Arthur Bunyan Caldwell.

History of the American Negro and his institutions; (Volume 4) online

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"When I was fifteen years of age my grandmother
was called to her heavenly rest, then leaving a house full
of children to shift for themselves. After her death I
became interested in education and immediately applied for



admittance to Snow Hill Normal and Industrial Institute,
which had recently been established. I was admitted as a
student, working- all day, attending school about two and a
half hours at night. Until I entered Snow Hill I had very
vague ideas about life as it pertained to the Negro. In
fact, until that time I was of the opinion that the Negro
had no business being anything; but after entering the
school' and being surrounded by a different atmosphere, and
seeing what had already been accomplished by Mr. Edwards,
I soon realized that the Negro has as much right to life and
Liberty as any other man."

Unprepared though he was, he found great joy at be-
ing in school. His clothes were insufficient and even what
he had were soon beyond mending. Frequently he would
wash his undergarments at the spring at night and pa-
tiently dry them at the heater. Yet in the face of such
privation he refused to be discouraged but continued to as-
pire and to hope.

Early in life the idea of serving his people got firm
hold on him. The example and teachings of Prof. Edwards
and others held him firm. He completed the course in
1904 and on Sept. 15th of that year reached Laurinburg,
N. C, which was to witness his success in building an in-
dustrial school in the midst. He opened school sur-
rounded with indifference and with only seven students
and fifteen cents in money. The growth from that small
beginning has been remarkable. He now (1919) has a fac-
ulty of fourteen teachers and an enrollment of more than
four hundred. Five large buildings and three smaller ones
have been built and now a commodious modern brick build-
ing at a cost of thirty thousand dollars is under way. The
life of the school has not only permeated the town but the
adjacent country through the industries taught and the
conferences organized.

On May 12, 1904, Prof. McDuffiie was married to Tiny
Ethridge of Camden, Ala., a daughter of a Ned and Henri-
etta Ethridge. They have six children: Verdelle T., Musa


S., Iva C, Emanuel Montee, Jr., Reginald S., and Frank H.

While in school he was an enthusiastic base ball and
tennis player. His favorite reading consists of such inspi-
rational works as the books of Dr. Washington and the Har-
vard Classics. He is a member of the Baptist church in
which he is a Deacon and Secretary. He has not identified
himself with the secret orders.

His work at Laurinburg has been of such character as
to commend it not only to the colored people but also to the
best white people, including bankers and State and County
officers, from whom he bears words of hearty commenda-

John Addison Lewis

Rev. John Addison Lewis, now (1920) pastor of the
Providence Baptist Church at Edenton, is just another il-
lustration of what a farm boy can do, when he dares to
trust God and try. Still on the sunny side of thirty, he
already has to his credit a record of which a much older
man need not be ashamed. Beginning his life on the first
day of the year 1892, he has forged ahead to the place of
leadership he holds in the great Baptist denomination.

He was born in Edgecombe Co. and grew up on the
farm of his father, William Henry Lewis. His mother,
before her marriage, was Martha Ford, a daughter of Calvin

Young Lewis attended the public schools of his native
county and when ready for college entered the National
Training School at Durham, from which he was graduated
May 14, 1914. He carried along his theological work at the
same time he was mastering his literary studies.

It is interesting to know that Rev. Lewis was converted
at the age of 11, and grew up in the work of the church,
thus becoming familiar with its ordinances and discipline,



its forms and service. Almost from childhood his mind
turned to the ministry — in fact, he never seriously consid-
ered devoting himself to any other calling.

He was licensed to preach by the Pittman Grove Bap-
tist Church, and was by that same body ordained to the
full work of the ministry at the early age of eighteen.
From boyhood Rev. Lewis has been a ready speaker, so
that it is not strange that he came into the work of the
ministry at so early an age.

