Latest historical marker honors nation’s 1st black pastor

The newly unveiled historical marker honoring Lemuel Haynes stands in the foreground as Mary Reczek, of the West Rutland Historical Society, speaks to a crowd of people at Pleasant Street Cemetery in West Rutland on Saturday. (Cameron Paquette / Staff Photo)

WEST RUTLAND — Two-hundred years after Lemuel Haynes left his blossoming parish in West Rutland, more than 70 community members gathered to honor his memory and the impact he had on a small Vermont town.

“This was an act of love on our part,” said West Rutland Historical Society trustee Mary Reczek of the roughly two-year process that culminated in Saturday’s dedication.

Born to mixed race parents in 1753 in West Hartford, Connecticut, Haynes began life as an indentured servant, but would become the first African American…

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