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A guide to selected historical documents, events, places, and other material focusing on Black History, Native Americans, and other racial minority populations in the Town of Warwick.

The Union African Methodist Episcopal Church

undefinedPeople of color have been members of Warwick's churches and faith community since they were first established.  In some denominations, such as the Dutch Reformed, Presbyterian, and Old School Baptist, a separate area such as the upper gallery was designated for servants and slaves.

One church in particular has been a focus of faith for the Black community, since the early 19th century, the UAME church on McEwen Street. which was founded in the winter of 1904-1905.

This photo shows the church prior to World War 1

The congregation eventually grew out of the small frame church, which was rescued and moved by the community and the Warwick Historical Society, and moved intact to its present home on Forester Avenue. 

Church Records

Persons of color attended many of the early churches; often the church record did not indicate their racial identity.  There are a few that we have found so far.  In 1778 the Goshen Presbyterian church records show a number of marriages of persons of color, then none soon after.  We do not know if the solemnizing of slave marriages was suspended, or what other explanation exists for this brief spurt of marriages-- then, nothing shown for the next period of years.  The "why?" would make an interesting study.

Church Records
Sorch/Sorchy. Stories of her recorded in Under Old Rooftrees, p. 186-189. Free woman of mixed racial identity who attended Old School Baptist meeting services during the lifetime of Elder James Benedict (b.1720-d. 1792)
Bays, David. Member of Old School Baptist Church in 1802.  A slave freed by John Hathorn. From p. 300. "David Base an Ethiope".
Bays, Serene. Wife of David Bays.  A member of Baptist Church in 1816.  She also was a slave freed by John Hathorn.  From p. 305. "Serene Base a woman of Couler."

Peter & Dina . Sept. 26, 1778, the Goshen Presbyterian Church solemnized the marriage of Peter, a negro of Henry Wisner, Esq. and Dina, a woman of John Everetts.  We speculate that the "woman" is of mixed race, but is a slave, as is Peter.

Cyrus & Dine Oct. 17, 1778, the Presbyterian church solemnized the marriage of Cyrus, a negro, and Dine, a Woman of Daniel Everett.  We may speculate that Cyrus may have been free, as no owner is named.  Dine was possibly of mixed race, and a slave.