Monday, May 14, 2018

Entrepreneurial Slaves at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello 1805-1808

Anne Cary Randolph’s Household Accounts of Monticello, 1805-1808

Thomas Jefferson's granddaughter, Anne Cary Randolph (1791-1826)


The Library of Congress tells us that the household and kitchen accounts maintained by Thomas Jefferson's granddaughter, Anne Cary Randolph (1791-1826), at Monticello from August 1805 to October 1808 illustrate the vitality of the undirected activities and the entrepreneurial spirit of the slaves on Jefferson's plantations in Albemarle County, Virginia. These accounts of provisions purchased from Jefferson's slaves, other slaves in the neighborhood, and local free whites also offer a rare view of the interaction of plantation mistresses, slaves, and free white women.
Between 1805 and 1808 Thomas and Martha Jefferson’s teenaged granddaughter kept her household accounts in the blank pages of a notebook previously used by her grandparents. This essay reveals and contextualizes Randolph’s practice of trading with Monticello’s slaves.

Students of slavery in the United States have begun to explore the significance of slaves' personal land plots and crops in the Southern plantation system. Plantation owners and managers were sharply divided on the subject. Should slaves be allowed to raise their own crops? What animals and crops should they be allowed to raise? Should they be allowed to sell or trade these crops? And to whom? Four years of accounts from Thomas Jefferson's Monticello suggest how these questions were answered in one of America's most notable plantation communities.
Scattered evidence exists to suggest that plantation owners purchased food and even money crops, such as tobacco, from their slaves. For example, James Barbour, a neighbor of James Madison, routinely purchased chickens, eggs, and brooms from his slaves in the 1820s and 1830s, according to information in the Barbour Papers at the University of Virginia. Household accounts were normally kept by the plantation mistress or her daughter, and unfortunately women's records of this kind were seldom saved for posterity. However, Anne Cary Randolph's accounts are an exceptionally coherent, detailed, and lengthy record for a plantation as large and important as Monticello. Their survival is undoubtedly due to their location in the same memorandum book in which Jefferson had maintained a record of legal cases tried in Virginia.
Anne Cary Randolph, the child of Martha Jefferson Randolph, Jefferson's oldest daughter, and her husband, Thomas Mann Randolph, repurposed the blank pages of a volume previously used by both her grandparents. She turned the volume over and entered the accounts so that would be read in the opposite direction (and would appear upside down) from the text in the rest of the volume. This practice was not uncommon in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when paper was scarce or expensive. When this volume was microfilmed, Anne Cary Randolph's accounts were filmed first, and the remaining pages were rotated and filmed in reverse order.   This online presentation restores the pages to a sequence that more closely matches the original volume.
The accounts begin in 1805, when Anne Cary Randolph was fourteen years old, and cover a four-year period. They reflect what was in essence an apprenticeship preparing Anne Cary Randolph for marriage and the occupation of plantation mistress. The accounts end in October 1808, following Anne's September 19 wedding to Charles Lewis Bankhead and shortly before the couple's departure for the Bankhead family homestead in Port Royal, Virginia. The Bankheads soon settled at Carlton, a plantation on the west side of Monticello mountain, where Anne Cary Randolph Bankhead was able to use the training she had received as a teenager at Monticello.
Anne Cary Randolph carefully recorded the transactions of purchases from Jefferson's slaves, other slaves in the neighborhood, and local free whites for the use of the kitchen at Monticello. It is not clear from the records whether all of the items purchased were used solely for the white residents and visitors at Monticello or whether some of the goods were shared with the slave and free white staff. Anne Cary Randolph noted the date of purchase, the name of the seller, the name and number of items purchased, and the amount of money in pounds, shillings, and pence paid or credited to each person.
These records contain material important to the study of slave communities and the plantation economy, such as the occupations of slaves and free whites, products sold and not sold by slaves, the amount of money and credit given for various items, and information about the rhythm of plantation life. They also contain information vital to genealogists and descendants of those people mentioned in the accounts, locating slaves at Monticello and neighboring plantations by name in time and space.
These records suggest answers to many, though not all, of the basic questions about the importance of slave land plots and crops. Did a few slaves dominate the trade with the plantation mistress? In fact, the accounts do reveal that only five of the seventy-one active traders had ten or more transactions. Wormley (1781-aft.1851), a gardener at Monticello, sold food items to Miss Randolph on forty-three occasions over four years to become the leading slave purveyor of foodstuffs to the Monticello kitchen. The accounts reveal that slaves never sold products of cattle, sheep, or hogs to the Monticello kitchen. Were slaves not allowed to own these animals? Apparently not. The accounts show that the overseers' wives and slaves competed in sales of some provisions, such as chickens, eggs, and honey, but not in the sale of butter or tallow. They show that some individuals, such as Ursula (1787-aft.1824) and John Hemings (1775-aft.1830), routinely collected the money due to other slaves. Chickens, eggs, and vegetables were the items most often sold by slaves to the Monticello kitchen, according to these accounts, and the slaves received money and credit for their goods.
Unfortunately there are no corresponding accounts to show what the slaves did with their money. No records exist to reveal what they purchased or whether they purchased items from each other, from stores in nearby Charlottesville or Milton, from itinerant peddlers, or from neighboring free whites. No records show whether Jefferson or his overseers maintained a store for "sundries" or simply sold the slaves additional pork or corn. Indeed, no records reveal whether the slaves saved their money to purchase their own or a relative's freedom.
The accounts also raise questions vital to interpreting the interrelationships of slaves and white women in the plantation setting. For example, what were the economic relationships of white women and slaves, women and children, slaves and overseers' wives, and among enslaved men and women? They raise equally important questions about the spirit and ethos of the slave community in a large plantation setting. One thing is clear. The pattern of human interaction on the plantation was exceedingly complex and blacks and whites were joined by more than simply a master-slave relationship.
When Anne Cary Randolph was keeping these records, Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, was the third president of the United States, a position he held from 1801 to 1809. He was also the owner of a large plantation complex including holdings in the Virginia counties of Albemarle, Goochland, James City, Cumberland, Amherst, Rockbridge, and Bedford. Altogether Jefferson's properties comprised more than ten thousand acres manned by nearly two hundred slaves and free whites. The overseers and most of the artisans and foremen were white, while the laborers, apprentices, and artisan's assistants were generally slaves either owned or rented by Jefferson and his wife Martha, his daughters Martha and Mary and their husbands Thomas Mann Randolph and John Wayles Eppes, or his grandchildren and their spouses.
While he was president, Jefferson failed to maintain detailed rolls of his slaves in his "farm book," or plantation record. The only existing roll for this period is that for his Bedford properties in 1805, which lists seventy-one slaves of all ages. Consequently, the household accounts kept by Anne Cary Randolph are additionally valuable as a contemporary record of Jefferson's Albemarle County slaves. They list seventy-nine residents of Albemarle, including seventy-one slaves. In 1810 Jefferson's rolls listed 126 slaves of all ages at the Albemarle plantations and eighty-six on his Bedford properties.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sarah Pierce 1767-1852 of The Litchfield Female Academy of Connecticut

