African Methodist Episcopal Church Bishop Alexander Wayman recalls serving Port Deposit, Steward Richard Randolph Disney of Cecil County “was one of the best I ever had in any church”

Coming up a childhood associate with Anna Murray on the Caroline County side of the Tuckahoe creek, 7th Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church Alexander Walker Wayman (1821 – 1895) first caught word of the reputation of rebellious Frederick Bailey in St. Michaels in 1836 and would subsequently meet Dr. Frederick Douglass in Philadelphia years later in the 1840s.

At nineteen years old, in 1840, Wayman left the wood frame churches of the Choptank River behind for Baltimore City. Following passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 Rev. Wayman was assigned to serve the Port Deposit Charge and communities abutting the ancient Susquehanna River in Cecil County, Maryland whose shores were crossed by unknown number of runaway slaves including Frederick Bailey escaping Baltimore City in 1838.

When assigned to Port Deposit in 1853 Wayman, a native of Caroline County, worked alongside Cecil County native Richard Randolph Disney.

Wayman recalled in the 1880s that Disney “was my Steward at Port Deposit, and was one of the best I ever had in any church.” Reportedly, in 1857 Disney was licensed to preach by the African Methodist Episcopal Church and pursuant made his way to Canada to aid fugitive slaves where he would become a Bishop in the British Methodist Episcopal Church.

After service in the Port Deposit Charge Wayman would travel the expanse of Western Maryland assisting congregations and leadership in Frederick, Hagerstown, Cumberland and Frostburg en route to his election as the 7th Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

In February 1895 Wayman eulogized Frederick Douglass, his friend of a half-century, at Metropolitan AME Church in downtown Washington City, around the corner from the White House.


        APRIL, 1853. I finished up my second year at Union Bethel Church, Washington, D. C., and went to meet the Baltimore Annual Conference, which met in Baltimore City. Bishop Nazrey presided for the first time over the Baltimore Conference. The members received him very cordially. The session was not a protracted one. J. R. Sterrett and John H. Gaines were admitted on trial. D. W. Moore, Jacob Brooks, M. F. Sluby, and Thomas H. Manning were ordained Deacons. Edward Chambers and John H. Henson were ordained Elders.

At the close of this Conference I was appointed to Port Deposit Circuit. It went a little hard with me after having spent five years in succession in Washington City to take a country circuit. But as I had promised years before to obey as a son in the Gospel, I went and had a very pleasant year.

        I was told by the authorities that the laws of the State were against my remaining there, as I came from the District of Columbia. I had four appointments, which I visited every two weeks. The present Bishop Dizney of the B. M. E. Church was my Steward at Port Deposit, and was one of the best I ever had in any church. The B. M. E. Church made a wise selection when they voted for him to fill the place of Bishop Nazrey.

        I found the people on this circuit very kind indeed, which made me think that after all, in some respects, a country life is more to be desired than a city one.

        During this winter there was a very deep snow, and I was bound up for several weeks at the house of Rev. Stephen P. Bayard. Having purchased two books on phonography, I resolved to learn how to write short-hand. On Monday morning I commenced, and Saturday night I was able to read the first lesson in the book without a teacher. I have never since doubted the capacity of a man to learn whatever he wishes to.


Wayman, Alexander Walker. My Recollections of African M. E. Ministers, or Forty Years’ Experience in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. 1881.