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Family of 
W. G. Merrltt 






A Member of the Western North Carolina Conference. 

With an Introduction 


Book Editor M. E. Church, South. 



Nashville, Tenn.; Dallas, Tex.: 

Publishing House of the M. E. Church, South. 

Smith & Lamar, Agents. 




By Smith & Lamar. 

Div. S. 



To my Father, T. A. Grissom, 

and Mother, Martha E. Grissom, 

the one so recently crossed over the river, 

and the other who lingers in the evening of life on this side, 

who both taught and guided my steps in youth, 

and who have been a comfort and benediction to me in their last days, 

this volume is affectionately dedicated by' 

The Author. 

H557 2.4 


This book is a result of an opportunity and of a convic- 
tion. The author had some hours of leisure not claimed 
by other duties, which gave him the opportunity. The con- 
viction sprang from the realization that a service, such as 
this is intended to be, had been too long neglected. Much 
valuable historical material has already been lost beyond 
recovery, and much that remained was rapidly passing 
away. Most of the other denominations of the state have 
been more careful to write and preserve their history than 
the Methodists. It has been said that the reason we have 
so little material in the early history of Methodism is that 
those old heroes regarded duty more than honor and the 
present good more than future praise. They not only failed 
to write history, but were negligent in preserving the min- 
utes which were recorded; while the records which were 
preserved furnish meager material for the historian, as 
they give only the briefest outline of the deliberations which 
determined largely the polities and usages of the Church. 

Only a few of the early preachers kept diaries, and those 
who did, as a rule, merely recorded where they preached 
and the text used. It is just to say, however, that Bishop 
Asbury, Jesse Lee, and a few others are notable exceptions 
to this rule. These sources are of incalculable value to the 
writer of Methodist history. 

So the reader will see that the writer did not select this 
work because it was an easy task. For there was little 



x Preface. 

material in sight when he began to examine the sources. 
Still there was a fascination in collecting the necessary data. 
"Old bookstores" were visited and searched from Boston 
to Atlanta, while much was obtained from the garrets of 
many private homes. Time, travel, and expense were not 
spared to make the collection of material as complete as pos- 
sible at this late day. Fully realizing the importance of the 
work, the labor involved, and its responsibility, he has en- 
deavored to portray the spirit and life of early Methodism, 
praying that every reader may have holy aspirations kindled 
by reviewing a great spiritual movement that has increased 
in momentum as the years have gone by. For he felt that 
the writing of history is the digging up of the past for the 
instruction and inspiration of the present and future. The 
archaeologists in the last few decades have uncovered many 
ancient cities that have been buried for centuries, and they 
are again made to speak to us. So may the lives of the 
pioneers of Methodism in North Carolina speak to us, and 
tell us of their self-sacrificing spirit and glorious victories. 
For they can tell us of a zeal and enthusiasm that is no 
longer witnessed among us. May the scenes of the early 
camp meeting pass in review before us, and leave their pho- 
tographs upon the memories of both young and old. Some 
one has said that "history gathers for us the treasures of 
the past, and lays at our feet the experiences, and the ac- 
cumulations, and the attainments, and the ideals of those 
who have lived before us." If this be true, the history of 
Methodism is a rich legacy to all her children. 

No apology is needed for giving a chapter to the period 
of the American Revolution. Here the most decisive bat- 

Preface. xi 

ties were fought. Our preachers were in a more embarrass- 
ing position than the preachers of any other denomination ; 
and yet the victory for freedom meant much for Methodism, 
and made it possible for it to become a great Church and 
one of the greatest moral and spiritual forces in America. 

Neither is an apology necessary for treating some sub- 
jects which perhaps more properly belong to a work on the 
history of Methodism in general, because many of these 
great movements had their origin in North Carolina. It 
will be seen in these pages that the first subscriptions to a 
Methodist school in America were made, by North Caro- 
linians; that the first Conference school was erected in 
North Carolina ; that the first Methodist periodical published 
in America was launched from North Carolina; that the 
first Discipline in its present form was prepared for the 
press by a circuit preacher in North Carolina ; and that the 
camp meeting, which gave Methodism such an impetus in 
its early days, had its origin in North Carolina, and not in 
Kentucky as is generally recorded. 

Much space has been given to the revival feature of 
Methodism ; in fact, its early history is the history of a 
great revival movement. At first it was little more than a 
revival of religion. No such times had ever been witnessed 
in America before the coming of the Methodist preacher 
as was witnessed about the beginning of the nineteenth 
century. This revival, started under the preaching of the 
Methodists, marks an epoch in the history of every Prot- 
estant Church in America. 

It was necessary in trying to portray the life and times 
of early Methodism to give the biography of the actors as 

xii Preface. 

far as it was possible. Much difficulty was met in obtaining 
information concerning many of those old heroes, as there 
is little known of many of them except what may be found 
in the General Minutes. They made a record, but it is only 
recorded in heaven. As we contemplate the sufferings, 
hardships, and toils of these men of God who have glorified 
the past and made Methodism what it is, our hearts should 
be stirred and inspired with a holy purpose to follow them 
as they followed Christ. Let us rejoice in their heroic 
efforts and glorious achievements. Macaulay says, "No 
people who fail to take pride in the deeds of their ancestors 
will ever do anything in which their posterity can take 

As a rule credit is given in the footnotes, with the excep- 
tion of such data as may have been gathered from the Gen- 
eral Minutes. If other authorities are omitted in the foot- 
notes, they will have due recognition in a bibliography that 
will appear in a later volume. 

The author is under special obligation to the following, 
who have given him encouragement or valuable help in one 
way or another : Rev. J. J. Tigert, D.D., LL.D., our Book 
Editor, who has kindly edited the work and written the 
Introduction; Dr. J. S. Bassett, Professor of History in 
Trinity College; Dr. Dred Peacock, late President of 
Greensboro Female College ; Dr. C. L. Raper, Professor in 
the University of North Carolina; Doctors James H. Car- 
lisle, H. N. Snyder, and D. D. Wallace, of Wofford Col- 
lege; Dr. S. B. Weeks, Rev. J. J. Renn, D.D., Rev. C. A. 
Wood, and others. He also wishes to express his indebted- 
ness to the authorities and managers of the following li- 

Preface. xiii 

braries: Greensboro Female College, Trinity College, Wof- 
ford College, Randolph-Macon College, Library of Con- 
gress, Maryland Historical Society, Methodist Historical 
Society 1 of Baltimore, the Pratt and Peabody Libraries of 
the same city, Methodist Historical Society of New York, 
and the Library of Yale College. All of the managers of 
these libraries have been very kind in rendering every pos- 
sible assistance, and sincere thanks are hereby expressed. 

W. L. Grissom. 

Greensboro, N. C, October 25, 1905. 

1 This collection was the most complete, so far as Methodist his- 
tory was concerned, of any consulted, and it was burned in the 
recent destructive fire in that city. 



Introduction xvii 

A Glance at Early Conditions I 

Itroduction of Methodism in North Carolina 26 

Early Circuits and Pioneers 47 

Period of the Revolution 68 

Growth of Methodism from 1780 to 1784 84 

Organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church 109 

The First Conferences 119 

Education and Early Methodism, 1780 to 1800 133 

Development in Eastern North Carolina, 1784 to 1792 146 

Development in Eastern North Carolina (Continued), 1792 
to 1800 162 

The First Schism in Methodism 175 

Growth in the Central Part of North Carolina, 1784 to 

1800 194 





The Cape Fear Section, 1784 to 1800 216 

Slavery in Relation to Methodism in the Eighteenth 
Century 226 

Development in the Yadkin Valley, 1784 to 1805 242 

West of the Catawba in the Eighteenth Century 271 

West of the Blue Ridge, 1780 to 1805 288 

The Period of Revivals 308 

The Period of Revivals (Continued) 318 

Camp Meetings 328 

Toils and Triumphs of the Pioneers 345 


Facing page 

Robert Straw-bridge 27 

George Whitefield 28 

Joseph Pilmoor 34 

A Pioneer 35 

Thomas Rankin 43 

John Dickins 60 

Bishop Asbury 84 

Houses of the Early Settlers. 93 

Thomas Coke 109 

Ordination of Bishop As- 
bury 116 

Green Hill's House 122 

Cokesbury School 136 

Christopher S. Mooring. . . . 172 

Facing page 

Henry Willis 195 

William Burke 200 

Thomas Ware 202 

Enoch George 206 

Rocky River Church 209 

James Jenkins 221 

Freeborn Garrettson 227 

Mount Mitchell 275 

Swannanoa River 291 

Killian House 301 

Lorenzo Dow 322 

Camp Meeting 328 

Preaching in the Woods... 344 
Map of North Carolina. .. .p. i 


The author's full and illuminating preface renders un- 
necessary an elaborate introduction. Mr. Grissom's pages 
give ample evidence of the scope — I might say complete- 
ness — of his investigations and of the accuracy of his re- 
sults. He has given many years of untiring and intelli- 
gent search to the collection of his materials. These ef- 
forts have resulted in a measure of success so large that 
the author well deserves, and will receive, a permanent 
and honored place among those who have consecrated 
their energies and time to the preservation of the fast 
disappearing sources of early Methodist history in Amer- 
ica. This wealth of material has been utilized in the 
construction of a worthy and ample narrative of the 
beginnings of Methodism in North Carolina. 

The state has an ecclesiastical history in every way 
comparable with its civil record : the heroes who founded 
the Churches of the commonwealth are worthy to stand 
by the side of the men of King's Mountain and of the 
Mecklenburg Declaration. If here and there there has 
lurked a suspicion that North Carolina may have lacked 
a distinctive character and record — the modesty of her 

sons suffering their state to be ground, so to speak, be- 


xviii Introduction. 

•.ween the upper and nether millstones of Virginia and 
South Carolina, whose stories have been widely, not to 
say loudly, heralded — that suspicion is wholly dissipated 
as worthy historians come forward to tell the story of her 
heroic achievements. In the ecclesiastical sphere, Mr. 
Grissom has made a valuable and, as I venture to think, 
a permanent contribution to the wider recognition of the 
greatness of North Carolma and her people. The publi- 
cation of this first volume of well told denominational 
history should meet with such generous and general en- 
couragement as to insure the rapid preparation and issue 
of the remainder of the story. 

It remains only to add that the proofs of this volume 
have received careful attention in the Book Editor's of- 
fice, as well as conscientious revision at the hands of the 
author. The perusal has been a source of real profit and 
solid satisfaction to one reader who now takes great pleas- 
ure in commending the volume to public notice and es- 
pecially to the attention of the Methodists of North Car- 
olina. Jno. J. Tigert, 

Book Editor. 
Nashville, 30 October, 1905. 

History of Methodism in North Carolina. 



North Carolina : Location — Topography — Settlement. 

Intellectual Condition : First Printing Press — Mail Facilities — 
First Schools Run by the Clergy — Newbern Academy Established 
by Legislative Enactment — Few Educational Advantages — Scotch- 
Irish Presbyterians — Church Schools. 

Religious Condition : First Gospel Sermon — William Edmundson — 
George Fox. Friends. Established Church: Church Established 
by Government — First Church Built in Chowan — Rev. John 
Blair. The Baptists: First Baptist Church in Perquimans County 
— Paul Palmer — Meherrin — Kehukee Association — Sandy Creek 
— Shubal Stearns — Grassy Creek. Presbyterians: Henry McCul- 
loch — Hugh McAden — Alexander Craighead — David Caldwell — 
Fourteen Congregations in 1755. Lutheran and German Re- 
formed: Mostly from Pennsylvania — Settled in Piedmont Sec- 
tion — Settlement of Newbern — Few Spoke English. The Mo- 
ravians: Germans — Settled in Forsyth — Salem — Salem Female 
Academy. The Methodists: Methodist Preachers Came with a 
Revival — Crowds Flocked Out to Hear Them. 

In order to appreciate the progress that Methodism has 
made in North Carolina, it is necessary to understand 
something of its territory and the influences at work here 
when Methodism was introduced. To draw a picture of 
conditions existing a century and a quarter ago is no easy 
task; for if we would know the field fully, advantages and 
disadvantages, we must know its social, intellectual, and 
religious condition. Hence merely to glance at these, so 
that the reader may have in mind the soil where Meth- 


2 Methodism in North Carolina. 

odism is to plant, cultivate, and reap, is the purpose of this 

North Carolina is included nearly between the parallels 
34° and 363/2° north latitude, and between the meridians 
753/2° and 843^° longitude west of Greenwich. It is 
bounded on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the south 
by South Carolina and Georgia, on the west by Tennessee, 
and on the north by Virginia. Its extreme length from 
east to west is 503^2 miles; its extreme breadth is 1873/2 
miles; and its average breadth is 100 miles. Its area 
embraces 52,286 square miles. 

The topography of North Carolina makes an interesting 
picture. It "may be best conceived by picturing to the 
mind's eye the surface of the state as a vast declivity, 
sloping down from the summits of the Smoky Mountains, 
an altitude of nearly seven thousand feet, to the level of 
the Atlantic Ocean." 1 It is almost in the form of terraces 
from the mountains to the sea. In the east we have the 
Atlantic plain stretching from the seacoast west a dis- 
tance of from one hundred to one hundred and fifty miles. 
Large sections of this plain are almost perfectly level. 
From the east to the west there is a rise of about a foot 
to a mile. The western border of this plain, extending 
through Warren, Franklin, Wake, Cumberland, Chat jam, 
Moore, Montgomery, and Anson counties, marks what at 
an earlier period of the earth's history was a line of sea- 
beach. The soil is a sandy loam, and is adapted to the 
growth of cotton, corn, peas, peanuts, potatoes, and espe- 

1 "North Carolina and its Resources," 1896, p. 16. 

A Glance at Early Conditions. 3 

daily sweet potatoes. The sounds and rivers abound with 
fish. The swamps, that are quite numerous in this sec- 
tion, are very different in their "characteristic features 
from an ordinary swamp." Many of them occupy the 
divides or watersheds, and it is thought that they will be 
a resource of great value some day. 

We now pass the old coast line, spoken of above, and 
enter the Piedmont Plateau, which comprises nearly one- 
half the territory of the state. Here we are greeted with 
a very marked change in topography and in production. 
Instead of the flat monotony of the east, we see at every 
step some new charm, in hill or dale ; for these scenes of 
landscape present new beauties to an eye of taste upon 
which it never tires. These red Piedmont hills, between 
the plains of the east and the mountains of the west, are 
unsurpassed as a climate for a great variety of vegetable 
productions and for health. It produces corn, cotton, to- 
bacco, and the small grains. In addition to these it is 
celebrated as a fruit-growing section. 

Passing on to the west, we come to the mountains. 
There beauty and grandeur blend together. This section 
is bounded on the east by the Blue Ridge Mountains, 
which run from the northeast to the southwest, and is on 
an average nearly four thousand feet in elevation. Ap- 
proaching it from the east it is steep and rugged, rising 
from two thousand to three thousand feet above the Pied- 
mont country. From the west it is a low and ill-defined 
ridge. From here to the western boundary of the state 
it is mountainous, noted for beauty of scenery and a 
health-giving climate. 

4 Methodism in North Carolina. 

So far as known, no one of the white race had ever en- 
tered North Carolina previous to 1584. On a bright 
summer day, July 4, old style, 1 1584, the first English 
anchor was dropped off near its coast. The voyagers 
landed, and after thanksgiving to Almighty God they 
took formal possession of this country in the name of the 
Queen of England. They landed on Roanoke Island. 
However, there was no permanent settlement of whites 
until about 1663. It has been generally thought that they 
came as religious refugees ; and while no doubt many 
came seeking religious liberty, the majority came from 
purely economic reasons. 2 Those who understood the 
grant to the proprietors, which contained the germ of 
an Established Church, could not have expected to find 
that religious freedom for which they sought. Many of 
the early settlers cared little for religion, but they wished 
to better their condition. The first emigrants settled in 
the Albemarle section, which was very inviting to every 
tiller of the soil. England, the mother country, was 
crowded. They sought the wide and fertile fields of 

The proprietary government was established by charter 
in 1665, and terminated in 1729. The total population oi 
the colony at the latter date is estimated to be about ten 
thousand. "In 1730 the colonial government was estab- 

'In new style of reckoning this was July 16. 

'Bishop Cheshire in Church Messenger. Colonel Sanders in "Co- 
lonial Records," Vol. I., pages 28, 29; and Dr. S. B. Weeks in "Re- 
ligious Development in the Province of North Carolina," pages 20-31. 
"Colonial Records," Vol. IV., page 920. 

A Glance at Early Conditions. $ 

lishecl under royal authority. George Burrington was ap- 
pointed governor of the province of North Carolina by the 
King of England, and the next year he qualified at Eden- 
ton, and entered upon the duties of his office." 

In considering the intellectual condition of North Caro- 
lina at the time Methodism was introduced, it will be 
necessary to glance at the educational forces in the colony 
previous to that time. And perhaps no force in this state 
has been felt more than the printing press. It has done 
much good, and sometimes when not properly used has 
done much harm. This educational force was introduced 
in North Carolina in 1749, by James Davis, from Vir- 
ginia, who set up a press in Newbern. This paper was a 
small weekly, and was called the North Carolina Gazette. 
The paper continued six years. On the 27th of May, 
1768, its publication was resumed, and continued until 
the Revolutionary War. 

The second newspaper was started by Andrew Stewart, 
printer to the king, at Wilmington, in 1763, called the 
Cape Fear Gazette and Wilmington Advertiser. This 
paper ceased in 1767. Stewart's paper was succeeded by 
Adam Boyd's Mercury, which ceased during the Revo- 
lutionary War. In 1776 newspapers were printed at 
Newbern, Wilmington, Halifax, Edenton, and Hills- 
boro. In 1812 papers were printed at Raleigh, New- 
bern, Wilmington, Edenton, Tarboro, Murfreesboro, 
Fayetteville, and Warrenton, but there was no paper 
west of Raleigh. 1 

1 "History of Journalism in North Carolina," by W. W. Holden, 
pages 3, 4. 

6 Methodism in North Carolina. 

Those of to-day who are in the habit of reading the 
daily papers can hardly conceive how the early settlers 
could get along with the newspaper and other mail facili- 
ties. For up to 1754 "there were no post routes traversed 
by mail carriers." As late as 1790, long after Methodism 
had been introduced into the colony, there were only four 
post offices in North Carolina, namely, Edenton, Newbern, 
Washington, and Wilmington. Think of running a paper 
and sending it out without post offices or mail carriers, as 
James Davis did in 1749! Letters also must be sent by 
travelers or by special messengers. 

When we think of all our modern conveniences we 
cannot realize how the people made any progress without 
them. The uses of steam and electricity were unknown. 
Their mode of traveling was quite different from the 
palace car that dashes so rapidly across our continent to- 
day. Traveling was done on horseback, and the freight, 
which consisted of the mere necessities of life, was carried 
on pack horses. Public roads were few. Most of the 
traveling was done on footpaths from one neighborhood to 
another. All these disadvantages and many others the 
early pioneers of Methodism had to face when they en- 
tered North Carolina. 

There were very few schools in the colony previous to 
the Revolutionary War, and these were conducted usually 
by the ministers of the gospel and lay readers. 1 The first 
churches usually had lay readers to read sermons. The 
missionaries who came to this country to establish the 

1 "Church History in North Carolina," page 164. 

A Glance at Early Conditions. 7 

Church knew that in order to have the greatest success 
education and religion must go hand in hand; and that 
in order to have a strong, vigorous, and steadfast faith, 
there must be some intellectual development. Education 
is necessary to the development of the best type of Chris- 
tianity. In the early history of North Carolina we find 
that the Church fully realized this fact, but this idea of 
education seems not to have gone beyond the pales of 
the Church. m 

The government was indifferent to the education of the 
people, and Governor Berkeley, who dominated the colony 
of Virginia for more than a quarter of a century, thanked 
God, in June, 1671, that there were no free schools or 
printing presses in the colony, and hoped that there might 
not be in a hundred years. 1 It was just ninety-six years 
after this when the first school was established by legis- 
lative enactment in North Carolina. This school was 
Newbern Academy, in 1767. 2 And Martin says in his 
history that there were but two, those of Newbern and 
Edenton, at the time of the Declaration of Independence. 
Education for a long time seems to have been entirely 
neglected. The government had done practically nothing 
up to the time that the university was opened in 1795. 
For at that time there was not a public school in the state. 
Williamson, in accounting for the neglect of education, 
says : "The laws that- were made to support a religious 
establishment retained their force ; for they were supported 
by the spirit of party. Learning was neglected because it 

1 "Life of David Caldwell," page 78. 'Ibid., p. 77. 

8 Methodism in North Carolina. 

was of no party; no troops enlisted themselves under its 
banner. Pride or passion were not ready to lend their 
assistance; and reason, a cool auxiliary, for many years 
gave ineffectual support." The policy of the government 
was to keep the people in ignorance, and in this it seems to 
have succeeded. It was necessary to go abroad in order 
to secure anything like a liberal education, and this a few 
of the more wealthy and intelligent did. 

There were not man^at this period who obtained any- 
thing like what we would consider a liberal education. 
Rev. D. Jarratt, of the Church of England in Virginia, 
writing from the southern part of that colony in 1750, 
says that "he had learned the Division of Crops, the 
Rule of Three, and Practice" ; and it is said that his 
fame for learning had traveled one hundred miles. 1 And 
no doubt the best educated people in the colony were 
the clergymen of the Established Church and govern- 
ment officers. 

The Scotch-Irish Presbyterians came about 1740, and 
began to settle chiefly in the central and western parts of 
the colony, and with them came a general awakening on 
the subject of education. They had practical ideas of re- 
ligion and education. Several schools of a high grade 
were established, and a general revival of education fol- 
lowed. They soon had schools at Wilmington, Crowfield, 
Caldwell's School in Guilford county (then a part of 
Rowan), and at Charlotte. North Carolina is greatly in- 
debted to the Church schools for its educational develop- 

1 "Life and Times of Jesse Lee," by Dr. L. M. Lee, pages 20-23. 

A Glance at Early Conditions. 9 

merit. From the seed that was sown by these Christian 
settlers our schools and colleges have grown. 1 

The religious condition of the colony will next claim 
our attention. And in order to find out its religious con- 
dition at the time Methodism was introduced, let us give 
a brief sketch of each denomination occupying the field 
previous to that date, 1773. 

The Friends. 

It is presumed that the first settlers in North Carolina 
were inclined to the Church of England, if they had any 
religious inclinations. But the first minister of the gospel 
to preach in North Carolina was William Edmundson, a 
Quaker. He was a native of England, and was born in 
1627. He was a man of piety, and was very eloquent as a 
preacher. Mr. Edmundson came to America in 1671, and 
in the spring of 1672 he made a visit to North Carolina. 
In his Journal he gives a full account of his visit, which 
shows that he encountered many difficulties. The follow- 
ing is a most graphic description of a night spent in the 
forest : "It being dark, and the woods thick, I walked all 
night between two trees ; and though very weary, I durst 
not lie down on the ground, for my clothes were wet to 
my skin. I had eaten little or nothing that day, neither 
had I anything to refresh me but the Lord." 2 The next 
morning he reached the house of Henry Phillips, who 

'For a full discussion of education in North Carolina, see "His- 
tory of Church and Private Schools in North Carolina," by Dr. C. 
L. Raper. 

s Edmundson's Journal, page 67 (edition 1774). 

io Methodism in North Carolina. 

lived where the town of Hertford now stands. 1 Phillips 
and his wife were converted in New England, and, as they 
had not seen a Friend for seven years, the sight of this 
man of God made them weep for joy. By noon they 
called a congregation together, when Edmundson preached 
the first sermon known to have been delivered in North 
Carolina since the destruction of Raleigh's ill-fated colony. 
The congregation was large, "but," Edmundson says, 
"they had little or no religion, for they came and sat 
down in the meeting smoking their pipes." But God 
blessed his efforts and souls were converted, among the 
number a Mr. Toms, a justice of the peace, and his wife. 
By invitation the preacher conducted services at their 
house the next day. Thus God honored the first gospel 
sermon preached in North Carolina. Edmundson soon 
left North Carolina and returned to Virginia. 

The second missionary to the colony was George Fox, 
who came on November 21, 1672. He went by canoe 
down Bennett's Creek into Chowan River, and after stop- 
ping at Hugh Smith's in the western part of the present 
Chowan county, he went down the river to see the govern- 
or, who lived "where the town of Edenton now is." The 
governor received him kindly. From here he visited 
Perquimans and Pasquotank, where "the people were ten- 
der and much desired after meeting." He says in his 
Journal : "Having visited the north part of Carolina and 
made a little entrance for the truth among the people 
there, we began to return toward Virginia, .... having 
spent about eighteen days in North Carolina." 

'Moore's "History of North Carolina," Vol. I., page 20. 

A Glance at Early Conditions. n 

When Edmundson made a second visit to North Caro- 
lina, in 1676, he found that the Friends were well estab- 
lished. He says, 'There was no room for the priests, for 
Friends were finely settled, and I left things well among 
them.'' At the commencement of the Revolutionary War 
the Quakers had monthly and quarterly meetings in Per- 
quimans, Pasquotank, Orange, Guilford, Johnson, and 
Cartaret; and in all they must have numbered several 
thousand members. 1 So we see that the Quakers began 
to preach in North Carolina just one hundred years before 
the Methodist itinerant entered the wilds of this colony. 
But their progress has been slow. At this time they only 
number six thousand in the state. These are principally in 
Guilford, Randolph, and Davidson counties, with quite a 
number in the northeastern part of the state. 

"While the Friends are proverbial for soundness of 
piety, frugality, and industry, they are signally defective 
in aggressive power, because they reject the active and 
demonstrative instrumentalities of propagating the gospel. 
It is a Church of negative rather than positive institutions. 
Avoiding the show of pomp of ritualistic demonstrations 
practiced in the Catholic Church, they have run into the 
other extreme of whispering quietism, that fails to awaken 
a world sleeping in sinful indulgences. But it is due to 
the Friends to say that their meekness of spirit, their sim- 
plicity of life, their bold and uncompromising hostility to 
all forms of war, have diffused a very mellow and salutary 

1(< Life of David Caldwell," page 8. 

12 Methodism in North Carolina. 

influence through society beyond their own Church.'" 1 
The Quakers are now doing more evangelistic work than 
formerly ; so if Dr. Hudson were writing at present, per- 
haps he would not make his statements so strong. 

The Established Church. 

The Established Church of England was the second 
denomination to do missionary work in North Carolina. 
The field was said to be unpromising for many years, and 
to the Episcopal ministers it seemed very near heathenism 
when the first mission was established. This Church was 
established by law in the province in 1669. But it only 
existed in theory up to 1700. For at that time the colony 
had no Episcopal ministers or churches, while the Quak- 
ers, as we have just seen, were well organized, and by the 
example of their faithful lives and earnest efforts were 
gathering many within their folds. 2 The Church of En- 
gland being established by law, other forms of religion 
were only tolerated, while the Established Church was the 
national religion of all the king's dominions. 

These early English settlers came mostly from Vir- 
ginia, and located on the creeks and rivers near the Albe- 
marle Sound. Others crossed over to Bath and along the 
Roanoke, and settled up the southern parts of the province. 
This Church had the advantage of all other Churches in 
that it had the influence of the government behind it. 3 
But it is now claimed by that Church that this connection 

*Dr. H.. T. Hudson in Raleigh Christian Advocate, April 19, 1876. 

2 "Religious Development in North Carolina," -Dr. S. B. Weeks, 
page 32. 

3 "Church History in North Carolina," page 46. 

A Glance at Early Conditions. 13 

with the state did the Church a great evil; that while the 
people of the state were nominally her children, and the 
great men of the state were almost without an exception 
her own, yet the Church stood helpless, blind, and para- 
lyzed. 1 

While this Church was established by the government, 
the people were not taxed for its support at once, but in 
November, 1701, the Assembly passed an act constituting 
each of the four precincts in Albemarle — namely, Chowan, 
Perquimans, Pasquotank, and Currituck — and also one 
precinct — Pamlico, in Bath county — parishes, and ap- 
pointing a select vestry in each. The vestry were employed 
to lay a tax of not more than five shillings per poll to build 
churches, buy glebes, employ ministers, etc. 2 "This tax 
produced tumults and insurrections among the people." 
This was the first religious dissent in North Carolina. It 
was the beginning of much strife. The Quakers were the 
leaders in the dissent. 

In 1702 3 the first church was built in Chowan county, 
near the present site of the town of Edenton. 4 The first 
minister of the Established Church in North Carolina was 
Rev. Daniel Brett, who came to the colony in the year 
1700. It seems that his chief object in coming was not 
for the glory of God and the upbuilding of the Church, but 
simply to obtain a support. He accomplished but little for 

1 "Church History in North Carolina," page 88. 
"Ibid., page 52. 

"See Hathaway in "Commemoration of Two Hundred Years of 
St. Paul's Parish," page 24. 

'Williamson's "History of North Carolina," Vol. I., page 169. 