A History of the Litchfield Female Academy

Sarah Pierce, born in 1767, was the 5th child and 4th daughter of Litchfield, Connecticut, farmer and potter John Pierce and his wife Mary Paterson. Sarah’s mother died in 1770, and 2 years later her father remarried and had 3 more children.
Sarah Pierce 1767-1852  Her father died in 1783, leaving her brother John Pierce, responsible for his step-mother and 7 younger siblings. During the Revolutionary War, Pierce became the Assistant Paymaster of the army; and after the war, he was named Commissioner of the Army, responsible for settling the army’s debts.

As he prepared to marry, Pierce sent his younger sisters Mary and Sarah to New York City schools specifically to train to become teachers, so that they could help support their step-mother and younger half-siblings. Returning to Litchfield, Sarah Pierce brought a few students with her from New York and established her school. It was a commercial family undertaking. Her sister Mary handled the boarders and the school accounts, while her sister Susan’s husband, James Brace, also taught in the school.

The Litchfield Female Academy was one of a small group of early schools that played a critical role in shaping later educational, social and economic opportunities for women. Over 3000 young ladies attended the school over its 41 year history. From 1792-1833, the Litchfield Female Academy attracted students from 15 states and territories, Canada, Ireland and the West Indies.

In 1792, the school differed little from the large number of small female academies opening throughout the country, especially in the northeastern states. Pierce first offered a limited curriculum of a smattering of English, ancient and European history, geography, arithmetic and composition. Pierce continuously improved and expanded her academic curriculum, offering many subjects rarely available to women, including logic, chemistry, botany, and mathematics.

At the same time, Pierce experimented with innovative ways to unite the academic and ornamental subjects. Students drew and painted maps and made charts of historical events to reinforce geography and history lessons. Students also illustrated poetry, literature, and mythological and biblical readings with elaborate embroideries and detailed watercolor paintings. Botany and natural history lessons were often illustrated with watercolor drawings.

Although primarily interested in a strong academic curriculum, Sarah Pierce knew that teaching the ornamental subjects was critical to the success of her school. In the 18th century, most wealthy parents were willing to invest in a son’s education, because it increased his chances of pursuing a profitable career. For young women, advanced educational opportunities were few, and the ability of their families to pay the high cost of an education became a symbol of wealth.

The decorative paintings and needleworks made by the girls at female academies were hung in their parents' formal parlors as proof of family prosperity. Learning dancing, music, foreign languages, art and other ornamental subjects was also important for those students who wanted to become teachers, start their own academies, or marry well.

Sarah Pierce encouraged her students to become involved in benevolent and charitable societies. The Litchfield Female Academy students organized to support local missionary, bible and tract societies and raised money for the training of ministers.

Two of her students, sisters Catharine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe, wrote books; others became teachers.
Sarah Pierce 1767-1852  Piece never married and died at the age of 83 years old. The Litchfield Enquirer newspaper published an obituary on January 22, 1852 which read "We regret the necessity which compels us to announce the departure from this life of one who has perhaps been more extensively known for a period of sixty years than any other lady in New England. Miss Sarah Pierce died at her residence in this village on Monday morning, the 19th last, at the advanced age of 83 years. In 1792, Miss Pierce established a Female Seminary in this place which, as it was the first institution of the kind in this part of the country required great celebrity and pupils resorted to it from distant States as well as from various parts of our own State. This institution was incorporated by the Legislature of Connecticut under the name of the 'Litchfield Female Academy.' Miss Pierce retired from the institution several years ago and has since lived in quiet enjoyment of an ample fortune, universally respected for her constant piety, systematic benevolence and cheerful hospitality."

