The Journal of Negro History, Volume 7, 1922
Author: Various
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Mr. Davis's worth as a teacher rapidly extended through the Kanawha Valley. He was chosen by the authorities of Charleston to take charge of their Negro schools in 1871, when it was just a two-room affair. In this field, however, Mr. Davis had been preceded as mentioned above by noble workers in behalf of the Negroes. Building upon the foundation which other Negroes had laid, he soon had a school of four instead of two rooms, and before he ceased to be principal it had increased to five, with a well-graded system, standardized instruction, and up-to-date methods. His early assistants in this work were Charles P. Keys, P. B. Burbridge, Harry Payne, James Bullard, and William T. McKinney.

Mr. Davis received some cooperation from a few white persons, the chief one of whom was Mr. Edward Moore of Pennsylvania, the father of Spencer Moore, now a bookseller in the city of Charleston. Mr. Edward Moore taught a select school for Negroes and helped the cause considerably. Mr. Davis served about twenty-four years as principal, although he was a member of the teaching staff for a much longer period, serving altogether forty-seven years.[25]

Because of the unsettled policy of the Charleston public schools they changed principals every year or two, to the detriment of the system and progress of the student body. Rev. J. W. Dansbury served for a while as principal, and H. B. Rice, who entered the service as an assistant in 1888, became principal some time later and served about four years. Mr. Davis, who had been demoted to a subordinate position, was then reinstated, but not long thereafter came Mr. C. W. Boyd, who had rendered valuable service in Clarksburg and had later found employment in the public schools of Charleston. He succeeded Mr. Davis as principal. At the close of one year, however, Mr. Rice was reinstated and served for a number of years, at the expiration of which Mr. Boyd again became principal and remained in the position long enough to give some stability to the procedure and plans of the system and to secure the confidence of the patrons of the schools. Some of the valuable assistants serving during this period were Mr. William B. Boss, Miss Blanche Jeffries, Mrs. Fannie Cobb Carter and Byrd Prillerman, whose career as a teacher includes a period of short and valuable service in the Charleston public schools.[26]

At what is now Institute, in Union district, there was established in the fall of 1872 another Negro school, opened on the subscription basis in the home of Mrs. Mollie Berry, nee Cabell. Mrs. Berry was the first teacher of this school. The building is occupied at present by a Mr. James and owned now by Mrs. Berry's daughter, Mrs. Cornie Robinson. In the spring of 1873, Mr. William Scott Brown, who had by marriage connected himself with the Cabell family, was elected trustee in the Union district, and by his efforts a Jenny Lind one-room building, small and creditably furnished, was erected on a lot purchased by the board of education from Mrs. Cabell for twenty-five dollars, on the site now occupied by the family of Mr. Solomon Brown of Institute. The trustees chose Mr. Samuel Cabell as the first Negro public school teacher of the district. The method of qualifying as a teacher was purely perfunctory, as a license to teach was easily obtained by nominal examination. The term was four months.[27] The line of teachers from 1886 may be traced from records of the board of education of the district. Short tenure of office for a few years seems to have been the rule until the recent years dating from 1918. It is the opinion of Mr. W. A. Brown and others of the old system that the quality of the local school has grown better. The establishment of the West Virginia Collegiate Institute at this point is considered the greatest factor contributing to such development.[28]

The next school of consequence established on Kanawha River was the Langston School of Point Pleasant, in Mason County. This institution was organized in 1867 by Eli Coleman, its first teacher. He toiled for seven years in the one-room frame structure at the end of Sixth Street. At the very beginning the enrolment was sixty-four, some of the students being adults. The school continued as an ungraded establishment for a number of years, working against many handicaps, until the independent district was established and provided better facilities. This school then had a board of five trustees, three whites and two Negroes, and was incorporated into the city system by the Board of Education and placed under the supervision of the Superintendent of the Point Pleasant Public Schools.

Some of the early teachers following Mr. Coleman were J. H. Rickman, later principal of the colored school in Middleport, Ohio, P. H. Williams, Mrs. Lillie Chambers, Florence Ghee, Fannie Smith and Lida Fitch. In 1885 the school had grown sufficiently to justify the employment of two teachers. These were then L. W. Johnson as principal and Miss Hattie C. Jordan as his assistant. Mr. Johnson served until 1890 when he was succeeded by Miss Lola Freeman as principal with Samuel Jordan as assistant for one year. The Board of Education then secured the services of J. E. Campbell as principal. Under him the school moved into a five-story brick structure vacated by a white school when better quarters for the latter had been provided. The Negro school was then named the Langston Academy in honor of John Mercer Langston, a Negro congressman and public official of wide reputation. Miss Iva Wilson of Gallipolis succeeded Mr. Campbell as principal, with Miss Jordan as assistant. Later there came as principal Mr. F. C. Smith, A. W. Puller, and Ralph W. White, and finally the efficient and scholarly Isaiah L. Scott, a promising youth cut off before he had a chance to manifest his worth to the world.[29]

Somewhat later than this, another group of Negro schools developed in Cabell County, the first and most important being in Guyandotte and Barboursville. These schools followed as a result of employment of Negroes on the Chesapeake and Ohio railroad, terminating in the seventies at the Ohio River, where it gave rise to the city of Huntington, West Virginia, laid out in 1870. Most of these Negroes, prominent among whom were James Woodson, Nelson Barnett, and W. O. James, came from Virginia. The first school established near Huntington was opened in the log house on Cemetery Hill, one and a half miles east of the town and a little west of Guyandotte. The Negro school enumeration was so small that the two towns had to cooperate in maintaining one school.

The teacher first employed was Mrs. Julia Jones, a lady who had most of the rudiments of education. Some old citizens refer to James Liggins as the first teacher in this community. In this precarious status of stinted support the school did not undergo any striking development during the first years. Not until 1882, some years after the school had been removed to Huntington itself, was there any notable change. The first impetus which marked an epoch in the development of this school came with the employment of Mr. and Mrs. W. F. James, products of the Ohio school system. They were for their time well-prepared teachers of foresight, who had the ability to arouse interest and inspire the people. Mr. James at once entered upon the task of the thorough reorganization of the school and by 1886 brought the institution to the rank of that of the grammar school, beginning at the same time some advanced classes commonly taught in the high schools. He was an earnest worker, willing to sacrifice everything for the good of the cause. While thus spending his energy as a sacrifice for many he passed away respected by his pupils and honored by the patrons of the school. His wife continued for a number of years thereafter to render the system the same efficient service as the popular primary teacher upon which the success of the work of the higher grades largely depended, until she passed away in 1899.

The school then had the services of Mr. Ramsey and Mr. J. B. Cabell who seemingly gave some impetus to the forward movement. Another epoch in the history of the school was reached when W. T. McKinney became principal in 1891. With the cooperation of the leading Negroes of the city he succeeded in inducing the board of education to build on the corner of Sixteenth Street and Eighth Avenue the Douglass High School, which in its first form, prior to the making of certain additions, consisted of a well-built six-room school costing several thousand dollars. Mr. McKinney added the high school course and in the year 1893 graduated the first class of three. Following Mr. McKinney there served the system efficiently as principals C. H. Barnett from 1890 to 1900, C. G. Woodson from 1900 to 1903, and R. P. Sims from 1903 to 1906. J. W. Scott, who succeeded Mr. Sims, is today principal of this school, ranking throughout the State as one of its foremost educators.

Following along the line of Wayne County there soon appeared a school at Ceredo and another at Fort Gay, just across the river from Louisa, Kentucky. Under Mrs. Pogue, a woman of ambition and efficiency, this school accomplished much good and exerted an influence throughout that county. A number of students trained through the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades later attended schools in other parts and made good records because of the thorough training they first received. At Fort Gay in this same county, however, no such desirable results were achieved because of the small Negro population, the inability to secure teachers for the small amount paid, and the tendency on the part of local trustees there to change their teachers. Mrs. Cora Brooks Smith, a graduate of the Ironton High School, who toiled there a number of years, and Miss Susie Woodson, an alumnus of the Douglass High School of Huntington, West Virginia, who also labored in the same field, should be given at least passing mention in any sketch setting forth the achievements in education among the Negroes in Wayne County.


In southern West Virginia there were at first few schools for Negroes, inasmuch as the small Negro groups here and there did not warrant the outlay. What instruction such Negroes received prior to 1888 was largely private. That year an epoch was marked in the development of the southern portion of the State by the completion of the main line of the Norfolk and Western Railroad, opening up one of the largest coal fields in the United States. As the discontented Negroes of Virginia and North Carolina were eager for industrial opportunities in the mining regions of the Appalachian Mountains, these coal fields attracted them in large numbers. Bluefield, which developed in a few years from a barren field in 1888 to a town of almost ten thousand by 1900, indicates how rapidly the population there increased. Other large centers of industry, like Elkhorn, Northfork, Welch, and Keystone, soon became more than ordinary mining towns.

