Exhibit 11

Lott Cary birthplace – native son and Liberian founding father

A minister and a colonist

letter from Lott CaryWhile living in Richmond Cary experienced a religious conversion. He also learned to read and write. Letters and other documents sent by Cary from Monrovia demonstrate a remarkable command of English for a man of limited education. Benjamin Brand Papers, 1778-1843, MSS1B73329 69-133 Courtesy Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Richmond, Va. www.virginiahistory.org


First Baptist Church sketchCary affiliated with the First Baptist Church and became active in the Colonization Society. This engraving depicts the First African Baptist Church which later occupied the building where Cary preached. Image courtesy Library of Congress.


letterSeveral white Charles City residents were actively involved in the Colonization Society. John Tyler, the future president, served for a brief period as the vice president of the Manchester branch. Fielding Lewis and Robert Douthat subscribed as lifetime members. Benjamin Brand Papers 1778-1843, MSS1B7332a 177-195 courtesy Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Richmond, VA. virginiahistory.org


Imigration document showing Lott Cary's children

When the American Colonization Society was formed Cary gained its sponsorship and sailed to Africa with the second ship bound for Monrovia, arriving in Sierra Leone on March 8, 1821. Lott’s second wife, Nancy, and his three children Frances, Nancy and James accompanied him on this journey. Contrary to published biographies, this emigration document shows that Lott Cary’s children were free born and not purchased out of slavery.


Lott Cary birthplace Eighteen Charles City residents, members of the Brown and Thompson families, followed Cary to Monrovia in 1825.


Lott Cary birthplace Lott Cary and those who had established themselves as a church before leaving Richmond quickly set about building Providence Baptist Church on a high point overlooking the Mesurado River on the north and the Atlantic on the south. In October 1825, the first sanctuary was dedicated. The pictured stone sanctuary was constructed on the same site in 1839, and it was within these walls, the nation Liberia was born, and declared African’s first independent nation. Providence was the first Christian church in Liberia and one of the oldest on the continent of Africa. C.C. Boone, Liberia as I Know It (1920), p. 101 courtesy Charles City county Richard M. Bowman Center for Local History.

Cary Grave Site Cary quickly emerged as a leader in the colony. In addition to pastoring the church, Cary taught school, served as a military leader and self-taught physician. He was chosen to serve as Vice Agent for the colony shortly before he suffered an untimely death in a gun powder explosion in 1826. Rev. Dr. Boone, a Richmond missionary, located the grave of Lott Cary while he was serving in Liberia in the early 1900s and restored its head stone. C.C. Boone, Liberia as I Know It (1920), p. 98 courtesy Charles City county Richard M. Bowman Center for Local History.


next: Exhibit 12: Union Baptist Church – amidst war and reconstruction