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Apess, William (31 January 1798–Apr. or May 1839), writer, Methodist minister, and Native-American activist, was born in Colrain, Franklin County, Massachusetts, the son of William Apes, a shoemaker and laborer, and Candace (surname unknown), probably a slave or indentured servant in the house of Captain Joseph Taylor of Colchester, Connecticut. According to Apess’s autobiographical accounts, his father was part Anglo-American and part Pequot and his mother “a female of the [same] tribe, in whose veins a single drop of the white man’s blood never flowed,” although some evidence indicates that she may have been part African American. Only in myth do such beginnings spawn great achievements. At age three, abandoned by his parents, he was nearly beaten to death by his maternal grandmother while she was in a drunken rage, a rage that Apess later understood as an effect of the theft by whites of Native American lands, culture, and pride. Bound out at four, he spent his youth as an indentured servant in three different white households in Connecticut and as an infantryman in a New York State militia company during the War of 1812. He received his only formal education, six winter terms of school, between the ages of six and eleven....

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Hogue, Wilson Thomas (06 March 1852–13 February 1920), Free Methodist bishop, was born in Lyndon, near Franklinville, New York, the son of Thomas P. Hogg, a Scottish immigrant farmer (who changed the spelling to Hogue), and Sarah Ann Carpenter, a native of England. At the age of nineteen Hogue was licensed to preach in the Free Methodist church, of which his family were members. In 1873 he joined the Genesee Conference, taking pastorates within its bounds until 1892. In 1874, while pastor at Jamestown, New York, he married Emma Luella Jones; they would have three daughters....

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Lumry, Rufus (1799/1800–21 June 1862), abolitionist, circuit preacher, and church organizer, was born in Rensselaerville, New York. He was almost certainly the son of Andrew, a probably illiterate wagon driver whose patrilineal Huguenot ancestral surname was Lamoureux; his mother’s identity is unknown. The family moved to Albany around the time of the War of ...

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Portrait of Rufus Lumry, by H.W Immke

Photograph by H.W. Immke, Bureau County Historical Society Princeton, Illinois

Article

McCaine, Alexander (1768–01 June 1856), clergyman and a founder of the Methodist Protestant Church, was born in Dublin, Ireland. His parents’ names are unknown, and details of his youth and education are not available. He was raised in the Roman Catholic faith and planned to enter the priesthood of that church but never did. In 1787 McCaine immigrated to the United States, landing in Charleston, South Carolina. Soon after his arrival he was attracted to the Methodists and experienced conversion under the persuasive preaching of William Hammett, who later separated from the Methodist Episcopal church because he did not agree with the authority that resided in the episcopal office....

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Roberts, Benjamin Titus (25 July 1823–27 February 1893), founder and first general superintendent of the Free Methodist church, was born in Cattaraugus County, New York, the son of Titus Roberts, a general merchant, and Sally Ellis. Roberts taught school by age sixteen and worked in a law office by eighteen. While studying law, he delivered an antislavery speech and remained a lifelong abolitionist. After a religious conversion in July 1844, he decided on a career in ministry. In April 1845 he enrolled at Genesee Wesleyan Seminary in Lima, New York, and by autumn was attending Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. He was licensed to preach on 19 April 1847, graduated Phi Beta Kappa in August 1848 with B.A. and M.A. degrees, and in September was admitted on trial to the Genesee Conference of the Methodist Episcopal church. Before leaving college, he had met Ellen Lois Stowe, whom he married in 1849; they had seven children....

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Anna Howard Shaw. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-20177).

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Shaw, Anna Howard (14 February 1847–02 July 1919), minister and woman suffragist, was born at Newcastle upon Tyne, England, the daughter of Thomas Shaw, a wallpaper maker, and Nicolas Stott. The family moved to Massachusetts in 1851. In 1859 Thomas Shaw settled his wife and younger children in an unfinished cabin on Michigan’s frontier while he returned east. Anna’s bitter recollections of the responsibilities that fell to her in the next decade make up the most powerful section of the memoirs she published as ...

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Shinn, Asa (03 May 1781–11 February 1853), Methodist clergyman and an architect of the Methodist Protestant church, was born in New Jersey, the son of Quaker parents Jonathan Shinn and Mary Clark. Little is known about his parents and early life except that he was reared in Harrison County in western Virginia....

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Snethen, Nicholas (15 November 1769–30 May 1845), clergyman and founder of the Methodist Protestant church, was born in Fresh Pond (now Glen Cove), Long Island, New York, the son of Barak Snethen, a farmer, miller, and shipper, and Ann Weeks. Barak Snethen was of Welsh descent and served as an officer in the British colonial army before taking up farming, work that Nicholas shared during his early years. Nicholas attended a country school, and his mother also instructed him in the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England. In 1790 the family moved to Staten Island, New York, where Snethen was active in the Episcopal church and was converted under the preaching of ...