Skip to main content
!wf! i ! ! ; i' '!.'
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON:
CHIEF EVENTS RELATING TO THE EISE AND
PROGRESS OF THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL
CHURCH IN CHARLESTON, S. C,
BRIEF NOTICES OF THE EARLY MINISTERS
WHO LABORED IN THAT CITY.
KEV- F. A. MOOD, A.M.,
OF THE BOOTH CAROLINA CONFERENCE.
EDITED BY THOMAS 0. SUMMERS, D.D.
PUBLISHED BY E. STEYENSON & J. E. EVANS, AGENTS,
FOR THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, SOUTH.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by
STEVENSON & EVANS,' Agents,
In the Office of the Clerk of the District Court 'for the Middle District of
FEINTED BY A. A. STITT,
SOUTHERN METHODIST PUBLISHING HOUSE, NASHVILLE, TENN.
JAMES R. MOOD, M. D.,
AT WHOSE SUGGESTION IT WAS UNDERTAKEN,
Efjta little Folwroe
IS AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED,
BY THE ATTTHOB.
1* (y )
The principal part of this work appeared in
successive numbers of the Southern Christian
Advocate, published in Charleston. A strong
desire having been expressed for its appearance
in a booh, the author revised and enlarged it, and
very kindly submitted it to our disposal. Being
a member of the South Carolina Conference of
the Methodist Episcopal Church, and a native of
Charleston, the preparation of the work was a
pleasing task to the author. He has not, how-
ever, unduly magnified his subject. He has paid
less attention to the graces of style than to the
faithful narration of facts. This is a matter of
vast importance in works of this class. By refer-
ring to old records, and by consulting with old
members of the Church in Charleston, he has
secured a great deal of reliable information co
ceming the introduction and progress of Metho
ism in that city, -which will not only be interes
ing to the reader in its present form, but w
also be available to the future historian of tl
Nashville, Tstss., July 26, 1856.
Mr. Wesley's visits — Mr. Whitefield's visits — Bishop As-
bury's first visit — Jesse Lee — Henry Willis — Preach-
ing in a deserted Baptist meeting-house — Conversion
of Mr. Wells 11
John Tunnel — Henry Willis — Worship in Mrs. Stoll's
residence — Conversion of George Airs — Isaac Smith
— Erection of Cumberland Church — Visit of Dr. Coke
— Rev. Wm. Hammet — Hammet' schism — Beverly
Allen, his fall and flight^Official members — Arrange-
ment of classes 29
Conference session— Visit and labors of Bishop Asbury
—Death of Mr. Wells— Death of James King— Per-
secutions— Erection of Bethel Church— Tobias Gib-
son — Fresh persecutions — Pumping of Mr. Dougherty
— Erection of the Parsonage — Bishop Asbury's first
visit to it— Death of Nicholas Watters 72
J. H. Mellard — Measures to repress disturbances —
Cranmer and Brady — Mr. Owens and the mob — Ar-
rest of the congregation by the military — Richmond
Nolley — Dr. Capers — Singular incident — Illness of F.
Ward — Measures for building a brick church — S.
Dunwody and J. B. Glenn 97
John Collingsworth — Camp-meetings — African schism
— Cession of Trinity Church — Prosperity of the Church
— Schism of 1834 — Asbury Chapel — Burning of
churches — Division of charges 123
Eminent ministers — Deaths of ministers — Itinerant
preachers sent out from the city — Members of former
days — Aged living members — Colored membership —
Anecdotes of colored members — Benevolent institu-
tions — Preachers stationed in the city 154
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON,
Mr. Wesley's visits— Mr. Whitefield's visits— Bishop Asbury's first
visit — Jesse Lse— Henry Willis— Preaching in a deserted Baptist
meeting-house— Conversion of Mr. Wells.
On Saturday, July 31st, 1786, John and Charles
Wesley reached Charleston from Savannah, after
escaping a perilous storm in St. Helena's Sound.
Though neither of the Wesleys visited Charleston
on this occasion as Methodist preachers, as the
term is now understood, it is not uninteresting to
know that Charleston was one of the few places
on American soil trod by those men of God who
afterwards shook the world.
John Wesley says of his visit: "We came to
Charleston. The church is of brick, but plastered
over like stone. I believe it would contain three
12 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
or four thousand persons. About three hundred
were present at the morning service the next day;
(when Mr. Garden desired me to preach;) about
fifty were at the holy eommunion."
The church here alluded to was the building
occupying the. site of the Protestant Episcopal
church, now known as St. Philip's. Mr. Alex-
ander Garden, of whom Mr. Wesley makes men-
tion, was the rector of that congregation thirty-
four years. At the time of Mr. Wesley's visit,
he was the Bishop of London's commissary. He
was held in high esteem by the literati of Europe,
and, in compliment to his valuable botanical inves-
tigations, Linnaeus named after him that beautiful
and popular flower of the South, the Gardenia.
He was, as we will see, a great stickler for the
forms of the Protestant Episcopal Church.
Mr. Wesley was much struck with the presence
of several negroes at church, and sought occasion
for conversation with one of them. "She told
me," he says, "she was there constantly; and that
her old mistress (now dead) had many times in-
structed her in the Christian religion. I asked
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 13
her what religion was. She said she could not
tell. I asked her if she knew what a soul was.
She answered, 'No.' I said, 'Do not you know
there is something in you different from ,your
body ?t— something you cannot see or feel?' She
replied, ' I never heard so much before.' I added,
' Do you think then, a man dies altogether as a horse
dies?' She answered, 'Yes, to be sure.' God,
where are thy tender mercies ? Are they not over
all thy works ? When shall the Sun of righteous-
ness arise on these outcasts of men with healing
in his wings !"
The answers given by this poor creature do but
little credit to the church or home instructions
she had received'; but the conversation proves
Mr. Wesley to have been fully imbued with the
spirit of a true missionary. How satisfactorily has
this prayerful inquiry of his been answered! It
may be much doubted if in all the streets of
Charleston, now numbering its ten thousand ne-
groes, one adult among them could be found so
utterly ignorant of religious truth. Little did
Mr. Wesley think while conversing with this be-
14 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
nighted slave, and lamenting her ignorance, that
he was soon to set in motion agencies and influ-
ences which would set all England in a blaze of
religious zeal, awaken the American continent
from its religious torpor, and which, under* the
blessing of G-od, would penetrate the darkness of
these ignorant Africans, and
"O'erthe negro's night of care,
Pour the living light of heaven :
Chase away the fiend Despair, '
Bid him hope to be forgiven!"
After paying a visit on Monday to the Governor,
Mr. Wesley desired to' return immediately to Sa-
vannah; but experiencing some difficulty in ob-
taining either a vehicle or vessel, with his charac-
teristic activity, he started to make the journey on
foot. Between Charleston and Beaufort, however,
he was kindly provided with a horse by a Mr.
Bellinger. During this trip his escape from ill-
ness and death seems miraculous. Though the
heat of summer was upon him, besides travelling
on foot during the day, he slept at night in the
open air/ and was wet by rain more than once;
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 15
yet he experienced no inconyenience from it. It
was regarded, then, as it is now, almost certain
death to inhale at night the malaria of that low
country at that season of the year, and particu-
larly dangerous to he wet by the summer rains.
He visited Charleston again in April of the
next year, "determined," as he says, "if possible,
to put a stop to the proceedings of one who had
married several of my parishioners without either
banns or license."
During this visit he again preached in Mr.
Garden's church, His text was 1 John v. 4:
"Whatsoever is born of God overcometh- the
world." He must have spoken on that occasion
as a Methodist preacher should speak, for, after
service, a man of education and character seriously
objected to .the sermon, saying, "Why, if this be
Christianity, a Christian must have more courage
than Alexander the Great."
After obtaining from Mr. Garden the proper
assurances in reference to the irregularities com-
plained of, he remained until the following Sat-
urday, and met the ministers of the neighboring
16 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
parishes in their annual convocation. He says
that during their assembly "there was such a
conversation for several hours on ( Christ our Righ-
teousness' as he had not heard at any visitation in
England, or hardly on any other occasion."
Mr. Wesley visited Charleston but once after
this, and that was on the occasion of his reem-
barking for England, after his ill-treatment in
Savannah. When determined to leave the last-
mentioned place, after posting a handbill on the
public square to that effect, he again started for
Charleston on foot, accompanied on this occasion
by three friends.
Between Purysburgh and Beaufort they were
lost in a swamp ; and after wandering about all
day, they spent the night on the ground, worn
out with hunger and fatigue, having eaten nothing
all day but a small ginger-cake divided between
them, which Mr. Wesley found in his pocket :
their sufferings were the greater as it was the month
of December, and the cold severe.
After travelling about in uncertainty nearly the
whole of the next day, which was Sunday, they
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 17
reached the house of a French family before night,
and as soon as he was somewhat refreshed, Mr-.
"Wesley had the family and neighbors summoned,
to whom he read prayers in their native tongue.
Tuesday of the week following he reached
Charleston; but the cold and exposure brought
on severe sickness; notwithstanding, on Thursday
he set sail, bidding a final adieu to America.
After a tedious voyage of several weeks, his
vessel east anchor at the Downs. His friend, Mr.
Whitefield, had set sail for Georgia from that very
port but a few hours' previous to Mr. Wesley's
arrival! The vessels passed in< sight of each
fc£her, but neither of them': knew that the vessel
at which he wag gazing held so dear a friend.
• About a year after Mr. Wesley's final depar-
ture, Mr. Whitefield reached Charleston. He
also preached for Mr. Garden. In a mention of
his sermon, it is said, « The people at first de-
spised his youth, but his engaging address soon
gained their general esteem, and Mr. Garden
thanked, him most cordially." . Mr. Whitefield,
alluding, to the church building, calls it "a
18 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
grand church, resembling one of the new churches
Mr. Garden, in conversation with Mr. White-
field, made a free allusion to Mr. Wesley's
troubles in Savannah, vindicating his conduct,
and assuring Mr. Whitefield that if ever they
attempted arbitrary proceedings against him of a
similar character, he would defend him with his
life and fortune.
Upon his second visit, however, he remarked
an evident change, both in the appearance of the
people, and in the conduct of his former friend,
Mr. Garden. He says, " When I came to Charles-
ton, Saturday, Jan. 3d, 1740, I could scarcely
believe but that I was amongst Londoners, both
in respect to gayety of dress and politeness of
He discovered, also, that through field-preach-
ing he had forfeited the friendship and good
wishes of the commissary. Proceedings were
instituted against him in the ecclesiastical court
of the province, and he was cited by Mr. Garden
"to answer to certain articles and interrogatories
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 19
which were to be objected and ministered to
him concerning the mere health of his soul, and
the reformation and correction of his manners
and excesses, and chiefly for omitting to use the
form of prayer prescribed in the communion
Mr. Whitefield appeared, but denied the au-
thority of the court to proceed in his case, and
" prayed time to exhibit his objections."
Upon the second convention of the court, Mr.
Whitefield entered his caveat, and was ably de-
fended by Andrew Rutledge. The court con-
sisted of the Rev. A. Garden, commissary, and
the Revs. Messrs. Guy, Mellichamp, Roe, and
Orr. They unanimously decreed « that the ex-
ception be repelled." The final result was a
sentence from the court, suspending Mr. White-
field from his ministerial oflice.
And so this apostolic man, whom the Christian
world delighteth to honor-with a greater mind
wd soul than any or all of his judges-would
have had his voice for God hushed by them,
could they have done it, because his great
20 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
soul could not comprehend a ministerial zeal
which was only limited to a certain routine of
printed prayers and a few written sermons — be-
cause his godly zeal overleaped metes and hounds,
set up by neither Christ nor his apostles. But
such a man could not be hid, his voice could not
be hushed. He preached for the Independent
minister in his meeting-house, called then the
"White Meeting-house," and occupying the site
of the present Circular church. The Huguenot
congregation also, with their characteristic catho-
licity, insisted upon having his services part of
the time. It is said of his labors on that occa-
sion, "At the first sermon all was gay and trifling,
no impression seemingly made at all. But next
morning at the Huguenot church the scene was
quite altered. A visible and almost universal
concern appeared.. Many of the inhabitants
earnestly desired him to give them one sermon
more, for which purpose he was prevailed upon
to put off his journey until next day; and
there was reason to think, his stay was not in
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 21
On the next day lie started for the seat of the
Orphan House he was then laboring to establish;
by the way of Savannah, going in an open row-boat.
At a brief visit made to Charleston, the March
following, he took up his first collection for his
Orphan House, preaching an impressive sermon
in behalf of its inmates. He obtained donations
to the amount of £70.
On another visit, five or six years afterwards,
when he was again collecting money for the Or-
phan House, which was encumbered with a heavy
debt, Charleston proved herself then, as now, the
queen-city of liberality. He remarks, "The
generous Charleston people raised a subscription
of £300, thus, for a while, stopping the gap."
With this he purchased some valuable lands, in-
cluding a large plantation and slaves upon it, for
the assistance and support of the orphans.
Although since his second visit Mr. Whitefield
had personally separated from Mr. Wesley, it
was, no doubt, of advantage to the future estab-
lishment of Methodism, that "justification by
22 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
*faith" was fearlessly and powerfully proclaimed
Twenty-rthree years afterwards, only a . few
months previous to his death, this zealous servant
of God again visited Charleston. He landed there
in feeble health, after a tempestuous voyage
from London of sixty-five days ; and yet so great
was his eagerness to do something for- the salva-,
tion of souls, that he consented to preach on the
day of his arrival. His reception was as hearty
as ever, if not indeed more hearty than formerly.
He says himself, "Friends receive me cordially.
Praise the Lord, 0, my soul, and forget not all
his mercies. 0, to begin to he a Christian and a
minister of JeSus I"
Four years after this, in 1773, the Rev. Joseph
Pilmoor, one of the ministers sent to America by
Mr. Wesley, visited Charleston and preached.
Of the particulars of his visit we have no account.
He seems to have been passing through the
South, discovering the places most destitute of
religious teaching, and concluded Charleston toe
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 23
closely occupied to alloW of his permanent labor
The first regular effort for the establishment
of Methodism in Charleston, as a distinct part of
the Christian Church, was not made until the
year 1785. In that year Bishop Asbury, accom-
panied by the Rev. Jesse Lee, of celebrated
memory, and the Rev. Henry Willis, visited the
city, the latter preceding the Bishop several days,
and announcing for him his appointments along
the route. They spent several days in George-
town, S. C, on their way to Charleston, stopping
with a Mr. Wayne, a cousin of the celebrated
General Wayne. After spending several days
with him, preaching several times, and leaving
Mr. Wayne under deep distress for his sins, they
started for Charleston, having letters of recom-
mendation from him to a Mr. Wells, a wealthy
merchant of the city, to whose house they re-
paired immediately on their arrival
Mr. Willis met them some miles out of the
city. They found Mr. Wells at home, but in a
condition far from anticipating the visit of two or
24 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
three Methodist preachers, the bugbears to all
the worldly and irreligious people of that day.
They found him and his family in the midst of a
studied preparation for a visit to the theatre that
evening, where a favorite play was to. be acted.
His plans of amusement, however, were speedily
abandoned : he gave these messengers of God a
warm and gentlemanly reception, and family wor-
ship was the instituted engagement of the evening.
Through the perseverance of Henry Willis,
they obtained the use of a deserted Baptist meet-
ing-house, situated on the west side of Church
street, between Water and Tradd streets, and
occupying the site of what is now known as the
First Baptist Church. The congregation who
had once worshipped in it had been almost en-
tirely scattered during the Revolution ; and while
Charleston was in the hands of the British, the
church building had been used by them as a de-
posit for army stores. It was being used by a
Baptist merchant as a storehouse for. salt, bacon,
etc., at the time Mr. Willis endeavored to obtain
its use. Through his efforts it was cleaned out
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. AO
mi fitted- up with rough benches, ready for the
Jesse Lee commenced operations, after having
given notice through the city papers, Tby preach-
ing on the morning of Sunday, Feb. 27th ; and
Henry "Willis followed in the afternoon. Mr.
Lee preached .from Isaiah liii. 5, 6: "But he
was wounded ' for our transgressions, he was
bruised for our iniquities : the chastisement of
our peace was upon him ; and with his stripes
we are healed. All we like sheep have gone
astray : we have turned . every one to his own
way; ,and the Lord hath laid upon him the in-
iquity of us all.". Speaking of the services, h6
says, "I preached with some faith and, liberty,
and the people appeared to be quite amazed."
The Bishop. seems to, have spent the day en-
deavoring, to form a proper notion of the religious
condition of the community. In the morning
he visited St. Philip's l Protectant Episcopal
Church. In the afternoon, he attended the In-
dependent (Circular) Church, where he says he
heard an excellent discourse.
26 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
The congregations of these pioneers through
the day was quite small, although they would
have been encouragingly large had all remained
who came to the, church; but numbers having
never seen nor heard a live Methodist preacher,
came and sat long enough to satisfy their curi-
osity, and then left. By night the curiosity of
the community was fully aroused, and the house
was crowded. Jesse Lee preached, and a goodly
number were moved under the faithful appeal of
this giant of early Methodism.
The Bishop says of the first day's proceedings:
"The Calvinists, who are the only people in
Charleston who appear to have any sense of
religion, seem to be alarmed." If their alarm
arose from the fear of having another church
established in their midst, they had cause for it,
for from that first Sabbath's labors in Charleston,
the existence of Methodism there was a fixed
The Bishop, possibly from previous fatigue,
as well as other reasons, did not preach until
Wednesday of that week, when he delivered hi?
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 27
first message, from 2 Cor. v. 20, "Now, then,
we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did
beseech you by us: we pray you, in Christ's
stead, be ye reconciled to God."
Service was continued every night of the week,
and on Saturday afternoon, Mr. Wells, the gen-
tlemanly host of the strange preachers, acknow-
ledged himself under deep convietion for sin.
The Bishop remarks, " My soul praised the Lord
for this first fruit of our labors, this answer to
our prayers." We know not what were Mr.
Wells's prejudices up to this time about the
Methodists, but if he was opposed to becoming
one, he placed himself in great danger of such a
result when he entertained three Methodist
preachers of such faith and prayer as Asbury,
Willis, and Lee.
The second Sabbath morning of Charleston
Methodism was characterized by much feeling in
the congregation, though it was few in number.
At night the Bishop says, "A large wild com-
pany were in attendance.^ Several of the minis-
ters of the other churches had taken the pains to
30 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
January, 1786, for quarterage, £11 lis. 9<L
He is represented as " a man of great depth and'
uniformity in piety, an indefatigable laborer, and
a preacher of commanding talents/' a man also<j
" of great simplicity.' '
Henry Willis, his co-laborer, was especially,
adapted to the work assigned him. " He was a
man of deep piety, amiable manners, general
intelligence, with an entire devotion to his work,-
and the most inflexible perseverance in accom-
plishing the important work of his mission."
It is probable that Charleston, during this
year, was ateo visited by the Rev. Workman
Hickson, as the steward's book shows him to 1
have received £10 10s. 5d., for services ren-
Under the labors of these men, but particu-
larly through the pious zeal and indomitable en-
ergy of Henry Willis, Methodism, this the first
year of its existence there, attained respectable
foothold in Charleston ; for, at the end of the
year, thirty-five whites and twenty-three colored'
Were reported as members of the society. It i g
METHODISM IN .CHARLESTON. 31
cot probable, however, that all these were resi-
dents in the city: the steward's book, of which
mention has been made, is for " Charleston Cir-
cuit." , The collections from Cainhoy and George-
town are recorded with those from the pity, and
there is no separate return made in the minutes
of the membership — the numbers given are from
the entire circuit.
The infant society must be regarded as hav-
ing done nobly in money matters. From their
books it seems they paid to their preachers this
first year a!5out $425. ■ Henry Willis received
but a small portion of it. This is accounted for
in the fact that, to the day of his death, he skil-
fully managed a business of his own while labor-
ing for the church, and, when he died, was able
to leave his family an ample fortune. His me-
moir says, "His argument for his intense appli-
cation to temporal husiness was his bodily inca-
pacity to labor constantly in word and doctrine.
By his own hands he ministered to the necessity
of himself and family : he would not eat the
bread of the Church of God, because he could
32 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
not be wholly employed therein, though he was
prevented only through weakness of body. He
considered the travelling ministry the most ex-
cellent way, and nearest to the apostolic plan of
spreading the glorious gospel of Christ with
After Bishop Asbury's departure, they contin-
ued to worship in the old meeting-house for
some months, but their success would not permit
them long to retain it.
When the congregation assembled one Sabbath
morning, they found the benches helter-skelter
in the street, and the doors and windows barred
against them. This was taken as a hint that
they were desired to change their quarters ; and
a Mrs. Stoll generously offered them the use of
her residence on Stoll' s Alley.
They worshipped at her house until, the con-
gregation becoming too large to be comfortably
accommodated, they obtained the use of an unfin-
ished dwelling, situated on Wentworth street,
near East Bay, which, though enclosed and cov-
ered, was not made very comfortable.
