just doing god’s work?

After the Inquirer article appeared on the ruin of Ebenzer AME in Frazer, I contacted  Rev Dr Mark Tyler via e-email with a few interested folks on the e-mail including local historians.

Three times.

Why email? Because also included was information to help them make an informed decision. I stupidly thought maybe if they could see what we’ve been looking up, and see photos of the spot over the past few years, they would be interested in working together to clean this place up. 

When not even a simple acknowledgment of what had been sent to him was received after three attempts, I took to Twitter. Why did I take to Twitter? Because I learned that they respond to Twitter. 

But the lesson I learned again is there not particularly nice about anything if you aren’t one of their “flock”.

So I will call the good pastor but I’m not expecting much. Because the continued message I received from any level of this church is they aren’t interested in preserving their history. They also aren’t interested in communicating or speaking with me. 

They can pony up the money for fancy bicentennial celebration which must have been super expensive to put on, but they can’t clean up one small church yard and secure one small ruin?

I don’t even know where to go in my head with this. 

And what a horrible thing to think about any church. It’s so terribly sad. They all want to speak about and preach about their marvelous history, yet when their marvelous history needs saving they don’t want any parts of it?

I guess they might not want to respond in writing because then they have wiggle room for potential deniability down the road or something? 

Wow, what a take away lesson.

I do not like to think the worst of anyone, let alone a religious organization, but it’s been over three years at this point of my trying to get this place saved and it just gets more disappointing for everything of effort I expend.

The phone number is 215-925-0616.

I just phoned and I left a detailed message and who I was and why I was calling. I don’t expect a call back. I don’t expect an acknowledgment.

I really want to save this place but at this point in time I am just thoroughly disgusted.  I thought doing God’s work meant you tried to save places like Ebenezer AME. You do it for future generations, you do it for ancestors living today, do it for the history and the fact it’s a sacred place, and you do it because it’s the right thing to do.

Apparently I have been operating under a misapprehension all these years. Is no wonder that people step away from organized religion.

No I’m not disappointed in God, just the people representing him.

all lives matter.

Protests in Philadelphia yesterday July 7th courtesy of NBC 10 Philadelphia video still

Protests in Philadelphia yesterday July 7th courtesy of NBC 10 Philadelphia video still

That was the scene yesterday in Philadelphia. And in Dallas, Texas last evening as a similar peaceful protest was wrapping up, a man out to “kill cops” shot up a protest, killing 5 police officers at last count, and wounding countless others and probably innocent bystanders.

Last night when we were getting ready for bed, the news started to break on 6 ABC the channel we were watching.  I thought there must be some mistake and switched to CNN.

Surely this wasn’t real? But it was, and it was happening in Dallas.

These protests that have sprung up again were in response to a couple of inexplicable police shootings, one of which was in Minnesota.  The other one was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Their names were Philando Castile and Alton Sterling.  They were shot dead like they were rabid animals by those sworn to protect and serve.

I can’t get my head wrapped around that.  I have friends married to law enforcement professionals and soon I will have a cousin by marriage who is also in law enforcement.  Like everything else, bad apples ruin the whole barrel. The people I know who bleed blue protect and serve equally. They have honor.

Then there is the ever inflammatory racial aspect to all of this.

I have friends who are black, bi-racial, and in bi-racial marriages.  I don’t see the color of their skin, I see them for what they are: my friends. For me it is that simple. That is how we see each other. Why is it so ugly in this country? Have our forefathers and civic leaders throughout the centuries fought for naught?

Law enforcement agencies across the country need to address the problems in their midst. If problems did not exist, innocents would not be shot.

And then there is what happened in Dallas. An angry man’s reaction to what is happening over and over in this country repeatedly and in an unrelenting manner.  Those police officers weren’t some characters in a video game.  They were brave human beings who are among the legions who step out where we live every single darn day to protect and serve. And they were protecting the rights of the peaceful black lives matter protesters. When you play the video above you think it is a war zone. Only it isn’t. It is a U.S. city in “peace time”.

Only what is so damn peaceful about it? Is that what we are? A country of people who just shoot each other? Is that o.k. that this is the image we present to the rest of the world?

Don’t start in on me about the Constitutional right to bear arms.  I am not disputing those rights but I honestly feel not everyone should be able to carry guns. Not all people are mentally or emotionally fit to do so, and these are the individuals who are shooting up police officers, innocent adults and CHILDREN.  No one in realty is safe from this nonsense.

Everyone is at risk in this country until we stop, breathe, and come together as a nation. As in all of us. A concentrated effort towards peace.

