Easton in Talbot County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Archaeology at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
After building houses of worship, the congregations grew into vital community institutions that helped insulate residents from economic discrimination and social segregation.
How did Bethel A.M.E begin?
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church grew from a small gathering into a thriving institution in The Hill Community.
In 1818, the African Methodist Episcopal Conference in Baltimore sent Reverent Shadrack Bassett to Easton to expand the A.M.E. mission to the Eastern Shore. From atop an oxcart, he preached to 100 people near here, forming the Bethel Society, the first A.M.E. group in the region.
The new congregation originally met in a blacksmith shop. In 1820, they purchased this property and later built the first church. The current building was built in 1877 and dedicated by Frederick Douglass in 1878.
The Bethel A.M.E. Church has served the spiritual and social needs of The Hill Community for two
Digging in Time
Archaeologists see layers in the soil as moments in time. They may discover evidence of postholes dug and filled within moments or garden beds that were used for years. The artifacts found in these features help identify specific dates and reveal a time of events that transformed this landscape.
Archaeologists discovered a large "borrow" pit here where clay was once dug to make bricks.
Pottery found in this feature dates the clay removal to circa 1770-1815. Bricks made here may have been used in the house across the street, built by James Cockayne, a Quaker, between 1802 and 1813.
Civil War Soldier
Excavations also uncovered a foundation for a home where Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church ministers once lived. Pottery, bricks and a belt buckle found here helped date the house's construction to the 1860s.
The belt buckle was stamped with the Maryland State emblem worn by Civil War-era soldiers, prompting questions about the role of the congregation members in the war.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Anthropology & Archaeology • Churches & Religion • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church ⛪ series list.
Location. 38° 46.314′ N, 76° 4.371′ W. Marker is in Easton, Maryland, in Talbot County. Marker is on South Hanson Street just north of Talbot Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 South Hanson Street, Easton MD 21601, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Easton's Fire Bell (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Bullitt House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Vietnam War (approx. ¼ mile away); The Talbot Resolves (approx. 0.3 miles away); Birthplace of Tench Francis, Jr. (approx. 0.3 miles away); To the Talbot Boys (approx. 0.3 miles away); Talbot County Courthouse (approx. 0.3 miles away); Third Haven (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Easton.
Regarding Archaeology at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The term African Methodist Episcopal is alternatively abbreviated as A.M.E. and A.M.E (with and without a period after the E). The transcription is intended to be verbatim.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 5, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 25, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 73 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 25, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.