Arthur Bunyan Caldwell.

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

. (page 14 of 48)
Online LibraryArthur Bunyan CaldwellHistory of the American Negro and his institutions; (Volume 4) → online text (page 14 of 48)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Ella Gill, a daughter of Henrietta Gill.

Rev. Blacknall was married April 17, 1899, to Cora E.
Waldon, a daughter of James M. and Millie Waldon, of the
old town of Winton, in Hertford Co. Of the seven children
born to them the following are alive: Kathleen E., John T.,
Cecelia M., Callie G. and James R. Blacknall.

The subject of our sketch began his education in the
public schools of Franklin Co. After he had grown to man-
Tiood, he realized the importance of a better education and
entered the Garysburg High School, from which he gradu-
ated in 1896. During this time he was converted and joined
the Roanoke Salem Baptist Church, of which he was later
to become the pastor. About a year after joining the
church he felt called to preach the Gospel and was licensed
by his own church and in 1903 ordained to the full work of
the Baptist ministry. Since that time he has been in the
active pastorate and has had a fruitful ministry. His first
pastorate was Patillo's Chapel, which he served for four-
teen years. While on that work the house of worship was



remodeled. Among the other churches which he has served
may be mentioned White Oak Church, at Ringwood, the
home church, or Roanoke at Salem, where he pastored for 12
years. This church was also remodeled. He served Piney
Grove Church at Franklin, Virginia, for fourteen years
and there erected a new house of worship. Altogether he
has been preaching for 18 years and in that time has
brought hundreds of new members into the church. He
was at one time Moderator of the Neuse River Association
and one of the Vice-Presidents of the State Convention. For
a number of years he was prominent in the State Sunday
School Convention and County Sunday School Convention.

The man who has charge of the small town and coun-
try churches is sometimes thought of as having small, or
unimportant work, yet a man situated like Rev. Blacknall
serves at least 3,000 people and really has under his direc-
tion more persons than are claimed by many of the large
city pastorates.

As Rev. Blacknall looks back over the days of his boy-
hood and youth, he believes that the greatest factor in
shaping his life was a desire to be able to think for him-
self and associate with people of ability. He had the mis-
fortune to lose his mother while he was still young, and for
a while his education was abandoned. But he had the cour-
age to do what few young men undertake after reaching
maturity — he took up the broken threads again and com-
pleted his education, thus equipping himself for the impor-
tant work of his life. In addition to his ministerial work,
he has taught school for almost twenty-five years.

Naturally, his principal reading has been along the line
of his work. He is a Republican in politics and was for
two years a Justice of Peace in his county. Among the
secret orders he is identified with the Masons. Since
young manhood he has resided near Garysburg, where he
owns an attractive place on the edge of town and is a suc-
cessful farmer. He believes that if the Christian religion
were properly applied to the lives of the people, that there
would be no race problem and that the troubles with which


we are now confronted can only be treated in God's way, and
not by the sword.

William Caleb DeBerry

Of the enterprising men of the A. M. E. Zion connection
in North Carolina who have done splendid work in the allied
fields of education and religion, is Rev. Wm. Caleb DeBerry
of Rockingham. Rev. DeBerry and his associates have built
up a school there whicn is a credit to him and his wife, and
has been of great usefulness to the race in that section of the
Stats. The school was established in 1910 and is known
as the Rockingham Normal & Industrial Training School, a
boarding institution for boys and girls. It has now reached
an enrollment of about 300 and requires a faculty of six
teachers. A new cement stone building will before long he
opened as a dormitory and dining room for girl students
and special class work for them in domestic science and in-
dustrial arts.

Rev. DeBerry has at all times been the dominant figure
in the work of the school though he has not allowed his edu-
cational work to overshadow his work as a pastor.

Rev. DeBerry is a native of Montgomery Co., having
been born on a farm near Mt. Gilead on May 30, 1872. His
father, Caleb DeBerry, was a farmer, and was the son of
Edenton and Clara DeBerry. Rev. DeBerry's mother was
before her marriage Parthemia Ingram, a daughter of Ran-
dall Ingram.

