Inside the sanctuary of Union Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, near the corner of 5th & Lincoln Street in Old Denton, Maryland, is a framed portrait of indigenous Caroline Countian Bishop Alexander Walker Wayman.
On Saturdays present-day members of the Wayman family can be found fixing vehicles and lawn mowers in backyards around the corner from the church while on Sundays the pews fill with Wayman descendants, as well as other surnames whose families have made contributions to Caroline County since its founding more than two hundred years ago.
Bishop Wayman, and his immediate and extended family, were close friends with not just the family of Frederick (Bailey) Douglass and Anna Murray Douglass, but members of the larger and extended Bailey family throughout the Eastern Shore and Baltimore City.
As we can determine, an accounting of the history of Bishop Wayman has not yet been rendered in modern times. In the past twenty years monographs of the establishment and growth of the AME Church in the American South have given new insights into the range of Wayman’s travels and his lasting legacy.
To wit, any telling of the local, statewide, regional and national history and contributions of Bishop Wayman must tell it properly.
That proper telling is that, as with his dear friend Frederick (Bailey) Douglass, as Bishop Wayman rose in notoriety and influence, counting presidents of countries and presidents of universities among his friends, he never lost touch with the Tuckahoe.
Just a year before he passed, in 1894 Bishop Wayman delivered eulogy for his friend, Civil War veteran and local school board member, Stephen Henry Bailey in Denton.
The next year, Wayman delivered a eulogy for Stephen’s first-cousin Frederick in Washington City at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, around the corner from the White House.
We share a brief article from the Baltimore Sun in July 1882 showing the movements of Bishop Wayman on both sides of the Chesapeake Bay. A little more than a year later Frederick Douglass would speak in Denton on the court house lawn. Part of the local welcoming committee to greet Douglass upon arrival in Denton was his cousin Stephen, as well as members of the Wayman and Murray families.
Muller, John. Lost History of Frederick (Bailey) Douglass on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. “Bishop Wayman never lost touch with the Tuckahoe and Denton, Maryland (a brief note).” 22 April, 2020.
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