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    Jarena Lee was the 1st woman to preach under the auspices of the AME church. The child of free black parents, Lee was born in New Jersey in 1783, & worked as a servant in the home of a white family, 60 miles from her home. Strongly affected when she went to hear Richard Allen preach, Lee determined to preach herself. At first rebuffed by Allen, who said that women could not preach at the Methodist Church, Lee persisted; & 8 years after his initial refusal, Allen allowed her access to the pulpit after hearing her spontaneous exhoration during a sermon at Bethel AME Church. Lee traveled all over the United States preaching her gospel of freedom, even venturing into the South to preach to slaves.  The following is a segment of her journey written in her own words.

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857), Preacher of the A.M.E. Church, Aged 60 years in the 11th day of the 2nd month 1844, Philadelphia 1844

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857) - Do coloured people have souls? - Returning to Cape May, NJ

    Shortly after she impulsively stood up in the Bethel AME Church to preach a sermon which was lauded, Jarena Lee began to think about devoting her life to preaching.

    I now began to think seriously of breaking up housekeeping, & forsaking all to preach the everlasting Gospel. I felt a strong desire to return to the place of my nativity, at Cape May, after an absence of about fourteen years...

    When within ten miles of that place, I appointed an evening meeting. There were a goodly number come out to hear. The Lord was pleased to give me light & liberty among the people. After meeting, there came an elderly lady to me & said, she believed the Lord had sent me among them; & then appointed me another meeting there two weeks from that night.

    The next day I hastened forward to the place of my mother who was happy to see me, & the happiness was mutual between us. With her I left my poor sickly boy, while I departed to do my Master's will.

    In this neighborhood I had an uncle, who was a Methodist, & who gladly threw open his door for meetings to be held there. At the first meeting which I held in my uncle's house, there was, with others who had come from curiosity to hear the woman preacher, an old man, who was a Deist, & who said he did not believe the coloured people had any souls - he was sure they had none. He took a seat very near where I was standing, & boldly tried to look me out of countenance. But as I labored on in the best manner I was able, looking to God all the while, though it seemed to me I had but little liberty, yet there went an arrow from the bent bow of the gospel, & fastened in his till then obdurate heart.

    After I had done speaking, he went out, & called the people around him, said that my preaching might seem a small thing, yet he believed I had the worth of souls at heart. This language was different from what it was a little time before, as he now seemed to admit that coloured people had souls, as it was to these I was chiefly speaking; & unless they had souls, whose good I had in view, his remark must have been without meaning.

    He now came into the house, & in the most friendly manner shook hands with me, saying, he hoped God had spared him to some good purpose. This man was a great slave holder, & had been very cruel; thinking nothing of knocking down a slave with a fence stake, or whatever might come to hand. From this time it was said of him that he became greatly altered in his ways for the better. At that time he was about seventy years old, his head as white as snow; but whether he became a converted man or not, I never heard.

    The week following, I had an invitation to hold a meeting at the (Cape May) Court House of the County... It was a solemn time, & the Lord attended the word; I had life & liberty, though there were people there of various denominations. Here again I saw the aged slaveholder, who notwithstanding his age, walked about three miles to hear me.

    This day I spoke twice, & walked six miles to the place appointed. There was a magistrate present, who showed his friendship, by saying in a friendly manner, that he had heard of me: he handed me a hymnbook, pointing to a hymn which he had selected.

    When the meeting was over, he invited me to preach in a schoolhouse in his neighborhood, about three miles distant from where I was. During this meeting one backslider was reclaimed. This day I walked six miles, & preached twice to large congregations, both in the morning & evening. The Lord was with me, glory be to his holy name.

    I next went six miles & held a meeting in a coloured friend's house, at eleven o'clock in the morning, & preached to a well behaved congregation, of both coloured & white. After service I again walked back, which was in all twelve miles in the same day. This was on Sabbath, or as I sometimes call it, seventh day; for after my conversion, I preferred the plain language of the Friends.

    On the fourth day, after this, in compliance with an invitation received by note, from the same magistrate who had heard me at the above place I preached to a large congregation, where we had a precious time: much weeping was heard among the people.

    The same gentleman, now at the close of the meeting, gave out another appointment at the same place, that day week, Here again I had liberty, there was a move among the people.

    Ten years from that time, in the neighborhood of Cape May, I held a prayer meeting in a school house, which was then the regular place of preaching for the Episcopal Methodists, after service, there came a white lady, of great distinction, a member of the Methodist Society, & told that at that same shool house ten years before, under my preaching, the Lord first awakened her. She rejoiced much to see me, & invited me home with her, where I staid till the next day. This was bread cast upon the water, seen after many years.

    From this place I went to Dennis Creek meeting house (in New Jersey), where at the invitation of an elder, I spoke to a large congregation of various & conflicting sentiments, when a wonderful shock of God's power was felt, shown everywhere by groans, by sighs, & loud & happy amens. I felt as if aided from above. My tongue was cut loose, the stammerer spoke freely; the love of God, & of his service, burned with a vehement flame within me - his name was glorified among the people.

    From - Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs Jarena Lee, Giving an account of her call to preach the Gospel. Revised & Corrected from the Original Manuscript, written by herself Philadelphia, Printed & Published for the Author, 1849 Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857) was an evangelist for the AME church in the first half of the 19th century. In 1816, Richard Allen (1760-1831) and his colleagues in Philadelphia broke away from the Methodist Church and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which, along with independent black Baptist congregations, flourished as the century progressed. Richard Allen allowed women to become evangelists and teachers but not church leaders. Jarena Lee was the 1st female to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. Born in Cape May, New Jersey, she moved to Pennsylvania, when she married in 1811. She had felt called to preach as early as 1809, & revealed her wish to church leader Richard Allen, who responded symapthetically, but explained that the AME Church was silent on the question of women preachers. In 1817, an "ungovernable impulse" led her to rise in Bethel Church & deliver an extemporaneous discourse that so impressed Bishop Allen; that he publically apologized for having discouraged her 8 years earlier. With this verbal liscense from the bishop, Lee began her evangelical ministry, traveling hundreds of miles, often on foot, to preach before all races & denominations, at churches, revivals, & camp meetings. She traveled as far west as Ohio. Although she was never officially licensed & never organized any churches, her ministry aided in the rapid growth of the AME Church before the Civil War. By 1846, the A.M.E. Church, which began with 8 clergy & 5 churches, had grown to 176 clergy, 296 churches, & 17,375 members.

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    CHAPTER XII.
    PROMENADING WITH LUNATICS.

    I SHALL never forget my first walk. When all the patients had donned the white straw hats, such as bathers wear at Coney Island, I could not but laugh at their comical appearances. I could not distinguish one woman from another. I lost Miss Neville, and had to take my hat off and search for her. When we met we put our hats on and laughed at one another. Two by two we formed in line, and guarded by the attendants we went out a back way on to the walks.

    We had not gone many paces when I saw, proceeding from every walk, long lines of women guarded by nurses. How many there were! Every way I looked I could see them in the queer dresses, comical straw hats and shawls, marching slowly around. I eagerly watched the passing lines and a thrill of horror crept over me at the sight. Vacant eyes and meaningless faces, and their tongues uttered meaningless nonsense. One crowd passed and I noted by nose as well as eyes, that they were fearfully dirty.

    "Who are they?" I asked of a patient near me.

    "They are considered the most violent on the island," she replied. "They are from the Lodge, the first building with the high steps." Some were yelling, some were cursing, others were singing or praying or preaching, as the fancy struck them, and they made up the most miserable collection of humanity I had ever seen. As the din of their passing faded in the distance there came another sight I can never forget:

    A long cable rope fastened to wide leather belts, and these belts locked around the waists of fifty-two women. At the end of the rope was a heavy iron cart, and in it two women–one nursing a sore foot, another screaming at some nurse, saying: "You beat me and I shall not forget it. You want to kill me," and then she would sob and cry. The women "on the rope," as the patients call it, were each busy on their individual freaks. Some were yelling all the while. One who had blue eyes saw me look at her, and she turned as far as she could, talking and smiling, with that terrible, horrifying look of absolute insanity stamped on her. The doctors might safely judge on her case. The horror of that sight to one who had never been near an insane person before, was something unspeakable.

    "God help them!" breathed Miss Neville. "It is so dreadful I cannot look."

    On they passed, but for their places to be filled by more. Can you imagine the sight? According to one of the physicians there are 1600 insane women on Blackwell's Island.

    Mad! what can be half so horrible? My heart thrilled with pity when I looked on old, gray-haired women talking aimlessly to space. One woman had on a straightjacket, and two women had to drag her along. Crippled, blind, old, young, homely, and pretty; one senseless mass of humanity. No fate could be worse.

    I looked at the pretty lawns, which I had once thought was such a comfort to the poor creatures confined on the Island, and laughed at my own notions. What enjoyment is it to them? They are not allowed on the grass–it is only to look at. I saw some patients eagerly and caressingly lift a nut or a colored leaf that had fallen on the path. But they were not permitted to keep them. The nurses would always compel them to throw their little bit of God's comfort away.

    As I passed a low pavilion, where a crowd of helpless lunatics were confined, I read a motto on the wall, "While I live I hope." The absurdity of it struck me forcibly. I would have liked to put above the gates that open to the asylum, "He who enters here leaveth hope behind."

    During the walk I was annoyed a great deal by nurses who had heard my romantic story calling to those in charge of us to ask which one I was. I was pointed out repeatedly.

    It was not long until the dinner hour arrived and I was so hungry that I felt I could eat anything. The same old story of standing for a half and three-quarters of an hour in the hall was repeated before we got down to our dinners. The bowls in which we had had our tea were now filled with soup, and on a plate was one cold boiled potato and a chunk of beef, which on investigation, proved to be slightly spoiled. There were no knives or forks, and the patients looked fairly savage as they took the tough beef in their fingers and pulled in opposition to their teeth. Those toothless or with poor teeth could not eat it. One tablespoon was given for the soup, and a piece of bread was the final entree. Butter is never allowed at dinner nor coffee or tea. Miss Mayard could not eat, and I saw many of the sick ones turn away in disgust. I was getting very weak from the want of food and tried to eat a slice of bread. After the first few bites hunger asserted itself, and I was able to eat all but the crusts of the one slice.

    Superintendent Dent went through the sitting-room, giving an occasional "How do you do?""How are you to-day?" here and there among the patients. His voice was as cold as the hall, and the patients made no movement to tell him of their sufferings. I asked some of them to tell how they were suffering from the cold and insufficiency of clothing, but they replied that the nurse would beat them if they told.

    I was never so tired as I grew sitting on those benches. Several of the patients would sit on one foot or sideways to make a change, but they were always reproved and told to sit up straight. If they talked they were scolded and told to shut up; if they wanted to walk around in order to take the stiffness out of them, they were told to sit down and be still. What, excepting torture, would produce insanity quicker than this treatment? Here is a class of women sent to be cured. I would like the expert physicians who are condemning me for my action, which has proven their ability, to take a perfectly sane and healthy woman, shut her up and make her sit from 6 A. M. until 8 P. M. on straight-back benches, do not allow her to talk or move during these hours, give her no reading and let her know nothing of the world or its doings, give her bad food and harsh treatment, and see how long it will take to make her insane. Two months would make her a mental and physical wreck.

    I have described my first day in the asylum, and as my other nine were exactly the same in the general run of things it would be tiresome to tell about each. In giving this story I expect to be contradicted by many who are exposed. I merely tell in common words, without exaggeration, of my life in a mad-house for ten days. The eating was one of the most horrible things. Excepting the first two days after I entered the asylum, there was no salt for the food. The hungry and even famishing women made an attempt to eat the horrible messes. Mustard and vinegar were put on meat and in soup to give it a taste, but it only helped to make it worse. Even that was all consumed after two days, and the patients had to try to choke down fresh fish, just boiled in water, without salt, pepper or butter; mutton, beef and potatoes without the faintest seasoning. The most insane refused to swallow the food and were threatened with punishment. In our short walks we passed the kitchen were food was prepared for the nurses and doctors. There we got glimpses of melons and grapes and all kinds of fruits, beautiful white bread and nice meats, and the hungry feeling would be increased tenfold. I spoke to some of the physicians, but it had no effect, and when I was taken away the food was yet unsalted.

    My heart ached to see the sick patients grow sicker over the table. I saw Miss Tillie Mayard so suddenly overcome at a bite that she had to rush from the dining-room and then got a scolding for doing so. When the patients complained of the food they were told to shut up; that they would not have as good if they were at home, and that it was too good for charity patients.

    A German girl, Louise–I have forgotten her last name–did not eat for several days and at last one morning she was missing. From the conversation of the nurses I found she was suffering from a high fever. Poor thing! she told me she unceasingly prayed for death. I watched the nurses make a patient carry such food as the well ones were refusing up to Louise's room. Think of that stuff for a fever patient! Of course, she refused it. Then I saw a nurse, Miss McCarten, go to test her temperature, and she returned with a report of it being some 150 degrees. I smiled at the report, and Miss Grupe, seeing it, asked me how high my temperature had ever run. I refused to answer. Miss Grady then decided to try her ability. She returned with the report of 99 degrees.

    Miss Tillie Mayard suffered more than any of us from the cold, and yet she tried to follow my advice to be cheerful and try to keep up for a short time. Superintendent Dent brought in a man to see me. He felt my pulse and my head and examined my tongue. I told them how cold it was, and assured them that I did not need medical aid, but that Miss Mayard did, and they should transfer their attentions to her. They did not answer me, and I was pleased to see Miss Mayard leave her place and come forward to them. She spoke to the doctors and told them she was ill, but they paid no attention to her. The nurses came and dragged her back to the bench, and after the doctors left they said, "After awhile, when you see that the doctors will not notice you, you will quit running up to them." Before the doctors left me I heard one say–I cannot give it in his exact words–that my pulse and eyes were not that of an insane girl, but Superintendent Dent assured him that in cases such as mine such tests failed. After watching me for awhile he said my face was the brightest he had ever seen for a lunatic. The nurses had on heavy undergarments and coats, but they refused to give us shawls.

    Nearly all night long I listened to a woman cry about the cold and beg for God to let her die. Another one yelled "Murder!" at frequent intervals and "Police!" at others until my flesh felt creepy.

    The second morning, after we had begun our endless "set" for the day, two of the nurses, assisted by some patients, brought the woman in who had begged the night previous for God to take her home. I was not surprised at her prayer. She appeared easily seventy years old, and she was blind. Although the halls were freezing-cold, that old woman had no more clothing on than the rest of us, which I have described. When she was brought into the sitting-room and placed on the hard bench, she cried:

    "Oh, what are you doing with me? I am cold, so cold. Why can't I stay in bed or have a shawl?" and then she would get up and endeavor to feel her way to leave the room. Sometimes the attendants would jerk her back to the bench, and again they would let her walk and heartlessly laugh when she bumped against the table or the edge of the benches. At one time she said the heavy shoes which charity provides hurt her feet, and she took them off. The nurses made two patients put them on her again, and when she did it several times, and fought against having them on, I counted seven people at her at once trying to put the shoes on her. The old woman then tried to lie down on the bench, but they pulled her up again. It sounded so pitiful to hear her cry:

    "Oh, give me a pillow and pull the covers over me, I am so cold."

    At this I saw Miss Grupe sit down on her and run her cold hands over the old woman's face and down inside the neck of her dress. At the old woman's cries she laughed savagely, as did the other nurses, and repeated her cruel action. That day the old woman was carried away to another ward.
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    Jarena Lee was the 1st woman to preach under the auspices of the AME church. The child of free black parents, Lee was born in New Jersey in 1783, & worked as a servant in the home of a white family, 60 miles from her home. Strongly affected when she went to hear Richard Allen preach, Lee determined to preach herself. At first rebuffed by Allen, who said that women could not preach at the Methodist Church, Lee persisted; & 8 years after his initial refusal, Allen allowed her access to the pulpit after hearing her spontaneous exhoration during a sermon at Bethel AME Church. Lee traveled all over the United States preaching her gospel of freedom, even venturing into the South to preach to slaves.  The following is a segment of her journey written in her own words.

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857), Preacher of the A.M.E. Church, Aged 60 years in the 11th day of the 2nd month 1844, Philadelphia 1844

    Jarena Lee - Returning to Philadelphia with her son

    I had my little son with me, & was very much straitened for money & not having means to procure my passage home, I opened a School & taught eleven scholars, for the purpose of raising a small sum. For many weeks I knew not what to do about returning home, when the Lord came to my assistance as I was rambling in the fields meditating upon his goodness, & made known to me that I might go to the city of Philadelphia, for which place I soon embarked with a very kind captain. We had a perilous passage - a dreadful storm arose, & before leaving the Delaware bay, we had a narrow escape from being run down by a large ship. But the good Lord held us in the hollow of his hand, & in the afternoon of Nov. 12, 1821, we arrived at the city.

    Here I held meetings in the dwelling house of sister Lydia Anderson, & for about three months had as many appointments as I could attend. We had many precious seasons together, & the Lord was with his little praying band, convincing & converting sinners to the truth. I continued in the city until spring, when I felt it impressed upon my mind to travel, & walked fourteen miles in company with a sister to meet some ministers, there to assemble, from Philadelphia. Satan tempted me while on the way, telling me that I was a fool for walking so far, as I would not be permitted to preach. But I pursued my journey, with the determination to set down & worship with them. When I arrived, a goodly number of people had assembled, & no preacher. They waited the time to commence the exercise, & then called upon me. I took the 3rd chapter John 14th verse for my text. I had life & liberty, & the Lord was in the camp with a shout. Another meeting was appointed three miles from there, when I spoke from Psalms cxxxvii, 1,2,3,4. My master was with me, & made manifest his power. In the County House, also, we held a meeting, & had a sweet waiting upon the Lord. I spoke from Hebrews ii,3, when the Lord gave me peculiar liberty. At a dwelling house one night I spoke from John vii, 46, when six souls fell to the floor crying for mercy. We had a blessed outpouring of the spirit among us - the God of Jacob was in our midst & the shout of heaven-born souls was like music to our ears.

    About the month of February my little son James, then in his sixth year, gave evidence of having religious inclinations. Once he got up in a chair, with a hymn book in his hand, & with quite a ministerial jesture, gave out a hymn. I felt the spirit move me to sing with him. A worthy sister was in the room, who I asked to pray for him. I invoked the Lord to answer & seal this prayer in the courts of heaven. I believed He would & did, & while yet on our knees I was heaven. I believed He would & did, & while yet on our knees I was filled with the fulness of God, & the answer came. I cried out in the joy of my heart - "The dead is alive"& ran down stairs to inform a neighbor. Tears ran down the cheeks of my now happy boy, & great was our rejoicing together. He had been the subject of many prayers, & often had I thought I would rather follow him to his grave than to see him grow up an open & profane sinner like many children I had seen. And here let me say, the promise of the Lord is, "ask & ye shall receive." Dear parents; pray for your children in childhood - carry them in the arms of faith to the mercy seat, & there present them an offering to the Lord. I can say from my own experience, the Lord will hear prayer. I had given James the Bible as Haman gave Samuel to God in his youth, & by his gracious favor he was received. For the further encouragement of fathers & mothers to engage in this blessed work, let me refer them to Ecclesiastes xi, 6; "In the morning sow thy seed, & in the evening withhold not thy hand, for thou knowest not whether shall prosper either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good."

    From - Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs Jarena Lee, Giving an account of her call to preach the Gospel. Revised & Corrected from the Original Manuscript, written by herself Philadelphia, Printed & Published for the Author, 1849 Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857) was an evangelist for the AME church in the first half of the 19th century. In 1816, Richard Allen (1760-1831) and his colleagues in Philadelphia broke away from the Methodist Church and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which, along with independent black Baptist congregations, flourished as the century progressed. Richard Allen allowed women to become evangelists and teachers but not church leaders. Jarena Lee was the 1st female to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. Born in Cape May, New Jersey, she moved to Pennsylvania, when she married in 1811. She had felt called to preach as early as 1809, & revealed her wish to church leader Richard Allen, who responded symapthetically, but explained that the AME Church was silent on the question of women preachers. In 1817, an "ungovernable impulse" led her to rise in Bethel Church & deliver an extemporaneous discourse that so impressed Bishop Allen; that he publically apologized for having discouraged her 8 years earlier. With this verbal liscense from the bishop, Lee began her evangelical ministry, traveling hundreds of miles, often on foot, to preach before all races & denominations, at churches, revivals, & camp meetings. She traveled as far west as Ohio. Although she was never officially licensed & never organized any churches, her ministry aided in the rapid growth of the AME Church before the Civil War. By 1846, the A.M.E. Church, which began with 8 clergy & 5 churches, had grown to 176 clergy, 296 churches, & 17,375 members.

