committed to historic Baptist & Reformed beliefs

 

 

CHAPTER XVII.

Something About the Deacons of the First African Baptist Church.

        Since the origin of the Deacon's office, as recorded in the sixth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, this office has been very important in the christian church. It is true, however, that the office is greatly magnified to what seems to have been its origin. But if Stephen & Phillip must be taken as examples, it would appear that the office began to be magnified in the days of the Apostles, and under their eyes. Indeed, it appears that they endorsed this. The deacons, then, both preached and baptized. The Apostles didn't condemn this, but rather approved it from the fact that down in Samaria they simply imparted the Holy Ghost to those who had believed and been baptized by Phillip without questioning the validity of their baptism. We have no record that the deacons were ordained for other than serving tables, yet they preached and baptized. The office of the deacon is certainly a very important one. They can do a great deal of good or harm. If the deacons are wise and judicious men they will be of incalculable service to the pastor and will be greatly honored by the church. If they purchase to themselves a good degree and great boldness in the faith, they will prove a blessing to the church. The First African Baptist Church has changed deacons quite often. The church did not consider that, once a deacon always a deacon. She reserved the right to remove them when she pleased. This is a good thing for all churches to do. By this course they could command better officers. Of the early officers not much is known. Therefore, we will only be able to mention the names of many of them, and it may be possible that some of their names even cannot be given. The following is as near as can be had the list of officers from the organization of the church in January 1788 to June 1st, 1888:

 

DEACONS.

        Sampson Bryan, Somerset Bryan, Dick Nethercliff, Charles Golosh, Trim Campbell, Sandy Waters, Thomas Campbell, Josiah Lloyd and Harrington Demere.

        These were the first set who served under Father Bryan, and still in his day others served as deacons from time to time.

        Deacons Adam A. Johnson, James Willis, Adam Sheftall, Paul Hall, Cajo Ross, July Ward, Solomon Hall, Robert McNish, Samuel Cope, Abraham Wallace, Balfour Roberts, Jack Simpson, James Baily, Cuffee Williams, Ratio Frasier, Bing Frasier, Joseph Marshall, James Wilkins, James Butler, W. J. Campbell, Benjamin Ring, Joseph Clay, Anthony J. Baptiste, Charles Neufville, Patrick Williams, Jeremiah Jones, Robert Verdier, C?ar Verdier, James M. Simms, Samuel Miller, Murry Monroe, Patrick A. Glenn, Sandy Jordan, James Richard, Friday Gibbons, George Gibbons, London Small, March Davis, Charles L. DeLamotta, Paul Demere, Ishmael Stevens, Edward D. Brown, July Boles, David McIntosh, Frank M. Williams, Peter Williams, Randolph Bolden, Richard Baker, John Nesbit, Robert P. Young, P. H. Butler, Dennis Mitchell, Willis Harris, John H. Brown, J. C. Habersham, J. C. Williams, L. J. Pettigrew, J. H. Hooker, March Haines, Peter Houston, R. H. Johnson, E. C. Johnson, Alexander Rannair and F. J. Wright. The first named, Deacon Sampson Bryan, was a brother to Rev. Andrew Bryan. He, as his brother Andrew, was baptized by Rev. George Leile, about 1781. With his brother he was imprisoned and, like him, whipped until his back was torn and his blood puddled by his side on the ground in the sight of his vile persecutors. But he would not deny the Jesus whom he loved, nor consent to cease speaking of His goodness. He shared with his brother the bitter persecution that the church was called upon to suffer in those days. Though missiles most terrible from the enemy's camp were hurled against the church, this good man never faltered. He "purchased to himself a good degree and great boldness in the faith." He was much beloved by the church. He served the church faithfully until he fell asleep in Jesus early in the nineteenth century.

 

DEACON ADAM JOHNSON.

        Deacon Johnson may have served as deacon under Rev. Andrew Bryan. He was contemporary with Rev. Andrew Marshall. He was the ablest deacon connected with the church during his day. He was baptized by Rev. Andrew Bryan about the close of the eighteenth century, and was called to the office of deacon about the close of Mr. Bryan's administration, or about the first of Rev. Mr. Marshall's. He was a diligent student of the Bible. He was younger than Rev. Marshall. He waged the terrible war of 1832 against Rev. Mr. Marshall for adhering to the doctrine of Rev. Alexander Campbell. To him is due more than to any one else the split of the church in 1832. He must be credited with waging one of the most disastrous wars that has ever disgraced a christian church. He was, however, contending for what he believed to be "the faith once delivered to the saints," and doubtless fought with a clear conscience, believing that he had right and truth on his side. He was true to a principle, and hence his tenacity to what he believed right is not inconsistent with all that went to make up this grand man. He led the crowd that opposed Mr. Marshall. His following, however, was not very large. When the final split occurred he had only 155 to acquiesce with him, while 2,640 agreed with Rev. Mr. Marshall. Deacon Johnson will always be remembered in Savannah. He was always, after the split, the leader of the Third African Baptist Church (now the First Bryan Baptist Church), which was the result of the split and which was organized under him as leader about the last of December, 1832, or the first of January, 1833, and in November of 1833 was entered in the Sunbury Baptist Association as the Third African Baptist Church of Savannah. As a christian, Deacon Johnson was pious and upright. He thought for himself and never feared to express his thoughts when the cause of Zion was concerned. He lived to a good old age, and full of years, honors and good works he fell asleep in Jesus March 18th, 1853, and was gathered to the saint's rest.

 

DEACON ADAM SHEFTALL.

        Deacon Sheftall served as deacon, it appears, under Mr. Marshall and took sides with Deacon Johnson against Mr. Marshall. He was deacon at the time of the split or elected very soon afterwards. He was quite prominent in the split and immediately afterwards. He was almost always chosen delegate to represent the "Third Church" in the association after the split.

 

DEACON JACK SIMPSON

        was a very pious, humble deacon of this church. He was a coadjutor of Deacon Adam Johnson, and did valiant service in the war of 1832 against Rev. Mr. Marshall. He believed that Deacon Johnson was right and, therefore, when the church split he went with the 155 which was constituted into the Third Church.

 

DEACON ROBERT M'NISH.

        Deacon Robert McNish was born in Camden county, Ga., June 19, 1808. He, was converted in 1825, and baptized in the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church by Rev. Andrew C. Marshall. He was elected a deacon of this church about 1835. He was perfectly devoted to Rev. Mr. Marshall, and was much beloved by the church. He served as a deacon under Rev. W. J. Campbell and became as devoted to him as he was to Rev. Marshall. When the split of 1832 came he cast his lot with Rev. Marshall, and in the split of 1877 he cast his destiny with Rev. Campbell and stuck by him until his death, in October, 1880. He returned with the body of members of this church from the Beach, February 17th, 1884. As the terms of agreement upon which the trouble of 1877 was settled provided that the officers of that portion of the church at the Beach Institute should relinquish their claims to offices in the church, he, upon the reunion of the church again, was thereby deposed from the office of deacon. He still lives, an honored, consistent member of the church. The old man's presence in the church is inspiring. His hair is perfectly white and he has a patriarchial appearance. Everyone calls him "Father McNish."

