Many of my friends know that two years ago, I was diagnosed with endothelial dysfunction in the small blood vessels of my heart. In an effort to make lifestyle changes, I began to adopt healthier eating habits and to walk as I am able. Several weeks ago, I stumbled on a unique program where I am taking a virtual walk across America. The site is at http://www.exerciselbl.gov if anyone is interested in looking it up.
Each day I wear my pedometer and track the number of steps I have walked that day. Then I translate the steps into miles – 2500 steps equals approximately one mile on the map. When I enter my miles for each day it shows me a photo of where I am on the road and a note about what town is coming up next.
To make the journey more interesting, I have begun to read up on the history of the markers along this route which began near Williamsburg, VA. I’m discovering that there are so many interesting historical facts and stories about people to be explored along the way!
As of last Saturday, I had “walked” over 37 miles so far. It has taken me 5 weeks because I’m not able to walk a lot yet, but I hope to increase a little each week. I am heading through Charles City County, VA this week, the birthplace of 2 US presidents – William Henry Harrison (9th) and John Tyler (10th) It’s also home to one signer of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Harrison V.
But one of the most interesting people I learned about in my reading about Charles City was an African American man named Lott Cary. He was born in 1780 as a slave on the plantation of John Bowry, a farmer and Methodist minister. As a young man, Cary was industrious and soon was hired out to work in the Shockoe tobacco warehouse in Richmond. There he received an education after joining the First Baptist Church in Richmond, learning to read and write, along with math and the Bible in a class for slaves and free men. Because of his diligence, he was able to earn and save enough money to eventually buy freedom for himself and his two children shortly after the death of his wife in 1815.
Later in 1815, Cary became a recognized Baptist minister and he soon became involved with missionary efforts, traveling to Liberia on the West Coast of Africa where he planted churches and started schools. He also served as a lay physician. In 1828, he became acting governor of Liberia, but died later that year from wounds received in an accidental explosion.
He is still remembered today through the work of the Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention, based in Washington, DC.. In Richmond and Charles City, he has streets named after him. March 21 was also declared as Lott Cary Day in James City County and this year, he was honored as one of the Library of Virginia’s “Strong men and Women in Virginia History.”
What an inspiration! This man overcame steep obstacles with the Lord’s help to go on to accomplish much for the kingdom of God. To read more of his story, check him out at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lott_Cary