14 Methodism in North Carolina. 

the Church, if anything, but strengthened the cause of the 
dissenters. "Thus ended in shame and disgrace the first 
missionary effort made by the Church of England to 
preach the gospel in North Carolina." 1 

In 1704 Rev. John Blair came as a representative of the 
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign 
Parts. He remained only a few months, and his report 
was very discouraging. Rev. William Gordon and Rev. 
James Adams began to labor in the four parishes of Albe- 
marle in 1708. They were true and faithful ministers of 
the gospel. Mr. Gordon remained only a short time, but 
Mr. Adams labored most earnestly for about three years. 
He died near the close of the year 17 10, after enduring 
many trials and hardships. Much might be written of the 
ministers of this Church who labored in the province up 
to the time Methodism was introduced, but it is only neces- 
sary for our purpose to glance at its origin and growth. 

In 1 74 1 the following ministers were in the province: 
Rev. Mr. Gargin, of St. Thomas's Church, Bath; Rev. 
James Moir, of St. James Church, New Hanover*; Rev. 
Richard Marsden ; and Rev. John Lapierre. Rev. Clement 
Hall began to labor as an itinerant missionary in 1744. 
Their success was very limited. 

The fact that this was the Established Church, and that 
the law gave it special privileges, caused much opposition 
from the other Churches. For unjust as it may seem, up 
to 1766 only clergymen of the Established Church were 
allowed to perform the rite of matrimony. And after that 

1 "Religious Development in North Carolina," page 35. 

A Glance at Early Conditions. 15 

time, when performed by others, the law provided that in 
the growing settlements, along the Yadkin and Catawba 
rivers, if there were an Episcopal clergyman in the parish 
he should receive the fee, unless he had refused to perform 
the ceremony. 1 While it never made rapid progress in 
North Carolina, yet it is admitted that it had the majority 
at the time of the Revolution. In 1770 it had been estab- 
lished at Bath, Newbern, Wilmington, Edenton, and in 
Edgecombe, Halifax, Northampton, Orange, Rowan, 
Mecklenberg, and Bute counties. The people in the north- 
ern counties, from Orange to the seacoast, were almost 
wholly English, and preferred allegiance to the Church of 

Since the Revolution the Episcopal Church is a contin- 
uation of the Church of England, with some modifications 
in adapting itself to our free institutions. Its form of 
worship is very solemn and beautiful, but not calculated 
to carry conviction to the hearts of sinners and cause them 
to cry, "What must I do to be saved ?" Neither have they 
gone into the "highways and hedges," but confined their 
labors mostly to the towns. Consequently their growth 
has been slow. 

The Baptists. 

The next religious denomination to enter North Caro- 
lina was the Baptist. It is thought by some that the Bap- 
tists came as early as 1695, and were scattered in the dif- 
ferent settlements of the colony. It is not certainly known 
at what time or in what number they came, but it is certain 

1 "Church History in North Carolina," page 79. 

16 Methodism in North Carolina. 

there was a Baptist Church organized as early as 1727. 1 
It was organized in Perquimans county, but for a hun- 
dred years it has had its local habitation at Shiloh in Cam- 
den county. Paul Palmer, a native of Maryland, was the 
prime mover in this organization. The church was com- 
posed of members from different settlements. 

The next organization was at Meherrin in 1729, by 
Joseph and William Parker, but a house of worship was 
not built until 1735. The average salary paid for the sup- 
port of the pastor was about one hundred dollars a year, 
which was quite liberal at that time, all things considered. 

The third church organized was that of Kehukee in 
1742, by Rev. William Sojourner, who came from Berk- 
ley in Virginia. It is situated on Kehukee Creek in Hali- 
fax county. The Kehukee Association derived its name 
from this church, and held its first meeting at this place. 2 
Sojourner gave the land upon which the church was built 
and became its first pastor. It was well located in that it 
was accessible, and "in the center of population and 
wealth." Its influence soon extended over a large area. 
It had a branch church at Sandy Run, which flourished 
from the first, and at Palecasi, Pleasant Grove, and Coun- 
aritsa, which became strong churches. Mr. Sojourner was 
abundant in labor, and his life, though short, was fruitful. 
The work which he began at Kehukee extended into 
Bertie, Hertford, Northampton, Halifax, Granville, War- 

'Dr. Huffman in "Baptist Historical Papers," Vol. I., No. 3. 
page 167. 

2 "History of the Kehukee Baptist Association," Tarboro, 1831, 
page 282. 

A Glance at Early Conditions. 17 

ren, Nash, Edgecombe, Wake, Johnston, Sampson, and 
Bladen counties. 

On November 22, 1755, another Baptist church was or- 
ganized at Sandy Creek, 1 in Guilford county, which soon 
became a center of influence for the Baptist Church in 
North Carolina. Shubal Stearns, of Boston, labored with 
a sect of Baptists known as "New Lights" until 1751. 2 It 
seems that when George Whitefield visited New England 
under his eloquent preaching a gracious revival started. 
Mr. Whitefield did not organize. But his converts were 
full of zeal and possessed much spiritual power. They 
were called "New Lights." Many of them were Baptists, 
while some were Presbyterians. Shubal Stearns and fif- 
teen others came to Sandy Creek (1775), and at once pro- 
ceeded to erect a meetinghouse. Stearns was installed as 
their pastor, and the church flourished under his adminis- 
tration; for this soon became a large and influential con- 
gregation. Dr. Huffman says, "Great crowds came to 
hear the preaching, many from remote settlements." They 
came from Abbott's Creek, thirty miles west; from Haw 
River settlements; from Rocky River and Deep River, 
farther south; and from Little River in Montgomery 
county. It will be seen how the work progressed when it 
was stated that in less than three years the membership 
had increased to nine hundred or more. 

About the same time that Stearns was organizing in 
Guilford, the Baptists were organizing at Grassy Creek in 

'Benedict's "History of the Baptists," Vol. II., page 38. 
'"History of the Baptists in Virginia," by R. B. Semple, Rich- 
mond, 1810, page 3. 


18 Methodism in North Carolina. 

Granville and in Bladen and New Hanover counties. So 
that in 1776, when the Carolina Circuit was formed, and 
the first Methodist preacher appointed to this territory, the 
Baptists had established churches in every county of the 
province, 1 from Rutherford county, which was then the 
western limit, to Currituck on the east. The number of 
churches is not definitely known, but Rev. Mr. Devin esti- 
mates that there were at least forty in the colony, besides 
a considerable number of branches which afterwards ma- 
tured into churches. 'The records of Grassy Creek show 
that there were several branches of much interest under its 
supervision, which were not regularly organized until after 
the close of the war. What was true, in this regard, of 
this church was also true of many others." "In seventeen 
years Sandy Creek Church had spread her branches south- 
ward as far as Georgia, and eastward to the ocean and 
Chesapeake Bay, and northward to the waters of the Poto- 
mac, increasing in seventeen years to forty-two churches 
and one hundred and twenty-five ministers." 

The Baptists were more aggressive than either the 
Quakers or the Established Church. The great majority 
of them have been missionary in spirit, and have been full 
of zeal in spreading the glad tidings to a lost world ; and 
their labors have been greatly blessed. They are still nu- 
merous in the state, and are ready to push forward every 
interest which is for the spiritual uplifting of humanity. 
These good people had many years the start of Methodism 
in North Carolina, but from the day that the pioneers of 

1 "Baptist Historical Papers," Vol. II., page 67. 

A Glance at Early Conditions. 19 

Methodism entered the state, they have vied with them in 
every good word and work. 

The Presbyterians. 

Presbyterianism was introduced into North Carolina 
with the coming of the Scotch-Irish and Highlanders. 
About 1736 Henry McCulloch induced a large number of 
settlers to settle on some of the land which he had obtained 
from George II. They came chiefly from the province of 
Ulster in Ireland, and settled first in Duplin county, but in 
a short time the whole central part of the state was over- 
run. Presbyterian ministers soon followed them, coming 
as missionaries. The first to preach in the province was 
William Robinson, but James Campbell was the first or- 
dained minister to settle there. 1 A considerable number 
from the Scotch Highlands entered the colony in 1746, 
and settled on the Cape Fear, forming a settlement in the 
midst of which the town of Fayetteville now stands. 2 
There was also another settlement on what was known as 
the Welch Tract on the northeast Cape Fear near Welling- 
ton. 3 Williamson, in his "History of North Carolina," 
says that "in 1749 Neal McNeal arrived at Wilmington 
with his family and five or six hundred colonists, who set- 
tled, some in Anson, others in Bladen, but most of them in 
Cumberland." 4 And from 1749, for several years, there 

'Foote's "Sketches of North Carolina," page 158. 
2 "Life of David Caldwell," page 88; Martin's "History of North 
Carolina," Vol. II., page 48. 

Toote's "Sketches of North Carolina," page 77. 
'Williamson's "History of North Carolina," page 79. 

20 Methodism in North Carolina. 

seem to have been annual importations. The Scotch- 
Irish began to settle along the Eno and Haw rivers as early 
as 1738 and 1739. 

Rev. Alexander Craighead was the first Presbyterian 
minister to settle in western Carolina. He accepted a call 
at Rocky River in 1758, and he was the only minister of 
the gospel for several years in all that beautiful section of 
country between the Yadkin and Catawba. 1 There were 
Presbyterian settlements scattered over the Piedmont sec- 
tion all the way from Greensboro to Charlotte. Prior to 
the Revolutionary War, Patillo was preaching in Orange 
county, Dr. Caldwell in Guilford, McCorkle in Rowan, 
and Hall in Iredell. 

However, the exact strength of the Presbyterian Church 
at the time the "Carolina Circuit" was formed in 1776 is 
not definitely known by this writer. We know that they 
were well established at that time in some of the best sec- 
tions of the state. As far back as 1755 there were four- 
teen congregations that were looking to the Presbytery to 
supply them with pastors. 2 From this and the numerous 
importations which were coming to this section, we would 
judge that the Church had made great progress by 1776. 
For at that time they were well organized in the Newbern, 
Hillsboro, Cape Fear, and Piedmont sections. They were 
among the most industrious and intelligent of the early 
settlers. They did more at that day for education than 
any other Church. They did much in the struggle for in- 
dependence. And after freedom and independence had 

'Foote's "Sketches of North Carolina," page 186. 
'"' "Life of David Caldwell," page 94. 

A Glance at Early Conditions. 21 

been obtained, they continued to put forth every effort to 
enlighten, elevate, and save the people. The Presbyterians 
and Methodists frequently worked together in revivals in 
the early part of the nineteenth century. They differed 
widely, or thought they did, upon the subjects of Calvin- 
ism and Arminianism, and during the past century they en- 
gaged in many a hard-fought battle upon these questions. 
Presbyterians had many advantages over the Methodists, 
and some few over the other Churches in the state. They 
were grounded in the faith of their religion when they 
came to the colony. They were well educated, and espe- 
cially their ministers. Their preoccupancy of the field for 
many years gave them a great advantage over the Meth- 
odists. Then they did not suffer from the Revolutionary 
War like the other Churches, but increased during the 
war as much as they did at any period afterwards for fifty 
years. 1 When we consider all of these advantages, we are 
surprised that they have not made greater progress and 
growth. When we compare the strength of Methodism 
to-day with the other Churches that were here long before 
the Methodist pioneer entered the state, we feel like ex- 
claiming, "The Lord has done great things for us, whereof 
we are glad !" 

Lutheran and German Reformed Churches. 

The Germans who settled in the central and western 
part of the state were about equally divided between the 
Lutheran and German Reformed denominations. They 
were mostly from Pennsylvania, and settled principally on 

1 "Life of David Caldwell," page 249. 

22 Methodism in North Carolina. 

both sides of the Yadkin River, in Guilford, Davidson, 
Rowan, Stanly, and Cabarrus counties. The Scotch-Irish 
were on friendly terms with these Germans, and settled 
near by, just to the west of them in Mecklenburg and 
along up and down the Catawba River. 1 

Dr. Bernheim thinks that the Palatines who settled be- 
tween the Neuse and Cape Fear rivers, and those who 
founded Newbern, naming it after Berne in Switzerland, 
were originally members of the Lutheran Church. He 
shows very conclusively that they did not belong to the 
Church of England. 2 They, no doubt, came as religious 

It is very difficult to get the statistics of these early 
churches. Dr. Eli Caruthers estimates that they had at 
least twenty churches before the Declaration of Independ- 
ence. They were mostly organized between 1770 and 
1775. Their greatest need, at that period, was preachers; 
they had but few, and they were not noted for intelligence, 
zeal, or usefulness. 3 The Germans in these settlements 
were economical and industrious, and among them could 
be found our best farmers. When they came to North 
Carolina, very few of them could speak the English lan- 
guage. Some of the old people can still use the German 
tongue. The ministers preached in both languages for 
many years, alternating between the German and the Eng- 
lish. Their Churches, the Lutheran and German Re- 

1 "History of German Settlements in North Carolina," Bernheim, 
page 153. 

*Ibid., pages 79, 80. 

8 "Life of David Caldwell," page 90. 

A Glance at Early Conditions. 23 

formed, have had a slow growth. They are still few in 
numbers in North Carolina. 

The Moravians. 

The Moravians came in 1753, and most of them settled 
in what is now known as Forsyth county. Of the thirty 
thousand Germans who left their own country to seek their 
fortunes in the New World, only about eighteen thousand 
settled in North Carolina. 1 And the Moravians consti- 
tuted only a small proportion of the German population 
who came to the colony. 2 They procured a large tract of 
land from Lord Granville which for the most part was an 
uninhabited and utterly unknown wilderness. The first 
settlement was Bethabara, now known as Old Town. 
Here they suffered many hardships, especially during the 
first winter. Their Church was necessarily weak at the 
time Methodism came into the colony. For in 1762 there 
were only seventy-five in the congregation at Bethabara, 
and seventy-two at Bethania. They were good people 
with whom to settle a new country; moral, intelligent, 
and industrious. And they were not surpassed by any for 
sobriety and good order. 

Salem was selected as their central settlement. The 
first house in this town was completed in 1769. Here they 
also built a church, and as early as 1794 a school for boys ; 
and a girls' school was opened in 1802, which was soon 
known as Salem Female Academy. This school has not 

'Reichel's History, page 19. 

2 "Life of David Caldwell," page 

24 Methodism in North Carolina. 

only been a blessing to North Carolina, but to the wom- 
anhood of the entire South. Moravians believe in Chris- 
tian education, and it is seen in their history from the 
beginning. They also have the missionary idea, and for 
this cause they pay more per member than any of their 
sister denominations. But for some reason they have 
never grown much in North Carolina. 

In the foregoing pages we have tried to show the reader 
something of the intellectual and religious life of the col- 
ony before, and at the time, Methodism was introduced 
within its bounds. Our space would not admit going into 
details. But this will suffice to give a glance at the field to 
be cultivated by this new sect called Methodists that was 
said to be "turning the world upside down." Enough has 
been said to reveal the fact that ignorance and wickedness 
predominated. The principal denominations were here 
already established, one of them for a hundred years be- 
fore Methodism entered the territory. Many of the early 
settlers came with their religious convictions and Church 
preferences, and at once went to work to establish their 
Church in the colony. The Methodist preacher came not 
to represent and build up a denomination, because at that 
time he only belonged to a society in the Church of En- 
gland, but his only mission was to preach the gospel to a 
lost and dying race ; and in these pages we wish to follow 
him in his persecutions, toils, and triumphs. He expected 
opposition when he preached a present pardon and internal 
evidence of that pardon, or witness of the Spirit. He 
knew that the revival fire that so frequently kindled under 

A Glance at Early Conditions. 25 

his preaching would be opposed and criticised by the 
clergy of the Established Church. He knew that the 
"earnest offer of Christ"s death and mediation as means 
available by faith for the salvation of all men, without 
distinction and without reservation," would seem prepos- 
terous, if not profane, to those who had in mind Calvin's 
"horrible decree." But none of these things moved him. 
He came and in the name of God set up his banner. These 
itinerants were opposed and criticised by Churchmen, Cal- 
vinists, and Quakers. "Still the people flocked by hun- 
dreds and thousands to hear them, and multitudes became 
the subjects of this strange work. Their plain, earnest, 
and scriptural appeals to conscience ; their solemn and de- 
vout manners ; their disinterestedness, and extraordinary 
faith and dauntless moral courage exhibited; and, above 
all, the wonderful power which attended their ministry, 
were well calculated to excite attention. And they did 
excite attention." Private houses, schoolhouses, and the 
few meetinghouses were soon found to be insufficient to 
accommodate the immense crowds who came to hear the 
circuit preacher. Barns were frequently resorted to, but 
they were too small. Then they went to the groves, 
"nature's own temples," and erected a temporary pulpit, 
where the gospel was preached in its simplicity and power, 
which was frequently followed by the cry of the lost, like 
the wail of the wounded on some battlefield, while the 
songs and shouts of the saved were heard to rise in peans 
of praise to the God of victory. 



Origin of Methodism: In America — New York — Maryland. Local 
Preachers did First Organizing. Joseph Pilmoor Enters North 
Carolina. George Whitefield. Letters of Rev. James Reed. New 
Lights. Letter of Governor Tryon. Joseph Pilmoor's Journal. 
Newbern. Wilmington. Sketch of Pilmoor. Robert Williams. 
D. Jarratt. First Societies Organized in North Carolina. Thom- 
as Rankin : His Visit — Preaches to Large Congregations. Sketch 
of Robert Williams. 

Methodism did not have its origin in the New World, 
but here it found a soil in which to have its greatest 
growth. It began in England, in the year 1729. Mr. 
Wesley, in giving an account of the rise of Methodism, 
says: "In 1729 my brother and I, by reading the Bible, 
saw inward and outward holiness therein; followed after 
it, and incited others to do so." This reveals its spirit and 
mission. It was not to establish a new doctrine, or a new 
Church, but to seek after a new life, and to get others to 
do likewise. Its life is spiritual, and to carry this life to 
the ends of the earth is its mission. Wesley, its founder, 
said, "The world is my parish." With this desire to re- 
vive a formal and dying Christianity, having caught the 
spirit of the Master, who said, "Go ye into all the world 
and preach the gospel to every creature," it crossed the 
Atlantic, and its fires were soon kindled upon the shores of 
the New World. 

As to where Methodism was introduced in America is 
a question upon which the best authorities are divided. A 


Introduction of Methodism. 27 

discussion of this subject does not come within the scope 
of this work; neither is it material to us whether New 
York shall have this honor or Maryland. Both have their 
advocates. Some claim that the first Methodist preaching 
and first meetinghouse built in America were in the city of 
New York. Others claim that Robert Strawbridge moved 
from Ireland probably in 1760, and immediately opened 
his house for preaching, he having joined the Methodists 
before leaving his native land ; and that the first meeting- 
house erected in America was near Sam's Creek in Mary- 
land ; while Philip Embury did not begin his work in New 
York until about 1766. Jesse Lee, our first Methodist 
historian, gives New York the precedence. He says : "Not 
long after the society was formed in New York, Robert 
Strawbridge, from Ireland, who had settled in Frederick 
county, in the state of Maryland, began to hold meetings 
in public, and joined a society together near Pipe Creek." 1 
It is not disputed that Philip Embury organized in New 
York and Robert Strawbridge in Maryland; that these 
consecrated men were local preachers, and to them belongs 
the honor of organizing the first societies in America. 

The society in New York soon felt the need of an ex- 
perienced preacher, and hence they appealed to Mr. Wes- 
ley. 2 The Conference was in session at Leeds when on 
Thursday Mr. Wesley presented the claims of his brethren 
in New York. Richard Boardman and Joseph Pilmoor 
offered themselves for service in America. These breth- 

^ee's "Short History of the Methodists," page 25. 
2 "History of the Methodist Episcopal Church," by Nathan Bangs, 
D.D., page 52. 

28 Methodism in North Carolina. 

ren, who were the first regular itinerant Methodist preach- 
ers to visit this country, landed at Gloucester Point, six 
miles from Philadelphia, on October 24, 1769. Mr. 
Boardman went to New York to enter upon his serv- 
ices, while Mr. Pilmoor began his work in Philadelphia. 
Mr. Pilmoor started south, stopping and preaching in 
Maryland and strengthening the work begun by Mr. 
Strawbridge; he continued through Virginia and North 
Carolina. He entered our state during the latter part of 
the year, 1772, and hence was the first Methodist preacher 
that penetrated the wilds of North Carolina. 

Of course George Whitefield passed through the colony 
several times, and preached in some of the eastern towns. 
He visited America seven times, and sometimes traveled 
overland from Philadelphia to Savannah to visit his or- 
phan house which he had established at that place. He 
visited Bathtown in the winter of 1748 for his health, but 
for some reason he did not remain long. While there 
he wrote to some of his friends in New York who were 
anxious about him : "I am here, hunting in the woods, 
these iingospclizcd wilds, for sinners." 1 At Newbern "his 
preaching was attended with uncommon influence." 2 This 
visit was in 1739-40. But it must be remembered tljat 
while Whitefield and Wesley were a unit in the main upon 
this great revival movement, yet they differed very ma- 

1 "Biography of George Whitefield," compiled by Joseph Belcher. 
There is a tradition that when Mr. Whitefield visited Bath, which is 
the oldest town in the state, "upon being refused cheer or comfort 
for the night, he walked outside of the town, shook its dust from 
his feet, and since that time it has never prospered." 

""History of Methodism," McTyeire, page 188. 


^sp3fr : 


Introduction of Methodism. 29 

terially upon the great doctrines of Arminianism and Cal- 
vinism. Whitefield adhered to Calvinism, while John 
"Wesley was a strong advocate of Arminianism; so that 
George Whitefield could not properly be styled an itin- 
erant Methodist preacher. 

But it is claimed that there were Methodists scattered 
over the eastern portion of the state as early as 1760. At 
this time Rev. James Reed, writing from Newbern to the 
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, says : "Great 
numbers of dissenters of all denominations came and set- 
tled among us from New England, particularly Anabap- 
tists, Methodists, Quakers, and Presbyterians. The Ana- 
baptists are obstinate, illiterate, and grossly ignorant ; the 
Methodists, ignorant, censorious, and uncharitable." 1 The 
next letter he writes is also from Newbern, and is dated 
June 25, 1761 : "The Methodists of late have given me a 
good deal of trouble along the borders of my parish by 
preaching up the inexpediency of human learning and the 
practice of moral virtue, and the great expediency of 
dreams, visions, and immediate revelations. I have labored 
much to stop their progress, and I thank God with great 
success. If the Society could favor me with a few suitable 
small tracts, they would be of great service at present by 
preventing the poor, ignorant people from being deluded 
and easing the heavy burden of, sir, your most humble 
servant." 2 In another letter, dated December 26, 1761, 
he says : "The fervor of the Methodists upon the skirts 
and borders of my parish, which I mentioned in my last, 

1 "Colonial Records of North Carolina," Vol. VI., page 265. 
■Ibid., page 565. 

30 Methodism in North Carolina. 

is very much abated, and the little ground they had gained 
in this country, I verily believe, will, in a few months, be 
totally lost." 1 

If we were to consider the above in connection with a 
statement made by Jesse Lee and published in 1810, with- 
out examining other records, we would naturally conclude 
that there were, as early as 1760, Methodists in North 
Carolina who were real followers of John Wesley. Jesse 
Lee says: "Previous to the year 1766, some of the mem- 
bers of the Methodist Society from Europe settled in the 
United States (then British colonies), but were scattered 
about as sheep having neither fold nor shepherd." 2 The 
date of the first organization in New York was 1766. This 
evidence, gathered from the "Colonial Records" and from 
Jesse Lee, is strong in favor of the claim that there were 
Methodists in North Carolina previous to the organiza- 
tion in New York or Maryland. The only objection that 
could be brought against the testimony of James Reed 
is that his description does not fit the Methodists. Yet 
that can be accounted for when we remember that he 
belonged to the Established Church, and that frequently 
at that period such language was used in speaking of 

But on December 21, 1764, Rev. James Reed writes a 
letter in which he described the visit of Rev. George 
Whitefield to Newbern. In this letter he states that 
Whitefield said that the enthusiastic sect in these parts 
known by the name of Methodists had been improperly 

1 "Colonial Records of North Carolina,' - ' Vol. VI., page 594. 
'Lee's "Short History of the Methodists," page 24. 

Introduction of Methodism. 31 

named, for that there were none properly called by that 
name but the followers of himself and Mr. Wesley. 1 
These Methodists, as appears from one of James Reed's 
letters, contended for "the rebaptizing of adults and the 
doctrine of the irresistible influence of the Spirit," while 
Whitefield recommended infant baptism and condemned 
the doctrine of the irresistible influence of the Spirit, de- 
claring himself a member of the Church of England. 
There is no reason why Whitefield should have made these 
statements if they had been real Methodists. And cer- 
tainly no one in this country at that time could speak with 
so much authority upon this subject as Mr. Whitefield, 
and he declares positively that they were not Methodists. 
We can account for the statements of Mr. Reed only in 
one way. It is probable that he got the name confused 
with a sect that was then attracting attention along the 
coast, known as New Lights. 

Soon after the last letter written by Mr. Reed, Governor 
Tryon writes to the Society upon the religious condition of 
the country, in which he says : "Every sect abounds here 
except the Roman Catholic, and by the best information I 
can get, Presbytery and a sect who call themselves New 
Lights (not of the flock of Mr. Whitefield, but Superior 
Lights from New England) appear in the front. These 
New Lights live chiefly in the maritime counties; the 
Presbyterians are settled mostly in the back or westward 
counties, though the Church of England I reckon, at pres- 
ent, to have the majority of all other sects." 2 

1 "Colonial Records in North Carolina," Vol. VI., page 1060. 
*Ibid., Vol. VII., page 102. 

32 Methodism in North Carolina. 

From the time that Mr. Whitefield declared that a cer- 
tain sect was improperly called Methodists, there is not 
another reference made to them as such ; but in the next 
letter, on the religious condition of the colony, there is a 
sect called New Lights which had not been mentioned be- 
fore, but explaining at the same time that they were not 
of the flock of Mr. Whitefield. This looks as if Mr. Reed 
was confused in his use of the terms, Methodists and New 
Lights. The reader will also notice that the sect spoken 
of by Mr. Reed was from New England, and Governor 
Tryon says the New Lights were from New England. 
Again, if there were two separate sects they were the same 
in doctrine, — both Calvinistic. The Presbyterians at that 
day were sometimes called the New Lights. 1 The Bap- 
tists were also called New Lights. 2 

Mr. Whitefield by his eloquent preaching no doubt pre- 
pared the way for the planting of Methodism. So also did 
the preaching of Joseph Pilmoor, who was the first Meth- 
odist preacher sent out by Mr. Wesley to enter North Car- 
olina. Perhaps some extracts from Mr. Pilmoor's Journal 
will be interesting to the reader. 

After Pilmoor had been preaching for some time in Vir- 
ginia and organized the first society in that province, he 
turned his face toward North Carolina. In making the 
statement in reference to his organizing in Virginia, we 
are aware that every Methodist historian, so far as known, 

'Minutes of 1810. For a fuller account of the New Lights see 
Benedict's "History of the Baptists." Also Arminian Magazine, 
Philadelphia, 1790, page 601. 

Benedict's History, Vol. II., page 29. 

Introduction of Methodism. 33 

with only one exception, 1 gives the honor of organizing 
the first society in Virginia to Robert Williams. Pilmoor 
entered Virginia on July 17, 1772; and while it is true 
that Robert Williams was in Norfolk the spring before 
and preached, yet there is no account of his organizing a 
society until 1774. 2 

The first society organized in Virginia was organized 
in Portsmouth by Joseph Pilmoor on November 14, 1772. 
Pilmoor says in his Journal : "Had a vast multitude [in 
Portsmouth] to hear me read and explain the Rules of the 
Society. When I had done so, as they have been deeply 
convinced of their need of a Saviour and are truly desirous 
to flee from the wrath to come, I joined twenty-seven of 
them who are determined to seek the Lord while he may 
be found." 

Two days after this he organized a society in Norfolk. 
Of that event, which is so interesting and important in 
Methodist history, we will let Pilmoor furnish the account 
which follows: "Thursday, November the 16th, 1772. 
Having proposed to form a society in Norfolk, I went to 
the preaching house and gave an exhortation on the nature 
and necessity of meeting together to help build each other 
up in the faith of the gospel. I then withdrew to Captain 
Carson's, where I laid the foundation of a society by join- 
ing twenty-six of them together who are likely to war a 
good warfare and obtain the victory through the blood of 

the Lamb I have long wept and prayed that God 

would raise up a people in this place, and now my prayer 

J Dr. John Atkinson. 

*Lee's "Short History of the Methodists," page 51. 

34 Methodism in North Carolina. 

is answered, and I clasp my hands exultingly in the halle- 
luiahs to the Lord the King." 

It is sure that Pilmoor organized in the twin cities of 
Portsmouth and Norfolk; and as these were the chief 
preaching places in the state for the Methodists, and hav- 
ing no account of any society being organized earlier, we 
feel sure that to Joseph Pilmoor belongs the honor of or- 
ganizing the first society in Virginia. 

