Site # 8 — Birth of Local African Methodist Episcopal Church

Corner of South Lane & Hanson Streets

This is the site of the formation of the African Methodist Episcopal Church on the Eastern Shore. In 1818, the year of Frederick Douglass’s birth, Rev. Shadrack Bassett preached from an oxcart at this intersection. Bassett had been sent by the African Methodist Episcopal Church conference in Baltimore to plant religious roots on the Eastern Shore. The Bethel Society formed shortly thereafter, meeting in a blacksmith shop on Hanson Street.

Bassett had been hosted by the Wayman family of Tuckahoe Neck, prominent free African Americans who provided their oxcart for the occasion. The Waymans’ son, Alexander Walker Wayman (1821-1895) became the 7th bishop of the A.M.E. church in 1864. Bishop Wayman was a friend of both Frederick Douglass and his first wife, Anna Murray Douglass, who cared for the Wayman children as a young girl. Bishop Wayman delivered one of the eulogies at Douglass’s funeral.