Joe Menkevich just informed me that the Burial Ground at Campbell AME Church at 1651 Kinsey Street has been approved by the staff of the Philadelphia Historical Commission to be included on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.
A hearing (for Approval) will be held by the Committee on Historic Designation, January 19, 2022, 9:30 a.m.
To watch/listen to and speak during the remote meetings live on Zoom using your computer, tablet, or smartphone, click on the following links:
(If approved on Jan 19th 2022, a second hearing will be held by the Historical Commission on February 11th .
Joe has been researching Frankford for years and gathered all the evidence and presented it to the Commission last year.
Joe includes much of Frankford history that is not well known within his nomination document. One of the most interesting stories to me is the story of Billy Brown who was one of the first Trustees of Campbell AME Church.
John Fanning Watson, a nineteenth-century collector, chronicler, and historian interviewed one William (Billy) Brown, who was a Trustee of the Campbell:
“1825 — Billy Brown, a black man, of Frankford, was seen by me in his 93d (born about 1732) year of age — he lived about two years afterwards. He was of the African race, taken a prisoner (in Africa) when a lad, leaving his parents and five brethren; and was two years before reaching the coast and being sold.
I found him quite intelligent, his memory good, and himself a pious, good man. He was then the husband of a young wife, by whom he had children, the youngest then 16 years old.
What made him most interesting; he had been at Braddock’s defeat, as servant to Colonel Brown of the Irish regiment. There he remembered and described to me the conduct of Washington in that action — how he implored Braddock for leave to fight the Indians in their own way, with 300 of his own men, and how he was repulsed with disdain.
He was afterwards at the death of General Wolfe, and near his person, still with Colonel Brown; thence went to the attack of Havana; thence, at the peace, to Ireland, with his master, who there set him free by a vessel going to Philadelphia.
There he was fraudulently conveyed to Virginia and sold — became the slave of one Wiley, who was extremely cruel to him — lost some of his fingers and toes by severe exposure — was bought by General Washington, and was his slave during all the Revolution, at his estate at the Long Meadows.
Finally, free at Frankford; since died, and made happy in a better world.”
4 “…I have full confidence in the words of Billy as far as they went, because he seemed incapable of intentional fraud, and was beside a religious man, of the Methodist profession; but above all, he had been in after life seven years a servant with General Washington, and that circumstance must have more deeply impressed the facts as they were…5
This amazing man is part of Frankford history. Thanks to Joe this story and the others included in the nomination will now be known.
You can read it all at this link. It’s well worth your time. Thanks to Joe Menkevich.