JOHN ROBERT THIRGOOD CHRISTIAN AND WIFE
586 HISTORY AMERICAN NEGRO
God, whose simple life and religious teachings gave direc-
tion to the life of the boy. He was the son of Jack and Mar-
thena Nichols. Rev. Christian's mother was, before her
marriage, Miss Lottie Jane Medley, a daughter of Harry
Growing u pon the farm, our subject attended the lo-
cal public school. He did his College work at Miles Memo-
rial College after his marriage and after entering the min-
istry. He experienced the new birth when he was eighteen
years of age and definitely decided to preach when he was
He joined the Conference in 1907 under Bishop R. S.
Williams at North Birmingham.
In his domestic relations Mr. Christian has been called
to go through the deep waters. He was first married to
Miss Anna E. Tellis, on Dec. 24, 1899. On May 18, 1910,
she passed away. Five years later, on Feb. 24, 1915, he
was married to Miss Hettie Louisa Mills of Union Mills,
N. C. She was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Zachariah T.
Mills. On Feb. 9, 1918, Mrs. Christian was called to her
reward. On Feb. 12, 1919, Mr. Christian and Miss Ruth
Mclntire, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. L. G. Mclntire, were
His pastoral work has been varied and has carried him
over several states. In 1908 he was assigned to Brookwood
(Ala.) Station which he served two years. In 1910 he
pastored Dolomite and Thomas, Birmingham. In 1911 he
went to Ensley, Ala., where a church was organized. It
was during this period while in and around Birmingham
that he went to college. The following year found him at
the Hillsboro Station where the church was remodeled at
an expense of a thousand dollars. In 1913, the work at
Huntsville was in need of an enterprising man to save the
church at that point and he was stationed there. The
same year he was ordained Elder and elected delegate to
the General Conference which sat at St. Louis in May, 1914.
He was transferred to the N. C. Conference and stationed
at Charlotte. Eight months later another transfer took him
NORTH CAROLINA EDITION 587
to the Washington-Philadelphia Conference and stationed
him at the Miles Memorial Church, Washington, D. C, to
succeed Rev. L. E. B. Rosser, who had been elected Secre-
tary of the Ministerial Relief Association. In the spring of
1915 he was sent to Front Royal, Va., where he pastored for
two years. In 1916 he was transferred to Georgia and sta-
tioned at Elberton, where he remained until the fall of
1917, when he was sent to N. C. and stationed at the New
Reynolds Temple, Winston-Salem. In 1919 he was sent to
the extreme eastern end of the State and stationed at the
old town of Washington, the home of the late Bishop Joseph
A. Beebe, where he pastors (1920) the Christian Temple
Mr. Christian has with singleness of heart devoted
himself to the ministry. He has not been active in politics,
nor is he identified with the secret orders. His principal
reading has been along the line of his work.
Leonard Edward Fairley
During the war between the States on July 19, 1862,
there was born in Richmond Co. a boy, who, though born
in slavery was destined to occupy a place of large usefulness
among his people as a religious and educational leader. The
boy was Leonard Edward Fairley, D. D., now (1919) pastor
of the Davie Street Presbyterian church in the capital city
of the State. His parents were Richmond and Elsie Fairley.
His father's mother was Dinah Terry. His mother was,
during her girlhood, sold into N. C. from Loudon Co., Va.
She only remembered that her mother's name was Kitty
Young Fairley grew up on the farm. When about
fourteen years of age his mother went to work and live at
the home of a Presbyterian minister at Floral College. The
boy was employed about the place. The environment was
such as to awaken in him an interest in the best things in-
588 HISTORY AMERICAN NEGRO
tellectually and spiritually. The minister's wife taught him
his alphabet and started him in the right direction. He
learned the catechism and when about seventeen came into
the church. He attended the public school for a while and
passed from there to the school at Lumberton, where he
came under the influence of a godly teacher in the person
of Prof. D. P. Allen, who greatly influenced his life. Hav-
ing decided when about twenty-one to preach the Gospel,
he matriculated at Lincoln University for his college course
and won his S. T. B. degree in 1892. During his college
days, he spent his summers at the Northern resorts and
thus earned money for the succeeding term's expenses.
After entering upon his Theological course he devoted his
summers to S. S. Missionary work. One vacation was thus
spent in Arkansas and one in North Carolina. He was act-
ive in college athletics and was especially fond of football.
