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African American Genealogy: The Dial: Promoting the Religious and Educational Interests of the Race

Robin Foster
by Robin Foster

Over two years ago, I was involved in the restoration of Fairview Cemetery in Greenwood, South Carolina. The motive was to find the burial spot for Beverly Vance (1832-1899), my great great grandfather. I still have not found his burial spot, but I have been true to the history I have discovered which at that point was slipping away.

I quickly discovered that those buried in Fairview Cemetery as well as other cemeteries nearby had strong connections to the community as well as other counties of South Carolina. I made some preliminary connections to my family with African American Genealogy: Are You Working in the Cemetery for Pre-1870 Clues?

It was troubling to document the owner of the cemetery, Joe Wah, in What doe Joe Wah, Chinese American, Have to Do with My Family? and  Joe Wah Murders Wife: You Have to Take the Good with the Bad when I found out his wife was part of my extended family and they are both buried in Fairview Cemetery.

In the next few posts, we are going to show not only are the people of Fairview Cemetery important to me, but they are important to Greenwood County and South Carolina. They were involved throughout the state.

Discoveries

While we cleaned Fairview Cemetery, I had asked at the Greenwood Library if they knew of an African American newspaper that had been published ever in Greenwood. I even posed the question to University of South Carolina in Columbia. It would have really benefitted in the attempt to tell something about the many African Americans buried in Fairview Cemetery.

Low and behold my search of Newspapers.com turned up The Dial, a weekly newspaper published in Greenwood. It promoted “the religious and educational interests” of the African Americans. The newspaper started around 1914.

The publication board was as follows:

Conley L. Henderson, editor

  1. E. Rice, associate editor
  2. B. Nichols, associate editor
  3. F. Fox, associate editor
  4. S. Rice, assistant manager & assistant editor
  5. J. Wise, manager
  6. C. Crawford, secretary
  7. S. Burnett, treasurer

 

Blog 60 Picture 1a

Blog 60 Picture 1b

The Dial, “A New Newspaper Here,” (Greenwood Daily Journal), Greenwood, South Carolina, 26 September 1914, Page 3, Column 4, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/4755749/greenwood_daily_journal/, Newspapers.com

 

I found another article in the September 25, 1954 issue. So we had a weekly paper than ran at least from 1914 to 1954.

 

Blog 60 Picture 2

The Dial, “New Weekly Paper,” (The Index-Journal), Greenwood, South Carolina, 25 September 1954, Page 4, Column 5, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/10838392/the_indexjournal/, Newspapers.com

 

I asked in the community of Greenwood if anybody had an issue or had seen the paper. A couple of residents remembered seeing The Dial. Some even promised to produce it for me, but I have yet to see an issue.

My attention turned next to documenting the lives of the African American men who published the paper. I will tell you about Conley L. Henderson here. Some of the others will wait until next week, because they have to do with my family or Fairview Cemetery.

Because Conley Lincoln Henderson was the man he was, I know The Dial was a powerful piece of literature for the Greenwood community:

 

Conley Lincoln Henderson

Conley Lincoln Henderson, History of the American Negro, South Carolina Edition, (Atlanta, Georgia: A. B. Caldwell Publishing Co., 1919)

 

The below is taken from Conley Lincoln Henderson, History of the American Negro, South Carolina Edition, (Atlanta, Georgia: A. B. Caldwell Publishing Co., 1919), 425-455:

“Rev. Conley Lincoln Henderson, of Greenwood, has for many years successfully combined the practice of two high professions, that of teaching and preaching. Indeed those who emerged from slavery had themselves to educate under most adverse conditions and so great has been the need of the race for education, religious and secular, that one who fought his own way through could not refrain from giving every help to those beginning the same kind of struggle. He was born in Laurens county, October 11, 1867. His father and mother, David and Ruth Caroline Henderson, were slaves before emancipation. The former died when the boy was quite small and his widowed mother was not able to help him obtain an education.

However, he attended the common schools of the neighborhood and later managed to attend Allen University of Columbia, which in 1916 granted him his well earned degree of D. D. although as a young man he missed graduation because unable to finish out the last part of his senior year.

On August 7, 1890, Rev. Henderson was married to Miss Mary Jane Bell, a daughter of Jackson and Rose Ella Bell. They have had thirteen children, nine of whom, John Beauregard, Carrie Luella, Talmage Christopher, Daisy Lillian, Beaulah Maggie, Thomas Bradley, Conley Lincoln, Mary Etta and Ruby Beatrice, survive.

In addition to regular schooling. Rev. Henderson has traveled in adjacent States and to some of the large cities of the east and has been a constant student of good literature, especially concerning history, philosophy and science.

He began teaching in 1888 at the Elzee School in his native county of Laurens, which work he continued there up to 1896 and again in 1900. This was followed by the Bondsville school, 1897-1899. From 1901 to 1904 he taught the Promised Land school and in 1911 the Mt. Sinai School, both in Greenwood county.

On May 24, 1890, Rev. Henderson was licensed to preach by Presiding Elder Rev. H. Young. He joined the Columbia Conference three years later and was ordained to the Deaconate December 8, 1895, by Bishop M. B. Salter and to the full work of Elder. December 5, 1897, by Bishop B. W. Arnatt. Since joining the Conference he has held the following appointments: Woodruff, Wateree, Ridgeway and Mt. Nebo Missions, each one year; Enoree Circuit, 1898 and 1899; Promised Land station, 1900-1904; Greenwood station, city of Greenwood, 1905-1909, Bradley Circuit, Greenwood County, 1910-1914. In December 1914, he was appointed by Bishop L. J. Coppin, Presiding Elder of the Greenville District and is now in his fourth year of most successful service in this important field.

Dr. Henderson was made secretary of the Columbia Annual Conference in 1900 and re-elected without opposition each succeeding year until the Conference was divided in 1909, when he was at once chosen for secretary of the Piedmont Annual Conference which office he has filled steadily until the present. He was twice delegate to the A. M. A. General Conference, that of 1908 and of 1916.

In politics he is a Republican, and among the secret orders affiliates with and holds high positions in the Odd Fellows, Masons and Knights of Pythias. In recognition of his eloquence and attainments, Allen University has placed him on its commencement program on several occasions.

Dr. Henderson has considered the development of his own talents for larger usefulness to his people, and the rearing of his children of far higher importance than the accumulation of property, though he has a small competence. His library is his greatest financial asset, and he spends money freely for good books. To increase his own efficiency Dr. Henderson has learned stenography, touch typewriting and bookkeeping.

Three daughters and one son have been graduated from accredited schools. Two of the girls have specialized, Carrie L. as a nurse and pharmacist and Daisy L. in dressmaking. Talmage C. has completed his A. B. course and is now 2nd Lieutenant in the U. S. A.

John B. after some years in school abandoned the academic course for technical training and is an expert automobile machinist.

Dr. Henderson believes that every man who can qualify should do so, and exercise his franchise as an American citizen. He also wants to see the race co-operate in establishing and patronizing their own business institutions and is a strong advocate of competent, well paid teachers and believes that support to religious and educational institutions should be unstinted.”

Sharpen the Saw

Have you found newspaper subscriptions that cover your area that you are researching? Do you search for more than obituaries? I challenge you to search through the whole paper. You might just discover more about your family. Because I did do just that, I found The Dial existed. Come share your thoughts in our Facebook Group!

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