We have no account that Pilmoor organized in North 
Carolina, but he has the honor of preaching the first Meth- 
odist sermon in the colony, on September 28, 1772. "On 
the twenty-seventh of September, 1772, he says: 'I took 
leave of my dear friends for a little while and set out for 
North Carolina. The day was very hot and my way was 
through the woods. I called at many little houses on the 
road, but could get nothing for my horse till late in the 
afternoon, when I found a little ordinary, where I stopped 
to dine. I resolved to stop there all night. In the evening 
several young countrymen came in who desired to speak 
to me, and we spent our time in agreeable conversation, 
singing, and prayer.' Next morning he resumed his jour- 
ney, and a little before noon reached Currituck Court- 
house, in North Carolina. He began without delay, and 
declared to Churchmen, Baptists, and Presbyterians, 'He 
shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.' " It 
was a good text for a Methodist sermon at that day, and 
nothing could have been more appropriate than a Holy 
Ghost sermon, in opening a campaign in North Carolina, 
for the salvation of men. "God made his word like a 
hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces. The poor people 


Introduction of Methodism. 35 

expressed the utmost gratitude," says Pilmoor, "and 
Colonel Williams invited me to dine. As it was in my 
way, I gladly accepted the offer, and found one of the 
prettiest places I have seen in North Carolina. I was en- 
tertained with true primitive hospitality." In the morning 
he went about five miles to a small chapel, where he had a 
very good time in preaching and prayer. This chapel was 
no doubt at Coinjock, and belonged to the Established 
Church, and according to Dr. Coke was a "pretty chapel." 
It will be observed that Pilmoor found several chapels in 
this section, and while they belonged to the Established 
Church, they were generally used by the preachers of the 
Methodist Society until about the time of the organization 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Dr. Coke says of the 
Coinjock Chapel, "We do regular duty in it." 

The Colonel Williams who had the honor of being the 
first North Carolinian to entertain a Methodist preacher 
was a prominent man in Currituck county. He was Hal- 
lowell Williams, who was a member of Congress held at 
Halifax in 1776, and was colonel of the field officers of 
Currituck. Dr. Coke speaks of him in very complimentary 
terms when he visited him in 1785. He was a good Chris- 
tian at that time and a very active Methodist. 1 He had 
great admiration for Pilmoor from the start, and not only 
invited him to his home, but accompanied him on his first 
preaching tour in North Carolina. 

Colonel Williams and Pilmoor traveled about twenty 
miles, to the Narrows Chapel, on the 29th of September, 

'See Wheeler's History, page 134; Arminian Magazine, Vol. I., 
1789, page 340. 

36 Methodism in North Carolina. 

1772. The road lay through the woods, and was rough 
and perilous. At the chapel they had a very solemn time. 
Pilmoor asserts that "the poor, ignorant people were 
greatly affected. One poor old man came to me with tears 
in his eyes, thanking me for what he had heard, and 
begged me to accept of some money to help me along. I 
told him I was not in want, and begged him to excuse me, 
but nothing would satisfy him without I would take it as 
a token of his Christian regard and love of the gospel of 
Christ. We then mounted, and hastening on our way, in 
the evening came safe to Colonel Williams's." This was 
not only a day of long travel, but also of enforced absti- 
nence. Of it Pilmoor wrote: "As I had traveled above 
fifty miles without any other refreshment than a bit of 
bread and a little water, and exerted myself pretty much 
in preaching, I was sufficiently tired. But it is for Jesus." 
The next day, September 30th, he left Williams's home 
and rode to a new church on the border of Virginia, where 
he preached "to a large congregation of weeping sinners." 
The following day was the Sabbath, and after family 
prayer, Pilmoor, in very rough weather, crossed the bay in 
a canoe, and then walked over the fields to the meeting- 
house, where he "had a congregation of Baptists and 
others, who were all attention." From that meetinghouse 
he rode about eight miles further, and showed to "a fine 
congregation the way of salvation, and spent the evening 
in conversation with Christian friends." The ensuing day 
he started early for Kemp's Landing, about twenty miles 
distant, where he arrived in time to preach at noon. The 
meeting was at the public house. There was to be a horse 

Introduction of Methodism. 37 

race in the afternoon, and before Pilmoor left the tavern he 
spoke of "the absurdity of such sport," and showed "how 
ridiculous it is for gentlemen of sense to ride many miles 
to see two or three horses run about a field with negroes on 
their backs." When he called for his bill, the host politely 
declined to receive pay. In the evening Pilmoor was again 
in Norfolk. 

In the closing days of 1772 we find him in Newbern; 
and in speaking of Newbern, he says : "In all my travels 
through the world, I have met with none like the people of 
Newbern." After the evening service on Christmas, he 
records : "Mr. William Wood took me home with him, and 
I had everything that my heart could desire." "On Thurs- 
day, December 31, 1772, about three o'clock I set onward 
with Mr. and Mrs. Wood and Captain Richards, and has- 
tening on pretty fast, at seven we arrived at Mrs. Wil- 
liams's, where it was appointed for me to preach." He 
speaks of dining on December 26, 1772, with a Mr. Ed- 
wards 1 who was secretary to the governor. 

"Friday, January 1st, 1773. I rose pretty early and de- 
voted the first fruit of the day and the beginning of the 
year unto God. The family gladly joined with me in the 
high praises of the Lord the King, and we had a special 
blessing in waiting upon him. I then took leave of my 
dear Newbern friends and the family, and went forward 
about seventeen miles to Foxe's tavern, where I stopped to 
bait. As there were many people walking about, I spoke 
to several of them about the salvation of their souls and 

'Captain Isaac Edwards was Secretary of the Colony under both 
Governor Tryon and Governor Martin. 

38 Methodism in North Carolina. 

proposed to join in singing a psalm and prayer, to which 
they readily consented ; and I was greatly blessed in calling 
upon God for them, and left them in hope that some of 
them will remember this opportunity with thankfulness to 
God for his wondrous goodness. I then set out again, and 
about seven o'clock found a place of rest. As I have no 
guide, and am totally unacquainted with the road, it is 
rather disagreeable traveling in the woods in the night; 
but my trust is in God, and he keeps me from harm. After 
some refreshment, was thankful for an opportunity of 
joining in the worship of God. 

"The next day it rained heavily most of the day, and it 
was long after night before I could find a place to lodge. 
At last I came to Mr. Collier's, some fifteen miles from 
Wilmington, where I slept in peace. Sunday, 3d. As I 
longed much for an opportunity of preaching, I set off for 
Wilmington, but was greatly distressed on the road. The 
excessive rains that fell the day before had raised the 
waters and washed away a bridge ; so I was at a loss what 
to do; but I resolved to take the horse from the chaise, 
put some planks for the wheels and draw it over myself, 
which I did, and then got the horse over without any hurt, 
and proceeded on my journey to the town. 

"When I was at dinner I was greatly surprised at the 
sight of a young man who had been in Society with us in 
Philadelphia ; and he, together with a sea captain who had 
seen me in the north, were very ready to publish preaching 
for me ; and in the evening I had a large congregation of 
attentive hearers, and God gave me great freedom of mind 
to declare, 'Yet surely I know that it shall be well with 

Introduction of Methodism. 39 

them that fear God.' I believe many of them felt the 
word of the Lord, and it may hereafter bring forth fruit 
unto holiness, that their end may be everlasting life. 

"Monday evening I had the courthouse well filled again 
and had liberty in my own mind while I preached Christ 
the Prophet, Priest, and King. After preaching I was a 
good deal straitened and exercised in my mind; nothing 
on earth affords me any satisfaction if my Lord withdraws 
himself from me. When he is present, 'tis heaven with my 
soul ; if he withdraws, 'tis hell. 

"Tuesday. I found my mind more happy. I spent the 
morning in writing letters to my numerous correspond- 
ents; dined with Mr. Morgatroyed, a merchant of Phila- 
delphia, and in the evening had another large congrega- 
tion, and was enabled to preach the whole counsel of God, 
and deliver my own soul. 

"Wednesday. I had a young gentleman to invite me to 
the country, but I was fixed to go forward to the south, 
and therefore could not comply with his request. The peo- 
ple at the inn where I stayed were remarkably civil ; they 
would not suffer me to pay for anything, but entreated me 
to stay longer with them. As there are many people in the 
place, I should be glad to stay, only I was under necessity 
of hastening toward Charleston. After dinner I set off 
and intended to reach Brunswick, but the roads were so 
bad I was compelled to stop by the way. 

"In the morning I hastened on to the town in hopes of 
preaching that day, but could not get the people together 
until Friday, when we had a fine congregation in the 

4° Methodism in North Carolina. 

church 1 where I found liberty and power to preach the 

"Saturday. I dined with William Hill, Esq., to whom 
I had letters of recommendation. He is a gentleman of 
good understanding, and a friend of serious religion, so 
that I spent the time very comfortably." 

Mr. Pilmoor was converted in his sixteenth year under 
the ministry of Mr. Wesley and educated at Kingswood 
School. He joined the itinerancy in 1765, and came to 
America in 1769, and did faithful work until January, 
x 774> when he saw the war cloud gathering. "After com- 
mending the Americans to God," he sailed for his native 
land. He continued to travel until 1784, when he re- 
tired from the connection. Soon afterwards he returned 
to America and took orders in the Protestant Episcopal 
Church, and became pastor of a church in New York. 
Later he became rector of St. Paul's in Philadelphia. He 
was a fluent speaker and a man of considerable ability. 
He received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from the 
University of Pennsylvania. He was always glad to 
admit the Methodist preachers to his pulpit, and went 
down to the grave with a warm love for Methodism. 

The next Methodist preacher to follow Joseph Pilmoor 
into North Carolina was Robert Williams. In the begin- 
ning of 1773 he went to Petersburg in Virginia and began 
to preach in the town, and then in various parts of the 
country. 2 No Methodist preacher had preceded him in 

lr The Established Church, which later became the Protestant 
Episcopal Church. 

2 Lee's "Short History of the Methodists," page 42. 

Introduction of Methodism. 41 

this portion of the state, though the spirit of revival fire 
had gone before him. (Re^DvJ^n^t) of the Church of 
England, had been in this section since 1763, and in zeal 
and religious fervor he was very much like the Methodists. 
A revival under his preaching began in 1770, and in 1772 
it had extended for fifty or sixty miles away. 1 When Mr. 
Jarratt began his work here in 1763 profaneness and irre- 
ligion prevailed among all ranks and degrees. 2 He cried 
aloud against the sins of the day, and preached the gospel 
in its simplicity and power. His conception of the gospel 
message and his manner of delivering it were new to the 
people of that section ; for what he preached was not be- 
lieved even by the clergymen in his own Church. 3 The 
people raised an outcry against his way of preaching as 
well as against his doctrines. But without abandoning the 
field he continued until he saw the fruits of his labors in 
1 770- 1 772, when one of the greatest revivals of religion 
ever known in this country swept over all that section. 
Mr. Jarratt began like Mr. "Wesley to form his people into 
a Society. "The good effects of this were soon apparent ; 
convictions were deep and lasting; and not only knowl- 
edge, but faith and love and holiness continued." 4 His 
sermons were evangelical, a volume of which was pub- 
lished by William Glendenning in Raleigh in 1805. 

When Robert Williams began his work in Petersburg, 
he spent one week in the family of Mr. Jarratt. 5 It was 

'Lee's "Short History of the Methodists," page 43. 

2 Asbury's Journal, Vol. I., page 209. 

'Ibid., page 209. 

4 Lee's "Short History of the Methodists," page 43. 

"Life of Jarratt, pages 107-110. 

42 Methodism in North Carolina. 

no doubt an inspiration to Mr. Williams to spend this time 
with a man so full of faith, courage, zeal, and holiness. 
No one can tell what influence the encouragement he re- 
ceived here has had upon Methodism in Virginia and 
North Carolina. His name will ever be held in sweet re- 
membrance as being a warm friend of the early itinerants 
of Methodism. 

When Robert Williams reached his work in 1773, he 
found the revival fires already kindled. He used every 
opportunity to preach the gospel and push forward his 
work. He would go to hear the clergy of the Established 
Church, and after the congregation was dismissed he 
would go out of the church and standing on a stump or 
log would begin to sing, pray, and then preach to hun- 
dreds. It was also common for him after preaching to 
speak to as many as possible personally and question them 
about the salvation of their souls. 1 With such zeal as this, 
during that year he traveled and preached over a great 
deal of that section of the country down as far as the 
north part of North Carolina. 2 It is claimed by some that 
he organized the first society in North Carolina during 
this year, 1773. While this is stated as a fact by some his- 
torians, it is only a presumption; and though it is quite 
probable, yet there is no proof that he organized before 
1774. Jesse Lee says: "In the beginning of this year, 
1774, Robert Williams began to form societies in Virginia, 
and made out a plan for a six weeks' circuit which ex- 

'Lee's "Short History of the Methodists," page 43. 
^Ibid., page 43. 

Introduction of Methodism. 43 

tended from Petersburg to the south over Roanoke River 
some distance into North Carolina." 1 

In the midst of these stirring times, Rev. Thomas 
Rankin made a visit to this section, and accompanied Mr. 
Jarratt in a tour through the southern part of Virginia and 
into North Carolina. Here is Mr. Rankin's account of his 
visit to North Carolina : 

"Monday, July 15th, 1775. I rode toward North Caro- 
lina. In every place the congregations were large, and 
received the word with all readiness of mind. I know not 
that I have spent such a week since I came to America. 
I saw everywhere such a simplicity in the people, with such 
a vehement thirst after the word of God, that I frequently 
preached and continued in prayer till I was hardly able to 
stand. Indeed, there was no getting away from them 
while I was able to speak one sentence for God. 

"Sunday, 21st. I preached at Roanoke Chapel to more 
than double of what the house would contain. In general, 
the white people were within the chapel, and the black 
people without. The windows being all open, every one 
could hear, and hundreds felt the word of God. Many 
were bathed in tears, and others rejoicing with joy un- 
speakable. When the society met, many could not refrain 
from praising God aloud. I preached to a large company 
in the afternoon, and concluded the day with prayer and 

"Tuesday, 23d. I crossed the Roanoke River, and 
preached at a chapel in North Carolina, and I preached 

'Lee's "Short History of the Methodists," page 51. 

44 Methodism in North Carolina. 

every day to very large and deeply attentive congrega- 
tions ; although not without much labor and pain, through 
the extreme heat of the weather. 

"On Tuesday, 30, was our quarterly meeting. I scarce 
ever remember such a season. No chapel or preaching 
place in Virginia would have contained one-third of the 
congregation. Our friends, knowing this, had contrived 
to shade with boughs of trees a space that would contain 
two or three thousand people. Under this, wholly screened 
from the rays of the sun, we held our general love feast. 
It began between eight and nine on Wednesday morning, 
and continued till noon. Many testified that they had re- 
demption in the blood of Jesus, even the forgiveness 
of sins. And many were enabled to declare that it had 
cleansed them from all sin. So clear, so full, so strong 
was their testimony, that while some were speaking their 
experience hundreds were in tears, and others vehemently 
cryingJ&JjQd iorjardon or holiness." 

45e^£rj£ ux Tarratt^ ) in writing of the revival in 1775, 
says: "This revival^ of religion spread through fourteen 
counties in Virginia and through Bute and Halifax coun- 
ties in North Carolina. At the same time we had a blessed 
outpouring of the Spirit in several counties bordering upon 

The new circuit planned by Williams was called Bruns- 
wick, and had for its preachers in 1775 John King, John 
Wade, and Isaac Rollins. The labors of these faithful 
men of God were greatly blessed on this circuit, and 
toward the close of the year 1775 a most remarkable 
revival of religion was the result. Mr. Jarratt says: 

Introduction of Methodism. 45 

"We had a time of refreshing indeed; a revival of reli- 
gion as great as perhaps ever was known." There were 
about six hundred members added to the Society on the 
circuit in the course of that year. 1 In 1775, Robert 
Williams does not appear on the list of appointments. 
He married, and hence it was necessary for him to lo- 
cate. He settled between Suffolk and Norfolk, where 
he died on September 26, 1775. He did a great work 
for Methodism during the short time that he labored 
in southern Virginia and in the northern part of North 
Carolina. It was Robert Williams who was instru- 
mental, in the hands of God, in bringing into the 
connection Rev. Jesse Lee; and if he had done nothing 
more, that was enough to start a wave of influence that 
will widen until the judgment of the great day. Mr. Lee, 
in speaking of him, says : "He was a plain, artless, inde- 
fatigable preacher of the gospel, and often proved the 
goodness of his doctrine, by his tears in public and by his 
life and conduct in private. His manner of preaching was 
well calculated to awaken careless sinners and to encourage 
penitent mourners. He spared no pains in order to do 

Robert Williams was not a brilliant man, but he has 
done a work that will grow as the years go by. North 
Carolina joins Virginia in holding his memory sacred, as 
being one of the first to plant Methodism in our soil. Rev. 
W. W. Bennett, D.D., refers to him thus : "We look with 
peculiar feelings on him who stands first in a great cause. 

'Lee's "Short History of the Methodists," page 53. 

46 Methodism in North Carolina. 

Robert Williams preached the first Methodist sermon on 
Virginia soil, he joined the first society, 1 he printed the 
first Methodist book, he aided in building the first church, 
he made out the plan for the first circuit, he was the first 
to marry, the first to locate, the first to die, the first of that 
band of heroes that passed into the City of our God, and 
took his place amid the white-robed elders around the 

'This is questionable, as we have seen. 





Methodism Enters with a Revival — Jarratt's Account of it — Jesse 
Lee's Account of it. Carolina Circuit Formed — Preachers Ex- 
perience Difficulties. Declaration of Independence. Edward 
Dromgoole — Description by B. Devany — Preaches on the Power 
of God — Great Effect. Francis Poythress — Sketch of his Life — 
Appointed Presiding Elder — Labors in Kentucky — Letter from 
Rev. Thomas Scott. Isham Tatum — Peter Doub Meets Him — 
Great Orator. Circuit Appears as North Carolina in 1777. Meth- 
odism Crosses the Blue Ridge. Sketch of John King — Wesley's 
Letter. John Dickins — Death from Yellow Fever. Lee Roy Cole. 
Edward Pride. William Glendenning. Roanoke Circuit. 

We have just seen that Methodism entered the state in a 
great revival which spread from the Brunswick Circuit. 
No such revival had ever been known in this country be- 
fore. Mr. Jarratt, in a letter to Mr. Wesley giving a full 
account of it, among other things says : "The multitudes 
that attended on this occasion, returning home all alive to 
God, spread the flame through their respective neighbor- •£) 
hoods, which ran from family to family; so that, within 
four weeks, several hundreds found the peace of God. 
And scarce any conversation was to be heard throughout 1 . 
the circuit, but concerning the things of God." This " 
flame of revival crossed over into North Carolina as we 
have seen, and entered Halifax county, from which it 
spread over all that part of the state. 1 Jesse Lee gives a 
very graphic account of this revival, but in conclusion he 

'Lee's "Short History of the Methodists," page 59. 


48 Methodism in North Carolina. 

says : "My pen cannot describe the one-half of what I saw, 
heard, and felt. I might fill a volume on this subject, and 
then leave the greater part untold." 

As a result of this revival, and perhaps of other efforts 
that had been made in North Carolina, there were six 
hundred and eighty-three members reported at the fourth 
Conference which was held in Baltimore, May 21st, 1776. 
At this Conference there were four new circuits added, 
which were Fairfax, Hanover, Pittsylvania, and Carolina. 
The latter lay in North Carolina, and had for its preachers 
Edward Dromgoole, Francis Poythress, and Isham Ta- 
tum. It would be hard to locate the boundaries of this 
new circuit, as there was no circuit on the south or west, 
unless the Pittsylvania extended into North Carolina in 
the west. Hence their field of labor was practically un- 
limited, having no boundary lines. But how much of this 
territory was covered by the labors of these pioneers we 
have been unable to learn. It is certain they penetrated 
a great portion of the state, and laid the foundation of 
Methodism upon which their successors have been success- 
fully building ever since. 

But these men had many difficulties to meet. No one 
of their kind had gone before them. They had to explore 
the wilderness and cultivate a virgin soil. The people 
looked upon them with suspicion. And to add to their 
discouragement, soon after they reached the circuit the 
Declaration of Independence was made and the war cloud 
was gathering over the land. The men of Mecklenburg 
and those of other sections of the colony were talking in- 
dependence, and liberty was in the air. England was pre- 

Early Circuits and Pioneers. 49 

paring to begin operations with a fixed purpose to conquer 
these rebellious colonies of the New World. The people 
of the colonies were everywhere talking war, mustering, 
and getting ready to meet England in the conflict to fight 
to the death for their liberty. Under these circumstances, 
these men of God began their work with Bible and hymn 
book in hand. But with all these drawbacks they had 
what might be considered great success, for they reported 
at the next Conference nine hundred and thirty members, 
which is a net gain of two hundred and forty-seven. They 
were strong men, had a large field, and did a great work. 

As this was the first circuit in North Carolina, and 
Edward Dromgoole, Francis Poythress, and Isham Ta- 
tum were its first preachers, they require more than a pass- 
ing notice in these pages, and more than will be given to 
men of the same abilitv and usefulness under other cir- 

Edward Dromgoole, whose name heads the list on this 
circuit, was born in Sligo, Ireland, about the year 1751. 
He was brought up a Roman Catholic, and when he was 
approaching manhood heard the Methodists in his native 
country, was convicted of sin, joined the Society, and soon 
afterwards read his recantation publicly in the Catholic 
church, which caused much displeasure among some of his 
relatives. In 1770 he sailed for America, and settled in 
Maryland, near Baltimore, where he had the privilege of 
hearing Mr. Strawbridge preach during the year, which 
helped to decide his course for the future. Mr. Drom- 
goole began preaching in 1774, and in the same year was 
appointed to Baltimore. "As soon as the Revolutionary 

50 Methodism in North Carolina. 

War broke out, he took the oath of allegiance to his 
adopted country, and carefully preserved the certificate 
thereof as a testimonial of his fidelity to the American 
cause." He retired from the traveling work in 1786. 
Perhaps this was due to the fact that he was a married 
man. Mr. Asbury says : "Edward Dromgoole is a good 
preacher, but entangled with a family. We spoke of a 
plan for building houses in every circuit for preachers' 
wives, and the Society to supply their families with bread 
and meat, as the preachers should travel from place to 
place as when single ; for unless something of the kind be 
done, we shall have no preachers but young ones in a few 
years. They will marry and stop." Asbury had great 
confidence in Mr. Dromgoole, and often leaned upon him 
during the stormy days of early Methodism. His labors 
"in that critical time, in behalf of peace and union, were 
earnest, and no doubt effective." He was, on account of 
his age and experience, a very conspicuous character in the 
Christmas Conference in 1784. His name appears for the 
last time in the minutes of 1785. Locating in Brunswick 
county, Virginia, he lived a useful life as a local preacher, 
and preserved an unblemished character to the end. 

Dromgoole was no ordinary man. He "possessed a 
high order of intellect; he was plain in his dress, gentle 
and unassuming in his deportment ; of deep piety, and of 
great moral worth. He was, for piety, zeal, and usefulness, 
the embodiment of a primitive Methodist preacher." He 
had originality of mind, and was not accustomed to repeat 
his sermons. His preaching was pertinent, eloquent, and 

Early Circuits and Pioneers. $1 

Thirty years after he traveled the Carolina Circuit, he 
returned and attended a camp meeting at one of his old 
preaching places. And we are fortunate in having a de- 
scription of the scene on that occasion by Rev. B. Devany, 
who was present. He says : "When Mr. Dromgoole en- 
tered the stand to preach, he deliberately put off his coat 
and, I think, his neckcloth, which was nothing unusual 
with the old preachers of that day. He commenced by 
saying, 'That the attention of the people may not be drawn 
off by inquiring who the preacher is, I will tell you. You 
recollect about thirty years ago there was a young man 
who traveled here by the name of Edward Dromgoole ; I 
am that man.' His text was, 'God hath spoken once; 
twice have I heard this, that power belongeth unto God.' 
The power of God was the burden of his theme, and when, 
by the force of his Irish eloquence, he carried us in imagi- 
nation to the place 'where the worm dieth not, and the fire 
is not quenched,' it was awfully sublime, it was beyond de- 
scription. His voice, his countenance, and his gestures all 
gave a power to his eloquence which is rarely equaled at 
this day. The copious flow of tears, and the awful peals 
of his voice, showed that the preacher's whole soul was 
thrown into the subject, and it produced the most thrilling 
effect that I had ever witnessed. There was not a dry eye 
among the hundreds who listened to him on that occasion. 
In my long experience and close observation, I have never 
known a local preacher who maintained so noble a stand, 
and wielded so wide a moral influence, as he did. With 
Wesley, Asbury, and all his other compeers in the min- 
istry, he is reaping his glorious reward." Pie lived to see 

52 Methodism in North Carolina. 

Methodism number its hundreds of thousands. He passed 
over the river into rest in 1835, in the eighty- fourth year 
of his age. 

Francis Poythress was appointed second man on the 
Carolina Circuit in 1776. He was a native of Virginia; 
inherited a large estate from his father, and when a young 
man was very much dissipated. A reproof from a good 
woman made a wonderful impression upon him, and he at 
once began to seek the salvation of his soul. Under the 
preaching of Rev. Devereux Jarratt he was brought to a 
practical knowledge of the saving power of the gospel. 
Having determined to devote himself to the work of the 
ministry, he was admitted on trial in the traveling connec- 
tion in 1776, and began his career as an itinerant preacher 
on the Carolina Circuit. 

"Our pioneer work called out no one probably more re- 
markable than Francis Poythress. From the many prom- 
inent appointments he filled, he must have occupied a high 
position in the esteem and affections of the pioneer 
Church." 1 He traveled on circuits in North Carolina, Vir- 
ginia, and Maryland until 1786, when he was appointed 
a presiding elder. He traveled on large districts until 
1797, when it became necessary, "from excessive labors, 
occasioned by the most fatiguing travel and hardships," 
for him to take a supernumerary relation. As a presiding 
elder he was preeminently successful. He presided over 
the Annual Conference, in the absence of the bishop, for 
a number of years while he was in Kentucky. He was 

1 W. C. Doub in "Centennial of Methodism in North Carolina," 
page 61. 

Early Circuits and Pioneers. 53 

held in very high esteem by Bishop Asbury, and was nomi- 
nated by him at one time for bishop. One has said, 
"Poythress is to the Southwest what Jesse Lee was to New 
England, — an apostle." 

In 1800 he returned to North Carolina and was ap- 
pointed to a district, reaching from Swannanoa on the 
west to Mattamuskeet on the east, embracing fifteen cir- 
cuits. This proved too much for his already enfeebled 
constitution. "Here he suffered greatly from depression 
of spirits, occasioned by a total prostration of the nervous 
system ; but he kept on laboring until his mind and body 
were reduced well-nigh to a common wreck." He re- 
turned to Kentucky, and tried to serve for another year, 
but the fire of genius and intelligence that once shot from 
his eye was gone. He soon treated his best friends as 
strangers. Thus he lingered on the shores of time under 
this dark cloud, until about 18 18, near Lexington, Ken- 
tucky, his spirit took its flight to its everlasting home. 
Poythress was a hero, who pressed the battle on many a 
well-fought field. Bravely did he endure the toils and 
hardships as a good soldier of the cross. In a campaign of 
twenty-four years, in the wilds of a new and unsettled 
country, he never faltered. 

Rev. Thomas Scott, a personal friend of the deceased, 
and himself one of the early pioneers of Methodism, has 
furnished an account of some personal reminiscences with 
the melancholy fate of this zealous and indefatigable itin- 
erant, which we find in Rev. J. B. Finley's "Sketches of 
Western Methodism," and which we subjoin : 

"Brother Poythress was grave in his deportment, and 

54 Methodism in North Carolina. 

chaste in his conversation, constant in his private devo- 
tions, and faithful in the discharge of his ministerial 
duties. We have no recollection of his having ever dis- 
appointed a congregation unless prevented by sickness or 
disease. As often as practicable he visited from house 
to house, instructed and prayed in the family. Among 
the preachers he, like most other men, may have had his 
particular favorites, but all were treated by him with due 
benevolence and Christian respect. He was unwearied in 
his effort to unite the traveling and local ministry as a 
band of brothers, so that their united efforts might be 
exerted in furthering the cause of God. As the weight 
of all the churches in his district rested upon him, he 
sensibly felt the responsibility of his station, and put forth 
his utmost efforts to discharge, with fidelity, these im- 
portant trusts which had been confided to him. The edu- 
cation of the rising generation he deemed to be intimately 
connected with the interest of the Church, and the result 
of that conviction was the erection of Bethel Academy. 

"The conversational powers of brother Poythress were 
not of a high order, yet when he did engage in general 
conversation he maintained his part with propriety, evin- 
cive of an extensive knowledge of men and things. His 
rank as a preacher was not much above mediocrity. He 
was, however, sound in the faith, in doctrine, in purity. 
There are many words in common use which he could not 
pronounce correctly; this he attributed to the loss of his 

"He was — if we rightly remember — about five feet 
eight or nine inches in height, and heavily built. His 

Early Circuits and Pioneers. 55 

muscles were large, and when in the prime of life, we pre- 
sume, he was a man of more than ordinary muscular 
strength. He dressed plainly and neatly. His general ap- 
pearance was such as to command the respectful consid- 
eration of others. He possessed high, honorable feelings, 
and a deep sense of moral obligations. In general he was 
an excellent disciplinarian. He endeavored to probe to 
the bottom each wound in the Church, in order that a rad- 
ical cure might be effected; but would never consent to 
expel from the bosom of the Church those who evidenced 
contrition and amendment. And when free from the 
morbid action of his system, to which it becomes our pain- 
ful duty to refer, we esteemed him to be a man of sound 
discriminating judgment. 'Symptoms of insanity were, at 
times, discoverable in brother Poythress several years prior 
to the time he ceased to travel and to preach, and such may 
have been his situation' at the time he was sometimes crit- 
icised by his brethren. We think the veil of Christian 
charity ought to be drawn over actions induced by a mor- 
bid excitement of the system, materially affecting his intel- 
lectual faculties. 