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    CHAPTER XIII.
    CHOKING AND BEATING PATIENTS.

    MISS TILLIE MAYARD suffered greatly from cold. One morning she sat on the bench next to me and was livid with the cold. Her limbs shook and her teeth chattered. I spoke to the three attendants who sat with coats on at the table in the center of the floor.

    "It is cruel to lock people up and then freeze them," I said. They replied she had on as much as any of the rest, and she would get no more. Just then Miss Mayard took a fit and every patient looked frightened. Miss Neville caught her in her arms and held her, although the nurses roughly said:

    "Let her fall on the floor and it will teach her a lesson." Miss Neville told them what she thought of their actions, and then I got orders to make my appearance in the office.

    Just as I reached there Superintendent Dent came to the door and I told him how we were suffering from the cold, and of Miss Mayard's condition. Doubtless, I spoke incoherently, for I told of the state of the food, the treatment of the nurses and their refusal to give more clothing, the condition of Miss Mayard, and the nurses telling us, because the asylum was a public institution we could not expect even kindness. Assuring him that I needed no medical aid, I told him to go to Miss Mayard. He did so. From Miss Neville and other patients I learned what transpired. Miss Mayard was still in the fit, and he caught her roughly between the eyebrows or thereabouts, and pinched until her face was crimson from the rush of blood to the head, and her senses returned. All day afterward she suffered from terrible headache, and from that on she grew worse.

    Insane? Yes, insane; and as I watched the insanity slowly creep over the mind that had appeared to be all right I secretly cursed the doctors, the nurses and all public institutions. Some one may say that she was insane at some time previous to her consignment to the asylum. Then if she were, was this the proper place to send a woman just convalescing, to be given cold baths, deprived of sufficient clothing and fed with horrible food?

    On this morning I had a long conversation with Dr. Ingram, the assistant superintendent of the asylum. I found that he was kind to the helpless in his charge. I began my old complaint of the cold, and he called Miss Grady to the office and ordered more clothing given the patients. Miss Grady said if I made a practice of telling it would be a serious thing for me, she warned me in time.

    Many visitors looking for missing girls came to see me. Miss Grady yelled in the door from the hall one day:

    "Nellie Brown, you're wanted."

    I went to the sitting-room at the end of the hall, and there sat a gentleman who had known me intimately for years. I saw by the sudden blanching of his face and his inability to speak that the sight of me was wholly unexpected and had shocked him terribly. In an instant I determined, if he betrayed me as Nellie Bly, to say I had never seen him before. However, I had one card to play and I risked it. With Miss Grady within touching distance I whispered hurriedly to him, in language more expressive than elegant:

    "Don't give me away."

    I knew by the expression of his eye that he understood, so I said to Miss Grady:

    "I do not know this man."

    "Do you know her?" asked Miss Grady.

    "No; this is not the young lady I came in search of," he replied, in a strained voice.

    "If you do not know her you cannot stay here," she said, and she took him to the door. All at once a fear struck me that he would think I had been sent there through some mistake and would tell my friends and make an effort to have me released. So I waited until Miss Grady had the door unlocked. I knew that she would have to lock it before she could leave, and the time required to do so would give me opportunity to speak, so I called:

    "One moment, senor." He returned to me and I asked aloud:

    "Do you speak Spanish, senor?" and then whispered, "It's all right. I'm after an item. Keep still.""No," he said, with a peculiar emphasis, which I knew meant that he would keep my secret.

    People in the world can never imagine the length of days to those in asylums. They seemed never ending, and we welcomed any event that might give us something to think about as well as talk of. There is nothing to read, and the only bit of talk that never wears out is conjuring up delicate food that they will get as soon as they get out. Anxiously the hour was watched for when the boat arrived to see if there were any new unfortunates to be added to our ranks. When they came and were ushered into the sitting-room the patients would express sympathy to one another for them and were anxious to show them little marks of attention. Hall 6 was the receiving hall, so that was how we saw all newcomers.

    Soon after my advent a girl called Urena Little-Page was brought in. She was, as she had been born, silly, and her tender spot was, as with many sensible women, her age. She claimed eighteen, and would grow very angry if told to the contrary. The nurses were not long in finding this out, and then they teased her.

    "Urena," said Miss Grady, "the doctors say that you are thirty-three instead of eighteen," and the other nurses laughed. They kept up this until the simple creature began to yell and cry, saying she wanted to go home and that everybody treated her badly. After they had gotten all the amusement out of her they wanted and she was crying, they began to scold and tell her to keep quiet. She grew more hysterical every moment until they pounced upon her and slapped her face and knocked her head in a lively fashion. This made the poor creature cry the more, and so they choked her. Yes, actually choked her. Then they dragged her out to the closet, and I heard her terrified cries hush into smothered ones. After several hours' absence she returned to the sitting-room, and I plainly saw the marks of their fingers on her throat for the entire day.

    This punishment seemed to awaken their desire to administer more. They returned to the sitting-room and caught hold of an old gray-haired woman whom I have heard addressed both as Mrs. Grady and Mrs. O'Keefe. She was insane, and she talked almost continually to herself and to those near her. She never spoke very loud, and at the time I speak of was sitting harmlessly chattering to herself. They grabbed her, and my heart ached as she cried:

    "For God sake, ladies, don't let them beat me."

    "Shut up, you hussy!" said Miss Grady as she caught the woman by her gray hair and dragged her shrieking and pleading from the room. She was also taken to the closet, and her cries grew lower and lower, and then ceased.

    The nurses returned to the room and Miss Grady remarked that she had "settled the old fool for awhile." I told some of the physicians of the occurrence, but they did not pay any attention to it.

    One of the characters in Hall 6 was Matilda, a little old German woman, who, I believe, went insane over the loss of money. She was small, and had a pretty pink complexion. She was not much trouble, except at times. She would take spells, when she would talk into the steam-heaters or get up on a chair and talk out of the windows. In these conversations she railed at the lawyers who had taken her property. The nurses seemed to find a great deal of amusement in teasing the harmless old soul. One day I sat beside Miss Grady and Miss Grupe, and heard them tell her perfectly vile things to call Miss McCarten. After telling her to say these things they would send her to the other nurse, but Matilda proved that she, even in her state, had more sense than they.

    "I cannot tell you. It is private," was all she would say. I saw Miss Grady, on a pretense of whispering to her, spit in her ear. Matilda quietly wiped her ear and said nothing.
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    Jarena Lee was the 1st woman to preach under the auspices of the AME church. The child of free black parents, Lee was born in New Jersey in 1783, & worked as a servant in the home of a white family, 60 miles from her home. Strongly affected when she went to hear Richard Allen preach, Lee determined to preach herself. At first rebuffed by Allen, who said that women could not preach at the Methodist Church, Lee persisted; & 8 years after his initial refusal, Allen allowed her access to the pulpit after hearing her spontaneous exhoration during a sermon at Bethel AME Church. Lee traveled all over the United States preaching her gospel of freedom, even venturing into the South to preach to slaves.  The following is a segment of her journey written in her own words.

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857), Preacher of the A.M.E. Church, Aged 60 years in the 11th day of the 2nd month 1844, Philadelphia 1844


    Jarena Lee - "A speaking woman is like an ass" - in New Jersey

    In November, I journeyed for Trenton, N. J. At Burlington I spoke to the people on the Sabbath, and had a good time among them, and on Monday the 12th, in a school house. Sister Mary Owan, who had laid aside all the cares of the world, went with me. We had no means of traveling but on foot, but the Lord regarded us, and by some means put it into the heart of a stranger, to convey us to the Trenton bridge. We fell in with the elder of the circuit, who spoke to me in a cold and formal manner, and as though he thought my capacity was not equal to his. We went into the sister's house, where we expected to stay, and waited a long while with our hats and cloaks on, before the invitation to lodge there was given. In the morning I had thought to visit Newhope, but remained to discharge my duty in visiting the sick and afflicted three or four days in the neighborhood. I was invited to a prayer meeting, and was called upon by a brother to speak. I improved the offer, and made some remarks from Kings xviii, 21. One of the preachers invited me to approach for them on sixth day evening, which I complied with much power, and before an attentive congregation; when God followed the word with much power, and great was our joy. On the 17th I spoke in the morning at 11 o'clock. I felt my weakness and deficiency for the work, and thought "Who is able for these things," and desired to get away from the task. My text was Timothy vi, 2-7. The Lord again cut loose the stammering tongue; and opened the Scriptures to my mind, so that, glory to Gods dear name, we had a most melting, sin-killing, and soul-reviving time. In the afternoon I assisted in leading a class, when we found the Lord faithful and true - and on the same evening I spoke from Hebrews ii,3.

    The next day, sister Mary Owan and Myself set out for Newhope, where we arrived, after walking sixteen miles, at about six o'clock in the evening. Though tedious, it was a pleasant walk to view the high mountain and towering hills, and the beauty and variety of nature around us, which powerfully impressed my mind with the greatness and wisdom of my Maker. At this place I stop at the house of the gentleman with whose wife's mother I was brought up, and by whom we were agreeably received. The next evening we called upon brother Butler, where I addressed a small company, and God, through his words, quickened some. The next night I spoke in an Academy to a goodly number of people, from John iii, 14. Here I found some ever ill-behaved persons, who talked roughly, and said among other things, "I was not a woman, but a man dressed in female clothes." I labored one week among them, and went next to Lambertsville, where we experienced kindness from the people, and had a happy time and parted in tears.

    I now returned to Philadelphia, where I stayed a short time, and went to Salem, West Jersey. I met with many troubles on my journey, especially from the elder, who like many others, was averse to a woman's preaching. And here let me tell that elder, if he has not gone to heaven, that I have heard that as far back as Adam Clarke's time, his objections to female preaching were met by the answer - "If an ass reproved Balaam, and a barn-door fowl reproved Peter, why should not a woman reprove sin?" I do not introduce this for its complimentary classification of women, with donkeys and fowls, but to give the reply of a poor woman, who had once been a slave. To the first companion she said - "May be a speaking woman is like an ass - but I can tell you one thing, the ass seen the angel when Balaam didn't."

    Not withstanding the position, we had a prosperous time at Salem. I had some good congregations, and sinners were cut to the heart. After speaking in the meeting house, two women came up into the pulpit, and falling upon my neck cried out "What shall I do to be saved?" One said she had disobeyed God, and she had taken her children from her - he had called often after her, but she did not hearken. I pointed her to the all-atoning blood of Christ, which is sufficient to cleanse from all sin, and left her, after prayer, to his mercy. From this place I walked twenty-one miles, and preached with difficulty to a stiff-necked and rebellious people, who I soon left without any animosity for their treatment. They might have respected my message, if not the poor weak servant who brought it to them with so much labor.

    "If they persecute you in one city, flee into another,"was the advice I had resolved to take, and I hastened to Greenwich, where I had a lively congregation, had unusual life and liberty in speaking, and the power of God was there. We also had a solemn time in the meeting house on Sabbath day morning, and in a dwelling house in the evening; a large company assembled, when the spirit was with us, and we had a mighty shaking among the dry bones.

    On second day morning, I took stage and rode seven miles to Woodstown, and there I spoke to a respectable congregation of white and colored, in a school house. I was desired to speak in the colored meeting house, but the minister could not reconcile his mind to a woman preacher - he could not unite in fellowship with me even to shaking hands as Christians ought. I had visited that place before, when God made manifest his power "through the foolishness of preaching," and owned the poor old woman. One of the brothers appointed a meeting in his own house, and after much persuasion this minister came also. I did not feel much like preaching, but spoke from Acts viii, 35. I felt my inability, and was led to complain of weakness - but God directed the arrow to the hearts of the guilty - and my friend the minister got happy, and often shouted "Amen,"and my "as it is, sister." We had a wonderful display of the spirit of God among us, and we found it good to be there. There is nothing too hard for the Lord to do. I committed the meeting into the hands of the elder, who afterwards invited me to preach in the meeting house. He had said he did not believe that over a soul was converted under the preaching of a woman - but while I was laboring in his place, conviction seized a woman, who fell floor crying for mercy. This meeting held till 12 or 1 o'clock. O how precious is the sound of Jesus' name! I never felt a doubt at this time of my acceptance with God, but rested my soul on his every promise. The elder shook hands, and we parted.

    From - Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs Jarena Lee, Giving an account of her call to preach the Gospel. Revised & Corrected from the Original Manuscript, written by herself Philadelphia, Printed & Published for the Author, 1849 Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857) was an evangelist for the AME church in the first half of the 19th century. In 1816, Richard Allen (1760-1831) and his colleagues in Philadelphia broke away from the Methodist Church and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which, along with independent black Baptist congregations, flourished as the century progressed. Richard Allen allowed women to become evangelists and teachers but not church leaders. Jarena Lee was the 1st female to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. Born in Cape May, New Jersey, she moved to Pennsylvania, when she married in 1811. She had felt called to preach as early as 1809, & revealed her wish to church leader Richard Allen, who responded symapthetically, but explained that the AME Church was silent on the question of women preachers. In 1817, an "ungovernable impulse" led her to rise in Bethel Church & deliver an extemporaneous discourse that so impressed Bishop Allen; that he publically apologized for having discouraged her 8 years earlier. With this verbal liscense from the bishop, Lee began her evangelical ministry, traveling hundreds of miles, often on foot, to preach before all races & denominations, at churches, revivals, & camp meetings. She traveled as far west as Ohio. Although she was never officially licensed & never organized any churches, her ministry aided in the rapid growth of the AME Church before the Civil War. By 1846, the A.M.E. Church, which began with 8 clergy & 5 churches, had grown to 176 clergy, 296 churches, & 17,375 members.

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    CHAPTER XIV.
    SOME UNFORTUNATE STORIES.

    BY this time I had made the acquaintance of the greater number of the forty-five women in hall 6. Let me introduce a few. Louise, the pretty German girl who I have spoken of formerly as being sick with fever, had the delusion that the spirits of her dead parents were with her. "I have gotten many beatings from Miss Grady and her assistants," she said, "and I am unable to eat the horrible food they give us. I ought not to be compelled to freeze for want of proper clothing. Oh! I pray nightly that I may be taken to my papa and mamma. One night, when I was confined at Bellevue, Dr. Field came; I was in bed, and weary of the examination. At last I said: 'I am tired of this. I will talk no more.''Won't you?' he said, angrily. 'I'll see if I can't make you.' With this he laid his crutch on the side of the bed, and, getting up on it, he pinched me very severely in the ribs. I jumped up straight in bed, and said: 'What do you mean by this?''I want to teach you to obey when I speak to you,' he replied. If I could only die and go to papa!" When I left she was confined to bed with a fever, and maybe by this time she has her wish.

    There is a Frenchwoman confined in hall 6, or was during my stay, whom I firmly believe to be perfectly sane. I watched her and talked with her every day, excepting the last three, and I was unable to find any delusion or mania in her. Her name is Josephine Despreau, if that is spelled correctly, and her husband and all her friends are in France. Josephine feels her position keenly. Her lips tremble, and she breaks down crying when she talks of her helpless condition. "How did you get here?" I asked.

    "One morning as I was trying to get breakfast I grew deathly sick, and two officers were called in by the woman of the house, and I was taken to the station-house. I was unable to understand their proceedings, and they paid little attention to my story. Doings in this country were new to me, and before I realized it I was lodged as an insane woman in this asylum. When I first came I cried that I was here without hope of release, and for crying Miss Grady and her assistants choked me until they hurt my throat, for it has been sore ever since."

    A pretty young Hebrew woman spoke so little English I could not get her story except as told by the nurses. They said her name is Sarah Fishbaum, and that her husband put her in the asylum because she had a fondness for other men than himself. Granting that Sarah was insane, and about men, let me tell you how the nurses tried to cure(?) her. They would call her up and say:

    "Sarah, wouldn't you like to have a nice young man?"

    "Oh, yes; a young man is all right," Sarah would reply in her few English words.

    "Well, Sarah, wouldn't you like us to speak a good word to some of the doctors for you? Wouldn't you like to have one of the doctors?"

    And then they would ask her which doctor she preferred, and advise her to make advances to him when he visited the hall, and so on.

    I had been watching and talking with a fair-complexioned woman for several days, and I was at a loss to see why she had been sent there, she was so sane.

    "Why did you come here?" I asked her one day, after we had indulged in a long conversation.

    "I was sick," she replied.

    "Are you sick mentally?" I urged.

    "Oh, no; what gave you such an idea? I had been overworking myself, and I broke down. Having some family trouble, and being penniless and nowhere to go, I applied to the commissioners to be sent to the poorhouse until I would be able to go to work."

    "But they do not send poor people here unless they are insane," I said. "Don't you know there are only insane women, or those supposed to be so, sent here?"

    "I knew after I got here that the majority of these women were insane, but then I believed them when they told me this was the place they sent all the poor who applied for aid as I had done."

    "How have you been treated?" I asked. "Well, so far I have escaped a beating, although I have been sickened at the sight of many and the recital of more. When I was brought here they went to give me a bath, and the very disease for which I needed doctoring and from which I was suffering made it necessary that I should not bathe. But they put me in, and my sufferings were increased greatly for weeks thereafter."

    A Mrs. McCartney, whose husband is a tailor, seems perfectly rational and has not one fancy. Mary Hughes and Mrs. Louise Schanz showed no obvious traces of insanity.

    One day two new-comers were added to our list. The one was an idiot, Carrie Glass, and the other was a nice-looking German girl–quite young, she seemed, and when she came in all the patients spoke of her nice appearance and apparent sanity. Her name was Margaret. She told me she had been a cook, and was extremely neat. One day, after she had scrubbed the kitchen floor, the chambermaids came down and deliberately soiled it. Her temper was aroused and she began to quarrel with them; an officer was called and she was taken to an asylum.

    "How can they say I am insane, merely because I allowed my temper to run away with me?" she complained. "Other people are not shut up for crazy when they get angry. I suppose the only thing to do is to keep quiet and so avoid the beatings which I see others get. No one can say one word about me. I do everything I am told, and all the work they give me. I am obedient in every respect, and I do everything to prove to them that I am sane."

    One day an insane woman was brought in. She was noisy, and Miss Grady gave her a beating and blacked her eye. When the doctors noticed it and asked if it was done before she came there the nurses said it was.

    While I was in hall 6 I never heard the nurses address the patients except to scold or yell at them, unless it was to tease the. They spent much of their time gossiping about the physicians and about the other nurses in a manner that was not elevating. Miss Grady nearly always interspersed her conversation with profane language, and generally began her sentences by calling on the name of the Lord. The names she called the patients were of the lowest and most profane type. One evening she quarreled with another nurse while we were at supper about the bread, and when the nurse had gone out she called her bad names and made ugly remarks about her.

    In the evenings a woman, whom I supposed to be head cook for the doctors, used to come up and bring raisins, grapes, apples, and crackers to the nurses. Imagine the feelings of the hungry patients as they sat and watched the nurses eat what was to them a dream of luxury.

    One afternoon, Dr. Dent was talking to a patient, Mrs. Turney, about some trouble she had had with a nurse or matron. A short time after we were taken down to supper and this woman who had beaten Mrs. Turney, and of whom Dr. Dent spoke, was sitting at the door of our dining-room. Suddenly Mrs. Turney picked up her bowl of tea, and, rushing out of the door flung it at the woman who had beat her. There was some loud screaming and Mrs. Turney was returned to her place. The next day she was transferred to the "rope gang," which is supposed to be composed of the most dangerous and most suicidal women on the island.