When these places had worn off the rough edges of frontier settlement and directed their attention to economic and social welfare, they naturally clamored for education. The first school for whites was established in Bluefield in 1889 and one for the Negroes, with Gordon Madson as teacher, followed in 1890. Prominent among the pioneering teachers in Bluefield were Mr. A. J. Smith and Mrs. L. O. McGhee, who began their work in a one-room log building in the suburbs of the town. About the end of the nineties there were Negro schools in most of the important mining towns along the Norfolk and Western Railroad between Bluefield and Williamson.

The Negro school in Bluefield had an interesting history. The school, of course, was poorly equipped and the teachers were not then adequately paid, but they continued their work two sessions of five months each. In the third year the school was moved to another town called Cooperstown where it was housed in a two-room building more comfortable than the first structure, but not a modern establishment. As it was situated in crowded quarters, the children had no playground. Several years thereafter, the work was continued by Mr. Patterson and Mrs. E. O. Smith. When, however, a large Negro population settled in North Bluefield it was necessary to provide there a two-room building between them. In this school-house taught Mr. P. J. Carter with an enrolment of about thirty pupils. Not long thereafter the building in the suburb of Cooperstown was burned. Two additional rooms were then annexed to that of North Bluefield, but before that could be occupied it was also destroyed in the same way. The Board of Education then opened a school, in a building used first as a bar-room, then as a pool-room, and finally as a courthouse. Thereafter an old store-room was used for four years.

There were then four teachers in Bluefield, Mr. H. Smith, Mr. T. P. Wright, Mesdames Lane, and E. C. Smith. In time Mr. Wright and Mr. Smith were replaced by Miss H. W. Booze, Mr. W. A. Saunders and Mr. R. A. McDonald. Mr. Saunders remained for one year and then was followed by Mr. G. W. Hatter who was in his turn succeeded by Mr. R. F. Douglass, who served as principal four years. Mr. Douglass had the board of education appropriate funds for a six-room building and increase the corps of teachers to five. By raising funds in the community through entertainments and the like, the teachers purchased a library of 100 volumes. In later years Mr. Douglass was followed by Mr. E. L. Rand, a graduate of Lincoln University.

At Keystone in 1890 Mr. J. A. Brown opened its first Negro school with an enrolment of about twenty-five. He was a man of fair education, but could not accomplish very much because the term was only three months in length. The school was held in one of the private houses belonging to the coal company and later in the church. In subsequent years there was very much development in the right direction, which proved the quality of the teachers employed in the school. Among these were Rev. J. Whittico, Mrs. Josephine D. Cannady, Mary A. McSwain, and Maggie Anderson. This school was later combined to form the Keystone-Eckman graded school, and now has an eight months' term and well-qualified teachers.[30] A school had been established at Eckman in 1893 by James Knox Smith.

In November, 1892, one Moses Sanders at Northfork opened a school with an enrolment of twenty. He had only a rudimentary education. He served at Northfork for three terms using methods considered fair for that time, and his work, as a whole, was regarded as successful. He had there the support of such a useful person as Henry Glenn, now a member of the board of education.[31] This school has later developed into a standard elementary graded school and a junior and senior high school of more than one hundred students. It has done well under the reorganization and direction of the efficient J. W. Robinson.


It did not require much argument to show that the schools could not make much progress without some provision for developing its own teaching force. The State Superintendent was early authorized, therefore, to arrange with some school in the State for the professional training of Negro teachers. For a number of years the State depended largely upon such normal training as could be given at Storer College at Harper's Ferry. The reports of the State Superintendent of Schools carried honorable mention from period to period of the successful work being accomplished there under the direction of Dr. N. C. Brackett, which work was the only effort for secondary education for Negroes in the State at that time. This was given an impetus by a measure introduced in the legislature by Judge James H. Ferguson of Charleston, providing for an arrangement with Storer College by which eighteen persons as candidates for teachers in this State should be given free tuition at that institution. As this school was in the extreme northeastern section of the State and was geographically a part of Maryland and Virginia, however, the Negroes of the central and southern portions of Virginia soon began the movement for the establishment of a Negro school providing for normal instruction nearer home. Mr. William Davis and his corps of teachers in Charleston, West Virginia, were among the first in West Virginia to direct attention to this crying need. Impetus was also given the movement by the rapid development of higher grades in Point Pleasant, Saint Albans, Montgomery, Lewisburg and Eckman, necessitating better trained teachers. In the summers of 1890, 1891, and 1892, Byrd Prillerman and H. B. Rice undertook to supply this need by conducting a summer school in the city of Charleston. Still further stimulus came later from the establishment of promising high schools in Parkersburg, Wheeling, Clarksburg, Huntington, and Charleston.

During this same period, however, a systematic effort was being made to interest a larger group in the more efficient training of Negro leaders. The Baptists of the State, led by C. H. Payne, undertook to establish a college in West Virginia. Payne toured the State in behalf of the enterprise, setting forth the urgent need for such an institution and showing how this objective could be attained. Rallying to this call, the people of the State raised a sum adequate to purchase a site, which was soon sought by authority of the Baptists of the State. They selected the abandoned building and grounds of Shelton College, overlooking Saint Albans. Because of race prejudice, however, the people of that town started such a protest that the owners of the property were induced not to sell the site for such an unpopular purpose.

A more successful effort, however, was soon made. Talking with Superintendent Morgan about the necessity for higher education for the Negroes of West Virginia, Byrd Prillerman obtained from this official the promise to support a movement to supply this need. Superintendent Morgan furthermore directed Prillerman to Governor Fleming to take up with him the same proposal. The Governor was in a receptive mood and informed Prillerman, moreover, that this problem could be more easily solved than he had at first thought, for the reason that such an institution could be so established as to benefit by the Morrill Land Grant Act intended to subsidize, with funds from the proceeds of public lands, institutions largely devoted to instruction in Agriculture. Like the Negro Baptists of the State, Governor Fleming thought of purchasing Shelton College in St. Albans; but inasmuch as that place was not available the State government had to take more serious action. As Governor Fleming said he would give his approval to a bill for the establishment of such an institution, the only problem to be then solved was to find persons to pilot such a measure through the legislature. Superintendent Morgan outlined the plans for this legislation. He showed how necessary it was to secure the support of Mr. C. C. Watts and Judge James H. Ferguson. Byrd Prillerman used his influence in securing the support of Mr. Watts and C. H. Payne induced Judge Ferguson to lend the cause a helping hand. These gentlemen framed the measure which, after some unnecessary debate and unsuccessful opposition from friends of Storer College, they piloted through the legislature in 1891 as a measure establishing the West Virginia Colored Institute.

The first head of this institution was James E. Campbell, a graduate of the Pomeroy High School. After laying the foundation and popularizing the work to some extent in the central portion of the State, Campbell resigned and was succeeded by J. H. Hill, who rendered very efficient service until 1899, when he was succeeded by J. McHenry Jones, under whom the school considerably expanded. Following him came Byrd Prillerman, a man beloved by the people of West Virginia. He had already been a successful teacher of English in this school. He then served the institution as president for ten years, emphasizing the high ideals of Christian character as the essentials in the preparation of youth. In 1915 a collegiate course was established at this institution and its name was changed to that of the West Virginia Collegiate Institute. In 1919 Byrd Prillerman was succeeded by John W. Davis, under whom the institution is progressing with renewed vigor in its new field as a reorganized college furnishing facilities for education not offered elsewhere for the youth of West Virginia.

The influx of Negroes into the southern counties of the State, which necessitated the establishment of many elementary schools, caused at the same time a demand for the extension of the facilities of pedagogic training of the advanced order provided in the West Virginia Colored Institute, which was not at first easily accessible to the people of southern West Virginia. Acting upon the memorials, praying that this need be supplied, the legislature established the Bluefield Colored Institute in 1895. Mr. Hamilton Hatter was made the first principal and upon him devolved the task of organizing this institution. After serving the institution efficiently until 1906 he retired, and was succeeded by Mr. R. P. Sims, who had formerly been an efficient and popular assistant under Mr. Hatter at this institution. Mr. Sims has acceptably filled this position until the present time.