The political talking heads are jumping on both sides of this issue, Trump and Clinton having the highest profiles doing so.  I wish they would both STFU. This is not about raising their political profiles, this is about the people who keep dying. We are under siege from random acts of international terrorism and our own citizenry.

It’s true, this issue is bigger than all of us and if we do not come together this country is going to be in as bad a position as during the Civil War. Dallas is a city in shock and total lock down now. The suspected shooter is now dead. He was in the Army reserves at one time. He was young and obviously incredibly disturbed.

I understand the need for protests, but if all they do is whip people in violent frenzies where they go and shoot up innocent people, what is pray tell the point of peaceful protests?

Philadelphia has seen hundreds of protesters the past couple of days. A lot of the people are from the A.M.E. Church’s bicentennial visitors and celebrators. More will come to down during the DNC which immediately follows the A.M.E. bicentennial. The DNC is July 25th to 28th in Philadelphia.  What protests will we be in store for then?

I will say flat out I am tired of the protests. I understand them but sometimes I feel like shouting at the TV “all live matter”.  Look at Orlando too. We can’t forget that.  Another recent massacre of U.S. Citizens on U.S. soil.

All lives do matter.  It does not matter the race, creed, color, or sexual orientation.  We are Americans and all of our lives matter. all-lives-matter-sign-ap-640x480

ALL LIVES MATTER.  We need to stop feeding the hate. And a lot of that hate is fueled by both political parties. We are in a Presidential election year so they will grab anything they can and hang on for attention.  It’s not about them.

Please. Stop the hate. Stop the shootings. Stop the protests.  Maybe we will never all like each other, but seriously why can’t we lay down our arms and hateful, hurtful words and try?

Haven’t enough people died from coast to coast?

Dallas needs to be the end of it.

Thanks for allowing me the vent.  I find this all so upsetting and heartbreaking and unnecessary.

Peace. We need national peace.

Thanks for stopping by.

peace+calm+heart+2013

dear a.m.e. church, this is your history, your members’ ancestors, what is wrong with you people? honor your dead!


This is what the ruin of Ebenezer A.M.E. church and graveyard looks like THIS week as in right now. You see, some of the East Whiteland Public Works folks went by this week to see if there was anything they could do to help those of us interested in saving this piece of history before it is too late. They were so nice to even consider doing this.

They asked how to get permission from the A.M.E. Church (national) to do this.

Good freaking question since the A.M.E. church elders are not overly communicative is a substantive way when you contact them.

Oh the irony that here they are all ready to celebrate their bicentennial in Philadelphia right after July 4th and this is how they value their history and pay tribute to their dead. What a bunch of holy hypocrites.

A.M.E. Church can you hear me now?  People are willing to help and you still don’t seem to give a good god damn about these people buried here! Historically important yet everyday people.

What would Bishop Richard Allen who founded your church think? What would Bishop Richard Allen who founded your church do? Personally I think he would have come out himself to help clear the weeds. I also think he would be ashamed and disappointed in you for not being better stewards of history and of the departed.

Shame on you A.M.E. Church, shame on you .

it takes a village

The only photo I have ever seen from a book by Chester County Historian Catherine Quillman (History of the Conestoga Turkpike)

The only photo I have ever seen from a book by Chester County Historian Catherine Quillman (History of the Conestoga Turnpike)

I have been writing about the ruins of Ebenezer A.M.E. Church and Graveyard for a few years now. I wrote two posts in May of this year alone:

private joshua johnson and the other old souls at ebenezer a.me. on bacton hill road in east whiteland

remembering soldiers on memorial day that a.m.e. church doesn’t care about.

Lately I have been really bummed out about the whole thing.

Why?

Because I do not get how the A.M.E. Church as a national organization about to celebrate themselves and their bicentennial in Philadelphia July 6 to July 13th as in right after  4th of July this year doesn’t seem to care about this historic and sacred place on land they still own!

I have a file of e-mails and attempted contact. National A.M.E. church leaders, regional leaders, local ministers.  Some give an initial acknowledgement of my outreach, some have wasted my time with pleasant platitudes and a complete lack of action and I wonder if they really care, but most? Most just blow me off.

There are bits of newspaper articles here and there, including this one from the 19th century with horrible language that was sadly acceptable and not considered offensive back then:

NewspaperClippings 2

It is maddening.  These aren’t my ancestors, this isn’t my religious history per se, but this place speaks to me. It speaks to me of our country’s history and the important part these brave individuals buried there played.  Freed slaves, free people of color, black Civil War soldiers. They matter. #ThisPlaceMatters — yet it rots.

