Stoke's Chapel at which time seven were baptized, two
deacons ordained, the Lord's Supper administered and a
minister of the Gospel ordained and sent forth.
"He is not dead but sleepeth."
Philip Lemuel Boone
Rev. Philip Lemuel Boone, pastor of the First Baptist
Church of Weldon, is a self-made man in the best sense
of the word. His father, Rev. L. W. Boone, was also a
Baptist preacher, the organizer and first President of the
Roanoke Association of Eastern N. C. His mother before
her marriage was Charlotte A. Chavis, a very prominent
young woman. The paternal grandparents of our subject
were Lamb and Patsy Boone, his maternal grandparents
were Harry and Marthe Chads. Rev. L. W. Boone was
the father of thirteen children, of whom Philip L. was the
twelfth. When he reached the age of three he had the su-
preme misfortune to lose his father. One can imagine the
struggle which ensued in the Boone home. The widowed
mother and the thirteen children had to live and it was nee-
PHILIP LEMUEL BOONE
NORTH CAROLINA EDITION 271
essary for all hands to assist in making a living. Naturally
those of the thirteen who wanted an education were under
the necessity of digging it out for themselves. When
Philip L. Boone came of age, he went to Virginia. He soon
realized the need of education. Right bravely he went to
work and attended a private high school. He had been
converted when fifteen years of age and when twenty-two
years old felt called to preach the Gospel. He was licensed
to preach in 1908, and in 1912 was ordained to the full
work of the ministry by the First Baptist Church of Gil-
After he had finished at the private school he was at-
tending Rev. Boone did not make the all too common mis-
take of considering his education complete. On the other
hand, he bought some Theological books and after several
years of study was able to pass a creditable examination,
making an average of 80 per cent. Nor did he cease to
study even then. Having learned what could be done by
hard work and perseverance, he has continued to read i>nd
study and grow. He is now taking an advanced course in
Howard University for the degree of B. D.
The early years of his ministry were spent in Virginia.
He pastored the Mars Hill Church near Capron, Va., five
years and eight months. He preached at the First Baptist
Church, Lawreneeville, twelve months, and while there
painted, rebuilt and rededicated the church. From Law-
renceville he went to the Pine Street Church, Suffolk, where
he remained four years. In 1919 he was called to the First
Church at Weldon, where he paid off all indebtedness and
left $1,300.00 in the different treasuries. He paid off the
entire indebtedness of $2,600.00 in nine months. Now the
property, is all clear of debt.
Struggling up through difficulties as he has, Rev.
Boone knows how to deal sympathetically with his people
and his congregation is one of the largest in Weldon. His
favorite reading is the Bible, History and Biography, in the
order named. Among the secret orders he is identified with
272 HISTORY AMERICAN NEGRO
the Masons, Sons and Daughters of Peace, The Samaritans
and the Seven Wise Men.
He has no panacea for wrong conditions. He believes
they can be righted only by honesty and reliability.
On May 15, 1900, Rev. Boone was married to Pattie Lee
Phipps of Greenville Co. She received her education in
the Greenville School. They have -three children: Oscar
L., William W. and Clinton N. Boone.
Rev. Boone was the first colored Red Cross President
appointed in Nansemond Co. He was able, together with
his staff of co-workers to raise over $3,000 to help in the
winning of the great war. While a common laborer he
learned several different trades: carpentry, brick laying
and heading making, together with lumber grading. He
spent twelve years in book canvassing and selling insurance.
He has been very successful in all of his undertakings. He
is now auditor of the Neuse River Association, Secretary
of Neuse River Union, President of the Roanoke Under-
takers Association. He has done considerable evangelistic
work, has traveled North as far as New York and West
as far as West Virginia. Above all, he has made himself
a good name, which is more to be desired than gold.
Daniel Cato Suggs
Some of the best institutions for higher learning in the
South today, for both white and colored, originated in an
effort to provide an educated ministry. With the growth
of educational ideas and the advance of intelligence, these
schools ihave broadened their scope and expanded their
curricula till many of them are now more nearly Univer-
sities than Theological Schools. This does not mean that
their Theological departments have been abandoned.
