Historic St. John A.M.E Church
The African Methodist Episcopal Church was established in Frankfort in 1839, and called the Early Congregation. The first structure was built in that year on the old site on Lewis Street. (now occupied by the State Department on the site of Model Laundry). Mrs. Triplett, a generous-hearted white woman, gave this building and grounds to her faithful servants, Benjamin Dunmore, and Benjamin Hunely. The first name of the generous white woman was Rebecca, her maiden name was Anderson, and her father’s name was Joseph Anderson. In 1825 the northeast corner of Clinton and Lewis Streets, where the St. John Church now stands, was the old jail with
a twelve-foot solid brick wall around the cell. It was afterward deeded in trust to Harry Mordecai and George Harlan, who took charge of the church in 1840. Next in order were Rev. Moses Pitman, Rev. Aaron Green, and Rev. Reuben Thomas.
About the year 1850, Rev. Henry Henderson was sent to preach to this little flock; this divine was a very successful pastor and a very pious man of God. He carried on one of the biggest revivals in the history of the church, nearly two hundred being brought into the fold as the result of his labors. Rev. Anderson Bryant, Rev. Jacob Williams, Rev. Henry Hensely, and Rev. Leroy Brannum were all powerful preachers. This brings the church down to the days of emancipation. As to the ministers prior to 1865 who served St. John, it is not clear whether they were free men or servants of the white slave owners, because Harry Mordecai and George Harlan were ministers given property where St. John is currently located.
Excerpt from History of St. John A.M.E. Church by Dr. Rev. Robert A. Strode.