His first charge was the St. Andrew's Church at Kings-
boro, which he served for less than a year. He himself
organized the Morning Star Baptist Church in Edgecombe
Co. and built there a house of worship, preaching to that
congregation for two years. While here he bought one
acre of land for a church site, built a splendid church edi-
fice thereon, and added over seventy-five members to the

In 1911 he accepted a call to the Union Baptist Church
of Durham, which he served for five years. It was while
engaged in this work that he was able to complete his
course at the National Training School. Even though bur-
dened with the double work of his college course and the
pastorate, he managed to pay the church out of debt and
left in the Treasury over $1,200.00 for the erection of a
new church. While pastoring at Durham he was Cor-
responding Secretary of the East Cedar Grove Association,
and members of the Ordaining Council of said body for two
years. Such was his record in his school work at Dur-
ham that soon after the completion of his course there, he
was called to the Shiloh Baptist Church at Winston-Salem,
and in connection with that did considerable work among
the country churches. The Shiloh Church greatly pros-
pered under his administration. Rev. Lewis found this
church over $2,000 in debt. He burnt the last mortgage,
made over $1,500 improvements, and added over 450 mem-
bers to the church in four years. In 1920 he resigned
that work to accept his present pastorate, which is one of
the most attractive in Eastern North Carolina. He has


been cordially received by the people of Edenton and has
made a favorable impression in that new field. He has
the happy faculty of making friends and preaches to large
congregations. He knows how to use his books and is gath-
ering together a splendid library. Naturally, his first at-
tention is given to Theological literature. After that, his
favorite reading consists of History and Biography.

While at Winston-Salem, he was Secretary of the Min-
isterial Union of that city. He has done considerable evan-
gelistic work and has been unusually successful, though he
loves the work of the pastorate.

Among the secret orders he belongs to the Masons
and the Odd Fellows.

With singleness of purpose, he is devoting himself to
the ministry and the results show that he has made no mis-
take in following the Vision Splendid by which his life was
directed to that calling.

On November 25, 1914, Mr. Lewis was married to Dun-
nie Lee Wiggins, of Enfield who has been of untold assist-
ance in his success. Mrs. Lewis was educated at the Joseph
Keasby Brick School at Enfield. They have one son, Jos-
eph Edward Lewis.

Mr. Lewis' property interests are at Winston-Salem
and at Durham.

For a man of his age, he has studied rather profoundly
the conditions among his people, and believes that their
progress depends in no small degree upon unshaken faith in
God, in education and upon the accumulation of property.

Benjamin Franklin Martin

On of the most forceful men of the A. M. E. Zion
Church in North Carolina is Rev. Benjamin Franklin Mar-
tin, D. D., of Gastonia. He has back of him years of heroic
service and fruitful ministry. He has lived to see those
who first attended his schools and waited upon his ministry,



grow up to manhood and womanhood and take their places
as citizens and the heads of families. If all his experiences
could be set down they would make a large volume and
would cover that most critical and eventful period of our
history— the last half of the nineteenth century.

He was born at Union Court House, S. C, on Dec. 5,
1854. So it will be seen that he was a boy past ten year§ of
age when the war closed. His parents were George R.
and Georgiana Martin. His maternal grandmother was
sold south from Virginia. His paternal grandmother was
Sylvia Pavey.

On Sept. 26, 1886, Dr. Martin was married to Juliett D.
Partee. She was the first teacher at Lincoln Academy
near Kings Mountain. Of the twelve children born to them
nine are living. They are: B. F., Jr., Ethel J., Georgiana,
May E., Luke D., Alex W., Starling R., Goler and Fred S.

After the war young Martin remained at Union with
his former master and was faithful to him till the day of
his death. He began his schooling soon after the war. In
1866 and 1867, he walked to a school five miles each way
every day. The next year a white lady opened a school in
the town of Union, and he attended that. After the death
of his former master in 1868, he went to Chester, where
he worked in a grocery store. Here he had charge of the
colored customers. Notwithstanding the long hours at the
store he continued to read and by private study managed
to keep his education going along. In the fall of 1869 he
became an apprentice at the barber trade, which he followed
till 1871. Then he went to Columbia. Here he tried to
keep up with his class in the University while still follow-
ing his trade, but found it necessary to give up the latter.
Fortunately for the young man he attracted the attention
of Governor Moses, whom he shaved every morning and
who supplied his needs while in the University. In 1874
he entered the Y. M. C. A. Service each Sunday, held serv-
ices at the Penitentiary at eleven o'clock and at the market
place at three. He had reached his third year at the Uni-


versity when in 1876 the Democrats came back into power
and closed Vie Institution to colored people.