 

DEACON W. J. CAMPBELL.

        Deacon W. J. Campbell was born January 1, 1812. He was baptized by Rev. Andrew C. Marshall about 1834, and elected deacon about 1840. He served in this office faithfully until he was licensed to preach in February, 1855. He became pastor of the church about January, 1857. The foundation of his great influence was laid deep and strong while he was a deacon, and he is undoubtedly remembered with more tender affection than any man who has ever lived in Savannah.

 

DEACON JAMES M. SIMMS.

        Deacon Simms was born in Savannah, Ga., December 27th, 1823. He was converted in March, 1841, and was baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church the first Sunday in April, 1841, by Rev. Marshall. He did not remain long in the church. He was expelled for continued neglect of christian duties, and remained out of the church until 31st of October, 1858. He made several attempts, however, to get back, but Rev. Marshall seemed not to have been in a hurry to restore him. He was very presumptuous and defiant. On one occasion when he tried to return, and, having got wet, remaining out doors for his turn to be called, as the custom was, and being disappointed, as the conference adjourned without calling him, he said to Dr. Marshall: "When I ask you all to take me in again, you will do it." He left the church and went to fiddling and numerous other sins, and never returned during Mr. Marshall's life. When Mr. Marshall died, this statement returned with great force to him, and he was one of the bitterest weepers at Mr. Marshall's funeral. But he remained out two years longer, when he returned to the church and was restored. He was elected clerk of the church December 19th, 1858. His push and pluck made him prominent rather than the wish of the people to have him as officer. He was appointed one of the building committee of the church. He was a very fine workman, and had charge of the wood work of the church. This he executed with remarkable good taste. He was very intelligent for that day. He bought himself in the year 1857 for $740. He was licensed to preach by the First African Baptist Church in March, 1863. He was elected deacon January 29th, 1860. He was detected teaching the children of his race April, 1863, for which he was fined $50. When the war broke out between the North and South, he ran the blockade and went to Massachusetts, leaving Savannah on the 2d of February, 1864, and returning on the 2d of February, 1865. During his twelve months' stay in Boston, Mass., he was ordained to the office of the gospel ministry by the Twelfth Street Baptist Church, Boston, Mass., April 17th, 1864, by Rev. Leonard A. Grimes; Reymond, of New York; Rev. Thompson, of Boston; Randolph Charlton, of Boston.

        When he returned home, Rev. W. J. Campbell, the pastor of the First African Baptist Church refused to recognize the ordination of Mr. Simms, claiming that no church had the right to call to ordination one of the members of his church. In this Mr. Campbell was quite right. Mr. Simms had a commission from the Home Mission Society to labor among the negroes in this part of Georgia and in parts of Florida. Mr. Campbell appears to have written the society that Mr. Simms was not regularly ordained, and the society withdrew the commission. This drove Mr. Simms into politics, there being a Freedman's Bureau in the city, which gave him employment. From this time on he entered fully into politics. He was elected to the Legislature of Georgia, and served several terms. He was an able member of that body. He was appointed a judge by Governor Bullock, but did not hold court anywhere because the office was abolished very soon after its establishment. Judge Simms took a letter of dismission from the First African Baptist Church and joined the First Bryan Baptist Church. Rev. U. L. Houston, pastor of said church, recognized the ordination of Mr. Simms. This enraged Rev. Mr. Campbell with Rev. Houston, which bitter feeling lasted for years. Rev. Simms' ordination is counted irregular by the First African Baptist Church till this day. In 1885 Rev. Mr. Simms took a letter of dismission from the First Bryan Baptist Church to join the First African Baptist Church, but the church refused to accept it, and returned it to him, when he carried it back to the First Bryan Baptist Church, where he is still a member. It is just to state that Mr. Simms is not properly a gospel minister, having never been properly ordained, and should not be admitted into the pulpit of any orderly Baptist church. He has been in several very questionable law suits which reflected seriously upon his character. Mr. Simms, all told, is among the ablest men the church has ever produced. He is stubborn and possesses an iron will. He has been pastor of several country churches, but has continued with no one of them very long at a time. He has left politics and is giving himself wholly to the ministry, preaching at several country churches and wherever else a door is opened to him. But his manners are repulsive to the people, and as a preacher he does not succeed.

 

DEACON MURRY MONROE.

        Deacon Monroe was born in Liberty county, Ga., July 16th, 1818. He was baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church in 1844 by Rev. Andrew C. Marshall. He was very much attached to Mr. Marshall. He loved him as his own father. Mr. Monroe named his oldest boy after Mr. Marshall. That boy is Andrew Marshall Monroe and is an earnest, faithful, consistent member of the church to-day. Mr. Monroe was elected deacon of the church May 16th, 1858. He served most faithfully and acceptably for years, when he resigned because of business engagements which prevents him from giving the office his time. The church hated to part with him. He was a man of considerable means and unbounded liberality. He reared his children right, and had as nice and respectable a family as any in the city. He was one of the building committee who superintended the erection of the church in 1859. In all things he has been a faithful, upright and consistent christian gentleman. He was an example of christian piety, fidelity and devotion. He was quick to forgive and forget an injury. He still lives and aged, faithful member of the church. He is very feeble now, and cannot attend on divine service as in former days. He is universally beloved and honored. Deacon Monroe can never be forgotten by the members of the First African Baptist Church. He has served the church faithfully and long, and has never put the church to any trouble. As a man Deacon Monroe has a pleasing address, gentlemanly bearing and dignified manners. He is polite, affable and kind, and has great reverence for his church and pastor. He is naturally polished and his countenance bespeaks truth, honesty and sincerity. He is withal a good man.

 

DEACON PATRICK A. GLENN.

        Deacon Glenn was born near May River, S. C., in 1817. He was baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church about 1835 by Rev. Andrew C. Marshall. He was called to the office of deacon May 16, 1858. He was for awhile deposed from office, and remained out until the split of 1877, when he was restored to office. He took sides against Rev. Campbell in the church fight, and was vigorous in his opposition to him. Deacon Glenn still lives, an aged and honored member of the church. He has a large circle of admiring friends, and is quite influential, in the country places especially. He is now feeble, but manages to get out to church and attend to his duties as a deacon. He is very industrious and has some good property.

 

DEACON JAMES RICHARD

        was born near Hilton Head, S. C., August 10, 1820, and was baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church about 1844 by Rev. Andrew C. Marshall. He was elected deacon May 16, 1858, and served for seven years, when he resigned. He was very diligent and active and served his church most faithfully. He is an humble man, full of faith and love, and everyone regards him with much tenderness and affection. He is the faithful sexton of the church, and takes great pride in his work, and the church is kept perfectly clean. He is perfectly devoted to the church and pastor. Anything left in the church through mistake, or lost, is perfectly safe in his hands. No one has a harsh word to say of Mr. Richard. He is polite and has a pleasing address, and has always had a wonderful influence. He is noted for meekness and great patience. He still lives, a loving, consistent member of the church.