    At first I could not sleep and did not want to so long as I could hear anything new. The night nurses may have complained of the fact. At any rate one night they came in and tried to make me take a dose of some mixture out of a glass "to make me sleep," they said. I told them I would do nothing of the sort and they left me, I hoped, for the night. My hopes were vain, for in a few minutes they returned with a doctor, the same that received us on our arrival. He insisted that I take it, but I was determined not to lose my wits even for a few hours. When he saw that I was not to be coaxed he grew rather rough, and said he had wasted too much time with me already. That if I did not take it he would put it into my arm with a needle. It occurred to me that if he put it into my arm I could not get rid of it, but if I swallowed it there was one hope, so I said I would take it. I smelt it and it smelt like laudanum, and it was a horrible dose. No sooner had they left the room and locked me in than I tried so see how far down my throat my finger would go, and the chloral was allowed to try its effect elsewhere.

    I want to say that the night nurse, Burns, in hall 6, seemed very kind and patient to the poor, afflicted people. The other nurses made several attempts to talk to me about lovers, and asked me if I would not like to have one. They did not find me very communicative on the–to them–popular subject.

    Once a week the patients are given a bath, and that is the only time they see soap. A patient handed me a piece of soap one day about the size of a thimble, I considered it a great compliment in her wanting to be kind, but I thought she would appreciate the cheap soap more than I, so I thanked her but refused to take it. On bathing day the tub is filled with water, and the patients are washed, one after the other, without a change of water. This is done until the water is really thick, and then it is allowed to run out and the tub is refilled without being washed. The same towels are used on all the women, those with eruptions as well as those without. The healthy patients fight for a change of water, but they are compelled to submit to the dictates of the lazy, tyrannical nurses. The dresses are seldom changed oftener than once a month. If the patient has a visitor, I have seen the nurses hurry her out and change her dress before the visitor comes in. This keeps up the appearance of careful and good management.

    The patients who are not able to take care of themselves get into beastly conditions, and the nurses never look after them, but order some of the patients to do so.

    For five days we were compelled to sit in the room all day. I never put in such a long time. Every patient was stiff and sore and tired. We would get in little groups on benches and torture our stomachs by conjuring up thoughts of what we would eat first when we got out. If I had not known how hungry they were and the pitiful side of it, the conversation would have been very amusing. As it was it only made me sad. When the subject of eating, which seemed to be the favorite one, was worn out, they used to give their opinions of the institution and its management. The condemnation of the nurses and the eatables was unanimous.

    As the days passed Miss Tillie Mayard's condition grew worse. She was continually cold and unable to eat of the food provided. Day after day she sang in order to try to maintain her memory, but at last the nurse made her stop it. I talked with her daily, and I grieved to find her grow worse so rapidly. At last she got a delusion. She thought that I was trying to pass myself off for her, and that all the people who called to see Nellie Brown were friends in search of her, but that I, by some means, was trying to deceive them into the belief that I was the girl. I tried to reason with her, but found it impossible, so I kept away from her as much as possible, lest my presence should make her worse and feed the fancy.

    One of the patients, Mrs. Cotter, a pretty, delicate woman, one day thought she saw her husband coming up the walk. She left the line in which she was marching and ran to meet him. For this act she was sent to the Retreat. She afterward said:

    "The remembrance of that is enough to make me mad. For crying the nurses beat me with a broom-handle and jumped on me, injuring me internally, so that I shall never get over it. Then they tied my hands and feet, and, throwing a sheet over my head, twisted it tightly around my throat, so I could not scream, and thus put me in a bathtub filled with cold water. They held me under until I gave up every hope and became senseless. At other times they took hold of my ears and beat my head on the floor and against the wall. Then they pulled out my hair by the roots, so that it will never grow in again."

    Mrs. Cotter here showed me proofs of her story, the dent in the back of her head and the bare spots where the hair had been taken out by the handful. I give her story as plainly as possible: "My treatment was not as bad as I have seen others get in there, but it has ruined my health, and even if I do get out of here I will be a wreck. When my husband heard of the treatment given me he threatened to expose the place if I was not removed, so I was brought here. I am well mentally now. All that old fear has left me, and the doctor has promised to allow my husband to take me home."

    I made the acquaintance of Bridget McGuinness, who seems to be sane at the present time. She said she was sent to Retreat 4, and put on the "rope gang.""The beating I got there were something dreadful. I was pulled around by the hair, held under the water until I strangled, and I was choked and kicked. The nurses would always keep a quiet patient stationed at the window to tell them when any of the doctors were approaching. It was hopeless to complain to the doctors, for they always said it was the imagination of our diseased brains, and besides we would get another beating for telling. They would hold patients under the water and threaten to leave them to die there if they did not promise not to tell the doctors. We would all promise, because we knew the doctors would not help us, and we would do anything to escape the punishment. After breaking a window I was transferred to the Lodge, the worst place on the island. It is dreadfully dirty in there, and the stench is awful. In the summer the flies swarm the place. The food is worse than we get in other wards and we are given only tin plates. Instead of the bars being on the outside, as in this ward, they are on the inside. There are many quiet patients there who have been there for years, but the nurses keep them to do the work. Among other beating I got there, the nurses jumped on me once and broke two of my ribs.

    "While I was there a pretty young girl was brought in. She had been sick, and she fought against being put in that dirty place. One night the nurses took her and, after beating her, they held her naked in a cold bath, then they threw her on her bed. When morning came the girl was dead. The doctors said she died of convulsions, and that was all that was done about it.

    "They inject so much morphine and chloral that the patients are made crazy. I have seen the patients wild for water from the effect of the drugs, and the nurses would refuse it to them. I have heard women beg for a whole night for one drop and it was not given them. I myself cried for water until my mouth was so parched and dry that I could not speak."

    I saw the same thing myself in hall 7. The patients would beg for a drink before retiring, but the nurses–Miss Hart and the others–refused to unlock the bathroom that they might quench their thirst.
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    Jarena Lee was the 1st woman to preach under the auspices of the AME church. The child of free black parents, Lee was born in New Jersey in 1783, & worked as a servant in the home of a white family, 60 miles from her home. Strongly affected when she went to hear Richard Allen preach, Lee determined to preach herself. At first rebuffed by Allen, who said that women could not preach at the Methodist Church, Lee persisted; & 8 years after his initial refusal, Allen allowed her access to the pulpit after hearing her spontaneous exhoration during a sermon at Bethel AME Church. Lee traveled all over the United States preaching her gospel of freedom, even venturing into the South to preach to slaves.  The following is a segment of her journey written in her own words.

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857), Preacher of the A.M.E. Church, Aged 60 years in the 11th day of the 2nd month 1844, Philadelphia 1844

    Jarena Lee - Preaching in Delaware

    June 24, 1822  I left the city of Philadelphia to travel in Delaware state. I went with captain Ryal, a kind gentleman, who took me to his house in Wilmington, and himself and lady both treated me well. The first night of my arrival; I preached in the stone Methodist meeting house. I tried, in my weak way, to interest the assembly from the 2d chapter of Hebrews, 3d verse - "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation." God was there, as we had the most delightful evidence - and many had their eyes opened to see there was no escape from the second death while out of Christ, and cried unto God for his saving grace. I would that all who have not embraced the salvation offered in the gospel, might examine the question candidly and seriously, ere the realities of the other world break up their fancied security.

    In July, I spoke in a School house to a large congregation, from Numbers xxix, 17. Here we had a sweet foretaste of heaven - full measure, and running over - shouting and rejoicing - while the poor errand-bearer of a free gospel was assisted from on high. I wish my reader had been there to share with us the joyous heavenly feast. On the 15th of July I gave an exhortation in the meeting house again to a listening multitude - deep and solemn were the convictions of many, and good, I trust, was done.

    The next place I visited was Newcastle. The meeting house could not be obtained, and two young gentleman interested themselves to get the Court house, but the Trustees objected, wishing to know why the Methodists did not open their Church. The reason was "I was not licensed," they said.  My two friends waited on me to speak in the Market house, where I attended at early candlelight, and had the pleasure of addressing a few plain truths to a crowded but respectful congregation, from John vii, 46 - "Never man spoke like this man." On Sunday the same young gentlemen invited me to give another discourse, to which I consented, before a large gathering of all descriptions.

    From here I proceeded to Christine, where we worshipped in a dwelling house, and I must say was well treated by some of my colored friends. I than returned to Wilmington, where in a few days I had a message to return again to C. My friends said I should have the Meeting house, for which Squire Luden interested himself, and the appointment was published. When the people, met at the proper time, the doors remained locked. Amid cries of "shame" we left the Church steps - but a private house was opened a short distance up the road, and though disappointed in obtaining egress to a Church, the Lord did not disappoint his people, for we were fed with the bread of life, and had a happy time. Mr. and Mrs. Lewelen took me to their house, and treated me, not as one of their hired servants, but as a companion, for which I shall ever feel grateful, Mr. Smith, a doctor, also invited me to call upon them - he was a Presbyterian, but we prayed and conversed together about Jesus and his love, and parted without meddling with each others creeds. Oh, I long to see the day when Christians will meet on one common platform - Jesus of Nazareth - and cease their bickerings and contentions about non-essentials - when "our Church" shall be less debated, but "our Jesus" shall be all in all.

    Another family gave me the invitation to attend a prayer meeting. It was like a "little heaven below." From here I walked about four miles that evening, accompanied by the house maid of Mrs. Ford, a Presbyterian, who said she knew her mistress would be glad to see me Mrs. F. gave me a welcome - said she felt interested in my speaking, and sent a note to Methodist lady, who replied that my labor would be acceptable, no doubt, in her Church that afternoon. When I came in, the elder was in the pulpit. He gave us a good sermon. After preaching, this lays spoke of me to the elder; in consequence, he invited me to his pulpit, saying "he was willing that every one should do good." My text was Hebrew ii, 3. Though weak in body, the good Master filled my mouth and gave me liberty among strangers, and seldom have I spent so happy a Sabbath. Mrs. F. had a colored woman in her family one hundred and ten years of age, with whom I conversed about religion - how Christ had died to redeem us, and the way of salvation, and the poor old lady said "she wished she could hear me every day." I also called upon another, one hundred and sixteen years old, who was blind. We talked together about Jesus - she had a strong and abiding evidence of her new birth, and in a few weeks went home to heaven. Here she was long deprived of the light of the sun, and the privilege of reading God's blessed word; but there her eyes are unsealed, and the Sun of righteousness has risen with healing in his wings.

    I left Mrs. Ford's and walked about three miles to St. George, with a recommend to a Mrs. Sutton, a noble-minded lady of the Presbyterian order, where I was generously treated. Here I preached in the School house to a respectable company - had considerable weeping and a profitable waiting upon the Lord. I accepted an invitation from a gentleman to preach in a Methodist Church three miles distant - found there a loving people, and was highly gratified at the order and decorum manifested while I addressed them. Mrs. Smith took me home with her, who I found to be a christian both in sentiment and action. By invitation, I went next to Port Penn, and spoke with freedom, being assisted of the Lord, to a full house, and had a glorious feast of the Spirit. The next night found me at Canton Bride, to which place I had walked - spoke in a School house, from Math, xxii, 41 - "What think ye Christ?". The presence of the Lord overshadowed us - believers rejoiced - some were awakened to belive well of Master, and I trust are on their way to glory. In Fields borough, also, we had gracious meetings.

    At Smyrna I met brother C.W. Cannon, who made application for the Friend's Meeting house for me, where the Lord blessed us abundantly. We attended a Camp-meeting of the old connexion, and got greatly refreshed for the King's service. I rode ten miles and delivered a message from the Lord to a waiting audience - the Master assisted, and seven individuals, white and colored, prostrated themselves for prayer. Next day I rode to Middletown - spoke in a School house to a white congregation from Isaiah 1xiii, 1, and a good time it was. In the morning at 11 o'clock, I addressed a Methodist Society, and in the afternoon at 3 o'clock, spoke under a tree in the grave yard, by the road side, to a large audience. Squire Maxwell's lady, who was present, invited me home to tea with herself and nieces, and a Quaker lady showed her benevolence by putting into my hand enough to help me on my journey. The Lord is good - what shall I do to make it known? I rode seven miles that night, and gave and exhortation after the minister had preached, and felt happier than a King.

    From - Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs Jarena Lee, Giving an account of her call to preach the Gospel. Revised & Corrected from the Original Manuscript, written by herself Philadelphia, Printed & Published for the Author, 1849 Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857) was an evangelist for the AME church in the first half of the 19th century. In 1816, Richard Allen (1760-1831) and his colleagues in Philadelphia broke away from the Methodist Church and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which, along with independent black Baptist congregations, flourished as the century progressed. Richard Allen allowed women to become evangelists and teachers but not church leaders. Jarena Lee was the 1st female to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. Born in Cape May, New Jersey, she moved to Pennsylvania, when she married in 1811. She had felt called to preach as early as 1809, & revealed her wish to church leader Richard Allen, who responded symapthetically, but explained that the AME Church was silent on the question of women preachers. In 1817, an "ungovernable impulse" led her to rise in Bethel Church & deliver an extemporaneous discourse that so impressed Bishop Allen; that he publically apologized for having discouraged her 8 years earlier. With this verbal liscense from the bishop, Lee began her evangelical ministry, traveling hundreds of miles, often on foot, to preach before all races & denominations, at churches, revivals, & camp meetings. She traveled as far west as Ohio. Although she was never officially licensed & never organized any churches, her ministry aided in the rapid growth of the AME Church before the Civil War. By 1846, the A.M.E. Church, which began with 8 clergy & 5 churches, had grown to 176 clergy, 296 churches, & 17,375 members.

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    CHAPTER XV.
    INCIDENTS OF ASYLUM LIFE.

    THERE is little in the wards to help one pass the time. All the asylum clothing is made by the patients, but sewing does not employ one's mind. After several months' confinement the thoughts of the busy world grow faint, and all the poor prisoners can do is to sit and ponder over their hopeless fate. In the upper halls a good view is obtained of the passing boats and New York. Often I tried to picture to myself as I looked out between the bars to the lights faintly glimmering in the city, what my feelings would be if I had no one to obtain my release.

    I have watched patients stand and gaze longingly toward the city they in all likelihood will never enter again. It means liberty and life; it seems so near, and yet heaven is not further from hell.

    Do the women pine for home? Excepting the most violent cases, they are conscious that they are confined in an asylum. An only desire that never dies is the one for release, for home.

    One poor girl used to tell me every morning, "I dreamed of my mother last night. I think she may come to-day and take me home." That one thought, that longing, is always present, yet she has been confined some four years.

    What a mysterious thing madness is. I have watched patients whose lips are forever sealed in a perpetual silence. They live, breathe, eat; the human form is there, but that something, which the body can live without, but which cannot exist without the body, was missing. I have wondered if behind those sealed lips there were dreams we ken not of, or if all was blank?

    Still, as sad are those cases when the patients are always conversing with invisible parties. I have seen them wholly unconscious of their surroundings and engrossed with an invisible being. Yet, strange to say, that any command issued to them is always obeyed, in about the same manner as a dog obeys his master. One of the most pitiful delusions of any of the patients was that of a blue-eyed Irish girl, who believed she was forever damned because of one act in her life. Her horrible cry, morning and night, "I am damned for all eternity!" would strike horror to my soul. Her agony seemed like a glimpse of the inferno.

    After being transferred to hall 7 I was locked in a room every night with six crazy women. Two of them seemed never to sleep, but spent the night in raving. One would get out of her bed and creep around the room searching for some one she wanted to kill. I could not help but think how easy it would be for her to attack any of the other patients confined with her. It did not make the night more comfortable.

    One middle-aged woman, who used to sit always in the corner of the room, was very strangely affected. She had a piece of newspaper, and from it she continually read the most wonderful things I ever heard. I often sat close by her and listened. History and romance fell equally well from her lips.

    I saw but one letter given a patient while I was there. It awakened a big interest. Every patient seemed thirsty for a word from the world, and they crowded around the one who had been so fortunate and asked hundreds of questions.

    Visitors make but little interest and a great deal of mirth. Miss Mattie Morgan, in hall 7, played for the entertainment of some visitors one day. They were close about her until one whispered that she was a patient. "Crazy!" they whispered, audibly, as they fell back and left her alone. She was amused as well as indignant over the episode. Miss Mattie, assisted by several girls she has trained, makes the evenings pass very pleasantly in hall 7. They sing and dance. Often the doctors come up and dance with the patients.

    One day when we went down to dinner we heard a weak little cry in the basement. Every one seemed to notice it, and it was not long until we knew there was a baby down there. Yes, a baby. Think of it–a little, innocent babe born in such a chamber of horrors! I can imagine nothing more terrible.

    A visitor who came one day brought in her arms her babe. A mother who had been separated from her five little children asked permission to hold it. When the visitor wanted to leave, the woman's grief was uncontrollable, as she begged to keep the babe which she imagined was her own. It excited more patients than I had ever seen excited before at one time.

    The only amusement, if so it may be called, given the patients outside, is a ride once a week, if the weather permits, on the "merry-go-round." It is a change, and so they accept it with some show of pleasure.

    A scrub-brush factory, a mat factory, and the laundry, are where the mild patients work. They get no recompense for it, but they get hungry over it.
    .

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    Jarena Lee was the 1st woman to preach under the auspices of the AME church. The child of free black parents, Lee was born in New Jersey in 1783, & worked as a servant in the home of a white family, 60 miles from her home. Strongly affected when she went to hear Richard Allen preach, Lee determined to preach herself. At first rebuffed by Allen, who said that women could not preach at the Methodist Church, Lee persisted; & 8 years after his initial refusal, Allen allowed her access to the pulpit after hearing her spontaneous exhoration during a sermon at Bethel AME Church. Lee traveled all over the United States preaching her gospel of freedom, even venturing into the South to preach to slaves.  The following is a segment of her journey written in her own words.

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857), Preacher of the A.M.E. Church, Aged 60 years in the 11th day of the 2nd month 1844, Philadelphia 1844

    Jarena Lee - Preaching in Maryland

    I now travelled to Cecil country, Md., and the first evening spoke to a large congregation. The pastor afterwards baptized some adult persons - and we all experienced the cleansing and purifying power. We had a baptism within and without. I was next sent for by the servant of a white gentleman, to hold a meeting in his house in the evening. He invited the neighbors, colored and white, when I spoke according to the ability God gave me. It was pleasant to my poor soul to be there - Jesus was in our midst - and we gave glory to God. Yes, glory - glory be to God in the highest. "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." I boast not myself. Paul may plant and Apollos water, but God giveth the increase. I tried also to preach three times at a place 14 miles from here - had good meetings - backsliders were reclaimed and sinners convicted of sin, who I left in the hands of God, with the hope of meeting and recognizing again "When we arrive at home."

    Returned back to Middletown. The next day the preacher of the circuit conveyed me to his place of appointment at Elkton. We had a wonderful outpouring of the spirit. At Frenchtown I spoke at 11 o'clock, where I realized my nothingness, but, God's name he praised, he helped me in the duty. Went again to Middletown, and from there to Canton's Bridge, and talked to the people as best I could. Seven miles from this place I found, by the direction of a kind Providence, my own sister, who had been separated from me some thirty three years. We were young when last we met, with less of the cares of life than now. Each heart then was buoyant with mildly hopes and pleasures - and little did we expect at parting that thirty three years would pass over us, with its changes and vicissitudes, ere we should see each other's face. Both were much altered in appearance, but we knew each other, and talked over the dealings of the Lord with us, retracing our wanderings in the world and "the days when life way young."

    During this visit I had three meetings in different directions in gentlemen's houses, and a prayer meeting at my brother's, who did not enjoy religion. My good old friends Mr. Lorton happened to be there, who told the people that she had been to my house - that he knew Mr. Lee (my husband) intimately, and that he had often preached for him while pastor of the Church at Snow Hill, N.J.
    I next attended and preached several times at a camp meeting, which continued five days. We had Pentecostal showers - sinners were pricked to the heart, and cried mightily to God for succor from impending judgment, and I verily believe the Lord was well pleased at our weak endeavors to serve him in the tented grove. The elder in charge, on the last day of the camp, appointed a meeting for me in a dwelling house. Spoke from Acts ii, 41 The truth fastened in the hearts of two young women, who, after I was seated, came and fell down at my side, and cried for God to have mercy on them - we prayed and wrestled with the Lord, and both were made happy in believing, and are alive in the faith of the gospel. The next morning a brother preacher took me to St. Georgetown. From, there I took stage to Wilmington, and called on my friend Captain Rial, in whose family I spent two days and nights. Went to Philadelphia to attend a camp-meeting. Returned again to Wilmington - where I was taken sick with typhus fever, was in the doctor's hands for some days - but the Lord rebuked the disease, gave me my usual health again, and I returned back to Philadelphia.