On June 22, 19C6, the subject of this biography was
married to Mrs. Laura P. Solomons, of Washington, N. C.
She was educated at Livingstone College, and Js herself an
accomplished teacher. They have one child, Wm. Caleb
Fredsrick DeBerry. Mrs. DeBerry has one child by her
former marriage, Hattie Ruth Ellen Solomons.

Young DeBerry first attended the rural schools of
Montgomery Co., and there laid the foundations of his edu-



cation. His father was ambitious for him and assisted him
in every way he could. After going to the public schools
he went to the Hamilton Seminary at Carthage, N. C, and
later to Carrs Academy at Norwood. He attended Biddle
University for one year, but finished his college course at
Livingstone, where he won the A. B. degree in 1904. Since
that time he has done considerable Theological work
through correspondence courses from Moody Bible Insti-
tute at Chicago.

Rev. DeBerry has been teaching for more than half
his life. Hundreds of boys and girls have passed through
his schools to places of large usefulness in the communities
in which he has taught. While this work of teaching has
been an important factor in his life and while he has put
years of study and hard effort into it, still he is primarily
a preacher of the Gospel. He scarcely remembers the time
when he did not feel that his calling was that of the min-
istry. He gave his heart to God when he was about eleven
year old ; but even before that time he felt committed to the
ministry. Looking back over the early days of his boyhood
and youth he realizes the large place which faith had in
the making of his success. Born in a log cabin with only
two doors and one window in which there was no glass, he
struggled up from poverty and obscurity, through service,
to his present position, though he takes little credit to him-
self, believing the power of God gave strength and acknowl-
edging with gratitude the influence and help of his faith-
ful parents and his loyal wife.

Soon after joining the church Rev. DeBerry became
active in its work and filled every office in the local organi-
zation. In 1901 he joined the Conference at Greensboro,
under the late Bishop Hood, and was sent to the Gold Hill
Circuit, which he served for one year. On this appoint-
ment, while teaching, he also built a new church. He went
from there to the Rock Hill Circuit and was on this work
for two years and built a church. He was then appointed
to the Bethel Station near Concord for a few months to fill
out an unexpired term and at the next Conference was sent


to Mocksville circuit, which he served for three years, and
remodeled both the church and the parsonage. He was
then transferred to Kentucky and had the Springfield, Ky.,
station for a year, during which he remodeled the church.
His next appointment was the Haynesville circuit, which he
served for one year, and after that the Carthage circuit,
where he preached for two years and built both a parson-
age and a church. From the Carthage charge he was sent
to Rockingham for three years, and raised money for a new
church. He pastored Sanford three years, Aberdeen two
years, and is still in the pastorate and is now serving John's
circuit (1920).

Rev. DeBerry has resided in Rockingham for a number
of years and has many influential white friends in that
community, as well as enjoying the high esteem of his race.
He has acquired considerable property and is now erecting
a home, in addition to the dormitory for girls already men-

He believes that the things which deserve better atten-
tion by the leadership of the race should include sanitation
and the right sort of education, by which he means Chris-
tian principles combined with industrial training. He
firmly believes that the word "Negro" in capital or small
letters should be eliminated, as a breeder of prejudice, and
during the Red Cross drives in which he assisted during
the war, and upon other occasions of public interest, he
urged that the word be not used.

John Edwards Samuels

The Rev. John Edward Samuels, A. M., B. D., of Ral-
eigh, though still in his early thirties (1919), has reached
a place of prominence in the Christian denomination and
already has back of him a record of accomplishment in
religious work of which a much older man might well be



Dr. Samuels is a native of Georgetown, British Guiana,
where he was born Jan. 6, 1885. His father, James Sam-
uels, was a well-to-do contractor, who was able to give his
son the best educational advantages. His mother was, be-
fore her marriage, Maria Maurner, a daughter of Edward
and Beldina Maurner.

When he came of school age, young Samuels went to
the Episcopal Public School of Georgetown and passed from
there to Queen's College. He went to England for his Theo-
logical course, which he took at Oxford and which led to
the B. D. degree in 1907. He also did extension work in
Art University, London, where he won his M. A. degree.