 

DEACON FRIDAY GIBBONS.

        Deacon Friday Gibbons was elder brother of Rev. George Gibbons. He was born in the year 1809, and was baptized by Rev. Andrew Marshall about 1830. He was called to the office of deacon January 29th, 1860. He was an active deacon, and won the confidence of the church. Those who opposed him as deacon acknowledge his uprightness and faithfulness as a servant of God. He fell asleep in Jesus December 26th, 1874, full of years and full of good work. He is very tenderly spoken of by the members of the church.

 

DEACON GEORGE GIBBONS

        was born on Thorny Island, Barnwell District, S. C., November 13th, 1819. He was converted to God about 1844, and baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church by Rev. Andrew C. Marshall. He was elected deacon of the church January 29th, 1860. He was an humble, active, loving deacon, and won the confidence, admiration and love of the entire church. He was licensed to preach, and was therefore promoted from the position of deacon. He became an assistant to Rev. W. J. Campbell in the pastorate. He became pastor of the Bethlehem Baptist Church, which he served very acceptably until he was called to the pastorate of the First African Baptist Church during the troubles of 1877.

 

DEACON C. L. DELAMOTTA


[Deacon C. L. DeLamotta]

        was born in Charleston, S. C., in the year 1822. He was converted to God about 1844, and was baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church by Rev. A. C. Marshall. He was elected deacon of the church October 12th, 1862. He was very stubborn when he took a stand. He opposed the call of Rev. W. J. Campbell, and for a while made it very unpleasant for him. He was very quick to beg pardon when it appeared that he would be expelled. If the church gave him time to talk, his pitiable pleading and humble attitude would preclude the possibility of expulsion. He was, however, expelled in 1858 for his opposition to the pastor, and again in 1876 for his opposition to the pastor and deacons. He was the faithful and loving superintendent of the Sunday school. He was greatly beloved by the scholars and teachers. They were willing to stand by him under almost any circumstance. When the State Baptist Convention met at Columbus, Ga., he sent the Sunday school letter by Rev. Alexander Harris, pastor of the First Bryan Baptist Church, West Broad street, notwithstanding Deacons R. P. Young and P. H. Butler were delegates from his own church. To this, these two brethren took exception and reported the matter to the church, upon which Deacon DeLamotta was expelled. Rev. Campbell, the pastor, endeavored to get Deacon J. H. Brown to take charge of the Sunday school as superintendent, but he, being true to a friend, and true to an understanding of the matter before hand, declined. Deacon R. P. Young was appointed superintendent. The teachers refused to serve under Deacon Young, which was rightly construed to mean contempt of the church, and therefore Superintendent DeLamotta with all of his teachers, seventeen in number, were expelled. Most of these remained out until the trouble of 1877, when they rushed in and swelled the number of the majority, which was then arraigned against the pastor. Mr. DeLamotta was restored to the office of superintendent and deacon. Some of these teachers continued to commune in some of the churches where they were permitted to do so, notwithstanding they were expelled members. It is hard to conceive how people who had the intelligence these teachers had could be guilty of so gross an error as to commune with the Lord and his people when they were not reconciled with the church into whose fellowship they had been baptized, but such is the fact. It is hardly natural to suppose that they would be prepared to sympathize with Rev. Mr. Campbell, whom they charged with being the cause of their expulsion. It tended, however, to show the hold Mr. DeLamotta had upon the hearts of these teachers. The Sunday school was perfectly devoted to Mr. DeLamotta and he was equally devoted to the Sunday school. Whenever anything concerning the Sunday school came up he would be sure to do his part. He had no children of his own, but he had such a big heart that he could and did take in everybody else's children. There has never been a deacon connected with this church, perhaps, who has done as much good as Deacon DeLamotta. While he did his duty as a deacon of the church, his labors among the children knew no bounds. The majority of the people of this church now owe their christian information to Deacon C. L. DeLamotta. He can never be forgotten in Savannah. He was as humble and obedient to his mother as a child. At the convention in Cartersville May, 1885, in a Sunday school mass meeting, after the congregation had sung, "Hold the Fort for I Am Coming" in a most feeling manner, he rose and said: "Children, while you are singing 'Hold the Fort for I am Coming,' my soul rejoices, though I cannot help you sing that part. I have been here too long to sing that as you do. I have most gotten through with my work here. I will soon be gone. I rejoice that God has raised you up to hold the fort that I have been trying to hold for so many years. Therefore I shall sing to you, 'Hold the Fort for I am going.' " This had a wonderful effect upon the congregation, and melted many to tears. Deacon DeLamotta opposed the call of Rev. E. K. Love, and became so naughty that he was deposed from the deacon's office and narrowly escaped expulsion. He, however, very soon made friends with him and co-operated with him in his work, Rev. Love stood by him to the last, admiring him for "the very work's sake." Rev. Love restored him to office and found in him a faithful officer. He died December the 30th, 1886, full of good works. Before he died he sent for Deacon J. H. Brown and other teachers and had them to sing some of his favorite songs, and then committed the school to Mr. Brown, saying, "John, I must die, take care of the school--take care of my children." He sent for Rev. E. K. Love, his pastor, and told him, "I cannot live; I must die. Tell the people I love Jesus[.] I know I have done wrong in many things, but it is all well, now. Tell the church I am going home to rest. I love Jesus, and he loves me." Very soon after saying this he calmly fell asleep in Jesus, Rev. Alexander Harris, his life-long friend by his side. The church bore his funeral expenses, and a very large crowd of weepers, together with the Sunday school, headed by Deacon J. H. Brown, followed him to his last resting place, January 1st, 1887.

 

DEACON DAVID M'INTOSH

        was born in Savannah, Ga., about 1843, and was converted to God about 1866, and baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church by Rev. W. J. Campbell. He was called to the office of deacon January 31st, 1869. He was a faithful deacon. He stood by Rev. Campbell in the trouble of 1877, and when the church split he went with him to the Beach. He returned to the church, awhile before the body did, February 17, 1884, and remained a faithful, active member until his death. He was murdered by Frederick Wright, who also was a member of this church, July 22d, 1886. Mr. Wright suspicioned Mr. McIntosh of criminal intimacy with his wife, and unceremoniously shot him down. Mr. Wright's suspicion prove to be unfounded, and he was found guilty of murder and recommended to the mercy of the court. He was sentenced to life-time imprisonment. Deacon McIntosh stood well in the church and well in the community. Nobody believes him guilty of the awful crime for which he lost his life. A good man was thus rashly removed from us.