Rather they have been strengthened, and other depart-
ments, classical, scientific and industrial, have been added
till now they stand for Christian education in the broadest
DANIEL CATO SUGGS
274 HISTORY AMERICAN NEGRO
sense, an education that is productive and fits its students
for the home and for citizenship as well as for the profes-
sions. One of these schools which has rendered large serv-
ice during the years, is Livingstone College of Salisbury.
It will be seen that the head of such an institution must be
a man of constructive ability, vision and learning. Such a
man is Pres. Daniel Cato Suggs, A. B., A. M., Ph. D., of
He is a native of Wilson, N. C, where he was born
two days after Lee's Surrender on April 11, 1865. His life
being so nearly contemporary with the freedom of the race
in America, Dr. Suggs interprets in a peculiar way, in his
struggles and accomplishments, not only to his own people
but to the world, the meaning of one generation of freedom.
His parents were George Washington and Esther Suggs.
His maternal grandmother was Jane Best. His paternal
grandparents were Luke and Susan Edwards.
As a boy he attended the local public schools and Wil-
son Academy. Later he went to St. Augustine School,
Raleigh. When ready for college, he matriculated at Lin-
coln University, w*here he won his Bachelor's degree in 1884.
Subsequently the A. M. degree was conferred on him by
the same institution. His Ph, D. is from Morris Brown
University. He began his career as a teacher during his
student days and has been in educational work for nearly
forty years. The early years of life spent on the farm
developed a vigorous body which has stood remarkably
well the strain of the years indoors.
On completing his course at College he was called to
the public schools of Kinston and went from there to Ashe-
ville for two years. At the end of that time he was elected
to the Chair of Natural Science and Higher Mathematics at
his Alma Mater, where he taught for three years. From
Livingstone College he went to the Georgia State Industrial
College for Colored Youth at Savannah. Here he had the
chair of Natural Science and was Vice-President of the
College. The story of his work at Savannah is no small
part of the history of the Institution. For twenty years
NORTH CAROLINA EDITION 275
he labored there and helped to make the State College one
of the most popular institutions of its kind in the lower
In 1917 there was an opening for him in his native
State and Livingstone called back to administer her affairs
the young man who thirty-three years before she had sent
forth to his work. Both the man and the institution had
grown immensely in the meantime. As the center of the
A. M. E. Zion educational interests in the South, Livingstone
is doing a splendid work and under its present leadership
can look to the future with hope and confidence.
On Sept. 29, 1902, Dr. Suggs was married to Mary A.
Nocho of 'Greensboro. She, too, was educated at Living-
stone and was before her marriage a teacher. They have
five children: Christine, Cato, Beatrice, Frank G., and
George R. Suggs.
Dr. Sugg's favorite reading is along Scientific lines.
He is, of course, a member of the A. M. E. Zion Church and
has twice been a lay delegate to the General Conference.
He belongs to the Odd Fellows. He is of the opinion that
the permanent progress of the race depends on the right
sort of education.
Harrison Ingram Quick
The Quick family is an important one in the "Old North
State," and is well represented in the religious life of the
State. One of the most vigorous members of the Quick
family is Rev. Harrison Ingram Quick of Rockingham, who
for years has been a prominent figure in the Baptist work
of that section.
Mr. Quick is a native of Rockingham and goes back
to the slavery period, having been born just before the war
on Nov. 17, 1859. His father, John Quick, was a carpenter
by trade. John's parents were Abram and Harriet Quick,
natives of Marlboro Co., S. C. The mother of our subject
HARRISON INGRAM QUICK
NORTH CAROLINA EDITION 277
was, before her marriage, Elizabeth Covington, a daughter
of Rhoda Covington.
On Dec. 27, 1877, Rev. Quick was married to Martha H.
Ellerbe, a daughter of Ephraim and Nettie Ellerbe of Rich-
mond Co. Of the nine children born to them seven are liv-
ing. They are: Corina, Elizabeth, Nannie J., Nettie L.,
Dr. John D., William H., Cooohie and Ada Blanche Quick.
These nave all been given the advantages of a college edu-
cation which added to the excellent training of a Christian
home makes them a credit to their parents and an ornament
to the race.
The story of Mr. Quick's struggles for an education and
his fight to get ahead in the world is a fascinating one. In
1861, before Emancipation, when the boy was only two years
of age, his father died. There were two older brothers,
one four and the other five. At the close of the war they
were without means. In 1868 the mother married a Mr.
