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(title page) Autobiography and Work of Bishop M. F. Jamison, D. D. ("Uncle Joe"), Editor, Publisher, and Church Extrension Secretary, A Narration of his Whole Career from the Cradle to the Bishopric of the Colored M. E. Church in America.
(cover) Autobiography and Work of Bishop M. F. Jamison, D. D. ("Uncle Joe")
M. F. Jamison
206 p., ill.
Publishing House of the M. E. Church, South
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IT is true that a complete history of an individual cannot be written while he yet lives. As a full estimate of his true worth and of the effectiveness of his work in the world can be made only after he has passed into the great beyond, yet it is possible in a considerable degree to separate him from his environments and stand him forth conspicuously as the central figure and tell the story of his personal career. Especially may this be true in the case of a distinct personality like that of Bishop M. F. Jamison, D.D., that shines with a luster of the first magnitude among the galaxy of ecclesiastical stars.
Bishop Jamison, known for his predominance as "Uncle Joe," and for his tact and tenacious grasp in dealing with men and measures known also as "Fighting Joe," for many years has been one of the most eminent men of his time. In the ordinary pursuits of life for a livelihood, while but a youth he was thrifty and industrious. As a leader among men he ranks in the foremost circle; as a thinker he has but few equals and no superiors; as a pastor and presiding elder he was the standard by which men were measured; as Church Extension Secretary he set the pace and marked out the way by which men yet follow; as editor of the Christian Index, the official organ of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, and also as editor and publisher of the Christian Advocate of the East Texas Conference, he proved himself a man of business and a writer of the first rank.
On the floor of many a General Conference, true to his honest conviction and unswerving in principle, with his invincible arguments which sent conviction to the hearts of his hearers he won for himself such admiration that
he was elevated to the highest station in the gift of his Church--the bishopric.
To read the history of such a character as is here portrayed will indeed be of much pleasure and profit to the reader. Such is the character essayed in the compass of this volume, which I take pleasure in commending to the thousands who may read its pages.
GEORGE L. TYUS,
President Texas College.
Birthplace--Parentage--Chance to Obtain an Education Made Poor by Slavery--Providential Escape from Death while a Child--Mother Sold from Home--United States Mail Rider--Story of Slavery.
IN the sunny hills of Georgia, the Empire State of the South, near the city of Rome, I was born a slave November 27, 1848. My father and mother, George and Lethia Shorter, were owned as slaves by a Mr. Alford Shorter. Mr. Shorter having moved from Georgia to Greensport, Ala., my mother and her two sons, Frank (the writer) and John, were sold to a Mr. Eli Denson.
By virtue of the many evils which accompanied slavery and the period of time which it held me within its grasp, it was impossible for me to obtain an education in the plastic period of my life. The first incident of my childhood which I can recall from experience was strange and perilous in the extreme. When I was but four years of age my mother and some other women were washing near a deep well. I being a lively and mischievous prattler, to keep me from this well, which was almost full of water, was a hard task. Finally, when no one was suspecting any danger, while playing I tumbled into the well. As I was about to drown-- in fact, sinking the last time--they discovered it. A
rush was made, and they succeeded in rescuing me from the well. They rolled me in blankets while I was in a state of absolute unconsciousness and seemed really to be in another world. While in this unconscious state I shall never forget the strange visions which greeted my sight. The whole of the sixth chapter of Zechariah became visible to me. The horses were rushing to and fro as described in that chapter. O what a sight! The mountains were truly brass and appeared so terribly grand. Flying chariots came rushing with their red, black, white, grizzled, and bay horses. It was always a great wonder to me, and I have wondered a thousand times why it was revealed to me at such a time. I have never been able to fathom its import. It seemed that I could have remained there always with perfect ease. I decided that it must have been the "borderland;" and if so, I feel, with the experience of time, that I was in a very unsafe land--a land of war and strife with all the attending evils.
Now, it would have been far better to have passed on to the land beyond or swing back to earth again, for a borderland is the most unsafe land in which to dwell on account of its roaming herds of wild beasts, marauding, vicious men, and dangers too numerous to mention. Yet there are thousands of Christians today who are dwelling in the borderland, in the twilight, between the Church and the world. Some may think this unreasonable; and if so, they have but to reflect a moment and consider how the sinner must of necessity cross the borderland in coming to Christ. If he stops and remains in the borderland, he never enjoys peace with God, but dies a horrible death, because
Christ cannot save the sinner in that land which borders Canaan. It is true that by his Spirit he assists the sinner in passing through, but the sinner does not enjoy full salvation until he passes the border line.
While living near Greensport I was mail rider between Greensport and Asheville. In those days there were no mail robbers as now, hence I was never disturbed.
These were the golden days of my youth; but about this time Mr. Denson's son Willie ran heels over head in debt, which almost bankrupted his father. This necessitated the selling of several of his slaves, among whom was my mother. A most interesting feature of this sale was how it was effected. The white people pretended to have very urgent business in Rome, Ga., seventy-five miles from Greensport, so they fitted up things for a round trip overland. They carried with them three or four of their slaves, mother in the number. At the appointed time all returned home except my mother and another, though my old Mrs. Polly continued to promise me that my mother would certainly return at such and such a time. For about two months she kept my poor heart assured of mother's return; but finally her promises lost their effect on my mind, so to sit by her and cry about mother became a part of my daily life. After a long time word came that my mother had been sold to a Mr. Robert Jamison, who lived six miles northeast of Talladega, Ala. I am not sure that my old Mrs. Polly knew up to this time where my mother really was. At any rate, I disturbed her so that she compelled old man Denson to take Frank and John to their mother and to attempt
a trade with old man Jamison which would bring us all together. The Densons were Christians of the first class, and could not bear the idea of separating mother and children.
Purchasing a new suit of clothes for each of us, old man Denson started for Mr. Robert Jamison's, carrying Frank and John along with him. A day's drive in a buggy landed us at Mr. Jamison's. It was a pretty place, really beautiful--a large farm with nice surroundings. But there was something of a novelty about it to the newcomers. What was it? Why, the cotton patch--no, not patch, but field. We had never seen cotton grown upon such a large scale before. We were once more with mother, however, and that fact absorbed all things. Mother was the house waiter and among the first to meet and embrace us. We were at last contented, and retired with the hope that we would ever be with mother thereafter.
Bright and early the next morning we were at the horse lot playing and leaping like harts. While we were thus engaged the two old white men were trying to effect a trade for us. But they disagreed as to the prices to be paid, and about ten o'clock we were called to get ready to start away.
"Where are you going with us, master?" inquired Frank. "Going to Talladega," was the soft answer. This almost killed me, hence I resumed my crying. It was quite painful to Mr. Denson, for he tried repeatedly to pacify me, and at times seemed almost ready to join me in my weeping. "O," thought he, "slavery is an eternal curse !" John was too young to comprehend the situation, hence he was as cheerful as a
lark and many times tried to assist Mr. Denson in quieting me; but it was all useless, for I felt that I must cry, and cry I did.
We finally reached Talladega, and were soon being examined by many who thought of buying us. But I cried so, it is said, that I broke the hearts of them all. It was the high price asked that prevented the getting together. I was but nine years of age, yet Mr. Denson wanted eight hundred and fifty dollars for me or sixteen hundred dollars for the two. No one bought us, so we were left in the hands of Messrs. Best and Stone, two traders. They were to sell us if an opportunity permitted. Mr. Stone took Frank to his home in the city, and Mr. Tom Best did the same with John. Thus it became worse than ever, for each of us had a different home. I finally settled down to things and took them easily.
Neither of these traders kept more than three or four servants at his home, for they had farms miles away from town. I was a young priest about the house of Mr. Stone. They used to send me to the little field near which the white boys' college stood (now the college of colored boys and girls) to sprout and knock down cotton stalks.
There was a young girl who was subject to fits. She was sent with me, and while we were chatting one day she had a fit. Not knowing anything about fits, I thought she was playing some sort of a new prank on me, so I gathered a switch and began whipping her. Fortunately, there was a man plowing near by who came to her rescue and assisted her in some way, I know not how, but he brought her to her senses.
The white boys at the college were numerous and of all kinds. Many bloody fights often occurred among them. Colored boys had no show in those days, as reading and writing was unknown among them. It was not lawful for negroes to read and write; and if some should happen to steal a chance to learn it from the white boys, they endangered their sight, for in some cases their eyes were put out. Very much depended upon the kindness of their owners. Thus my chance to become educated was indeed limited.
But now spring came, and everybody had to chop cotton. So they carried Frank and his brother John to the plantation of Mr. Tom Best, nine miles northeast of Talladega. Here we were shown for the first time the true meaning of slavery. All our lives we had been free as compared to the treatment received at Mr. Tom Best's.
There were two overseers, a Mr. Taylor, a white man, and Aunt Harrietta Best, a colored woman. Of the two, the white man was the kinder and easier to please. Aunt Harrietta, as she was called, was the most cruel creature in the form of a human being that I had ever seen. She would cut and slay right and left. During each day she would lay it on to some of us. In fact, we children took her for the devil untied, and we were not much mistaken.
Near Mr. Best's farm lived a Mr. Gooden, whose overseer carried with him wherever he went a little black fellow about five years of age. Many a hot day this man would bring this little chap into the field and cause him to preach to the boys, about fifteen in number. He would preach and preach; and when well in
the midst of his sermon, he would shout aloud: "My heart's alive! My heart's alive!" O, it was certainly amusing to the newcomers, who would be hoeing cotton, two in a row. This little fellow created so much mirth that even Aunt Harrietta would smile. I say smile because she laughed very seldom. I shall never forget Aunt Harrietta.
While all this devilment was going on out at Tom Best's, my mother was praying for her boys to return to her. Her prayers were answered, for in September of the same year Mr. Jamison bought us (the boys).
Thus ended the first twelve years of my life. Up to this time I knew not God, and really did not know there was a God. True, I can remember something of mother's going to church with the white people, and sometimes I went along with them; but I could not understand the preacher, for the people, white and colored, all shouted so while he preached. When mother shouted, I would cry. That I was so devoted to her, I guess, accounted for it.
The situation at Mr. Jamison's was entirely different and presented a new state of things. Mr. Robert Jamison was an old man about seventy years of age. His first wife having died, he made the mistake which is so common among men and women nowadays-- that is, marrying persons much younger than themselves. He married a Miss Sallie Hankle, who became the mother of three beautiful children. I loved her; for of all the boys, I appeared to be her favorite. It was here that I formed the best associations of my youth.
Old man Jamison, being too old and frail to attend to the farm, had overseers, of course; and he also had men who
never allowed any man to whip them but their master. So whenever he employed overseers he would tell them whom they could whip and whom they could not whip. But at times the overseers would go beyond their limits and attempt to whip those who were forbidden to be whipped. Then there was somebody hurt; for if Bob Anderson and others were tackled, they would fight at any cost the man who attempted to whip them. I was but a boy, yet I remember that once it rained too much to go to the field, so we all worked the road. Dave Irvin was overseer--a mean, selfish bigot. That morning he concluded that he was authorized to whip going and coming. Being young and foolish, he was going to whip Bob. He commanded him to lay aside his shovel and come out. "Lay off your coat, sir; I am going to whip you this morning." "No; no man whips me but old master," said Bob. Bob knocked him down, and would have beaten him shamefully had he not been taken off of him. Irvin cried out for help, but we laughed. As soon as Irvin was freed from Bob he went for old master, requesting him to come down and correct Bob. O, it was so cruel of Mr. Jamison to leave Bob to the mercy of that beastly Dave Irvin, yet that is what he did. He tied Bob, stripped him, and told the beastly Dave to take his satisfaction out of him. Dave whipped him until we all felt like going out there in the woods and putting an end to him, let come what might. The greatest objection I had to old man Jamison was his disregard for the feelings and rights of men because they were slaves. It was not a question of justice when it came to a dispute between overseers and slaves. He always took it for granted that the overseers
were right, and generally gave one over into their hands; and therefore many negroes went to the woods or ran away before submitting to it.
They had an old man by the name of Dick Jamison who was known as head man. He had two sons, Bob and Noah Anderson. His only daughter was Patsy. She was really pretty and, indeed, beautiful to behold. Dave Irvin, the overseer, outraged her by brute force. For this act the bitterest hatred was heaped upon him.
Old man Dick was Mr. Jamison's most trusted servant; yet he was deceptive, and would sometimes get even with those whom he disliked by falsely telling tales. John, Orange, Elisha, Noah, Stephen, John (my brother), and Steve were my equals as playmates. Noah was near my size; and many times did he contend manfully in fights with me, but could never become winner in a single round. So one day we fought one of the hardest of all our fights. Old man Dick, his father, must have witnessed this fight, which was our last one. Both of us felt perfectly willing to close the fighting scenes thereafter, but old man Dick promised himself to even up with me. How to succeed in so doing was the question. I suppose it must have been twelve months or more before his opportunity presented itself, but to my sorrow it came at last. It being the season of fodder-pulling, old Uncle Charles and I were left at the house to pack away the fodder as it was brought in from the field. It happened to be so one day when Mr. Jamison decided to go visiting. Steve was the boy who generally drove the master's carriage. The horses were usually turned into the pasture, except those that were to be used for the carriage. On this day
these were left in the lot, and of course had to be watered at noon. Old man Dick had his son Noah and me to take them to water. This being done, I inquired what should be done with them after watering. "Put them in the pasture," was the answer. So away I went to put mine in the pasture; but Noah was told, after I had gone, to put his back in the lot. Somebody was acting wrongly, because if one went to the pasture both should go; but I contented myself with the fact that I was obeying the orders of the head man. Noah was too, but I did not know it. I was ignorant of the trap into which they were getting me. I was absolutely innocent as to any wrong intention. At about half past two o'clock in the afternoon there was a great stir downstairs in the barn. We stopped to learn what the trouble was, and found that it was Steve and old master ripping and roaring about one of the horses being gone. "Where is the horse?" said old master. "In the pasture," answered Steve. "Who put him in there?" he asked. "Frank," answered Steve. "Where's Frank?" was asked. "He's overhead in the loft packing fodder," said Steve. "Bring him down here," said old master. "Frank," said Steve, "old master said come down there." I went down, and then old master was on me like a "duck on a June bug." He pinched me, pulled my ears, gouged my eyes, kicked and abused me shamefully. All this he did before hearing a word from me in my defense. Finally I got a chance to say: "Uncle Dick told me to put him in the pasture." Then he turned off, saying he would ask Dick, and if Dick denied it he would whip me to-morrow. Uncle Dick was out in the fodder field. I went aloft and told
Uncle Charles what master said he would do in case old man Dick denied telling me to put the horse in the pasture. "You will be whipped again then," said he, "for old Dick will be mighty apt to deny it."
Night came, and old master called old man Dick up to the house. I do not know what passed between them, but, whatever it was, it proved unfavorable to me. That much was manifested about noon the next day. I went to fetch some drinking water. Passing the front gate on returning, a Mr. --, brother-in-law of Mr. Jamison, was at the gate under instructions to detain me until old master came out with his switches. "Your master said to wait until he returns," said the man. "I ain't got time. Uncle Charles told me to hurry back," said I; and I was going right on, too, for I meant no foolishness that day. I felt almost willing to fight my old master, but was not large enough to hope to get the best of him; so I stopped upon being halted by him.
Standing with my pail on my head, I waited to see what he would do. "Pull off them breeches," he demanded. I whined, saying, "I ain't done nothing," and I refused to do it; but two men were stronger than one little boy, hence they soon had my breeches off, and the old master "wore me out," saying he would show me how to resist him after telling him lies. "I don't want to live wid you," I murmured. "I will never stay here. If you don't sell me, I'll go to the Yankees." "You will never live to be grown. You will be hung, you son of a--," said he.
Thus old man Dick was even with me for whipping his son Noah.
The Civil War on the Eve of Closing--Carrying the News of the Approaching Yankees--News of Freedom--Death of Lincoln.
THE Civil War had been raging in full, and was now nearing its close. We were all thinking of freedom and its attendant blessings. Though sad as it may be and sad as it was, the blessings freedom had in store for Uncle Dick, Bob, and Anderson were of short duration; for the war closed in April, 1865, and in February, 1866, the smallpox broke out in Talladega and spread over the country around. These and many others caught it. Many died from the disease, and among them were old man Dick and Bob and Anderson, his two grown sons. Hence I lived to see Uncle Dick taken before God the Just.
Anderson had married a refugee woman in Talladega, whom he went to see every Saturday evening. The war had softened the hearts of many white people or changed their views so that not much objection was made to negroes visiting their wives.
The Yankees had made several raids through our portion of Alabama; and at the time of such raids we would gather up the horses, mules, meat, sugar, coffee, and flour and go to the mountains. After a few days the Yankees left, and we returned home with the stock unhurt. The white people always remained at home and left the provisions, horses, and mules in our care; and, as a matter of course, we always cared well for
the stock, but would always eat the best of the provisions.
It was distressing when runners were sent out to herald the news of the approaching Yankees. One man would sometimes have to ride fifty miles sounding the alarm. Coming by our place about four o'clock in the morning, he would shout: "The Yankees! the Yankees!" We were up with a bound, for old master was extending this thrilling cry. The runner would continue to cry, "The Yankees are coming!" until everybody on the place was aroused. "O Frank, take a mule and carry the news to Mr. Carter's; John, you do the same to your Master Shack's; Adam, you go to Mrs. Curry's." Thus old master sent us flying to the neighbors round about.
I was up and off like a rider myself, for it was in the pride of my life that I rode that dark morning before day. I went in a lope all the way to Mr. Carter's, and attempted to do the same on my return home, but had not gotten far before reaching a mudhole in the road. My trusty mule dashed to one side of the road to shun the mud and ran under the branches of a tree, which came near resulting in the loss of my eyes. I was done for that day, Yankees or no Yankees.
Returning home, to my sad surprise everybody had gone to the mountains. I went straight to my house and went to bed in great pain. Finally Miss Sallie came down there and tried to scare me off to the woods by telling me that the Yankees would catch me and carry me off from mother; but that eye was giving me more trouble than I feared would come from the Yankees, so I kept my bed. The dreaded Yankees failed to come
to our place this time; and at times, acting like a summer cloud, they went around. One knowing my age would think that I would have been afraid to make that trip. But I was my mother's "little man." Many a cold night, when the earth was white with snow, did I go miles away on errands for mother, as I was her tradesman.
Old man Joe Hall lived near us, and I traded a great deal with his people for my mother. This took me away from home many rainy nights when it was so dark that I would have to push along assisted by the light of the lightning. No, I was not afraid. Indeed, while writing this (1889) it seems to me that I can hear the tramping feet as they crushed the snow beneath them in the cold nights of 1862, 1863, and 1864. I was but a chump of a boy, too young to court the girls who loved me.
One day the white folks received good news from the war, and things about the house wore a different appearance. Old master was everywhere, cheery and lively; and, best of all, he was in a good humor. "What's the news?" "Why, old Lincoln is dead." "Dar, by George! I told you boys you would never be free," said Adam.
That "good news" plunged us into the deepest gloom. Not only was Mr. Lincoln dead, but the spirit of the boys died then and there. But that did not end the war. The battles went on, and in a few days news--good news-- came that we were all free. Who brought the news? Why, the birds that chanted on the branches of trees sang to us the news: "Free, free, free indeed!" "Boys, wait a while; Anderson will be in from town pretty
soon, and then we shall know the truth of this matter."
Things looked dead about the big house. Finally Anderson was sighted. Old master beat us to him. "What's the news, Anderson?" "Why, master, the town is full of Yankees, and they told me I was freed from my master." "Great heavens! What's that?" All of the boys sprang into life again.
New Aspect of Things--Some Conditions That I Observed in the Camps Which Corrupted the Morals of Negro Women--On Government Works Down in Mobile-- Experience in a Hospital--Learning to Hate Strong Drinks.
FREEDOM now having been declared, a new aspect of things was readily seen. The old master agreed to share with the negroes in the crop, and they all agreed to remain; but I left at once and went to the Yankees. I was now even with old master for the whipping he wrongfully gave me. I had never forgotten it. I wanted none of his crops. I cannot say that my course was better than that of the others who remained with old master, for I really think that it would have proved much more beneficial to my real comfort to have remained at home; but that unjust thrashing he gave me stuck to me so intensely that I decided upon the moment what to do.
I wish to say just here to the reader that the smallpox which seemed to have swept the country during the winter of 1865 was, it is sad to say, mostly the result of the wickedness of the freed people. I found on reaching town hundreds of these people in camps around the towns, and they had to draw supplies from the government. If this state of affairs could have been avoided, the moral standing of the colored women would have been much higher; but being thrown among soldiers who disregarded their chastity, we should not wonder that thousands of girls whose virtue was as pure
as could be were ruined in these camps. But negro women and girls were not the only victims of this evil and wicked influence. Many of our best and purest white women became the victims of them.
The negro part of society was so exultant over its freedom that nothing appealed to its reason. The other part was so cast down and dejected that nothing could cheer nor stimulate it to thinking. The Yankees and the freedmen had all the glory, and the Southern masters and their families had all the woes. God's justice was taking vengeance upon the hard and cruel masters of the South.
While the war was raging, the blacks were giving themselves over to balls and dances. I can remember when we would walk ten miles, dance all night, and go home after daylight next morning. The time of patrolling negroes had passed. All men who were fitted for such mean work found a better place for it on the field of battle among their comrades who were bleeding and dying while the negro was frolicking and flying.
It was the negroes' time to frolic, and they made much of it. Indeed, they went too far. Samuel Jamison's mill seemed to have been the selected place, and here the gatherings were held by the hundreds. One night it was said that the ball was going to be held at Master Shack's. We went there, only to learn that it was to be held at Master Sam's, three miles farther. Turning north, we struck out, fully determined to dance there that night. The larger boys outtraveled the smaller ones; and just as they crossed the bridge they met what they took for a little squad of soldiers, but who really proved to be patrolers. It was a complete
trap. They soon surrounded the boys and had them; but suddenly Adam made a dash, and was gone over a fence into a field with the men flying after him, but all to no effect. With Adam's dash several of the others followed. So, after all, the main birds--big birds--were out of danger. These patrolers, however, had the small boys, whom they gave a light brushing. Then, pushing south, they passed within twenty feet of me and three others without knowing it. That was the closest I ever got to any patrolers. While waiting in our hiding place the other boys came along, feeling quite sad that they had missed their dance and had caught a thrashing. In fact, there was no ball that night. We came out of our hiding place and joined them in their homeward tramp, but did not talk much until the next day. Adam turned up all right next morning. A nine-mile walk and run was all he enjoyed that night.
Uncle Charles Hall was a kind of hoodoo. He could prevent the white folks from mistreating you, hence those of us who could believe in such would visit him and have him "fix" us. He would make us "jacks" and direct us where to get certain kinds of roots to chew and to anoint with three times daily. This we did, for Mr. Golden, the overseer, was pretty tight on us. The most amusing sight was presented when the overseer would ride among us. Every little fellow would begin to chew his root and spit toward the overseer. One day Noah spit too close to him, and he took offense at it; and in spite of Noah's roots the overseer "wore him out." I laughed so that the overseer, not knowing why I laughed, turned on me; but I could not help it, for I would have laughed at any
not know or imagine how sad a place the hospital is unless he himself has suffered in one of them. I suppose there must have been more than two hundred patients there, and they were of the very sickest nature too. I was not a Christian, yet I felt as though I were willing to die. I cannot say that I would have been saved, because I knew not Christ as my only Saviour. I went home in my visions, and every time I dropped into a slumber I was happy and merry with brother. But O there was a sight which greeted my eyes which was most appalling! The dead were being carried out night and day, many of whom were being poisoned to death by wicked doctors and cruel nurses. These nurses seemed to have been devoid of souls. They had lost all sympathy for the suffering, and if the sick were restless they would whip them with straps; and if that failed to quiet them a kind of red medicine, which never failed to kill within three hours, was given them. How sad was the sight! There were two colored men in my room as nurses. One of them said to me: "My child, you must grin and endure it; but avoid making a noise or they will kill you." I heeded that advice as best I could. Finally the doctor visited me and remarked in my hearing: "He is a sick lad." I told him by my pitiable looks to help me or I would die. He turned to the nurses and directed them to cup my head. This was very painful at first, but finally gave ease. I was lying quietly one day when one of the colored nurses said that I was getting better and asked me what I would give him to have me well enough to go home at a certain time. "All I've got, sir," was my reply. And just as sure as that time came I was well
and ready to go out of the hospital. God bless that man! And yet he was no voodoo.
Imagine the feelings of the men, who had heard that I was dead, when I met them at supper one night. Indeed, some of them could not help but shed tears of joy. I was going home, and we slept but little that night. All sent some word home by me. On Friday evening I boarded the Reindeer and was off for Selma. Reaching that city Sunday morning, I laid over until Monday morning; then, taking the cars for Talladega, I was soon flying homeward. I walked in on mother without her being aware of my coming.
I have not space to give my readers an account of the cruelty to the hands on the breastworks, but must close this part of my narrative by saying that I providentially received nothing but kindness during my stay there save a scolding given me one day by Mr. Thomas Green, the boss, for which I cried most heartily. Old Mr. Green went from our neighborhood as boss in charge of the hands from our section. He was a clever gentleman, and a scolding from him went as hard with me as a whipping. It was on account of the tenderness of heart of his sub-boss that I was put to carrying water, he having seen that I was not strong enough to roll a wheelbarrow up the steep inclined plane. Not knowing this, Mr. Green gave me the harsh scolding, telling me that if I didn't get a wheelbarrow and get to work he would give me a flogging. I got the barrow, but could not wheel it. By this time General Armstrong, the field marshal, with his aides, came riding up to inspect things. The sub-boss hurried me off after water, thus saving me from being killed, as General
Armstrong and his aides usually whipped to kill. They were mad at negroes, anyway, about the war, and they whipped cruelly. The General is now dead and gone to his reward.
I learned to hate strong drinks in 1866, and have never craved them from that day to this. The Hon. John Dodwell was of wealthy parents, but this did not create in his heart that high sense of manliness which should be cherished in the breasts of all young men who are descendants of good parents. One day he hired a horse and buggy and carried me along as his driver. A twenty-mile drive landed us at the Coosa River, in St. Clair County, Ala. We carried two bottles of the best whisky and a jug of the very best brandy. John drank to great excess, and I tried to keep time with him, drinking as often as he did. When I had taken the fourth drink, he cautioned me not to get drunk. I assured him that I could stand it as long as he could, and we went on with the evil sport. As we reached the twelfth mile board I was driving at a fearful rate. The trees were flying in one direction and we in another. We had quit the big road and taken one which forbade fast going. Suddenly there was a great crash, leaving nothing "uncrashed" but our faithful horse. The buggy was smashed and its contents heaped in a pile. One of the wheels went to pieces. "Frank, are you drunk?" said John. "No, I ain't drunk," I replied. "Well, you've gotten us into a -- of a fix out here. What are you going to do?" he said. "I'm going back to a neighbor's." I soon returned, bringing with me another wheel. We put it on and pushed on to the river. On reaching the river I could not tell
which way it was flowing, I was so drunk. The ferryman put us across, and John took the horse and buggy and drove on to the house, leaving me to come on as best I could. Each side of the road was mine, for I could not go straight on; but I finally reached the house and took possession of it until the hands came in from the field. Every one at the house stood aside as I ordered him. John's grown sisters and his mother were there, and they all obeyed my orders. When the hands came in I had about exhausted myself, and it was an easy matter to put me to bed.