His first pastorate was at Fayetteville, to which he
went after his graduation. He remained eight years,
erected a new house of worship and greatly strengthened
the work in every way. For the first four years, he ran
a parochial school, after that he was elected principal of
the State Normal at Fayetteville.
During the last three years he was in Fayetteville he
edited and published the Cape Fear Enterprise, a weekly
paper which won the support of his white friends who had
at first discouraged the venture.
In 1900 Dr. Fairley went to Elizabeth City and
preached there for six years. The church building was re-
paired and a successful private school carried on. He then
went to Kinston for three years and again combined teach-
ing and preaching. From Kinston he came to his present
work in Raleigh, where for more than a decade he has
been a recognized leader in a city of schools and churches.
He is chairman of the Board of Missions for Freedmen in
the Cape Fear Presbytery, also chairman of the Board of
In 1895 he was a commissioner to the General Assembly
NORTH CAROLINA EDITION 589
at Saratoga. Among the secret orders he is a member of
the Pythians. ,
On Dec. 23, 1896, Dr. Fairley was happily married to
Miss Carrie L. Thornton of Fayetteville. She had been
educated at Fayetteville and at Scotia and was herself an
accomplished teacher. They have eight children, whose
names are, Richmond A., Nellie M., Eloise, Leonard E., Jr.,
Thornton, WiTbur, Emmett and Thurman.
Dr. Fairley is a great general reader. He believes the
outstanding need of the race today is trained efficient lead-
Sidney Daniel Watkins
It is good to see a man's work prosper in his hands.
Wherever the Rev. Sidney Daniel Watkins, D. D., of Char-
lotte, has gone, schools have flourished, new missions have
been' established, and missions have grown into churches
which have been grouped to make circuits and not a few
of them have become stations in the work of the A. M. E.
Zion connection. His work in and around Charlotte has
been progressive and constructive. He has presided over
the Charlotte district for twelve years and has made a
record which is a credit to him and to his associates.
Dr. Watkins is a native of Richmond Co., where he
was born just after the close of the war on June 2, 1865.
His father, Edmund Watkins, was a farmer, and the sub-
ject of this biography grew up on the farm and as a bare-
foot boy went to the short term public schools and worked
in the field. When about eighteen years of age he came
into the Kingdom and a year later felt called to take up
the work of the Gospel ministry. Accordingly he was li-
censed and in 1889 joined the conference at Concord under
Bishop Hood. His first conference appointment was the
River Hill Mission in Caldwell Co., which he served one
year and built a new church. He was successful from the
beginning and there has never been a question in his mind
SIDNEY DANIEL WATKINS
NORTH CAROLINA EDITION 591
that he was doing the work to which he was divinely ap-
pointed. His next work was the Zion Wesley Circuit where
he preached for three years and built a new house of wor-
ship at Troutman's. He then went to the Mooresville Cir-
cuit, where he built a church and remodeled two others.
After that he was sent to Rutherfordton for three years
and remodeled two churches. His next appointment was
Lincolnton, Which he pastored four years and remodeled the
church. At the end of pastorate he was appointed to Lit-
tle Rock Station, Charlotte. He moved to Charlotte, where
he has since resided. He preached at Little Rock six years,
added six hundred members and raised two thousand dollars
toward a new building. He was then promoted to. the district
and has presided over the Charlotte District for twelve
years. During that time twelve missions have been es-
tablished in the district and a number of them have grown
Not only has Dr. Watkins been a successful pastor,
but for eighteen years he taught school in connection with
his preaching. He is the friend and supporter of education
and an advocate of a better understanding between the
races. He has an attractive home in Charlotte.
In Dec., 1894, he was married to Miss Bessie Thompson
of Salisbury. She was a daughter of John and Millie
Thompson, and was educated at Livingstone College. She
was a teacher before her marriage. They have five chil-
dren, Sidney, Edgar, Leon, Bessie and Sadie Watkins.
Dr. Watkins went to school at both Livingstone Col-
lege and Biddle University, taking Theology at the latter.
He took a correspondence course in Literature. Livingstone
College conferred on him the D. D. degree. He is a member
of the general conference and has attended the meetings of
that body at Charlotte, Louisville, St. Louis, Philadelphia
At the Knoxville conference in 1920, Dr. Watkins was
chosen manager of the denominational publishing house at
Benjamin Harrison Hogan
Just after the close of the war between the States, on
June 15, 1865, there was born in Orange Co., near the his-
toric old town of Hillsboro, a boy who was destined to take
an active part in the struggle of his race for that genera-
tion. In the unorganized, unsettled conditions among the
slaves at that time, it happens that Benjamin Harrison
Hogan, of Goldsboro, does not know the name of his father.
