the fact that the White people are not going to allow anything that has the semblance of social equality. As soon as we were seated a folding[Pg 131] screen was placed about our little company so as to cut us off from the White people in the dining room. This was segregation in earnest.

I enjoyed the meeting of the General Conference very much. I was under the care of a physician and able to attend each day’s session of the long meeting. I was delighted to be with Mr. Joseph Sampson, my boyhood friend and associate. He was Registrar of Deeds. I was rejoiced when I learned from him of the mental improvement he had made. There were over six hundred ministers and lay-delegates in attendance. They represented the strong element of the church. There were theologians and scholars, men skilled in the tactics of Christian warfare. I rejoiced that God has such gatherings as this to work and plan for the general uplifting of my people. As long as there are men who have determined that right shall prevail and that the Gospel shall leaven the entire human race, there is no doubt of the final issue. For we know what God’s will is and that this will must be carried out by His loyal children.

After my return home I was sick for about two weeks but was able to take up the work at South Woodbury. The first thing we did as pastor and people was to plan for a new church building, the old one being in a dilapidated condition.[Pg 132] It took quite a while to get the people in the notion of building, but we adopted our plans and began to work. I found a great many splendid workers in this church, without whom I would have labored in vain. I was at this place for three years and when I left, the members were worshipping in a fine brick church. I had succeeded in paying off a part of the debt, and had received into the membership of the church about thirty-five members.

At the next meeting of the Conference I was sent to the station of Burlington, N. J. I spent a most pleasant and profitable year with these dear people. They did all in their power to make my life a pleasure to myself and family. I left this work with the best wishes of the members of the church. I left with the conviction too that they were a noble band of the Lord’s workers and that the work would be in the hands of men and women who would not let it lag for the want of untiring, energetic workers.

In 1899 I was assigned by Bishop A. Grant to Hossanah A. M. E. Church, East Camden, N. J. I labored here until 1901, having reorganized the Sunday School and paid something on the church debt and added many members to the membership of the church.

Beverly was my next charge. Here I built a new church. I found that many of the White[Pg 133] people of this community were in sympathy with our work. They contributed of their money and did what they could spiritually for the upbuilding of our work. A lady from Edgewater Park gave me six hundred dollars for the building of the church and a nice little sum for the pastor. She was Mrs. Taylor. The Presbyterian minister at this place helped me a great deal in my work. I can surely say that the presence of the Lord was with us and like David, exclaim, “Whom have I in Heaven but Thee and there is none in all the earth, my soul would desire, beside Thee.”

Sad, sad, are the recollections of the years from 1899 to 1904. I was taxed to my utmost for the enlargement of the Kingdom of Grace in my attempts to keep the young men and women from the sharks or pirates, who would have dragged them down to hell. Their great sin was that of Sabbath breaking. This led them to licentious living and almost every other crime of immorality. At the same time the hand of affliction was laid heavily upon me. And had it not been for the grace of God I should have sunken beneath the waves of affliction.

My daughter, Ada Augusta Newton Cooper, the wife of Rev. A. B. Cooper, died September 18th, 1899. She was thirty-eight years old. She was a devoted, loving daughter and faithful wife. She passed away at Orange, N. J., where[Pg 134] she was engaged in her Christian activities. She was a consecrated worker, a proficient teacher, authoress, and a most valuable assistant to me for many years. She knew as well as I that my education was sadly deficient, that I had come out of the briars of slavery and all its curses, and in a very practical manner, she was my education. For I had spared no means to have her thoroughly educated. And always afterward she was conscious of the advantages that I had given her and was constantly trying to pay off this great debt of gratitude. But the time came when the Lord called her to a higher service. He had need of her in another part of His Kingdom and called her away. It is indeed one of the heavy crosses that we are called upon to bear, when the Lord calls away from us the children whom He has given us. Only those parents who have passed through these said afflictions know anything of the pains and suffering. I cried out, “Oh, Lord. I sink into the deep mire where no solid foundation is found. I have come into the deep waters where the floods overflow me. Save me, O, God, for the waters are overflowing my soul.”

On December 3, 1902, my devoted and loving son passed away. He had lived a consecrated Christian life. He died at the age of twenty-one years. He had taken a thorough course of[Pg 135] training at Lincoln University, Pa., and had entered the ministry of the A. M. E. Denomination. He united with the Conference at Atlantic City and had been assigned to the charge at Sea Bright, N. J., by Bishop A. Grant. He was a loving son, fine scholar, strong preacher, and was beginning life with all the prospects of a great usefulness. But the frost of death rested on him and he went to sleep from the labors of the earth. But we are sure that he awakened in that bright and happy land where there is no death and that now he is engaged in a much larger and better service than any that he could have rendered here below. I shall see him again. We will soon meet to part no more. We will soon talk together again and thank God, with the assurance, that father and son will never be parted.

On February 8, 1904, my dear mother was called to the other home. This was the woman who had done more for me than all on the earth besides. She died at the age of ninety-two years. This, added to my other afflictions and to the weight of my labors, seemed more than I could stand. I had never realized what it was to be without a mother. Although at the age of sixty I was still a son. I had never forgotten that the law of my life was that of obedience. That it was my duty to honor my father[Pg 136] and my mother. So that my years had nothing to do with the intensity of my filial love and devotion. I shall never forget her looks when dying, with her eyes fixed on me, she said, “Do the work of the ministry as becomes a minister of the Lord Jesus. See to it, that no disgrace is brought on the cause which you represent by your unworthiness.” To my brother Henry she said, “My work is done. Neither of you can do me any good. Be earnest and true to your trust, and meet me in the morning where parting is no more.” Then she sang with us:

“Guide me, O Thou Great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak but Thou art mighty,
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of Heaven!
Feed me till I want no more.”

“When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside.
Death of death and Hell’s destruction,—
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of Praises,
I will give Thee evermore.”

Then she left us. And from that day until the day when I promised to meet her, I will be lonely without her.

On September 29, 1905, my youngest and last daughter fell asleep in the arms of Jesus. On the morning she left us I came to her bedside.[Pg 137] Mrs. Jennie Wise Johnston, wife of the editor, Dr. H. T. Johnson, was sitting by her bedside holding her hand. She was rubbing her hands as if she could rub the warmth of life into them. The poor child cried out, “Papa, Oh, papa!” These were her last words, she could say no more. Oh those words, how they have rung in my ears and how the echoes have come to me out of eternity, “Papa, Oh, papa!” Her mother had stepped into another room to weep. I could not stand to see her die. The cares and toils and sacrifices which I had made for her, the love that had bound her to me, the joys which she had brought into my life,—and now that Grim Death should be choking her—was more than I could bear. I bowed my head and prayed and took the train for my appointment in Jersey City. When I arrived I was handed a telegram announcing that she had left us. I took the next train and came home. This daughter at the early age of twelve years, like my other children, had become a devoted Christian. Her early piety was marked and deep. She lived until she was twenty-seven years of age. She had been a teacher in the public school, Mt. Vernon St., Camden, for seven years, a skilled musician and a competent Sunday School worker.

In passing through all these afflictions, I learned that it was a great deal easier for one[Pg 138] to say what he would do under such circumstances than it was to do what one ought to do. I had often said to many under the hand of affliction:

“Cast thy burden on the Lord, for He careth for you.”

I had never learned what that little word, “cast” meant. I found that it was no easy thing to cast my burden on the Lord. It was no easy thing to really say, “Thy will be done, not mine.” I would take these burdens to the Lord, but when I came away I would bring them with me. Ah! There is the point, I would bring them away with me! This I should not have done, but thank God, I am becoming able to leave my burdens with Him. I am too old to carry them now. And my dear reader, if you in early life can learn to leave your burdens with the Lord, you will have won the victory of victories. I know that these dear ones cannot come to me but I can go to them and it will not be long until I go.

At Jersey City I entered upon my work with a fine body of workers associated with me. Bros. A. S. Taper, W. H. Dougherty, J. Stokes, Edward Holmes; sisters, Hannah Stokes, Mamie Taper, Hattie Dougherty, Louisa Holmes, Anna Burk, Annie Dowers, and a host of other workers were standing around me in this great field.[Pg 139] They did all that they could to make African Methodism a strong fort of the Lord Jesus Christ and were bent on having a building that would be an honor to the denomination.

A Mr. Beach became very much interested in the work, he was our trusted treasurer and gave of his own money and influenced others to help us. I made my home with Mr. John Smith and his wife. They did a great deal to help the work along. While here we paid $500 on the church debt, and left the lumber and brick for a new church on the lot which belonged to the church and added over one hundred members to the church.

On April 12, 1905, I met the thirty-third session of the New Jersey Conference at the St. James A. M. E. Church, Atlantic City, N. J. Rev. B. W. Arnett, D.D., LL.D., was the presiding bishop.

The report of the presiding elders was indeed very encouraging, showing that great revivals had been in the districts of the several presiding elders, and that the church in all its departments of labor and enterprise had made encouraging advancement. This Conference as a great spiritual revival. There was great rejoicing on every hand. The secretaries brought in fine reports of their departments of work. We were made to feel that the church was getting back on the solid[Pg 140] ground of Methodism, the Old Time Religion which our fathers enjoyed. I sometimes think that in our church work we have so much machinery and so many schemes and plans, and are so bent on the money or material side of the church and its life, that we have lost our spiritual power. We need a great change in this respect. We must get back to the thought that God is our all in all and that they labor in vain who would build the house unless the Lord Himself build it.

During this meeting of the Conference some valuable statistics were submitted on the Race which I submit for careful study. Of course these will soon be supplanted by the U. S. Census Report, but many will not have access to this report, so I give them here: The Negro population of the U. S. in 1900 was 9,204,531; seventy per cent. work on 746,000 farms; 21,000 carpenters; 20,000 barbers, and one-fourth as many doctors; 10,000 ordained preachers; 15,000 masons; 12,000 dress makers; 10,000 engineers; 5,000 shoemakers; 1,000 lawyers; 4,000 musicians; 2,000 actors; since 1890 the illiteracy of the race has been reduced from 57 per cent. to 44.5 per cent. These reports mentioned Mr. Roosevelt as standing shoulder to shoulder with the immortal Lincoln as the friend of the Race.

These facts and figures are a great inspiration[Pg 141] to my people and I hope that they will be inspired to take fresh courage and go ahead in the great work and battle of life. My only purpose in putting into print the record of my own life is to encourage the young men and women to do something more to help themselves.

The doors of great schools are now open to the young men of the Race and if they do not improve their opportunities, it is their own fault and their own loss. The time has come when the people should not tolerate ignorance and its shames in any of the professions. From a personal acquaintance, I can most heartily recommend three great men who will do all in their power for the young Colored men of this country—Rev. Isaac N. Rendall, D.D., of Lincoln University, Rev. Dr. Scarbourough, of Wilberforce University, Ohio, and Rev. Samuel G. Miller. D.D., of the Bible College, of Philadelphia, Pa. These men have made their reputation and are among the great instructors of the Race and they stand in readiness to do what they can for the young people of my Race. The three men mentioned stand for the higher education of the people. They believe that what is good for the White man is equally good for the Black man. On the other hand, if young men and women are seeking to be educated along practical lines, I recommend them to the great[Pg 142] institution at Tuskegee, Ala., Dr. Booker T. Washington’s school. With these great men and the advantages which have been supplied by them, no young person can have an excuse for not rising to a high degree of scholarship and efficiency in any line of work.

At the Conference at Long Branch I was appointed at Bordentown, N. J. I had a pleasant reception here. Rev. J. H. Morgan was the retiring pastor. He called on me and gave me some valuable advice as to the work. I found that the church was divided by factions, but under God’s blessing these were united and all worked together in perfect harmony. We painted and paid for the parsonage and considerable was paid on the church debt. Dr. Roundtree, the Presiding Elder of this district, was of great assistance to me in my work.

Prof. James Gregory, principal of the Industrial School at this place, an institution supported by the State of New Jersey, was also a very valuable aid in the work of the church. He and his students were always present at the Sunday services and helped very materially in all the work of the church.

Former Secretary of the New Jersey Annual Conference

Former Secretary of the New Jersey Annual Conference

When I went from Jersey City to this place. I was in poor health and this made the work much more difficult. At last I was taken to the hospital and was there three months. It was a[Pg 143] fight between the forces of life and the forces of death, but it was God’s will that I should stay a while longer on the earth to do His work, so I won out in the fight with death. But I am glad to recount this experience; after a close examination of myself, I found that I was ready to die, that I was really relying on the Lord Jesus Christ for my salvation and that His will was indeed my will. This was a great consolation. In health we are sometimes not able to diagnose our spiritual condition, but in extreme sickness, when we are brought near to the valley of the shadow of death, we are able to make note of our real spiritual state or condition and we are able to do so, with the knowledge that we may soon feel the pangs of death.

During my stay in the hospital my friends were exceedingly good to me and my church at Bordentown continued my salary. Surely God has blessed me with tried and true friends.

The best friend I had in all this affliction was my dear wife, Lulu. She was with me constantly. She seemed to suffer with me all my suffering. How often I have seen in her face the sympathy and love that would have robbed me of every pain, but she could not. I cried out within myself, “Glory and honor to such a wife!” The operation was a successful one in the sense that in this case the patient did not die. In three[Pg 144] months to the day from the time that I left my pulpit I was again in the pulpit ready to do valiant service for God and my people.

The next Conference met at Orange, N. J., April 25th, 1907. Bishop Wesley J. Gaines, presided. I was sent to the charge at Haddonfield, N. J. I was at this church two years. A good work was done. From this church I was stationed at the church at Mt. Holly, N. J. (The Mt. Moriah A. M. E. Church). We met a most pleasant and active band of workers at this place and did a good work for the Lord.

At the Conference which met at Orange I had the pleasure of hearing the Rev. Samuel G. Miller, D.D., President of the Bible Educational Association, speak on the necessity of an educated ministry. I was deeply impressed with his remarks and when he made it known that he was at the head of an institution in Philadelphia where ministers regardless of their intellectual condition would be received and aided along educational lines, I determined that I would visit the school and see what they were doing.


My Instructor in Hebrew, New Testament Greek, Theology, etc., Bible College, Philadelphia, Pa.

Not long afterward I went to the school and found Dr. Miller at his post. I told him that I was about seventy years old, that I did not feel that it was worth while for me to undertake any course of study and that if I did I feared that I could not keep pace with the class. He[Pg 145] replied to me that age had nothing to do with a man’s ability to study if he would apply himself—that the mind never grew old, that it was immortal, and that the only thing for me to do was to enter the school and get down to hard work. I was both amused and astonished at his advice. But I entered the school and took up those difficult studies. New Testament Greek, Hebrew, Psychology, and put in several hours a day on them. I was astonished at my success. I found that my memory came back to me and that I was really able to perform feats of memory. I found that it became easier for me to acquire knowledge as I went along. I remained in the college three years, and am now able to read the Bible in its original tongues and have taken the Theological course. And now in my seventy-third year, I have done what I would loved to have done fifty years ago. I have educated myself. How strange the Providence of God! The Southern people enslaved my people and caused me a great deal of my suffering, but at the end or almost at the end of my earthly journey, I met this godly Southern man, Dr. Miller, who has made a new man out of me along educational lines. Thank God, He has His own children among the Southern people as well as in the North. And I believe that when the Southern people realize what the Negro is to[Pg 146] them as well as what he has been, that they will do wonders for the Race. At this very writing, the white people of the State of South Carolina are vying with the White people of North Carolina, as to which state has the best and most progressive class of Colored people. I thank God that I have gotten out of the briars.

I am greatly surprised that I have been able to fill the posts of duty and honor which have been assigned me in my life. I have done what I could and the best I could. On the battle field, as chaplain in the state legislature, as pastor, as presiding elder, as a high official in Fraternal Orders, as an officer in the Civil War, as son, husband, father and friend. I have tried to be faithful, and I can truly repeat the words of dying King Edward, “I tried to do my duty.”

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[Pg 149]

The Church; What It Is and What It Should Be.

I am aware of the fact that in writing my views of the Church as it is and as it should be, that I may and doubtlessly will, run counter to the views of some of my brethren, but I do not find that this is a valid reason for my not expressing my views on such an important subject. I have served the Church quite a number of years, over forty years, having given her the best part of my life, and now that I am about to conclude my labors for her, I feel that it is my duty to say those things which in my judgment will be for her highest welfare and the glory of her Head, Jesus Christ.

I. The Church as it is. The study of present church life is a most intricate one. We find that the Church is hopelessly divided, that is, it seems hopelessly divided. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Let it be understood that I am not talking or writing about any of these divisions, or denominations. I am speaking of that body of believers of every denomination or sect, who belong to our Christ. They may be[Pg 150] Protestants or Roman Catholics; they may be Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Episcopalians or Quakers. No one denomination can lay any claim to a monopoly of religion or of Christianity, and therefore cannot be considered alone.

1. The Church today is shorn of much of its power by so many divisions. There would be no objection to these myriad divisions if it were not for the fact that these divisions are more or less arrayed against one another. If these divisions were articulated and harmonious like the divisions of a great army, it would be a good thing, but this is not so; we are the Church Militant in a bad sense as well as in a good sense, and alas the bad too often predominates.

We have frequently found one denomination fighting another denomination on doctrinal grounds; we have found them proselyting; we have found them trying to occupy the same territory, and thereby wasting their strength; we have seen them grow into bigotry and sectarianism and live the life of strife. The evils which have followed such a condition have been an impoverished and struggling, yes, dying church; a poorly paid and inefficient ministry; a life largely robbed of its spirituality; an organization which has become the laughing stock of the world.

We have found individual congregations following the example of their denominations. All[Pg 151] this is to be greatly deplored, for it is contrary to the teachings and spirit of Jesus Christ.

2. The Church today has become poisoned with politics. Political tricks and schemes, political life and its power, have gotten into the church and have wrought havoc. We cannot reconcile this manner of directing the life and work of the Church with the over ruling of the Holy Spirit. Some of the great meetings of our churches, in their annual business sessions, have become real worldly political gatherings having met in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. They have turned the House of God into a den of politicians. Men high up in the authority and influence of the Church, have subverted this rank and power to their own selfish purposes. They have sought to make the Church a stepping stone to something better for themselves instead of making themselves a stepping stone for the betterment of the Zion of God. They have forgotten that they came not to be ministered unto, but to minister; not to be served with easy and lucrative positions, but to serve in any sphere however humble. Money has been spent in vast sums for the procuring of high positions; life has been wasted in a selfish attempt to save it; the Church has become corrupted and made sinful, thereby driving the Holy Spirit away from its work and presence. The Church today is more or less disgraced[Pg 152] by such political methods. It stands depleted of much of its power. It is following men instead of God, instead of the Holy Spirit. The Church cannot serve two masters.

3. The Church today is largely under the power of the god of Mammon. It has forgotten the poor which it always has with it. It has gone off after the well-to-do and rich classes. It has greater respect for the man that comes into its doors dressed in goodly apparel than for the poor man in his rags.

In our cities the Church is following the rich uptown. Great and grand buildings are standing idle, and posted on their front is the sign, “For Sale.” Whereas the multitudes are living and surging all about these empty houses of God.

The great burden of the Church today is not getting in souls, but getting in dollars. Magnificent buildings are erected costing hundreds, yes millions of dollars. The members are compelled to pay for the costly structures. We forget that the groves were God’s first temples. We forget that He was pleased to live in a tent with His people. The Church has gone money-mad. The struggle of the pastor is to get his salary after the great and increasing expenses of the Church have been met. If he fails to accomplish this herculean task, he must go. By this course the masses of the people are driven away from the[Pg 153] Church. Only fifty per cent of the people of the United States attend the Church, and only thirty per cent are members of the Church, and one of the reasons, if not the greatest, is that they cannot afford to be members of the Church. The call on the Sabbath Day is money, money, money. People sicken at the cry, and turn away in utter disgust.

4. There is a growing formality in the Church. This formality is seen in the lives as well as the worship of the members of the Church. Alas, too many love the form of religion, but they deny the power of it. Revivals are gotten up, whereas they always come down. We have never been able to get up a rain, because it is nature that brings it down. We can never get up a revival because the Holy Spirit brings it down, so that there has crept into the Church, times, and seasons and plans of man’s making for revival purposes, simply because the time has come for a revival and for no other purpose, the revival is had. What good can come out of such attempts? Revivals come through the operation of great spiritual laws, and these laws must be obeyed by God’s people, or there can be no revival.

The modern evangelist has done much to bring about a stereotyped condition of the Church. He has his set methods of rousing the people; he arranges for a revival in a certain church because[Pg 154] it suits his convenience, not looking to the special need of the church for such a service. He is often inclined to depreciate the work of the pastor by his own methods and mannerism; he sets in to do a certain amount of work; so many souls must be converted; so much money must be raised, and he is on hand to have this work done, and in this manner, the whole work of revivals has been almost entirely discounted. The work of the modern evangelist is unscriptural in that he is not doing it in the right place. The pastorate is not the place for the evangelist. He should go to those waste places where there is no pastor. He belongs on the frontier, and the pastor who is wise will not permit an evangelist to come into his church, and do the work which he himself ought to do, or some other pastor.

The Church must get away from these man-made methods and plans; these man-set times and occasions, and must look to the Holy Spirit for direction in all these matters.

I wish it understood that I am pointing out some of the great weaknesses of the Church to-day. I have not forgotten that the Church in every age has had its struggles; I have not forgotten that the Church is founded on the Rock, Jesus Christ, and the walls of hell cannot prevail against her. I have not forgotten that it is[Pg 155] through the Church that this lost world will be redeemed. I have not forgotten that the Church is the salt of the earth, the light of the world, the bride of Christ.

In considering what the Church should be we have but to go back to the Bible in order to determine this question.

1. The Church should be a body of believers in Christ. I mean by believers, men and women who are practicing the teachings of Christ. If the life is not the result of the teachings of Christ there is no faith behind it. If a man says that he believes in Christ, and is not living the teachings of the Master, he is not a believer. That there are many in the Church who are not believers is therefore true, because there are many who are not practicing the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. The Church should return to its great mission of preaching the Gospel. Almost everything else but the Gospel is preached. Science, literature, biography, philosophy, mortality, etc., are the burden of the pulpit today. As a consequence of this men and women are starving to death for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The doctrines of great fundamental principles of Christianity should be preached. If a man is not rooted and grounded in the principles of his faith, how can he be strong, how can he be useful?

[Pg 156]

A cry has gone out for a new religion. We have too much now of the new religion. It is a failure; we must get more of the old religion, or give up the Gospelship to those who will be faithful to their trust. God will make the change Himself if we do not make it. He took the light away from the Jews because they were not faithful to their charge, and He will take it away from us for the same reason. What the world today needs is the Bible, and in order that it may receive the Bible it must be preached in the pulpit and in the pew. The pulpit is very weak today in this respect, and hence the pew is weak. We have a weak religion, and unless we return to God’s way, it will grow weaker still. This requires a thorough Bible training on the part of the preacher. The minister should know his Bible, and then he should preach it. It demands great faith in the Word of God, and great courage to proclaim its saving truth. A preacher is sent out into the world to tell it of sin, Satan, self and hell. He is commissioned to proclaim salvation from these things, and to set before the people an upright, godly life. He is authorized to command that men everywhere shall repent of their sins and turn to God. He must know the truth that he may preach it. He must know the plan of salvation. He must be one with God in knowledge and work. The pulpit[Pg 157] must control the pew, and not the pew the pulpit.

3. The Church must look after the poor. This is not being done today. In the Church during the days of the Hebrew nation there were no poor. During the Church in the early days of Christianity, the poor were well cared for. There were not any that lacked. The Church should be going out after the poor instead of running away from them. Christ was constantly serving the poor. He was with them all the time. He shared their sufferings and bore their burdens. The Church to be true to Him and true to itself must do the same thing. Our very judgment test will be found in the manner in which we treat the poor, which are the representatives of Christ on the earth. “I was hungry and ye gave me no meat.” Read the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew and see what this test is. Suppose that the Church today would be judged by this test, where would it stand?

These are some of my views which I gladly put into this book hoping and praying that they will become an inspiration to many to get back to the Bible; back to the old time religion of our fathers; back to the cross of Jesus Christ. They are written in the greatest kindness but with the greatest earnestness. They are written in no fault finding spirit, but with the spirit of love and sympathy, for I love the Church more than my own life.

[Pg 161]

The Negro Problem

It might be profitable to my readers, after having sketched my life in the army, to give some of my views pertaining to my race, relative to the Civil War and the time since then.

Much is being said and written on the so-called Negro Problem. Why it has taken this name, I have never been able to decide. For when we examine into its intricacies, we find that it is the White Man’s problem also. And certainly it is true, that if this problem is ever settled in this country on a proper basis, it will be settled when the White and the Colored people come together on some practical basis of agreement. There are more than ten millions of Colored people in this country and they are here to stay. They have paid at least a part of the debt which they owe to the nation, on the battlefield. They have never shirked their duty in this respect and they never will. Soldiers during both the Civil and the Spanish-American wars, demonstrated the fact that they are patriotic to the core and that on the battlefield they are not afraid of the belching cannon. They have done their duty in this regard. And when we look into the history[Pg 162] of the Colored people since the Civil War we are satisfied that the progress which has been made, is a most satisfactory one. It is acknowledged by some of the leading White men of the nation, that the progress of the Negro Race since the Rebellion has been unparalleled in history.

But that there is much to be done by my own people yet, is evident. We have just begun the work of our race. A race that is not over fifty years old in the arts of civilization, is but an infant in swaddling clothes. We are to wait until he is able to walk and especially to work. The Negro Race in this country has a most trying ordeal before it. It is one of the most difficult of undertakings, to work out our destiny in a land of such high civilization as that of this country. While on the one hand it would seem an easier task in such a civilization, because of the advantages which we have thrown about us; on the other hand, there are probably more disadvantages. And why? For the simple reason that the Colored man comes out of the past without the centuries of training which the White man has. He comes out of the past without any history. He comes out of the past in a crude condition, untrained and with the curse of slavery still resting on him. It will take time for him to prepare himself to compete with the[Pg 163] White man and compete he must! The Colored people must wake up to the fact that they have to pay for everything that they get in this country. The mystic “mule and forty acres,” promised by Uncle Sam, has never been forthcoming. And this is but an indication of any other mystic gifts that we might dream of in days to come. It will be by the dint of hard labor, that the Colored man will rise and make his mark. There are many features of this situation which we will be compelled to look into and many conditions which we must face, as men.

I have often asked myself the question, why is it that on our railroads and street car tracks, there is such a lack of our working men? We see thousands upon thousands of white men, chiefly foreigners. There was a time when the larger portion of railroad laborers was Colored men. There are two or three reasons for this which are obvious. One is that the foreigner will work for a cheaper wage and will live on less than the Colored man. He is willing to undergo certain hardships and privations that the Colored man does not undergo. I am not willing to concede that he is a better workman than the Colored man, for the Colored man has proven his ability as a laborer along every line of work. Another reason is that the White man may be[Pg 164] more reliable. He can be depended on with more certainty. And at this point let me say that if the Colored race is ever to take its place in the mart of trade, it must become more reliable.

Promises must be kept. When a man agrees to work for six days in the week, for a certain number of weeks, he must stay his time out and do his work. It is not a question of his disliking the work or the employer, but the question of his fidelity to his trust. For this reason, that the Colored man is not faithful to his promises, he has been discounted in the field of manual labor. The more important the job of the employer, the more important the fidelity of the employee. No employer wishes to undertake an extensive and costly piece of work and be dependent on a class of labor that may fail him at the place where he needs steady, persistent work. So he will, in making his choice select that class of labor that will stick to him through thick and thin. Fidelity to a trust is one of the essentials of man and womanhood that must be cultivated among my people. If I am correctly informed, I understand that in our large cities, our girls are not holding their own as house servants. They are being set aside for the White girls and these for the most part are foreigners also. Here is a large and remunerative field that will be ultimately[Pg 165] closed to our girls if they do not take hold of the situation and meet all competition. Surely it is due us, if we make good, to receive the labor that is being given out on every hand. We were here before the foreigner and are the native laborers of the country. And the country owes it to us to give our race the labor of the field, of the trades and of the homes, if we merit it. I greatly fear, however, that we do not merit it. We need more sterling worth among us.

The cities are becoming the great centers of my people and in these cities there is plenty to do. The work is there. It must be done. My people must live. They must have money to live. They should get this money honestly, and this means by work. But suppose that the Colored people of the cities, both North and South, fail in getting their portion of the work that is to be done, how are they going to live? That is the question. And we are sure of this conclusion, that if a man does not earn his bread by the sweat of his brow, which is the Divinely appointed way to earn it, that he will be forced to earn it in some dishonorable manner. He will be forced to become more or less a criminal. He will become a menace rather than a benefit, to the community in which he lives. So that unless my people look to their own welfare in[Pg 166] our cities there is an ever growing future of darkness for them. I need not stop to tell of the unsanitary conditions in which they live. These conditions are enough to deplete their living greatly every year. I need not talk of the crowded tenement houses of the city where many persons of both sexes are frequently huddled into one room and many families into one house. I need not tell of the bawdy houses, the gambling dens and the saloons, thickly scattered through the sections of the city where the Colored people live. It is enough to damn them all. I need not tell of the growing criminal class among the Negroes in the cities and of the recruits that flow in from the South every year. I need not speak of the White and the Black Slave traffic among the young girls of both races. The cities are the death centers of the Negro race, unless there is something radically done to overtake these conditions. This, of course, is the dark side of the picture, but I have not painted it as dark as it is. It would be impossible to do this. It might be profitable for my readers, when they are in Philadelphia, to visit South street and its adjoining streets, that they may see with their own eyes, the signs of infamy, idleness and debauch among my people. You will find scores of young men there well dressed, simply straggling[Pg 167] about. How do they live? Why are they not at work? The dens of infamy hidden in houses answer to their vocations.