To promote education and to encourage interest in their particular work the Negro teachers of the State soon deemed it wise to take steps for more thorough cooperation of the whole teaching corps of West Virginia. White and Negro teachers were then admitted to the same teachers' institutes and in certain parts were encouraged to participate in the general discussions; but believing that they could more successfully cooperate through organizations of their own, the teachers in Charleston, in 1891, appointed from their own reading circle a committee to organize a State Teachers' Association. This committee was composed of H. B. Rice, P. B. Burbridge and Byrd Prillerman. The meeting was invited by Byrd Prillerman, as secretary, to meet at the Simpson M. E. Church in Charleston. More than fifty teachers and race leaders attended. Inasmuch as H. B. Rice, the chairman of the committee, was absent on account of illness, P. B. Burbridge, whose name was second on the list of the committee, called the meeting to order, and delivered the address of welcome. William T. McKinney of Huntington was elected temporary chairman. The Association was then permanently organized by naming Byrd Prillerman its first president and Mrs. Rhoda Weaver its first secretary. Among the most important addresses was that of C. H. Payne, an influential and educated minister then engaged in religious and editorial work at Montgomery, and that of B. S. Morgan, State Superintendent of Public Schools. Others attending the meeting were Dr. W. T. Merchant, Mrs. E. M. Dandridge, Mrs. M. A. Washington-Thompson, F. C. Smith, and J. R. Jefferson.[32]

The second meeting of this Association assembled according to arrangement in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The work of the Association had by this time been taken more seriously by the teachers throughout the State. They adopted a constitution with a preamble which stated that the aim of the Association was "to elevate the character and advance the interest of the profession of teaching, and to promote the cause of popular education in the State of West Virginia." An address was delivered by State Superintendent of Schools B. S. Morgan, and papers were read by Mrs. E. M. Dandridge of Quinnimont, Miss Blanche Jeffries of Charleston, Miss Coralie Franklin of Storer College, and Principal J. E. Campbell of the West Virginia Colored Institute. Among the persons attending but not appearing on the program were C. H. Barnett, who had been recently graduated by Dennison University in Ohio; C. H. Payne, then well known in the State of West Virginia; Dr. W. S. Kearney, a graduate of the medical college of Shaw University, then beginning his practice in Huntington; J. R. Jefferson, F. C. Smith and O. A. Wells. Booker T. Washington was at this time made an honorary member. Byrd Prillerman was unanimously elected president.

The third annual meeting of the Association was held at Parkersburg, West Virginia, in 1893. For some reason there were not many teachers present. It was held at the Baptist Church of that city, with President Byrd Prillerman presiding. The address of welcome was delivered by Mr. J. R. Jefferson, to the words of whom Mr. C. W. Boyd of Charleston responded. At this meeting Principal J. E. Campbell of the West Virginia Colored Institute was made president of the Association, with C. W. Boyd, J. R. Jefferson, Miss Mary F. Norman as vice-presidents, Miss Clara Thomas as secretary, Miss E. D. Webster as treasurer, and Mrs. Susie James as historian. Two of the most prominent persons participating in this meeting were J. McHenry Jones, then principal of the high school in Wheeling, and J. H. Hill, an instructor in the West Virginia Colored Institute.

The fourth annual meeting assembled at Montgomery. J. E. Campbell being absent, Professor C. W. Boyd presided. The meeting to a certain extent was a successful one. A Thanksgiving sermon was preached by Dr. C. H. Payne. Dr. H. F. Gamble read a paper on "Science in Common School Education." The Association took high ground by adopting a resolution urging a compulsory school law. A committee consisting of C. W. Boyd, Rev. G. B. Howard, J. W. Scott, John H. Hill, and Byrd Prillerman, was appointed to urge the State to make an appropriation for the teaching fund of the West Virginia Colored Institute. Byrd Prillerman was again elected President and Miss Fannie Cobb was chosen secretary.

The fifth annual meeting of the Association was held at Hinton. An important feature of the meeting was the method of entertainment, in that the citizens of Hinton gave the teachers a free banquet. Still more significant was the address delivered by Dr. J. E. Jones of the Richmond Theological Seminary. Byrd Prillerman, the President, himself delivered an important address giving valuable facts as to the conditions of the schools of the State, evoking widely extended comment. The most prominent persons attending were J. H. Hill, Principal of the West Virginia Colored Institute, G. B. Howard, Miss Mary Booze, W. T. McKinney, and Miss G. E. Fulks.[33]

The sixth annual meeting was held in Charleston in the House of Delegates, November 26-27, 1896. This was the largest and most interesting meeting hitherto held. Welcome addresses were delivered by C. W. Boyd of the Garnet High School, Mr. George L. Laidley, Superintendent of the Charleston Public Schools, and Governor W. A. McCorkle. Responses to the words of welcome were delivered by J. H. Hill, principal of the West Virginia Colored Institute, Hamilton Hatter, principal of the Bluefield Colored Institute, and C. H. Payne. Other prominent persons who attended the meeting were Honorable V. A. Lewis, P. F. Jones, Colonel B. W. Byrne, Professor A. L. Wade, J. R. Jefferson, Rev. D. W. Shaw, Dr. G. W. Holley, P. B. Burbridge, Dr. H. F. Gamble, Dr. L. B. Washington, Mrs. E. M. Dandridge, Mrs. M. A. W. Thompson and Mrs. Byrd Prillerman. Officers elected were: President, Byrd Prillerman; Vice Presidents, J. R. Jefferson, Mrs. E. M. Dandridge, C. W. Boyd; Secretary, Miss Mary J. Jones; Treasurer, Mrs. M. A. W. Thompson; Historian, Mr. George L. Cuzzins.

After this meeting of such unusual interest and unexpected success, the West Virginia Teachers' Association reached its purely pedagogic setting. It ceased to be the organization concerned with the general social uplift, of all, and thereafter restricted its program largely to educational matters. This was due not so much to any desire on the part of the teachers to discontinue cooperation with the clergy, but rather to direct attention primarily to the problems of education. Ministers, thereafter, figured less conspicuously in the conventions, except so far as their interests were coincident with those of the teaching body.

There have been twenty-eight sessions of the Association held at Charleston, Huntington,[34] Parkersburg, Hinton, St. Albans, Bluefield, Institute, Kimball, and Harper's Ferry. The session which was scheduled for Clarksburg in 1900 was called off because of the outbreak of small-pox just before the time for the session to be convened.

Eleven well-known persons have served as president of the Association. Byrd Prillerman served nine terms, C. W. Boyd one, J. R. Jefferson one, J. W. Scott three, H. H. Railey one, Hamilton Hatter one, R. P. Sims two, E. L. Rann two, J. W. Moss two, A. W. Curtis two, John F. J. Clark two, and H. L. Dickason, the present incumbent, two. Those who have served as secretary are Miss Rhoda E. Weaver, Miss M. Blanche Jeffries, Miss Clara Thomas, Miss Fannie C. Cobb, Miss Mary J. Jones, and Miss C. Ruth Campbell, and Miss H. Pryor.

Among the prominent persons who have addressed the Association are Hon. C. H. Payne, Ex-Governor George W. Atkinson, Ex-Governor William A. McCorkle, and State Superintendents B. S. Morgan, Virgil A. Lewis, James Russell Trotter, and M. P. Shawkey. Among other distinguished persons have been Dr. J. E. Jones, Prof. George William Cook, J. McHenry Jones, Prof. Kelly Miller, Dr. W. E. B. Dubois, Prof. William Pickens, Mr. William A. Joiner, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Miss Nannie H. Burroughs, John W. Davis, and Dr. J. E. Gregg.[35]



[1] This study was undertaken at the suggestion of President John W. Davis, of The West Virginia Collegiate Institute. He appointed a committee to collect the facts bearing on the early efforts of workers among the Negroes in West Virginia. The members of this committee were C. G. Woodson, D. A. Lane, A. A. Taylor, S. H. Guss, C. E. Jones, Mary E. Eubank, J. S. Price, F. A. Parker, and W. F. Savoy.

At the first meeting of the committee, C. G. Woodson was chosen Chairman and at his suggestion the following questionnaire was drawn up and sent out:



1. When was a Negro school first opened in your district?

2. What was the enrollment?

3. Who was the first teacher?

4. Was he well prepared?

5. How long did he serve?

6. Were his methods up-to-date or antiquated?

7. Did he succeed or fail?

8. Who were the useful patrons supporting the school?

9. What was the method of securing certificates?

10. What was the method of hiring teachers?

11. What was the method of paying teachers, that is, did the school district pay promptly or was it necessary to discount their drafts or wait a long period to be paid? 12. Did the community own the school property or was the school taught in a private home or in a church?

13. What has been the progress or development of the school?

14. What is its present condition?

15. What persons in your community can give additional facts on Negro education?


From the distribution of these questionnaires there were obtained the salient facts of the early history of the pioneer education among Negroes in the State. A number of names of other persons in a position to give additional information were returned with the questionnaires. These were promptly used wherever the information needed could not be supplied from any other source. Members of the committee, moreover, visited persons in various parts and interviewed them to obtain facts not otherwise available. Wherever it was possible, the investigators consulted the available records of the State and county. In this way, however, only meager information could be obtained.

The most reliable sources were such books as the annual Reports of the State Superintendent of Public Schools, the History of Education in West Virginia (Edition of 1904), and the History of Education in West Virginia (Edition of 1907). Such local histories as the Howard School of Piedmont, West Virginia, and K. J. Anthony's Storer College were also helpful.

At the conclusion of this study, President John W. Davis made the celebration of Founder's Day, May 3, 1921, a convocation for rehearsing the early educational history of the State. Most of the living pioneers in this cause were invited to address this meeting, as they would doubtless under the inspiration of the occasion, set forth facts which an ordinary interview would not evoke, and thus it happened.

Of those invited Mrs. E. M. Dandridge, one of the oldest educators in the State, Mr. S. H. Guss, head of the Secondary Department of The West Virginia Collegiate Institute, and President Emeritus Byrd Prillerman responded with forceful addresses. Mrs. Dandridge gave in a very impressive way a brief account of education in Fayette County. Mr. Guss delivered an informing address on the contribution of the early teachers from Ohio, and President Emeritus Prillerman expressed with emphasis a new thought in taking up the rise of schools in the State and the organization and growth of the West Virginia Teachers' Association. Prof. J. S. Price, of the West Virginia Collegiate Institute, showed by interesting and informing charts the development of the Negro teacher and the Negro school in West Virginia.

