Monday, December 12, 2011

And you thought collateral reading was just for college students!

Collateral reading. . .
Have you ever noticed how one book flows into the next? I mean if you're serious about research, you're checking all the references and end notes and traveling along a path covered with titles and authors, which in turn could end up in an InterLibrary loan list a mile long! The trick is to know when to stop searching & start writing.

Before starting this part of the project, I outlined what information I already had and made a list of objectives. That list is growing smaller. . . but there still  is room to grow. . . . Today I returned two ILLs and requested one more: David Henry Bradley's A History of the A. M. E. Zion Church.

Amy Muse's The Story of the Methodists in the Port of Beaufort (1941) didn't offer much to help with details of the churches in Township 5; but I did pick up a bit of information on travel and living conditions of that era, as well as a sampling of insights about conditions in the church circuit.

Update on church charters in NC. . .
Both repositories questioned offered the similar answers:

  1. The North Carolina State Archives' genealogy reference librarian referred me to Helen Leary's North Carolina Research: Genealogy and Local History's (with which I am already well acquainted): search Livingstone College's archives in Salisbury...however, we've already determined that the archives is closed, in disrepair, and lacking an archivist...
  2. Both the North Carolina State Archives' and New Bern-Craven County Public Library's special collections librarians referred me to the church...however, it has already been determined that documents prior to 1913 were lost in a church fire...
  3. The last and only option left would be to search the annual conference reports...as stated above, the AME Zion records held at Livingstone College are not available; however, the early Methodist Episcopal Church records, 1784-1984, are available at Duke University's archives. So, this last possible solution will have to wait until I can plan a research trip to Durham, NC...

Conclusions...
It seems that I have yet to complete my reading of Dark Salvation, followed by William E. Montgomery's Under Their Own Vine and Fig Tree: The African-American Church in the South 1865-1900 (1993), followed by Christopher Rush's A Short Account of the Rise and Progress of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in America, John Jamison Moore's History of the A. M. E. Zion Church in America, J. W. Hood's One hundred years of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, and finally, Bradley's A History of the A. M. E. Zion Church.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dark Salvation: The Second Great Separate: The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church


When our White brethren, the Ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church, found that we were determined upon becoming a separate body, or society, they appointed the Rev. John McClaskey, at their General Conference, who was one of the stationed Elders for the Methodist Episcopal Church in the City of New York, to make arrangements . . . in order that the spiritual part of the government might be under the direction of the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church from time to time, and so keep the two Churches or Societies in union with each other. . .  (Rush, p. 13).


In studying the two black offshoots of the Methodist Episcopal Church, one must remember that the  mother church in Philadelphia is referred to as Bethel, and those in New York City are referred to as Zionites. It was Rev. John McClaskey who negotiated for both groups with the parent Methodist Episcopal Church; but, the negotiations for Zion proved more amicable. . . perhaps because Methodism had already emerged from their first struggle.
The Trustees were successful in raising funds for the new church. Two lots were purchased on the corner of Church and Leonard streets, a frame building, 45 x 35 feet, was erected, and first services were held in September 1800. . . . The Reverand John McClaskey helped the new church to work out two legal arrangements, one a charter under the state of New York, and the other an agreement with the General Conference of the Methodist Church (Bradley, pp. 50-54).
The basic agreement gave the black church the rights of ownership of church property and direction of local activities, but would maintain the Methodist tradition under the governance of the General Conference, the spiritual life of the church being directed by an appointed Elder of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

The biggest problem with this agreement was that it did not address the primary matter at heart. . . the ordination of black preachers.

At this point, I began to wonder about the charters for the AME Zion churches in Township 5 registered with the State of North Carolina. 
Today I made two inquiries of both 
local and state repositories.

After twenty years of appealing to the General Conference for ordination of black preachers or for autonomy,  the members of the Zion congregation elected Abraham Thompson and James Varick elders on October 1, 1820. On November 12th of the same year, the elders elect administered the Lord's Supper, and for the first time an African preacher administered a sacrament (Rush, pp. 56-58; Bradley, pp.92-93). 

Another area of interest for me was the Zionite stand against slavery and the mobilization of their missionaries in northern and western New York 
particularly in the region around the cities of Jamestown, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica and Buffalo. This area was one of the main sections of the "Underground Railroad"...
The author states that it is difficult to pinpoint the actual year when Zion became an autonomous entity as it was a gradual process, so that by 1860, two distinct offshoots of the Methodist Episcopal Church existed:  the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, and the African Methodist Zion Church of New York. They had their own Books of Discipline,
but they had been adapted from the parent white church and differed mainly on points of organization and polity. In faith, doctrine, and patter of Christian life they were thoroughly Methodist and faithful followers of Wesley.
 For additional reading:
David H. Bradley, History of the AME Zion Church, Part I, 1796-1872 (1950)
Christopher Rush, A Short Account of the Rise and Progress of the African Methodist Episcopal [Zion]    Church of America (1843)
John Jamison Moore, History of the AMEZ Church in America: founded in 1796, in the city of New York (1884)
Bishop James Walker Hood, One Hundred Years of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, or The centennial of African Methodism (1895)

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Christmas Cookies

Image Courtesy Wilton.com
The mind is like an attic full of memories. In my attic lies a section devoted to my childhood memories of Christmas . . . 
and one spot is devoted to . . .
The Gingerbread Man.