Then, all of a sudden people have started to connect with me again about this place:

One of my friends…. lives in Malven Borough. She and her brother went o try and locate that headstone but weren’t successful.  I’ve never been back to the site myself but would love to go once the poison ivy is gone. I don’t know the exact location..is it at the corner of Bacton Hill and 401 or Bacton Hill ? I don’t want to trespass. Their family has been around forever. Her father was a minister and there were a large number of siblings but all are gone. Thanks

 

NewspaperClippings 3

And then this from another local historian I just met:

 

I recently had a lady reach out to me who’s looking for information on their relatives that were supposedly buried at that Ebenezer Church. I was hoping I would be able to find more information when I went there but everything was so grown over that we couldn’t even find the gravesite…The people that she is looking for is a James Williams, but he also went by the name Perry Ringgold. He bought his freedom in 1851 and lived in this area as a circuit preacher in the AME churches. He had a daughter who we do not have any records of and that is who I’m looking for. The daughter also had a daughter and then passed away shortly after the baby was born leaving the child to a Sophia Lane, who we do not know the relation of them to the baby. I think it may have been a sister-in-law

 

And then a lady named Tia contacted me. She is looking for family buried there. She is looking for the family the historian told me about above. She shared wondrous documents with me. The original deed, and a few other gems. I do not know where the originals of these documents are, but I was so happy to receive her e-mails.

DeedPage1 DeedPage2 DeedPage3

It will take a village to save this.  I would love to get the weeds hacked back so we can see the graves. It has been a couple of years.  I heard the boy scouts will do this, but the gentleman I messaged who suggested it never responded.

If anyone from the A.M.E. church sees this, I really wish they would give a damn.  We are talking about cleaning up and maintaining a historic sacred place. Is it as exciting as Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church in the Society Hill section of Philadelphia? No, but it is JUST as important.  A lot of the history of these churches is being lost, not just here. Records were haphazard, a lot of the history oral.

Here is the text Tia sent me from the deed:

Deed of Trust

James Malin to Samuel Davis et al.

 