Leah, who was kind of heart and a 'hard worker but who did
not realize the importance of education. This was a great
barrier in the way of the boys in their earlier school days
and a source of much solicitude on the part of their mother.
The boys were transferred to the home of their grandmother
after which they went to school for several years. Books
and clothing were to buy, but the boys stuck together and
by running tar and burning coal at night for sale managed
to make ends meet. The elder brothers went to college,
while our subject married and established a home. They
made his house their home till they too were married. In
this way our subject was deprived of college training until
1898 when he entered Shaw University for a special course
in Theology. It is interesting to note that three of his chil-
dren were attending the institution at the same time with
When a youth about seventeen years of age he had
i?iven his heart to God and joined the Holly Grove Baptist
Church. Later he felt the call to preach and was licensed
by the Holly Grove Church in April, 1897. In October of
the same year he was ordained to the full work of the min-
278 HISTORY AMERICAN NEGRO
istry and for more than twenty years has been in the active
pastorate. He has served a number of the leading churches
in his section and has steadily grown in popularity with the
brotherhood. He pastored Bethlehem eight years, repaired
the building and paid the debt of the church ; St. Lukes fif-
teen years, repaired the church and cancelled the debt;
St. Stephens five yars, Kyser two years, First Baptist,
Hamlet, two years; First Baptist, Monroe, four years;
East Rocky Ford, Wadesboro, eleven years; First Baptist,
Southern Pines, four years; Macedonia, Hoffman, four
years ; Deep Creek, Wadesboro, fourteen years ; St. Johns,
Shannon, four years and Center Grove, Red Springs, three
years. He has been Moderator of the Union in the Pee
Dee Association for thirteen years and is Vice-President
of the State Convention. He has always been active in edu-
cational matters and is a Trustee of the DeBerry School at
In addition to his success as a preacher Rev. Quick has
also had a successful business career. Immediately after
his marriage, he rented a small farm in Black Jack Township
and continued to farm as a renter for eight years. He then
bought a 64 acre farm and ran three plows. In this way he
reared his family and was later able to buy 50 acres adjoin-
ing his place and start another plow. Some years later he
was able to buy 295 acres and 48 acres just out of the town
limits and ran an eight horse farm. During these years
he purchased town property at both Rockingham and Ham-
let. This property was improved and brings him considera-
ble income in rents. He pays taxes on more property
than any other colored man in the county. In politics he
is a Republican. He was one time a Justice of the Peace
for 6 years and was also in the Revenue service. He was
also elected to the Legislature from his county, but was
not seated. Among the secret orders he affiliates with the
Masons, Pythians, Royal Knights and the Eastern Star, hav-
ing filled the chair in Masons and Pythians and Deputy
Master in other orders.
Such in brief is the story of a man who, though born
NORTH CAROLINA EIDTION 279
in slavery, has struggled up to a place of large usefulness
and has demonstrated what a boy can do who is willing to
At the time of this writing (1920) Dr. Spiller is sixty-
eight years old, but (he is vigorous and active and is taking
care of a man's job. The reader will not be surprised there-
fore to learn that Dr. Spiller is a wonderful man and a
leader among leaders.
The scene of the most active part of his work is laid in
Virginia, where he reached a position of commanding influ-
ence among Negro Baptists, and that means the Negro race
in that State, for most of them are of the Baptist persua-
Those who know Dr. Spiller best pronounce him a mas-
ter debater and parliamentarian in deliberative bodies of all
kinds, and he is seldom left with a minority and if he ever
finds himself in a minority it is not long before he is with
the majorty, and this does not mean that he capitulates,
but it often signfies that neither majority nor minority
is what he is seeking, but unity. His spirit is combative
but he has sufficient humility and consideration of the other
side when beaten to acknowledge it and is always the first
to seek unity. Dr. Spiller is 1 a great preacher. He uses a
manuscript and uses it well. His sermon is not written out
in full but the logical portion is written and the illustrations
are not written. Indeed he really comments on his own
written sermon, and that is how he carries the less educated
along with the more intelligent classes. He is a preacher
such as is not generally met with. He does not intone his
sermons nor work his people up to ecstacy as many others
but in his sermons the instruction and the logic and the
conscience receive greater consideration than the feelings.
