Saturday, February 25, 2017

Ex-slave Louise Mathews, about 83, Remembers 19C America


Louise remembered, "Marster Turner am very reasonable 'bout de wo'k. He wants a good days wo'k, an' all de cullud fo'ks gives it to him. Weuns had Saturday afternoons off, an' co'se, Sundays too. Weuns does de washin' an' sich wo'k as weuns wants to do fo' ourselves on Saturdays, den weuns could go to parties at night. De Marster gives weuns a pass ever' Saturday night if weuns wanted it. Weuns had to have de pass 'cause de Patterollers am watchin' fo' de cullud fo'ks as don't have de pass. Weuns have singin' an' dancin' at de parties. De dancin' am quadrilles an' de music am fiddles an' banjoes."

Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. Photo from 20th century.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Women on the North American Canadian Frontier in 19C - by Dutch-born Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872

Cornelius Krieghoff was born in Amsterdam, spent his formative years in Bavaria, and studied in Rotterdam & Dusseldorf. He traveled to the United States in the 1830s, where he served in the Army for a few years. He married a young woman from Quebec and moved to the Montreal area, where he created genre paintings of the people & countryside of Canada. According to Charles C. Hill, "Krieghoff was the first Canadian artist to interpret in oils... the splendour of our waterfalls, and the hardships and daily life of people living on the edge of new frontiers" Krieghoff lived in Quebec from 1854-1863, before he came to Chicago to live with his daughter.

Cornelius Krieghoff (Dutch-born Canadian painter, 1815-1872) The Blizzard 1857

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Ex-slave Frances Black, about 87, Remembers 19C America


Francis remembered, "I was born in Grand Bluff, in Mississippi, on Old Man Carlton's plantation, and I was stole from my folks when I was a li'l gal and never seed them no more. Us kids played in the big road there in Mississippi, and one day me and 'nother gal is playin' up and down the road and three white men come 'long in a wagon. They grabs as up and puts us in the wagon and covers us with quilts. I hollers and yells and one the men say, 'Shet up, you nigger, or I'll kill you.' I told him, 'Kill me if you wants to - you stole me from my folks."

Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. Photo from 20th century.

Women traveling in Winter on the Canadian Frontier - by Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872

Cornelius Krieghoff (Dutch-born Canadian painter, 1815-1872) Winter Landscape 1849

Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872 was born in Amsterdam, spent his formative years in Bavaria, & studied in Rotterdam & Dusseldorf. He traveled to the United States in the 1830s, where he served in the Army for a few years. He married a young woman from Quebec & moved to the Montreal area, where he painted genre paintings of the people & countryside of Canada. According to Charles C. Hill, Curator of Canadian Art at the National Gallery, "Krieghoff was the first Canadian artist to interpret in oils... the splendour of our waterfalls, & the hardships & daily life of people living on the edge of new frontiers" Krieghoff moved to Quebec from 1854-1863, before he came to Chicago to live with his daughter.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Ex-slave Charlotte Beverly, about 90, Remembers 19C America


Charlotte explained, "The white folks had interes' in they cullud people where I live. Sometimes they's as many as fifty cradle with little nigger babies in 'em and the mistus, she look after them and take care of them, too. She turn them and dry them herself. She had a little gal git water and help. She never had no chillen of her own. I'd blow the horn for the mudders of the little babies to come in from the fields and nurse 'em, in mornin' and afternoon. Mistus feed them what was old enough to eat victuals. Sometimes, they mammies take them to the field and fix pallet on ground for then to lay on."

Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves.
Photo from 20th century.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Ex Slave Lou Williams Remembers 19C America


Ex Slave Lou Williams, nearly 100 years old

Lou explained, "We had big gardens and lots of vegetables to eat, 'cause massa had 'bout 800 slaves and 'bout a 1,000 acres in he plantation. In summer time we wore jes' straight cotton slips and no shoes till Sunday, den we puts on shoes and white dresses and ties a ribbon 'round our waists, and we didn't look like de same chillen."

Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. Photo from 20th century.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Early African American Evangelist Jarena Lee 1783-1857 - Preaching in Maryland 1822

Jarena Lee was the 1st woman to preach under the auspices of the AME church. The child of free black parents, Lee was born in New Jersey in 1783, & worked as a servant in the home of a white family, 60 miles from her home. Strongly affected when she went to hear Richard Allen preach, Lee determined to preach herself. At first rebuffed by Allen, who said that women could not preach at the Methodist Church, Lee persisted; & 8 years after his initial refusal, Allen allowed her access to the pulpit after hearing her spontaneous exhoration during a sermon at Bethel AME Church. Lee traveled all over the United States preaching her gospel of freedom, even venturing into the South to preach to slaves.  The following is a segment of her journey written in her own words.

Jarena Lee (1783-1857), Preacher of the A.M.E. Church, Aged 60 years in the 11th day of the 2nd month 1844, Philadelphia 1844

Jarena Lee - Preaching in Maryland

I now travelled to Cecil country, Md., and the first evening spoke to a large congregation. The pastor afterwards baptized some adult persons - and we all experienced the cleansing and purifying power. We had a baptism within and without. I was next sent for by the servant of a white gentleman, to hold a meeting in his house in the evening. He invited the neighbors, colored and white, when I spoke according to the ability God gave me. It was pleasant to my poor soul to be there - Jesus was in our midst - and we gave glory to God. Yes, glory - glory be to God in the highest. "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." I boast not myself. Paul may plant and Apollos water, but God giveth the increase. I tried also to preach three times at a place 14 miles from here - had good meetings - backsliders were reclaimed and sinners convicted of sin, who I left in the hands of God, with the hope of meeting and recognizing again "When we arrive at home."

Returned back to Middletown. The next day the preacher of the circuit conveyed me to his place of appointment at Elkton. We had a wonderful outpouring of the spirit. At Frenchtown I spoke at 11 o'clock, where I realized my nothingness, but, God's name he praised, he helped me in the duty. Went again to Middletown, and from there to Canton's Bridge, and talked to the people as best I could. Seven miles from this place I found, by the direction of a kind Providence, my own sister, who had been separated from me some thirty three years. We were young when last we met, with less of the cares of life than now. Each heart then was buoyant with mildly hopes and pleasures - and little did we expect at parting that thirty three years would pass over us, with its changes and vicissitudes, ere we should see each other's face. Both were much altered in appearance, but we knew each other, and talked over the dealings of the Lord with us, retracing our wanderings in the world and "the days when life way young."

During this visit I had three meetings in different directions in gentlemen's houses, and a prayer meeting at my brother's, who did not enjoy religion. My good old friends Mr. Lorton happened to be there, who told the people that she had been to my house - that he knew Mr. Lee (my husband) intimately, and that he had often preached for him while pastor of the Church at Snow Hill, N.J.
I next attended and preached several times at a camp meeting, which continued five days. We had Pentecostal showers - sinners were pricked to the heart, and cried mightily to God for succor from impending judgment, and I verily believe the Lord was well pleased at our weak endeavors to serve him in the tented grove. The elder in charge, on the last day of the camp, appointed a meeting for me in a dwelling house. Spoke from Acts ii, 41 The truth fastened in the hearts of two young women, who, after I was seated, came and fell down at my side, and cried for God to have mercy on them - we prayed and wrestled with the Lord, and both were made happy in believing, and are alive in the faith of the gospel. The next morning a brother preacher took me to St. Georgetown. From, there I took stage to Wilmington, and called on my friend Captain Rial, in whose family I spent two days and nights. Went to Philadelphia to attend a camp-meeting. Returned again to Wilmington - where I was taken sick with typhus fever, was in the doctor's hands for some days - but the Lord rebuked the disease, gave me my usual health again, and I returned back to Philadelphia.

From - Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs Jarena Lee, Giving an account of her call to preach the Gospel. Revised & Corrected from the Original Manuscript, written by herself Philadelphia, Printed & Published for the Author, 1849 Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836

Jarena Lee (1783-1857) was an evangelist for the AME church in the first half of the 19th century. In 1816, Richard Allen (1760-1831) and his colleagues in Philadelphia broke away from the Methodist Church and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which, along with independent black Baptist congregations, flourished as the century progressed. Richard Allen allowed women to become evangelists and teachers but not church leaders. Jarena Lee was the 1st female to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. Born in Cape May, New Jersey, she moved to Pennsylvania, when she married in 1811. She had felt called to preach as early as 1809, & revealed her wish to church leader Richard Allen, who responded symapthetically, but explained that the AME Church was silent on the question of women preachers. In 1817, an "ungovernable impulse" led her to rise in Bethel Church & deliver an extemporaneous discourse that so impressed Bishop Allen; that he publically apologized for having discouraged her 8 years earlier. With this verbal liscense from the bishop, Lee began her evangelical ministry, traveling hundreds of miles, often on foot, to preach before all races & denominations, at churches, revivals, & camp meetings. She traveled as far west as Ohio. Although she was never officially licensed & never organized any churches, her ministry aided in the rapid growth of the AME Church before the Civil War. By 1846, the A.M.E. Church, which began with 8 clergy & 5 churches, had grown to 176 clergy, 296 churches, & 17,375 members.

Women on the North American Canadian Frontier in 19C - by Dutch-born Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872

Cornelius Krieghoff (Dutch-born Canadian painter, 1815-1872) Indian Woman Moccasin Seller

Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872 was born in Amsterdam, spent his formative years in Bavaria, & studied in Rotterdam & Dusseldorf. He traveled to the United States in the 1830s, where he served in the Army for a few years. He married a young woman from Quebec & moved to the Montreal area, where he painted genre paintings of the people & countryside of Canada. According to Charles C. Hill, Curator of Canadian Art at the National Gallery, "Krieghoff was the first Canadian artist to interpret in oils... the splendour of our waterfalls, & the hardships & daily life of people living on the edge of new frontiers" Krieghoff moved to Quebec from 1854-1863, before he came to Chicago to live with his daughter.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Ex-slave Betty Powers, about 80, Remembers 19C America


Betty said, "Did we'uns have weddin's? White man, you knows better'n dat. Dem times, cullud folks em jus' put together. De massa say, 'Jim and Nancy, you go live together.' and when dat order give, it better be done. Dey thinks nothin' on de plantation 'bout de feelin's of de women and dere ain't no 'spect for dem. De overseer and white mens took 'vantage of de women like dey wants to. De woman better not make no fuss 'bout sich. If she do, it am de whippin' for her."

Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. Photo from 20th century.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Ex-Slave Mary Crane Remembers 19C America


Mary explained, "In those days, slave owners, whenever one of their daughters would get married, would give her and her husband a slave as a wedding present, usually allowing the girl to pick the one she wished to accompany her to her new home."

Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves.
Photo from 20th century.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Early African American Evangelist Jarena Lee 1783-1857 - Rejected at Bethel in Philadelphia & continuing traveling

Jarena Lee was the 1st woman to preach under the auspices of the AME church. The child of free black parents, Lee was born in New Jersey in 1783, & worked as a servant in the home of a white family, 60 miles from her home. Strongly affected when she went to hear Richard Allen preach, Lee determined to preach herself. At first rebuffed by Allen, who said that women could not preach at the Methodist Church, Lee persisted; & 8 years after his initial refusal, Allen allowed her access to the pulpit after hearing her spontaneous exhoration during a sermon at Bethel AME Church. Lee traveled all over the United States preaching her gospel of freedom, even venturing into the South to preach to slaves.  The following is a segment of her journey written in her own words.

Jarena Lee (1783-1857), Preacher of the A.M.E. Church, Aged 60 years in the 11th day of the 2nd month 1844, Philadelphia 1844

Jarena Lee - Rejected at Bethel in Philadelphia & continuing traveling

With a serene and tranquil mind I now returned to Philadelphia. The Bishop was pleased to give me an appointment at Bethel Church, but a spirit of opposition arose among the people against the propriety of female preaching. My faith was tried - yet I felt my call to labor for should none the less. " Shall the servant be above his Master?" The ministers of Jesus must expect persecution, if they would be faithful witnesses against sin and sinners - but shall they, "awed by a mortal's form, conceal the word of God?" Thou God knowest my heart, and that they glory is all I have in view. Shall I cease from sounding the alarm to an ungodly world, when the vengeance of offended heaven is about to be poured out, because my way is sometimes beset with scoffers, or those who lose sight of the great Object, and stop on the road to glory to contend about non-essentials? Rather let the messengers of God go on - let them not be hindered by the fashioned and customs of a gainsaying and mis-loving generation, but with the crown in view, which shall deck the brow of those only who are "faithful unto death" - let them "cry aloud and spare not." Who regarded the warnings of Noah? who believed in his report? Who among the antidiluvians, that witnessed the preparations of this righteous man to save himself and family from a deluge of waters, believed him any thing else than a fanatic, deluded, and beside himself? Let the servants of Christ gird on the armor, and "listen to the Captain's voice: "Lo I am with you always, even unto the end."

With the promise of my Lord impressed upon my mind, I remained at home only a week, and walked twenty-one miles to Lumbertown, and preached in the Old Methodist Church and our African Church. Brother Joshua Edely was then a deacon there, and held a quarterly meeting soon after my reaching the place. He also appointed a lovefeast in the morning, when the love that true believers enjoy at such scenes made the place akin to heaven. When here I spoke as the Spirit taught me from Solomon's Songs. It was a happy meeting - refreshing to the thirsty soul - and we had a shout of the king in the camp. I shall never forget the kindness I received here from dear sister G.B. May the blessings of heaven be hers in this and the world to come.

I travelled seven miles from the above place to Snow Hill on Sabbath morning, where I was to preach in the Church of which I was a member, and although much afflicted in body, I strove, by the grace of God, to perform the duty. This was once the charge of JOSEPH LEE. In this desk my lamented husband had often stood up before me, proclaiming the "acceptable year of the Lord" - here he labored with zeal and spent his strength to induce sinners to be "reconciled to God" - here his toils ended. And could it be, his a poor unworthy being like myself should be called to address his former congregation, and should stand in the same pulpit! The thought made me tremble. My heart sighed when memory brought back the image, and the reminiscences of other days crowded upon me. But why, my heart, dost thou sigh? He has ceased from his labor, and I here see his works do follow. It will be enough, if these, the people of his care, press on and gain the kingdom. It will be enough, if, on the final day, "for which all other days were made," we pass through the gates into the city, and live again together where death cannot enter, and separations are unknown. Cease then, my tears - a little while, my fluttering heart! and the turf that covers my companion, perchance, may cover thee - a little while, my soul! if faithful, and the widow's God will call thee from this valley of tears and sorrows to rest in the mansions the Saviour has gone to prepare for his people. "Good what God gives - just what he takes away."

My mind was next exercised to visited Trenton, N.J. I spoke for the people there, but soon had felt the cross so heavy. Perhaps it was occasioned through grieving over the past, and my feelings of loneliness in the world. A sister wished me to go with her to Bridgeport - where I found brother or win, then elder over that church. He gave me an appointment. We had a full house, and God's power was manifest among the people, and I returned to the elder's house, and God's power was manifest. walked fourteen miles to a meeting, where also we were greatly favored with the presence of God. Soon after this, I thought of going home to Philadelphia. I got about three miles on foot, when an apparent voice said "if thou goest home thou wilt die." I paused for a moment, and not comprehending what it meant, pursued my journey. Again I was startled by something like a tapping on my shoulder, but, on turning round, I found myself alone, which two circumstances created a singular feeling I could not understand. I thought of Balaam when met by the angel in the way. I was taken sick and it seemed I should die in the road. I said I will go back, and walked about four miles to Bridgeport. Told a good sister my exercise, who was moved with sympathy, and got brandy and bathed me. On Wednesday night I spoke to the people at Trenton Bridge, and notwithstanding the opposition I had met with from brother Samuel R - then on the circuit, the Lord supported the "Woman preacher" and my soul was cheered. On Thursday I walked fourteen miles, when the friends applied to the elder to let me talk for them, but his prejudices also, against women preaching were very strong, and tried hard to disaffect the minds of the people. The dear man has since gone to stand before that God who knows the secrets of all hearts - and where, I earnestly pray, he may find some who have been saved by grace through the instrumentality of female preaching.