It would be well in our cities to have such municipal regulations that such loafers, male or female, could be arrested, unless they could show that they were actually engaged in some legitimate work. Unless something of the kind is done in the cities, they will become more and more the cess pools of sin and death, and into these pools thousands upon thousands of my people will be thrown annually to sink to hell!

There is not only the obstacle of instability which my people must overcome in order that they may get and hold the place that they should have in the field of labor, but the Trades Unions are rapidly closing up these fields against the Colored laborers. The basis of the opposition to the Colored people is primarily the desire to eliminate him from the ordinary industrial lines of work that he will not be able to compete with the White man. Of course, if he is not permitted to work there is no danger of competition. This is the real cause of the opposition of Labor Unions to the Colored laborer, but this cause is hidden, and the outward cause is, because his skin is black. They do not want to work by the side of the black man. This, however[Pg 168] is but a good excuse in the mouth of the white man for it is accepted as satisfactory by the white employer. An examination into labor conditions in our Northern cities reveals a deplorable condition so far as the Colored man is concerned. He cannot get a job calling for the skilled artisan however skilled he may be. The Union will not permit him to win his bread by the sweat of his brow. He cannot work because he is not allowed to work. What is to be done for hundreds of laborers who are thus excluded from the fields of honest livelihood? There is no likelihood that these avenues will ever be opened and unless he can find employment among his own people of what value is his skill as an artisan to him and of what use is the acquiring of such a training? The only answer to this question is that the Colored laborer must thoroughly prepare himself and be on the ground ready for action. He must be patient. He must be prepared to meet every objectional condition with manliness and kindness, for the odds are against him. There are many lessons that we have learned and there are many lessons yet to be learned. New conditions in this most complex civilization must be met with the application of the principles of fidelity, honesty, industry,[Pg 169] and the like, or we will never win for the race in this country.

Another great need of my people is the ownership of their homes. This makes the people, citizens in the most realistic sense, they pay taxes and have the right of representation on such basis. They become independent. They are then able to lay up some money. They are prepared to enjoy life in its real and true sense. They will command the respect of the White race and share with them the burdens of government in times of peace. They become producers to some degree. There cannot be said too much in favor of the gospel of ownership in this form of government. It is our sheet-anchor of hope. The money that is paid out annually for rent if invested through the right channels will in a few years pay for the rented house. The time seems to be drawing closer when it will be more difficult for a Colored man to buy good property. There are many sections now in our cities from which the Colored man is eliminated as a purchaser. The rule is to confine him to certain undesirable sections of the city. This can be overcome to some degree by the practice of economy and the purchase in the next few years of homes.

I wish it to be known that I am by no means[Pg 170] a pessimist, regarding my people. The same God made my race that made the White race and He has a destiny for us and He is with us that we may reach that destiny. But I realize that we have our own part to perform and that it must be done on the foundation of certain great principles which God Himself has taught us in His Book. It is in recognition of these eternal laws that I speak, these principles will stand forever and the people that puts them into daily practice, will abide with the principles, but the people who violate them must go down.

I am deeply interested in the education of the ministry of the race. There are thousands of Colored preachers whose education is sadly deficient. They are really not capable of doing the work of ministry either in or out of the pulpit, and yet they are leading millions of the people. In a most peculiar sense the Colored pastor is the leader of his flock. The members of the church follow him and that too almost blindly. They will condone his faults, overlook his ignorance, and receive what he says as “The law and the Gospel.” That the people are disposed to this most kindly attitude toward their ministers is most praiseworthy, but that in many cases the ministers are unworthy of such confidence is most lamentable. It has been carefully estimated[Pg 171] that only about ten per cent of the pastors who have been ordained are college men and that the average education of the Colored minister is not above the seventh or eighth grade of the common school, with practically no Bible or Theological training. This is a sad state of affairs when we consider that the minister is the leader of the people. And I am sorry to say that the disposition to improve themselves is not apparent on the part of many of these ministers. They rather make pretensions and hide behind these pretensions, they mask themselves behind the smattering of an education, and think that they are passing for educated men; but how sadly they are deceived. How this condition is to be remedied is yet to be seen. It is evident that the present system of ministerial education in vogue is not sufficient for the need. Out of over fifteen hundred young men who enter the ministry yearly, only ten per cent are graduated in the Theological course of all our schools. The schools of the United States doing Theological Training for the ministry of the Negro race are therefore not beginning to do the work.

I might mention in this connection that there is an organization which is beginning this work in the right manner, The Bible Educational Association, with headquarters in Philadelphia, Pa.[Pg 172] This is an association of Bible colleges or schools. These schools are located where they are needed and maintained by the Association. By the plan of this Association schools can be established where the ministers are located as pastors and the advantages of this training is thereby brought to their very doors. The Bible College of Philadelphia and the Bible College of Washington, D. C., both schools of this Association are doing a great work. The ministers are being greatly benefited by taking the practical and helpful courses. These schools train also young men for the ministry.

There is much more that I might say on this great subject of the Negro Problem, but time and space will not allow. Whatever course may be pursued and plans adopted, it must always be remembered that “They labor in vain, except the Lord build the house.” Our plans are like the nests of mice, the straw before the wind, the dust in the gale, they amount to nothing without God’s co-operation. And His co-operation cannot be had without our obedience to His laws and commands. The people of this country of both races have much to learn of vital Godliness. The prejudice which exists in both races, the hatred and antagonism engendered thereby, the separation of the races in educational[Pg 173] and religious matters, are all parts of the condition which we are forced to face and in some manner to meet. Both races must know each other better. They must recognize the rights and privileges of manhood and womanhood. They must build promotion, on merit and service, on ability, regardless of the color of the skin or previous condition of servitude. All must become the followers of the Meek and Lowly Christ, and they will be brothers and our brothers’ keepers. There is no Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man, excepting on this foundation. Whether I live to see it or not, the Negro problem will never be settled, unless on this basis.

[Pg 177]


Acquaintance With God.

Thus said the Lord, In this thou shalt know that I am the Lord: Behold I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters in the river and they shall be turned into blood.—Exodus 7:17.

There are many perplexities which are not explained by philosophers. Men of scholarly renown have by no means been able to comprehend the mysteries of God. In His Omnipotence, Omniscience and Omnipresence, He enveloped Moses, the great law-giver, but with His God. The power that was to uphold Moses was not inborn nor was it acquired, but it was God. The omnipresence, the hand that was to guide him in all his earthly wanderings was not his own hand, but the hand of his God. So that whatever of success came to Moses, God would have Moses as well as us, to know, that it came from the blessings of God and not through the wisdom or the efforts of man. Therefore, let us render obedience to our God, who has promised us, that although the heavens and the earth pass away,[Pg 178] not one jot or tittle of His Word or of His law, shall in any wise pass, until all be fulfilled. We discover in the text the first great truth, that God wishes us to know Him.

The providences of God were manifested to Moses through His dealings with him. This is one of God’s ways of making himself known to us. But our eyes must be open to the fact that it is God who deals with us in our conditions and circumstances of life—yes, it is God. We may say that it is Nature, that it is Law, that it is Force, but herein are we blind, for God says that “In this thou shalt know.” The doings of God are frequently through nature, sometimes above nature, as in the case of turning the water of the river into blood, but we are to be able to see that it is God’s hand that moves and God’s voice that speaks. If a man knows not God he will always attribute the doings of God in his life to some other cause or causes; but if he know God, he thus becomes better acquainted with God. So in the case of Moses, God’s promise was sufficient to allow him and the Jewish people to accomplish results which were replete with honor and glory. These pilgrims on their way to the Promised Land of Canaan were full of faith and confidence in God, they believed Him, they knew Him. He had promised them that[Pg 179] He would bring them to this land that “Flowed with milk and honey” and nothing could turn Him from the fulfilment of this promise; no, not even the sins of His people. For did they not rebel against Him and sin most grievously against Him in the wilderness, and yet did He not bring them into Canaan?

“Behold I will smite the water of the river with the rod that is in mine hand and it shall be turned into blood.”

The church is the receptacle of truth. God has always committed His truth to His chosen people, to the believers, the church. The church is devoted and consecrated in word and action to the glory and the service of God. Through it He has caused the light to shine in darkness, His love to fall into our hearts, the light of His knowledge and glory has appeared in the face of Jesus Christ, His Son, who is the great Head of the Church. God appeared to Moses through Jehovah, the Head of the Church, and it was upon the strong arm of Jehovah that Moses leaned and it is upon the same strong arm that we, the church in this day, also lean. Moses saw the fire in the Burning Bush and he heard the voice out of the Bush. He turned and saw that the Bush was burning, but that it was not consumed. My brethren, do you know that this Burning Bush of the desert is a type of the[Pg 180] church? It is the church passing through the fiery trials of this world, the church burning on every hand with temptations, troubles, doubts, distresses, tribulations, sufferings, and yet she is not consumed. So Moses was taught at the very beginning of his ministry that God was in the church through the mediation of Jesus Christ and that things were made to work together for good to her. Thou, the Church, shall know that I am the Lord. Lofty cedars, towering oaks, bramble bushes, the national capital, the House of the Lord, all these may attract the multitudes of sight-seers, but God’s own people shall know that He is God and that there is no other God.

The text also teaches us that.

II. God is prompt in the keeping of His promises.

Wherever two or three of God’s servants are gathered together in His name, God is in the midst of them to do all that He has promised. He is prompt to keep His word. He rides upon the wings of the wind and upon the wings of angels and upon the lightning, that He may meet all His engagements. We see Him in the return of His prodigals. We see Him every where, keeping faith, doing His will, fulfilling His promises. He is the omnipresent God! Because of His promptness His people are always able to confide in Him.

[Pg 181]

God is prompt in sustaining the physical needs of the universe. It is worth our while to look into God’s storehouse to see how He has filled it with food for the flying fowl, the fish of the sea, the beast of the field, and man, the Lord of the earth. Food and fuel, light and heat, air and water, soil and seed, wind and rain, snow and frost, these are the agents of His prompt action as the Father of the Universe. Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord, and see if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour you out such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. (Mal. 11:1-11.)

God is as prompt in sustaining the needs of man’s soul. He was with our forefathers, He was with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He was with Noah, He was with Enoch, He was with Abel, He was with our first parents, Adam and Eve, all these in their experiences and lives attested the fact that God saved them and saved them at the right time. He gave them His own salvation and not the salvation of another. All the Saints of the ages have depended on God’s promptness to do what he promised He would do. There is not an instance in the history of His people or in our own experience, if we interpret His dealing aright, where He has not promptly kept His word of promise. Every child of God has his spiritual battles to fight.[Pg 182] But depending on God with the musket of His grace he will rout the enemy. Satan in all his hellish rage is not able to overthrow the bulwarks of the church behind which the believer stands to destroy the forces of evil. God was prompt in striking the sea and His people were prompt in crossing. He was prompt in leading His armies and they were prompt in winning the victories. Jehovah is prompt in aiding His own and His own are quick in winning the land of spiritual freedom.

The river was turned into blood and all the waters of Egypt were instantly changed into blood. But God’s river is a river of the water of life. Consider, my brethren, these great types of the Bible—these rivers of blood, these rivers of water, these rivers of life! God stands with His rod stretched over every river; your sins, your wickedness, may turn the waters of life into the blood of death; which, what, shall it be? God says to you and hear ye His voice, “Come now let us reason together, your sins though they be as scarlet, I will make them like snow, though they be red like crimson, I will make them like wool.” None, my friends, but God can work these changes. The church is moving on with the march of the centuries. She is grandly marching on! Moses has gone, Joshua[Pg 183] has gone, the prophets have gone, the apostles have gone, the saints of the Christian era have gone, and we are passing on, but God is with us and He is prompt in keeping His word.

“On the other side of Jordan, in the sweet fields of Eden,
Where the Tree of Life is blooming, there is rest for you.”

III. The text teaches us that the river, turned into blood, is the Type of Christ.

Jehovah, or Jesus, in Egypt, turned the water into blood; Jehovah, or Jesus, in Canaan, in the country of Galilee, turned the water into wine. “The blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin.” The wine of the Communion Table is the symbol of His blood. In these last days God has spoken to us in the person of His Son. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. He came into our own flesh and blood and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. “Our life is hid with Christ, in God.” These are most wonderful words!

But let us remember that the rivers of blood in Egypt did not change the heart of Pharaoh, neither did they change the hearts of the Egyptians. The blood of Christ has been shed but it is of no avail to them that will not accept its[Pg 184] saving power. Christ died for all but are all saved? How many are saved? Are you saved? If so, why? Oh, my friends, it is the blood of Christ that availeth all things with God.

“What can save my soul from sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

“Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. He is the wonderful Counselor, the mighty God, the Prince of Peace, the Everlasting Father.” Just as Pharaoh and his hosts were strewn in death upon the sands of the sea, so Satan and his hosts will be strewn upon the land of time. Christ is our mighty Captain. He has led His battle strong, through the ages of the past and on through the ages of time to come. He will lead to victory. His blood is all-availing with God and God is the ruler of the universe. It is for Christ’s sake that God hears and answers our prayers. It is for Christ’s sake that He saves our souls. It is for Christ’s sake that He will make us kings and priests to rule and reign with Him forever. It is for Christ’s sake that He has prepared for us the Canaan that lies beyond the Jordan of Death and it is for Christ’s sake that He is with us today. And after while we will sing, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou (Christ) art with me, thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”

[Pg 185]

“Thus said the Lord, in this thou shalt know that I am the Lord: Behold I will smite with the rod in mine hand upon the waters of the river and they shall be turned into blood.” God grant to bless every soul here to-day with the blessed words of this text.

The Intercession of Christ.

“He ever liveth to make intercession for them.”—Hebrews 8:25.

Christ had completed His work on the earth. He had kept the faith, fulfilled the law, and suffered its penalty in His death. His work, therefore, so far as the earthly conditions and needs were concerned, was completed. He did this work, it must be remembered, not on his own account or for himself, but on your account and for you. He was acting in the capacity of a representative while on the earth, so that when his life in the flesh had been finished, it might become your life and my life, through faith. We are told by the apostle that after this, i. e., “He had finished His work here, He was believed on in the world, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, received into glory where He ever liveth to make intercession for us.” We notice that this passage teaches us, that

I. Christ was absolutely free from selfishness.

[Pg 186]

“Greater love hath no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends.” Yes, there is a greater love, for Christ laid down his life for His enemies. Study the life of Christ as He lived here below, see how free He was from the selfish taint of sin which lurks in our natures, and alas, too frequently is the ruling passions of our lives. With Christ, others were first in consideration and in service; but with us, we are the first to be considered and served and others must wait; then if there is opportunity or time they will be considered and served. Christ opened the gate of righteousness and the way that leads to life. This cost Him his own life, the price of it was not only the suffering and labors of life, but the pangs of the physical, and the eternal pains of the spiritual, death; for you must know that Christ tasted the death for every man. We can have no conception of what death meant to Him and yet He went down to death willingly for you and for me. What are we doing that we may become human saviours of men, that we too may suffer and labor for others, that we may die that through our death others may live? These are vital questions if you and I are to be known as His humble followers; if you and I are to share His glory with Him, we must also be with Him in His sufferings and death. “Enter in at the[Pg 187] strait gate for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to death, but strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth to life; many there be that go in at the former gate of death, but few find the strait gate of life.”