 

DEACON FRANK M. WILLIAMS


[Deacon Frank M. Williams]

        was born in Beaufort, S. C., May 10th, 1842, and was converted to God May, 1866. He was baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church by Rev. W. J. Campbell. He was called to the office of deacon January 31st, 1869. He is an humble, meek, loving man, and is much beloved by the church. He took sides with the majority against Rev. Mr. Campbell in the trouble of 1877, and was moderator of that memorable conference when the split occurred. He is regarded a senior deacon of the church, though comparatively a young man. He is chairman of the finance committee, and is almost always made moderator, when the pastor is absent. He goes in the water with the pastor on baptism days. He has a sweeping influence. He still lives, and exerts a wonderful influence in the church. Mr. Williams has been moderator of several memorable conferences. He was moderator when Rev. E. K. Love was called. He has always reflected credit upon the church. He is treasurer of the Mount Olive Baptist Association and several other important societies, with all of whom he stands well. He is very kind, and treats the members with the utmost tenderness and becoming politeness.

 

DEACON RICHARD BAKER

        was born in Savannah about 1820. He was converted to God about 1838, and was baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church by Rev. Andrew C. Marshall. He was elected deacon of the church September 25th, 1865. He had a great influence, and in power stood next to Rev. W. J. Campbell, the pastor. He was perfectly devoted to the pastor, supporting him unqualifiedly in whatever he undertook. In the trouble of 1877 he took sides with the pastor, who was unfortunately with the minority. Indeed, Mr. Baker was more largely responsible for that trouble than any other man connected with it. Had Deacon Young not taken the advice of Deacon Baker, it is quite probable that the trouble would not have assumed so serious a magnitude. Deacon Baker mistook his strength in the church and undertook to carry things his way, and hence the terrible clash. He entered the first indictment against the brethren for disturbing public worship, and started the law suit. Had he exercised more of a Christ-like, forbearing spirit, this law suit would not have been, and the matter would have been much more easily settled. He became chief prosecutor on the other side. When the split occurred, he, of course, went with Rev. Mr. Campbell. He remained with him until his death. Mr. Baker did not return with the people from the "Beach," February 17th, 1884, nor has he returned yet. He seems to have taken a vow that he would not come back. He still lives an alien and stranger to the church and almost forgotten by the members. His name is never heard in the church and very rarely among the members. Though he lives, he is dead. Had he died during the trouble he would have been spoken of more kindly, and his memory would have been more respected. He will probably never return to the church, but the church has forgotten him and is moving grandly on to a glorious success.

 

DEACON JOHN NESBIT

        was born in Charleston, S. C., about 1828. He was converted about 1858 and baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church by Rev. W. J. Campbell. He was elected deacon of the church January 31st, 1869. He was licensed to preach by the church in 1874. When Rev. George Gibbons was called pastor of this church and resigned the charge of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Mr. Nesbit was called to ordination and elected pastor of said church in 1879, where he still labors successfully.

 

DEACON ROBERT P. YOUNG

        was born in Savannah October 25th, 1842. He was converted to God in 1861 and baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church by Rev. W. J. Campbell. He was elected deacon of the church January 31st, 1869. He was active, intelligent and pious. He was a favorite of Rev. Campbell. He was also clerk of the church. The trouble of 1877 is traceable to him as the starting point. He was the person charged of misplacing the money of the church. He acknowledged being careless with the money, but stated that he had no intention of stealing the money. This statement was accepted and his carelessness pardoned. Mr. Joseph C. Williams motioned to expel him, but Deacon Baker made a substitute motion that he be rebuked and forgiven. The substitute prevailed. At the next conference Mr. J. C. Williams motioned, on the confirmation of the minutes, that the motion which pardoned Deacon Young be reconsidered. The chair very correctly ruled this motion out of order. Mr. J. C. Habersham moved to sustain the motion of Mr. Williams, This motion prevailed. This was virtually an appeal from the decision of the chair. This erroneous motion started the ball to rolling. But for this motion, it is hard to see how the church would have split at that time and for that cause. This laid the foundation for the objection to Deacon Young carrying around the communion, and for Mr. A. Rannair barring the door of the choir to prevent him from entering the choir with the holy eucharist which laid the foundation for the indictments of disturbing public worship, and this laid the foundation of the bitterest hostilities ever occurred in the history of the church. This unsavory motion was the prolific parent of all these troubles. The church finally split, and Deacon Young cast his lot with those who stood with Rev. Mr. Campbell. He was their intellectual leader. He prepared the papers that were used in court for his side. He stood by Rev. Campbell until his death. He led the army back February 17th, 1884. He surrendered the books to Rev. George Gibbons and every other right save that of a member. But he was very soon placed back into the choir and made its president. In this position he remained until he died. When he was about to to die, he sent for his pastor, Rev. E. K. Love, and said to him: "Parson, I have sent for you to tell you what to do with my body. I have decided to die; I know I cannot live; I will take no more medicine; I would rather die; I am at peace with God and all men; tell the church I am going to heaven; tell them to meet me there; I have done many things wrong, but it is all well; take charge of my body and lay it away decently and pay my board bill for me; the Masons and longshoremen will bear my funeral expenses; may God bless you." Shortly after this Deacon R. P. Young fell asleep in Jesus in April, 1887. He was followed to his last resting place by several thousand persons. Deacon Young was a meek man and full of faith, and will always be remembered with interest.

 

DEACON POMPEY H. BUTLER

        was born in Whitehall, Bryan county, Georgia, December, 1841. In April, 1853, he was converted and united with the Macedonia Baptist Church into the full membership, of which he was baptized the following July by Rev. Mr. Fuller Harmon, who was a missionary preacher laboring in Whitehall and other portions of Bryan county.

        In 1865 he went to Savannah, where he placed himself under the watchcare of the First African Baptist Church, over which Rev. William J. Campbell was then presiding. One year later, in 1866, he drew his letter from the Macedonia church and became a full member of the First African Baptist Church.

        Here he won the respect and confidence of all, and was in due time promoted from the ranks of the laity to official standing. January 31st, 1869, he was chosen deacon, which position he held continuously fifteen years and one month, discharging his duties faithfully and acceptably.

        By the unanimous consent of the church he was licensed to preach September, 1885. Feeling the need of some preparation for his work, he went to the Atlanta Baptist Seminary, where he devoted some three year's to earnest study, and made decided progress.

        Polite, affable, he makes a favorable impression, and wins friends wherever he goes. He was intimately associated with the pastor, by which he became very influential. He went with the pastor whenever and wherever he went on his vacation. He enjoyed the fullest confidence and the most tender love of the entire church. He was away with the pastor when the memorable trouble of 1877 begun. Hence, he was not concerned in it, but took sides with the deacons and pastor. This was most natural for him, under the circumstances, being with the pastor and being himself a deacon. He took an active part in the trouble and became one of the prominent characters in the prosecution. He stood by Rev. Campbell till his death. He, with Deacon Young, brought the church back from the Beach. He lost his office in the compromise, but was very soon licensed to preach the gospel. Mr. Butler stands spotless in this community. He possesses pleasing manners and is very friendly. If he is as successful as a preacher as he was a deacon, the church will have great need to be proud of him. Mr. Butler is widely and favorably known. The brethren love him.

