Alabama Pioneers HonoredBiographiesGenealogy Information

BIOGRAPHY: Rev. Maurice M. Archer b. 1858 ex-slave



(b. 1858- aft. 1896)

Wilcox and Lee County, Alabama

Rev. Maurice M. Archer, son of Mr. A. and Mrs. Mary Archer, was born in Camden, Ala., in 1858. He and his parents were the property (?) of Mrs. It. J. Adams.

He entered the free public schools at an early age but did not long remain, because of his father’s death and because of the demands made upon him as the eldest son in a large family. Mr. and Mrs. J. S. McBryde, seeing that he was a very capable boy, kindly aided him in his studies while he was in their employ. Thus he learned to read and write.

ADDITIONAL NOTE BY TRANSCRIBER: – “As early as 1866, the Columbus Daily Enquirer noted a school for blacks in Auburn established by a Mr. Whidby, an elderly minister of the Methodist Episcopal Conference, who ran the school at no charge to freedmen who wanted to attend.(Lost Auburn: A Village Remembered in Period Photographs, by Ralph Brown Draughon (Jr.), Delos D. Hughes, Ann Bowling Pearson, NewSouth Books, 2012)

At 14 Mr. Archer left Mr. McBryde determined on securing an education. Advancing by various means, he was soon able to teach school. In November 1881, he was baptized into Siloam Church by Rev. A. Gould, which church he served as clerk and superintendent of the Sunday School.

Selma University – a black university, drawing, in Selma, Alabama (The Cyclopedia of the Colored Baptists of Alabama – Their Leaders and Their Work copyright 1896)

Feeling a call to the ministry and desiring to prepare himself for the same, he entered Selma University October 1883, and passed the session of 1884-5, as he says starting with only 20 cents.

By severe sacrifice, by push, pluck and self-reliance, he pressed onward, till in May, 1887, he graduated at the head of his class. He was ordained at Opelika, September 1889, Revs. G. C. Casby, C. R. Rodgers, and others officiating. He has been principal of the Auburn City School.

ADDITIONAL NOTE BY TRANSCRIBER: – “According to one elderly black citizen, the first town-built, public black school was a one-room affair on Foster Street that offered only a few grammar school grades.” (Lost Auburn: A Village Remembered in Period Photographs, by Ralph Brown Draughon (Jr.), Delos D. Hughes, Ann Bowling Pearson, NewSouth Books, 2012)

Mr. Archer is one of our clearest thinkers and most fluent speakers, and his language is especially good.


Excerpt from The Cyclopedia of the Colored Baptists of Alabama – Their Leaders and Their Work copyright 1896


ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS- Pioneers – A Collection of Lost and Forgotten Stories

Stories include:

    • The Yazoo land fraud;
    • Daily life as an Alabama pioneer;
    • The capture and arrest of Vice-president AaronBurr;
    • The early life of William Barrentt Travis in Alabama, hero of the Alamo;
    • Description of Native Americans of early Alabama including the visit by Tecumseh;
    • Treaties and building the first roads in Alabama.



One comment

  1. The Twilight of the Confederacy
    “In the spring of 1865, the Yankees returned to Alabama. By this point, not even the South’s most feared cavalryman, Nathan Bedford Forrest, could stop the 14,000 Federal horsemen under Major General James H. Wilson. As Forrest tried to stay between the Yankees and Selma, Wilson ordered one of his subordinates . . . to take the city of Tuscaloosa, to divert some of the Confederates 6,000 troops.
    [The enemy’s] 2,000 cavalrymen swept aside the few militiamen who tried to stop them, captured the town and, while pillaging the area “burned the buildings used for public purposes at the university,” including the library, from which only a few items were saved.
    The Yankees also “took away all the horse and mules they could find. They camped in our streets, that night, and next morning they proceeded to burn the foundry and factory, the miter sheds, and the bridge across the river.”
    The Federals left the city just ahead of the Confederate cavalry sent to intercept them, having successfully diverted Forrest, who was soon defeated by the twenty-seven-year-old Wilson. Wilson’s victory over the notorious Forrest would have made him a hero two years earlier, but was simply a mop-up operation in the spring of 1865.
    On May 23, a “body of Yankees under Col. Marsh, which have been here about a week, took their departure. The soldiers “took all the good horses and mules they could get; without compensation. Corn, meat, etc., they took from private parties, at pleasure . . .” The Northern troops were said “to be from Illinois,” and [Basil] Manly had heard that “they took a Negro out, just before they left, who had stolen a [Northern] captain’s horse, etc., and shot him.”
    In the spring of 1866, [North Carolina] Governor [Charles] Manly [1795-1871] wrote to a family friend, describing what had happened the year before. His plantation, Ingleside, [near Raleigh], to which he retired in the late 1850s, was destroyed by “Sherman’s Devils.” Coming onto the property, the Yankee troops “tore the House all to pieces, broke down the plastering and ceiling, all the doors and windows, stole all the furniture, all my books and papers and the old grain omnibus with all its contents – took every mule, horse, cow, sheep and poultry, all my corn fodder and hay, burnt up fences and destroyed [my] farming tools.”
    Worse still, “a great part of this villainy was perpetrated after the surrender” of the Confederacy, but, as Governor Manly complained, “no redress could be obtained.”
    (Chaplain of the Confederacy, Basil Manly and Baptist Life in the Old South, A. James Fuller, LSU Press, 2000, excerpts, pp. 304-306)