II. The purpose of Christ’s life and death, was that He might be able to give life unto others. “Father, the hour is come. Glorify thy son that thy son also may glorify thee. As thou hast given him power over all flesh that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” John 18:1, 2.

We read that “To as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons or the children of God.” It is interesting to notice that the word translated “power” here, means a great deal more than power or authority. It has a germinal meaning and has reference to life. The idea is that Christ plants in us the seed of eternal life and it grows and takes root in the heart and life of every believer and they thereby become the children of God. There is therefore the germ of eternal life just as there is the germ of physical or mortal life. The only purpose which Christ had in coming into human flesh was that He might be able thereby to plant in human nature the seed of everlasting life, which sin had prevented from bearing fruit. So He became one of us,[Pg 188] bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, our very brother. The very life which He lived in the flesh is the pattern for our lives. He is our example in thought, word, and action. We are to live His life by letting Christ live in us. As Paul said regarding sin, “It is not I but sin that dwelleth in me,” so he also said that Christ dwelt in him and we know that Christ dwelleth in us and that through Him we can do all things.

We are very prone to think always of Christ’s Divinity and to seek to explain His life on this basis, this is a great mistake. We are to look on Christ as also human, a real man: His trials and temptations real; His limitations as a man, real; His knowledge and experience as a man, real. Such reflections as these bring Him very near to us and become a great inspiration to us in that they make His ideal life, a real life; hence His ideal human life becomes to us a real human life. “He came that we might have life and that we might have it more abundant.” Our life, that is our Christ-life, may become abundant in its power, in its light, in its fruits, if we will walk and talk with Jesus daily. He is the vine and we are the branches. But in order that the branches may live and bear fruit, they must abide in the vine. Jesus taught us that if we obeyed Him, we were abiding in Him. Obedience therefore is the vital union between us and Christ,[Pg 189] the Vine. Disobedience is the cutting of the branch off from the vine and the branch dies.

This leads us to another great fact in the text, namely that

III. Christ is now engaged in making intercession for us at God’s throne.

His work on earth is finished, but in Heaven, He is still engaged in our behalf. The priest of the Mosaic Dispensation, made intercession for the people. He offered sacrifice for them and then he entered into the temple, the Holy of Holies, once a year, in the person of the High Priest and prayed for the people. But this priest was a sinner like the people. He had to first offer sacrifice for himself then for the people. He has passed away. The earthly priesthood, in the Mosaic sense, is no more. This priest was but a type of Christ. Christ is the great anti-type. Christ offered His sacrifice also, which was His own life. He made no sacrifice for himself, for He was without sin, but He made sacrifice for the people. Now He has entered into the temple on High, into the Holy of Holies, where He stands to plead for you and for me. Intercession here, means that Christ is our Advocate at the throne of God. He is our lawyer in the supreme court of God. He represents us. He pleads our case, He defends our cause. There is nothing that takes place in our[Pg 190] lives that He does not take note of, there is no sin that passes without His taking account of it, there is no thought, or word, or deed, that is not entered in the book of His Remembrance. He must keep an accurate account of our lives, for He represents us at the Great White Throne. How wonderful is this thought and how inspiring! Let us therefore make our intercessions to Him that He may take up our prayers and in His own Heavenly language, present them to our Heavenly Father.

Christ Glorified in His Word.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.”—Col. 3:16.

It is well nigh impossible for us to understand the power of a word. We read that in the beginning God said, “Let there be light,” these were the words or the Word. Who can tell the wisdom and the power that dwelt in that word or command? We are not able even now to measure the magnificent result, but we read, “And there was light.” Christ stood at the sealed tomb and said. “Lazarus, come forth.” This was the word or the command. It is not in the power of the human mind to comprehend the meaning, the power and the wisdom of this word, but we see the effect, “And Lazarus, came[Pg 191] forth.” We take the Bible in its entirety and call it the Word of God, the Word of Christ. So that in the unfolding of the text, we wish you to note that:

I. The entire Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, is the Word of Christ.

We must not look on the Bible as composed of parts when we make it, “The man of our counsel,” the guide of our life. The entire book is the guide, the man, the law, the Gospel. There is a disposition of many Christians to attach more importance to one part of the Bible than another part. This is wrong and it leads to evil in our lives. Every part of the Bible belongs to the entire book, it cannot be detached, it must not be rendered less important than some other part, for it was all written for our instruction and edification. So I would have you understand that the Bible itself in its entirety, is the Word of Christ, in the text, Christ is the light and the glory of every page of its history, prophecy, precept, promise, poetry, philosophy and practice. Human reason, effort and energy are too weak to have reached Heaven and brought down to us the riches of the Word of God. No man hath come down from Heaven to tell us of the wonders of the spiritual life, but the man, Christ Jesus. He is the pearl of priceless value,[Pg 192] which we are to find hidden in this Word. Let the Word of Christ reign in you when your greatest interests are at stake, when your strongest passions are raging, and He will guide you into all truth and grace, and you will sing, “Glory to God in the highest, Peace on earth, Good will to men.”

The Bible is the Word of Christ, because He is the Author. He is the Jehovah of the Old Testament, and the Jesus of the New Testament. He spake to the Prophets as well as to the Apostles. He was in that beginning which was before time, when He is called the Word of God, when He was associated with God, and when He was God, and He was also in that beginning which marks the first moment, the first hour, the first day of time, when all things were made by Him and without Him was nothing made which was made. He is known as the Lamb which was slain from the foundation of the world, the everlasting Prince, the Holy One. As the Word of God, Christ is the great and only revealer of God and His revelation or revelations are the Bible, the Scriptures, the Word of God. We are exhorted therefore to see that great company which doth encompass us about and which looks down upon us, filled with God’s wisdom and power, because the word of Christ[Pg 193] dwells richly in us. We are to look to Jesus as not only the author of His own Word, but also through this word, as the author and finisher of our faith, or religion. This word must dwell richly in the heart that the believer may be able to glorify God and to strive for that faith which is steadfast and immovable, for let us remember that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Just as Christ appeared to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses, to whom He said, “I will be thy mouth,” so He appears today to every believer, in His Word. All these holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit takes the things of God and of Christ, and tells them to us in words. He gives us God’s and Christ’s words. When Joshua prayed that the sun might stand still, the sun in his fiery course stood still. Why? Because it was the word of God in Joshua which commanded the sun to stand still. I pray God, my brethren, that you may be filled richly with the word of God in all wisdom, that your own hearts may be filled with all spiritual blessing; that the wickedness which is flooding the country in hellish rage, may be stopped; that sinners may be brought to repentance; that the church may triumph most gloriously, and that the whole earth may be filled with righteousness[Pg 194] as the waters cover the deep. We need today another Pentecost, when thousands shall be converted to God, and that time will come just as soon as God’s disciples are filled with the word of God.

II. The Word of Christ Dwelling in Us is Our Strength.

The Word reveals to us the saving power of God. Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation.” Yes, it is the power of God unto salvation, that is the thought that you should take hold of. We need power, strength, in this world of weakness and sin, and we can get this power only by letting the Word of Christ, dwell in us richly. The Word of Christ dwelling in us will take us out of ourselves, teach us that labor, learning, house-hold duties, supporting our families, being punctual to our duties in the church, avoiding quick tempers and unkind words, constitute the religion of Jesus Christ which we are to live. We must therefore be, “Doers of the Word and not hearers only.” We must hear the Word on the Sabbath and do it every day of the week. We are to look into the perfect law of liberty that we may know what manner of persons we are, and to continue to look into this law, lest when we know, we should forget[Pg 195] what manner of persons we are. “Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this, that we should visit the widow and the fatherless in their affliction and keep ourselves unspotted from the world.” To do all these things, my brethren, the Word of God must dwell richly in you, in wisdom, or there will not be enough strength in you to live this Christ-like life. His word is strength, because Christ dwells in His word, and if His word dwells in you, you will have the strength of Christ in you. See what Christ is, He is life and immortality, He gives repentance and remission of sins, He is the bread that cometh down from Heaven, His blood cleanseth from all sin, He saves, and He does all these things in and through His word. Is that word in you? Lean on Him in His word, and He will give you daily strength, and guide you into all blessing, He will give you eternal life here and hereafter.

III. His Word Reveals to us the Plan of Salvation.

We would know nothing of the Saviour, nor of the sinner except through His word. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. Yes, it was lost, the soul of man. What we know of sin, of Satan, of hell, of heaven, of repentance, of faith, of justification, of sanctification,[Pg 196] of glorification, we know through His word, and whatever we shall experience of these blessings, we shall experience through His word.

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, which is and was and is to come.” We must be saved through His word. Job said, “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that I shall stand upon the earth at the latter days and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh will I see God whom mine eyes shall see for myself and not another.” How did Job get this knowledge? It was through the Word of God, doubtless spoken to him. And whatever we know of salvation, of sin, or of the resurrection of the dead, of Heaven and hell, of eternity, of immortality, we must get it out of the Word of Christ. I exhort you, therefore, my dear brethren, to have the Word of Christ dwelling in you richly in wisdom; study it daily, commit it to memory, put it into practice every hour, turn its precepts into practice, and you will rejoice in its power to redeem you from your sins, and to fill your hearts with power, joy and peace. Amen.

[Pg 197]

Where Is Your Tent?

“And Isaac departed and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar and dwelt there.”—Gen. 26:17.

Our text is found in connection with a paragraph of peculiar weight and sublimity. The Israelites in all their wanderings had a high regard for the Levites. They formed the tribe of Levi, which filled a most important place in the life of the Israelites. The entire nation and government was permeated with their influence. They were the officers and teachers in the synagogue, or Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was the center of Hebrew life. All the encampments of the Israelites was made around the Tabernacle. This tent was God’s dwelling place, and whither the Israelites moved, they followed the Tabernacle, it was not only their guide but their guard. When on the march they carried it with them, and when they were at rest they set it up.

It is worthy of note that the Israelites always had a high regard for their women. These women were thoroughly identified with the history of this people, and often filled prominent positions. The influence and power of the Israelitish women is well worth careful study that we may learn some valuable lessons therefrom. Miriam was very closely associated with Moses and Aaron. Deborah was a mighty leader of[Pg 198] her people. There were many prophetesses such as Anna at the temple. The wives of such men as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob exerted a great influence over these men, for they were women of fine judgment, and highly developed religious characters. The wife of Abraham was always with him for “better or worse,” through good and evil report. She was faithful and efficient as his life-companion. She did not live with him for ornament or social distinction, but for what she could contribute to his happiness and success. She made her life, his life; her destiny, his destiny.

On this occasion of your anniversary, I take this opportunity to call your attention to the direction in which you are pitching your tent. We cannot stand still. We choose the place of our tent today, and we will have to choose the place where we will pitch it tomorrow. Whither are you going and where are you to pitch your tent? How important these questions. You are here tonight, with your tears and affection, your sympathy and smiles, not for show, but that you might hear the Gospel, and let the world know that you are moving in the right direction, and that your tent will be pitched nearer Heaven. You are here, as wives and mothers and sisters, to do your part by the men whom God has placed[Pg 199] you with, and to do your part by the children whom He has given you. This is what the Gospel teaches and your works and teachings, your by-laws and Christian characters, as a noble band of workers, all prove that you are pitched tonight about the Tabernacle of God, and that when His tent moves you will follow it. Moses tells us that at the commandment of the Lord the Israelites marched, and at the commandment of the Lord, they pitched their tents. The cloud of His presence was a shadow by the day and a light by night. They were safe with this Divine Leadership.

In the same way He deals with us. He is still present, although not in the visible cloud, to shade us and give us light, but He is present in and through Jesus Christ who dwells in our midst. He will look after you, mothers and sisters, who with tenderness and care will lead our girls and young women away from the dens of vice and sin, from brothels of debauchery and licentiousness, into the paths of virtue and holiness. You will teach them those lessons of dignity and character, and teach them the spirit and works of our blessed religion, which will bring them unto God and make them wise unto salvation.

“Isaac pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar[Pg 200] and dwelt there.” He had a reason for so doing. We find that a jealousy had sprung up between Abimelek, the Philistines, and Isaac and his followers. They could no longer remain near neighbors. The Philistines had filled the wells which Abraham had dug in his day, and in many other ways they were annoying the righteous heart of Isaac.

So there are jealousies today that spring up among God’s people, and they cause a great deal of trouble. These troubles must be settled in some way, and the example of Isaac is now and always before us. You will not wait to carry out the purposes of such evil passions, but will cause your heart-tent to be pitched in another direction.

You have adopted the Lily for your name. It grows in the valley. It is the symbol of Christ. It represents beauty and purity. Christ taught us, consider the lilies, how they grow; they grew in their loveliness under the sunshine and showers which God sent them. They fulfilled their mission. The Master told us that Solomon, in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these simple little flowers, and so it was, the heart may be so arrayed, but not the body. The lily is an emblem of the purity of God Himself. You have chosen this name. “The lilies of the valley,”[Pg 201] as your name and title, and it should make you as the hand-maidens of the Lord, tender, pure, strong, noble, Christ-like; no anger, jealousy, hatred, and like passions should be permitted to dwell in your hearts for one moment, and my advice to all the members present, is that you should go into this or some other similar society, for these dear sisters have pitched their tents in the valley of Christianity, and not only that, but thank God, they are dwelling there. Yes, they have pitched their tent in the valley among the lilies. They are humble and meek. They are willing to do the little things for God and humanity. They are willing to be his humblest servants. They have planted the lilies in their hearts. They are living like the lilies, I trust.

I compliment and congratulate you for the splendid work which you have done during the year just closed. Your faith is proven by your works, and your works are the fruit of the Tree of Life. We shall know the tree by its fruits. You are devoting your time and energies to God along new lines of thought and service, and new fields of usefulness are opening up before you. It is always the case when God’s children are earnestly seeking to do his will, He will lead them into greater fields of usefulness. I[Pg 202] bid you Godspeed. The army of God is hard on the march. There are many trials and tribulations, but God is our Captain, and He will lead us to grand victories.

Abimelek and the Philistines have gone to their place. Moses, the servant of God, was succeeded by Joshua, and Joshua, by another as leader, and so God has been marching with His people through all the ages, leading them from one victory to another, into the very land of Promise, on the other side of Jordan. Study the history of God’s people, follow the example of these illustrious leaders, do not fear, do not fret, but ever march along the Highway of the King. Ever take the name of Jesus with you. Pitch your tent always in the valley of Christianity and toward Heaven. Always dwell in the right place, and move in the right direction, and at last you will wear the white robe of the righteousness of Jesus Christ your Lord. Let this passage of Scripture be closely inscribed on your hearts, and Grace be unto you from Him who was and is and is to come.

“Unto Him who hath loved us and washed us in His blood, and made us kings and priests, unto God the Father, to Him be glory and dominion now and forevermore. Amen.”

[Pg 203]

Christ’s Ascension.

“And it came to pass while he blessed them he was parted from them and carried into heaven.”—Luke 15:51.