Norristown, Bucks country, January 6, 1824. Brother Morris conveyed me here at his own expense, and made application for places for me to speak. Addressed a large congregation on the fourth day after my introduction into the place, in the court-house, from Isaiah liiii. 1, - "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" I felt embarrassed in the commencement, but the Spirit came, and "helped our infirmities" - good attention, and some weeping. On the 18th I spoke in the academy - it was a solemn time, and the people came out in numbers to hear. I then walked four miles to brother Morris's - spoke twice in the school house, and once in a dwelling house.


From - Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs Jarena Lee, Giving an account of her call to preach the Gospel. Revised & Corrected from the Original Manuscript, written by herself Philadelphia, Printed & Published for the Author, 1849 Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836

Jarena Lee (1783-1857) was an evangelist for the AME church in the first half of the 19th century. In 1816, Richard Allen (1760-1831) and his colleagues in Philadelphia broke away from the Methodist Church and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which, along with independent black Baptist congregations, flourished as the century progressed. Richard Allen allowed women to become evangelists and teachers but not church leaders. Jarena Lee was the 1st female to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. Born in Cape May, New Jersey, she moved to Pennsylvania, when she married in 1811. She had felt called to preach as early as 1809, & revealed her wish to church leader Richard Allen, who responded symapthetically, but explained that the AME Church was silent on the question of women preachers. In 1817, an "ungovernable impulse" led her to rise in Bethel Church & deliver an extemporaneous discourse that so impressed Bishop Allen; that he publically apologized for having discouraged her 8 years earlier. With this verbal liscense from the bishop, Lee began her evangelical ministry, traveling hundreds of miles, often on foot, to preach before all races & denominations, at churches, revivals, & camp meetings. She traveled as far west as Ohio. Although she was never officially licensed & never organized any churches, her ministry aided in the rapid growth of the AME Church before the Civil War. By 1846, the A.M.E. Church, which began with 8 clergy & 5 churches, had grown to 176 clergy, 296 churches, & 17,375 members.

Women on the North American Canadian Frontier in 19C - by Dutch-born Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872

Cornelius Krieghoff (Dutch-born Canadian painter, 1815-1872) At the Blacksmith's Shop 1871

Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872 was born in Amsterdam, spent his formative years in Bavaria, & studied in Rotterdam & Dusseldorf. He traveled to the United States in the 1830s, where he served in the Army for a few years. He married a young woman from Quebec & moved to the Montreal area, where he painted genre paintings of the people & countryside of Canada. According to Charles C. Hill, Curator of Canadian Art at the National Gallery, "Krieghoff was the first Canadian artist to interpret in oils... the splendour of our waterfalls, & the hardships & daily life of people living on the edge of new frontiers" Krieghoff moved to Quebec from 1854-1863, before he came to Chicago to live with his daughter.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ex-slave Anne Maddox, about 100, Remembers 19C America


Ann remembered, "Bout four o'clock in de evenin' all de little niggers was called in de big yard where de cook had put milk in a long an den trough an' crumbled ash-cake in it. Us had pot licker in a trough, too. Us et de bread an' milk wid shells an' would use our minds, out it was good."

Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves.
Photo from 20th century.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Ex-slave Ellen Butler, about 78, Remembers Remembers 19C America


Ellen related, "Massa never 'lowed us slaves go to church but they have big holes in the fields they gits down in and prays. They done that way 'cause the white folks didn't want them to pray. They used to pray for freedom."

Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. Photo from 20th century.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Early African American Evangelist Jarena Lee 1783-1857 - Preaching in New York 1823

Jarena Lee was the 1st woman to preach under the auspices of the AME church. The child of free black parents, Lee was born in New Jersey in 1783, & worked as a servant in the home of a white family, 60 miles from her home. Strongly affected when she went to hear Richard Allen preach, Lee determined to preach herself. At first rebuffed by Allen, who said that women could not preach at the Methodist Church, Lee persisted; & 8 years after his initial refusal, Allen allowed her access to the pulpit after hearing her spontaneous exhoration during a sermon at Bethel AME Church. Lee traveled all over the United States preaching her gospel of freedom, even venturing into the South to preach to slaves.  The following is a segment of her journey written in her own words.

Jarena Lee (1783-1857), Preacher of the A.M.E. Church, Aged 60 years in the 11th day of the 2nd month 1844, Philadelphia 1844

Jarena Lee - Preaching in New York

The call of the Lord was for me now to go to West Chester, N. Y., where I remained a little period with brother Thomas Henry and brother Miller; preached in a School-house and in the Wesleyan Methodist Meeting-house. When prepared to go home, a request was sent me to preach in the Court-house of the country, to which I rode ten miles, and addressed the citizens on two evenings. The Lord strengthened his feeble instrument in the effort to win souls to Christ, for which my heart at this time was heavily burthened. Next morning I let for Westhaven, where I visited a School of boys and girls, and was much pleased to see them engaged and improving in their studies. How great the difference now, thought I, for the mental and moral culture of the young than when I was a child!

In the month of June, 1823, I went on from Philadelphia to New York with Bishop Allen and several Elders, (including our present Rev. Bishop Brown,) to attend the New York Annual Conference of our denomination, where I spent three months of my time. We arrived about nine o'clock in the evening. As we left the boat, a person fell into the dock, and notwithstanding the effort made to save and find him, he was seen no more. 'In the midst of life we are in death.' On the 4th of June I spoke in the Asbury Church, from Psalms c, 33.

I think I never witnessed such a shouting and rejoicing time. The Church had then but recently adopted the African M.E. discipline. On the 5th I brought my master's message to the Bethel Church - Text Isaiah lviii, 1. "Cry aloud, spare not; lift up they voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins," The spirit of God came upon me; I spoke without fear of man, and seemed willing even there to be offered up; the preachers shouted and prayed, and it was a time long to be remembered.

June 6, Spoke in the Church in High Street, Brooklyn, from Jer. ix,1 - "Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people." In these days I felt it my duty to travel up and down in the world, and promulgate the gospel of Christ, especially among my own people, though I often desired to be released from the great task. The Lord had promised to be with me, and my trust was in his strong arm.

I left my friend in Brooklyn, and went to Flushing, L.I. Here we had quite a revival feeling, and two joined society. Visited Jamaica and Jericho; spoke in brother B's dwelling, in the church, and under a tree. Went to White Plains to the camp-meeting; the Lord was with us indeed; believers were revived, backsliders reclaimed, and sinners converted. Returned and spent a little time in Brooklyn, where I addressed the people from Rev. iii, 18, and John iii, 15.

July 22. Spoke in Asbury Church from Acts xiii, 41 - "Behold ye despisers, and wonder and perish." I pointed out the portion of the hypocrite, the liar, the Sabbath-breaker, and all who do wickedly and die in their sins; they shall be to the judgment bar of Jehovah, and before an assembled universe hear their awful sentence, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels," while the righteous shall be received "into life eternal."

On the 28th I went to Dutch Hill, L.I., and spoke before a congregation of white and colored, in a barn, as there was no other suitable place. I felt happy when I thought of my dear Redeemer, who was born in a stable and cradled in a manager, and we had a precious season. Brother Croker, of Brooklyn, and father Thompson were with me, at whose feet I desired rather to set and learn, they being experienced "workmen that needed not to be ashamed." But the Lord sends by whom he will.

The next Sabbath I weakly attempted to address my friends in New York again. Took the words in Math. xxviii, 13, for my text - "Say ye, his disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept." The place was greatly crowded, and many came who could not get in. A class met here, to which the preacher invited all who desired to remain, and thirty persons tarried. He called upon me to lead, but He who led Israel over the Red Sea assisted, and it was a gracious time with us. Some who remained from curiosity were made, like Belshazzar, to tremble and weep, while the spirit strove powerfully with them. One experienced religion and joined society. I expect in the resurrection morning to meet many who were in that little company, in my Father's house, where we shall strike hands no more to part; where our song of redemption shall be raised to God and the Lamb forever. Dear reader, if you have not, I charge you to make your peace with God while time and opportunity is given, and be one of that number who shall take part and lot in the first resurrection. Though I may never see you in the flesh, I leave on this page my solemn entreaty that you delay not to obtain the pardoning favor of God; that you leave not the momentous subject of religion to a sick bed or dying hour, but now, even one, seek the Lord with full purpose of heart, and he will be found of thee. "If any man sin, he had advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

I visited a woman who was laying sick upon her death-bed. He told me "she had once enjoyed religion, but the enemy had cheated her out of it." She knew that she must die in a very little while, and could not get well, and her agony of soul, in view of its unprepared state for a judgment to come, awoke every feeling of sympathy within me. Oh ! how loud such a scene calls upon us to be "faithful unto death" - then shall we "receive a crown of life." Also visited Mrs. Miller, who once "tasted that the Lord was good," but had ceased now to follow him. She had been a Methodist for many years - got her feelings injured through some untoward circumstance - had fallen from grace, and now was sick. A good sister accompanied me? we conversed with Mrs. M., sung an appropriate hymn, and my friend supplicated the throne of grace in her behalf. She had frequently felt the need of returning Saviour, and during prayer her heart became melted into tenderness. She cried aloud for mercy, wrestled like Jacob for the witness, and the Lord, faithful and the Lord, faithful and true, "healed her backslidings," and we left her happy in his father. Praise the Lord for his matchless grace. I entertained no doubt of her well-grounded hope; and on seeing such a display of God's power, I was lost in wonder, love and praise. Let the backslider hear and take courage.  Let all who are out of Christ hear the invitation - "Repent ye and be converted, for God hath called all men everywhere to repent."

From - Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs Jarena Lee, Giving an account of her call to preach the Gospel. Revised & Corrected from the Original Manuscript, written by herself Philadelphia, Printed & Published for the Author, 1849 Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836

Jarena Lee (1783-1857) was an evangelist for the AME church in the first half of the 19th century. In 1816, Richard Allen (1760-1831) and his colleagues in Philadelphia broke away from the Methodist Church and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which, along with independent black Baptist congregations, flourished as the century progressed. Richard Allen allowed women to become evangelists and teachers but not church leaders. Jarena Lee was the 1st female to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. Born in Cape May, New Jersey, she moved to Pennsylvania, when she married in 1811. She had felt called to preach as early as 1809, & revealed her wish to church leader Richard Allen, who responded symapthetically, but explained that the AME Church was silent on the question of women preachers. In 1817, an "ungovernable impulse" led her to rise in Bethel Church & deliver an extemporaneous discourse that so impressed Bishop Allen; that he publically apologized for having discouraged her 8 years earlier. With this verbal liscense from the bishop, Lee began her evangelical ministry, traveling hundreds of miles, often on foot, to preach before all races & denominations, at churches, revivals, & camp meetings. She traveled as far west as Ohio. Although she was never officially licensed & never organized any churches, her ministry aided in the rapid growth of the AME Church before the Civil War. By 1846, the A.M.E. Church, which began with 8 clergy & 5 churches, had grown to 176 clergy, 296 churches, & 17,375 members.

Women on the North American Canadian Frontier in 19C - by Dutch-born Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872

Cornelius Krieghoff (Dutch-born Canadian painter, 1815-1872) The Toll Gate 1861

Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872 was born in Amsterdam, spent his formative years in Bavaria, & studied in Rotterdam & Dusseldorf. He traveled to the United States in the 1830s, where he served in the Army for a few years. He married a young woman from Quebec & moved to the Montreal area, where he painted genre paintings of the people & countryside of Canada. According to Charles C. Hill, Curator of Canadian Art at the National Gallery, "Krieghoff was the first Canadian artist to interpret in oils... the splendour of our waterfalls, & the hardships & daily life of people living on the edge of new frontiers" Krieghoff moved to Quebec from 1854-1863, before he came to Chicago to live with his daughter.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Ex-slave Millie Williams, about 86, Remembers 19C America


Millie laughed, "I's 'member well de time we'ns steal one of de marster's big chicken's. I's had it in a pot in de fireplace an' it waz sho' smelling good an' seen de mistress cumin'. I's grab dat chicken, pot an' all an' put it under de bed, I's grab de bed clothes an' put 'em on de pot. De mistress, she cums 'round an' says, "I's sho do smell somethin' good. I's say, "Whur Miss's? I's don' smell anythin'. She looks 'round an' don' find anythin' an' go's back to de house. Whin she gits gone I's tak dat chicken out from under dat bed an' we'ns eats it in a hurry."

Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. Photo from 20th century.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Ex-slave Lucy Thomas, about 86, Remembers 19C America


Lucy remembered, "All the hands was up and in the field by day light. Nobody laid in bed up in the morning like folks do today. Dr. Baldwin allus had a fifty gallon barrel of whiskey on the place. He kept a demijohn of whiskey on the front porch all the time for the darkies to get a drink on the way to the field in the morning. You never heard of nobody getting drunk then."

Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. Photo from 20th century.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Early African American Evangelist Jarena Lee 1783-1857 - Six Months in Maryland 1824

Jarena Lee was the 1st woman to preach under the auspices of the AME church. The child of free black parents, Lee was born in New Jersey in 1783, & worked as a servant in the home of a white family, 60 miles from her home. Strongly affected when she went to hear Richard Allen preach, Lee determined to preach herself. At first rebuffed by Allen, who said that women could not preach at the Methodist Church, Lee persisted; & 8 years after his initial refusal, Allen allowed her access to the pulpit after hearing her spontaneous exhoration during a sermon at Bethel AME Church. Lee traveled all over the United States preaching her gospel of freedom, even venturing into the South to preach to slaves.  The following is a segment of her journey written in her own words.

Jarena Lee (1783-1857), Preacher of the A.M.E. Church, Aged 60 years in the 11th day of the 2nd month 1844, Philadelphia 1844

Jarena Lee - Six Months in Maryland 1824

On the 14th April, I went with Bishop Allen and several elders to Baltimore, on their way to attend Conference; at the end of which the Bishop gave me permission to express a few thoughts for my Lord. On leaving the city of B., I travelled about 100 miles to Eastern Shore, Maryland. Brother Bailey was then laboring on that circuit, who received and treated me very kindly. We had several good meetings, and twice I spoke in Bethel Church, when the outpouring of the Spirit was truly great. In company with a good sister, who took a gig and horse, I travelled about three hundred miles, and labored in different places. Went to Denton African Church, and on the first Sabbath gave two sermons. The Church was in a thriving, prosperous condition, and the Lord blessed the word to our comfort. During the week I labored in the court-house before a large concourse of hearers. The Lord was unspeakably good, and one fell to the floor under the power.

By request, I also spoke in the Old Methodist Church in Denton, which was full to overflowing. It was a happy meeting. My tongue was loosened, and my heart warm with the love of God and souls - a season yet sweet to my memory. From there I went to Greensboro - the elder gave a sermon, after which I exhorted the poor sinner to prepare to meet the Lord in peace, before mercy was clear gone forever. The Old Methodist connexion gave an invitation for me to speak in their house, which I embraced, feeling thankful that the middle wall of partition had, thus far, been broken down. "He that feareth God and worketh righteousness shall be accepted of him" - not he who hath a different skin - not he who belongs to this denomination, or, to that - but "he that feareth God." My Master is no respecter of persons. May the partition walls that divide His sincere followers be broken down by the spirit of love.

In Whitehall Chapel I spoke to a respectable congregation, from Isaiah iii. 1. Though in a slave country, I found the Omnipresent one was with us. Dr. Clarke took us home to dine with his family - for which uncommon attention I felt highly gratified. I believe him a Christian in heart, and one, no doubt, who has read the words of the Saviour: "Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, shall in no wise lose his reward." And, notwithstanding the doctor was a Presbyterian, Mr. Buly had the privilege of baptizing two of their colored children.
I stopped next to Concord, and in the Old Methodist connexion tried to encourage the Lord's people to preserver. God displayed His power by a general outpouring of the Spirit - sinners cried for mercy, while others shouted for joy.

Spoke congregation of colored and white at Stanton Mills; and arrived again at Eastern Shore, where I spoke in Bethel Church during Quarterly Meeting. Attended their love-feast, where several joined society, and many encouraging testimonies were given by young converts that "God hath power on earth to forgive sins." May they be faithful stewards of the manifold gifts of God - and never be ashamed to confess what the Lord had done for them. Many lose the witness out of the heart by withholding their testimony from their friends and neighbors of the power of God to save. They run well for a season, but the tempter whispers "not now" - and by and by the soul becomes barren and unfruitful. May God help the young converts to "Watch," and tell around what a dear Saviour they have found.