 

DEACON PETER WILLIAMS

        was born in Bryan county, Ga., in the year 1832. He was converted to God in 1867, and was baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church by Rev. W. J. Campbell. He was called to the office of deacon in 1875. He was an humble officer, active and pious, and greatly beloved of the church. He won the highest confidence of the entire church. He was very much devoted to Rev. Campbell, his pastor, obeyed him absolutely, and was willing to die with him. He took sides with Rev. Campbell and went with him to the Beach. He stood by him until his death. He returned to the church February 17, 1884, with the body of members from the Beach. By virtue of the compromise he lost his office and became a private member. He has since been elected deacon but declined acceptance. He is still a consistent member of the church, a man much beloved by the people. Deacon Williams' life is worthy of imitation. He is a good man.

 

DEACON MARCH HAYNES


[Deacon March Haynes]

        was born in Pocataligo, S. C., March 4, 1825. He was converted to God in April, 1838, and was baptized into the fellowship of the Wilmington Baptist Church, April, 1838, by Rev. Jack Watry. He was elected deacon of said church in 1849. He removed to Savannah in 1858 and joined the First African Baptist Church, of which he became an active deacon in December, 1877. He is a faithful officer and enjoys the entire confidence of the church and community. He enlisted in the late war on the Union side and did valiant service. He was active in putting many of his race over on the Union side, where they enjoyed freedom. He was a brave soldier. In attempting to get some of his people from Savannah over on the Yankee side he encountered the enemy, who commanded him and his faithful few to halt. This command was given to the wrong man. He was willing to meet death rather than obey that command. He knew it was death to obey and could but be death to disobey, hence the war began between them, in which he was terribly wounded. He made good his escape, however, to the Union soldiers. He is still alive, but unable to work from the effects of the wound he received on that occasion. He is pensioned by the United States, but not near so much as he should be. He is an humble man, meek and full of faith, and is beloved by the entire church. He is one of the most polite men in the world. Whatever duty is assigned to his hands will be done with promptness and accuracy. There is not a deacon or a member connected with the church that has suffered more for his race than Deacon Haynes. He is a true man, and would have been a leader in any age and of any people. He is a natural detective, and as a shrewd man he has few equals. As a friend he is true, lasting and tender. He is forbearing and extremely kind, and is an honor to our church and race. He loves to work for his Master, and, though wounded, always does his part. He is possessed of indomitable courage and great zeal, coupled with a clear judgment and profound discretion.

 

DEACON JAMES H. HOOKER


[Deacon James H. Hooker]

        was born in Savannah, Ga., January 30th, 1835, and was baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church January 2, 1862, by Rev. W. J. Campbell. He was elected deacon of the church November 25th, 1877. He was the same day elected treasurer of the church. He was elected trustee of the church December 16th, 1877. As a deacon Mr. Hooker is blameless, humble, loving and very kind. He reverences the church of Christ. He has a good report by them that are without. The members have unbounded confidence in him. No man in Savannah stands higher than Deacon Hooker. He is a man of few words, but of a princely, large heart. He was with the majority during the church trouble. During this time he was elected to offices already mentioned. He comes as near as frail man can meeting Paul's requirements of a deacon. As a treasurer, he is pure, and not even a whisper of his ever having done wrong with the money of the church. Every cent was accounted for to the fullest satisfaction of the church. He would be treasurer to-day but for a severe attack of pneumonia and nervous prostration, which the doctors declared unfitted him for any responsible office; that he could not stand the care of this office, and so he resigned, to the regret of the church. As a trustee, he is honest, wise and faithful. The interest of the church cannot suffer in his hands. He believes that God ordained that he should fill these offices, and hence he fills them as in the sight of God. If all of our officers in all the churches were to feel this way our churches would be a power in the world. He was ordained as deacon December 6th, 1885, by Revs. E. K. Love, U. L. Houston and S. A. McNeal. Deacon Hooker is still alive, exerting a powerful influence for good. He is a man of means and rules well his own house. He scarcely finds time to visit any other church when his church is open. Deacon Hooker owns a fine brick residence, and lives in comfort and ease.

 

DEACON L. J. PETTIGREW

        was born in Scriven county, Ga., April 9th, 1847. He was converted to God in July, 1867, and was baptized into the fellowship of the first African Baptist Church by Rev. W. J. Campbell. Mr. Pettigrew was elected deacon of the church October 22d, 1877, during the great trouble of the church. He was an active and conspicuous character in the trouble of 1877, and took a strong stand with the majority against the deacons and pastor. There was not a person more prominent in the whole affair than Mr. Pettigrew. He was very shrewd and crafty, and much of the planning is due to him. He was, prior to this trouble, one of Mr. Campbell's most trusted friends, and his not going with him must have taken the old man with great surprise. Mr. Pettigrew was also clerk of the church. He was, therefore, one of the most important men in the conflict after the matter reached the courts; much depended upon him for documentary evidence. This duty was well performed. He was very active in supporting Mr. Gibbons for the pastorate of the church. He resigned the offices of deacon and clerk in 1882. However, he still wielded a wonderful influence in the church. He was largely instrumental in securing the call of Rev. E. K. Love. He was Dr. Love's fast friend. Mr. Pettigrew is a man of keen foresight, quick perception, and ready argument. He is kindhearted, friendly and generous. He still lives, a member of the church, with a host of friends. He is generally successful in whatever scheme he undertakes in the church, being very artful.

 

DEACON JOSEPH C. WILLIAMS


[Deacon Joseph C. Williams]

        was born in Jefferson county, Ga., May 15,1843. He was converted to God in May, 1868, and was baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church by Rev. W. J. Campbell. Mr. Williams was a very prominent character in the great trouble of 1877, and was elected deacon in that year. He stood by the church against the old deacons and pastor. It was rather surprising to the old man that his spiritual son Joe should go against him, but such was true. Deacon Williams took a strong stand and contributed no little to the planning of the majority; he was fearless and outspoken; he was generous and kind-hearted, cheerful in the discharge of his duties, and had a large following. Mr. Williams supported Mr. Gibbons for the pastorate of the church. He was not a warm supporter of Mr. Love, and resigned the office of deacon about the time Mr. Love was called. He still lives, a member of the church. Mr. Williams is naturally intelligent and well suited to lead. He is dignified in bearing, affable and polite in manners, and he is generous and kind. As a friend he is tender and true, and he has a large and tender heart. He is shrewd and much given to technicalities. He is artful in debate, pointed in argument, and bold and fluent in speech. He is a leader among men. He was much opposed to Mr. Young about the money affair. He believed him guilty and contended that he should be expelled. To this opinion he stuck. Mr. Williams might be made still more useful than he is. To him is due more than to any living man the fact that Rev. Campbell was never expelled. This makes him the wisest and safest leader on the side of the majority. But for him the trouble would have been fiercer.