When I was a little girl, I remember going to the bakery at Center Square in Easton, Pennsylvania, with my mother and grandmother. Opening the door, sleigh bells jingled, and the warmth of the shop rushed through the open door and filled our nostrils with the smells of sweet delights. Above the long, glass display case filled with cookies, pastries and cakes, a string of large gingerbread men teased children in awe of the Christmas treats.

I don't ever recall asking for nor receiving one of those gingerbread men, but I believe it was the start of a treasured memory . . . .

I say the start of a memory because it was continued later in my childhood when my parents would take me to visit my dad's brother, my Uncle David Newton, and his family in rural Sanitaria Springs, New York. The close of each Christmas season visit was marked by a gift of one of Aunt Sue's wonderful gingerbread men. I remember holding that bagged cookie on my lap all the way back to our home in Vestal, just waiting for Christmas day when I could finally bite off his head...with gusto!

Which brings us to the question: 
What part of the gingerbread man do you eat first? 

When my children were young, gingerbread men made with Aunt Sue's recipe were an annual tradition . . . one that this year will continue, though it be by the miles between us, with our grandson, William. The recipe, which I first received from my aunt, typed on a 3x5 index card, was entitled Gingerbread Persons. A notation stated that the recipe had been brought from England by my aunt's great great grandmother.

Today I will share that recipe with you. Note that I have changed the name back to the traditional:

Gingerbread Men
Ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark molasses
3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
4 cups flour

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine water, baking soda and molasses and set aside. Combine other ingredients and then add the liquids. It is easier to handle if the dough is formed into a ball and refrigerated for at least one hour. Roll out a portion on a floured board, 1/4 inch thick, and cut out shapes, leaving unused portion in the refrigerator until needed. Place an inch apart on a cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. The cookies will puff up and be soft when they come out of the oven. Allow to rest a moment before removing to cooling rack. Allow to cool thoroughly before decorating with royal icing.

I hope you will enjoy this seasonal treat 
as much as I have in years past.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dark Salvation: The Beginnings of Separation

When I locate a book related to my research, I start out by checking the Index for keywords. Following that I go to the Contents and check chapter titles, focusing on those chapters containing the most keywords. If the book sufficiently interests me I read the entire book; but even then, I may skip over some chapters and go back to them at a later date. Here I have skipped over Chapter IV: Methodism and Slavery, and continue on to Chapter V: The Beginnings of Separation.

While the former chapter may deal with some aspects of collateral families who migrated to North Harlowe following Emancipation, at this point I am most interested in the community's worship before that time. . . when  my husband's great grandfather Isaac Carter and his three younger siblings resided as apprentices in the William Temple household (1853), following the death of their parents.

from Colton's New Topographical Map
of the Eastern Portion of the
State of North Carolina (1861)
According to Mr. Ralph Berlyn Temple of Newport, NC:
Craven County records indicate that William Temple purchased "1,000 acres more or less" at the mouth of Clubfoot Creek and Neuse River on November 27, 1841 from Joseph Davis for $1,000.00 . . . . (p. 4) 
. . . . and it was on Temple's Point Road that Piney Grove AME Zion Church was erected.

Varieties of segregation in worship services
As I read through this chapter, I was especially drawn to the conditions of participation "after 1784 when Methodism became a Church with church buildings, a resident, ordained ministry, a more diverse white membership, and a growing black membership" (p. 64). Benjamin Abbott testified that,
At time of family worship, abundance of black people assembled in the kitchen, and the door was set open that they might hear without coming into the parlor. . . (p. 64).
And on August 12, 1792, Joseph Pilmoor wrote to John Wesley,
As the ground was wet they persuaded me to try to preach within and appointed men to stand at the door to keep all the Negroes out till the white persons were got in, but the house would not hold them . . . (p. 64).
Bishop Richard Allen,
Courtesy NYPL Digital Gallery
In Philadelphia, Richard Allen
joined a Methodist class that met "in the forest"... meeting every other Thursday evening.... Richard not only attended Methodist preaching meetings, but he induced his master to have preaching in his, the master's, home (p. 68).


Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church,
Courtesy BlackPast.org


Richard Allen went on to becoming instrumental in forming the first black Methodist congregation in America in 1794.
Early on in the Ministers and Preachers of Township 5 series, I contemplated a few questions about Isaac Carter's exposure to the faith from the minister William Thomas:
Could it be that my husband's ancestors had been part of a biracial Methodist Episcopal church? . . . or had they broken away into an independent free black Methodist Episcopal congregation sponsored by the white church? . . . had they their own black preachers by 1870? or did they still listen to the white minister's sermons on Sunday morning? Another mystery to ponder. . . .
While I may never know for certain, at this point I tend to believe that just prior to Emancipation, there may have been licensed exhorters and preachers in the free black community of North Harlowe, NC; but, the Methodist Society would've been overseen by a white ordained minister, either in residence or itinerant. Early meetings may have been held at William Temple's home. . . or perhaps in the woods. . . or even in a small community church. And, I can only imagine how young Isaac Carter may have been influenced by the presence of a Methodist minister in the household where he was apprenticed. My next task will be to contact Methodist churches in the area to gather additional Methodist history in the area.


For additional reading:
Richard Allen, The Life, Experience and Gospel Labors of the Rt. Rev. Richard Allen, George A. Singleton, ed. (1960)
John Firth, Experience and Gospel Labors of the Rev. Benjamin Abbot (1801)
Amy Muse, The Story of the Methodists in the Port of Beaufort (1941)