The coming of the Lord to the nations of the earth was not that He might advertise Himself as a candidate for some high office among the nations, or in the nation to which he belonged. He came not as the Jews expected Him, for they were looking for some temporal ruler who would re-establish their temporal kingdom on the earth. Their idea was that some man would come and sit on the throne of David. Their dream was that the Hebrew people would be formed into the most powerful nation on the earth, and that in some mysterious, some mystic way, this great feat would be accomplished. God’s own chosen people at that time had practically no spiritual conception of what the Kingdom of God meant. The disciples of Christ most frequently misconstrued His teachings on this subject. The case of Nicodemus is an illustrious example of the spiritual misconception of the Jews.

Christ came on a special mission, the saving of the lost, the saving of man. He is therefore represented as the Lamb that taketh away the sin of the world. When John, the Baptist, saw Him coming towards him, walking on the shore[Pg 204] of the river Jordan, he exclaimed, “Behold, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” This spiritual work of Christ is unchanged. He will rule until the kingdoms of this world, become the kingdom of God.

“He came unto His own and His own received him not,” we read, because He did not come doing the temporal work which they expected Him to do, but He came unto His own, and in a grand sense it was through this coming, that the world has received a true conception of this Kingdom, and millions of hearts have experienced this Kingdom set up in these hearts. The Kingdom of God is within you, and as heaven, it will work in and through you, until you are entirely made spiritual. Christ has ever been the Light of the Word. He inspired our Pilgrim Fathers; He was the friend of the poor Samaritans; He sought and saved the needy, poor and sinning of His day. Indeed, the human founders of His Kingdom on the earth were the ignorant fishermen of Galilee. The law came through Moses, but grace and truth by Jesus Christ. His presence, His revelation, His manifestation, His power, His goodness, thrilled the angels when they sang, “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good-will to men.” We are here to laud and to praise Him, and to say[Pg 205] as the Scriptures say, “Blessed is the womb that bare thee and the paps that gave thee suck.”

Sir Knights, we congratulate you on this noble spirit of acknowledging the ascension of Jesus Christ. We are here not to talk about the mystic ties which bind you together as a noble band of brothers, but to honor and glorify Him who rose from the dead that our life and immortality might be brought to light. You have come from your asylum to this tabernacle that you may pay tribute to this ascension, the ascension day of the King of Kings. As Christ climbed the rugged hill of Calvary that He might set the captives free so we have climbed, as weary pilgrims, the holy mount of privilege that we might view the landscape o’er of our liberty on this and that side of Jordan. Let us raise our banners and wield our swords for the defense of our country, and our helpless women and children. Let us be valiant soldiers not only of our own teaching as knights, but also of the Cross of Jesus Christ. We can know but one real captain; we can follow but one real leader; we can march in but one army; we can have but one victory; these are all in the Kingdom of God.

When Jesus arose from the dead, He met His disciples and blessed them, and having completed His mission on earth, He went on High,[Pg 206] but He has drilled us as He drilled those disciples; He has left us human leaders in His name and with His authority, and to us He said, “If ye would be my disciples, deny yourselves, take up your cross and follow me.” His work on earth is done, excepting through you and me, the human agency which He employs. He is doing His work at the right hand of His Father’s throne that we may be able here, to come off more than conquerors through Him.

He passed through the scenes of Gethsemane, He died on the cross of Calvary; He descended into hell or Hades that He might taste death for every man, and forty days after the resurrection, He ascended on High. He went up on the pinions of the clouds until they received Him out of their sight. Then two men stood by the disciples who were gazing into heaven and said to them, “Why stand ye gazing into heaven, as ye see Him go up ye shall see Him likewise come down again. You have heard of Zerubabel, you have met Darius and Cyrus, the Great, you have seen Jesus Christ ascending; those great men will not return, but Jesus will come again to take you with Him in the next ascension. He will not come again as the victim of pagan hostilities or Jewish persecution, but He is coming without sin unto salvation as the[Pg 207] spoiler of the grave, the conqueror of the world, the hero who conquered hell, and will lead us to victory over Satan and his forces.”

The Gospel and the Word are preached to you because you dwell in His secret place; thus you are abiding under the shadow of the Almighty, stay with Him, fight on through the conflict, the battle may be fierce, but you shall win. You see the triumph from afar, your faith is your power. God the All-Glorious One is with you, for remember that when star will shine no more unto star, and planet cease to revolve around planet, when flowers fade to bloom no more, the Word of our God endureth forever. Heaven is His throne and earth His footstool, and we are His children.

I exhort you therefore to take Him more than ever before, as the Man of your counsel, the friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

He has gone to prepare a place for you that where He is there ye may be also.

“Unto Him who hath loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, be glory and dominion now and evermore.”

There is death in the pot.—II Kings 4:40.

In the year 895 B. C., in Syria, a certain woman resided. She was the wife of Obadiah, a devoted companion, a good, genial spirit; she[Pg 208] was a model wife, but misfortune overtook her, and the bright days of prosperity and enjoyment passed under the dark clouds of adversity. The pleasant fragrance from the flowers faded and her husband too had passed to the bourne from whence none returns.

She is now a widow left to contend against the hard and unsympathizing world.

“Trouble like a gloomy cloud
Gathered fast and thundered loud.”

Her husband and father was God above. Her old-time friends who knew and recognized her in her prosperity, now passed her by unnoticed. Adversity makes a great change in friendship. It renders friends, strangers, and breaks asunder the dearest ties. These friends were willing to see her suffer and her children torn from her side and sold into slavery that her debts might be paid. There was no helping hand, no money to loan, no salvation from this awful condition, no one to become her surety, but above all this darkness of night and of cloud, God was dwelling, and watching. He never forsakes His own, He may seem to do so, but never, never.

God sent His servant Elisha to her and through him relieved her of all her troubles. Elisha was a mighty man of God. He had received the mantle of Elijah and was a student[Pg 209] under him. He was full of wisdom and understanding, going about in the spirit of Jehovah serving the people, instructing them, leading them to higher life, and making them acquainted with God and His ways.

Elisha during a famine had the people to gather herbs that their hunger might be relieved. Among those herbs which were thrown into the pot, there was some poisonous herb which some one had gathered by mistake, it too was thrown in. In the boiling of these together, the poison was spread through the pot. When they began eating the vegetable soup, the poison was discovered. Elijah was informed and destroyed its bad effect.

It is well for us to note that.

I. The world is the pot.

The world has been cursed by sin. There is in it both the good and the bad, both food and poison. God has placed us in the world that we may as Christians, do the work which Elisha did in his day. When we look about us, how many people we see who have been poisoned. There are murderers, suicides, thieves, robbers, liars, all these are acting in the way they act and live, because they have in them poison. It is well for us to understand that we need not expect in this world to find the good unmixed[Pg 210] from the evil. Christ prayed that God would not take His own out of the world, but that He would keep them from the evil in the world, and we are taught in the prayer called the Lord’s Prayer, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” As God’s children, we cannot mix with the children of this world. We cannot allow the amusements of this world and its allurements to lead us away from God and His Kingdom. We are in the world, but not of it. We are but pilgrims, passing through, on the way to the country of God, but all that we are and have are in this world; just as all the herbs were thrown into the pot, but there is also poison there. Is there any pleasure, without its tinge of pain? Is there any hope without the presence of a cloud? Is there any expectation without some kind of a disappointment? But Christ is our Elisha. The poison in the pot can be removed and He will remove it for us. The pleasures of the world may be rendered sweet and pure. The work of this world can be raised to the highest dignity. The power of this world may be turned to the highest good of all. We are not left helpless and hopeless.

II. The temptations of the world are the fire under the pot.

The question of temptations is a very interesting[Pg 211] one, for the Christian. There are many who find their greatest trouble in temptations. They are not able to distinguish a temptation from a sin, and confusing them, they look upon themselves as very great sinners, because they have very great temptations. This is a false idea. A temptation is a trial. All temptations are not evil. There are also temptations that lead us to noble action. God is not tempted of evil, neither does He tempt to evil, but He does tempt us to the good, and indeed, He permits Satan to ply us with temptations, and we by overcoming these temptations may grow strong and pure.

Christ, the sinless man, was in the world, full of temptations, but He overcame them. His temptations were genuine, they were sinful, they would have proven destructive, but He overcame them and He overcame them without sin.

It matters not what the temptation may be, however dark and sinful, it is with you as to the result of that temptation in your life.

“Yield not to temptation,
For yielding is sin.”

It is the yielding that is sin. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Make friends of him and he will live with you. He will become a part of you, he will drag you down, he will work your destruction.

[Pg 212]

How often we realize that dark, sinful thoughts, pass through our minds. They are sins like a black cloud, sweeping over the beautiful landscape of the soul. Well, does this constitute sin? By no means. It is only when these thoughts remain in the mind, when we harbor them, when we become fond of them; this is what forms sin in the soul. It is your work to expel them, to drive them out, to hate them.

Paul said, When I would do good evil is present with me. How true this is with us today. Even in our holiest exercises, such as prayer, praise, worship, sin is found lurking in our aspirations after God. Selfishness enters our prayers, selfishness frequently inspires our holiest hopes, selfishness poisons our love, doubt weakens our faith, and so we find in our religion and its life, the element of sin. This is the death in the pot.

So the whole Bible deals with the problem of sin. The plan of salvation is simply the plan for removing sin from within and from without us. The mission of Christ is to save the sinner from his sins. Frequently Christians get the idea that salvation is to bring us at last to Heaven; well, that is in a manner true, but remember that is the last work of salvation, bringing us to Heaven. Salvation deals with thousands of[Pg 213] things in our lives here, before we are ready for Heaven. And indeed we can never enter Heaven with sin in our natures. Sin must be rooted out here in some manner. So we have our Elisha, he can and does remove the death from the pot. He is the bread of life, the water of life, in which there is no poison.

I beg you, therefore, to take this text with you. Ponder over its deep meaning. Apply its truths to your own life, come to our Elisha that He may remove the death from your pot. Try and understand the deep meaning of your religion and that it is a rule of life for every-day living. That it furnishes you with the wisdom and the power to overcome all the sin within you and all the temptations without you. Therefore watch and pray. Be diligent in season and out of season and put your trust in your Elisha, and He will make all things work together for your good. This is His promise.

The Reward of the Righteous.

“For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance which the Lord your God giveth you.”—Deut. 12:9.

A description of Paradise is always acceptable to the humble believer. He is seeking the rest, the inheritance, which God has so abundantly[Pg 214] promised in His word. So our God has not omitted to give us glimpses of this Heavenly rest. We have gathered together our own sweet bundle of sentiments regarding it. They are ever a blooming garden of flowers by our pathway. We are to so live that we may daily prepare for this Home of the Soul. Hezekiah was ordered to set his house in order. He was reminded that he would soon be called to enter into this rest prepared for the people of God. He had something to do first, however—to set his house in order.

We sadly realize that in the study of this deep question our knowledge of that country which is our eternal home, can be but faint. Paul saw something of its glory but would not undertake to describe it. And the glowing descriptions which John gives us in his Revelation, are most difficult to understand. They are figures, they are poorly drawn pictures, outlines, photographs, of that Celestial Clime and its Holy Inhabitants. But it confirms our hopes, invigorates our strength, ennobles our efforts. Then let us study today something and somewhat of this Happy Land.

I. The Character of the Reward, the Inheritance.

The Israelites were worn and weary, with the[Pg 215] desert journey. For forty years they had been wanderers, pilgrims, in a land of sand, rocks, barren waste and mountains. God so blessed them that their garments did not wear out, and He gave them water from the rocks and food from Heaven and flesh from the far countries. But this was not enough. They had been promised a land that flowed with milk and honey, a land of rest, an inheritance. God had promised to Abraham that He would give them the land of Canaan for a possession, and that it should be inherited by all his children forever. While this promise had been made centuries before their trials in the Wilderness, yet God had not forgotten His pledge and His people had not forgotten His promises. The great encouragement which Moses always brought forward that their strength might be renewed, was that God had made them a promise of a land of their own. With all their trials and disappointments, their mistakes and their failures, their doubts and perplexities, God was with them and the Land of Canaan was just beyond the Jordan.

It is well for us to keep in mind the journey of the Israelites, between the Red Sea and the Jordan; between the land of slavery and the land of liberty. For indeed we are making just such a journey now. We are on the march to our[Pg 216] Heavenly Canaan. It is called a rest. It is called an inheritance. What blessed descriptions these are! We could want no better.

This wilderness of sin is a land of weariness. The way is hard, the mountains to climb are high. The rocks which cut our feet are many. The loads which we carry cause so often fainting, almost death. There is no rest here. We have temporary resting places where we may sleep and refresh ourselves. But the day comes, and its work, its weariness. Even in our religious lives and work, we experience the same fatigue, we are exhorted not to grow weary in well doing, not to faint by the way, why? Because we are in a land of weariness, of toil, of exhaustion!

“To him that overcometh, I will give a crown of life. To him that overcometh, I will make a pillar in the temple of my God and they shall go out no more.” Our abiding place there will be as permanent as the pillars of the temple. We cannot be removed. Surely we will not want to go out any more. We will be satisfied to dwell in the temple of God forever. Then it is called an inheritance. Our children inherit our possessions. There is no law to prevent them from coming into what has belonged to us. It is their own when we leave it by every right of human and Divine law.

[Pg 217]

II. Our Saviour is the faithful witness of this promised land.

Moses, you remember, sent spies into Canaan that they might bring back a report of the land which God had promised to Abraham and his descendants. These spies returned. Only two, Caleb and Joshua, brought back a good report. The majority report was very discouraging indeed, so much so, that the Israelites turned back again.

There are many in this world who have a bad report of the Promised Land which the text tells us, is to be our rest and our inheritance. Will you listen to them? If so, you will also turn back and continue wandering in the wilderness of sin. Do not forget that Satan is one of these spies. He will tell you false things regarding your religion, your brethren, your Saviour, your God and Heaven. This is his business. He is always at it. You find many Christians who do not think much about Heaven, they consider it a dream, they contend that this is their Heaven, hence they place little value on all the reports in the Bible concerning this land. But we have a true witness, our Joshua, our Jesus. He came from that country. He knows its hills and dells, its clime, its fruits, its joys, its eternal delights. He has left us His report.[Pg 218] It is absolutely true. He has seen and heard and tasted and He speaks as a true witness. He said to His disciples on the eve of His departure, “I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, there ye may be also. In my Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so I would have told you.” “If ye believe in God, believe also in me.”

God liberated His people from Egypt. He raised the iron heel of oppression from the necks of His people. He led them forth. He brought them into Canaan. His omniscience guided them. His omnipresence was ever with them. He brought them to an end of the toil, labor, dust, pains, weariness of the wilderness journey. The same God is leading us to a much better country. In this country there are no enemies, as there were in Canaan. No battles will be fought, no sickness will be endured, no trials to pass through, no fading sunsets and following dark nights, no losses, no crosses, for “All the former things are passed away, behold, I make all things new.”