He had been converted in 1866, but even before that
had felt the call to preach the Gospel. He was licensed on
Nov. 30, 1877, though he had been doing much religious
work even before this. His Presiding Elder wanted him to-
go to Charleston to join the Annual Conference, but he
declined. Conference received him on recommendation of
his Presiding Elder, and he was sent to Chester. Here he
preached in the Court House till the fall of 1878. That
year he was sent to Laurens, after having served as Sec-
retary of the District Conference. He located at Powers
Shop where in addition to preaching he also taught the
local school for two years. A colored man gave three acres,
of land for a church. At first the congregation worshipped
under a brush arbor. Later Mt. Carmel Church was
erected. These were trying days for the young preacher.
In the midst of opposition and hatred which did not hesi-
tate one moment to express themselves with a gun, Rev.
Martin remained and by his coolness and courage won not
only the support of his own people but that of his' white
neighbors as well, including Gov. Wade Hampton.

In Jan. 1879 the Bishop transferred him to the Metro-
politan Church at Washington, D. C, where he remained
for two years with good success. He went from there to
Morris Brown in Philadelphia for one year. From there
he went to Oxford, Pa., and while on that work matricu-
lated in Theological Department of Lincoln University,
where he studied for two terms. He was then transferred
to Long Branch. At the meeting of the next Conference
he accepted work in the Zion Church and returned South.
He was stationed at Winston-Salem one year and went
from there to Kings Mountain and Pleasant Ridge. He
remained in that section for sixteen years. In 1887 he
moved to Gastonia, where he has since resided. He organ-
ized the work as Gastonia with three members. It has
since grown to splendid proportions. He was promoted to*
the district and presided over the Lincolnton District for


four years and the Wilkesboro District for the same length
of time. He then served the Big Pineville Station for two
years. Other important pastorates have been Charlotte,
Salisbury and Hickory. His work has been marked by
financial strength and spiritual growth. Hundreds of new
members have been brought into the church under his min-

He has been a prominent figure in the General Confer-
ences of his denomination, having attended those sitting at
Mobile, Washington, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Charlotte.
In 1896 Livingstone College conferred the degree of D. D.

on him.

He is identified with the Masons, Pythians, Odd Fel-
lows, Eastern Star and Household of Ruth. In all these
he is prominent. He was the first 33 degree Mason in
Western North Carolina. He believes the progress of the
race depends on moral and spiritual training. Dr. Martin
owns an attractive home and other valuable property at

Note: Since the above was written Dr. Martin has
passed to his reward, on December 14, 1919. The funeral
services were conducted by Bishop R. B. Bruce, officiating
as Grand Master of the Masons of the State, and Dr. Martin
was laid to rest with Masonic honors. The funeral was
perhaps the most largely attended of any colored citizen in
the history of the town.

Frank Thomas Logan

Rev. Frank Thomas Logan, D. D., of Concord, is a
man who has invested his life in the spiritual and intellec-
tual development of the race. It is not easy to write the
story of such a life because it has to do with ideas and
inner things rather than with money or houses and lands.

Dr Locran is a native of Greensboro, where he was
born just prior to the war on November 19, 1859. He was



the son of Louisa Lindsay, who was the daughter of
Thomas and Maria Tate.

After the war he went to school at Greensboro. He
was rather frail as a boy and worked about Greensboro.
His religious experiences, though beginning early in life,
where not of that violent, stormy sort which was charac-
teristic of the times and the race. His spiritual develop-
ment was no less real, however, on account of the absence
of strong emotions. Rather his spiritual growth, after his
decision, kept pace with his intellectual development. For-
tunately for him, he had the sympathetic advice and co-op-
eration of some intelligent and consecrated white people
who recognized his mental ability and physical limitations.
He recalls with peculiar gratitude the influence upon his
young life of Mrs. Payne and her husband, in whose home
he lived for some time. She encouraged him to pursue his
education and suggested the Law, but there was a still,
small voice calling to the ministry and he followed.