 

DEACON JOHN H. BROWN

        was born in Savannah, Ga., August 5th, 1855. He was converted to God in the year 1873, and was baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church by Rev. W. J. Campbell. He was elected deacon in the year 1875. He was assistant superintendent of the Sunday school under Deacon C. L. DeLamotta, and acquiesced with him in his action respecting the Sunday school letter already referred to. He was urged by his loving pastor to accept the superintendency of the Sunday school, vice Deacon C. L. DeLamotta removed, but he stubbornly refused and suffered himself expelled for contempt of church. This was suicide. There could have been no righteous agreement between him and Mr. DeLamotta which would have made it ungodly for him to accept this responsible position to do good in his Master's vineyard. But he did not see duty in this light, and for several years he remained out of the church. During this period he spent his time visiting the white churches. Intellectually, he was greatly benefited. In the trouble of 1877 he put in his appearance time enough to put in some telling work against Rev. Campbell. He was, educationally, the ablest man on the side of the majority. Every single document of any note during that time was his production. He is still among the ablest men connected with the church, intellectually. When he was restored, he became deacon again and assistant superintendent again. He was elected vice-president of the Missionary Baptist Sunday School Convention of Georgia in 1881, and was elected president of the same in 1882. He has since filled that office with honor, dignity and ability. He has for many years been secretary of the Mount Olive Baptist Association. He was elected clerk of the Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia in 1886, which office he has since filled most satisfactorily. He is a member of the State Centennial Committee, and is its clerk. Whatever office he is elected to, he will fill with credit and satisfaction. He is superintendent of the First African Baptist Church Sunday School. In this sphere he is still doing great good. His great fault as a leader is that he is universally tardy, and seldom ever reaches any meeting, church or otherwise on time.

 

DEACON WILLIS HARRIS

        was born about 1842. He was converted to Christ about 1867, and was baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church by Rev. W. J. Campbell. He was elected deacon of this church about 1874. Shortly afterwards he was deposed from this office. He doubtless cultivated a dislike for Deacon Robert P. Young and Rev. W. J. Campbell, whom he decided were instrumental in getting him out of office. Hence he set in to watch them to see what he could see. He appears to have been determined to get something on them or make it. He saw Deacon Young put a basket of money (already described in a previous chapter) under or on the pedals of the organ in the choir, and told the sexton about it and had him to remove it. He scattered it over town the next day that Young had stolen a basket of money. Deacon Young, however, had told Deacon F. M. Williams of the incident before leaving the church. Deacon Young affirmed that the basket was removed before he could get it to bring down. Mr. Harris certainly did not act the part of a christian nor of a wise detective. As a christian, he should have labored with Deacon Young to reclaim his erring brother. If Deacon Young heard him, he had gained his brother and the matter should have ended there. As a detective, he should have waited for Mr. Young to return for the money and let him have attempted to leave the church and then have found the money on his person. He seemed to have been so anxious that he did neither of these things. It is clear that he meant mischief, and he caused the church to reap a terrible harvest of bickering, disaffection, sorrow and heartaches for seven weary years. He brought the money to the church a night or two after this and attempted to present it in open church, affirming that he had caught Mr. Young stealing it. Not long did vengeance suffer him to go free. He was caught stealing from a Mr. Douglass, in whose employ he was. The extent of his stealings has never been determined. He had many dollars' worth of goods hid about the church (being at the time sexton of the church) and many more at his home. He was arrested, found guilty and sentenced to seven years in the penitentiary at hard labor, where he is still. This was a righteous retribution for the troubles and heartaches he caused in Israel. The frowns of Almighty God seem to have rested upon the man.

 

DEACON JOHN C. HABERSHAN

        was born in McIntosh county, Ga., April 20th, 1838. He was converted to Christ and baptized into the fellowship of the Bryan Neck Baptist Church in 1852 by Rev. J. H. Edwards. He joined the First African Baptist Church of Savannah in 1866. He was elected deacon of this church October 22d, 1877. This was during the troubles of 1877. He was a conspicuous character in that trouble, taking a strong stand on the side of the majority against the pastor and deacons. He is strong in the faith; of determined resolution and of iron will. He is very popular and has a large influence among the membership. He loves his church most ardently, and whatever tends to advance its interest he is found in the foremost ranks. His motion to sustain the motion of Mr. Joseph C. Williams against Deacon R. P. Young, after he had been forgiven by the church, is largely responsible for the continuation of the terrible church trouble which begun in 1877. Perhaps he had no idea of the heartaches and sorrow that little motion would breed. He still lives, and is exerting a good influence. He is active and pious and full of faith. He possesses, in a large measure, the gift of preaching, and should he enter the ministry he would be acceptable to the people and would do great good in the vineyard of the Lord. There is a sweetness in his voice that wins the attention of his hearers. He has studied well the Bible, and may yet do good service in the ministry. Mr. Habersham is a very determined man. Whatever he undertakes he goes into with all of his soul, and never fails. He is a born leader. in every contest of the officers for prizes for popularity, or raising money otherwise, for the church, he always beats, hence it must be that he has more influence than any of them.

 

DEACON PETER HOUSTON

        was born in Savannah, Ga., about 1820. He was converted to God about 1840, and was baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church by Rev. Andrew C. Marshall. He was clerk of the church for quite a long time. As a clerk he was faithful and punctual. He was one among a very few who were able to take minutes before the war. He was a slave, yet he managed to acquire some education. He was a useful member. Whatever Mr. Houston said could be relied upon. He was as true as steel. As a man he was fearless and perfectly honest. He was outspoken and friendly. He was expelled for taking a sister to law. He did not feel that his expulsion was justifiable, and never returned to the church while Rev. Mr. Campbell was pastor. He remarked to Mr. Campbell when he was expelled: "Never mind, when you will be going out, I will be coming in." This proved to be absolutely true, though it was said, evidently, in a bad spirit. The day Rev. Campbell went out of the church, Mr. Houston met him at the door and called his attention to his phophecy years ago, to which Rev. Campbell replied: "Do, Houston, for God's sake, let me alone!" The old man prophesied in return that no good would follow Houston, which proved to be equally as true. Mr. Houston was in 1877 made deacon of the church. He was a very efficient deacon, and had more influence than any other man on the staff. The people believed him absolutely. He was an upright, virtuous christian gentleman, and stood perfectly fair in the community. He did not favor Rev. Mr. Gibbons for pastor. He was, it is believed, assassinated. The prevalent opinion is that he was smothered and thrown in the river. This occurred one Saturday night in 1883. He had just finished the erection of a prayer house in Southville, where he lived, and it was to be dedicated by Rev. Gibbons on the next Sabbath. Mr. Houston was missed at the time, and a great concern was felt. The people suspicioned that something had happened, as Mr. Houston was a very punctual man, and as there was a case to come up in the United States District Court on Monday in which Mr. Houston was a witness, and as he had told the parties that he would tell the truth, and as the truth would injure the parties concerned, it was suspicioned that he was killed. Hence a party was organized to drag the river for him. The suspicion proved to be true, as he was found in the river some days afterward. The guilty parties escaped justice as it could not be determined who perpetrated the atrocious deed. The whole church mourned for this good man. The church lost an able and faithful deacon and the community a good and useful citizen. There is an opinion of the minority of the people that he committed suicide because of domestic troubles. This is hardly true, as this trouble had been going on for some time and as he had faithfully promised to conduct the dedication of his prayer-house the next day. This man was greatly beloved of the church.

