Rev. Frost Pollitt: Deacon in the Philadelphia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church
The Philadelphia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church from 1844 to 1868 covered a very large territory from the North in Pennsylvania above the Delaware Water Gap to the South to Cape Charles, Virginia on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, to the East bordering the Delaware River and further South the Atlantic Coast from Lewes, Delaware and below, and to the West Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and all of the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia to the Chesapeake Bay. In this territory, we know that Rev. Frost Pollitt was based in Princess Anne, Maryland but traveled throughout the Eastern Shore of Maryland and into Virginia to Accomac County and up into the Philadelphia area as well as Washington, D.C. and Alexandria, Virginia. It is not known if he traveled to Baltimore but it is not out of the possibility.
The first mention of Frost Pollitt being recommended to be a Deacon comes in 1851 in the Philadelphia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church while he served in Princess Ann, Maryland. At that time, a Colored preacher could not preach unless accompanied by a White Minister. This was not just in churches but as was the fashion of the day, Camp Meetings and revivals.
We know very little about Frost between the years of 1828 and 1851 other than if indeed he joined the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1807, he already had many years of attendance in church, attending Camp Meetings and other informal gatherings. Although he signed his will and other documents with an X indicating he could not write, he may have been able to read as his personal estate contained a number of Methodist and other religious books. Certainly, he knew how to preach and was well known for his gift. He had not been schooled so we must assume that he was a gifted listener to other preachers and bible stories that were told.
By the 1850’s there was a growing desire to have a Methodist Episcopal Conference for persons of Color. The first known Convention of Colored Preachers of the Methodist Episcopal Church was held in Zoar Church in Philadelphia in 1852. It is known that the Conference of Colored Local Preachers met for seven years starting in 1857 in Zoar ME Church with Bishop Levi Scott presiding. The Rev. Frost Pollitt attended at least two of the Conferences preceding the founding of the Delaware Conference, both in Philadelphia. The first one that he attended was in 1857 and the second in 1859.
Minutes of the Convention of Colored Preachers of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Convened in Zoar Church, Philadelphia (1852) printed in Lewis Y. Cox, Pioneer Footsteps (Cape May, New Jersey: Star and Wave Press, 1917), 5-10
Conference of Colored Local Preachers, Annually for seven years, starting August 1857, Zoar ME Church, Bishop Levi Scott
The Second Session of the Conference of the Colored Local Preachers, called at the request of the Philadelphia Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, at its session in March, 1857, met, according to adjournment, at the time appointed by the Presiding Bishop on August 4th 1858 in the E. Zion M. E. Church Wilmington, Delaware.
Wednesday Afternoon, August 4.
Conference met, Rev. Wm. Urie in the chair.
Religious Exercises by Rev. Isaac Hinson.
Journal read and approved.
Benjamin Brown, of Milford Circuit, appeared and took his seat.
Rev. Frost Pullet, Wilmore S. Elsey, and Joseph P. Bowser were invited to sit within the bar as corresponding members.
Rev E. I. D. Pepper was requested to prepare the minutes for publication.
W.P. Gibson from Mt. Zion Circuit, Burlington District, appeared and took his seat.
The Third Annual Session of the Local Preachers, within the bounds of the Philadelphia and New Jersey Conference, was held in the Zoar Methodist Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, August 10th, 1859.
Afternoon Session, at 2 o’clock, P.M.
The Bishop called the Conference to order at the appointed hour, and appointed Brother Isaac Hinson to conduct the religious exercises. The minutes were read and approved. The examination of character was resumed. Samuel Dale, Philip Scott, Isaiah Broughton, Wilmore S. Elsey, were appointed and continued. Ebenezer Songs was discontinued.
Harrison Smith was approved and continued.
Frost Pullet, Joseph P. Bowser, James Thomas from Washington and Richard Moore, were introduced and invited to take seats within the bar.
The Bishop then called for information in regard to any new work.
From these records we know that the Rev. Frost Pollitt was active in the Philadelphia Conference and traveled to Philadelphia from Maryland at least twice to attend the Conference of the Colored Local Preachers in 1857 and 1859. In 1864, he would again be in Philadelphia, but as a senior elder, now age 75.