Well it looks like one or two more post after this one will finish this book.
202 History of Pocomoke City,
There is only one incident of his life which I wish to mention and that is the circumstance of his conversion It was brought about by a dream, He was already under deep conviction for sin. He had no rest day or night and seemingly could find none. While in this condition he dreamed that he was down a deep well ; how he got there he could not tell. In contemplating his condition, he saw no way of his escape. He seemed hopelessly lost. In casting his eyes upward he saw a star, about which there was peculiar attraction. While looking at it he discovered himself rising out of the well. It was such a strange phenomenon he could not understand it ; and in looking" down the well, that moment he fell to the bottom. How- ever, in looking up again he saw the same star, and while looking at it, he discovered that he was rising again this time higher; but some how or other he took his eyes off the star, and down he fell to the bottom again.
In this sad condition he concluded there must be some power in that star to bring him out of the well, and if he could but see that star once more, he never would take his eyes ofT of it until he would be out of the well. Fortunately, again he saw the same star. He fixed his eyes upon it, and he felt that he was rising, but he would not take "his eyes off of it until he found himself entirely out of the well. At that moment he awoke out of sleep and concluded that that dream was from God, and was intended to point him to the Day Star from on high. He made the application and found Jesus without further trouble. He was converted immediately and awoke the family, and there was a great shout that night.
Formerly New Town. 203
The incredulous may say, oh, pshaw; that was only a dream. It was a dream, that is true, but it was more than a dream in the commom acceptation of that term. It was the instrumentality which the Holy One used to save his soul. Lorenzo Dow preached in New Town in 1805, to about 2000 people, assembled from all the country around, and at night he preached at Rev. Jas. Tilghman's house. After he had conducted the preliminary services and had read out the text, Captain Harry Long came into the congregation and after he had taken his seat, Lorenzo said, "Captain my text is "Pray without ceasing and in every thing give thanks." The fact of his giving Capt. Long his title, without having any previous knowledge of him, produced a wonderful thinking in the minds of the audience ; for they had previously heard that Lorenzo could foretell future events, and was a discerner of spirits.
There are only two incidents in the life of Lorenzo that I will here mention. The first is his courtship and marriage. On a certain preaching tour, he made the acquaintance of the lady whom he afterwards married. The courtship is as follows : he said to her' " I think you will suit me for a wife, and as I am going to such and such places to preach, and shall be gone such a length of time, you can think the matter over, and if you think you would like me for a husband, when I return we will get married.
204: History of Pocomoke City,
But, one thing must be clearly understood, and that is, you must never get in my way in preaching the gospel, for if you do I shall pray to the Lord to take you out of the way and I believe he will do it, and upon his return they got married. The second incident is the tin horn story, which is as follows : He was going to fill an appointment which he had made, probably a year before. When he was nearing the place where he had to preach, he over-took a colored boy with a tin horn ; he asked him his name, the boy said his name was Gabriel. Lorenzo said to him : "I am going to such a place to preach to-day, and if you will go there and climb up into a tall pine tree, and remain there silent until I call for Gabriel to blow the trumpet, then if you will blow one of your loudest blasts, I will give you a dollar." The bargain was made, and Lorenzo commenced the services and took his text, which embraced the idea of the Resurrection and the general Judgment.
As he proceeded, in unfolding the awful truths contained in the text, in graphic style, holding his large audience, which was assembled in the grove, spell-bound, and as all eyes were upon him while contemplating the sublime majesty of Christ's coming in the clouds of heaven with ten thousands of His saints to judge the world. When he had reach the climax, and had Gabriel standing one foot upon the sea and the other on the dry land, with his long silver trumpet, he called aloud for Gabriel to blow, at that moment, Gabriel in the pine tree, blew the tin horn.
Formerly New Town. 205
The scene as portrayed by eye witnesses was indescribable, The people were in utter consternation, some falling to the ground and crying for mercy, while others were shouting salvation, in the immediate prospect of standing before the Throne, and the horses were squealing and prancing. Finally the congregation discovered the boy in the pine tree and became composed. When Lorenzo then said, if the blowing of a tin horn by a little black boy in the top of a pine tree could produce such an effect, what would they do when the great day comes ?