Dr. Samuels was brought up in the faith of the Luth-
eran Church and planned to devote his life to Missionary
work. Accordingly on entering the Christian Church he
took a special Missionary course with the Salvation Army
in the Island of Jamaica. Coming in personal contact with
some of the Christian leaders from the states, he was in-
duced to go to that inviting field. He was made General
Field Secretary for the Afro-Christian Convention with
headquarters at Newport News, Va. He worked out from
there over six states and remained on that field for two
years. His equipment and his personal qualities pointed
to him as the logical man for the head of the Theological
Department of Franklinton Christian College, to which he
was called in 1914. He served as Dean of the department
for four years and there began his work as Editor of the
Missionary Herald, one of the the popular monthly publica-
tions of his denomination. For the last three years, he has
also edited the quarterly Sunday School literature of the
church. In May, 1919, he was called to the pastorate of
the Maple Temple Christian Church of Raleigh, and soon
made a place for himself among the leaders of his people in
that city of schools and churches. Hardly had be become
settled on this new field before he was attached to the Edi-
torial Department of the Raleigh Independent as associate

He thinks clearly and writes with facility. His Eng-


lish is free from slang and colloquialism. In appearance he
is rather slender and agile and one is not surprised to learn
that when in College he was a lover of cricket. Naturally,
his mind runs to the Classics. In addition he likes Biog-
raphy and History.

Dr. Samuels is Secretary of Missions and Education in
his denomination, and is Vice-President of the local Eman-
cipation Association. He is also head of the Bible School
of Correspondence.

On Dec. 26, 1916, he was united in marriage to
Effie D. Sellers of Burlington, N. C. She was educated at
Franklinton Christian College, and was before her marriage
an accomplished teacher. Of the two children born to them,
one, James Wesley Samuels, is living. Dr. Samuels owns
an attractive home at Raleigh.

Walter Scott Foster

Rev. Walter Scott Foster, now (1920) stationed at Tar-
boro, is well known in A. M. E. Zion circles both in North
Carolina and Virginia. His work in both places has been
marked by growth and progress not only in the membership
of his church, but in the erection of new church buildings
and the improvement of others. He is a native of Wake
Co., where he was born June 27, 1872. His father, Rich-
ard Foster, was a farmer and- a shoemaker and was a son of
Eliza High. His mother, who before her marriage was
Harriet Cofield, was a daughter of Willis Cofield.

The subject of this biography was married on Febru-
ary 22, 1900, to Miss Mary Vaughn of Lawrenceville, Vir-
ginia, where she was educated. They have seven children:
Richard A., Walter A., Moreland, Carrothers, Edward, Au-
gusta and Annie Foster.

Young Foster's boyhood days were divided between
the farm and the local public school, by far the larger part



going to the farm as the school terms were short. He did
his college work at Shaw University, attending first the
Normal Department two years, and later doing work in the
Scientific and Theological departments.

Coming into the ministry at an early age, he has years
of faithful service to his credit as a pastor. About the
time he was fifteen years of age he decided definitely to
take up the work of the ministry and was ordained at six-
teen. He joined the Conference in 1897 at Berkeley, Va.,
and preached for a number of years in that State. His
first appointment was the Mt. Zion circuit, which he served
for one year. After that, he served Red Oak Grove circuit
a year and repaired the church; Richmond, Va., one year.
While on this work his health broke down, so that he was
compelled to rest for a few months. On returning to the
ministry he preached at Mt. Moriah and Charlie Hope cir-
cuit for three years and built a new house of worship;
Portsmouth two years and repaired the church ; Williamson
circuit two years, where the membership was doubled, a
new parsonage built at \VilIiamston and the church prop-
erty both there and at Hamilton much improved. He was
then sent to Plymouth, N. C, for two years, where impor-
tant alterations were made in the church building and par-
sonage, while lumber was put on the ground for a new
church at Macedonia. The membership greatly increased.
From Plymouth he was sent to Oak Street station at Peters-
burg for one year, where the debt on the church property
was cancelled and the parsonage repaired. Coming back to
North Carolina he served the LaGrange circuit one year
and repaired the house of worship; Whitehall two years,
and repaired the parsonage and collected money for the
erection of a new church; Snowhill circuit two years, re-
modeled the parsonage and beautified the churches; Bu-
ford station two years and has be£n in the Goldsboro work
since 1915. Here the church debt has been paid and a par-
sonage built. This is now being rebuilt and more than 110
members have been added to the congregation this year


Reverend Foster taught school for four years in Wake
and Franklin Counties, but it is as a minister of the Gospel
that he is most widely known.