At the conclusion of all of these efforts the facts collected were turned over to C. G. Woodson to be embodied in literary form. Prof. D. A. Lane, of the Department of English of The West Virginia Collegiate Institute, also a member of the committee, read the manuscript and suggested a few changes.

[2] Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1864, p. 31.

[3] History of Education in West Virginia (Edition of 1907), p. 274.

[4] See West Virginia Constitution.

[5] History of Education in West Virginia (Edition of 1907), p. 274.

[6] History of Education in West Virginia (Edition of 1907), p. 268.

[7] Ibid., 269.

[8] The Parkersburg Weekly Times, June 7, 1866.

[9] These facts were obtained from local records.

[10] History of Education in West Virginia (Edition of 1907), pp. 269-270.

[11] These facts were obtained from the local records, from Mr. S. H. Guss and from Mr. D. H. Kyle, both of whom served as teachers in Clarksburg.

[12] History of Education in West Virginia (Edition of 1907), pp. 273-274.

[13] These facts were obtained from local records.

[14] History of the Howard School, Piedmont, West Virginia, 1919, passim.

[15] This fact is stated in a letter of J. E. Robinson.

[16] History of Education in West Virginia (Edition of 1907), pp. 264-266; and Storer College, Brief Historical Sketch, by K. J. Anthony.

[16a] These facts were obtained from Mrs. Brady's daughter.

[17] Facts obtained from a former teacher at this place, Freida Campbell.

[18] History of Education in West Virginia (Edition of 1907), p. 243.

[19] Facts obtained from local records.

[20] These facts were obtained from the teachers and oldest citizens of the town, who actually participated in these early efforts.

[21] These facts were supplied by Mary Campbell, an old citizen of Union.

[22] History of Education in West Virginia (Edition of 1904), Negro Education in Fayette County.

[23] Facts obtained from old citizens and former teachers.

[24] These facts were obtained from old citizens and from local records. See also J. P. Hale's Trans-Allegheny Pioneers, 385.

[25] This is largely Mr. Davis's own statement verified by several other authorities and by local records.

[26] These statements are supported by the records of the Board of Education of Charleston.

[27] In the summer of 1874 there was circulated among the teachers of this school a petition in behalf of Miss Bertha Chapelle, who was chosen to teach the second term of the high school. In this way the last month of the session was taught with but one scholar attending. In the year 1875 Miss Mollie Berry was chosen to teach this school, and she was followed in 1876 by Mr. Frank C. James, who had taught previously the first public school in the county at Kanawha City, in 1866. He was succeeded in 1877 by Mr. Pitt Campbell, who was followed by Mrs. Bettie Cabell in 1878. She was in turn succeeded by Mr. Brack Cabell the following year. In 1880 the school was moved to the site now occupied by the two-room village school, and was called the Piney Road School. Mr. J. B. Cabell was chosen teacher for the first year.

In 1881 Miss Emma Ferguson was selected teacher. Miss Ferguson, now Mrs. Emma Jones, is still an active teacher. In 1882 Miss Addie Wells taught this school. She was followed by Miss Annie Cozzins. In 1884 W. C. Cabell was in charge. He was succeeded in 1885 by Otho Wells and he by Mrs. Julia Brown in 1886.

[28] These facts were obtained from old citizens and from local records.

[29] For a more detailed account, see the History of Education in West Virginia, pp. 272-273.

[30] These facts were obtained from local records.

[31] These facts were obtained from J. W. Robinson, the principal of the school.

[32] The following resolutions adopted at the meeting of the Teachers' Association in 1891 were suggestive:

1. That all persons of high literary standing, who are not teachers, be admitted as honorary members.

2. That we highly commend the committee of arrangements for their success in bringing together so many teachers and professional persons, and for making the meeting of so much importance and interest.

3. That we recognize in the death of Prof. W. B. Ross, A.M., who died at his post at Greenville, Texas, August 20, 1891, the loss of one of our ripest scholars and most efficient educators.

4. That we tender our thanks to Hon. B. S. Morgan, State Superintendent, for the interest he manifested in the Association and the able address he delivered before us.

5. That the Summer School for Teachers, as has been taught by Professors H. B. Rice and Byrd Prillerman, has been a means of elevating the standard of our teachers, and should be continued.

6. That we indorse the action of the State Legislature in establishing the West Virginia Colored Institute, and that we will do all in our power to make this school a success.

7. That we make The Pioneer the official organ of the Association.

8. That we tender our thanks to the Pastor and Congregation for the use of this Church, and also to Mr. I. C. Cabell for his valuable services as organist.

The Committee was composed of J. R. Jefferson, Mary M. Brown, Dr. W. T. Merchant, C. H. Payne, Miss Luella Ferguson and Atty. M. H. Jones.

[33] This account of the early meetings of the West Virginia Teachers' Association is found in the Twelfth Biennial Report of the State Superintendent of Schools of West Virginia, 1895-1896, pp. 111-113.

[34] At the Huntington meeting in 1892 an original poem on Thanksgiving Day was read by Miss Leota Moss. The poem was written by Paul Lawrence Dunbar for this special occasion at the request of Byrd Prillerman, the president. The price paid Dunbar for this service was $2.00.

[35] The more recent record of the West Virginia Teachers' Association was given by Byrd Prillerman, who served that body nine terms as president.


The early Negro churches in the District of Columbia were Methodist and Baptist. The rise of numerous churches of these sects in contradistinction to those of other denominations may be easily accounted for by the fact that in the beginning the Negroes were earnestly sought by the Methodists and Baptists because white persons of high social position at first looked with contempt upon these evangelical denominations; but when in the course of time the poor whites who had joined the Methodist church accumulated wealth and some of them became aristocratic slaveholders themselves, they assumed such a haughty attitude toward the Negroes that the increasing race hate made their presence so intolerable that the independent church movement among the Negro Methodists and Baptists was the only remedy for their humiliation. The separation of the Negro Methodists was made possible at a much earlier date in the District of Columbia, when Richard Allen had set the example by his protest against discrimination in the Methodist church, of Philadelphia, which culminated in the establishment of the distinct Negro denomination, and also when the Zionites in New York City, led by James Varick, had separated from the Methodists there for similar reasons. It was not until the time of the critical period of the slavery agitation, however, that practically all of the Protestant churches provided separate pews and separate galleries for Negroes and so rigidly enforced the rules of segregation that there was a general exodus of the Negroes, in cities of the border States, from the Protestant churches.[1] The District of Columbia had the same upheaval.

The records show that among the Methodists the alienation developed sooner than in any of the other churches. "As early as 1820," according to an investigator, "the colored members of the Ebenezer Church on Fourth Street, East, near Virginia Avenue, erected a log building in that vicinity, not far from the present Odd Fellow's lodge, for their social, religious meetings and Sabbath school. About the same time some of the leading members among them, George Bell and George Hicks, became dissatisfied with their treatment, withdrew, and organized a church in connection with the African Methodist Episcopal church. At first they worshipped in Basil Sim's Rope-walk, First Street east, near Pennsylvania Avenue, but subsequently in Rev. Mr. Wheat's school-house on Capitol Hill, near Virginia Avenue. They finally purchased the old First Presbyterian Church at the foot of Capitol Hill, later known as the Israel Bethel Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. Some years thereafter other members of the old Ebenezer Church, not liking their confined quarters in the gallery, and otherwise discontented, purchased a lot on the corner of C Street south and Fifth Street east, built a house of worship, and organized the "Little Ebenezer Methodist Episcopal Church."[2]

About the year 1825 a third colonization from the original Ebenezer Church took place. One grievance among others was that the Negro members were dissatisfied with their white pastors because they declined to take the Negro children into their arms when administering the rites of baptism. In 1839 this alienation developed into an open rupture, when thirteen class leaders and one exhorter left the mother church, and, after purchasing a lot on the Island, erected a house and formed a Negro church, independent of the Methodist Episcopal body, under the name of the Wesley Zion Church, and employed a Negro preacher. Among the prominent men in this separation were Enoch Ambush, the well-known schoolmaster, and Anthony Bowen, who for many years was an estimable employee in the Department of the Interior.[3] Mr. Bowen served as a local preacher for forty years, and under his guidance St. Paul's Negro Church on the Island was organized, at first worshipping in E Street Chapel."[3a]

The white Methodists of Georgetown elbowed their Negro membership out of their meeting house, but for fourteen years, that is, until 1830, they kept no written church records except a list of this one sold to Georgia, another to Carolina, a third to Louisiana, and others to different parts—annals befitting the time and place, and a searchlight on conditions then prevailing at the National Capitol and elsewhere south of the Mason and Dixon line. In 1830 the membership was large and much spirituality was manifested. White ministers of more than local note were anxious to serve these people. At the instance of one of them, Mr. Roszel, the church was first called Mount Zion Methodist Episcopal Church, because it was located on a hill. The feasibility of having Negro ministers to preside over Negro churches was proposed in 1849 and was a fruitful theme for several years.[4] In fact, it was due to this effort that the organization of Union Wesley A. M. E., the John Wesley, and Ebenezer Churches followed. John Brent, a member of Mt. Zion, led in the first named movement, and Clement Beckett, another reformer, espoused the organization of Ebenezer in 1856, as a church "for Negroes and by Negroes."[5]

The beginnings of the Israel Colored Methodist Episcopal Church centered around the evangelical activity of David Smith, a native of Baltimore, the most energetic of individual forces in the organization of the first African Methodist Episcopal Church in the city of Washington. The presence of a Negro preacher was objectionable to many Negroes themselves. As early as 1821 Mr. Smith was assigned to Washington but his coming was the signal for personal attack, and he was mobbed by members of his own race, communicants of the Methodist Episcopal Church, who were opposed to the African Methodists. He persisted, however, and having secured an old school house for $300, entered upon his work with such zeal and energy that he commanded success. Among the men and women active in the first efforts were Scipio Beans, George Simms, Peter Schureman, George Hicks, Dora Bowen, William Costin, William Datcher, William Warren and George Bell, one of the three colored men who fifteen years before had erected a building for a Negro school.