Jesus says, “I am the living bread of which if any man eat, he shall nevermore hunger.” He has broken down the middle wall or partition, so that we can enter into the very presence of God. Paul speaks of His work when he says, “By[Pg 219] whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” Yes, the glory of God, that glory which shall be reflected from our hearts and faces when we stand complete before God. John says, “It doth not appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And every one that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself even as He is pure.” We shall be like Him! These are not misty descriptions of our rest and inheritance! They are real photographs. We need not doubt, we need not fear. It doth not appear what we shall be, but in that beautiful habitation of the soul, we will be more beautiful than the beautiful home which God has prepared.

III. But this rest and inheritance will be the reward of the faithful.

We should not deceive ourselves for not every one will enter. There are many in this world who confidently expect to enter this Heavenly Canaan, but they have no passport. If you were to take a trip through Europe and Asia, it would be necessary for you to procure from the proper officials of this country a passport, for without this you would not be permitted to go through these countries. You would be[Pg 220] looked upon as some kind of an enemy. The passports to Heaven are goodness and faithfulness. Not the goodness, however, which this world creates and loves and prizes. Christ said to the young nobleman who came to Him and wanted to know what good thing he could do to enter the kingdom of Heaven, “Why callest thou me good, there is none good but God.” This young man said that he had kept all the commandments from his youth up, now if he had done that and we have no reason to doubt it, for Christ looked on him and loved him, then this young man was really good as this world calls goodness; but mark you he did not enter the “Kingdom of God,” for he went away very sorrowful, for he was very rich. Oh! he was very rich!

He had his own little heaven, he had his own little bundle of goodness, he had his own passport, but these did not suffice, for the Kingdom of God. These were of no value in this Kingdom.

I was born in a slave state. When I was a little boy, my mother being very poor, sent me out on a very cold day to the river bank to gather up a bundle of wood. I gathered up the wood and tied it into a bundle and placed it on my head. I started home. It was a large bundle[Pg 221] and grew very heavy as I walked along. It was painful to my head and I became tired. I staggered under the burden, I thought that I could not reach the house, but I kept on. At last I got home and almost fainted. But what a relief it was to me and what a comfort it became to my mother. As we sat that night by the crackling fire, I thought, well it was worth all it cost me. The pleasure it gave my mother, the family, and satisfaction it gave me to know that I had done this and all were now enjoying it, was my reward, my rest. But mark you, it was the reward of goodness and faithfulness. If I had been a disobedient boy, would I have had that reward? Would I have had that enjoyment? Would I have had the approval and the love of my mother? Never, never! So it is with us today. We must carry our burdens, and the burdens of others. We have always a double load on our shoulders, this makes it doubly heavy. Sometimes we nearly faint under it, the road seems to have no end, we are almost tempted to throw down the load, but can we? If we really desire to enter that beautiful city beyond the river of death, the load which God has given us, must be carried to the very end. We can drop that load when we come to the river, when the death angel tells us that it is enough and that our Father wants us to come home.

[Pg 222]

You are to serve your brother-man, you are to love him, to pray for him, and to love and pray for your enemies. This is the load, this is the work that is to be done! Without the cross there is no crown, without the weights there are no wings, without the prayers there will be no praises! “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” This is the welcome plaudit. Do you long to hear that plaudit? Then be faithful today and tomorrow and throughout life.

IV. This place is called rest.

After the victory there is peace. After the labor there is rest. After the pain there is pleasure. This world is not our abiding place, our peace-place. As long as man lives on the earth he has various inducements to sin. Enemies within and without are continually organizing against him. Satan is seeking to devour him with lust and sin. He too often, alas! renounces his allegiance to his God, he forgets his Saviour, he turns away from the practice of his religion. Worldly pleasures allure him, they deceive him, they intoxicate. Ten thousand are the ways of this world to lead the humble pilgrim astray. The Israelites wandered in the Wilderness forty[Pg 223] days, but it was only a seven days march from Egypt to Canaan; Why did they wander? Because they sinned. The flesh is lusting against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh. When we would do good evil is present with us. What a mighty conflict this life of wandering is!

But blessed be God there are no haunts of innocent (?) amusement to entice you from pure holiness, in Heaven! No dens to rob men and women of their virtue, no pit-falls of saloons and gambling hells to lead astray the holy inhabitants of that land of rest, none of these things are to be found there! The ungodly rich man, the oppressor of the poor, the robber, the thief, these are all cast into the lake where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched. There is the place of our Eternal Rest. It is a mountain where heavenly pastures grow and the rivers of life gently flow. It is here that we shall know as we are known. Here ignorance is forever banished and we see face to face. God help as to enter this rest and to obtain this inheritance.

Our Legacy.

Peace I leave with you.—John 14:27.

Dear Brethren, in entering upon the work of this district two years ago I found that the ship had sprung a leak, the sails were furled, many[Pg 224] of the crew had deserted the ship and left her to the mercy of the waves. There seemed to be a heavy cloud over the church, her banners had been trailing in the dust. I look back and almost shudder and wonder what would have been the fate of the church had things drifted on as I found them. I wonder if there were any here who at that time would have believed our report and to whom the arm of the Lord would have been revealed. I ask the question now, shall the church in Trenton sink, shall her doors be closed, shall her banner be dust covered? No, never, so long as God says “Thou shalt live.” So like Paul at Athens I take courage and preach the Gospel to you that your strength may increase and your faith grow stronger.

Bro. Joseph Long was the first man I saw, to whom I delivered my message. He said go ahead, my son, sound the trumpet and we will rally to the standard though the host of hell surround us. I accepted the situation, seeing that there was a great field of usefulness before me. I saw and felt my inability to do any good or to be of any service to the church unless God was with me. So I consecrated myself anew to God and made a complete surrender. My own capabilities united with yours, we brought our forces into line and began the battle which you[Pg 225] have fought so nobly and bravely against every obstacle. You have been faithful soldiers, and may be called veterans in the cause of Christ. The enemy has been many times defeated and main victories have been won and the cause has been greatly advanced, but the time of our separation is drawing nigh, our communions will soon cease, they have been very sweet and precious to me, very helpful, your kindness has been like the bud on the tree continually swelling, and blossoming for my own pleasure and profit. Like David, we have cried from the bottom of our hearts, How long, O Lord, How long shall the wicked reign? Save thy people, bless thine inheritance, feed and lift them up for ever. You have proven your loyalty to the church at large, your efficiency in the church here, I commend your integrity, your faithfulness. Your warm hearts have beat continually for the success of the church during this pastorate.

The old heroes have gone home to their reward. Their seats are vacant, their work is complete but we have entered into their labors and their memory is still precious among us. They are still with us in spirit, they are looking down from the battlements of glory and are witnessing our race here below. They have been described as a cloud of witnesses. Therefore we[Pg 226] are to lay aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset us and run with patience the race that is set before us. Their skill and bravery we should imitate, their example we should copy, their life of service we should relieve. Oh! Could many of those old warriors awake from their graves and revisit old Mt. Zion and stand on her battleground, to tell us of the contests through which they had passed and to show us the scars which they had received while fighting the battle of the Lord, how often they have witnessed the going and coming of ministers, having listened to their sad farewells, I am sure that we would take courage today and rejoice that we are a part of that grand procession, some of which are now in glory, some of which are crossing and some of which are still on this side. These old veterans of glory are not here to shake our hands; they have risen from the bloody battlefield of earth to the sun lit hills of eternity and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Some that I met two years ago are not here tonight to shake our hands, to be with us in this farewell exercise, where are they? Where is father Crusen and Sister Layten, Tolson, Phinley, Reley and Rachel Conover. Young men, I ask you tonight where is Enoch Limehouse, Jimmie[Pg 227] Vroom and others of your companions? Parents and Sabbath School teachers, I ask you where are the Scotts, the Sees and Lily Wright and others whom I met here two years ago? They have gone down to the grave, they are mouldering in their graves. But this shattered Mt. Zion church is the same now as then, a few pillars are left. Brothers Long, Johnson, Fisher, Jones, Ward, Ayers, Charna, Sisters Long, Ward, Perine, Hall, Scroden, Hutchens, Lewis, Harriet, Charmer, and a host of others, we have stood together through these years and are one tonight in spirit and in truth. Our spirits have shared each other’s burdens, each other’s sorrows, we have mingled our tears.

Your Christian advice, tender care, loyal friendship, all these have helped me on my way to the better land. You have performed your part well, a uniform desire to contribute to the harmony of all. Your zeal for the growth of the church when it seemed to be dying, your constant watching for its highest welfare, have often caused me to say, “I was glad when they said to me, let us go into the house of the Lord.” Although we separate here in sorrow we will meet in a place where sorrow is unknown. Do you promise to meet me there? March on, ye Soldiers of the Cross, be not afraid, God is your[Pg 228] helper, He will not desert you! Keep your eyes on the city whose builder and maker is God. Do not grow weary in well-doing nor faint by the way.

Christ said, My peace I leave with you. I can say my blessings I leave with you. Let us pray for each other and look forward to the time when we shall meet to part no more. Farewell!

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[Pg 231]

Articles and Contributions

An Echo to the Manager’s Call.

Mr. Editor: In your issue of June 21, 1877, an article appears, emanating from the business manager, indicating trouble ahead. He says that from the very fact of the editor receiving two letters to his one, and the supporters of our publishing department placing the major portions of their communications on the wrong current, the most pernicious effect is designed to flow through the stream of intellectual knowledge gleaned from the columns of the Christian Recorder.

I have only to ask my brethren, Can we, as pillars of the porch that leads to the great temple of African Methodism, sit still on our easy chair and hear such powerful peals of thunder ringing through our ears, constantly coming from the subverting clouds now overhanging our manager’s head?

Let us burst loose the bands of oppression, open the prison door and set the captive free. Give the manager a fair start in the race, and then if he die (as he says the death warrant has been served on others who had charge of the concern), let us bury him in a recreant’s grave.[Pg 232] As to the department being whittled away by the ministry, I would like to ask, Mr. Editor, who is responsible for that? Is there not a prescribed mode of bringing these would-be men to justice? These vipers that creep through the money till of all our departments and from their atrocious dereliction or their villainous designs to defraud the connection out of what is rightfully due it? These things are actually undermining the foundation of our Church. Put them between the upper and lower millstones and grind them as fine as powder. Do not let us all suffer from the effect of the same blow. The blow the Doctor struck has shocked the connection like a mighty earthquake. Now the question goes from every loyal fort along the line, “Who are these whittlers?” Again, the manager says there is a wolf howling about the door of his sanctum, and that unless there be sufficient food to satisfy his demands, at no distant date there will be a burst up. I again ask, Cannot this eternal howling be stopped?

Now, the manager says that our articles of commendation and sweet pats on the shoulder, telling him to go ahead with the engine without anything to propel it, does not amount to much. He wants action—noble, sublime, Godlike action—such as will place him on the road to success. Then, brethren, let us act. According to the report[Pg 233] made at the General Conference of 1872, we have three hundred thousand members, seven thousand preachers in our connection. Let a Sabbath be set apart and let it be universally known throughout the Church, and one-fourth of a dollar be collected from each member. This would give us the nice little sum of $75,000. Say that the preachers give one dollar each, including bishops, managers, editors and all others, which would make a total of $82,000. Would not this stop the howling wolf and save the department? The echo is, Yes! Then, brethren, let us awake from our sleep. Call the forces to the front, wheel into line, fire on the enemy, and the victory is ours. I will guarantee one-fourth of a dollar from each one of my members, and not only one dollar from myself, but five, at whatever time may be mentioned as a day for this purpose in the interests of the Book Concern.


Algiers, La., July, 1877.

The Race Problem Solved at Asbury Park.

For the Christian Recorder.
New Brunswick, N. J., August 2, 1890.
Mr. Editor.

Sir: As a native of the “Old North State” myself, it is but natural that I should feel some pride[Pg 234] in every honor or mark of respect paid to her honored sons; and yet, sir, when I see metropolitan papers, whose politics are not very favorable to our race, teeming with praise of the speeches made, with some very remarkable quotations of opposition to the “Force Bill,” or apologizing for certain reasons why it should not become a law; when I see certain gentlemen denied by those in authority not especially committed to our side of public questions regarding our interest, it is but natural that some of us should become alarmed lest these honors are received and bestowed at the terrible expense of compromising the rights of our race.

We are forced to believe that President Grandison must have committed himself with all the force of his eloquence on the beach at the park to thirty thousand people in favor of the Force Bill. We are also led to believe that our popular friend Dr. Sampson was very conservative in his Fourth of July speech. But now comes out one of the leading illustrated journals with all the pictures of these orators of the Fourth at the park, and the Doctor is made to say if a colored man is discriminated against or in any way persecuted in regard to his rights, that it ought to stimulate him to greater effort to make himself more worthy, and to not only make himself the equal, but the superior of the other men. With[Pg 235] other compromising remarks, and after several highly pleasing speeches on the beach to the multitudes from the hotels, it is said that the Doctor and founder, Bradley, repaired to the dining rooms of the different hotels and told the colored help when and where they might be allowed to bathe.

Was this arrangement made by the Doctor with Mr. Bradley for the colored people? Will these two North Carolinians answer this question? Were they paid one hundred dollars for these speeches, and were they properly quoted in the New York World? I mean President Grandison, of Bennett College, as to his views on the Force Bill delivered at the park or elsewhere, and also Dr. Sampson on the Race Problem, delivered on the grand stand on the Fourth of July at the park. I understand that my old friend did say that a Negro’s occupation should not be above that of a servant, for he must know well how to discharge the duties belonging to this sphere before he is able to meet the more responsible duties of life. I ask the Doctor if this is all true.

Yours respectfully,

31 French Street, New Brunswick, N. J.

[Pg 236]


By Miss Ada A. Newton.

Intemperance is a fatal evil. What are felons, murderers and thieves but men who began drinking but moderately, just for fashion or to see how it tasted? From drinking moderately they go on taking a little more each time, until finally they become confirmed drunkards. How common it is to hear a wife say, Ah! He was a good husband before he began drinking. There was nothing he thought too good for me. How we pity the drunkard’s wife and children! The little ones are made to suffer for the doings of their father, for God says that “the iniquities of the fathers are visited upon the children unto the third and fourth generation, while His mercy is shown unto thousands that love Him and keep His commandments.” How careful, then, should all be to guard against this evil. The cup that has the glow of ruby at last biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder.