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 33
This house witnessed some scenes entirely new
to Charleston. Among them we may mention
the conversion Of George Airs. He was a man
of impulsive, ardent temperament, and had been
long confirmed in sinful habits. He was seeking
religion for some days under poignant- grief for
his sins. Light at length broke .in upon his
darkness, his captive soul was freed, and, as we
might expect, the demonstration he made was
not a little boisterous: After strongly assuring
all present of the wondrous change which had
passed upon him, he rushed from the building,
anxious to tell the world what a merciful Saviour
he had found. He ran towards East Bay, " Hal-
lelujah !" bursting from his strong lungs at every
step. This produced a great sensation in the
neighborhood, and quite a crowd took after the
supposed maniac, who had been rendered so at
the Methodist ■meeting. After ranging around
several squares, much to the horror of the people
living thereabout, what was their surprise to see
him quietly return to the house, the big tears
streaming down his face ! Instead of finding a
34 METHOpiSM IN CHARLESTON.
maniac, they had in truth fallen upon one who
had been just clothed and put in his right mind,
as his subsequent life of piety abundantly proved.
Henry "Willis and Isaac Smith Were the preach-
ers sent to the city for the year 1786, each of them
to labor six months.
Isaac Smith had been a faithful and brave pa-
triot during the war of the Revolution. He was
in the main army under Washington, and in all
the principal battles in which it engaged. He
underwent the sufferings of the camp during the
sad winter the army spent at Valley Forge, and
was in the battles of Trenton, Princeton, and
Brandy wine, at the defence of Fort Mifflin, the
battle of Monmouth, the capture of Stony Pointy
and the surrender of Yorktown, and he bore in
his forehead to his grave the indentation where
he was struck by a musket-ball. After his con-
version and assumption of ministerial vows, he was
an efficient laborer in many parts of the low country
in South Carolina, establishing what was for years
known as the JMisto Circuit, embracing what is
now included in the Cooper River, Cypress, St.
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 37
George's, Walterboro, Orangeburg, and tJarnwell
Early in this year measures were taken toward
the erection of a church. It was located on Cum-
berland street; was sixty feet long by forty wide,
with galleries for the accommodation of the colored
people. • This must have been a considerable un-
dertaking for the society, then so weak, both as it
regarded wealth and numbers. Yet so economi-
cally and prudently was the whole affair managed,
that it was completed by the middle of the year
following, unencumbered with debt, the ground
and building costing £1300.
It is interesting to look through the Steward's
book and see their method of proceeding. Some
of the present day would have regarded their pro-
ceedings as decidedly "fogyish;" but it was evi-
dently a resolution on the part of tha trustees not
to have their house of worship threatened by the
sheriff, or their consciences annoyed by the thought
of using a house unpaid* for, and they therefore
stepped very cautiously.
38 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
Jfit the laying of the foundation, they took up
collection of £2 14s. The first Sabbath's colte^
tion, 4aken up at the dedicatory services of-tfic
morning, and through the day, was more favor*
able, amounting to £20 7s. 7d. Some of the
entries are of a primitive style, hard for the Charley
tonians of the present day to realize. The most
costly is the amount paid for the lot, £300; then
there are entries like these : — To brother Brough-
ton, to buy stones, £1- For cartage of boards, os.
To brother Hughes, for nails, £1. To brother
Seavers, for work, £10. To brother Seavers; for
corn for workmen, 10s. 6d. To brother some one
whose name is illegible, for shingles, £8 4d. To
brother Hughes, for sills, £6. For one dozen
hooks and staples, 4s.; etc., etc. These entries
show the Methodists to have been liberally patron*
ized, and that if a Methodist- was engaged in any
avocation that could be of any avail in connection
with their church building, his services and goods
and attention received the preference. It is true,
in the big schemes of the present day, these little
METHODISM IN .-CHARLESTON.
niceties of Discipline and courtesy are sometimes
unobserved, but not to the advantage of Method-
No distinct name was, given to the building.
It was for a long time known as the ''Blue Meet-
in"- " in contradistinction from the "White Meet-
ing," of which mention has been. made. After-
ward it took the name of the street, and Cumber-
land Church became the scene of many pleasing
and painful incidents. At the time of its^occupa-
tion it was without glazed sashes, but was lighted
by small glazed lights from above the doors and
windows: the other* was a luxury of later date;
and to the time of its demolition, in 1839, it had
no other than plain pine benches. Though never
ornamented with Brussels carpet, the floor was
always covered with a layer pf clean white sand.
The congregations during this year Were large,
especially the night meetings. It is worthy of
mention also that in connection with the building
c*f the -church the trustees purchased, as the nu-
cleus of a library for the preachers, all the works
then published by Mr. Wesley's approbation, and
40 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
bestowed them in a convenient place for their uag*
An official record is also made of the purchase of -
a box with three different locks, whose keys were
distributed among the stewards, so that three were
required to be present at the solemnity of disburse
ing the funds.
Beverly Allen and Lemuel Grreen were the sta*
tioned preachers for 1787. The occupation of
their church building was an important era for
Methodism in Charleston. As Bishop Andrew
in reference to it remarks: "It gave them an es*
tablished and permanent character. It, was a
public declaration that we had driven down our
stake and intended to hold on." There was no
actual increase in the white membership this year
as reported m the minutes, but fifty-three colored
were reported. It - is probahle that the supposi-
tion heretofore made about the connection of
Charleston with the circuit, accounts for this
seeming want of progress.
They were visited this year by Bishop Asbury?:
"Here," says he, "we 'already have a spacious
house prepared for us, and the •congregations 'are
BftETHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 41
crowded/' Dr.- Coke paid his first visit here this
year; and this year the first Conference held in
Keuben Ellis and Ira Ellis were appointed here
at this Conference fqr the year following. The
first -was a man of tjomrnanding- person, but of
feeble constitution. "He was a weighty and
powerful preacher," and a man of great self-de-
nial. It is said of Mm in- the notice of his death
by the Conference : "He sought not himself, dur-
ing twenty years of labor. To our knowledge he
never laid up twenty pounds by preaching: his
house, his clothing, and immediate necessaries
were all -be appeared to want in the world." Ira
Ellis was in several respects' his ©ontrast. "He
was a man," says Bishop Asbury, "of quick and
solid ' parts, with undiss'epbled sincerity, great
modesty, deep fidelity, great ingenuity, and un-
common powers of reasoning, and most even
temper." These preachers remained here until
the Conference of 1790. The (Shurch seems te
bave progressed steadily ttoder their administra-
42 METHODISM IN CHAKtESTON.
The second Charleston Conference met in Feb-
ruary, 1788, and is characterized by the Bishop as
" a free and open time." On Sabbath morning of
the Conference, while one 6f the preachers "was
delivering his message to a crowded audience, they
were greeted with. the first open demonstration of
hostility from the inhabitants. There, was a riot
raised at the door. A general panic seized the
audience, and, terror'Strickeu, the ladies leaped
from the windows, to make good .their escape.
This was only the prelude. At night, while the
Bishop was preaching, the house again crowded
to overflowing, it was assailed on all sides with
stones and brickbats. The Bishop narrowly es-
caped being badly hurt, as one of the missiles
struck the inside of the pulpit near him; but,
undisturbed, he finished his sermon. His text was
Isaiah lii. 7 : " How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings,
that-.publisheth peace:. that bringeth good tidings
of good, that publisheth salvation: that saith unto
Zion, Thy Gpd reigneth.," The uproar without
seems to have awakened the good old man to fresh
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 43
rfc, as his sermon was one of- great unction.
He says ; " Upon the whole, I have had more lib-
erty to speak in Charleston than ever before, and
I am of opinion that God will work here."
Dr. Coke was present at fhe Conference held
in Charleston in 1789. It was during this session
of Conference, most probably from the presence
of Dr. Ooke, that a fierce attack upon the Church
rules on slavery was made in the city papers.
Bishop Asbury, though : knowing who the -author
was, does not in his journal disclose his name;
yet he makes mention of the circumstance. Thus
commenced, through the -indiscreet interference
of a pious minister with a "civil institution, a se-
ries of assaults, public and private, upon the Meth-
odists of Charleston, which, more than all else,
prevented their success with every class.
In addition to the riotous molestations we have
noticed, and have yet to record, the public news-
papers were filled with the most bitter invectives
and fierce denunciations of Dr. Coke, and of all
eomiected with him; and the public, unable to
&»tinguish between the individual and his Church,
44 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
united as heartily in denouncing the entire sect.
The least patriotic of us can easily imagine how
soon a prejudice could be raised, and how easily
it could be sustained, against a society which had
found its origin on a distant shore, and which
seemed to be in the leading-strings of a foreigner
who had undertaken, to dictate laws to a young
republic — a republic whose blood was yet hot with
the excitement of a newly acquired independence,
and whose homesteads were rnany of them yet
smouldering in -ruins, the work of this foreigner's
We do not pretend to attempt, in the slightest
degree, to palliate or justify the-illegal and cow-
ardly assaults made by the "young chivalry" of
Charleston upon unoffending women and children
while worshipping their God. But we do feel
astonished that - any Methodist preacher would
press before the public his notions of reform, at
the sacrifice of the peace, comfort, and good name,
of others, and continue his conduct in the face
of their sufferings and remonstrances. Dr. Coke
did not suit the latitude of the Carolinas; and
METHODISM* IN CHARLESTON. 45
while we rdvere his pious zeal and $el£s.acrifierng
devotion, we believe it had been better, far better,
had he prudently remained away from the city
of Charleston. From the session of the Confer-
ence, regarded by the "public as a convention of
wily incendiaries, much comfort to the ministers
or advantage to the Church could not be expected,
The Conference was' again held there the win-
ter following. Bishop Asbury was accompanied
at this visit by Richard Whatcoat, afterwards
Bishop. The meetings during Conference -were
iively and interesting, several'yotirig persons hav-
ing come under awakenings;' and during the
Wednesday of Conference, while the Bishop was
preaching, much feeling exhibited itself- in 'the
congregation/ upon which he dryly remarks,-
"And wie had noise enough." He complains of
this visit, "Friends are too mute and fearful, and
many of the outdoors people are violent and
wicked ;•> from which we judge that they were
■tiH* annoyed and insulted during their publie
At this Conference an important movement
46 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
was projected, which was the establishment- of
"Sunday-schools for poor children,, white and
black." The establishment , of any sort of Sab-
hath-school in South Carolina' has- been se4 down
to a much later date : — 1819 or 1820 — -but the
record of this movement shows differently- It is
not probable, however^ that the resolutions, which
passed this Conference contemplated the estab-
lishment of Sabbath-jschools on %he present plan.
The children of slaves were allowed at that time
the privilege of schools of their own, in which
they received elementary instruction ; and as it is
particularly specified, li Sabbath-schools for poor
children, white an&black," they probably intended
to .afford them on the Sabbath the opportunity
of learning to read, free of charge. While no
Sunday-schools existed, the. children were af-
forded catechetical, instruction by the preachers
-every Saturday afternoon : no mean substitute,
as the. preachers thereby became acquainted with
and interested m the children of the congregation,
James Parks labored here during the year
1791 ; nothing special occurring during, that time
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 47
Conference convened here again the follow-
ing winter; Bishop Asbury, with indefatigable
punctuality, reaching the city a day or two before
its opening. He seems, at this visit, to have
been much depressed in spirits. The congrega-
tions to whom he first preached, from some cause,
were small; and he indulges his melancholy as
follows : " We grow here but slowly. I feel the
want of religion here: indeed, the gross immo-
ralities of the place are obvious to every passen-
ger in the streets."
During the next week, hearing that Dr. Coke
was on his way to the city, the Conference pro-
tracted its session one day, in order to have him
with them. On that day he arrived, accompa-
nied by the Kev. Win. Hammet, having both
narrowly escaped drowning by shipwreck off
Edisto Island. The Doctor's preaching during
this brief visit seems to have been received with
toore forbearance by the inhabitants than pre-
viously; for "the poor sinners appeared to be a
httle tamed." Bishop Asbury preached also, with
unusual power ; and he says that in his last ser-
48 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
mou he "let out freely against :the races/' then
in full play. " " • :
Up to" this time Methodism in Charleston had
stea-dily progressed. If 'there had been no extra-
ordinary enlargement of its memberships the com-
munity had gradually become better informed as
to its principles and doctrines; and a goodly num-
ber of colored persons^ redeemed from the thral-
dom -of sin, and leading pious lives, were vindi-
cating the purity of its intentions, .and extending
its hallowed influence. It numbered", at the close
of this year, six$y-six whites, and • one' hundred
and nineteen colored.
r But at this Conference, or rather just after",
evil symptoms began to* appear, which -broke out
with alarming violence during the year. Bishop
Asbury says :'"I am somewhat* distressed at the
uneasiness of our people here, who ejaintf the right
to-dfhoose their own preachers- — a thing quite new
among Methodists. None but Mr. Hanimet will
do for them. We shall see how'it will end." '
The Rev. Wm.Hammet was b native of Ire-
land. He had been converted through the in-
MSIT^ODISM IN CHARLESTON. 49
gtrumentality of the Wesleyan preachers, and had
entered the itinerant r.anks of the British Confe-
rence. He was a man of attractive bearing, cour-
teous in his manners, and one " whose pulpit per-
formances had. acquired for him almost unrivalled
popularity." He sailed from England in 1785,
in company with Dr. Coke, as ,a missionary to
Nova Scotia. They had a fearful passage over.
For ten weeks they were driven about over the
sea, and finally were compelled to return to the
point whence the,y started. Twice they narrowly
escaped being run down by larger vessels, and
several times as narrowly escaped, shipwreck.
During this voyage Mr. Hammet proved himself
to have been prompted by the noblest , impulses.
Several times he had an opportunity to return;
but, with a noble firmness, he remained fixed in
his purpose. In one of the violent storms which
assailed the vessel, and in which they expected
every moment to sink, and when the missionaries
were offering up prayers for its. safety, " Brother
Hammet," says Dr. Coke, " was superior to us all
m. faith for the occasion. His first prayer, if. it
50 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
could be called by that name; was little less than
a declaration of the fall,- assurance he possessed
that God would deliver us; and his second address
was a thanksgiving for our deliverance."
After reembarking, the same ill fate of tempest-
uous weather attended them, and they were com-
pelled to put into the island of Antigua, whence,
after touching at other islands, they proceeded to
St. Christopher's, the place to which Dr. Coke
now appointed Mr. Hammet,
He immediately entered upon the discharge of
the duties of his mission, preaching in the court-
house to crowded audiences. A number of ■ the
first families of the place sent him pressing in-
vitations to stay with them ; and in Basse Terre,
the capital of the island, seme friends were
found who engaged to rent a house for Mr. Ham-
met, to induce him to make it his place of abode.
Here he labored faithfully and zealously, so that
three years after, when Dr. Coke again visited the
island, where at his first visit "vital religion was
totally unknown, through the indefatigable exer-
tions of this missionary, a society of seven hun-
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 51
dred members was formed, and the far greater
part appeared to be devoted to God. In addition
to this, and what was of considerable importance
to the work, two local preachers had been raised
up among .them, and their labors had been ren-
dered exceedingly beneficial." One of these last,
a Mr. Brazier, we will have occasion to speak of
After this Mr. Hammet was appointed to
Kingston, in Jamaica. But here such uninter-
rupted success did not awai| him. After meeting
with greai success and erecting a commodious
church building, attended by large congregations,
finding him in connection yith .Dr. Coke; whose
opinions are so well known upon the subject of sla-
very, the people began to persecute him severely ;
tod these measures of hostility succeeded to a
surprising extent. When Dr. Coke reached him
en his regular tour of visitation, he found Mr.
Hammet in a most deplorable condition,, through
excessive fatigue and violent opposition. Fre-
quently his very life was in imminent.peril. His
house of worship had feeea.repeatedly assailed by
52 METHODISM IN CHAELESTON.
mobs, and for weeks he had been compelled to
ask the assistance of the authorities ts defend it
by an armed force.
The papers of the island teemed with the most-
virulent calumnies against the Methodists, and
every species of falsehood that malice could frame
or ignorance credit found a ready publication^ to
poison the public- mind, and make the denomina-
tion an object ©f abhorrence. On one occasion,
about eleven o'clock at night, the mob, attacked
the church, breaking down the gates leading into
the yard, and it was only after the sternest inter-
ference of the magistrates and chief men of the
place that further violence did not ensue.' As"
an evidence of the spirit that prevailed there,
when Mr. Hammet indicted some of the most
riotous, the G-rand Jury threw out the indictment,
giving it as their opinion that both preacher and
chapel ought to be pronounced public nuisances.
From anxiety of mind and excessive fatigue, Mr.
Hammet was quite ill, and all service was sus-
pended in his church for several weeks. It be-'
came reported through the community that the
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 53
preacher. had been killed by the niob, and secretly
buried; and, so bitter was the feeling against the
oh-urch, assort of public jubilee was held over the
announcement. When this was proven false,
they continued to predict his. death, which they
seemed determined to occasion.
Mr.' Hammet's indisposition increasing, his
physicians directed his removal to the continent,
for which he set sail, in company with Dr. Coke.
Misfortune again ' attended them. They expe-
rienced a long and tempestuous voyage : in a
storm their vessel was dismantled and driven upon
Edisto Island, from which they reached Charles-
ton, just at the close of Conference, making a
large part of the journey on foot.
Allusion has been- made to some excitement in
connection with Mr. Sanimet which was becom-
ing visible just after the. Conference of 1791.
He remained in the city, preaching to the un-
bounded admiration of immense congregations,
and during the year the discontent in the church
was clearly developed. From what appeared to
be only a transient feeling of discontent, it in-
54 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
creased- to an open agitation and final secession,
which shook the church to -its centre, and well-
nigh made an entire shipwreck of Charleston
Methodism, as yet small and feeble.
Mr. Hammet, it must be Remembered, -reached
Charleston, in company with Dr. Coke, the day
after the business of the Conference had been
dispatched by that body. It was only in compli-
ment to Dr. Coke that they remained together one
day longer ; for they had heard of his shipwreck
and other misfortunes, and desired to extend to
him their sympathies, as well as do him honor.
With the rest of the Conference business, the ap-
pointments had all been arranged by Bishop As-
bury, and every preacher was ready to. enter upon
his work. Mr. Hammet preached immediately
upon his arrival, to the great delight of all ; and
before the Bishop's departure the evil symptoms
alluded to made their appearance. Although a
man of estimable traits had been appointed to la-
bor in the city, the disaffected ones were found
clamoring for Mr. Hammet's appointment among
them. This was, in every respect, a most unrea-
METHODISM IMT CHARLESTON. 55
sonable demand. Mr. Hammet was not a mem-
ber of the American Conference, but claimed bis
attachments with the British Connection • and
when asked to connect himself with Methodism
in this country, declined doing so. He therefore
did not recognize any. control which would have
been attempted over him by Bishop Asbury. Be-
sides, Conference was past: the Revs. Messrs.
Ellis and Parks had been appointed to labor in
the city ; and to have removed them after the ad-
journment of Conference, would have been gross
unkindness to them, and, also, a proceeding be-
yond all order. It was, moreover, in entire hos-
tility to Methodist ktw and usage for the congre-J
gation, in part or whole, to decide- upon iheir fa-
vorite, and demand hia appointment among them.
And with all this, no doubt Bishop Asbury found
a strong reason for declining to yield to their
demand in the bearing of the man himself : at
whose conduct we cannot but feel astounded when
we recall the scenes through which he had just
The entire proceeding, in connection with him
56 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
and his followers, seems to have been about this:
He was from, abroad, where he had, been emi-
nently successful; and where, too, he had been
almost a martyr. Here, in Charleston, he found
himself to be the "star." Persons who before
had despised the collection of "common people"
at the Methodist " Blue Meeting," now crowded
to hear the great Irish orator; and hung, -in
breathless attention, upon his lips. Some of the
more progressive in the Church of that day, over-
whelmed at this condescension of the "elite," be-
gan to think that they were baited, and now was
the time to catch them, and their demand must
be yielded to. True, it was contrary to all law
and order : true, it would be an insult to the
preachers already stationed there; but what of
that? Was not this Charleston? Should not
they be heard ?
This feeling of the people was not near so sur-
prising as the conduct of the preacher. He en-
couraged the disaffection, kept conspicuously be-
fore them his claim to preference, and finally,
enraged at the calm, firm,, dignified consistency
METHODISM* IN CHARLESTON. 57
of the Bishop, he hurled his anathemas at his
head. He assailed him through the prints of the
city in the most bitter spirit. Marvellous to
relate, he declared himself a persecuted man :
thought the American preachers had insulted
him ; complained that his name was not printed
in the minutes of the American Conference ; de-
clared that a Nota Bene cautioning the' Method-
ists in the United States against strange preach-
ers, and whitm was framed previous to his arrival
from the West Indies, was directed against him.
Finally, he declared the whole of "American
' Methodism a schism, because their preachers did
not wear gowns and powder, and because he
judged they did not pay respect enough to Mk.
