Wolcott Marker Honors Pastor

posted Oct 27, 2011, 11:15 AM by News & Citizen   [ updated Oct 28, 2011, 5:50 AM ]
by Andrew Martin

    WOLCOTT – There’s a new roadside historical marker in Wolcott. On Friday, October 21, at 4 p.m. a group of local residents, historical enthusiasts, and members of the Methodist church gathered at the Wolcott United Methodist Church (UMC) to dedicate an official State of Vermont Historical Roadside Marker to the Reverend George S. Brown, who was the first African American Methodist minister in Vermont. The ceremony honoring Brown was co-hosted by the Wolcott Historical Society and Wolcott UMC.
    Before the actual dedication of the marker to Brown, a welcome was given by the Reverend Patricia Thompson. After an opening prayer, a brief presentation of Brown’s life was given by Thompson, who had done extensive research on the man and his work.
    According to Thompson’s research, Brown was born in Newport, Rhode Island in 1801 to parents of African American and Native American heritage. He became a Methodist minister sometime in the 1830s in upstate New York. During that time as a young man, he made a living building stone walls, many of which still exist in that area of New York.
    After serving as a missionary to Liberia from 1837 to 1843, he returned to America and eventually arrived in Wolcott in 1855. Once there, he helped organize Methodist classes, and he began supervising the construction of the first Methodist church in town in 1856. Poor health in the form of what was most likely tuberculosis forced Brown to leave the Wolcott area in 1857, and he died in Glens Falls, NY, in 1886 at the age of 84.
Following Thompson’s presentation, those assembled for the ceremony moved outside the church to the historical marker for the actual dedication. Dolly Holton, the president of the Wolcott Historical Society, performed the dedication.
    “In this place we install this State of Vermont Historic Roadside Marker,” intoned Holton, “We give thanks that we stand here today in the tradition of the Rev. George S. Brown, and we praise God that we have been blessed by his life and ministry. Let this marker stand as a reminder and a challenge to us and to all who pass this way.”
The marker honoring Brown now stands on Route 15, just beyond the Wolcott UMC as one is traveling into Wolcott Village eastbound. The application for the marker was filed jointly by the Wolcott UMC and the Wolcott Historical Society last summer. The marker was actually installed on Wednesday, October 19, by Arlo Sterner and Jeff Harris and the UMC paid for the installation.

A number of community members and interested organizations attended the Dedication Ceremony for the new historical marker that has been placed in Wolcott near the United Methodist Church. The marker honors the Reverend George Brown, who helped build the first Methodist church in Wolcott and was the first African American minister in Vermont. Martin photo