Wayside Dots and Jots
Christian Recorder: February 7, 1878
Mr. Editor—If my recollections serves me right, I last wrote you from Madison, Ga, where I arrived on the afternoon of the 1st Sabbath in 1878, after travelling there from Katonton, a distance of 22 miles, on the coldest day that ever visited that section of the State without doubt.
Nevertheless I made my entrance into our church just as Rev. Andrew Brown, P.E., had knelt down to consecrate the elements of the Lord’s Supper, and witnessed a very lively time indeed. The most prominent of which was a large, well built, and finely arranged church and a congregation that would ornament a palace, if we are to judge by appearance.
Madison is the home of Presiding Elder Brown, and as he was fortunately holding his first quarter here, it gave me the much coveted opportunity of spending a few days in his over agreeable company. With him and Rev. Richard Graham, the pastor of the said church, I would have had a grand time, had it not for being sick part of the time and falling on the ice and severely spraining my leg, which very much disabled me; I nevertheless endeavored to preach, lecture and represent the Department as best I could. I found Elder Graham to be very popular, and much beloved by all, colored, white, Baptist, Methodist, &c. He is one of our coming lights and if he keeps his promise to me, will be remembered when dead. Mrs. Wesbey a lady of rare qualities, Mrs. Mary Turner of commendable status, and Mrs. Russell the distinguished mother of Rev. I. N. Fitzpatrick, respectively entertained the Manager with sumptuous collations not in consideration of his merits, but of his position.
I had the pleasure of an acquaintance with Col. Johnson of this place, who has supplied the colored people with more homes than possibly any five white men in Georgia. Once the owner of hundreds of slaves, but now the benefactor of hundreds, if not thousands. Had one white man in a hundred in Georgia done as Col. Johnson, the State would have been millions of dollars better off. But blessings rebound while Col. Johnson has provided an immense number of homes for our people, and made hundreds happy by his wise and generous policy, they in return have made him rich again and have more than counterbalanced all of his war losses…..
From Madison I went to Marietta, stopped with Rev. S. B. Jones, P. E. and enjoyed the social comforts of his well supplied domicile. Here I also tried to preach and lecture to crowded houses and had the estimable honor of consecrating by Holy Baptism two of the children of the Presiding Elder, which service had been awaiting my arrival for some years. Mrs. Jones, the wife of the Elder, is a lady of many virtues and graces her high station nobly.
Rev. Dr. Stewart recently of our church, but now of the Congregationalist, is here watching an afflicted wife who is expected to leave for a better land at any time. The Dr. has had several deaths in his family within the past few years and seriously feels the visitation of Providence. Elder Smith the pastor of our church in Marietta is a gentleman of fine parts….He seems to be wanting in executive force, but as a preacher, he has few equals; he appears to be criminally timid (unable to read middle portion of this sections). And a colored preacher had as well try to fly without wings as to succeed by running a timid schedule.
I spent the Sabbath in Atlanta, preached for Elders R. A. Hall, and Low, one the pastor of Bethel church, and the latter the pastor of Wood’s Chapel. I scarcely know how to speak of these two brethren; except that both are doing grandly, and their churches are perpetually crowded.
Rev. R. A. Hall recently of the Baltimore Conference has charge of the big church here, and his acceptability cannot be expressed in words. He possibly has more classical scholars in his church than are to be found in any one charge in our wide spread connection. His literary society considers, reviews and discusses the deepest subjects known to science, philosophy and art, and whom together talk like an assemblage of scientist. Brother Hall’s Christian department on one hand, and his gentlemanly urbanity on the other, is winning for him the highest respect if not admiration both in and out of his church. After spending Sabbath there, I lectured on Monday night to a crowded house, who at times grew furious with applause, but what at, they never told me.
From this point, I passed through Macon, lectured to another grand assemblage, spent a few days and went to Americus, where I was met at the depot by that illustrious church builder, Rev. Wm. Bradwell. Brother Bradwell in one year has built a church here with what he entitles ten cent collections that is not only an ornament to this place, but to the whole State. I believe that Dr. J. W. Stevenson of Trenton N. J. is regarded as the Prince of Church builders among the living. But Elder W.J. Gaines and Wm. Bradwell, are certainly nipping at his heels at the rate they are moving. They will soon say to the distinguished Doctor, get further as we want more room.
While in Atlanta I met several distinguished personages, who have figured largely in this State for many years; such as Col. J. E. Bryant, the indefatigable editor of the Georgia Republican a gentleman who for many years has walked the watch towers of Republicanism with a seal that had no bounds, and never failed to attach any and every thing the thought incompatible with its success. Also Hon. W. H. Harrison, who contemplates turning his great forces to the medical profession. Also Dr. Balwin, one of the most successful practitioners among the colored Doctors in the State, and several others whose names are too numerous to mention.
There is a better state of affairs in Georgia likely, than in any State south, to the exception of railroad accommodations.
They are trying to keep up the color line on the cars yet, though it is done without the shadow of law, and the rule would vanish before the courts as mists before the sun, if those who do not pay half fare would resist the wicked discrimination, yet I confess that some of our people act most shamefully on the cars. Such conduct is intolerable. But they ought to have cars suited to the rag-tag, and bob-tail, and charge them accordingly, as they do in South Carolina &c. I had myself to leave the colored people’s car between Savannah and Macon, and go in the white car, because of the conduct of some drunken colored skunks whose conduct was unbearable and was a shame to civilization. And what I can’t stand, a cross cut saw could not, for I thought I was flint and steel to every thing. Yet those ruffians did no worse than I have seen white ruffs do. But as the colored do not charge all the whites with the conduct of a few, the whites should not treat us so, for there are thousands of colored, just as polished, and as sensitive to irregularities and misconduct, as the most fastidious whites could be. In other respects Georgia is coming fast to the front, to the exception of a few old fossils, who do all they can to hold the negro back. They have had the negro on the brain so long, that it will take death itself to get him off. Some will likely go into the other world scheming for the degradation of the negro. But that there is a marvelous change among the masses of the whites, in favor of the intellectual and moral elevation of the colored people, is too potent to doubt or question.
President Hayes is almost universally denounced by the colored people, as an indescribable ingrate. The appointment of a Democrat to the U.S. Marshallship of the State, was the straw that broke the camel’s back. They say that the United States Marshall was the last hope they had of a little protection. And as he is removed, they are left in total darkness. And now, if the President wishes any Republican party here, any speeches made, and any republicans votes cast, he must come and do it himself, or get his democratic supporters to do it, for they will not. One of the ablest colored speakers in the State said to me, if he took the stump again at all, it would be to tell the colored people to vote any ticket to keep on the good side of the whites. That there is no Republican party.
Another said, “There is still a strong feeling in favor of Southern confederacy among the whites,” or as he said, among the rebels, and he was praying for another secession movement, so that negroes and whites could all unite, and whip out the north, and let the north feel the force of her desertion. And many other remarks of that sort I have listened to from time to time. The truth is, there is such a bitter feeling among the colored and white republicans south, against the policy of the President on the one hand, and the seeming desertion of the negro by the northern people on the other, that no one can tell what the result would be, if another fuse was to break out between the north and south.