Wesley. It is palpable that all these were the
merest pretests for his unjustifiable conduct.
The truth is, he had become one of those
splendid meteors who despise the ordinary rou>
tme of toil, cannot live subjected to common
law, and think they must have an eccentric
course, or rather think the , law must be made
5$ METHODISM IN CpAKLESTON.
to work eccentric, so as to let them range and
A number, some of them regarded as the most
valuable and estimable members of the church,
went with him. He set up for himself under
the title of the Primitive Methodist Church. He
preached for some time in the market-place to
large audiences ; and so great was his influence,
that in a short time he succeeded in erecting a
fine, commodious church at the corner of Hasel
street and Maiden. Lane, which he named Trin-
ity. To this also was attached a building-lot,
with a comfortable parsonage and outbuildings,
all deeded to him in person, and all free of debt.
Better, far better for his fame, had he remained
in Kingston, Jamaica, and suffered' martyrdom
from the mobs, than thus have brought disaster
to the church, and subsequent ttnhappiness to
himself and others.
" While memory lasts," says the Rev. Henry
Smith*, " I never can forget a lecture our venerable
Aabmry gave us a great many years ago, in the
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. -59
Baltimore Conference, on Popularity. He re-
lated a. ease of a Wesleyan preacher (Mr. Ham-
niet) who had been sent to one of the islands,
where he preached the gospel with the Holy
Ghost sent down from, heaven, and great was his
success; but he was very unpopular, and dread-
fully persecuted — perhaps oast into prison. But
he bore up under all this like a Methodist
^preacher; and even rejoiced that he was worthy
to suffer persecution for Christ's sake. The cli-
mate, his excessive labor, together with his suf-
ferings, soon wore him down, and he came to
America to recover his health. In this country
he became popular, very popular indeed. When
the Bishop came to this part of his history, he
closed hig eyes and raised his hand, and said,
' The breath of the people came down upon him,
and he sank !' Yes, he sank low enough.
Strange indeed that the breath of the people in
this land of liberty should prove more fatal to
the preacher than rough persecuting hands in
* Hei-oes of Methodism.
60 METHODISM IN CHABLESTON.
The Hammet schism was a most disastrous
affair for Methodism here, as yet only struggling
into life. It was felt severely, not only from the
withdrawal of so many members, some of them
the most conspicuous and influential, but also
from the feelings it engendered, and the devas-
tating influence it had upon the piety of the
membership. Mr. Hammet sent abroad letters
denouncing the. presiding eldership and other
things connected with Methodist Church govern-
ment. These were replied to by the Rev.
Thomas Morrell, then stationed in New York.
We judge, however, > that Mr. Morrell's reply
must have been rather inefficient; for Bishop
Asbftry, in alluding to the two papers, says/ "I
am not surprised that Hammet should ►find fault
with the presiding eldership : its duties he was h
man not likely to fulfil. • Had brother
Morrell known niore, he would have replied
Mr. Hammet also wrote an appeal to the Brit-
ish Conference, but of the character of its recep-
tion we have no account. He also, through the
METHODISIvr IN' CHARLESTON. 61
papers, vented his wrath against Dr. Coke, de-
nouncing him as a sacrilegious tyrant. All of
these proceedings, with their attendant excite-
ment, were enough, it would seem, to the infant
church here.' Well for them had this been their
only misfortune at this juncture.
We have mentioned the name of Beverly
Allen as having been stationed here in 1787.
Frpm that time he had been mostly in and about
Charleston; and, at. the time to which we are
about to allude, was preaching on Edisto Island,
and was possessed of much- popularity. He was
a man of elegant manners and brilliant parts,
and by these, and his marriage into one of the
first families of the low-country, had acquired an
extensive influence and wide-spread reputation
as a preacher. , About the commencement of the
Eammet' affair, suspicions of a foul nature were
raised against him : he was watched, his guilt
proven, and he was promptly expelled. Bishop
Asbury had entertained suspicions of his real
iteracter. several years previous to his detection,
62 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
and speaks of the ill-treatment he had received
After his expulsion, he too spoke bitterly
against Bishop Asbury, and repeatedly wrote to
Dr. Coke and Mr. Wesley injuriously to the
Bishop's character. Shortly after his expulsion,
Major Forsyth, United States Marshal, undertook
to serve a writ against him, upon which he made
a precipitate flight from the city. He was over-
taken by him in Augusta, and arrested. So per-
fectly affable and polite in his manners was he,
that this officer of justice mercifully declined
placing manacles upon him, and was walking
alongside of him, when they came opposite to
Allen's place of lodging. He asked and obtained
permission to go in and select a few articles of
clothing to take with him. The marshal pa-
tiently waited a proper time, and finally went to
his room, where he found him seated upon his
trunk, and when required to leave, obstinately
refused to go. The marshal insisted, and was
about to use compulsion, when Allen dared him
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 63
to attempt it, telling him it would be at the risk
of his life. He advanced toward him, when
Allen drew a pistol and shot him dead. He fled
and buried himself in the Western forests, his
devoted wife accompanying him in all of this
It is said that while this unhappy man was
flying from justice, his heart torn with fear and
remorse, he chanced to stop at a church near the
frontiers on the Sabbath day, where he found a
Calvin istic clergyman enforcing the doctrine,
" once in grace, always in grace," with the kin-
dred doctrines of election and reprobation. He
listened respectfully to the close of the discourse,
when, to the astonishment of the congregation,
with a haggard countenance, he arose and warned
them against the teachings of the sermon. He
told them he was a living proof of its falsity.
He told them of his early convictions, of his
happy conversion, and how for years he had
"walked in the light of God's countenance ; and
then he told them of his foul and grievous fall,
and in solemn accents declared that he felt the
64 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
doors of damnation ready for his reception, that
he believed there was no mercy for him, and he
did not dare to hope to be saved; and then
withdrew, leaving the whole audience deeply im-
pressed by his narrative.
A greater blow than Allen's fall, through one
man, couid scarcely have fallen upon the Church
in South Carolina, and especially the church in
Charleston. At this, time the indiscreet inter-
ference of Dr. Coke with slavery had aroused
hostility against the Church in all quarters.
Methodists were watched, ridiculed, and openly
assailed. Their churches were styled "negro-
churches," their preachers "the negro preach-
eia.*' Any slander, however vile or absurd,
about the members or preachers, or about their
church meetings, was eagerly received and as
eagerly circulated. And now in the midst of all
this, for these slanders through this conspicuous
man to have really the appearance of truth, in his
detection in the worst immorality, made it an
overwhelming calamity. Such an occurrence
could not be hidden : it flew upon the wings of
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 65
rumor, and the double crime of incest and mur-
der was exaggerated with, every repetition. The
consequences were immediate. The flourishing
society on Edisto, previously known as Cainhoy,
which was made up of the first men of that region,
was soon disbanded, and to this day the odium
of that occurrence has prevented Methodism
from ever again obtaining countenance among
It may not be uninteresting to mention the
names of the leading men of the Church at that
day, and to know also who it was among them
who stood firm in their attachment to Method-
ism, amidst the strife and excitements of the
year previous. There was one local preacher in
the society, Alexander McFarlane, afterwards
sire and grandsire to nine Methodist preachers,
seven of them now living. The stewards and
several of the leaders, as put down in the
Church book for that year, are as follows : —
Edgar Wells, who seems ever to have been fore-
most in every good word and work : A. Seaver,
I- McDowell, W Adams, J. Milne, G. Milnor,
66 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON-
W- Smith, J. Hughes, M. Moore, W Bee, B.
Lukeson, J. Cox, J. Gordon : all of them were
leaders of classes, the first five being stewards.
There was also a class led by the preachers, and
one by the local preacher. Several of the lead-
erg had charge also of a colored class, over which
they exerels&d the usual oversight, besides leading
one among the whites. Thus the preachers in
charge, Alex. McFarlane and William Smith,
had under their charge large colored classes.
It is worthy of note also that there was at that
early day a class styled, " The Young Men's
Class," and one also entered on the books as
"The Young Women's Glass." This is worthy
of special- notice, and worthy also of imitation by
those in charge of circuits and stations, where*
the thipgis practicable. 'This method of placing
together, under a proper leader, all the young
persons of the church, had a great tendency to
bring about a unity of feeling and sentiment, not
otherwise attainable, and tended to produce a
laudable emulation in liberality and piety.
The facts exhibited above give decisive indi-
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 67
cations of a wide-spread piety through the entire
society. ^ To have been able to array sixteen or
seventeen class-leaders in a society of two hun- •
dred and nineteen, white and colored, thus giv-
ing about a dozen members only to each class,
shows that there must have been very few luke-
warm or unconverted men among them, and,
therefore, there was no difficulty in finding a
large and efficient official board. It indicates
also a very general attendance upon class-meet-
ing. Each leader had only a dozen or less, and it
appears, from the statistics given in the stew-
ard's books, the far greater majority were in
regular attendance. The books show the class-
meetings to have been very punctually held:
their weekly class-collections are given, and
every interruption from the weather, or inter-
ference of love-feasts or other meetings, is care-
fully entered. The size of the classes seems to
nave been arranged upon the supposition that
a ll would attend: a very different one from the
principle that obtains in their arrangement in
some places at the present day. Some time ago,
68 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
a preacher, in the examination of a class-book of
his charge, found forty-eight names put down
in it as under the charge of one leader. Upon
declaring his intention to divide the class into at
least two, as soon as possible, he was met by this
objection from the whole official board : " Why,
sir, that will break up the class entirely ; for, as
it is, we have only five or six in attendance out
of the forty-eight ; now what will be done when
the attendance is divided into two or three ?" A
puzzling problem, truly !
It must have been with great discouragement
that the newly-appointed preacher, Daniel Smith,
entered upon his labors for the following year,
(1792,) after all the exciting events heretofore
noticed. His labors, however, appear, to have
been owned of the Lord; and when Bishop
%.sbury visited the city in December, to attend
the session of Conference there, he found them
to some extent recovering from their previous
misfortunes, and enjoying a season of revival.
He says, "I am happy to find that our principal
friends have increased in religion. that God
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 69
ftild Mess the wild and wicked inhabitants of
is city I"
Daniel Smith was returned for the year 1793,
ith Jonathan Jackson as a colleague ; Reuben
[Kg being Presiding Elder. This Was the first
ar that two preachers were stationed in the
jy to remain together the whole year. In the
evious mention of two preachers/ one only
mained as preacher in charge ; the " other
ending only a part of the year in the city.
Jonathan Jackson is represented as a real "son
thunder." He dealt but the terrors of the law
th overwhelming power, and it Was- frequently
e case under his preaching in the city, that
awful was the sense of danger that came
er the unconverted present^ they would rush
ttn.the house, fearing the immediate Vengeance
Heaven. Bishop Asbury paid them a visit
two weeks this year, doing efficient service for
e cause of Christ in preaching night and day,
d visiting from house to house'. He calls
Weston "a growing, busy, dreadfully dissi-
*ed place." He met the stewards in their
70 METHODISB T IN CHARLESTON.
weekly meetings, every other one of which was
purely spiritual, consisting of their narrations of
experience, " and opening their hearts to each
During this year the necessity for a buryiag-
ground began to be felt by the society, the lot
upon Cumberland street being too contracted for
that purpose. A subscription was set on foot
for a suitable purchase, and it was proposed also
to erect another church building upon the
newly -procured lot. The latter project, how-
ever, slumbered for several years. The subscrip-
tion for the burying^-ground was also suppressed,
for upon the trustees making application to Mr.
Bennet, (the father of ex-Governor Bennet, now
living,) to sell them the lot on the corner of Pitt
and Boundary (now Calhoun) streets, he gene-
rously deeded it to them without cost.
During the year 1793 the 1 interest of the com-
munity in the church privileges seems to have
been awakened to a surprising degree. The
number of hearers was largely increased, and
full houses were had at the week-night prayer-
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 71
meetings. Alluding to the morning service of a
Sabbath which he spent in the city, Bishop
Asbury says, " Brother Smith and myself let
loose ; and, according to custom, they [the con-
gregation] fled : they cannot, they will not,
endure sound doctrine/' From which it appears
that it had become quite common for the people,
when they found the preacher presenting the
truth clearly and forcibly, to make a general
stampede. A few days after, the Bishop left
the city, as he says, " The seat of Satan, dissipa-
tion, and folly," after appointing Joshua Cannon
and Isaac Smith to the station.
The close of this year completed the first de-
cade of Charleston Methodism. It has been
shown what peculiar difficulties, heavy disasters,
and fierce trials, the church was called to pass
through, in this brief period of its early exist-
ence. The membership numbered, at the close
°f the period, sixty-five whites, and two hundred
a ^d eighty colored. A gratifying increase from
fcaught— -when we remember, too, that by the
Hanimet schism about one half of the white
Membership were withdrawn.
72 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
Conference session— Visit and labors of Bishop Asbury — Death <5f
Mr. Wells — Death of James King — Persecutions — Erection of
Bethel Church — Tobias Gibson — Fresh persecutions — Pumping
of Mr. Dougherty — Erection of the Parsonage — Bishop Asbury 's
first visit to it — Death of Nicholas Watters.
Philip Bruce was appointed • to Charleston
for the year 1795. -He was a descendant of the
Huguenots, and had been a valiant soldier of the
Revolution. He proved himself as efficient in
battling for the Lord of hosts, as he had been in
the field of blood, fighting for the liberties of his
country. Mr. Bruce was assisted by Enoch
George — who Was afterwards made Bishop-—
James Rogers, and Henry Hill, each of whom
spent three months in the city. Bishop Asbury
also spent two months with them, preaching both
at the church and in private houses, visiting from
house to house, and regulating the affairs of the ,
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 73
society. He still complained of " the desperate
wickedness of the people/' " ignorance of God,
the playing, dancing, swearing, and racing." He
had good reason to complain of their wickedness ;
for about this time persecution ran high. He
was repeatedly openly insulted, he says, in the
streets, " with some as horrible sayings as could
come out of a creature's mouth on this side of
hell." One Sabbath evening, while the congre-
gation were quietly engaged in worship, a crowd
assailed the church/ beating open the doors, and
breaking open the windows ; but were finally in-
duced to disperse.
During this year a partial reaction seems to
have taken place among the followers of Mr.
Hammet. The names of several who went off
with him are found again recorded on the church
books. The cause is not developed. Mr. Ham-
met retained his popularity as a man and min-
ister for a number of years after the schism. Thf
labors of the preachers this year were greatly
blessed of Grod, ; A season of revival was enjoyed
throughout a considerable part of the year ; and
74 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
a goodly number of promising young persons con-
nected themselves with the church. Conference
convened in Charleston at the close of this year;
but was marked rather by a feeling of distress
and discouragement than otherwise. Early in the
session, Dr. Coke, who was with them, received
the melancholy intelligence of the burning of
Cokesbury College, with its library and appa-
ratus, involving a loss of fifty thousand dollars.
During the session of Conference, the Rev.
Henry Hill made the experiment of street-
preaching, but unsuccessfully. He stood in the
market-place on the corner of Broad and Meeting
streets, occupying the site of the present City Hall.
Just after he had succeeded in engaging the at-
tention Of a large audience, a posse of the city
guard was delegated to stop him. The attempt,
however, had the effect of attracting a large con-
gregation to the Methodist church that night,
which for the most part listened respectfully.
Bishop Asbury spent January and February
here, occupying every moment in faithful toil, and
improving every possible opportunity of doing
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 75
good. He mentions on one occasion holding
prayer-meeting for the blacks in Mr. "Wells's
kitchen, while one of the preachers conducted
the love-feast for the whites in the parlor. Dur-
ing his stay in the city, though weighed down
by infirmities — being considerable part of the
time in the doctor's hands — he preached eighteen
sermons, met all the classes, black and white, fif-
teen in number, wrote eighty letters on church
business, read several volumes of books through,
and visited thirty families again and again ; and
yet he is found lamenting his want of zeal and
Benjamin Blanton was appointed to Charleston
in 1796. He labored alone the whole year, but
with gratifying success ; for at the close of the
year a large increase in the membership was re-
We find Charleston for the year 1797 united
With Georgetown, and Benjamin Blanton, John
•N- Jones, and James King, the preachers ap^-
pomted to the joint station. It was a year of
s Peeial affliction to the church in Charleston.
76 METHODISM JN CHARLESTON.
While Conference was yet in session, Mr. Edgar
Wells, who had been feeble for some time, was
stricken down by severe disease. About fourteen
months previous to this, he seems to have had
his soul blessed to an extraordinary degree, and
to have been more than ever given up to the work
of God. Any service that he could render to the
church, he most cheerfully afforded; and, though
harassed by difficulties of a mercantile character,
he found much time to devote to the church,
while he was a proverb of liberality. Bishop
Asbury was in the city during his illness, and
visited him frequently ; but despite the attentions
of physicians, and the prayers of the pious, he
gradually sank, until death relieved him of his
sufferings. He made a most peaceful end, and
was followed to the grave by nearly all the mem-
bers of the grieved and stricken church. Dr.
Coke read the funeral service, and pronounced
an oration at the grave, and Bishop Asbury, on
the following Sabbath, preached his funeral
discourse, from Rev. i. 10. He was buried in
a small piece of ground attached to Cumber-
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 77
fend Church. A plain marble slab, containing the
following inscription, marks his last resting-place :
" Sacred to the memory
MR. EDGAR WELLS,
whose dear remains lie under this
marble, a beloved and never to be forgotten
He departed this life, Jan. 17th, 1797,
aged 44 years.
Amongst Husbands, Brothers, Fathers, and Parents,
he had few equals.
Ever ready for all the duties of piety,
his carriage toward all mankind
was eminently benevolent."
During the year 1797, they had not only to
lament the loss of their most efficient member,
Edgar Wells, but in the summer the yellow-fever
broke out with violence, and James King, the
junior preacher, was attacked by it, and after a
short illness passed peacefully away. He was a
young man of great zeal, excellent sense, and of
attractive appearance in the pulpit. He was of
the age of only twenty-four when he died : the
first martyr to this fatal epidemic among the
Preachers sent to Charleston.
78 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
The church this year was still called to suffer
much annoyance from rioters and mobs. On one
occasion, a young Scotchman deliberately com-
menced an uproar in the church during service,
by shouting out in a loud voice, and struck three
or four men while being taken out of doors. This
outrage was too flagrant to be passed over in
silence, and he was indicted by the official board ;
but the Grand Jury refused to find a bill against
him. For a long time after this, every night the
services were interrupted by riotous proceedings
outside; and the congregation, while in-doors,
and especially when dispersing, were grossly in-
sulted, because their cowardly assailants felt they
could do it with impunity.
The writer, as a native of Charleston, is sorry
to be compelled to record these disgraceful pro-
ceedings ; and he must confess that it excites in
his mind no small feeling of contempt for the
leading men of the community of that day, who,
ignorant of any thing to be alleged against an
unoffending people, except that they were called
Methodists, would jsuffer them thus to be hope-
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 79
lessly trampled upon and injured. The sum and
substance of their crimes was, that they preached
without gowns, sang without organs, and worship
ped without a steeple to their church building;
and that, though wanting these, people were con-
verted and made better. But, thank God! amidst
it all, they were undaunted; for, be it known,
difficulties must be nothing short of insurmount-
able that will stop the progress of the Methodists.
They have everywhere sustained the character
given them in the Charleston Court, by one of
the State Judges, several years after. A similar
occurrence to the one just mentioned had called
tor the interference, of the law, and during the
proceedings the counsel of the defendants com-
menced a bitter onslaught upon the Methodists.
v Stop," . said the venerable Judge, raising his
hand, " I have watched these Methodists for many
years, and I have ever found them like the
calves mentioned in Ezekiel's vision — they never
■Notwithstanding the discouragements they were
called to meet with this year, with a true progres-
80 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
sive spirit, they determined upon the erection of
another church upon their recently acquired lot in
Pitt street. I have before me the " Minutes of a
meeting, and resolutions entered into by the Min-
isters and Stewards of the Society of a People
called Methodists, in Cumberland street, Charles-
ton, S. C, which aforesaid Society is in con-
nection with the general body of the Methodist
Episcopal Church in the United States of Amer-
ica, Feb. 14th, 1797."
At this meeting, Francis Sutherland, G-. H.
Myers^ Wm. Smith, and Alex. McFarlane, were
appointed a committee to act with the preachers
in collecting money and soliciting subscriptions,
and to act as a building committee in the erection
of the house. Bishop Asbury presided at this
meeting. At a subsequent meeting, it was "Re-
solved, first, That when we can get a carpenter we
will undertake td build a house, forty by sixty
feet. Second,. That the name of the house shall
be Bethel, the Hebrew word for the house of
God." The first resolution was afterwards quali-
fied to read, "As soon as three hundred pounds
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 83
can be raised, supposing the building to cost six
The building was occupied during the next
year. Only the outside of the building was up
at the time of its dedication : it was not lathed
nor plastered until eleven years afterward. Ben-
jamin Blanton, the presiding elder, preached the
dedicatory sermon, to a crowded congregation.
