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Biography of Alexander W. Wayman

Alexander W. Wayman, the 7th Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, was born in Caroline County, Maryland, during the month of September, 1821. He was brought up upon a farm, and for a long while followed agricultural life. Like a number of prominent colored men of his class, he educated himself. In 1840 he united with the A. M. E. Church, and, three years later, was admitted to the ministry of that Church. After pastoring congregations in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, he was finally made a Bishop. He had his residence in the city of Baltimore for quite a number of years, and it was in Baltimore that he entered into eternal rest. He was a man of very great character, earnest and powerful as a preacher, and was universally beloved by both white and colored people, in all walks of life. He died in Baltimore on November 30th, 1895.

In Bishop Handy's ''Scraps'' of history, the following address uttered by Bishop Wayman, appears:

"In some of our Conferences, we had often been discussing the propriety of sending missionaries to Haiti and Africa. I said never would I consent to go, or assist in sending any one there, until I could go all over the South to see my brethren. I had for some years selected the text to preach from when I went there, 'I seek my brethren,' Gen. xxxvii, 16."

In the autumn of 1863 I received information that the colored people, members of the Bute St. M. E. Church South, in Norfolk, Va., were left as sheep without a shepherd, and they desired to unite with the Baltimore Conference of the A. M. E. Church if I would come down and see them. I said, Here is an opportunity to preach my text, I seek my brethren." I went to the protest Marshal for a ''pass" to Norfolk. He said Military affairs never interfered with religious affairs, and therefore I would have to write to Norfolk for what I wanted. I told him that the Military had us hemmed in on every side; we could not go or come without their permission. He finally said to his clerk: ''Give this man a pass to Norfolk, Va."

Saturday afternoon came. I was off to old Virginia. The night was very pleasant, indeed, and I was treated very kindly indeed, by the steward and waiters; for some of them were members of our church. Brother Peter Shepherd, now a member of the Virginia Conference, met me at the boat, and took me to the Church to see Sunday school in operation. In the afternoon. Rev. Mr. Greely, who had been temporarily serving them, administered the Lord's Supper. At night I was permitted to take my text: "I seek my brethren." They announced preaching for Monday afternoon, and a meeting of all the official members for Monday night.

Monday afternoon I addressed the congregation from the text: "We are journeying to the place of which the Lord said I will give it thee; come thou with us and we will do thee good." Num. x. 29. At night the Board met. I had prepared an instrument in writing for them to sign if they agreed to unite with us. After it was read, one man said, "I move we adopt it," and while they were discussing, another brother said, 'Let us vote, for I am all on fire for it." The vote was taken, and carried unanimously.

I spoke again on Wednesday night, text: ''We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with yon." Zach. viii. 23. The secretary read to the congregation what the Official Board had done, and they took a vote and indorsed it. I returned to Baltimore rejoicing that I had preached my text in old Virginia, "I seek my brethren, and had taken a church of eight hundred members, and the following named ministers: R. H. Parker, James Tynes, Peter Shepherd, Americus Woodhouse and Amos Wilson.

 Maryland Biographies | Maryland AHGP

Source: Gazetteer of Maryland, by Henry Gannett, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1904.


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