AME Preachers in Montana : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

Rev. Rogers, did you know about your AME forerunner in Montana? His name was Theophilus Gould Steward who served as Chaplain of the 25th US Infantry. He was the second black chaplain appointed in the regular service and an AME minister. Rev. Steward served his regiment in Fort Missoula, Montana, arriving on August 24, 1891 under Colonel George L. Andrews. Rev. Steward said that while he was stationed in Montana he learned to camp and hunt, visited the Flathead Indian Reservation, the St. Ignatious Mission and traveled to Kalispel. He also preached from the only Presbyterian pulpit in the city of Missoula on Sunday mornings. He often preached to confederate soldiers, or their family and children. He noted that they were very cordial to him and he often ate in their homes.

Rev. Steward did mention one incident in Missoula, Montana that occurred in August of 1894. He was supposed to meet another Chaplain by the name of I. Newton Ritner at the Florence Hotel for supper. Chaplain Ritner checked with the hotel staff to be certain Rev. Steward would have no problem; however, upon Rev. Steward's arrival at the hotel, he was told that he would not be able to dine with Ritner in the dining room as it was contrary to the rules of the hotel to admit a colored man there, but they would be served in Ritner's room. Steward found this unacceptable and left. He then wrote articles describing the incident to the 'Missoulian' and the 'Helena Journal.' His Commanding Officer Colonel Andrew S. Burt also backed him. The Florence Hotel proprietor apologized to Chaplain Steward begged and requested with him that no action be taken against the hotel. Steward demanded a written apology with the pledge that colored persons would be accommodated on the same conditions as others.

Rev. Steward was also a good friend of John Wanamker, the Post Master General at the time and also a leading businessman here in the City of Philadelphia. Wanamaker revolutionized the concept of the modern department store.

-- Anonymous, February 05, 2003


Mary thank you for the info I did not know about Chaplain Steward. My daughter and I are making a documentary on the A.M.E church in the west and this is wonderful info. I am especially excited to learn about Rev. steward's visit to the flathead indian reservation for we will be doing a revival there this summer. So this is great info to share with the Elders of the tribe. Lydia Allen was the first A.M.E in our state and she planted three churches. Fort Missoula is still standing and is now part of a park. I have visited there many times. We will be plantin an A.M.E church in Missoula in the next few months. So again this info is exciting in terms of publicity and the A.M.E return to Missoula. Missoula has 100,000 people and a river that runs through the town. It is gorgeous. Mary what a wonderful treat to receive this information. God bless you. Now you will have to come and visit Montana. It is breath taking. Much love your mountain woman sister.

-- Anonymous, February 05, 2003

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