Next morning I felt all broken up. Mr. George Dodwell wanted to thrash me that morning, but John forbade him; so I went unwhipped for my sins. I resolved from that day never to get drunk again; and though twenty-two years have passed, I have thus far kept my promise. I will say to all young men: Don't be given to strong drinks, if you wish to be a great man.
Leaving Home and Going to the Yankees--My First Lover --Religious Awakening among the People--Rage of Smallpox--Death of Mother--Converted and Joined the Church--Call to the Ministry.
I WAS absorbed and lost in the whirl of things on reaching Talladega. The question that confronted me was, Where was I to lodge, live, or get support? as the Yankees had no work for me to do. My mother soon came and hired to Dr. McCallipen as cook. This brought my brother John to town also. Soon he and I hired to the Dodwells. Now we were happy and doing well, though our pay was small. Prior to mother's moving to town I used to go back to see her. This was offensive to old master, who threatened to thrash me in case he caught me on the place. It was said that they watched for me, but I don't believe they did. However, I was armed, and woe to them had they bothered me! One morning I was returning to town and met Miss Amanda Adams. She spread the news that I went armed, after which no one interfered with me.
I loved Amanda Lewis, who lived a mile from Mr. Jamison's. We were but children. However, we loved each other with all the fervor that is implied by that term. About the first of January, 1865, her owner sent her to Columbiana, forty-six miles away. We sat up nearly all night, just as though we were grown persons; and when the train came next morning I cried. I promised her that I would visit her soon, but some of her brothers told her to look for the general judgment
when she saw me in Columbiana. This created much laughter. True to my word, as soon as the Yankees declared us free and started trains to Selma I was aboard one pleasant May morning and off to Columbiana, where I arrived and went straight out to see Miss Amanda. "O, is this you?" she exclaimed. "It is," was the reply. I was there, and yet no general judgment has come. But, after all, some one else married the girl I first loved.
It is with much pleasure that I reflect upon the years of 1859, 1860, and 1862. Those days were noted for the great religious awakening which seemed to be deeply fixed within the souls of the people, white and colored.
Uncle Henry Seay was the most celebrated colored Methodist preacher of his day. Red Bone, Owen Springs, and other churches were made the scenes of great rejoicing by his preaching. He used to preach on the plantations to the masters and their slaves. I speak the truth when I say that Uncle Henry Seay made all of his hearers have a high hope of heaven. There was power in his speaking. Many went into a trance while listening to him.
Rev. Mr. Patterson was another powerful preacher. Though a white minister, he generally stirred up the people. I have seen Owen's Chapel all ablaze with religious fervor, with more than a hundred souls crying for mercy. I hear them shouting even now, with thirty years intervening. Revs. Seay, Patterson, and Joe Gross seemed to have been walking with Christ, and nothing else was so dear and precious to their souls.
These have all fallen asleep--dropped their mantles
and gone up higher. The last time I saw Rev. Henry Seay he was in Talladega during the time of Yankeedom. In June, 1865, a large Yankee preacher preached for the people at the white people's church. Uncle Henry shared with him in the glories of that June Sunday. It was hard to tell which one was the most exultant. The Yankee minister had met a people toward whom his soul had often turned, and seemed to have lost sight of everything else. But there was Rev. Seay, to whom the Yankee minister was everything but Christ. That Yankee minister might have been taken for a savior. He looked every inch a Christian.
I shall relate here another incident which occurred near Talladega. Mother and Dr. Callipen's family had the smallpox. At that time I was hired to a Mr. Boswell, whose rules did not allow any passing to and from town. I had not seen my mother in three weeks. I wanted to go to see her regardless of the smallpox, yet I disliked very much to break the rule. There were some pretty girls at Boswell's, and I was attending a night school there, which they all attended, with Miss Dollie as teacher. It was this which caused me to respect the rules so long. I knew that I should have gone and attended to my mother; but if I did, I would have to withdraw from this society of sweet girls, which I was loath to do. But finally we boys went hunting one night; and unfortunately for me, we went within four miles of town, and I determined to visit mother. I did so, and found her quite sick with that dreaded disease smallpox. I did what I could for her and finally went to sleep. When I awoke it was daylight, and I was five miles from home (Boswell's). I went five miles in an
hour, but was ten minutes late. When I reached the top of the hill overlooking the place, I heard them calling and inquiring for me. Mr. Boswell asked me where I had been. I told him: "Down the road apiece." "You have been to town," he said. I refused to deny the charge, and this seemed to pain him, for he hated to drive me off. "I'll see ma," he said, referring to Mrs. Boswell; "and if she consents, you may stay here." But she said: "No; he will give us the smallpox." So I left and went to mother, and there I remained until she recovered.
I then went to Jamison's mill and hired out. It was there that the smallpox had been raging, and it was there also that Uncle Dick and his two sons had died of it. I had been there just one week when I too took the smallpox, and they sent me back to town. I was two days walking the nine miles. I got as far as General McClellan's the first day, and went to the fodder loft and put up for the night. Before day the next morning some white men came to feed their horses. They took fodder off of me and did not know that I was there ill with smallpox. A few minutes afterwards others came and did the same; and when they had gone, I pulled out and crept off from that dangerous hiding place and was off again for town. Reaching town, I went to mother's. They fed me and sent me to the hospital.
I tried to get religion out there, but the devil chased me so that I gave it up. There were seventeen cases in the hospital. All got well but Uncle Jack, who was blind and without religion. When he learned that I was seeking religion, he asked me to take him along
to the place of prayer. I did so, and on reaching the place we sang and prayed. We sang only two songs, "Amazing Grace" and "Hark! from the Tomb." These were all he knew.
Finally I was pronounced well and was made nurse in the hospital, remaining one month. I continued praying, and the devil chased me so at night that I knew not what to do. When I went to have my voucher cashed, the Yankee postmaster paid it, but said some older person ought to have that easy job. I then quit, but they could get no person in my place. Uncle Jack died, and they had to hire me to help bury him. I do not know whether or not he succeeded in finding peace for his soul. I know that I didn't. In fact, I decided that I could not.
I shall always remember Aunt Rose Bowie. Had I been deprived of her most tender care, I would have died also. I know not where she is now. Mother died the same year (1866).
Talladega was too poor, and too many people were there, hence I went south in search of better wages. I passed through Selma and lodged at Newbern, where the renters of a Mr. Rommore's farm hired me. This was where they raised cotton on a large scale, hence it was common to see from one hundred and fifty to two hundred hands on one farm.
I witnessed a powerful awakening, religiously speaking. It capped the climax of all I had ever seen. But there was a great deal of dancing going on over at Mr. Scott's; and instead of my enlisting with the Christians, under the leadership of Uncle Chris and O. C. Ola, I followed Eli, the leader of the dances.
Our wages were from twelve to fifteen dollars per month. They were good wages for Alabama. We ought to have saved money, but instead used it in dressing and frolicking. The girls dressed as "fine as fiddles," and we tried to follow the fashions.
Those religious people started me to thinking about my soul as I had never thought before. Indeed, I was made sensible of the condition of my poor soul. Then, too, religion appeared so precious to those people that it truly enticed me. One could hardly resist the temptation to go and be saved. I tried hard to resist, but found it useless. I was standing one night listening to the minister when all at once I was on my knees pleading for mercy. Though when the meeting was dismissed I was still unsaved, I determined to be saved and set out fully resolved to be within the next two weeks. But at the expiration of the two weeks I felt that I was no nearer salvation than at first. Yet I was really much nearer. At any rate, I resolved to continue seeking salvation, believing the fault to be with me.
At the close of the third week, on Saturday, I retired to the woods, preferring to spend the day there rather than go to the political speaking which was to be held that day. About noon I realized the forgiveness of my sins. I was happy in the salvation of which I had long heard. I returned to the house to tell the leader the joyful news. This the adversary of my soul tried to prevent. He cowed me for a while, but it had to be told. I told it and felt better, but he caused me to doubt; hence I sought for a clearer evidence of salvation. I found it, enjoyed it, and joined the Church under Rev. Mr. McCann, the white minister of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, South, in Newbern, Ala., October, 1867. I shall not forget the time and place when my deliverance came. The power of God spread miles and miles around.
The preachers in those days were a power among the people--Revs. Henry Stephens, O. C. Ola, Chris Noe, Frank and Nathan Drake, all of whom were Methodists except Stephens. Drake and Stephens were the most powerful preachers I ever heard. Thousands of people flocked to Newbern, Greensboro, and Uniontown to hear them.
Lack of space forbids my giving a full account of the girls and boys whose association I enjoyed in these meetings.
In 1868 I lived with Thomas Mogan within five miles of Uniontown. The army worms ate up the crops that year, hence the hands got nothing. That was the most painful and most unfortunate year of my Christian life. I began to backslide by dancing upon two occasions, and did many things unlawful for a Christian to do. I was a long time forgiving myself for those acts. But, thank God, in the fall of 1868 I was thrown into a happy revival over at Mr. Henry Stollingworth's, conducted by Rev. Henry Hutchinson, an evangelist. That old gray-headed Christian brought eighty-five souls to Christ within six weeks. Sinners were converted night and day, in the fields as well as at services. He rarely closed a service without souls being converted. Alex Picken, Lee Andrews, Manuel, Naze Reese, Catherine Washington, Elizabeth Bryant, and scores of others were saved. I was reclaimed during the meeting, praise the Lord! I must ever thank him for it. I had been
in a dark desert place, but now I had once more reached the lighted land of corn and wine.
I was moved to preach by some unknown power in the year 1869; but knowing nothing to preach, I resisted it until 1870. I could no longer resist, hence Jasper Ward and I applied to Rev. Hillard for license to exhort, which was granted after a close examination. We ran well for a season, going from place to place exhorting and preaching. I say preaching because Brother Ward could preach, but somehow or other he always made me lead the sermon. I was the best reader and, unfortunately for him, I was soon considered the best preacher. This was very chafing to Brother Ward, who loved the praise of men. Still he was ever ready to preach with me; in fact, he enjoyed it. The sisters shouted when Brother Ward preached; they listened when I preached. Brother Ward swept things like an ocean's wave; I floated things like a slow-flowing river,
The new church having been completed, Brother Ward and I were thrown upon our studies in the presence of a large congregation. I led the way, as usual, after consulting him as to the text; and being allowed to take my choice, I selected the seventh verse of the thirteenth chapter of Zechariah: "Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered; and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones." I tried myself on that day, explaining as best I could the meaning of the sword, the shepherd, the smiting, and the little ones, winding up with the little ones. When I sat down, one could not hear himself for the noise of shouting and crying. They
said they did not believe that it was in me to move the people as I did on that Sabbath. Now, I could do nothing of myself in the matter of preaching; but bright and early that morning I was with Jesus, who gave me much power and thought and a tongue to deliver the power and thought to others. Poor Brother Ward was outgeneraled on that day. When he attempted to close after me, he was drowned out by the uproar of the people. The whole truth is, Brother Ward failed to prepare himself. He always relied upon his noise to carry him through. I had selected a text with which he seemed entirely unacquainted, and this exposed him to the public.
After that I had to go along without Brother Ward. It is painful to say that he afterwards sought to lower me in the estimation of the people, and he succeeded in so doing to some extent. I remember that when the pastor at Uniontown, a Rev. Mason, died, the officials selected me to fill his pulpit the following Sabbath. This annoyed me. I felt my inability to preach in town. I thought the people were too wise. But I had to go. Brother Williams drove me to Uniontown in his buggy that morning, a distance of about five miles. A large congregation was out to hear the young minister. I confess that it was a real cross, which I felt very unwilling to bear. The greater portion of those present were young critics who were attending school. I announced as my text "Jesus wept" (John xi. 35). I had occasion to repeat the text very often; and as I would say, "Jesus wept," some of these critics would repeat it after me, which made the others giggle heartily. They said that I had tried to be overproper. The
Christians prayed for me; and as soon as I realized it I was enabled to dismiss my fears and timidity. I had about finished two-thirds of my discourse when I discovered that the Spirit was moving among the people. Many shouted, many cried, and the game makers were loudest in the crying. O, I was so thankful and happy! That day's work was long remembered, and gave me a mighty reputation as a preacher. Our home folks were not ashamed of "Jimmy," as they called me, anywhere.
But, after all, one Sunday at Mr. Stollingworth's they were really sorry for me. Brother Henson had lingered a long time with a disease which set at naught the skill of our best physicians. They all had about given him up to die when a hoodoo doctor, Noe Franks, a so-called preacher, was sent for, who visited Brother Henson several times, saying he was "tricked" and that he could cure him; but he never cured him, of course. Shortly afterwards they sent for another doctor of the same class. He came one Sunday morning and announced that he could do great wonders. He told the boys that he could tell who spoke well of him; that he could get in a wagon, sit down, and they could not move it even though they might hitch six mules to it. When I heard this, I told the boys that he was a fraud of the first rank, and that if they would hitch six mules to a wagon I would make them run away and break his neck. They cautioned me, saying that the old man might "fix me," though I was careless about it. When he called on Brother Henson, he too said that Henson was conjured or tricked and wanted the largest green pumpkin brought to him, with which he would cure Brother Henson. "You shall have it," said Naze Reese.
"Yes, and fifty dollars in the bargain if you can cure Henson," said I. "O, I'll cure him," he said. But there was no cure for Brother Henson, and he died. It was a remarkable death indeed. He saw a clear sky before him, being sensible to the last.
It was a custom among colored people to have funerals preached five or six months after the deceased persons were buried, so at the appointed time Rev. Nathan Drake and I were selected to preach the funeral of Brother Henson. Fully five hundred people gathered to hear us; but Rev. Drake did such tall and powerful preaching that there was nothing I could say that could be heard, owing to the shouting of Christians and the wailing of relatives. I would have fared far better had I kept silent, but as it ended my failure was the talk of the community for months. All were ashamed of having pitted me against one of the best preachers of that portion of the State of Alabama.
There is a possibility of blighting the hope of a promising young man just at the time when a little chiding about his weaknesses would be the means of making him a power for Christ. I have always found it wisest to bring up young men for the ministry by a slow process. Do not crowd them into big appointments or high positions too fast, but give them time. Make them feel that there are always lots of things which they do not know and which they should and must know ere they are fitted for certain positions. I have attended Conferences and have seen with sadness young men who seemed altogether unprepared to teach the people the doctrines of Christ and his Church rushed into high positions and large appointments. This
is a serious mistake, and is injurious to the Church and people. The people must be taught of God, Christ, and the Church. They must be taught to know the relations they sustain to him through his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, all of which requires study--hard study. I must say that the qualifications required of young men coming into the ministry are too poor; and, what is worse, they are not compelled to obtain these qualifications before they are ordained and rushed into full connection. As a result they cannot teach and the people are not edified. Those of them who are capable of judging will tell you that they rarely hear anything but loud noise.
Visit to Rome, Ga., in 1871--Money Exhausted while in Rome--On Gravel Train under Hard Boss--Roustabout on a Steamboat--Last Bloody Fight--Narrow Escape from Death as Brakeman on a Freight Train--The Ku Klux Klan.
MY brother John and I decided to visit our kindred living in Rome, Ga., as we were now almost grown young men, and had not seen them since we were four and six years old, respectively. We started from Uniontown, Ala., which made it a journey of nearly two hundred miles. On reaching Rome we first went to the home of Uncle Benjamin, my mother's oldest brother, where we were most royally entertained. He was much like mother in disposition. We visited as many of our people as we could find, and were nicely treated by them all. For some cause we did not care to remain in Rome, though it was in some respects a better town, we thought, than Talladega. Selma, Marion, and Uniontown excelled either of them for good wages. When we left Selma and Uniontown for Rome, we were pretty well supplied with money, but on reaching Rome it was soon exhausted. We then began to think we would have to get back by way of "counting ties," but were fortunate enough to get jobs as brakemen on the Selma, Rome, and Dalton Railroad, by which means we returned to Selma. We never visited Rome again. When it became difficult to get work in the city, we would go to the railroad, gravel train, wood yard, or to steamboats,
and thereby manage to keep at something to make a living, as we had fully decided to quit farming.
The hardest taskmasters with whom we came in contact were on the Selma and Montgomery Railroad gravel train. There were two brothers who worked about twenty-five hands, with whom they were very strict. If one of the hands decided to quit, he would have to do so without letting them know of it, else they would club him shamefully. This they would do alike to both white and colored. Brother John and I thought this too bitter a pill to swallow, and assured the men that we would never slip off when we decided to quit the job, but would go right up to the boss and ask him for our time. The white hands begged us not to do this, as we would be maltreated as others had been. I laughed at them and told them never to believe that those men would hurt us. We felt able to take care of ourselves in any sort of encounter with them, and would do so at any cost. Things went on lovely. The boss did not care how much one talked so long as he kept constantly at work. That just suited the Jamisons. We would throw sand and gravel at a lively rate, but kept talking about things which would really interest the boss. On Wednesday he carried us out to Benton, thirteen miles from Selma, expecting to return to the city on Saturday for the purpose of spending the Sabbath royally. The hands were in the habit of calling the boss "captain" --so much so, in fact, that he told them there were too many captains, and that they might call him by some other name. I asked him if he intended to return to Selma that evening, and called him "colonel," at which he took great offense. "You told us to call
you"--said I. "You are a--liar!" said he. "And if you repeat it, I'll rub your head with a brick." "I can prove it by all the hands," I said. I watched him to see if he would go for a brick; but he did not, though he turned very red. He said that I was a "--good hand," but was too impertinent, and that I could do one of two things, not be impertinent and remain or be impertinent and leave. I went down to the dinner table and consulted the boys, who urged me to slip off at night and avoid further trouble. But I was determined to test his bravery. I stepped up to him and said that, inasmuch as we could not get along together, I guessed I would quit. He looked off and did not say a word. Thus the hands had lived to see a young man go and tell their boss of his intention to leave without being kicked. Really he acted like a different man from that he was reputed to be. If that boss had made a dash at me, he would have suffered severely, for I was prepared for mischief.
Leaving the gravel train, we returned to Selma. I got a job as roustabout on board the Mist, a steamer on the Alabama River, running from Mobile to Wetumpka. I was a young convert; and seeing that the steamboat business was not the thing for young converts, I therefore selected "Savannah Joe" as my partner and went aboard at nine dollars per round trip, a week being required to make a trip. I made three trips, which were indeed most perilous. I fought on every trip except the first. It was a bad place for a young convert to be. My last fight was with John Peoples, of Mobile. John was a terror to nearly all of the roustabouts. He was a scientific boxer, and was the cause of the fight. He
and I belonged to the same watch, which had just ended, and we had retired for four hours' rest. Just as we fell asleep the watchman shouted: "Land the boat! Go forward!" "That's too bad. Where are we?" I inquired. "Selma," was the reply. That settled it, as that meant three hours of hard work unloading the boat. When all was done, the vessel moved upstream. This being our hour to watch caused us to work eight hours without rest. This made John so mad that he was like a snake in dog days, striking at everything which chanced to pass him. I passed him, and he struck me in the face. I could not return the blow, as I had a load on my shoulders. However, I made haste to unload myself and hurried back to return the blow. He squared himself and defied me, but before he knew it I was giving him some timely blows. He at once returned the blows, and was soon getting the best of me. Blood was flowing profusely. I clinched him, seizing his throat. I choked him almost breathless ere he could extricate himself. Finally they loosed me from him, and he darted out of the engine room and, seizing an ax, was about to lay me out; but fortunately for me, the two steel doors caught him. By this time the mate had come and wanted to know the trouble. They told him that John had imposed on me and that I ought to kill him. I stood within the engine room, bleeding and crying. Finally my temper got the best of me. I rushed by them, gathered the ax, and went off to kill John. Just as I passed a crowd some one caught the ax as I drew back to strike John. This caused me to fall, and before I could rise John caught me while flat on my back. Then the mate said: "Let him give Frank
--." This John resolved to do. He beat me up and down and tried to throw me overboard with the boat running at full speed. But turning from off my back, I grabbed a hatchet and let it fly. John fell, screaming in a loud voice. Those who stood around us made haste to take John Peoples out of further danger. Before I was a convert fighting was my profession. "Ha! ha! John met his match last night," said one of the bystanders. "Yes, and he would have made a finish of him if let alone," said another. We both were bleeding shamefully. I was sorry for John the moment I saw him refuse to eat his breakfast that morning.
That bloody fight occurred about sunrise one Sunday morning in March, 1871. Savannah Joe, my partner, was in the hatch hole, and knew nothing of it until it was all over. "I'll put John ashore," said the mate. "Put me too," said I. "No, I won't," he said. "Yes, but I'll quit," I answered. Reaching Benton, he put John off five hundred and ninety miles from Mobile. I got off too. Savannah Joe did the same thing and resolved to whip John because he had imposed upon me in his absence. I told Joe that if he touched John he would have to whip me too; that no man could impose upon another in my presence. We walked back to Selma, thirteen miles, without a ripple. Next morning I met my brother John, who laughed at my black eyes and bruised nose. As we were going uptown we met John Peoples, who, though looking worse than I, took us and treated to cold drinks.
Times having become dull in Selma, we hired to a man to cut cordwood. Here brother John experienced one of the most painful nights of his life. His pain
seemed greater than he could bear, and I thought he would die before morning in spite of all that I could do for him. His trouble was cramp colic. Next morning we both rejoiced that he yet lived, though feeble indeed.
Leaving there, I secured work as a brakeman on the Selma and Meridian Railroad. Brother went with surveying parties on the Mobile, Alabama, and Grand Trunk Railroad. I knew nothing whatever about braking on a train. The conductors would not have hired me but for the fact that the Ku-Klux Klan was so bad that the old brakemen found it best to quit. The brakemen were now all green hands. One rainy morning the engineer wanted water. The tank was at the east end of a heavy grade. He gave a signal for brakes. I guess I turned on at least half a dozen, but the train kept going and he kept whistling. The other brakemen were afraid of their feet slipping, hence they sat down and threw on the brakes as best they could; but the train passed on by the tank. Being mad, I then went to another brake and snatched it as though I was an old hand at the business and made a strong pull, when suddenly my feet slipped and I dropped between the running cars. The mist obstructing my sight, I therefore fell my full length and with all of my weight; but I held on to the brake with a deadly grasp, and this saved my life. After this incident I, of course, quit the braking business. I was a young convert, but did not care to run such a risk. Then, again, expecting at any moment to be pulled off by the Ku-Klux, I therefore decided that this was not a safe job for me.
To my surprise, I never saw a Ku-Klux in all of my life, though thousands of them were said to have been
in Alabama. Up on the North and South Railroad the Ku-Klux would swarm out at night, and not only whip but actually kill some of the colored hands. One night a great stream of them poured out; and it is said that there would have been more of them, but something destructive happened and a part of them mysteriously disappeared, which checked the ravages of the Ku-Klux Klan.
Attended an A. M. E. Annual Conference--Negro Politics and Religion in the Church--Days of Courtship--Talk on the Marriage Relation among Negroes--Defeated in Love--Down in Mobile Grading on the Grand Trunk Line --Met Old Lover while Spending the Summer in Uniontown-- Voted for General Grant and Supported the Republican State Ticket in 1872.
PROVIDENTIALLY, brother and I were once more thrown together in Selma, where I attended the Annual Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and met Bishops Ward and Brown, Elder Young, Elder (now Bishop) Turner, and others, among whom was the Hon. Benjamin Turner, then the negro Congressman. These negroes certainly had a royal time of it. It was a sort of royalty that turned the white people into Ku-Klux Klans, "White Riders," etc. They could not stand to see such demonstrations on the part of their former slaves at their very doors, hence they sought to put an end to it by foul means.
General Grant was President at this time, but could do little to protect the negroes in those days of trial. There was scarcely safety for any one. Finally the leading negroes went out of politics into religion; and some of them became elders, some bishops, and some nothing. Half of them had but little or no religion. Of course it is understood that some of them have none yet, as they carried their old political tricks into the Church and largely destroyed its sacredness. While this
was being done the white man rushed in and took control of politics and left the negro on the outside with his religion, wrangling about what Paul said. The white man having accomplished his purpose, the Klan, "White Riders," etc. ceased for a season. I shall say more upon this subject later on.
While the idle days were upon us we amused ourselves as doth the cooing doves of the spring. We courted the girls, at least I did (brother was a little slow along this line). I highly admired Miss Sarah German, Miss Elizabeth Bryant, and Miss Esther Pickens. With these I spent some of the most pleasant days of 1871. I started to enter a marriage contract with the German girl, but several claimed that I had made similar contracts with them. I might have made some agreements of a compromising nature; but as that was not a rare thing in those days, I thought that should have made but little difference. I also thought that a young man ought to court his girl a long while before marrying her; and as marriage should be a lifetime agreement, I thought it not out of place to talk with more than one on the same subject for the purpose of studying the different traits of character.
I think one should be quite familiar with the disposition of the one whom he selects to make his bride; and if she is found not suitable, do not marry her. I shall pause a while just here and drop a few words of advice to young people respecting courtship and marriage. Don't be too hasty about marrying; for every good-looking girl is not fitted to be a wife, nor will every handsome young man make a good husband. Seek the association of the wisest and best, for upon this
depends a good moral turn of mind as well as a healthy body. Therefore, young man, be afraid to associate with any but the purest girls; and, young ladies, avoid the young man who is not a gentleman. Think yourself above the baser sort. I find from consulting learned men that a man's health in old age depends largely upon the associations he formed in his youthful days. This being true, it is of the greatest importance that our youths be brought to think and act upon this principle, with an eye single to their future days. Since health in middle and old age depends upon the conduct in youth, it is absolutely necessary to keep the youths pure. Pure thoughts in the heart will make the whole body pure, healthy, and vigorous. If you will take these rules as the guide of your youth, my son or daughter, your home will ever be bright and happy until the latest sun of your declining days has set. Suffice it to say, young people, let your lives be as chaste as the ice and as pure as the snow.
The foregoing remarks may be deemed out of place; but seeing the thousands who have fallen and the thousands who are falling daily for want of information upon this all-important relation upon which so much depends, I cannot resist the temptation to drop these words of caution. A race of people--yea, a nation--is measured by the respect shown for the marriage relation. One of the greatest impediments to the colored race is its little regard for the marriage relation. There are thousands of men among us with half a dozen wives; and some of them are in the best society, being measured by popularity and not by principle. I sometimes think that the whites are half right in refusing to associate with
BUGLE CLUB OF TEXAS COLLEGE, 1900.
the negroes. They would be entirely right but for the fact that they are largely responsible for the condition of the American Negro. They degraded him in every conceivable way. They call into position the worst element among us. This is of itself poor encouragement to the ones who are striving to better their conditions. This I regard as a shame on the Anglo-Saxon race, but it is nevertheless true. In many towns and cities, as well as in the country, they will select the poorest teachers over first-class teachers for the schools of colored children, thus showing their opposition to the education of negroes.
