Richard Harvey Cain (1825-1887) Served in South Carolina Senate in 1868

Robin Foster
by Robin Foster
Richard H. Cain, member of the United States House of Representatives
Richard H. Cain, member of the United States House of Representatives

I trust you followed along with our series on the Bishop William H. Heard where we proved researching him could also bring forth many resources that would also document other African Americans. If you missed it, see the last installment: Documenting William H. Heard (1850-1937) 1901 Until His Death in 1937. Now, we will show how bringing forth 1868 politicians, a forgotten few, will cause us to look at resources for even more African Americans. You will recognize names of ancestors and find resources to check for your ancestors. The person we will look at today is Rev. Richard Harvey Cain (1825-1887) who was a SC Senator in 1868.

Rev. Richard Harvey Cain was born on April 12, 1825 in Greenbrier County, Virginia which is now West Virginia. He moved with his free parents to Gallipolis, Ohio, in 1831 which was a free state where he received an education. He learned to read and write in Sunday School classes. “In 1848, he joined the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and became a minister in Muscatine, Iowa. Cain moved to South Carolina in 1865 to lead a Charleston AME church and soon became involved in local politics.  In 1868, he was elected a member of the South Carolina State Constitutional Convention.”

For now, I would like to focus on the organization of the African M. E. Church in Columbia, South Carolina in October 1865. Rev. Cain was born free as was his parents. So far, he had been born in Virginia in 1825. He moved with his parents to Ohio in 1831. In 1848, he became a minister in Iowa. By 1865, he had moved to Charleston, SC., and he was present at the first quarterly conference of the African M. E Church on Monday, October 23, 1865. According to The Daily Phoenix, a Columbia, SC newspaper, Elder Cain was the organizer of the meeting. The secretary was Simon Miller.

Roll was called, and the following answered as their names were called:

Esop Smith                 S. Cooper

E. W Arthur                S. Goodwyn

A. Richerson              H. Bryant

P. Kilgore                   S. Goodwyn

M. Williams               R. F. Camel

D. Picket                     S. Garrett

J. H. Horton                Wm. Allan

T. Douglass                Wm Simmons

B. Hart                         C. Wilder

S. J. Perren                  R. Reglar

T. H. Perren                M. DeBruhl

Isaac Perry                  G. Simpkins

S. Miller                       S. Blake

J. Baker                        L. Milligan

W. Maxey                    Wm. Myers

S. Haynes                     J. Waties

H. D. Edwards             J. Henry

N. E. Edwards             P. Ellington

J. Glaze                        R. Holmes

J. Davis

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The daily phoenix. [volume] (Columbia, S.C.), 31 Oct. 1865. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84027008/1865-10-31/ed-1/seq-3/

Elders of the Washington Church and the Marion Street Church received the Books of the Membership of the Colored People. “A large number were licensed to preach and exhort, and to visit the plantations and to instruct the people in the duties of life and their relations in the community.”  Rev. Cain was said to be “earnest in impressing the duties of the Ministers in visiting and administering to the wants of the flock over whom they might be called exercise.” Both churches, the African M. E. Church and the M. E. Church, were merged into one and Esope Smith was appointed in charge of Columbia.

Just let that sink in. Here are the names of the people in Columbia who were charged with taking care of the flock in Columbia area who were just freed. They were given their names in books.

Sharpen the Saw

Are you related to any of the named ministers? Can we find anything more on them?  Let us know in our Facebook Group.

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