This document, which is called a "finding aid," describes an archival collection.
In the course of daily life, individuals, families, organizations, and businesses create and keep information about their
activities. When such records are no longer needed on a day-to-day basis, a portion judged to possess enduring historical
value may be preserved and maintained as archival collections. Archival records take many forms, including correspondence,
diaries, financial and legal documents, photographs, and sound recordings. Archival materials may also include maps, scientific
data, artifacts, and electronic records such as emails or databases.
Prepared by archival staff, finding aids provide a history of the person or organization that produced the collection, an
overview of the collection, and a detailed list of the collection's contents.
Finding aids are used by researchers to determine whether materials within a collection may be relevant to their research.
While not exhaustive, finding aids help researchers identify the particular boxes or folders that may hold items of interest.
Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church, an African-American church, formed after the Civil War with the withdrawal of African-American
members from Trinity United Methodist Church. In 1866, the congregation purchased its current building at 60 Wentworth Street,
Charleston, South Carolina.
The records in this collection cover the beginning of Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church (1866-1978). The collection is
divided into two series: Member Records and Financial Records. Member records (1857-1978, with gaps) contain vital statistics
from baptismal, marriage and donation records of church members. Financial Records (1899-1969, with gaps) include information
regarding church expenditures and member donations.
Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church Records, 1857-1994
Prior to the establishment of Centenary United Methodist Church, free people of color had worshiped in the galley of Trinity
United Methodist Church. While the congregation was encouraged to continue worshipping in the gallery they decided to establish
their own church. The Reverend T. Willard Lewis and the Reverend Alonzo Webster from New England assisted in the establishment
of the new church, starting services in a room of the Memminger Normal School (and the first site of the Avery Normal Institute,
at the corner of Beaufain and St. Phillip Streets). Due to growth of membership, a larger structure was necessary.
In 1865, Bishop Osmen C. Baker of the Methodist Episcopal Church appointed the Reverend Alonzo Webster of Vermont to take
charge of the unsettled congregation. Bishop Baker was impressed by the earnest prayers of the congregation for a suitable
building and promised them the aid of the Missionary Society of New England in their effort.
The Wentworth Street Baptist Church (formerly the Second Baptist Church) offered their building for sale. The structure at
60 Wentworth Street was designed by Edward Brickle White and erected in 1842. After a sacrificial struggle that challenged
the congregation's devotion, the required purchase price of $20,000 in gold was paid on April 10, 1866. Some of the gold had
to be shipped from New York due to the lack of availability in Charleston. The deed was prepared to the Missionary Society
of the Methodist Episcopal Church on April 10, 1866, to be held in trust by Alonzo Webster, Charles Holloway, George Shrewsbury,
John Gibbs, Jacob Mills, Samuel Weston, January Holmes and Archibald Walker, trustees of the church. The first seven pastors
(with the exception of the Reverend W.O. Weston, who carried out the unexpired term of the Reverend T. Willard Lewis) were
white. The Reverend Joshua E. Wilson was the first African-American pastor to serve.
The Quarterly Conference of the Charleston District appointed the Reverend W.H. Lawrence to secure the deed of the property
of Centenary United Methodist Church from Missionary Society of New England vesting title to the Charleston Board of Trustees
on November 29, 1884.
SOURCES: Lilly, Edward G., edited. "Historic Churches of Charleston South Carolina" Charleston: Legerton and Co., 1966.
"The History of Centenary United Methodist Church: April 10, 1866-April 10, 2005." Charleston: Pearl's Desktop Publishing
Member Records contains record books noting vital statistics from baptismal, marriage and donation records of church members. Of note is
a record book initially titled,
Colored Members of Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church 1857, which includes a list of "Trinity Colored [Class] Leader, 1857", and a list of members of free people of color, or enslaved,
in Class 1. Later records of Centenary Church (1866-circa 1868) lists names of class leaders, linked to lists of those in
their classes, some with notations on their deaths, expulsions, transfer, etc. Also, includes listings of pastors, with salary
notations (1866-1935); baptisms, noting date of baptism, and if an infant, child, or adult; a chronological record of marriages,
noting name of parties, resident, places of birth, etc.; list of probationers (1868-1931), with some notations as to when
received and by whom. The record book from 1919-1936 holds the complete meeting minutes of the Board of Trustees regarding
church repairs, fund raisers, election of committee members, finances, etc. The "Stewards' Account" (1894-1897) record book
names the leaders of 76 different classes of prominent families in the African-American community, including Ancrum, Fields,
Fielding, Fludd, Heyward, McFall, Mickey, Mouzon, Noisette, Pequette, Rollerson, Seabrooke, Simmons and Washington among others.