"The last time we saw him was in the fore part of the 
winter of 1800. The balance of his mind was lost, and his 
body lay a complete wreck. His labors in the Church 
militant were at an end, but the fruits of his labors still 

The third name on the Carolina Circuit in 1776 was 
that of Isham Tatum. At this period it was the custom 
to send several preachers to one charge ; so three were sent 
to this new field. This was Tatum's first charge. He 

56 Methodism in North Carolina. 

traveled for a few years only, and then, like so many 
others at that day, he got married, and that necessitated a 
location ; though he traveled long enough to convince the 
Church that he had zeal and ability to do successful work 
as an itinerant preacher. His fields of labor were as fol- 
lows: 1776, Carolina; 1777, Pittsylvania; 1778, Fluva- 
nia; 1779, Amelia; 1780, Hanover. In 1781, he "desisted 
from traveling." The above fields were most of them 
new and difficult. He sowed ; others reaped, and are still 

Rev. Peter Doub, D.D., was on the Culpeper Circuit 
in Virginia during the second year of his ministry, which 
was in 1819, and he says he found Isham Tatum living 
in the bounds of this circuit, of whom he makes the follow- 
ing statement in his Autobiography: "Became acquainted 
with Rev. Isham Tatum, who commenced the work of the 
itinerancy about the beginning of the Revolutionary War, 
or a little before, and for some years continued to travel. 
When he married he settled himself in the county of Mad- 
ison, Va., and continued a local preacher for many years. 
He had been a minister for more than sixty years when 
he died. He was a very good, sound divine; very elo- 
quent, and so highly esteemed by the public in this regard 
that he was known throughout the country as the 'Silver 
Trumpet.' He also left a large number of descendants, 
most of whom are members of the Church he so faithfully 
labored to establish.'' 1 He also has some descendants in 
Orange county, North Carolina. 2 

Autobiography of Rev. Peter Doub, D.D., Manuscript. 
2 "Pioneers of Methodism in North Carolina and Virginia," Moore. 


Early Circuits and Pioneers. 57 

We are not able to give the exact date of his death, but 
we know that he lived to a good old age, being at the 
time of his death the oldest Methodist preacher in the 
United States. 1 He thus lived to witness the wonderful 
growth and development of his Church for the first fifty 
years of its existence in this country. Then "without a 
stain upon his escutcheon, he laid aside his armor to wear 
the victor's crown ; he entered into his eternal rest. In his 
pure, devoted, unselfish life, he left the Church a legacy 
as rich as the toilsome labor he underwent and the suffer- 
ing he endured. What a glorious meeting with his old 
companions in tribulation! Wliat a time of rejoicing 
over the fruits of the suffering awaited him within the 
gates of the City of God !" 2 

As we have seen, at the close of the year these three 
preachers reported nine hundred and thirty members in 
North Carolina. The Conference was held at a meeting- 
house near Deer Creek in Maryland. The circuit in 1777 
appears on the minutes as North Carolina, with John 
King, John Dickins, Lee Roy Cole, and Edward Pride. 
This was evidently one of the most promising fields in the 
connection — great in possibilities and great in territorial 
extent. Dr. McAnally thinks that these preachers during 
this year certainly crossed the Blue Ridge and planted the 
standards of Methodism in the Holston country. This 
is the date that he fixes, as he claims based upon good 
reasons, as the time when Methodism was organized in 

1 Bennett's "Memorials of Methodism in Virginia," page 102. 
2 "Pioneers of Methodism in North Carolina and Virginia," 
Moore, page 106. 

58 Methodism in North Carolina. 

that section. 1 But while it was a field of vast possibilities, 
yet it must have required much faith in God to enter it 
under the circumstances and make a success. It will be 
remembered that the war cloud was still hanging over the 
land. At the Conference the 25th of July was appointed 
as a general fast day. The preachers certainly felt that it 
was a critical time for the planting of the new Church. 
We find this question and answer recorded in the minutes : 
"As the present distress is such, are the preachers resolved 
to take no step to detach themselves from the work for the 
ensuing year ?" "We propose, by the grace of God, not to 
take any step that may separate us from the brethren, or 
from the blessed work in which we are engaged." With 
such a purpose, they went forward, and success crowned 
their efforts. 

John King was born in England in the year 1746. He 
was graduated from Oxford and from a medical college 
in London. He was converted under the preaching of John 
Wesley, and at once connected himself with the Society, 
which was bitterly opposed by his family. "Finally he 
was disinherited," but this only made him the more stead- 
fast. He opened his heart to Mr. Wesley, and soon sailed 
for Philadelphia, obtained license to preach, went to Mary- 
land and assisted Strawbridge in his work there. He 
preached the first Methodist sermon in the city of Balti- 
more. At the first Conference in America, which con- 
vened in Philadelphia, 1773, his name appears upon the 
minutes, and he was sent that year to New Jersey; in 

1 "History of Methodism in Tennessee," McFerrin, Vol. I., page 

Early Circuits and Pioneers. 59 

1774, to Norfolk; in 1775, to Trenton, N. J. ; and in 1776 
his name does not appear on the minutes. "About this 
time he bought a home in Franklin county, North Caroli- 
na, near the present county seat, Louisburg, where he lived 
until 1789 or 1790, when he removed to Wake county, 
about ten miles west of Raleigh." 1 And in 1777 we find 
him assigned to the North Carolina Circuit. His name 
does not appear in the printed minutes after this. He had 
married and located, remaining a local preacher and prac- 
ticing medicine. Asbury frequently mentions him in his 
Journal, and from the way he speaks of him wo infer that 
he was held in high esteem by Mr. Asbury. 

In Mr. Wesley's miscellaneous works we find this letter 
written to John King which we reproduce: "My dear 
brother, always take advice or reproof as a favor; it is the 
surest mark of love. I advised you once, and you took it 
as an affront ; nevertheless I will do it once more. Scream 
no more at the peril of your soul. God now warns you, 
by me whom he has set over you. Speak as earnestly as 
you can, but do not scream. Speak with all your heart, 
but with a moderate voice. It was said of our Lord, 'He 
shall not cry.' The word properly means, 'He shall not 
scream.' Herein be a follower of me, as I am of Christ. 
I often speak aloud, often vehemently, but I never scream ; 
I never strain myself, — I dare not. I know it would be 
a sin against God and my own soul. Perhaps one reason 
why that good man Thomas Walsh, yea, and John Man- 
ners too, were in such grievous darkness before they died 

"'Pioneers of Methodism in North Carolina and Virginia," 
Moore, page 54 

60 Methodism in North Carolina. 

was because they shortened their own lives. O John, pray 
for an advisable and teachable temper. By nature you are 
very far from it ; you are stubborn and headstrong. Your 
last letter was written in a very wrong spirit. If you can- 
not take advice from others, surely you can take it from 
your affectionate brother," etc. 

We quote from Rev. M. H. Moore. In speaking of 
King, he says : "He died while on a visit to Newbern in 
1794, and was buried at his home in Wake county. His 
children — six in number — were all members of the Meth- 
odist Church. Two of his sons, John and William, were 
Methodist preachers. A son of William, Rev. Marcus 
King, is now a member of the Kentucky Conference." 1 

John Dickins was born in 1746 in the city of London. 
He was well educated — partly at Eton College. He came 
to this country, and some time about 1774 he joined the 
Methodist Society in Virginia. In 1777 he was admitted 
into the traveling connection, and appointed to the North 
Carolina Circuit; in 1778, to Brunswick; in 1779 and 1780, 
to Roanoke; but in 1781 he located, doubtless because of 
failing health, for when Bishop Asbury visited him, he 
says, "his voice is gone." Two years later he was read- 
mitted and appointed to New York, where he had great 
success for two years. In 1785 he traveled the Bertie Cir- 
cuit, and the three following years in New York. And 
when the Book Concern was established, in 1789, he was 
appointed to superintend the business, where he remained 
until his death in 1798. He died of that terrible scourge 

^'Pioneers of Methodism in North Carolina and Virginia,' 
page 56. 


Early Circuits and Pioneers. 61 

yellow fever, after passing through two epidemics of the 
same malady. Through them all he remained at the post 
of duty. The following letter was written to his friend 
Bishop Asbury, at the time when this pestilence was num- 
bering its victims by the scores and hundreds : "My much 
esteemed friend and brother, I sit down to write as in the 
jaws of death — whether Providence may permit me to 
see your face again in the flesh, I know not. But if not, I 
hope, through abundant mercy, that we shall meet in the 
presence of God. I am truly conscious that I am an unprof- 
itable, a very unprofitable, servant; but I think my heart 
condemns me not ; and, therefore, I have confidence toward 
God. Perhaps I might have left the city, as most of my 
friends and brethren have done; but when I thought of 
such a thing, my mind recurred to that Providence which 
has done so much for me, a poor worm, that I was afraid 
of indulging in any distrust. So I commit myself and 
family into the hands of God, for life or death." Asbury 
says of him : "For piety, probity, profitable preaching, holy 
living, Christian education of his children, secret closet 
prayer, I doubt whether his superior is to be found either 
in Europe or America." In another chapter we will refer 
to this faithful servant of God again. 

Lee Roy Cole was born in Virginia, June 5, 1749. He 
was twenty-six years old before the Methodists were 
known in his section. One of Cole's brothers heard them 
somewhere and brought a favorable report of their labors. 
This report impressed him deeply. Years afterwards, in 
speaking of it, he says : "From what he said, I was deeply 
impressed that they were gospel ministers, and that it was 


62 Methodism in North Carolina. 

the work of God among them. From this view I went into 
the held and lifted my hands and heart to God, and made a 
solemn vow that I would serve him all the days of my life. 
I prepared myself, and went about one hundred miles in 
pursuit of these ministers. I called at a house where I un- 
derstood the people were Methodists, and while I was there 
a traveling minister came in, namely, James Foster. I 
viewed him with scrutiny, and was well pleased with all 
his movements. Under his prayer my feelings were so 
awakened that, after he closed, I sat by him and put my 
arm around him. About three weeks after I set out to seek 
the Lord. The Father of Mercies was graciously pleased 
at a night meeting, between the hours of twelve and one, 
powerfully to convert my soul. From that time I walked 
in the sunshine of his love from day to day, from month 
to month, and from year to year." 1 He was licensed to 
preach by Mr. Shadford, joined the itinerancy, and was 
appointed with others to North Carolina. He was or- 
dained at the Christmas Conference in 1784. 

At the Conference held in Baltimore, June, 1785, he was 
suspended from the ministry. The charges against him 
are unknown. Dr. Coke says: "We opened our Confer- 
ence, and were driven to the painful necessity of suspend- 
ing a member, and he no less than an ekler, who for ten 
years had retained an unblemished reputation." 2 This un- 
doubtedly refers to Cole, as the minutes for 1785 contain 
this brief passage: "Question 9. Who is laid aside? Lee 
Roy Cole." The allegation against him is not known, but 

^Christian Advocate and Journal, March 19, 1830. 
'Coke's Journal, Arminian Magazine, 1789, page 397. 

Early Circuits and Pioneers. 63 

we know he asserted his innocence and trusted in God for 
his vindication. And "in less than a year the Conference 
became convinced of the injustice of their verdict and in- 
vited Mr. Cole again into their fellowship." 1 The Confer- 
ence showed their confidence by appointing him "elder" 
over Newbern, New River, Wilmington, and Antigua. 
He only traveled a few years when his health failed, and 
he retired from the itinerancy. In 1808 he went to Ken- 
tucky, and served the Church there as a local preacher 
until 18 14, when he was readmitted into the traveling 
connection, where he labored faithfully for a few years, 
and then remained in the superannuate relation until the 
6th of February, 1830, when his sufferings ended with a 
most triumphant death. 

Edward Pride, the fourth man on the North Carolina 
Circuit for 1777, appears on the minutes this year; and 
in 1778 he was second man on the Brunswick Circuit with 
John Dickins as principal. After this there is no further 
record of him in the minutes. 

While these pioneers had been planting Methodism in 
the northeastern part of North Carolina, and extending 
their labors to the southwest, the preachers, since 1776. 
had been crossing over the Blue Ridge from the Pittsyl- 
vania Circuit and preaching in private houses in Stokes, 
Rockingham, and Surry counties. 2 

'Redford's "History of Methodism in Kentucky," Vol. II., page 

2 Rev. Peter Doub, D.D., in Raleigh Enterprise, April 30, 1866. 
Much of the information given by Mr. Doub was received from Rev. 
Ira Ellis, who lived in that period and was in a position to know, be- 
ing secretary of several Annual Conferences, 

64 Methodism in North Carolina. 

In 1778, Jesse Lee says, in "North Carolina the preach- 
ers divided the one circuit that was there before so as to 
form three circuits, and they were now called Roanoke, 
Tar River, and New Hope." 1 The minutes, however, 
only show that the Roanoke Circuit takes the place 
of the North Carolina Circuit, and no mention is made 
of the Tar River and New Hope until 1779. This 
may be due to the fact that the minutes were very 
meager at this period of the war, everything in a dis- 
organized state, and not enough preachers to supply the 
circuits already in existence. But there is some evidence 
to show that the Roanoke Circuit existed previous to the 
Conference in 1778. Freeborn Garrettson in his Journal 
says: "In September [1777] I went to North Carolina, to 
travel the Roanoke Circuit, and was sweetly drawn out in 
the glorious work." 2 And yet the minutes have Garrett- 
son during this year on the Brunswick Circuit. The most 
logical conclusion is that during 1777 the Roanoke Cir- 
cuit was planned, and a preacher — Garrettson — was sent 
from the Brunswick Circuit to labor until Conference. 

William Glendenning traveled the Roanoke Circuit in 
1778. He was a very eccentric Scotchman, who came to 
America in 1774 as a "volunteer missionary" and joined 
the Conference in 1775, and was sent to the Brunswick 
Circuit with five others, "thus being one of the first to 
preach in North Carolina." During the year 1778, while 

'"Short History of the Methodists," by Jesse Lee, page 63. 

2 "Life of Garrettson," by Bangs, New York, 1829, page 60. "Ex- 
perience and Travels of Freeborn Garrettson," published in Phila- 
delphia, 1791, and sold by John Dickins, page 70. 

Early Circuits and Pioneers. 65 

on the Roanoke Circuit, he was the pastor of Jesse Lee, 
and appointed him class leader. He traveled in Virginia, 
North Carolina, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. His name 
was proposed for elder's orders in 1784, but was refused, 
as he was not deemed qualified for the trust. He at once 
"fell into a morbid spiritual state which soon developed 
into insanity.'' On account of the condition of his mind, 
he stopped preaching in 1785, and located in 1786. The 
Conference continued to assist him from the superan- 
nuate fund. He applied for readmission in 1792, but 
was not received because of his mental condition. In 
speaking of his condition in 1786, he says: "I was re- 
moved to one Leonard Smith's in North Carolina, in order 
to try what physicians could do for me. I knew, and told 
them, that all doctors and physic upon earth could do me 
no good. But they took me, and forced me there. While 
I was there, Dr. Smith forced me to take some of his 
physic, but it answered no end." 1 There seems to have 
been some improvement in his mind after this. Some time 
previous to 1805 he settled in Raleigh, where he kept a 
grocery store on Newbern street opposite the Episcopal 
rectory. 2 He was also a printer and publisher in Raleigh 
as early as 1805. 3 How many books he published is not 

1<( Life of William Glendenning," written by himself and pub- 
lished in Philadelphia in 1795, in which he gives a full account of his 
sufferings. He also criticises Bishop Asbury for his treatment of 
him. This rare old book is in the private library of the writer. 

2 Rev. A. W. Mangum in "Centennial of Methodism in North 
Carolina," page 84. 

3 The writer has in his library a book of sermons by Rev. Deve- 
reux Jarratt, published by William Glendenning, Newbern street, 
near State House, Raleigh, N. C, 1805. 


66 Methodism in North Carolina. 

known. But with all of his eccentricities, he was success- 
ful in business, and accumulated considerable property. 
While he was irt Raleigh he built a house of worship out of 
his own means. Here he often preached, conducting the 
services in his own way. The chapel was called Bethel. 
He allowed the Methodist preachers to occupy it occa- 
sionally. He left the Church and joined O' Kelly in his 

The life of William Glendenning is a sad one. During 
the worst state of his insanity he suffered under many hal- 
lucinations, which he always looked upon afterwards as 
being real, and would often quote them in his sermons. 
The dark cloud was somewhat lifted in his last days, 
friendship between him and Asbury was restored, and he 
died in peace in 1816. 

The Roanoke Circuit was situated along the Roanoke 
River, and included perhaps Bertie, Northampton, Hali- 
fax, and Warren counties. Roanoke will always stand 
in the annals of Methodist history as an honored name. 
It remained on the minutes for many years as one of the 
best circuits. Its members were distinguished for their 
piety and social position. Here "that grand old man" 
Lovick Pierce was born. Here, too, was the home of that 
silver-tongued orator, Thomas G. Lowe. In the bounds of 
this circuit, at the place called "the old Barn," Jesse Lee 
preached his first sermon. Here the first subscription to a 
Methodist school in America was made by Gabriel Long 
and brother Bustian. A fro^fLall, this was the cradle of 
Ty Metho dism in North Carolina. 

It is very d ifficult to arrive at anything like th e bounds 


Early Circuits and Pioneers. ^ 67 


ary line of the Tar River Circuit. However, it was be- 

tween thelvoanoke and New Hope circuits, and must have 
included Franklin, Nash, and Edgecombe, as they lay 
along the river from which it takes its name. The New 
Hope Circuit included portions of Orange, Chatham, Cum- 
berland, and Wake counties. The circuit took its name 
from a small creek in Chatham that empties into Haw 
River. These were all the circuits in North Carolina up 
to 1780 when the Yadkin Circuit was formed. 

Thus we have glanced at some of the heroes who came 
to North Carolina to plant Methodism within its bounds. 
No pen can portray the cost to them of such an undertak- 
ing, or tell of the harvest that will come from such sowing. 
We shall see some of the results of their toils as we pro- 
ceed in these pages. The pen of the historian has never 
traced the labors of more dpvotpd and heroic men than . 

these. l\ was not worldly honor n or worldly prair ^ for 

which they labored ; but they had motives as high as 
heaven and as broad as the needs of th e, human ra,re r 



Demoralizing Effect of War. Defense Unnecessary. Declaration of 
Independence. Cause of the War— Taxation— A Deeper Princi- 
ple—Stamp Act. Liberty in the Air— Effect upon Methodism. 
Principal Battles in North Carolina. Mr. Wesley's Letter Mis- 
understood. Some Refused to Bear Arms. Jesse Lee Drafted— 
Refuses to Bear Arms— Put Under Guard— Preaches in Camp- 
Drives a Wagon. Green Hill. Philip Bruce-Some Incidents- 
Bruce at King's Mountain. Effects of the War upon Methodism. 

Just after Methodism had entered," North Carolina and 
its influence was beginning to be felt, the excitement inci- 
dent to the Revolutionary War began. This was oneof_ 
the early hindrances to Methodism. War is always de- 
moralizing. It locks the wheels of commerce, and checks 
every enterprise. Especially is this true in reference to the 
agencies of the Church which are for the moral upbuilding 
and spiritual progress of the people. From the very nature 
of war and Christianity, they are directly opposed to each 
other. And yet the Great Head of the Church may over- 
rule even a bloody war, and make it subserve his purpose, 
in the progress and establishment of his kingdom. Look- 
ing at Methodism in North Carolina when the Revolu- 
tionary War was putting in its destructive work, the early 
itinerant, could see nothing but the pattering of forces 
and disorganization. To him it'Tooked like ruin and de- 
struction to the young Society. But while it appeared 
thus to these heroic men who came to plant Methodism 

Period of the Revolution. 69 

in North Carolina, and while it did check their work and 
hinder their progress, we sMll see that Providence was 
directing, and that in the end Methodism was placed upon 
a more solid basis. In this case, as it is in many others, the A 
Lord makes the wrath of man to praise him./\For when 
we consider the condition of the country, the motives of 
the men who were the great actors in the conflict, the 
tyrannical measures and spirit of the government, and that 
the liberty and the best interest of the people were at stake, 
then we can see how it may be possible for the whole 
movement to be dominated by Christian principle. For it 
was a conflict between truth and error, liberty and oppres- 
sion. And the colony of North Carolina needs to make 
no defense for being the first to take a strong stand for 
liberty*— It is not necessary for any one to write a line in 
defense of the position of the men in Mecklenburg county 
in i/7;p Their views were supported by those of most of 
the other counties of the province ; and the result was that 
North Carolina was surpassed by none of her sisters in 
cultivating the spirit of liberty and independence. The 
question has often been asked whether she was justified 
in taking this bold and defiant stand. In justification of 
this advanced position on the subject of independence, the 
following are some of the reasons that have been given: 

First. Taxation without representation was one of the 
principles to which her citizens objected. Representation 
of America by Americans in the lawmaking assemblies 
was denied by Great Britain. "Every borough and shire 
of England, Wales, and Scotland was represented in one 
way or another in the English House of Commons," while 

70 Methodism in North Carolina. 

not one was there to represent the thirteen colonies ot 
America. And yet the crown and parliament had com- 
plete control of the most vital interest in the colonies. This 
the people of North Carolina felt was not right. Then, 
the taxes were enormous. While the people were always 
ready to pay legitimate taxes, yet they were not willing to 
pay extortions placed upon them by irresponsible officers. 
That a man should be obliged to pay a tax of four or five 
shillings annually, or any other sum, however trivial, for 
supporting a form of worship which he conscientiously 
believed to be wrong, or which was at least irksome to 
him, was a greater violation of his rights and more in- 
jurious in its effects than that he should be compelled to 
pay a few pennies on every pound of tea he used. The 
latter is frequently spoken of as one of the main causes of 
the Revolution ; but, in fact, did not the other reach beyond 
the mere question of taxation, and involve a principle that 
was much more far-reaching in its effect ? For the people 
who led in this movement were of the best element in 
society and in the Church. 

Second. The Stamp Act was another cause of the war. 
This act provided that all contracts, notes, bonds, deeds, 
writs, and other public documents should be written on 
government paper which had a "stamp" on it, and which 
was to be sold at a high price by government agents, and 
from the sale of which a large revenue was expected for 
the English treasury. This act produced great excitement 
throughout the colonies, and in no place more than in 
North Carolina. When the news of the passage of this 
act reached North Carolina, the General Assembly was 

Period of the Revolution. 7 1 

in session, and immediate action would have been taken 
had it not been for the prudent management of Governor 
Tryon. However, John Ashe, the Speaker of the House, 
plainly informed the governor that the act would be re- 
sisted "unto blood and death." Although this act was re- 
pealed a year after it was passed, it left a bad impression 
in the minds of the people. 

Other detailed reasons might be given, but suffice it to 
say that the time had come for the American people to 
govern themselves. Liberty was in the air. It had been 
pronounced in North Carolina, the same sound had echoed 
from Massachusetts, and everywhere the hearts of the peo- 
ple were responding to this cry for liberty. And why 
should they not sigh for liberty ? Many who were making 
this cry had come to the New World for religious free- 
dom : Puritans and Quakers from England, Presbyterians 
from Ireland and Scotland, Palatines from the Rhine, and 
Huguenots from France. They had all come seeking re- 
lief, and it was natural for them to resent any movement 
that suggested the idea of oppression. 

The effect of the war upon Methodism seemed at one 
time to be ruinous ; and, in fact, it did for the time being 
greatly retard its progress. We will see that it meant 
much to Methodism ; that American independence implied 
the independence of American Methodism. Long before 
now has the observant mind been enabled to see that this 
Revolution meant much to the then young and growing 
Methodist Society in America. And as North Carolina 
was the scene of the most decisive struggles of the war, 
we will go a little further into detail than we otherwise 

7 2 Methodism in North Carolina. 

would, and especially so since some in the Society were 
so closely connected with the movement. In 1780 the 
battle of Ramsour's Mills, in Lincoln county near Lincoln- 
ton, was fought, and on October 7, 1780, that of King's 
Mountain. On March 15, 1781, perhaps one of the most 
decisive battles fought during that exciting period was 
fought at Guilford Courthouse. And from Guilford to 
Wilmington everything was demoralized as a result of the 
army of Cornwallis, which had spread dismay also in 
many other sections of the state. 

The effect of this war was very marked upon the prog- 
ress of Methodism. There were several circumstances 
which made the outlook very discouraging and critical to 
the early pioneers. About the beginning of the war, Mr. 
Wesley wrote a letter to the American colonies in which 
he exhorted them to be peacemakers, and to say nothing 
on either side. This raised a storm on both sides of the 
Atlantic — in England as well as in America. His idea 
seems to have been to settle the difficulty without war. 
His object was good, but it was not understood. He was 
credited with working in the interests of the crown, and 
hence his followers in America were regarded as being in 
sympathy with the King of England. This had a very 
disastrous effect upon Methodism in America. Especially 
was this true as it was known that some of the leading 
preachers were from England, and the people naturally 
expected them to be in sympathy with the English. They 
were here as missionaries, and while they were deeply 
interested in their work, and loved their brethren in Amer- 
ica, yet they could not side with them against their native 

Period of the Revolution. 73 

country. Truly they were in a most embarrassing sit- 
uation. Suspected of being on the side of England, it was 
hard for them to remain silent. And as persecutions had 
already arisen against the Methodists, many people were 
glad to embrace the opportunity to check the progress of 
Methodism. An able historian says : "It is no wonder that 
any one who wished to raise the wind of persecution 
against a Methodist preacher need only shout 'Tory !' and 
his wish was accomplished. To this disagreeable practice 
some resorted, and thereby gratified their unreasonable 
opposition to the men whom they inwardly hated on ac- 
count of the spirited manner in which they rebuked them 
for their wickedness." 1 

There were some Methodists who were opposed to war 
from principle, and absolutely refused to fight. These 
were whipped, fined, or imprisoned and punished in a 
variety of ways. The English, having met with several 
disasters in the south, commenced a retreat through North 
Carolina and Virginia. It is not our business to follow 
them through the scenes of battle in 1780-81. Our task 
is to notice that which vitally affects Methodism. 

In the summer of 1780 the militia of North Carolina 
were drafted, and Jesse Lee, who became one of the most 
distinguished Methodist preachers in America, was forced 
to face the storm that was then gathering in his adopted 
state. Jesse Lee was born in Prince George county, Vir- 
ginia, on March 12, 1758. He joined Society under Rob- 
ert Williams in 1774, and the wonderful revivals on the 

1 "History of the Methodist Episcopal Church," Bangs, Vol. I., 
page 139. 

74 Methodism in North Carolina. 

old Brunswick Circuit about this time, no doubt, had much 
to do in developing him into a great spiritual force, and 
of helping him to decide upon his life work. The true 
evangels are generally made in great revivals. He 
preached his first sermon on the 17th of September, 1779, 
at a place called the "Old Barn" in North Carolina. About 
this time the Rev. John Dickins, pastor of the Roanoke 
Circuit, being busy doing some literary work, requested 
him to take his place on the circuit for a few weeks. Here 
he had his first experience as a traveling preacher. In July 
of the next year (1780) the militia were drafted, and Mr. 
Lee was among the number to go. He was among those 
who felt that it was not right to engage in war, and 
hence he positively refused to bear arms. But as he was 
thoughtful enough to keep a Journal, for that reason, and 
others, we prefer that he should tell his own story : 

"I weighed the matter over and over again, but my 
mind was settled ; as a Christian and as a preacher of the 
gospel I could not fight. I could not reconcile it to myself 
to bear arms, or to kill one of my fellow-creatures ; how- 
ever, I determined to go, and to trust in the Lord; and 
accordingly prepared for my journey. 

"Monday, July 17th, 1780. — I left home and set out 
for the army, traveled about twenty-five miles to Mr. 
Green Hill's, where I was kindly used. I tarried there all 
night. Wednesday, 19th. — I set off early in the morning, 
and traveled about sixteen miles to Mr. Hines's. In the 
afternoon we had much conversation on spiritual matters, 
and in the evening felt my heart more engaged with God 
in prayer than usual. I felt my dependence upon God, and 

Period of the Revolution. 75 

though I believed that great difficulties lay before me, yet 
I resigned myself into the hands of God, and felt assured 
that he would protect and take care of me. 

"I did not join the army till the 29th. On the evening 
of that day I came in sight of the camp, and was soon 
called on parade, and orders were given for all the soldiers 
to be furnished with guns. I then lifted up my heart to 
God and besought him to take my cause in his hands, and 
support me in the hour of trial. 

"The sergeant soon came round with the guns, and 
offered one to me, but I would not take it. Then the lieu- 
tenant brought me one, but I refused to take it. He said 
I should go under guard. He then went to the colonel, 
and coming back, brought a gun and set it down against 
me. I told him he had as well take it away, or it would 
fall. He then took me with him and delivered me to the 
guard. After a while the colonel came, and taking me out 
a little way from the guard, he began to converse with me, 
and to assign many reasons why I should bear arms ; but 
his reasons were not sufficiently cogent to make any alter- 
ation in my mind. He then told the guard to take care of 
me, and so left me. 