Monday, May 29, 2017

Off to Japan - Japonisme Parasols Painted By American Artists

.Here are a few parasols reflecting the Japonisme trend.

Alberta Binford McCloskey (1863 – 1911) Eleanor, the Artist's Daughter

Edward Horace Nicholson (1901 – 1966) Lady with Umbrella

Ethel Mars (1876 – 1956) Nice

Ethel Mars (1876 – 1956) Umbrella

Guy Rose (1867 – 1925) The Model

Hamilton Hamilton (1847 – 1928) A Gust of Wind

Hamilton Hamilton (1847 – 1928) Lady with a Parasol

Hamilton Hamilton (1847 – 1928) Stroll through the Garden

Jean Mannheim (1861 – 1945) Lonely Tea Party

Karl Albert Buehr (1866 – 1952) In Repose

Karl Albert Buehr (1866 – 1952) Red Headed Girl with a Parasol

Karl Albert Buehr (1866 – 1952) Under the Parasol

Karl Albert Buehr (1866 – 1952) Young Lady with Her Sunshade under the Trees

Karl Albert Buehr (1866 – 1952) Young Woman with Parasol

Lillian Mathilde Genth (1876 – 1953) Summer Morning

Lucy Drake Marlow (1890 – 1978) Parasol

Marguerite Stuber Pearson (1898 – 1978) The Red Parasol

Susan Ricker Knox (1874 – 1959) In Lilac Time

William John Hennessy (1839 – 1917) The Japanese Parasol

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Early African American Evangelist Jarena Lee 1783-1857 - Off to Ohio

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

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

Jarena Lee - Off to Ohio

While I was in Buffalo, a journey to the West was shewed to me so plain that I could not stop in the city of Philadelphia but five weeks only, then left for the western country. I started in a mail stage, and stopped first at Westtown and spoke in our own connexion Church, and then at West Chester in the old Methodist Episcopal white connexion. We had a large congregation of quiet hearers. I felt liberty but no great displays of God's power. I had several meetings in different places, visiting the sick. Having discharged my duty I left there and proceeded on to Old Lancaster and spent some days. We have a good Church there, and great meetings - the word of the Lord grew and was multiplied. God poured out his spirit upon us, and we had a shout in the camp.

I then started for Columbia, Pa. The people are much divided, and it looked very gloomy, but God directed me and he commanded his disciple to be a sheep among wolves, and harmless as doves, notwithstanding the darkness, God aided me in speaking to the people, and aided them in hearing, and his name was praised. The people united, temptations and clouds were vanished away. Then we sung, prayed, spake, and shouted in the spirit, this is true Methodism. I led class, visited the sick and was much favoured with the presence of the Lord. Our faith was increased, our hopes confirmed. The preachers were kind and treated me well, and by their help I travelled on my journey to Harrisburg. Feeling thankful for the visit I had paid it seemed gloomy here, but I spoke there next day.

I took stage and rode to Chambersburg, and spent some days there, and proceeded on to Fredericktown, Maryland, and, spoke there from there to Hagerstown, Macallansburg, and I must confess, It do not remember of ever seeing such a people, for, it seemed strong drink had been their ruin. The circuit minister was there, and we had some signs and wonders to follow after the preaching of the cross of Christ, and I trust to meet some of them on the banks of deliverance, and help to swell the notes of redeeming love.

After the preacher left me I took stage for Pittsburgh, at eight in the evening, rode all night until eight in the morning. I was kindly treated, there were other persons in the stage, four of them gentlemen, as I thought there was one who talked a great deal, wise in his own conceit, about religion, and from that he displayed a quantity of degraded principle, with disgusting language, at which I made several sharp replies, and in my way, reprimanded him and the other gentlemen looked on him with silent contempt, at which he got ashamed, and afterwards treated me with great politeness, and I was comfortable and arrived in Pittsburgh at 5 o'clock in the afternoon. I went to Church that night and heard a sermon from one of my brothers. I met with six or seven ministers, very friendly, and treated me like Christians. I remained in Pittsburgh six weeks, there had been one or two revivals previous to my visit, especially the winter before I arrived, last day of August, 1820. My labors commenced - the field was large - but the Lord was with us - this gaves me much encouragement, I was not ashamed of the Gospel - it is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believes, both Jew or Gentile. We had very good meetings, the Elder and preachers, all received me with one accord - thanks to God for his divine goodness.

I felt moved by the Lord to pay Wheeling a visit although we had no society there, I arrived and found but a small class of coloured people with the whites, an old gentleman of color with the elder in charge granted me the Church - the elder being a great preacher of college order. We had a large congregation; I spoke for them once, and gave an exhortation at another time, and felt no difficulty on that head, and after that they could not treat me well enough. And, on the ensuring Sabbath, I helped to lead class; and we all enjoyed ourselves, and on Tuesday I left for Washington, according as I had promised our elder before I left him.

On my arrival there I met kind friends, and a large congregation of coloured people. On Lords day I met the class; the people spoke with humility - it was a melting down time - in the Spirit of God I preached several sermons, visited the sick, and, in this spirit strove to uphold the aged. Feeling a discharge of my duty I left for Steubensville, Ohio, and met a small society - some try Christians there; no Church there; the Baptists granted their Church; we had meetings there, and the Lord was with us - quiet congregations - and the word had effect in the hearts of sinners - and believers were established. I stopped a few days and left in the name of the Lord.