    From - Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs Jarena Lee, Giving an account of her call to preach the Gospel. Revised & Corrected from the Original Manuscript, written by herself Philadelphia, Printed & Published for the Author, 1849 Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857) was an evangelist for the AME church in the first half of the 19th century. In 1816, Richard Allen (1760-1831) and his colleagues in Philadelphia broke away from the Methodist Church and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which, along with independent black Baptist congregations, flourished as the century progressed. Richard Allen allowed women to become evangelists and teachers but not church leaders. Jarena Lee was the 1st female to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. Born in Cape May, New Jersey, she moved to Pennsylvania, when she married in 1811. She had felt called to preach as early as 1809, & revealed her wish to church leader Richard Allen, who responded symapthetically, but explained that the AME Church was silent on the question of women preachers. In 1817, an "ungovernable impulse" led her to rise in Bethel Church & deliver an extemporaneous discourse that so impressed Bishop Allen; that he publically apologized for having discouraged her 8 years earlier. With this verbal liscense from the bishop, Lee began her evangelical ministry, traveling hundreds of miles, often on foot, to preach before all races & denominations, at churches, revivals, & camp meetings. She traveled as far west as Ohio. Although she was never officially licensed & never organized any churches, her ministry aided in the rapid growth of the AME Church before the Civil War. By 1846, the A.M.E. Church, which began with 8 clergy & 5 churches, had grown to 176 clergy, 296 churches, & 17,375 members.

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    CHAPTER XVI.
    THE LAST GOOD-BYE.

    THE day Pauline Moser was brought to the asylum we heard the most horrible screams, and an Irish girl, only partly dressed, came staggering like a drunken person up the hall, yelling, "Hurrah! Three cheers! I have killed the divil! Lucifer, Lucifer, Lucifer," and so on, over and over again. Then she would pull a handful of hair out, while she exultingly cried, "How I deceived the divils. They always said God made hell, but he didn't." Pauline helped the girl to make the place hideous by singing the most horrible songs. After the Irish girl had been there an hour or so, Dr. Dent came in, and as he walked down the hall, Miss Grupe whispered to the demented girl, "Here is the devil coming, go for him." Surprised that she would give a mad woman such instructions, I fully expected to see the frenzied creature rush at the doctor. Luckily she did not, but commenced to repeat her refrain of "Oh, Lucifer." After the doctor left, Miss Grupe again tried to excite the woman by saying the pictured minstrel on the wall was the devil, and the poor creature began to scream, "You divil, I'll give it to you," so that two nurses had to sit on her to keep her down. The attendants seemed to find amusement and pleasure in exciting the violent patients to do their worst.

    I always made a point of telling the doctors I was sane and asking to be released, but the more I endeavored to assure them of my sanity the more they doubted it.

    "What are you doctors here for?" I asked one, whose name I cannot recall.

    "To take care of the patients and test their sanity," he replied.

    "Very well," I said. "There are sixteen doctors on this island, and excepting two, I have never seen them pay any attention to the patients. How can a doctor judge a woman's sanity by merely bidding her good morning and refusing to hear her pleas for release? Even the sick ones know it is useless to say anything, for the answer will be that it is their imagination.""Try every test on me," I have urged others, "and tell me am I sane or insane? Try my pulse, my heart, my eyes; ask me to stretch out my arm, to work my fingers, as Dr. Field did at Bellevue, and then tell me if I am sane." They would not heed me, for they thought I raved.

    Again I said to one, "You have no right to keep sane people here. I am sane, have always been so and I must insist on a thorough examination or be released. Several of the women here are also sane. Why can't they be free?"

    "They are insane," was the reply, "and suffering from delusions."

    After a long talk with Dr. Ingram, he said, "I will transfer you to a quieter ward." An hour later Miss Grady called me into the hall, and, after calling me all the vile and profane names a woman could ever remember, she told me that it was a lucky thing for my "hide" that I was transferred, or else she would pay me for remembering so well to tell Dr. Ingram everything. "You d—n hussy, you forget all about yourself, but you never forget anything to tell the doctor." After calling Miss Neville, whom Dr. Ingram also kindly transferred, Miss Grady took us to the hall above, No. 7.

    In hall 7 there are Mrs. Kroener, Miss Fitzpatrick, Miss Finney, and Miss Hart. I did not see as cruel treatment as down-stairs, but I heard them make ugly remarks and threats, twist the fingers and slap the faces of the unruly patients. The night nurse, Conway I believe her name is, is very cross. In hall 7, if any of the patients possessed any modesty, they soon lost it. Every one was compelled to undress in the hall before their own door, and to fold their clothes and leave them there until morning. I asked to undress in my room, but Miss Conway told me if she ever caught me at such a trick she would give me cause not to want to repeat it.

    The first doctor I saw here–Dr. Caldwell–chucked me under the chin, and as I was tired refusing to tell where my home was, I would only speak to him in Spanish.

    Hall 7 looks rather nice to a casual visitor. It is hung with cheap pictures and has a piano, which is presided over by Miss Mattie Morgan, who formerly was in a music store in this city. She has been training several of the patients to sing, with some show of success. The artiste of the hall is Under, pronounced Wanda, a Polish girl. She is a gifted pianist when she chooses to display her ability. The most difficult music she reads at a glance, and her touch and expression are perfect.

    On Sunday the quieter patients, whose names have been handed in by the attendants during the week, are allowed to go to church. A small Catholic chapel is on the island, and other services are also held.

    A "commissioner" came one day, and made the rounds with Dr. Dent. In the basement they found half the nurses gone to dinner, leaving the other half in charge of us, as was always done. Immediately orders were given to bring the nurses back to their duties until after the patients had finished eating. Some of the patients wanted to speak about their having no salt, but were prevented.

    The insane asylum on Blackwell's Island is a human rat-trap. It is easy to get in, but once there it is impossible to get out. I had intended to have myself committed to the violent wards, the Lodge and Retreat, but when I got the testimony of two sane women and could give it, I decided not to risk my health–and hair–so I did not get violent.

    I had, toward the last, been shut off from all visitors, and so when the lawyer, Peter A. Hendricks, came and told me that friends of mine were willing to take charge of me if I would rather be with them than in the asylum, I was only too glad to give my consent. I asked him to send me something to eat immediately on his arrival in the city, and then I waited anxiously for my release.

    It came sooner than I had hoped. I was out "in line" taking a walk, and had just gotten interested in a poor woman who had fainted away while the nurses were trying to compel her to walk. "Good-bye; I am going home," I called to Pauline Moser, as she went past with a woman on either side of her. Sadly I said farewell to all I knew as I passed them on my way to freedom and life, while they were left behind to a fate worse than death. "Adios," I murmured to the Mexican woman. I kissed my fingers to her, and so I left my companions of hall 7.

    I had looked forward so eagerly to leaving the horrible place, yet when my release came and I knew that God's sunlight was to be free for me again, there was a certain pain in leaving. For ten days I had been one of them. Foolishly enough, it seemed intensely selfish to leave them to their sufferings. I felt a Quixotic desire to help them by sympathy and presence. But only for a moment. The bars were down and freedom was sweeter to me than ever.

    Soon I was crossing the river and nearing New York. Once again I was a free girl after ten days in the mad-house on Blackwell's Island.
    .

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    Jarena Lee was the 1st woman to preach under the auspices of the AME church. The child of free black parents, Lee was born in New Jersey in 1783, & worked as a servant in the home of a white family, 60 miles from her home. Strongly affected when she went to hear Richard Allen preach, Lee determined to preach herself. At first rebuffed by Allen, who said that women could not preach at the Methodist Church, Lee persisted; & 8 years after his initial refusal, Allen allowed her access to the pulpit after hearing her spontaneous exhoration during a sermon at Bethel AME Church. Lee traveled all over the United States preaching her gospel of freedom, even venturing into the South to preach to slaves.  The following is a segment of her journey written in her own words.

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857), Preacher of the A.M.E. Church, Aged 60 years in the 11th day of the 2nd month 1844, Philadelphia 1844

    Jarena Lee - Rejected at Bethel in Philadelphia & continuing traveling

    With a serene and tranquil mind I now returned to Philadelphia. The Bishop was pleased to give me an appointment at Bethel Church, but a spirit of opposition arose among the people against the propriety of female preaching. My faith was tried - yet I felt my call to labor for should none the less. " Shall the servant be above his Master?" The ministers of Jesus must expect persecution, if they would be faithful witnesses against sin and sinners - but shall they, "awed by a mortal's form, conceal the word of God?" Thou God knowest my heart, and that they glory is all I have in view. Shall I cease from sounding the alarm to an ungodly world, when the vengeance of offended heaven is about to be poured out, because my way is sometimes beset with scoffers, or those who lose sight of the great Object, and stop on the road to glory to contend about non-essentials? Rather let the messengers of God go on - let them not be hindered by the fashioned and customs of a gainsaying and mis-loving generation, but with the crown in view, which shall deck the brow of those only who are "faithful unto death" - let them "cry aloud and spare not." Who regarded the warnings of Noah? who believed in his report? Who among the antidiluvians, that witnessed the preparations of this righteous man to save himself and family from a deluge of waters, believed him any thing else than a fanatic, deluded, and beside himself? Let the servants of Christ gird on the armor, and "listen to the Captain's voice: "Lo I am with you always, even unto the end."

    With the promise of my Lord impressed upon my mind, I remained at home only a week, and walked twenty-one miles to Lumbertown, and preached in the Old Methodist Church and our African Church. Brother Joshua Edely was then a deacon there, and held a quarterly meeting soon after my reaching the place. He also appointed a lovefeast in the morning, when the love that true believers enjoy at such scenes made the place akin to heaven. When here I spoke as the Spirit taught me from Solomon's Songs. It was a happy meeting - refreshing to the thirsty soul - and we had a shout of the king in the camp. I shall never forget the kindness I received here from dear sister G.B. May the blessings of heaven be hers in this and the world to come.

    I travelled seven miles from the above place to Snow Hill on Sabbath morning, where I was to preach in the Church of which I was a member, and although much afflicted in body, I strove, by the grace of God, to perform the duty. This was once the charge of JOSEPH LEE. In this desk my lamented husband had often stood up before me, proclaiming the "acceptable year of the Lord" - here he labored with zeal and spent his strength to induce sinners to be "reconciled to God" - here his toils ended. And could it be, his a poor unworthy being like myself should be called to address his former congregation, and should stand in the same pulpit! The thought made me tremble. My heart sighed when memory brought back the image, and the reminiscences of other days crowded upon me. But why, my heart, dost thou sigh? He has ceased from his labor, and I here see his works do follow. It will be enough, if these, the people of his care, press on and gain the kingdom. It will be enough, if, on the final day, "for which all other days were made," we pass through the gates into the city, and live again together where death cannot enter, and separations are unknown. Cease then, my tears - a little while, my fluttering heart! and the turf that covers my companion, perchance, may cover thee - a little while, my soul! if faithful, and the widow's God will call thee from this valley of tears and sorrows to rest in the mansions the Saviour has gone to prepare for his people. "Good what God gives - just what he takes away."

    My mind was next exercised to visited Trenton, N.J. I spoke for the people there, but soon had felt the cross so heavy. Perhaps it was occasioned through grieving over the past, and my feelings of loneliness in the world. A sister wished me to go with her to Bridgeport - where I found brother or win, then elder over that church. He gave me an appointment. We had a full house, and God's power was manifest among the people, and I returned to the elder's house, and God's power was manifest. walked fourteen miles to a meeting, where also we were greatly favored with the presence of God. Soon after this, I thought of going home to Philadelphia. I got about three miles on foot, when an apparent voice said "if thou goest home thou wilt die." I paused for a moment, and not comprehending what it meant, pursued my journey. Again I was startled by something like a tapping on my shoulder, but, on turning round, I found myself alone, which two circumstances created a singular feeling I could not understand. I thought of Balaam when met by the angel in the way. I was taken sick and it seemed I should die in the road. I said I will go back, and walked about four miles to Bridgeport. Told a good sister my exercise, who was moved with sympathy, and got brandy and bathed me. On Wednesday night I spoke to the people at Trenton Bridge, and notwithstanding the opposition I had met with from brother Samuel R - then on the circuit, the Lord supported the "Woman preacher" and my soul was cheered. On Thursday I walked fourteen miles, when the friends applied to the elder to let me talk for them, but his prejudices also, against women preaching were very strong, and tried hard to disaffect the minds of the people. The dear man has since gone to stand before that God who knows the secrets of all hearts - and where, I earnestly pray, he may find some who have been saved by grace through the instrumentality of female preaching.

    Norristown, Bucks country, January 6, 1824. Brother Morris conveyed me here at his own expense, and made application for places for me to speak. Addressed a large congregation on the fourth day after my introduction into the place, in the court-house, from Isaiah liiii. 1, - "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" I felt embarrassed in the commencement, but the Spirit came, and "helped our infirmities" - good attention, and some weeping. On the 18th I spoke in the academy - it was a solemn time, and the people came out in numbers to hear. I then walked four miles to brother Morris's - spoke twice in the school house, and once in a dwelling house.


    From - Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs Jarena Lee, Giving an account of her call to preach the Gospel. Revised & Corrected from the Original Manuscript, written by herself Philadelphia, Printed & Published for the Author, 1849 Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857) was an evangelist for the AME church in the first half of the 19th century. In 1816, Richard Allen (1760-1831) and his colleagues in Philadelphia broke away from the Methodist Church and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which, along with independent black Baptist congregations, flourished as the century progressed. Richard Allen allowed women to become evangelists and teachers but not church leaders. Jarena Lee was the 1st female to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. Born in Cape May, New Jersey, she moved to Pennsylvania, when she married in 1811. She had felt called to preach as early as 1809, & revealed her wish to church leader Richard Allen, who responded symapthetically, but explained that the AME Church was silent on the question of women preachers. In 1817, an "ungovernable impulse" led her to rise in Bethel Church & deliver an extemporaneous discourse that so impressed Bishop Allen; that he publically apologized for having discouraged her 8 years earlier. With this verbal liscense from the bishop, Lee began her evangelical ministry, traveling hundreds of miles, often on foot, to preach before all races & denominations, at churches, revivals, & camp meetings. She traveled as far west as Ohio. Although she was never officially licensed & never organized any churches, her ministry aided in the rapid growth of the AME Church before the Civil War. By 1846, the A.M.E. Church, which began with 8 clergy & 5 churches, had grown to 176 clergy, 296 churches, & 17,375 members.

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    CHAPTER XVII.
    THE GRAND JURY INVESTIGATION.

    SOON after I had bidden farewell to the Blackwell's Island Insane Asylum, I was summoned to appear before the Grand Jury. I answered the summons with pleasure, because I longed to help those of God's most unfortunate children whom I had left prisoners behind me. If I could not bring them that boon of all boons, liberty, I hoped at least to influence others to make life more bearable for them. I found the jurors to be gentlemen, and that I need not tremble before their twenty-three august presences.

    I swore to the truth of my story, and then I related all–from my start at the Temporary Home until my release. Assistant District-Attorney Vernon M. Davis conducted the examination. The jurors then requested that I should accompany them on a visit to the Island. I was glad to consent.

    No one was expected to know of the contemplated trip to the Island, yet we had not been there very long before one of the commissioners of charity and Dr. MacDonald, of Ward's Island, were with us. One of the jurors told me that in conversation with a man about the asylum, he heard that they were notified of our coming an hour before we reached the Island. This must have been done while the Grand Jury were examining the insane pavilion at Bellevue.

    The trip to the island was vastly different to my first. This time we went on a clean new boat, while the one I had traveled in, they said, was laid up for repairs.

    Some of the nurses were examined by the jury, and made contradictory statements to one another, as well as to my story. They confessed that the jury's contemplated visit had been talked over between them and the doctor. Dr. Dent confessed that he had no means by which to tell positively if the bath was cold and of the number of women put into the same water. He knew the food was not what it should be, but said it was due to the lack of funds.

    If nurses were cruel to their patients, had he any positive means of ascertaining it? No, he had not. He said all the doctors were not competent, which was also due to the lack of means to secure good medical men. In the conversation with me, he said:

    "I am glad you did this now, and had I known your purpose, I would have aided you. We have no means of learning the way things are going except to do as you did. Since your story was published I found a nurse at the Retreat who had watches set for our approach, just as you had stated. She was dismissed."

    Miss Anne Neville was brought down, and I went into the hall to meet her, knowing that the sight of so many strange gentlemen would excite her, even if she be sane. It was as I feared. The attendants had told her she was going to be examined by a crowd of men, and she was shaking with fear. Although I had left her only two weeks before, yet she looked as if she had suffered a severe illness, in that time, so changed was her appearance. I asked her if she had taken any medicine, and she answered in the affirmative. I then told her that all I wanted her to do was tell the jury all we had done since I was brought with her to the asylum, so they would be convinced that I was sane. She only knew me as Miss Nellie Brown, and was wholly ignorant of my story.

    She was not sworn, but her story must have convinced all hearers of the truth of my statements.

    "When Miss Brown and I were brought here the nurses were cruel and the food was too bad to eat. We did not have enough clothing, and Miss Brown asked for more all the time. I thought she was very kind, for when a doctor promised her some clothing she said she would give it to me. Strange to say, ever since Miss Brown has been taken away everything is different. The nurses are very kind and we are given plenty to wear. The doctors come to see us often and the food is greatly improved."

    Did we need more evidence?

    The jurors then visited the kitchen. It was very clean, and two barrels of salt stood conspicuously open near the door! The bread on exhibition was beautifully white and wholly unlike what was given us to eat.

    We found the halls in the finest order. The beds were improved, and in hall 7 the buckets in which we were compelled to wash had been replaced by bright new basins.

    The institution was on exhibition, and no fault could be found.

    But the women I had spoken of, where were they? Not one was to be found where I had left them. If my assertions were not true in regard to these patients, why should the latter be changed, so to make me unable to find them? Miss Neville complained before the jury of being changed several times. When we visited the hall later she was returned to her old place.

    Mary Hughes, of whom I had spoken as appearing sane, was not to be found. Some relatives had taken her away. Where, they knew not. The fair woman I spoke of, who had been sent here because she was poor, they said had been transferred to another island. They denied all knowledge of the Mexican woman, and said there never had been such a patient. Mrs. Cotter had been discharged, and Bridget McGuinness and Rebecca Farron had been transferred to other quarters. The German girl, Margaret, was not to be found, and Louise had been sent elsewhere from hall 6. The Frenchwoman, Josephine, a great, healthy woman, they said was dying of paralysis, and we could not see her. If I was wrong in my judgment of these patients' sanity, why was all this done? I saw Tillie Mayard, and she had changed so much for the worse that I shuddered when I looked at her.

    I hardly expected the grand jury to sustain me, after they saw everything different from what it had been while I was there. Yet they did, and their report to the court advises all the changes made that I had proposed.

    I have one consolation for my work–on the strength of my story the committee of appropriation provides $1,000,000 more than was ever before given, for the benefit of the insane.
    .

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    Jarena Lee was the 1st woman to preach under the auspices of the AME church. The child of free black parents, Lee was born in New Jersey in 1783, & worked as a servant in the home of a white family, 60 miles from her home. Strongly affected when she went to hear Richard Allen preach, Lee determined to preach herself. At first rebuffed by Allen, who said that women could not preach at the Methodist Church, Lee persisted; & 8 years after his initial refusal, Allen allowed her access to the pulpit after hearing her spontaneous exhoration during a sermon at Bethel AME Church. Lee traveled all over the United States preaching her gospel of freedom, even venturing into the South to preach to slaves.  The following is a segment of her journey written in her own words.