"Many of the people came and talked with me and pitied 
me, and would leave me with tears in their eyes. We lay 
encamped at a tavern a few miles from the site of what 
was afterwards the seat of government (Raleigh) for 
North Carolina. After dark I told the guard we must 
pray before we slept ; and having a Baptist under guard, I 
asked him to pray, which he did. I then told the people if 
they would come out early in the morning, I would pray 

j6 Methodism in North Carolina. 

with them. I felt remarkably happy in God under all my 
trouble, and did not doubt but that I should be delivered in 
due time. Some of the soldiers brought me some straw to 
lie upon, and offered me their blankets and greatcoats for 
covering. I slept pretty well that night, which was the 
first and last night I was ever under guard. 

"Sunday, 30th. — As soon as it was light, I was up and 
began to sing, and some hundreds of people soon assem- 
bled and joined with me, and we made the plantation 
ring with the songs of Zion. We then kneeled down and 
prayed; and while I was praying, my soul was happy in 
God, and I wept much and prayed loud, and many of the 
poor soldiers also wept. I do not think that I ever felt 
more willing to suffer for the sake of religion than I did 
at that time. 

"A little after we were done prayer, Mr. Thomas, the 
tavern-keeper, came out and talked with me, and told me 
he was in bed when he heard me praying, that he could 
not refrain from tears, and he had called to see me, and 
know if I would be willing to preach to them that day, 
it being Sabbath. I told him I would preach provided he 
would procure a block, or something, for me to stand 
upon ; which he readily promised to do. I told him, withal, 
I wished him to go to the colonel, for we had no higher 
officer amongst us, and obtain leave for me to preach ; 
which he did, and liberty was granted. It is just to state 
that Colonel was a man of great humanity, al- 
though a profane swearer. When he heard that I was 
about to preach, it affected him very much, so he took me 
out to talk with me on the subject of bearing arms. I 

Period of the Revolution. 77 

told him I could not kill a man with a good conscience, but 
I was a friend to my country, and was willing to do any- 
thing that I could, while I continued in the army, except 
that of fighting. He then asked me if I would be willing 
to drive their baggage wagon? I told him I would, 
though I had never driven a wagon before; he said their 
main cook was a Methodist, and could drive the wagon 
when we were on a march, and I might lodge and eat 
with him ; to which I agreed. He then released me from 
guard, and said when I was ready to begin meeting I 
might stand on a bench by his tent. When the hour ar- 
rived I began under the trees, and took my text in Luke 
xiii. 5, 'Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.' 
After I had been speaking a while it began to rain, and we 
were under the necessity of going into the house, where I 
resumed my discourse. I was enabled to speak plainly, 
and without fear ; and I wept while endeavoring to deliver 
my message. Many of the people, officers as well as men, 
were bathed in tears before I was done. That meeting 
afforded me an ample reward for all my trouble. At the 
close of the meeting some of the gentlemen went about 
with their hats to make a collection of money for me, at 
which I was very uneasy, and ran in among the people and 
begged them to desist. I could not at that time feel willing 
to receive any compensation for preaching. I thought if 
the people could afford to sit and hear me, I could afford 
to stand and preach to them. I felt my heart humbled 
before God, and was truly thankful to him for the grace 
communicated to my soul at that time. I had no doubt 
but that all things would work out for my good. 

78 Methodism in North Carolina. 

"On Monday I took charge of the wagon, and felt very 
much resigned to the will of God." 1 

It is thought by some that the sermon preached by Jesse 
Lee, referred to above, was the first Methodist sermon 
preached in that immediate section. Thomas's tavern was 
situated near the present city of Raleigh. From here the 
army moved on toward the south, "passed through Chat- 
ham county, crossed Haw River, and the Island Ford and 
Deep Creek, at Ronney's Mills, crossed Drowning Creek 
at Cole's Bridge, and the next day entered the state of 
South Carolina; and then to the banks of the Pee Dee 
River, where they encamped." They finally fell back into 
North Carolina, and on Monday, August 28th, we find 
them at Ronney's Mills on Deep River, where they re- 
mained until September 5th. Here Mr. Lee was quite sick 
for a few days. They went through Randolph county, 
crossing Caraway River, stopping for four days near Salis- 
bury, where they lynched a noted "Tory," hanging him 
up without judge or jury. Lee remained with them until 
October 29th, when he obtained his discharge. Here he 
ended his military labor, and returned home, where he 
soon entered his life work. Through it all he kept a clear 
conscience, having never killed a single human being. 

However, there were very few Methodists who were 
so extremely opposed to war as Mr. Lee. The Quakers, 
and occasionally a Methodist, would take such extreme 
views as his. But many prominent Methodists took part 
in the conflict, and made valiant soldiers. Green Hill, a 

1 "Memoirs of Jesse Lee," Thrift, page 29. 

Period of the Revolution. 79 

Methodist minister, was one of the representatives from 
Bute county in the Provincial Congress which met in 
Newbern, April 4, 1774. He was also a member of the 
Hillsboro Congress which met August 20th, 1775, and 
of the Halifax Congress of April, 1776. Philip Bruce was 
a great friend to the cause of liberty, and as a result suf- 
fered many narrow escapes. 

The name of Philip Bruce will ever hold a sacred place 
in the annals of Methodism in North Carolina. He was 
born near King's Mountain, December 25th, 1755. His 
grandfather was a French Protestant who came to this 
country with the persecuted Huguenots. He received his 
education under a Scotch teacher. During a revival con- 
ducted by the pioneer preacher in his neighborhood, young 
Philip gave his heart to God, and was the first of his family 
to become a Methodist. A holy fire was kindled in his 
soul that burned brightly and with ever-increasing splen- 
dor for more than fifty years. His father and mother 
were the first fruits of his labors. He was soon after- 
wards licensed as an exhorter. At this time the Revolu- 
tionary War was in full blast, and Toryism was rife in 
that part of the land. 

"The Bruces were zealous republicans, and none of them 
more so than young Philip. He had many narrow escapes 
from the halter and the bullet. One day as he was hunt- 
ing wild turkeys in the woods a party of Tories rushed 
upon him and made him prisoner ; they were about to hang 
him to the nearest tree, when, in examining his pockets, 
they found his license as an exhorter. The captain imme- 
diately said it would never do to hang a priest, and ordered 

80 Methodism in North Carolina. 

him to be released, with a warning never again to be 
caught shooting wild turkeys. Unwittingly they had set 
at liberty one of the best friends of the American cause, for 
Bruce had opportunities for collecting information respect- 
ing the designs and movements of the British possessed 
by few in his neighborhood, and he never failed to make 
his knowledge serviceable to the cause of freedom. 

"He was present at the battle of King's Mountain, but 
as he was looked upon as a sort of chaplain, the officers 
would not allow him to go into the engagement, and he 
was left with the sick and baggage. While engaged in his 
duties as a circuit preacher, he was taken prisoner, some- 
times by the British and sometimes by the Americans, but 
never maltreated by either. 

"On one occasion he was induced to preach to a band 
of Tories whose captain had gone to procure arms. He 
did so, and actually persuaded them to disperse. When 
the captain returned with the arms he found no men, and 
on being told through whose influence his men had dis- 
persed, he swore vengeance against Bruce. Not very long 
afterwards, when he had preached at the house of a friend, 
up rode the captain with two of his men. Springing from 
his horse he rushed to the porch where Bruce was quietly 
reading, and with horrid oaths presented his gun at his 
breast. Bruce caught the muzzle and a scuffle ensued. 
The captain, dropping his gun, drew his sword and made 
a tremendous cut at his head, but in its sweep the weapon 
struck the rafter of the porch. Just at this moment up 
rode three Whigs; the two Tories gave the alarm, and 
Bruce finding the captain willing to be off, pushed him 

Period of the Revolution. 81 

down the steps, sprang into the house and shut the door. 
The three Tories rode off in quick time one way, and the 
Whigs as fast in another. As the captain passed the 
window, Bruce shouted, 'Good-by, Captain !' In reply he 
swore he would kill him. A day or two after, Bruce 
reached his next appointment, and although his horse had 
been put up, and the people had assembled for preaching, 
it was so solemnly impressed on his mind that it was his 
duty to leave the place immediately, that, notwithstand- 
ing the earnest remonstrance of the landlord, he called for 
his horse and rode off, leaving an appointment for another 
time. Among those who had come to the meeting was a 
preacher of another denomination. Bruce was not more 
than out of sight when the captain's lieutenant rode up 
with a file of men, and inquired for the preacher. The 
one who had come to hear Bruce preach was pointed out 
to them as the only preacher present ; they instantly shot 
him down, and rode off, bragging that Bruce would never 
disperse another Tory company." 1 

These incidents give the reader some idea of the trying 
times in which the early pioneer was planting Methodism 
in North Carolina. They show further where the sym- 
pathy of Philip Bruce was during this terrible conflict. As 
this man of God has had much to do with Methodism in 
this state, we will speak more fully of him as a man and as 
a preacher. 

"In person Philip Bruce was commanding. He was tall, 
perfectly straight, very grave and dignified in his manner ; 

'Bennett's Memorials, page 179. 

82 Methodism in North Carolina. 

his hair was black and worn long, his visage thin, his com- 
plexion dark, and his eyes bright and piercing; his coun- 
tenance was open and expressive, his features well devel- 
oped and indicative of a high degree of intellectual power. 
In the pulpit he was graceful and impressive. His sermons 
were usually short, but powerful, and he excelled in the 
application of gospel truth. His appeals were often irre- 
sistible." Philip Bruce was a very remarkable man, and a 
great preacher. We will cross his track many times in 
the course of this work. 

Coming back to the evil effects of war, we find that in 
a general way they worked disastrously to Methodism in 
North Carolina. The storm of war left desolation in its 
track. Many of the societies were entirely broken up, and 
others were prevented from holding meetings regularly. 
It was very dangerous for the preachers to travel the cir- 
cuits. And frequently when they reached an appointment 
the topic of conversation was upon the great struggle that 
was going on. The people were in constant dread. Many 
had husbands, brothers, and sons at the front, and often at 
church some sad news was broken to these anxious loved 
ones, which caused scenes of the most painful character. 
Many fell in battle, and never returned to take their places 
in the Church ; while many others were corrupted by camp 
life and made shipwreck of the faith, and returned home 
strangers to grace. Its evil effects were felt upon Metho- 
dism in many ways; and no section suffered more than 
North Carolina. It was a troublous time for the infant 
Church that was trying to plant itself in this new field; 
but it was seen after the storm had swept over that the 

Period of the Revolution. 83 

tree of Methodism "had stuck its roots deeper into the soil, 
and again budded and brought forth fruit." So while its 
evil effects were great at the time, the Revolution brought 
no greater blessing in the end to any institution than it 
did to Methodism. 



Asbury Enters North Carolina — Extracts from His Journal. Yad- 
kin Circuit. John Cooper. Enoch Matson. Henry Ogburn. New 
Hope. Dromgoole and Lee Introduce Methodism Between Eden- 
ton and Norfolk. John Easter. 

When God has a great work to do, he prepares some 
man through which to accomplish his purposes. When 
he was ready to deliver his chosen people, he had Moses 
as his leader in readiness. When he would give the gos- 
pel to the Gentiles, Paul was ready to go. When the 
whole religious world had drifted into cold, dead for- 
malism, John Wesley, having his heart rilled with spiritual 
life, said, "The world is my parish," and at once began to 
preach forgiveness of sins and the witness of the Spirit. 
A great revival followed. And when England had be- 
come a flame of revival fire, and the Macedonian cry was 
going over from America, Francis Asbury, with others, 
responded, and Asbury soon became the distinguished 
leader of the great revival Church in America. 

On the 7th of October, 1771, Francis Asbury received 
an old-fashioned Methodist welcome in Philadelphia. He 
began at once to travel up and down the Atlantic slope 
and preach the gospel as understood by the Methodist 
Society. Soon he became the "greatest of religious lead- 
ers." He was the founder, organizer, and apostle of the 
Methodist Church in the United States. He traveled 


Growth of Methodism. 85 

thousands of miles every year, traveling almost constant- 
ly for fifty-five years. During thirty years he crossed the 
Alleghany Mountains fifty-eight times. He often slept in 
the woods without even the necessary food or raiment. 
He says : "In the southern states I have waded swamps, 
and led my horse for miles, where I took colds that 
brought on diseases which are now preying on my system, 
and must soon terminate in death." It is estimated that 
he traveled at least six thousand miles a year. In four 
years at this rate he would nearly make the circuit of the 

The labors of Asbury were probably without example. 
"It has been asserted by one of the ex-presidents of the 
YVesleyan Conference — and the admission is remarkable 
coming from that quarter — that Bishop Asbury was in 
labors more abundant than Wesley himself. I see no 
reason to question the accuracy of Dr. Bangs's estimate, 
which is, that Asbury, during the forty-five years of his 
ministry in this country, delivered not less than sixteen 
thousand four hundred and twenty-five sermons, besides 
lectures and exhortations innumerable; that he traveled 
during the same time about two hundred and seventy 
thousand miles, for the most part on the worst roads, and 
on horseback ; that he sat in not less than two hundred and 
twenty- four Annual Conferences ; and ordained more than 
four thousand ministers. This is a series of great labors, 
to which I doubt if the whole history of Christianity for 
eighteen centuries can find a parallel. He found five hun- 
dred Methodists in the country when he began his minis- 
terial labors ; at his death he left a flourishing Church in 

86 Methodism in North Carolina. 

all parts of the land, with more than two hundred and 
eleven thousand communicants, and served by upward of 
seven hundred traveling, besides three thousand local, 
preachers." 1 Besides all this, he wrote letters, stationed 
the preachers, was in a new home almost every night 
where it was necessary for him to entertain; and yet for 
all this travel and labor, in writing to Dr. Coke, he says : 
"All the property I have gained is two old horses, the 
companions of my toil six thousand if not seven thousand 
miles a year. When we have no ferryboats, they swim 
the rivers." He rode one of the horses, and the other car- 
ried his baggage. 

This apostle of Methodism in America entered North 
Carolina on June 16, 1780. And in order to give the 
reader a general idea of the condition of the state at that 
time, and the progress that was being made, we make 
some extracts from his Journal. 

"Friday, 16th of June. — I crossed Roanoke (North 
Carolina) ; felt a little better, though weak. We rode 
near thirty miles ; was like to faint in the carriage, but at 
brother Edwards's felt refreshed and ease from pain. 
. . . Saturday, 17th. — Preached at Jones's barn to about 
one hundred people. . . . Sunday, 18th. — I rode fif- 
teen miles to brother Bustian's, and preached to about five 
hundred people ; was much led out on Isaiah lv. 6, 7. The 
people were solemnly attentive. . . . Tuesday, 20th. 
— Preached at noon to fifty people On Titus ii. n-14; 
had some liberty among the people; they were very little 

'Dr. Wightman in "Biographical Sketches." 

Growth of Methodism. 87 

affected — but the faithful, for whom I principally spoke, 
were tender; then rode over to Joseph John Williams's, a 
rich man of this world, and I hope sincere. I am kept 
through mercy. 

"Wednesday, 21st. — I had to ride alone better than 
twelve miles to Mr. Duke's; when I came there, found 
about thirty people, and they quite ignorant. After 
preaching I took dinner, and in talking found three or 
four of them tenderly serious ; gave them advice : the man 
and his wife have had conviction, and have sinned it away. 
They say it was the disputes of the Baptists that turned 
them aside. I then rode home with a Mr. Green, a Pres- 
byterian; and was much blessed in reading Watts's first 
volume of sermons. 

"Thursday, 22nd. — I rode to Jenkins's, and spoke 
plainly to about eighty people, and found the word was 
fitted to their cases; met class; it was a day of peace to 
me; the Lord was with me at this poor but good man's 
house. . . . There is a hardness over the people 
here : they have had the gospel preached by Presbyterians, 
Baptists, and Methodists ; the two former appear to be too 
much in the spirit of the world; there is life amongst some 
of the Methodists, and they will grow because they preach 
growing doctrines. . . . Friday, 23rd. — I rode fif- 
teen miles, preached, prayed, and sung near two hours; 
ate a little about four o'clock, and preached at Nutbush 
Creek Chapel (a little log house, about twenty-five feet 
long and twenty wide) to about one hundred and fifty 
people; here I found a broken society. Rode home with 
Dr. King; his wife was in Society. I slept in peace, and 

88 Methodism in North Carolina. 

rose about five o'clock ; my heart is with God ! Glory be 
to thee, O Lord ! I had too mean an opinion of Carolina ; 
it is a much better country, and the people live much 
better, than I expected from the information given me. 

"Saturday, 24th. — Though the weather was extremely 
hot, I yet weak in body rode to Colonel Edmund Taylor's ; 
and at the schoolhouse spoke to about seventy people, on 
1 Peter iv. 18. Afterwards was kindly entertained at 
Colonel Taylor's. They were for ordinances here, though 
not heated. Sunday, 25th. — Rode six miles to the Tab- 
ernacle ; about four hundred people, rich and poor, at- 
tended ; had very little liberty in speaking — the people very 
insensible. I think these people must be awakened by 
judgments, for it appears the gospel will not do it. I 
spoke near two hours to little purpose ; held a love feast ; 
all the friends were stirred up. Then rode eight miles, 
lodged over Nutbush Creek at brother Reeve's. 

"Monday, 26. — ... I preached at Turner's. 
... I had liberty in the word ; the hearers were stirred 
up; many came to hear who do not, will not, attend the 
other preachers. ... I had in both meetings eighty 
or ninety people. . . . The Baptists appear to be very 
dead; their own people will not attend only on Sabbath 
days. The people are taken away, and times are so diffi- 
cult that they appear to be under a judicial hardness, hav- 
ing heard so much and felt so little. Tuesday, 27. — 
Preached at William Price's ; many came to hear. 
Rode to Haw Tree ; many came to hear ; my text was 1 
Peter i. 5, 13. I had great freedom, and held a love feast; 
the people were affected. There is the most religion here 

Growth of Methodism. 89 

of any place in the circuit, and yet nothing great. I was 
much refreshed, rode through the woods a blind path, to a 
friend's. I am always upon the run, though kept in peace ; 
was grieved to see the distress of the people — some taken 
out to war, others expecting it every day. 

"Wednesday, 28. — Rode to Todd's, six miles : I am de- 
jected to see so little religion. ... I preached at 
Todd's to about seventy people, but very insensible; met 
class, talked a little, then gave the people liberty to speak 
of the goodness of God. . . . Thursday, 29. — 

. . I rode to widow Pegram's ; had about sixty peo- 
ple, it being a muster day ; but these were happy souls. As 
soon as we began to sing, the power of God came over us. 
. . . Then rode to Captain Burrows's : the people in 
many places are but children in understanding. 
I preached at Burrows's ; but fear there is very little re- 
ligion in this place : I was uncomfortable. The congrega- 
tion about sixty people, but they were very dead ; their 
minds and mouths full of the world. I came off to the 
widow Ellis's, and found the Lord was there. 

"Saturday, July 1, 1780. — ... I preached at the 
widow Ellis's on Heb. x. 21, 24. I was fervent, had lib- 
erty, and spoke as searchingly as I could to saints and 
sinners. Here Edward Dromgoole met me ; and I ap- 
pointed James Mallory for Norfolk Circuit, as there have 
been a few people kept together, notwithstanding the ab- 
sence of the preachers. Sunday, 2. — I rode to Lindsay's, 
a rough road ; had about seventy people ; and spoke on 2 
Cor. iv. 4, 6. Now, I have done in this circuit ; the Lord 
has blessed me in body and soul. To-morrow I am going 

90 Methodism in North Carolina. 

to Tar River. . . . Monday, 3. — ... I set out 
for Tar River : after riding about five miles, I was told I 
could not cross Bear Swamp; but by the guidance of a 
Baptist friend, came through that, and two very deep 
creeks. Afterwards, I left my guide; we had traveled a 
few miles together, and talked in a friendly manner. Rode 
three miles farther, and was stopped by what was known 
as Ben's Creek; the bridge was gone, and a man said it 
was ten feet deep; I then made for Falcom's bridge on 
Little Fishing Creek; but the low ground was covered, 
and no bridge to be seen ; lodged at Mr. Falcom's, was 
known, and kindly entertained. 

"Tuesday, 4. — I rode by Miller's Cross Roads to Great 
Fishing Creek, a rough way, but got safe along, and was 
comforted in mind ; crossed Great Fishing Creek ; stopped 
at Sandy Creek, where I found a kind old man, brother 
Howell; lodged with him and spent my time peaceably. 
Wednesday, 5. — Set out to Green Hill's; but with diffi- 
culty I got along; but this was not all, for in going the 
distance of four miles I rode eight, and was tried to pur- 
pose ; on account of the waters, I have ridden about thirty 
miles out of my way ; and am now twenty-six miles from 
the place of preaching to-morrow. ... I was very 
kindly entertained and blessed with fellowship at Green 
Hill's; but never met with so many difficulties as I have 
met with in this circuit; I hope for the greater blessings; 
am kept by grace, and enjoy health in this hot weather, 
though so far to the south ; have peace of soul, bless the 

"Thursday, 6. — Rode twenty-six miles ; exceeding hot, 

Growth of Methodism. 91 

and my horse suffered greatly. When I came to the place 
about seventy people were met, singing and praying. I 
spoke on Heb. iv. 13, 16; had not much strength of soul 
or body. The people appeared inattentive, and their minds 
full of the present troubles. Saturday, 8. — Rode to Cy- 
press Chapel ; had liberty in speaking to about one hundred 
people. Here James O'Kelly met me; he spoke, and ap- 
peared to be a warm-hearted, good man ; but he was trou- 
bled with the people about these times. At Ross's I spoke 
on Rev. xxii. 10, 19. I had an opening; and one Lindsay, 
an exhorter, spoke ; an honest, zealous man : he has lost 
his property by these times. I have ridden near one hun- 
dred miles this week ; and as severe, constant hot weather 
as I ever knew. 

"Sunday, 9. — Preached at Green Hill's to about four 
hundred souls on 1 Thess. ii. 4. The subject was new, the 
people dead. I had not much liberty. James O'Kelly 
spoke on, 'Have ye understood all these things?' He 
raised high and was very affecting, but to little purpose. 
There are evils here ; the meeting not solemn ; the women 
appeared to be full of dress, the men full of news. These 
people are gospel slighters. I fear some heavy stroke will 
come on them. James O'Kelly and myself enjoyed and 
comforted each other; this dear man rose at midnight, 
and prayed very devoutly for me and himself. He cries, 
'Give me children, or I die' ; but I believe no preaching or 
preacher will do much good at present. Monday, 10. — 
. . . I made my journey to Roger Jones's. About 
sixty people; God was with us; the people spoke of the 
goodness of the Lord. . . . 

9 2 Methodism in North Carolina. 

"Wednesday, 12. — I rode to Cooper's upon Tar River; 
had about one hundred and twenty people; I was under 
discouragement before I began, but the Lord helped me. 
These people have heard Baptists and Presbyterians, but 
I fear to little purpose. God assisted me to deliver my 
own soul. I rode to a friend's, and had great difficulty on 
the way ; but I am kept from murmuring ; while laboring 
for other souls, my own is blessed — have felt nothing con- 
trary to love for some days past. Thursday, 13. — ■ 
. . . Then rode to Captain Pope's; I am distressed 
with the troubles of the times; and hear there are great 
commotions. Friday, 14. — I was comforted with brother 
Pope, a lame, wise, and pious man ; he has built a preach- 
ing-house almost himself. Who can tell what a man may 
do under divine assistance? He makes a few cards, 
teaches a few children, and says he lives as well as ever 
he did in his life. 

"Saturday, 15. — After spending some time in the chapel 
alone, I set out to Paschal's, about six o'clock; I came in 
before twelve. I spoke very close and plain on Acts xxvi. 
18, to about thirty people, and had but little faith for them. 
Rode on to B. Hartfield's, about twenty miles, much 
fatigued with the badness of the road. Monday, 17. — I 
set out about five o'clock, and rode to Crawford's upon 
Neuse River, about twenty miles, alone; was tried at 
times. . . . Tuesday, 18. — Rode to Kimborough's, 
sixteen miles; crossed Neuse River. Many Baptists to 
hear ; they were serious, and I spoke feelingly, and aimed 
at their hearts. I met brother Poythress, much cast down ; 
the people are lifeless in religion. Thursday, 20. — Rode 


Growth of Methodism, 93 

twelve miles to Tigiial Jones's; hilly, rocky roads; about 
eighty people to hear. While I was speaking, General 
Hugine came in, and heard part of my sermon; he is a 
polite, well-behaved, conversable gentleman ; we dined to- 
gether. After dinner I set out on my journey; we came 
to a desperate creek called Northeast, in Chatham county, 
where the bridge was carried away by the freshet ; we had 
to go through among rocks, holes, and logs; I was af- 
frighted; yea, it was wonderful that the carriage did not 
overset ; brother Poythress said the horse was down twice 
and covered all but his head ; however, the water kept up 
the carriage, and we came safe through all our difficulties, 
to brother Merritt's. . . . Here I met brother Allen, 
a promising young man, but a little of a dissenter. 

"Sunday, 23. — We passed Haw River, wide but shal- 
low, bad going down and coming up; they took the car- 
riage over by hand; then we had to travel the pathless 
woods and rocks again ; after much trouble, and fear, and 
dejection, we came to Taylor's preaching-house, where 
they were pressing horses, as we expected. ... I 
have traveled thirty miles, and could not avoid traveling 
on Sunday, for I had not where to stay ; rode to brother 
Beck's, and was much fatigued ; found brother Beck sick ; 
he has a gracious wife. Monday, 24. — ... I crossed 
Rocky River about ten miles from Haw River; it was 
rocky, sure enough ; it is in Chatham county, North Caro- 
lina. I can see little else but cabins in these parts, built 
with poles; and such a country as no man ever saw for a 
carriage. I narrowly escaped being overset; was much 
affrighted, but Providence keeps me. and I trust will. I 

94 Methodism in North Carolina. 

crossed Deep River in a flatboat, and the poor ferryman 
sinner swore because I had not a silver shilling to give him. 
. . . Sunday, 30. — Preached at Neuse preaching-house 
to about four hundred people ; had not much liberty. 
These people have had an abundance of preaching from the 
Baptists and Methodists, still they are hardened. . . . 
I have lately passed through Cumberland, Chatham, Or- 
ange, and Wake counties, in North Carolina; brother 
Bailey has agreed to give up all business and travel with 
me, and go to labor in the north. B. Allen and E. Bailey 
spoke at Neuse after me. I hope some good was done, and 
the work will survive. The people in these parts have been 
hurt with Calvinism ; our first preachers moved their pas- 
sions, and they hastily and improperly joined ; and after- 
wards they dropped off from Society, and there was a 
great falling away. The ordinance places seem very bar- 
ren. . . . Wednesday, August 2. — Rode seven miles 
to Hillsborough and preached in the house of Mr. Cortney, 
a tavern, to about two hundred people, on Hosea x. 12, 'It 
is time to seek the Lord.' They were decent and behaved 
well ; I was much animated, and spoke loud and long." 

In this itinerary Mr. Asbury has traveled through Ro- 
anoke, Tar River, and New Hope circuits. On this jour- 
ney he did not go as far as the Yadkin Circuit, which had 
just been established this year, 1780. It was formed from 
the Pittsylvania Circuit with twenty-one members, and 
Andrew Yeargan was appointed its preacher. It extended 
up the Yadkin River to the Blue Ridge, up the Catawba 
to its source, and across the Blue Ridge into Buncombe 
county, and as far south as the South Carolina line. Dur- 

Growth of Methodism. 95 

ing this year Mr. Yeargan preached in the neighborhood 
of John Doub's house. He and his wife belonged to the 
Dutch Reformed Church ; but hearing of the Methodists, 
they went to hear them preach, and soon joined the So- 
ciety. Their house was not only thrown open for the en- 
tertainment of the Methodist ministry, but became one of 
the regular preaching places on the circuit which was the 
beginning of Doub's Chapel in Forsyth county. 1 John 
Doub was the father of the late Rev. Peter Doub, D.D. 

Andrew Yeargan also preached at another private house 
eight or ten miles from John Doub's, and at George Mc- 
Knight's, near Clemmonsville, where an Annual Confer- 
ence was held in 1789, and one in 1791. No doubt he 
preached at the Jersey Meetinghouse, and perhaps ex- 
tended his labors down the Yadkin as far as the mouth of 
the Uwharrie River. Tradition says that while he was 
preaching at Beal's Meetinghouse, seven or eight miles 
northwest of Mocksville, he became very earnest and zeal- 
ous during the sermon, walked down into the congrega- 
tion and laid his hand upon the head of an old man, say- 
ing, "My friend, don't you want to go to heaven?" To 
which the frightened man replied : "Man, for God's sake, 
go off and let me alone; I don't live about here, I came 
from away up in the mountains." 

The Yadkin Circuit does not appear on the minutes for 
1 78 1, and in 1782 it is reported with Pittsylvania, the two 
reporting a membership of four hundred and ninety-one. 

