Friday, September 11, 2015

This Week in Texas Methodist History September 13

African American Methodist Preachers Resume Preaching After Civil War, September 15, 1865

One neglected aspect of Texas Methodist history is the role of African Americans in the church before 1865.  Although membership statistics show that sizeable numbers of African American Methodists existed, and the appointments “African Mission” or “Colored Mission” were common, we are frustrated at the lack of our knowledge of the members of the churches and the exhorters, class leaders, and local preachers who led them.  

The scraps of evidence that actually name a pre-1865 Texas Methodist who was African American are very rare.  The most famous is “Uncle Mark” who is known to us from Joseph Sneed’s diary.  Sneed attend one of Uncle Mark’s sermons and was favorable impressed.  The only African American Methodist woman we know by name before 1865 is Cecilia Craft of Bastrop.  Other evidence for African American preachers comes from Francis Wilson’s memoir about preachers at Liberty and the notice that Orceneth Fisher issued local preacher licenses in Brazoria.  

We also know that some preachers such as Elias Dibble who had been preaching before 1865 continued afterwards, and thus we have a better chance of knowing their names.

One interesting document from the Weekly Southern Intelligencer (Austin) of September 15, 1865, gives us two more names.   Here is the article

Isaac and John, two noted preachers of the Methodist persuasion, who have been silent for several years, have again commenced preaching, with the consent of the proper authority.  During the war it was not deemed proper to permit the colored preachers to pursue their calling; but now, the war being over the reasons no longer exist, and they have recommenced preaching.. 


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