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857), Preacher of the A.M.E. Church, Aged 60 years in the 11th day of the 2nd month 1844, Philadelphia 1844

    Jarena Lee - Preaching in New York

    The call of the Lord was for me now to go to West Chester, N. Y., where I remained a little period with brother Thomas Henry and brother Miller; preached in a School-house and in the Wesleyan Methodist Meeting-house. When prepared to go home, a request was sent me to preach in the Court-house of the country, to which I rode ten miles, and addressed the citizens on two evenings. The Lord strengthened his feeble instrument in the effort to win souls to Christ, for which my heart at this time was heavily burthened. Next morning I let for Westhaven, where I visited a School of boys and girls, and was much pleased to see them engaged and improving in their studies. How great the difference now, thought I, for the mental and moral culture of the young than when I was a child!

    In the month of June, 1823, I went on from Philadelphia to New York with Bishop Allen and several Elders, (including our present Rev. Bishop Brown,) to attend the New York Annual Conference of our denomination, where I spent three months of my time. We arrived about nine o'clock in the evening. As we left the boat, a person fell into the dock, and notwithstanding the effort made to save and find him, he was seen no more. 'In the midst of life we are in death.' On the 4th of June I spoke in the Asbury Church, from Psalms c, 33.

    I think I never witnessed such a shouting and rejoicing time. The Church had then but recently adopted the African M.E. discipline. On the 5th I brought my master's message to the Bethel Church - Text Isaiah lviii, 1. "Cry aloud, spare not; lift up they voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins," The spirit of God came upon me; I spoke without fear of man, and seemed willing even there to be offered up; the preachers shouted and prayed, and it was a time long to be remembered.

    June 6, Spoke in the Church in High Street, Brooklyn, from Jer. ix,1 - "Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people." In these days I felt it my duty to travel up and down in the world, and promulgate the gospel of Christ, especially among my own people, though I often desired to be released from the great task. The Lord had promised to be with me, and my trust was in his strong arm.

    I left my friend in Brooklyn, and went to Flushing, L.I. Here we had quite a revival feeling, and two joined society. Visited Jamaica and Jericho; spoke in brother B's dwelling, in the church, and under a tree. Went to White Plains to the camp-meeting; the Lord was with us indeed; believers were revived, backsliders reclaimed, and sinners converted. Returned and spent a little time in Brooklyn, where I addressed the people from Rev. iii, 18, and John iii, 15.

    July 22. Spoke in Asbury Church from Acts xiii, 41 - "Behold ye despisers, and wonder and perish." I pointed out the portion of the hypocrite, the liar, the Sabbath-breaker, and all who do wickedly and die in their sins; they shall be to the judgment bar of Jehovah, and before an assembled universe hear their awful sentence, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels," while the righteous shall be received "into life eternal."

    On the 28th I went to Dutch Hill, L.I., and spoke before a congregation of white and colored, in a barn, as there was no other suitable place. I felt happy when I thought of my dear Redeemer, who was born in a stable and cradled in a manager, and we had a precious season. Brother Croker, of Brooklyn, and father Thompson were with me, at whose feet I desired rather to set and learn, they being experienced "workmen that needed not to be ashamed." But the Lord sends by whom he will.

    The next Sabbath I weakly attempted to address my friends in New York again. Took the words in Math. xxviii, 13, for my text - "Say ye, his disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept." The place was greatly crowded, and many came who could not get in. A class met here, to which the preacher invited all who desired to remain, and thirty persons tarried. He called upon me to lead, but He who led Israel over the Red Sea assisted, and it was a gracious time with us. Some who remained from curiosity were made, like Belshazzar, to tremble and weep, while the spirit strove powerfully with them. One experienced religion and joined society. I expect in the resurrection morning to meet many who were in that little company, in my Father's house, where we shall strike hands no more to part; where our song of redemption shall be raised to God and the Lamb forever. Dear reader, if you have not, I charge you to make your peace with God while time and opportunity is given, and be one of that number who shall take part and lot in the first resurrection. Though I may never see you in the flesh, I leave on this page my solemn entreaty that you delay not to obtain the pardoning favor of God; that you leave not the momentous subject of religion to a sick bed or dying hour, but now, even one, seek the Lord with full purpose of heart, and he will be found of thee. "If any man sin, he had advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

    I visited a woman who was laying sick upon her death-bed. He told me "she had once enjoyed religion, but the enemy had cheated her out of it." She knew that she must die in a very little while, and could not get well, and her agony of soul, in view of its unprepared state for a judgment to come, awoke every feeling of sympathy within me. Oh ! how loud such a scene calls upon us to be "faithful unto death" - then shall we "receive a crown of life." Also visited Mrs. Miller, who once "tasted that the Lord was good," but had ceased now to follow him. She had been a Methodist for many years - got her feelings injured through some untoward circumstance - had fallen from grace, and now was sick. A good sister accompanied me? we conversed with Mrs. M., sung an appropriate hymn, and my friend supplicated the throne of grace in her behalf. She had frequently felt the need of returning Saviour, and during prayer her heart became melted into tenderness. She cried aloud for mercy, wrestled like Jacob for the witness, and the Lord, faithful and the Lord, faithful and true, "healed her backslidings," and we left her happy in his father. Praise the Lord for his matchless grace. I entertained no doubt of her well-grounded hope; and on seeing such a display of God's power, I was lost in wonder, love and praise. Let the backslider hear and take courage.  Let all who are out of Christ hear the invitation - "Repent ye and be converted, for God hath called all men everywhere to repent."

    From - Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs Jarena Lee, Giving an account of her call to preach the Gospel. Revised & Corrected from the Original Manuscript, written by herself Philadelphia, Printed & Published for the Author, 1849 Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857) was an evangelist for the AME church in the first half of the 19th century. In 1816, Richard Allen (1760-1831) and his colleagues in Philadelphia broke away from the Methodist Church and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which, along with independent black Baptist congregations, flourished as the century progressed. Richard Allen allowed women to become evangelists and teachers but not church leaders. Jarena Lee was the 1st female to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. Born in Cape May, New Jersey, she moved to Pennsylvania, when she married in 1811. She had felt called to preach as early as 1809, & revealed her wish to church leader Richard Allen, who responded symapthetically, but explained that the AME Church was silent on the question of women preachers. In 1817, an "ungovernable impulse" led her to rise in Bethel Church & deliver an extemporaneous discourse that so impressed Bishop Allen; that he publically apologized for having discouraged her 8 years earlier. With this verbal liscense from the bishop, Lee began her evangelical ministry, traveling hundreds of miles, often on foot, to preach before all races & denominations, at churches, revivals, & camp meetings. She traveled as far west as Ohio. Although she was never officially licensed & never organized any churches, her ministry aided in the rapid growth of the AME Church before the Civil War. By 1846, the A.M.E. Church, which began with 8 clergy & 5 churches, had grown to 176 clergy, 296 churches, & 17,375 members.

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    Born in 1800 – Caroline Lee Whiting Hentz,  American author, known for opposing the abolitionist movement  & her rebuttal to Uncle Tom’s Cabin in the pro-slavery novel The Planter’s Northern Bride.

    American writer Caroline Lee Hentz The Female Prose Writers of America Published by E.H. Butler, Philadelphia, 1852

    Caroline Lee Hentz (1800-1856) was Alabama's 1st best-selling writer & one of the most popular women writers in antebellum America, who specialized women's domestic, romantic fiction. Although she was born in the North & lived in 7 different states, Hentz spent 14 years in Alabama (1834-1848) with her husband & 4 children. Most of her fiction is set in the South, the region she adopted as home & fiercely defended from northern criticism. 

    Born Caroline Lee Whiting in Lancaster, Massachusetts, Hentz was the youngest of John  & Orpah Whiting's 8 children. At age 17, she began teaching at the Lancaster Common School.  In 1824, Caroline married Nicholas Marcellus Hentz, a native of France, who had immigrated to America in 1816. An entomologist, novelist,  & artist, Hentz was intellectually gifted but prone to depression & uncontrollable fits of jealousy. 

    At the time of their marriage, Nicholas was teaching French at George Bancroft's Round Hill School in Northampton, Massachusetts. After the family's initial move to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in 1826, Caroline began writing drama. In 1830, the Hentzes moved to Covington, Kentucky, where Nicholas served as headmaster at a female academy & where Caroline completed De Lara, which won a prize offered by Boston actor & manager William Pelby. De Lara was produced, to favorable reviews, at the Tremont Theater in Boston & the Arch Street Theater in Philadelphia. The following year, 2 more of her plays were produced, Constance of Werdenberg, or The Forest League, at the Park Theater in New York, & Lamorah, or the Western Wild, in Cincinnati, where the couple had moved in 1832, to oversee another school for girls.

    Caroline Lee Hentz (1800-1856) 

    In Cincinnati, Caroline joined a literary & social group to which Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) also belonged. Twenty years later, Stowe's enormously popular antislavery novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), would inspire Hentz to defend slavery & the South by writing a pro-slavery novel, The Planter's Northern Bride (1854). While in Ohio, Hentz published her 1st novel, Lovell's Folly (1833), which included unfavorable portraits of recognizable northern citizens. Fearing libel charges, the publisher quickly withdrew the book from circulation.

    In 1834, the couple left Cincinnati following an incident in which Nicholas slapped a man who had sent Caroline a note after a party. The Hentzes moved to the frontier town of Florence, Alabama, where they established the Locust Dell Academy. During the next 14 years, the Hentzes operated girls' schools in Florence (1834-43), Tuscaloosa (1843-45),  & Tuskegee (1845-48). Caroline continued to publish, but most of her time was spent assisting her husband at school, cooking meals for the students, & tending to her own children.

    In 1848, the Hentzes moved to Columbus, Georgia, to open yet another school, but Nicholas's rapidly deteriorating mental state prompted them to close the school in 1849. Two years later, the Hentzes moved to Marianna, Florida, where Caroline spent her remaining years caring for her husband & writing at a feverish pace to support her family. She rapidly became one of America's most popular writers. Between 1850 & 1853, Hentz's books sold more than 93,000 copies; & as late as 1872, the Boston Public Library listed her as one of the 3 most popular authors of the day.

    The Hentzes did not live long to enjoy her success, however. When Nicholas's health grew worse, he moved to St. Andrews, Florida, to live with their daughter Julia. Caroline stayed in Marianna, traveling to St. Andrews occasionally to tend to her husband. She contracted pneumonia & died on February 11, 1856. Her husband died 9 months later, in November.  Both are buried in Marianna, Florida. 

    Selected Works by Caroline Lee Hentz  

    Lamorah; or, the Western Wild (play, 1832)

    Constance of Werdenberg., or, The Forest League (play, 1832)

    Lovell's Folly (1833)

    De Lara; or, The Moorish Bride (1843)

    Human and Divine Philosophy: A Poem Written for the Erosophic Society of the University of Alabama (1844)

    Linda; or, The Young Pilot of the Belle Creole (1850)

    Rena; or, The Snow Bird (1851)

    Eoline; or, Magnolia Vale; or, The Heiress of Glenmore (1852)

    Marcus Warland; or, The Long Moss Spring (1852)

    The Banished Son and Other Stories of the Heart (1852)

    The Victim of Excitement, The Bosom Serpent, etc. (1853)

    Wild Jack; or, The Stolen Child, and Other Stories (1853)

    The Planter's Northern Bride (1854)

    Courtship and Marriage; or, The Joys and Sorrows of American Life (1856)

    The Lost Daughter and Other Stories of the Heart (1857) 

    Information in this posting from the Encyclopedia of Alabama

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    John George Brown (1831-1913) A Liberated Woman 1895

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    Jarena Lee was the 1st woman to preach under the auspices of the AME church. The child of free black parents, Lee was born in New Jersey in 1783, & worked as a servant in the home of a white family, 60 miles from her home. Strongly affected when she went to hear Richard Allen preach, Lee determined to preach herself. At first rebuffed by Allen, who said that women could not preach at the Methodist Church, Lee persisted; & 8 years after his initial refusal, Allen allowed her access to the pulpit after hearing her spontaneous exhoration during a sermon at Bethel AME Church. Lee traveled all over the United States preaching her gospel of freedom, even venturing into the South to preach to slaves.  The following is a segment of her journey written in her own words.

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857), Preacher of the A.M.E. Church, Aged 60 years in the 11th day of the 2nd month 1844, Philadelphia 1844

    Jarena Lee - Six Months in Maryland 1824

    On the 14th April, I went with Bishop Allen and several elders to Baltimore, on their way to attend Conference; at the end of which the Bishop gave me permission to express a few thoughts for my Lord. On leaving the city of B., I travelled about 100 miles to Eastern Shore, Maryland. Brother Bailey was then laboring on that circuit, who received and treated me very kindly. We had several good meetings, and twice I spoke in Bethel Church, when the outpouring of the Spirit was truly great. In company with a good sister, who took a gig and horse, I travelled about three hundred miles, and labored in different places. Went to Denton African Church, and on the first Sabbath gave two sermons. The Church was in a thriving, prosperous condition, and the Lord blessed the word to our comfort. During the week I labored in the court-house before a large concourse of hearers. The Lord was unspeakably good, and one fell to the floor under the power.

    By request, I also spoke in the Old Methodist Church in Denton, which was full to overflowing. It was a happy meeting. My tongue was loosened, and my heart warm with the love of God and souls - a season yet sweet to my memory. From there I went to Greensboro - the elder gave a sermon, after which I exhorted the poor sinner to prepare to meet the Lord in peace, before mercy was clear gone forever. The Old Methodist connexion gave an invitation for me to speak in their house, which I embraced, feeling thankful that the middle wall of partition had, thus far, been broken down. "He that feareth God and worketh righteousness shall be accepted of him" - not he who hath a different skin - not he who belongs to this denomination, or, to that - but "he that feareth God." My Master is no respecter of persons. May the partition walls that divide His sincere followers be broken down by the spirit of love.

    In Whitehall Chapel I spoke to a respectable congregation, from Isaiah iii. 1. Though in a slave country, I found the Omnipresent one was with us. Dr. Clarke took us home to dine with his family - for which uncommon attention I felt highly gratified. I believe him a Christian in heart, and one, no doubt, who has read the words of the Saviour: "Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, shall in no wise lose his reward." And, notwithstanding the doctor was a Presbyterian, Mr. Buly had the privilege of baptizing two of their colored children.
    I stopped next to Concord, and in the Old Methodist connexion tried to encourage the Lord's people to preserver. God displayed His power by a general outpouring of the Spirit - sinners cried for mercy, while others shouted for joy.

    Spoke congregation of colored and white at Stanton Mills; and arrived again at Eastern Shore, where I spoke in Bethel Church during Quarterly Meeting. Attended their love-feast, where several joined society, and many encouraging testimonies were given by young converts that "God hath power on earth to forgive sins." May they be faithful stewards of the manifold gifts of God - and never be ashamed to confess what the Lord had done for them. Many lose the witness out of the heart by withholding their testimony from their friends and neighbors of the power of God to save. They run well for a season, but the tempter whispers "not now" - and by and by the soul becomes barren and unfruitful. May God help the young converts to "Watch," and tell around what a dear Saviour they have found.

    June 10th, 1824. Left Eastern Shore for a journey to Bath, and went around the circuit with brother J.B., the elder. In the Old Methodist Church, at Fory's Neck, I had the privilege of speaking to a large congregation, which was made the power of God unto salvation. Visited Lewistown, and had a blessed meeting in the Methodist Church. The tears of the penitent flowed sweetly, which always encourages me to persevere in proclaiming the glad tidings of a risen Saviour to my fellow beings. When the heart is thus melted into tenderness, I feel assured theLord sanctions the feeble effort of His poor servant - it is a good omen to my mind that the mourner is not forsaken of God, and that he yet stands knocking at the door for admittance. Oh! that those who weep for an absent Jesus may be comforted by hearing Him say - "Thy sins, which were many, are all forgiven thee: go in peace and sin no more."

    Elder J.B. preached in Greensboro', where I attended, and had a quickening time. Some enmity had existed among the brethren, but the spirit of love got the ascendancy, and the lion became as the lamb. The gospel is the best remedy to subdue the evil passions of men that has ever been discovered. Dear Master, let Thy gospel spread to earth's remotest bounds.

    I have travelled, in four years, sixteen hundred miles and of that I walked two hundred and eleven miles, and preached the kingdom of God to the falling sons and daughters of Adam, counting it all joy for the sake of Jesus. Many times cast down but not forsaken; willing to suffer as well as love. I spoke at Harris's Mills, in a dwelling house, to a large concourse of people, from Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, xviii.19-20. I felt much drawn out, in the Spirit of God, meanwhile from my feelings. I observed there were some present that never would meet me again. Mr. J.B., the elder, then requested me to lead the class. Much mourning, weeping and rejoicing. Four days afterwards, a man that sat under this sermon, (a shoemaker by occupation) fell dead from his bench without having any testimony of a hope in Christ. How dreadful to relate the wicked shall not live out half their days.

    In Easton I spoke from the Evan. John, I chap. 45 ver., the Lord's time. Then proceeded to Dagsberry, 25 miles, preached in Bethel Church to a multitude of people, it being to them a new thing, but only the old made more manifest. Bless God for what my heart feels, for a good conscience is better than a sacrifice. Two sermons preached in said Church, I spoke from Acts 13 chap., 41 ver., - the power of God filled the place - some shouted, others mourned, some testified God for Christ's sake had forgiven sin, whilst others were felled to the floor. From thence we went to Sinapuxom, spoke on Sabbath day to a large congregation from Num. 24 chap., 17 ver - the Lord gave light, life and liberty on that portion of Scripture, Great time. The elder filled the appointment, and while preaching, there were 10 or 11 white men came and said they wanted to see the preacher; he sent for them to come into the house, but they seemed afraid or refused; after he had finished, they came to the door to know by what authority he was preaching - but it was me they were after, but I was fortified, for their laws, by my credentials, having the United States seal upon them, - they tried to get him our of the house, they said, on business. But he told them he would meet them at 9 o'clock in the morning before the magistrate, seven miles distant. Brother J. B. then took my credentials and also showed his own, and, upon examination, the magistrate said, she is highly recommended and I am bound to protect her. An under-officer, anxious to get hold of my papers, very much opposed to our being in the State, tried hard to frighten us out of it, and went to lay his hands on it, but was rebuked by the magistrate; and two days after the magistrate sent word to me to go on and preach, he did not care if I preached till I died. I never met them but before one year.

    My mind led me to Salsbury and to Snow Hill - the brother, through persuasion, did not go, for fear of some difficulty, under which consideration I declined going for that time, I then returned to Easton, but my mind still led me to pay that religious visit, which was still accomplished by a sister and myself. I called on brother Massey, a preacher, who conducted us to Snow Hill and Salsbury. In the afternoon, the elder and one of the Trustees of the white Methodist Church, called on me to know of my faith and doctrine, and, while conversing, the spirit of the Lord breathed upon us - we had groans and shedding of tears - that evening the Elder gave me an appointment in the colored church to a large congregation, and we had a powerful time, sinners awakened and backsliders reclaimed. So great was the time that the meeting lasted until three or four o'clock in the morning. It was like a Camp meeting, they came seven miles distance from only three or four hours' notice.

    Next morning we left for Snow Hill, the Elder sent down for the friends to take care of us all, and our board, with the horses, should be paid for, consequently we were treated with great hospitality. I preached in the Old Methodist Church to a immense congregation of both the slaves and the holders, and felt great liberty in word and doctrine; the power of God seemed without intermission. We left there and rode 16 miles, spoke to a small company of people. In the afternoon to a large congregation, chiefly Presbyterians, and at many other places too tedious for me to mention, I preached twenty-seven sermons and then returned to Easton again, where I was informed that the constable who was so enraged against me before was then dying; the other white man who came and set at the end of the table twice while I was laboring, thinking I would say something to implicate myself and wanted me arrested so bad, had been sold and his family broke up; it is thus the Lord fights for Israel.