Let us give an illustration that all may see the course of this sin. Here is a rich man who has a son; he indulges him beyond measure; he teaches him in youth to drink wine. At first he makes a wry face and tells his father that he does not like it and cannot drink it. His father scorns and ridicules the idea, and tells him that[Pg 237] unless he drinks some he will never become a man. So the little fellow drinks because it is his father’s desire and not his own. He soon acquires a thirst for the poisonous cup, and when he comes to manhood’s estate he drinks often and freely. At last he drinks too much and becomes intoxicated—yes, intoxicated! This is his first step to ruin; the habit has been formed. His father is now much mortified. He threatens to disinherit him if he does not stop drinking, but it is too late. The father has laid the foundation and the son has built on it, and neither of them is now able to undo what has been done and fixed into a habit. His mother begs him to never again touch the deadly drug. For her sake he promises and takes the pledge. There is great rejoicing now. His father, mother, friends, all rejoice at the reclamation; the son has reformed! Yes, he has reformed. His eyes lose their redness and become bright and lustrous. He attends diligently to his business. After a while he marries. Then the rejoicing is universal. All delight at the great reformation. But alas! how frail is human nature. Soon after his marriage he meets at the tavern his old chums. He has perfect confidence in himself. He knows he will not drink again. His pride asserts itself. His old companions are gleeful and congenial; they ask him to drink. He pays no attention to them.[Pg 238] Then they sneer, they ridicule, they appeal to his manhood, they accuse him of being tied to his wife’s apron strings. To prove to them that he is not all that they declare, he takes one drink, then another and another, and soon he is beastly drunk. Then they kick him out. His wife watches for him, then she watches over him, and he does not return, so it seems. He is now detained on business; he has an engagement at the club, at the lodge. How little does she know how soon she is to be bowed down and broken under grief! She watches. It is midnight; she meets him at the door with a glad heart; the sight is heart-sickening. She reels and faints. He is fearfully intoxicated! When he is able to reason, she reasons with him, but in vain. Down, down he goes from one step to another, until from a large mansion he brings her to live in a cellar. Who is that grinning monster the boys are pelting in the street? And who is that emaciated creature entreating the boys to let the miserable wretch whom she calls her husband go home? The once noble husband and the once beautiful wife! What has brought them so low? What has caused her misery, her anguish? Rum, rum, rum; nothing but the demon RUM!

Oh, young man, if you only knew the harm that the social glass does you, the misery that it brings, the death that follows, you would cast[Pg 239] away the poison and turn from it now, before it is eternally to late. “Touch not, taste not the unclean thing, for wine is a mocker and strong drink is raging.”

Algiers, La.

From Arkansas.

For the Christian Recorder.

Mr. Editor: You have not heard from us for several months, not because we have lost interest, for we have always stood among the active workers of the Church, but we have been very busy. The last time we wrote you from the South we were in the State of Tennessee.

In the month of October last year Bishop Brown ordered us to strike our tent and move to Arkansas. With the knapsack of faith and the musket of truth we came and engaged in the contest, taking charge of Little Rock.

The Little Rock Conference is composed of some of the noblest and most energetic men in the Church. They work, sing and fight against Satan like men of war, determined to conquer although they die in the battle. Elder J. T. Jenifer, so well known throughout our widespread connection as a pioneer of African Methodism, erected a new church edifice at Little Rock, a[Pg 240] monument that can never be forgotten, and to be admired by unborn generations. Bishop Brown and J. F. A. Sisson, P. E., contributed their share towards the construction of this model of beauty. H. H. Petigrew, P. E., John A. Jones, S. A. Patten and R. A. Sinquefield are the pioneers of African Methodism in this State, and their labors have been given entirely to the Christian Church. Their affectionate and kind-hearted spirits draw every one near to them in the fullest confidence, and none can but love and cherish them.

The Conference is divided into eleven districts and is cared for by good and faithful presiding elders who are not afraid of the truth, though dark and gloomy clouds oppose them on every hand. We have several churches in course of construction in this State which will be ornaments when completed.

In Little Rock the work is in a prosperous condition. We are preparing to hold the Conference on the 9th of November, 1876. Bishop T. M. Ward is now with us on his way to the South Arkansas Conference. Our church is not yet completed, and we are about four thousand dollars in debt; but, thank the Lord, we were successful in paying off $1200 this year. We have 483 members, who say that they are determined to succeed. We have 229 scholars in the Sunday[Pg 241] School and 25 officers and teachers. We have not done much for the Recorder, but we intend to fall into line. “Hold the fort, for we are coming!” (“Yes, but hurry up!”)

King Cotton has a powerful influence in this State, and the same is true of another king—Alcohol. There are 113 rum shops in Pine Bluff and 108 in Little Rock. Thousands of people are inquiring for the byways to hell, and, comparatively speaking, very few are inquiring the way to heaven. Over $1,000,000 are spent in this State annually for rum and tobacco.

On September 25th we visited the Conference of Tennessee, held in Pulaski, where we met many smiling faces and hearts and enjoyed a hearty shake of many hands.


Little Rock, Ark., October 18, 1876.

Algiers, La.

Algiers is situated on the north bank of the Mississippi River, about one hundred miles distant from the Gulf. It is connected with New Orleans by ferry boats, which run every five or ten minutes. There is not much enterprise here, as all the business is done in the city. It is not a separate parish from the city, as one mayor controls the affairs of both places. Beelzebub has[Pg 242] his headquarters here, and his court and his orders take the premium. The Sabbath is not respected. Mechanics labor and stevedores flock and flutter about the ships. You will find human beings as thick on the ballroom floor on Sunday as fleas on a dog’s head. And this is only a substitute for the wickedness indulged in here on the Sabbath. But our Church is progressing. We have just had a glorious revival. Our forces were drawn up in line in pitched battle with the devil and artillery of hell. After a heavy conflict for several weeks the battle subsided. When the smoke was over we picked up thirty souls happily converted to God. Bishop Ward was with us about eight weeks ago. He organized a new mission work in this city. He threw two or three bombshells against the forces of Catholicism, crippled, wounded and captured several of their troops, and moved on down the line, leaving the boys to push the battle to the gate.


June 21, 1877.

Word from Algiers, La.

For the Christian Recorder.

Mr. Editor: Elder A. H. Newton has charge of the branch of African Methodism of Algiers, La. When Elder Newton arrived in Algiers he[Pg 243] found the church in an almost hopeless condition, there being but ten members belonging to the fold, and as far as Sabbath School was concerned, they hardly knew what it meant. The majority of the people of color are Catholics. There are three Catholic churches to one Methodist church, therefore he had to labor under great disadvantages, but with King Jesus as his Captain, the Bible as his shield, he fought the battle bravely and gained the victory. Our church now is in a prosperous condition. We are doing a good work. Instead of ten members we have ten times ten, and they are coming to the fold every day. We have the finest Sabbath School in the State of Louisiana. There are one hundred and seventy-five members, and still they come. Our superintendent, Prof. J. H. Corbin, is alive to our Sabbath School. He is pious, kind and educated. The children all love him, and in no Sunday School throughout our entire connection could you find a better superintendent than he. He is also the principal of the colored school of Algiers. Our musical director, Prof. S. W. Otts, is also one of our bright stars. He makes the walls of Zion ring with melodies from the “Gospel Songs.” Miss O. B. Flowers, the assistant principal of the colored school of this city is also a noble worker in our Sabbath School. As a teacher she is interesting, and she is also the[Pg 244] embodiment of Christian forbearance. We have a very intelligent corps of teachers, and, altogether, our school is progressing quite rapidly. When Elder Newton came to Algiers there was not a book in the Sabbath School library, not even a Testament; but with the help of God we have been enabled to get Testaments, Bibles and Catechisms, and we also have an organ. All this has been done in three months. In another three months we have hopes of as much more being accomplished. Our agent for the Christian Recorder is Mrs. Lula L. Newton. She sells as many papers as are sent her, and could sell as many more if she had them. The people take quite an interest in the paper, simply because it is edited and published by our own color.

For the last week we have had a practical effort, six souls have been added to our number and we have prospects of as many more. Algiers bids fair of becoming one of the strongholds of the connection. In the city of New Orleans, Bishop Ward (blessings on his venerable head!) has organized a new mission, which the elder in charge—Elder Cargile—with the help of the Lord and good management, is making a good charge. The people in this city are very wicked, some of them, although in a Christian land and among Christian people, are worse than heathen. They have never read the Bible. The[Pg 245] Bishop, knowing this, organized the mission in the most wicked portion of the city, and it is progressing finely.


April 4, 1877.

Word from Algiers, La.

For the Christian Recorder.

Mr. Editor: I am glad to say that our church is gaining ground. Christians are a unit in this place in laboring for the building of Christ’s kingdom. Meetings are being held everywhere, with very marked results. Elder James Madison is carrying on a great work in St. James. He seems to be determined that every valley shall be filled and every hill made low. I think that he is the right man in the right place. The Elder visited my Sabbath School and addressed the children. He expressed himself as highly pleased with the progress of the church and school.

Elder Lazarus Gardiner, of St. Peter’s Chapel, is scattering Gospel seed and contending against the assaults of sin, at the head of noble-hearted workers for the success of African Methodism in this State. They have paid five hundred dollars on their new church and have arranged for the payment of another five hundred when due. The[Pg 246] Elder is up and a-doing. God speed him on his journey!

Dr. George W. Bryant is sounding the Gospel trumpet from the battlements of Zion at the Union Bethel. He is master of the situation. If our Gospel be hid, it is hid unto them that are lost. The Baptist church is also doing a great work in this place. I was at a union meeting at the Rev. James Chaig’s church, a Baptist brother, and the Spirit of the Lord God filled the house. It was densely packed. The conference of glad voices giving praise to God was a heaven below. Brother Benjamin Buchannon also held a union meeting last Sabbath, which was a complete success. Fully three thousand people were present. The church and the yard were literally packed. God bless these brethren! May they live long and continue as instruments in the hands of God, enemies to ignorance and friends to holiness! J. H. Scie, P. E., is on the scout, I presume, although I have not heard from Elder Thomas. And Elder Burch I can give no account of, as I have no news from their district since Conference.


June 5, 1877.

[Pg 247]

Dedication of Macedonia Church.

The Rev. A. H. Newton was ably assisted in the service of dedicating the beautiful new Macedonia Church in Camden, N. J., last Sunday. The dedicatory service was conducted and sermon preached by Bishop A. W. Wayman, D.D., at 11 A. M. In the afternoon the editor of the Christian Recorder and at night Macedonia’s ex-pastor, Rev. W. H. Yocum, B.D., preached. There were present the Rev. G. A. Mills, Rev. J. W. Cooper, T. N. Allen, S. B. Williams, G. S. Smith, T. Gould, L. J. Coppin, B. T. Tanner, D.D., J. H. Bean, J. W. Becket, D.D., W. Rice and G. M. Witten, of our church, and S. P. Smith, of the Congregational Church of Knoxville, Tenn. There may have been other ministers present. In the afternoon the audience of the main audience room overflowed, filling the basement, where they were addressed in a good sermon delivered by Rev. G. M. Witten. The collection of the day amounted to over $900. Macedonia has been partly described while in course of erection. It is of brick, the windows are of beautiful stained glass, the floor is entirely carpeted, the pulpit is furnished, the gas jets, the excellent finish of the entire building within and without command our congratulation to our Brother Newton and constituents, who with him,[Pg 248] as well as with his predecessor, Elder Yocum, under whose pastorate the building was started, erected and enclosed, have been faithful.

October 24, 1886.

Another Account of the Dedication of the Macedonia Church.

For the Christian Recorder.

Mr. Editor: In the midst of the ranges of thought and sentiment, and while the busy world was moving on in the grand march of improvement, the Church of the Living God is unfolding and developing everywhere. The Kingdom of Christ is gaining territory in the marts of men.

Sunday, October 24th, the Macedonia A. M. E. Church of Camden, N. J., was dedicated with imposing services. Indeed, I venture the assertion that it was the grandest occasion in the history of the congregation. More than forty years ago a few fathers and mothers, African Methodists, concluded to build the house to God in that city, all of whom have finished their well-begun work, and have fallen asleep; but Brother Wilson, Father Sample, Mother Quinn and Sister Hill. The younger men and women, inspired by the fathers, took hold where they left off and have carried forward the work until the third[Pg 249] building is successfully reared on the same lot; but the glory of the latter house is greater than the former. The members and congregation needed this new church seventeen years before it was built. They were losing their congregation of young people, their societies were taking their start from Old Macedonia until eight other churches were built in Camden. With the exception of one or two, Macedonia was the poorest. Standing two and one-half feet below the grade of the street might be seen a small flat-roof house covered with felt, pitch and gravel; this was the A. M. E. church with a gallery all around it, yet some of our ablest ministers had pastored there.

After I had labored three years in the city of Providence, R. I., in August, Bishop John M. Brown said to me, “Brother Yeocum, we have needed a new church in Camden for years, can you not go there and build that church. You will find a good lot of people. We must have a church there that will compare with the churches in Philadelphia or we shall lose all that we have.” On the 22nd of August I found myself in Camden, N. J., and it was not long before we commenced talking about the new church. About the last of October our first grand rally netted us $575.00; at the last service in the old building we raised about $300.00 and soon $1,000.00 were in hand. The old church was taken down and[Pg 250] many were fearful that the church would never go up again. We took the congregation some distance from its stamping ground to what is known as “Kaighnsville” and worshipped in our mission school-house just in the rear of the A. M. E. Z. Church. Here we remained eighteen months while the carpenters and masons were working on the present noble structure. There were many discouragements and trying circumstances confronting us, but we toiled on trusting in the Lord whose work it was. The tribes led on by the presidents, Mrs. Anna White, the late Lyda McCoy and Mrs. Maggie J. Moseley and Mrs. Lizzie Green, collected money perhaps as they never expected. It was simply marvelous. The former, if my memory is correct, raised over $500.00 during my three years pastorate while the building was being erected.

On the first Sunday in December, 1885, we went into the basement of the new church complete. That was an occasion of surprise as well as of joy to the members of the congregation. For many a Job’s comforter had prophesied that it would not go up again, while others laughed saying, “Aha! Aha!” “Where is their church now?” Perhaps some said, “What they do build, if a fox go up thereon, it will break down.” In April, 1885, I was succeeded by the Rev. A. H. Newton, who is a successful, energetic pastor,[Pg 251] who does not sit down or stand still waiting for something to turn up in his favor, like some pastors. But he goes to work with such vim and is here and there so much among his members that one following him learns that Rev. Newton has been there. With this spirit he carried to completion this fine and beautiful church. He and his members deserve much credit. The church has all the modern improvements and many say that it is the finest A. M. E. church in New Jersey. I do not remember the dimensions but it is a large two-story brick building with a cellar below where all the heating is done. On entering the front door there is a stair-way leading to the audience room on the right and on the left. Before entering the lecture room there is a fine study and lecture and class room with frosted windows. The ceiling of the basement is high, it is easily ventilated, the windows of the best enameled glass. There is no paint on the wood work, simply finished in oil, thus retaining the natural color of the yellow pine. The audience room is large with three isles, one in the center and one on each side, with a door at each isle, making the exit very easy. There is a large gallery across the front, making the seating capacity about 550. The windows are the best variegated stained glass. In each there is a memorial to Bishop R. H. Cain, the Rev. A. H.[Pg 252] Newton, W. H. Yeocum and Mr. Perry Wilson, the oldest member. The ceiling is very high, carved and angled, with two large reflectors which give a mellow, beautiful light. Unlike many of our churches all the floor is carpeted and the fine furniture on the pulpit, together with the splendid pipe organ, make an elegant finish.

