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African American Genealogy: Morris Brown AME Church and the Lemon Family

Robin Foster
by Robin Foster

Remember in Tracing the Lemon’s from Columbia to Greenville to Charleston Using City Directories I found Rev. R. I. Lemon and his wife, Virginia Vance Lemon, who is my great aunt. I was able to see that they lived in Columbia and moved to Greenville and Charleston. Virginia is someone whom I am definitely interested in learning more about; she is my grandfather’s sister.  A study of her life will help reveal more about myself.

They moved around a lot just like Rev. Lafayette Franklin Vance. I figured it must be because of Rev. R. I. Lemon’s involvement with the AME Church. If I wanted to learn more about Vivian, I had to trace Rev. Lemon. Maybe there would be a biography on his life among AME records. Lo and behold! I was right! I found The Encyclopedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church on HaitiTrust. There were entries for Rev. Lemon and Mrs. Vivian Vance Lemon.

 

Richard R. Wright, The Encyclopedia of the African Methodist Episcopal, (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A.M.E. Church, c1947), 180-181. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/imgsrv/download/pdf

Richard R. Wright, The Encyclopedia of the African Methodist Episcopal, (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A.M.E. Church, c1947), 180-181. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/imgsrv/download/pdf

 

Richard R. Wright, The Encyclopedia of the African Methodist Episcopal, (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A.M.E. Church, c1947), 180-181. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/imgsrv/download/pdf

Richard R. Wright, The Encyclopedia of the African Methodist Episcopal, (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A.M.E. Church, c1947), 180-181. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/imgsrv/download/pdf

 

 

Richard R. Wright, The Encyclopedia of the African Methodist Episcopal, (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A.M.E. Church, c1947), 180-181. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/imgsrv/download/pdf

Richard R. Wright, The Encyclopedia of the African Methodist Episcopal, (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A.M.E. Church, c1947), 180-181. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/imgsrv/download/pdf

 

 

The first thing that struck me was that I had never seen a younger picture of the two of them. How fortunate for me that they had saved these photos with their biographies. Next, I am appreciative of getting a more compete timeline of where they were. They have more history on Rev. Lemon that I can trace:

  • Morris Brown Church, Charleston
  • Born in Davis Station on June 21, 1896 to Jackson and Emma Lemon
  • Attended public school in Clarendon and Allen University
  • Boston University in June 1923 and June 1924
  • Allen University in June 1927
  • Licensed to preach at Chappelle Station, Columbia, SC. in 1918
  • New England Conference at Boston in 1922
  • Ordained a deacon by Bishop Heard in Boston
  • Ordained an elder in Columbia by Bishop Chappelle
  • Blythwood Mission in 1924
  • James Station in Columbia from 1926-1927
  • Emanuel Station in Columbia 1928 to 1929
  • Cumberland Station
  • Allen Temple Station in Greenville 1934-1935
  • Morris Brown in Charleston, SC 1936 to 1947
  • Delegate to General Conference 1936, 1940, and 1944
  • Religious Education Board at Allen University from 1936-1940
  • Trustee of Allen University
  • Published articles regularly in AME Review, Palmetto Leader, and Christian Recorder
  • Taught at Allen University for nine years
  • Member and president of Negro Community Council in Charleston, SC
  • President of AME Ministerial Union of Charleston, SC
  • Member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity
  • New Development Community Council of Charleston, SC

What an extensive list of resources I now have to trace Rev. Lemon. A much shorter one is left for my great aunt, Mrs. Virginia Vance Lemon, but it gives important information about her:

  • Wife of Rev. R. I. Lemon
  • Married December 17, 1925 daughter of Rev. L. F. Vance and Lula Vance
  • Graduated from Allen University 1924
  • Accomplished musician and assistant organist of Morris Brown Church
  • Has a large musical studio
  • She’s the mother of eight children – at least one is not named here

 

Sharpen the Saw

Now that I have resources the name my great aunt and uncle, I will investigate them further to see what they reveal. I am confident I will find out more, and you can follow along to learn how to access them for yourself. Have you been able to find an ancestor among any of the resources named above? Let us know on our Facebook Group.

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