Philmore Hawkins, a large, awkward young man, was my companion who always accompanied me on my visits to Miss Sarah German. While she and I would spend our pleasant hours in talking, Philmore would spend his hours in nodding and sleeping in his chair. Sometimes he would amuse us no little by falling almost out of his chair. After courting nearly six months, we succeeded in betrothing and arranged the date of marriage. I felt truly delighted at my success. Philmore knew of the engagement. Neither of us suspected that he thought of anything respecting his chances with her. Miss Elizabeth Bryant, who lived between my home and Miss German's, was very much averse to our marriage; and as I had to pass her house in going to see Miss German, she would come out and hail me. I had to stop, as a matter of course, and she would tease me no little. I denied the rumor of our marriage, but she believed it in spite of my denial. Finally I was accused of being too attentive to a Miss--. This rumor reached the ears of Miss German, and that broke our marriage contract.
Nothing I could say would avail. When I saw that she had resolved not to marry me, I resolved to be brave and show indifference; but it was a hard task. I knew that she loved me; so I hoped to change her mind by appearing in society with another girl, Miss Elizabeth Bryant, queen of the neighborhood. But this did not succeed. I then thought seriously for a while of marrying Miss Bryant. In the meantime Mr. Philmore and Miss German were married! That removed all the marriage ideas completely from my mind. The girl I loved had married the homeliest and ugliest man in Perry County, and all the boys were laughing at my expense and failure.
I went south to Mobile, where I got a job grading on the Mobile, Alabama, and Grand Trunk Railroad. I was getting eighteen cents per yard, which enabled me to hire fifteen hands. I made money very fast. Seventy-five or eighty dollars per month was my income. When my first contract expired, I had about five hundred dollars. I paid off my hands, got brother, and returned to Uniontown to spend the summer. I made it convenient to visit Miss German, who seemed to love me now more than ever. She expressed a willingness to atone for all mistakes of the past, but it was too late. She had disappointed me; and if she had made a mistake, I could in no way help it at this time. I could, of course, do nothing to relieve the situation.
Returning to Selma on the day of election (1872), we voted for General Grant and the Republican State ticket. Grant was elected, but the Democrats counted our State ticket out.
Moved to Texas in 1872--Landed in Texas at Greenwood, but Settled Down at Marshall--Disappointed with Texas and Started Back to Alabama--Broke Brother's Leg while Splitting Rails to Get Back to Alabama--Exhorting and Preaching.
IN 1872 it was said that wages in Texas were very good--two dollars and a half in greenback and two dollars in gold per day. About five hundred Georgians and Alabamians resolved to go to Texas. We decided to go and stay three years, get rich, and return to Alabama. But it proved to be a long three years. It has been thirty-eight years instead of three since we left Alabama.
We left Selma November 4, 1872, running twenty-five miles to meet the east-bound train. We parleyed a while with the train people, walking around and viewing things (fool-like, always looking up), when, to my surprise, we observed that the train had started and was rapidly getting farther away from us Texas-bound people. I ran until I almost lost my breath before I overtook that train, but caught it and afterwards knew how to keep my seat. "Never make yourself appear a 'greenhorn' is a good rule to follow through life," I thought, "especially when traveling."
We reached Vicksburg, Miss., on November 5, where I saw for the first time the Father of Waters, the Mississippi River, over which we crossed into Louisiana. I was prejudiced against Vicksburg, hence I saw nothing of a very enticing nature. Delhi, just across the
river, was a miserable-looking town, where we took a filthy-looking train for Monroe, La., which is a beautiful place. Spending part of one day in Monroe, I went to a circus. Here I saw many good-looking women, but learned that their condition was but little better than the state of slavery out of which they had recently come.
There were one hundred of us en route to Texas-- seventy-five whites and twenty-five colored. It was one hundred and ten miles from Monroe to Shreveport. An overland trip of this distance had to be made, as there was no railroad. There were only thirteen wagons, which had to be used for hauling tools, etc. The drivers, of course, had to be white men; but somehow I found favor with the boss, who gave me a team to drive. I was very thankful, because it saved me from a long, tiresome walk. We crossed the Washita River at Trenton, just opposite Monroe, La. It was here that the boys broke camp and started on one of the longest and most toilsome journeys on foot that they had ever experienced. Many gave out by the wayside and were half a day late reaching Shreveport, though they came through without being disturbed by the Ku-Klux Klan.
The Georgians carried several women with them. Many of them had their little children with them, and, becoming exhausted, had to be picked up by the wayside. The wagon train passed one of them near Arcade, and she begged each driver that passed to let her ride. They all refused. She then asked me, and I told her she could ride upon my wagon if I had to walk and drive. I was still a young convert, and my heart easily yielded in sympathy for the distressed woman.
Arcade was a little country village, but a general reign
of peace seemed to be the state of affairs there, except for an old colored woman who got on the war path one morning because some of the boys, among whom was John Jamison, made themselves too free with her girls. They were beautiful girls, and seemed to enjoy the company of the newcomers very much. They were having a jolly time when the old lady came in and shouted: "Look here, by --! Back your wagon! What yer mean? Yer know I ain't gwine ter stand dis, by --! Back yer wagon right erway!" The boys backed their wagon, too, and that in a hurry.
We had great sympathy for the poor colored people through whose territory we passed. They appeared as if forsaken by the outer world of mankind because of their humble condition, yet they were nice, respectable people.
The city of Shreveport was the liveliest one we had touched since leaving Selma. Here the negroes looked and acted as though they were free from their masters. Money seemed plentiful everywhere. Cotton, cotton, cotton was the order of the day.
Leaving Shreveport, we pushed on, and after about twenty more miles had been traveled we crossed the Texas line. The train soon had us in Greenwood. "Now you are in Texas," said some one. "Is this Texas? Great Scott! No, it cannot be!" "Yes, indeed," said another. "Well, if it is, it is mighty poor."
We reached Marshall, and were told that this was the end of our journey. We viewed the city with much curiosity, but it proved to be as old as the hills and valleys of Alabama. There was no work but that of railroading. It was at Marshall that Bishop W. H. Miles held the
second session of the East Texas Conference; and it was here also that the Bishop and his Conference were driven out of the Methodist Episcopal church by some poor, ignorant women who had been told that the Bishop was a Democrat and was seeking to organize a Democratic Church. This was a shame; but the good Bishop led his brethren quietly out of that church, leaving it to those crazy women. The devil was satisfied with his success. Bishop Miles was not without a place to hold his Conference; for the white people threw open their church doors to him, and the business of the Conference went on.
If there ever was a colored community in need of education, it was that at Marshall; and God in mercy has given to them two of the best schools in the State of Texas, though it seems that they do not profit much by it since they do not send their children to these schools as they should.
Out at our camps, which lay about two miles northeast of town, we found nothing as had been reported. We had been promised a contract, a subcontract, and a twenty-two-cents-per-yard job if we preferred to work alone, or from two dollars to two dollars and a half per day as day laborers; but the promise was about all there was to it. They were two and three months behind with the old hands. Every week they promised a pay day, but its delay disheartened us. We did not care to get any more promises, neither did we care to work and take a promise for pay. A heavy snow began to fall, and we could do no work. Finally we decided to go back to Alabama. We did not have the money with which to return, so we undertook to work our way back, and
decided that wherever we struck a job we would take it, finish it, draw our money, and resume our journey. The first sixteen miles brought us to Jonesville, where we got a forty-dollar job splitting rails. There were John Jamison, King Smith, Washington Branley, Andrew Jackson, and myself. We began the work of splitting the rails, and would have resumed our journey, but I accidentally broke my brother's leg one evening, which caused us to remain in and around Jonesville at least three months. John suffered very much. When Drs. Vaughn and Knox, who attended him during his suffering, assured him that he would soon be all right, we looked for other jobs, which it was no trouble to find.
A Mr. Kahn gave us forty acres of land to clear, allowing us five dollars per acre. This land was about three miles from the town of Jonesville. John was left under the care of the doctors and A. Jackson while we went to work in earnest, believing that we now had work which, when finished, would enable us to make our return to old Alabama. In February the weather was very cold; but as we were used to that, we lost no time. Finally March brought in wind and sunshine, and the Texas birds were singing and chanting to us their Texas melodies. Instead of further rail-splitting, we laid the country off into circuits, to be known as the Black Jack Circuit, Hilliard Circuit, Center Circuit, and Antioch Circuit. King Smith rode the Hilliard Circuit, and I had charge of Center Circuit. That was grand. We had resolved to supply the people with the gospel. We were exhorters, and while exhorting we sometimes preached. I visited the appointments of all the circuits.
April was accompanied with many sweet birds and beautiful flowers, whose songs and fragrances were very delightful to us. There were thousands of colored people in that section with whom religion was all the go. This, indeed, suited me, the young convert. I tried myself by exhorting three or four times a week, going from plantation to plantation. The Church properly did not take to us hastily, but, nevertheless, our names were spreading favorably all over the country. That was exactly proper, for we were strangers; hence it was not wise for the Churches to grasp us too suddenly. The neighborhood seemed to enjoy the Alabama style of exhorting, so they gathered in large numbers at any given point to hear us.
Washington Branley was a great singer, and used to sing his spiritual songs with great glee of spirit. While he sang the people all shouted. Finally, when all had about finished their shouting, Washington himself would begin, and would shout so that it would take two men to hold him. The other Alabamians did not like that in Wash, and believed that he was pretending to be happy above what he really was. We were going to hold a meeting at Uncle Lewis Dunn's, on the Hilliard Circuit, and decided to test Wash's sincerity if he should shout on that night. He shouted as usual. When two of the boys got hold of him and punched him with their fists, he quit shouting and turned blue.
With the month of May came the most lively times of all. Church, church, church; work all the week; go to night meetings; but on Sundays the people swarmed out to church by the thousands. I began to realize that Alabama was not the only place where the Lord made
known his power to the believers. Antioch, the Baptist Church, was the leading Church in the community. Rev. Wesley Pearson, King Herald, Sam High, and James H. Patterson were all Baptist preachers and preached at Antioch. One Sabbath they had an all-day meeting with dinner on the ground. Rev. Edmond Harris was to preach in the afternoon, and I was to exhort behind him. This was the beginning of my career in Harrison County. The short exhortation which I made went far and near, so much so that I was afterwards invited far out into the surrounding country to exhort. Being a Methodist and a young convert, everything seemed to work in my favor; so I made the echo fill the woods around. King Smith did what he could, which was but little, exhorting here and there.
Brother was about well now; and though he was not a preacher, he fared as well as we. In June everything was still more favorable, and I was by this time getting acquainted with Texas. Our forty-acre contract having been finished, we drew the money, went to Shreveport, and purchased fine suits of clothes for the purpose of making visits. We bought flour and ladies' hats, and sold them to some of the farmers, some of whom never did pay us. Mr. A. B. Blocker, who lived about one-half mile from Mr. Kahn, wanted hands to hoe cotton at one dollar and fifty cents per day. Mr. Kahn protested against our leaving his place to help any one, saying that he would give us as much as any other man; but Mr. Blocker had been to us the best man in Harrison County, had fed us on the best (and it went freely), hence we decided to work for him.
I used to think that Uncle Lewis Davis was the best
singer I had ever heard. He always sang with the Spirit and with a good voice, never too high nor too low, and the tune was admirably selected. Whenever I preached, I usually preferred to have him sing, because his singing would surely bring the Holy Spirit upon the people. The Baptists of Antioch made the woods ring with music when led by Brother Lewis. It was a hard matter for the Methodists to excel them. The Methodists had the best doctrine, but the Baptists had the best singers; and I may be pardoned for saying that they had the best preachers. Elder Mimms was the presiding elder, and everybody loved him for his piety and veneration. He preached well, but did not "stir 'em up."
July brought on the big protracted meetings. Rev. Charles Ingraham was the circuit rider on the Longridge Circuit, including Center Academy, the Methodist stamping ground. Brother Ingraham gathered large crowds and preached the unadulterated gospel to them. Every nerve in his body was employed to help him preach Christ. Many were converted, but several of them would join the Baptist Church. This was due to the fact that the people were behind the times and because Brother Ingraham was too full of the Holy Ghost to preach the doctrines of the Methodist Church. This he always preferred leaving for others to do. In fact, I never heard him argue about the doctrines of this or that Church; his highest aim was to bring sinners to Christ. That was why I admired him so highly. I wished many times that I was possessed with his spirit in that respect. But I was a rank partisan. I believed in the Methodists from "away back," and was as
ready to defend their doctrines as a game chicken is to fight. I still believe that it is the best Church in the world, though her polity is not what it used to be. There are now too many Methodist denominations pulling "Dick, Tom and Harry."
In the month of August religious revivals became general in all the country churches. About this time Andrew Jackson was to be married, and I was called upon to solemnize the rite of matrimony, although I was not an ordained preacher--a thing I should not have done, because it was unlawful. Having married them at Jonesville, I rode nine miles to hear Rev. Charles Ingraham preach the eleven o'clock sermon. In the afternoon I preached, doing the best I could. It was a great time with the Methodists. They began to feel that the day-star of hope was about to shine upon them in its full luster.
Brother Ingraham was greatly attached to me, as I seemed to please him very much. When he went home, he said that he told his wife and all whom he met that he had met an Alabama preacher that could preach better than himself. No one who had not heard the Alabamian believed him, he said, as it was given up that Rev. Ingraham was the best Methodist preacher in that section of the country. Finally the quarterly meeting was held at Longridge, where Elder Mimms had gathered the preachers together on the circuit. At the previous Conference he had licensed me to preach; and though I could not reach the Conference on Saturday, being twenty miles away, he assured the people that I would be on hand Sunday.
I was a little late in arriving on Sunday, but was
in time to hear the close of the eleven o'clock sermon. As we rode up Elder Mimms stopped long enough to say: "Thank God he has come! Now we'll have some preaching." Many brethren came out to greet me, which made me blush very much. They conducted me inside, and all eyes were fixed on me.
The elder closed his sermon, dinner was spread, and all enjoyed a luxuriant feast. The interval was largely given to eating and introducing me to strangers, after which the afternoon services were opened. Rev. Charley Cox and I were appointed to preach. He took the lead, and had preached but a short while before he excused himself upon the ground that he could not preach in the presence of "big" preachers. This was a little funny to me, as I was no big preacher and had been licensed only three months. It was what he had heard of me that bothered him. After he would not preach, I rose to give them the best I had at hand. Such a time! such a time! They had invited the white people to come out to hear me. The fiery Charles Ingraham said that he certainly wished for Rev. Charles Cox's place. Blessed was Ingraham, for shame and timidity were strangers to him. His wife heard the Alabamian that day; though, while much delighted, she was not prepared to say that he excelled her dear Charley. She waited until night, when the Alabamian and her husband would both preach.
Night came and the services began, The Alabamian went before, and Rev. Ingraham was to close. He did his best that night; but while on their way home that night Mrs. Cox said to him: "I have heard all the preaching to-day, and I think that Mr. Jamison did
the best preaching of them all." He said he laughed so that he came near falling out of his vehicle. "I told you so. Of course I did the best I could, but had my serious doubts as to whether I had measured up to Rev. Mr. Jamison or not."
I went home Monday morning, went to work, meditating all the week upon that Sunday's success. They were still engaged in their meeting at Antioch--the Baptist Church. I went out and joined them; and my blade now being sharp, I cut right and left. O! it was a precious time we had in the revivals.
Admitted on Trial into the East Texas Conference--My First Appointment--Marriage--Struggles with Other Denominations in Dallas--Built the First Colored Church in Dallas--Why Called "Fighting Joe"--My First Appointment as Presiding Elder.
I CHANCED to meet a Miss Minerva A. Flinnoy, with whom I was very much impressed, especially with her beauty and modest bearing. I asked Rev. Patterson one day who she was and what of her. "She is my sister-in-law," he said. "O, that can't be true! Well, where has she been all the while?" I asked "At home with the measles," he said. He gave me an introduction to her. I do not know all that I said to her; but one thing I do know, and that is, I decided to ask her to marry me. I paid her a visit, and she blushed when I asked of her the privilege of waiting on her, preferable to all others. She was a sweet, beautiful young lady, and I could not help thinking of her. I guess I must have paid due attention to her, because there were other ladies to whom I had paid a great deal of attention, and they discovered that I had lost interest in them by some means; hence I was teased no little about Miss Flinnoy. I liked the girl's parents very well, but the old lady gave me to understand that she could not think of giving me her daughter. I took it for granted that she objected because I was a stranger, and I was unwilling to marry into a family that mistrusted me. She was right for not being willing to give her daughter in matrimony to a stranger, but I afterwards found that that was not
the real objection. She had only two daughters. Rev. Mr. Patterson, the Baptist preacher, had married the eldest, and the youngest she intended to keep with her. Besides this, she said that her daughter was too young to make me a wife.
I had about given up the idea of succeeding in my undertaking, notwithstanding the fact that the girl had said yes; but when I learned the real grounds of objection, I pressed my claims to a finish. When I convinced the old lady of my sincerity, she waived her own pleasure in the matter and gave me her daughter.
The Quarterly Conference had by this time recommend me to the Annual Conference to be admitted on trial. I arranged matters for admission into the East Texas Conference. Having purchased a horse, I hired a buggy and drove to Henderson, a distance of seventy-five miles. Arriving there the second day, I found the Conference fully at work, with Bishop Lane presiding.
Among the members of that Conference were Moses Butler, Cyrus Wolf, Charles Ingraham, Henry Jackson, J. H. Jackson, George Byrd, H. Leroy, Prather Wilson, Green Bohannan, William Taylor, John Williams, E. B. Campbell, S. Townsend, Noe Bell, Harry Sharp, Harry Peel, Daniel Mimms, A. J. Burrus, Henry Reed, Robert Hagler, Alfred Alston, Wesley Walker, Richard McAlliston, and Spencer Westmoreland. I passed a very poor examination before the committee; but as that was common in those days, the committee asked that I be admitted and ordained deacon. I was only a lad; but Elder Mimms had said so much in my favor that the Committee on Public Worship appointed me to preach
on Friday night. That came very near frightening me to death, though perhaps no one knew it but I. I soon recovered, and from the text, "In him was life," etc., it was said that I preached the sermon of the Conference.
Returning from Conference, I was married to Miss Flinnoy on January 14, 1874. This course was decided upon for mutual happiness and self-protection during the remaining days of my life. We succeeded splendidly during the first years of our married life. We raised six bales of cotton and I rode the Marshall and Longview Stations as pastor. The charge merely paid my traveling expenses, but my wife assisted me so that I had more money at the end of the year than I have had at the end of any year since.
I made a serious mistake when I joined the East Texas Conference; and had it not been for this mistake, I could have made my wife a happier woman. There has been a constant changing from place to place, involving heavy losses to us. Many of these changes were unwise and unnecessary.
The Methodist polity is all right in spirit when it has experience and forethought to administer it; but it works great hardships when it has to depend upon the inexperienced, prejudiced, etc., to direct it. Having been subjected to much of this inexperience and prejudice, I can truthfully say that it has interfered no little with that peace and happiness which I sought in marriage. The appointing power is an awful thing when perverted and abused. It entails much suffering upon the wives of ministers. I have often thought that it would be much better if there were no such power,
especially if it had to be placed in the hands of any except the wise and experienced. I view with pain and sadness the suffering of the wives of many of the ministers of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. I am not unmindful of the fact that such is necessarily the case in all Methodist bodies, but it seems to have outdone itself in our Church; and yet I cannot justly charge all this to the inexperienced. The thing that should be done is to see to it that none but true men be invested with the appointing power.
The bishop assigned me to the Marshall and Longview Stations in 1874. We had five members in Marshall and eight in Longview when I entered the charge, but no church at either place. When I had finished that year's work and gone to Conference, I had forty members in Longview and twenty in Marshall, which I thought was first-rate for the first year. I should have been returned; but the bishop said "No," which made some of the members cry.
This Conference for the year 1874 convened in the city of Sherman, with Bishop Lane presiding. Sherman was at that time famous for the virtue and chastity of its beautiful women. I thought it excelled any place that I had ever visited in Texas. The white people there were and are still the best people in the South. The pastor and leading members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, threw open the doors of their church to admit our Conference and attended its sessions night and day. Many of their best and most pious women attended every one of the sessions, and seemed to have been much delighted with the Bishop's sermons.
The Western territory of our Church was being overrun with ministers of the Methodist Episcopal and African Methodist Episcopal Churches. This seemed to annoy the Bishop very much, as these ministers were causing much desertion from our Church by their misrepresentations. The A. M. E.'s had done us much damage in Dallas and Fort Worth. The men who were sent to hold these city charges against the A. M. E.'s could not understand them. Our men were old, homespun men; the others were manufactured and imported men, finely dressed, who demanded respect from the intelligent people, while our men were domestic men.
Longview and Marshall desired my return, but the Bishop said publicly that he wanted me for Dallas. That was the grandest Conference, to be sure. I felt very much delighted with it.
The appointments having been read, I found myself headed for Dallas. I shall never forget our trials there. I took charge about the first of February, 1875. Dallas was and still is the finest and fastest place in North Texas. Much depended upon my success in getting up a church building for our denomination. The odds were all against us. In fact, I was a mere experiment. I had never seen services of that kind and on such a large scale. I was not used to ministers getting up and intentionally misrepresenting things for the purpose of carrying things in favor of their Church. Whether I would be able to get the ears of the public long enough to expose them was the first difficult question, yet this seemed to be the only remedy. Whether I could expose them after getting the public's ear was doubtful; but I felt able, and accordingly watched for opportunities. Rev.
J. R. Bryant, the African Methodist Episcopal preacher there, was not much of a preacher; but whatever he lacked in this respect was supplemented otherwise, so, as a whole, he was no weak opponent. The majority of the people worshiped with him at his church on Sunday nights, but few went there during the day. In fact, the people did not go to church much in the daytime.
The Rev. Charles R. Madison, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was much of a Christian minister. No better man ever served St. Paul Methodist Episcopal Church as pastor. He was blessed with a graceful woman who was his equal in Church work, except the ministry of the gospel. She had the best Sunday school in Dallas; it numbered over a hundred students each Sabbath morning. I made these people my friends, notwithstanding that they were eager to gobble up all of my members that the A. M. E.'s had left. They thought, however, to do it in a more dignified way than the A. M. E.'s had done.
My serious trouble was that I had no church in which to herd my flock; but I was straining every nerve to build one, and this gave some encouragement to my people to stand firm. What I disliked so much in the African Methodist Episcopal minister was that he delighted in calling us the Southern Church, the Democratic Church, etc. He did not care for the falsehood that was in the epithet; his object was to set people against us. The Methodist Episcopal minister was too much of a gentleman to stoop to such things. He lived above such. It began to look as if we would get our church erected in spite of them. The Southern white people gave largely toward helping us.
The Rev. A. J. Burrus, with seventeen members, withdrew and went over to the Methodist Episcopal Church under the delusion that it was a rich Church, a free Church, and a Union Church. The same night they left it was announced that the first quarterly meeting for the Methodist Episcopal Church was to be held in town. Special services were to be conducted at the Tabernacle Church, on Elm Street, at 11 A.M. by the presiding elder, Dr. Brush, and at St. Paul at 3 P.M. Rev. Burrus had visited from house to house during the previous week, inviting all to come out and hear the elder at 3 P.M. The services were to close with the whites at Elm Street Sunday morning.
The elder filled his engagement with the blacks at 3 P.M., and a large crowd greeted him from all the Churches. Rev. Mr. Bryant, of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, was filling an engagement out in the country, leaving no service to be held at his church. As I had no church and consequently no service that morning, the members of each Church went to hear the elder. The elder had prepared to make an onslaught that evening upon all the Methodist Churches except his own. I had thought it wise to remain away, but when the elder sent for my Discipline my suspicions were aroused. I sent it and decided to go and defend it; so I went and received a hearty welcome. Rev. Madison, the pastor, seated me in the pulpit. The elder asked me to lead in prayer. I saw a dark cloud gathering, and I prayed that it might pass without emptying its fearful contents upon us; but the prayer was vain.
The text selected for the occasion was, "Jehovah Jireh" ("The Lord will provide"). The elder preached
a powerful sermon, which edified the Christians; but at the outset he remarked that he would lecture on the different Churches, and that if any one wished any information he might feel free to ask it of him. He also stated that any one might reply to him if he so desired. With this he took the history of the Methodist Church proper, that being his Church, of course. It was a grand picture. He told of the hundreds of battles it had fought for the freedom of the slaves, and of the sufferings of the poor, helpless slaves. The congregation shed tears freely. The elder told them of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and the cruelty of some of its members to slaves. The congregation said: "True, Lord!" He next told them that the Methodist Episcopal Church knew no man by his color or condition; that every member was equal in his Church. And, besides, it had spent millions of dollars for the colored people, and therefore they all ought to join it and have only one Methodist Church as in the early days. To this proposition many in the vast audience said "Amen." I felt serious--very serious, too. He next took up the Discipline of the African Methodist Episcopal Church; and after a careful examination he declared it to be that of a lot of seceders who, for the sake of office, broke from the true Methodist Church, and that it was set up by non-Methodists; that its episcopacy was ordained by strangers to Methodist polity, and, therefore it was not a Methodist Church. He ridiculed things as a mere concern. The strange thing about all this was that the African Methodist Episcopal members said "Amen" as loud as any of the others, nowithstanding that the elder was simply tearing their Church into threads.
The elder now laid aside the African Methodist Episcopal Discipline and reached for the Discipline of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. The people knew nothing of that Church, there being no such Church in Texas, and consequently they could not appreciate what he said. But when he reached for the Discipline of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, I trembled. "Here is a so-called Methodist Church recently organized by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South," he said. "I can see no need of more Methodist Churches. Why did not the Southern Methodists retain their colored members and educate them?" he asked. "The Methodist Episcopal Church has ever been the true friend to you, and has spent millions of dollars for your education--I mean millions for the poor ex-slaves. Look at the difference between these two white Methodist Churches. The Southern Methodists parted from the Methodists proper because the latter did not believe in slavery. Now that the slaves are free, they made haste to rid themselves of them by pretending to set them up in business for themselves. What can they do of themselves? Our friends can readily see who their real friends are;" he said.
I saw that he was merely using the Southern Methodists as a cat's-paw to paw our members out of our Church into his, and he was about to succeed, too. I got so full that I could not wait for him to finish. I rose from my seat and stood up behind him. He then turned to me and said that if I had anything to say or ask he would hear me. All eyes now turned to me. I was serious about the matter. I thanked him for allowing me a reply, and then addressed myself to some
things that he had said concerning the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church:
It is not in my heart to approve of the treatment meted out to the colored people by the Southern whites. I want that distinctly understood. The truth is, I was opposed to mixing with either of the white Churches; for both were avoiding the negroes as much as possible, which I will show as follows;
In the days of slavery the elders and preachers would preach for the whites at 11 A.M. and for the blacks at 3 P.M. Now, then, if the same thing is practiced to-day by either, that fact will show that the same disposition is still maintained.