His mother's name was Zilphia Cameron.
Young Hogan left Orange Co. and was brought to
Goldsboro at an early age. He worked around town and
on adjacent farms, and attended the city school as a boy.
Having also lost his mother by this time, he was entirely
alone in the world, but early formed the habits of industry
and honesty which, coupled with persistence, finally brought
After he had reached the point where he could secure
a teacher's license, he taught school for a number of years
and then for about twelve years ran a mercantile business at
Goldsboro. With the development of the trucking industry
around Goldsboro, he closed up his shop and went into the
trucking business at which he worked for eight years.
Since 1902 he has been in the mail service.
Mr. Hogan is an active and prominent member of the
A. M. E. Zion church, of which he is a steward and superin-
tendent of the Sunday School.
When the Wayne Co. Business League was organized,
his business expreience made him the logical man for treas-
urer, to which position he was elected.
On August 12, 1888, Mr. Hogan was married to Miss
Annie D. Mattocks, an adopted daughter of John H. and
Wathenia Mattocks. She was educated at Livingstone Col-
lege. Of the fifteen children born to them, the following
survive: John H., Roberta V., Thaddeus L., Annie V.,
Thereas H., Raphael S., Benjamin H., Jr., and Charles Mar-
BENJAMIN HARRISON HOGAN
594 HISTORY AMERICAN NEGRO
Mr. Hogan has been a hard working man all his life,
and though lacking a college education, he has handled his
business affairs in such a way as to accumulate quite a com-
He knows of no short cuts to success. He believes
that the progress of the race depends upon sobriety, hard
work, economy and the cultivation of friendly relations with
one's white neighbors and business associates.
Ernest Reginald Grasty
Dr. Ernest Reginald Grasty, successful physician of
Reidsville, came to this State from the Old Dominion, hav-
ing been born at Danville on Oct. 8, 1888. His father, Dr.
W. F. Grasty, is a distinguished Baptist preacher and educa-
tor of that city. His mother, who before her marriage, was
Miss Alice Tucker, passed away in 1896. Dr. Grasty's pa-
ternal grandparents were John and Lucy Grasty ; his mater-
nal grandparents were John and Seena Tucker.
As a boy young Grasty went to the local public schools.
Of course, being brought up in a home of education and
right influences was a tremendous advantage. When ready
for college he went to Shaw University and passed from
the college into the medical department, then known as
Leonard Medical College. Here he won his M. D. degree
in 1914. It was necessary for him to earn the money for
the expenses of his course, which he did during vacations.
Two vacations were spent on the road in the express service
and the rest mining coal in W. Va.
On Dec. 31, 1913, Dr. Grasty was married to Miss Etta
Allen of Danville. They have two children, Ernest R., Jr.,
and Wm. F., Jr.
In the spring of 1915, Dr. Grasty began the practice
at Luthersville. After two years there he moved to Reids-
ville, where he has since resided and where he enjoys a
^ood practice. He is an active member of the Baptist
NORTH CAROLINA EDITION 595
church in which he is a trustee. In politics he is a Republi-
can. He is of the opinion that the progress of the race
depends more upon intelligent work than on any other factor.
Edwin Wallace Fisher
One of the most versatile, as well as successful, busi-
ness men of eastern North Carolina is Mr. Edwin Wallace
Fisher, district superintendent of the N. C. Mutual Life Co.,
who resides at the old town of Washington in Beaufort Co.
Mr. Fisher has the distinction of having been born in
Westmoreland Co., which is the native county of Pres.
George Washington and Gen. Robert E. Lee as well as other
celebrities. The date of his birth was January 17, 1873.
His parents were Daniel and Eve Fisher. His paternal
grandparents were Isaac and Susan Fisher. The family
moved from Virginia to the North when the boy was seven
years old and our subject attended the public and high
schools of Deep River, Conn. When it is remembered that
the high school work in New England is equal to much of
the so-called college work of the South, it will be seen that
Mr. Fisher was well equipped for his career in life. He
learned the trade of machine wood turner, at which he
worked for a number of years. For twelve years he was
assistant foreman in a New Haven, Conn., establishment.
