My Contribution: I was a person of deep faith and conviction who deeply influenced my community through church and organizations. I helped establish the Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church in Philadelphia and Harrisburg. Under my leadership as minister of the church in Harrisburg, the institution became a place of vital com- munity conversations about race and abolitionism. I also served my country, in the War of 1812 as a drummer boy and in the Civil War as one of the only African American chaplains.
My Legacy: The Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church of Harrisburg is still a pillar of the community and hub of important social jus- tice issues. I was remembered for my military service through the renaming of the local GAR Post, which was named David R. Stevens GAR Post 520, est. 1885.
About Me: “In view of the fact that for sixty-two years he has been connected with the cause of God… we deem it fitting as Christians and as citizens to commemorate this unusual fact… and tender to our venerable friend, Elder Stevens, our congratulations that his life, so full of useful service, has been spared even to our time, to bless the church and the world.” — A resolution by church members for his Eightieth birthday, Harrisburg Telegraph, January 27, 1883.
Full Name: Reverend David R. Stevens
Birth Date: 1803
Death Date: May 6, 1883
Place of Birth: Maryland
Race: “Mulatto” (1860 and 1870 Federal Censuses
Places of Residence: : Philadelphia; Juniper Street, Harrisburg (1880).
Connection to the Old Eighth Ward: Church leader of Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church
Family Members: Wife: Harriet Stevens
Education: Learned to read, write, and cipher. Trained as plumber
Occupations: Plumber. gas and water works. Minister. Army Chaplain
Church Membership: Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church, Philadelphia (incorporator, trustee, and deacon); Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church, Harrisburg; founded churches in Lewistown and Bellefonte, and a mission in Allegheny City (1839).
Activism: Founded Paxton Ma- sonic Lodge, No. 16, which marched in the United States Colored Troops review in Harrisburg on November 14, 1865; served as Chaplain in the 36th United States Colored Troops, 1863-1865; member of Brotherly Love Lodge, No. 896 on South Street
Connections: Anna E. Amos, John Quincy Adams, John P. Scott, T. Morris Ches- ter, Maud D. Molson, H. H. Garney, O.L.C. Hughes, William Howard Day, George H. Imes, Cassius Brown, Charles Sumner, and Joseph B. Popel.