He preached his discourse from a platform of rough
plank — the pulpit as yet not being erected. The
formidable sounding-board which hung over the
pulpit, a terror to very tall men, and to the child-
ren in windy weather, lest, as it swayed to and
fro, it might crush the unlucky one underneath,
was a modern innovation — a real foreign importa-
tion. It was not swung into its position until the
erection of the new Scotch Presbyterian Church,
and was purchased from the old building.
A large increase of colored members was re-
ported at the end of the year. At its close Con-
ference assembled in Charleston ; but Bishop As-
kwy-was unable to attend, and Jonathan Jackson
Presided, assisted by Jesse Lee. John N. Jones
84 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
and Tobias Gibson were sent to the city. The
latter was a native of South Carolina, and a man of
superior parts, and the one just then needed in
their effort of Church extension. Though pos-
sessing a property sufficient to give him an ample
support, he left the ease and comforts of home,
to brave the dangers, and submit to the odium,
and undergo the toils, of an itinerant preacher's
life. He was handsome in person, in manners
soft and affectionate and agreeable.
Some idea may be formed of his perseverance
in duty from the following : Shortly after his ap-
pointment in Charleston, he was sent to labor as a
missionary to Natchez and the adjoining country.
After travelling six hundred miles to the Cumber-
land river, finding his progress impeded by the
lameness or death of his horse, he took a canoe
and put his saddle and equipage on board, and, all
alone, paddled himself out of the Cumberland
into the Ohio river, and made a passage of eight
hundred miles through the meanderings of that 1
great stream. It is no wonder that a man po 8 '
sessed of such an earnest spirit should have been
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 85
successful in Charleston, though, daily discourage-
ment awaited him.
Mr. Jones was a man of feeble constitution,
and was sent to labor in Charleston) when unable
to undergo the fatigues of circuit work. He was
a man of great zeal, a fervent preacher, primitive
in his manners and appearance. Soon after -en-
tering upon his work here he was seized with se-
vere illness, and entered joyfully into his reward.
.Thus, for two years successively, the church in
'Charleston was called to mourn the death of its
Nothing worthy of special note occurred dur-
ing the year 1799. John Harper, the father of
■Chancellor Harper, so widely known through the
State, and Nicholas Snethen, afterwards the re-
nowned preacher of the Methodist Protestant
Church, were the stationed preachers. The
Church seems to have had some rest this year
from mobs and violence, under their administra-
tion. John Harper's name is upon the minutes
for three years successively. He was among the
f ew upon whom this honor was conferred — for
86 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
we suppose it should be regarded as Such — pre-
vious to the establishment of the Disciplinary
limitation, restricting the length of any pastorate
to two years.
Mr. Harper was returned the following year,
with George Dougherty as preacher in charge.
Mr. Dougherty was a man of much affliction.
He was tall and slender, disfigured in the face
by small-pox, by an attack of which he lost
one of his eyes : he was also of a consumptive
habit. He possessed uncommon fortitude, and
"his mind and memory were exceeding capa-
cious. He was possessed of a fund of knowledge.
It seemed as if he retained the substance of all he
heard or read. He was plain, sentimental, and
pointed in all of his pulpit discourses." These
men labored faithfully and acceptably during the
year, and at its end were both returned to the
same field of labor.
During the year 1800 the hostility to the
Methodists assumed a graver and more violent
aspect than at any time previous, and the rest
and quiet they had enjoyed- was only the prelude
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 87
to more flagrant insults and more open outrages.
During the Conference of 1800, the church ser-
vices were repeatedly interrupted by rioters, and
Bishop Asbury was frequently insulted by these
outlaws. On one occasion, knowing that he was
to preach at Cumberland, they gathered in large
numbers at the door and awaited his Coming, and
when he appeared, and while entering the build-
ing, they greeted him with sneers, hurrahs, and
Not long after Conference, and shortly after
the Bishop left the city, John Harper, one of the
stationed preachers, received a package from one
of the Northern societies or Conferences, con-
taining resolutions from that body to memorialize
the Legislatures of the Southern States to abolish
slavery in the commonwealths represented by
them. Upon Mr. Harper's finding them filled
with undisguised abolitionism, he declined letting
any one see them, and carefully stowed them
away. It appears, however, that a local preacher
of Mr. Hamme't's churchy on terms of intimacy
With Mr. Harper, hearing of the reception of
88 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
these pamphlets, begged, as a special favor, that
he might he permitted to see one of them. Mr.
Harper gave him one, but not without suitable pre-
cautions, and with the promise that, no one else
should see it. This gentleman, astonished at the
boldness of the measures proposed in the papers,
thought it no harm to confide his pamphlet to a
friend of his, who felt under no obligation to
keep it secret. - Soon the wildest reports about
the abolitionists and the Methodist preachers
spread over the city. The Intendant soon heard
of it, and . promptly called upon Mr. Harper,
who stated the case as it really was, and, to con-
vince the Intendant that no harm should follow
their introduction, threw them into the fire while
he was present. He left apparently quite satis-
fied of the preacher's loyalty.
But they were Methodist preachers, and were
not therefore to be allowed thus to escape. Here
was a fine pretext for the young bloods of Charles-
ton to display , their chivalry, and a large mob
collected around Cumberland Church the follow-
ing Sunday night, prepared to undertake sum-
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 89
jnary measures. Being very brave young gen-
tlemen, they selected the night-time for their
deeds of daring. They seized Mr. Harper com-
ing out of church, and were carrying him in
triumph down Meeting street, when they were
confronted by the city guard, and, in the confu-
sion of the moment, his friends dexterously extri-
cated him, and led him to a neighboring house.
The rage of the mob, upon discovering the escape
of their victim, was, of course, intense. Fists
were clenched, lips bit, and the Methodist Church
in general, and the preachers in particular, were,
in their imprecations, consigned to a very dread-
Their blood was up, and, upon holding a council
of war, it was determined to catch the so-called
villain, or some of his crowd, the night following.
Mr. Dougherty led the prayer-meeting, and, as
one Methodist preacher in their eyes was as good
or rather as bad as another, he was seized by the
tttob, and, though winter-time, and he a man of
feeble health, they thrust him under a spout near
the church, and pumped him almost to drowning.
90 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
In the midst of their work of cruelty, while some
of the members in affright had fled, and others
stood by, unable to give assistance, a Mrs. Kug-
ley rushed into their midst, and, tearing off her
apron, pushed it into the pump-spout, and com-
manded them to desist. At the same time, a
gentleman, forcing his way into the midst, sword
in hand, threatened death to any one who should
touch Mr. Dougherty's person. The crowd of
patriotic bullies, as might be anticipated, in-
stantly made a precipitate retreat.
Mr. Dougherty never recovered from the ill-
treatment of that terrible night. It precipitated
the disease to which his lungs were predisposed,
and shortly afterward he made a triumphant end.
The whole affair was as unreasonable as it was
cruel and disgraceful. It was preposterous to
suppose that Messrs. Harper and Dougherty, born
and brought up and spending their whole lives
on . the soil of Carolina, in the very heart of the
institution — the jealousy about which gave them
so much trouble — would have meditated mischief
to their own homes. " There is one fact more/'
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 91
gays Bishop Andrew in his mention of this oc-
currence, "connected with the history of this
business which deserves to be noticed. Of all
the principal leaders in this outrageous proceed-
ing, not one prospered afterwards. Most of them
died miserable deaths in a short time. One of
them lived some time,. only to feel and acknow-
ledge that the curse of God was upon him for his
conduct to that good man."
- The next year Charleston missed its annual
festival, as the Conference was held in Camden.
Bishop Asbury, however, visited the city just
after the close of the Conference, and, reaching
it on Saturday night, preached once on the Sab-
bath, and administered Baptism and the Lord's
Supper. John Garvin and Benjamin Jones were
the preachers sent to labor that year in the city.
Of Mr. Garvin's character and labors we have
but little account, and he located at the following
Benjamin Jones was a native Carolinian, "of
Sl gnal solemnity of countenance and manner,
deeply serious, of gentle mind and Christian
92 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
spirit, having always walked as the Christian and
minister." Shortly after his appointment to
Charleston, he was drowned in an inlet of Wac-
camaw Lake, having fallen into it, as supposed,
in convulsions, as he had been several times at-
tacked with them.
During this year the trustees determined to
build a parsonage upon the vacant part of the lot
occupied by Bethel Church. This appears to
have been quietly accomplished from funds in
hand, without specially soliciting aid from with-
out, showing their affairs to have been managed
with praiseworthy discretion. It is not the least
remarkable thing connected with the early his-
tory of Methodism in Charleston, that they moved
along with so much ease in money matters, yet
exercising great liberality.
Bishop Asbury, upon paying a brief visit to
the city towards the end of the year, was per-
mitted, among the first, to occupy the new parson-
age. He seems to have enjoyed the ease and
quiet of his new home very much. He says, "I
continued a week in Charleston, lodging in our
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 93
own house near Bethel, receiving my visitors,
ministers and people, white, and black, and yel-
low. It was a paradise to me and some others ;"
and afterwards adds, "Who knows what God
may yet do for wicked Charleston?" As few of
the preachers of that day had families, the stew-
ards provided a housekeeper.
The account given of Bishop Asbury's first
visit to the parsonage is characteristic of the
man. The building had been completed for
some time, but no step had. been taken toward
supplying it with furniture. The old gentle-
man had heard of its erection and completion,
and when he reached the city, passing by his old
stopping-places, he went directly to the parson-
age, where he hitched his horse, took his saddle-
tags and put them in one of the rooms, and
gravely sat down upon the door-step, no one
knowing of his arrival. A negro man passing
observed him sitting there, and recognizing him
to be the Bishop, stopped, and told him no one
h ved there. "I know that/' said the Bishop.
"here do you want to go, sir? I will show you
94 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
the way." "I want to go nowhere," said the
Bishop : "I will spend the night here." The
negro started off and informed several of the
members of the church of the Bishop's arrival,
and of his intention to .stay at the parsonage.
Soon a number of his friendjg waited on him, and
found him still sitting there, reading his Bible,
and quite at home. "Come, Bishop," said one
and another, "come, go home with us." "I
cannot," said he : " this is the parsonage, and I
desire to stay here." " But there is nothing in
the house : you cannot stay here," they said. "I
do not need much," he replied. "Well," said
they, "if you will stay, we must try and make
you comfortable." So away they went, one soon
bringing a bed, another a bedstead, chairs and
tables and kitchen utensils, until they had two
rooms^-one in which to sleep, and the other in
whieh to receive visitors — with the kitchen, com-"
fortably furnished. This was the object of this
observant man, and soon the preachers were abl e
to move in and take possession.
The good old man called his new home a pai" a "
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 95
dise; for he was able there, untrammelled by forms
or customs, to manage things his own way, and,
as far as possible, make a paradise below, by con-
stant communion with his God. Kising at four in
the morning, the call was sounded for family wor-
ship. This was attended regularly for years by a
number of persons, who were themselves among
irreligious families, or who were otherwise cut off
from this privilege ; also, by a number of colored
•persons ; so that often at family prayer at the par-
sonage, there would be an assembly of forty or
fifty persons, and that between the hours of four
and five in the morning, showing a love for this
precious privilege quite in contrast with some
toore modern Methodists.
When persons called through the day, the
"Bishop generally conversed upon religious sub-
jects, frequently holding miniature class-meetings.
Before they left he generally prayed with them, so
that twelve or fourteen times a day the voice of
prayer went up from this house, rendered memo-
ra -ble by his frequent residence within it.
Bennet Kendrick and Thomas Barley labored
96 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
here during 1803. Bennet Kendriek was re-
garded as one of the choice preachers of the Con-
nection. He was quite young, yet he filled in
succession the important stations of Wilmington,
Columbia, and Charleston. He was remarkably
plain in his manners and dress — entirely free from
any thing like the affected gentleman — yet bland,
courteous and dignified, as equally free from the
levity of youth. He was a close student, and a
skilful, eloquent preacher; and, with it all, per-
haps his highest eulogy is, " The poor Africans
repeated his name and death with tears. He was
a willing servant to slaves for the sake of Christ."
His qualifications, spiritual and mental, for the
duties of a Methodist preacher, can well be esti-
mated from the circumstance that, though so
young, he was appointed to fill the place of George
Dougherty as Presiding Elder on the Camden Dis-
trict, whose loss was regarded as irreparable.
His colleague, Thomas Darley, was a rough-
hewn son of nature. He had been, for several
years before his conversion and entrance into the
ministry, a seaman; and, as a preacher, he ^
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 97
Characterized by all the frankness, candor, and
generosity of the sailor.
The Conference of 1804, held in the city of
Augusta, appointed Nicholas "Watters to labor with
Bennet Kendrick, who was returned. The first,
though a sensible, well-informed man, was not a
ready speaker ; but this deficiency in the pulpit
was more than supplied by his untiring labors as
% pastor. His memory was embalmed in the hearts
of many, around whose bedside he waited, minis-
tering to them the word of life, and affording com-
fort in the hour of affliction and bereavement.
Early in the summer the yellow-fever broke out,
and from frequent contact with it he soon con-
tracted it, which, with a constitution then feeble,
soon bore him from his scene of labor.
Thus fell the second martyr to this dire-
ful plague among the Methodist preachers in
During the ten years just notieed, there was a
decrease of three white members ; and, as it in-
cludes the period of most violent open hostility to
the church, this should go far toward convincing
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
those who think that persecution is the time most
favorable for the growth of the Church, that they
may be mistaken. The colored membership,
however, continued to increase with a steady
growth. They averaged, during this decade, a
yearly increase of sixty-two ; so that at the close
of the year 1804, they numbered nine hundred
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 99
J. H. Mellard — Measures to repress disturbances — Cranmer and
Brady — Mr. Owens and the mob — Arrest of the congregation by
the military — Bichmond Nolley — Dr. Capers — Singular incident
—Illness of F. Ward — Measures for building a brick church—
S. Dunwody and J. B. Glenn.
Conference again assembled in Charleston at
the close of 1804. A good state of feeling was
developed during the session, the preachers left
with a general feeling of satisfaction, and the
church seemed much encouraged. Buddy W
Wheeler and James H. Mellard were appointed
to labor in the city. Their labors were crowned
with considerable success.
James H. Mellard 'is widely known through
the South by the older members of the church.
He survived most of his compeers, and died while
the author was yet employed on this little work.
He ^as in person small, thin, and pale, with an
100 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
open countenance, cheerful and pleasant to all,
and possessed of great tenderness of soul. He
was an energetic, and often an eloquent and pow-
erful preacher; and one that knew not the fear
of man in the proclamation of truth. It is re-
lated of him, when stationed at Georgetown, and
while yet young in the ministry, upon finding the
congregation small, he determined to go into the
highways and seek for hearers. Accordingly,
without previous notice, one Sabbath morning he
was found near the river, standing on a platform,
at the hour of worship, ready to conduct public
service. A large crowd were immediately at-
tracted by this novel" proceeding. Some wicked
men of the place determined, if possible, to make
him desist, and, dressed in old uniforms, they ap-
peared on the street, shouting, hallooing, beating
a drum, and blowing a bugle. Finding that he
noticed this no more than the music of t Qe
waves at his feet, they threatened to throw hi©
into the river ; but, with a wonderful indifference,
he proceeded in his preaching, and deliberately
closed the service and went home. He never
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 101
wanted for a congregation after that; and during
the year, a powerful revival of religion took place
under his ministry, by which the church there
was established on a firm and respectable footing.
He died 18th November, 1855, in great peace.
Lewis Myers and Levi G-arretson were ap-
pointed to labor in Charleston for the year 1806.
The latter left at the commencement of the sickly
Mr. Myers was a man of sound judgment,
deep piety, and warmly attached to all the pecu-
liarities, or rather excellences, of Methodism. He
was a very laborious man and successful preacher.
During this year Cumberland Church was
lengthened twenty feet, and Bethel received its
first coat of paint. It was also determined to en-
large the parsonage, and purchase another burial
lot, the one on Pitt street having this year, by a
resolution of the trustees, been divided, and the
southern half devoted to burial purposes for the
The oflicial board seem not until this year to
a ve become fully awake to the importance of
102 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
suppressing the riots around Cumberland Church,
and the maintenance of their civil privileges.
We find upon their books the following record :
" Whereas, there have been lately* very great
disorders by many troublesome persons, who have
frequently attended, on preaching and prayer-
meeting nights, at Cumberland Church for the
purpose of disturbing the congregation ; therefore,
Resolved, That any persons, members or other-
wise, who attend the congregations, and are
suitable persons, who will volunteer in the busi-
ness, shall be united into a body or society for
the purpose of watching and suppressing, by all
possible lawful measures, all such riots or dis-
orders. Also, Resolved, That said society shall
be appointed by the corporation, and act under
the authority of the same.
(Signed,) "Amos Pillsbury."
It was not an unwise proceeding to solicit the
aid of persons out of the church; for the first
effectual step towards bringing about good order
was, we believe, the work of one of this class-
His name was Cranmer. He regularly attended
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 103
the church for some time, and, though wicked
and thoughtless about religion, he seemed always
to find a pleasure in the services. He was a man
of powerful frame, and withal no coward; and
was fully prepared to defend any one or any thing
to which he took a fancy.
On a certain Sabbath, a man by the name of
Brady came into the church. He was probably
one of the leaders' in the church riots, and one
who professed sovereign contempt for the Method-
ists. He commenced a series of antics, by which
the congregation was greatly annoyed. Cran-
mer, who happened to be in attendance that day,
left his seat, and placed himself alongside the
disturber, and in a whisper directed him to be-
have himself. Brady paid no attention to his
requirement, and began to make himself more
conspicuous : whenj to his amazement, Cranmer
deliberately laid hold of him, and, despite his
e fforts to the contrary, coolly took him out of
doors ; and upon Brady's continuing obstreperous,
ae gave him the necessary dressing, and left him
a Qiazingly cool. Of course, Brady, having before
104 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
him the example of his illustrious predecessors,
gave vent to the usual amount of boasting and
terrible threatening; but it got out that the
Methodists had begun to fight for their rights,
which, for a time, seemed to check the valor of
the persecuting knights. Cranmer, as long as he
continued punctual at church, was really a terror
Jonathan Jackson and William Owens were
the preachers for 1807. Of the first we have
already made mention. William Owens appears
to have been a man of general amiability, firm-
ness, and good sense.
During this year, with all their previous efforts
to maintain tranquillity in their congregations)
they were once threatened with the repetition of
the Dougherty tragedy in the person of Mr.
Owens, which, however, ended in quite a farce, at
least in the estimation of the beholders. It was
at a Monday night prayer-meeting in Cumberland*
the church, as was usual on such occasions, being
quite crowded, a couple of young men bega n
some very improper conduct. Mr. Owens mildly
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 105
reproved them, but they took it in high dudgeon.
We judge that Cranmer must have been absent;
for after meeting, assisted by a crowd, they seized
Mr. Owens in the aisle, and theery was, "Pump
him." Some, probably from fear of consequen-
ces, said an apology would be sufficient, and
finally the crowd separated into two parties, the
one crying, "Pump him," the other, "Let him
apologize." In the midst of the uproar, both
parties trying to make themselves heard, and each
trying to prove itself the strongest, Mr. Owens
made his escape, and safely reached home. Mean-
while, the two parties of the mob proceeded from
words to blows ; and, scattered in pairs down the
street, there were probably fifteen or twenty couple
of zealous young men beating each other about they
hardly knew what. In the intervening time, some
°ue ran to the guard-house and informed the In-
tendant of the uproar down the street. He sent
^°wn a posse of the city guard, who came upon
''hem in the midst of their bloody engagement,
aQ d landed them safely in the calaboose. We are
a °t informed which side proved itself in the
106 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
ascendent ; certain it is that Mr. Owens was never
pumped, neither did he apologize.
We must not judge, however, from the cir-
cumstance of the interference of the city guard
on this occasion, that the authorities were any
more favorably disposed towards the church than
previously. Indeed, from appearances, it would
seem as if they were then more determined than
ever to subject their congregations to annoyance
and alarm. On a Sabbath afternoon of this yeat,
while Jonathan Jackson was preaching at Bethel,
to the amazement of the assembly, a large body
of the city guard, in full uniform, and armed
with . muskets, surrounded the building. The
blacks had become so subject to annoyance at
Cumberland, that they preferred to attend Bethel;
which thus so far had not seemed to attract much
attention from the rioters. The church, as was
always the case on Sabbath afternoon, was crowded
with blacks. Having thus formally laid' siege ■*>
the house, the captain of the detachment, blazing
in a full uniform, walked in, sword in hand, a» d
demanded the dispersion of the congregation'
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 107
But it was not necessary to make this formal de-
mand. The clatter of arms had already aroused
the fears of the blacks, who, with indiscreet haste,
rushed down the stairs, and tumbled themselves
from the gallery windows ; but emerged into the
street and graveyard only to find themselves cap-
tured. Then, in a hollow square, as felons or in-
cendiaries, they were deposited en masse in what
was then popularly known as the " Sugar House."