In 1911 he came South and accepted a position as instructor
in the mechanical department of the A. & T. College at
Greensboro, where he remained for five years. In the
meantime, he had had an opportunity to observe conditions
in North Carolina and in 1916 accepted a position with the
North Carolina Mutual. He came to Washington, where he
has met with unusual success in this new line of work.
Whoever has come in contact with the superintendents of
this great concern, knows that they are a remarkably intel-
ligent and aggressive lot of business men. To be at the
EDWIN WALLACE FISHER
NORTH CAROLINA EDITION 597
head of a N. C. Mutual District is in itself a distinction ; to
be a leader among these is a high honor indeed.
Mr. Fisher has had the opportunity of observing con-
ditions at the North, where educational facilities are su-
perior to those of the South and in recent years he has
been brought into intimate contact with the people of the
South, and he is of the opinion that the great need of the
race today is better schools. He is a Republican in politics
bu thas taken no active part in party affairs. He is a mem-
ber of the Episcopal church, of which he is a vestryman,
and belongs to the Masonic order.
Mr. Fisher has been married twice, each time to a na-
tive of Virginia. His first wife was Miss Nannie Dortch,
who was educated at Boydton Institute, Boydton, Va. She
bore him four children, Edwin, Eugene Clarence, and Marion.
Marion passed away. Mrs. Nannie Fisher died in 1902.
On August 12, 1903, he was married to Miss Daisy Todd, of
Petersburg, Va. She was educated at St. Paul's Normal &
Industrial School and was before her marriage a teacher
in Petersburg. They have four children, Anna, Milton,
Susie and Floyd Fisher.
Henry Harrison Jackson
When some years ago, Bishop Clinton was speaking
words of encouragement at Tuskegee to a struggling youth
from Texas, he little dreamed that he was talking to his
own future pastor. And yet that is exactly what occurred
in the life of Rev. Henry Harrison Jackson, now (1919) sta-
tioned at the Little Rock A. M. E. Zion church, Charlotte.
The story has its lesson not only for aspiring youth but
for great leaders as well.
Mr. Jackson is a native of the Lone Star State, having
born at Lockhart, Texas, on Feb. 11, 1884. His father, Rev.
Gilford Jackson, was a Methodist preacher. The mother of
our subject was, before her marriage, Miss Melissa San-
HENRY HARRISON JACKSON
NORTH CAROLINA EDITION 599
ders. She was the daughter of another Methodist minister,
Rev. John Sanders.
Young Jackson attended the local public schools and
worked on the farm. Once during cotton picking time,
there was a rainy day which the boy spent in reading the
life story of the late Booker T. Washington. His imagina-
tion was fired and his ambition was aroused and before
long he was on his way to Tuskegee where he remained for
three years. Already a Christian, having been converted
at fourteen, he was inclined to the ministry and began his
work as a local preacher at twenty-one. It was while at
Tuskegee that he came in contact with Bishop Clinton, who,
seeing his aptitude, encouraged him and pointed the way
to large things. He joined the Conference at Tuskegee in
1908 and was transferred to North Carolina. He entered
Livingstone College, where he won his Bachelor's degree in
1916. Two years later he completed the Theological course
with the B. D. degree. His first regular pastorate was
the Second Creek Circuit, which he served three years and
built the Graham Memorial Church at Salisbury. From
there he went to the Davidson Circuit, which he served
six years. Both churches on this work were remodeled
and the membership greatly strengthened. During these
years as a busy pastor he was also making full time at col-
lege and keeping up with his classes. No sooner had he
finished his Theological course than he found awaiting him a
Station appointment at Charlotte. He came to the work
at Little Rock to find an indebtedness of $3,200.00. In six
months this was cancelled, $3,513.16 having been raised at a
single rally. In 1919 a parsonage was bought at a cost of
$3,550.00. While the finances of a church are important,
they are not the most vital. Spiritual growth and develop-
ment are the primary things. Here, too, Dr. Jackson has
been a faithful minister, vigorous, sane, well balanced and
progressive. As an indication of how the work responds to
his enthusiasm it may be stated that last year he had sixty-
two conversions, one hundred and eighty-two accessions, and
600 HISTORY AMERICAN NEGRO
On September 1, 1915, Dr. Jackson was married to
Miss Ida Houston, of Cleveland, N. C. She was educated at
Livingstone College. They have one child, Joy Mae Jackson.