This book is a listing of classes with student and teachers, with some notations as to deaths, transfers, etc. In the "loose
papers" folders, of note is a small envelope for a "Pound Party" for the Jenkins Orphanage (1908). Also, holds a photocopy
of a brief history of Centenary Church (1994). NOTE:
The record books and loose documents are in Fragile Condition.
Financial Records holds ledgers and loose documents regarding records of member donations, arranged by class; a "benevolence record;" donation
receipts; church expenditures; and notations regarding attendance. NOTE: The financial ledgers and loose documents are in
Contains records books which notes vital statistics from baptismal, marriage, donation, among other records of church members.
Also, holds a photocopy of a brief history of Centenary Church (1994).
Box 1 Folder 1
History of Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church, 10 April, 1994
Brief history with listing of ministers from 1866-1994, photocopied
Box 1 Folder 2
Record Book, 1857
Initially titled, "Colored Members of Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church 1857." Contains a list of "Trinity Colored [Class]
Leaders, 1857" and a list of members of free people of color, or slaves in Class 1. Later records of Centenary Church (1866-circa
1868) lists names of class leaders, linked to lists of those in their classes, with some notations on their deaths, expulsion,
transfer, etc. Also includes a list (1867) of baptisms, noting date of baptism and indicating if person was an infant, child
Box 2 Folder 1
Record Book, 1866-1935
Contains list of pastors, with salary notations; lists of leaders, local preachers, exhorters, trustee and stewards, with
some notations as to election, resignation, withdrawal and death, etc. (1866-1935); lists of classes, (with earlier and later
numbering systems) noting leader and members with some notations on death, address, removal, etc.; a chronological list (1883-1927)
of probationers, often with notations by whom received, address, and when and how baptized; list (1897-1927) of full members,
noting address and by whom received; a chronological record (1879-1934) of marriages, noting name of parties, resident, places
of birth, groom's occupation, ages, minister and witnesses; and a record (1879-1931, with breaks) of baptisms, noting adult,
child or infant, with some birthdates, addresses, and names of parents, etc. given. Loose materials contain brief notes regarding
various people, various lists of names of people giving money, and other miscellaneous materials; with a small envelope for
a Pound Party for the Jenkins Orphanage, 1908.
Box 2 Folder 2
Record Book, 1868-1931
Includes a list of probationers, with some notations as to when received and by whom, class membership and death; lists of
classes (1869-1878) noting leader and members with some notations regarding death, transfer, removal, expulsions, etc.; list
of full members (1869-1877) in alphabetical order with notations on when, how and by whom received, death, expulsion, etc.
and class number; record (circa 1868-1877) of official members, listing officers and position held, when appointed and when
removed; record of salaries paid for A. Webster and W.O. Weston; record (1868-1879) of baptisms, noting if infant or adult,
mode of baptism, officiating minister, place of baptism and names of parents; record (1872-1879) of marriages, noting date,
name of couple and officiating minister. Some records provide residence, occupation of groom, location of marriage and witnesses.
Loose materials contains the "Unit Worker's Prayer List and Record" (1920), which lists member contributions and an invitation
to Centenary's "Annual Fellowship Tea," 1958.
Box 3 Folder 1
Record Book, 1885-1975
Contains a brief handwritten historical sketch of the southern Methodist Episcopal Church and of Centenary (1885) by Reverend
W.H. Lawrence and a history of Centenary's organ (1936); published program from 70th Anniversary (1936), containing a brief
history of Centenary; list of pastors with notations when appointed and removed; list (1891) of elders, exhorters, trustees,
stewards and class leaders and list of committees, with notations regarding ; class records (1887-1893) listing name of and
member, martial status, residence, and notations as to death, removal, transfer, etc.; list (1934-1945, with one name for
1962) of probationers listing marital status, when and by whom received; list (1872-1975, with breaks and one member joining
for 1837) of full members, occasionally noting marital status, when how and by whom received, class number and a few remarks;
record (1885-1969, with breaks) of marriages, noting date, names of couple, residence, place of birth, occupation of groom,
age, officiating minister and witness; record (1886-1975, with breaks) of baptisms, noting date, name, adult or infant, names
of parent, mode of baptism, place, officiating minister and some remarks on death; list (1935-1978, with breaks) of deaths,
noting date and location of funeral.
