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Other Prominent Characters

There are quite a number of names of distinguished colored men, of the past, concerning whom it is difficult to ascertain definite and reliable data. Jacob C. Greenough, grandfather of Prof. Richard T. Greenough (marked out and Greener written in) (the first colored person to graduate from Harvard University), was quite active in Maryland affairs as early as the year 1815, at which time, being a communicant of St. Paul's Parish, Baltimore, and also a licensed lay-reader, he made the first attempt to raise a Colored Episcopal Church in Baltimore, by holding services in his own house.

He was one of, if not the leader, in antagonizing the Colonization Movement. The Rev. William Watkins not only conducted a day school, but also associated with Frederick Douglass in his journalistic and anti-slavery work. Isaiah C. Wears, the celebrated orator and debater, of Philadelphia, was also a Marylander by birth.

Samuel W. Chase and George Hackett were giant leaders of the race in their day. Chase was known far and near for his moving and captivating eloquence. During the period immediately following the Civil War, Isaac and George Myers were the distinguished and effective leaders of racial interests. Isaac Myers was also most active in Bethel Sunday School and Church.

About this same time, there arose to prominence and leadership, a man, although not a native, whose good work earned for him a worthy place among the "Men of Maryland." From the humble occupation of a 'teamster" he gradually arose to real, potential, and effective leadership of his race. For a number of years he was a United States Inspector of Customs. Many years later, he was elected a member of the Baltimore City Council. He exercised a wonderful influence over the leaders of both political par-ties. Few men enjoyed such extensive personal acquaintance with the big men of the country, both white and colored. He adapted himself to conditions such as they were. He could play "ring" politics, or otherwise. Our present prosperity in schools and many other civic affairs, are due, in a large measure, to his efficient leadership. Naturally, he had political enemies. Some very good people characterized him as a "corrupt boss." But, the author of this volume knew him quite well for well-nigh twenty years, during which time we never discerned in him other than al straightforward, courteous, and honest man. Our estimate of Hiram Watty, for we refer to him, is that of one of the most genuinely useful and serviceable men of the race, in his day and generation.

 Maryland Biographies | Maryland AHGP

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

 

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