Singular to state, no reason was ever assigned for
this outrage, nor any explanation given for this
We have again to add, that it seemed enough
for the public to know it was a Methodist church
to render any thing of the kind altogether reason-
able. We may judge what an impression was
toade on the public mind by the presentation of
Su ch a scene during the quiet of a Sabbath day,
a nd that, too, under sanction of the authorities.
^ s no explanation was ever given to the public,
°* course they were left to conjecture any
tri ghtful cause that their imaginations would
108 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
Bishop Asbury, about this time, seems to have
become quite discouraged as to the prospects of
Methodism in Charleston. He says : " I doubt
if in Charleston we have joined more than one
hundred and seventy-eight members of the fair
skin in twenty years, and seldom are there more
than fifty or sixty returned : death, desertion, and
backsliding : poor fickle souls, unstable as water,
light as air, bodies and minds."
It is worthy of remark, however, that with this
discouraging aspect of things, a year' seldom
passed without a season of revival being enjoyed
by the church. The Bishop does not make men-
tion of the numbers who, converted and brought
under religious convictions in the Methodist
church, connected themselves with other com*
munions. It would be an interesting table of
statistics, could we by any means reach the figures
in the case. The crowded audiences who so con-
stantly attended the Methodist meetings were fre-
quently moved under their earnest appeals, but;
unwilling to identify themselves with those wh°
were the instruments of their salvation, the?
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 109
joined other churches. Methodism in Charleston
may have lived to see herself outstripped by
other churches in the number of church or-
ganizations, but not in the number of converts.
In the rapid extension of other denominations
here, no one will deny that Methodism has been
an efficient agent.
William Phoebus and John McVean were sta-
tioned in the city in 1808. The former was a
man of fine pulpit talents, as he was of handsome
personal appearance, and afterwards filled various
important stations in the New York Conference.
Mr. McVean was regarded as an eccentric char-
acter : he subsequently gave decided evidences
of mental derangement.
This was a year of great prosperity to the
church: a powerful revival took place early in
the year, extending through several months. A
large increase in the membership was reported at
its close, and the church in all its departments
^as in a flourishing state. A number who
joined about this time, became afterwards the
ttiost faithful and influential of the church mem-
110 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
bers : a few, but very few, survive, venerable in
years, the remnant of early days.
At the close of the year,. Conference again con-
vened in the city, and was attended by Bishopg
Asbury and McKendree. A gracious influence
attended its session, mtich of the preaching being
of a powerful and impressive character.
We begin now to reach names familiar to us
all. Samuel Mills and William M. Kennedy suc-
ceeded to the station, presenting quite a contrast
in manners and appearance. The one was a
thin, spare man, of consumptive appearance:
the other stout-built, erect in his carriage, and
fresh and healthy in his appearance. The one
was of a stern and solemn countenance, serums
always in his bearing and intercourse : the other
of a lively, cheerful aspect, pleasing and affable
to all, ever ready with bis lively anecdotes and
dry wit to provoke a smile from the gravest.
The one was emphatically a rigid disciplinarian,
bordering upon extreme severity in his adminis-
tration of church law : the other mild, tender?
and forbearing. Both were faithful pastors, both
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. Ill
highly esteemed, and to this day their praise is
in all the churches.
The year following, William M. Kennedy was
returned as preacher in charge, with Thomas
Mason and Richmond Nolley as junior preachers.
Thomas Mason was in his preaching always
lively, often powerful : he was much beloved,
and his active, zealous pulpit ministrations com-
manded large audiences.
Richmond Nolley was a young man, tall, thin,
and delicate in appearance. He was extremely
diffident, but beloved as .a man of great holiness
and faithfulness. He was exceedingly timid in
the pulpit, and frequently after reading his text
would close his eyes and preach his entire sermon
Without once opening them. He was possessed,,
however, of remarkable energy, as was displayed in
his subsequent career. Not long after the close
°* bis labors in Charleston, he volunteered as a
Missionary to the frontiers, where, after several
years of faithful and successful labor, he fell a
Martyr to his work. He had attempted in the
e P ta of winter to ford one of the tributaries of
112 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
the Mississippi, then swollen in a freshet, when
his horse was swept from under him and carried
down the stream. He swam to the shore, and
after walking a long distance, feeling overcome
by fatigue and cold, he knelt down and com-
mended his soul to God ; and in that attitude
was found a corpse. Wherever he labored he
was much beloved, and his death has long been
a watchword to the missionaries of the Western
wilds in their attempts to push forward the vic-
tories of the cross.
The Charleston churches, during the adminis-
tration of Messrs. Kennedy, Mason, and Nolley,
were again visited by a powerful revival, and
peace and prosperity reigned throughout their
They were succeeded by William Capers and
William S. Talley, with Francis Ward as
preacher in charge. The last was a man of
pleasing manners, excellent preaching talents,
and he was also a faithful pastor. William S. Tal-
ley was of easy, gentlemanly bearing, an excel-
lent preacher, and diligent in visiting from house
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 113
to house. It was only the third year of William
Capers's ministry when sent to the city, yet his
preaching, from its eloquence and earnestness,
with his youthful appearance and pious zeal, pro-
duced a profound sensation. Large audiences
crowded to hear him, and many and lasting im-
pressions for good were made.
During this year a novel incident occurred
with William Capers, and one that for a time
was painful and alarming to him ; for we must
remember that at the time of its occurrence, in
addition to his youth, it was his first appointment
in the city. One day, while busy in his study,
a handsome equipage made its appearance at
the parsonage gate, and a finely-attired female
Was handed out by a liveried footman. She was
shown to the parlor, and upon her inquiring for
Mr. Capers, he was called. In a bland, ladylike
banner, she stated that she had called upon him
to request his attendance at her house to conduct
the funeral services of a young lady, an orphan
Whom she had befriended, but who had died pre-
maturely of consumption. He signified his will-
114 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
ingness to attend, and she left, telling him the
carriage should be in waiting at the hour speci-
fied. He arrived at the house, which even to
his unsuspecting mind seemed to' have a singular
if not questionable appearance. He was con-
ducted up stairs, where in truth he found the
corpse of a young woman; but judge of his
horror when he discovered that he at the same
time had been betrayed into a house of ill-fame ;
for around the room, in disgusting array, were
Beated the unfortunate inmates of this vestibule
His first instinct was to make an unceremo-
nious retreat ; but, upon reflection, he concluded-
that all the proper dictates of humanity were to
extend to the unfortunate creature before him
the rites of burial. After taking his position
near the corpse, he stated to those present that
he had been unknowingly brought within a
building which, if its character had been known,
he could never have entered, at least thus unat-
tended ; but he may have been allowed to enter
there through. the merciful providence of God,
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 115
to offer them salvation through Christ, and to
stop their certain passage to darkness and damna-
tion. With streaming eyes, an overflowing heart,
and an eloquent tongue, he preached to them
Jesus and the resurrection, warned them of their
impending danger, pointed to the horror of their
course, and besought them to abandon their life
of wretchedness and crime, and> to flee from the
wrath to come. And, amid the bitter tears of
his audience, previously lost to shame or remorse,
he read the funeral service, and retired.
In January, 1812, Bishop Asbury made a
brief visit to Charleston, preaching twice. Fran-
cis Ward was returned, and Jacob Humph as
Francis Ward, about the middle of. the year,
was seized with severe fever, which terminated
m dropsy, from which he never recovered. He
remained, however, on his work until the close of
Jacob Rumph, his co-laborer, is represented as
"abstemious, steady, studious, and uniform,
touch in prayer and meditation, in discipline
116 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
strict and persevering." In September he was
taken ill of bilious fever, at that time common to
the climate of Charleston, and, despite the atten-
tions of physicians and friends, it terminated
fatally in a few days. He was much lamented,
especially by the children ; for he was remark-
able for his attentions to the young of all his
Notwithstanding the sickness of the senior and
death of the junior preacher, this year was only
second to the previous year in prosperity to the
church. The year 1811 was a more prosperous
year among the whites than any previous one.
A powerful religious influence rested upon the
congregations during the year, and at its close
an increase was ireported of eighty-one whites
and four hundred and fifteen colored members.
During this year, also, an important step was
taken toward church-extension. At a meeting
of the male members, at which Bishop Asbury
presided, it was resolved to open subscriptions
toward the erection of a commodious brick
church in a central part of the city, so that *
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 117
more permanent building might be secured to
their growing congregations than they then
Among their proceedings in connection with
this movement, we find the following record :
■ " Upon a retrospect of our temporal affairs, we
think, first, that there has been great attention
paid our temporal concerns ; that they who have
served us deserve great credit for their fru-
gality and economy ; that we have done the best
we could, as circumstances have been; but we
think that houses made of wood are only tempo-
rary buildings, subject to waste and decay, and
that in a very short time. A brick house
properly built may last one or two hundred years,
besides its security against fire. We think the
society in Charleston should not stand back more
than in other cities — that they ought to have at
least one permanent house. Bethel was designed
for a relief, and so it is, but it is in too remote a
situation to be any thing more. Cumberland,
though it be very accessible to the centre of the
c %> is dangerously situated. We marked with
118 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
serious concern the near approach of the late
" When we consider the increase of our con-
gregations and our societies, and the good
effects resulting from the night lectures, (a prac-
tice peculiarly ours,) in drawing hundreds to our
ministry when other churches are shut up, we
think we should enlarge our borders, we should
make them room, we should build another
house. And that we. may not be continually
taxed in repairs, in enlargement, etc., we will
build a house of brick, eighty-four by sixty-two,
two stories high.
"Finally, as this is a business of magnitude
and importance, we cannot expect it very soon
completed ; but it must have a beginning. We
lay it before the society: we will enter into it
with zeal and faith, and, under the present and
promised favorable circumstances, a short term
of years will complete it.
"Francis Asbury, CJiavrman.
"Wm. Capers, Secretary."
We have been thus careful to give a copious.
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 119
extract of this part of the proceedings, to show
the policy of the early trustees and preachers,
directed by the venerable Bishop Asbury. Some
have erroneously conceived that the fathers of
the Church scarcely ever looked to the permanent
and enlarged establishment of Methodism in the
city. Some have even ventured to attach to the
more recent erection of brick churches the seem-
ing want of progress in the Church. We believe
that it would have been a good thing for the
church in Charleston could this well-conceived
project have been consummated; but it never
was. The Bishop, shortly after, became too
feeble to accomplish much for the church here
of his own planting. The year after the project
Was started, the preacher in charge was taken
s ick, as we have mentioned, and the other died,
a nd the result was, the entire abandonment of
The foregoing record sets the seal of the
Church's approbation to the frugal and wise
Management of the church by its trustees and
Rewards. The opinion has prevailed in later
120 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
years that theirs was a narrow-minded, stingy
policy. It has been shown all along just the
opposite. It is easier now to ridicule the
churches and parsonages erected through their
frugality, than to tell how they . could have
erected more costly ones.
Some one has spoken contemptuously of the
Methodist churches in Charleston as "barns."
Let us thank God that the Methodists of Charles-
ton have so much more inviting places to wor-
ship their God than the " wise men" had in their
first adoration of the Saviour ; for that was even
meaner than a barn — it was only a stable. No
doubt, could the parents of Christ have found a
better place of lodging, they would have chosen
it. The venerable men who had these houses
built would possibly have built churches equal to
St. Michael's or St. Paul's, in the same city?
could they have procured the means.
N. Powers, John Capers, and S. Meek, la-
bored in the city in 1813, all men of good pulp^
talents. Nothing, however, of special interest
occurred during their labor there. They were
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 121
succeeded by Samuel Dunwody, Alexander Tal-
ley, and J. B. Glenn.
We have already made mention of Mr. Talley.
S. Dunwody is well and widely known as a man
of. extraordinary eccentricity, but of great powers
of. speech and Bible knowledge.
His colleague, Mr. Glenn, was scarcely lesjs
eccentric. A thousand anecdotes, both impress-
ive and amusing, are told about each.
■ Of the one, we might tell of his leaving the
church and walking home with the saddle on his
own back, forgetting his horse, and having after-
wards to send for it; and of his singular mistakes
While visiting in the city, making the most curi-
ous and sometimes astounding visits to persons
whom he never knew, and who therefore took
him to be deranged. But we prefer to recall his
ceaseless and earnest labors for good, and his ex-
cellent and as yet unanswered dissertations upon
Calvinism, Baptism, and Slavery.
Mr. Glenn is well known as the preacher who
collected an immense congregation, by giving out
that on a certain day at that church he would
122 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
kill witches. His method was to draw the pic-
ture of some error by which he thought the com-
munity were bewitched, and then discharge gos-
pel truth against it.
The following is told upon him, though the
particulars cannot be vouched for. He had vis-
ited one of his week-day appointments several
times, and finding no one out to hear him, he
stuck up a placard on the door, stating that he
would be there four weeks from date, and preach
whether any one was present or not. He dame,
and finding no one present, true to his word, he
proceeded into the pulpit, sang a hymn, and was
at prayer, when one of the neighbors, a wicked
man, passing by, hearing a voice within and see-
ing no one, went in to see what it could mean.
Mr. Glenn arose and gravely proceeded with the
service, the man remaining through mere curi-
osity. He announced for his text Nathan's re-
proof to David, "Thou art the man," and pro-
ceeded to tell his solitary listener that he was the
one God's Spirit had been following for many
years, etc.; and closed by inviting him to the
METHODISM IN CHAELESTON. 123
altar for prayer. Deeply agitated and alarmed,
he went to the altar, remained several hours in
prayer, and finally gave his name to Mr. Glenn
for membership in the church. Mr. Glenn's
friends at the next church were curious to know
what had been the result of his visit at his rep-
robate appointment. He told them he- had, to
his agreeable surprise, a fine meeting, and that
every wicked man in the house was converted
and joined the church. He lacked a congrega-
tion there no more, having crowded houses to
the close of the year.
During this decade was the most prosperous
era of the Charleston churches, so far as an in-
crease in the membership of the church is con-
cerned. The largest yearly increase ever known
Was during this period. They averaged an in-
crease each year of twenty-two whites, and eighty-
nine colored; so that at the Conference of 1815,
a membership was reported of two hundred and
eighty-two whites, and three thousand seven hun-
dred and ninety-three colored. The greatest in-
crease in any one year of this time was in 1810,
124 METHODISM- IN CHARLESTON.
while William M. Kennedy, Thomas Mason, and
Richmond Nolley were stationed there. During
the greater part of that year, the city was kept
in consternation hy the frequent recurrence of
earthquakes, and the churches were often crowded
during that time, even in the week. This cir-
cumstance gave them access to a much greater
number of persons than otherwise.
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 125
John Collingsworth — Camp-meetings — African schism — Cession of
Trinity Church— -Prosperity of the Church — Schism of 1834— As-
"bury Chapel — Burning of churches — Division of charges.
In the previous notices of Methodism in
Charleston, a narrative has been given of the
principal events occurring yearly, from its estab-
lishment in 1785 until the year 1815. It is my
purpose now merely to sketch the chief events
occurring from that' time until the present, with-
out special reference to the order of time.
John C6llingsworth was the Presiding Elder
of Edisto District for 1814, in which district
Charleston was included; Alexander Talley,
John B. Glenn, and Samuel Dunwody, being the
preachers of the station. The Presiding Elder
^as in some respects a remarkable man. He was
powerful in prayer, and seemed possessed almost
of an almighty faith.
126 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
It is said of him that on one occasion, passing
through the State of Virginia, his righteous soul
was vexed upon seeing the land wholly given to
tobacco. He preached, and after a fierce denun-
ciation of the vices of the day, the one of tobacco
included, he got down to pray. He presented
the wants of the congregation in an earnest
manner, and besought the Lord to convince the
people of their error in spending, in the cultivation
of a noxious weed, their time, and means, and
toil, that should have been devoted to the pro*
duction of serviceable things. He prayed the
Lord to signalize his disapproval by destroying
the crops, then in a flourishing state, if nothing
else would convince them. Sure enough, a ter-
rific hail-storm passed through that section during
the afternoon, knocking up, or rather knocking
down, the prospects of the Virginians for a boun-
tiful crop; for the fields were torn up most sadly.
An ungodly old planter, who was one of the
sufferers, and who had heard of the preacher's
demonstration, the next day pursued after him in
hot haste. Riding up to him, in fierce wrath he
METHODISM IN CHAKLESTON. 127
demanded, "Are you, sir, the Methodist preacher
who prayed the Lord to destroy my crop of to-
bacco V He replied, " My name is Collingsworth :
I preached yesterday in the neighborhood, and
prayed the Lord to show his disapproval of rais-
ing tobacco." "Well, sir, you are just the man
I am after : I am ruined for this season, and I
have come to take my revenge out of you, sir \"
at the same time brandishing a frightful-looking
wagon-whip. Commencing to dismount, the old
man coolly replied, " Well, if I must be whipped
for it, I suppose I must submit; but take care
ihat, before you have done, I do not pray the
Lord to overtake you with something worse than
overtook your crop." That thought had never
entered the planter's mind. Hastily putting
Spurs to his horse, he galloped off, glad to try if
possible to get out of the reach of the prayers of
such a man.
Under his auspices the first Charleston camp-
meeting was held. The spot selected for the
purpose was upon G-oose Creek. Large congre-
gations attended, and several times the services
128 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
were marked by overwhelming displays of the
Divine presence. The service most strikingly
signalized in this respect was the one of Satur-
day night. Samuel Dunwody preached, from
Ezekiel's vision of the dry bones. His sermon
on this occasion is spoken of as one of the most
powerful ever delivered by him. From a silent,
wrapt attention, the throng was- gradually melted
to tears, and finally the speaker's voice was
drowned amid the cries, and sobs, and shouts of
the multitude. An invitation was extended for
mourners to come to the altar, when a general
rush was made in opposite directions, many hast-
ening forward to obtain the prayers of the pious,
and numbers endeavoring to make their, escape
from under the arbor. Many of these last, over-
whelmed by their sense of guilt even in their
flight, fell to the earth in every direction, as if
smitten by the hand of death; and until the
dawn of the Sabbath, from under the arbor, the
tents, and over the ground, the voice of weeping
and intercession was heard. This scene was re-
newed under the sermon of Mr. Collingsworth,
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 129
and a number were added to the church as the
result of this meeting.
The camp-meetings for the city have been con-
tinued, with occasional interruptions, until within
the last four years. There are those who think
such a meeting superfluous, with all the other
church privileges enjoyed in the city; but whe-
ther it may be accounted for physiologically or
religiously j our ministry rarely have failed in ac-
ifomplishing much on occasions of this kind.
The preachers preach better, and the people seem
to hear to more profit. Besides, for the city we
can conceive of nothing more calculated to pro-
mote a union of feeling, sentiment, and interest,
between the different charges, than a joint gath-
ering of this kind. And if affording sound doc-
trine and Methodist preaching to a large multi-
tude, who never hear any preaching or other
religious service, be an argument, surely the
camp-meeting should be continued. The thought-
less, unconverted multitude of Charleston, the
thousands for whom no church accommodation is
Provided, should, must be reached, and if the
130 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
camp-meetings be too inconvenient or expensive,
let some form of street-preaching be devised. It
is worthy of mention in behalf of the utility of
the camp-meetings near Charleston, that some
twenty of the actiye itinerants of the South Car-
olina Conference trace their conversion to God
at these annual festivals.
During the year 1815, under the administra*
tien of Anthony S enter, preacher in charge, a
careful revision was had of the state of the
colored society. They numbered at that time
about four thousand. Upon a close investigation
of the conduct and management of their mone-
tary affairs, much corruption was found to exist.
Up to this time the colored official member?
were allowed a distinct Quarterly Conference,
and their collections, taken up by their leaders
and preachers, were held and disbursed by them.
Mr. Senter, upon the discovery of the improper
workings of this system, required of them to de-
liver the collections, according to Discipline, in*
the hands of the stewards. And their chufcfi
trials^ also, which had been hitherto entirely
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 131
among themselves, were now conducted in the
presence of the preacher in charge. His proceed-
ing awakened considerable opposition among the
leaders, particularly after the abolition of their
Quarterly Conferences, and their opposition soon
awakened quite an agitation among the colored
membership. This agitation was secret in its
character for a long time, and during the two
years of this hidden movement the enormous in-
crease of two thousand was reported.
It appears, as was afterwards developed, that a
regular scheme had been devised for the formal
'secession of the disaffected ones from the church ;
and, as a preparatory step, two of them had gone
to Philadelphia and obtained ordination, with
a view of assuming the pastorate over them.
Measures were also commenced by them to obtain
possession of Bethel Church by legal process, be-
cause, as they had heard by tradition, the colored
^embers at the time of its erection had contri-
buted liberally towards it.
For two years their plans were being matured,
a id they awaited a pretext for a demonstration.
132 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
An occasion was afforded in the erection of a
hearse house upon their burial lot on Pitt street.
