History

From the New Castle County Historical Marker

On May 10, 1846, a group of African-American residents of Wilmington who had affiliated themselves with the African Methodist Episcopal Church held a meeting for the purposes of electing trustees and organizing as a corporate body. At the time, approximately 15 families were meeting from house to house, worshipping under the direction of ministers from Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church in Philadelphia. The following September, the congregation purchased land at 12th and Elizabeth Streets on which a church was to be erected. The new Structure was dedicated in April 1847.

In 1853 the congregation relocated to a site at 6th and Penn Streets. They continued to worship there until 1865, when their need for a larger building led them to purchase the present site, where the Zion Evangelical German Lutheran Church then stood. The old building was used until 1878, when it was demolished and a new structure was built here.

A tragic fire led to the complete destruction of the church on New Year’s Day, 1935. On March 5, 1939, the members of Bethel A.M.E. Church dedicated their new house of worship at 6th & Walnut Streets. The church was expanded in 1976 with the opening of the adjoining Multipurpose Building.

PREVIOUS PASTORS:

1846 1900-1902
Rev. Adam Brown Rev. Morris C. Brooks
Rev. John B. Smith
Rev. Henry J. Young 1903-1907
Rev. Montrose Thornton
1853
Rev. W.D. Scheuman 1907-1911
Rev. R. W. Fickland
1860
Rev. James Holland 1911-1912
Rev. Adam Drier Rev. Morris C. Brooks
Rev. Stephen Clark
Rev. Stephen Bayard 1912-1917
Rev. William H. Turner Rev. Wilbert H. Hoxter
Rev. Michael T. Sleuby
Rev. Henry T. Rhodes 1917-1921
Rev. Henry Y. Arnett
1865 1921-1925
Rev. Daniel P. Seaton Rev. Charles W. Stewart
Rev. Joseph H. Smith
Rev. Robert T. Wayman 1925-1927
Rev. Theophilus G. Stewart Rev. J. T. Whitten
Rev. Leonard Patterson
Rev. John F. Thomas 1927-1933
Rev. W. S. Drummond
1878
Rev. Cethe C. Felts 1933-1939
Rev. Theophilus G. Stewart Rev. A. Chester Clark
1881-1884 1939-1949
Rev. John W. Beckett Rev. Seymour H. Barker
1884-1886 1949-1950
Rev. George W. Brodie Rev. Richard A. Hildebrand
1886-1889 1950-1951
Rev. John B. Stansbury Rev. Sherman L. Greene
1889-1892 1951-1965
Rev. W. D. Cook Rev. Ruffin N. Noisette
1892-1894 1965-1972
Rev. W. H. Heard Rev. James L. Dandridge
1894-1896 1972-1980
Rev. Noah D. Temple Rev. Elmo A. Bean
1896-1898 1980-1990
Rev. O. D. Robinson Rev. James K. Baldwin
1898-1900 1990-1993
Rev. John C. Brock Rev. Jeffrey N. Leath
1993-Present
Rev. Dr. Silvester S. Beaman