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African Methodist Society (Emanuel AME)


Enslaved residents who were members of the African Methodist Church, later known as Emanuel A.M.E. Church, escaped from Portsmouth aboard vessels that plied the waterways that headed to points north. These freedom seekers included Clarissa Davis and her two brothers William and Charles, and sister. Also, members such as Anthony Blow and Moses Wines were recorded to have escaped. Operatives like Henry "Bluebeard" Lewey and Eliza Bains, are credited with assisting many of the Church‟s members, especially in the 1840s and 50‟s. The Church‟s records indicated that their membership was depleted in the 1840s because of the large numbers who escaped. Moreover, other accounts, such as the book written by William Still and WPA oral histories of Portsmouth residents, discussed the interaction between the Church and the Underground Railroad.

Visitor Information: Currently open to public.

Location: Emanuel AME Church, 637 North St, Portsmouth, Portsmouth, 23704

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: Granger Flythe

Location Type: Site

People/Organizations Associated with the site: A.M.E. Church

Freedom Seekers: Anthony Blow,Charles Davis,Clarissa Davis,Moses Wines,William Davis

UGRR Operatives: Eliza Bains,Henry “Bluebeard” Lewey

Religious Denominations: Methodist