#FieldTripFriday: Wolcott Methodist Church
In honor of Black History Month we made a trip to our hometown of Wolcott, Vermont to the United Methodist Church. We were surprised to learn the church we drove by during our childhood was built in 1856 by a group of trustees led by a Pastor of African descent - very atypical pre Civil War. George S. Brown ended up in Wolcott after becoming a Pastor in New York and then traveling to Liberia preaching to the natives. Here are three impressive things we learned about this man:
1) George Brown became a member of the Fort Ann NY Society in 1843. He ran into opposition from Reverend John Seys that ended in a civil suit for slander and defamation. He was able to get $150 in damages but was expelled from the Fort Ann Church “for having the audacity to sue a white man.”
2) In 1856 he made his way to Wolcott, VT and was responsible for the construction of the towns first Methodist church. This was an incredibly rare event, where a person of color led white townsfolk before the Civil War!
3) He was also an impressive stone wall builder and was recruited to build a wall in Michigan in 1863. He negotiated his own rate of $1.50 a day (compared to the going rate of only $1 a day) plus room/board and didn’t have to work on stormy days. The wall has been marked as a historic monument by the Michigan State Agricultural Society.
Of the field trips we have taken so far, this is one of the most impressive people we have learned about. We want to thank Rev. Pat Thompson and her husband for meeting us and providing such great history. For more information, Pat can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.