 

DEACON MOSES L. JACKSON

        was born in Savannah, Ga., in 1837. He was converted to Jesus in 1858, and was baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church by Rev. W. J. Campbell. He was an active member of the church and was always influential. He was appointed deacon of the church in 1877, and was prominent in the famous church troubles of that year, taking sides with the majority against the deacons and pastor. He was one of Mr. Willis Harris' witnesses in the R. P. Young case, and testified that Mr. Willis Harris did, on the first Sunday afternoon in August, call his attention to the fact that Young had concealed a basket of money in and about the organ. Deacon Jackson became one of the most useful and influential deacons in the church, and was of incalculable service to the pastor. The poor had in Mr. Jackson a special friend. He would walk the city over in visiting the poor and praying for the sick and burying the dead. In fact, Mr. Jackson knew more about the members than did the pastor. He was very much beloved and wielded an immense influence in the church. He had a large number of spiritual children over whom he had almost absolute control. He taught a private school, but got his living mainly from his spiritual children. He was licensed to preach the third Sunday in October, 1885. Mr. Jackson, as a preacher, was not very logical, nor profound nor accurate, but his earnest and tender devotion quite atoned for this with the people. He loved to preach, and always did so with a most graceful smile. He was quite gentlemanly and dignified, and a faithful servant of God. The church greatly misses him, and his place is hard to fill. He died of dropsy in September, 1887, and was followed to his last resting place by a multitude of mourners. Mr. Jackson's good work was not confined to the city, but he delighted to go into the country places, scattering seeds of kindness for his reaping when he would be gathered to the saint's rest in glory. He was a man of a large heart. His work follows him, and he is remembered with much tenderness. He died in the full triumph of the christian faith, and with a smile on his face he bade this world farewell. There never was a deacon in the church nor pastor who did the visiting and praying Mr. Jackson did. He knew almost the entire membership and they knew him. A faithful man has been gathered home.

 

DEACON ALEXANDER RANNAIR

        was born in Savannah, Ga., October 9th, 1846. When he was seventeen years old he embraced the christian religion, and in September, 1863, was baptized at Guyton, Ga., by Rev. Sweat, having been carried there by his owners. He returned to Savannah in 1864, and became a member of the First African Baptist Church. In 1866 he became a member of the choir, in which he has sung for twenty-four years. In January, 1886, he was elected deacon. Mr. Rannair was the person who barred the choir door against Deacon Robert P. Young, and told him that the choir did not want any communion from him. From this rash act of Mr. Rannair the terrible law suit begun. Mr. Rannair was indicted for disturbing the public worship and fined ten dollars, together with several others. He became, therefore, a prominent figure in the trouble of 1877. Mr. Rannair is quite intelligent, and it is passing strange that he should have taken such an unwarranted and unwise course. Surely $23.32 could not have been the cause of this feeling when it is not quite certain that Deacon Young meant to steal the money. It seems that the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ would have taught more christian forbearance and patient investigation. However, Mr. Rannair was backed by a large majority of the church, and his conviction in the courts amounted to nothing with the church. Deacon Rannair is still very popular and stands well with the church. He is a faithful member and very much devoted to his church. He is beloved and trusted by his brethren. Mr. Rannair has a very pleasing address and dignified manners. He is still a live and active member, full of promise. His character is good.

 

DEACON R. H. JOHNSON

        was born near Savannah, Ga., December 17th, 1845. He was converted to Christ January, 1873, and was baptized by Rev. George Gibbons into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church on the first Sunday in February, 1873, the Rev. J. W. Campbell being sick. He was not very officious in the trouble of 1877. He is a man of few words and very pleasant manners. He is very kind and polite. He is a most devoted member of the church. He is kingly in his appearance and earnest in his work for the church. He is never absent, unless he is sick, or some other providential hinderance. Mr. Johnson has a very winning way and the members love him devotedly. Mr. Johnson was elected deacon of the church in January, 1886. He proved to be a faithful officer and an invaluable help to the pastor. He favored Rev. E. K. Love as pastor of the church and did all in his power to secure his election as pastor. No deacon of the church is more active than Deacon Johnson. He loves his work and takes pleasure in visiting the sick and poor in his ward, and has very few cases of discipline from his ward. As a man and as a christian Deacon Johnson stands well and has the fullest confidence of the church and community. Deacon Johnson is unassuming, humble, patient and full of the holy ghost and faith. He has filled his office with honor to the church and credit to himself. The church has a just cause to be proud of him.

 

DEACON E. C. JOHNSON


[Deacon E. C. Johnson]

        was born in Bryan county, Ga., November 20, 1850, and was brought to Savannah when quite a child. He was converted to Christ July 20, 1870, and was baptized on the first Sunday in August of the same year by Rev. W. J. Campbell. He was elected deacon of the church in January, 1886. Deacon Johnson is a quiet, dignified, upright christian gentleman. He is blameless, a man retired in manners and of very few words--absolutely has nothing to say in church conferences except circumstances force him. Whenever he does speak he is pointed, brief and powerful, and his words well selected and never fail of force upon the people. His life is always an eloquent appeal in his favor. He has the entire confidence of the church and community and is greatly beloved. He was elected treasurer of the church in the latter part of 1886, vice Deacon J. H. Hooker resigned. The finances of the church have been perfectly safe in his hands, and have been faithfully and ably managed. The church could not have elected a better man were it to try it over a thousand times. Deacon Johnson is a faithful man, pious and upright, and loves his church and pastor devoutly. He was a warm supporter of Rev. E. K. Love for the pastorate, and has always stood ready to assist and protect him. The church is his delight, and nothing is too great for him to undertake for Zion. He, is kind to everybody and is beloved by all good people. He is active and energetic, not easily discouraged, and is full of faith and hope. He has "purchased to himself a good degree and great boldness in the faith."

