Christian Recorder: August 2, 1862
Turner writes on the everyday happenings and church life in Washington, DC.
Keywords: Civil War, Church, Benevolence
Mr. Editor: - We are moving on here as fast as the current of events can drift us
along. Since the adjournment of Congress, the public appear to satiate their intellectual desires
by coming over each other’s sentiments, and comparing view with view.
The removal of General (Henry) Halleck to this department has given rise to considerable
speculation among all classes – some approving of the plan, while others express their
disapprobation in violent terms.
The melancholy task devolves upon us of recording the death of Mr. John Brown, who
died in Alexandria, on Thursday last. He was advised to visit that city as a means of recruiting
his health – but how abortive often proves the advice of men. Mr. Brown was a man of immense
size. He weighed nearly or quite four hundred pounds. His coffin could barely get in one of the
largest hearses in the city. I counted seventeen men around his coffin when conveying him from
the hearse to the grave; and I could but exclaim to a friend by my side, “There is the mammoth
coffin, and here the giant grave.” But, thank God, he died in his faith.
There was a grand charitable demonstration in Wesley Zion Church (which is under the
pastoral care of Rev. John D. Brooks) on Sabbath afternoon, the 20th instant, under the auspices
of a benevolent society of young men, entitled the “Sons of Levi,” for the purpose of raising a
collection for the benefit of the sick and afflicted contrabands in this city. The meeting was
opened at half-past three o’clock, P.M., and after which the presiding officer, Dyer Shelvey,
introduced to the audience the orators selected for the occasion, viz.: Mr. James L.N. Brown, Mr.
George Newman, Cato Ward.
The addresses were very suitable and appropriate to the occasion, and showed very
clearly the necessity and importance of extending the hand of charity to the poor and distressed
people now residing in the city. After the addresses had been delivered, a collection of twenty-seven
dollars was raised for the object above stated. I hear that this society is somewhat famous
for its liberal gifts and charitable donations. I hope that other societies and associations in this
city may initiate the worthy example set forth by this noble-hearted Society, for I know that a
generous public will cheerfully respond.
There was a very interesting time at Israel Church on Monday night, the 21st instant. The
pastor of said church had put some thirty-five subscription books into the hands of several
members and friends of the church to solicit money from every one they could to aid in making
certain repairs on the church, and a ten-dollar bill was the premium to the highest collector. The
church was packed to overflowing by spectators to see who would get the prize, and to witness
Rev. (John Mifflin) J.M. Brown, being on a visit to the city to urge a stronger action in
support of the Repository, was called upon to address the house – which he did in a most
masterly manner. He very forcibly showed that the day for getting our people into dirty churches
and dilapidated places of worship was gone by; and that if we ever expected to hold the rising
generation and cluster them around to the A.M.E. Church, we must first have respectable
churches for the worship of God. Secondly, Sabbath schools in which to train the minds of the
children, with useful and efficient teachers. Thirdly, an educated and intelligent ministry that
could meet the wants of our congregations, with many more useful and weighty remarks. He
closed by appealing to our congregations everywhere to build parsonages, and to neatly furnish
By this time the several subscription books were brought in, and the moneys
counted. Rev. (Alexander Walker) A.W. Wayman then arose, with the fine Bible in his hand to
present to the prize-taker. The entire church was spell-bound as to who had triumphed in the
race. After a few preliminary remarks, he announced the name of THOMAS CEPHUS, which
created loud shouts, hand-clapping, feet-stamping, &c. As soon as the house could be restored to
order, Rev. A.W. Wayman proceeded with the presentation. Brother Cephus, after receiving the
Bible, spent the balance of the evening in bowing to the audience and smiling. He collected $73!
The money brought into the church that night amounted to several hundred dollars.
I had the pleasure of visiting the Quarterly Conference of Rev. H.J. Rhodes on
Wednesday evening last, and things were ordinarily
H. M. T.
Washington, July 26, 1862