When ready for college, he went to Lincoln University
and remained in that institution for seven years. He won
his Bachelor's degree in 1881, and three years later com-
pleted the Theological Course with the degree of S. T. B.
and A. M. Later in recognition of his attainments and
his success as an educator and minister the degree of D. D.
was conferred on him by Biddle University. While at
Lincoln he pastored the Presbyterian Church at Oxford.
He was ordained in 1883. He then returned to his native
town and was for two years head of the Graded School of
Greensboro. In 1889 he accepted the pastorate of the
Westminster Presbyterian Church at Concord where he
has since resided. At the same time he was elected Princi-
pal of the Concord Graded School and served twenty-seven
years, and later this school was named by the Board of Edu- .
cation 'The Logan School." He preached at Westminster
for fourteen years and was at the same time Chaplain of
Scotia Seminary. He has remained at the head of the
school work till the present (1919). Since resigning the
Westminster work, Dr. Logan has preached at Harrisburg


in Cabarrus Co. Apart from his professional studies, his
reading runs to History, the physical and mental sciences.
He has attended two General Assemblies of his church,
those meeting at Saratoga and Cape May. He takes no act-
ive part in politics, nor is he identified with the secret

Dr. Logan has reared and educated a fine family, but
has been called to go through the deep waters. His first
marriage was to Mary M. Hargrove of Greensboro, in 1885.
All his children were by this marriage. They are: Rob-
ert H., Frank T., Jr., Mary, William and Nellie. These were
given a liberal education. Their mother passed away in
1895 while the children were still young. Subsequently Dr.
Logan was married to Minnie L. Williamson, a musician and
teacher. Four y:ars after their marriage she passed away.
In 1910 he was married a third time. The present Mrs.
Logan was Anna 0. Percival, a teacher of Domestic Science
at Scotia. She is a native of Columbia, S. C.

Dr. Logan believes that the permanent progress of the
race must rest o i religion, education and work, and has
served as Moderator of Catawba Presbytery and Clerk of
Catawba Synod.

Dr. Logan's son, Frank T., Jr., was with the A. E. F.,
and saw more than a year of overseas service.

George Walter Billips

Rev. George Walter Billips of Fayetteville is well
known in Baptist circles in Eastern North Carolina, and be-
longs to that cla?> of men who, in America, perhaps more
than anywhere ehe, have brought things to pass. We re-
fer to the self-made men. Though lacking the opportunity
for early schooling, and though denied a college education,
he nevertheless managed to equip himself for efficient serv-
ice and has to his credit a record of accomplishment in the
denomination and in the cause to which he has devoted his



life, of which a man with better advantages might well be

There are a great many Tar Heels in Georgia, but com-
paratively few Georgians in North Carolina. Rev. Billips
is an exception. He was born at Albany, Ga., Oct. 15, 1877,
and grew to manhood in Georgia and Alabama. His father,
James Bhillips, was also a minister of the Gospel. In the
absence of written records, he knows little of his earlier

When he was about twenty years of age he gave his
heart to God. In 1905, he was licensed to preach by the
First Baptist Church of Fayetteville and in September of
the following year was ordained tb the full work of the

On April 2, 1902, Rev. Billips was married at Bain-
bridge, Ga., to Julia P. Williams, of Fayetteville. Of the
four children born to them two are living. They are:
Alice E. and Janie A. Billips.

Rev. Billips worked out his own education mostly at
night schools in Georgia and Alabama. He remembers
with peculiar gratitude the assistance given him by Mr.
and Mrs. J. A. Kemp of Dothan, Ala.

He has had a successful career as a minister. His
first pastorate was at Autreyville, where he preached three
years. Since then he has pastored St. Paul, Fayetteville,
four years, repaired the church ; Ebenezer, Wilmington,
five years, renovated the church and installed a pipe organ :
Navassa one year, rebuilt the church ; Hay's Chapel, Samp-
son Co., painted the church; Lake Waccamaw four years,
repaired the house; Mt. Nebo, organized in 1914, erected
house of worship and continues to serve (1920), and Long
Creek, to which he was called in Sept., 1919, and which is
being remodeled.

Among the secret orders he belongs to the Odd Fel-
lows. His home and property interests are at Fayetteville.
He has kept no accurate record of the number of persons


he has brought into the church, but he has had a fruitful
ministry. He is a successful revivalist. He is in demand
not only in his own but in other states as well.