Israel promptly became a member of the Baltimore Conference, one of the oldest conferences of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The first Negro conference to meet in Washington was held in Israel during the administration of Andrew Jackson. Its assembly caused a sensation and gave the church and the denomination a standing surpassing that of all other Negro churches in the community. It was also largely through the personalities of the ministers in charge of Israel that its influence on its congregation and through them on the community must be judged. Among those in the period of its African Methodist affiliation were David Smith, Clayton Durham, John and William Cornish, James A. Shorter, Daniel A. Payne, Samuel Watts, Jeremiah R. V. Thomas, Henry M. Turner, William H. Hunter, George T. Watkins, James H. A. Johnson, and finally Jacob M. Mitchell, the last of the African Methodist Episcopal pastors at Israel. Smith and Durham were colleagues of Richard Allen; William Cornish was in the antislavery struggle; Hunter and Turner served as chaplains in the Union Army; and Payne, Wayman, Shorter and Turner became bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The career of Bishop Payne is widely known, but some incidents in his pastorate deserve emphasis. Under a prevailing law he had to secure a bond of one thousand dollars before he could remain in the District of Columbia and officiate as a minister. The building being without pews and the people too poor to buy them, Payne, who had learned the trade of a carpenter, bought tools, threw off his coat, and, with the aid of the society furnishing the lumber, in a few weeks seated the basement of the church. The first Negro ministers' union in Washington was organized by Bishop Payne, the other two members being John F. Cook of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church and Levi Collins of Wesley Zion.

It was during the Civil War, however, that the influence of Israel was at its maximum. Then it was that the intellectual genius, the fiery pulpit orator, the daring and unique Henry McNeal Turner, was not only a conspicuous preacher but preeminent as a national character. These were stirring times. All eyes were on Washington. Israel Church played a leading part in the drama. Here the members of Congress, prominent among whom at the time were Benjamin F. Wade, Thaddeus Stevens and Henry Wilson, addressed the Negro citizens on the dominant issues of the day, buoying them up in the midst of their darkness and gloom. At this time the Israel Lyceum was an institution not unlike the Bethel Literary Association of thirty years later, that drew the most intellectual men to listen to lectures, participate in discussions, and read dissertations on timely topics.[6]

In reckoning the influence[7] of this church the individuals whose place was in the pew must not be forgotten. The minister passes from church to church; the layman remains. In hurried review there comes to mind Alethea Tanner, who rescued the church when it was about to be sold at auction. There were George Bell and Enoch Ambush, who operated in this church basement a large school which was maintained for thirty-two years. Honorable mention belongs here also to Rev. William Nichols whom, because of his high ideals, Bishop Payne, in his History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church from 1816 to 1856, classed as "a man of more than ordinary intelligence firmly opposed to the extravagent zeal and rude manners which characterized so many of the leading men of his denomination." He was the "veritable hero who had aided the martyred Torrey in covering the escape of many slaves from the District of Columbia to Canada and who when by accident he learned that suspicion rested on him the fear of arrest was so great on his mind as to induce the paralysis which led to his (Nicoll's) sudden death."[8]

Some years later a sermon preached at Israel by Bishop John M. Brown, to whom the writer was a listener, deeply stirred the congregation. At the time I did not understand what caused the tumult until I learned from Rev. James Reid, a local preacher, that the church was negotiating for another lot on which to erect a new building, and the contention was whether the title to the new site should be held in trust for the congregation or for the denomination. The people contended that the property should be held in trust for them; the bishop, on the other hand, maintained that it should be in the name of the trustees of the denomination. The people were insistent and won their contention. A step further was the repudiation of the appointment made for them by the bishop, and the severance of their relations with the A. M. E. church made them independent. After a short interval Israel joined the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, which had been set apart in 1870 by the M. E. Church, South.[9]

During these years the Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church was also in the making. Certain records show January 15, 1836, as the date of the organization of the Asbury Aid Society. These workers were originally a part of the Old Foundry Church. When this congregation augmented so that the gallery occupied by the Negro membership became too congested for their accommodation, it became necessary to find more suitable quarters. The old Smothers School House on H Street near Fourteenth was rented for their use, but it, too, became inadequate, making the purchase of ground on which to build an immediate necessity. Thomas Johnson, Lewis Delaney, and Benjamin M. McCoy were constituted the building committee that secured from William Billings the lot on which the church was ultimately built. The Foundry Quarterly Conference, under whose authority they were functioning, elected trustees and a building committee to secure funds and pay for the building, but no regular church organization was immediately effected. These communicants remained under the sole management and control of the Foundry Church until the organization of the Washington Conference in the Civil War. Originally there were two Negro preachers, one a deacon, the other a licentiate, and two exhorters in these early days. There were three stewards, two black and one white. These constituted the officiary and were members of the Foundry Quarterly Conference.

After the Annual Conference of 1841, when there were, according to the stewards' records, 423 Negro members, an appeal was made to the Quarterly Conference of the Foundry for a preacher to take more direct supervision of the church. By order of the bishop, Rev. James M. Hanson, a supernumerary of the Foundry Church was appointed to take the charge of Asbury as its regular minister. Though a separate charge, Asbury was not a separate station, and it continued in subordination to the Foundry Church. After Hanson's appointment, regular weekly meetings were established, but the white leaders did not seem to succeed, for four of them had by this time resigned. In 1845 there was but one white leader remaining, and he did not meet regularly with the Negro leaders.[10] Again in 1851, therefore, there was an appeal to the presiding bishop and elders of the Baltimore Annual Conference (white) praying for a separate establishment,[11] and the request was finally granted in the Civil War.

Union Bethel (Metropolitan) A. M. E. Church was organized July 6, 1838, as a branch of Israel A. M. E., with Clayton Durham as pastor, assisted by John Cornish. They met in a little house which stood in the rear of one Mr. Bolden's residence on L Street near Fifteenth Street. William H. Moore took charge in 1840, after which regular appointments annually followed. In 1841 there served one Mr. Moore, who was reappointed, and in 1842 Edward Waters began an incumbency of two years. In 1844 Adam S. Driver became pastor and remained two years. He was succeeded in 1847 by Thomas W. Henry. In 1848 Alexander Washington Wayman, whose name frequently figures in the history of the church and denomination, appeared on the scene, followed in 1850 by W. H. Moore. In 1851 Wayman returned to Union Bethel and remained two years. In 1853 John R. V. Morgan, destined to occupy a unique figure because of his oratorical ability, was pastor. Savage L. Hammond, who was appointed in 1854, served also the next year.[12]

The first work towards the erection of the present Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, first known as Union Bethel, was begun by John W. Stevenson, who was transferred from the New Jersey Conference and appointed by Bishop D. A. Payne for the specific purpose of erecting the new building. He entered upon his work with great zeal and alacrity, but pursued methods which, though adapted to or suitable in the localities in which he had hitherto labored with such phenomenal success, occasioned much friction and disgust in Washington. He catered to elements that would relegate the more cultured and progressive classes to the background, yet he secured among the conservatives loyal support. At the end of his first year, however, the spirit of rebellion was rife. A delegation of the discontented element called on the presiding bishop to state their grievance and effect the removal of the irrepressible minister, but Bishop Payne was inexorable. He did not even give an actual hearing to the petitioners, although they were personally known to him to be some of the most faithful adherents of African Methodism. The next step was open rebellion. Meetings were held by the dissatisfied group and in the month of June more than a hundred and fifty persons, after the question of forming a new religious organization had been carefully canvassed, agreed to sever their connection with their spiritual mother and raise their "Ebenezer" elsewhere. Notwithstanding this opposition within and without, however, the old edifice was pulled down and work on the new building was immediately begun.