I proceeded on to Mt. Pleasant, and arrived on seventh day evening, and the trustee gave me an appointment on Sabbath morning. At 11 o'clock I was feeble in both body and mind, but the lord was with us according to promise, think not what ye shall say, but open thy mouth and I will fill it saith the Lord, he caused a shaking among the dry bones, that morning. I think if any creature has a right to praise God I have, and that in thankfulness, and I love him because he first loved me. Bless his name. I preached several sermons to large gatherings, but revivals not so manifest as at other places. I had some difficulty in that journey, but only what is common among us; for many times deceitful persons will set the Church on fire but can't burn it up.

Moses saw it as a bush in a flame, yet not consumed. We have to be tried as gold in the fire. After my visit was out a brother (leader in the Church) conveyed me ten miles on my way, I stopped at Sinclairsville; there was an appointment published on the next evening. At 7 o'clock I spoke in the Court house to a large concourse of well behaved and respectable citizens. I felt at liberty and left in peace of mind which makes the work sweet.

I was aided on to Cap-teen, a settlement of coloured people; some from the lower counties; but they are industrious, and have a Church of their own, and were about to send their children to school, I held several meetings and there was some very respectable people of colour - and the Lord was with us - I stopped with an aged family, very respectable, they treated me very kind, and between 2 and 3 weeks,

I left in peace with God and man, and went to Barnsborough and spoke in the white Methodist Episcopal Church, from thence to Zanesville, at which place I felt much discouraged from the appearance of things. I did not think of tarrying there, but at the first appointment I chose the words "I am not ashamed of the Gospel." - Paul. The room was very small for the number of people, after which an old man well scented with ardent spirits, tried to give an exhortation. I was astonished at the scene, the people laughed I got up and went out. I tried to labor again at night and exhort the young ladies to the evil consequences of ill-behavior in the Church of God; after which we had better order, and the old gentleman was discovered to be intoxicated with spirituous liquor, and was disowned from the Church, after which there was a great revival took place among the white Methodists, both rich and poor.

Mrs. Dillin, who once was a Friend, and now a member of the Church, spoke to the Trustees and Ministers, and they opened the Church and I spoke twice in that Church, and after that I spoke in west Zanesville, back of that place, and I still remained among my colored friends, and they seemed much revived; after which they formed a Resolution to build themselves a Meeting House. A Quaker Friend, so called, presented them with a piece of ground to build one on, which they did. Glory to God, for his glory stood over the doors of the Tabernacle.

Many were convicted, and converted, and many added to the old Methodist Church and I left there on New-years day for New-Lancaster, where we had a haunch, standing on a frame of a house for three or four years, and had not been used to preach in; but the Lord opened the way, and a great revival took place among the people, and their eyes being opened, they with willing minds commenced and built a new Church, and god blessed their labors. I preached several Sermons and led class, &&;c. My common way is to visit the sick and afflicted in whatsoever city I may stop in, that I may get my spiritual strength renewed in the Lord. Although I preached the Gospel through the Commission of my Lord, yet I have nothing to boast of.

I opened a Love-Feast in the said Church in New Lancaster. We held Prayer Meetings. I spoke in the White's Church also. The people were very friendly. I met them in Class, and after the lapse of eleven days, I left for Columbus. The Preachers generally were very kind to me. Both white and colored. A worthy brother conducted me on further. It snow'd, and I was very cold, but the Lord was with us, and my mind was free'd. But notwithstanding, I met an antagonist, who was ready to destroy my character, and the principles of the work that God saw good to make me instrumental of doing in his name, which caused me to open the case to the Trustees and Preaches, who were much astonished at him to be preaching four or five years with malice in his heart. I was favored to see him in the morning before he went away, that was the first time he had spoke to me anything like a Christian in that time. He knew from the first period I went to him to satisfy his mind. But his heart was bitter. I felt his spirit like a viper. But the word of the Lord was verified at that time also. "When the Tempter raise a flood against you, I will set up a standard against him." He told me he had sent a letter to Pittsburg to stop me, although I had my Licence from the Bishop, with his own signature. I told him he was a worse enemy to me than I was aware of, and I was ashamed of him, professing to be a Preacher in charge, and setting such an example in a strange laud, and begged him to throw away his prejudices, or he would never obtain the Kingdom of Heaven. He left me in a flash, and I saw him no more until conference.

I wrote a letter to bishop Allen to let him know of my grievances, as I was innocent of any crime. I felt under no obligation to bear the reproaches of progressing Preachers; and I wanted it settled at Conference. But it was looked upon with little effect by the Preachers and Leaders. I laid it before the Conference, and it was settled. But I tarried all winter. Preached, led Class, visited the sick, &&;c., with great success. I bless God for the witness of a good conscience. Old sinners were awakened, and constrained to come trembling, and enquiring the way to Zion.

L. W., a respectable brother from Chillicothe, had never heard a woman preach, and was much opposed to it. An appointment was given me, and when I went into the desk and commenced reading the hymn to commence the worship, he looked at me a while, then got up and went out and stood until I had nearly got through the hymn, and then he came in, when I asked him to pray for us but he refused. I prayed myself, after which I took my text, and felt much liberty in speaking in the spirit indeed. And after meeting he came and shook hands with me in the spirit of a Christian, and next day he came and confessed to me his prejudices had been so great, so much like his father, that he could not unite with me, but now he believed that God, was no respecter of persons, and that a woman as well as a man, when called of God, had a right to preach. He afterwards became a licensed preacher, and we parted in peace.