'Autobiography of Peter Doub, Manuscript; Rev. M. L. Wood, 
D.D., Manuscript. 

96 Methodism in North Carolina. 

This year it had for its preachers John Cooper, Enoch 
Matson, and George Kimble. 

John Cooper commenced his labors as an itinerant in 
1775. He was "a man of solemn, fixed countenance, who 
had suffered much persecution." He married a Miss Con- 
nor, who was converted under the ministry of Mr. Pedi- 
cord, and having a clear religious experience, she greatly 
assisted her husband in his work. The father of John 
Cooper, who was possessed of considerable property, en- 
deavored to buy off his son by telling him "he would make 
him a gentleman by bestowing his property upon him if 
he would abandon the Methodists, but if he united with 
them he would disinherit him." The son replied by say- 
ing, "I intend to be a Methodist and a gentleman too," 1 
in both of which he succeeded. Another one of our his- 
torians, in speaking of the opposition of his family, says 
his father seeing him once upon his knees, in a chamber, 
threw a shovel of hot embers upon him, and afterwards 
expelled him from his home. His trials only confirmed 
him in his faith ; he joined the itinerant band of evangel- 
ists, and lived and died in their ranks. 2 He finally moved 
west, and did good work in planting Methodism in that 
new and wild country. 

Enoch Matson traveled only for a few years, and was 
expelled from the ministry in 1788. Very little is known 
of George Kimble, except that he was sent to the far north 

1 "History of the Rise of Methodism in America," published in 
1854 by John Lednum, page 164. 

: "History of the Methodist Episcopal Church," Stevens, Vol. I., 
page 375- 

Growth of Methodism. 97 

after leaving the Yadkin Circuit. The report of 1783 
shows 348 members, a gain in three years of 327 This 
was a wonderful growth, considering the fact that this was 
in every sense missionary ground, being destitute of even 
a church edifice or organization. Much of this growth is 
due to the efficiency of Henry Ogburn, who labored on the 
circuit during 1783, assisted by William Cannon and Lem- 
uel Green. Ogburn was born in Mecklenburg county, Vir- 
ginia, and was converted in the great revival of 1776. He 
labored with great zeal and success for ten years as an itin- 
erant. He was sent as a pioneer to the Kentucky Circuit, 
and amid savage tribes he planted Methodism, preaching 
to the hardy settlers, and sowing seeds from which rose 
the Methodist Church in Kentucky. 

In 1783 Guilford and Salisbury circuits were formed, 
Salisbury from the Yadkin Circuit, and Guilford being 
taken principally from the New Hope Circuit. At the 
Conference in 1783 Yadkin had 348 members, Salisbury 
30, and Guilford 314, making a total of 692. So at the 
close of the war Methodism in this section, in the face of 
all opposition and difficulty, has been planted and is begin- 
ning to take root in a soil that is well adapted to its growth 
and usefulness. 

New Hope Circuit has already been referred to as being 
formed in 1778. Its boundaries are hard to trace. From 
hints obtained from different sources it must have 
embraced some parts of Granville, Wake, Cumber- 
land, Chatham, and Person counties. Methodism ex- 
isted in some parts of this circuit from the time it 
entered the state. When Mr. Asbury visited North 

98 Methodism in North Carolina, 

Carolina in 1780, to quiet the excitement among the 
preachers concerning the administration of the sacra- 
ments, he traveled through Wake, Orange, and Cum- 
berland; showing that Methodism had already been 
planted in these counties. Among those who entertained 
the preachers at this early date, and who opened their 
houses for the preaching of the word, are Kimborough and 
Abraham Hill ; Tignal Jones and James Hinton ; Merritt 
Crump and Taylor ; R. Kennon, White, and Harris ; West, 
Trice, and Roades. Most of the preaching was done in 
private houses, though Mr. Asbury mentions several chap- 
els and schoolhouses where he preached, and two meeting- 
houses, those of Neuse and Taylor's. 

The circuit was served during the time of which we 
write by such men as James O'Kelly, Philip Adams, Fran- 
cis Poythress, John Major, Philip Bruce, James White, 
and Henry Willis. One of the first preachers to labor in 
this section was Beverly Allen. According to his state- 
ment to Mr. Wesley, he labored here during 1778. 1 This 
corroborates Jesse Lee where he says the New Hope Cir- 
cuit was formed in 1778. Beverly Allen, writing from 
Charleston, May 4, 1791, to Mr. Wesley, says: "In May, 
1778, I began to preach the gospel. During the summer I 
only preached about home, but being earnestly pressed by 
the circuit preachers to travel, after many sore conflicts I 
consented to ride in New Hope Circuit in North Carolina, 
including my own place and some people in the county of 

*For further information, see Shipp's "History of Methodism in 
South Carolina," page 249. 

Growth of Methodism. 99 

Wake. During the winter we had a considerable work in 
the circuit, for brother James O'Kelly traveled as my as- 
sistant, whose labors were greatly owned of God. Num- 
bers joined our Society, and many professed faith in the 
Redeemer. . . Since that time a circuit has been 

formed, now known by the name of Bladen Circuit. Being 
unable to travel at large, I spent most of the summer 
(1780) on New Hope Circuit and on Bladen, during 
which time we had some happy seasons; but the troubles 
of the war began so to affect the people that I was obliged 
to retire to Virginia in the beginning of the winter." 

Dr. Shipp says the preachers on the Bladen Circuit in 
1791 found the names of the New Hope missionaries still 
fresh in the memory of the people, and they conversed 
with those who had listened with delight to the preaching 
of James O'Kelly, and had been received into Society by 
Philip Bruce, who was on the New Hope Circuit in 1780. 
So that the circuit must have embraced some parts of the 
Cape Fear section. 

Having traced the course of Methodism from the Ro- 
anoke section westward to the Yadkin Valley, and even 
beyond the Blue Ridge, let us now glance at its introduc- 
tion into the extreme eastern part of the state. 

In the latter part of 1782, Rev. Caleb Pedicord, the 
presiding elder, sent Edward Dromgoole and Jesse Lee 
to eastern Carolina, in order to travel through that section 
and plan a circuit if the outlook was sufficiently hopeful. 
After encountering many difficulties on their journey, 
they reached Edenton on December 1st, 1782. From 
Edenton they made a preaching tour through Pasquotank 

ioo Methodism in North Carolina. 

and a part of Camden county, as far as Norfolk county, 
Virginia; returning through Currituck and the counties 
bordering upon the Pasquotank and Perquimans rivers. 
During this trip they held religious meetings in nineteen 
different places. Very few had ever heard the gospel 
preached by Methodists before hearing it from these elo- 
quent men of God. As one of the objects of their mission 
was to establish a new circuit, after making this tour they 
drew the plan for Camden Circuit. The new circuit, how- 
ever, appears on the minutes for 1783 as Pasquotank, but 
in 1784 Camden appears for the first time, and it remained 
on the list of appointments in the Virginia Conference for 
many years. 

They began their trip from Edenton, and were perhaps 
the first Methodist preachers to enter that town. Rev. 
Mr. Pettigrew was pastor of the Established Church here, 
built a long time previously. Mr. Pettigrew was consid- 
ered a good man among the class to which he belonged. 1 
He was friendly to the Methodists, and received these 
itinerants kindly and permitted them to preach to an at- 
tentive congregation. 

Leaving Edenton, they pursued their journey in order 
to find others who were willing to hear the word of life. 

1 The following anecdote has come down of a predecessor of Mr. 
Pettigrew. He paid a great deal of attention to his herring fishery, 
for which he was noted more than for his piety. One Sunday morn- 
ing the following lines stared him in the face from the door of the 


"A very fine church, 

With a very tall steeple, 

A herring- catching parson, 

And a wicked set of people." 

Growth of Methodism. ioi 

They spent the night with a Quaker, the plainness of 
whose speech impressed Mr. Lee, who was quite a young 
man just starting in the itinerancy. After traveling all 
day, and night drawing near, they rode up to the house of 
the Quaker just referred to, and asked if they could tarry 
with him that night; to which he replied, "If you choose 
to get down, I will not turn you away." The blunt reply 
confounded them for a moment ; but there was no time for 
ceremony, so they dismounted, went in, and tried to make 
themselves welcome. And indeed they found he was not 
lacking in that hospitality for which his sect has ever 
been noted, but his peculiarity was not understood. Be- 
fore the guests retired to bed, they begged permission to 
pray in the family. "If you have a mind to pray," said 
the Quaker, "I will leave the room" ; and accordingly he 
went out, closing the door after him, and left them to en- 
joy their devotions in their own way. 

The following extracts from Jesse Lee's Journal will 
be interesting to some, and will show more distinctly their 
movements and the success of their mission. 

"Wednesday, 4th of December, 1782, we rode early in 
the morning, crossed Pasquotank River, and came to Mr. 
Jones's, at the plank bridge. A little after dark, when the 
people, hearing that we were preachers, came and re- 
quested us to preach, and notice being given, we had about 
thirty people collected in the course of an hour, and E. 
Dromgoole preached to them. The people were solemn, 
and appeared to be desirous for us to come amongst them 
again, as they had but little opportunity of hearing 

102 Methodism in North Carolina. 

"Saturday, 7th, we attended at brother Halstead's, 
Norfolk county, Virginia. E. Dromgoole and I gave an 
exhortation. Some of these people had formerly been in 
Society with the Methodists, and the circuit preachers 
came regularly among them; but during the Revolution- 
ary War the preachers left them, and they were without 
preaching for about five years ; but they waited and prayed 
for the preachers to come among them again, and for 
some time they have been favored with regular preaching. 

"Sunday, 8th.— At the Northwest Brick Church E. 
Dromgoole preached to a large concourse of people, who 
were very attentive, and somewhat affected. I was pleased 
with the congregation. 

"Tuesday, 10th. — We came to an old church where E. 
Dromgoole preached, and I exhorted; we had a profit- 
able time together. We then went to Colonel Williams's, 1 
and stayed all night. The colonel is a man who fears God, 
and was well pleased at our calling to see him. 

"Friday, 13th. — E. Dromgoole preached at a place 
called Indian Town, and I gave an exhortation; we had 
a large house full of attentive hearers ; my soul was 
much comforted at that time, and I felt glad to be there. 

"We then left Currituck county; crossed North River; 
dined at Mrs. Lamb's, who was a Baptist, who treated 
us kindly. We then came to General Gregory's, and at 
night in his dwelling house we had a large congregation, 
although the weather was very cold. 

"Saturday, 14th. — We came to Sawyer's, and held 

lr This is Colonel Hallowell Williams, who entertained Joseph Pil- 
moor, referred to in another chapter. 

Growth of Methodism. 103 

meeting; we had a solemn time, and I believe good was 
done. Sunday, 15th. — At River Bridge, where we had 
a large company of well-behaved people to hear the word 
of eternal life; it was a solemn and profitable time. 

"Wednesday, 18th. — E. Dromgoole preached at Yeo- 
pin Church, to a large congregation of attentive hearers; 
we then rode home with the Rev. Mr. Pettigrew near 
Edenton, and spent the night with him. Our journey in 
the lowlands from Edenton to Norfolk county in Virginia, 
and back again, has taken sixteen days, in which time we 
have had nineteen meetings, chiefly among people who 
were not acquainted with the Methodists ; but the general 
wish was that we should return again; and we so far suc- 
ceeded in our plan as to form a circuit, which was called 
Camden. I felt thankful to God for the privilege of 
visiting that strange people, and I had no doubt but 
our labors were acceptable to God, and profitable to the 
people." 1 

In 1783 the following new circuits were formed in 
North Carolina : Guilford, Caswell, Salisbury, Marsh, 
Bertie, and Pasquotank. This shows how rapidly Meth- 
odism was occupying the field. In seven years, in the 
midst of the war, and persecution on every hand, it had 
been planted from the seacoast in the east to the towering 
mountains of the west, having in North Carolina 2,339 
members in Society. The appointments for 1783 were as 
follows : Yadkin, Henry Ogburn, William Cannon, and 
Lemuel Green; Caswell, Peter Moriarty and Jesse Lee; 

1 "Memoir of Jesse Lee," by Minton Thrift, 1823, pages 46-48. 

104 Methodism in North Carolina. 

Guilford, Samuel Dudley and James Gibbins; Holston, 
Jeremiah Lambert; New Hope, Henry Willis; Marsh, 
Philip Bruce ; Salisbury, Beverly Allen, James Foster, and 
James Hinton ; Tar River, Ira Ellis and Joshua Worley ; 
Roanoke, John Easter and William Damaron ; Bertie, Ed- 
ward Morris and John Baldwin. In this list of appoint- 
ments there are three men, the merits of either one of 
which would require a volume to record his labors and 
victories in the cause of his Lord. I refer to Jesse Lee, 
Philip Bruce, and John Easter. The last was laboring 
this year on the historic Roanoke Circuit. 

It is supposed that John Easter was born in Mecklen- 
burg county, Virginia. His parents were among the first 
fruits of Methodism in that section of the state. From 
this family "Easter's meetinghouse," one of the oldest 
preaching places in Mecklenburg Circuit, took its name. 
Their house was the home of the early preachers, and two 
of their sons, John and Thomas, entered the itinerancy. 
The sons may have caught their flaming zeal from the 
example of their father, for he was a man full of faith 
and of the Holy Ghost. "When I preached at Easter's 
in 1799," says Rev. James Patterson, himself a gospel 
pioneer, "the good old man got his soul so full of the love 
of God that he overflowed, and he praised God and shouted 
until his frail body could scarcely contain his enraptured 
spirit. His lamp was not only burning, but was in a full 
blaze, his wings plumed, and nothing prevented him from 
soaring to the realms above but the casket of dust which 
contained the immortal spirit." 

Dr. Bennett says : "Trained by such a father, John 

Growth of Methodism. 105 

Easter went forth with the dew of youth on his brow to 
toil for souls. Never did a man work with greater zeal 
and with greater success. Ten years he went forth day 
and night, in all seasons and in all places, calling sinners 
to repentance ; and then, with failing health and shattered 
constitution, he was compelled to leave the field ill which 
he longed to live and die. Beyond all doubt, John Easter 
was the most powerful hortatory preacher of his day. His 
word was like a sharp sword piercing through flesh and 
bones and marrow. His faith was transcendent, his ap- 
peals irresistible, his prayers like talking to God face to 
face. He lived and moved in a flame of love. A heavenly 
fervor dwelt in his heart, breathed in his words, and 
beamed in his eyes. Plain, unlettered, simple in style, 
almost rude of speech, he yet spoke with an authority and 
power before which pride fell humbled, and wicked gain- 
sayers cowered in the dust. He never failed to reach the 
deepest and strongest emotions of the soul, when address- 
ing the people, and it was no unusual thing for scores and 
hundreds to fall down in the pangs of sudden and power- 
ful conviction. 

"The fragmentary traditions that have come down to 
us of the effects of his preaching and his faith almost ex- 
ceed the bounds of belief. And yet they rest on the testi- 
mony of eyewitnesses, and must be received as true. Per- 
haps no man has ever been more signally honored of God 
as an instrument in the conversion of souls. On one of 
his circuits eighteen hundred members were added to the 
Church in a single year. Thousands were brought to God 

106 Methodism in North Carolina. 

under his ministry, and among them were some of the 
brightest lights of Methodism, both in the laity and in 
the ministry. 

"William McKendree and Enoch George, two of the 
best and purest men that ever graced the annals of the 
Christian Church, were the spiritual children of John 
Easter. Had he done nothing more than to give two such 
men to the Church of God, this would have been sufficient 
to embalm his memory in the hearts of all true Christians 
throughout all time." 

Jesse Lee, in passing through John Easter's circuit, 
Roanoke, in 1783, attended one of his quarterly meetings, 
and made this entry in his Journal: "Saturday, 16th, and 
Sunday, 17th, August, I attended a quarterly meeting at 
the Tabernacle, Roanoke Circuit. The first day we had 
two sermons, and the next day we had a lively love feast. 
Then I preached, J. O'Kelly preached, and J. Easter ex- 
horted. It was indeed a day of the Lord's power, and 
many souls were comforted." Here three great men met, 
and we are not surprised that it was a day of the "Lord's 
power." Easter was a power in exhortation. Perhaps it 
was on this occasion that one of his contemporaries says 
that Easter rose, after a fine but apparently ineffectual ser- 
mon by James O'Kelly, and opened an exhortation with 
the positive declaration that seven persons would be con- 
verted before the meeting ended. He had great faith in 
God, and he was not afraid to venture this assertion. 
"The pious part of the congregation was much alarmed, 
and thought his assertion bold and presumptuous. But 
he began to exhort, and the spirit of Elijah"s God came 

Growth of Methodism. 107 

upon him, and the people felt as though he had smitten 
them with the prophet's mantle; great power fell on the 
congregation, and before the meeting closed more than 
seven souls were powerfully converted." 

Many thrilling scenes occurred under his preaching. A 
most extraordinary display of faith was witnessed on an- 
other quarterly meeting occasion. A vast concourse of 
people had assembled from many miles around. The serv- 
ices were conducted in a beautiful grove near the church. 
"In the midst of the exercises a heavy cloud arose, and 
swept rapidly on toward the place of worship. From the 
skirts of the grove the rain could be seen coming on across 
the fields. The people were in consternation; no house 
could hold a third of the multitude, and they were about 
to scatter in all directions. Easter rose in the pulpit in the 
midst of the confusion. 'Brethren!' cried he at the top of 
his voice, 'be still, while I call upon God to stay the clouds, 
till his word can be preached to perishing sinners.' Ar- 
rested by his voice and manner, they stood between hope 
and fear. He kneeled down and offered a fervent prayer, 
that God would then stay the rain that his work might go 
on, and afterwards send refreshing showers. While he 
prayed, the angry cloud, as it swiftly rolled up toward 
them, was seen to part asunder in the midst, pass on either 
side of the ground and to close again beyond, leaving a 
space several hundred yards in circumference, perfectly 
dry. The next morning a copious rain fell again, and 
the fields that had been left dry were well watered. It 
is needless to say that this visible answer to prayer filled 
the minds of the people with awe, and gave a great impulse 

108 Mel hod ism in North Carolina. 

to the work of God." 1 He closed his brilliant and useful 
career about the year 1801. During a protracted meeting 
he so over-exerted himself as to bring on a disease of his 
lungs which terminated in death. 2 Like many others of 
his class, he sleeps in a neglected grave in Virginia, while 
many of his successors in the ministry have well-nigh for- 
gotten his name. 

In 1783 there were seventy preachers in the connection, 
and nineteen of these were stationed in North Carolina, 
a list of whom was given on another page. With such 
men as these scattered over North Carolina, we are not 
surprised that difficulties should be surmounted, and oppo- 
sition should give way under the eloquent preaching and 
continuous attack of these earnest men of God. The be- 
ginning indeed was small, but every year adds strength 
to its vigorous life, and in a few decades we shall see 
Methodism forging its way to the front and taking a stand 
along with the foremost denominations of North Carolina. 

See how great a flame aspires, 

Kindled by a spark of grace! 
Jesus' love the nations fires, 

Sets the kingdoms on a blaze. 
To bring fire on earth he came; 

Kindled in some hearts it is: 
Oh, that all might catch the flame, 

All partake the glorious bliss! 

1 Bennett's " Memorials of Methodism in Virginia," page 173. 

'Moore's " Pioneers," page ioi. Also Bishop Fitzgerald's Centennial Address. 




In the Beginning Wesley did not Contemplate a New Church. 
Methodism a Child of Providence. Conditions in America made 
a New Organization Necessary. Mr. Wesley Consistent. The 
Wisdom of the Organization not now Debatable. Series of Provi- 
dential Events. Conference at Broken Back Church. Question 
of Ordinances. Imprudently Yielded to an Urgent Demand. 
Visited by a Committee. After much Prayer, Harmony was 
Restored. Wesley was Informed of the Conditions. Dr. Coke 
was sent to America with Full Instructions. Christmas Confer- 
ence Appointed. Garrettson Carries the Notice. About Sixty 
Preachers Assemble in Lovely Lane Chapel. Missionary Collec- 
tion Taken. Methodist Episcopal Church Organized. John Dick- 
ins Proposed the Name. Preachers Ordained. Much Satisfac- 
tion Expressed. Important Conference in Methodism. 

In the beginning of the societies, Mr. "Wesley had no 
idea of organizing a Church. But the conditions in Amer- 
ica were such that it was absolutely necessary that some- 
thing be done. And after all the facts had been presented 
to Mr. Wesley, and after looking at the situation from 
every standpoint, he finally gave up his previous plan of 
keeping his societies under the care of the mother Church, 
and proceeded to cultivate a separate organization for the 
societies in America. Circumstances largely forced this 
upon him, so that Methodism has often been called "the 
child of Providence." 

'For a full discussion of this subject, see Dr. Jno. J. Tigert's 
"Constitutional History of American Episcopal Methodism," which 
is the ablest work covering this ground known to the writer. 


no Methodism in North Carolina. 

Let us notice some of the conditions that confronted our 
brethren in America, and which led to the organization of 
a new Church. The Revolutionary War had just closed. 
Every tie that bound us to the mother country had been 
severed. The very air in America was full of liberty. 
The colonies had become an independent government, no 
longer under the control of Great Britain, either in civil 
or ecclesiastical matters. The separation was complete 
before the organization of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church. So that in this organization we did not separate 
from the English or Protestant Episcopal Church. After 
the war was over the English Church had no jurisdiction 
here, and the Protestant Episcopal Church had no exist- 
ence until some time after the Methodist Church was or- 
ganized. "Hence Mr. Wesley acted perfectly consist- 
ent with himself, with all his avowals of attachment to the 
Church of England, when he proceeded to organize a 
Church here ; for while he did this, and thereby established 
a separate and independent Church in America where the 
English Church had no jurisdiction, he and his people in 
England still remained members of the Establishment." 1 
The day has passed for the historian to enter into a dis- 
cussion as to the wisdom of the plan of organization or the 
validity of the ordination, for not only has the world ap- 
proved of the wisdom, but God has set his seal to this great 
system of "spreading scriptural holiness over these lands," 
as has been demonstrated by the spirit of power which has 
attended, it. In order fully to see the necessity of this 

'Bangs's "History of the Methodist Episcopal Church,'' Vol. I., 
page 161. 

Organization of the Church. in 

action on the part of Mr. Wesley, let us review the pro- 
ceedings of our brethren in Virginia and North Carolina 
at a Conference in 1779. 

The whole process of the planting of Methodism in 
America seems to have been a series of providential events. 
At the urgent request of the scattered settlements in this 
country, preachers were sent over from England with no 
authority but to spread the gospel. They were not or- 
dained, and hence not empowered to administer the sacra- 
ments. They did not lay claim to represent a Church, but 
desired to be considered as belonging to a religious society. 
Their only object was to spread scriptural holiness, to re- 
kindle the waning fires of the Church, and to add to the 
number such as should be saved. With but few exceptions 
they received little encouragement from the ministry. 
Those who belonged to the societies went to the different 
churches for the sacraments. Mr. Jarratt, who is already 
known to the reader, was very friendly to the Methodists, 
and rendered great assistance to them in administering the 
sacraments. But while he had traveled extensively and 
performed this service as a labor of love, yet the other 
preachers were not so willing to promote the spread of 

So at the Conference in 1779, which was held at 
Broken Back Church in Virginia, they had up for consid- 
eration the question of the ordinances. These men of God 
in Virginia and North Carolina felt that the ordinances 
were divinely instituted, and are the rightful heritage of 
all Christians. It was certain that those who had been 
spiritually regenerated were entitled to the blessings de- 

ii2 Methodism in North Carolina. 

rived from the ordinances. Not only so, but the Metho- 
dists, knowing the clergy of that day as they did, felt that 
they were totally unworthy to perform such a solemn serv- 
ice. And it will always be difficult "to persuade a pious 
mind that the sacraments are more valid from the hands of 
an ordained wicked man than they are from the hands of 
an unordained good one." If personal holiness and win- 
ning souls to Christ are any proofs of ministerial author- 
ity, then the ordinances of the early pioneers, under the 
circumstances, were valid. And they, no doubt, felt that 
if God blessed their labors in saving souls, thus putting 
his divine approval upon their work, it was perfectly legiti- 
mate for them to administer the sacraments to those thus 
saved under their ministry. 

Surrounded by these conditions, they resolved to meet 
a demand pressed upon them by the spiritual wants of a 
pious and pure-minded people, and by a mode novel, it 
may be, but not in conflict with either the positive precepts 
or sound principles of the gospel. Philip Gatch, R. Ellis, 
James Foster, and Le Roy Cole were elected, and then or- 
dained each other, and authorized the administration of 
the ordinances. The most influential preachers in favor 
of this movement were Philip Gatch, John Dickins, James 
O' Kelly, Francis Poythress, Reuben Ellis, and Isham 
Tatum. These were good and true men. They had ex- 
perienced glorious revivals even during the time of their 
secession, to which they pointed as a proof of the approval 
of God as to their administration of the ordinances. 

They were visited by a committee consisting of Francis 
Asbury, Freeborn Garrettson, and William Watters, who 

Organization of the Church. 113 

were very kindly received. Asbury made his argument 
against the movement. For a while they stood firm, but 
finally yielded. Whether these men were right or not, in 
making this new rule for ordination, we shall not contend ; 
but we feel sure that these strong and faithful men acted 
prematurely, if not unwisely, in taking the step they did. 
At least the whole Church should have been consulted 
before any action was taken. The result of their hasty 
action in the matter came near being serious. As it was, 
the Society suffered much. The peace and harmony which 
had prevailed were disturbed, and the preachers for the 
time being were at variance with each other as to the solu- 
tion of the question. The chill of the cloud that over- 
shadowed the Society paralyzed its energies, and as a re- 
sult there was a small decrease in the membership. It is 
just, however, to say that through it all there was no 
harshness or unkind words, but many tears were shed, and 
many prayers offered; and it was during one of these 
seasons of prayer, in which Asbury, Watters, and Garrett- 
son were engaged, that the Conference resolved to accept 
a proposition that led to the restoration of peace and unity. 
The adoption of the resolution filled all hearts with joy, 
and many shouted and praised God. The bands of Meth- 
odism had been made stronger, and the preachers were 
more firmly bound together in a "bundle of love." The 
compromise that brought joy to all hearts was, that the 
seceders would desist from administering the sacraments 
until Mr. Wesley could be consulted and all the condi- 
tions laid before him. Mr. Wesley was informed in due 
time, and it is very probable that this had as much to do 

ii4 Methodism in North Carolina. 

in changing his mind in reference to a separate organiza- 
tion in America as anything else. For at the time the 
Methodist Episcopal Church was organized there was 
nothing else to do but to organize it. 

On September 10, 1784, John Wesley wrote a letter to 
Mr. Asbury and his brethren in America in which he re- 
counted the facts concerning the complete separation be- 
tween Great Britain and America, which had been brought 
about by the United States becoming free and independ- 
ent. He then outlined a plan by which the preachers in 
America could be ordained, and their people could have 
the sacraments. Dr. Coke conveyed the letter, landing in 
New York on November 3, 1784. On the night of his ar- 
rival he preached his first sermon in the New World at 
John Street Chapel. The plan of organization was sub- 
mitted to John Dickins, the station preacher, and some 
others. Coke met Garrettson and admired him as "an ex- 
cellent young man, all meekness, love, and activity." On 
the 14th of November he met Mr. Asbury and laid his 
mission before him, of which Asbury had received some 
intimation. They decided to call a Conference as soon as 
possible. They sent off Freeborn Garrettson, "like an 
arrow, from north to south, directing him to send messen- 
gers to the right and left, and to gather all the preachers 
together at Baltimore on Christmas eve." The Confer- 
ence continued in session for ten days, and has been called 
the Christmas Conference. 

Jesse Lee, who was a prominent preacher, failed to 
reach the Conference because Garrettson did not give him 
timelv notice, and because of the long distance and his 

Organization of the Church. 115 

feeble health. He decided to remain on his circuit and do 
what he could to advance its interests. 

The Conference convened at the time appointed, Decem- 
ber 24, 1 784/ at ten o'clock a.m., in Lovely Lane Chapel, 
Baltimore. Garrettson had sped his way over twelve hun- 
dred miles in six weeks, and had collected about sixty itin- 
erants who were present. Dr. Coke, taking- the chair, pre- 
sented the letter from Mr. Wesley. And according to this 
document they formed themselves into an Episcopal 
Church, having superintendents, elders, and deacons. 
Coke and Asbury were unanimously elected superintend- 

Dr. Coke, in speaking of the Conference, says : "Our 
Conference continued ten days. I admire the American 
preachers. We had nearly sixty of them present; the 
whole number is eighty-one. They are indeed a body of 
devoted, disinterested men, but most of them young. The 
spirit in which they conducted themselves in choosing the 
elders was most pleasing. I believe they acted without 
being at all influenced by friendship, or prejudice, both in 
choosing and rejecting. The Lord was peculiarly present 
while I was preaching my two pastoral sermons. On one 
of the week days, at noon, I made a collection toward as- 
sisting our brethren who were going to Nova Scotia ; and 
our friends generously contributed fifty pounds currency 
— thirty pounds sterling." 

