Photograph of Charles Kiner


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Photograph of Charles Kiner is a picture, with genre photograph and portraits.

It was created sometime around 1881-1900.

Worthington Libraries and St. John African Methodist Episcopal (A. M. E.) Church are the Contributors.

This photograph of Charles Kiner is from an unknown date, and is taken from the booklet "Forward with Brotherhood," published by the St. John's A.M.E. Church. Kiner played important roles in the late 1800s/early 1900s Worthington. He was the first Black person to hold public office in Worthington. He also was instrumental in helping to establish the St. John's A.M.E. Church, Worthington's home church for the Black community.

Charles was the son of Benjamin and Frances Kiner, who were emancipated in Virginia at the close of the Civil War. The couple was successfully reunited by the Freedmen's Bureau following the war, as explained by Edward Ayer in the book "The Thin Light of Freedom." He writes: "In a few instances, the efforts [of the Freedmen's Bureau] worked. Benjamin Kiner had moved to Ohio and wrote his wife Frances back in Augusta [County, Virginia] in 1866, through the connections of the Freedmen's Bureau. 'I would like to have you come out here and I hope you will make up your mind and come with the children,' he urged. 'I should like to have all the children with me as they can go to school.'" After moving to Ohio, the family settled in Worthington near the turn of the century. In 1900, Benjamin was 85 and a widower, living with his son Charles and his family.

Charles Kiner was the first known African American to hold public office in Worthington, when he was appointed town marshal in 1891. According to an 1860 ordinance, the town marshal was the village's primary law enforcement official, who oversaw a deputy and was appointed to a term of two years. An additional ordinance was passed in 1884 assigning the marshal the duties of street commissioner.

Kiner married Carrie Banks on December 11, 1889, and rented a home that stood on the lot where Worthington United Methodist Church is today, at 600 N. High Street. Known as the "Principal’s Cottage," or "Birdsong," the residence housed the principal of the Worthington Female Seminary that operated in Worthington from 1839 to 1857. The home was later moved behind the post office on Short Street.

In addition to holding public office, Kiner was instrumental in the formation of St. John A.M.E. (African Methodist Episcopal) Church. Throughout the 1800s, Black residents were able to attend church at any of the denominations in Worthington, but often gathered in their homes to worship. Millie Alston conducted church and Sunday School in her home on Plymouth Street in the early 1890s. In 1896, a group began to organize a home church for Worthington's Black community. Led by Peter Banks with assistance from Kiner, D.H. Taborn, J.T. Horton and James Birkhead, the group purchased a lot from Alston for $50 and relocated a home to the site to serve as a church. This first building, called Bethel A.M.E., served the congregation until 1914, when local carpenter Mr. Hard constructed the building that stands today at 682 Plymouth Street. The church was renamed St. John's A.M.E., and the congregation remained there until 2004, when it relocated to Crosswoods Drive.

According to "Forward with Brotherhood," Charles Kiner later moved to Montazuma, Iowa. Sadly, he was killed in his early 60s, when a tree he was removing fell on him. However, his legacy of public service lives on in Worthington.

It covers the topics church buildings, African Americans, local government officials and police.

It features the person Charles Kiner, 1861-1924.

It features the organization St. John African Methodist Episcopal (A. M. E.) Church.

It covers the city Worthington.

You can find the original at Old Worthington Library.

This file was reformatted digital in the format video/jpeg.

The Worthington Memory identification code is wpl0508.

This metadata record was human prepared by Worthington Libraries on September 23, 2020. It was last updated September 24, 2020.