I took the stage and left for Chillicothe, but there was but one house that would open for me in the city, although I had my recommendation with me. As soon as that friend heard of me she met me in christian bonds, and her house was my home, her husband being a man of christian qualifications, and I went of my mission doing my Father's will. I spoke once in the week and on Sabbath afternoon, to crowded houses; it was like a camp-meeting, and twenty-one lay upon the power of God at one time; after preaching, we called them to be prayed for; some got religion that day and some on the next Sabbath, and the father L. W. became one of my best friends, and a doer of the work. There was large fields of labor open to my view, and I visited both colored and white, and many were concerned about sanctification. I was with them about six weeks, during which time I had an interview with a lady, who informed me she had a call to preach the everlasting gospel of Christ. She was a Presbyterian by profession, and she told me she feared the church government. But the greatest objection, was her husband was a Deist by profession; she also told me of her experience she passed through; it was a broken heart and a contrite spirit. God answers the prayers of such a supplicant, but she could not enjoy that sweet fulness of religion in that situation of life, although very rich as regards this world's goods; also knowing that gold and silver should vanish away, but the word of God should endure forever. And some feel their labors a long time before it comes to perfection. Out Methodist sisters established a prayer meeting, and the people worked in the unity of the spirit, and much good was done in the name of the Holy child. Glory to God for what my heart feels while I use my pen in hand.

I felt peace of conscience and left Chilicothe for Hillsborough to meet a quarterly meeting of W.C., he being Elder at that place; the Governor and his family residing there, six in number, were all Methodists, and one sone a preacher; they had the spirit of christians. The trustee of the Methodist church opened their doors and gave us liberty to hold our quarterly meeting and love feast in their small donation, which was very thankful; after which I left there for Cincinnati, where I spoke to a large congregation.

I stop't at Williamsport and spoke in the white Methodist church to a respectable congregation. I felt liberty in the spirit of God, and we left there about daybreak in the morning. All nature seemed in silence (except the chirping notes of a little bird.) A few rods from us a Panther screamed very loud and sudden, but we could not see him, it being a dense thicket on either side of the road, but the unseen arm of God sheltered us from harm; one of the gentlemen seemed quite used to hearing them.

We arrived safe in Cincinnati about 11 o'clock; the Elder W.C. was very liberal in giving me appointments, and the friends were very affectionate to me, and largest congregations attended. I remained there some time, feeling to be blessed in my weak endeavors to a great extent. The next day after I arrived there, one of our sisters fell sick and I had the pleasure of visiting her on her death-bed and in her last hour she told me in presence of others, her peace was made, and raised her hands toward heaven and told us she was going. This is the end of sister Crosby; who can doubt this faithful saying; by grace ye are saved. A month or more previous, she had buried a daughter, who was a member of our church; before she left the world, she called her young companions and caused them to promise to meet her in heaven, and then closed her eyes triumphing in death. Brother Crosby laid the heavy task on me to preach their funeral sermons, which I did, as feeble a worm as I am, on Sabbath morning. Words of my choice were found in 2d Ephe. 8th v. - "For by grace ye are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." Which of itself is a semon to all that believe - glory to God, Christ has overcome the world. And while laboring many tears were shed both in joy and sorrow. But it's better to be one day in the house of the Lord than a thousand in the tents of the wicked.

Another circumstance worthy of notice, was a young man whose heart was in the world and in worldly affairs, or the pursuits of nature, and diverted much of his time on Sabbath days on the Mississippi River, fighting against all impressions of the Spirit of grace, until God stopped him by the heavy hand of his power, in a death-bed affliction. After some time he began to inquire the way to Zion. His mother was also a stranger to the blood of Jesus, but wished me to come and see her son; being conducted to the house, I found him looking like an anatomy. I asked him if he believed in Christ and his prayers with him and all sufficiency to save; is answer was in the affirmatives. We had prayers with him and there was a display of God's power; a white woman screamed and nearly felt to the floor, but strove hard to keep from it. And on that day he acknowledged his Saviour to be reconciled to his poor soul. Praise God! my soul replied. Afterwards he wished me to hold a meeting with as many persons as the room would contain with him, which I accepted; one day and night after, he departed this life, and requested me to preach his funeral sermon at the house before the procession moved to the ground. I spoke from the 14th chap. 13 v., and we had a solemn time; you may anticipate the weight of that important task, but we had joy in the midst of sorrow, and this was the last of James Thompson. I also left his sisters in the last stage of consumption, and she confessed to be in favour with the Lord.

Having finished my visit, I left in steamboat for Dayton. I spoke three times, and tried to preach the whole salvation, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The members of the New-light church deny the divinity of Christ. Once I spoke in a large dwelling of Dr. Esley, after which himself and wife went on a journey to Indiana and wished me to go with them, but I was deprived by a previous engagement, having to attend a camp meeting at Cap-teen.

After my return to Urbanna, Ohio, I took stage for Springfield, and from there to Columbus, and spoke several times. The Elder's class consisted of about twenty; a young man and myself led the class in 1829. The Elder W.C. ordered a camp-meeting for the Cincinnati people, and the brother at Cap-teen and Rev. Bishop Brown, held a conference, and we had a very large camp-meeting, and manifestations of great good, and at the close of the Love-feast, there were thirty-two or three testified that they experienced the love of God. The people of color came out forcibly, and the preachers preached in power. My health was much destroyed by speaking so often and laboring so very hard, having a heavy fever preying upon my system. I was called upon to speak at a camp-meeting, I could scarcely accomplish the task, and I was obliged to take my bed (having also lost my appetite) as soon as my sermon was over.

