The Courage To Serve, The Strength To Survive, The Rev. Alexander DeBose Earning Enough Money As A Slave Minister For The Methodist Episcopal Church, To Purchase His Entire Family Out Of Slavery- The DeBose /Welch Family Distinguish Preachers And Teachers, Doctors And Dentist, A Family That Serves.

Alexander DeBose, born 1832, a slave, and wagon master for the Brevard Plantation in South Carolina, became an ordained slave minister for the Florida Methodist Episcopal Church. Alexander DeBose meets Simon Welch also an ordained minister in the same conference.  How were these two men, born on two different plantation, selected to attend a Methodist Seminary for the training of ministers? The men not only became friends, but the children of both men selected mates because of this close friendship.The two men, Alexander Debose and Simon Welch became friends. Simon Welch has two daughters Laura Welch and Phyllis Welch. Alexander DeBose has two sons, James DeBose and Jacob Jr.Debose. The sons of Alexander and the daughters of Simon formed the union, which was to become the foundation of the blending of these two great families.

Laura marries James and has have 12 children. Phyllis Welch and Jacob DeBose have one son Ferimon E. Welch, who is named after his grandfather. E. H. DeBose and Feirmon E. Welch become brothers, with Jacob Debose Jr. the father of both men. Studying grave sites can tell more about an individual and groups of people than recorded and often bias textbooks. The DeBose/ Welch men and women are strong dedicated and educated. Slavery did not predict the future for any of them. They have dedicated their lives to making significant contributions in the field of teaching and ministry. DeBose/Welch members are invited to share in this partial genealogy, and add family and life contributions to this website. The African American must tell his own story, and not permit others to speak for or describe who we are, and what contributions we have made in life. When the Rev. Alexander DeBose died, 1,300 people black and white attended the funeral to celebrate the life of this outstanding man. The stories from slave literature presents a much different picture that the Hollywood renditions of Gone With The Wind.

Alexander was the wagon master for the movement of people and supplies from the state of South Carolina to the state of Florida. Alexander was also given the assignment to establish the Methodist conference relationship with Florida, he became an ordained deacon with that responsibility.

The Methodist churches with its hundreds of years of record keeping in the world and country provides valuable insights into the lives of these slave ministers, including compensations and assignments. Individuals are also able to discuss the topic of compensation to some slaves for some services, and what slaves did with money and time when they were not obligated to be on service or call.

The lineage of men and women selected to come to the British North American Colonies, were to play a significant part in the development of this nation. The Scotts Irish, Native Indian And African form the DNA of this nation, and it is time to tell the stories from the inside out, rather than just having outsiders, speculate on what life was like during periods of stress and courage. Find your family, write down their stories told through oral memories and develop a rich history to inspire and pass on to your children and your children’s children.

  1. PLEASANT CEMETERY- Cemeteries Tell the stories of the lives of the dead, this is the official posting of the lives of some of our ancestors. 

Location:
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: The Mt. Pleasant Cemetery was established c. 1883 by the Mt. Pleasant Methodist Episcopal Church as a final resting place for its members and other African Americans in the city of Gainesville. Founded in 1867, the church purchased the 5.38-acre property for $125 in 1886. Among the earliest graves are those of Helen H. Wall (1847-1883) and Jefferson Garrison (1871-1884). Some headstones are of marble or granite carved with symbolic designs, others are simple vaults of stuccoed brick or concrete. Early African American community members and their descendents are buried in individual and family plots here. Among them are civic and religious leaders, educators, physicians, dentists, craftsmen, servicemen, and business owners, some of whom began life as enslaved people. Buried here are the Reverend Alexander DeBose, pastor of the Mt. Pleasant church in the 1870s; Dr. R. B. Ayer and Dr. Julius Parker, the citys first black physicians; Dr. E. H. DeBose, Sr., Gainesvilles first black dentist; and Lance Corporal Vernon T. Carter, Jr., Gainesvilles first Viet Nam War casualty. The cemetery is still maintained by the Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church, located in Gainesville’s Pleasant Street Historic District.
Sponsors: MT. PLEASANT UNITED METHODIST CHURCH AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE

         Jacob DeBose was born in 1789, the year George Washington became president of the New United States of America. Born into slavery, but living during the time when the young country was changing its behaviors towards slaves, not because they had some religious conversion, but because they had to enter into the baby making business, if they were going to keep up with the new demand for home grown labor force. Jacob marries Katie, and they live in their own cabin and produced several children for the Brevard Plantation.

