Edian Markham

Edian Markham (c. 1824-1910) came to Durham as an evangelist in 1868 and established a congregation that became St. Joseph's African Methodist Episcopal Church. Facts about his early life are obscure, including whether he was born slave or free; various accounts do agree that he was born in northeastern North Carolina, went north, was educated and answered a call to ministry.

Arriving in Durham in 1868, Markham (also spelled "Markum") bought a piece of land at what became the intersection of Pettigrew and Fayetteville streets and, in 1869, there put up a brush arbor as a place of worship and called it "Union Bethel". Indications are that Markham also taught a freedmen's school at the site, but he left Durham in 1870 to resume his missionary travels.

Before leaving, Markham gave the Union Bethel congregation a title to the land where the brush arbor stood, and under succeeding pastors the church built two wood-frame sanctuaries before erecting the landmark brick building that is now part of the Hayti Heritage Center. Markham eventually settled back in Durham.

Fayetteville StreetSt. Josephs Street