206 History of Pooomoke City, CHAPTER XXXII. CHURCHES (CONTINUED.)
But to return to the subject of the church at New Town, I have already said, the house was built in 1808, on the site of the present one. Its dimensions were 30 by 32 feet. It had three galleries, two side and one end gallery. Its pulpit was of the old style of the Episcopal Church pulpits. At first, its benches were thick planks, laid on blocks of wood ; but in process of time it had benches with backs to lean against. The church had three doors, one side door leading out into the grave yard, and two end doors ; one for the white people to enter the church, and the other one for the colored people to go up into the galleries. There were eleven windows in the church, seven below and four above, those below were one-half sash and glass, the other half were wooden slides, and those above were all wooden slides. There was one old style box stove in it, which was given to the church by Miss Rosa B. Schoolfield, after-wards, Mrs. Rosa B. Quinn, wife of Rev. William Quinn.
The church was neither lathed nor plastered for thirty years. In its erection, some gave lumber, some work and others money. I have seen the old subscription book for the erection of the church, and in looking it over my heart has been cheered in reading the name of Michael Murray, my father as a subscriber to build the Methodist Episcopal Church in New Town, he being a Roman Catholic.
Formerly New Town. 207
The reader will remember, that according to the limits given to New Town, that this church was in the suburbs. After it was ready for divine service, the appointments at the private houses were abandoned, and preaching was held every two weeks at the church. Of this church, Bishop Asbury, thus speaks in his journal, under date of April nth, 1810 : "I preached at New Town ; we were crowded. This is a flourishing little place, and we have a beautilul little chapel." As this was the only house of worship in the place for several miles around, great assemblages of people would attend divine service, especially on quarterly meeting occasions.
The church would be crowded to its utmost capacity and more people outside listening and looking in through the windows and doors than were in the house, and the thickets in the neighborhood of the church would be full of horses hitched. At such times the Presiding Elder would preach. In the order of time there were such men as Dr. Chandler, Lawrence Lawrenson and Henry White. These •men had great pulpit power. The subject selected would •be one of the most lelicitous in the Gospels. As the minister would proceed and be in his happiest mood and tired .with his subject, responses of loud aniens and hallelujahs would be heard in the congregation, and especially in the amen corner.
208 History of Pocomoke City,
Before the services closed strongmen, who did not make any profession of religion, would be bathed in tears, and others crying for mercy, while Christians were shouting salvation, and the whole scene would impress the thought of the shout of the King in the camp of Israel. The first class was formed about 1790 or shortly afterwards. The names that were enrolled upon that first class-book were as follows : Littleton Long and wife, Win . Melvin and wife, William Merrill and wife, Geo. Houston and wife, Rosa Merrill. Avra Melvin, Joshua Sturgis and wife, Nancy Sturgis, Levin Mills, Polly Blades, Samuel Blades and wife-, Susan Ward. James Tilghman and wife,. Nancy Blades, Hannah Benson, Joseph Young and wife, James Dickinson, Sr., and wife. Jemima Henderson, Ibba Chapman and Nathan Milbourn. These names are very dear to many who are still living: in Pocomoke City. During the year 1800, Avra Melvin was licensed to- preach, and in 180S. James Tilghman was licensed to preach and shortly afterward, he was ordained a deacon. A little incident in relation to Mr. Tilghman is here inserted.
Shortly after his ordination, he was called upon to marry a couple in the country. It was his first attempt, and while he was on his way thitherward, he stepped a side from the road into the woods and selecting two trees representing the parties before him, he went through the ceremony, after which he went on his way to the place of destination and united the parties, applying.. in marriage.
Formerly New Town. 209
Rev. James Tilghman was the father of Mrs. Mary Cottingham of Snow Hill, Md., he died in 1816, aged 34 years. His tombstone is still standing in the Methodist Episcopal Church burying ground of Pocomoke City and bears the above date. In reviewing the religious condition of New Town, as late as 1820, it may be of interest to notice its denomina- tional status. There were only two Presbyterian families in the place. There were no Baptists here then. There was one old lady by the name of Elizabeth Matthews, who was a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church at Dividing Creek ; this old lady would be seen on Sunday morning wending her way to Dividing Creek, to church.
A little humorous story is here recorded about Aunt Betty, that was the name we used to call her by. Aunt Betty used to raise geese. At the usual time of picking the feathers off the geese, she picked the down also off both geese and goslins. There came a sharp snap of cold weather the night following, and next morning Aunt Betty's geese and goslins were all dead. She went over to the neighbour's to make her tale of sorrow known.
Said she in a whining tone, "child, what do you think ? I picked my geese yesterday, and today they are all dead." After telling how she picked them, the lady remarked: "Ah ! Aunt Betty that is the way, crave all and loose all."