The Plantation was located in Camden South Carolina, and a planned relocation from South Carolina to the State of Florida, resulted in big shift for the family and their future. Alexander, one of the elder sons of Jacob and Katie, was selected to lead the massive move of the Brevard’s Plantation to Florida. Alexander was also one of the slaves selected by the Methodist church to train for the slave clergy. During one of his trips to the Florida Methodist conference, he met a friend, who was from another plantation, and also selected for the role of spiritual leadership of a slave community. Simon Welch and Alexander DeBose became good friends, a friendship which resulted in the sons of Alexander, marrying the daughters of Simon, resulting in the joining of the DeBose Welch clan.

             In the book, the Life and Times of Alexander Debose[1], written by his son Thomas DeBose, tells the story of a black man born in slavery, and raising his family during slavery. Alexander DeBose was born in Camden South Carolina on a plantations owned and operated by the Bevard’s family. In this slave literature, plassed down through the generations, it is possible to see values established in the black home.

Slaves on the Bevards plantation lived in their own huts. It was in these cabin huts that family relationships were established and enforced. Thomas, describes his father as a tall man, with excellent speaking and leadership skills. Men with good communication and people skills were selected to be sent to Methodist Seminaries for training. Christianity was a very effective tool for controlling the slave population without the use of violence. Considerable time and resources we given by the Methodist church for the purpose of converting Africans to Christianity. This conversion project also required the changing of some restriction rules.

Marriage had to be built into the system, and reading became a requirement, therefore those plantations owned and operated by methodist members were encouraged to change traditional restrictions in order to be more successful with the conversion rates. Christian married slaves did not run away from families, therefore cortship and establishing long lasting relationships were important. During this period of slavery, religion was considered very important. Slave master knew that without religion it would be impossible to control such a large population of slaves.

Most slave holders made arrangements for their slaves to receive religious instructions.Certain men, who demonstrated communication skills and leadership ability were selected to be trained to be ministers. The Methodist Church supported slavery and considered religion and the Bible a valuable tool used to maintain social order in the slave population, the Bible also contains several passages telling slaves to obey their master and helped slaves to accept that slavery was the will of the white God.

The Methodist Church was popular in South Carolina, and its was interested in training selected men for the ministry. Alexander was one of those selected for training for the ministry. Alexander was ordained as a deacon, the title usually given ordained ministers in the Methodist church[2], and he was assigned to be a minister who traveled from plantation to plantation teaching the Bible and the word of God. The Bible supported slavery, and encouraged slaves to be obedient to their masters, and as a results of being exposed to the Bible, slaves learned to read, therefore it was a win/win situation. Alexander was able to earn enough money to purchase the freedom of his family.

The funds obtained were from saving the few coins paid him from his various slave churches held on plantations after working hours. Slaves were often able to hire themselves out after working hours, and were compsensated for their skills and service.Stories passed down through generations do not speak of a pathology developing in the black family as the results of the conditions under, which they were forced to live. Stories tell of slave women nursing white babies with the milk of life and kindness from their own bodies, while at the same time nursing their own children with love.

Women who had the responsibility of making a home out of the log cabins assigned to them as living quarters, had to give their husbands and their children the love and the hope necessary to sustain them through difficult times. Hate, anger, rage were not behaviors that could sustain life in crisis situations. The children had to survive. The men had to stay in the home and support the mothers in loving the next generation through life. Strong men without family attachments would often escape to the northers states where slavery had ended.