June 10th, 1824. Left Eastern Shore for a journey to Bath, and went around the circuit with brother J.B., the elder. In the Old Methodist Church, at Fory's Neck, I had the privilege of speaking to a large congregation, which was made the power of God unto salvation. Visited Lewistown, and had a blessed meeting in the Methodist Church. The tears of the penitent flowed sweetly, which always encourages me to persevere in proclaiming the glad tidings of a risen Saviour to my fellow beings. When the heart is thus melted into tenderness, I feel assured theLord sanctions the feeble effort of His poor servant - it is a good omen to my mind that the mourner is not forsaken of God, and that he yet stands knocking at the door for admittance. Oh! that those who weep for an absent Jesus may be comforted by hearing Him say - "Thy sins, which were many, are all forgiven thee: go in peace and sin no more."

Elder J.B. preached in Greensboro', where I attended, and had a quickening time. Some enmity had existed among the brethren, but the spirit of love got the ascendancy, and the lion became as the lamb. The gospel is the best remedy to subdue the evil passions of men that has ever been discovered. Dear Master, let Thy gospel spread to earth's remotest bounds.

I have travelled, in four years, sixteen hundred miles and of that I walked two hundred and eleven miles, and preached the kingdom of God to the falling sons and daughters of Adam, counting it all joy for the sake of Jesus. Many times cast down but not forsaken; willing to suffer as well as love. I spoke at Harris's Mills, in a dwelling house, to a large concourse of people, from Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, xviii.19-20. I felt much drawn out, in the Spirit of God, meanwhile from my feelings. I observed there were some present that never would meet me again. Mr. J.B., the elder, then requested me to lead the class. Much mourning, weeping and rejoicing. Four days afterwards, a man that sat under this sermon, (a shoemaker by occupation) fell dead from his bench without having any testimony of a hope in Christ. How dreadful to relate the wicked shall not live out half their days.

In Easton I spoke from the Evan. John, I chap. 45 ver., the Lord's time. Then proceeded to Dagsberry, 25 miles, preached in Bethel Church to a multitude of people, it being to them a new thing, but only the old made more manifest. Bless God for what my heart feels, for a good conscience is better than a sacrifice. Two sermons preached in said Church, I spoke from Acts 13 chap., 41 ver., - the power of God filled the place - some shouted, others mourned, some testified God for Christ's sake had forgiven sin, whilst others were felled to the floor. From thence we went to Sinapuxom, spoke on Sabbath day to a large congregation from Num. 24 chap., 17 ver - the Lord gave light, life and liberty on that portion of Scripture, Great time. The elder filled the appointment, and while preaching, there were 10 or 11 white men came and said they wanted to see the preacher; he sent for them to come into the house, but they seemed afraid or refused; after he had finished, they came to the door to know by what authority he was preaching - but it was me they were after, but I was fortified, for their laws, by my credentials, having the United States seal upon them, - they tried to get him our of the house, they said, on business. But he told them he would meet them at 9 o'clock in the morning before the magistrate, seven miles distant. Brother J. B. then took my credentials and also showed his own, and, upon examination, the magistrate said, she is highly recommended and I am bound to protect her. An under-officer, anxious to get hold of my papers, very much opposed to our being in the State, tried hard to frighten us out of it, and went to lay his hands on it, but was rebuked by the magistrate; and two days after the magistrate sent word to me to go on and preach, he did not care if I preached till I died. I never met them but before one year.

My mind led me to Salsbury and to Snow Hill - the brother, through persuasion, did not go, for fear of some difficulty, under which consideration I declined going for that time, I then returned to Easton, but my mind still led me to pay that religious visit, which was still accomplished by a sister and myself. I called on brother Massey, a preacher, who conducted us to Snow Hill and Salsbury. In the afternoon, the elder and one of the Trustees of the white Methodist Church, called on me to know of my faith and doctrine, and, while conversing, the spirit of the Lord breathed upon us - we had groans and shedding of tears - that evening the Elder gave me an appointment in the colored church to a large congregation, and we had a powerful time, sinners awakened and backsliders reclaimed. So great was the time that the meeting lasted until three or four o'clock in the morning. It was like a Camp meeting, they came seven miles distance from only three or four hours' notice.

Next morning we left for Snow Hill, the Elder sent down for the friends to take care of us all, and our board, with the horses, should be paid for, consequently we were treated with great hospitality. I preached in the Old Methodist Church to a immense congregation of both the slaves and the holders, and felt great liberty in word and doctrine; the power of God seemed without intermission. We left there and rode 16 miles, spoke to a small company of people. In the afternoon to a large congregation, chiefly Presbyterians, and at many other places too tedious for me to mention, I preached twenty-seven sermons and then returned to Easton again, where I was informed that the constable who was so enraged against me before was then dying; the other white man who came and set at the end of the table twice while I was laboring, thinking I would say something to implicate myself and wanted me arrested so bad, had been sold and his family broke up; it is thus the Lord fights for Israel.

I then made an appointment at a place called the Hole in the Wall, it was a little settlement of coloured people, but we had no Church, but used a dwelling house, and had a large congregation. I had no help but an old man, one hundred and odd years of age; he prayed, and his prayers made us feel awful, he died in the year 1825, and has gone to reap the reward of his labor; freed from the toils and cares of life, no more to labor under a hard task master, but to rest where the slave is freed from his master. I strove then to fill the appointment at 11 o'clock in the morning, from Daniel 5 chap. 27 ver. the declaration was, there is no other way under heaven that men can be saved only through Jesus Christ; the Lord gave me great light on this subject. At 3 o'clock, in the afternoon, we stood in the open air in the woods, and I spoke from 12 chap. 2-3 ver. I felt greater liberty on this subject than the other; the Lord was with me; of a against the power of God? We had people of all descriptions, from the true Christian to the Devil, and from slave-holder to slave. We two white men and two colored; one of the white men, by the name of Sharp had killed all his family, except his oldest daughter; she conversed with them. Sharp treated it with contempt, but the other answered with a degree of humility; but they were hung according to the laws of their state.

I was invited by one of the Trustees of the Old Methodist Church to pay them a visit on the ensuing Sabbath morning. I made the appointment for said day. I left Georgetown on the morning early, half past ten o'clock we arrived in Milford; Church bell was ringing. We were conducted into the Church; a local preacher was in the pulpit and had prayed, but was asked to come down by another who invited me there. I spoke for them and afterwards they gave out for another appointment at night, but it caused a controversy among themselves, and they threw it on him to come and see if I would fill it. Previous to this coloured preachers told me there was controversy about woman preaching. But he came and asked me how long I had been preaching the Gospel. I answered, rising, 5 or 6 years. He said it was something new. I told him it seemed to be supposed so. I referred him to Mrs. Fletcher, of England, an able preacher and wife of Mr. Fletcher, a great and worthy minister of the Parish. He asked why I did not go to the Quakers. I told him I if he had a sister in the Church, and she witnessed a Christian life, and was called and qualified to preach, do you think you would be justified before God, to stop her? He has not answered me yet. I found it was prejudice in his mind. He talked as if he had not known what the operation of the Spirit of God was. We many say, with propriety, he had not tarried at Jerusalem long enough. When about to part, he asked me if I would come, but I could not then promise. At night, the people came in their carriage from the country, but were disappointed, for I spoke in a colored Church. The doors and windows were opened on account of the heat, but were crowded with people; pride and prejudice were buried. We had a powerful time. I was quite taken out of myself - the meeting held till day-break; but I returned to my home.

They told me that sinners were converted, backsliders reclaimed, mourners comforted, and believers built up in the most holy faith. Then they wished us to stay until next night to preach again; but I thought it best to leave them hungry. Previous to this I was sent for by a slave-holder to come to his house to preach three funeral sermons, all at one time, two grown persons and one child; they had been dead about a year, but their graves were only filled up even with the earth. I spoke standing in the door of his dwelling to a great congregation, from the 2 Book of Samuel, 12 chap. 23 very - dwelling much on the certainty of the child's happiness, through the redemption of Christ - shewing how men might be saved living in accordance with the truth. When finished we fell in procession and moved to the graves of the departed. Brother Massey rehearsed the funeral ceremony, then the graves were raised and made oval, as usual, a most affecting scene, one of the deceased being the mother of two little girls there present. They were so affected, it seemed they would go in fits; several persons tried to pacify them, but in vain. It was a solemn time; many were deeply affected that day at the graves, and mourning of the whites in the house, but they treated us kindly, and we left them, visiting my places too tedious to mention.