Let it be remembered that this collection was not taken 
in a fine city church, where there was great culture and 

*Not the 25th of December, as so many historians have it. 

n6 Methodism in North Carolina. 

wealth ; but in a plain, humble meetinghouse, which was 
without even a stove, and the seats without backs, until, in 
the language of Dr. Coke, the "friends in Baltimore were 
so kind as to put up a large stove and to back several of the 
seats." But while the house in which they met was plain, 
and many of them had faced the cold December blasts on 
horseback for several hundred miles, yet in some respects 
no such body of men ever met on the American continent 
before. It was a band of heroes as noble and true as ever 
toiled for any cause. Under the circumstances this was 
a very liberal collection for foreign missions. And from 
that day to this Methodism has been in spirit and effort a 
missionary Church. It was this spirit in it that caused it 
to force its way into mountain coves, across desert plains, 
and over wide seas, until it girdled the globe. 

These holy men of God had weighty matters for con- 
sideration, and in the fear of God they made plans not 
through selfish motives, but for the glory of God in the 
salvation of men. And knowing something of the men 
and the motives that dominated them, we are not surprised 
that there was such peace and unanimity among them. 
John Dickins, who has been introduced to the reader, 
suggested the name, Methodist Episcopal Church, 
and it was adopted. "There were two orders in the 
ministry recognized, namely, deacon and elder; and 
Asbury was vested with both orders before his consecra- 
tion to the office of superintendent. Sixteen preachers 
were elected to orders, four of whom were subsequently 
ordained. Doctrinal symbols and a liturgy, furnished 
by Wesley, were accepted and adopted." 

Organization of the Church. 117 

Much of the time of the Conference was devoted to re- 
ligious worship. Dr. Coke preached each day at noon, 
''except on ordination days, and the Sundays, when the 
preaching hour was ten o'clock, and the service generally 
lasted four hours. There was a sermon by one of the 
preachers at six every morning. At six in the evening 
there was preaching at the 'Point' at Otterbein's Church, 
and in Lovely Lane." How much these services had to 
do with the unity that prevailed among them, we are un- 
able to say. Thomas Ware, who was present, says : "Dur- 
ing the whole time of our being together in the transaction 
of business of the utmost magnitude, there was not, I 
verily believe, on the Conference floor, or in private, an 
unkind word spoken, or an unbrotherly emotion felt. 
Christian love predominated ; and, under its influence, we 
kindly thought and sweetly spoke the same." 1 

"The new organization was accepted by the Christian 
world as a Church of Christ. It was composed of a body 
of faithful men. It accepted and administered the sacra- 
ments of Christ." The societies north and south received 
the tidings with great joy. We are assured by leading 
authorities of that period that the laity received the news 
with universal expression of satisfaction and pleasure. 
William Watters, who was the first traveling preacher 
of American birth, says in his Autobiography that it 
"gave great satisfaction through all our societies." Jesse 
Lee, the first historian of the Church, affirms that the 
Methodists were "heartily united together in the new plan 

1 "Memoirs of Rev. Thomas Ware," page 102. 

n8 Methodism in North Carolina. 

which the Conference had adopted." Bishop Asbury states 
that every heart leaped with joy, and "the members of 
Society and the congregations in America embraced our 
Church form and order." 

This was the most important Conference that ever as- 
sembled in the history of Methodism, and the work that 
was accomplished gave the whole Church a new impetus. 
The war was over. The storm that raged at Broken Back 
Church in 1 779 had passed over, and the Church now goes 
out under more favorable circumstances than ever before 
for the conquest of the world. 



Bishop Asbury Goes South. Dr. Coke Goes North as far as New 
York — Visits Eastern Carolina. Both Meet at Green Hill's — 
Here First Conference was Held — Gains Reported — Lively De- 
bate — House still Standing. Beverly Allen. Origin of Presiding 
Elders. Rev. Green Hill. Conference in Salisbury. McKnight's. 
Mr. Asbury's Long Journey. Good Reports from Kentucky. Dis- 
cussion on Education. Thomas Ware. Most Spiritual Confer- 
ence in 1791. Conference Again at Green Hill's. Early Quarterly 
Conference. A Closing Scene. 

From the time of the Christmas Conference until the 
first Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, which convened on April 20, 1785, Bishops Coke 
and Asbury were busy traveling and superintending the 
work. And as the Methodists at that time were stronger 
in the south than anywhere else, they spent most of this 
time in the southern states. Asbury went south as far 
as Charleston, South Carolina. Early in January, 1785, 
he left Baltimore, passed through Virginia and into North 
Carolina, passing by Old Town, near Winston-Salem on 
January 22d, and on the same day he reached Mr. Hill's 
oh the Yadkin Circuit. He then went to Fisher's River, 
where he preached, and continued his journey into Wilkes 
county. Here, he says, our Church folks were highly 
pleased at the step we have taken in administering the 
ordinances. It gave satisfaction to the Catholics and 
Presbyterians, "but the Baptists are discontented." 

Here Jesse Lee met Mr. Asbury for the first time after 
the organization of the Church ; and just before the open- 


120 Methodism in North Carolina. 

ing of divine service, the bishop appeared, having on his 
"black gown, cassock, and band." Air. Lee was not 
pleased at seeing the superintendent of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church in this attire, but on the contrary he 
was grieved, on account of what he deemed an innova- 
tion upon the plainness of the Methodists in America. 
They both stopped at Colonel Hendren's. Mr. Lee ac- 
companied the bishop to the south. They went south- 
ward by Elsberry's and Morgan Bryan's to Salisbury. 
Here Mr. Asbury had but few hearers, as it was court 
week. Thence he went to Charleston, returning by way 
of Wilmington, Waccamaw Lake, Elizabethtown, and 
Kinston, where he says he was entertained by Governor 
Caswell. And on Tuesday, the 19th of April, he arrived 
at Green Hill's, the seat of the Conference. 

Dr. Coke, after the adjournment of the Christmas Con- 
ference, went north as far as New York and then re- 
turned, stopping at Princeton, Philadelphia, Wilmington, 
Baltimore, and Portsmouth, Virginia. He then made a 
tour of northeastern North Carolina, visiting Pasquotank, 
Edenton, and Roanoke Chapel. Here he met Mr. Jarratt, 
with whom he talked much upon the minutes concerning 
slavery; but Dr. Coke says "he would not be persuaded. 
The secret is, he has twenty-four slaves of his own." 1 He 

n Rev. Devereux Jarratt, in a letter written April 15, 1790, replied 
to Dr. Coke in very strong language, and among other things con- 
tradicted much that Coke had said about him. This letter is pub- 
lished in Mr. Jarratt's Autobiography under the head "Series of Let- 
ters to a Friend," page 83. This is the most caustic letter found 
among his writings. 

The First Conferences. 121 

also visited, in North Carolina, Mi". Kennon's; preached 
at a Presbyterian Church where Mr. Patillo 1 was pastor ; 
and then rode to Edmund Taylor's, where he says I 
found "a sincere friend and brother who is overjoyed at 
our late change." And on the 19th of April Dr. Coke 
also arrived at Green Hill's. 

Here the first Annual Conference of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church convened on April 20, 1785. The ter- 
ritory represented by this Conference was Virginia, North 
Carolina, and South Carolina. There were in attendance 
about twenty preachers, who had come up from large and 
difficult fields to make their reports. The year had been 
a successful one, the preachers reporting a gain of nine 
hundred and ninety-one members. They dispatched their 
business with peace and harmony, with perhaps one ex- 
ception. Jesse Lee took issue with Dr. Coke on the ques- 
tion of slavery. The hostility to slavery was very general 
among the preachers of early Methodism, but Dr. Coke 
opposed it with so much zeal, not to say imprudent zeal, 
that he stirred up antagonism almost everywhere he went 
in Virginia and North Carolina. His manliness and 
courage are to be admired more than his wisdom. Mr. 
Lee mildly, but firmly, opposed Dr. Coke's views. He 
advocated a more prudent policy. Coke thought by this 
that Lee was friendly to the idea of slavery, and made 
this as an objection to the passage of Lee's character. 
But Dr. Coke saw his mistake, and soon "made an apol- 
ogy which was satisfactory, and the breach was healed." 

'This reference is to the Rev. Henry Patillo, an eminent Presby- 
terian minister, who was pastor of Nutbush and Grassy Creek, in 
Granville county, from 1768 until his death in 1801. 

122 Methodism in North Carolina. 

The house where this Conference was held is still stand- 
ing, and is in good repair. It is situated about one mile 
south of Louisburg, the county seat of Franklin. The 
large upper room where the Conference sat may be seen 
by any visitor to this old homestead. Green Hill enter- 
tained the Conference. Dr. Coke says : "There were 
about twenty preachers or more in one house, and by mak- 
ing or laying beds on the floors there was room for all. 
We spent three days (from Wednesday to Friday inclu- 
sive) in Conference, and a comfortable time we had to- 
gether." 1 These men did not require a separate room or 
a separate bed. They had not come to Conference on a 
Pullman car, dashing across hills and valleys at the rate 
of fifty miles an hour, but had come for hundreds of miles 
on horseback, being entertained in humble log cabins at 
night. They were used to hardships. And as to finances, 
there is no record as to whether any circuit paid out in full 
or not. It required but little money to travel through the 
country, and many of the hearers thought the Methodist 
preacher was sufficiently compensated by honoring him 
with their presence. These pioneers were heroes in ev- 
ery sense of the word. They rejoiced over nearly a 
thousand brought to Christ, and now they are reaping 
their reward. 

Beverly Allen was ordained and sent to Georgia. He 
had all this great state for a circuit. He had done a good 
work in North Carolina. He helped to plant Methodism 
in the Cape Fear section, along the Pee Dee, and he or- 

1 Arminian Magazine, Vol. I., page 346 (1789). 

The First Conferences. 123 

ganized the society in Salisbury. He was a correspondent 
of Mr. Wesley. As to personal appearance, he was 
slender and rather handsome ; as a preacher, he was prac- 
tical, earnest, and eloquent. Many pages have been writ- 
ten about this brilliant young preacher, but Bishop Mc- 
Tyeire tells it all in a few words. We quote what he 
says, and let the mantle of charity fall over his life: 
"Beverly Allen was now ordained elder, and began to 
range. He turned out to be one of those popular preach- 
ers who find work everywhere else but where they are ap- 
pointed; who promise much and come to nothing; he 
came to worse than nothing. The bad eminence of being 
the first apostate Methodist presbyter is his. He managed 
to get up a personal correspondence with Wesley, by 
which he derived more consideration than he was entitled 
to; married rich; fell into sin; was expelled; went into 
business; failed; killed the marshal while arresting him; 
fled to a part in Kentucky in Logan county then called 
'Rogue's Harbor' ; became a Universalist, and went out in 
obscure darkness; all this within the next dozen years." 1 
Others were found to plant Methodism in Georgia and 
make it blossom as the rose. 

We would be glad to know the names of all those who 
attended this Conference ; but the information concerning 
it is very meager. We know that John King, Jesse Lee, 
Philip Bruce, Reuben Ellis, Beverly Allen, and Green Hill 
were present. 

Since the ordination of some of the preachers, it be- 

^cTyeire's "History of Methodism," page 357. 

124 Methodism in North Carolina. 

came necessary to appoint some of these to travel over the 
territory and administer the sacraments, and in the ab- 
sence of the superintendent otherwise to supervise the 
work. Hence the origin of the presiding elder. In this 
Conference it had its birth. Three presiding elders were 
appointed, but they were called elders, and the term pre- 
siding elder was not used until 1789. This office, like 
nearly all the forms and usages of Methodism, grew out 
of the circumstances of the occasion. 

Here is another character who deserves special notice 
in this connection — the Rev. Green Hill, in whose house 
the Conference was held. Rev. T. N. Ivey, D.D., in a 
well-written article, published in The Methodist Maga- 
zine, February, 1902, says: "Green Hill was the host of 
the Conference. He was one of the columnar characters 
of early American Methodism. He figures largely in 
Asbury's Journal. We must regard him as one of the 
great men, not only of Methodism, but of the state. His 
name is a familiar one in the secular histories of North 
Carolina. He was a man of large mind, but of larger 
heart. There was no honorable sacrifice which he was not 
willing to lay on the altar of his beloved Church. He was 
the impersonation of Christian hospitality. He enter- 
tained under his roof no fewer than four Annual Confer- 
ences. Born in the county of Bute, now Franklin and 
Warren, on November 3, 1741, he was married in early 
life to Miss Sea well, a sister of Judge Seawell who fig- 
ured conspicuously for many years on the bench in North 
Carolina. Green Hill was a member of the first and of 
each succeeding provincial congress of the state, and was 

The First Conferences. 125 

for a while state treasurer. When the Revolutionary 
War broke out, he was the first to enlist. He was made 
major in the provincial army, and at the same time served 
as chaplain. At the close of the war he settled down to 
farming, an occupation in which God signally blessed 
him. Without such success he could not have been the 
Gaius of early Methodism. He was an extensive slave- 
holder. The library of Vanderbilt University contains 
a number of his books, presented by his grandson, Judge 
Hill. On the fly leaf of one of them is inscribed the 
number of his slaves. Bishop McTyeire says he had 
"nearly as many as Abraham. Toward the close of the 
century, in obedience to that impulse which has enriched 
the great west with North Carolina blood, Green Hill 
moved to Tennessee, and settled about fourteen miles 
south of Nashville. ... In 1808 he entertained the 
first Tennessee Conference, presided over by Bishop Mc- 
Kendree. Bishop Asbury says this Conference sat six 
hours a day, stationed eighty preachers, and all was peace. 
The cabinet met in a room which is still to be seen. Here 
for about one quarter of a century lived Green Hill. Un- 
til his life's close he continued to be a tower of strength 
to the community and to his Church. His descendants, 
scattered over several states, display in their lives the 
marks of the sturdy Christian character of their apostolic 
ancestor. He served well his day and generation, and at 
a ripe old age passed to his reward." 

The next Conference was held in Salisbury, according 
to the minutes, on February 1st, 1786; but according to 
Bishop Asbury, who presided over the Conference, it did 

126 Methodism in North Carolina. 

not open until February 21st, and was in session three 
days. The weather was rough. For several days pre- 
vious there was snow on the ground, heavy rains had 
fallen on the 20th, and the streams were greatly swollen. 
Bishop Asbury traveled all day in the rain, and swam 
Grant's Creek, and reached Salisbury on the evening 
of the 2 1 st, "wet and weary." The bishop expected 
very few preachers present at the time appointed, but 
to his surprise, he says, "the bad weather did not stop 
their coming." From Lednum's History we learn that 
there were twenty-four present, and that seven of them 
were entertained by Mr. and Mrs. Philip Fishburn. Mrs. 
Fishburn joined the Society under Beverly Allen in 1783. 
The horses were sent to the country, where they were 
cared for during the sitting of the Conference. 

Bishop Asbury says they finished their business in three 
days "with great satisfaction." The preaching and Chris- 
tian deportment of these ministers made a very profound 
impression on the people of Salisbury. Methodism was 
growing in the Yadkin Valley; the people were anxious 
for another Conference; so it was decided to meet again 
in Salisbury in 1787. Dr. Coke and Bishop Asbury were 
in North Carolina in April of this year, and held the An- 
son quarterly meeting, and preached at Salisbury on April 
12th, and at McKnight's Chapel on the 13th of April; 
but no mention is made of a Conference being held 
here for this year. In 1788 the Conference met in 

For several reasons the Conference held at McKnight's 
in 1789 deserves special notice. It was situated about a 

The First Conferences. 127 

mile and a half west of Clemmonsville in Forsyth county, 
about halfway between Clemmonsville and the Yadkin 
River. Dr. R. N. Price, in the "History of the Holston 
Conference," is in error when he says that McKnight's 
was on the west side of the Yadkin River. The Confer- 
ence convened on April the 10th. Bishop Asbury says : 
"We opened our Conference, and were blessed with peace 
and union. Our brethren from the westward met us, and 
we had weighty matters for consideration before us." 
Preachers were here from Kentucky, coming hundreds of 
miles over mountains, through forest wilds with no roads, 
and through rough weather. Asbury says on the 3d of 
April, just after entering North Carolina from Georgia, 
"We have ridden three hundred miles in about nine 
days, and our horses' backs are bruised with their 
loads." And then the heroic Asbury cries out and 
says, "I want more faith, patience, and resignation to 
the will of God in all things." For heroic endurance 
there is nothing to be compared to the Methodist itin- 
erancy in the days when Methodism was being planted 
in North Carolina. 

The brethren had come from the far west, looking to 
the establishment of a school in Kentucky ; they also gave 
a very pleasing account of the prosperity of the work in 
that distant field. They felt a deep interest in the educa- 
tion of their children, so they brought an earnest request 
from the inhabitants that a college should be erected in 
that remote settlement. But the Conference thought 
"that it was an undertaking of too much moment to jus- 
tify a precipitate engagement, and the decision was sus- 

128 Methodism in North Carolina. 

pended until the measure should be examined with due 
deliberation." 1 Perhaps this discussion on the subject of 
education accomplished some good, for shortly after this 
a school was established just across the Yadkin River, 
which was the first Conference school in America. 

Another important matter was considered here — the 
subject of religious literature. Here Bishops Coke and 
Asbury wrote the preface of the Arminian Magazine, 
which was published in Philadelphia, and which was the 
first Methodist periodical published in America. 2 

Dr. Stevens says there were nineteen preachers present. 
There are six thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine 
members in the state ; an increase for this year of seven 
hundred and forty-one. Thomas Ware came from the 
New River Circuit by way of "Flower Gap," and when 
he had reached the summit of the Blue Ridge on the 
border of North Carolina, he was "so enchanted that he 
would have spent hours surveying the scene below" ; but 
his companion, being more familiar with the scenery, dis- 
mounted and began to descend the mountain, and Mr. 
Ware must follow. But he says he descended the moun- 
tain with a sublimity of feeling that he could not describe. 
"From this lofty eminence you see the world spread out 
below you, extended in one continued grove, excepting 
here and there a spot, until vision is lost in the blue ex- 
panse which limits its power." 

1 Drew'.s "Life of Dr. Coke," page 212. 

2 It was published monthly, and continued for two years, when 
it was suspended. The writer has every copy in his library, from 
which many facts are gathered for this work, 

The First Conferences. 129 

Mr. Ware, in speaking of the Conference, says : "It was 
one of the most interesting I had attended. Great grace 
rested on both preachers and people, and much good re- 
sulted." During the past year he had served in the Hol- 
ston country where he says there was "little money and 
clothing was very dear. My coat was worn through at 
the elbows ; and I had not a whole undergarment left ; 
and as for boots, I had none. But my health was good, 
and I was finely mounted." 1 He was sent from this Con- 
ference to the Caswell Circuit. 

The Conferences for 1790 and 1791 were also held at 
McKnight's. At the Conference here in 1790, Bishop 
Asbury did not reach the place until June 2d. The Con- 
ference had been waiting for him for two weeks. He had 
been sick, but when he reached the seat of the Conference 
he says : "We rejoiced together, and my brethren received 
me as one brought from the jaws of death. Our business 
was much matured, the critical concern of the Council un- 
derstood, and the plan, with its amendments, adopted. 
Saturday and Sunday were days of the Lord's presence 
and power — several were converted. We had an ordina- 
tion each day. We have admitted into full connection 
some steady men, with dispositions and talents for the 

At the Conference which again convened here on April 
2d, 1 79 1, Bishops Coke and Asbury were present. Per- 
haps this was one of the most spiritual Conferences in the 
history of North Carolina Methodism. "There were," 

'"Life of Thomas Ware," page ior. 

130 Methodism in North Carolina. 

writes Coke, "in all about thirty preachers present, several 
of whom came from the other side of the Appalachian 
Mountains. At. this Conference a remarkable spirit of 
prayer was poured forth on the preachers. Every night, 
before we concluded, heaven itself seemed to be opened to 
our believing souls. One of the preachers was so blessed 
in the course of our prayers that he was constrained to 
cry, 'Oh, I never was so happy in all my life before ! Oh, 
what a heaven of heavens I feel !" At each of our Con- 
ferences, before we parted, every preacher gave an ac- 
count of his experience from the first strivings of the 
Spirit of God, as far as he could remember; and also of 
his call to preach, and the success the Lord had given to 
his labors. It was quite new, but was made a blessing, I 
am persuaded, to us all." 

The Conference met at Green Hill's for the next three 
years; two in 1792, the first in January and the next in 
December. This was brought about by changing the time 
of the Conference from the spring to the fall of the year. 
Bishop Asbury on Sunday, the 8th of January, was in the 
extreme eastern part of the state, where he preached at the 
widow Hardy's to a large congregation. Then he turned 
toward the seat of the Conference, and as he expressed it, 
"the prospect of our journey seemed gloomy." There 
was much snow and ice on the ground. Part of the way 
the road was strange to him. But Thursday, the 19th, he 
makes this entry in his Journal : "I rode with no small 
difficulty to Green Hill's, about two hundred miles, the 
roads being covered with snow and ice. Our Conference 
began and ended in great peace and harmony; we had 

The First Conferences. 131 

thirty-one preachers stationed at the different houses in 
the neighborhood. I find we have had a good work in 
the eastern district of North Carolina in the past year." 
It was not necessary to crowd them all in one house now ; 
others in the neighborhood were ready to help entertain 
the preachers. 

At the Conference here which met on December 12th 
there were about forty preachers present from the two 
districts in North Carolina. And the Conference held 
here on December 10th, 1793, was the last held in North 
Carolina in the eighteenth century. At this Conference, 
"the preachers cheerfully signed an instrument, express- 
ing their determination to submit to, and abide by, what 
the General Conference has done." Unity and peace pre- 
vailed among them. 

Before closing this chapter let us glance at an early 
Quarterly Conference. The minutes of such Conferences 
are very short — only a few questions and answers. One 
reason for this is that there was very little business at- 
tended to. It was primarily a religious meeting. Dr. 
Coke says : "The quarterly meetings on this continent are 
much attended. The brethren for twenty miles around, 
and sometimes for thirty or forty, meet together. The 
meeting always lasts two days. All the traveling preach- 
ers in the circuit are present, and they, with perhaps a 
local preacher or two, give the people a sermon one after 
another, besides the love feast, and now the sacrament." 
The quarterly meeting at that day was an occasion 
where much good was accomplished — frequently many 
souls being converted. 

132 Methodism in North Carolina. 

We have gone with the heroic pioneers up to one Con- 
ference after another, enduring much hardship, not stop- 
ping for any kind of weather, swimming swollen streams, 
and going over snow and ice for hundreds of miles to at- 
tend the annual gatherings. We have seen them transact 
their business, and then go out to penetrate to the remote 
settlements on the frontier, in order to tell them of Jesus 
and his love. Before the farewell word is spoken, a few 
earnest prayers are offered, and then the faithful band of 
heroes standing in some ''upper room," as at Green Hill's, 
I hear them sing as only such men could sing : 

And let our bodies part, 

To different climes repair; 
Inseparably joined in heart, 

The friends of Jesus are. 

Oh, let us still proceed, 

In Jesus' work below; 
And, following our triumphant Head, 

To further conquests go! 



The Preacher as a Factor in Education. First Contribution to a 
Methodist School in America. Cokesbury School on the Yadkin. 
Founding of the University. Publishing Interest, First Dis- 
cipline. First Periodical. Sunday Schools. 

It has often been said that "Methodism was born in a 
university." While we doubt the correctness of the state- 
ment, it will be admitted by all that the Methodist Society 
had its origin in a university, and that its founder and 
many of the early preachers were educated men. Yet, 
it is doubtful whether there ever would have been a 
Methodist Church if Mr. Wesley had not felt his heart 
"strangely warmed." The Methodist societies, after that 
stood more for a revival of religion than for anything 
else. This was their distinctive element. And this was 
the cause of their growth into a Church and spreading 
around the world. 

But while Methodism in its early days did not stand 
preeminently for education, yet it has been a great educa- 
tional force from the beginning. The Methodist preacher 
has been quite a factor in education since he first put foot 
on North Carolina soil. Judge Gaston, one of the most 
eminent jurists of his day, and who was a Roman Cath- 
olic in his religion, said that "the Methodist ministry had 
done more to improve the society of the rural districts 
than any other class of men, or any other class of agencies 


134 Methodism in North Carolina. 

that had ever been brought to bear on this subject." The 
itinerant preacher went everywhere, into the most obscure 
neighborhoods, partaking of their humble hospitality, and 
hence coming into contact with the poorest class of so- 
ciety. Going as he did from homes of culture and refine- 
ment, he carried with him their manners and customs. 
The first visit of the Methodist preacher often marked an 
epoch in the home. New aspirations were kindled in the 
hearts of the old and young, as they sat around the fire- 
side till a late hour of the night and heard the preacher 
talk of men and things that were familiar to him. Hence 
he was truly an educator in the home. Then as he or- 
ganized churches in these obscure sections of the state, 
bringing the people together, their horizon was widened, 
and a great moral and educational force was started in 
the community, a force that was uplifting in its nature 
and which changed the whole phase of society. 

The first effort to secure a Methodist school in America 
was made in North Carolina. On June 18, 1780, Mr. 
Asbury preached at brother Bustiaif s house on the Ro- 
anoke Circuit to about five hundred people. John Dickins 
was on the circuit, and Asbury in speaking of him says : 
"He reasons too much, is a man of great piety, great skill 
in learning, drinks in Greek and Latin swiftly; yet prays 
much and walks close with God. He is a gloomy coun- 
tryman of mine, and very diffident of himself." On Mon- 
day morning, the 19th, they rose early. And says As- 
bury: "Brother Dickins drew the subscription for a 
Kingswood School in America ; this was what came out a 
college in the subscription printed by Dr. Coke. Gabriel 

Education and Early Methodism. 135 

Long and brother Bustian were the first subscribers, which 
I hope will be for the glory of God, and good of thou- 
sands." 1 "This," says Dr. Abel Stevens, "was the first 
project of a literary institution among American Meth- 
odists." So we see that one of the first interests that 
claimed the attention of the pioneers of Methodism was 
the cause of education. 

At this time, 1780, the location of the school had not 
been selected. Whether the money contributed by Long 
and Bustian went toward the erection of Cokesbury Col- 
lege in Maryland or was applied to the Cokesbury School 
on the Yadkin, we are unable to say. No doubt it was the 
understanding of the above subscribers that the school 
was to be situated somewhere in this section. But the 
war with Great Britain was fiercely raging, and this was 
four years before Methodism in America became an inde- 
pendent Church. However, "the projected school for 
North Carolina has not been given up," says Dr. Cum- 
mings, "though the original subscription has been used 
for a large undertaking." 2 By this statement Dr. Cum- 
mings evidently is of the opinion that the original design 
was to establish a school in North Carolina. Perhaps the 
war, and the disorganized state of the Society at that 
time, retarded the progress of the enterprise; but some 
time previous to 1793 a Methodist school was established 
in what is now Davie county, on the west side of the Yad- 
kin River, near Phelps's Ferry. It was called Cokesbury 

^sbury's Journal, Vol. I., page 397. 

2 "History of Early Schools of Methodism," page 72. 

136 Methodism in North Caralina. 

School. In 1793 James Parks was elder on a district em- 
bracing Yadkin, Salisbury, and Anson circuits. And the 
Conference, which convened December 9, 1793, regarded 
this Cokesbury School on the Yadkin of so much im- 
portance that James Parks was taken from the district 
and appointed as principal of this school for 1794. 

Bishop Asbury visited the school, April 2, 1794, and 
made the following entry in his Journal: "After preach- 
ing (at E.'s meetinghouse and at Whitaker's) I came to 
Cokesbury School at Hardy Jones's; it is twenty feet 
square, two stories high, well set out with doors and win- 
dows ; this house is not too large as some others are ; it 
stands on a beautiful eminence, and overlooks the low- 
lands and river Yadkin." The fact that this building was 
well lighted with windows made an impression on the 
bishop, because there were few churches or schools, in the 
early days of Methodism in North Carolina, that had such 
a convenience. Thirty years after this Dr. Olin taught 
his first school in South Carolina, in an academy that had 
no windows. At the close of this year, 1794, James Parks 
located, and whether he continued the school after this, 
we have been unable to learn. It was at any rate short- 
lived, for when Bishop Asbury visited the place again in 
1799 he made this statement in his Journal: "I said but 
little at the academical schoolhouse, now a house of God." 

James Parks, who was the principal of this school, mar- 
ried Hardy Jones's daughter. He was a very strong 
preacher as well as teacher. Jeremiah Ellis who was liv- 
ing at a very advanced age in 1889 when the writer was 
investigating the location of this school, and who lived in 

Education and Early Methodism. 137 

two miles of this place, said that he went with his father, 
who was a local preacher, to Ward's camp ground about 
the year 18 12, and heard Parks preach two wonderful 
sermons. They made such an impression upon him that 
he still remembered the texts. Parks finally moved to 
Jonesville and established a school there, and there are old 
people in that community who still remember James 
Parks. He had four sons who became preachers. And 
one of his sons, Martin P. Parks, was one of the most 
brilliant orators of his day. 