Dr. Spiller was born somewhere in Buckingham Co.,
280 HISTORY AMERICAN NEGRO
Virginia, June, 1852. His parents were William and
Delphia Spiller. He remembers his grandmother was
Nancy Johnson. He attended school in Richmond and later
on the Richmond Theological Seminary four years. Dur-
ing the Civil War he attended a Sunday School conducted
by Presbyterians at Lynchburg, Va. He was converted
when about nineteen years of age. After studying for the
ministry at Richmond he traveled North with jubilee sing-
ers for a school at Christianburg, Va. He was formally
ordained to the ministry by the Court Street Baptist Church
at Lynchburg, Va., in 1875 and his first pastorate was the
First Baptist Church as Bristol, Va., where he remained two
years. He then accepted the Bank Street Church at Nor-
folk, Va., and while in Norfolk studied under an able man
and has ever since that time devoted much time to his
studies. After pastoring at Bank Street Church for nine
years and baptizing eight hundred persons he organized the
Queen Street Baptist Church in the same city with only three
members, bought a lot and built a house of worship for
them and remained as pastor for four years, leaving the
church with two hundred and thirty members.
He also did much missionary work while at Norfolk
that has resulted in much good to the denomination. He
organized the Calvary Baptist Church of Norfolk, which has
grown to be the largest church in the city. He resigned
Queen Street Church to accept the First Baptist Church
at Hampton, Va., and he found the church discouraged but
he completed the house of worship and baptized nearly
eight hundred persons during the seventeen years he served
that people. While pastor at Hampton he organized the
Spiller Academy and kept it going while he remained at
Hampton. After he resigned the school was moved to the
Eastern Shore. Dr. Spiller went from Hampton to the
Tabernacle Church, Alleghany, Pa., but resigned after two
years and came to Concord, N. C, where he pastored his
first church in North Carolina for two years. He then
served the Central Church at Wilmington, N. C, for two
years and resigned to accept the Mt. Vernon Baptist Church
NORTH CAROLINA EDITION 281
at Durham, N. C. At this writing he had passed with his
seventh year at Durham, and has wonderfully helped that
church and, indeed, the colored people of the entire city.
He has written much for the local press at Durham and
has published a booklet of his sermons and is now prepar-
ing a hymn book.
Dr. Spiller has not taken an active part in politics,
but is a member of the Masons, Pythians and St. Luke
orders. He is a member of the State Lott Carey and Na-
tional 'Convention Boards and will be recognized in any
gathering he attends. He took a leading part in establish-
ing Virginia Seminary, Lynchburg, Va., while in that State.
On July 1, 1876, Dr. Spiller was married to Mary E.
Thompson, of New Jersey, and to them two children have
been born, the daughter, Lula Estella, is now Mrs. Hawkins,
and is a preacher of the Gospel like her father. The son,
William N. Spiller, is a musician of ability and wide reputa-
tion, having played abroad and in all the principal cites of
the United States. Dr. Spiller has amassed no great wealth
but owns some property at Durham, Lynchburg and Appo-
George Henry Mitchell
The trend of the Negro population has been from the
South to the North. However, there are a few who, though
born and reared at the North, have seen the opportunities
in the unoccupied fields of the South and by intelligent ap-
plication to their chosen lines of work have succeeded most
creditably. One of these pioneers in the legal profession
and in the real estate field is George Henry Mitchell of
Mr. Mitchell is a native of Washington, D. C, where ho
was born Aug. 27, 1876. His father, the late Geo. W.
Mitchell, was an attorney at Washington, D. C, and profes-
sor of Latin and Greek at Howard University. His mother
GEORGE HENRY MITCHELL
NORTH CAROLINA EDITION 283
who, before her marriage to Prof. Mitchell, was Alvira
Scott, was a native of Ohio. She was a daughter of John H.
Scott of Oberlin, a noted Abolitionist, one of Wellington
Rescuers, and his wife Cecilia Scott, both of Scottish and
Negro ancestry. This branch of the family went to Ohio
from Fayetteville, N. C, in 1848.
Young Mitchell's father died when the boy was only
three years of age and the family moved from Washington
to Chattanooga, Tenn. Here he laid the foundation of his
education in the Howard High School. He has been a hard
worker all his life. At an early age he picked cotton and
chopped cordwood, and such was his record as a student
that he began teaching at fourteen.