The corner stone was laid in September, 1881, with appropriate ceremonies under the auspices of the Masons. During the work on the building, which was continued up to the fall of 1885, services were held in the Hall on M Street diagonally opposite the square to the west. By the end of Stevenson's second year, he had, by his characteristic methods, alienated so many of those on whom he had relied mainly for support that Bishop Payne, now disillusioned, was as bitter against Stevenson as he was blindly his champion the year before.[13] Stevenson was removed, but there were those who still believed in his leadership. He refused to accept the appointment given him and organized the Central Methodist Church with dissentients formerly members of Union Bethel. James A. Handy was appointed Stevenson's successor at this juncture, yet there was considerable opposition even among those regarded as his firm personal and political friends.[14] The building was finally completed. By a vote of the African Methodist Episcopal Conference in 1872 the name was changed from Union Bethel to Metropolitan.

The same forces tending toward separation were at this time at work also among the Negro Baptist members in the white churches. This was the case of the First Baptist Church (white) organized in 1802. Its Negro members worshipped at first on the basis of equality with the whites, but this came to an end when the Negro members were assigned to the gallery, just as other churches of this time were gradually segregating them. When the new white Baptist Church, which was afterward sold and converted into a theater later known as Ford's Theater, was built on Tenth Street, the Negro communicants were given the gallery, but this was not satisfactory to the majority, who chafed under the new arrangement. O. B. Brown, the pastor, however, tried under the circumstances to treat the Negro members with as much charity as his prejudiced members would permit, as he was a kind-hearted man and did not believe in distinction on account of color. When the Tenth Street Church was occupied in 1833, therefore, these discontented members bought the old church on the corner of 19th and I Streets, Northwest, which is still held by that congregation and known throughout the country as the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church.

This was the first church of the denomination among the Negroes of the District of Columbia. It was organized August 29, 1839, by Sampson White, a Negro, assisted by John Healy and S. P. Hill, white pastors of Baltimore, and Moses Clayton, a Negro minister, who was the founder and pastor of the first Negro Baptist church of Baltimore. The original members were William Bush, Eliza Bush, Lavinia Perry and Emily Coke. The accession of Sampson White and wife increased the membership to six. None of these had been members of any church in the District of Columbia. They held letters from churches elsewhere, and so were free to form a church of their own in this city. But the white Baptist church, which had worshipped at 19th and I Streets, Northwest, from the year of their organization, from 1802 to 1833, had many Negro members who worshipped at 19th and I Streets for six years before Sampson White organized his small congregation.

These Negro members of the white church, being separated in worship from their white brethren, and having become sole owners of the house of worship which formerly they and the whites owned as members of the white church, wished to be organized as a separate body. This was refused. Sampson White, therefore, organized the First Negro Baptist Church of Washington, with persons not of the Washington white church, and thereby secured the recognition of his church by the leading white and Negro Baptists of Baltimore. In less than sixty days he had it in the oldest and best known white Baptist connection in America, the Philadelphia Baptist Association. This accomplished, Sampson White's little group received into their body all of the Negro members of the white church, except about twenty-three. These additional members made this a congregation ten times the size of the original body. This larger group, too, was in possession of the property at 19th and I Streets, at the time that the founders received them as members, and having been in possession of the property from the time it was sold to the Negro members of the First Baptist Church, white, these Negro Baptists, thereafter worshipping as the First Negro Baptist Church, insisted that the property was theirs, while the few colored members of the white church, who did not leave the parent body, claimed the property as belonging to them. This led to a law suit which lasted for years, but finally all the Negro members of the First Baptist Church, white, cast in their lot with the members at 19th and I Streets, and the trustees of the white church kindly released all claim in behalf of Negro members of that body, and rendered the deed clear.[15]

The first pastorate of Sampson White was short. He was followed by William Williams. Under his labors the membership increased almost to two hundred. But the latter part of his incumbency was not peaceful and William Bush, and others of the church withdrew. After casting their lot with the white Second Baptist Church near the Navy Yard, these seceders, along with others, were constituted the Second Negro Baptist Church of this city, with H. Butler, a former member of the church at 19th and I Streets, as pastor.

Following William Williams came Martin Jenkins as a supply. In 1849 Gustavus Brown became pastor, remaining for a short while. He was succeeded by Sampson White, who, serving the congregation a second time, remained with the church until 1853. Chauncey A. Leonard was the next pastor, and after him Samuel M. Madden. At the close of the Civil War, D. W. Anderson became pastor and for seven years labored for the good of his church. During his ministry in Washington the church added to its membership a thousand or more, chiefly as the result of the additions to this city from the Negro population of the ex-slaves of the South. But D. W. Anderson, as a man of great heart, labored for all Washington. Under his leadership the Metropolitan and Vermont Avenue Baptist churches were organized. The Nineteenth Street Baptist Church building which had been altered and improved from time to time, before his pastorate, was demolished and a new edifice erected in 1871. In 1872, D. W. Anderson passed to his reward and the church erected a marble shaft in the Harmony Cemetery to mark the place where his remains lie.

Anthony Binga, Sr., of Canada, followed D. W. Anderson, but his pastorate was short. His successor was Jesse Boulden, of Mississippi, who occupied the pulpit for about four years. During his pastorate thirty members withdrew, and formed the Berean Baptist Church. Sometime before this, the Salem Baptist Church had been constituted with members from the churches of which Anderson, Binga and Boulden had been pastors.[16]

The pastorate of Dr. Walter H. Brooks is the outstanding one in the history of the church, extending from November 12, 1882, until the present writing, the third decade of the twentieth century. During his ministrations more than 3,500 have joined the church, 1,500 of whom were personally baptized by him. The financial condition of the church places it among the best managed churches in the country, although it has at times assumed heavy obligations in making improvements and in rebuilding. During the pastorate of Dr. Brooks a number of ministers and preachers have gone forth from the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church. Dr. J. L. Dart, the founder of an important education and missionary work in South Carolina, was ordained at this church. Dr. James R. L. Diggs, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, and head of important educational work in Baltimore, is of this congregation, having been baptized and ordained by Dr. Brooks. E. E. Rick, of Newark, N. J., was ordained from the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church. James L. Pinn is a product of this body, and Dr. Brooks was influential in securing for him his first charge. John H. Burke, pastor of Israel Baptist Church, came up under Dr. Brooks, as did also Joseph Lee, of Arlington, Virginia, and James L. Jasper, of Brentwood, Maryland. But none of these products of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church have done a better work than Miss Jennie Deane, the founder of the Manassas Industrial School, in Virginia, and Miss Nannie H. Burroughs, the founder and promoter of the National Training School for Women and Girls, Lincoln Heights, Washington, D. C. Nor should Mrs. Laura Queen be forgotten, for by her labors the doors of Stoddard Baptist Home were first opened.[17]

The Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church, the next to be established, was formally organized November 21, 1841, in a little frame school house located on H Street near 14th Northwest. The moving spirit in this undertaking was John F. Cook.[18] He had been received as a licentiate by the Presbytery of the District of Columbia on the twenty-first of October of that same year. Eighteen persons took part in this organization. Of these John F. Cook and Alfred A. Cook had been official members of the Union Bethel, now the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church. The pioneer members came from the First, the Second, and the Fourth Presbyterian Churches of the city and one from the Shiloh Church of New York, of which the Rev. Theodore S. Wright was pastor. The reasons why they desired the establishment of an independent church were clearly set forth in a series of resolutions which were not unlike those which occasioned the organization of other Negro churches. The new society was received into the Presbytery May 3, 1842, when in session at Alexandria, Virginia, then a part of the District of Columbia. John F. Cook was installed as the first pastor July 14, 1855. Under his pastorate the church prospered, increasing its membership to 125.

The successor of Mr. Cook was William T. Catto of Philadelphia, the former pastor of the First African Presbyterian Church of the country. Others to occupy the pulpit as supplies and pastors were Benjamin T. Tanner, subsequently a bishop of the A. M. E. Church, William B. Evans, Henry Highland Garnet, J. H. Muse, J. Sella Martin, John B. Reeves, during his connection with Howard University, Dr. Septimus Tustin, George Van Deurs, a Swede, and John Brown, a Scotchman. The last mentioned incumbent was succeeded by the Rev. Francis J. Grimke, who has served longer than all other pastors combined, and with marked success. During the first years of the ministry of Mr. Grimke, which began in the spring of 1878, there was great spiritual awakening as the result of his forceful preaching.

The church has had a high record for its Christian ideals and its public spirit. It has always stood for the best things, morally and spiritually, in the life of the community. It has always been ready to aid in every worthy cause. During the period immediately preceding the Civil War, and in the days of the reconstruction, it divided honors with the Israel Church as a place of popular assembly and referendum. In 1918 it sold its old edifice on 15th Street between I and K Streets, where it had worshipped for seventy-five years, and is now located in a beautiful and commodious structure on the corner of R and Fifteenth Streets.

