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Biography of Scipio Beanes

Scipio Beanes was born in Prince George's County, Maryland, in the year 1793. When he was about twenty years of age, he removed to the city of Washington. Beanes was born a slave, and having obtained permission of his master to attend a school conducted in that county, he obtained the elementary principles of an English education.

In 1818, his master made him a present of his freedom. The next year he married a Miss Harriet Bell, of Washington. About the first of the year, 1825, Beanes experienced a change of heart,' and united with the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Sometime after, having been commissioned by the local church as an 'exhorter,' still later, he was commissioned by Bishop Allen to make a visitation of the churches on the Eastern Shore. His work there was quite successful. He remained laboring in this work as long as his health permitted, "but his delicate constitution, the severity of the winter, and the bad accommodations which were afforded, compelled him to abandon the field and return home. In his homeward journey the snow was so deep that he was compelled to quit the saddle, and on foot pursue his journey, leading his horse nearly the whole distance from Annapolis to Washington.''

He was seized with deep pulmonary affection, and he was advised by his physician to seek some warmer climate. In 1826, he left for Port au Prince, Haiti, to improve his health. He remained there one year, his health improving and in the meantime he performed valuable missionary services. On his return to this country, he met the General Conference, and he was commissioned as a regular missionary to Haiti from the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1828 he returned to Haiti. After a year or so there he again returned to this country, and in 1832 he went back to Port au Prince, "the Lord blessing his labors in the souls added to the Church." Of him, Bishop Payne, the historian of the A. M. E. Church, further says:

"His health improved at first, then began to fail. He was a great sufferer, but a patient, uncomplaining one and without flinching he continued to labor. It was his: wife's desire to return home, but the rapid encroachments of the disorder prevented this, and he was content to remain and die in Haiti, saying:

"Heaven is as near to Port au Prince as to Washington.'' He literally finished his life and his labors together, for we are told that he had baptized and administered the' Lord's Supper on a Sabbath (January 12, 1835), and went home to Heaven the next morning at dawn, in the 42nd year of his age. He was generally beloved by the people, it seems, and esteemed as well. We are told that he performed the marriage of the French ambassador, Mr. Denny, himself a Methodist. His labors were confined, so said his wife, entirely to the city of Port au Prince, because his health did not permit him to travel over the Island. So much we know of the life and death of our first worker in the foreign missionary field of the West Indies."

 Maryland Biographies | Maryland AHGP

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


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