"That's right," said a voice in the audience.
Very well; let's see. This morning the elder preached and administered the sacrament to the whites, and at three o'clock where is he? Out here with the colored people. Bear in mind, my friends, the elder said that there is no difference in the Church on account of race. This cannot be true, else they all would be together worshiping God to-day. No; the fact is, his Church is simply doing what the whites did in slave times.
O, my friends, I warn you all against allowing your minds to be inflamed by the elder's reference to those things; better to let that part alone. It was such advice as this which kindled strife between the races and brought on the Ku-Klux Klan. Yes, my friends, this sort of talk and friendship was the cause of many of your sons, brothers, and husbands being murdered. So I advise you to have nothing to do with this old fellow's Church. Don't join any Church that seeks to build upon the evils of the past. Don't join any Church that tries to mix you up with the white people. Never seek to mix with a people who do not want your company. The C. M. E. Church has bishops, elders, and preachers all of its own color. This old fellow's Church never allowed a colored man to become a bishop. That proves that there is a color line in his Church beyond
which they do not allow the colored man to pass. Dallas is the last city in the State in he ought to attempt to preach his union and equality about his Church; for here they have two Churches, one for the whites and one for the blacks.
Here I paused, and the elder asked why I so opposed his Church. Rev. A. J. Burrus answered by saying that I was afraid they would get more of my members. I cooled myself and then said:
No, it is not that. We have no more deadheads in our Church who would join the M. E.'s for a suit of old clothes, as Brother Burrus has done. My friends, this suit which Brother Burrus has on was given him by them. [Applause.]
The elder said: "It is not true; tell the truth."
Well, if I am telling anything but the truth, you must lay the blame on Brother Burrus, for he told me and a dozen others that they had given it to him. [Applause.]
Another thing. The elder said that his Church had millions of dollars for the colored people if they would join him. Well, about seventeen persons have joined it, but they don't show up any better in their homes and dress than those who refused to sell their membership for second-hand clothes. [Applause.]
I then left the church. The elder tried to have me remain for the communion. I told him I was full of strife and not fit to commune, so I went on.
Rev. Madison felt much concerned over the way things were then turning, because they brought no good for him. The meeting in its inception bade fair to be a successful one for his Church. Everybody seemed to be on tiptoes respecting the Methodist Episcopal Church, but I stood there and exposed their inconsistency with a boldness that dazzled and confused them no little.
Mrs. Madison fell out with me because I accused her elder of bringing in the Ku-Klux Klan. I sympathized with her, but there was no help for it. Finally she forgave me, inasmuch as it was impossible to do any more real Church work in her Church. She, with her husband, worshiped with me and my congregation nearly every Sabbath thereafter.
That Sunday's service was the last real service that they held for months. The people seemed to avoid attending that church; and notwithstanding the Methodist Episcopal Church in Dallas has had able pastors from year to year, it has never entirely recovered from the shock of that Sunday. It impoverishes every preacher assigned to it. I am free to admit that the Methodist Episcopal Church has done more to educate the colored race than any other Church in America; and if it were not Northern in its white membership, it could and would do more to solve the race question than all other agencies combined. But the fact of its Northern origin robs it of its great power in the South. In fact, its existence among the negroes simply widens the chasm between the races in the South. The colored Methodists of that Church will be better off when they are to themselves.
Our Church in Dallas had to contend with heavy opposition; but she had courage equal to it all, notwithstanding that she was unfortunate in losing some of her best material. When I assumed the charge as pastor I found that all the best material, such as leaders and stewards, had gone. Brother James McKinney was a genuine C. M. E. and was always ready to lend advice and counsel and to do his whole duty in carrying
out his share of the work. He always solicited more aid from the public for the building than all the others.
Next to McKinney came S.P. Johnson. Brother Johnson was a man of much tact, though not the true type of the Christian that he now is. McKinney, like the great Moses of old, was slow in speech and could make but little headway at singing; therefore he was not fitted for the Sunday school nor for opening public worship. It was in him to assist me as pastor in that part of the service, though he could do but little. Johnson ran a kind of shaving shop at his house, and his best business came on Sunday mornings. He was never on time for the Sabbath school, and was generally late for the eleven o'clock service; therefore I had to be Sunday school superintendent, class leader, steward, and pastor. Had I not acted in those various positions, it is hard to say what would have become of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in Dallas. After Johnson lost his sight he became a most devoted Christian, and is to this day regarded as the leader in all affairs of the Church in Dallas. I mention this fact because I have noticed what a great benefit adversity was to Brother Johnson, and to show that adversity is sometimes a blessing in disguise. Had Brother Johnson retained his sight, the chances would have been against his ever being the Christian he resolved to be after losing his sight. Let us learn a true lesson from this sad event in Brother Johnson's life. Never retreat in the time of adversity. Believe in God and push onward and upward, and in the end success will be yours.
I received a very small salary for services rendered in Dallas as pastor during the year 1875, but I erected the
first colored church in that city; therefore I felt rich in the thought that I had mastered the situation.
The Annual Conference of 1875 met at Jacksonville. Bishop L. H. Holsey, the second greatest man in the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, presided. This man is every inch an orator, the most polished I had ever heard; indeed, he is a great man. He used so to charm his hearers when preaching that they seemed to have lost their reason. Elder William Taylor, the big Texas preacher, could not hear Bishop Holsey a moment without his mouth flying open.
It was at Jacksonville that Bishop Holsey recognized my services to the Church by calling upon me to preside over the Conference. I love Bishop Holsey because his heart is free from prejudice and ignorant clamor. If a young man were developing into full, true manhood, he was not afraid of him. He was not fearful lest the youngster might rival him. He never said to the young man: "Come so far and no farther; go so far and no farther." If there is anything that I hate in a bishop, it is his ill treatment of a young minister in the vain hope of downing or getting even with him. I know of just such instances; and however wise may be the appointments of that bishop, there is always a suspicion that they are made with prejudice.
I was returned to Dallas for 1876. We went on reaping the fruits of good seed sown the previous year. The citizens no longer regarded our Church as the Democratic Church. Consequently my services were largely attended during the morning, in the afternoon, and at night. My church was full to overflowing. The Christians (Campbellites) were simply carried away with my
church services, and made it a point to attend in large numbers, thus swelling the congregation. The Presbyterians did not take to our Church. For some cause they always preferred the M. E.'s. It may seem strange, but neither of the two Churches has succeeded in Dallas. But, on the other hand, the Campbellites and C.M. E.'s are powerful there.
Rev. E. W. Mosley was then stationed at Marshall, Tex., and, visiting Dallas, he rendered me no little service in my series of meetings. Many souls were brought to Christ and joined the Church. So from henceforth I had all things common.
Bishop Lane held the District Conference in the new church, and in the presence of a large assembly he expressed much surprise at my success. I am amused when I remember why and how they called me "Fighting Joe." One day we were reading history and came to an account of a certain battle fought by the famous General Joe Hooker. Not many days afterwards the ecclesiastical battle was waged between Elder Brush and me. It was from that controversy that every one who was conversant with the battle and title given to General Hooker called me "Fighting Joe." The term as applied to me, I think, was always misleading. I never was a fighter, as is commonly implied by the term, after I became a Christian, though I was a ready debater. In fact, nothing was ever more pleasing to me than controversy of a good-natured sort. On measures of grave importance I have attracted some of the ablest men of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, and in the controversy I generally covered myself with applause from the public. The only man that I ever met in
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controversy and regarded as my equal or more than a match for me was Bishop L. H. Holsey, of Georgia. I must confess that I was unwilling to tackle him on more than one occasion. But I often went after him because there was no one else in sight; all others kept themselves hid and in silence. I admit that I have seen the time when silence was a jewel even in great men, but such a time rarely comes nowadays.
The Annual Conference of 1876 convened in Dallas, with Bishop J. A Beebe presiding. This was the first time I met the new Bishop. I found him to be a man of ripe experience and rare ability. He proceeded with the Conference affairs in a businesslike manner. I loved him for his fatherly movement among men. He was a very fine preacher, too, but fell short of Bishop Holsey. The ministers all loved Bishop Beebe.
Bishop Holsey had recommended me to the new Bishop, and said that he would assign me, as a coming young man, to the Dallas District as presiding elder in 1877, succeeding Elder Campbell Jackson. This new position I found to be a difficult one and very different from that of the pastorate. I began the first round of the district at the city of Bonham in February, 1877. I stopped off at Sherman and spent a few days with Rev. E. W. Mosley, the pastor.
It was while stopping over at Sherman that Rev. S. Townsell, who had succeeded me as pastor at Dallas, came up from that city to confer with me concerning a grievous rumor which was set afloat at Dallas respecting a certain woman and myself. I told him to return to Dallas and, if he thought it necessary, call a committee of preachers, inquire into the nature of the rumor,
and report to the Bishop if they thought a trial necessary. He returned to Dallas and, sure enough, called E. W. Mosley, H. Reed, E. B. Campbell, Levi Edmonds, and Campbell Jackson. All went but Rev. Jackson. After carefully investigating the case, they decided that a trial was not necessary and thus wrote the Bishop. I should have appeared before the investigating committee, but remained sixty-four miles away, knowing my ability to defeat the evil intentions of the three evil parties should it come to a trial. I was indifferent concerning the whole matter. I thanked Rev. Mosley for the part he played in defeating the three persons and the one preacher on the committee who sought my downfall simply because I had been promoted above him. I went on filling appointments in every charge. These evil-minded persons only succeeded in making me the more popular.
I remember my first day's visit to Gainesville because of the hard day's walk it cost me to reach the town, situated about thirty-eight miles west of Sherman. I had come up from Dallas that morning on the train, but arrived too late for the hack to Gainesville. I decided that I was too young to miss my appointment when only thirty-eight miles intervened. Leaving Sherman in the morning at 9:30 o'clock, I reached Gainesville at 8 P.M., traveling the thirty-eight miles in nine and one-half hours, which I thought good enough for a man who carried a twenty-five-pound valise. It broke me up so that I was almost a week recovering.
August brought on the camp meeting season. We held two meetings, one at Dallas and the other at Van Alstyne. The results of these meetings were indeed
gratifying in the highest degree. The ministers who assisted me at Van Alstyne were Alfred Alston, E. W. Mosley, H. Reed, S. Townsell, and Walter Marshall. There was a Mr. --, an old white man, who attended every sermon. One day on the eve of closing the meeting he said to John Moss: "I have listened to all of your preachers, and have formed the following opinion of them: Mosley is the best-educated. Alston is the best sermonizer. Townsell is the most sensational; he always seeks to create shouting, even if he has to jump over the pulpit. Reed is all wind and bluster, and will never make a preacher. Marshall is not much of a preacher. Jamison is the most able and successful of them all. He goes deep for the sense of his subject. No man can hear him and not feel the force of his argument. He is not educated, nor does he need to be; for when he begins to preach, his God fills him with more than he can express."
Dropping down to the Dallas Camp Meeting, and finding Rev. Townsell in a hard pitched battle, I went in with unusual zeal. Standing before a vast audience, having gotten well into the depth of my subject and feeling so elated over the effects of it upon the vast assembly, I all at once forgot myself and turned to the preachers on the platform and said to them: "This is Jamison preaching to-day, and he is preaching, too!" "Amen! Amen!" shouted voices in the audience. I came to myself and felt mean for having used the term. Johnson and the preachers teased me enough for my arrogance, though it was good-naturedly done. It was the Spirit of Christ by which I preached, hence it was sinful to ascribe it to myself. I simply forgot to imitate
St. Paul on that occasion. Twenty-two years have rolled away, but the brethren have not forgotten to tease me about it yet. The meeting resulted in great good.
The Colored Methodist Episcopal Church now held full sway in all North Texas. The A. M. E.'s had employed many devices to delude the people so as to get them into their Church. They would rig up a crowd of shouting sisters and whooping brothers and go from town to town shouting and whooping; but we held them back in every city save Bonham, where they broke in in spite of Reed, Townsell, and Campbell Jackson.
I had some trouble in supplying the Sherman Circuit with a minister. Rev. H. Reed, who was assigned to the charge, for some cause abandoned it. I submitted to the wishes of that people and preached for them once a month. I managed somehow to do so and at the same time hold nearly all of my quarterly meetings.
Van Alstyne Circuit was at that time the Sherman Circuit. I used to think that the best colored people in North Texas resided there. They were truly religious and always enjoyed divine worship. Messrs. Jacob Murphy, Arch McKinney, Shepherd Milam, Samuel Lynch, Hunt, Raggling, and Everett were leading spirits among the people. These, with many others, such as Mr. J. R. Boddie, were real citizens. Rev. W. R. Grundy, the true and great, succeeded me as pastor. Notwithstanding that he had much with which to contend, he wrought a good work. Grundy was a true type of the primitive preacher, never careful about his dress or appearance. He was a man of prayer and a great power as a Christian minister. He located at Pittsburg, Tex., in 1883.
The East Texas Conference--Editor and Publisher of the East Texas Conference Christian Advocate--On the Tyler District as Presiding Elder.
THE East Texas Conference convened at Longview in November, 1877, with Bishop Beebe presiding. I had once served that people as their first pastor, and now I met with the kindest greetings. Every home extended me a cordial welcome.
Revs. William Taylor, Moses Butler, Daniel Mimms, Cyrus Wolf, Robert A. Hagler, and John Williams were large window lights in that Conference. It was at this Conference that the ministers seemed to be alive for the first time in their history to the great work before them. They all manifested anxiety to leave their old standpoints and reach out for the richer fields which seemed to lie just on ahead of them. They wanted a school, education, and a circulating medium. The Index was about dead, considering the good it ought to have accomplished for the Church and its people. This fact seemed to justify the Conference in starting a paper of its own. The Bishop joined the ministers and laymen in starting the new enterprise. Rev. A. H. Jones, of Arkansas, was chosen editor. The first issue was published at Dallas in April, 1878, with Mr. Sam Townsell as agent, who brought out three or four issues and was about to suspend its publication because the brethren proved to be given more to promises than to paying their shares. Bishop Beebe urged me to run the
paper and not allow the enterprise to fail. I took him at his word when he assured me that the money I spent upon it would return to enrich me in the near future. Rev. Jones finally resigned as editor, hence I had to be editor and publisher and also presiding elder in the meantime. It is easy now to account for my poverty. Still I am expecting some day to reap a rich harvest from the seeds sown in the State of Texas.
Coming to think of the educational impulse which actuated the ministers and people at the Conference of 1877, I am much pained when I remember how it was all blasted at Crockett the following year. Another bishop succeeded Bishop Beebe and looked with disfavor upon the contemplated school. He in a few words so chilled the brethren that they despaired almost of everything except preaching. Our Texas enterprise was then about killed; and although much has been attempted since that period, nothing of real interest up to the date of this writing has yet been accomplished. This can easily be accounted for when we remember that the Conference was without proper leaders; and I may add that the growth of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church is a standing indorsement of God's favor when we consider the great scarcity of well-prepared leaders. God has mercifully pushed on the Church until it now begins to be recognized as a power for good throughout the Union. The Church has been everything but wisely manned. She might ere this have been an educational force, wielding great influence and power in lifting the ignorant thousands with whom she mingles daily. But proper leaders were scarce, hence progress was slow.
Bishop W. H. Miles was vested with the highest
authority to lead the Church on to power and prosperity; but there were not enough brains and tact in the Church to carry out his ideals of a great school for a great Church, hence the first and greatest effort of this great man failed. It was a crying shame on the Church. One of the greatest impediments to our educational enterprise has been the promises made to our men by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, very few of which have been fulfilled. Still our leaders indulged in the hope that the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in view of the many schools erected for negroes by the Methodist Episcopal Church, would come to the help of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church and thus make a creditable record in this respect; but nearly all of this has terminated as a mere dream.
The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, has been looking toward foreign countries upon which to spend their educational means. For some cause the South looks upon Africa with disdain. The Colored Methodist Episcopal Church is fully able to establish and maintain at least half a dozen high schools for negroes, which might have been equipped in full had it not been for the vain hope of aid from the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
The Conference of 1877 adjourned on Monday night. I went to the Tyler District as presiding elder. Our district stewards' meeting at Tyler in January assessed the salary and traveling expenses of the presiding elder at seven hundred and fifty dollars and a horse to ride over the district. I then returned to Dallas and arranged for selling out and going to the work assigned me. I held my first quarterly meeting at Universe,
three miles from Tyler. Berry Goss, Robert Greenleaf, Lewis Cranford, and McCarkle were among the strong men of this Church.
I hope that it may not be considered boasting in me to say that the Baptist ministers were giving the Methodists much trouble concerning their doctrines, and this appeared to be getting the best of Elders Taylor, Butler, and their young ministers. My record in the West led Bishop Beebe to believe that I was equal to the task of unhorsing any Baptist minister within the district.
Closing at Universe, I passed on to Chapel Hill. The quarterly meeting there was very large--larger than some of the District Conferences which I attended in the West. Benjamin Goodacre, George Jackson, and Edward Anderson were wheel horses at Chapel Hill; also Holt, Jesse Warren, Stephen Oliver, Green Morehead, Aaron Moland, Jacob Warren, and Moses Goodacre were men who could not be beaten at this place. Mrs. F. A. Warren, Aunt Goodacre, Vinia Oliver, Catherine Holt, Eliza Mitchell, Sarah Black, Vinia Anderson, and the Mrs. Mosleys were all truly great women. They were true wives, clean housekeepers, and as pure as fine linen. I like to recall those days, because in so doing I am refreshed and thus richly rewarded for the struggles of those days of toil and joy.
I did my very best at Chapel Hill in the way of preaching, because the way in which the people assembled made them deserving of the very best. They came up manfully to the help of the stewards. I remained here several days with Rev. H. P. Hollingsworth, the pastor, and his people.
I next went to Starville, where I met a vast crowd, largely mixed with white people. My text was from John i. 17. Mr. Samuel Waters was the most celebrated steward there; and when he called for help, the whites gave their dollars and remarked that the new elder was as sharp as a brier. That was a grand time with Methodists. Brothers Pinkston, Mosley, William Webb, Alexander, John Pinkston, and Richard Burchard were the lights in the Starville Church.
I returned to Tyler, rested, and then went to Mt. Zion, in Van Zandt. Here I met Judge Runnels, Brothers Hill, Richard Jacobs, E. Curtis, Aaron Neal, and Stephen Webb, who were men of much enterprise and zeal. They erected the best church in that section of the country. Richard Jacobs became one of the noted men of his neighborhood. He was a delegate to several sessions of the East Texas Conference and to the General Conference which met at Augusta, Ga., in 1886. He made a very useful member on committees.
Some Remarks on Trial by Committee and on the Duty of the President.
IT is never the duty of the President to urge a case pro or con. Such a course would likely prejudice the minds of the committee and thus prove hurtful to the cause of justice. The President should always bear in mind that it is the committee that is to weigh the evidence in the case, and that it is under oath to bring in a verdict. Therefore all evidence may be admitted, unless it should be objected to by the counsel as foreign to the case. The President hears all points under discussion and decides whether or not they may be admitted. This, of course, sometimes affords ground for exceptions and appeals. It is also the duty of the President to decide all questions of law which may arise as a controversy or otherwise relative to the case in question.
I attended a trial once where a preacher was charged with gross immorality. The proceedings were quite strange to me. The case was opened and the counsel for the Church read a bill of charge; but, contrary to the usual course, he also read the deposition which he used as evidence. This having been done, the President asked the committee if they desired to say anything further. Just here he reminded the committee that the defendant had requested that he be allowed the aid of two ministers as counselors, and so had the Church; but the President raised objection to allowing more than one to each side. The counsel for the defendant next sought
to break down the evidence of a certain witness by impeachment. He proposed to prove that the witness was unworthy of credibility upon the ground that she was of ill repute. The President here reminded the defendant that that would make it much harder for him, because it would show that he had lodged at a house of ill fame. Thus the defendant was deprived of one of his main points. The critic thought that was unjust, for many thousands of good men are often among houses of ill fame. They are sent not alone to the pure, but to all. The Chairman presumed that the admission of such testimony was questionable upon the ground that it was not or might not be genuine; that if the M.D. could be present, it might be admitted. So it was ruled out, notwithstanding that I was sworn before a notary public and had the seal of office stamped upon the document.
Let us view this ruling for a moment, and I think we shall find a cause for serious exception to it. Both sides had to rely upon depositions. The defendant had the only witness present; but, as I have previously stated, his evidence was ruled out. If it were fair to allow the Church to prosecute the case upon a deposition, it also would have been fair to allow the defendant the right of such testimony in his defense; but being denied such deprived the defendant of any defense whatever.
Strange to say, the case was given to the committee in this unjust shape, and of course the committee said "Guilty"--every one of them. What else could they have said? Facts which would have acquitted the defendant were ruled out. The defendant moved an appeal; but the Chairman said that that course would set him in
a bad light before the Church and the world, and, besides, it would leave him two years out of the ministry. The Chairman thought the better way for him would be to make a prayer before the Conference for pardon. The matter was taken under advisement until the next day. To this the Chairman objected. Hence he prayed a prayer before the public for the purpose of praying for pardon and restoration. Although the defendant had not been proved guilty, he made the prayer for pardon and asked the Conference to revoke the verdict of the committee. To this the Chairman objected. Hence he prayed a prayer accepting the verdict of the committee with such facts as they had before them, but did not plead guilty as charged; he simply accepted the verdict as correct according to the evidence before it. After caviling over the power of the Conference to pardon and restore, a vote was taken and the defendant was restored.
The critic was amused at the Chairman when he unhorsed the opposition to a restoration and pardon by first putting the question of pardon. All seemed willing to pardon him, but thought upon restoration as quite another thing. The vote to pardon was a unit, but the vote to restore was divided. This seemed very strange to the critic, as he thought a pardon always carried restoration with it. If the defendant were pardoned, he must be regarded as innocent or a pardon could be of no value. But, after all, they had not pardoned him, for he had already been expelled. He had paid the fine in full when he was expelled. How, then, could he be pardoned unless he was on second trial found guilty and then pardoned before paying the penalty? Strange, was it not? They pardoned him and restored him too.
I had never before in all of my life seen the dead pardoned.
The critic prepared the petition; but he preferred to appeal the case, as he never did believe they could, neither did he believe they would, attempt to pardon the defendant, as he was pronounced expelled already. But the critic proposed to convince himself by presenting the petition as suggested by the Chair.
Leaving the Western Section--Divisions Found in the Shiloh Church--Events at Henderson--Out among the Brethren in Their Revival Meetings and Holding Quarterly Conferences.
TAKING leave of the West, and believing that the cold winds had ceased, I made the mistake of having my hair cut too close, and before I could get away from Dallas I was caught in a snowstorm with no hair on my head. Thus I contracted a severe neuralgia from which I suffered the most intense pain for four weeks. It was this irritating disease which hurried me on to Longview, where Mrs. Jamison, my devoted wife, was stopping. I had hoped that she would be able to relieve me of my misery; but finding no relief, I pushed on to Hopewell Church, where I met my Quarterly Conference.
Rev. Elias Powell resided near this church, and was very helpful to me in getting through with the work of the Conference. This people, like most all others, were sadly in need of a house in which to worship. Generally the people were great lovers of divine service. Shouting seemed to have been the order of the day, but they seemed entirely devoid of any real Church pride. Every congregation in Smith County was able to erect a fine and decent house of worship; but having no Church pride, it was almost impossible to make them believe that they were able to build anything but the crudest house of worship.
I found thousands of people in and around Overton, Tyler, Longview, and Henderson. I heard while at
Overton that there was a great schism in the Shiloh Church, on the Henderson Circuit. The Rev. Joseph Lloyd had been assigned to that charge; and entering thereupon, he thought it Christlike to abide with sinners as well as Christians, which was nothing more than right, as he had been sent there to save sinners. But many and very serious objections were made to this course; and in addition to this, they accused him of preaching and mourning like a Baptist preacher, and they demanded his removal from the circuit.
It was a cold Saturday morning when, under the direction of Mr. Henry Johnson, I set out for Shiloh, which was nine miles southwest of Overton. Cold? Why, it was so cold that we once thought we would surely freeze or be badly frostbitten. But finally we reached Brother Richmond Lee's and went in to a good old-fashioned fire to thaw and warm our benumbed feet and hands. There was a lively prattle of children which enlivened the newcomer. Indeed, there could be no schism in Shiloh if this merry household was to be taken as an index to the state of the Church and community. But that merry crowd did not reflect the true state of things. The devil was reported as being thereabout, and it was found to be true.
Conference assembled about two o'clock in the afternoon. It was a fine-looking set of men, among whom were Lewis Robertson, Ben Robertson, R. Lee, Jack Cole, and others. We soon learned that there was a division among the brethren. I confined my inquiries to the main questions of the Discipline. Finishing these, I was ready to listen to all things the brethren had to say touching the pastor's removal. I soon discovered
that the whole trouble was the result of Elder Taylor's interfering with the affairs of the charge; so I dismissed the case with a request that the brethren uphold their preacher in charge. Nearly all seemed willing to do this. When I signed the journal, I took pains to state that the cause of the trouble was attributed mainly to Elder Taylor's leaving the Pittsburg District to interfere at Shiloh with Rev. Lloyd's business. When Elder Taylor visited his family in Overton, he would also visit R. Lee, near Shiloh. "How do they all like the new elder?" he inquired. "O, just the best in the world," answered Mr. Lee. "He certainly knows his business. Here is our journal," handing the book to Elder Taylor. "You may see our proceedings." He then left the room and went his way, leaving the elder to review the work of Saturday's Conference. He soon ran upon a reference to himself, and his interest became intensified. Having read the proceedings, he went to Mr. Lee and wanted further information about his alleged connection with the Lloyd troubles and why his name was spread upon the minutes. Brother Lee could only cite him to the journal, not really knowing that his name was written therein. The elder thought himself injured and unjustly treated, and consequently resolved to--. Accordingly he assembled a committee consisting of M. Butler, Elias Powell, and P. J. Jones to investigate the case at Shiloh. These souls met as though their actions would be of no force further than the sending of a report of their findings to the bishop. It was the most futile mock trial in the annals of Church history. Here was an elder from one district calling together the ministers of another elder's district
for the purpose of trying him, which was not lawful. The worst of this mock trial was my silence. I was presiding elder of the Tyler District, and of course I paid no attention to their ignorant and malicious work. But when I met Elder Butler, preacher in charge of the Mt. Zion Circuit, I inquired of him whether the report of the trial was true in any particular. He assured me that it was. I then asked him for the law for any such high-handed procedure. "O well, we had law for it," he said. I assured him that I would not believe that he deliberately intended to do me a wrong; that the public generally thought he had been used by Elder Taylor because Taylor wished to give color to the trial in this way. I further told him that I would not believe him in a conspiracy with Elder Taylor, unless he persisted in affirming their course as lawful. This he did, notwithstanding that the brethren sought to convince him of his erroneous ideas. I was about to call his Conference to order, though he had helped to suspend me and said that I should not hold it. He commenced early with the hope that I would be late getting in and thus afford him a reason for calling the Conference to order; but he was disappointed, for I was on time. He refused to participate in the business of the Conference, though it went on and all business was finished. I was sorry for Elder Butler when five hundred people met the next day and condemned his course. That was the first visit I had paid to Mt. Zion.