    I then made an appointment at a place called the Hole in the Wall, it was a little settlement of coloured people, but we had no Church, but used a dwelling house, and had a large congregation. I had no help but an old man, one hundred and odd years of age; he prayed, and his prayers made us feel awful, he died in the year 1825, and has gone to reap the reward of his labor; freed from the toils and cares of life, no more to labor under a hard task master, but to rest where the slave is freed from his master. I strove then to fill the appointment at 11 o'clock in the morning, from Daniel 5 chap. 27 ver. the declaration was, there is no other way under heaven that men can be saved only through Jesus Christ; the Lord gave me great light on this subject. At 3 o'clock, in the afternoon, we stood in the open air in the woods, and I spoke from 12 chap. 2-3 ver. I felt greater liberty on this subject than the other; the Lord was with me; of a against the power of God? We had people of all descriptions, from the true Christian to the Devil, and from slave-holder to slave. We two white men and two colored; one of the white men, by the name of Sharp had killed all his family, except his oldest daughter; she conversed with them. Sharp treated it with contempt, but the other answered with a degree of humility; but they were hung according to the laws of their state.

    I was invited by one of the Trustees of the Old Methodist Church to pay them a visit on the ensuing Sabbath morning. I made the appointment for said day. I left Georgetown on the morning early, half past ten o'clock we arrived in Milford; Church bell was ringing. We were conducted into the Church; a local preacher was in the pulpit and had prayed, but was asked to come down by another who invited me there. I spoke for them and afterwards they gave out for another appointment at night, but it caused a controversy among themselves, and they threw it on him to come and see if I would fill it. Previous to this coloured preachers told me there was controversy about woman preaching. But he came and asked me how long I had been preaching the Gospel. I answered, rising, 5 or 6 years. He said it was something new. I told him it seemed to be supposed so. I referred him to Mrs. Fletcher, of England, an able preacher and wife of Mr. Fletcher, a great and worthy minister of the Parish. He asked why I did not go to the Quakers. I told him I if he had a sister in the Church, and she witnessed a Christian life, and was called and qualified to preach, do you think you would be justified before God, to stop her? He has not answered me yet. I found it was prejudice in his mind. He talked as if he had not known what the operation of the Spirit of God was. We many say, with propriety, he had not tarried at Jerusalem long enough. When about to part, he asked me if I would come, but I could not then promise. At night, the people came in their carriage from the country, but were disappointed, for I spoke in a colored Church. The doors and windows were opened on account of the heat, but were crowded with people; pride and prejudice were buried. We had a powerful time. I was quite taken out of myself - the meeting held till day-break; but I returned to my home.

    They told me that sinners were converted, backsliders reclaimed, mourners comforted, and believers built up in the most holy faith. Then they wished us to stay until next night to preach again; but I thought it best to leave them hungry. Previous to this I was sent for by a slave-holder to come to his house to preach three funeral sermons, all at one time, two grown persons and one child; they had been dead about a year, but their graves were only filled up even with the earth. I spoke standing in the door of his dwelling to a great congregation, from the 2 Book of Samuel, 12 chap. 23 very - dwelling much on the certainty of the child's happiness, through the redemption of Christ - shewing how men might be saved living in accordance with the truth. When finished we fell in procession and moved to the graves of the departed. Brother Massey rehearsed the funeral ceremony, then the graves were raised and made oval, as usual, a most affecting scene, one of the deceased being the mother of two little girls there present. They were so affected, it seemed they would go in fits; several persons tried to pacify them, but in vain. It was a solemn time; many were deeply affected that day at the graves, and mourning of the whites in the house, but they treated us kindly, and we left them, visiting my places too tedious to mention.

    I met a Camp meeting of the African Methodist Episcopal Church at Denton. the Elder was much encouraged in commencing the Camp. Although in a slave State, we had every thing in order, good preaching, a solemn time, and long to be remembered., Some of the poor slaves came happy in the Lord; walked from 20 to 30, and from that to seventy miles, to seventy miles, to worship God. Although through hardships they counted it all joy for the excellency of Christ; and, before day, they, or a number of them, had to be at home, ready for work; nut some aid they came as sinners before God, but went away as new creatures in Christ; and they could not be disputed. My heart glows with joy while I write; truly God is inscrutable.

    The Eler, J.B. then appointed a Camp meeting within five miles of Easton, too near the town, but it was done to glorify God. Yet it seemed there was not that general good done like the previous time. He gave me an appointment on Sunday afternoon; to myself I appeared lost thought I was doing nothing, but the south wind from the hill of the Lord began to blow upon the spices of his garden. The power of God arrested a person who started to run, but fell in the flight, and begged God for mercy and obtained it. After the sermon, which was the first of my being apprized of it, but no merit to me, but all glory to God for mercy and obtained it. After the sermon, which was the first of my being apprized of it, but no merit to me, but all glory to God, for the good done at Camp meetings, though much persecuted, but they are a glorious meeting to me. I pray God to protect the camp-meetings while I think him for the invention. Various are the operations of the Sprit of God on the human family. We must believe in the truth of God, and then we can behold the mysteries and enjoy the truth of them with joy and thanks giving. I went to speak about 10 miles from Centreville at early candle light - warm weather - in a dwelling house, the largest congregation being out-of-doors. I felt an open mind, the power of God fell upon the assembly in open air, and I heard an awful cry. A woman had started, jumped over the fence and run, but fell and rose again; that woman contended until she found redemption in Jesus Christ.

    I went to a place called Beaver Dams and spoke there; left there for Hillsborough, and spoke there to a large congregation; from there to Greensborough, and preached in white Methodist Church. The visit not so prosperous; from there to Boomsborough. We were much favoured and approbated by the people, and blessed with the presence of the Lord in power. I then preached at Cecil Cross roads in an old meeting house, almost down, to a large congregation, and it was warm. I was informed a gentleman rode fourteen miles to attend that meeting. Previous to this the Methodists had almost died away, a very few excepted at that place, but from that time they took a rise as I was informed by two young ladies from there. In about 5 years after I left they built a large Church on that same spot where the old one stood, and had a fine congregation; from there brother J. B. appointed a Quarterly Meeting on Mr. John Peaker's Island, for a society of 60 members, which was composed altogether of the said gentleman's slaves. We were entertained in the best of style, had a powerful meeting, and a great manifestation of the power of God. From there we returned to Easton a second time, and were entertained by the overseer very highly at Mr. John Peakey's Island.

    Went to Baltimore, from there I visited Hales' Mills, and preached three sermons, much favored the sermons, much favored of the Lord by his presence, after which I returned to Baltimore. The elder gave me an appointment and collection, and I returned to Philadelphia. And on Sunday morning collection, Bishop Allen gave me an appointment in Bethel church, and we had a shout in the Camp of Israel.  I had spent six months in Maryland and I only remained in this city three or four weeks, during which time the Lord was with me, and opened my way through opposition, but I felt willing to suffer cheerfully.



    From - Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs Jarena Lee, Giving an account of her call to preach the Gospel. Revised & Corrected from the Original Manuscript, written by herself Philadelphia, Printed & Published for the Author, 1849 Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857) was an evangelist for the AME church in the first half of the 19th century. In 1816, Richard Allen (1760-1831) and his colleagues in Philadelphia broke away from the Methodist Church and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which, along with independent black Baptist congregations, flourished as the century progressed. Richard Allen allowed women to become evangelists and teachers but not church leaders. Jarena Lee was the 1st female to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. Born in Cape May, New Jersey, she moved to Pennsylvania, when she married in 1811. She had felt called to preach as early as 1809, & revealed her wish to church leader Richard Allen, who responded symapthetically, but explained that the AME Church was silent on the question of women preachers. In 1817, an "ungovernable impulse" led her to rise in Bethel Church & deliver an extemporaneous discourse that so impressed Bishop Allen; that he publically apologized for having discouraged her 8 years earlier. With this verbal liscense from the bishop, Lee began her evangelical ministry, traveling hundreds of miles, often on foot, to preach before all races & denominations, at churches, revivals, & camp meetings. She traveled as far west as Ohio. Although she was never officially licensed & never organized any churches, her ministry aided in the rapid growth of the AME Church before the Civil War. By 1846, the A.M.E. Church, which began with 8 clergy & 5 churches, had grown to 176 clergy, 296 churches, & 17,375 members.

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    Jarena Lee was the 1st woman to preach under the auspices of the AME church. The child of free black parents, Lee was born in New Jersey in 1783, & worked as a servant in the home of a white family, 60 miles from her home. Strongly affected when she went to hear Richard Allen preach, Lee determined to preach herself. At first rebuffed by Allen, who said that women could not preach at the Methodist Church, Lee persisted; & 8 years after his initial refusal, Allen allowed her access to the pulpit after hearing her spontaneous exhoration during a sermon at Bethel AME Church. Lee traveled all over the United States preaching her gospel of freedom, even venturing into the South to preach to slaves.  The following is a segment of her journey written in her own words.

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857), Preacher of the A.M.E. Church, Aged 60 years in the 11th day of the 2nd month 1844, Philadelphia 1844

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857) - Traveling through Pennsylvania 1825

     In 1825, I left Philadelphia for a journey through Pennsylvania. I spoke first at Weston; we had an elder on West Chester Circuit, named Jacob Richardson. We had buried a young Christian before preaching the sermon, and gave me the sacrament sermon in the afternoon. I spoke from Matt. 26 chap. 26-27 ver. I felt as solemn as death; much weeping in the Church, tears stole down the faces of the people.

    Jacob Richardson was a spiritual preacher. God attended the word with power, and blessed his labors much on his circuit. From there a friend carried me to Downingtown, where I took stage and went on to Lancaster; but prospect not so good there; they had a new Church but not paid for; the proprietor took the key in possession and deprived them of worshipping God in it. But I spoke in a dwelling house, and I felt a great zeal for the cause of God to soften that man's heart, or kill him out of the way one had better die than many. Brother Israel Williams, a few days, called to converse with him on the subject, and he gave him the key; he was then on his death-bed, and died in a short time afterwards, and we must leave him in the hands of God, for he can open and no man can shut.

    I went on to Columbia and spoke in the Church, and my tongue fails to describe the encouragement I met with. The Lord converted poor mourners, convicted sinners, and strengthened believers in the most holy faith. God's name be glorified for the display of his; saving power. I led class, held prayer meetings, and left with a good conscience for little York. The first sermon I preached was in the Church at 10 o'clock in the morning, from Mat. xxvi, 26, 27, to a large congregation. My faith it seemed almost failed me, for when I got in the stand, so hard was the task that I trembled, and my heart beat heavy, but in giving out the hymn I felt strength of mind, and before I got through, I felt so much of life and liberty in the word, I could but wonder, and in the doctrine of Christ it was a sacramental sermon indeed to my soul. I spent some weeks there, and we enjoyed good meetings and powerful outpourings of the Spirit. I truly met with both good and bad; my scenes were many and my feelings various. I bless the Lord that the prayers of the righteous availeth much.

    After freeing my mind, I passed on to York Haven, and preached in a School-house to a white congregation. I was not left alone, but was treated very well by a white Methodist lady. I took lodgings at her house all night; next afternoon took stage for Harrisburg, and when I stopped at the Hotel a gentleman introduced me to the Steward, who took charge of me and escorted me to Mr. Williams, where I took supper. It was on a New Year's evening; the colored congregation had expected me and made a fire in our Church, but being late when I arrived, they had gone to hear a sermon in a white Methodist Church, and I had retired to rest a while in the evening. When they returned they came after me, taking no excuse, and I had to come down stairs, go to the Church, and preach a sermon for them, then 10 o'clock at night.

    The effects of the gospel of Christ was no less than at other great seasons, but was wonderful - backsliders reclaimed and sinners converted - there was mourning, weeping, shouting and praising of God for what he had done. I preached several sermons, and was well treated by all circles of people. We had large congregations of well-behaved people; and feeling my work done in this part, I proceeded to Carlisle, Pa. There was a small body of members; I spoke and led class for them during the time I was there, which was ten days; felt my discharge of God, and took stage to Shippensburg. There was great success at this places; fifteen joined the Church; some of the most hardened sinners became serious and reformed. I was astonished at the wonderful operations of the Spirit, and the immense congregations. At the first sermon the house was crowded, and I had the good attention of the people. A man came into the house intoxicated, and offered to interrupt by speaking, but a gentleman put him out so quietly that it had no effect upon the meeting. When I contemplate the goodness of God to the human family, in putting them in a proper capacity of choosing the way of salvation, I feel sometimes almost lost, to think that God has called such a worm as I to spread the common Saviour's name. But said the Lord, "I will send by whom I will" - praise the Lord who willeth not the death of sinners - "as I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that they turn and live."

    I then proceeded on to Chambersburg by stage, and met with one Rev. Winton, who displayed much of a christian disposition, and conversed freely with me on the most particular points of the God-Head, for my instruction, showing his benevolence. He knew I was a stranger - he had friends to go to at that place, but he offered to pay my bill for a room at the Inn. I never have forgot the goodness of that gentleman, who, I believe, to be a great gospel minister. I stopt at brother Snowden's, who were very kind to me. The Lord continued to pour out His Spirit and clear the way for me, and also continued to convict, convert, and reclaim the backsliders in heart. There were very large congregations, both in and out of doors, and great revivals throughout the circuit. The elders generally treated me well, for which may the Lord bless them and their labors in his vineyard, and add to the Church such as shall be forever saved from the power of sin - may I take heed lest I fall, while I teach others. Saith the Apostle: "Paul may plant and Apollos water, but God must give the increase," for which I feel thankful.

    I remained in this place for some weeks, but being debilitated in body, I left for Philadelphia about the middle of April. On my return, I met with such a severe trial of opposition, that I thought I never would preach again, but the Apostle says, "ye are not your own but are bought with a price." I feel glad that God is able to keep all that put their trust in him, though the mis-steps of others often interrupt our own way - I always found friends on different parts of Globe. I preached and led classes on my return. Praise God for his delivering grace - "Oh the depth of the riches" of the glory of God, how unsearchable are his ways; they are past finding out - a sea without bottom or shore. One thing is encouraging, "When he who is my life shall appear, I shall be like him.""I know my Redeemer liveth, and shall stand on the latter day upon the earth, and though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." Lord help me to keep this confidence. Rev. Richard Williams, a gentle and christian-minded man, treated me well. God would not suffer me to be destroyed. It is not by might or by power, but by the Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.

    On my return I stopped at Lancaster; the Church was opened, and I preached to large congregations, and with powerful success; the dead were brought to life by the preaching of the cross of Christ. From there I left for Philadelphia.

    In July, 1824, I felt an exercise of mind to take a journey to Reading, Pa., to speak to the fallen sons and daughters of Adam. I left the city and stopped at Norristown on my way to Reading. I spoke in the Academy to a respectable congregation, the same evening I arrived there. I felt a degree of liberty in speaking, though it was a quiet meeting, and I also felt thankful that the Lord would manifest himself through such a worm as me. Next morning I walked four miles and stopped at Littleton Morris's, and preached two sermons on the Sabbath day, and God struck a woman, and she had liked to have fallen to the floor; I spoke in the Dunkard's meeting house. This ended my visit with them at this time.

    On Tuesday I walked three miles to Schuylkill, to take the Canal boat on Wednesday morning. I met in company with a Presbyterian minister and lady on the boat; they treated me very kindly indeed. We arrived in Reading about 7 o'clock in the evening. I was recommended to a family in that place, the man of which had once confessed religion, but had fallen from grace, and they were very kind to me. The next morning I enquired for other respectable families of color, and an elderly lady of color that belonged to the white connexion, and the only colored Methodist in the place at that time, conveyed me to Mrs. Murray's, where I remainded a while; then the elderly lady, just mentioned, feeling interested for me, went to the proprietors of the Court-house with me, to see if we could get in to preach in, and like Esther the Queen, who fasted and prayed, and commanded the men of Jerusalem and the women of Zion to pray; as she approached the king the sceptre was bowed to her, and her request was answered to the saving of Mordica, and all the Jewish nation. When we approached this gentleman, who was the head Trustee of the Protestant Church, I showed him my recommendation, and he answered me, "Madam, you can have it," and I felt humble to God for the answer. I felt it my duty to preach to the citizens, and accordingly made an appointment for Sunday afternoon at 4 o'clock. Rev. James Ward, a colored Presbyterian, assembled with us, although he was so prejudiced he would not let me in his pulpit to speak; but the Lord made a way where there was no way to be seen; there was no person to intercede until this sister tried to open the way; the men of color, with no spirit of christianity, remained idle in the enterprise, but we got possession and we had a large concourse of people. I spoke with the ability God gave me. I met with a family of color, but very respectable, that formerly had belonged to our Church in Baltimore; they invited me to their house, and it was a home to me, praise God. I held a meeting in their house previous to holding meetings in the Court-house; the white brethren and sisters assembled with us. We called on a minister's lady, and she treated me very kindly, while he, like a Christian, united and helped to go through with the meetings. I visited the Quaker friends (amounting to four only) then in the place, and very pleasant visits they were. A great number of Christian friends called on me, among the rest this minister's lady, who left a donation in my hand, consequently the way was made where there was no way, but I left in friendship. Praise God I feel the approbation now. It is to be lamented, that James Ward, colored, with his over-ruling prejudice, which he manifested by saying no women should stand in his pulpit, and with all the advantages of a liberal education, was in a few weeks after I left there, turned out of; the Church.

    On returning to Philadelphia, I stopped at Pottsgrove and found a Society of colored persons, christians I believe. We had solemn meetings there; I met kind friends there, and visited a Church about six miles off; preached in the morning; the Lord was with us; of this truth my soul is a witness; in the afternoon I preached to a large congregation. Next morning I left for Philadelphia. I continued to preach, paid some short visits about, and was welcomed home again.

    From - Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs Jarena Lee, Giving an account of her call to preach the Gospel. Revised & Corrected from the Original Manuscript, written by herself Philadelphia, Printed & Published for the Author, 1849 Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857) was an evangelist for the AME church in the first half of the 19th century. In 1816, Richard Allen (1760-1831) and his colleagues in Philadelphia broke away from the Methodist Church and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which, along with independent black Baptist congregations, flourished as the century progressed. Richard Allen allowed women to become evangelists and teachers but not church leaders. Jarena Lee was the 1st female to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. Born in Cape May, New Jersey, she moved to Pennsylvania, when she married in 1811. She had felt called to preach as early as 1809, & revealed her wish to church leader Richard Allen, who responded symapthetically, but explained that the AME Church was silent on the question of women preachers. In 1817, an "ungovernable impulse" led her to rise in Bethel Church & deliver an extemporaneous discourse that so impressed Bishop Allen; that he publically apologized for having discouraged her 8 years earlier. With this verbal liscense from the bishop, Lee began her evangelical ministry, traveling hundreds of miles, often on foot, to preach before all races & denominations, at churches, revivals, & camp meetings. She traveled as far west as Ohio. Although she was never officially licensed & never organized any churches, her ministry aided in the rapid growth of the AME Church before the Civil War. By 1846, the A.M.E. Church, which began with 8 clergy & 5 churches, had grown to 176 clergy, 296 churches, & 17,375 members.

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  • 05/23/17--01:00: 1859 The Morning Ride

  • Life in the Country. The Morning Ride Currier and Ives 1859


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    Jarena Lee was the 1st woman to preach under the auspices of the AME church. The child of free black parents, Lee was born in New Jersey in 1783, & worked as a servant in the home of a white family, 60 miles from her home. Strongly affected when she went to hear Richard Allen preach, Lee determined to preach herself. At first rebuffed by Allen, who said that women could not preach at the Methodist Church, Lee persisted; & 8 years after his initial refusal, Allen allowed her access to the pulpit after hearing her spontaneous exhoration during a sermon at Bethel AME Church. Lee traveled all over the United States preaching her gospel of freedom, even venturing into the South to preach to slaves.  The following is a segment of her journey written in her own words.

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857), Preacher of the A.M.E. Church, Aged 60 years in the 11th day of the 2nd month 1844, Philadelphia 1844

    Jarema Lee - Traveling in New York 1827

    1827  The last of August I left for New York Camp, on arriving there I spoke once or twice. The same as to other places, out Camp-meeting was not as great as I have seen before. I spoke in both the Churches. We had a good time together, rejoicing in the Lord. I left then for Albany; had a pleasant passage up the North river, on hundred and sixty miles; the mountains and their other places our camp-meeting was not as great as I have seen before. I was not as great as I have seen before. I spoke in both the Churches. We had a good time together, rejoicing in the Lord.