Among the secret orders he is identified with the Ma-
sons and Love and Charity. His property interests are at
Petersburg, Va.

Loking back over his early days, he attributes to his
mother and father his success in life. They were ambitious
for their son and always willing to help. The principles
that prevailed in his boyhood home have steadily stood
against every worldly temptation. In his own home now,
he and his devoted Christian wife are likewise bringing up
their children in a house of prayer and consecration, and
all are devout members of the church.

Mack Daniel Coley

It is not easy to tell in an understanding way the true
story of a man like Prof. Mack Daniel Coley now (1919)
head of the graded school at Wilson. He is a man of origi-
nality, mental capacity and resourcefulness. At different
times he has farmed, taught school and practiced law. His
life is almost contemporaneous with the freedom of the
race, as he was born at Fremont, Jan. 6, 1866, less than a
year after the close of the war. His father was a white
man. His mother's name was Martha Yelverton. She was
a daughter of Warrick and Sallie Yelverton.

Prof. Coley has been married twice. His first mar-
riage was on Nov. 24, 1896, to Hattie B. Winn of Dudley.
She was the oldest daughter of Charles W. and Frances
Winn, and was educated at Hampton. By this marriage
there were five children : Blounie, Blanche, Charlie, Roose-
velt and Rubie Frances Coley. The oldest daughter is a
teacher at Wilson and the youngest passed away. Mrs.
Coley was called to her reward June 30th, 1908. Prof.
Coley was again married; this time to Lillie B. Taylor, a



daughter of Rev. Christopher and Alice Taylor of Clinton,
N. C. She was educated at Elizabeth City, State Normal.
By the second marriage there was one child, Harold Coley.

As a boy young Coley worked on the farm and laid the
foundation of his education in the rural schools. When
grown to manhood he went to Hampton where he was under
the necessity of making his own way. He did not permit
this to dampen his ardor nor discourage him in his determi-
nation to get an education. By working on the place dur-
ing the term and at whatever offered during summer vaca-
tions he was able to continue his studies at Hampton until
his graduation in 1890. One summer was spent at Neth-
ersfield, Conn. Now determined to take a regular College
course, he matriculated at Lincoln University and was grad-
uated from that institution with the A. B. degree in 1895
and later received the A. M. degree from the same school.
All through these years he was prompted by a desire to
secure an education and make himself helpful to his fellow-
man. He took up the work of teaching not so much to
make money as to be of help and for nearly a quarter of a
century has been in the school room.

He was principal of the Mt. Olive School for fifteen
years and went from there to Oxford graded school for two
years. He is now at Wilson. He is a Republican in poli-
tics and was for one term Mayor of Dudley while living
there. In 1919 he was appointed Notary Public by Gov-
ernor Bickett. In his reading he gives first place to the
Bible and kindred books. After that he likes such writers
at Milton and Blackstone. He is a member of the Congre-
gational Church and belongs to the Masons, the Pythians
and Odd Fellows. He has been N. G. in the latter and W. M.
in the former lodge and was a delegate from his State to
the Eighteenth B. M. C. held in Washington, D. C, in

From boyhood, Prof. Coley had watched and had been
interested in the procedure of the courts. In 1915 he was
admitted to the bar and has by means of his legal training
been able to help the people along legal lines without relax-


ing his hold upon educational work. He contemplates giv-
ing more time to the law in the future, where his power in
debate and effective logic will doubtless win fresh laurels
for him.

Prof. Coley believes that the interests of the race are
to be promoted and safeguarded by adhering to such fun-
damental principles as personal security, personal liberty
and the right of property as guaranteed by the supreme
law of the land.

All of his work, since leaving College, has been in his
native State, except one year spent at the Mayesville In-
dustrial School in South Carolina.