The Brevard plantation encouraged courtship and marriage among the slaves. Wedding were celebrated in the slave families since the owner of the plantation knew that married slaves usually stay in place. The laws of the land also did not permit the importation of new slaves into the new country after 1808, therefore, plantation owners knew that addition slaves would have to be born if the institution was to continue.

Thoman DeBose, in his writings, demonstrates that two impostant variables were present in the slave family, the first was religion and the second was family values. These values continued through slavery, and after slavers, they are part of the black man and his family.

Jacob DeBose

The DeBose /Welch Family Members are invited to find themselves in this rich family lineage 

1789

Kate

DeBose

  1. 1789

Brevard Plantation

Camden South Carolina

8 children

Owner Methodist

Episcopal

Church attendance

Marriage

permitted

Reading of Bible encouraged

Children

George

Alexander

Joseph

John

Charley

Jacob

Sarah

Mary  

Alexander

DeBose

1832

Margaret

Gaskin\

Bradshaw

Married 1862

By Rev.

Cassabine

Wilson

Had 13

Children

7 boys

6 girls

Civil War

Cook

Coachman

Came to

Florida

Before

Civil War

Plantation owner

Edward C.

Brevard

Moved to Gainesville Florida via wagon train. Alexander was wagon master, most of the slaves walked, but Alexander’s wife was given a seat on top of one of the wagons.  The family settled in Alachua Florida, most of the family lineage can be traced to Alachua. After slavery family continued in the ministry business, and the connection with the Methodist conference provided a profitable living for the male members of the family. The female members were encouraged to go into teaching, producing a long line of teachers and preachers in the lineage of the DeBose/Welch family. Some members went into the health care field, E.H. DeBose became the first black dentist in Gainesville, his granddaughter Deborah DeBose became a medical doctor, several other members of the DeBose/Welch family received doctorates in other fields.

Alachua

Wagon

Train

Leader

Slaves had special skills they were given assignments responsibilities

Driver of

One of the teams

First stop

Palatka 

Settlement

Formerly

Brevard

Now Bennington

Settlements

Haile

Chestnut

Hawkins

Whitakers

Active in Methodist

Episcopal

Church

He built a log church

Known as Liberty Hill

Plantations had churches of all denominations

Each master gave slaves the privilege to worship God accordingly.

He met Simon Welch

Another slave minister

First conference held in Florida

Alexander ordained in

Jan. 23, 1870 by Bishop E.S James

Appointed pastor of Liberty Hill M.E Church at Brevard’s 

Children born to

Alexander and Margaret

Elliott

James

Jake

Thomas

Mary

Sarah 

Jake DeBose

Phyllis Welch one son Feirmon

Jake Marries

Mamie Whittaker

3 children

Mamie’s

Children

Dr. E. HDeBose

Sara Parks

Edith McCullum

Jake/Mamie

Grands

Mamie

Roberta

PamelaVaya

James DeBose-Laura
James born 1864Mary Ann 12/9/1884

  • Alice (Hun) Mae 7/10/1886 – These are the descendants of Alice DeBose. 

Alice DeBose Marries George Richardson- Three children are born, Whelimenia, Mercedes, George Jr.

Mercedes Richardson Marries Arthur Harris- one child is born. Dr. Gloria Harris. George Richardson Jr. Marries Naomi Fleming, 3 children are born, Gwendolyn, Vernon, Dr. Delores E. Harris Harrison- Delores E. Richardson marries Wilford L. Harris Jr. a New York University graduate and they have two sons, David Gordon Linwood Harris and Kevin Dockery Richardson Harris- Served in United States Air Force And Army.  Grand children are Athena Cherokee Harris, Jonathan Harris, Steven Harris, Kristopher Harris, Jonathan Harris has two children Jordan Harris and baby Harris. Vernon Richardson, George’s only son marries Susan Bernstein, and have a son David Richardson. Vernon again marries Kate, a shy Irish girl, and they have three children, Michael, Laura and Tommy. Vernon marries a third time to a mature Italian lady, Matilda Caputo who contributed significantly to his life. Laura, Vernon’s daughter, marries a German, Edward Weidel, and they have two children, Eddie and little Laura. Laura marries a sweet kind Italian man named Frank DiTarintino, and Vernon Michael is born. Vernon Michael serves in the United States Marine.