The next significant effort was made by the Baptists. Persons dismissed from the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church for the purpose of organizing another body began in the year 1848 the existence of the Second Baptist Church, under the leadership of H. H. Butler, a licentiate. The next year Jeremiah Asher, a native of Connecticut, became the first pastor and remained for two years. Mr. Asher was a typical New Englander of superior education and high ideals. In 1850 Gustavus Brown assumed charge of the new body when it worshipped on B Street, Southwest, between Sixth and Seventh, in a broom factory, and subsequently at 9th and D Streets, Northwest, over Ryan's Grocery Store. In 1853 H. H. Butler was recalled and formally ordained as pastor. He remained with the church until his death in 1856, when Sandy Alexander was asked to accept this charge. A permanent home was then bought on the present site where the congregation has worshipped ever since. Mr. Alexander continued for five years until his health compelled him to retire. In 1861, Caleb Woodyard became pastor and remained for two years. During this period conditions were such that progress was not steady and this led to the recall of Mr. Alexander, under whose direction a strong organization was effected. Following him, came Chauncey A. Leonard and next John Gaines. Then followed Madison Gaskins, whose service was characterized by alternating conditions, a lawsuit, a fire and new organizations branching therefrom as Mount Carmel, Mt. Olive in the Northeast, and Rehoboth in the Southwest.[20]

The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Churches of Washington, D. C., grew out of the efforts of their denomination, founded by James Varick, Peter Williams, William Miller, Abraham Thompson, Christopher Rush and others, in New York City, in 1796. These fathers early extended their work through New England, western New York, central and western Pennsylvania. In 1833, their first church was founded in South Washington, then known as the Island. It was established as the Metropolitan Wesley African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, on D Street, Southwest, Washington, D. C. The first pastor was Abraham Cole, who took charge in 1833. The persons organizing this church were originally members of the Ebenezer M. E. Church, located on D Street, Southeast. They drew out of this organization because their pastor, a white man, held slaves. The Wesley Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, its officers contend, was the first independent church in the District of Columbia organized by colored people. The first public school for the training of Negro youth was held in this church. Hanson Brooks was the secretary of the first organization.[21]

The establishment of the Union Wesley, the second church of the Zionites, in Washington, the progressive body, of which Dr. E. D. W. Jones was pastor, was very interesting. This church was organized in 1848 by Bishop J. J. Clinton, who afterwards became a bright star in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. The organization took place in the residence of Gasoway Waters in Georgetown.[22] He had been sent to Georgetown as a missionary and started his labors in this organization of a few persons determined to become independent of the white Methodists.

They began the construction of a church with the help of such men and women as Charles Lemon, Charly Wilson, Eliza Wilson, William Crusoe, George Brown, Mary Brown, William Sewall, Margaret Waters, and Eliza Johnson. After having been organized for a little while, they bought a lot on the corner of what is now known as 28th and O Streets, Georgetown.[23] Things seemed favorable in the beginning, but the enemies of the church were busy those days putting temptation in the path of the Negro and betraying him unto his enemies. Bondmen, according to the slave code, were not allowed to meet or hold any kind of meeting unless a white man was present. Nor were they allowed to be out after ten o'clock at night without a pass, or to have two or more congregate on the street at one time. If they did any of these things, they thereby violated the sacred laws of bondage and suffered imprisonment and persecution. Thus handicapped in their worship, they, like Paul and Silas, prayed for a deliverer, and he came in the person of a young lawyer from Philadelphia, who had taken up the cause. By his earnest endeavors in their behalf, they were released without being sentenced to jail or whipped. But, nevertheless, they were driven out of Georgetown, across Rock Creek, and into Washington, where they worshipped for a while in the house of William Beckett on the corner of 23d and L Streets.

A short time afterwards they bought the lot where this church now stands and built thereon a frame chapel which was contemptuously called the Horseshoe Church. After they had been there but a short time, there was a funeral at the chapel one day. Across from the chapel the Hibernian fire company was stationed. While the funeral services were being held in the chapel, two of these firemen came across the street and while one of them got inside of the hearse the other one got up on the driver's seat and drove all around the streets, while the people were out looking for the hearse. When they came back, the one who was inside got out and said that he was Lazarus risen from the dead. This act so inflamed some of the white gentlemen that they had the firemen arrested and prosecuted. These two impious gentlemen became so indignant because of their arrest that they set fire to the chapel and burned it to the ground. These communicants, being homeless again, went back to the house of William Beckett on L Street and commenced to rebuild. This time they succeeded in erecting a brick building, a portion of which stands today.

The John Wesley African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church was organized in 1849 at the home of John Brent on Eighteenth and L Streets. Among the founders were John Brent, W. H. Johnson, John Brent, Jr., William V. Ingram, Arnold Bowie, Charles Wilson, Joseph Conner, Edward Curtis, and Gilbert Joy. These communicants then purchased property on Connecticut Avenue and built thereon a simple frame building into which they moved in 1851.[24] This church finally bought the old Berean Baptist Church property on Eighteenth Street, under the pastorate of Dr. B. J. Bolding, in 1902.

The ministers who pastored the congregation while it worshipped in Connecticut Avenue were Abraham Cole, J. B. Trusty, N. F. Turpin, J. H. Hamer, H. F. Butler, Nathaniel Stubbs, Sampson Talbert, S. T. Jones, John V. Givens, S. T. Henry, G. W. Bosley, S. S. Wales, J. W. Smith, J. P. Thompson, Jesse Cowles, W. A. Cypress, J. A. Williams, J. B. Small, B. J. Bolding, R. H. G. Dyson, D. H. Anderson, R. A. Fisher, J. J. Clinton, and J. H. McMullen. Those who served the body in Eighteenth Street were Rev. L. W. Kyles, W. A. Blackwell, P. H. Williams, C. C. Alleyne, and Dr. William C. Brown. John Wesley Church has had at different times six pastors, who later were elected to the bishopric. These were Bishops Sampson Talbert, J. J. Clinton, J. P. Thompson, S. T. Jones, J. B. Small and John Wesley Smith, all of whom are deceased. Among the officers of the church may be mentioned Gilbert L. Joy, who was made secretary of the Trustee Board in 1864, and served thirty-two years in that capacity. He had the enviable record of being a trustee of this church for forty-three years, a longer period than that of any other person connected with it, and he is still an active member.

The awakening of John Wesley A. M. E. Zion Church, characterized by the selling of its property on Eighteenth Street to purchase at the same time the edifice on Fourteenth and Corcoran Streets for $61,000, is significant. It is the most important event in the history of Zion Church in Washington. The Zion Church long needed a larger representative edifice in this city. This advanced step was taken, and under the leadership of Dr. W. C. Brown and Dr. W. O. Carrington the progress of the congregation has been epochal.

The Galbraith African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church was founded in 1859. That year five members of Zion Wesley, under the leadership of Samuel Payne, withdrew and organized a church in a small house on L Street between Third and Fourth Streets. They subsequently built a house of worship near New York Avenue. Robert H. G. Dyson who had been active as a class leader and chorister in Zion Wesley, became the first pastor. It developed from its little frame church on L Street, Northwest, into a larger congregation in the modern structure on its present location, under N. J. Green, the pastor in charge. This church has figured conspicuously in the religious, moral and civic uplift of the city. It has been served by an array of prominent ministers, chief among whom are J. Harvey Anderson, J. S. Coles, Wm. Chambers, J. B. Colbert, H. P. Kyler, William Dixon, S. L. Corrothers, George C. Clement, and William D. Battle. During Mr. Battle's administration the church was relieved of its long-standing debt and the well begun work was steadily developed.[25]

The next efforts in the District of Columbia were of the Baptists. Albert Bouldin, who began public prayer services near Fourth and L Streets in 1857, was a prominent influence in the organization of the Third Baptist Church.[26] On June 20, 1858 there was held a council of ministers at which were present G. W. Sampson, Chauncey A. Leonard, A. Rothwell, Lindsey Muse, Evans Stott, Henry H. Butler, Sandy Alexander, and L. Patten. There were also the following laymen: Joseph Pryor, Joseph Alexander, N. Nookes, Henry Scott, John Minor, Charles Alexander, and Austin Robinson. The trustees were William B. Jefferson, Joseph Alexander, Henry Scott, Charles Alexander, Vernon Duff, and Henry Nookes, who assisted in effecting the organization and served it as the first deacons.

In 1863 there was secured on Fourth and L Streets a lot on which the people began to erect their meeting house. On account of disputes, four years afterward it became necessary to look elsewhere, and William B. Jefferson became the controlling spirit. Then a lot was purchased on Franklin Street between Fourth and Fifth at a cost of $1,198.50. In September, 1871, the church was dedicated. Rev. D. W. Anderson, at that time pastor of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, delivered the sermon. After a lapse of thirteen years, August 2, 1884, another lot situated on the corner of Fifth and Que Streets was purchased.[27] The next forward movement was toward the erection of a new building which was completed July 1893 at a cost of $26,000 and dedicated the fifth Sunday of July 1893.[28]

There soon followed another significant undertaking. After preaching regularly to four persons for four years, Sandy Alexander organized on October 5, 1862, the First Baptist Church of West Washington. Two of the four pioneer members were from churches in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Dr. G. W. Sampson, president of Columbian College, subsequently Columbian University, now the George Washington University, was of great service to Mr. Alexander in this work of the organization of this church. The church was first located on the corner of Greene and Beale Street, Georgetown, where it remained one year, after which a lot was purchased at the corner of Dumbarton and 27th Streets and a large frame building was first constructed at a cost of $15,000.[29] From this church there have been regularly organized the Macedonia, the First Baptist Church of Rosslyn, Virginia, and the Memorial Baptist Church in Maryland.