This lot, it will be remembered, was the gift of
Mr. Bennet, and it was only a benevolence to
them in allowing them its use. Upon the trus-
tees paying no heed to their protests against the
erection of the house, great excitement ensued,
and at the time fixed upon for the deploy, at one
fell swoop nearly every leader delivered up his
class-papers, and four thousand three hundred
and sixty-seven of the members withdrew. None
but those who are accustomed to attend the
churches in Charleston, with their crowded galle-
ries, can well appreciate the effect of such an
immense withdrawal. The galleries, hitherto
crowded, were almost completely deserted, and it
was a vacancy that could be felt. The absence
of their responses and hearty songs was really
felt to be a loss to those so long accustomed to
hear them. \ Comparatively a few, numbering
thirteen hundred and twenty-three, who had
hitherto found the' Methodist preachers their best
friends, hung bravely to the old side.
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 138
The schismatics combined, and, after great ex-
ertion, succeeded in erecting a neat church build-
ing at the corner of Reid and Hanover streets.
Their organization was called the African Church.
They, however, were never permitted to worship
in their own building. They dragged out a mis-
erable existence until the year 1822. In that
year, upon the discovery by the authorities of an
intended insurrection among the blacks, the
church building was demolished by their order,
and a deserted burial-place is all that is left to
mark this singular movement. Numbers of them
——like all real schismatics — found the new scheme
did not work as well as they had expected, and
returned again to. the Methodist Church. Large
numbers connected themselves with the Scotch
Presbyterian Church, and the rest were peeled
and scattered. Thus the eventful history of
Methodism in Charleston was marked by another,
Ah account has been given of the Hammet
schism, and the circumstances leading to the erec-
tion of Trinity Church. Mr. Hammet continued
184 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
to preach in it until the year 1813. Early in
that year his health, hitherto precarious, failed
entirely, and he died on May the 15th, under
very melancholy circumstances. He was buried
back of the pulpit of Trinity Church, and bis
remains now lie under the pulpit of the new
, For a year or two, the congregation were with-
out a minister. In the deed by which the church
property was secured to Mr. Hammet during his
life, it was provided that at his death it should
be the property of a Mr. Brazier during his life-
time, and then to be at the disposal of the con-
gregation; Mr. Brazier acting as pastor while he
lived- His name has been previously mentioned
as being a convert of Mr, Hammet in the West
Indies. Upon the death of their pastor, the con-
gregation wrote to Mr. Brazier, informing him
of the provisions of the deed, and requesting him
to assume the pastorate among them. He came
to the city and preaehed a short time, but, "from
all accounts, not to the great admiration of his
y «5*i'*i 1
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 137
About this time the Rev. Mr. Frost, rector of
St. Philip's (Episcopal) Church, on account of a
rupture among his congregation, had determined
upon the erection of a church building for the
accommodation of the party favorable to him.
Discovering that Mr. Brazier was not sanguine in
his attachment to his church, he made proposals
to him for the purchase of Trinity, to which he
assented; and the church building, graveyard,
and parsonage, were all relinquished for the sum
of two thousand dollars. Pews were immediately
erected, and the church dedicated by the Bishop,
according to the forms of the Episcopal Church.
This proceeding, however, aroused the violent
hostility of Mr. Hammjet's members, and they in*
stituted proceedings in law for the recovery of
their buildings and land. While the suit was
pending, the counsel for the plaintiffs expressed
to them the opinion that could they obtain peace-
a «le possession, it would enhance the probabilities
of the suit in their favor.
Shortly after, while public service was being
held by Mr. Erost, one of the Hammetites who
138 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
happened to be present, observing where the keys
were hung, quietly slipped them into her gown
pocket; and after service there was no small ado,
among the newly-appointed officers of the church,
about the keys so suddenly los.t. M&m while, mes-
sengers were dispatched to the absent Hammet-
ites, who hurried to the rescue, barred up the
windows, and locking themselves in, held peace-
able possession of the building.
Several months intervened between that occur-
rence and the decision of the question by the
court, yet the church was never empty of its pos-
sessors: here they slept, sewed, and ate; and it
was not a little singular to see the grave old ma-
trons seated in the churqh before the window 1 ^
plying their needles, with the doors carefully
barred and watched against presumptuous intru-
ders. It has been whispered that one Charleston
nian was honored with old Trinity as his birth-
place; for this I cannot vouch: his name at 'least
has not escaped oblivion.
Upon the decision of the court against the
claims of the new preachers, the congregate*
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 139
who remained made proposals for the cession
of the property to the Methodist Episcopal
Church : this was acquiesced in under the follow-
ing agreement. The paper, after enumerating
the members and their families, reads :
" The above-named members of the Primitive
Methodist society aforesaid, are to continue mem-
bers of the aforesaid society during their natural
lives, and at their death they and their families
have the right' of being buried near where their
relatives have been buried. Nevertheless, nothing
is to be so construed as to oblige the officiating
minister to administer the gospel ordinances to
any who should live immoral lives. The son
and daughter of the late Mr. Hammet are
included in the provision for burial, and should
they ever be in want of pecuniary aid, they are
recommended to the liberality of those having
control over the funds. Those of the members
°f the aforesaid Methodist society who have
entered into full connection with the society of
the Methodist Episcopal Church, Charleston, are
herein entered in alphabetical order, and are
140 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
accordingly expeeted to attend to all the rules
and regulations of said church. But, should they
ia future neglect class-meetings, or any other
rule, so as to oblige us to erase their names from
the list of members in connection with the
society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, they
will still continue members of the Primitive
Methodist society* and as such we are obliged to
administer the gospel ordinances to them, unless
they are guilty of such immorality as would
justify their exclusion from the Methodist Epis-
"Alexander Talley, P. E."
St. James's Chapel, which had been erected
by the Primitive Methodists upon King street,
upon what was then known as the Neck, was at
the same time transferred to the Methodist Epis-
copal Church. Thus ended this schism, as
singular as it was unnecessary. The venerable
Henry Muckenfuss is now the only surviving
member of the original society of Primitive
From the time of the accession of Trinity
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 141
Church in 1816, and the schism among the
blacks in 1818, the church in Charleston, for the
following fifteen years, enjoyed uninterrupted
peace and prosperity. During that time, the
molestations from rude men and mobs, which we
have hitherto had occasion so frequently to
notice, entirely ceased. The congregations were
generally large, attentive, and respectful, and
frequently the power of Grod was displayed in
the salvation of souls. A just idea of the state
of the church about this time, may be gathered
from a report presented at the Fourth Quarterly
Conference of 1831, by the preacher in charge.
The Third Quarterly Conference had passed the
following preamble and resolutions :
" From information adduced before the Quar-
terly Conference, we have reason to believe that
a number of the members of our church here do
constantly neglect partaking of the ordinance of
the Lord's Supper, while others attend but sel-
"Resolved, That each class-leader be requested
to make a special report to the preacher in
142 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
charge, specifying who of the members of his
class constantly partake of the sacrament, who
partake but seldom, and who do not partake at
all, and that the preacher in charge be requested
to report to the next Quarterly Conference."
The following is the report :
"According to a request from the last Quar-
terly Conference, that information be furnished
the preacher in charge concerning the attend-
ance of our members on the sacrament of the
Lord's Supper, the following statement is sub-
mitted. There are in the Methodist Episcopal
Church in Charleston six hundred and twelve
white members, divided among twenty -six Glasses.
Of these, after a proper investigation into the
subject, it is found that about four hundred and
ninety-five are regular and constant communi-
cants, thirty-six commune occasionally, leaving a
remainder of eighty-one who do not attend upon
this ordinance. We may mention however, that
there are seventy-six members 1 on trial, now 1°
the church. Among these, there may be some
whom we, ourselves, should prefer to rema*°
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 143
$ little time in a probationary relation to the
church, before attending upon this sacred ordi-
nance. Again, there are many who, not hav-
ing satisfactory conviction of their acceptance
with Grod, feel some conscientious scruples on
this subject. In all cases of the kind which
have offered themselves to the notice of the min-
isters of the station, suitable- efforts have been
made to correct the evil — in some instances, we
trust, with success. But observation too clearly
proves that we may, in these times, appropriately
adopt the report of Mr. Wesley, concerning
another and earlier period of Methodism, that
there are many in our societies who neither
repent nor believe to this day.
i( We have only to add our sincere prayer, that
our successors may be more wise in their admin-
istration of discipline, more successful in their
e fibrts to build up, enlarge, and establish the
c ause of Zion, the interests of which we have
e ndeavored, however feebly, yet sincerely, to
Promote. Nicholas Talley,
"Preacher in charge."
144 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
With the facts stated in the church boots,
taken in connection with the above report,
we think no Methodist society, at any pe-
riod, could have given better evidences of a
wide-spread piety, or more decisive indications
of genuine prosperity. In the short period
included between the years 1818 and 1833, the
church in Charleston had nearly doubled its
membership, having increased from three hun-
dred and fifty to six hundred and fifty. In the
same time, the colored membership had been
tripled, presenting in that time the enormoua
increase of over two thousand. The Quarterly
Conference had become a large, influential, well-
informed body, numbering frequently, at its sit-
tings, between twenty and thirty. The classes,
and a young men's prayer-meeting, at which
conversions were frequent, were in active opera-
tion, and well attended. No difficulty was found
in meeting the expenses of the preachers and
their families, and the church, out of debt,
was yearhr adding to its real estate; in fact)
every thing seemed to promise a glorious career
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 145
of uninterrupted success for Methodism in the
city, when suddenly, in the midst of all that was
cheering, clouds and darkness intervened, and a
lasting blow was again struck at its advance-
ment. " Behold how great a matter a little fire
In a previous article, the large size of the
colored membership has been mentioned. At
the time to which I am now about to allude, the
Uelored portion of the membership was rapidly
recovering the injury sustained by the schism of
1818, and was enjoying great prosperity. They
N numbered, in 1833, over three thousand. To
accommodate such a multitude with comfortable
church-sittings, was a matter of no small diffi-
culty. Cumberland, Trinity, and Bethel, though
having each galleries around the entire body
of the building, could not accommodate unitedly,
at the utmost, more than fifteen hundred. To
afford additional accommodations, as well as con-
venience to the aged and infirm, at the instance
°f Bishop Asbury, in each church a panelled
division was erected near the doors, which was
146 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
generally known as " The Boxes." It appears
that after the erection of the boxes, when the
white congregations were small, a few of the
older free persons of color were accustomed to
take their seats beyond the boxes in the body
of the church; and what was conceded as a
privilege, was finally claimed by them as a right.
Gradually others among the colored people be-
gan also to pass the barrier of the boxes, and
their boundaries were finally so much enlarged
as to encroach seriously upon the comfort of the
As early as the year 1829, complaints on this
subject were formally presented to the Quarterly
Conference, and a correction of this evil requested
from that body ; for it had become not an un-
frequent occurrence that some of the whites were
compelled to leave the church, their seats in the
lower part of the church being preoccupied by
colored persons, who refused to surrender theffl-
Complaints were renewed to the Quarterly Con-
ference in 1830, and, as a step towards the. cor-
rection of the evils complained of, it was deter-
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 147
mined to appoint quarterly a committee of two
for each church from among the official mem-
bers, whose duty it should be to maintain order
in the several congregations. The appointment
of these committees was continued until 1833,
when difficulties of a more serious nature arose.
In that year, Dr. Capers was stationed in the
city, and his preaching generally attracted
crowded white audiences; and the complaints
about the sittings of the colored people be-
came constantly greater. On one occasion, the
fflfe&eher in charge being complained to on the
subject, told those complaining that they should
not trouble the preachers on that point, as it was
properly the business of the members to arrange
the sitting of the congregation.
The committees last appointed to preserve
order were almost entirely from among the young
men of the church, who felt fully empowered by
these remarks to proceed in the matter as their
judgment should dictate. The result was that a
few Sabbaths afterward, when Bethel Church was
crowded to overflowing, upon some of the colored
148 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
people refusing to vacate their seats for the
whites, the committee forcibly ejected them from
the church ; and upon their returning the Sab-
bath following, their expulsion was repeated.
This proceeding produced quite a sensation in
the church : some, who had been annoyed, highly
applauding their course, and others, who sympa*
thized with those long sitting there, reprobating
it as harsh and unkind. Some reference wag
made to it by one of the preachers at the love-
feast following, and his remarks, conveyed to the
committee probably in an exaggerated form, gave
them great offence ; and as far as the beginnings
of this unhappy affair are traceable, it com-
menced just at this point. After mutual expla-
nations, this wound was healed, and, as all parties
felt the necessity of completing some arrange'
ment by which these complaints among the
whites should be properly met, at the ensuing
Quarterly Conference resolutions were passed
recommending some inconsiderable alterations
about the boxes, by which all the slaves should
be sent into the galleries, and the seats on the
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 149
lower floor secured to the free persons of color,..
A committee, selected from among the young
men, was appointed to convey these resolutions
to the trustees, and also authorized to collect
money to defray the consequent expense.
A disagreement between these parties ensued.
What appears to have been a commendable
spirit of energy and activity on the part of the
young men, was considered a spirit of innovation
or rebellion, and they were treated accordingly.
They were foiled in every attempt to carry out
what they seem to have regarded the general
wish of the membership. They became factious,
and finally organized a party in the church, so as
systematically to accomplish their intentions.
This step produced an entire estrangement of
feeling between the preachers and older members
on the one side, and the young men's party on
the other. The young men, from endeavoring
to correct a local evil, with their feelings imbit-
tered, finally repudiated some of the important
features of the Discipline, and they were accord-
ingly arraigned for church trial.
150 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
At this juncture, a compromise was offered by
Bishop Emory ; but it seemed never to have been
fully acquiesced in by both sides, and after the
suspension of hostilities for a while, before the
compromise was consummated, fresh difficulties
arose, and, after an unparalleled excitement, nine
of the most prominent were expelled from the
church. Upon their expulsion, about one hun-
dred and sixty-five members withdrew, and or-
ganized under the discipline of the Methodist
Protestant Church. This must be regarded as
the greatest misfortune that has ever overtaken
the Methodist church in Charleston. At one
blow the church was deprived of a large body
of intelligent young men, who probably com-
bined the larger part of the energy and activity
of the membership ; while at the same time, from
the attendant excitement, a tremendous shock
was given to the spirituality of the church.
The writer thinks he can safely say, after en-
deavoring to give an impartial attention to all
the facts and circumstances, as presented in the
church books and the printed pamphlets of both
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 151
sides, that, under the present rigime of Method-
ism, a recurrence of such a case would be almost
At a meeting of the trustees of the church,
held September 2d, 1834, the following resolu-
tion was passed :
"Resolved, That it is desirable and expedient
to have a chapel somewhere in the south-west
part of the city, west of King street, not -farther
north than Queen street, nor farther south than
A committee was accordingly appointed to
purchase a suitable lot, and to make arrange-
ments for the erection of a building. The lot
at the corner of Broad and Logan streets, then
containing a large building, known as the "Acad-
emy of Fine Arts," was purchased, and the
building, arranged with galleries and pews, was
dedicated to the worship of God, and called
\Asbury Chapel. Services were held in it until
the middle of the year following, when it was
'ent for some time to the congregation of St.
Philip'g (Protestant Episcopal) Church, who by
152 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
a disastrous fire had been deprived of their
church building. Public services by the Method-
ist preachers being resumed in it, they were, as
before, attended for several years by large, intel-
ligent congregations; but, in the mean time,
St. Peter's (Protestant Episcopal) Church was
erected a few squares above, on Logan street,
which so materially affected the congregations at
the chapel that its sale was considered expedient.
It was purchased in 1837 by a Mrs. Seabrook,
whose spacious dwelling constitutes what was
formerly Asbury Chapel.
Soon after this, it was determined to erect a
spacious brick church upon Cumberland street.
Accordingly, the old church, the scene of so
many interesting occurrences, was taken down,
and the corner-stone of the new building laid, with
appropriate ceremonies, in 1838. The building-
had progressed favorably, when a devastating fire
swept over the city, destroying several millions
of property. The portion of the new building
that was erected was ruined, and Trinity Church
also Was consumed ; so that, at once, the Method-
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 153
ists were deprived of their two principal houses
of worship. Through the kindness of the con-
gregation of St. Philip's (Protestant Episcopal)
Church, they were provided with a temporary
place of worship in a large building erected for
their own use, while their new church was in
process of building, and which was known as
the Tabernacle j while services were provided for
the blacks in the " old circus," which then occu-
pied the corner of Queen and Friend streets.
The injury done to the new building, with their
Other losses, seriously embarrassed the trustees,
and they were consequently compelled to modify
the plan of Cumberland Church, so as to reduce
Measures were immediately taken for the re-
building of Trinity ; and the two buildings were
completed at a joint cost of fifty-seven thousand
dollars. They were both dedicated during the
summer of 1839 — Dr. Capers conducting the
dedicatory services of Trinity, and the following
Sabbath the Kev. James Sewell those of Cum-
154 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
Methodism in Charleston, in its enlarged form,
as has been shown, was the result of a gradual
but constant growth. The labors commenced by
Bishop Asbury and his compeers, on February
27th, 1785, in the deserted Baptist meeting-
house on Church street, had been steadily con-
tinued by his successors, until the Methodists,
though long struggling with many difficulties, had
risen to be a numerous body in the city. In
1842, though numbering four church buildings,
with a membership of five hundred and thirty-
five whites, and thirty-five hundred colored, they
were all united under one charge. One board of
stewards, one of trustees, managed the affairs of
the church in the city ; and though several
preachers were sent to labor there, but one was
put in charge.
The following is a plan of the appointments
for one Sabbath, and also for the Tuesday
evening, .Wednesday evening, and Friday evening
services in the several churches, as they were pub-
lished weekly in the Southern Christian Ad-
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 155
Plan of Appointments for preaching' in the Methodist
Churches, Sunday, July 30th, 1837 .■
MORNING. AFTERNOON. NIGHT.
Bethel, N. Talley. J. N. Davis. B. English.
Trinity, B. English. W. Capers. J. Sevrell.
Cumberland, J. N. Davis. N. Talley. W. Capers.
St. James, A. R. Danner. J. Sewell. Gr. W. Moore.
Tuesday Evening, Aug. 1st, Bethel, J. Sewell.
Wednesday Eve'g, Aug. 2d, Trinity, J. N. Davis.
Friday Evening, Aug. 5th, Cumberland, W. Capers.
In the year just mentioned, the necessity for a
different arrangement began to be felt. Indeed,
a separation of the congregations into distinct
charges had been agitated in 1840 ; but, at the
church meeting held for the discussion of the
question, a majority decided against it.
In 1842, however, at a meeting of the male
members, after a long, free, and earnest discus-
sion of the whole question, a majority decided in
favor of the change suggested. Accordingly, a
petition was sent, at the Conference following, to
the presiding Bishop, who appointed a preacher
in charge to each church ; and in 1844 a division
Was also had of the church debts and property.
156 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
Eminent ministers — Deaths of ministers — Itinerant preachers sent
out from the city — Members of former days — Aged living mem-
bers — Colored membership — Anecdotes of colored members — Be-
nevolent institutions — Preachers stationed in the city.
In reviewing the history of Methodism in the
city, one cannot but be struck with the fact that
the large proportion of ministers who have labored
there have been men possessed of far more than
ordinary abilities. It can be safely asserted that
no denomination in the city can show the same
proportion of gifted men as their regular pastors :
none of them the same constancy of sound, evan-
gelical, eloquent, popular preaching. Nor has it
been the fitful, evanescent glare of an occasional
preacher here and there in ten or twenty years;
but since the first planting to the present time,
the Methodist churches in the city have enjoyed
the ministrations of gifted, holy men, whose abil-
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 157
ities have only been surpassed by their untiring
zeal and faithfulness. In the darkest hour of
trial and persecution to the church, a respect was
extorted from its worst foes, for a ministry who
so boldly and eloquently enforced, by their lives
and labors, the great doctrine of holiness. The
high grade of the ministry is indicated in the
fact that,, besides its first establishment by a ven-
erated Bishop, four of the Bishops of the Church
have at different timeSj before their election to
that office, been stationed in the city.
Need we dwell upon the labors of the venera-
ble Bishop Asbury, that prodigy of goodness and
toil ? It was at his instance that the establish-
ment of a society was projected in the city; and
it was a regular place of visitation until the last
year of his life. Indeed, Charleston, with other
points in Carolina, was among the last places he
tbited and preached at, a few months before his
death. Glorious old man ! Who can fully speak
his praises? Soundest in judgment, great in
holiness, zealous and untiring in labors, for many
years he travelled up and down the conti-
158 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
nent, preaching, praying, visiting, suffering, then
'"ceased at once to work and live." Is he not
properly called the Wesley of America? Or,
rather, should he not be styled the Apostle of the
New World ?