I met a Camp meeting of the African Methodist Episcopal Church at Denton. the Elder was much encouraged in commencing the Camp. Although in a slave State, we had every thing in order, good preaching, a solemn time, and long to be remembered., Some of the poor slaves came happy in the Lord; walked from 20 to 30, and from that to seventy miles, to seventy miles, to worship God. Although through hardships they counted it all joy for the excellency of Christ; and, before day, they, or a number of them, had to be at home, ready for work; nut some aid they came as sinners before God, but went away as new creatures in Christ; and they could not be disputed. My heart glows with joy while I write; truly God is inscrutable.

The Eler, J.B. then appointed a Camp meeting within five miles of Easton, too near the town, but it was done to glorify God. Yet it seemed there was not that general good done like the previous time. He gave me an appointment on Sunday afternoon; to myself I appeared lost thought I was doing nothing, but the south wind from the hill of the Lord began to blow upon the spices of his garden. The power of God arrested a person who started to run, but fell in the flight, and begged God for mercy and obtained it. After the sermon, which was the first of my being apprized of it, but no merit to me, but all glory to God for mercy and obtained it. After the sermon, which was the first of my being apprized of it, but no merit to me, but all glory to God, for the good done at Camp meetings, though much persecuted, but they are a glorious meeting to me. I pray God to protect the camp-meetings while I think him for the invention. Various are the operations of the Sprit of God on the human family. We must believe in the truth of God, and then we can behold the mysteries and enjoy the truth of them with joy and thanks giving. I went to speak about 10 miles from Centreville at early candle light - warm weather - in a dwelling house, the largest congregation being out-of-doors. I felt an open mind, the power of God fell upon the assembly in open air, and I heard an awful cry. A woman had started, jumped over the fence and run, but fell and rose again; that woman contended until she found redemption in Jesus Christ.

I went to a place called Beaver Dams and spoke there; left there for Hillsborough, and spoke there to a large congregation; from there to Greensborough, and preached in white Methodist Church. The visit not so prosperous; from there to Boomsborough. We were much favoured and approbated by the people, and blessed with the presence of the Lord in power. I then preached at Cecil Cross roads in an old meeting house, almost down, to a large congregation, and it was warm. I was informed a gentleman rode fourteen miles to attend that meeting. Previous to this the Methodists had almost died away, a very few excepted at that place, but from that time they took a rise as I was informed by two young ladies from there. In about 5 years after I left they built a large Church on that same spot where the old one stood, and had a fine congregation; from there brother J. B. appointed a Quarterly Meeting on Mr. John Peaker's Island, for a society of 60 members, which was composed altogether of the said gentleman's slaves. We were entertained in the best of style, had a powerful meeting, and a great manifestation of the power of God. From there we returned to Easton a second time, and were entertained by the overseer very highly at Mr. John Peakey's Island.

Went to Baltimore, from there I visited Hales' Mills, and preached three sermons, much favored the sermons, much favored of the Lord by his presence, after which I returned to Baltimore. The elder gave me an appointment and collection, and I returned to Philadelphia. And on Sunday morning collection, Bishop Allen gave me an appointment in Bethel church, and we had a shout in the Camp of Israel.  I had spent six months in Maryland and I only remained in this city three or four weeks, during which time the Lord was with me, and opened my way through opposition, but I felt willing to suffer cheerfully.



From - Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs Jarena Lee, Giving an account of her call to preach the Gospel. Revised & Corrected from the Original Manuscript, written by herself Philadelphia, Printed & Published for the Author, 1849 Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836

Jarena Lee (1783-1857) was an evangelist for the AME church in the first half of the 19th century. In 1816, Richard Allen (1760-1831) and his colleagues in Philadelphia broke away from the Methodist Church and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which, along with independent black Baptist congregations, flourished as the century progressed. Richard Allen allowed women to become evangelists and teachers but not church leaders. Jarena Lee was the 1st female to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. Born in Cape May, New Jersey, she moved to Pennsylvania, when she married in 1811. She had felt called to preach as early as 1809, & revealed her wish to church leader Richard Allen, who responded symapthetically, but explained that the AME Church was silent on the question of women preachers. In 1817, an "ungovernable impulse" led her to rise in Bethel Church & deliver an extemporaneous discourse that so impressed Bishop Allen; that he publically apologized for having discouraged her 8 years earlier. With this verbal liscense from the bishop, Lee began her evangelical ministry, traveling hundreds of miles, often on foot, to preach before all races & denominations, at churches, revivals, & camp meetings. She traveled as far west as Ohio. Although she was never officially licensed & never organized any churches, her ministry aided in the rapid growth of the AME Church before the Civil War. By 1846, the A.M.E. Church, which began with 8 clergy & 5 churches, had grown to 176 clergy, 296 churches, & 17,375 members.

Women on the North American Canadian Frontier in 19C - by Dutch-born Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872

Cornelius Krieghoff (Dutch-born Canadian painter, 1815-1872) Bringing in the Deer

Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872 was born in Amsterdam, spent his formative years in Bavaria, & studied in Rotterdam & Dusseldorf. He traveled to the United States in the 1830s, where he served in the Army for a few years. He married a young woman from Quebec & moved to the Montreal area, where he painted genre paintings of the people & countryside of Canada. According to Charles C. Hill, Curator of Canadian Art at the National Gallery, "Krieghoff was the first Canadian artist to interpret in oils... the splendour of our waterfalls, & the hardships & daily life of people living on the edge of new frontiers." Krieghoff moved to Quebec from 1854-1863, before he came to Chicago to live with his daughter.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Ex-slave Mary Armstrong, about 91, Remembers 19C America


Mary remembered, "...when the war was over, I started out an' looked for mamma again, an' found her like they said in Wharton County near where Wharton is. Law me, talk 'bout cryin' an' singin' an' cryin' some more, we sure done it. I stayed with mamma an' we worked right there 'til I gets married in 1871 to John Armstrong an' then we all comes to Houston."

Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. Photo from 20th century.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Ex-slave Leithean Spinks, about 82, Remembers 19C America


Leithean remembered her first marriage, "Ise gits mai'ied in 1872 to Sol Pleasant. Weuns have 2 chilluns befo' weuns sep'rated in 1876. De trouble am he wants to be de boss of de job an' let me do de wo'k. 'Twarnt long 'til Ise 'cides Ise don't need a boss, so Ise transpo'ted him. Ise told him, 'Nigger, git outer heah, an' don't never come back. If yous come back, Ise smack yous down.' Ise never see him after dat."

Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves.
Photo from 20th century.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Early African American Evangelist Jarena Lee 1783-1857 - Traveling through Pennsylvania 1825

Jarena Lee was the 1st woman to preach under the auspices of the AME church. The child of free black parents, Lee was born in New Jersey in 1783, & worked as a servant in the home of a white family, 60 miles from her home. Strongly affected when she went to hear Richard Allen preach, Lee determined to preach herself. At first rebuffed by Allen, who said that women could not preach at the Methodist Church, Lee persisted; & 8 years after his initial refusal, Allen allowed her access to the pulpit after hearing her spontaneous exhoration during a sermon at Bethel AME Church. Lee traveled all over the United States preaching her gospel of freedom, even venturing into the South to preach to slaves.  The following is a segment of her journey written in her own words.

Jarena Lee (1783-1857), Preacher of the A.M.E. Church, Aged 60 years in the 11th day of the 2nd month 1844, Philadelphia 1844

Jarena Lee (1783-1857) - Traveling through Pennsylvania 1825

 In 1825, I left Philadelphia for a journey through Pennsylvania. I spoke first at Weston; we had an elder on West Chester Circuit, named Jacob Richardson. We had buried a young Christian before preaching the sermon, and gave me the sacrament sermon in the afternoon. I spoke from Matt. 26 chap. 26-27 ver. I felt as solemn as death; much weeping in the Church, tears stole down the faces of the people.

Jacob Richardson was a spiritual preacher. God attended the word with power, and blessed his labors much on his circuit. From there a friend carried me to Downingtown, where I took stage and went on to Lancaster; but prospect not so good there; they had a new Church but not paid for; the proprietor took the key in possession and deprived them of worshipping God in it. But I spoke in a dwelling house, and I felt a great zeal for the cause of God to soften that man's heart, or kill him out of the way one had better die than many. Brother Israel Williams, a few days, called to converse with him on the subject, and he gave him the key; he was then on his death-bed, and died in a short time afterwards, and we must leave him in the hands of God, for he can open and no man can shut.

