Third Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church

Bishop McKinley Young

The African Methodist Episcopal Church was born Sunday, November 4, 1787. Richard Allen,

Absalom Jones and other persons of color walked out of St. George Methodist Church because

of racism and organized Bethel Church at 6th and Lombard Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In 1816, the African Methodist Episcopal Church was incorporated and Richard Allen was the

first elected and consecrated bishop during the first General Conference.


As early as 1822 a debate arose in the Baltimore Annual Conference relative to the Western

Territories, and the Annual Conference under whose jurisdiction they should be placed. The

record refers to it as “the country west of the Allegheny Mountains.” The record is silent as

to whether at this time there were African Methodist Societies in any part of this vast territory.

In 1824 the Philadelphia Annual Conference included five churches in Western Pennsylvania

and six in Ohio, one of which was in Cincinnati.


By the meeting of the third General Conference of 1824 the missionaries had made their way across the mountains into the valley of the Monongahela. The mighty leaders were none other 

than the same Boggs, William Paul Quinn, and John Charleston. Quinn’s labors carried him through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri. He is to African Methodism what Peter Cartwright was to Methodism in the frontier period of the Church. John Boggs left his footprints in Ohio, and nearly five hundred miles beyond the western spur of the Alleghenies. In 1823 only seven years after the Philadelphia Convention, the advancing missionaries had founded the church at Steubenville, Ohio. By February 1824, Moses Freeman had established what is now Allen Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church in Cincinnati.


John Charleston, another Virginian, by his evangelistic and pioneering endeavors, entered the Ohio country and left a record of heroic Christian service that will stand out more gloriously with the flight of time. He was the first convert of an American Sunday School, organized by Francis Asbury in Hanover County, Virginia. This was in 1786. As a boy, Charleston came to Ohio and lived in Chillicothe, where he was a local preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church. When the missionaries entered the territory to establish the African Methodist Episcopal Church, he was one of the first to join, and was commissioned to work. He co-labored with John Boggs, Noah Cannon, and William Miller. [...]

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