    I left then for Albany had a pleasant passage up the North river, one hundreds and sixty miles; the mountains and their stupendous looks preached to me in my journey through. Oh, the wisdom of God, and how marvellous in our eyes; enough to convince the infidel, yea, the Atheist, that there is some first cause. From the effects produced, look at the ingenuity of mankind, which actually comes from God, and is displayed in building steamboats, and other great novelties in mechanism. We accomplished the route the same day we started, and I found myself entirely among strangers. But I made inquiry for Methodist friends, and found brother Streeter, a coloured family, very respectable. They treated me very kind; they were under the white Bishop, and I under the coloured. But the same faith, same doctrine, same Baptism, same spirit. Glory to God. Among the coloured people, the Baptists had the ascendancy. There was a large hall prepared for me, and we had a large congregation of different denominations. I spoke from these words and this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached unto all the world as for a witness, and then shall the end come. God owned the word, sinners screamed; some fell to the floor, others wept, while Christians rejoiced. A lady of color was present, though she was a member of the Dutch Presbyterian Church; her husband belonged to no Church, but was under an exercise of mind. The Lord reached his heart, he mourned more than three days. They sent for me to come to their house. I paid them a visit, and held prayer meeting at their house. That Sabbath two weeks he joined the Methodist Church. I spoke three times the first Sabbath afternoon; we had a large congregation, at night still larger. Text Never man spoke like this man. God's spirit was poured out in a miraculous manner. On the ensuing third day evening I spoke again, from these words. And came seeking fruit on the tree and found none. To all appearance there was nothing done, but God directed the word to the heart of a little girl, a gentleman's daughter, between eleven and twelve years of age. She joined the Church before I left there. A good old Missionary, by the name of Mitchell, came to the city before I left, and preached three sermons, in which there was a great revival.

    The Elder appointed prayer meetings, north and south of the city of Albany. I preached two or three sermons in a school house, the last I spoke was in Brother Streeter's house, from St. Matt. Chap. 21 ver. 12th. I thank God for the comfortable visit I had there in the discharge of my duty. This Methodist preacher, Mitchell, had a book with him called the Essence of John Steward, a coloured man, with his miraculous call to the ministry, the first one who succeeded in Christianizing the Methodist Indians in Sandusky and that province, and he sold them in Albany, and it seemed to have its desired effect also with the revival, in encouraging us to hold a fast.

    ...my mind felt at liberty to leave for Schenectady. Sister Streeter rode with the fourteen miles; I stopped eleven days, at which place there was a large upper room that was appropriated for a preaching place, where I spoke to a small number of coloured persons several times. They were under the white elder, he was a friends to me, and appointed a meeting for me in the white Brother's house to speak for them. We had a favourable time. But the people, feeling and uninterested spirit in propagating the religion of Jesus Christ, I left the dust with them.
    Got on board a Canal boat for Utica, there I met with my own connexion, African Methodist Episcopal Church, we had a prosperous time. I spoke and had prayer meetings on board of the Canal boat. There was a pasture there notwithstanding the difficulties of this life and the people being hunted like partridges on the mountain. It deprives a man's usefulness among the people, but the work of the Lord went on, and there is no weapon formed by the enemy that can stop the work of God. Therefore we have nothing to fear. We have large and respectable congregations, and I felt strengthened in warning man to flee from the wrath to come. If signs and wonders did not follow sometimes, I must certainly die, but glory to God for refreshing showers. I led class, had prayer meetings, and took my passage on another canal boat for Rochester; had a pleasant passage. I soon found some Methodists, and our local Elder was then a smart preacher. I was there three or four weeks, and he treated me very kindly and opened my way. They erected a new brick church, basement for schools; the corner-stone was laid while I was there. The elder was a man of good repute; people of color of different denominations, but much united together. The elder held the charge from there to Buffalo, he had then a Quarterly Meeting on hand.

    I left Rochester with him and rode about seventy miles. Next morning I left Lewistown and rode seven miles, crossed the Lakes, on the British side. When we left Rochester the snow was ankle deep, when ten mile from Lewistown, it became dry and hard, and when we crossed the Lakes it was clear and cold, and the air very pure. I told the elder this was the first time I ever breathed pure air. I walked about a mile and the first house I stopped at was sister Holmes'. I felt strange and lonely. I waited to see if the peace of God would abide on the house. Previous to my being introduced, I arose from my chair and the power of God fell upon the people, and, it seemed to me, that God answered me. I was fully convinced that God would make bare his arm, in this part of his moral vineyard.

    We had a Church in Niagara; the elder made an appointment there, and forty or fifty miles round the circuit, being now about six hundred miles from Philadelphia. I felt the loss of my former companions and friends, the elder and deacon, in two days time left for Buffalo, to hold a quarterly meeting in York state about seventy miles. I commenced to speak for the people, and God owned the word, and I saw many displays of his power - the people in Niagara seemed to me to be a kind and Christian like people. The white inhabitants united with us, and ladies of great renown. The slaves that came there felt their freedom, began to see the necessity of education, and hired a white man to teach them to read and write among themselves, and have Sabbath schools. I am astonished to see so many there that came from a free state, and not take more interest in instilling the science of education among their fellow beings. The winter was cold - I never had experienced such - but very healthy. I went to a town called Niagara. I spoke in a dwelling house. The next night I spoke in the Old Methodist Church to a large congregation of respectable people. There were three ladies, one the widow of a great Judge, and one daughter and sister of first education; they sympathized with me in this important work of the Gospel of Christ. They assembled with us in our meeting. A little girl about 8 or 9 years of age experienced religion and prayed in public, and attended to their private devotion, so much for early piety. Teach the child the way he should go and when he gets old he will not depart from it. But, it is to be lamented, that so few of our children experience this early piety; the cause we must try to find out and avoid the evil effects, and not bring up our children in so much pride and heathenism. We, as a people, are generally poor and cannot support so many changes of fashion; they grow up and crave it, and of times substitute evil practices to support themselves, either girls or boys, and often bring a stigma upon; their parents and family connexions, though very respectable. Let us bring up our children in industry, for work is honorable, and it is the way to get riches and to keep them.

    I travelled back and forward again from Niagara to Buffalo, and had regular appointments in our Churches. We had a great opposition among the coloured people, one trying to excel the other in point of eminence. One of our preachers left us on the promise of forty dollars per year. Poor man, he was like Simon Magus who perished with his money. Our Circuit rider was absent on the Sunday of the split, but the Lord was with us. I spoke three times to the remaining part of the congregation, which was increased much by a large body of bystanders, and great good followed; and we continued to sow and gather for two or three months, and the Lord blessed our labors abundantly.

    Feeling I had discharged my duty, I left and crossed the Lake from Buffaloes to Fort George, and spoke about eight miles from there, it was cold and snowed very fast - it was four o'clock in the afternoon - the congregation had been there and gone. We were in a sleigh, and the driver got lost; we all brought up in a swamp, among the fallen tree tops, but we turned about and found a house and lodged all night; and spoke next morning at eleven o'clock to a quiet congregation, and the Lord was with us, though composed of all denominations. I appointed another meeting and rode about eight miles on horseback - it snowed and was very sleety - after I spoke to the people I left them for good and made an appointment for the Indians; two of the chiefs called at where I stopped to see me. I asked them to pray for us; they complied, but done it in their own tongue. I felt the power of God in my own heart. Then they held a council about it, and granted my visit at Buffalo village, about three miles from Buffalo city.

    We rode and got there before their worshipping hour, their school had not dismissed, after a while they dismissed school - of 50s chool had not dismissed, after a while they dismissed school - of children - and as they gathered to worship I saw an old chief come, he stood and prayed very devoutly, tears running down his cheek. I told them I had not come to worship with them, and wanted to preach for them after their worship ended. They held a council and they agreed I should preach for them, but I could not help admiring the ways as well as gestures of the children. The teachers bring them up in the English language and dress some of them in the English style, but the greatest number are clad in the Indian style; those of the old Indians in their blankets. Some of them met me from seven or eight miles round - they filled the house. It was in the month of March - it rained and snowed - yet they walked in their moccasins, and some bare-headed - they made a large congregation. Their Elder or missionary had gone to teach another tribe that day, and he only taught them very plainly, and read out of pamphlets the experiences of others. I commenced by giving out the hymn in our language, and the interpreter spoke in their tongue. Hymn thus, O for a thousand tongues to sing, &&;c. They sung it beautiful, - two long benches of them sung by note (their books printed in their own language) a very familiar note tune, such as we use in congregations. I spoke plain and deliberate and very pointed, the interpreter spoke it after me in the Indian tongue, and one of the women cried out Amen. Much weeping among them, dear reader, take notice, notwithstanding they are a nation revolted from Israel, and would not be governed. Yet they can civilized and Christianized. We might call them heathens, but they are endowed with a Christian spirit. I felt happy in my visit; the missionary wished me to speak for them that evening; but I had an appointment that night at Buffalo, after which my mind was calm and serene. I left on Tuesday, 1st of April, on my return for Philadelphia, and arrived home May 18th.

    From - Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs Jarena Lee, Giving an account of her call to preach the Gospel. Revised & Corrected from the Original Manuscript, written by herself Philadelphia, Printed & Published for the Author, 1849 Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857) was an evangelist for the AME church in the first half of the 19th century. In 1816, Richard Allen (1760-1831) and his colleagues in Philadelphia broke away from the Methodist Church and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which, along with independent black Baptist congregations, flourished as the century progressed. Richard Allen allowed women to become evangelists and teachers but not church leaders. Jarena Lee was the 1st female to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. Born in Cape May, New Jersey, she moved to Pennsylvania, when she married in 1811. She had felt called to preach as early as 1809, & revealed her wish to church leader Richard Allen, who responded symapthetically, but explained that the AME Church was silent on the question of women preachers. In 1817, an "ungovernable impulse" led her to rise in Bethel Church & deliver an extemporaneous discourse that so impressed Bishop Allen; that he publically apologized for having discouraged her 8 years earlier. With this verbal liscense from the bishop, Lee began her evangelical ministry, traveling hundreds of miles, often on foot, to preach before all races & denominations, at churches, revivals, & camp meetings. She traveled as far west as Ohio. Although she was never officially licensed & never organized any churches, her ministry aided in the rapid growth of the AME Church before the Civil War. By 1846, the A.M.E. Church, which began with 8 clergy & 5 churches, had grown to 176 clergy, 296 churches, & 17,375 members.


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  • 05/25/17--01:00: 1855 Country Life

  • Fanny Palmer (American artist, 1812-1876) Published by N Currier American Country Life 1855


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    Jarena Lee was the 1st woman to preach under the auspices of the AME church. The child of free black parents, Lee was born in New Jersey in 1783, & worked as a servant in the home of a white family, 60 miles from her home. Strongly affected when she went to hear Richard Allen preach, Lee determined to preach herself. At first rebuffed by Allen, who said that women could not preach at the Methodist Church, Lee persisted; & 8 years after his initial refusal, Allen allowed her access to the pulpit after hearing her spontaneous exhoration during a sermon at Bethel AME Church. Lee traveled all over the United States preaching her gospel of freedom, even venturing into the South to preach to slaves.  The following is a segment of her journey written in her own words.

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857), Preacher of the A.M.E. Church, Aged 60 years in the 11th day of the 2nd month 1844, Philadelphia 1844

    Jarena Lee - Camp Meetings & Princeton

    I left Philadelphia again for Lewistown, Del., to attend a camp meeting of the African Methodist Episcopal connexion, of which I was a member, to be held in Gov. Paynter's Woods. There was immense large congregations, and a greater display of God's power I never saw. The people came from all parts, without distinction of sex, size, or color, and the display of God's power commenced from singing; I recollect a brother Camell standing under a tree singing, and the people drew high to hear him, and a large number were struck to the ground before preaching began, and signs and wonders followed. There appeared to be a great union with the white friends. James Towson was the Elder holding the camp; he was in the bloom of the gospel of Christ. But poor brother, may the Lord give him a Peter's look by the way of mercy. Right Rev. Bishop Allen was present. The ministry were all for me, and the Elder gave me an appointment, and the Governor with a great concourse came to hear the weak female. My heart beat, my limbs trembled, and my voice was faint, but I spoke from Eccles. xi, 9, 10. After I took my text, it appeared to me as if I had nothing to do but open my mouth, and the Lord filled it, consequently I was much encouraged: it was an immense assembly of people.

    After the camp-meeting was over, the Elder visited another campmeeting, and left me in liberty to preach around the circuit, which I did, and afterwards returned to Lewiston, and spoke in the old Methodist meeting-house; I had a great time a among my colored brethren. I feel thankful to my friends for their kindness to me, especially to brother Peter Lewis, whose house was a home to me. I had much happiness in leading class and prayer meetings; preaching the gospel seemed to be the great task.

    Brother Lewis conveyed me to Georgetown; I spoke in our colored people's Church, and we enjoyed ourselves very much; the Lord drew people from all quarters; a wonderful outpouring of the Spirit indeed; weeping in all directions It is a good sign to see tears of contrition stealing down the cheeks of the hearers; it makes me believe the word is sanctioned. The last place was at the head of the river; I then returned to Lewiston, and a few days I left for Philadelphia...

    After a short stay in the city, I took a visit to Trenton, Dec. 25. I spoke as usual, for there we had lively meetings, after which I had no home, but the Lord provides, for sister Roberts and family were my friends and took me in, and we often had sweet counsel together.

    From there I went to Princeton. The Elder, Joseph Harper, of our connexion, was a friend to me, but I had to withstand a beast at Princeton, in opposition, like the one I had to front on Bucks county circuit; the former named Thomas Voris, a local preacher, and using the language of the Psalmist prophesying in reference to the Saviour, "mine equal my guide hath lifted up his heel against me." We had preached - he invited me to come to his house to hold meetings the next week, but I was taken sick for a few days, but in the interval, S.R., of Attleborough Circuit, had a Quarterly meeting. They consulted together to stop me from preaching in Princeton; so his door was shut, but bless the Lord, another was opened, Brother Thomas Vinsant, his sister's husband, a Christian man, opened, his house. We had a powerful time. I came in the town on Saturday, the next day I walked two miles and spoke twice it was Thomas' appointment on Sabbath morning, and he had but two persons to meet him in class.

    An invitation came to me to make an appointment for Wednesday night in the Coloured Presbyterian Church, upon the grant of Rev. Mr. Woodhall, elder of that order in Princeton. Thos. Vorris, though a Methodist, was like a roaring lion - went to Elder Woodhall for him to stop it, as I was informed. But the meeting went on, it was a respectable, and comfortable congregation. I preached and led class and prayer meetings, and read, and explained the Scriptures. We had mourning and rejoicing, and I saw the kingdom of Satan fall. When Brother J. H. came round again, from some cause, he removed Thomas from that class, as they would not meet him, and placed him over one of five or six persons; also impeached him, taking his license from him, and left him only verbally licenced. Glory to God for his Divine power. I do not rejoice for his downfall, but for God's grace which enables me to stand against the enemies of the Cross. Glory to God, I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation. I spoke from Ephe. 2d chap. 8th ver. I felt life and liberty in word and doctrine. Thank God for the victory, Brother Oakham, one of the Elders of the Coloured Presbyterian Church, invited me to their house, and himself and wife treated me like Christians, which, I believe, they were; my heart glows toward them. I held a meeting in a dwelling house.

    From - Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs Jarena Lee, Giving an account of her call to preach the Gospel. Revised & Corrected from the Original Manuscript, written by herself Philadelphia, Printed & Published for the Author, 1849 Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857) was an evangelist for the AME church in the first half of the 19th century. In 1816, Richard Allen (1760-1831) and his colleagues in Philadelphia broke away from the Methodist Church and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which, along with independent black Baptist congregations, flourished as the century progressed. Richard Allen allowed women to become evangelists and teachers but not church leaders. Jarena Lee was the 1st female to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. Born in Cape May, New Jersey, she moved to Pennsylvania, when she married in 1811. She had felt called to preach as early as 1809, & revealed her wish to church leader Richard Allen, who responded symapthetically, but explained that the AME Church was silent on the question of women preachers. In 1817, an "ungovernable impulse" led her to rise in Bethel Church & deliver an extemporaneous discourse that so impressed Bishop Allen; that he publically apologized for having discouraged her 8 years earlier. With this verbal liscense from the bishop, Lee began her evangelical ministry, traveling hundreds of miles, often on foot, to preach before all races & denominations, at churches, revivals, & camp meetings. She traveled as far west as Ohio. Although she was never officially licensed & never organized any churches, her ministry aided in the rapid growth of the AME Church before the Civil War. By 1846, the A.M.E. Church, which began with 8 clergy & 5 churches, had grown to 176 clergy, 296 churches, & 17,375 members.

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     Opening of the Coaching Season 1883 Harpers Weekly


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    Jarena Lee was the first woman to preach under the auspices of the AME church. The child of free black parents, Lee was born in New Jersey in 1783, & worked as a servant in the home of a white family, 60 miles from her home. Strongly affected when she went to hear Richard Allen preach, Lee determined to preach herself. At first rebuffed by Allen, who said that women could not preach at the Methodist Church, Lee persisted; & 8 years after his initial refusal, Allen allowed her access to the pulpit after hearing her spontaneous exhoration during a sermon at Bethel AME Church. Lee traveled all over the United States preaching her gospel of freedom, even venturing into the South to preach to slaves.  The following is a segment of her journey written in her own words.

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857), Preacher of the A.M.E. Church, Aged 60 years in the 11th day of the 2nd month 1844, Philadelphia 1844

    Jarena Lee - Off to Ohio

    While I was in Buffalo, a journey to the West was shewed to me so plain that I could not stop in the city of Philadelphia but five weeks only, then left for the western country. I started in a mail stage, and stopped first at Westtown and spoke in our own connexion Church, and then at West Chester in the old Methodist Episcopal white connexion. We had a large congregation of quiet hearers. I felt liberty but no great displays of God's power. I had several meetings in different places, visiting the sick. Having discharged my duty I left there and proceeded on to Old Lancaster and spent some days. We have a good Church there, and great meetings - the word of the Lord grew and was multiplied. God poured out his spirit upon us, and we had a shout in the camp.

    I then started for Columbia, Pa. The people are much divided, and it looked very gloomy, but God directed me and he commanded his disciple to be a sheep among wolves, and harmless as doves, notwithstanding the darkness, God aided me in speaking to the people, and aided them in hearing, and his name was praised. The people united, temptations and clouds were vanished away. Then we sung, prayed, spake, and shouted in the spirit, this is true Methodism. I led class, visited the sick and was much favoured with the presence of the Lord. Our faith was increased, our hopes confirmed. The preachers were kind and treated me well, and by their help I travelled on my journey to Harrisburg. Feeling thankful for the visit I had paid it seemed gloomy here, but I spoke there next day.

    I took stage and rode to Chambersburg, and spent some days there, and proceeded on to Fredericktown, Maryland, and, spoke there from there to Hagerstown, Macallansburg, and I must confess, It do not remember of ever seeing such a people, for, it seemed strong drink had been their ruin. The circuit minister was there, and we had some signs and wonders to follow after the preaching of the cross of Christ, and I trust to meet some of them on the banks of deliverance, and help to swell the notes of redeeming love.

    After the preacher left me I took stage for Pittsburgh, at eight in the evening, rode all night until eight in the morning. I was kindly treated, there were other persons in the stage, four of them gentlemen, as I thought there was one who talked a great deal, wise in his own conceit, about religion, and from that he displayed a quantity of degraded principle, with disgusting language, at which I made several sharp replies, and in my way, reprimanded him and the other gentlemen looked on him with silent contempt, at which he got ashamed, and afterwards treated me with great politeness, and I was comfortable and arrived in Pittsburgh at 5 o'clock in the afternoon. I went to Church that night and heard a sermon from one of my brothers. I met with six or seven ministers, very friendly, and treated me like Christians. I remained in Pittsburgh six weeks, there had been one or two revivals previous to my visit, especially the winter before I arrived, last day of August, 1820. My labors commenced - the field was large - but the Lord was with us - this gaves me much encouragement, I was not ashamed of the Gospel - it is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believes, both Jew or Gentile. We had very good meetings, the Elder and preachers, all received me with one accord - thanks to God for his divine goodness.

