The Return of the Flowers Family History


Photo from the Messiah College Archives

The history of the first international students to attend Messiah College is officially done. It has been a good, long break away from the Flowers family. Two months to be exact. With the help of a former professor there has been a few leads including the official date as to when Harry Flowers actually arrived in Pennsylvania. Already, I have to rewrite their history, but this is what research is about.

My ultimate goal this summer is to locate a living descendent of the Flowers family. My hope was to find a family member this past spring; however, the person conducting this portion of the research fell through. In the midst of my senior year, I was able to contact the churches attended by both Rachel and Hilda, Wesley A.M.E Zion in Harrisburg and St. Phillips Lutheran Evangelical Church in Philadelphia. Members of Wesley AME Zion were in attendance of the Rachel Flower Suite performance in May and have been a great help in the course of this research. There does exist limitations in researching on Rachel’s participation with this church. I learned form the pastor that the church’s current location is not its original location; therefore, documents and records were lost in the move and not many documents survived past floods. Outside of a few newspaper articles, I have secured no new information regarding Rachel’s and her family participation in this church.

Located at its original address, Saint Phillips Evangelical Church continues to hold services to this day. I have probably left ten to fifteen voicemails to the pastor and secretary of the church and have received no response. I have given up on connecting with this church through phone, so I will grace the congregation with my presence in the fall. This church hold a great key in my research for the following reasons:

  1. A majority of the Flowers family attend this church including Rachel, Geraldine, Gladyce, Arnita, and Hilda. I should probably say the women of the Flowers family.
  2. Rachel served as junior choir director. The last newspaper article to note her service within the church was dated in the late 1950s. Someone has to remember her presence.
  3. Arnita served as a church secretary, Geraldine as superintendent. There has to be records somewhere.

While I travel to Philadelphia this fall to speak at a conference, I will enlist the help of a friend, Kelly, while researching on the Flowers family. She has lived in Philly for about a year and knows the area better than I do. Besides, friends help friends do research. Until then, I will be opening up phonebooks, messaging Flowers and Stevenson living in Philadelphia on Facebook, and begin this journey on finding a living Flowers/Stevenson/Wilson relative.

If you are new to this blog and/or my research, check out the About page and to learn more.

Wish me luck!

Until the next post,


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