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David M. Fahey

temperance reformer, federal customs official, and educator, was born William Middleton Artrell, of one quarter African and three quarters European ancestry, at Nassau in the Bahamas. There Artrell benefited from a basic education on the British model, acquired experience as a schoolteacher, and became a staunch Episcopalian.

During the American Civil War the Bahamas prospered as a result of services to blockade runners, who transported British cargo in the short but dangerous voyage between the Bahamas and the Confederate coast. When the war ended, however, economic depression forced many Bahamians to seek work in the United States. In 1870 Artrell migrated to Key West, at that time a major port in Florida. Unlike most African Americans in the South, he had never been a slave. In 1870 Key West opened the Douglass School for African American children Artrell became its first principal and as a result he was sometimes ...

Article

Clifton H. Johnson

clergyman and abolitionist, was born in Colchester, Connecticut, the son of Jehiel C. Beman, a clergyman. Nothing is known of his mother. He grew up and received a basic education in Middletown, Connecticut, where his father was pastor of the African church. A Wesleyan University student, L. P. Dole, volunteered to tutor Beman after the university refused his application for admission because he was an African American. Dole and Beman suffered ridicule and harassment from other students, and an anonymous threat of bodily harm from “Twelve of Us” caused Beman to give up the effort after six months. He went to Hartford, where he taught school for four years, and around 1836 he briefly attended the Oneida Institute in New York.

Beman was ordained as a Congregational minister in 1839. At about this time he married a woman whose name is not known. In 1841 ...

Article

David M. Fahey

fraternal society leader and banker, was born in Habersham County, Georgia, the son of Joseph Browne and Mariah (maiden name unknown), field slaves. As a young child he was called Ben Browne and was chosen to be the companion of his owner's son. A subsequent owner who lived near Memphis trained Browne as a jockey for race circuits in Tennessee and Mississippi. During the Civil War he plotted an escape with fellow slaves. When his owner learned of the conspiracy, he transferred Browne to a plantation in Mississippi. Despite the difficulties of tramping fifty miles without a compass, Browne persuaded three other young slaves to join him in a successful escape to the Union army at Memphis. After learning that his owner could demand his return, Browne fled upriver as a stowaway.

Browne later worked as a saloon servant in Illinois where his barroom experiences made him a teetotaler and ...

Article

Debra Jackson

writer, temperance advocate, and educator, was born Ada Augusta Newton in Brooklyn, New York, the eldest of the three children of Alexander Herritage Newton, a trained mason, and Olivia Augusta (Hamilton) Newton, who was the eldest daughter of Robert Hamilton, the radical abolitionist and owner and editor of the Weekly Anglo-African newspaper. When Ada was eight years old her mother died and shortly thereafter her father, a recently licensed preacher of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) denomination, was directed by the AME leadership to manage the church at Pennington, New Jersey. This was the first of dozens of appointments for Newton, and Ada's early years were characterized by constant travel from city to city as her father's ministry took him to all regions of the country. Despite the incessant moving, Ada received a good elementary education.

Ada worked closely with her father on church matters Indeed she ...

Article

Judith E. Harper

educator and temperance leader, was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, the youngest child of Thomas Woodson, a prosperous farmer and former slave, and Jemimma Riddle, about whom little is known. Descendants of Thomas Woodson, relying on an oral history passed down from the nineteenth century, have long believed that he was the oldest son of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, a slave of mixed race who served Jefferson's family in the years before he became the third U.S. president. Although DNA analysis has confirmed that Hemings's two youngest sons were fathered by either Jefferson, his brother Randolph Jefferson, or one of Randolph's sons, DNA studies have not established a genetic relationship between Thomas Woodson and any of the Jefferson men.

Around 1830 when Early was five years old the Woodsons and several other African American families left the Chillicothe area to move to Berlin Crossroads ...

Article

Carol Parker Terhune

abolitionist and social leader, was born in New York City to free parents, James and Dorothy Gardner. Her father was a shipping contractor who made sails for large vessels. About 1845, while Gardner was in her teens, her family took up residence in Boston, Massachusetts, and opened its own business. Gardner attended the Boston Public School for Colored Children (also known as the Smith School, after the white businessman Abiel Smith, who donated funds). She was educated by leaders in the antislavery movement and developed an appreciation for their cause. The school was also used as a meeting place for the “colored citizens” to discuss issues of concern in their communities. During Gardner's time in Boston's only “colored” grammar school, Boston's African American community was fighting tirelessly to abolish colored schools and end school segregation using the Roberts v. Boston case as the catalyst Gardner ...

Article

Sam Onyejindu Oleka

educator, civil rights activist, and politician, was born on a plantation in Louisa County, Virginia, the second son of Captain Ralph Quarles and Lucy Jane Langston. Lucy Langston was Captain Quarles's part-Amerindian and part-black slave, whom he freed with her daughter Mary. Quarles, who died in 1833, left the greater portion of his personal wealth and property to his three sons. Charles Langston's younger brother, John Mercer Langston wrote that their father gave Charles a start in education that influenced him throughout life He had a weak body but was compensated with a firm mind and intellectual endowment Although he had a well controlled disposition and temper this did not come to him easily and naturally and he tended to be impetuous and aggressive He was restive under discipline and opposition yet resolutely obedient to the training his father gave him because he ...

Article

Rachael Drenovsky

Father Theobald Mathew, the “Apostle of Temperance,” was born near Thomastown in County Tipperary, Ireland, to Anne Cappawhyte and James Mathew. Theobald Mathew was ordained a Franciscan friar of the Capuchin Order in 1814 and assigned to a mission church in the city of Cork, where he became popular for his aid of the Catholic poor. In 1838 fellow charitable workers convinced Mathew to join the temperance movement, and within months thousands pledged themselves to teetotalism—to abstain completely from alcoholic beverages.

The movement s popularity exploded over the next several years as men women and children took the pledge from Mathew sometimes within the priest s home but most often as part of mass meetings Mathew propelled the movement by traveling around Ireland and to Irish communities in Scotland England and later America administering pledges against all intoxicating drinks Enthusiastic supporters claimed that 6 million or more Irish converted to ...

Article

Karla Sclater

Christian missionary and temperance advocate, was born Emma Smith, enslaved in Springfield, Missouri. She lived with her mother, Jennie Boyd, and both her sister and her father, John Smith, lived on a neighboring plantation. There were also four older siblings living on yet another plantation near Springfield. One month after her birth in 1859, Emma was put up for auction alongside her mother and sister. Her father threatened his owners that if they did not purchase his wife and daughters he would run away. The strategy proved successful and Smith was able to have his wife and two daughters live with him.

Emma Smith was only two years old when the Civil War erupted. In 1864 as the Union army secured remaining portions of Missouri from rebel control the white slaveholding Smith brothers John Smith kept the name of his owners fled south to Arkansas ...