He went to Shaw University, Raleigh, N. C, for his
College work and for his law course. He won his Bachelor's
degree in 1897 and the L.L. B. degree from the same insti-
tution in 1909. Subsequently he went to the University of
New York for some special work on account of which he
was given the L.L. M. degree.
After passing from the elementary grades he found it
necessary to make his own way in school but refused to
be discouraged and forged ahead till he was well equipped
for his work.
The counsel of his mother during his boyhood and
youth and a desire to do more than his father did constantly
impelled him to renewed effort.
He was an active, popular student and while in school
was fond of college athletics. His favorite reading after
his professional books runs to the classics.
Early in 1902 Mr. Mitchell located at Greensboro, where
he has since resided.
Combining the real estate business with his law prac-
tice he has built up a good clientage in both. He is the only
lawyer of his race in Greensboro. While a Republican in
politics he takes no active part in party politics beyond ex-
ercising the franchise. He belongs to the Baptist Church
and is identified with the Pythians. From his experience
and observation he is of the opinion that the best interests
284 HISTORY AMERICAN NEGRO
of the race may be promoted, "By development of racial'
pride through sane race periodicals, by thrift, by ceaseless
industry and by the exercise of the ballot, which alone
Mr. Mitchell has been twice married. His first mar-
riage was in 1903, to Maude M. Wood of Greensboro. She
bore him one son : Geo. H. Mitchell, Jr., and passed away in
1907. Subsequently, on Aug. 22, 1912, Mr. Mitchell was.
married to Lucy C. Smith, a daughter of Rev. J. E. and Ida
Smith of Chattanooga, Tenn. They (have three children:
Edward E. E., Kathleen A. and Walter R. Mitchell.
In 1912 he was licensed to practice in the Federal
Courts and has been President of the North Carolina Bar
Association since its organization.
Robert Blair Bruce
It is a far cry from the condition of slavery into which
our subject was born to the Bishopric of a great denomi-
nation. It is interesting to study the qualities which have
brought such a man to the front.
Robert Blair Bruce was born in Brunswick Co., Va., just
after the outbreak of the war of sections on June 26, 1861.
His parents, who were slaves before Emancipation, were
Robert H. and Mary (Jones) Bruce. His maternal grand-
parents were David and Lila Jones. The grandfather lived
to the remarkable age of a hundred and nine years.
The boy grew np on the farm and was permitted to go
to school on rainy days. His grandmother and an uncle
raised (him. At an early age he aspired to a more liberal
education than his environments promised. The nearest
school of importance was at Lawrenceville, seven miles
away. Something of his eagerness will be understood when
it is stated that he walked that distance back and fortn
each day till the foundation of a good education was laid.
Incidentally these hard years of his youth did other things.
ROBERT BLAIR BRUCE
286 HISTORY AMERICAN NEGRO
for him. They developed a vigorous body which has been
able to stand the strain of the years remarkably well. They
also taught him lessons of thrift and economy which have
played their part in life. They have done more. They
have created in him a bond of sympathy with all struggling
Bishop Bruce was scarcely more than ten years of age
when he was converted. He early turned to the work of the
ministry and has been an active minister of the Gospel
for nearly forty years. After leaving the school at Law-
renceville, he went to Petersburg and it was there in Bishop
Payn'es Divinity School he took his Theological course. He
began preaching at 18 but actually joined the Conference
at twenty-two under the late Bishop Hood at Petersburg.
After completing his work at Petersburg he was on the
work at Winston for two years. In 1894 he came to Char-
lotte as pastor of Grace Church, whidh he served for five
years and started the splendid building which has since
been completed. His next appointment was the Little Rock
Church, where he remained for one year. He was in Salis-
bury two years.
Early in his ministry 'he saw the tremendous advantage
in every way which must accrue to the denomination by
producing its own literature especially its Sunday School
periodicals. He was a pioneer in that field and was largely
instrumental in the establishment and building up of the
publishing interests of the denomination. For twenty-two
years he was Editor of the A. M. E. 7Am Sunday School
periodicals, a position which he held until he was promoted
to the Bench in 1916. Though never formally appointed
Presiding Elder he virtually served in that capacity for a
number of years in and around Charlotte.
He was elevated to the Bishopric in 1916 at the General