Box 3 Folder 2
Various documents, 1935-1936, 1956 and undated
Holds loose materials from the previous volume titled, "Order of Business for the Colored Leaders Meeting, City Colored Mission,
Charleston, South Carolina,"(undated) outlines the agenda for their meetings and details the role of secretaries and superintendents,
and a photocopy of the 70th anniversary program (1936) of Centenary as week as an invitation (1956) to the Bricklayer's and
Plasterer's Benevolent Association's annual meeting. Also, contains a receipt for donations to the Freedmen's Aid and Southern
Education Society and a summary (1935) of organ repairs for the church.
Box 4 Folder 1
Record Book: "Stewards' Account", 1894, 1891, 1896-1897
Lists members and leaders of 76 different classes of prominent families in the African American community; record (1896-1897)
of all four quarterly conference of Centenary, with minutes of the meetings and committee reports; list of local preachers,
exhorters, stewards and trustees; list (1897) of members and leaders by class with some notations as to deaths, transfers,
etc. Loose materials include an invitation (1891) to a lecture by Reverend C.N. Grandison, "The Only Solution to Our Problem."
Box 4 Folder 2
Financial Ledger, 1919-1924
Includes record of donations by church members. Also, includes addresses; "World Service Collections" (1923-1924) list donations
of members of this committee
Box 5 Folder 1
Record Book, 1913
Lists members by class and address, with financial information regarding pastor salary and chruch expenses and the money collected
in various benevolent activites including, "Freedmen Aid Missions." Also, contains probationers records; converts; and infants
baptized. Transferred from Mickey Funeral Home Papers
Box 5 Folder 2
Lists church members by class, noting addresses and as their financial contributions; list (1915-1916) of committees, stewards
and trustees; list (1914) of committees and total amount of money raised; list (1917) of stewards and trustees as well as
committees and salaries paid
Box 5 Folder 3
Record Book, 1919-1936
Contains complete meeting minutes (typed and handrwritten) of the Board of Trustees regarding church repairs, fund raisers,
election of committee members, finances, etc.; list (1923) of all furniture in the Parsonage.
Box 5 Folder 4
Various documents, 1917-1937
From the previous volume. Includes various meeting minutes of Board of Trustees as well as correspondence regarding repairs
done to the church and financial statements from local banks. NOTE:
Documents are in Fragile Condition.
Box 5 Folder 5
Record Book, 1926-1928
Entitled, "Official Record for the Sunday School Secretary, No. 1." Includes list of members, officers and donations. Also,
includes attendence and record (1927, 1928) of two board meetings.
Box 5 Folder 6
Various documents, 1929-1931
Materials from previous volume includes invitations to a party (1930) given by the Epworth League; a costume party (1931)
at Centenary and "Picture Story Paper" (1929).
Holds ledgers and loose documents regarding records of member donations, arranged by class; donation receipts; church expenditures
and notations regarding attendance. NOTE: The financial ledgers are in Fragile Condition.
Box 6 Folder 1
Financial ledger, 1899
Includes record of donations by church members arranged by class.
Box 6 Folder 2
Various documents, 1900, 1921-1922 and undated
Loose materials from previous volume includes various notes regarding attendance, probation, and class members. Note:
Documents are in Fragile Condition.
Box 6 Folder 3
Financial Ledger, 1933-1945
Includes record of donations by church members and attendance for 1941, 1942 and 1945. Loose materials include donation receipts.
Box 6 Folder 4
Financial Ledger, 1946-1952
Includes record of donations by church members and a record (1947-1952) of receipts, noting reimbursements, salaries of church
leaders and deposits for the church; a record (1947-1952) for "World Service," listing donations; a record (1952) of a board
Box 6 Folder 5
Various documents, 1952 and undated
Materials from the previous volume includes papers regarding member donations, church expenditures and a copy of a letter
(1952) regarding painting of Centenary.
Box 6 Folder 6
Financial Ledger, 1952-1958
Includes record of donations by church members, church expenditures and salaries paid. Loose materials contain a list of donations
Box 6 Folder 7
Financial Ledger, circa 1959
Includes record of donations by church members, noting street address.
Box 6 Folder 8
Financial Ledger, 1968-1969
Includes record of donations by church members and money disbursed. Also, a listing of some church members by address and
The nature of the Avery Research Center's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may
be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Avery Research Center claims only physical ownership
of most archival materials.
The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright
law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of
copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be
fully credited with the source.
[Identification of item], Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church Records, Avery Research Center, College of Charleston, Charleston,
Records donated by Howard Wine for Centenary United Methodist Church, 1993