Born in Edgefield, SC at the end of slavery, John would go on to become a household name in the America of the 1880s. He was more famous than Frederick Douglass for a spell. It’s a story that has fascinated me for years, once that my cousin Donya Williams shared with me.
The story of John Yeldell (aka the Rev Elijah Flemon) is worthy of a movie. Sincerely. The twists and turns are incredible. However, as Donya Williams has written about him in her book, Comes to the Light: The Entangled Families of Edgefield County, it’s a story I have left for her to tell.
You can get a great overview of his history in the video below: