On 25 July 1906, Norris Stevens, C.C. Goffney, Moses Bennett, J.M. Sanders and M.L. Phillips, trustees of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, paid $200 for a 90′ by 110′ lot on Suggs Street.
The A.M.E. church as drawn in the 1922 Sanborn map of Wilson, N.C.
The church was the first home of the congregation that became Saint Luke A.M.E. Church, which moved to its current location at Vick and Atlantic Streets in the 1930s (albeit in an earlier building than now.) Saint Luke’s cornerstone describes its organization as 1910, which seems to indicate that a different, earlier congregation built the Suggs Street building.
Norris Stevens — Norris Stephens died 5 December 1909 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 35 years old; was married; lived on Darden Alley; was born in Duplin County to Joe Stephens of Sampson County and Emline Flowers of Wayne County. Lum C. Goffney was informant.
C.C. Goffney — In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Sugg Street, Christopher Gofney, 44, carpenter; his wife Fannie, 30; and son Clinton, 16; plus lodger Freeter Moseley, 19, insurance agent. Christopher Columbus Goffney died 3 September 1918 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 22 December 1858 in Ed[ge]combe County to Woodson Goffney and an unknown mother; and worked as a carpenter. Lucy Goffney was informant.
Moses Bennett — Moses Bennett died 27 April 1917 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 47 years old; was married; worked as a laborer; was born in Sampson County to Wright Bennett. Informant was Calline Bennett.
Deed book, page 361, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.
From Richard R. Wright Jr.’s Centennial Encyclopedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Containing principally the Biographies of the Men and Women, both Ministers and Laymen, whose Labors during a Hundred Years, helped make the A.M.E. Church What It Is; also Short Historical Sketches of Annual Conferences, Educational Institutions, General Departments, Missionary Societies of the A.M.E. Church, and General Information about African Methodism and the Christian Church in General Being a Literary Contribution to the Celebration of the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Formation of the African Methodist Episcopal Church Denomination by Richard Allen and others, at Philadelphia, Penna., in 1816 (1916) —
Clark, Thomas Garriett, son of Harry and Flora Clark, was born in Wilson county, near the town of Wilson, N. C., July 10, 1876, on the homestead place. There were nine children. Here he grew up on the farm and attended the country and also public school. He entered Lincoln University, Pa., at twenty-two years of age, was converted May 22, 1899, and connected with the Presbyterian Church; entered the Divinity School, Howard University, Fall of 1902, graduating from the Classical Department May, 1905.
He joined the A. M. E. Church in 1906, and was licensed in February, at Bethel A. M. E. Church, Sixth and Lombard Streets, Philadelphia, where he labored till the year 1908, when he received his commission to the African field under Bishop William H. Heard, D.D., December 5. He was ordained Deacon at the Philadelphia Annual Conference, June 14, 1908, at Carlisle, Pa., by Bishop Gaines, and was also transferred to the Liberian Annual Conference, West Coast Africa, June 15.
He sailed for Africa with Bishop Heard and other missionaries December 5. He preached his first sermon in Africa January 1, 1909, Rom. 12:1. Met first Annual Conference January 27. He was ordained Elder January 31 and appointed to the Eliza Turner Memorial Church, Monrovia. He was reappointed January 26, 1910, and made Principal of the Mission School. The students enrolled numbered one hundred and thirty.
He raised and contributed October 10 the first one hundred dollars to the “Building Fund” for re-building the church at this charge. He was appointed to the Bethel A. M. E. Church, Lower Buchanan, Grand Bassa, March 20, 1911, and established a mission station among the Kroo Tribe at Kroo Town, November 26. He baptized seventy-six persons while in Africa.
He was appointed General Missionary at the Annual Conference held at Monrovia, March 15, 1912, and returned to the United States with a native boy, “Uleh,” from the mission station, for the purpose of educating him to return and teach among his tribe. He arrived in America April 10 and was married to Miss Sarah B. Wainwright April 21.
July 1, 1912, he was appointed to Victor’s Chapel A. M. E. Church at Mont Clair, N. J. He pastored St. John’s A. M. E. Church, Catskill, N. Y., May 26, 1913, to May 31, 1914. Rev. Clark has written a work entitled “Liberia, the African Republic,” setting forth the colonization and steady development and appalling conditions. He shows how non-recognition by foreign power forces decided action on the part of the colonist and retards the formation of a Government modeled after that of the United States.
In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County, farmer Henry Clark, 39, wife, Florah, 38, and children John, 16, Mary J., 14, Ella, 12, Henrietta, 9, Henry, 8, Augustin, 5, Thomas, 3, and Margaret, 10 months.