Historical and Semi-Centenial Address
In this church the first meeting to celebrate the emancipa¬
tion of the slaves of the West Indies, was held; so says Elder
Shelton, who was one of the speakers, and the Rev. John Boggs
was the other.
The next meeting, October 29th, 1846, was held by Rev. A.
R. Green, so I infer that Elder Smith was the minister in charge
during the absence of Elder Green.
During the administration of Elder Green, God was pleased
to visit his church with the outpouring of his spirit, and many
souls were added to the church. Among the number was Bro.
Thomas E. Knox, who is to be ordained deacon to-day. The
congregation grew so large that the progressive men of the
c'hurch began to think about moving to some other location,
for they could not buy on either side; nor was it desirable, for
the street had been graded and the church was some twenty
feet above the street. The matter of moving was brought
before the people. It was bitterly opposed by Bro. Fowler, and
strongly abvocated by Bros. Peterson and Harbeson. The
party for the sale of the property were triumphant in the vote,
the majority of the church voting to sell. The next thing was
to buy, but there was one thing necessary for the security of
the trustees; that was, the church must be incorporated accord¬
ing to the laws of the State; so I find that a meeting was held
on the 27th clay of January, 1847, Rev. A. R. Green was in the
chair, and O. T. B. Nickens secretary; so the church became
incorporated on and after the filing of the proceedings of the
The trustees then went to work and had a roll of all the
friends of the church made out, and they promised to give so
much per month until the church was paid for ; so we find the
first general roll in 1847. (The names are in a book in the
office of the Temple.) The lot was selected and the first pay¬
ment made. The foundation was laid, and the little house on
the back part of the church lot was built during the adminis¬
tration of Elder Green. The congregation at old Bethel was
very large, the population of colored people was increasing, and
the congregation kept pace with the population.
E. Garry, a West India man, was the successor to Rev. A. R.
Green. He is said to have been a very refined and intelligent
man—was very stylish in his dress, and affable in his manners.