After a while my particular friends conveyed me to Mount Pleasant in a carriage; the day was pleasant, but in the woods at night we were overtaken by a dreadful storm of thunder, wind and rain, but through the will of Providence I escaped the inclemency of the weather and stopped at brother and sister Hance's; after being medically renovated, I fulfilled an appointment, and commenced to visit the sick in that place, but was arrested by a heavy fever... When I was able to travel, one of the preacher's wives and a kind brother conducted me on to Washington, from which I took stage for Mount Pleasant; labored for them, enjoyed a love-feast with them, and in a few days left for St. Clairsville and the next successive place; then took stage for Zanesville, continuing to labor around the circuit, and then went to Columbus.

I was invited to attend a quarterly meeting at Urbana; we had quite a profitable waiting upon the Lord; it makes me glad when they say let us go up to the house of the Lord. After trying to rest myself four or five weeks, a brother preacher, in company with brother Steward's widow and myself, visited the Indians, she having lived nine years in Sandusky. We heard them preach in their own language, but I could only understand when he said Jesus Christ of God, and the interpreter had gone to conference. I spoke to them in English, was entertained in an Indian family, and that very kindly after which I shook the dust off my feet and left them in peace. Thank the Lord for Urbana. The Elder appointed a camp meetings at Hillsborough; it was nothing to boast off; after which I turned towards Philadelphia. Brother Rains paid my stage fare on to Springfield; from thence endeavored to speak to a small and very quiet congregation; from thence to Columbus and paid seven dollars and a half, and left for Wheeling.
From - Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs Jarena Lee, Giving an account of her call to preach the Gospel. Revised & Corrected from the Original Manuscript, written by herself Philadelphia, Printed & Published for the Author, 1849 Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836

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

Friday, May 26, 2017

Early African American Evangelist Jarena Lee 1783-1857 - Camp Meetings & Princeton

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

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

Jarena Lee - Camp Meetings & Princeton

I left Philadelphia again for Lewistown, Del., to attend a camp meeting of the African Methodist Episcopal connexion, of which I was a member, to be held in Gov. Paynter's Woods. There was immense large congregations, and a greater display of God's power I never saw. The people came from all parts, without distinction of sex, size, or color, and the display of God's power commenced from singing; I recollect a brother Camell standing under a tree singing, and the people drew high to hear him, and a large number were struck to the ground before preaching began, and signs and wonders followed. There appeared to be a great union with the white friends. James Towson was the Elder holding the camp; he was in the bloom of the gospel of Christ. But poor brother, may the Lord give him a Peter's look by the way of mercy. Right Rev. Bishop Allen was present. The ministry were all for me, and the Elder gave me an appointment, and the Governor with a great concourse came to hear the weak female. My heart beat, my limbs trembled, and my voice was faint, but I spoke from Eccles. xi, 9, 10. After I took my text, it appeared to me as if I had nothing to do but open my mouth, and the Lord filled it, consequently I was much encouraged: it was an immense assembly of people.

After the camp-meeting was over, the Elder visited another campmeeting, and left me in liberty to preach around the circuit, which I did, and afterwards returned to Lewiston, and spoke in the old Methodist meeting-house; I had a great time a among my colored brethren. I feel thankful to my friends for their kindness to me, especially to brother Peter Lewis, whose house was a home to me. I had much happiness in leading class and prayer meetings; preaching the gospel seemed to be the great task.

Brother Lewis conveyed me to Georgetown; I spoke in our colored people's Church, and we enjoyed ourselves very much; the Lord drew people from all quarters; a wonderful outpouring of the Spirit indeed; weeping in all directions It is a good sign to see tears of contrition stealing down the cheeks of the hearers; it makes me believe the word is sanctioned. The last place was at the head of the river; I then returned to Lewiston, and a few days I left for Philadelphia...

After a short stay in the city, I took a visit to Trenton, Dec. 25. I spoke as usual, for there we had lively meetings, after which I had no home, but the Lord provides, for sister Roberts and family were my friends and took me in, and we often had sweet counsel together.

From there I went to Princeton. The Elder, Joseph Harper, of our connexion, was a friend to me, but I had to withstand a beast at Princeton, in opposition, like the one I had to front on Bucks county circuit; the former named Thomas Voris, a local preacher, and using the language of the Psalmist prophesying in reference to the Saviour, "mine equal my guide hath lifted up his heel against me." We had preached - he invited me to come to his house to hold meetings the next week, but I was taken sick for a few days, but in the interval, S.R., of Attleborough Circuit, had a Quarterly meeting. They consulted together to stop me from preaching in Princeton; so his door was shut, but bless the Lord, another was opened, Brother Thomas Vinsant, his sister's husband, a Christian man, opened, his house. We had a powerful time. I came in the town on Saturday, the next day I walked two miles and spoke twice it was Thomas' appointment on Sabbath morning, and he had but two persons to meet him in class.

