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Proceedings of the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League at the Annual Meeting Held in the City of Pittsburgh, August 8, 9, 10, 1866.

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Proceedings of the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League at the Annual Meeting Held in the City of Pittsburgh, August 8, 9, 10, 1866.











For the Christian Recorder.


At the appointed hour Mr. President Nesbit took the Chair and called the meeting to order - J.C. White, Jr., and O.V. Catto acting as Secretaries.

On calling the roll, thirty-three members answered to their names, and the meeting was formally opened, with winging, and prayer by the Rev. Jos. A. Nelson, of Philadelphia.

The President stated that he had an address which he proposed reading before the meeting at such time as the body might determine.

On motion of the Rev. Jos. A. Nelson, it was voted to hear the President at the afternoon session.

The following is the roll of members attending the annual meeting - the names of those only who paid the tax laid by the meeting being inserted: -


Allegheny County. - Rev. John Peck, Prof. Geo. B. Vashon, both of Pittsburgh ; Benj. F. Pulpress, H.B. Williamson, Thomas Rosch, G.W. Dimey, Allegheny City.

Bedford County. - William T. Barks, of Bedford.

Berks County. - Aaron L. Still, Reading.

Blair County. - John Alexander, Thomas B. Shorter, William Nesbit, Altoona; Daniel Williams, M.W.L. Knox and Moses Brown, Hollidaysburg.

Bradford County. - Solomon Cooper, of Towanda.

Bucks County. - Wm. B. Purvis, Bensalem; William A. Burley, Bristol; George W. Buck, Attleboro'; Lewis Hartless, Buckingham.

Cambria County. - Samuel C. Johnson, Johnstown.

Centre Co. - John Welch, Bellefonte.

Chester Co. - Jonathan Betts, Oxford.

Cumberland Co. - George H. Jenkins, Andw. G. Washington, Newville; Levi Lee, G. Barnes, Shippensburg.

Dauphin Co. - O.L.C. Hughes, George W. Saunders, Cassius M. Brown, Rev. John E. Price, Rev. C.J. Carter, Charles H. Vance, Harrisburg.

Fayette County. - Benj. W. Arnett, Brownsville.

Franklin Co. - Moses Anderson, Greencastle; James Lewis, Chambersburg.

Huntingdon Co. - John G. Chaplin, James H. Gant, Huntingdon.

Indiana County. - David Brown, of Blairsville.

Lawrence Co. - Chas. W. Nighten, Lemuel B. Stewart, Newcastle.

Lycoming Co. - Enoch Gilchrist, Rev. John H. Spriggs, Williamsport.

Northampton County. - Wm. E. Welch, Bethlehem.

Philadelphia City. - Rev. Joseph A. Nelson, Octavius V. Catto, Joseph C. Bustill, Jacob C. White, Jr., Wm. D. Forten, David B. Bowser, George B. White, Lewis N. Bedford, Robert M. Adger, Alfred M. Green, J. McC. Crummill.


Richard Jones, Harrisburg; Meshach Graham, Bellefonte; C. Andrew and John Carl, Mifflin; George Hooper and Wm. Waters, Altoona; M.E. Wolf, Philadelphia; C.A. Chaplin, Huntingdon; Wilson Patterson, Johnstown; E.R. Smith, Hollidaysburg; R. Johnson, Johnstown; M.A. Cowan, Harrisburg; John Thomas, Altoona; L. Granderson, Pittsburgh ; M. Adley, Harrisburg; J.W. Loguen, Williamsport; M. Singleton and E. Mitchell, Altoona; J.M. White, Philadelphia; S. Graysen, Huntingdon; C. Gibson, C. Wright, Harrisburg; Charles Howard, Blairsville.

Mr. J.C. Bustill, of Philadelphia, moved to suspend the rules in order to fill up vacancies in the Committees on Credentials and Finance, and to consider the following resolution offered by Mr. D. Williams, of Harrisburg:

Resolved , That no one shall be elected to any office or appointed on any committee who has manifested any opposition to the State League .

The rules were suspended and the resolution was passed, being opposed by Mr. A.M. Green, of Philadelphia.

