This is a 2021 photo of the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church at 316 E. Market St., Urbana. It was built in 1866 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. This “Looking Forward” is from the perspective of Elijah Brown, an early member and deacon of the A.M.E. Church.
Sometime after Elijah Brown’s death George Brown and Lewis Adams in 1837 testified before William Patrick, Justice of the Peace of Champaign County, that based on frequent conversation they had had with Elijah Brown that it was his intention that his entire estate be bequeathed to the church after his debts were paid. He wanted the proceeds from his estate to be used to erect a church building as services were being held in church members’ homes.
It is assumed that it was ruled that Elijah Brown’s estate went to support the construction of a church building as a small brick structure was erected in 1844. In 1866 the 1844 little brick church was pulled down and construction of the current church building began. Ten years later it was completed.
Reference: Echoes Vol 37, No 2 Feb. 1998. A publication of the Ohio Historical Society
Submitted by the Champaign County Historical Society and Museum.