Lemuel Haynes

Lemuel Haynes, born on July 18, 1753, was a black American, abandoned at five months old by his parents and hired as an indentured servant. During his years of service, he was treated well and given the opportunity to attend school — a rare experience for blacks in that day. Haynes showed a talent for preaching from a young age and was frequently called on to give sermons and to proofread the sermons of others. When his term of indenture ended, he enlisted as a Minuteman in the American War for Independence and participated in the siege of Boston and the expedition against Fort Ticonderoga.

It was in 1785 that he became an ordained minister. During his decades of service as a pastor, as a black American he led churches that were all-white and some that were mixed (whites and blacks worshiping together — a circumstance many are unaware existed in America). In 1804, Lemuel received an honorary Masters degree from Middlebury College — the first black man to receive a degree of higher education in America. Lemuel Haynes died in 1833.

From WallBuilders’ collection, below is a few pages from A Common Place-Book to the Holy Bible, published in London in 1738 and signed by Lemuel Haynes. A common place-book is defined as “a book in which noteworthy quotations, comments, etc., are written” so this particular book includes noteworthy quotations from the Bible on various subjects.