On motion of Mr. A.M. Green, of Philadelphia, a committee of three was appointed to give reports of our proceedings to the papers of Pittsburgh .

The committee is:

Prof. Geo. B. Vashon, of Pittsburgh ;

Benjamin F. Pulpress, of Allegheny City;

Rev. C.J. Carter, of Harrisburg.

Propositions were made to amend the rules; and, on motion, they were postponed for consideration hereafter.

On motion of Mr. Catto, of Philadelphia, the following committee of five was appointed on Credentials:

Joseph C. Bustill of Philadelphia.

Daniel Williams, of Hollidaysburg.

Aaron L. Still, of Reading.

Enoch Gilchrist, of Williamsport.

Thomas B. Shorter, of Altoona.

Messrs. M.W.L. Knox and Jeremiah Granderson were appointed Sergeants-at-Arms.

On motion of Mr. Arnett, of Brownsville, a committee of three was appointed to procure a flag for the use of the meeting. The President appointed Prof. George B. Vashon, of Pittsburgh ; Rev. John Peck, of Pittsburgh ; Benjamin F. Pulpress, of Allegheny city.

Mr. A.M. Green, of Philadelphia, was called upon to address the meeting, and declined.
Rev. Joseph A. Nelson, of Philadelphia, was then called. He made a few patriotic and practical remarks, which were well received by the meeting.

The Committee on Credentials reported the examination of credentials from the following gentlemen, and their qualification for membership: - Aaron I. Still, Unity E.R. League , Reading; John Welch, Bellefonte E.R. League , Bellefonte; Lewis N. Bradford, Lincoln E.R. League , Philadelphia; Lemuel B. Stewart, New Castle E.R. League , New Castle; George W. Sanders, Capital City E.R. League , Harrisburg; Cassius M. Brown, Capital City E.R. League , Harrisburg; James H. Gant, Huntingdon E.R. League , Huntingdon.

The Report of the Committee was adopted.

On motion of Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia, Rule 1st was so amended as to include singing and prayer, as the opening exercise of our meetings.

The rule requiring adjournment at noon was suspended to allow the appointment of Committees on Finance and Business.

On motion of Mr. Alexander, of Altoona, the President appointed the Committee on Finance, as follows: - Benj. F. Pulpress, of Allegheny city; Levi Lee, of Shippensburg; William T. Barks, of Bedford; Charles W. Nighten, of New Castle; John Alexander, of Altoona.

Moved by Mr. Bowser, of Philadelphia, that the Business Committee consist of (9) members.
Moved by Rev. C.J. Carter, of Harrisburg to amend by striking out the words "nine members," and inserting the words "one from each county represented."

The amendment was opposed by Messrs. Burley, of Bristol, Alexander, of Altoona, and Pulpress, of Allegheny city, and advocated by Mr. Still, of Reading.

Mr. Carter rose to withdraw his amendment, to which Mr. Still, the seconder, would not agree.
The question was raised whether we had the rig ht to give Mr. Carter privilege to withdraw his motion.

The President ruled that we had the right so to do.

A motion to lay the whole subject on the table was lost, and the previous question called on Mr. Carter's amendment. The amendment and main question were both carried, and the following committee, consisting of one from each county represented, was appointed by the meeting: - Allegheny, Prof. Geo. B. Vashon; Bradford, William T. Barks; Berks, Aaron L. Still; Blair, John Alexander; Bradford, Solomon Cooper; Bucks, William A. Burley; Cambria, Samuel C. Johnson; Centre, John Welch; Chester, Jonathan Betts; Cumberland, And. G. Washington; Dauphin, George W. Sanders; Fayette, Benjamin W. Arnett; Franklin, Moses Anderson; Huntingdon, James H. Gant; Lawrence, Lemuel B. Stewart; Lycoming, Enoch Gilchrist; Northampton, William E. Welch; Philadelphia, William D. Forten.

After the appointment of the foregoing Business Committee, the League adjourned to meet in the afternoon at 2 o'clock.


August 8th - 2 o'clock.

President Nesbit in the Chair.

