Knox College Struggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois (Knox College)
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Allen Chapel history by James Washington
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TitleAllen Chapel history by James Washington
DescriptionNotes taken by Knox College Professor of Sociology, J. Howell Atwood from an interview with James Washington about the history of the Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church in Galesburg, Illinois. Atwood conducted extensive research from 1930-1960 about the Galesburg African American community.
Race relations
Named PersonWashington, James; Richardson, Susan; Woodfork, Rev.; Jackson, Rev.; Jacobs, Rev. C.S.; Sanderson, Henry; Easley, William; Washington, J.W.; Ward, John; Wilkins, Frank;
CreatorAtwood, Jesse Howell;
Time Period1930s
IdentifierJ. Howell Atwood Manuscript Collection (box 3 folder 11)
CollectionStruggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois (Knox College)
Date Digital2013-02-14
TranscriptJas. Washington
Allen Chapel (1)

In 1855 they held at Susan
Richardson's house prayer
meetings. She said if they'
d let her go to the conference
at Chicago she'd go and
ask for the Conf. to send a
preacher here. She had a
female hog with a litter of
pigs. She sold the hog & litter and
went to the Conf. The Bishop
send Rev. Woodfork who
stayed several weeks or
even months & under his
direction in 1858 the
church was organized. Aunt
Susan went to Chicago in
1855 as I recall it. Along
in the 60's they built a little
frame church. They worship-

Allen Jas. W. (2)
ed in that little church
till 1874. The Bishop
then sent an elderly man
Rev. Jackson. He started
to build the church larger.
But this elderly minister
died. In 1874 a new
minister was sent. This
was Rev. C.S. Jacobs
This new minister set
to work at a new building.
It was all finished except
for plaster when one Sun-
day morning early it
burned down. There
was a 2 story house on the
N.W. cor. of Prairie & Tompkins.
They kept boarders. The
man who owned this place

Allen Jas. Wash-- (3)
it is said didn't like
colored folks. The fire
started in his barn &
spread to the church which
was very close by. A cow &
dog were burnt up with
this man's barn.
The 1st mayor of G-- [Galesburg] was
Mr. Henry Sanderson. The
city councilmen wanted to extend the fire
limits so that we would
have to build with brick.
They called the mayor in
on their talk, so he warned
Rev. Jacobs to get the
frame of the new structure
up before the council
could meet & change the
law. We did this & thus
they couldn't stop us. We

Allen Jas. Wash-- (4)
used this building until
it was brick veneered in
1911. The debt when this
construction was completed
was converted into a single
mortgage of $4000+. to be
paid at the rate of $40.
a month. 1/2 int. & 1/2 principle Mechan-
ics Homestead and Loan
Association (Lake W. Sanborn
was the secy.). This was
a struggle for 11 years.
In 1922 under Rev. Robt.
Thomas we'd have tag days
and raised a hundred $ or
so. He said we'd have a
grand rally -- at that time
we owed $3, 335. All
clubs & organizations were
to pledge so much. Wm
(not a member of the church but a friend)
Easley ^ went to the Loan

Allen -- Jas. Wash- (5)
to see what they'd discount
the debt if we paid it off.
He brought back the answer
--$200. With this $200 &
all the rally money we still
lacked $400 of paying the
bill. There were 4 col. [colored] men
J.W. Washington, Wm. Easley,
John Ward, Frank Wilkins
who said they'd sign for the
$400. without time limit or
interest. We then had our
money in the bank. These
4 men & the church secy.
Jas. Washington, signed
a note at the Custer
bank and then we took
the whole amount over to
Tony Swanson, the secy
of the Mechanics Loan Assn.
Physical Descriptionhandwritten on 5 half sheets of scrap paper
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