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People, Locations, Episodes

Thu, 04.10.1788

William P. Quinn, Spiritual Leader born

William Quinn

William Paul Quinn was born on this date in 1788. He was an Indian religious leader and the fourth Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

From Calcutta, India, Quinn was admitted to the conference in 1816. He was ordained a deacon in 1818 and ordained an elder in 1838. He was present at the organization of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1816. Bishop Quinn was a pastor in Gouldtown, Springtown, and Salem Churches in New Jersey. He also worked in Pennsylvania and Illinois.

Around 1836, Quinn started building churches along the Ohio river, those such as in the Lick Creek Community served as a vital component in the Underground Railroad for the region.   He did monumental work as a missionary: preaching, traveling, and organizing churches in the "Western Mission". He defied slavery and organized churches in Missouri and Kentucky.

When he submitted his report on the churches he established, the General Conference at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania elected him a Bishop on May 19, 1844. Bishop Quinn was married to Mary Jane Quinn; he also presided over the General Conference in 1848.  There, he delivered a written Episcopal address for the first time in any conference.

He became the Senior Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church May 9, 1849, after the death of Bishop Morris Brown and remained the Senior Bishop of the church for 24 years and 8 months, the longest term a Senior Bishop had served up to that time until his death in Richmond, Indiana, February 3, 1873.


Black First:
2,000 years of extraordinary achievement
by Jessie Carney Smith
Copyright 1994 Visible Ink Press, Detroit, MI
ISBN 0-8103-9490-1

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