An invitation came to me to make an appointment for Wednesday night in the Coloured Presbyterian Church, upon the grant of Rev. Mr. Woodhall, elder of that order in Princeton. Thos. Vorris, though a Methodist, was like a roaring lion - went to Elder Woodhall for him to stop it, as I was informed. But the meeting went on, it was a respectable, and comfortable congregation. I preached and led class and prayer meetings, and read, and explained the Scriptures. We had mourning and rejoicing, and I saw the kingdom of Satan fall. When Brother J. H. came round again, from some cause, he removed Thomas from that class, as they would not meet him, and placed him over one of five or six persons; also impeached him, taking his license from him, and left him only verbally licenced. Glory to God for his Divine power. I do not rejoice for his downfall, but for God's grace which enables me to stand against the enemies of the Cross. Glory to God, I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation. I spoke from Ephe. 2d chap. 8th ver. I felt life and liberty in word and doctrine. Thank God for the victory, Brother Oakham, one of the Elders of the Coloured Presbyterian Church, invited me to their house, and himself and wife treated me like Christians, which, I believe, they were; my heart glows toward them. I held a meeting in a dwelling house.

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

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

Thursday, May 25, 2017

1855 Country Life


Fanny Palmer (American artist, 1812-1876) Published by N Currier American Country Life 1855

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Early African American Evangelist Jarena Lee 1783-1857 - Traveling in New York 1827

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

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

Jarema Lee - Traveling in New York 1827

1827  The last of August I left for New York Camp, on arriving there I spoke once or twice. The same as to other places, out Camp-meeting was not as great as I have seen before. I spoke in both the Churches. We had a good time together, rejoicing in the Lord. I left then for Albany; had a pleasant passage up the North river, on hundred and sixty miles; the mountains and their other places our camp-meeting was not as great as I have seen before. I was not as great as I have seen before. I spoke in both the Churches. We had a good time together, rejoicing in the Lord.

I left then for Albany had a pleasant passage up the North river, one hundreds and sixty miles; the mountains and their stupendous looks preached to me in my journey through. Oh, the wisdom of God, and how marvellous in our eyes; enough to convince the infidel, yea, the Atheist, that there is some first cause. From the effects produced, look at the ingenuity of mankind, which actually comes from God, and is displayed in building steamboats, and other great novelties in mechanism. We accomplished the route the same day we started, and I found myself entirely among strangers. But I made inquiry for Methodist friends, and found brother Streeter, a coloured family, very respectable. They treated me very kind; they were under the white Bishop, and I under the coloured. But the same faith, same doctrine, same Baptism, same spirit. Glory to God. Among the coloured people, the Baptists had the ascendancy. There was a large hall prepared for me, and we had a large congregation of different denominations. I spoke from these words and this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached unto all the world as for a witness, and then shall the end come. God owned the word, sinners screamed; some fell to the floor, others wept, while Christians rejoiced. A lady of color was present, though she was a member of the Dutch Presbyterian Church; her husband belonged to no Church, but was under an exercise of mind. The Lord reached his heart, he mourned more than three days. They sent for me to come to their house. I paid them a visit, and held prayer meeting at their house. That Sabbath two weeks he joined the Methodist Church. I spoke three times the first Sabbath afternoon; we had a large congregation, at night still larger. Text Never man spoke like this man. God's spirit was poured out in a miraculous manner. On the ensuing third day evening I spoke again, from these words. And came seeking fruit on the tree and found none. To all appearance there was nothing done, but God directed the word to the heart of a little girl, a gentleman's daughter, between eleven and twelve years of age. She joined the Church before I left there. A good old Missionary, by the name of Mitchell, came to the city before I left, and preached three sermons, in which there was a great revival.

The Elder appointed prayer meetings, north and south of the city of Albany. I preached two or three sermons in a school house, the last I spoke was in Brother Streeter's house, from St. Matt. Chap. 21 ver. 12th. I thank God for the comfortable visit I had there in the discharge of my duty. This Methodist preacher, Mitchell, had a book with him called the Essence of John Steward, a coloured man, with his miraculous call to the ministry, the first one who succeeded in Christianizing the Methodist Indians in Sandusky and that province, and he sold them in Albany, and it seemed to have its desired effect also with the revival, in encouraging us to hold a fast.

...my mind felt at liberty to leave for Schenectady. Sister Streeter rode with the fourteen miles; I stopped eleven days, at which place there was a large upper room that was appropriated for a preaching place, where I spoke to a small number of coloured persons several times. They were under the white elder, he was a friends to me, and appointed a meeting for me in the white Brother's house to speak for them. We had a favourable time. But the people, feeling and uninterested spirit in propagating the religion of Jesus Christ, I left the dust with them.
Got on board a Canal boat for Utica, there I met with my own connexion, African Methodist Episcopal Church, we had a prosperous time. I spoke and had prayer meetings on board of the Canal boat. There was a pasture there notwithstanding the difficulties of this life and the people being hunted like partridges on the mountain. It deprives a man's usefulness among the people, but the work of the Lord went on, and there is no weapon formed by the enemy that can stop the work of God. Therefore we have nothing to fear. We have large and respectable congregations, and I felt strengthened in warning man to flee from the wrath to come. If signs and wonders did not follow sometimes, I must certainly die, but glory to God for refreshing showers. I led class, had prayer meetings, and took my passage on another canal boat for Rochester; had a pleasant passage. I soon found some Methodists, and our local Elder was then a smart preacher. I was there three or four weeks, and he treated me very kindly and opened my way. They erected a new brick church, basement for schools; the corner-stone was laid while I was there. The elder was a man of good repute; people of color of different denominations, but much united together. The elder held the charge from there to Buffalo, he had then a Quarterly Meeting on hand.