I preached on Sunday. My text was from Matthew, about "hell and the wicked." As I commenced my sermon the clouds began to rain in gentle showers; and as I waxed warm in the sermon the clouds increased their
downpour. I shall never forget old Sister --. She drank to overflowing before breaking forth, and never in my life had I been so nearly overcome by the shouts of an overflowing heart. The old lady seemed to have been resisting the power which swept her adrift. Seeing it beyond her power to withstand, she burst forth in a shout that electrified the vast audience. I stopped preaching and went for my handkerchief, for my eyes were wet. Her daughters and some neighbors went to assist her in stemming the tide, but, finding it useless, led her out of the church through the falling rain; but her voice sounded and resounded above the voices of many waters. Elder Butler sat in tears near the pulpit, but refused to take communion with us. Every one regretted this, but there was no help for it. That was the last divine service and the last communion he would witness in the world; yet he refused. He rode home through the rain, went to bed sick, continued so for two or three weeks, and then died and was gathered unto his long home. I trust that he repented and was saved; but if he was lost, his blood will be upon Elder Taylor for deceiving him.
Henderson Station was the next place that I visited. It was there that I had joined the East Texas Conference five years since. It was there also that I was ordained, and to-day Henderson claims me as its own. This fact more than all others induced large crowds to assemble to hear the young elder. Rev. Elias Powell was their pastor, but he did not fill the desires of the people as a preacher. Still there were no wild clamors for his removal. He was a good man, and this fact assisted the public in measuring the real worth of the
minister. A man must be more than a good preacher if he would commend himself and his work. Above all, he must be a good man. Yea, all men ought to be true and good; but the preacher must be a good man indeed. What else can he afford to be? True as this should be, yet it is far from being true of all the preachers; and the Church of Christ has suffered no little from this cause.
I found it necessary to confine Brother Powell to the Beaver Springs Church and attach Henderson to the Overton Station and assign Rev. Moses Robertson to both towns as pastor. The work then took on new life and many souls were brought to Christ. Among the leading spirits of the Henderson Church were Brothers Henry Bowden, Rolly Lee, Henry Hicks, Johnson, and Harris. All have found that rest which remains for the people of God. Brother Bowden died suddenly. Everybody was much shocked at his death because he was such a noted Christian. I shall always remember the funeral occasion of this zealous man, and also that of Mr. Hooks Flanagan. I was called to go one hundred miles to preach the funerals of these men. It was arranged to have me preach them both at the same time and place. There were no doubts in the public mind as to Uncle Bowden's peaceful rest, for his walk was the walk of a Christian. But the same was not true of Uncle H. Flanagan, whose life was one of sinning against God; and in this, so far as it was known, he continued until the day of his death. It was claimed that he repented; yet there were grave doubts in the mind of the public, and I was of the same opinion. But I was assured by his friends that be died in the faith,
hence I attempted to class him with the sainted Bowden as having gone to the better world. Never in my ministerial career did I attempt such a difficult task. I simply broke down; and when I dismissed, I could scarcely reach my stopping place. The doctor was called in to see me and said that I needed rest. I learned a lesson from those two men which will be of service to me as long as I live. To preach a sinner to heaven is an impossibility and a very unpleasant task to attempt. One of the weaknesses of the human race is to seek every excuse to hide the faults of a deceased member. It matters not how wretchedly he has lived, his friends will do or say almost anything to palliate and to make it appear that rest and peace are his portion. I hold that this is wrong and has an evil tendency, because it is misleading in its teaching and in its effect upon the living. The doctrine which teaches that if we would rest in a peaceful repose in death we must live godly in this present world is a true and safe doctrine. Preachers ought to be careful and never allow themselves to be persuaded to depart from the truth. Who shall abide in the mountain of the Lord? "He that speaketh the truth in his heart, and lieth not with his tongue."
Having closed the Conference and administered the Lord's Supper at Henderson, I went on my way and stopped at Overton, where a grand service was held at the church. Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Wilson, and a host of others were in full faith and rejoiced in the hope of a coming Saviour. There were some really nice people around Overton, but of the majority the reverse was true. Our friend and brother, A. McDaniel, was a great man and a good teacher. Uncle Essech Johnson
loved the Lord with all of his heart, and has been called to his reward. The Rev. Moses Robertson was the new preacher in charge, and made a good impression as a young orator.
I remember with pleasure the first quarterly meeting I held at Kilgore, where I met Scott Baxter, Benjamin Hilburn, John Hilburn, Alex Reed, Crawford James, Cash Thompson, and others. And O what a time we had! That section of the country was full of Baptists and there were a good many Campbellites. Rev. John Baptist was pastor of the Baptist Church, and on one occasion he ran into the Methodist doctrine. Father Henry Jackson did not answer him, and this fact emboldened the Baptist and was irritating to the few Methodists. On my second visit to that place I had Rev. Moses Roberson along with me, who preached on Monday a powerful sermon from the text: "He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." (Gal. vi. 8.) When the Rev. Roberson took his seat, there were but few in that vast audience who were not in tears. I shed tears myself. The preacher walked around alone just prior to the services, and, returning, he expressed to me his inability to fill the demand of the hour. I encouraged him all I could, and in the meantime directed him as touching his trend of argument in the discourse. God gave the Spirit in abundance, and the preacher soon forgot all doubts and just simply swept all before him. Upon adjournment it was announced that I would preach on "Baptism" at 8 P.M. The announcement created a sensation. The deacon of the Baptist Church sent a courier eight miles after Rev.
Jesse Roe, the Baptist preacher. I knew nothing of this until I was through lecturing, for it was not to be called preaching. I took up the subject and had respect to its importance, design, and mode. I showed its importance by setting forth the fact of its being the door by which persons entered the Church of Christ. I showed the design by setting forth the fact that it was a distinguishing mark by which the world was reminded that we had put off the old man Adam and put on the new man Christ Jesus. I then took up its mode. I did not attempt to prove that any special mode was essential to salvation. I tried to show that the claims of the Baptists and Campbellites that there was but one mode, and that mode immersion, were fraudulent. I gave the three modes now in use and showed that the most decent mode was pouring or sprinkling. I made immersion indecent and distasteful by picturing to the audience the sight of a muddy woman coming up out of a mudhole. When I was through with this picture, the Baptists arose and retired. The Rev. Jesse Roe had never heard the historical facts presented on this subject before, and refused to dispute them, though his members seemed to be very much disgruntled. They asked him repeatedly concerning the facts which I established, but he simply said: "I don't know but that they are true." It was a happy occasion for the Methodists, by which their membership was greatly increased. I was a ready fighter in those days, and challenged the Baptist ministers to meet me in a public debate. After spending five days with them, I left for Athens; but before leaving I had the assurance of the Methodists that
I had rendered them a great service, for which they were truly grateful.
I dreaded the forty-mile ride from Tyler to Athens; but as duty called me to go, I found no excuse for disobeying the voice. Feeling myself well mounted, I started all alone; and of all the rides I had ever experienced, that was the most lonely. I would ride from ten to twelve miles without passing a single house or without getting a drink of water. The sun seemed determined to set with me still on the road, with nothing to amuse me but wild deer and turkeys, which continually crossed the road. But before the sun was entirely down Athens burst upon my sight. This, indeed, was quite cheering to me. Riding up to a gentleman's house, I inquired if I had at last reached Athens. After being assured that I had, I dismounted and told Mr. Luke Boyd that I was Elder Jamison. Hence the good Mr. Boyd carried me to Aunt Haywood's and informed her that I was the expectation of many. I was kindly provided for thereafter.
For the first time I had struck a town where some of the best members had deserted us and joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church; though I could not complain, for everything whispered "Welcome." I met something like a Quarterly Conference, but there were great divisions among the brethren. I was expected to perform the task as pastor in the trial of members against whom complaints were made. I tried to shift this duty to its rightful owner; but the preacher, Rev. George Hugh, was but a substitute and thought it best to refer all troubles to me. I did the best I could on Friday and Saturday nights. This advertisement
brought a large crowd together for services on Sunday. I preached mightily to that people; and on Monday I was afflicted with the nettlerash, which tormented me no little for four days.
The most remarkable visit that I had made to Athens was in June, 1885, when was held the funeral of Mrs. Julia Boyd. Dr. Collins was the most celebrated free-thinking infidel in that part of the State. He and I had upon several occasions discussed the inspiration and teachings of the Bible. Of course he had all the advantage of a fine education; but I had Jesus and the apostles, so I pitted these against him. He would ask all the questions, and would dodge whenever I put any to him. I was not counting upon having to preach to him on this noted occasion; but I was surprised when I saw him, with his chair in his hand, en route to church. I found on reaching the church that he was crowded out. "This won't do," thought I, so I had all the seats carried out into a beautiful grove near by. The Doctor seated himself within fifteen feet of the stand. "All right," thought I to myself; "you'll have to listen today. And while I ought to preach for the vast crowd who agree with me respecting future reward and punishment and not waste time with you, still I must teach you the truth." I selected Corinthians xv. 3, 20. I set out to establish the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. I had little or no difficulty in proving the death of Christ, and that, too, by witnesses favorable to the Doctor's views. But to establish his blessed resurrection to the satisfaction of the Doctor required much reasoning. I assumed that the best evidence should be put on the witness stand. I laid greatest
stress upon the nineteenth verse, and agreed with St. Paul that if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. Viewing the subject in all of its importance, I nerved myself and set up the scriptural proof as the best, and assured those present that it was vain and useless to rely upon anything but the Scripture. I called up the women who testified that Christ did rise from the dead. Next I put up the twelve apostles, and with one voice they said: "He rose." Then I called on the guards, the watchmen, and they too said: "He rose." Also the five hundred witnesses, who also testified that they had seen him alive since his death. St. Paul was my strongest witness, because he had been on the Doctor's side. I assumed that the greatest weight would be given to eyewitnesses in any court of justice; so inasmuch as all of my witnesses were eyewitnesses, their testimony was of the highest value. I told the audience that the infidels had been eighteen hundred years hunting for an eyewitness, but had failed thus far to produce a single one. They relied upon witnesses who lived from five hundred to fifteen hundred years after the resurrection, hence no sane mind could rest its salvation upon their evidence. During all this time--three-quarters of an hour--I faced the Doctor and the two dozen or more persons sitting with him, leaving the vast crowd to my back; but now I faced about and spoke to the crowd. O, I was so full and so delighted at my success in establishing the resurrection! I told the audience to take fresh courage; that the victory was theirs. I was telling them of the crowd of living witnesses around me when there went up a great shout from the audience. Tears were shed on
all sides. The old Doctor himself shed tears freely. I dismissed the meeting, and the Doctor went home; and when I reached my stopping place, it was reported that the Doctor was coming. He came right into my room and said: "Gold and silver have I none, but I have brought you some of my fine fruit." I assured him of my appreciation. He said further that he had not heard a colored man preach before in thirty-five years, and that he would rather have lost fifty dollars than to have missed that sermon. I hoped that God would save him.
Annual Conference of 1878--Reappointed Presiding Elder of the Tyler District--Move the Christian Advocate Plant to Tyler and Turn It Over into the Hands of the Texas Conference for Publication--Visit the Louisiana Conference in the Interest of the Advocate--Spending Christmas in the Country--The Blue Spring Camp Meeting.
THE Conference of 1878 convened at Crockett, Bishop Lane presiding. I cannot say much for that session of the East Texas Conference, because it was noted for doing more harm than good. I was returned to the Tyler District as presiding elder for 1879. The Christian Advocate was now to make its usual visitations, with me as its editor. I was convinced that all it needed to give it a large circulation was a live editor, and that I resolved to be. I moved the whole concern to Tyler, with Rev. J. B. McNeely as partner. I thought we would soon be on the high road to success.
The Christian Index also had at this time a live man at its head as publisher in the person of Bishop W. H. Miles, and a live man as its editor in the person of Dr. C. W. Fitzhugh. The two papers now entered the field with the blast of Joshua's sounding trumpet, which filled the air around with signal victory. If these two papers could have remained in the same hands until to-day, the cause of Christ and of the people would have been greatly advanced; but a change was made which has never done the Index any good. It was turned over to the General Conference in 1882 by Bishop Miles. The
Advocate was turned over to the Texas Conference by me. The Texans allowed it to die for want of interest, etc.
The year 1878 was a splendid year throughout the entire Church. Many souls found precious deliverance from sin and Satan through faith in the Son of God. The Revs. Hollingsworth, Hagler, Lowe, Roberts, Whiten, and Mimms set the district ablaze with their spiritual zeal and hallowed fire. The greater portion of the Marshall District was added to the Tyler District, thus giving me nine counties over which to travel. Longridge Circuit was composed of Center Academy, Longridge, Sunny Point, and Shady Grove. It was on this circuit that a great work was accomplished through good old Brother Daniel Mimms, Robert Roberts, E. E. Bowens, Walker Garrett, Thomas Price, M. Bell, York Goff, K. Hardy, King Smith, and Hilburn. They were true officers and men of rare abilities. It was on this circuit that Elder Mimms had licensed me to preach seven years previous to this. The Annual Conference met at Pittsburg that fall, with the good Bishop Lane presiding. This was a very good and profitable session, all things being considered. Rev. Grundy played an important part in making this Conference quite interesting. Some very nice families are to be found in and around Pittsburg. The Rev. P. J. Jones resides here. I saw in Pittsburg something that I have never seen in any other town in Texas. It was a white man with a colored wife.
The Louisiana Conference convened at Minden in 1879. I considered it an inviting field for the Advocate, hence I determined to visit them. I accordingly went
ROSCOE C. JAMISON.
home and arranged my affairs, and was in Shreveport the following day. The trip was to be made by stagecoach --a forty-mile drive. The roads were in a wretched condition, but four good horses were equal to the task. Poor horses! There was no mercy on them, and it was not long before the whistle was blowing for the beautiful little town of Minden.
Bishop Beebe was the idol of this Conference, which delighted to do him honor. That was pleasing to the newcomer, whom Bishop Beebe introduced to his brethren as "Fighting Joe," the Advocate man. It was a warm welcome that the Conference tendered "Uncle Joe."
This Conference seemed to excel the Texas Conferences in many respects. All was peace and good will. Thomas Powell, Bullock, Amos, Shepherd, Sherman, and Walton were strong men in the Louisiana Conference. Bishop Beebe seemed more at home in this Conference than in any other over which I had seen him preside. I addressed the Conference in behalf of the Advocate, and in less than thirty minutes raised sixty-five dollars. The people said that "Uncle Joe" came up to their standard as an editor, hence I was able to secure quite a large subscription for the Advocate. I returned home highly pleased with my visit to Louisiana.
Spending Christmas in the country, at the home of Dr. Waskom, I went hunting every day or two.
In January, 1880, I started on my first round of quarterly meetings on the Tyler District.
The most noted event of 1879, perhaps, was the Blue Spring Camp Meeting, held by Rev. H. P. Hollingsworth, near Chapel Hill. I was a curiosity in that part
of the country. Thousands attended the meetings night and day. W. R. Grundy, O. T. Womack, Robert E. Hagler, and J. R. Wages did the preaching, and it was good preaching indeed. I sang all the good songs I knew. I made "Jerusalem City" ring for miles around. Sister Warren seemed to have taken greatest delight in my singing. The stand erected for the ministers was about two and a half feet high. Womack rose to preach one day and announced as his opening hymn, "That awful day will surely come, the appointed hour make haste." I led off by singing "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound!" On coming to the words, "That saved a wretch like me," I slowed up a little, expecting the audience to join in; but everybody seemed to be smiling or laughing outright. "What's the trouble?" I asked. Womack said: "Brother, you are singing the wrong hymn." Just about that time Jesse Warren laughed aloud, which set them all to laughing. I then saw the mistake and laughed until I was simply forced to take my seat. That meeting resulted in the conversion of about fifty souls.
The meeting having closed, I resumed by work with the Advocate. It had paid its own way during the year 1880. This was owing to the interesting controversy between it and the Index. C. W. Fitzhugh was a brilliant writer, and wrote for the fun of the thing. Indeed, he had but few equals. But he did a thing which sent him downward, never to rise again--that is, jumped from Church to Church, office-seeking. The last leap he made placed him where nothing can now be heard of him. The disposition of Rev. J. A. Ving reminds one very much of that of Fitzhugh. He was first an A. M. E., then a Presbyterian, then a C. M. E., and now he is
again an A. M. E., but received no appointment for 1889. Alford Alston was also once a very popular minister of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in Texas. He was honored with high positions in the Church, but he finally yielded to the persuasion of the presiding elder of the Methodist Episcopal Church and went over to that Church. Poor Alston! That ruined him in the estimation of his acquaintances, white and colored. In fact, he could do no more good in this part of the country, hence to prevent starvation he moved to Arkansas. The same might be said of Zedrick Taylor and others.
I mention the fate of these men for the purpose of admonishing others against similar mistakes. Everybody is a little suspicious of a minister who changes from Church to Church. They think that there is something wrong with him, and with very few exceptions this is true to the letter.
Our membership at Marshall was small and poor. They were greatly in need of a suitable church edifice. With O. T. Womack as pastor, they resolved to build a house to the glory of God. The women were our mainstay. They canvassed the town until they succeeded in having all the lumber put on the ground except the roofing, which Womack and I took as our job. The good work was pushed on to completion, after which Revs. Womack and Grundy held a series of meetings which proved quite successful. Womack said that Grundy preached the sermon suitable for the occasion, using these words as a text: "Come thou, and all thine house, into the ark." He preached until the house was filled with the Holy Spirit. Grundy was not a scholar, but a man of great power with Christ. I like to remember
Grundy, for we spent some of the most pleasant hours of our ministerial life together. The first time we met in competition was at Starville on the occasion of the funeral of Miss A. Pinkston, a teacher and one of Smith County's purest women. "Joe," said he, "you had better take the lead to-day." "Just as you say," I answered. "Well, no. As everybody has come to hear you, you had better close the sermon," he said. "I'll go ahead and clear the way for you." "All right," I said. So he went in and opened the services, using as his text the words: "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them." (Rev. xiv. 13.) Rev. Grundy spent fully forty minutes upon the life and labors of the deceased, contrasting her with many who fell far short of her in goodness, etc. He laid great stress upon good, virtuous women, and endeavored to encourage the young women to strive to emulate the good traits found in the character of the deceased. He said he heard a voice from heaven saying that it was well with Sister Pinkston. With this assurance he forgot himself and took flight, and the remainder of his sermon was of such a character that it seemed to lift his hearers to such a high pitch of joy that they were all shouting when he took his seat.
My turn came next, but I could add nothing, for Grundy had set the mountains all resounding with hallelujahs that filled the fields around. No one enjoyed it more than I. From that day the star of Rev. Grundy rose and eclipsed all others in the Eastern Texas Conference.
Not long afterwards we joined Rev. D. Mimms in a
meeting held by him at Shady Grove. Rev. A. Taylor, a Baptist minister, accompanied us. When we arrived at the church, we found that services had begun. George Roberts, a local Baptist preacher, was preaching. The brethren came out and requested me to do some of my best preaching. "For we are on a rock," they said, "and it requires hard preaching here to get us off." Grundy said laughingly: "Put me up. I'll set 'em up. Won't I, Joe?" "Yes, you will," I assented. But the brethren knew nothing of Grundy's ability as a preacher, and to them it was no time for experimenting; and, besides, they thought he was joking. Grundy, adjusting his tooth and snuff brush most vigorously, would roll his big white eyes at them in a regular backwoods manner which was very amusing. Finally the evening services were begun. Elder Mimms put Grundy up to preach. His text was: "There is more joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth than over ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance." (Luke xv. 7.) He assured his hearers that there were none who needed no repentance, and proved it by the Scriptures. The ninety and nine, he said, were the Pharisees and the scribes who claimed to be the children of Abraham and heirs of the promise. These, he said, considered themselves righteous, fasted twice a week, gave alms to the poor, and needed no repentance nor Saviour. The preacher saw the world in a sad condition when ninety and nine out of a hundred were so given to Judaism as to disown their only Saviour. The Pharisees thought and counted themselves the most just and righteous of all people, but they misjudged our Lord and their need of his salvation. He sought in many ways to convince them of their deplorable
condition. The one sinner that repented, the preacher said, represented the Gentiles; and the ninety and nine just persons represented the Jews and especially the Pharisees. He touched the woman's tenth piece of silver and the younger son, but affirmed that the three were to be understood as a figure of the wretched state of the human heart and the readiness of Christ to alleviate its suffering. He grew very eloquent when he related the joy in heaven over the repenting sinners, and illustrated this joy by relating an account of three little children--two boys and a girl--whose parents sent them to a school three miles away. On their return homeward the little girl turned aside to gather flowers, while the boys went on home. The girl was soon lost. The mother waited until nearly sunset for her child to come, but in vain. This frightened her, and she made alarm with her cries, which brought the father from the field. They went in search of little Jane, but found her not. It was night when they returned, and without their little daughter, which so shocked the mother that she was crazed with grief. She threw herself upon the bed as if to die were better than to live. The father gathered his neighbors together during the night and arranged to make a clear search of the woods for miles around. They organized themselves into squads, each squad taking a horn; and whichever found little Jane was to give three sharp blows as a signal. Morning dawned, and they departed in every direction. But to the mother it all seemed futile, for she had seen in a dream a wild beast devouring little Jane; so she cried the more bitterly. But ere another setting of the sun, late in the day, a man espied little Jane. He called her, but
instead of answering she fled from him. He overtook her, and then, giving three loud, sharp blasts with the horn, the squads came running together; and such joy no tongue can express. It was nearly dark when they reached the home. And O what a scene! Mother shouted first, then she wept much. In the meantime all were blowing their horns. People came from afar to make merry over little Jane. This was characteristic of the joy over one repenting sinner.
There was not a dry eye in that all vast audience. The meeting now took on new life. Miss Bettie Williams, now the wife of Rev. H. T. Lee, was saved. Grundy promised to "set 'em up," and he kept his word.
The Annual Conference of 1880--Defending Rev. Mr. Lowe --Visiting the Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama Conferences in the Interest of the Christian Index and the Christian Advocate--Spending Christmas in Dallas.
THE Annual Conference of 1880 convened in the new church at Marshall, with Bishop Miles presiding. This was his second visit to Texas. The Bishop paid a high tribute to the ability of the editor of the Christian Advocate, all of which I appreciated with due modesty. The Bishop was then publisher of the Christian Index. He entered into an agreement with me by which the two papers combined could be taken for one dollar and fifty cents per year.
That was a warm Conference but a cold winter. Snow lay on the ground six inches deep for a week. It was during this session of the East Texas Conference that the case against Rev. S. L. Lowe was dismissed by Bishop Miles, which strongly established the Bishop in the minds of the brethren as being a man who clings to the law. At the previous session, in 1879, Lowe fell under some slanderous rumors. After investigating the case, the people thought a trial necessary. Consequently the bishop who presided over that Conference (1879) called the case and appointed a committee to try it. They assembled, the bishop himself presiding. They had not gone far with the case before they found that they had not sufficient evidence to convict. To acquit was the proper thing to do, of course; but the bishop appointed another committee to get more evidence, after which they
adjourned. The new committee met and suspended Lowe until the next Conference. As counsel for Lowe I insisted that it was doing him an injustice, because all law required that when a case was given to a committee the committee was bound to render a verdict, and could not say that it had not sufficient evidence without acquitting. But the bishop thought differently. I paid no attention to the new investigating committee. Fortunately for Lowe, a new bishop heard the report of that committee. He listened to arguments pro and con, and then dismissed the whole affair. That decision opened the eyes of my brethren. The first bishop was not an expert in law; hence a minister was really unfortunate to have a case in his court, for he generally presumed a defendant guilty.
This Conference was largely attended. Among the visitors was Rev. S. Townsell, of the West Texas Conference. The Marshallites tried themselves in providing for the ministers and visitors. Matt Roberts was as jolly as a cricket. He surpassed them all in smiling and chatting. We all loved Matt Roberts.
To Bishop Miles this did not look to be the town and people he met in 1872. Members of the Methodist Episcopal Church had more religious sense now than they had then; hence it was now a crowded house, filled with amens, that greeted Bishop Miles.
Having agreed with Bishop Miles to visit the Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama Conferences in the interest of the Christian Index and Christian Advocate, at the close of the East Texas Conference I arranged matters at Marshall and left for the Tennessee Conference, which was in session at Brownsville. Leaving
Marshall at 4 A.M., I took breakfast at Texarkana, passed through Little Rock at about 1:40 P.M., but cannot remember exactly when I passed through Memphis, though I reached Brownsville in time to be assigned to my quarters before services were dismissed.
I was pained to see Bishop Miles board the fast train for Louisville, off of which I had just gotten. "Joe, I am ahead of you," he said. "However, they are expecting you, and I guess you will get a good subscription for the Advocate." He was correct in this, for I received a large subscription. All the bishops were there, or had been, save Bishop Beebe.
This Conference was composed of as fine-looking Negro preachers as were to be found in the Union. The Daniels, the Mitchells, Lee, Payne, Smiths, Davis, Powell, Cottrell, Mosley, and a host of others were all good men and good preachers. Rev. Rollie led the singing; and it was done well, too, if it was mixed a little with ancient selections.
I visited Jackson, the birthplace of the Colored Methodist Church. I met here a fine and intelligent set of people and a host of preachers. I was the guest of Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Watson while at Jackson. A more accomplished family was not to be found anywhere. I preached in the morning at the East Jackson Station to an attentive audience, though it was small. It was at this service that I met Mrs. Bishop Lane. In appearance she was a perfect picture of health, a fine-looking and a most accomplished lady. At 8 P.M. I preached at Liberty Street to an overflowing house. It was a great trial to preach to that vast audience of intelligent people. But I wore off the fears by putting in
the preacher's usual excuse. I spoke to them concerning the priestly prayer of Jesus. There were some in that audience who were good judges, and these were well pleased. When I had gone out of Tennessee, upon reflection I said: "Well, they shout in Tennessee too." I saw that the gospel of Christ produced the same effect the world over, or at least as far as I had gone; and I think this is a strong proof that it is of God and not of man. A system which, when declared by the chosen ministers of Christ, affects the world as does the preaching of the gospel seems to me to be the best evidence of its divine origin. What think you of it, reader? I am sure you will say that this is true.
The white people of Tennessee were opposed to allowing colored people to ride in first-class cars--much more so than they are in Texas. But I did not care. Soliciting subscriptions was what I was after, and not pleasure; for if I had gone pleasure-seeking, I would not have been guilty of selecting Tennessee. I would have gone to Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and to those States which were free from malice toward colored people.