At 10:30 a. m., after the usual form, Bishop A. W. Wayman, D.D., preached one of his noted sermons which was well received by the people, the text being, “Who is she that looketh fair as the morning?” And Rev. B. F. Lee, D.D., preached a most elegant, instructive, sermon at 3 p. m. The congregation was so large that the Rev. G. M. Witten preached to a crowded basement also at the same hour. At 7 p. m. your humble servant tried to preach from Rev. 1:11, “I am Alpha and Omega,” the theme being, “Christ, the First and the Last.” The collection was $900.00, which was very good considering the circumstances of our people. The visiting members present were Dr. B. T. Tanner, Rev. J. W. Cooper, Rev. G. A. Mills, Rev. S. B. Williams, Rev. W. A. Rice, Rev. J. H. Bean, Rev. J. H. Morgan and Rev. L. J. Coppin.

Rev. William H. Yeocum, B.D.

Trenton, New Jersey.

[Pg 255]

Resolutions, Etc.

Little Rock, Ark.

Whereas, The Rev. A. H. Newton, since his advent in our midst as pastor of Bethel A. M. E. Church and subsequently, became superintendent of our Sabbath School, demonstrating a great love for the Sabbath School and zealously desirous of promoting its complete success as a place of reform and education for the young, has ardently labored to extend its usefulness and sound religious and moral teachings in the minds of our youthful members, has striven to lead the young to religious devotion, has spared no pains to cause the officers and teachers to imbibe the same zeal, and, being a devotee to music, has caused its uplifting influence to flow among us, leading our voices to leap forth in joyous strains in adoration to our King of kings, and to promote a higher intellectual and spiritual standard among officers, members and scholars, and has sown the seed that will bring forth an abundant harvest when his hoary head is laid to rest in its last resting place; therefore be it

Resolved, 1. That the officers and teachers of the Bethel A. M. E. S. S. give to Rev. A. H.[Pg 256] Newton a vote of thanks for the expending of his time and labors in promoting our welfare.

2. That we commend him to his many Christian friends for his many deeds of kindness and labors of love, for both our temporal and spiritual good.

3. That the above preamble and resolutions be recorded by our secretary, and a copy be given to him.


November 19, 1876.

Respecting Rev. A. H. Newton.

At a meeting of the officers and members of the Bethel A. M. E. Church, held in this city in 1876, the following preamble and resolutions were adopted:

Whereas, He has served us faithfully for one year as pastor of Bethel Station, in this city, and labored faithfully and honestly to build up our Sabbath School and other organizations placed under his charge by the General Conference; and

Whereas, He has taken special pains to instill into the minds of the young of the church the[Pg 257] grand and beneficent principles of temperance and morality; and

Whereas, His Christian conduct, scholarly attainments and liberal views have endeared him unto us; therefore be it

Resolved, That we, officers and members of the Bethel Church, do hereby tender to him our heartfelt thanks for the noble work he has done among us, and we will ever pray that the blessings of Almighty God may rest upon him and his family, and aid him in his new work to accomplish good work for the cause of Christ.

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be presented to Brother Newton, and that they be published in the Little Rock daily papers.

G. W. OLIVER, Secretary.

November 18, 1876.

Macedonia Church Endeavors to Retain Their Pastor.

Camden, N. J.

To the Presiding Elder and Members of the Quarterly Conference of Macedonia A. M. E. Church:

Whereas, The New Jersey Annual Conference of the A. M. E. Church will hold its annual session at Trenton April 20; and

Whereas, Another year’s faithful service of[Pg 258] our pastor, Rev. A. H. Newton, will expire; and

Whereas, His Christian deportment and liberal views, his gentlemanly and agreeable qualities have endeared him to us; therefore be it

Resolved, That we, the members of the Macedonia Quarterly Conference, do, for his two years of earnest labor in the upbuilding and finishing of our church and increasing our membership, tender him our heartiest thanks; and

Resolved, That in this he has our heartiest regard and the good wishes of the members of the Quarterly Conference, and we sincerely hope that his future may be as bright and prosperous as he may hope or desire, and we also pray that the Bishop may return him to us for another year.

Resolved, That a copy of these minutes be presented to Rev. A. H. Newton and be printed in the Sentinel and the Tribune.

Signed in behalf of the Quarterly Conference of the Macedonia A. M. E. Church.


March 24, 1887.

[Pg 259]


Rev. A. H. Newton, pastor of the Bethel A. M. E. Church, has been transferred to the Louisiana Conference. We regret to lose Mr. Newton from this city, as gentlemen of his attainments are none too plenty in the ranks of the A. M. E. ministry. Aside from being liberally educated, he has shown a practical Christian spirit and work since his residence in this city. He is to be succeeded by the Rev. J. R. Jenifer.

East Camden, N. J.

At the last Quarterly Conference of the Hosanna A. M. E. Church the following resolutions were offered by the Rev. W. W. Chase:

Whereas, The church has prospered under the presiding eldership of Rev. A. H. Newton for the past four years; and

Whereas, This is his last year and Quarterly Conference; be it therefore

Resolved, That we return to him our grateful thanks for the manner in which he has conducted the business of the church, and pray that the blessings of God may rest on his labors; and

Whereas, In the appointment of the Rev. F. A. Sherman to fill the unexpired term of Rev. G. B. Smith has proven a blessing to the church[Pg 260] and the community; we pray that he may be successful in preaching the Word of God; and

Whereas, He has been zealous and faithful in the discharge of his duties, both temporal and spiritual; therefore be it

Resolved, That he has our prayers and best wishes for his future success.

Church Officers.

March 14, 1896.

Resolutions of Respect.

The Fourth Quarterly Conference of the Mt. Zion A. M. E. Church, at its regular session, adopted the following resolutions:

Whereas, The Rev. A. H. Newton, having served us as pastor, and as he is near the termination of his administration, it is the honor that should be given to whom it is due and credit to those who justly merit it; therefore be it

Resolved, By the members of this Quarterly Conference that in the Rev. A. H. Newton we[Pg 261] recognize a faithful Gospel minister and energetic worker in his Master’s vineyard; and furthermore we recognize him as a gentleman whose character is irreproachable and whose ministerial bearing and executive ability commend themselves to the judgment of the intelligent; and furthermore be it

Resolved, That we highly appreciate his efficient management of the temporal, financial and spiritual interests of the church, and whose administration of two years has been one of perfect tranquillity and fraternal feeling, one of its prominent characteristics; and be it

Resolved, That in giving him our testimony of appreciation we would not forget his companion and coadjutor in his ministerial work, and do highly esteem her as a Christian lady for her untiring perseverance and devotion that has characterized her during her husband’s administration.

Mt. Zion A. M. E. Church.

The quarterly meeting of Mt. Zion Church last Sunday was a grand success. The Rev. A. H. Newton, the pastor, is very energetic and a grand church worker. Rev. Gilbert T. Waters preached a noble sermon in the afternoon. The Rev. Thomas held the audience spellbound at[Pg 262] night. Elder J. H. Morgan consecrated the elements and administered the Lord’s Supper, with the assistance of Elder Thomas. The church was crowded afternoon and evening. There were many strangers present, who expressed themselves benefited during the day. Mrs. Lulu L. Newton left last Monday morning to spend a few days in Camden and Philadelphia with old friends. Mrs. Ada A. Harris, daughter of Rev. A. H. Newton, will spend some time in Atlantic City before returning to Raleigh, N. C. Elder A. H. Newton has raised $900 since Conference for church purposes. The congregation of Mt. Zion are well pleased with the appointment of the Bishop. The Sabbath School of Mt. Zion will give a grand concert in the near future, conducted by Mrs. Ada A. Harris, for the purpose of getting new singing books. The collection at Mt. Zion last Sunday was $45.83.

The members of Mt. Zion Church tendered their pastor, Rev. A. H. Newton, a nice little surprise in honor of the reverend gentleman’s fiftieth birthday. They had a good time and left many substantial tokens of their regard.

The Obituary of the Rev. William Watson.

The Rev. William Watson, a member of the New Jersey A. M. E. Conference, died at his residence in Woodbury, N. J., Tuesday, August[Pg 263] 7, 1888. He was one of the oldest preachers of the Conference, and was therefore regarded as the “Father of the Conference.”

The funeral services were held August 9 at the A. M. E. church, Woodbury, N. J. The Rev. J. T. Rex preached the sermon, which was very impressive, and Rev. A. H. Newton and Rev. Johns made very appropriate remarks concerning the character and usefulness of the deceased. Friday, August 10th, the body was carried to Frankford, Pa., where services were held in the church, when eulogies were delivered by Elder G. A. Mills, Bishop Turner, Elder J. W. Cooper and others. Rev. A. H. Newton read the following resolution:

Whereas, we realize the fact that we sustain a great loss by the decease of our dear brother and colaborer in the work of the Master; be it therefore

Resolved, That it is but a just tribute to the memory of our brother who has been taken from us to say that in his removal from our midst we mourn for one who was in every way worthy of our respect and our regard;

Resolved, That while we bow in humble submission to the hand of Divine Providence, and while sorrow for the loss of a good man, a kind shepherd, a faithful and beloved minister, we find[Pg 264] consolation in the belief that “it is well with him.” He fell at his post, and we believe that he has triumphantly entered the Haven of Eternal Rest.

Resolved, That we also remember the family in the hour of affliction and trial, we tenderly condole with and devoutly commend them to the keeping of Him who looks with pity on the widow and fatherless, and that we share with them the hope of a reunion in that better land where death and separation are forever unknown.

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be presented to the family and printed in the Christian Recorder and other papers.



Past Grand Master P. T. Colding, G. Bailey, W. O. Castor, A. H. Newton, Rev. Bean and twenty others of the State of New Jersey paid Prince Hall Lodge, No. 10, a fraternal visit on last Wednesday. Short addresses were delivered by those present.

[Pg 265]

Last week we left out the names of the officers elect of the Grand Chapter: S. N. Robinson, M. E. G. P., P. L. Colding, R. D. G. H. P., Camden; W. H. Jackson, R. E. G. K., Bordentown; A. H. Newton, R. E. G. S., Trenton; J. L. Derrick, R. W. G. Treasurer, Camden; W. F. Powell, R. W. Grand Secretary, Burlington; W. H. Douglas, R. W. Dist. Dept., Plainfield.

Madams Pitts, Daniels, Webb, Hack and Newton have been assiduous in their efforts in making the fair a success.

At a meeting of the Damascus Commandery, K. T., No. 4, Trenton, the following officers were elected: Sir A. H. Newton, Em. Com.; Sir J. Thornton, Gen.; John Seruby, Capt. General.

Rev. A. H. Newton, Chaplain of the Senate, Trenton, N. J.

Rev. A. H. Newton has been appointed Chaplain of the State Senate, Trenton, N. J. Thus we creep up. This is a great honor to Rev. Newton, as well as the race. We congratulate him.

March 29th-April 3d.

[Pg 266]

Camden, N. J., August 20, 1894.

The Adjutant-General W. S. Arcory, W. S. U.
S. A., Washington, D. C.

Dear Sir: Will you please inform me of the probable number of troops enlisted during the Civil War, those having died from wounds, being sick in hospitals, and the number of those killed on the battlefield?

Also please advise me of the cost of the war, how many colored soldiers enlisted, the years they enlisted, and the first battle they engaged in.

Very respectfully yours,

The following was the reply to the above:

Address: “Chief of the Record and Pension Office, War Department, Washington, D. C.”

War Department,

Washington, August 24, 1894.

Respectfully returned to
Mr. A. H. Newton, 332 Washington St., Camden, N. J.

Inviting attention to the accompanying printed statement showing the number of troops furnished by the several States and Territories under the different calls by the President, including the number of colored troops.

According to the latest official compilation, 67,058 officers and men were killed in action, and 292,470 died of wounds or disease during the war.

[Pg 267]

According to a statement made by the Secretary of the Treasury on June 10, 1880, “the expenditures of the government on account of the war of the rebellion from July 1, 1861 to June 30, 1879,” including interest on the public debt, “aggregated $6,189,929,908.58.” The amount expended since the latter date is not shown by any statistics filed in this Department.

The first authorized enlistment of U. S. colored troops during the war of the rebellion was made in the State of Louisiana in 1862. No detailed information as to the organization and service of colored troops can readily be furnished from data now accessible.

(one enclosure)

By authority of the Secretary of War:

F. C. Ainsworth,
Colonel, U. S. Army, Chief of Office.


The Legal Form of Apprenticeship Used in the Case of A. H. Newton.

State of North Carolina,
County of Craven,

This Indenture, made the eighteenth day of December, in the year of our Lord 1852, between the Worshipful William S. Blackledge, Esq., Chairman and Presiding Justice of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of the county aforesaid, of the one part, and Jacob Gooding, of the same county, of the other part,

[Pg 268]

Witnesseth, That the said Presiding Justice, in pursuance of an order of said Court, doth put, place and bind, unto said Jacob Gooding, a free boy of color, an orphan, named Alexander H. Newton, aged 17 years 16th July, 1852, with the said Jacob Gooding, to live after the manner of an apprentice and servant until he shall attain the age of 21 years. During which time the said apprentice his said Master shall faithfully serve, and his lawful commands gladly obey, and not absent himself from his Master’s service without leave, but in all things as a good and faithful servant shall behave.

And the said Jacob Gooding doth covenant, promise and agree, with the said Presiding Justice, that he will teach and instruct, or cause to be taught and instructed, the said apprentice the art and mystery of a bricklayer and mason, and constantly find and provide for the said apprentice, during the term aforesaid, sufficient diet, washing, lodging and apparel fitting an apprentice, and also all other things necessary both in sickness and in health, and at the expiration of said apprenticeship will pay to said apprentice six dollars and furnish him with a new suit of clothes and a new Bible.

[Pg 269]

In witness whereof, the parties have hereunto set their hands and seals the day and year aforesaid.

J. GOODING. (Seal)

Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of

J. G. Stanly.

State of North Carolina,
County of Craven,

I hereby certify that the above is a true copy of the original filed in this office.

Witness my hand and official seal this 22d day of August, 1878.

Per J. B. Willis, Deputy.

(Seal Superior Court.)

Decorative image

Transcriber’s Notes

Minor errors and omissions in punctuation have been fixed.

Page 20: “the thoughlessness” changed to “the thoughtlessness”

Page 78: “loaded with human frieght” changed to “loaded with human freight”

Page 79: “the Rio Grand” changed to “the Rio Grande”

Page 99: “Klu Klux Klan” changed to “Ku Klux Klan”

Page 100: “were Klu Kluxing” changed to “were Ku Kluxing”

Page 104: “in Chatanooga” changed to “in Chattanooga”

Page 111: “now occupied ed by” changed to “now occupied by”

Page 113: “one of the the Ten Commandments” changed to “one of the Ten Commandments”

Page 122: “this conncetion” changed to “this connection”

Page 123: A repeated line of text was removed.

Page 124: “Harriet Henson, son and others” changed to “Harriet Henson, and others”

Page 128: “$57 for for traveling expenses” changed to “$57 for traveling expenses”

Page 133: “was begining” changed to “was beginning”

Page 177: “Omnipotence, Omnicience” changed to “Omnipotence, Omniscience”

Page 179: “most greviously” changed to “most grievously”

Page 186: “others may life?” changed to “others may live?”

Page 199: “Dibine Leadership” changed to “Divine Leadership”

Page 243: “assistant princial” changed to “assistant principal”

Page 247: “sermon deliverd” changed to “sermon delivered”

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