I left Rochester with him and rode about seventy miles. Next morning I left Lewistown and rode seven miles, crossed the Lakes, on the British side. When we left Rochester the snow was ankle deep, when ten mile from Lewistown, it became dry and hard, and when we crossed the Lakes it was clear and cold, and the air very pure. I told the elder this was the first time I ever breathed pure air. I walked about a mile and the first house I stopped at was sister Holmes'. I felt strange and lonely. I waited to see if the peace of God would abide on the house. Previous to my being introduced, I arose from my chair and the power of God fell upon the people, and, it seemed to me, that God answered me. I was fully convinced that God would make bare his arm, in this part of his moral vineyard.

We had a Church in Niagara; the elder made an appointment there, and forty or fifty miles round the circuit, being now about six hundred miles from Philadelphia. I felt the loss of my former companions and friends, the elder and deacon, in two days time left for Buffalo, to hold a quarterly meeting in York state about seventy miles. I commenced to speak for the people, and God owned the word, and I saw many displays of his power - the people in Niagara seemed to me to be a kind and Christian like people. The white inhabitants united with us, and ladies of great renown. The slaves that came there felt their freedom, began to see the necessity of education, and hired a white man to teach them to read and write among themselves, and have Sabbath schools. I am astonished to see so many there that came from a free state, and not take more interest in instilling the science of education among their fellow beings. The winter was cold - I never had experienced such - but very healthy. I went to a town called Niagara. I spoke in a dwelling house. The next night I spoke in the Old Methodist Church to a large congregation of respectable people. There were three ladies, one the widow of a great Judge, and one daughter and sister of first education; they sympathized with me in this important work of the Gospel of Christ. They assembled with us in our meeting. A little girl about 8 or 9 years of age experienced religion and prayed in public, and attended to their private devotion, so much for early piety. Teach the child the way he should go and when he gets old he will not depart from it. But, it is to be lamented, that so few of our children experience this early piety; the cause we must try to find out and avoid the evil effects, and not bring up our children in so much pride and heathenism. We, as a people, are generally poor and cannot support so many changes of fashion; they grow up and crave it, and of times substitute evil practices to support themselves, either girls or boys, and often bring a stigma upon; their parents and family connexions, though very respectable. Let us bring up our children in industry, for work is honorable, and it is the way to get riches and to keep them.

I travelled back and forward again from Niagara to Buffalo, and had regular appointments in our Churches. We had a great opposition among the coloured people, one trying to excel the other in point of eminence. One of our preachers left us on the promise of forty dollars per year. Poor man, he was like Simon Magus who perished with his money. Our Circuit rider was absent on the Sunday of the split, but the Lord was with us. I spoke three times to the remaining part of the congregation, which was increased much by a large body of bystanders, and great good followed; and we continued to sow and gather for two or three months, and the Lord blessed our labors abundantly.

Feeling I had discharged my duty, I left and crossed the Lake from Buffaloes to Fort George, and spoke about eight miles from there, it was cold and snowed very fast - it was four o'clock in the afternoon - the congregation had been there and gone. We were in a sleigh, and the driver got lost; we all brought up in a swamp, among the fallen tree tops, but we turned about and found a house and lodged all night; and spoke next morning at eleven o'clock to a quiet congregation, and the Lord was with us, though composed of all denominations. I appointed another meeting and rode about eight miles on horseback - it snowed and was very sleety - after I spoke to the people I left them for good and made an appointment for the Indians; two of the chiefs called at where I stopped to see me. I asked them to pray for us; they complied, but done it in their own tongue. I felt the power of God in my own heart. Then they held a council about it, and granted my visit at Buffalo village, about three miles from Buffalo city.

We rode and got there before their worshipping hour, their school had not dismissed, after a while they dismissed school - of 50s chool had not dismissed, after a while they dismissed school - of children - and as they gathered to worship I saw an old chief come, he stood and prayed very devoutly, tears running down his cheek. I told them I had not come to worship with them, and wanted to preach for them after their worship ended. They held a council and they agreed I should preach for them, but I could not help admiring the ways as well as gestures of the children. The teachers bring them up in the English language and dress some of them in the English style, but the greatest number are clad in the Indian style; those of the old Indians in their blankets. Some of them met me from seven or eight miles round - they filled the house. It was in the month of March - it rained and snowed - yet they walked in their moccasins, and some bare-headed - they made a large congregation. Their Elder or missionary had gone to teach another tribe that day, and he only taught them very plainly, and read out of pamphlets the experiences of others. I commenced by giving out the hymn in our language, and the interpreter spoke in their tongue. Hymn thus, O for a thousand tongues to sing, &&;c. They sung it beautiful, - two long benches of them sung by note (their books printed in their own language) a very familiar note tune, such as we use in congregations. I spoke plain and deliberate and very pointed, the interpreter spoke it after me in the Indian tongue, and one of the women cried out Amen. Much weeping among them, dear reader, take notice, notwithstanding they are a nation revolted from Israel, and would not be governed. Yet they can civilized and Christianized. We might call them heathens, but they are endowed with a Christian spirit. I felt happy in my visit; the missionary wished me to speak for them that evening; but I had an appointment that night at Buffalo, after which my mind was calm and serene. I left on Tuesday, 1st of April, on my return for Philadelphia, and arrived home May 18th.

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

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

Monday, May 22, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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