I returned to Memphis, where I joined Bishops Miles and Holsey. Here I passed quite a pleasant time with Rev. J. K. Daniels and his accomplished wife. I preached for his good people at Collins Chapel. The Spirit of the Lord came upon us, and we enjoyed a profitable service. The Bishops and I called upon the photographer and purchased the picture of Rev. J. H. Ridley, a picture which I admire very much, though I had not met Ridley at that time. We went to a panorama at one of the white Baptist churches, where we saw
great wonders. We saw the four beasts, the angels, the devil, death, hell, and the four and twenty elders as seen by St. John. The Bishops were highly delighted with the scenery. Indeed, it clung to Bishop Miles so that by its aid he preached one of the most powerful sermons I have ever heard.
We now took leave of Memphis for the Mississippi Conference, which met at Como. That was a large Conference of brethren. I. H. Anderson, Bobo, Hawk, Smith, Moon, and others were prominent factors in that Conference. It was a very large body, but they had made a mistake in holding their annual session in a country town such as Como was. Bishop Miles and I were mere visitors. Bishop Holsey was the chief executive in that Conference as in the Tennessee Conference. We were given an opportunity to present the claims of the Advocate and Index, and received quite a good number of subscriptions.
We went up to Sardis, a small town just east of Como, where we met a host of good-looking people. It was at this place that Bishop Miles thought to establish a school; but he made a blunder, and it caused him to lose all of what he had paid. Though he was not to blame, he missed only the true measurement while measuring the brethren for liability. They disappointed him. It was always a wonder to me how public men could so disregard their obligations and think nothing of a promise. It came to be so that no one could trust a whole Conference of brethren; they would disappoint one in spite of faith.
We returned to Memphis, changed cars, and went to Courtland, Ala., where the Alabama Conference was in
session. Everything bade fair for a most delightful time. It was eight years since I had been in Alabama; and while I had never visited this portion of the State, I nevertheless felt at home among the Alabama brethren. Bishops Miles and Holsey were in a lively mood, chatting and enjoying the greetings of the brethren. I was not disappointed in receiving a small number of subscriptions, for the country looked as if it had been a hard task to get a living out of it. There had been a great drought throughout North Alabama and North Mississippi, which greatly augmented the scarcity of money in those poor sections.
North Alabama is truly picturesque. Its mountain chains spread themselves far and wide, presenting to the stranger the grandest scenery in the South. I am told that there are fortunes in iron, coal, copper, etc., in these mountains, and I suppose it is true. Still the people there did not resemble any of fortune's favorites.
Everything passed off lovely. I was much pleased with my visit; and having represented the papers, I bade the Bishops and the Conference adieu.
It was at Courtland that I heard Bishop Miles preach the greatest sermon of his life. That is saying a great deal, but I don't believe it possible for him to excel that sermon. His text was from Proverbs viii. 34, 35, and 36. Snow lay nearly a foot deep upon the ground, and this increased the beauty of the surrounding mountains. This seemed to have assisted the Bishop in delivering that wonderful sermon. He took the snow-covered mountains as living witnesses of the great truths which he so powerfully set forth on that occasion. I was appointed to preach at night; and O how I trembled
at the thought of having to address an audience which had just been carried to such lofty heights by Bishop Miles! But I was the editor, hence I was expected to justify the claims made for me. Notwithstanding the snow that night, the white people's church was filled with people of all colors and conditions. Selecting D. L. Jackson to accompany me in the pulpit, I preached from the text: "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Rom. vii. 24.) It was a cautiously delivered sermon and rather dry, I thought; but Bishop Holsey expressed himself as being highly pleased. Passing through the streets the next day, I met a merchant who asked me where I was educated. I answered: "Nowhere, sir." He did not believe me at first; but being assured, he said that it was the best sermon he had heard in North Alabama except one preached by the Bishop. I was ashamed of him, and told him so; but he said the sermon was free and full of explanation, that there was no attempt to create a sensation, and, upon the whole, the white portion of my hearers were wonderfully delighted. The train arrived, and I was glad, too, for he was worrying me. "Good-by, sir; I must get aboard this train," I said. Waving a smiling good-by to all, I was soon out of sight, headed for the State of Texas.
I reached Memphis safely; but they had so sickened me by pushing colored people into smoking cars after purchasing first-class tickets that I longed to get once more upon Texas soil. So I kept going until I got to Little Rock, Ark.
While at the Alabama Conference I found the leading colored men to be William B. Allison, R. T. Thirgood,
D. L. Jackson, G. I. Jackson, W. S. Battle, J. T. Fitzpatrick, W. T. Thomas, H. Seay, and others. Of these, W. B. Allison, R. T. Thirgood, Henry Seay, and Jackson were among the founders of that Conference.
The members of the Alabama Conference gave "Uncle Joe" and "Uncle Billy" every encouragement and a large subscription for our papers. There were not many lady visitors at this Conference, but those present were of the beautiful Alabama type. Alabama is noted for its beautiful women. There seems to be a competition between Tennessee and Alabama in this particular; but Alabama, so far as I have seen, rather excels Tennessee. But Texas surpasses them all for pretty women, hence I made haste to return to the affectionate greetings that are dearest of all to me. "Marshall!" shouted the porter, and I went forward to view the situation.
Mrs. M. A. Jamison had been promised a visit to Dallas if she consented to remain at home without murmuring while I was visiting the Conferences. So after returning to Marshall and resting twenty-four hours, we left to spend Christmas in Dallas. Willie, our only child, was as merry as a lark. He was now a good-sized lad, and was no trouble at this time. But when we were assigned to the pastorate of the Dallas Church he gave us no little trouble. He was a sweet, promising chap; but being a baby, he disliked very much to be annoyed by the train while sleeping. On reaching Dallas he worried his mamma so that I took him, hoping that he would soon fall asleep; but he cried so that I was compelled to join him. Seeing us both in tears, and hearing Willie's screams, wife now had the task of quieting us both. Nothing can take the place of wife and mother.
These are the rarest gifts ever bequeathed to man. Nothing of worth would this world be without wife and without mother. Man is therefore under great obligations to God for the rare gift of woman, and he can best prove grateful for this gift by ever being kind and true to wife and mother.
That was a merry Christmas, and Dallas had put on her very best attire. The churches were richly decorated with trees laden with precious gifts for many thousands of children. The Evening Chapel Colored Methodist Episcopal Church presented the finest and most valuable tree of all the Dallas colored Churches. Everybody greeted you with, "Christmas gift!"
Many brigades of boys paraded the streets, blowing tin horns and shooting firecrackers; but a cold wave swept over the prairies from the north which made it difficult to keep one's self warm and comfortable even by the best of firesides. Great was the suffering among the poor. What had promised to be a merry time for all lovers of Christmas had now changed to one of the most extremely cold spells ever witnessed in the State of Texas. Thousands had spent their last dollar purchasing holiday gifts, and, worse still, there was a great scarcity of fuel. Coal could not be had at any price. Wood sold at ten dollars per cord. We made our visit short in Dallas, and were glad to go to a more favored section, East Texas. That Christmas taught many wholesome lessons to the poor of Dallas and of other prairie towns.
For the first time during our married life we decided to begin housekeeping. Marshall suited my wife, hence we rented a house; and though not a very creditable one, it was called home for four years.
Political Issues of 1880--In the Camp Meetings--An Amusing Incident in Time of Feast--Discourse with a Campbellite on "What Must a Sinner Do to Be Saved?"
THE year 1880 is noted as a year of great excitement in political affairs. The National Conventions of the two great parties, not to mention the smaller ones, had named their candidates for the presidency. Gen. James A. Garfield was the Republican standard bearer, and Gen. W. S. Hancock was the choice of the Democrats. General Garfield was elected by a large majority. I felt much relieved when I returned from Athens and learned the result of the election. I was not afraid of the return of slavery in case the Democrats had been successful in electing General Hancock, but I foresaw a sad picture as to how the negroes of the South would be treated. I prayed for the election of Garfield as earnestly as I prayed for the conversion of sinners, and I do not know whether or not my prayers were answered; but one thing I do know, and that is, he was elected. The Republican party has not done all that it might have done for the negroes, but it has done wonderfully well by them.
The happiest events of 1880 were the camp meetings held at Crockett by Rev. B. J. Houston and those near Henderson by Rev. H. P. Hollingsworth. I put in good service at both of these meetings, but was far from being satisfied with the results of either. There should have been about two hundred souls converted at these meetings, whereas there were not more than seventy-five.
Hollingsworth, being acquainted with such affairs, had things well arranged. Houston was inexperienced and could not comprehend what was most needed; and yet these were occasions of great joy and profit to the Church. Fifty-five conversions for Hollingsworth and twenty for Houston were the results of the meetings.
We closed the Henderson meeting and went to town, where we were feasting on many rare treats. All of this was changed to fasting when it was announced that the sheriff had arrested Hollingsworth and was looking for Elder McPhearson. "What have you been doing, Elder?" inquired Grundy. "Why, he ran a horse race with Hollingsworth," answered a brother.
The train started for Overton. McPhearson gave me his grip and said that he would meet us in Overton. When we were one-half mile out of town, going upgrade, he caught on. "Say, John, is Sheriff Brewer on this train?" he asked. "Yes," answered John. "Good. Let me off! Take care! Let me off!" He jumped off and ran, going south as fast as the train was going north. The most amusing feature of it all is that no one was after him. Well, that was the limit. McPhearson decided that it was best not to run any more horse races, since he had to take the most active part in the running himself.
Grundy and I went on to Marshall, where we intended to rest for a few days. Grundy was allowed that privilege; but Rev. Matt Roberts had a man at Longview with a horse waiting for me to go out to Post Oak Chapel. I excused myself and went on to Marshall, promising to return at ten o'clock the next day. The man returned to Post Oak and reported my inability
to come before to-morrow. It came to pass that as the train pulled into Longview the next day the man was there with a horse. A twelve-mile ride placed us in the midst of the vast crowd awaiting our arrival. That section of the country was full of Campbellites, who were clever enough but did not believe in the mourners' bench. Large crowds of them would attend each service, but they sneered at the mourners. Brother Roberts had been unable to bring them to understand the mourners' bench. When I arrived, he said that he felt sure of success. I preached a "whole Jesus" and a free salvation, and did not forget to present the mourners' bench. I hit them right and left[.]
At the close of the morning service on the second day the pastor, a Mr. Holt, came and took me aside, saying that he desired to talk religion with me. This I thought was proper, hence I gave myself up to him that he might teach me the better way of salvation. The conversation was as follows:
Holt: "I hardly know just where to start, but what shall a sinner do to be saved?"
Jamison: "He must repent and believe the gospel."
Holt: "You don't agree with St. Peter, then, do you?"
Jamison: "O yes; St. Peter and I agree on all essential points, I think."
Holt: "What is the first thing required of a sinner in seeking salvation?"
Jamison: "First, hear; secondly, he must repent of his sins; and, thirdly, he must come to Christ, believing him to be his Saviour."
Holt: "Will this alone justify the sinner from all his sins?"
Jamison: "It will."
Holt: "What use, then, do we make of baptism?"
Jamison: "Baptism is the door by which the man is admitted into the fellowship of the Christian Church."
Holt: "But St. Peter makes baptism a condition to the sinner's salvation. He makes it the second thing that the sinner must do to be saved."
Jamison: "You mean that St. Peter laid down the doctrine that the sinner must first be baptized before he can be saved or before he can receive the Holy Ghost?"
Holt: "That is it exactly. See Acts ii. 28."
Jamison: "Yes, I see; but while St. Peter teaches here the necessity of baptism, he does not intend to teach the doctrine that baptism must precede the gift of the Holy Ghost. If he did, he was certainly mistaken. See Acts x. 44-48."
Holt: "I should like to hear you preach from Acts ii. 28 this evening."
Jamison: "I shall try to oblige you, my brother."
Holt: "Where do you find the mourners' bench in the Bible?"
Jamison: "Well, I don't know that I ever found the bench; but I've found the mourner in several places, and that is the basis upon which we are working. We supposed that no one would object to the mourners having a few benches by which to kneel. It surely can do no harm."
Holt: "But Christ did not call mourners, did he?"
Jamison: "Why, certainly he did. He charged his disciples to preach the doctrine that men should repent. Besides this, he pronounced a blessing upon them
that mourn, and that is the very reason I call for mourners --that they may be blessed. Repenting is mourning, weeping, and turning away from sins to God by faith in Jesus."
Holt: "But does not Christ say in John ix. 36 that God will not hear a sinner pray?"
Jamison: "No, no, indeed! Christ never uttered such words in any of his teachings. The Jews said this, but it was not true. How could the world of sinners be saved if it is true that God will not hear a sinner pray?"
Holt: "All that the sinner is required to do is to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and be baptized."
Jamison: "That accounts for the vast number of sinners in your Church professing to be Christians who know not Christ in the pardoning of their sins, and you ministers are to blame for it."
Holt: "We ministers of the Christian Church are satisfied that St. Peter was clear and fully competent to teach what is necessary to salvation, hence we abide by his teachings; but you Methodists are not willing to teach the doctrines which St. Peter taught."
Jamison: "Yes, we are. Indeed, we fully agree with St. Peter in all essentials. You see we take in all that St. Peter taught, which is repentance, faith, justification, adoption, and baptism; but you folks want to take baptism and faith and no more. In short, you preach so much of St. Peter's teachings as will suit your doctrine of salvation by baptism, while salvation by works is your ideal doctrine."
Holt: "What saith Philip to the eunuch in Acts viii. 27?"
Jamison: "Well, I see that you have at least cited a case that has not St. Peter as it author--a thing of rare note, for you folks rarely ever cite anything but that of which St. Peter is the author. But now let us see if you are not in error respecting the teachings of Philip to the eunuch. The eunuch was converted by the reading of the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah. I say he was a convert to the Christian's religion. He had read of baptism, or Philip had said that it was necessary to his becoming a member of the Christian Church. Coming to that water seemed to afford the needed facilities, but Philip must be assured that the eunuch had believed in his heart that Jesus was the Son of God. Being thus assured, Philip admitted him into the Church by the proper door, which was baptism; and that's all."
Holt: "And as soon as this was done the eunuch received the Holy Spirit?"
Jamison: "Well, not in any special sense. But of course the Spirit witnessed the act, which the eunuch doubtless felt, as all men do when a duty is performed, but nothing more. If we may judge from the Scriptures (Acts ix. 39), it was Philip who received the Spirit and not the eunuch."
Holt: "Well, you seem to have the best of the argument; but go in and preach and explain to the audience all the scriptures that we have touched upon."
Jamison: "I shall cheerfully do so."
By this time the brethren had begun the service by singing and praying. We went in, and I chose as a text the third chapter of St. John. Going over many passages of Scripture, I tried to explain their meaning and the lessons to be drawn from them. I was careful
to set forth the mourners' bench--that which the Campbellites disdained as man's invention. When I called for seekers and mourners, the whole space was crowded, the majority being Campbellite sinners. There was great weeping at the mourners' bench, and many received forgiveness for their sins and shouted aloud.
Twelve souls were added to the C. M. E. Church during the three days that I remained. I have never met Holt since, but I am sure that he is a wiser man.
There were some very hard citizens at Post Oak Chapel. I remember bearing Rev. Moses Butler relate some of his trials with that people. They opposed the introduction of the Methodists in those parts. When Elder Butler went there for that purpose, he rode a very fine horse; and when he was up preaching one day, some foul person cut his horse and saddle shamefully. There are thousands of people professing Christianity who are entire strangers to its principles. All they know and love is their particular Church. They would fight you if you spoke in a derogatory manner of their Church; but you might say whatever you please against Christ, and they would not become offended in the least. There are blind partisans who have never enjoyed the true spirit or religion of Christ. Christians should and do retain within them a peculiar affection for each other, and it matters not if they are of different denominations; they are one in all things essential. But, unfortunately for the Church, many worldly minded men who have been driven out of politics are preaching their own doctrine, which is contrary to the true doctrine of Christ and his apostles. But all such will have their reward in the world to come.
Elected Delegate to the General Conference of 1882-- Annual Conference Resumes Management of the Advocate --Elected Editor of the Christian Advocate.
THE Annual Conference of 1881 convened at Bonham, with Bishop W. H. Miles presiding. That was the fourth year of my service as presiding elder on the Tyler District. The chief thought among several of the brethren was: "Who will succeed Elder Jamison?" I thought that the long service of Revs. Grundy and Hagler in the Conference would commend them to the Bishop, but it did not. The Bishop had brought a man from Mississippi, and he was decidedly the choice of the Bishop. There was no grumbling, for they all knew that Bishop Miles was free from prejudice and favoritism. The question of electing delegates to the General Conference which was to meet in Washington, D. C., May 3, 1882, was the all-absorbing topic. Who were the most competent? All seemed to agree that they should be men abreast with the times. Did the Conference possess that kind of material? Well, not exactly; but it had some deep-thinking men, and it was thought that these would make very fair representatives. Hence after the Conference had balloted for delegates, Revs. H. P. Hollingsworth, R. Reed, and M. F. Jamison were declared elected. I felt greatly honored, since I was to represent so large a Conference as the East Texas Conference.
Elder Jamison now saw that his paper, the Christian Advocate, would certainly fail for want of circulation and also for want of a man to travel in its interest;
hence he asked the Conference to assign him to that work. The Conference was willing; but the matter belonged to the Bishop, and he was not willing to sanction the wishes of the Conference. I then asked the Conference to assume the control and management of the Advocate. This they did, and elected me as editor. The Bishop did that which really meant death to the paper: he put me on a circuit.
I refused to rebel against the powers which were thus exalted above me, and went to my circuit and preached Christ as the sinner's friend. This was the Mt. Zion Circuit, which embraced Mt. Zion, Mt. Comfort, Mt. Pleasant, and Gourd Neck Churches. There were about four hundred members on this circuit.
We had a great religious revival during the year 1882. Over one hundred were added to the Church. I shall never forget the revival meeting at Mt. Zion, which continued about nine days and nights. There were sixty-five additions and fifty-five baptized by affusion. Elder William Taylor, Revs. Matt Roberts, James Rector, and George Hugh rendered valuable service in the meeting. There was great shouting in the camp, as if the walls of Jericho had fallen to the ground.
The people made good crops that year and paid all, or nearly all, of the assessments; hence I was returned to serve them another year. Eighteen years I had served the Church in the capacity of a minister of the gospel-- six years as presiding elder and twelve years as pastor in charge. During the twelve years as pastor I was never returned to a charge which paid me in promises, except in 1875, when I was building the Evening Chapel Church. I received scarcely anything that year.
Off to Washington, D. C., to the General Conference-- Scenes and Incidents along the Line--Preached in Little Rock, Memphis, and Louisville while on the Way to Washington--Viewing the Spot Where Garfield Fell when Shot by Charles Guiteau.
THE long-looked-for day to start to Washington had at last come. The delegates, with one or two exceptions, were short of means with which to go; but this was provided for in some way, and on the 29th day of April we took our leave of Texas. Starting from Marshall, I assumed the leadership of the company, which consisted of H. P. Hollingsworth, W. W. Lewis, Mrs. C. W. Poe, O. T. Womack, F. M. McPhearson, and M. F. Jamison. Indeed, this was a jolly little band. We took breakfast at Texarkana, and then swept on to Little Rock, where we spent the afternoon and part of the night. Rev. H. Bullock was pastor in charge at Little Rock. He had arranged for me to preach to his people, which I cheerfully consented to do. Selecting Romans vi., "Justification by Faith and Peace with God through Our Lord Jesus Christ" was my theme. Rev. O. T. Womack pronounced it a complete establishment of that doctrine and, as such, a fine sermon. Little Rock, having heard of the famous "Fighting Joe," now seemed satisfied, for there were very pleasant greetings all around. Little Rock is a beautiful city, and in the course of years will be one of the finest cities in the South.
We passed through a very tough-looking country between Little Rock and Memphis. I could not enjoy
life in those bottoms. We arrived in Memphis safely, though the railroad was in an awful condition and the Mississippi River almost out of its banks and sweeping all before it. It was a sight to behold, especially to "Uncle Joe," who had never before been ferried across water in cars. In times past they ferried wagons, but now the train steamed right into the ferryboat, and was carried across the river. This was grand.
We were soon at the M. and C. Depot, where the delegates alighted and visited many places in the "City of Yellow Fever." We were notified of the untimely death of that great and good man, J. H. Ridley, which created much sadness throughout the Church. Memphis is a great city of many markets, parks, and public places of beauty, and would be a noble city but for the fact of its filthy and sickly condition. It has many things among colored people which make a stranger feel that it stands above any city west of the waters. We visited Collins Chapel, then the chief Colored Methodist Episcopal Church of Tennessee. This Church is composed of more than five hundred members, and its discipline is a credit to them. Their manner of taking a collection excelled anything that I have ever witnessed. I preached for them upon one occasion, and was delighted to see them collect thirty-five dollars without the usual "jig" songs too common in our churches. When I had finished preaching, many were shouting and shedding tears; but the collection was taken without one word from the stewards, who were seated within the altar. They contributed liberally, while the singing and shouting went right on. That of itself compensated me for my visit there in 1880.
It being near train time, the delegates returned to the depot, and were soon off for Louisville, Ky. There were no more first-class accommodations for negroes on trains, and our place was in the smoker, at least until we reached Louisville. We took on more delegates at Humboldt. At Milan Bishop Lane, E. W. Mosley, and Elias Cottrell boarded the train, and we enjoyed quite a lively trip to Louisville.
At a railway station where we stopped a very serious-looking gentleman boarded the train. This gentleman and "Uncle Joe" had a little conversation.
Joe: "Howdy do, sir?"
Joe: "Very well, sir. How far are you going?"
Stranger: "O, not very far."
Joe: "You are a preacher, are you not?"
Stranger: "Yes, sir."
Joe: "Well, what do they pay you?"
Stranger: "Nothing much."
Joe: "Why do you preach to them for nothing?"
Stranger: "I preach to save souls."
Joe: "'Tis a good idea, but do you succeed in saving any souls?"
Stranger: "O yes! I preach Christ to them, and they believe; and Christ saves those that believe."
Joe: "What does he do with the unbelievers?"
Stranger: " 'He that believeth not is damned.' "
Stranger: "Is this crowd of men ministers or some kind of a troupe?"
Mosley: "Yes, sir. This is one of the finest troupes in the South."
RESIDENCE OF BISHOP JAMISON.
Joe: "This excels all of your preaching. Won't you come and join us? We will pay you well."
Stranger: "To what city are you now headed?"
Joe: "To Washington, D. C."
Stranger: "What? To Washington, D. C.?"
Joe: "Yes, sir. We started last Wednesday."
Stranger: "You are a fine-looking set of men, and no doubt are making plenty of money; but it is not convenient for me to join you."
Mosley: "But why? You are not making a living at preaching?"
Stranger: "No, not the best sort of a living; but my labors will be rewarded hereafter."
Mosley: "That's right, stranger. We are all ministers of the gospel, and are going to the General Conference in Washington."
He would not believe that we were preachers. He said: "Did I not hear you singing, 'Run, nigger, run; patrolers catch you?' "
"Yes, but what of that?" said Mosley.
The stranger shook his head so vigorously that we readily understood him to mean that the song was fit for members of a troupe only, and not for ministers of the gospel. The conductor was asked if the crowd were not ministers, and he assured the stranger that we were ministers; but he got off wondering if it were true.
We soon reached Bowling Green, dined there, and pushed on to Louisville. We passed through a rather hilly country before reaching Louisville. Many of the little towns showed signs of life and thrift, which are very essential to people living in such poor lands; for to live without them is to live half starved and half clad.
"Louisville! Louisville!" shouted the porter, and every fellow went for his grip. The cars were soon emptied of their human freight. Bishop W. H. Miles, J. W. Bell, and many other brethren were in waiting that all might be directed to homes for the night, as we were to spend the next twelve hours in the city. After all had been provided with homes, Rev. J. W. Bell turned to me and said: "You will come with me, Brother Jamison, as you have to preach to-night; also you will abide at the home of Brother Bradley." "I preach to-night? Why, I've preached all the way from Texas, and must be excused. I have nothing prepared to preach." "Well, everybody is expecting to hear 'Fighting Joe,' and there is no getting out of it," said Bell. "Yes, but I have preached at Memphis and Little Rock to please just such curiosity."
I had to preach, but it was poor preaching. I entered Center Street Church very much excited. There were many of my companions present who would have edified the audience far more than I was going to do. Again, there was too much music, the city was too large, and there was too much education, I fancied. All of these combined, of course, made me tremble. But I managed to tell them that the Son of Man had come to seek and to save that which was lost. Revs. Hollingsworth and Cottrell occupied seats within the sacred altar. I began by saying that, whatever else our text might contain, it contained one of the most awful terms in use among men. That term was the word "lost." There is no word in the teachings of the Bible that is more significant of destruction than the word "lost." That man without Christ is lost is an awful truth, and
that Christ came to seek and to save is a blessed truth. The Jewish Church is frequently compared to a fold and the Jews to wandering sheep. But we would fall far short of the true meaning of the text were we to confine this to the wandering Jews alone. We must include the whole human family if we would comprehend the full sense or import of the text. We attempted to define in what sense Christ was the Son of God and to define God himself, but the attempt was a miserable failure. Still I rejoiced in the fact that it was true, notwithstanding that I could not explain it. I dwelt at length upon the beauty of how he saves the sinner, but could not fully explain the manner of his doing so. We all rejoiced and welcomed Christ in his mission of love to the world. We might here learn an example from the Christ of the text and seek to save the lost. This we can do if we will by living and preaching Christ and persuading the erring.
The congregation appeared to have enjoyed the sermon and the occasion which brought us together. They enjoyed seeing and hearing "Fighting Joe."
There is no city in the South equal to Louisville. It is clean, healthy, and a most wealthy town. Its colored citizens own some very good property. It is the home of Bishop Miles, the Senior Bishop of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. Providence was very favorable to our great and good Bishop in the selection of a healthy city for his residence. Our friend Mr. Bradley is also in possession of a really comfortable home here; but they are hemmed in on all sides, thus rendering their possessions almost valueless, which shows
also that large cities are undesirable and not the place for poor people.
We went to the depot Monday morning, where we boarded a special coach set apart to carry the delegates to Washington without change. "All aboard!" shouted the conductor, and we were again gone. This was the third day, and it was to take us through the most beautiful scenery in America. Traveling around the mountains, through the mountains, and over the streams was in store for the delegates, many of whom had never seen the like. You get the finest view of Kentucky going through the northern part of the State. Lexington is my choice, while Frankfort and Mt. Sterling are both beautiful cities. Lexington was all life and thrift. It is the best and largest city in the State except Louisville. We passed out of Kentucky and entered the State of West Virginia, running through Huntington and Charleston, the latter being noted as the place of execution for John Brown, who attempted to free the negroes by causing a riot. History records the sad failure his efforts proved to be; but it hurried on the War between the States, which finally brought on the freedom he sought.