  • James Ellis 4/21/1888
  • Ella Mae 8/14/1890
  • Maggie 11/7/1892
  • David 1894
  • Geneva 1896 
  • Rubianna Agosta 1/12/1898
  • Elliot A. 8/3/1900
  • Thomas Lee 5/7/1902
  • Ulysses 2/7/1904
  • Rose (Enie)4/21/1906
  • Joseph 6/5/1908

 

Ella Mae DeBose1874 Marries Amos Lewis Thy have
Children- John, John, Samuel, Samuel, James Beatrice, Blanch, Susie Mae, Jessie Mae Earl

 

Blanch

Lewis Marries Lavern Hill

Beatrice

Hammond

Samuel

Lewis

Marries Ruth Simmons

Jessie Mae marries Roland Ford 

Son Tony Hill

Aaron Hammond Jr.

Phyllis Boulding

Ruth

James

Joyce

Diane ( Dr. Diane Bell )

Betty

Elle

Leolla

Christine

Diane marries

Shedrick Bell 

Reginald Hammond

Tyrone

Lee Thomas

Marries Sharon

Laquanda

Shedrick Jr. 

Lamont Hammond

Ruth marries

Willie

Black

Terry

Marie

Anthony

Elizabeth

Boulding Family

Van

Detoy 

Mamie Debose Marries Andrew Phillips They have two children. The children are Rubie and Modell. Rubie marries Thomas Williams. Modell marries Morris Wade. Modell dies in child birth and her aunt Geneva, her mother’s sister adopts her daughter Marion. Marion grows up to become a teacher and marries Samuel Kelly. They have no children.

Rubie

Phillips marries Thomas Williams

A.J. Phillips marries Naomi one daughter

Callas

Thomas

Edward Williams Marries Gloria

Lewis

Williams marries Florence

Norman

Phillips

Mae Alice

Marries Samuel Harris 3

children

Mercedes

Doris marries

Noah James

Henry Clay

Wilbur

Robie’s

Children

Helen Tillis

 

Thomas and Gloria have 6 children

One son

Hilton

Williams

Angelea

Ebony

Tyrone

Helen marries Alfred Shepard

Reginald

Roger

Cynthia

Cedric

Tommy

Tysell 

Helen has one son

Charles Williams 

Thomas

Rosa Lee

Rosa Lee Enie DeBose Marries Harry Phillips
They had three Children
Rosa Lee DeBose was part of the Great Migrations of African Americans leaving the South 

Children of

Rosa Lee

Phillips 

Kenneth Phillips

Marries

Erma

Kenneth and Erma had

7 children

Bernard

Robert

Richard

Marries

Eleanor Smith

Ronnie

Margaret

Marries

Willie Price

Irma ( puggie) dies in childhood

Marvin Phillips

Valarie

Richard Jr.

DeKeshia

DeNodd

Deborah

Darnell

Donald Phillips

Valarie 2 children Kendal- Girl

Deborah

Marries

Robert Green

Deborah has 3 children

Dawn

Dana

Dijon

Darrell Jahad Marries

Robin

Darrell has 1 child

DeNeshia

Jessie

Joseph

Geneva

Jessie Mae

Joseph

Husbands

Amos Lewis

Roland Ford

John Williams

Robert Johnson 

Robert Johnson

Andrew Phillips

Andrew Phillips

Rev. Rutledge

Morris Wade

GeorgeW.

Richardson

Wives

Anna Rainey

Rosa Ross

Rebecca Wimberly

 

[1] The writer is an Anthoropologist, college professor and minister, and the  great great granddaughter of Rev. Aleander DeBose, a Methodist minister, born a slave in 1832. His father, also a slave was born in 1789, the year George Washington became president of the United States of America.

[2] Rev. Alexander DeBose ordination records are available through the Florida Conference.

Leave a Reply