I went on to Columbia and spoke in the Church, and my tongue fails to describe the encouragement I met with. The Lord converted poor mourners, convicted sinners, and strengthened believers in the most holy faith. God's name be glorified for the display of his; saving power. I led class, held prayer meetings, and left with a good conscience for little York. The first sermon I preached was in the Church at 10 o'clock in the morning, from Mat. xxvi, 26, 27, to a large congregation. My faith it seemed almost failed me, for when I got in the stand, so hard was the task that I trembled, and my heart beat heavy, but in giving out the hymn I felt strength of mind, and before I got through, I felt so much of life and liberty in the word, I could but wonder, and in the doctrine of Christ it was a sacramental sermon indeed to my soul. I spent some weeks there, and we enjoyed good meetings and powerful outpourings of the Spirit. I truly met with both good and bad; my scenes were many and my feelings various. I bless the Lord that the prayers of the righteous availeth much.

After freeing my mind, I passed on to York Haven, and preached in a School-house to a white congregation. I was not left alone, but was treated very well by a white Methodist lady. I took lodgings at her house all night; next afternoon took stage for Harrisburg, and when I stopped at the Hotel a gentleman introduced me to the Steward, who took charge of me and escorted me to Mr. Williams, where I took supper. It was on a New Year's evening; the colored congregation had expected me and made a fire in our Church, but being late when I arrived, they had gone to hear a sermon in a white Methodist Church, and I had retired to rest a while in the evening. When they returned they came after me, taking no excuse, and I had to come down stairs, go to the Church, and preach a sermon for them, then 10 o'clock at night.

The effects of the gospel of Christ was no less than at other great seasons, but was wonderful - backsliders reclaimed and sinners converted - there was mourning, weeping, shouting and praising of God for what he had done. I preached several sermons, and was well treated by all circles of people. We had large congregations of well-behaved people; and feeling my work done in this part, I proceeded to Carlisle, Pa. There was a small body of members; I spoke and led class for them during the time I was there, which was ten days; felt my discharge of God, and took stage to Shippensburg. There was great success at this places; fifteen joined the Church; some of the most hardened sinners became serious and reformed. I was astonished at the wonderful operations of the Spirit, and the immense congregations. At the first sermon the house was crowded, and I had the good attention of the people. A man came into the house intoxicated, and offered to interrupt by speaking, but a gentleman put him out so quietly that it had no effect upon the meeting. When I contemplate the goodness of God to the human family, in putting them in a proper capacity of choosing the way of salvation, I feel sometimes almost lost, to think that God has called such a worm as I to spread the common Saviour's name. But said the Lord, "I will send by whom I will" - praise the Lord who willeth not the death of sinners - "as I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that they turn and live."

I then proceeded on to Chambersburg by stage, and met with one Rev. Winton, who displayed much of a christian disposition, and conversed freely with me on the most particular points of the God-Head, for my instruction, showing his benevolence. He knew I was a stranger - he had friends to go to at that place, but he offered to pay my bill for a room at the Inn. I never have forgot the goodness of that gentleman, who, I believe, to be a great gospel minister. I stopt at brother Snowden's, who were very kind to me. The Lord continued to pour out His Spirit and clear the way for me, and also continued to convict, convert, and reclaim the backsliders in heart. There were very large congregations, both in and out of doors, and great revivals throughout the circuit. The elders generally treated me well, for which may the Lord bless them and their labors in his vineyard, and add to the Church such as shall be forever saved from the power of sin - may I take heed lest I fall, while I teach others. Saith the Apostle: "Paul may plant and Apollos water, but God must give the increase," for which I feel thankful.

I remained in this place for some weeks, but being debilitated in body, I left for Philadelphia about the middle of April. On my return, I met with such a severe trial of opposition, that I thought I never would preach again, but the Apostle says, "ye are not your own but are bought with a price." I feel glad that God is able to keep all that put their trust in him, though the mis-steps of others often interrupt our own way - I always found friends on different parts of Globe. I preached and led classes on my return. Praise God for his delivering grace - "Oh the depth of the riches" of the glory of God, how unsearchable are his ways; they are past finding out - a sea without bottom or shore. One thing is encouraging, "When he who is my life shall appear, I shall be like him." "I know my Redeemer liveth, and shall stand on the latter day upon the earth, and though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." Lord help me to keep this confidence. Rev. Richard Williams, a gentle and christian-minded man, treated me well. God would not suffer me to be destroyed. It is not by might or by power, but by the Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.

On my return I stopped at Lancaster; the Church was opened, and I preached to large congregations, and with powerful success; the dead were brought to life by the preaching of the cross of Christ. From there I left for Philadelphia.

In July, 1824, I felt an exercise of mind to take a journey to Reading, Pa., to speak to the fallen sons and daughters of Adam. I left the city and stopped at Norristown on my way to Reading. I spoke in the Academy to a respectable congregation, the same evening I arrived there. I felt a degree of liberty in speaking, though it was a quiet meeting, and I also felt thankful that the Lord would manifest himself through such a worm as me. Next morning I walked four miles and stopped at Littleton Morris's, and preached two sermons on the Sabbath day, and God struck a woman, and she had liked to have fallen to the floor; I spoke in the Dunkard's meeting house. This ended my visit with them at this time.

On Tuesday I walked three miles to Schuylkill, to take the Canal boat on Wednesday morning. I met in company with a Presbyterian minister and lady on the boat; they treated me very kindly indeed. We arrived in Reading about 7 o'clock in the evening. I was recommended to a family in that place, the man of which had once confessed religion, but had fallen from grace, and they were very kind to me. The next morning I enquired for other respectable families of color, and an elderly lady of color that belonged to the white connexion, and the only colored Methodist in the place at that time, conveyed me to Mrs. Murray's, where I remainded a while; then the elderly lady, just mentioned, feeling interested for me, went to the proprietors of the Court-house with me, to see if we could get in to preach in, and like Esther the Queen, who fasted and prayed, and commanded the men of Jerusalem and the women of Zion to pray; as she approached the king the sceptre was bowed to her, and her request was answered to the saving of Mordica, and all the Jewish nation. When we approached this gentleman, who was the head Trustee of the Protestant Church, I showed him my recommendation, and he answered me, "Madam, you can have it," and I felt humble to God for the answer. I felt it my duty to preach to the citizens, and accordingly made an appointment for Sunday afternoon at 4 o'clock. Rev. James Ward, a colored Presbyterian, assembled with us, although he was so prejudiced he would not let me in his pulpit to speak; but the Lord made a way where there was no way to be seen; there was no person to intercede until this sister tried to open the way; the men of color, with no spirit of christianity, remained idle in the enterprise, but we got possession and we had a large concourse of people. I spoke with the ability God gave me. I met with a family of color, but very respectable, that formerly had belonged to our Church in Baltimore; they invited me to their house, and it was a home to me, praise God. I held a meeting in their house previous to holding meetings in the Court-house; the white brethren and sisters assembled with us. We called on a minister's lady, and she treated me very kindly, while he, like a Christian, united and helped to go through with the meetings. I visited the Quaker friends (amounting to four only) then in the place, and very pleasant visits they were. A great number of Christian friends called on me, among the rest this minister's lady, who left a donation in my hand, consequently the way was made where there was no way, but I left in friendship. Praise God I feel the approbation now. It is to be lamented, that James Ward, colored, with his over-ruling prejudice, which he manifested by saying no women should stand in his pulpit, and with all the advantages of a liberal education, was in a few weeks after I left there, turned out of; the Church.

On returning to Philadelphia, I stopped at Pottsgrove and found a Society of colored persons, christians I believe. We had solemn meetings there; I met kind friends there, and visited a Church about six miles off; preached in the morning; the Lord was with us; of this truth my soul is a witness; in the afternoon I preached to a large congregation. Next morning I left for Philadelphia. I continued to preach, paid some short visits about, and was welcomed home again.

From - Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs Jarena Lee, Giving an account of her call to preach the Gospel. Revised & Corrected from the Original Manuscript, written by herself Philadelphia, Printed & Published for the Author, 1849 Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836

Jarena Lee (1783-1857) was an evangelist for the AME church in the first half of the 19th century. In 1816, Richard Allen (1760-1831) and his colleagues in Philadelphia broke away from the Methodist Church and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which, along with independent black Baptist congregations, flourished as the century progressed. Richard Allen allowed women to become evangelists and teachers but not church leaders. Jarena Lee was the 1st female to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. Born in Cape May, New Jersey, she moved to Pennsylvania, when she married in 1811. She had felt called to preach as early as 1809, & revealed her wish to church leader Richard Allen, who responded symapthetically, but explained that the AME Church was silent on the question of women preachers. In 1817, an "ungovernable impulse" led her to rise in Bethel Church & deliver an extemporaneous discourse that so impressed Bishop Allen; that he publically apologized for having discouraged her 8 years earlier. With this verbal liscense from the bishop, Lee began her evangelical ministry, traveling hundreds of miles, often on foot, to preach before all races & denominations, at churches, revivals, & camp meetings. She traveled as far west as Ohio. Although she was never officially licensed & never organized any churches, her ministry aided in the rapid growth of the AME Church before the Civil War. By 1846, the A.M.E. Church, which began with 8 clergy & 5 churches, had grown to 176 clergy, 296 churches, & 17,375 members.

Women on the North American Canadian Frontier in 19C - by Dutch-born Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872

Cornelius Krieghoff (Dutch-born Canadian painter, 1815-1872) Ice Bridge at Longue Point 1847

Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872 was born in Amsterdam, spent his formative years in Bavaria, & studied in Rotterdam & Dusseldorf. He traveled to the United States in the 1830s, where he served in the Army for a few years. He married a young woman from Quebec & moved to the Montreal area, where he painted genre paintings of the people & countryside of Canada. According to Charles C. Hill, Curator of Canadian Art at the National Gallery, "Krieghoff was the first Canadian artist to interpret in oils... the splendour of our waterfalls, & the hardships & daily life of people living on the edge of new frontiers" Krieghoff moved to Quebec from 1854-1863, before he came to Chicago to live with his daughter.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Ex-slave Fannie Brown Remembers 19C America


Fannie recounted, "My how dem niggers could play a fiddle back in de good ole days. On de moon-light nights, us uset to dance by de light ob de moon under a big oak tree 'till mos' time to go to work de nex' mornin'. One time de bes' fiddler in de country was playin' fer us to dance, an' he broke a string. It was too fur to go to Austin to git anodder, so he jus' played on widout de string what broke an' de tune sounded more like a squeech owl dan eny thing, but us danced jus de same."

Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves.
Photo from 20th century.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Ex-slave Cindy Washington, about 80, Remembers 19C America


Cindy remembered, "...we was taught to read an' write, but mos' of de slaves didn't want to learn. Us little niggers would hide our books under de steps to keep f'um havin' to study. Us'd go to church wid de white folks on Sunday and sit in de back, an' den we go home an' eat a big Sunday meal."

Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves.
Photo from 20th century.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Fugitive Slaves in Maryland

Fugitive Slaves in Maryland

African Americans used the act of running away as part of a broader system of resisting the physical and psychological manipulation of slavery. In most instances, slaves left plantations or work sites without permission but with the intention of returning in order to visit relatives or friends on nearby plantations, or to protest a harsh punishment. At other times, though, runaways attempted to escape slavery permanently. Those who ran hoping never to return understood that they risked their lives. Fugitive slaves plagued slaveholders from the first years of slavery in Maryland until its last days.

Although laws requiring slavery for black women and their descendents did not appear until the Assembly's 1664 session enacted "An act concerning Negroes and other slaves," Maryland's first lawmakers did recognize that some people were made to work against their will and that such people frequently ran away. Along with the earliest legal references to slavery in Maryland, therefore, were attempts to control runaway servants and slaves through legislation.

If the American Revolution (1776-83) had an immediate impact on slave escapes it could only be found in the greater opportunities to escape created by the chaos of war. Revolutionary-era newspapers contained many notices for runaways. Although they spoke of "liberty," few slaveholding Maryland patriots saw any contradiction in denying it to their slaves. Indeed, John Hanson, the Marylander who served as president of the Continental Congress, spent much of the last years of the war pursuing Ned Barnes, an enslaved man who had fled Hanson's plantation.

A variety of factors moved fugitive slaves to attempt a permanent break: persistent brutality by an owner or overseer, relocation away from immediate family or relatives, a reduction in privileges such the ability of hired slaves to keep small portions of fees, a worsening of work conditions, and numerous other individual concerns. After 1800 the most common motivation was probably the threat of sale to the Deep South. Many blacks risked flight rather undergo the perils of the domestic slave trade.

Most runaways were young men fleeing alone. Young women without children ran more often than those with children. The months of April through October saw the most escape attempts, but no single week of the year emboldened more runaways than the days between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day because owners were distracted and supervision was relaxed. Though some made clandestine use of railway and water vessels, most runaways fled on foot. While at large and on the move, runaways stayed close to roads, rivers, and other normal routes, and traveled mainly at night. Many made use of family and friends on nearby plantations, or in towns and cities. Fugitives also generally helped themselves to provisions (food, clothing, sometimes money) before leaving, but when these ran out, they foraged in the woods, relied on the kindness of people encountered along the way, and even pilfered barns and storehouses to survive. Many fugitives even found short-term employment from whomever might be willing to hire a person of undetermined status with no questions asked.

Maryland fugitives generally tried to reach urban environments (Washington, DC, Frederick, Baltimore, Philadelphia) where they might disappear into free black populations. As northern states abolished slavery during the early 1800s, however, Maryland runaways and others sought to reach free territory, including, by the 1830s, Canada, where they believed the threat of recapture was much less.

Although creativity, perseverance, and good fortune were traits of successful runaways, those pursuing fugitives were not without advantages. For example, because of indifference and unreliable support in recapturing runaways early on, by the late seventeenth century Maryland laws mandated that sheriffs, constables, and even citizens cooperate in recapturing fugitives. Federal support came first in the late eighteenth century and was greatly strengthened in 1850 by the Fugitive Slave Law. Any black person found without direct white supervision was treated as a runaway unless she or he could provide a legitimate reason. Advertisements alerted the public to fugitives' names and physical characteristics, when and from where they had run, whom they knew in the area, and most importantly, what the owner would pay for their return. Even in the northern free states, local marshals taking fugitives before a magistrate received a greater reward ($10) if an apprehended black turned out to be an escaped slave than if he or she was free and could prove it ($5). Marshals who failed to arrest a fugitive slave, or permitted one to escape, were fined $1,000.

Most runaway attempts were unsuccessful, and the price of failure could be terrible for runaways and for those who attempted to help them. Punishments for free blacks and whites convicted of aiding runaways could be severe. Even unwitting ship captains and train conductors faced fines or jail for not knowing who traveled with them. Every town and hamlet in the state had a jail, and many had slave pens designated specifically to house runaways. Once captured, most slaves were returned to their legal owners, who might administer a variety of punishments. Many runaways, especially repeat offenders, were sold at auction to South-bound slave dealers, never to see their families again.

The Abolitionist Movement of the mid-nineteenth century, with its "underground railroad," focused the nation's attention on slavery to a much greater degree than earlier attempts to end the institution had done. Before the national debate gave way to sectional conflict and civil war, fugitives from slavery found both more allies and more obstacles in their path. Wartime measures such as the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia (April 1862) and the Emancipation Proclamation (January 1863), did not directly affect Maryland blacks, but they did encourage slaves to flee, creating what scholar W. E. B. DuBois called a "general strike" of the enslaved workers. By May 1863, the federal government had also begun to recruit black soldiers, the United States Colored Troops (USCT), for the Union army. Recruiters promised freedom to slaves who enlisted, further encouraging flight.

In the two centuries of slavery in Maryland, many runaways managed to remain at large and might be said to have succeeded in becoming free. Yet freedom for runaways seldom brought peace, as fugitives always lived in fear of recapture and return to slavery.

The National Park Service's Underground Railroad Theme Study (1998) estimated the number of successful escapes for the nation for the years 1790-1860 at 100,000, or about 1,500 per year.

Written by David Taft Terry for the Maryland Online Encyclopedia..