Introducing Jesus To The Slaves
The pagan African brought to these shores aboard European and New England slavers was here for labor only, and to serve and profit distant merchant interests. In the small plantation communities where they lived and labored it was the Southern people like Rev. Jones below who brought them out of their heathenism, and the large number of black Christians and black churches today being a fine testament to their religious efforts.
Mr. Roswell King is mentioned below, of interest because the elder was a Connecticut native who came South to manage the large antebellum estates of Pierce Butler in Glynn County, Georgia. The son, also Roswell King, later moved to northern Georgia to establish cotton and woolen mills to feed the New England textile mills with slave-produced material. The town of Roswell, Georgia still bears his name, despite it being a painful reminder of slavery with origins in Connecticut.
Bernhard Thuersam
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Wilmington, NC
Intoducing Jesus To The Slaves:
"My experience with these people (African slaves) was very large, having been for long years the contract physician on the river plantations where religious opportunities were very limited. In many cases, the Negro preacher or watchman (as they were called) was the only teacher and leader they had. Though on a few of the larger estates, salaried chaplains were employed.
I recollect many years ago being engaged in correspondence on the subject. The (Presbyterian) Reverend (Charles Colcock) Jones spent many years of his useful life, and liberally of his private resources, in endeavoring to do good to these ignorant and dependent people by religious teaching and preaching. To reassure him in the self-sacrifice of time and means, he addressed a letter of inquiry to Mr. Roswell King of Butler’s Island, where there were nearly a thousand slaves, (asking) whether those professing religion were more orderly and faithful than the others. I commended the pious work in which he was engaged, but it being often at night and involving a long ride, and his health not being strong, I begged him to assign his labors to some lesser light in the church who was more physically able. There were wider and more congenial fields waiting for him where his education, talents, eminent piety, and zeal in his Master’s service made him an honored and distinguished name to his life’s end."
(Dr. Bullie’s Notes, Reminiscences of Early Georgia, James Holmes, Cherokee Publishing Company, 1976, pp. 161-163)