Huntington is quite a city. The shops of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad are located at this place. Many factories and mills make it one of the best towns in West Virginia, though I should not like to live there, as it is hedged in by giant mountains. The approach to the city is up a valley, and the outlet is through the same.
Leaving Huntington, I fell in company with another minister, a Baptist this time. Old Virginia and West
Virginia are noted for an overproduction of Baptists. This gentleman, upon learning that we were delegates to a Methodist General Conference, made haste to enter into a controversy touching the doctrines of the Churches, and took the ground that the Methodists and other Churches were in error in regard to baptism and its true mode. He advanced the idea of one Lord, one faith, and one baptism, and charged the Methodists with practicing three baptisms. I told him that he misconstrued the sacred writing of the apostle; that the apostle said one baptism, not one mode of baptism. No man who is acquainted with the Scriptures will dare say that they show only one mode of baptism practiced by the Father. But I am sure that St. Paul had reference to its rite and not its mode. He alluded to that essential baptism of the Holy Spirit which cleanses the hearts of men and women from all sin and pollution, a baptism which comes out of heaven from God.
For the benefit of my readers I give herewith a part of a sermon preached by the Rev. F. L. Leeper at the union services of all denominations in the Cumberland Presbyterian church at McMinnville at the close of the Week of Prayer, clipped from the Christian Observer, of Louisville, Ky. It is relative to the above subject.
It may be said that while this text refers to St. Paul's dealing with the late worshipers of Diana or Jupiter, in his attempt to set aside the multiplicity of idol gods which existed among the ancient heathens and to uproot their many phases of religious creeds, and that while we may differ
in our religious views to-day, it also teaches the Fatherhood of God, the one Lord who is above the heavens and on whom alone hinges our entire salvation.
Here and now, amid all these apparent differences, it is one faith. Does any man suppose that the faith of a denomination is written and bound up in their creed? These are statements of our conceptions of the doctrines of God's Word, and are important in helping to a clear knowledge of the Word, in furnishing each protest against what we think error, in furnishing the outward bonds of union by which we agree to walk together in our denominational life, and the principles by which we are to be governed. But faith, the faith of God's people, is a living part of themselves that you can no more take out of them and put into a book than you can take the living soul out of a man's body and put it into a book. Would you know, would you feel the touch of this faith of the Church? Then you must read and study these living epistles written by the finger of the ever-present Spirit of God, written to be known and read of all men. The inner experience of God's people, the lesson taught them directly by the Holy Ghost dwelling in their hearts, is second only to the written Word in authority in matters of faith and practice. Only it must be an experience verified by the Word, an experience belonging to God's people universally, and an experience bearing upon it the fruits of godliness.
Now, sirs, let us go down into this inner experience of God's people and listen to the voice of this living faith; and no matter whether it finds its expression in the sobbing, heart-yearning, penitent prayers of the people or in the ringing triumphant songs of the Church, it comes forth from the bosom of every sect and denomination on earth absolutely one.
I defy any man to go into an assembly of Christians drawn from various sects and denominations and distinguish one from the other by the prayers they pray, because
there before God they are giving expression to that faith which the ever-present Spirit is teaching to them in the living wants, experiences, and hopes of their souls, and that faith is one. Let our hearts get all aglow with love and our souls full of joy under the touch of the Saviour's love shed abroad in our hearts, and our tongues break forth into singing the same grand old hymns.
In those olden times, when controversy was bitter in the Church, an old Arminian hero got happy one day and began to sing. And as he sang the whole Church gathered around to listen; and as they listened other hearts got all aglow and other tongues began to sing until the Church universal joined old Charles Wesley in the singing of that grand old hymn:
"Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Let me to thy bosom fly."
Let me tell you, sirs, that hymn expresses the faith that lives and burns in the hearts of God's people of every name on earth to-day. Again, in that olden time there was one of those old Calvinists that got happy one day, and he too began to sing; and as he sang the hearts of God's people again responded to the singing, and to-day the Church universal delights to join old Toplady in singing:
"Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee."
That hymn expresses the faith that lives and burns in the heart of every true child of God on earth, in every denomination.
This is not water baptism. A man may be baptized with water baptism and be lost. You don't think so? Then read Mark xvi. 16, and you will see that the Lord himself said so. A man may be saved who has never been baptized with water baptism. The thief on the cross was. But, friends, there is a baptism that none are ever lost who are baptized with; none are ever saved without it.
That baptism is the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and that baptism belongs to the Church universal. No denomination has a right to claim as its own exclusive privilege this baptism whereby the Lord himself baptized his own people. No denomination on earth has the power to administer this baptism, and none has the right to forbid the Lord to give it unto whom he please. This baptism is the efficient cause of all experimental religion on earth. If you could find a Church where there are no repentings of sin, no prayers for mercy, no praisings of God, no humility of life, no tender love of the brethren, no kind charities for the poor, no honesty of living, and no rejoicing in the Lord, then, dear friends, would you find a Church destitute of the baptism of the Holy Ghost; but that Church is also a dead Church and no part of the living body of Christ. Will any of us dare claim that these graces of the Spirit are to be found only in our denomination, and that all outside our lines of the apparent visible kingdom of Christ is barren waste and fruitless hypocrisy? Then, dear friends, if we say it from the heart, that only proves that we ourselves have never been baptized with the Lord's one baptism. Pride, exclusive boastings, censorious judgment of the brethren are fruits, not of God's Spirit, but of that spirit that now works in the children of disobedience. The fruits of God's Spirit are meekness, humility, gentleness, brotherly kindness, charity; and these are found among the members of every denomination. Where the fruits are, there must the Spirit be also.
So this one baptism is common to all, believed in by all, prayed for by all, hoped in by all; the glory of no one denomination, but the glory and the living bond of unity of the kingdom of the one Lord. And by this baptism God's people everywhere are being actually washed from the filthiness of the flesh and being made clean against the day of the coming of the Son of Man that he may present them all before his Father with joy a perfected Church, being unblamable and unreproachable in his sight--a
glorious Church having neither spot, nor wrinkle, nor blemish, nor any such thing.
Now, brethren, love, pray for, and cherish your own denomination. Why? Because it is in the bosom of that denomination, through her forms and ministry, that the one Lord has come to your heart, breathing into it the one faith of his people, and baptizing that one faith with the one baptism of the Holy Ghost. Again, it is through her forms and in her labors that you express your hearts' love to, faith in, and obedience to the one King. Surely that which is the means through which my Lord comes to me and touches me with his love and enriches me with his gifts, and through which I give back to him the tokens of my love, faith and obedience, ought to be very holy in my eyes.
But, dear brethren, do not let us dishonor the Lord nor grieve his blessed Spirit by growing narrow in our love and bigoted in our opinions until we can see no beautiful fruits of God's Spirit outside of our own denomination. Have you the one Lord, the one faith, and the one baptism? So have they. If the Lord himself is willing to come to them in their forms and bless them through their ordinances, take care how you despise what the Lord himself has touched to bless.
Dear friends, you are not in the kingdom at all. You stand outside and despise all, saying you will have none of any of these sects. Dear friends, the kingdom runs all through these denominations, and everywhere throughout that kingdom is the one Lord, the one faith, and the one baptism, but they are nowhere outside the bounds of the kingdom. Tell me: How can a man be saved without Christ? and how can a man have Christ as his Lord who lives daily in disobedience to his two great commands, "Confess me before men" and "Do this in remembrance of me?" The one faith is the faith of disobedience, and the one baptism is the baptism unto obedience. If, then, you
have not the spirit to obey the commands, "Confess me" and "Do this in remembrance of me," neither have you the one Lord, the one faith, and the one baptism.
Dear friends, somewhere and in some way get inside the one great kingdom of God and of his Christ; then shall you find salvation full and free, and your heart will rejoice in the one Lord, the one faith, and the one baptism.
After a run of two days and nights from Louisville, our porter shouted "Washington!" and we were at the depot made memorable by the assassination of President James A. Garfield. I saw the spot where the President fell bleeding from the wound of Guiteau's smoking revolver. My very inmost soul shuddered as I thought of the awful tragedy which robbed the American people of one who was intrusted with the honorable position that is the highest gift of the nation. This incident was thought to be in part due to the intimate relation existing between the President and Mr. James G. Blaine, of Maine, the greatest of all Americans.
I had seen many cities, but the city of Washington surpassed anything I had ever seen. Millions upon millions of dollars had been and were still being lavished upon it. All sorts and styles of public buildings are to be seen. The streets are overlaid with the finest stone, making it absolutely free from filth and mud. Washington, the beautiful city of Washington!
While there I stopped with Mr. and Mrs. George W. Sims, a highly accomplished family, who never suffered us to want for anything which would tend to increase our comfort.
Work of the General Conference of 1882--My Resolution to Aid Israel Chapel Adopted by the General Conference-- Visiting Congress, the Supreme Court, and Other Places of Interest in Washington, D. C.
ON Wednesday morning the General Conference was called to order by Bishop W. H. Miles, of Louisville, Ky., with but little more than a quorum present. Mrs. C. W. Poe, who was a most excellent woman, true to her Church and truer still to Christ, was President of the Woman's Missionary Society of Texas; hence she visited the General Conference, hoping that it might provide for a Woman's Missionary Society for the connection. This was contemplated by the brethren, but was deferred till the next general session, as Bishop Miles and the Committee on Missions disagreed.
The Colored Methodist Episcopal Church suffered a long time and is suffering still for the want of a suitable financial system in the government of the Church. At the time of the meeting of the General Conference there was no provision made for any departmental interest of the Church except that of the bishopric. Every other interest went unprovided for. But the heart of the Church was now stirred as never before. That something must be done was the all-inspiring topic among the brethren. But the majority of the delegates were new and inexperienced men. Though they knew what was wanted, they could not formulate a system upon which a majority could agree.
As usual, the various Churches in the city were to be
furnished with preachers from the Conference. Rev. Mr. Smith, of Tennessee, preached the opening sermon for the Conference at Israel Chapel, and all were delighted with his effort. On the following day it was announced that Elder M. F. Jamison, of Texas, would preach at Israel Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. Then I trembled as never before. I had preached in Little Rock, Memphis, and Louisville; and though applauded in these cities, I now felt a loss that shook my very soul. "What? Me to preach in Washington City? I cannot." But I overcame all fears by having communion with Christ, and I preached. I enjoyed the manner in which that vast audience received the word of Christ Jesus. They said that "Fighting Joe" measured up to the standard all along the line.
Rev. I. H. Anderson, of Mississippi, was assigned to preach at Asbury Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church. This Church was a mixed congregation of white and colored, and one would think there were nothing but critics in Asbury Chapel if he would regard the statements of ministers who attempted to preach there during the Conference. When Rev. Anderson returned to Conference Monday morning, he heard many chilling remarks respecting his failure to entertain Asbury's congregation the previous day. Rev. J. K. Daniels, of Tennessee, was assigned to Asbury's pulpit for the following Sabbath night. They would chill your blood with their unfavorable criticisms in case you failed to measure up to their expectations. Daniels leaped headlong into the unfathomable depths of Revelation, and was engulfed by the waves of mysteries that baffled the skill of the deepest thinkers of ages. With these facts
and conditions before them, very few of the brethren cared to preach for Asbury. One Saturday morning I was sitting in the minister's study reading when the Committee on Public Worship, with Bishop Miles, was filling the various pulpits for Sunday. I heard my name mentioned; but my attention being fixed on what I was reading, I did not know just what was being done until the committee had dispersed. Then Rev. W. T. Thomas remarked to me: "You are to preach at Asbury Chapel Sunday at 11 A.M.; and I feel it my duty to say that you have been selected from the fact that you will bring credit to the Church and Conference, and because you will not put on any fantastic airs, thereby making yourself ridiculous." At first I wanted to decline; but I braced up, and when the Sabbath bells began to sound forth their sweet melodies I made haste and was soon on my way to Asbury.
Upon my arrival I met the pastor, Rev. Mr. Carroll, who tried to appear as though satisfied. Still I saw that he felt disappointed at my appearance. I wore common apparel, for I was a common man. However, he introduced me to his people, and I waited until the opening services had been conducted by him, the congregation reading in concert. I then began to preach to them the "meek and lowly Jesus." I preached not myself to those people, but Christ Jesus, which was the theme and burden of my soul. After I had explained the text, the responses were quite hearty among the Christians. Though the preacher, Rev. Mr. Carroll, was slow in responding, yet he came in at the last quite freely. I understood what he thought was wanting in me, for my style was what made him indifferent; but it will not
always do to size up a minister by his appearance, manner, or style. I did not go over to Asbury to put on style, but to preach Christ. When I had discharged that pleasant duty, I departed, leaving the results of the efforts and what was said of it and of me with the congregation. It was the third day thereafter that Mrs. Sims, my hostess, went over in that part of the city, where she learned that the general sentiment was that the Texas man, Jamison, was good enough for Asbury, and a desire to have him return and preach again was general. I confess that these tidings were pleasing to me, though I blushed a little when informed of them in the presence of some ladies. Hollingsworth, my roommate, after trying to tease me, told Mrs. Sims that that was common with "Fighting Joe," for he generally manages to appear as near nobody as possible, especially among strangers.
Of all the ministers present, I thought Rev. E. Cottrell the most able in the pulpit, though the Rev. J. W. Bell was very, very popular among the Washingtonians. He had once served Israel Church as its pastor, during which time he had made a host of friends. Revs. E. W. Mosley, O. T. Womack, N. B. Smith, and B. Smith ranked high; but the best man in the Conference was Rev. J. M. Mitchell, the jolliest old man I ever met. I heard E. W. Mosley at his best one night before the Israelites. He truly did impress me.
I attended a social of the Sunday school at Israel Church, and thought it very fine; but there I saw great respect paid to bright colors. Black was not in demand. Nine-tenths of the children were mulattoes. This was detestable to the delegates who took note of it.
The labor of that General Conference was a failure from a legislative point of view, which was due to a disposition to dictate as to what should be the course of legislation. Nothing could be enacted that did not meet the approval of the bishops, although several good measures were presented to the Conference. The bishops would defeat them by controlling a majority of the delegates, and especially the laymen. When this fact became evident, the brains of the Conference revolted and nothing of note was accomplished. I, for one, was heartily sick of seeing the bishops so often on the floor debating. I saw that no good could come out of that state of affairs. A bishop would debate with his brethren while he presided, which was contrary to the usages of all deliberative bodies. This practice had to be stopped or it would have been useless and vain to assemble in General Conference sessions. The bishops took issue with me, and, sorry to say, I fear they have never thought very much of me since. I have often thought that my charge has been assigned me many times with this in view, but there was no help for it.
I worried over the notorious routing of what should have been business, and served notice that I intended to leave for Texas the following Tuesday. This rather displeased some of the friends, much to my regret. Still I saw nothing to detain us longer than that date.
The Conference called on President Arthur. I did not care to see the Acting President, but I visited Congress and saw three hundred men legislating for the nation. It was a novel sight to see little boys acting as pages, running hither and thither carrying notes and letters. Tired of seeing this, I looked in on the
Senators and saw a fatherly-looking set of men at work. Next I viewed the Supreme Court of the United States of America. Here I saw a grave-looking set of brainy fathers. Leaving here, I ascended the dome of the Capitol, the grandest building I was ever in. I thought I saw Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, and Connecticut in the distance. The scenery was picturesque in the extreme. I visited the Smithsonian Institution. Here I saw the wonders of the ancient and modern worlds, and all sorts of fowls and beasts preserved as though they were alive.
The educational interests of the Church came in for a large discussion and resolutions; but, sad to say, the bishops considered the poverty of the Church and of the people too great to justify the hope of any measure receiving support from them. Bishop L. H. Holsey advocated the idea of going before the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, then in session at Nashville, Tenn., and putting in a plea for aid from that Church. After some deliberation a motion to that effect prevailed, and Bishop Holsey was commissioned to go and place our needs before that Church. This he did, and the Conference took up the matter with much spirit; and even up to this date the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, has not responded with much heartiness. Yet Paine College, at Augusta, Ga., is the infant school of that Conference. The great majority of leading ministers of that Church, with a few laymen and women, instituted Paine College. It has grown to be a great school, and will be greater still in the near future. The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, ought to build three large colleges for
the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, but up to date prejudice has prevented it.
After it became evident that no good legislation could be effected, the Conference adjourned sine die. I went for my grip, and was soon at the depot ready to start homeward. Many others were ready and did likewise, among whom were Bishops Miles and Lane. We made fast time coming South.
Bishop--seemed to think it possible that I would leave the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church after the treatment I received at his hands in Washington. This I inferred from a conversation I overheard between him and Rev. --respecting my ability to carry off a number of members and preachers with me. But such was not in me. I am in the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church for good and not for harm. I suppose the bishop doubtless learned this afterwards. When I go into an affair, I always do so in good faith, and will abide my time. Bishop--appeared to be in sympathy with me respecting the disagreeable hitch between Bishop--and me during the Conference, all of which has worked out lovely, so far as I know; and there is not a bishop on the bench that I respect more than I did that bishop.
The congregation of Israel Chapel were once of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, but they finally withdrew on account of some trouble with the bishop, and came over in a body to the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. Its membership was as fine as I ever saw, and numbered about four or five hundred souls. This gave us a nucleus from which the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church has grown to be one of the
largest Methodist bodies in Washington. These people were Israelites indeed. They wanted no second-class position in the city, hence they built a church at a cost of about twenty-five thousand dollars. This created a heavy debt, under which they struggled for a long time. Elder Jamison thought it nothing but right that the connection should assume a part of the nine thousand five hundred dollars then due. I worked faithfully to secure the passage of a resolution to this effect. I succeeded, and the first effort resulted in about nine hundred dollars being raised by the connection for the Israel Church. But they had some kind of a wrangle by which Israel lost seventy-five members, who went out and organized another Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. This split, while injuring Israel to some extent, worked to the general spread of the denomination in the city. A general fund of twenty cents was assessed each member and minister of the entire Church, three cents of which was set apart for the two Churches in Washington, which amounted to three thousand dollars per annum.
Since visiting Washington I have always had the fondest hopes of Israel's future greatness. Rev. W. T. Thomas, of Alabama, was its pastor at the time of the General Conference, and a worthy young man he was, though he did not render general satisfaction. Rev. J. W. Bell had pastored Israel with success. Fitzhugh was a failure in Israel. Rev. R. S. Williams, of Texas, was a favorite there. Dr. C. H. Phillips was pastor there with great success. Revs. F. M. Hamilton, J. L. Davis, and G. W. Ursher rendered much service to the spread of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington.
The Annual Conference of 1882--Difficulty with the Bishop over Financial Affairs--The Conferences of 1883 and 1884--Period of Work on Circuits and Stations Made Memorable--Acting as Counselor for Some of the Brethren.
THE Annual Conference of 1882 convened at Henderson, Tex., Bishop J. A. Beebe presiding. This was by far the largest delegation ever assembled in the name of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in Texas. The sessions each day were attended by large numbers of visitors.
This session was memorable on account of an unfortunate matter which occurred at the close of the session. I was the President of the Board of Finance, and had orders to forward all funds to Bishop Miles-- that is, the bishops' fund and that for Israel Chapel. The Bishop demanded the above-named funds and twenty dollars more for traveling expenses, to none of which he was entitled. I protested against this upon the ground that no traveling expenses could be exacted by any of the bishops, and that the bishops' fund only could be turned over to Bishop Miles. The Bishop explained away the objections, overruled them, and took the money (three hundred and eleven dollars and forty-five cents), at the same time remarking that it was so arranged with the bishops that each should receive all such moneys raised within the bounds of his district. The Board yielded, and the money was counted over to the Bishop. But, sorry to say, the money fell short sixteen dollars after he had gone sixteen miles. It was not possible to
correct anything, now that all had gone their way. The Bishop refused to make good the sixteen dollars or to pay back the twenty dollars for traveling expenses which was loaned him out of the Israel money. This gave much trouble to me, especially as Bishop Miles held me responsible for the money. I published the facts to the world with no uncertain sound. This hurt the Bishop and his friends no little. It hurt me also; but, after all, the ministers of the Conference acted shamefully in the matter. They tried to shift the burden from the Bishop to me. In fact, some of the leaders pleaded ignorance, but I stood my ground and the General Conference straightened the matter out.
My relations with the Mt. Zion Circuit, which had been formed by six years' service, were soon to close. I had served them four years as presiding elder and two years as pastor. How well I performed my duty eternity will tell. I have never served a work which gave me more encouragement than that of the Mt. Zion Circuit. Of course this also includes the good people of Mt. Pleasant and Mt. Comfort Churches. I preached to about two thousand people for two years, and retired leaving nothing but good will. Smith, Rusk, and Gregg Counties are noted for some of the best negroes in Texas. It was refreshing to my soul to serve these Churches. The meetings were always well attended, and shouting was the order of the day; and this I enjoyed no little. Sisters Morgan, King, Reed, Warren, Barnes, Hilburn, Barter, Blackman, Pinkston, Webb, and Alexander--O! the joyful noise which these and others made unto the Lord still rings at times in my ears. The
year 1883 closed my service with that dear people, and Conference met at Pittsburg, Tex.
The young people of the Mt. Zion Circuit were of exceptionally good moral character. It is said that an immoral minister, coming in contact with good girls and women, soon lowers the standard of virtue and hoists the floodgates of ruin, and all chastity soon departs from that section. Such was the state of things in parts of this circuit at the beginning of 1885. Everything seemed besmeared with a poisonous taint. What a great blessing a pure minister is to a community! Moral purity of society should be one of the chief themes of the man of God. He should never stand looking in silence upon corruption in society. I admit that I have suffered for my bold stand against immorality in the Church, but I count it nothing to me when I consider the worth of souls. When will colored people command respect in the world so long as they indulge in filthy immorality and corruption as practiced by their leaders? Never. Let us therefore be true to our calling as ministers of Christ.
I was sick and missed the Annual Conference in 1883. That Conference was not much more than a blank in the history of the East Texas Conference. Rev. R. W. Grundy was so disgusted at the way things went that he left affairs with them and went home. I would have followed his example but for the fact that I was not there to receive the abuse which the Bishop and the Conference were prepared to heap upon me. All this trouble grew out of the money transactions of the previous session. They were seeking to get on the good side of the Bishop, and consequently had
donated to him the twenty dollars that Bishop Miles was raising so much noise about. Some even said that Jamison had the sixteen dollars of which Bishop-- was minus. The Bishop, good as he was, had made a mistake which could not be corrected by all the queer statements of the different leaders. At first most of these leaders were with Jamison; but that was before the Bishop came, of course.
I was left without an appointment for 1884, and was referred to a committee whose duty it was to investigate me to see if I would retract what I had affirmed concerning the money matters of 1882. This I would not do, and yet that committee refused to file charges against me.
I was now free to preach to those people who wanted my services, but was not allowed to enjoy that sweet freedom long. Rev. Womack, the presiding elder, assigned me to Marshall Station, removing Rev. A. W. Whitaker, which was done to please the whims of a few soreheads there. I did little good at Marshall. My wife protested against my serving Marshall Station; and when I obeyed the elder and went on duty there, she made it very uncomfortable for me when the income proved short and insufficient. I thought I paid very dearly for my position in that money transaction; but, at any rate, I held on to my post.
The Annual Conference of 1884 convened at Crockett, with Bishop L. H. Holsey presiding. A pleasant time was had, and all things went off nicely, so far as the Conference work was concerned. But there was a chilly sensation hovering over the brethren, out of which no comfort could come, The Democrats had by fraud won
the election of Grover Cleveland to the presidency over Mr. James G. Blaine, of Maine. This was rumored many days before it was finally affirmed. There was no cause for sadness on our part, for it made but little or no difference to the negroes or to any one else except the office seekers. Mr. Cleveland made a very fair President, I think, though I could not see it and would not sanction any measure that he advocated, because he was a Democrat. He was a free trader of the truest type, and on that account many Democrats forsook the party. Many more Democrats quit their party because Mr. Cleveland did not turn Republicans out of office fast enough to suit them. All of this helped to defeat him in 1888.
At this Conference Bishop Holsey assigned me to the Leesburg Circuit. I was no stranger to the officials here, as most of them knew me by some means before I visited the circuit. Hon. George Jones was head and shoulders above the West Chapel division, and was one of the soundest Christians I ever met. Bob Caldwell was a great man. He was generally liberal toward the Church, and this counted for much when it is remembered that he was a man of considerable means and influence. Dennis Bufford and D. Ladd stood head at Mt. Lebanon, a church in the piney woods of Upshur County. The house had no door or window shutters. Nothing praiseworthy can be said of Mt. Lebanon. They would not finish their church nor build another. It was cold here, and the wintry winds made it very uncomfortable to worship at that season of the year. When spring set in and the birds were all out in beautiful plumage and with sweet songs, the seed ticks would cover
one and almost drive him insane. Notwithstanding all this, I liked Mt. Lebanon.
Joe Culberson, Christon, and others stood head at Oak Grove Church. Henry Williams was collecting steward at Mt. Zion. Mr. Joe Mangum was the old chief among the sinners, yet he was a free-hearted gentleman with his means. In fact, he was the wealthiest negro in that part of the country. Mr. Stephen Waddleton and Mr. Stephen Meadows were truly good citizens and good Christians, and they possessed good farms. Mr. Abe Mangum was a splendid man, one whom everybody respected very highly.
Of the four Churches, Mt. Zion thought more of its pastor than any of the rest, and the people seemed always ready and willing to come out to enjoy preaching. At each monthly meeting they paid the pastor by roll call, and generally all paid their dimes. At Conference we were only ten dollars short of the claims.
Oak Grove stood second in 1885 and 1886. West Chapel stood first in 1885, but fourth and last in 1886. I made a mistake in moving my family to West Chapel in 1886. Wife was very much displeased with the place. This and some of the people made it harder on me.
Conference met at Sulphur Springs in 1885, with Bishop Beebe presiding. This was a session of great interest, and was very largely attended. The Bishop was at home in the chair of this Conference, having presided over its affairs for many years.
Rev. George Byrd was an applicant for readmission into the traveling connection, and had O. T. Womack as his champion. Not knowing that Brother Byrd could be of any real benefit to the traveling ministry, I
opposed his readmission and defeated it. Brothers Byrd and Womack felt sore over their defeat and resolved to try it over the next day. Womack went off as if with a great blast of trumpets, endeavoring to create sympathy for Rev. Byrd; but unfortunately for Byrd, Womack made a mistake by assailing some of the acknowledged leaders of the Conference at the expense of Byrd and his case. I pushed up my sleeves and went for them both. Hot words passed and feeling was high; but when the vote was taken, Rev. Byrd was farther behind than ever. He was too old to be thinking of joining the Conference. He died the next year.