There was another family in the town which was Roman Catholic, that family was my father's. He was educated a Roman Catholic in Ireland, his native country. My mother was raised a Methodist.
210 History of Pocomo/ce City,
I am happy to say, how- ever, though my father was a Roman Catholic, yet he was a liberal one, for he helped to build the Methodist Episcopal Church in New Town, and had his children baptized by Protestant ministers. He would hold family prayers on Sunday mornings, and teach his children the duty of private prayer. The prayers that he used to teach us, would be the Lord's prayer ; the Apostle's Creed, the salutation and invocation to the Holy Virgin, Mary, etc. All others in the town who professed Christianity, were Methodists, and there was a goodly number of them too.
In the early history of Methodism in Xew Town, putting up places for the preachers would be scarce. The members of the church were, almost without an exception, poor and had no accommodations for the preacher and his horse. As a general thing there was not more than one place at which they could stop and find entertainment. The preacher in charge lived in Snow Hill and the assistant preacher lived with the several Methodist families on the circuit. They would come here on Saturday after- noon, stay until after dinner on Sabbath, and then go to their afternoon appointments. This condition of things existed as late as the writer's own personal knowledge, and foremost among those who bore the burden and stood by the Church in its low estate was Jesse Long, who not only entertained the preachers, but would bear the greater part, if not all of the expenses of light and fuel for the church. He would collect the quarterage money, and go out among the citizens of the town and ask contributions for the support of the preacher.
Formerly New Town. 211
He was the mainstay of the church in New Town until he died, which event took place in 1845. He was buried in the Methodist Episcopal Church burying-ground in New Town, at the age of 52 years, as his tombstone bears the above date. In the early history of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and as late as the writer's own personal knowledge, the amount of quarterage paid to the preachers by the church in New Town was fifteen dollars and twenty-five cents per quarter, or sixty one dollars per year, and as this was the only church in the place, until 1832, the amount of money paid for the support of the gospel, by New Town, was sixty one dollars per year. About the year 1835, accessions were made to the church, which was the result of revival meetings, among others was the Rev. John D. Long, who was a young man of prominence. His father and mother died before he reached his majority, and upon him devolved the responsible task of taking care of two sisters and a brother younger than himself. At this time he was merchandising at Steven's Ferry in Somerset County, on the lot of ground where the Phosphate factory now stands. After conducting this business until about 1837, he gave it up and commenced teaching school in Nassawaddux, at Williams' school-house, where he continued until the close of 1838. In the spring of 1839, he joined the Philadelphia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Subsequently he married Miss Sarah Caulk of New Castle County, Delaware; a young lady of fine intellect and culture, by whom he has four sons, all grown men.
212 History of Pocomohe City,
Mr. Long was always delicate in health, and had been in the traveling ministry only about nine years, when his health was so broken down that he was compelled to take a superannuated relation. In that capacity he has remained until the present time. During the intervening years he became the author of a book called "Pictures of Slavery." For sixteen years he was missionary of Bedford Street Mission in Philadelphia. That position he resigned in April, 1882, and in order to show the value of his services and the esteem in which he was held during that long time of service, I will here insert an appreciative resolution by the Board of Managers of that institution, which was unanimously adopted. "The Rev. Mr. Long having tendered his resignation as superintendent of the mission, a position he has held for the past sixteen years, the Board of Managers hereby accept it. They do so, however, with sincere regret, as well for the separation it involves as for the cause (Mr. Long's increasing bodily weakness) that compels it. And they would place on record, in connecting with their action, the expression of their high regard and thanks to Mr. Long for his uniformly wise and faithful administration of the mission during his long term of service in it; for his personal worth, which secured for it so largely the confidence and support of our citizens; for his consistent life and just and kindly course towards all with whom his work brought him in contact, by which he won their affection and respect, and (as the result of all) for the good name in the possession of which he now leaves the mission.
Formerly New Town. 213
They earnestly wish for him all possible benefit from the rest he has well earned and which he so much needs, and hope he may be long spared to enjoy it." The above resolution I copy from the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin of Saturday, February nth, 1882. This resolution of the Board of Bedford Street Mission is eulogy enough, but I will add that I have known him from his infancy, and most intimately for forty-five years, and I must say that he has the highest sense of moral rectitude and is one of the most conscientiously just men I have known. He, now in all probability, has done his last work, and has returned to this his native place to rest.
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