Frank W. Avant

If one were to seek for the secret of Dr. Frank W
Avant's success in life and in his profession, it would per-
haps he found in the proper start given him by his mother,
followed by his own steadiness of character and willingness
to work till success came. He is a native of Brunswick Co..
having been born at Southport on June 1, 1876. His par-
ents were Wesley and Sarah J. Avant. His paternal grand-
parents were William and Polly Avant, and his maternal
grandparents John and Nancy Pirson.

As a boy, young Avant attended the public schools
and later Gregory Institute at Wilmington. From this
school he passed to the Episcopal Parochial School at
Petersburg, Va. He did his college preparatory work at
Howard and spent two years at Lincoln University. Re-
turning to his home state he took a course in Pharmacy at
Leonard, but later deciding on medicine as his life work
matriculated in the Medical Department and won his M. D.
degree in 1908. The following year he gained much valua-
ble experience as an Interne at the Freedman's Hospital,
Washington, D. C. In the summer of 1909, when ready to
begin active practice he located at Wilmington, where he
has since resided. He conducted a drug store for some
years, but now devotes his whole time and energy to the
practice of his profession.

On Dec. 10, 1910, he. was married to Florence Nichols
of Newark, N. J. She was before her marriage a trained
nurse. They have one child, Sarah Ellen Avant.

During his college days Dr. Avant was active in col-
lege athletics. He was Captain of the first football team



to leave Howard, and was coach both at Shaw and at

He is an active member of the Episcopal Church and
is vestryman and lay reader. Among the secret orders he
is identified with the Masons, Odd Fellows and Pythians.
He is 'prominent in the State Medical Association and was
President of that organization in 1916 and 1917. He is
local examiner for the North Carolina Mutual Insurance Co.
During the war he was Chairman of the Food Conservation
-and! was a leader in other war activities. He is an ardent
^advocate and supporter of education. His property inter-
ests are at Wilmington. He is President of the Working-
man's Building and Loan Association.

Richard Allen

There is always something fascinating about the story
<of a stalwart man who has had to struggle up from a place
of poverty and obscurity to a place of leadership. One of
the Baptist leaders of North Carolina, who by his energy
and capacity has made for himself a prominent place in
the religious life of the State is Rev. Richard Allen, D. D.
<of Monroe. He has the rather unique experience of hav-
ing been successful and prominent in two denominations.
He was born in Lancaster Co., S. C, May 15, 1867. His
father, Rev. Richard Allen, was a minister in the A. M. E.
Zion Church and the son was brought up in that faith and
?pent many years of his ministry in that connection. His
mother was Elizabeth (Izzard) Allen. She was the daugh-
ter of Samuel Izzard, a successful farmer. Dr. Allen had a
rather varied experience in securing an education. He
went first to Mt. Carmel Preparatory School, and after that
to Bennett College, Greensboro, where he was graduated
with the A. B. degree in 1889. Later the Barrett School
at Pee Dee conferred on him the D. D. degree. At that
lime wages were low and he worked at $6.00 per month



■So ambitious was he for an education that he would cut
cord wood at night to earn school money. No wonder he
succeeded. Throughout his life, he has held firmly to his
fidelity to the Christian religion and to his Bible, and when
he has found that this principle demanded a change in his
life he has had the courage to make the change. He does
his own thinking and while he is making up his mind, he
seeks all the light available. Once he reaches a conclusion
Tie acts independently.

After he had been in school for a while he was able
to secure a teacher's license and from that time forth the
way in college was easier. He taught for a number of
years in the public schools of Guilford, Montgomery, Moore,
Richmond, Anson and Union Counties, N. C, and in Lan-
caster Co., S. C. He served as Principal of the Barrett Col-
lege, Zion Academy and the Monroe High School, and might
have remained in educational work indefinitely had he
<chosen to do so.

It is as a minister that he is best known, as he has
Tiad a fruitful ministry stretching over a long period of
years. He was converted when about twenty-five and soon

Online LibraryArthur Bunyan CaldwellHistory of the American Negro and his institutions; (Volume 4) → online text (page 11 of 48)