In the absence of the Secretary, Mr. A.M. Green, of Philadelphia, was, on motion, appointed Secretary pro tem. ; and on motion of Mr. Arnett, of Brownsville, Rev. Jos. A. Nelson, of Philadelphia, was appointed chaplain of the meeting. Mr. Nelson made a few remarks as to his desire to serve the League in any way possible, and after thanking the League for its generous approbation of his humble services, offered a prayer in behalf of the objects and interests of the League and all similar efforts throughout the land.

On motion of Mr. Williams, of Hollidaysburg, a committee of one from each county was appointed to nominate officers for the ensuing year.

The following is a list of names of the committee as appointed:

Allegheny, Rev. John Peck. Bedford, Wm. T. Barks. Berks, Aaron L. Still. Blair, Danl. Williams. Bradford, Solomon Cooper. Bucks, George W. Buck. Cambria, Samuel C. Johnson. Centre, John Welch. Chester, Jonathan Betts. Cumberland, George Barnes. Dauphin, Rev. C.J. Carter. Fayette, Benjamin W. Arnett. Franklin, James Lewis. Huntingdon, John G. Chaplin. Lawrence, Chas. W. Nighten. Lycoming, Rev. John H. Spriggs. Northampton, William E. Welch. Philadelphia, George B. White.

Moved by Mr. O.V. Catto, of Philadelphia, to reconsider the vote appointing Mr. G.B. White, of Philadelphia, on the nominating committee, as Mr. R.M. Adger, of Philadelphia, had been named, and it having been intimated that Mr. Adger is not a member.


The Secretary having arrived, the Minutes of the morning session were read and approved.
Mr. John Alexander was placed on the Business Committee in place of Mr. D. Williams.
Messrs. Cassius M. Brown, of Harrisburg, and A.M. Green, of Philadelphia, were appointed assistant Secretaries.

The President's annual message was read, and, on motion of Mr. D. Williams, of Hollidaysburg, was referred to a special committee of three, consisting of Messrs. D. Williams, of Hollidaysburg, D.B. Bowser, of Philadelphia, and O.V. Catto, of Phila.
Revs. J.J. Clinton and J.W. Loguen were, on motion of Mr. D. Williams, of Hollidaysburg, invited to address the League this evening.

On motion of Mr. A.M. Green, of Philadelphia, an invitation was extended to the choir of the church to give us their services at the evening session.

Rev. Jos. A. Nelson, of Philadelphia, and Mr. O.L.C. Hughes and Mr. George W. Saunders, of Harrisburg, were appointed a committee on Invitation.

Mr. W.D. Forten raised the question of the standing of Mr. C.H. Vance, of Harrisburg, in the League , claiming that he was a member, and yet excluded.

Mr. Bustill, of Philadelphia, contended that Mr. Vance was not a member of the League , nor a representative of Capital City League , of Harrisburg, and explained that Mr. Vance was a member from Feb. 1865 to Feb. 1866, and that at this latter date his membership ceased. The discussion was further continued by Messrs. Bustill, of Philadelphia, Still, of Reading, Saunders, of Harrisburg, and others, when the Chair ruled that officers of the League are members until their successors are appointed, and that Mr. Vance having been elected a member of the Executive Board at the annual meeting of the League , held Aug. 1865, is a member until his successor be appointed.

Mr. Catto opposed the ruling of the Chair; an appeal was taken from the decision, and the Chair was sustained by a vote of 24 yeas to 20 nays.

The Committee on Credentials reported Rev. John E. Price representative of Good Samaritan Council, Harrisburg.

The report was adopted.

On motion of Mr. J. McC. Crummill, of Philadelphia, a committee of three, consisting of J. McC. Crummill and D.B. Bowser, of Phila., and Benjamin F. Pulpress, of Allegheny City, was appointed to invite the following gentlemen to address the League:

Hon. John W. Forney, Ex-Governor Hamilton, (of Texas,) Hon. T.J. Bingham, Hon. Thos. Williams, and Senator J.S. Graham.

The hour of adjournment having arrived, the President declared the meeting adjourned till 8 o'clock this evening.

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Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League (1866 : Pittsburgh, PA), “Proceedings of the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League at the Annual Meeting Held in the City of Pittsburgh, August 8, 9, 10, 1866.,” Colored Conventions Project Digital Records, accessed July 27, 2021,