Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Reverend Thomas Holland Boston

Thomas Holland Boston was born to free black parents in Maryland in 1809. He moved to Sandusky in 1839, with his new bride Amelia Butler Boston. At first the couple lived with Amelia’s brothers William and Thomas Butler in Perkins Township. Rev. Boston was ordained by the Wesleyan Methodist Convocation at Troy, Ohio in 1843.

From 1873 to 1876, Rev. Thomas Holland Boston was the minister of the St. Stephen A.M.E. Church in Sandusky. Rush Sloane wrote in the July 1888 Firelands Pioneer that “Mr. Boston has always been a devoted friend of the slave and his kindly services were always at their disposal. His house was constantly open to them and when he had no more room he was certain to find for them a friend in need where they could be taken care of. Ever since his first coming to Ohio he has been known as a reliable friend of the fugitive and a history of his many undertakings in their behalf would prove most entertaining were the facts at hand.”

Following his first wife’s death in 1865, Rev. Boston married Susan Bobo. They had three children, two who survived to adulthood, Georgiana and Sarah. Rev. Boston’s salary as a pastor was very low, so he also worked in various jobs in the area. He was said to have been very industrious in his labor. Rev. Boston officiated at marriages and funerals, and often ministered to the sick. When the congregation could not afford to pay him, he preached without pay.

Rev. Thomas Holland Boston died in 1892. He is buried at Oakland Cemetery in block 13, with both his first and second wives and two of his daughters. Mr. Sloane concludes his article in the Firelands Pioneer with the statement that Rev. Boston was a kind-hearted man who had the respect of the entire community. Sloane continues “For him I have ever had a high regard, and with him had an acquaintance and friendship for many years.

To learn more about the history St. Stephen A.M.E. church, as well as several other area churches, consult the Church Collection of the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library. A Finding Aid will indicate specific items regarding each church in the collection.

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