The Baptists were at the same time receiving recruits from another source. In June, 1862, while a destructive war was being waged by the Southern States against the Union, warning was given that a terrible siege was to be started against the city of Fredericksburg, Virginia. This news caused between three and four hundred members of the Shiloh Baptist Church of that town to leave for Washington as a place of refuge. After arriving there many tearful eyes were turned toward the dear old church of their childhood and riper years, where "many a pleasant hour had been enjoyed, and it was only natural for these fellow church members to plan for a place where they might once more gather in prayer and praise God for their deliverance from the ravages of war."[30] Home gatherings were frequent among these refugees and in this way the organization of the present church was effected.

Shiloh Baptist Church, like many other churches, had its beginning in a Sunday School.[31] The constant meeting of these seekers after the truth served to keep a number of them in close touch with each other and intensified the desire for a church of their own. They then began to meet in each other's houses for prayer and for conference upon the subject and soon resolved to have a Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, since they could not return to Shiloh Church in Fredericksburg. It was at one of these prayer meetings in the bedroom of Henry D. Peyton in an old brick house on K Street, between 26th and 27th Streets, in Georgetown (now West Washington) that Shiloh Baptist Church of Washington had its beginnings in September, 1863.[32]

Having formed the church, the founders sent a communication to the various Baptist churches of Washington, both white and black, asking that a council be called to consider the propriety of recognizing them as a regularly constituted Baptist church. The Negro Baptist churches gave these petitioners no encouragement and sent no delegates to the council, but the white Baptist churches sent a number of their members, deacons, and pastors, as delegates, who met in the First white Baptist church, located at that time on 13th Street between G and H Streets, Northwest, at eight o'clock Wednesday evening, September 23, 1863, and formed a recognition council. Dr. G. W. Sampson, pastor of the First Baptist Church and President of Columbian College, was chosen Moderator, and John S. Poler, clerk. After approving the credentials of the delegates the Moderator stated the purpose of the meeting. He further stated that the council had also been asked to examine William J. Walker as to his fitness and qualification for the gospel ministry, and if found worthy to ordain him, as the church had called him as its pastor and recommended his ordination.[33] It was so ordered and done by the council.

The church continued to meet in the homes of the members, but it grew so rapidly that it soon became necessary to secure larger quarters. The little frame building on the north side of L Street, between 16th and 17th Northwest, was then bought, and the church moved into it and remained there until 1868. The church prospered greatly and soon outgrew its first meeting house. Steps were then taken to purchase a site and erect a building sufficiently large to accommodate the growing membership. The present lot was secured, and in 1868 a commodious frame structure was erected thereon and used until 1883, when the church tore down the frame building and erected upon the same spot the present brick edifice.

William J. Walker, the first pastor, played a large part in building up the Baptist denomination in the District of Columbia and adjoining States. He organized four churches in Washington, namely, Zion Baptist, Enon Baptist, Mt. Zion Baptist and Mt. Jezreel Baptist churches, and two churches in Virginia, all of which are strong and prosperous organizations. He also founded the Baptist Sunday School Union and the Woman's Baptist Home Mission Society.

For a year or more after the death of William J. Walker the church remained without a pastor. During the greater part of this time William H. Scott served as supply, and it was while he was serving the church that the Walker Memorial Baptist Church was formed out of the members who drew out of Shiloh. Dr. J. Anderson Taylor became pastor in 1890 and remained with the church until near the close of 1906. During his ministry the church greatly increased in membership, and enlarged its building at a cost of $10,000. When Dr. Taylor gave up the pastorate of the church about 200 members withdrew from Shiloh and formed the Trinity Baptist Church and called him to take charge thereof. Shiloh Baptist Church, then, has been divided twice within twenty-three years. In spite of these handicaps, however, the church has prospered financially, numerically and spiritually. Dr. J. Milton Waldron took formal charge of Shiloh Baptist Church on the 6th of June 1907 and has labored with success in edifying his congregation and extending the influence of the church.[34]

While the organization of Shiloh Church was being effected in the northern section of Washington, there was in the southwest also another group from Fredericksburg. This effort resulted in the establishment of the Zion Baptist Church. They first organized a Sunday and day school in Jackson's School House on Delaware Avenue and L Street, Southwest. Their next movement was the organization of a church, September 12, 1864, with nine members. They bought what was then known as Simpson's Feed Store on the present site of the church, and remodeled this building in 1867; William J. Walker was its founder and first pastor. In January, 1869, William Gibbons of Charlottesville, Virginia, became the pastor and under his temporal and spiritual oversight the church flourished. The first church edifice was dedicated in 1871 and for twenty-one years was used by the congregation. In 1891 the present structure was built at an expenditure of $35,000. The membership at the forty-eighth anniversary was 2,310, the largest at the time in the District of Columbia. Up to the close of the nineteenth century they raised annually on an average of $8,000 for current expenses. Their present pastor, William J. Howard, has a unique record as being one of the best known ministers and men in the city, regardless of denomination, and with a character beyond reproach.[35]

The Metropolitan, formerly known as the Fourth Baptist Church, was organized May 1863 by a few holding letters from the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church during the pastorate of Duke W. Anderson, and by a few members from other churches. Henry Bailey was the first pastor of the new group. In 1865 there took place a division of this body which resulted in the establishment of the Fifth, now the Vermont Avenue Baptist Church. The organization was effected in a mission building which stood in the intersection of what is now E Street and Vermont Avenue. Two contending parties, both claiming to be the Fourth Baptist Church, were then engaged in presenting their rival claims. Four church councils were held before it was established which one had the right to bear the title Fourth. Robert Johnson took charge in 1870, seven years after the original movement. Under him the establishment prospered.

Four buildings have been used as church edifices in the history of this congregation, the mission building referred to above, the barracks, a relic of the Civil War, and a frame structure on the site of the present edifice, which at that time of its dedication in 1884 was valued at $60,000; but today the valuation, conservatively speaking, may be placed at $175,000. From 1865 to 1890 the membership was about 2,000, 1,100 of whom were baptized by Robert Johnson. The first Washington Baptist Convention composed of churches principally of the District of Columbia requested in September, 1890, that the church be called the Metropolitan. The congregation formally agreed to bear the title and since then Metropolitan has been its legal as well as its popular name.

After securing the services of Dr. M. W. D. Norman, who came from Portsmouth, Virginia, in 1905, the progress of the church has been such as to merit fully the title Metropolitan. On his assumption of the pastorate, a large floating and bonded indebtedness rested on the church. This has been discharged and modern improvements of electricity and steam heating at the cost of $15,000 have been provided. Yet there is not a dollar of indebtedness and the membership has increased to 5,748.

The following ministers have been ordained by the Metropolitan Baptist Church: Charles H. Parker, W. Bishop Johnson, John A. Pryer, Edward B. Gordon, Anderson Hogan, Luke D. Best, William Richardson, William Johnson, E. R. Jackson, John Braxton, John Mercer, Noah Grimes, Levi Washington, and W. L. Hill.[36]

The Baptist church on Vermont Avenue between Q and R Streets was originally established as the Fifth Baptist Church, June 5, 1866, by the pious J. H. Brooks, with seven members. He built a frame structure which was afterward replaced by a more comfortable brick building. Under him the congregation grew and in 1884, when he died the church had a membership of 1,800. He had served his people well, impressed the community with his worth, and passed to his reward loved not only by his own members but by the Christian people throughout the city.

He was succeeded by Dr. George W. Lee, who came to this church from North Carolina where he had served successfully as a pastor. Dr. Lee was installed in 1885 and served a quarter of a century, passing away on February 6, 1910. There were several important achievements during his pastorate. In 1890, at a cost of about $25,000, he remodeled the building left by J. H. Brooks and changed the name to Vermont Avenue Baptist Church. Being a great preacher and pastor noted for his originality and his ability to master the situation, he soon attracted a large following and increased the membership of his church almost to 4,000. He easily became a man of national reputation and in his travels abroad so impressed the people wherever he went that he developed into an international character.

Dr. Lee was noted especially for three significant elements in his character. Near to his heart was the promotion of African missions in keeping with his deep sense of charity. He was always a friend of the poor and, being such, emphasized more than any other duty of the church that of supporting missionary work in Africa. As a result the Vermont Avenue Baptist Church did more for this purpose than many other churches of the District of Columbia combined. He was always disposed, moreover, to help the under man in the struggle with his uncharitable accusers and traducers. When a minister was under fire, he usually stood by the unfortunate, if there was any possible chance to save him for the good of the service. He made himself, too, a patron of young men aspiring to the ministry, raising money for their support by impressing upon the people the importance of educating them. In this connection he trained and helped to support Dr. James E. Willis, who was baptized, licensed and ordained to preach under Dr. Lee. Through contact the one became attached to the other so that the younger imbibed the spirit of the other.

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