Enoch George was for one year a regular laborer
in the city, and was for several years Presiding
Elder of Edisto District, in which Charleston was
included. He labored there at so early a date,
that nothing authentic can be gathered about his
city labors ; but it is enough for us to know that
he belonged to the number of spotless worthies
who have held the highest office in the gift of
Fifteen years of the life of our late lamented
Bishop Capers were spent in the city of Charles-
ton- — ten years as a regular pastor, four years as
an editor, and one as missionary secretary; and
during that time he never ceased to be honored,
and revered. Of the good accomplished by his
pulpit labors, which were always given without
stint, we have nothing by which we can form a
proper estimate. Eternity alone can reveal it-
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 159
Let one fact suffice. Daring his regular labors
in the city, a sister denomination, whose "churches
were frequently almost deserted from the general
desire to hear the eloquent Capers, was enlarged by
the establishment of two additional congregations.
Of Bishop Capers's life in Charleston, what a
history might be given of powerful sermons,
crowded audiences, and remarkable conversions !
How many affecting scenes might be depicted, oc-
curring in sick-rooms, and on death-beds ! And
had a journal been spared to us, what a soul -stir-
ring picture should we have of the triumph of our
blessed religion; as in 1826, when stern death
seemed to have already claimed him as its victim,
and life seemed to be breathed anew into him in
special answer to prayer; or in 1834, when fierce
discord threatened destruction to the church.
And ! who that used to see and hear him will
Dot feel it a lifelong privilege to recall those
Messed seasons afforded at the Cainhoy and Goose
Greek camp-meetings, where listening thousands
hung entranced upon his lips, and the divine
glory seemed almost visible about his person,
160 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
where stern hearts Bowed before his eloquence as
the oak before the hurricane, and the proud sin-
ner quailed beneath his eye, lit up with holy fire !
Well may the Charleston churches mourn the ab-
sence of his venerable form.
Bishop Andrew, also, for three years was a
stationed preacher in the city, and also for a term
its presiding elder. His labors here were unre-
servedly bestowed, and met a just reward in the
number brought into the church during his pas-
torate here. A goodly number of the converts
of his ministry still remain, who are able to re-
member him as their pastor and spiritual guide \ .
and who still grow warm when recounting his
labors and successes in the city.
In Charleston, too, our admired Bishop Pierce
labored as a stationed preacher, and that, too, in
very troublous times, when were required " pru-
dence, and piety, and patience, all." And the
older heads, who heard his burning words of
truth and eloquence, declare that his election to
the bishopric was nothing more than they had
predicted many years ago.
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 161
But many pages would not suffice for a proper
mention of every one of the great and good men
who have in Charleston, as elsewhere, been bright
and shining lights. Some of their names have al-
ready been mentioned, and to the names of Willis,
Kendrick, Dougherty, and Dunwody, of early
days, we mention among distinguished names
of later days, Olin, Wightman, Summers, and
Smith, all of whom the Church still delights to
Methodism in Charleston has not only to boast
of a ministry distinguished for learning and elo-
quence, but one characterized also by deep piety
and fervent zeal. It may have been remarked,
in the brief notices already given of the ministers
there, that one attribute was in almost every in-
stance accorded them ; and that was their faith-
felness and energy.
I hate vain boasting, and will not indulge in it ;
and, in attributing this to each, it has only been
done because it was strikingly developed in their
lives. What candid heart does not swell with
8ublime emotions of admiration as it contemplates
162 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
the energetic lives and the triumphant deaths of
the early Methodist preachers? Many theories
have lately been set afloat to account for the
amazing success of the Methodist preacher — some
of them plausible enough ; but they may be all
laid aside in the light of their untiring energy.
Here was, here is now, the secret of their success :
that, with a sound creed, and working by a system
wonderfully adapted to the wants of the masses,
they combined with fervent piety an energy of
spirit that became irresistible. No distance was
too great for them to travel to preach the gospel.
No hovel was too mean for them to enter and
minister the bread of life. No soul was too
humble or too degraded for their care and
teaching. No time was inopportune, no labor
too hard, no sacrifice too great, no danger too
threatening for them to encounter. Day and
night, amid the shivering blasts of winter and
the sweeping pestilence of summer, they were
found praying, exhorting, preaching and liv-
ing for God. Illustrious immortals! that
our souls might more fully catch" their holy
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 168
zeal, and transmit it to the latest ages of the
Charleston has for many years been subject to
the periodical visitations of that fatal pestilence,
the yellow-fever; and, with her sister cities, she
too suffered from cholera and different contagions.
Previous to the establishment of the Methodist
Church there, it had been, from time immemorial,
a settled custom for the Protestant ministry, at
the first appearance of such diseases, Jonah-like,
to take- passage for some distant port. So accus-
tomed had their congregations become to this pro-
ceeding, that it was not uncommon for them to
pay an extra dividend to hasten their retreat.
But such a course was not consonant with the
fervid souls of Wesley's followers. They believed
that when the hand of God was laid in afflic-
tion upon his people, then, if ever, they needed
the care, attention, and sympathy of their shep-
herds. And although, from their itinerant sys-
tem, they were more exposed to danger than any
other class of ministers, they always stood firmly
to their posts. Not a few among them were hon-
164 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
ored with a call from their Master as they stood
among the dead and dying, and, like heroes, fell
all covered with glory.
First among them was James King, a promis-
ing young man, only twenty-four years of age,
who in 1797 made a glorious exit to the heavenly
world from the scenes of horror and death among
which he was called to labor.
In the year following, fell John N. Jones,
"worn out with pain and afflictions of body."
In the impressive language of his memoir, "He
was rapt up in the vision of God at the time of
In 1804, Nicholas Watters died also of yellow-
fever. When on his bed of death, and weeping
friends stood around him, after many precious ex-
hortations, he said: "I am not afraid to die, if
it be the will of God. I desire to depart and be
with Christ;" and soon after exclaiming,
"Farewell, vain world, I'm going home:
My Jesus smiles and bids me come,"
he passed triumphantly away.
Then, there was Jacob Eumph, than whom,
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 165
perhaps, there was never a more godly, faithful
minister. On the sacramental occasion preceding
his death, while administering the communion,
he exclaimed : "This day the Lord hath enabled
me to be perfectly willing to die in Charleston."
The truth of his exclamation was soon satis-
factorily tested. With songs of praise he en-
tered into rest, his countenance lit up with the
smiles of peace and triumph.
In Charleston, too, Francis Ward took the yel-
low-fever, which terminating in dropsy soon after,
caused his death. He was an able minister of
the New Testament; and it is recorded of him
that, like a scribe well instructed, he "brought
forth out of his treasure things new and old."
V* Here, too, died " the Rev. Henry T. Fitzgerald,
a young man of uncommon sweetness of temper,
an active, discriminating mind, great amiableness
of manners, and ardent love for God and his
cause. He shrunk not in the day of pestilence ;
but did as every Christian pastor should do — gave
himself uninterruptedly to the service of the
flock committed to his care, and undauntedly met
166 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
death in the work to which the Holy Ghost had
In Charleston, also, the amiable and humble
Asbury Morgan met his fate, falling a victim to
the insatiable yellow-fever, ere he had passed the
noon .of life. But as in life his unaffected hu-
mility, his meekness and affability were always
present, so in death his peace forsook him not,
and he left the world leaving a radiant path be-
Here, too, in 1830, the lovely Thomas L. Winn
was attacked by- the same fatal malady, which
rapidly developed his constitutional tendency to
consumption, which soon hurried him away. He
died in Camden, whither he had been removed
in the hope of improvement by the change ; but
death had marked him as its victim. "As a
preacher, altogether he richly merited the high
estimation in which he was held ; ' and what he
was by the grace of God, as a man and Christian.,
let his death-bed speak."
Charleston, too, witnessed the death of that
man of God, the Kev. Urban Cooper. While
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 167
the shafts of death were playing thick and fast,
and the same dire disease which had smitten his
predecessors was snatching away many of the
loveliest and best, he was found firm at his post.
While ministering at the bedside of a brother
minister, the Rev. Dr. Flynn, of the Presbyterian
Church, he imbibed the fatal contagion. But it
did not meet him unprepared, for his spirit, with
joyful haste, flew away to meet its God.
This seems like a heavy tribute to pay to one
city, and nearly all to one disease; but it has not
been without its fruit. Their .examples still live.
They fell, but gained the victory in their death.
The current has been turned, and for years, like'
the Methodist preachers, the ministers of all de-
nominations, amidst the peril of disease, cease
not to administer warning to the living and solace
to the dying.
Not the least significant fact in the history of
Methodism in Charleston, is the large proportion
of travelling preachers it has sent forth. The
Writer, however, is forbidden, on this point, to
utter all he knows and feels. He has included
168 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
in the list of preachers, several who were not
actually recommended from the Quarterly Con-
ferences of the city; but as they had lived and
were converted in the city, -and made their reso-
lutions to preach while there, he thought they
could be properly enumerated among the sons of
1797. Alexander McCain, located in 1806.
He afterward connected himself with the Method-
ist Protestant Church. He is now living* at
Aiken, South Carolina, probably one of the oldest
survivors of the early movements of Methodism
1798. Hanover Dennan, located in 1808.
1800. Jeremiah Russel, located in 1806.
1819. John Sehroeble joined the Conference,
and located in 1821. Christian Q-. Hill joined
the same year, and located in 1823.
1820. Robert Adams, now living, a local
preacher in the bounds of the Alabama Con-
ference : located in 1836.
* He died at Augusta, Georgia, June, 1856.— [EmtoB-
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 169
1824. John Mood and Joseph Galluchat, Sen.
The first located in 1830, and now lives in the
city of Charleston.* The latter located in 1825,
and died in the city in 1835.
1825. George W- Moore, who is now an effi-
cient member of the South Carolina Conference,
m Cooper River Mission.
1827. John Honour, Sen., and John Coleman,
ffhe first died at his post in 1830, on Ashley River
Mission, from bilious-fever, contracted in the
swamps where he labored. He was one of the
first missionaries to the colored people in the
United States. John Coleman located in 1828.
1828. Samuel W. Capers, Matthew Bythewood,
and William M. Wightman. S. W. Capers died
in Camden in 1855. Matthew Bythewood located
in 1830. William M. Wightman is now Presi-
dent of Wofford College, South Carolina Con-
1829. David Allen, now a member of the
* A most excellent man, the father of the author of
*his book, and of three other ministers in the South
Carolina Conference. — [Editor.
170 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
Memphis Conference, and one of the Professors
in the Female College, at Holly Springs, Alabama.
1833. Whitefoord Smith, supernumerary in
the Conference and Professor in Wofford College.
1834. Charles S. Walker and Alexander W.
Walker, The first now agent of Wofford College :
the latter an efficient preacher on Walterboro'
1836. Robert J. .Limehouse, located in 1848:
he resides within the bounds of the Conference.
1838. Wm. P. Mouzon : an efficient mem-
ber of the Conference, and stationed in the city.
1839. Abel M. Chreitzberg: travels the An-
1840,, William H. Fleming, now stationed in
the town of Sumter. John A. Porter, on the
Graniteville and Aiken Mission, and Dennis J.
Simmons, now on the Orangeburg Circuit.
1841. Henry M. Mood, now on the Bennetts-
ville Circuit, and James Wesley Wightman,
teacher in Cokesbury School.
1842. Henry A. Bass, located in 1854.
1844. William Tertius Capers, located in 1851-
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 171
1845. Urban Sinclair Bird, whose health failed
the year following, and he located.
1846. Osgood A. Chreitzberg, who located in
1852, and John A. Mood, now on Black Kiver
and Pee Dee Mission.
1847. John T. Wightman, now stationed in
the city. James T. Munds, a supernumerary of
the Conference, and Benjamin Jenkins, one of our
missionaries to China.
1848. Elias J. Meynardie, now in the Barn-
1849. Julius J. Fleming and Edward J. Pen-
nington. The former now travels the Sumter Cir-
cuit. The latter located in 1852.
1850. John Wesley Miller, now a supernume-
rary in the Conference. William W. Mood, now
on the Orangeburg Circuit. Francis Asbury
Mood, in Columbia, South Carolina. Charleston
0. Lamotte, who withdrew from the connection
1851. Osgood A. Darby, now stationed in
Wadesboro', South Carolina Conference.
1853. Edward D. Boyden. A young man of
172 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
great promise, who was sent this year to the
Conwayboro' Circuit; but soon after entering upon
his work, was called to his reward. Joseph B.
Cottrell, an efficient member of the Alabama
1854. Samuel Barksdale Jones, now the sta-
tioned preacher in the town of Spartanburg.
1855. Peter M. Byburn, who joined the Geor-
gia Conference, and now travels the Jeffersonville
It would take a much larger space than could
properly be allowed to give even a tithe of the
many interesting anecdotes and impressive facts
connected with the lives, labors and death of
many of the members of the Methodist Church
in Charleston. There have never been wanting
among them men and women of great holiness,
sterling worth and brilliant virtue. Many of
them joined the Church at a time when, by such
a connection, they perilled their good name in
the community. Many of them, for years,
witnessed the scenes of trial and the alarming
excitements which frequently threatened the
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 173
existence of the Church ; yet they quailed not,
and by their integrity and consistency lived down
and silenced the calumnies of its foes; and, in
their deaths, fully vindicated the truth and power
of the religion they had professed. A brief
biography of every one of these worthies, how-
ever interesting it might be, would of itself oc-
cupy many pages; and it will be allowed, there-
fore, only to make a brief mention of a few of
To the names of those mentioned among the
male members of earlier date, may be added those
of George Airs, Philip Reader, and Eliab King-
man, who were for many years stewards and
trustees of the churches in the city. They came
up to the disciplinary requirements of a steward,
being men of solid piety,, who both knew and
loved the Methodist doctrines and discipline, and
Were of good natural and acquired abilities to
transact the temporal business of the Church.
The names of Amos Pillsbury, John Kugley,
and Robert Riley, should be mentioned out of the
lisij of class-leaders, as men of special qualifica-
174 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
tions for the office which they held. The first
was possessed of a thorough knowledge of vocal
music, and taught the singing-classes of the
church. He also compiled a book of sacred
hymns and songs, called the Zion's Songster, which
was at one time extensively used throughout the
South and West, and at camp and protracted
There are also several who lived within the
recollection of many of the present living mem-
Jacob Miller, an humble, holy man, for many
years, like Enoch, " walked with God."
George Just was one for whom the writer would
fain express his love and admiration. He was
a native German, unacquainted with the wisdom
of the schools, but fully taught of God. For
years he led the class which numbered the
largest of the young men of the church, many
of whom, should this meet their eye, will quicken
with the recollections of the exhortations, pray?
ers, and tears, which he shared with them.
Though an orphan from a foreign land, by his
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 175
sterling integrity and undeviating consistency, he
won his way to an enviable position in the com-
munity; while, by his faithful attendance to
duty, and his remarkable aptitude for encour-
aging, chiding, and guiding the young of his
class, he obtained the universal confidence of the
Nor should we omit the name of John Honour,
Sr., for many years a local preacher of influence,
as were also Duke Groodman, Joseph G-alluchat,
Sr., and Urban Cooper, whose names have
already been mentioned.
Among the females qf the church, there are
many names worthy to be had in lasting remem-
We have spoken of Mrs. Martha Kugley, the
heroic woman who rescued Mr. Dougherty from
being drowned by a mob. The wetting she re-
ceived at the pump from the heartless ruffians
who were the leaders in the infamous proceed-
ings of that night, was the cause of her prema-
ture death. Like Mr. Dougherty, she was of a
consumptive habit, and the cold acquired that
176 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
wintry night never left her, and she and Mr.
Dougherty died about the same time.
Mrs., Catherine McFarlane, whose house was
for years the home of the preachers sent to
Charleston, was long honored — for she felt that
she was honored — with the regular visits of
Bishop Asbury while he stopped in Charleston ;
and was, by special selection, the maker of the
Bishop's knee-breeches. He used to say, "No
one can suit me as sister M."
Mrs. Ann Vaughn was for many years an
Mrs. Seavers, wife of the steward of that name,
was a godly woman, " full of mercy and good fruits."
Mrs. Selina Smith, who was for years the
housekeeper of the parsonage" during the dispen-
sation of clerical bachelorism, was truly an
humble and devoted servant of Grod.
Mrs. Matilda Wightman, another Dorcas,
" full of good works and almsdeeds which she
did," always ready for every good word and
work, was a leading spirit in all the benevolent
and religious enterprises of the church.
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 177
Mrs. Agnes Ledbetter died but a few years
ago at a very advanced age. The closing part of
her life, with which many of the readers of this
book are familiar, was a faithful index of her whole
previous course. When weighed down with in-
firmities and age, unable to go to the house of
God and mingle with his people, her heart was
still among them, and still alive to the inter-
ests of the Church. By her needle, with eyes
dimmed and hands palsied by age, she yearly
earned a liberal contribution to the missionary
cause, while to every one who went to see her,
she told of the goodness of God.
Time, in Charleston as elsewhere, has brought
about surprising changes. The old ministers
who planted the Church — those faithful watch-
men of Zion — have, most of them, ceased to
utter their notes of warning, and are gone to
their reward. And, one after another;, the great,
and good, and conspicuous among its early mem-
bership have gradually faded away, and been
released from earthly toil. But a few among
them now live to tell of the powerful and some-
178 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
times tragic scenes of earlier days. Old Cum-
berland, old Trinity, and old Bethel, have each
been removed out of their place, and so most
of the members who identified themselves with
Methodism in those plain structures have been
removed to the family above. A few remain —
the remnant of a larger band. Let them be
duly honored while they live.
The youngest, and most earnest, and most
hopeful of us in the strife of the holy warfare in
which we are engaged, cannot but feel our hearts
dilate when we read or hear the old men tell of
the wonderful works God performed for Method^
ism in earlier days : when men, self-made in let-
ters, wielded "the sword of the Spirit" with
such wondrous power and dexterity, that their
congregations were smitten to the earth, and, as
on the day of Pentecost, cried in beseeching
tones : " Men and brethren, what must we do ?"
And do we not instinctively wish that this living
power could ever abide with His ministers ?
The oldest living white member, as indicated
by the church books, is Mrs. Sarah Venroe, who
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 179
joined in 1804. She has for over half a cen-
tury been permitted to worship with the Method-
ists in Charleston ; and during all that time has
maintained her consistency.
There are, besides her, several other pious
female members, who joined forty or fifty years
ago, and whose lives have ever been in accord-
ance with their profession : as, Mrs. Susannah
Seyle, who joined in 1811; Mrs. Catherine
Mood, who joined in 1812 ; Mrs. Susannah Bird,
who joined in 1809; Mrs. Charlotte Will, who
joined in 1808 ; Mrs. Magdalene Brown, who
joined in 1810; Mrs. Mary dhreitzberg, who
joined in the same year; and Mrs. Margaret
Just, who joined in 1807.
Among the male members but very few sur-
vive, and all their names could be mentioned
without occupying much space.
The oldest male white member is John Mood,
who joined in 1808.
Abel McKee, who joined in 1810, is the old-
est official member in the church, having been
appointed steward and trustee in 1817, both of
180 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
which offices he retained until the year 1848.
He is now class-leader at Trinity Church.
John Mood is a local elder, belonging also to
Trinity, who having reached almost fifty years'
connection with the Church, still lives and prac-
tices the doctrines and discipline that he em-
braced so many years ago.
Samuel J. Wagner is still one of the most
active and influential members of the Church :
he joined in 1811.
George Chreitzberg joined in 1810, and,
though seldom permitted to worship with the
brethren whom he loves, still lives a Methodist,
or rather, still lives a Christian.
John C. Miller is also, one of the oldest, official
members of the Church. He joined in 1811,
and was for years one of its stewards.
William Bird, a member at Bethel, is in the
new, as he was in the old, house, always at his
post. He joined in 1817. Not long ago, the
writer dared to remonstrate with him, finding
him on his way to church on a very cold and
wet evening. Said he, " It has always been my
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 181
rule to allow nothing to keep me from church
which does not keep me from my daily business.
I was at my business to-day, and it is my pur-
pose to be at church to-night." A capital rule,
which can be recommended to all.
Henry Muckenfuss is one of the few who are
permitted to tell of scenes occurring even before
the Methodists preached at all in Charleston.
He first; joined at Trinity, under Mr. Hammet's
ministry, and became a member of the Method-
ist Episcopal Church when the house was ceded
to that Church. No one living, it is presumed,
can recall the time when his venerable form has
been absent from its place in church. Glod
bless the old man, and spare him to us yet
Were a stranger in . Charleston, visiting the
Methodist churches in the city, asked to point
out what impressed him as the most remarkable
feature of those churehes, as contrasted with the
other congregations of the city, it is very proba-
ble that he would point to the large congrega-
tions of colored persons who are every Sabbath
182 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
to be seen filling the •galleries. And to one
made familiar with the prejudices of the com-
munity and the difficulties of the Church, proba-
bly the success of the Methodists among them
would be quite astonishing.
It is a matter now of great ease, since preju-
dices have been outlived, and false clamors
choked down, to stand oif and philosophize and
surmise and speculate upon this subject. It is
not my purpose to attempt either— but simply to
say, that if any one desires to ascend to first
causes, and to discover the hidden springs which
brought about success, let' him follow the history
of the Church in Charleston back through all its
vicissitudes — let him recall the patient endu-
ance — the ceaseless, painful toil — the earnest,
parental, affectionate care and attention of those
holy men of God who have lived and labored
here as their pastors.
