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Kyle T. Bulthuis

tobacconist, sexton of John Street Methodist Church, and founding trustee of the African or Zion Chapel (later named “Mother Zion,” the first African Methodist Episcopal Zion, or AMEZ, church in the United States), was born on Beekman Street in New York City, the son of the African slaves George and Diana. At the time of his birth as many as one in five New York City residents were slaves, a percentage greater than any other British colonial area north of the Chesapeake. Two events in Peter Williams's early adulthood dramatically shaped his future. At some undetermined time, his owners sold him to James Aymar in New York City From Aymar Williams learned the tobacconist trade providing him skills that would one day make him one of the wealthiest blacks in the city Also as a young man Williams attended Methodist meetings and he converted to Methodism ...

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Born a slave in the New York City area, Peter Williams, Sr., joined a Methodist church and became sexton in 1778. When his master, a Loyalist, returned to England in 1783 the church s trustees bought Williams Williams firmly believed in equality and was upset when black members ...

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Graham Russell Hodges

Peter Williams Sr. was one of ten children born in New York City to George and Diana Williams, slaves of James Aymar, a prominent local tobacconist. Born in an annex to Aymar's cowshed, Williams often said, “ I was born in as humble a place as my Lord!” Encouraged by Aymar to attend services at the newly formed Wesley Chapel, later known as the John Street Methodist Church, Williams worshipped in the slave gallery. At the chapel he married Mary Durham, also known as Molly, who was an indentured servant for Aymar's wife and a legendary volunteer for Fire Company #11. She served hot coffee and sandwiches to the firemen and is shown in a famous painting pulling a fire truck through blinding snow.

During the American Revolution Aymar, a staunch Loyalist, fled to New Brunswick, New Jersey, taking with him his slaves and indentured servants. In 1780 shortly ...