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Alan K. Lamm

Civil War army chaplain and Baptist minister, was born in North Branford, near New Haven, Connecticut, to Ruel and Jereusha Asher. His paternal grandfather had been captured in the Guinea region of Africa at the age of four and was brought to America as a slave. Young Jeremiah grew up hearing fascinating tales of his grandfather's life, which included military service during the American Revolutionary War. Those stories would later inspire Asher in his own life.

Asher's father was a shoemaker who married a Native American woman from Hartford, Connecticut. Jeremiah grew up as a member of the only African American family in North Branford and was permitted to attend school along with white children. At the age of twelve he left school to help out his family financially, and over the next several years he worked as a farmhand, servant, and coachman. In 1833 he married Abigail Stewart ...


Geoffrey Gneuhs

Baptist clergyman and U.S. Army chaplain, was born in Prince George's County, Maryland, the son of Adam Francis Plummer and Emily Saunders. His parents were slaves on “Goodwood,” the plantation of George H. Calvert, a direct descendant of Lord Baltimore. When he was still young, Henry was sold to people living in Washington, D.C., and then to Colonel Thompson in Howard County, Maryland.

After the outbreak of the Civil War in the spring of 1861, Maryland, although a slave state, remained in the Union. Exercising extralegal powers, President Abraham Lincoln placed parts of Maryland under martial law and suspended the writ of habeas corpus, arguing that the Constitution did not provide for procedures to address a rebellion and secession and thus necessitated extraordinary measures. With tensions high and rebels making incursions into Maryland, in the spring of 1862 Plummer managed to escape from the ...