Serious charges were brought to the attention of the Conference against Revs. H. P. Hollingsworth and N. Hancock, which, if proved, would have been sufficient cause to warrant their expulsion from the Conference and the Church. A committee was appointed to investigate the charges. Both brothers appealed to me for aid and counsel. After thinking over their cases, I decided to defend Hollingsworth, but requested Hancock to employ Womack or Moore for his counselor. The committee decided to meet in Tyler on the first Thursday in January, 1886. I was retained as counselor for Hollingsworth, as stated above, and Womack for Hancock. P. J. Jones and William Taylor were engaged as prosecutors for the Church. They called the case against Hancock first; and after all the evidence was admitted, P. J. Jones opened the case for their side, followed by John Raines, who was assisting Womack. Next came Womack himself, who made a strong plea for Hancock; then Taylor closed with the greatest effort of his life. The case then went to the committee, who rendered a
verdict of guilty; so our Brother Hancock was expelled.
Now, I felt that the verdict of the committee in the case of Hancock would prove hazardous in the case of my friend and brother H. P. Hollingsworth, not because the evidence was so convincing, but because it might appear that as one was found guilty it would naturally lead to the conviction of the other also. This must be removed from the minds of the committee before there was any hope for Hollingsworth, and it was up to me to remove it. This was done by a strong effort on my part. Taylor with some difficulty did his best to convince the committee that Hollingsworth was guilty, but he found one on the other side who was noted for his jurisprudence, and who had lost but one case in his life, and the facts in that case were quite different. I managed to clear Hollingsworth; but, strange to say, like Mr. S. L. Lowe at Marshall in 1880, he never thanked me in the least for so doing, and in after years was willing to fight against me or keep silent while I was in the flames of a wrong, cruel, and slanderous fire. The reader will doubtless conclude that I have witnessed some pretty warm controversies in the Church of God, and that I was in a few myself, which is all true.
The Bishop read out his appointments for 1886, returning me to the Leesburg Circuit. I had hoped for a better appointment; but it was thought that, as I had done so well on that circuit--purchasing a one-hundred- and-eighty-dollar bell, building a new church, and adding ninety-three souls to the Church--I should be returned and allowed to finish the work so well begun. But it proved a delusion.
TEXAS COLLEGE, GIRLS' DORMITORY.
The Caldwell faction and the Jones faction squabbled about the school. Caldwell was the great schoolman, and Jones was the great churchman. It had been the rule to run a ten months' session during the year--seven months' free school and three months' subscription school at one dollar and fifty cents per month for each student. Now, in order to do this the two factions had always pulled together; but owing to short crops that year, Jones foresaw the impossibility of paying the preacher and running a pay school at the same time. The teacher had married the daughter of Mr. Caldwell, the great school champion, and the refusal to carry on the ten months' session was regarded as a stroke at the school champion and his family. He withdrew his aid from the Church, thus weakening its financial interests. The general claims necessarily went up minus a few dollars, and the pastor fell seventy-five dollars short in his own claims. Such was the result of the division in the West Chapel community that Conference year. I paid dearly, I thought, for these two leaders' differences. It was no fault of mine, and yet I sustained the greatest loss. I held my peace by holding my tongue, for both were good to me. Prof. Joseph Anderson was teacher, and carried on one of the best schools in Texas. He has prepared and equipped some of the best teachers to be found in the public school service in the State. Our friend, R. A. Caldwell, was deserving of praise for the successful prosecution of the grand work. I have never seen a colored man more devoted to the educational interests of his race than Mr. Caldwell. Though I liked them all, I had decided not to serve them again as pastor.
Transferred to the West Texas Conference--Presiding Elder of the Dallas District--Pastor of Fort Worth Station-- Down with Pneumonia--Assigned to Weatherford Station--Birth of Little Roscoe Conkling Jamison.
THE Conference of 1886 met at Tyler. I was two days late. However, I came in all right, and it was said that everything took on new life. There were two of the ministers who were accused of deserting their wives; and when it was proved to be true, they were left without appointments. We thus set an example for other Churches, but I cannot say that they followed it.
Rev. Viney and I were transferred to the West Texas Conference. Viney was stationed at Dallas, and I was placed on the Dallas District. Things ran well for a season, but at the District Conference we struck the breakers and quicksands. Revs. Booker and Viney sought to find fault with me as presiding elder. Both were wrong, so the bishop stated; but the fact that they were hostile toward me afforded the bishop a trivial excuse for removing me from the district, which was what they so much desired. This having been done, they were satisfied. In removing me they thought that there would be a chance for one of them, but the bishop took good care not to give either of them the position.
After brooding over the change that was made at Gainesville in 1887, we gathered up our belongings and went to serve the Fort Worth Station. These were the best people I had served. They were alive to the pastor's interests, and therefore took great interest in
locating him comfortably. The stewards furnished a neat house of three rooms and gave the pastor five hundred dollars. These were Rollins, Upshaw, Smith, and George. In sending me to Fort Worth Station the bishop said that, though it looked hard to change me, he did so because they wanted a church built at Fort Worth, and that made it necessary for me to go. As previously stated in these pages, the A. M. E.'s and M. E.'s had dealt dreadful blows to the C. M. E.'s throughout North Texas. Our ministers could not withstand them. It was freely admitted that Rev. Jamison was the lion of the C. M. E. Church in Texas; so when the Church was assailed in the West, the bishop sent Jamison there to defend it. This fact made Jamison powerful and popular throughout the Church and Texas. He put the Church in motion, and in about three months we raised nearly five hundred dollars. But in August, 1888, I was attacked by pneumonia, and for five weeks it was said that I could not live. Bishop Lane said when he met me at Dallas in November, 1888, that he never expected to see me again. Strong and fervent prayers went up in my behalf. I finally recovered, but such was the state of my health that I had to give up Fort Worth Station.
I was entirely satisfied when Bishop Lane changed me to the Weatherford Station, though Mrs. Jamison was far from being satisfied, because she began to think that these changes were made to subdue the man; but I soon rid her mind of such thoughts, and we placed Weatherford in such fine shape that from 1889 to the present date it has stood among the best stations of the West Texas Conference. There were but few cities or
towns in Texas the morality of whose people was better than that of the people of Weatherford. There was music in the homes, music in the church, and music in the Sunday school. And nothing acts so strongly in toning up the moral senses of the young as music. Next to home training in the development of the youth is music. Where there is a lack of music in the home and the church one can easily note a dearth of interest in pushing things.
The Lord greatly favored us at Weatherford. It was just fifteen years since Willie, our eldest son, was born, and during this time not another child was born to us. But just as we had decided that such a blessing was not again to be ours it so happened that on the morning of May 2, 1890, the Lord sent us another little son from New York. After much rejoicing over the little stranger, we named him for Roscoe Conkling, the New Yorker. This event has ever since made Weatherford seem dear to us. When we have educated Roscoe, we expect to send him back to old Weatherford to practice medicine.
Weatherford is a highly elevated and healthful city. As long as I live I shall never forget Revs. A. B. Prime and Henry Johnson, resident members of the West Texas Conference. We used to lie down on the beautiful green grass and discuss matters of interest respecting the Church. Johnson died in 1891. Prime still lives and is of much use to the Church.
Advocating a Church Extension Board--Made Honorary Member of the General Conference of 1890--Elected Secretary of Church Extension.
THE Colored Methodist Episcopal Church was organized out of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 1870, and thereby was made an independent body; hence it devolved upon the bishops and a few leaders to perfect and extend the organization. To this end they set about the task. There were other Negro Methodist Churches, and many thousands of those who were really our members were gathered into these Churches before we were organized. Our work was being extended from east to west and from north to south, but after a lapse of twenty years it was found that the Church was in great need of money to extend its borders. Our people, like other colored folks, were poor and wasteful; besides, they were not educated nor trained along missionary lines. Therefore "Fighting Joe" began a discussion advocating the necessity of creating a Church Extension Board with auxiliary societies throughout the Church.
We kept agitating the question for two years; and when the General Conference convened in 1890 at Little Rock, Ark., drafts of the plan were laid before it. Bishops Miles and Holsey seemed proud of the effort to get abreast with the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in this line of Church work; but, sad to say, that plan met with bitter and determined opposition. The greater opposition
came from ignorance. There were some intelligent men who were using those of less intelligence as a means by which to defeat the measure.
When the Church extension resolution was introduced, it went to a special committee. Rev. R. S. Williams, observing the trend of the discussion, felt doubtful of the success of the resolution; therefore he wired me to come to Little Rock on the first train. Getting out of Weatherford on Sunday evening, I reached Little Rock on Monday. Bishop Holsey was presiding; and when he saw "Fighting Joe" enter the room, he said to the Conference: "I see 'Fighting Joe.' I wish some one would bring him forward. I feel it a rare treat to have him present at the Conference." Drs. E. W. Mosley and E. Cottrell took "Fighting Joe" by each arm and, going forward, said: "Bishop, we are exceedingly delighted to present to you Rev. M. F. Jamison, of Texas." The Bishop in turn presented the Texan to the Conference amid great applause.
So favorable was the impression produced by this incident that the friends of Church extension thought that if the Conference could hear the author of the resolution explain its objects and its plan of operation it would materially increase its chances of passage. Therefore Rev. E. Cottrell made a motion, which was seconded by Revs. Mosley and Williams, to admit Rev. Jamison to all privileges of a delegate except voting. This motion was strongly opposed by Revs. A. K. Hawkins, R. T. Brown, C. H. Phillips, G. W. Stewart, and others. After much discussion pro and con, Bishop Lane, who was presiding, ruled the motion out of order. It soon became evident that a majority of the
Conference dissented from this ruling. So on the following day the motion was again offered. Bishop Miles being in the chair, he ruled that the motion was in order, that the General Conference possessed the power of a sovereign, and that it might adopt one rule to-day and change it to-morrow. The motion was finally put, and it was carried by a large majority. Thus the Conference expressed its esteem and confidence in "Fighting Joe" by conferring upon him an honor never before nor since given to any one within the bounds of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. From this period dates the history of the division in the Church. There were now two factions in the Church, with Revs. C. H. Phillips, R. T. Brown, G. W. Stewart, and A. K. Hawkins heading one faction, and Revs. R. S. Williams, E. Cottrell, E. W. Mosley, F. M. Hamilton, I. H. Anderson, and M. F. Jamison leading the other. The latter seemed to win out at Little Rock in 1890. M. F. Jamison was elected Secretary of Church Extension; F. M. Hamilton, Editor of the Christian Index; I. H. Anderson, Book Agent; and Dr. E. Cottrell, Educational Commissioner.
No bishops were elected. Dr. C. H. Phillips was returned to the pastorate.
Work of Church Extension--Elected Editor of the Christian Index.
IT was conceded by all that the progressive side had won out in 1890, as it succeeded in placing the Church on higher ground, a position which brought prosperity and recognition to the Church. Four general officers added greatly to the prestige of the Church. Secretary Jamison and Commissioner Cottrell swept the field from east to west and from the lakes on the north to the gulf on the south. These departments being new, it required much labor on the part of these secretaries to produce commendable results. Secretary Jamison was popular everywhere. The people were coming from far and near to hear "Fighting Joe." In Georgia, the native State of the learned Holsey and the home of the wise, a woman said to Bishop Holsey after listening to "Fighting Joe:" "If I had five hundred dollars, I would freely give it to Church extension."
In Augusta, Ga., Dr. George Williams Walker picked up an evening paper which said that "Fighting Joe" would lecture that night in Trinity Church. Gathering a dozen or more of his students from Paine College, they faced one of the coldest nights and listened to "Fighting Joe" tell what he saw in Baltimore--his description of the Methodists of the world on dress parade. The Doctor said he would not have missed hearing "Fighting Joe" for one hundred dollars.
I traveled over a large part of Alabama and lectured,
much to the delight of both ministers, members, and people in general. In five weeks I raised the sum of five hundred and forty-four dollars. Such was the brilliant success of the Secretary of Church Extension, M. F. Jamison, in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and, in fact, nearly everywhere.
In 1892 there arose a difference between the Book Agent, I. H. Anderson, and the Editor of the Christian Index, Rev. F. M. Hamilton, which caused the latter to resign, whereupon Agent Anderson appointed Dr. R. T. Brown to fill the vacancy as Editor. When the General Board met in 1893, the right to fill said vacancy was denied the Agent, whereupon Bishop Holsey made a motion for the election of M. F. Jamison as Editor of the Christian Index. To this Jamison made two objections: First, that it might so seriously divide his time that he would not be able to follow out his plans in the Church Extension Department; and, in the second place, he feared that it would create petty jealousy among those who were seeking promotion in the Church. But these objections were overruled, and Jamison was elected Editor of the Christian Index to fill the unexpired term of Rev. F. M. Hamilton, who had resigned.
We shall see in another chapter how true was my prediction relative to the result of this act of the General Board.
Death of Bishop W. H. Miles--The General Conference of 1894--Election of Bishops and General Officers--Defeat of Church Extension--Rapid Development of Factions.
THE sainted Bishop Miles having passed from labor to his eternal reward, it was almost certain that two more bishops would be elected at the next session of the General Conference. Many were the names discussed in connection with this exalted position as to their fitness, etc. As all could not be elected, the discussion was finally restricted to Revs. Robert S. Williams, Charles H. Phillips, and E. Cottrell as prime men. The idea of naming or boosting men for this holy place was so distasteful to Dr. C. H. Phillips that he wrote me a private letter requesting that I allow no one to mention his name through the Index in connection with the bishopric. His request was granted, and we kept the names of the other two men before the Church.
When the General Conference which met in Memphis, Tenn., in 1894 went into the election of bishops, Rev. R. S. Williams was elected on the first ballot, receiving 73 votes, 56 being necessary to elect. Charles H. Phillips received 49; E. Cottrell, 32; H. Bullock, 13; I. S. Person, 2; O. T. Womack, 7; W. F. Simon, 2; J. C. Waters, 1; Featherston, 1; Hart, 1; G. I. Jackson, 9; Hamilton, 2; I. H. Anderson, 10; R. P. Brown, 11; White, 1; Madison, 2; Hawkins, 5; and Jamison, 2.
On the second ballot Cottrell received 53; Phillips, 51.
The third ballot gave Cottrell 56 and Phillips 53.
Thus the balloting resulted in the election of Revs. Williams and E. Cottrell. Their election has proved the wisdom of the Conference, for they have both wrought wonderfully well in every good work, and especially along educational lines.
Recognizing the educational attainments of Dr. C. H. Phillips, the General Conference elected him editor of the Christian Index without opposition. During his period as editor the Doctor won great distinction as an able writer.
When the Secretary of Church Extension submitted his report, on motion of Dr. J. C. Waters, seconded by S. B. Wallace, the work of the Secretary received the highest indorsement of the General Conference. All admitted that the success of that department was simply phenomenal, but there were those who were opposed to the Secretary. They felt that he had figured largely in the scheme which defeated them in their purpose. They therefore formed pretexts upon which to make it appear necessary to work for the suspension of the Church Extension Department. With the aid of one or two of the bishops, they finally suspended the work of Church extension, thus destroying one of the most essential departments of the Church.
Those friends who entered into the scheme to defeat Church extension in order to reach Secretary Jamison were very good men; but, to say the least of it, they were small men. Two or three of their leaders sought higher heights in the Church, and sought in tears before they attained them. Only one of them has as yet reached the goal, and that, too, after much worry and
disappointment. "Fighting Joe" loved Church extension more than any other work in the Church, and he felt keenly humiliated by its being suspended. However, there was a splendid field in Texas, and "Fighting Joe" cheerfully entered it and worked as if he did not mind crosses.
It is amusing now to see how distrustful my friends of 1894 have became toward me. They finally reached the place where they felt the need of my influence; but they had dealt so unjustly with me that they would not believe that I could be induced to take part with them in any movement.
So it will be seen that the defeat of Dr. Phillips for the bishopric and the suspension of the work of Church extension had a tendency to create a faction in the Church still greater than that of 1890, and thus it stood for sixteen years. Dr. Phillips was elected bishop at Nashville, Tenn., in 1902, but he was not elected by a faction. There being no other man before the Church, he was given 131 votes out of a total of 164. The Church had grown tired of what threatened to be a rupture in its ranks, and, following the advice of Bishop Williams, they elected the Doctor bishop, giving him the largest vote ever given to a bishop in the history of the Church. Dr. Brown, having stood with Bishop Phillips, was elected editor of the Christian Index, defeating Drs. Carter, Mosley, and Doyle. Thus what had been the Phillips and Brown faction, after losing at Columbia, S. C., in 1898, won out in 1902, twelve years after entering the field.
On all sides it was now the hope that the Church would be allowed to proceed to work out its destiny free
from factional office seekers; but, alas! the trouble had just begun. For six years there was bitterness raging almost everywhere in the Church. The strange thing about it was that our friends Phillips, Brown, and the "Invincibles," as they finally called themselves, so seriously impressed one among my first admirers, Dr. R. A. Carter, that he thoughtlessly united himself with that faction, which caused him to lose all at Augusta, Ga., in May, 1910.
Received the Degree of Doctor of Divinity--The General Conference of 1910--Elected Bishop of the Colored M. E. Church.
THOUGH deprived of a classical education, I applied myself to the study of the Scriptures until I won the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Texas College in 1908.
In a previous chapter I stated that I felt that some day and in some way my labors in Texas would be rewarded. The General Conference of 1910, which was to meet in Augusta, Ga., was anticipated as being filled with great interest to the Church. Among the many points of interest it was expected that at least one or two more bishops would be elected; and, as usual, men had their choice of men for this exalted position, and discussions were frequent.
This discussion of choice gradually grew so intensely interesting that it finally terminated in two great factions in the Church, one of which was led by Bishop C. H . Phillips, D. D., Dr. R. T. Brown, and others, and bearing the title of "Invincibles." The other faction was led by Bishops R. S. Williams, E. Cottrell, and others, and was known as the "Administratives." It will be seen, however, that this was the seed of the old faction that was formed at Little Rock, Ark., in the General Conference of 1890. The object of the Invincibles was to elect Dr. R. T. Brown bishop over the head of every opposing power in the Church, regardless of the spirit which gave rise to the desired election. The policy
of the Administratives was to carry out the plan as recommended by the bench of bishops of the Church.
Leaving Texas for the General Conference, we went on a special train over the Cotton Belt and other lines by way of Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta, and from Atlanta over the old reliable Georgia into Augusta. The pleasure of this trip was almost indescribable. Suffice it to say that it was one of the best it has been my pleasure to take.
Reaching Augusta Tuesday, May 3, the Conference was opened at 10 A.M. Wednesday morning, May 4, with Bishop L. H. Holsey in the chair. The Conference was organized with Rev. F. M. Hamilton, D.D., Secretary; N. C. Cleaves, D.D., Assistant Secretary; Prof. G. S. Goodman, B.S., Recording Secretary; and Prof. J. B. F. Prather. A.B., Assistant Recording Secretary.
The organization having been completed, the business of the Conference was resumed. On the day that the report of the Committee on Episcopacy was called for it was found that the committee had failed to agree as to the election of more bishops. By virtue of this disagreement two reports were rendered, a majority and a minority. The majority recommended the election of two more bishops, while the minority recommended the election of no bishops. A motion was made to substitute the minority report for the majority. This motion was lost and the majority report prevailed, hence the recommendation to elect two bishops was sustained by the General Conference.
This having been done, excitement of the wildest nature over the anticipated results of the election leaped
alive in every breast like the flash of a furious flame. The episcopal bee was now buzzing as never before on every breeze and lurking in every bonnet. Men seemed to have lost their reason, and by their passion and anxiety for victory were swept from their bases.
The Invincibles and the Administratives, true to their convictions, bravely lined up, preparing to meet the oncoming fierce contest. Dr. G. W. Stewart and I stood with the Administratives, while Dr. R. T. Brown, J. W. McKinney, and others stood with the Invincibles. Much discussion was in evidence everywhere. The whole Church was eagerly watching and waiting as if in breathless silence to witness the results of the mighty struggle.
Finally, the day for the balloting for bishops having arrived, the fight was on. The whole number of votes was 240; necessary to a choice, 121. The result of the first ballot was as follows: G. W. Miles, 2; N. F. Haygood, 4; R. A. Carter, 9; A. K. Hawkins, 11; R. S. Stout, 14; J. W. McKinney, 39; G. W. Stewart, 126; and M. F. Jamison, 139. Thus the balloting resulted in the election of Stewart and Jamison--a complete victory for the Administratives. The Invincibles fell before the Administratives as did the Midianites before the army of Gideon.
I must confess that this was a surprise and a shock to me. I was caught up in the Spirit, and knew not myself. When I had in part come to myself, my friends had me lifted from the floor above their heads and were hurling me about the room. Long and loud was the applause which went up in favor of the Administratives. Nowhere in the world's history has there been a more
signal victory than that which the Administratives won upon this occasion. To have heard the boasts and to have seen the army of the Invincibles traveling in their might and splendor was enough to have made the stoutest heart quail as did the English before the tread of the French when led on by Joan of Arc.
The news of this victory having been flashed abroad, telegrams of congratulation now began to pour in like showers of rain from a summer's cloud. Let us imagine that it is now all over and the train is standing on the track, headed for the West. The conductor shouts: "All aboard!" The Invincibles, defeated and brokenhearted, with heads down, slowly get aboard; while the victorious Administratives, with great glee and happy handshaking, lightly get on board with heads up--and we are gone.
Entering upon the Sacred Duties of the Episcopal Office.
AFTER touring the State of Texas, visiting District Conferences, missionary meetings, Sunday school conventions, etc., and enjoying a season of some of the grandest receptions ever tendered a citizen of the Lone Star State or a member of the race of Ham, the scene is changed, and I now find myself entering upon the sacred and solemn duties of my episcopal office.
At Nacogdoches, Tex., November 22, 1910, dates the beginning of my official administration, the occasion being the meeting of the Texas Annual Conference. It was indeed a source of the greatest pleasure and inspiration to me to look on the faces of my many comrades with whom I had so long labored in the trenches. Though now elevated to the highest position in the gift of the Church, and recognizing the weighty responsibility now resting upon me, I felt myself, here in the midst of my brethren, humbler than the least of them.
In this feeling of strength and weakness I was sustained by the Spirit of the Most High and by the constant smiles and cheers of the brethren, which demonstrated the fact that the new administration was receiving the most hearty approval. The brethren deported themselves like men during the entire session of the Conference, and their reports were most commendable. At the close of each session congratulation after congratulation upon the administration of the young bishop came from visiting friends, both ladies and
gentlemen, and brethren of the Conference. Suffice it to say that the Conference was a success in every particular. The people of Nacogdoches did honor to themselves in caring for the Conference, and I shall ever remember this session as being a season of joy unspeakable, full of glory, and crowned with good results.
From Nacogdoches we passed on to Abilene to meet the West Texas Conference. Here we witnessed a reproduction of what we experienced at Nacogdoches. The reports of the brethren and loyalty of the people of Abilene showed that they were determined to meet all demands and to measure up to the standard of the ideal of their "Uncle Joe," the young bishop. Allow me to say that their determination was a reality, for this Conference was all that my heart could wish.
I next found myself among the big-hearted Louisianians. Nowhere did I meet with greater results than at the New Orleans and the Louisiana Conferences. It is enough for me to say that they covered themselves with glory.
Now I am back in Texas, where the drama closed with the scenes of the East Texas Conference, which convened at Longview. I must here be pardoned for relating the experience which it has been mine to witness at Longview. It was at the Annual Conference held in Longview prior to this that I met the disapproval of a certain bishop who seemingly sought to humiliate me to the greatest depths of humiliation into which a minister may descend, so far as I know. But Providence so decreed that here where my humiliation was sought, here I was to be elevated by having placed
upon me the greatest honor that is within the gift of the Church to bestow.
This Conference capped the climax of the season. Never before had I seen so many happy faces. The brethren all had, with few exceptions, round reports in full, and were all smiles. Quite a number of distinguished visitors attended this Conference. They seemed to be eagerly watching the proceedings, and were especially noting the demeanor of the young presiding bishop. Among the visitors was my friend and brother Prof. G. L. Tyus, who at the close of a session advanced to the rostrum, extending his hand, and said: "Allow me to congratulate the young bishop upon his proceedings. They are commendable. You seem to have found your true place in the Church at last. Long may you live to grace the episcopal bench!" Similar expressions were constantly coming from the lips of many.
The spiritual, financial, and social phases of this Conference were most flattering. With but few exceptions, the brethren in all of my Conferences seemed to be highly pleased with the various appointments assigned them by the young presiding bishop.
As a demonstration of the hearty approval and appreciation of the administration of the new bishop in Texas, all the Conferences and the entire Board of Trustees of Texas College decided to erect a magnificent structure on the campus of Texas College, to be known as Jamison Hall, in honor of the new bishop. This building, when completed, will cost approximately forty thousand dollars. Being much in need of two more buildings, we may plan anew and have them erected. Allow me to say just here that, under the management
of the new President, Prof. G. L. Tyus, A.M., Texas College is doing well at present, and everything is being placed in line for greater success in the future. Professor Tyus is a graduate of Paine College, Augusta, Ga., and has had broad experience in educational work. For sixteen successive years he served acceptably and successfully as President of Haygood Seminary, Washington, Ark. He was elected President of Texas College at a very critical period in the history of the college. The school was heavily involved in debt to an amount approximating ten thousand two hundred dollars. A few months before his election one building (Administration Hall) was destroyed by fire, resulting in a total loss. A few days after his election a second building (the boys' dormitory) burned, on which a small amount of insurance was carried. The boys were left without shelter. In addition to this disaster, just at a period in the midst of the session when his best work in every respect was to be done, the dreadful meningitis broke out in the school, resulting in the death of one of the most promising of the young lady students. Excitement both in the college and in the city ran so high that the city authorities forced a suspension of the school for several weeks. This seemed to have been the final blow to his first session. Still, in addition to this, the creditors of the school were dunning him for debts. Some of them were threatening to bring on lawsuits, while others did actually sue for long-standing debts of which the trustees of the school had no knowledge. Often I would receive letters from President Tyus telling me of the situation and of having no funds with which to meet the pressing demands that were
then upon him. I would send him words of comfort, accompanied by a little cash. He managed to pull on, and finally closed his first session with phenomenal success and to the entire satisfaction of every thinking mind. I must confess that it was a delightful surprise to me, as I thought that to hold the school together under the circumstances would have been all that one could reasonably expect; but, to the surprise of all, the commencement was one of the best ever witnessed in the history of the school. The debts have all been canceled and we have arranged for the new building. As soon as we close the contract with the architect the erection of Jamison Hall will at once begin.
In connection with the sessions of the several Annual Conferences throughout the Sixth Episcopal District, as previously stated, the receptions given in honor of the young bishop were superb in the extreme and reflected unlimited credit upon those by whom these receptions were so cordially tendered.
The work of the East Texas Conference having been completed, the Conference season of 1910 passed into history. Thus having reached the first milestone of my episcopal itinerancy, I here let fall my pen and lift up my voice in praise to Him in whom I have put my trust.
And now with joy inexpressible I recall to mind those days of toil and pleasure, and shall ever cherish them in my memory until the declining sun of youth shall cease to illumine the eastern horizon of activity and for the last time shall cast its fading light upon the evening of my career and sink to rise no more.