The names of five thousand two hundred col-
ored persons are enrolled in the city as members
of the Methodist Church, and very many of them
may be pointed out as patterns of humble piety.
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 183
While much of the success of the Methodist
preachers among the colored population is trace-
able to the simple, earnest and powerful manner
in which they enforced gospel truth— as we have
just indicated — much more is traceable to the
efficiency of the class -system, and to the un-
wearied attention paid to their spiritual interests
by the white members, and particularly by the
preachers who have labored in the city from time
to time. They have been " willing servants of
servants for Christ's sake."
Much of the embarrassment thrown in the
way of early Methodism in the city, is attribut-
able to the jealousy and suspicion of its public
men, about the success which attended the
Methodist ministry among them. With the
Church, as with individuals, good deeds are soon
forgotten, while evil ones have a life-long remem-
brance. Not that the Charleston Methodists are
conscious, at any period in their history, of hav-
ing done evil ; but a hue and cry was for many
years maintained against them, though they were
entirely innocent of doing any thing but good,.
184 METHOMSM IN CHARLESTON.
and this undefined prejudice was always the
basis of an argument against them by their foes.
We fear from all the evidence now in possession
of the Church in the city, that this prejudice was
stirred and kept hot against them by jealous
churches, who were either unwilling, ashamed,
or afraid to do for the negroes what the Method-
ists persevered in doing, and cheerfully continue
And now, after unwearied pains and care
have secured a large, pious, and consistent col-
ored membership, and a persistent determination
to save their souls has resulted in unexpected
good, and has secured the influence and affection
of the immense majority of the blacks — an
attachment, too, which cannot be broken or
diverted — how painfully uncharitable and puerile
does it appear to an honest heart, for jealous
ones , to be always sneeringly asserting, that
" Methodism is successful among the negroes,
because it is only suited to them." Had
Methodism in Charleston courted the favor of
the wealthy, and kissed the feet of political
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 185
aspirants, and let go her hold and interest upon
the blacks, she too might have claimed the favor
of those who affected to despise her; but her
mission was to spread holiness and to save souls,
and, thank Grod, she would not be diverted from
her design by the enticements of secular favor,
or the opposition and contempt of enemies.
Be it recorded, in the memory of every one
who loves the cause of truth, and who wishes to
remember facts worth remembering, that in
1822, when an insurrectionary movement was
discovered among the blacks, when good and bad
among the slaves were suspected, out of the hun-
dreds who were placed under ban, and the many
Who were tried and condemned — numbers of
them members of other churches— not one of
them was a member of the Methodist Church,
out of the thousands then belonging to it. And
yet no one would be impressed by the fact,
though the effort to force an impression by it
upon the public was repeatedly made. The
fact that numbers of the condemned were at-
tached to other churches, was buried with the
186 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
other fact, that seemed to the enemies of
Methodism as alarming, that not one was a
member of that Church; and the community
WOttld allow themselves to be impressed with
neither the one nor the other.
Did it seem necessary, much might be said
about the management, etc., of the colored por-
tion of the membership. It must be seen at a
glance that with such an immense number, of a
©lass with whose lives and Christian deportment
it was impossible for the ministers or white
members to become acquainted, it required a
thoroughly organized and well -maintained sys-
tem of observation and discipline. Suffice it to
say, that the plan developed in the Methodist
system has been found completely adapted to the
emergency, and has been vigorously maintained,
and has resulted in amazing good, as may be
everywhere seen in the city at this day.
It would hardly be in keeping with the plan
hitherto followed, to pass over in utter silence
the names of the many worthy and excellent
people who, among the colored Methodists in
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 187
the eity, have vindicated the truth and power
of godliness. Much might be written about
them that would be appropriate and profitable as
well as interesting; but the unexpected length
to which these chapters have been extended
warns against such an attempt. A mention of
a few of the names conspicuous in former days
Arnong the early colored members remarkable
for their intelligence and business traits, were,
Harry Bull, Quaminy Jones, Peter Simpson, Abra-
ham Jacobs, Ben McNeil, Smart Simpson, Alick
Harleston, Amos Baxter, Morris Brown, Bichard
Holloway, Castile Selby, and John Boquet.
Harry Bull and Morris Brown went oif in the
African schism : the last moved to Pennsylvania,
where he was afterwards known as Bishop Brown,
of the African Church in that State.
Castile Selby was eminent for his humility, ho-
liness, and unbending integrity. Though a black
man, an humble carter, moving in the humblest
position in life, he was eminently a good, and no
doubt, in the sight of God, a great man. But I
188 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
will give his character as summed up by Bishop
Capers in a private letter to a friend, the use of
which has been granted me.
The Bishop says : " The weight and force of
his character was made up of humility, sincerity,
simplicity, integrity and consistency, for all of
which he- was remarkable, not only among his fel-
lows of the colored society of Charleston, but I
might say among all whom I have ever known.
He was one of those honest men who need no
proof of it. No one who ever saw bim would
suspect him. Disguise or equivocation lurked no-
where about him. Just what he seemed to be,
that he invariably was — neither less nor more.
Add to this a thorough piety, which was the root
and stock of his virtues, and you find elements
enough for the character of no common man;
and such was Castile Selby." As early as 1801,
his name is on the record as one of the leaders,
and he held the office untarnished for over half a
John Boquet, a slave, was very intelligent and
deeply pious, and in consideration of his virtue
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 189
and good service was set free by bis owner. The
following affecting occurrence is related of him by
Bishop Capers, in the letter referred to.. "Vis-
iting him on his death-bed, I found him unspeak-
ably happy in, the love of God, but not as well
provided as I thought he ought to be,, with little
comforts and refreshments which his wasted body
anight require. I noticed it, and told his wife of
several things which he might take for nourish-
ment, and which she must procure for him. ' He
wants them/ said I, 'and he must have them.
The expense is nothing, and he must want for
nothing.'' 'Want, want!' exclaimed the dying
man, 'glory be to God, I am done with want for
ever ! Want ! want ! I know no want but hea-
ven, and I am almost there by the blood of
Hichard Holloway was also conspicuous for his
intelligence and zeal. His zeal, however, was
sometimes ill-judged, but he died much beloved
There are two or three names among the fe-
males which must not pass unnoticed.
190 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
Mary Ann Berry will be long remembered as the
tender, careful, ladylike nurse, and humble saint.
Bishop Capers says of her: "I never knew a fe-
male, in any circumstances in life, who better de-
served the appellation of Deaconess than Mary
Ann Berry : one who seemed to live only to be
useful, and who, to the utmost of her ability, and
beyond her ability, served the Church and poor.
And I might say too, that what she did was al-
ways exceedingly well done, directed by an intel-
ligent mind as well as sanctified spirit; so that,
humble as was her position in common society,
she was really a mother in Israel. Her meekness,
her humility, and a peculiar gentleness and soft-
ness of spirit, which distinguished her at all
times, might have done honor to a Christian lady
of any rank."
Rachel Wells, top, was remarkable for her hu-
mility and piety, and in most respects was the
counterpart of Mary Ann, except in personal ap-
pearance. Of her, the Bishop in his letter also
speaks in high terms. He states, that not long
before her death, he called to see her, after she
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 191
had received a severe contusion which prevented
her going to church, at which a protracted meet-
ing was then in progress. Upon sympathizing
with her upon the unfortunate accident which
prevented her getting to church, she replied:
"Ah, Mr. Capers, since this occurred to me, which
you call an unfortunate accident, God has found
a much nearer way to my heart than by Trinity
Nanny Coates also was a colored ■ woman of
marked piety and generosity. And here again
let Bishop Capers speak. "Did I mention Maum
Nanny Coates? Bless old Maum Nanny! If I
had been a painter going to represent meekness
personified, I should have gotten her to sit for
the picture. It was shortly after I had been ap-
pointed Secretary for the Missions, that being in
Charleston at the house of my brother, as we
were sitting together in the parlor one evening,
Maum Nanny entered. I wish I could show her
to you just as she presented herself, in her long-
eared white cap-kerchief and apron of the olden
time, with her eyes on the floor, her arms slightly
192 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
folded before her, stepping softly towards me.
She held between her finger and thumb a dollar
bill, and courtesying as she approached, she ex-
tended her hand with the money. 'Will you
please, sir/ said she in subdued accents and a
happy countenance, 'take this little mite for the
blessed missionaries?' I took it, pronounced that
it was a dollar, and said, ' Maum Nanny, can you
afford to give as much as this?' '0 yes, sir/
she replied, lifting her eyes, which. till then had
been on the floor, 'it is only a trifle, sir. I could
afford to give a great deal more, if — I — had — it.' "
The three last mentioned were all freed by
their owners for their faithfulness and virtue.
But these names are those of a very few, and
these incidents but a meagre mention of the
many souls and many interesting facts which
might be gathered about the colored membership
of the Charleston churches. Their names are not
enrolled among the great and mighty of the
earth, but, what is far better, their names and
deeds have honorable mention in the Lamb's
Book of Life.
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 193
There are several institutions of a benevolent
character connected with the Church in Charles-
ton, a mention of which seems appropriate here.
Giving the precedence to age, the first institution
of the kind deserving notice is the Methodist
Charitable Society. It was established in the
year 1808, and incorporated three years after-
wards, under the following officers : H. P. Wees-
ner, President; Amos Pillsbury, Vice President;
William Cruikshanks, Treasurer; Robert Riley,
Secretary; William McKewn, and Robert Will,
Stewards. It is based upon the mutual aid prin-
ciple, and has been in active operation ever since
its first establishment. None are allowed to be-
come regular pensioners upon its bounty but
members or their families, and they cannot be-
come pensioners until they have been members
for seven years, or have paid into the treasury
fees equal to seven years' cost of membership.-
The constitution allows of donations to aged and
indigent members of the Methodist Church, with'
out reference to place, and yearly these silent
messengers of mercy relieve the sufferings of the
194 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
needy, both in and out of the city. The entrance
fee is ten dollars, and its yearly contribution two
dollars. It has funds invested to the amount of
nine thousand four hundred dollars, and the an-
nual average amount distributed is about two
hundred and fifty dollars. Singular to state, it
numbers but twenty-three members, and has but
one regular pensioner.
Another excellent institution, established on
the same basis, and also confined to the members
of the Methodist Church, is the Methodist Fe-
male Friendly Association. It was founded in
1810, and incorporated in 1819. It has funds
invested to the amount of six thousand dollars,
and its annual charities average about four hun-
dred dollars. It numbers twenty-six members,
including five regular pensioners. Though its
stated benevolence is allowed only to its members,
the constitution permits donations to any females
of the Church in indigent circumstances, without
reference to place. Its officers consist of a Di-
rectress, Secretary, and three Trustees, who are
elected annually. One third of all the donations,
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 195
regular or occasional, are retained to swell the
capital fund, while the entire interest is expended
for benevolent purposes.
Connected with the church of the same name,
is the Cumberland Benevolent Society, founded
in 1845, and incorporated in 1847. Its funds
invested amount to two thousand five hundred
dollars, and it numbers sixty-five me'mbers, male
and female.' Qne thousand dollars of its funds
was the legacy of Mrs. Sarah Hewie, formerly a
member of Cumberland. Members of the Meth-
odist Church have the precedence in its benefac-
tions, but its object is to relieve distress wherever
found, and it has its regular visiting committees,
appointed quarterly, to search out cases of suffer-
ing and want.
A generous spirit must be accorded to the
Charleston churches. The rates of living in the
city are enormous, even at the cheapest; and
though their white membership is neither lai-ge
nor wealthy, it has been only very occasionally
that the churches have failed to meet every de-
mand necessary for the support of the ministry.
L96 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
During the. year 1855, the aggregate cost for
the support of the preachers and their families,
lighting the churches, and meeting other neces-
sary expenditures, was over eight thousand dol-
lars. In addition to this, they paid fifteen hun-
dred dollars into the Missionary Treasury, two
hundred and seventy-seven dollars for their Sab-
bath-schools, one hundred and seventy-one dollars
to the tract cause, and four hundred dollars to
the Conference Collection, making the expendi-
ture of the church for one year amount to more
than ten thousand dollars. They have ever been
liberal to the cause of Missions, and on this point
there has generally existed between the different
charges a generous rivalry.
Besides the regular organizations among the
whites for the collection of missionary money,
there is a small colored missionary society, which
usually sends to the Conference one hundred dol-
lars or more. This society extends to the free
colored females of Trinity charge.
Indeed, while upon the subject of giving, it
should be remarked, that after an observation of
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 197
years, the writer lias never known a benevolent
enterprise of any kind to be presented to any one
of the Methodist churches of the city that did not
meet a generous response. .Their contributions
are not the liberal donations of a few wealthy
ones, but the heart-offerings of the many, includ-
ing — God bless them — the boys and girls of the
The following is the decennial increase of the
membership for the period passed through in the
last two chapters :
From 1815 to 1825, there was an increase of
one hundred and twenty-seven whites, making a
yearly average increase of fourteen. There was
in the same time a decrease of one thousand three
hundred and thirty-eight colored. The African
schism in 1818 carried off four thousand three
hundred members, so that branch of the member-
ship recovered surprisingly in seven years. The
greatest increase in one year among the whites
was in 1818, when Lewis Myers, Z. Dowling, and
H. T. Fitzgerald were the preachers, who re-
ported an increase of seventy-six whites.
198 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
From 1825 to 1835, there was an increase of
only fifteen whites, — the schism of 1834 having
directly and indirectly caused the loss of over two
hundred members. Among the colored there
was an increase of six hundred and ninety-six
From 1835 to 1845, there was an increase
among the whites of five hundred and ninety-
seven, averaging nineteen members each year.
The greatest increase during any one year of this
decade was in 1836, when William Capers, James
Sewell, J. W- McColl, and W- A. Gamewell
were the preachers. They reported an increase
of one hundred and forty-four members — the
largest increase among the whites ever reported in
one year since the establishment of the church
in the city. During these ten years there was an
increase of four hundred and twenty-five colored.
From 1845 to 1855, there was an increase of
one hundred and ninety-two whites, making an
annual average increase of nineteen members-
being the same rate of increase as the ten years
previous. The greatest increase in a year during
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 201
this decade was in 1846, when an increase of
ninety-two was reported, Samuel Leard, White-
foord Smith, Claudius H. Pritchard, and John W.
Kelly, being the stationed preachers. The larg-
est increase was at Cumberland and St. James's
— the one reported an increase of thirty-seven
members, the other an increase of thirty-nine.
During these ten years there was an increase of
four hundred colored.
The churches now number an aggregate mem-
bership of eight hundred and thirty-five whites
and five thousand two hundred and sixty-seven
colored, with eight Sabbath-schools in active ope-
ration, numbering one hundred and fifty-seven
ofiicers and teachers, and four hundred and nine-
teen whites, and fifteen hundred colored children.
The above facts are suggestive of many thoughts,
both sad and pleasing; but I will leave the reader
to ponder them and make his own observations.
The congregations at Cumberland, Trinity, and
Bethel, now worship in spacious, but plain, sub-
stantial brick buildings, each occupying the sites
of the original churches named as above. A
202 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
portion of the St. James congregation have re-
cently determined to emigrate a few squares from
the site of the present building. They will now
soon enter their new building on the corner of
Coming and Spring streets. When finished it
will probably be the handsomest Methodist ehurch
building in the city.
It will be satisfactory to append a list of all the
preachers who have been stationed in Charleston,
with the year of their appointment :
1785. John Tunnel.
1786. Henry Willis. Isaac Smith.
1787. Lemuel Green.
1788. Ira Ellis,
1789. No preacher named on the minutes.
1790. Isaac Smith.
1791. James Parks.
1792. Daniel Smith.
1793. Daniel Smith, Jonathan Jackson.
1794. Joshua Cannon, Isaac Smith.
1795. Philip Bruce.
1796. Benjamin Blanton.
1797. Benjamin Blanton, J. N. Jones, J. King
METHODISM TN CHARLESTON. 203
1798. John N. Jones, Tobias Gibson.
1799. John Harper, Nicholas Snethen.
1800. George Dougherty, J. Harper.
1801. George Dougherty, J. Harper.
1802. John Garvin, Benjamin Jones.
1803. Bennet Kendrick, Thomas Darley.
1804. Bennet Kendrick, Nicholas Watters.
1805. Buddy W. Wheeler, J. H. Mellard.
1806. L. Myers, Levi Garrison.
1807. Jonathan Jackson, William Owen.
1808. William Phoebus, J. McVean.
1809. Samuel Mills, William M. Kennedy.
1810. W. M. Kennedy, T. Mason, It. Nolley.
1811. Samuel Dunwody, F. Ward, William
Capers, William S. Talley.
1812. F. Ward, J. Kumph.
1813. N. Powers, J. Capers, S. M. Meek.
1814. S. Dunwody, A. Talley, J. B. Glenn.
1815. A. Senter, A. Talley, S. K. Hodges.
1816. J. W Stanley, E. Christopher, James
1817. Solomon Bryan, W. B. Barnett, W-
Kennedy, W Williams.
204 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
1818. L. Myers, A. Talley, H. Bass.
1819. L. Myers, Z. Bowling, Henry T. Fitz-
1820. William M. Kennedy, Henry Bass, J.
1821. William M. Kennedy, D. Hall, W.
Kennedy, Asbury Morgans
1822. James Norton, D. Hall) J. Evans, K.
1823. John Howard, William Hawkins, Thos.
L. Winn, Elijah Sinclair.
1824. S. Dunwody, J. Howard, J. Galluchat,
Sen., S. Olin.
1825. William Capers, A. P. Manley, sup.,
Benjamin L. Hoskins, S: Olin.
1826. Wm. Capers, H. Bass, P. N. Maddux.
1827. J. 0. Andrew, H. Bass, N. Laney.
1828. J. 0. Andrew, A. Morgan, Benjamin
1829. N. Talley, J. Freeman, William H.
1830. N. Talley, Thomas L. Winn, William
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 205
1801. C. Betts, Bond English, W Murrah.
1832. William Capers, William Cook, Thomas
E. Ledbetter, William Murrah.
1833. William Capers, J. Holmes, H. A. C.
Walker, Reddick Pierce, (to change after three
months with J. K. Morse.)
1834. William M. Kennedy, William Martin,
G. F. Pierce.
1835. William M. Kennedy, William Martin,
J. J. Allison, W- A. Gramewell.
1836. William Capers. J. Sewell, J. W Me-
Coll, W. A. Gamewell.
1837. B. English, J. Sewell, J. N. Davis,
James W. Welborn.
1838. B. English, J. E. Evans, Samuel Arm-
1839. N. Talley, J. E. Evans, W. Capers, P.
A. M. Williams.
1840. N. Talley, H. A. C. Walker, White-
1841. B. English, J. Sewell, J. Stacy, T.
Hutchings, city missionary.
1842. B. English, H. Spain, A. M. Shipp.
206 METHODISM IN CHARLESTON.
1843. Cumberland, W. 0. Kirkland; Trinity,
James Stacy; Bethel, B. Bass; St. James, J.
1844. Cumberland, S. W. Capers; Trinity,
J. Stacy; Bethel, William C. Kirkland; St.
James, J. A. Porter.
1845. Cumberland, S. W. Capers; Trinity,
T. Huggins; Bethel, C. H. Pritchard; St. James,
1846. Cumberland, S. Leard; Trinity, W.
Smith; Bethel, C H. Pritchard; St. James, J.
1847. Cumberland, A. M. Forster; Trinity,
Whitefoord Smith; Bethel, W. P. Mouzon; St.
James, M. Eaddy.
1848. Cumberland, W. Smith ; Trinity, sup-
plied by Alexander Speer, local preacher of Geor-
gia ; Bethel, W. P. Mouzon ; St. James, William
1849. Cumberland, W- Smith ; Trinity, C. H.
Pritchard; Bethel, J. A. Porter; St. James, A.
1850. Cumberland, William Gr. Conner; Trin-
METHODISM IN CHARLESTON. 207
ity, James Stacy ; Bethel, Henry M. Mood ; St.
James, A. Gr. Stacy.
1851. Cumberland, W A. Gramewell; Trin-
ity, W. A. McSwain ; Bethel, C. H. Pritchard ;
St. James, J. R. Pickett.
1852. Cumberland, W. Smith; Trinity, W.
A. McSwain; Bethel, C. H. Pritchard; St. James,
John B.. Pickett.
1853. Cumberland, W. Smith, sup., .John T.
Wightman ; Trinity, C. H. Pritchard ; Bethel,
Joseph Cross; St. James, Allen McCorquodale.
1854. Cumberland, John. T. Wightman, W.
Smith, sup.; Trinity, H. C. Parsons; Bethel, J.
Cross; St. James, A. McCorquodale.
1855. Cumberland, S. Leard; Trinity, J.
Cross; Bethel, J. T. Wightman; St. James,
William E. Boone.
1856. Cumberland, W P. Mouzon ; Trinity,
Joseph Cross; Bethel, John T. Wightman, St.
James, William E. Boone.