This indenture made the eleventh day of the sixth month in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty one between James Malin of the Township of East Whiteland in the county of Chester and state of Pennsylvania, yeoman of the one part  and Samuel Davie, Ishmael Ells, Charles Kimbul all the said county of Chester, Trustees of the African Methodist Episcopal Church to erected in the Township of East Whiteland in the said County of Chester, of the other part.   Witnesseth that the said James Malin as well for and in consideration of the trusts, hereinafter mentioned, created & declared for and in consideration of the sum of one dollar, lawful money of Pennsylvania, to him in hands paid by the said Samuel Davis, Ishmael Wells & Charles Kimbul, the receipt of which one dollar is hereby acknowledge, hath granted, bargained, sold, aliened, enfeoffed, released and confirmed and by these presents doth grant, bargain, sell, alien, enfeoff, release & confirm unto the said Samuel Davis, Ishmael Wells and Charles Kimbul, their heirs and assigns a certain lot or piece of land situate lying and being in the Township of East Whiteland aforesaid, beginning at a  post or stone thence by land late of Doctor John Jacobs, deceased, north sixty degrees, east eight perches to a post or stone, thence by other land of the said James Malin, North thirty one degrees and an half, West nine perches to a post or stone, thence by same and land sold to Charles Kimbul, South sixty degrees west eight perches to a post or stone, thence by land late of John Jacobs now of Joseph B. Jacobs, south thirty one degrees and an half, East nine perches in the place of beginning, containing seventy two perches of land which Joseph M Paul by deed of Indenture dated the eighth day of the fourth month on thousand eight hundred and sixteen and recorded in the recorder’s office in and for the County of Chester in book M3, page 245, granted and conveyed unto the said James Malin, his heirs and assigns forever.  Together with all & singular the ways, rights, liberties, privileges, improvements, hereditaments & appurtenance whatsoever thereunto belonging on or any wise appertaining and the reversions and remainders, rents issues and profits thereof, and also all the estate eight title interest use /codeftion property claiming demand whatsoever as well at law as in equity otherwise housover of him the said James Malin of in to and out of the same.  To have and hold the said described lot or piece of land, hereditaments and premises hereby granted or mentioned or intended so to be with the appurtenances unto the said Samuel Davis, Ishmael Wells and Charles Kimbul and their heirs to the use and behoof of the said Samuel Davis, Ishmael Wells & Charles Kimbul their heirs & assign and the survivors and the survivor of them and the heirs and assigns of such survivors and survivor forever.  In trust nevertheless and to the use, intents & purposes herinafter mentioned, expressed & declared that to say that the said lot or piece of land hereby granted and conveyed shall be appropriated as a place & spot of growing whereon to build and erect a church to be called and styled the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in the Township of East Whiteland in the County of Chester for the members of said church to meet in and at, for the purpose of performing divine worship and for the erecting other necessary guildings for the conveniency and accommodation of the members of said church and for the purpose of a burial ground to bury and inter their dead and to and for no other use, intent or purpose whatsoever.  And the said James Malin for himself his heirs, executors or administrators doth covenant, declare & agree to and with the said Samuel Davis, Ishmael Wells & Charles Kimbul & their  several & respective heirs & assigns in manner following that is to say that upon the death of any one of them the said Samuel Davis, Ishmael Wells and Charles Kimbul or upon their or any of them being mindful or desirous to quit him or themselves of the said Trust, or upon their or any of them being expelled from religious membership by the discipline of said Church, it shall & may be lawful to & for the majority of the members of said Church in meeting assembled as often as occasion may require to make choice of another or others to manage and & requite the said Trust in the room and stead of such as shall depart this life, be desirous of parting him or their selves  of the said Trust, or being expelled from religious membership as aforesaid.  And the said Samuel Davis, Ishmael Wells and Charles Kimbul and the survivors and survivor of them and the heirs and assigns of such survivor shall at the request of the majority of the members of the said Church in meeting assembled as aforesaid convey the said lot or piece of land with the appurtenances agreeably to the Trusts, uses intents and purposes aforesaid to such person & persons and their heirs & assigns as shall be by the majority of the said meeting in that behalf chosen, nominated & appointed in order to keep on foot and in continuance the said Trust estate for the uses and purposes aforesaid.  And also that the Samuel Davis, Ishmael Wells & Charles Kimbul or any or either of them shall not, nor will not at any time or times hereafter assign or convey over his or their said trust estate of or in the said dasonibet lot or piece of land and premises or any part therof unto any person or person or persons so as to make a tenancy in common or otherwise to sever the joint tenancy on the premises hereby created or intended so to be or in any other manner whatsoever buy shall stand and be (?) of the premises with the appurtenances to and for the uses, intents & purposes aforesaid, and to have no other use intent or purpose whatsoever. In witness whereof the said James Malin have hereunto set his hand and seal dated the day, month & year first above written.  James Malin. Seal.  Sealed & delivered in the presence of us John Rogers, James Dilworth, before me the Subscriber, one of the Justices of the peace in and for the County of Chester cam the above named James Malin and acknowledged the above written Indenture of Trust to be his ad & deed to the intent the same as such might be recorded according to law.  In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hands and seal the eleventh day of the sixth month in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty one.  James Dilworuth. Seal

Recorded Febry 18, 1832

 

 

NewspaperClippings 4

EBene

Troop 65 Research

Property Dimensions

Ok local history buffs, have I whetted your appetites yet? Come on, it took a village to get this far, what can the extended village do to save it?

And again, if anyone from the A.M.E. church is reading, please please step forward.  Don’t just talk the talk, actually HELP.

failure to launch in east whiteland

East Whiteland agenda

East Whiteland has a Supervisors’ Meeting this evening.  Did they send out the agenda a week ago? A couple of days ago? With reasonable notice to township residents?

NOPE.

East Whiteland Township sent out their monthly meeting agenda at 10 a.m. this morning. That is NOT truly open government or sunshine friendly.

And what do you get when you click on the link for the meeting agenda which should have been sent DAYS ago?

This:

failure to launch1

And this:

failure to launch

I tried it first on a tablet, then on a computer.

East Whiteland, what we have here is a failure to launch.

Question: Am I reading the sunshine laws right when it comes to meetings? Aren’t residents entitled to more notice than they normally receive?

sunshine law

Good thing I know how to noodle around the website – I found an amended agenda:

6 8 16 amended agenda

Agenda Page 1

Agenda Page 2

Agenda Page 3

Hmm People’s Light and Theater want to build a bigger bread box err banquet facility? Does that mean the food and service will improve? We gave up on the restaurant and trying them for holidays as it was not worth it no matter how lovely the setting.

Swedesford Square Apartment? Jesus H Christ East Whiteland are you TRYING to become King of Prussia overnight?

And Linden Hall? Why should they get waivers from anything? They can’t even restore one historic structure.  Putting mesh fencing around it is not saving it. And those townhouses are tragically ugly and cheap looking.