Next after the Bible Dr. Jackson's favorite reading is
poetry. He belongs to the Masons, the Odd Fellows and
Pythians. He has attended two General Conferences and
was local chairman in his ward for the different "drives"
during the war. He believes that the progress of the race
is simply a matter of sane living along all lines, spiritual,
mental and economic.
Henry Pearson Kennedy
Dr. Henry Pearson Kennedy, a successful druggist and
pharmacist of New Bern, has not found it necessary to go
away from his native town in order to succeed. Right
among the people who know his character and ability best.
he has built up a successful business and is highly regarded
by the best people of both races. Still on the sunny side of
thirty he has already made for himself an enviable place
in the buisness and social life of New Bern, where he was
born January 7, 1884. His father, Henry P. Kennedy, was
a contractor ; he was a son of Lorenzo D. and Charlotte Ken-
nedy. The former was free-born, but the latter was a
slave. Dr. Kennedy's mother was formerly Miss Almira
Hamilton, a daughter of Frank A. and Annie Hamilton.
They, too, were slaves before Emancipation.
Young Kennedy grew up in North Carolina and at-
tended the local public schools. He had hard enough strug-
gle to secure an education. There was a family of five
children, of which he was the eldest. His father was an
invalid, and it was necessary for the boy to take his father's
place in providing for the family, as he grew up and be-
came able. He did not permit this condition, however, to
discourage him, but forged steadily ahead, and as he looks
back now over the hard days of his boyhood and youth he
HENRY PEARSON KENNEDY
602 HISTORY AMERICAN NEGRO
knows they were not without their advantages. They
taught him initiative, self-reliance and efficiency. He con-
siders the greatest factor in his life the teachings of his
mother. She trained him in the principles of the Golden
Rule. In school he was active and popular as a student and
was extremely fond of baseball. His favorite reading con-
sists of the Bible, Shakespeare and Poe.
On completion of his studies in the public school of New
Bern, he decided to take a course in pharmacy, and as soon
as he was in position to do so matriculated at Shaw Univer-
sity, where he graduated with the the degree of Ph. G. in
1906. He spent six months after his graduation at Kinston
in an attempt to establish a Negro drug store there. From
Kinston he went to Wilson for a short while and thence to
Greensboro. He finally realized, however, that there was
no better place than in his own home town and so returned
to New Bern, where he associated himself with some of the
people who knew his ability and has established a success-
ful drug store in New Street.
He takes an active part in all movements looking to
the betterment of the race and is identified with the various
local organizations of his people at New Bern. He is prom-
inent in the colored Chamber of Commerce and is Grand
Trustee of the Elks. He is also prominent in the work of
the Pythians, Masons, Odd Fellows, Samaritans and Order
of the Eastern Star, and other local benevolent societies.
In politics he is a Republican, but beyond exercising the
franchise does not concern himself much about party affairs.
He is a member of the Episcopal Church, being clerk of the
parish and a vestryman.
Notwithstanding the early difficulties with which he
had to contend, he has built a successful and prosperous
business and owns property in New Bern to the extent of
eight or ten thousand dollars.
Out of his experience and observation, which has ex-
tended well over the country, he is of the opinion that the
thing most needed by the colored people today is the right
NORTH CAROLINA EDITION 603
sort of education, and recognizes the need of training along
industrial and agricultural lines.
The year following his graduation from Shaw, Dr. Ken-
nedy was married to Miss Maggie Ethel Holley, on August
7, 1907. She is daughter of Wm. E. and Maggie Holley, of
Greensboro. She was educated at Scotia and was before her
marriage a teacher. Of the three children born to them,
two are living, Louise M. and Henry P. Kennedy, Jr.
Marcellus Nolle Newsome
Rev. M. N. Newsome, pastor of the First Baptist church
at Rockingham and principal of the Pee Dee Institute near
Hamlet, resides at Hamlet. He was born at Ahoskie, N. C,
on September 25, 1877. His father, the late Wm. P. New-
some, was a farmer and mechanic. His mother, who, be-
fore her marriage, was Sallie J. Holloman, is still living
(1919) and is a daughter of Andrew and Tena Holloman.
When young Newsome became of school age, he at-
tended first the local school at Ahoskie. Later he passed
from the public school to Waters Institute at Winton, where
he came into contact with and under the influence of that
splendid teacher and consecrated man of God, Rev. C. S.
Brown, and says frankly that Dr. Brown has been the most