    I felt moved by the Lord to pay Wheeling a visit although we had no society there, I arrived and found but a small class of coloured people with the whites, an old gentleman of color with the elder in charge granted me the Church - the elder being a great preacher of college order. We had a large congregation; I spoke for them once, and gave an exhortation at another time, and felt no difficulty on that head, and after that they could not treat me well enough. And, on the ensuring Sabbath, I helped to lead class; and we all enjoyed ourselves, and on Tuesday I left for Washington, according as I had promised our elder before I left him.

    On my arrival there I met kind friends, and a large congregation of coloured people. On Lords day I met the class; the people spoke with humility - it was a melting down time - in the Spirit of God I preached several sermons, visited the sick, and, in this spirit strove to uphold the aged. Feeling a discharge of my duty I left for Steubensville, Ohio, and met a small society - some try Christians there; no Church there; the Baptists granted their Church; we had meetings there, and the Lord was with us - quiet congregations - and the word had effect in the hearts of sinners - and believers were established. I stopped a few days and left in the name of the Lord.

    I proceeded on to Mt. Pleasant, and arrived on seventh day evening, and the trustee gave me an appointment on Sabbath morning. At 11 o'clock I was feeble in both body and mind, but the lord was with us according to promise, think not what ye shall say, but open thy mouth and I will fill it saith the Lord, he caused a shaking among the dry bones, that morning. I think if any creature has a right to praise God I have, and that in thankfulness, and I love him because he first loved me. Bless his name. I preached several sermons to large gatherings, but revivals not so manifest as at other places. I had some difficulty in that journey, but only what is common among us; for many times deceitful persons will set the Church on fire but can't burn it up.

    Moses saw it as a bush in a flame, yet not consumed. We have to be tried as gold in the fire. After my visit was out a brother (leader in the Church) conveyed me ten miles on my way, I stopped at Sinclairsville; there was an appointment published on the next evening. At 7 o'clock I spoke in the Court house to a large concourse of well behaved and respectable citizens. I felt at liberty and left in peace of mind which makes the work sweet.

    I was aided on to Cap-teen, a settlement of coloured people; some from the lower counties; but they are industrious, and have a Church of their own, and were about to send their children to school, I held several meetings and there was some very respectable people of colour - and the Lord was with us - I stopped with an aged family, very respectable, they treated me very kind, and between 2 and 3 weeks,

    I left in peace with God and man, and went to Barnsborough and spoke in the white Methodist Episcopal Church, from thence to Zanesville, at which place I felt much discouraged from the appearance of things. I did not think of tarrying there, but at the first appointment I chose the words "I am not ashamed of the Gospel." - Paul. The room was very small for the number of people, after which an old man well scented with ardent spirits, tried to give an exhortation. I was astonished at the scene, the people laughed I got up and went out. I tried to labor again at night and exhort the young ladies to the evil consequences of ill-behavior in the Church of God; after which we had better order, and the old gentleman was discovered to be intoxicated with spirituous liquor, and was disowned from the Church, after which there was a great revival took place among the white Methodists, both rich and poor.

    Mrs. Dillin, who once was a Friend, and now a member of the Church, spoke to the Trustees and Ministers, and they opened the Church and I spoke twice in that Church, and after that I spoke in west Zanesville, back of that place, and I still remained among my colored friends, and they seemed much revived; after which they formed a Resolution to build themselves a Meeting House. A Quaker Friend, so called, presented them with a piece of ground to build one on, which they did. Glory to God, for his glory stood over the doors of the Tabernacle.

    Many were convicted, and converted, and many added to the old Methodist Church and I left there on New-years day for New-Lancaster, where we had a haunch, standing on a frame of a house for three or four years, and had not been used to preach in; but the Lord opened the way, and a great revival took place among the people, and their eyes being opened, they with willing minds commenced and built a new Church, and god blessed their labors. I preached several Sermons and led class, &&;c. My common way is to visit the sick and afflicted in whatsoever city I may stop in, that I may get my spiritual strength renewed in the Lord. Although I preached the Gospel through the Commission of my Lord, yet I have nothing to boast of.

    I opened a Love-Feast in the said Church in New Lancaster. We held Prayer Meetings. I spoke in the White's Church also. The people were very friendly. I met them in Class, and after the lapse of eleven days, I left for Columbus. The Preachers generally were very kind to me. Both white and colored. A worthy brother conducted me on further. It snow'd, and I was very cold, but the Lord was with us, and my mind was free'd. But notwithstanding, I met an antagonist, who was ready to destroy my character, and the principles of the work that God saw good to make me instrumental of doing in his name, which caused me to open the case to the Trustees and Preaches, who were much astonished at him to be preaching four or five years with malice in his heart. I was favored to see him in the morning before he went away, that was the first time he had spoke to me anything like a Christian in that time. He knew from the first period I went to him to satisfy his mind. But his heart was bitter. I felt his spirit like a viper. But the word of the Lord was verified at that time also. "When the Tempter raise a flood against you, I will set up a standard against him." He told me he had sent a letter to Pittsburg to stop me, although I had my Licence from the Bishop, with his own signature. I told him he was a worse enemy to me than I was aware of, and I was ashamed of him, professing to be a Preacher in charge, and setting such an example in a strange laud, and begged him to throw away his prejudices, or he would never obtain the Kingdom of Heaven. He left me in a flash, and I saw him no more until conference.

    I wrote a letter to bishop Allen to let him know of my grievances, as I was innocent of any crime. I felt under no obligation to bear the reproaches of progressing Preachers; and I wanted it settled at Conference. But it was looked upon with little effect by the Preachers and Leaders. I laid it before the Conference, and it was settled. But I tarried all winter. Preached, led Class, visited the sick, &&;c., with great success. I bless God for the witness of a good conscience. Old sinners were awakened, and constrained to come trembling, and enquiring the way to Zion.

    L. W., a respectable brother from Chillicothe, had never heard a woman preach, and was much opposed to it. An appointment was given me, and when I went into the desk and commenced reading the hymn to commence the worship, he looked at me a while, then got up and went out and stood until I had nearly got through the hymn, and then he came in, when I asked him to pray for us but he refused. I prayed myself, after which I took my text, and felt much liberty in speaking in the spirit indeed. And after meeting he came and shook hands with me in the spirit of a Christian, and next day he came and confessed to me his prejudices had been so great, so much like his father, that he could not unite with me, but now he believed that God, was no respecter of persons, and that a woman as well as a man, when called of God, had a right to preach. He afterwards became a licensed preacher, and we parted in peace.

    I took the stage and left for Chillicothe, but there was but one house that would open for me in the city, although I had my recommendation with me. As soon as that friend heard of me she met me in christian bonds, and her house was my home, her husband being a man of christian qualifications, and I went of my mission doing my Father's will. I spoke once in the week and on Sabbath afternoon, to crowded houses; it was like a camp-meeting, and twenty-one lay upon the power of God at one time; after preaching, we called them to be prayed for; some got religion that day and some on the next Sabbath, and the father L. W. became one of my best friends, and a doer of the work. There was large fields of labor open to my view, and I visited both colored and white, and many were concerned about sanctification. I was with them about six weeks, during which time I had an interview with a lady, who informed me she had a call to preach the everlasting gospel of Christ. She was a Presbyterian by profession, and she told me she feared the church government. But the greatest objection, was her husband was a Deist by profession; she also told me of her experience she passed through; it was a broken heart and a contrite spirit. God answers the prayers of such a supplicant, but she could not enjoy that sweet fulness of religion in that situation of life, although very rich as regards this world's goods; also knowing that gold and silver should vanish away, but the word of God should endure forever. And some feel their labors a long time before it comes to perfection. Out Methodist sisters established a prayer meeting, and the people worked in the unity of the spirit, and much good was done in the name of the Holy child. Glory to God for what my heart feels while I use my pen in hand.

    I felt peace of conscience and left Chilicothe for Hillsborough to meet a quarterly meeting of W.C., he being Elder at that place; the Governor and his family residing there, six in number, were all Methodists, and one sone a preacher; they had the spirit of christians. The trustee of the Methodist church opened their doors and gave us liberty to hold our quarterly meeting and love feast in their small donation, which was very thankful; after which I left there for Cincinnati, where I spoke to a large congregation.

    I stop't at Williamsport and spoke in the white Methodist church to a respectable congregation. I felt liberty in the spirit of God, and we left there about daybreak in the morning. All nature seemed in silence (except the chirping notes of a little bird.) A few rods from us a Panther screamed very loud and sudden, but we could not see him, it being a dense thicket on either side of the road, but the unseen arm of God sheltered us from harm; one of the gentlemen seemed quite used to hearing them.

    We arrived safe in Cincinnati about 11 o'clock; the Elder W.C. was very liberal in giving me appointments, and the friends were very affectionate to me, and largest congregations attended. I remained there some time, feeling to be blessed in my weak endeavors to a great extent. The next day after I arrived there, one of our sisters fell sick and I had the pleasure of visiting her on her death-bed and in her last hour she told me in presence of others, her peace was made, and raised her hands toward heaven and told us she was going. This is the end of sister Crosby; who can doubt this faithful saying; by grace ye are saved. A month or more previous, she had buried a daughter, who was a member of our church; before she left the world, she called her young companions and caused them to promise to meet her in heaven, and then closed her eyes triumphing in death. Brother Crosby laid the heavy task on me to preach their funeral sermons, which I did, as feeble a worm as I am, on Sabbath morning. Words of my choice were found in 2d Ephe. 8th v. - "For by grace ye are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." Which of itself is a semon to all that believe - glory to God, Christ has overcome the world. And while laboring many tears were shed both in joy and sorrow. But it's better to be one day in the house of the Lord than a thousand in the tents of the wicked.

    Another circumstance worthy of notice, was a young man whose heart was in the world and in worldly affairs, or the pursuits of nature, and diverted much of his time on Sabbath days on the Mississippi River, fighting against all impressions of the Spirit of grace, until God stopped him by the heavy hand of his power, in a death-bed affliction. After some time he began to inquire the way to Zion. His mother was also a stranger to the blood of Jesus, but wished me to come and see her son; being conducted to the house, I found him looking like an anatomy. I asked him if he believed in Christ and his prayers with him and all sufficiency to save; is answer was in the affirmatives. We had prayers with him and there was a display of God's power; a white woman screamed and nearly felt to the floor, but strove hard to keep from it. And on that day he acknowledged his Saviour to be reconciled to his poor soul. Praise God! my soul replied. Afterwards he wished me to hold a meeting with as many persons as the room would contain with him, which I accepted; one day and night after, he departed this life, and requested me to preach his funeral sermon at the house before the procession moved to the ground. I spoke from the 14th chap. 13 v., and we had a solemn time; you may anticipate the weight of that important task, but we had joy in the midst of sorrow, and this was the last of James Thompson. I also left his sisters in the last stage of consumption, and she confessed to be in favour with the Lord.

    Having finished my visit, I left in steamboat for Dayton. I spoke three times, and tried to preach the whole salvation, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The members of the New-light church deny the divinity of Christ. Once I spoke in a large dwelling of Dr. Esley, after which himself and wife went on a journey to Indiana and wished me to go with them, but I was deprived by a previous engagement, having to attend a camp meeting at Cap-teen.

    After my return to Urbanna, Ohio, I took stage for Springfield, and from there to Columbus, and spoke several times. The Elder's class consisted of about twenty; a young man and myself led the class in 1829. The Elder W.C. ordered a camp-meeting for the Cincinnati people, and the brother at Cap-teen and Rev. Bishop Brown, held a conference, and we had a very large camp-meeting, and manifestations of great good, and at the close of the Love-feast, there were thirty-two or three testified that they experienced the love of God. The people of color came out forcibly, and the preachers preached in power. My health was much destroyed by speaking so often and laboring so very hard, having a heavy fever preying upon my system. I was called upon to speak at a camp-meeting, I could scarcely accomplish the task, and I was obliged to take my bed (having also lost my appetite) as soon as my sermon was over.

    After a while my particular friends conveyed me to Mount Pleasant in a carriage; the day was pleasant, but in the woods at night we were overtaken by a dreadful storm of thunder, wind and rain, but through the will of Providence I escaped the inclemency of the weather and stopped at brother and sister Hance's; after being medically renovated, I fulfilled an appointment, and commenced to visit the sick in that place, but was arrested by a heavy fever... When I was able to travel, one of the preacher's wives and a kind brother conducted me on to Washington, from which I took stage for Mount Pleasant; labored for them, enjoyed a love-feast with them, and in a few days left for St. Clairsville and the next successive place; then took stage for Zanesville, continuing to labor around the circuit, and then went to Columbus.

    I was invited to attend a quarterly meeting at Urbana; we had quite a profitable waiting upon the Lord; it makes me glad when they say let us go up to the house of the Lord. After trying to rest myself four or five weeks, a brother preacher, in company with brother Steward's widow and myself, visited the Indians, she having lived nine years in Sandusky. We heard them preach in their own language, but I could only understand when he said Jesus Christ of God, and the interpreter had gone to conference. I spoke to them in English, was entertained in an Indian family, and that very kindly after which I shook the dust off my feet and left them in peace. Thank the Lord for Urbana. The Elder appointed a camp meetings at Hillsborough; it was nothing to boast off; after which I turned towards Philadelphia. Brother Rains paid my stage fare on to Springfield; from thence endeavored to speak to a small and very quiet congregation; from thence to Columbus and paid seven dollars and a half, and left for Wheeling.
    From - Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs Jarena Lee, Giving an account of her call to preach the Gospel. Revised & Corrected from the Original Manuscript, written by herself Philadelphia, Printed & Published for the Author, 1849 Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836

    Jarena Lee (1783-1857) was an evangelist for the AME church in the first half of the 19th century. In 1816, Richard Allen (1760-1831) and his colleagues in Philadelphia broke away from the Methodist Church and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which, along with independent black Baptist congregations, flourished as the century progressed. Richard Allen allowed women to become evangelists and teachers but not church leaders. Jarena Lee was the 1st female to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. Born in Cape May, New Jersey, she moved to Pennsylvania, when she married in 1811. She had felt called to preach as early as 1809, & revealed her wish to church leader Richard Allen, who responded symapthetically, but explained that the AME Church was silent on the question of women preachers. In 1817, an "ungovernable impulse" led her to rise in Bethel Church & deliver an extemporaneous discourse that so impressed Bishop Allen; that he publically apologized for having discouraged her 8 years earlier. With this verbal liscense from the bishop, Lee began her evangelical ministry, traveling hundreds of miles, often on foot, to preach before all races & denominations, at churches, revivals, & camp meetings. She traveled as far west as Ohio. Although she was never officially licensed & never organized any churches, her ministry aided in the rapid growth of the AME Church before the Civil War. By 1846, the A.M.E. Church, which began with 8 clergy & 5 churches, had grown to 176 clergy, 296 churches, & 17,375 members.

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    .Here are a few parasols reflecting the Japonisme trend.

    Alberta Binford McCloskey (1863 – 1911) Eleanor, the Artist's Daughter

    Edward Horace Nicholson (1901 – 1966) Lady with Umbrella

    Ethel Mars (1876 – 1956) Nice

    Ethel Mars (1876 – 1956) Umbrella

    Guy Rose (1867 – 1925) The Model

    Hamilton Hamilton (1847 – 1928) A Gust of Wind

    Hamilton Hamilton (1847 – 1928) Lady with a Parasol

    Hamilton Hamilton (1847 – 1928) Stroll through the Garden

    Jean Mannheim (1861 – 1945) Lonely Tea Party

    Karl Albert Buehr (1866 – 1952) In Repose

    Karl Albert Buehr (1866 – 1952) Red Headed Girl with a Parasol

    Karl Albert Buehr (1866 – 1952) Under the Parasol

    Karl Albert Buehr (1866 – 1952) Young Lady with Her Sunshade under the Trees

    Karl Albert Buehr (1866 – 1952) Young Woman with Parasol

    Lillian Mathilde Genth (1876 – 1953) Summer Morning

    Lucy Drake Marlow (1890 – 1978) Parasol

    Marguerite Stuber Pearson (1898 – 1978) The Red Parasol

    Susan Ricker Knox (1874 – 1959) In Lilac Time

    William John Hennessy (1839 – 1917) The Japanese Parasol

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    A History of the Litchfield Female Academy

    Sarah Pierce, born in 1767, was the 5th child and 4th daughter of Litchfield, Connecticut, farmer and potter John Pierce and his wife Mary Paterson. Sarah’s mother died in 1770, and 2 years later her father remarried and had 3 more children.
    Sarah Pierce 1767-1852  Her father died in 1783, leaving her brother John Pierce, responsible for his step-mother and 7 younger siblings. During the Revolutionary War, Pierce became the Assistant Paymaster of the army; and after the war, he was named Commissioner of the Army, responsible for settling the army’s debts.

    As he prepared to marry, Pierce sent his younger sisters Mary and Sarah to New York City schools specifically to train to become teachers, so that they could help support their step-mother and younger half-siblings. Returning to Litchfield, Sarah Pierce brought a few students with her from New York and established her school. It was a commercial family undertaking. Her sister Mary handled the boarders and the school accounts, while her sister Susan’s husband, James Brace, also taught in the school.

    The Litchfield Female Academy was one of a small group of early schools that played a critical role in shaping later educational, social and economic opportunities for women. Over 3000 young ladies attended the school over its 41 year history. From 1792-1833, the Litchfield Female Academy attracted students from 15 states and territories, Canada, Ireland and the West Indies.

    In 1792, the school differed little from the large number of small female academies opening throughout the country, especially in the northeastern states. Pierce first offered a limited curriculum of a smattering of English, ancient and European history, geography, arithmetic and composition. Pierce continuously improved and expanded her academic curriculum, offering many subjects rarely available to women, including logic, chemistry, botany, and mathematics.

    At the same time, Pierce experimented with innovative ways to unite the academic and ornamental subjects. Students drew and painted maps and made charts of historical events to reinforce geography and history lessons. Students also illustrated poetry, literature, and mythological and biblical readings with elaborate embroideries and detailed watercolor paintings. Botany and natural history lessons were often illustrated with watercolor drawings.

    Although primarily interested in a strong academic curriculum, Sarah Pierce knew that teaching the ornamental subjects was critical to the success of her school. In the 18th century, most wealthy parents were willing to invest in a son’s education, because it increased his chances of pursuing a profitable career. For young women, advanced educational opportunities were few, and the ability of their families to pay the high cost of an education became a symbol of wealth.

    The decorative paintings and needleworks made by the girls at female academies were hung in their parents' formal parlors as proof of family prosperity. Learning dancing, music, foreign languages, art and other ornamental subjects was also important for those students who wanted to become teachers, start their own academies, or marry well.

    Sarah Pierce encouraged her students to become involved in benevolent and charitable societies. The Litchfield Female Academy students organized to support local missionary, bible and tract societies and raised money for the training of ministers.

    Two of her students, sisters Catharine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe, wrote books; others became teachers.
    Sarah Pierce 1767-1852  Piece never married and died at the age of 83 years old. The Litchfield Enquirer newspaper published an obituary on January 22, 1852 which read "We regret the necessity which compels us to announce the departure from this life of one who has perhaps been more extensively known for a period of sixty years than any other lady in New England. Miss Sarah Pierce died at her residence in this village on Monday morning, the 19th last, at the advanced age of 83 years. In 1792, Miss Pierce established a Female Seminary in this place which, as it was the first institution of the kind in this part of the country required great celebrity and pupils resorted to it from distant States as well as from various parts of our own State. This institution was incorporated by the Legislature of Connecticut under the name of the 'Litchfield Female Academy.' Miss Pierce retired from the institution several years ago and has since lived in quiet enjoyment of an ample fortune, universally respected for her constant piety, systematic benevolence and cheerful hospitality."