 

DEACON F. J. WRIGHT

        was born in Charleston, S. C., December 24th, 1857. He was brought to Savannah while quite young. He embraced Jesus in 1879, and was baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church July 6th, 1879, by Rev. George Gibbons. Mr. Wright grew up in the Sunday school. He is still a faithful and efficient teacher in the Sunday school. He is honest and fearless. He was an ardent admirer of Rev. E. K. Love. He was made a deacon of the church January, 1886. He was stubbornly opposed by quite a number of the members, but was elected by a handsome majority. Several points were raised upon his character, but these all proved futile. Mr. Wright's patience was greatly tried and his character subjected to the severest scrutiny. All this he bore in an humble, Christ-like manner, which won the commendation of even his enemies. Mr. Love was accused of favoring Mr. Wright and even planning for his election. The charges purported to have come from Mr. A. M. Monroe. Upon investigation they proved to be true and Mr. Monroe was expelled. The objections raised against Mr. Wright were at the instance of Mr. Toby Loyd (a member of the church) who accused Mr. Wright with criminal intimacy with his wife. These were not sustained and Mr. Loyd begged the church's pardon. A man of iron will, indefatigable courage and christian devotion to the church. He has won the confidence of the church and is regarded as one of the most honest, straightforward men in the church. He stood by Mr. Love when other officers, nearly all of them, doubted the wisdom of undertaking the extension of the building. He urged that the work could be done. He gave very liberally of his personal money for the work. He is the youngest officer in the church.*

        The officers about whom nothing is said is due to the fact that nothing beyond their names could be learned of them. Indeed, it was no easy job to get the facts in the lives of those who are still alive. This is due to the fact that they came along in the dark days of slavery when their owners kept the records.

 

REV. JAMES J. SEVORRES

        was born in Charleston, S. C., December 18th, 1853. He was converted to Christ in 1869, and baptized into the fellowship of the Tabernacle Baptist Church, Beaufort, S. C., by Rev. Peter White in April, 1869. He was licensed to preach by the Mount Zion Baptist Church in April, 1883. He joined the First African Baptist Church of Savannah by letter from the Mount Zion Baptist Church November, 1884. He was called to ordination by the First African Baptist Church, and was ordained by Revs. E. K. Love, D. D., E. L. Houston, and S. A. McNeal, December 6th, 1885. Rev. Mr. Sevorres is an intelligent young man, quite gentlemanly, honest and upright. He attended the Atlanta Baptist Seminary for a short while, and made very commendable progress in his studies. It was very much regretted by his friends that he could not spend more time there, as he certainly would have made a much more able man. He was for a short while missionary of the Mount Olive Baptist Association, and did earnest work in its service. He loves his Master's work, and slights no opportunity to speak for Jesus. He is a pretty fair preacher for his opportunities. He is well known to the country churches where he so much delights to preach Jesus to the people, and the common people hear him gladly. Mr. Sevorres is an earnest, forcible preacher. As a man he is reliable and upright. As a member of the church he is faithful and humble, and has the entire respect and confidence of the people.

 

MR. W. G. CLARK,


[Mr. W. G. Clark]

        Licentiate W. G. Clark was born in Columbia county, Ga., September 17, 1843, and while quite young was brought to Savannah. He was converted May 8, 1869, and was baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church June 5, 1869, by Rev. W. J. Campbell. Mr. Clark was one of Rev. Mr. Campbell's strongest supporters in the trouble of 1877, and went with Mr. Campbell to the Beach, remaining with him until he died, when he returned to the church. Mr. Clark is an earnest worker for Christ. He grew up in the Sunday school, and has for years been a faithful teacher in it. His work is not confined to the city, but he delights to go into the country among the poor and forsaken and publish the news of salvation. He visits the hospital and prays for the sick and tells them of Jesus. He was licensed to preach May 15, 1887. He is of great service to the pastor and church in visiting the sick and attending funerals. For his chances he is a good preacher, and give promise of great usefulness in the pulpit. Mr. Clark stands perfectly fair in the community and is much beloved by the church. He is an upright christian gentleman, very polite, forbearing, dignified and kind. He is well acquainted with the scriptures and his sermons abound in apt illustrations. He always preaches on the practical order, never making any attempt at oratory or eloquence. He puts those to thinking who hear him. He is a straightforward, honest man, and no one can say aught against him. He delights to do right and is always willing to do something for his church. As a man Mr. Clark is true; as a friend he is constant. He is a first-class man.

 

BROTHER JOHN E. GRANT

        was elected deacon of the church in January, 1886, but declined. He is a whole-souled man and passionately devoted to the church. He made the motion that the church undertake the purchase of the property in rear of its building. This was grandly successful, to the fullest satisfaction of the church. He did much personally for the accomplishment of this end, and can never be forgotten. He was with Deacon Haynes when he got shot. Mr. Grant did valiant service on the Union side during the late war and was active in help freeing his people. He is highly respected and has the entire confidence of the church and community. Mr. Grant is a man of determined will and indefatigable courage. He is a true and tried citizen. He never fails to fill his seat in the church, except for good reasons. He is a very good man, with faith, zeal and very good judgment.

 

MR. C. H. EBBS, CLERK,

        was born in Savannah, Ga., March 17th, 1854. He was converted to God December 26th, 1865, and was baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church of Savannah by Rev. W. J. Campbell January 7th, 1866. He was elected clerk of the church January 6th, 1878. Mr. Ebbs is a fine penman and infinitely the best clerk the church ever had. He is faithful, accurate, loving and kind. He is a member of many societies, and is the clerk of nearly every one of them. Mr. Ebbs has served the church for ten successive years. The church could not elect a better clerk. Mr. Ebbs is very friendly and polite. He has a great deal of patience and great meekness. No man in the church is more humble than Mr. Ebbs; in conferences and other deliberative bodies his voice is seldom heard. Mr. Ebbs is a self-made man, and withal is real intelligent. Whatever duty is assigned to his hands, will be done with precision, accuracy and promptness. Mr. Ebbs is very useful to the church.

 

MRS. M. M. MONROE, ORGANIST,


[Mrs. M. M. Monroe, Organist]

        was born in Savannah, Ga., September 5, 1857. She was converted to Christ December 22, 1871, and was baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church the first Sunday in August, 1872, by Rev. W. J. Campbell. She was elected organist in 1874. She is a true Baptist, a consistent member of the church, and is faithful and punctual, never being five minutes late. She spares no pains to raise her children in the fear of the Lord. It does not matter how the weather is, Mr. A. M. Monroe, wife and children are generally at the church. No member in the church has better trained children. She plays well and has a host of friends. She attended the Atlanta University for several years.

 

 *Since the above was written we regret very much to say that Deacon F. J. Wright has proved to be a failure as a deacon. He is vulgar in the extreme and double-tongued. He has been expelled from the church and is now at large in the wild world. He abused the pastor most shamefully and several other of the members. He could not stand the honor and promotion and got entirely beside himself and the patience of the church ceased to be a virtue and he was expelled. We hope that the spirit may force him to repentance. The prophecy of many of the old members that the church would regret electing Mr. Wright a deacon proved to be true to the chagrin of his friends.

 
 
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