Bible School for
Colored Young Men.—Interest in Colored Church.—Encouragement.—Substantial
Aid.—Three Letters from Students of the
Dr. Hopson felt a
deep concern in the future of the colored race. He felt that some steps
ought to be taken to educate a ministry of their own color to go among
them and preach the gospel as taught by our brethren. He determined to
inaugurate a Bible school to be taught in Louisville.
He met with
considerable opposition and not much encouragement. There was no house for
the school to meet in; there was no place for the pupils to board, and, if
there had been, they had no money to pay with, and where would the school
procure a teacher? All these objections were urged.
A good many of the
brethren gave to the work because they would give to any work that the
Doctor urged upon them, but with little faith in the result. By September
the school room and church were ready and a teacher procured—Bro. C. H.
Moss. The brethren had secured homes for as many as had made application.
The school opened with twenty-one or twenty-two. We took one, and he
proved a faithful servant. They all were more than willing to work for
their board, so anxious were they to gain an education. Dr. Hopson visited
the school two or three times a week until they were fully under way with
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He presented their
claims to the Missionary Board at Indianapolis the following October, and
they promised and gave some assistance in the way of paying teacher and
furnishing books. Brethren Haley, Galt Miller, Dr. H. and others would
frequently preach for the colored church which grew up
rapidly around them.
I will here insert
three letters—one from Bro. Julius Graves, preaching in
Paris; one from H. S. Berry, and one from Preston Taylor.
"PARIS, Ky., May 26,
Mrs. Ella L. Hopson:
" Dear Sister:—It
seems to me that an attempt to give a history of Dr. Hopson's life would
be incomplete without a chapter devoted to that cause which he always
took so much pleasure in; namely, the welfare of the colored people, and
especially the preaching of the gospel of Christ among them. Therefore I
write this letter without any attempt at eulogistic painting, but simply
as acquaintance and thankfulness dictate.
"It was in the
pleasant month of September, 1873, that I arrived in the city of
Louisville, Ky., to attend the Bible School opened by the General
Missionary Board for the education of worthy and energetic colored men to
preach and teach among their own people. Dr. Hopson was chairman of the
committee that operated and controlled the above-named school. My name was
the first enrolled on the school register as a student of the Bible
"On landing in the
city among strangers, having been previously directed, I at once sought
the residence of Bro. J. D. Smith, who was at that time pastor of the
colored church. I remained with him all night, and the next morning, in
company with several other young men, all intended students, we sought the
office of Dr. Hopson, and found him seated in his library hard at work. A
rap at the door had the welcome response, 'Come in, young brethren.'
"When all were
seated, then began the planning for our homes and comfort while we were to
attend school. We were almost without money, there not being more than ten
dollars among us all, thus making us almost entirely dependent upon
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Dr. Hopson. He set
about getting us homes among the people of Louisville. A few efforts soon
secured us homes, where we worked nights and mornings, Saturdays and
Sundays too, with few exceptions, to pay for our board and lodging.
"The school opened,
with Prof. C. H. Moss as teacher. Dr. Hopson never ceased to appeal to the
people in behalf of the Colored Bible School. It is said, 'The evil that
men do lives after them, the good is often interred with their bones.' The
interest manifested by Dr. H. toward the colored people, and the good
done by him, can never be forgotten. Today the pulpits of Baltimore,
Indianapolis, Montgomery, Jacksonville, Mt. Sterling, Carlisle,
Millersburg, Louisville, Paris, Xenia, and many others, are filled with
men educated at the Louisville Bible School. In fact, I know but few
successful preachers in the Christian Church who did not get their
training in this school.
"There are none of us
that know the Doctor as well as I do, for I lived with him during my
entire stay in the school, and it was in his house I heard the Lord
praised daily, and for the first time in my life I witnessed family
worship, although I was eighteen years old.
"I never visit
Louisville but that I take a walk on Seventh Street, and it is with keen
pleasure I look up at 155, for God knows it is a dear spot to me.
