Ames, Edward Raymond
Scope and Contents
Folder 1. Photograph, captioned on reverse "Bishop Ames" with a photographer's mark of "Lawrence, Kansas." It is possible that this photograph was taken in 1857, during which year Bishop Ames also presided over the Kansas Conference held in the Nebraska Territory.
- Other: Dummy Date
- Ames, Edward Raymond (Person)
Biographical or Historical Information
Edward Raymond Ames was born May 20, 1806, in Amesville, near Athens, Ohio, the son of Sylvanus Ames and Nabby (Abigail) Lee (Johnson) Ames. His father was a judge; his paternal grandfather Sylvanus Ames had served as a chaplain in George Washington’s army and died at Valley Forge.
As a youth, Ames showed a love of reading and made use of a free library in his town to extend his knowledge. At the age of 20, he entered the Ohio State University at Athens, supporting himself mainly by teaching. In 1828 he opened a high school (which later became McKendree University), remaining there until 1830, when he was received on trial in the Illinois Conference. Joining the itinerant ministry, he was appointed to the Shoal Creek Circuit with its enormous territory.
After the organization of the Indiana Conference in 1832, Ames transferred there and remained for several years, receiving orders for Deacon and Elder, and often serving as Presiding Elder as well as other positions of trust. In 1840 he was chosen as a delegate to the General Conference in Baltimore and was elected Corresponding Secretary of the Missionary Society. In connection with the latter position, he traveled over 24,000 miles in four years, traversing the Indian territory from Texas to Lake Superior. In 1842 he was chosen as chaplain to the Choctaw General Council, thereby becoming the first chaplain ever chosen by a Native American assembly.
In 1844, when the breach had occurred between the North and South Methodist Churches, Ames’ attempts to heal the division were unsuccessful and he remained with the Church North. Later, when the ecclesiastical property of the Church South was confiscated temporarily, he was commissioned by President Lincoln and Secretary Stanton to take charge of it. This appointment, accomplished by great tact and energy, took him to New Orleans and other Southern cities.
At the General Council in 1852, he was elected Bishop along with Bishops Scott and Simpson. In that capacity, he presided over the Kansas Conference of 1857.
According to his obituary in the Appleton's Annual of 1879, “During the twenty-seven years in which Bishop Ames was in the episcopacy, his whole public life was marked by a strict adherence to the rules and discipline of Methodism, and even when the most difficult points came up for settlement he displayed a far-seeing judgement and quickness of apprehension, which enabled him to grapple successfully with them…. Although grave and dignified in manner, there was a magnetism about him which attracted, and his preaching was always thoroughly enjoyed. He could scarcely be styled an orator, and yet his quiet reasoning, apt aphorisms, pertinent illustrations and earnestness, impressed more than mere eclamation.”
Bishop Ames died at Baltimore, Md, April 25, 1879. He had been twice married, and left a son and two daughters.
Rev. Dr. Fowler concludes a tribute to his memory in the editorial columns of the Christian Advocate: “Bishop Ames was truly a great man, and the Church will be lonesome without him.”
Note written by Sarah St. John
Language of Materials
This collection contains one photograph of Edward Raymond Ames, DD, LLD, who was elected Bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1852.
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- Jen McCollough, Sarah St. John
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