In 1887, thirteen dedicated African American domestic workers, residing and working on Chicago's Gold Coast were struck with a strong desire to sing God's praises. This meant embarking on many arduous, weekly pilgrimages.
Traveling by horse and buggy to the south side of Chicago, they gathered with other Christians of color where they could sing and worship. Later, during 1887, the weekly ventures to the south side ended when they requested and received permission to hold their weekly worship in the basement of the LaSalle Avenue Baptist Church (an all white congregation).
There they were able to congregate each Sunday after LaSalle's morning services ended. Although the group later arranged to fellowship with the Bethesda Baptist Church located on South Dearborn Street, it was still some distance from their homes and places of employment.
In October of 1887, again becoming restless and desiring their own place of worship, the thirteen men and women requested release from Bethesda and then established themselves as the Hermon Baptist Church. Their first service was held in the basement of Turner Hall located on Clark Street, north of Chicago Avenue.
Realizing the need to be spiritually lead by a Man of God, the group selected their first pastor, Reverend J. W. Taylor. Reverend Taylor served in this position until 1897.