"While I write, my
heart swells with emotion and thankfulness to God for having given the
world this great and good man—Dr. Hopson. I can not
close this letter without saying that his wife united wholly
with him in his efforts to help the students. No one ever went to their
door for food or aid but that they received it, even
though it cost a sacrifice for them to give it.
"May God's blessing
rest upon the Doctor and his wife while they live, and may
all the boys—students—meet them in Paradise.
"I am truly yours,
J. C. GRAVES."
Dec. 9, 1886.
"MRS. E. L. Hopson:
"My Dear Madam:—Nothing could give me more pleasure than a compliance with the request
expressed in your letter. An expression on the part of a student of the
Louisville Bible School of the high esteem in which the great man whose
life you are now writing was held by the students, requires no studied
diction, but flows naturally forth from an appreciative heart. I
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feel assured that
every student will acquiesce in the statements herein made.
"He was respected
because his manly hearing demanded it; he was honored because he labored
to establish a medium through which the blessings of that God, and the
love of that Christ that had touched his heart, might touch the hearts of
a down-trodden and long-oppressed
people; he was loved because he was good and great in noble deeds, and the
book we all should love teaches us to be 'lovers of good men.'
"He saw the need of
an educated ministry to rescue the race from a religious Babylon; hence
his earnest efforts to attain that end. Even in securing homes for the
young men none did more than he, and few as much. His great physique was
foremost in the van; his great mind led in counsel, and his great heart
was aglow with zeal to preach the gospel to the poor. He assisted in
sowing seeds that have grown to great trees, and the birds are resting in
the boughs thereof.
"Painful will it be
to all our hearts to learn the sad news that Time is touching him heavily.
God grant that the days that yet remain may catch copious gleams of
pleasure from the path of past usefulness, and more still from the
promised home above. The tenderest sympathies of my poor heart are with
you both, and my prayers are that the sands that are now passing the glass
may be sands of gold, while time binds your hearts closer to the eternal
"With deep sympathy,
"H. S. BERRY."
Bro. Preston Taylor,
another Bible student of the Louisville school, sends me the following
tribute to the Doctor:
" NASHVILLE, Tenn.,
April 1, 1887.
"Mrs. W. H. Hopson:
understood you are writing the history of your noble husband's life, I
would feel derelict in duty did I not offer my congratulations on your
undertaking, though I am persuaded you nor any other author can do such a
character justice. No one can know the result of his life-work until it is unfolded to us in the
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"His kind words,
noble deeds and good works, both private and public, are written on
thousands of hearts; some of them are witnesses before
the throne of God, while others are still here. He has distinguished
himself as an orator, minister, writer and counselor. This world
has given us few men his equal in all that goes to make up a
great worker for the good of his fellow-men. He is humane in the
broadest sense. He is not bound in his sympathy by race, color or
condition; but wherever the commission of Jesus pointed him, he went and
has always done his whole duty.
"While pastor of the
Fourth and Walnut Street Church, in Louisville, he secured a minister for
the colored people, fitted up a hall, and had the work begun among them;
and as soon as a good congregation had been organized, he had a lot bought
and a good, substantial brick edifice built on it for them. And through his
timely act we have a large congregation in that city now; and when a Bible
School was opened, largely through his influence, for the benefit of the
colored young men of our church to study for the ministry, he secured
homes for them (taking one in his own family), where they could secure
board and lodging for their work while attending school.
"He has been one of
the strong men of the Reformation, and his great powers have been used to
bring many, many thousands to acknowledge the power of the cross.
"His untimely affliction is mourned by the whole brotherhood, and their
prayers of sympathy ascend to the Giver of all good in his behalf.
"He is my father in
the gospel, and a large share of my success in the
ministry is due to him. His advice and counsel have always been freely
"A rich reward awaits
him in the kingdom of God, and many will be the stars in
his crown of glory.
" Very Respectfully,
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