STOP 4 - Rossville AME Zion Church

Rossville AME Zion Church. Photo by Jim Sulley, courtesy of

In 1850, William H. Pitts and other members of the Sandy Ground community established an African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church with a connection to the New York Conference of churches and members of the Underground Railroad. The members of the Sandy Ground AME Zion Church attended the annual conferences with dynamic African American members of the anti-slavery and Underground Railroad movements, such as J.W. Lougen, who was also a part of the New York Conference. There was an Underground Railroad committee, whose members provided reports at the annual conferences. Other pastors of the church continued their attendance at the Zion annual conferences, including Reverends Isaac Coleman and Jeptha Barcroft. (Text and information courtesy of the NPS UGRR Louis Napoleon House Site Application).

The church congregation most likely aided freedom seekers passing through the community, which was the only safe haven on the South Shore of Staten Island.

Louis Napoleon, Underground Railroad Conductor, owned a home next to the church.

Map of Sandy Ground showing the AME Zion Church. Courtesy of the Sandy Ground Historical Society.