Charles Henry Boyer

Among the experienced and efficient educators of the
race in North Carolina few stand higher than Prof. Chas. H.
Boyer, A. B., M. A., who for nearly a quarter of a century
has been identified with St. Augustine's School at Raleigh.
Prof. Boyer is a native of Maryland, having been born at
Elkton on November 12, 1869. His parents were free-born.
His father was Edward Boyer, and his mother before her
marriage was Indiana Clinton Caldwell, a daughter of Heze-
kiah and Susan A. Caldwell.

Young Boyer attended the local graded school, after
which he went to the Institute for Colored Youth in Phila-
delphia, from which he was graduated at the age of sixteen.
He was Latin Salutatorian of his class. After that he
taught school in St. Mary's Co., Maryland, for four years.
In 1890 he entered the Hopkins Grammar School at New
Haven, Conn., an old preparatory school of New England.
Here he won the prize in oratory and after his graduation
in 1892, passed to Yale University in the fall of the same
year. While at college he was confirmed and became active
in the work of the Episcopal Church, serving as choir mas-
ter, Sunday School Superintendent and lay reader. He fin-


■ ■ ■ i



ished his course at Yale in 1896 and in the fall of the same
year came to St. Augustine's, with which he has ever since
been identified. He received his A. M. degree from his
Alma Mater, Yale, in 1915.

On September 22, 1897, he was married to Alethea
Amelia Chase, a daughter of Daniel and Jance Chase, oC
New Haven. They have seven children, four girls and three
boys. They are: Harriet S., Clinton C, A. Alverda L.,
Chas. Edward, Daniel Chase, James Alexander and Ruth
Frazier Boyer. »

Prof. Boyer was an enthusiastic ball player while in
college. He has traveled well over the eastern half of
America and has a thorough working knowledeg of the
country east of the Mississippi. In 1911 he spent three
months in Europe, touching at Gibraltar and Algiers,
thence visiting Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, Bel-
gium, Holland and England.

Prof. Boyer has taken an active part not only in the
work at St. Augustine's, but has for years been a promi-
nent figure in the North Carolina Teachers' Association.
He was at one time Vice-President of that organization and
at another time Secretary. He has done a great deal of
summer school and institute work as well as considerable
field work for St. Augustine's. He has lived to see many
of the students of his early days at St. Augustine's grow-
up to manhood and womanhood and take their places m
the educational and professional life in North Carolina and
other States. In politics he is a Republican though he has
not been active in party affairs.

He holds membership in the Masons, being a member
of the Royal Arch, Knights Templars and Shriners. He is
also President of the American Negro Academy, and Presi-
dent of the North Carolina Intercollegiate Athletic Asso-
ciation, which is doing so much for the upbuilding, foster-
ing and purifying of athletics in the colored schools and
colleges of the State.

In his local church he is Senior Warden and Treasurer,
Superintendent of the Sunday School and a director in the


Brotherhood of St. Andrew. He is also secretary of the-
colored Convocation of the Diocese.

His favorite reading consists of Biography, Poetry and
magazines. He believes the best interests of the race are
to be promoted by holding out for better educational ad-
vantages, together with a full and intelligent use of the
ballot and by maintaing friendly relations with all people
as far as can honorably be done.

William Calvin Cleland

The A. M. E. Connection has many choice men in North
Carolina. Among them must be mentioned Rev. William
Calvin Cleland now (1920) stationed at Durham. His rise
after joining the Conference was remarkable. Mr. Cleland
is a native of the neighboring State of South Carolina, hav-
ing been born in Newberry Co., Mar. 2, 1877.

The subject of this biography attended the public
schools of Newberry Co., where he laid the foundation of
his education. A short life of Abraham Lincoln fell into
the boys hands and was read with eagerness. This life of
the great Emancipator did for the boy what it has done
for so many boys. It fired his imagination and aroused his
ambition. He knew he must have an education in order
to do his best work in the world. He made his plans to
attend Tuskegee, although it was necessary for him to make
his own way. Just at this critical period in the life of
the young man, he gave his heart to God and soon after-
felt called to the work of the ministry. So at Tuskegee he
took the Bible and Academic Course and remained in that
institution four years. Later he did three years work at
Kittrell College, the denominational school for North

In 1903 he joined the Conference at Raleigh under

Online LibraryArthur Bunyan CaldwellHistory of the American Negro and his institutions; (Volume 4) → online text (page 14 of 48)