The first Methodist college in the world was Cokesbury 
College at Abington, Maryland, which was begun in 1784. 
and named in honor of the first two bishops — Coke and 
Asbury. And the Cokesbury School in North Carolina 
was perhaps named after Cokesbury College, and was the 
first Methodist school in North Carolina, and the first 
Conference school in America. Bethel Academy in Ken- 
tucky is claimed to be the first Conference school, but by 
reference to Asbury's Journal, Volume II., page 193, on 
April 23, 1793, he makes this entry: "I was at Bethel, — 
the place intended for a school." So we see that Bethel 
Academy was not in operation at this time, while Cokes- 
bury School was evidently in a flourishing condition. 
Rev. M. H. Moore, while on the Anson Circuit in 1886, 
found a Latin-Greek grammar which was used in Cokes- 
bury School in 1793. 1 This not only shows that the 
school was running in 1793, but that it was a classical 
school at that time, where Greek and Latin were taught. 

1 On the fly leaf was written "George McClosky, Cokesbury 
School, Rowan Co., Aug. 9, 1793." 

138 Methodism in North Carolina. 

As to its location, Bishop Asbury says it was at Hardy 
Jones's. The writer, while on the Mocksville Circuit in 
1889, learned from old persons still living in the com- 
munity the exact location of Hardy Jones's house, and 
upon visiting the spot where the old house stood, 1 he 
found the "beautiful eminence overlooking the lowlands 
and river Yadkin," spoken of by Mr. Asbury. Here is 
an old graveyard, where doubtless the dead were buried 
during the time the building was used as a "house of 

It would be interesting to know more of this old school 
on the Yadkin, who were its patrons, teachers, students, 
etc. It is strange that so few of our early Church his- 
torians have mentioned this pioneer institution, which is 
beyond question the first Conference school in America. 
It began its work previous to the University of North 
Carolina, which was opened in 1795. When Bishop As- 
bury made a visit here in 1800 he wrote: "We were 
treated with great respect at the university (North Caro- 
lina) by President Caldwell, the students, citizens, and 
many of the country people. When the university is fin- 
ished, I shall take notice of it." There may have been 
other Methodist schools in North Carolina during the 
eighteenth century; but if so, we have been unable to find 
any trace of them. 

Not only does North Carolina claim that the first educa- 
tional movement in American Methodism was conceived 

'This visit was made in company with Rev. H. M. Blair, ,who 
was at that time on the Farmington Circuit, and who assisted much 
in the research and was greatly pleased at the discovery. 

Education and Early Methodism. 139 

in North Carolina, but that her first publishing interest 
was projected from this state. The early Methodist 
preachers realized that there was an elevating and edu- 
cational force in good literature. Hence, "the Metho- 
dist Book Concern had its origin in the theory that a 
Church must furnish a religious literature for its people. 
The Church must not only be devoted, but to secure its 
highest good and usefulness it must be intelligent. This 
intelligence is necessary in accomplishing the work as- 
signed it by Providence, and where intelligence has been 
allied to vital godliness, Christianity has moved forward 
with the steps of certitude." Mr. Wesley was a great 
writer and publisher, and he required his preachers to cir- 
culate good books as a part of their work. Following this 
example, Robert Williams, one of the pioneers of Metho- 
dism in North Carolina, published Mr. Wesley's sermons 
and some tracts, and circulated them where he went as 
far as possible. 

The Discipline in its present form 1 was prepared for 
publication in 1786 by John Dickins, who was at that 
time on the Bertie Circuit. It is quite probable that he 
lived near Halifax in his own house, where he located in 
1780. On March 25, 1786, we find Mr. Asbury making 
the following entry in his Journal : "Read our form of 
Discipline, in manuscript, which brother Dickins has been 
preparing for the press." This edition of the Discipline 
was published in 1787, and was the third edition; the first 
being published in 1785 in Philadelphia, and the second 

1 Previous to this time the Discipline was in the form of ques- 
tions and answers. 

I4 Methodism in North Carolina. 

in 1786. These editions were bound up with the Sunday 
Service sent over by Mr. Wesley for the use of the Church 
in America, and were in the form of questions and an- 
swers. But the edition prepared by John Dickins was di- 
vided into sections with appropriate heads. It was pub- 
lished in pamphlet form, and is the most rare of any edi- 
tion published. This book would be of special interest 
to the Methodists of North Carolina, as it was prepared 
by one of its circuit preachers. 

The Church up to this time had no organized plan of 
publication. There is no record of any Conference action 
on the subject, until the Conference held in 1787. The 
subject of Church literature was discussed, which re- 
sulted in a resolution to print such books as the Confer- 
ence might designate. 1 

In 1789 John Dickins, who was stationed in Philadel- 
phia, was appointed Book Steward, and with a capital of 
$600, of his own money, he laid the foundation of the 
great Methodist Book Concern. The first book printed 
was "Christian Pattern,'' by Thomas a Kempis. Other 
books were published during the same year, viz. : "Saints' 
Everlasting Rest," the "Methodist Discipline," a hymn 
book, Mr. Wesley's "Primitive Physic," and the Armin- 
ian Magazine. The last named was the first Methodist 
periodical published in America. It was a monthly maga- 
zine, and this was also launched from North Carolina. 
At a Conference at McKnight's meetinghouse, which is 
on the east side of the Yadkin River near Clemmonsville, 

"'Statistical History of Methodism," page 58. 

Education and Early Methodism. 141 

which convened on April 10, 1789, this new enterprise 
was started. The preface, addressed to subscribers, con- 
tained four pages, and was signed "Thomas Coke, Fran- 
cis Asbury, North Carolina, April 10th, 1789"; showing 
that the preface was written and signed at this Confer- 
ence, which Thomas Ware says "was one of the most in- 
teresting Conferences he had attended. Great grace 
rested on both preachers and people, and much good re- 
sulted." Asbury says, "We had weighty matters for con- 
sideration before us." Each magazine contained a ser- 
mon on some doctrinal subject. Coke's and Asbury 's 
Journals are run through several issues, and much valua- 
ble information on various subjects is found in every 
number. But at the expiration of two years, for some 
reason, perhaps for the lack of funds, it was suspended. 

In 1797 another periodical was published by order of 
the General Conference of 1796, with the title of "The 
Methodist Magazine:' It bore the following imprint: 
"Sold by John Dickins, No. 50, North Second Street, 
Philadelphia, and by the Methodist ministers and preach- 
ers throughout the United States." It was published 
until the death of Dickins in 1798. These magazines 
are the monuments to the intelligence and energy of the 
early itinerants. 

The Book Concern did not publish another periodical 
until 1 8 18, when it brought out again The Methodist 
Magazine. However, during this time many books and 
tracts were published and distributed among the people 
by the circuit rider. Perhaps the poor mail facilities of 
that day rendered it difficult to reach subscribers with any 

142 Methodism in North Carolina. 

regularity, with a weekly or monthly publication. But 
the standard works were purchased and read more at that 
time than at a later day. As a result the people were 
strongly indoctrinated, and as a rule were enabled to give 
a reason for the hope that was in them. The reading of 
such books as those carried in the saddlebags of a Meth- 
odist preacher has had a wonderful influence in the home, 
in the Church, and in the state. No man can at this day 
calculate the momentum of such an educational force as 
that started by John Dickins in 1789. He managed the 
business for ten years, and died in Philadelphia, leaving 
the Methodist Book Concern as an enduring monument. 
He died of a malignant fever on September 27, 1798, 
shouting, "Glory be to God ! I would not give such sweet 
communion for all the world." The results of his labors 
in North Carolina, preaching, drawing the plan for the 
first Methodist school in America, writing the Discipline, 
and publishing good books to the end of his days, will not 
be fully known until the light of eternity shall flash over 
the past, when we shall know even as we are known. 

About this time the Methodists began to utilize another 
educational force, which has been a power in the Church 
from that day to this ; and that is the Sunday school, 
which was introduced in America by Bishop Asbury in 
1786. Previous to this time it had become a power for 
good in England. 

As early as 1769 a young Methodist, Hannah Ball, es- 
tablished a Sunday school in Wycombe, England, and 
was instrumental in training many children in the knowl- 
edge of the Holy Scriptures. Doubtless similar attempts 

Education and Early Methodism. 143 

were made before that time, but they were only anticipa- 
tions of the modern institution of Sunday schools. In 
1 78 1, while another Methodist young woman (afterwards 
the wife of the celebrated lay preacher, Samuel Bradburn) 
was conversing in Gloucester with Robert Raikes, a be- 
nevolent citizen of that town and publisher of the Glouces- 
ter Journal, he pointed to groups of neglected children in 
the street, and asked, "What can we do for them?" She 
answered, "Let us teach them to read and take them to 
church." He immediately proceeded to try the sugges- 
tion, and the philanthropist and his female friend attended 
the first company of Sunday-school scholars to the church, 
exposed to the comments and laughter of the populace as 
they passed along the street with their ragged procession. 
Such was the origin of our present Sunday school, an in- 
stitution which has done more for the Church and the 
social improvement of Protestant communities than any 
other agency of modern times, the pulpit excepted. 
Raikes and his humble assistant conducted the experiment 
without ostentation. Not till November 3, 1783, did he 
refer to it in his public journal. In 1784 he published in 
that paper an account of his plan. This sketch imme- 
diately arrested the attention of Wesley, who inserted the 
entire article in the January number of the Arminian 
Magazine for 1785, and exhorted his people to adopt the 
new institution. "They took his advice," says an his- 
torian of Methodism, and "laboring, hard-working men 
and women began to instruct their neighbors' children, 
and to go with them to the house of God on the Lord's 
day." Wesley, in speaking of them in his Journal, seems 

144 Methodism in North Carolina. 

to have the gift of prophecy when he says : "I find these 
schools springing up wherever I go; perhaps God may 
have a deeper end therein than men are aware of; who 
knows but some of these schools may be nurseries for 

"Thus is Methodism historically connected with both 
the initiation and outspread of this important institution. 
Under the impulse of its zeal the Sunday school was soon 
almost universally established in its Societies." So we see 
that Methodism from the beginning took the Sunday school 
by the hand. To Bishop Asbury belongs the honor of pro- 
jecting the first Sunday school ever established on the 
American continent. This school was organized in 1786 
in Hanover county, Virginia. It was not until 1791 that 
the good Bishop White, of the Protestant Episcopal 
Church, began a Sunday school in Philadelphia. The 
work did not make much progress, however, until after 
the Conference in 1790. At this Conference the following 
was adopted : "Let us labor, as the heart and soul of one 
man, to establish Sunday schools in or near the place of 
public worship. Let persons be appointed by the bishops, 
elders, deacons, or preachers to teach (gratis) all that 
will attend and have a capacity to learn ; from six o'clock 
in the morning till ten, and from two o'clock in the after- 
noon till six ; where it does not interfere with public wor- 
ship. The Council shall compile a proper schoolbook, to 
teach them learning and piety." 1 

From this time Sunday schools were established in 

'Lee's "Short History of the Methodists," page 163. 

Education and Early Methodism. 145 

many places, and were fairly well attended, and especially 
so by the colored population. The chief object of the 
Sunday school then was to give the children an education 
and to keep them from mischief. The modern idea of the 
Sunday school, that of saving souls, had not entered into 
the question. The requirements made upon the teachers 
were too great for the compensation received, as they 
thought ; so they soon gave it up as an institution of learn- 
ing. It soon became more and more religious, until the 
chief object was to lead the children to Jesus. Yet it has 
been a great educational force all through the years. This 
little stream, that was started more than a century ago, 
has "widened, and deepened, and swept onward, until it 
has borne upon its bosom the blessing of heaven to almost 
every land." 




Here Methodism First Introduced. James Martin. Richard Ivey. 
David Haggard. Henry Birchett. Bishop Asbury's Visit — In 
1785 He Visits Winton — Newbern — Beaufort — Bell's Chapel — 
Washington. Dempsey and Sarah Hinton. Methodism Planted 
in Washington. James Hinton. Revival. Ralph Potts. Enoch 
George. John Baldwin. Aquila Sugg. John Burton. John 
Sproul. Joseph Moore. Mattamuskeet Circuit Formed. Daniel 
Shines. Many Located because of Financial Embarrassment. 
Fund for Superannuates. Days of Sacrifice. Heroines of Meth- 

In this section Methodism was first introduced into the 
state ; and in another chapter we followed Edward Drom- 
goole and Jesse Lee into this territory, where Lee in his 
Journal says the Camden Circuit was formed, but it ap- 
pears on the minutes as Pasquotank. The next year it 
was changed to Camden. In 1783 the circuit had only 
twenty-two members, but in 1784 it reported three hun- 
dred and fifty, and appears on the minutes as Camden and 
Banks. This is the first time The Banks appears on the 
list of appointments. The large number reported so soon 
after the formation of the circuit is no doubt due to the 
fact that many who were already in the Society had emi- 
grated into this section from other parts of the country. 
Little is known of many of these early preachers. James 
Martin joined the Conference in 1780, and was appointed 
to the Kent Circuit; in 1781, Mecklenburg; 1782, Ro- 

Development in the East. 147 

anoke; 1783, Pasquotank; 1784, Portsmouth; and for 
some cause at the close of this year he located. Henry 
Metcalf was admitted in 1783, and that year served as 
second man on the Pasquotank. We learn from the min- 
utes that he died in 1784. Asbury, in speaking of him, 
says, "A man of sorrowful spirit and under constant 

In 1784 Richard Ivey served the Camden Circuit. He 
was one of the foremost men in early Methodism. He 
spent eighteen years in the ministry, his labors extending 
over a territory from the north of New Jersey to the 
southern part of Georgia. He was admitted in 1777; 
and in 1778 he served Fluvania; 1779, Brunswick; 1780, 
Pittsylvania; 1781, Kent; 1782, West Jersey; 1783, Nan- 
semond; 1784, Camden; 1785-6, presiding elder in North 
Carolina; 1787, presiding elder in Georgia, and contin- 
ued to labor in that frontier field for four years, when his 
health failed. He moved back to Virginia, and after 
lingering a short while he went home to his reward. 
Bishop Asbury spent the night of January 20, 1784, in 
company with Ivey, Baldwin, and Morris. He says, "The 
work revives ; many are brought to God ; and I am com- 
forted." 1 

In 1784 The Banks appears as a separate appointment, 
with David Haggard as its pastor. He had just been 
admitted into the Conference. In 1788 he served the 
Anson Circuit; 1789, Halifax; 1790, he and Henry Birch- 
ett were appointed to the Lexington Circuit in Kentucky. 

'Asbury's Journal, Vol. I., page 468. 

148 Methodism in North Carolina. 

He returned to North Carolina in 1793 and was appointed 
to Salisbury; after which his name disappears from the 
minutes. He returned to eastern Carolina and connected 
himself with O'Kelly, "but finally joined the New Lights 
and died in their communion. 1 In 1789 we find the fol- 
lowing circuits in this section of the state : Pamlico, Ro- 
anoke, Bertie, and Camden, aggregating a membership of 
1,692 whites and 426 colored. Pamlico was formed this 
year (1789), and embraced all that territory between the 
Pamlico River and Albemarle Sound. 

Henry Birchett, who was on the Bertie Circuit, Was 
admitted on trial in 1788, and was a young man of great 
courage and ability. He was a Virginian by birth. He 
was reared amid all the luxuries of life, but being called 
to preach he gave up a life of ease for one of toil and 
hardship. This was no ordinary sacrifice at that day. 
After serving two years in North Carolina, the call was 
made for ministerial help in Kentucky and Mr. Birchett 
volunteered to go to that distant and dangerous field. In 
all the circuits that he traveled he was eminently success- 
ful. He had fine talents, and was an excellent preacher. 
"For many years after he had entered into rest, his mem- 
ory was green and his name was fragrant among the 
people." 2 

Bishop Asbury passed through this section in 1784; 
spent a night at Colonel Williams's in Currituck county. 
"On Sunday, January 21st, preached to about five hun- 
dred people at Coin jock Chapel ; on Tuesday at Winfield 

'Collins's "Kentucky," page 126. 
""Motliorlism in Kentucky," page 73. 

Development in the East. 149 

Courthouse to about six or seven hundred, inattentive and 
wild enough." From here he went to Nixonton. He ob- 
serves that "spirituous liquor is and will be a curse to this 
people." On Wednesday he went in the rain to Hertford, 
where he "spoke in a tavern." "The people seemed wild 
and wicked enough." He visited Edenton, where he 
found Mr. Pettigrew and was much pleased with him, 
and where he says he preached "to a gay, inattentive peo- 
ple." From here he crossed the Chowan River, journey- 
ing through Bertie, Hertford, and Northampton counties, 
and preaching to large congregations. 

In 1785 we find the bishop at Winton, making his way 
south to Newbern. On the way he encountered much 
water. The streams and swamps were swollen from re- 
cent rains. He says, "We had to wade several deep and 
dangerous swamps." He preached at Newbern on "The 
world by wisdom knew not God." He says, "The Assem- 
bl) r was in session, and some of the members were 
friendly." Wednesday, 21st December — "Sailed down to 
Beaufort and preached in the church: the people were 
kind, but have very little religion." The church referred 
to was "a quaint, old-fashioned affair" that belonged to 
the Established Church, but after the Revolutionary War 
was used by the preachers of the different denominations, 
and also used for school purposes." 1 

After preaching, the bishop pushed down to the Straits, 
and on the next day preached at Straits Chapel ; returned 
to Beaufort and preached again, after which he sailed 

^ev. R. F. B.umpass in Conference Historical Publication, 
page 91. 

150 Methodism in North Carolina. 

back to Colonel Bell's. Colonel Bell, his wife, and her 
sister were the first Methodists in all this section; and 
in the great revival that swept over this country in the 
early part of the nineteenth century, his two sons, Caleb 
and Jacob, were gloriously converted, called to preach, 
joined the Conference, and wielded a wonderful influence 
for good both in this country and in the west. Bell's 
Chapel was one of the first Methodist meetinghouses in 
all that section. 

On Saturday and Sunday, December 24th and 25th, 
the bishop held a quarterly meeting at Swansbury, where 
he says they had "many people," but "little religion." It 
has been asserted that Bishop Asbury organized a society 
in Washington as early as 1784, but he makes no mention 
of stopping in that vicinity at so early a date. However, 
there were Methodists in the village about that time ; and 
if not organized before, it was taken into Pamlico Circuit 
in 1789. 

Before the Revolutionary War, among the first con- 
verts of the Methodist preachers on Deep River were 
Dempsy and Sarah Hinton. Previous to this time they 
had been strict disciples of another and a more accom- 
modating creed. They became at once very zealous in 
spreading their new-found faith. About this time the 
quiet of the country in the Deep River section was broken 
up by frequent depredations of the Tories. Dempsy Hin- 
ton felt much alarmed at the repeated trespasses of these 
royal robbers, and believed that it was unsafe for him 
longer to remain under his own roof. In looking for 
some retired place of safety, he selected the then small 

Development in the East. 151 

town of Washington, where he located. An old manu- 
script says he found no religious organization there. 
However that may be, Dempsy and Sarah Hinton carried 
their "household gods" with them. The story of the 
cross was told in Methodistic fashion, and the cold, irre- 
ligious social life of the town began to give way under the 
influence of the spiritual life and earnest exhortations of 
the Hinton family. 

As soon as they had completed arrangements for their 
temporal welfare, they erected their altar and then gave 
the banners of Methodism to the breeze. They did not 
seek the rich and influential of the town, but toiled with 
the honest poor, to lead them to Christ. The songs of 
Zion as sung by these earnest people attracted much 
attention. The fire soon spread to the neighborhoods 
of New Hope, Little and Durham's creeks. Thus was 
Methodism planted in the beautiful little city on the Pam- 
lico; and Dempsy and Sarah Hinton were its first stand- 

We are not surprised that such a family should give an 
itinerant preacher to early Methodism. James Hinton 
was admitted on trial in 1783, and appointed to the Salis- 
bury Circuit; 1784, Wilmington; 1785, Halifax; and lo- 
cated in 1786. He was a son of Dempsy and Sarah Hin- 
ton, and it has been stated that he "early wore himself 
out in the vineyard of his Master." 

Sarah Hinton soon became the chief corner stone of the 
society. Her light shone out in the community as from 
a hilltop. Her liberality and charity were bounded only 
by her ability. She not only gave of her means, and sang 

I S 2 Methodism in North Carolina. 

and prayed, but she would exhort most earnestly on every 
possible occasion. What such godly women have done 
for Methodism eternity alone will reveal. 

This faithful little band toiled on with but slight en- 
couragement until 1 79 1, when they were visited with the 
first revival that had ever come upon the town. It was 
considered a great revival. Many of the old settlers of 
the place professed religion and joined the Society, which 
was greatly strengthened financially and every other way. 
Methodism had a high social standing at once. Converts 
were active in church work, and many were ready to ren- 
der any service. 

This great revival was followed by a reaction that was 
calculated to stagger the most faithful. There was much 
apostasy even among the leading characters of the 
Church. Among the backsliders were a class leader and 
an exhorter. Men had been put in as leaders for their 
social standing without much regard to their piety. At 
this critical moment two men moved into the town, and 
their arrival resulted largely in the salvation of Wash- 
ington. Ralph Potts came from Portsmouth, Virginia, 
and Thomas Roberson from England. He was a member 
of the Wesleyan Connection, and when he reached Wash- 
ington he united at once with the Society. Methodism 
in Washington owes more to Ralph Potts than to any 
other one man. In 1798 the first meetinghouse was 
erected by Ralph Potts, who purchased the lot and built 
the house almost unaided by any other person; and in 
June. 1806, he deeded it to the Methodist Episcopal 

Development in the East. 153 

Church. 1 The church was located on the east side of 
Market street, near the courthouse. Bishop Asbury vis- 
ited the place in 1801, and he speaks of the "handsome 
chapel thirty feet square." He made another visit to 
Washington in 1802, and refers to the "hospitable shelter 
of Ralph Potts, where we had all things richly to enjoy." 
He further says : "I judged it highly expedient that Ro- 
anoke and Pamlico circuits should be divided, and that 
Washington should have Sabbath preaching every week: 
it is a growing town of one hundred houses, and there is 
a good house for public worship." 

The Pamlico Circuit, which was formed in 1789, had 
for its preachers in 1790 Henry Ledbetter and Enoch 
George, who was afterwards made bishop. Mr. George, 
in speaking of this circuit and his work there, says : "I 
soon heard that Pamlico Circuit, extending from Pamlico 
to Roanoke Sound, and embracing as sickly a region as 
any in North Carolina, was to be the sphere of my labor. 
This sudden transition, from the foot of the Black Moun- 
tain to the margin of the sea, tried my faith ; especially 
when I was chilled by agues, burned by fevers, and, in 
sickness or health, beclouded by mosquitoes. Here I la- 
bored until my friends had to assist me in mounting and 
dismounting my horse. Thus I was made partaker in the 
affliction of my brethren. My friends advised me to spend 
a few weeks in a more congenial climate, that my health 
be restored; and in a short time, by the good hand of 
my God upon me, I was able to travel my circuit. We 

lr The deed is recorded in book 8, page 177, in Clerk's office at 

154 Methodism in North Carolina. 

had some gracious visitations; and when our members 
professed the knowledge of salvation by the remission of 
sins, the horrid monster Persecution reared his head, and 
vented his rage." 1 

The enthusiasm of the Methodists often brought out 
opposition, and occasionally the persecutor would arise 
and for a time cause much excitement. Methodism, being 
a revival of spiritual life, was naturally opposed by those 
who had nothing but a form of Christianity. This class, 
at the time George traveled the Pamlico Circuit, predom- 
inated in eastern Carolina. Mr. George gives an in- 
stance of persecution in that section : 

"A minister stirred up his vestrymen and friends to ex- 
pel the Methodists from an old church in which they had 
worshiped God. To accomplish their design, a number of 
gentlemen (so called) placed themselves within the altar, 
armed with heavy bludgeons, and their leader stood be- 
hind me in the window ; and when the service commenced, 
he ordered us to depart, as we were dissenters from the 
Church. An old man who was zealous for Methodism 
arose and commanded silence, saying that in the days of 
our Lord men would not believe on him, though he cast 
out devils and did many marvelous works. The perse- 
cutor replied, 'Let that man cast out devils and I will be- 
lieve in him.' The champion of Methodism replied to 
this, with some severity, 'Sit down, and listen to the word 
of the Lord, and it may be he will cast many out of you.' 
By this I perceived they were prepared for carnal war- 

x Methodist Magazine, Vol. XII., page 132. 

Development in the East. 155 

fare, and for the sake of peace I begged my friends to fol- 
low me, and we retired and finished our service under the 
canopy of heaven. These things which happened unto us 
fell out rather to the furtherance of the gospel; and the 
bitter envying and strife in the minister received its re- 
ward. Religion spread, and the enemy passed his church 
without a congregation. Thus he and his were filled with 
their own ways." 

This year (1790) Contentney Circuit appears on the 
minutes for the first time, with John Baldwin as pastor. 
This soon became one of the best circuits in that section of 
the state. It embraced portions of Green, Pitt, Craven, 
Lenoir, and Wayne counties. The circuit was named for 
a creek running through that section. At this time most 
of the preaching was done in private houses. Among the 
first meetinghouses built in this circuit were Spain's meet- 
inghouse near Greenville and Rainbow meetinghouse 
about six miles southeast of the present town of Snow 

Of the pastor, Rev. John Baldwin, little is known. He 
was admitted into the Conference in 1782, and appointed 
to South Branch; 1783, Bertie; 1784, Yadkin; 1785, Wil- 
mington; 1786, Guilford; 1787, New Hope; 1788, Salis- 
bury; 1789, Holston; 1790, Contentney; 1791, Amelia; 
1792, Brunswick; 1793, Sussex; Book Steward from 
1794 until he located in 1798. We would judge from the 
list of appointments served that he was a man of more 
than ordinary ability. 

In 1 79 1 Aquila Sugg was appointed to the Contentney 
Circuit. A writer in the Christian Advocate 1 says, "He 

156 Methodism in Nortli Carolina. 

was an excellent man, and his labors were blessed." An- 
other, in describing him, informs us that "he was about 
the medium size ; of a feeble constitution ; plain and neat 
in his dress; courteous in his manners, and instructive in 
his conversation with others" ; that he was also "an easy, 
natural, and graceful preacher, and seldom failed to com- 
mand the undivided attention of his hearers." He was 
admitted on trial in 1788 and appointed to Gloucester, in 
Virginia. The two following years he traveled on the 
Great Pedee and Edisto circuits, in South Carolina. In 
1791 he was appointed to the Contentney Circuit; 1792, 
to Salisbury; 1793, New Hope; 1794, Trent; 1795, trans- 
ferred to Kentucky. His health was already beginning to 
fail, so after trying to pursue his work for two years, he 
became convinced that it was necessary for him to retire 
from the itinerancy. He located in 1797. Judge Scott 
says of him, "He retires from the active duties of a work 
dearer to his heart than life itself." 

During this year (1791) John Burton began his min- 
isterial career on the Bertie Circuit. "In appearance, Mr. 
Burton was tall and slender. His piety was fervent, and 
he was zealous and effective in his ministerial labors. His 
preaching was plain, sound, and both theoretical and prac- 
tical." 2 After spending a year on this circuit, the three 
following years he traveled in Virginia. In 1795 he 
transferred to the west, as so many others did, and was 
appointed to Salt River Circuit in Kentucky. In 1800 he 

'John Carr, in Christian Advocate, February 12, 1857. 
2 "Methodism in Kentucky," Vol. I., page 184. 

Development in the East. 157 

returned to the Virginia Conference, and, after traveling 
successively the Sussex, Mecklenburg, and Greenville, the 
Portsmouth and Brunswick circuits, he was sent to the 
Richmond District as presiding elder. In 1805 he served 
the Norfolk District; 1806, Salisbury District; 1807-8, 
Newbern District; 1809, Norfolk District; 1810-12, Ra- 
leigh District; 1813, Tar River District. At the close of 
this year he located. Mr. Burton was held in high esteem 
by his brethren, as is shown by his frequent elections to 
high positions of trust. He was a member of the General 
Conferences of 1804, 1808, and 1812. 

Pamlico is served this year by John Sproul and Joseph 
Moore, both earnest and successful workers. The career 
of the former was short, but active. He was admitted in 
1 790 and appointed to the Salisbury Circuit ; 1 79 1 , Pam- 
lico; 1792, Caswell; and during this year he died sud- 
denly. The minutes have this to say of him : "John 
Sproul, a simple, honest man, who gave himself wholly 
to God and his work; but was suddenly taken from toil 
to rest; though he was weak in body, he was fervent in 
spirit ; and we venture to hope, though surprised by death, 
he went in peace to his eternal home." 

Joseph Moore gave a long and faithful service to the 
Church. He was born in Virginia in 1767, but in his 
early childhood was removed to Rutherford county in 
North Carolina. He had early religious training, and 
was licensed to preach in his nineteenth year. He began 
his itinerant career on the Pamlico Circuit in 1791. Mr. 
Moore was active in body and vigorous in mind. The 
next year he served Yadkin. For fifteen years he received 

158 Methodism in North Carolina. 

appointments regularly at the hands of the appointing 
power; but in 1806 he asked for and obtained a location. 
As a local preacher he rendered much service to the 
Church. In 1826 he reentered the South Carolina Con- 
ference, and was appointed to Lincoln Circuit. He gave 
eight years more to the itinerant ministry, and sustained 
a superannuated relation until his death, which occurred 
on February 14, 1851. 

In 1 79 1 the Pamlico Circuit was divided, cutting off the 
eastern part and forming the Mattamuskeet Circuit. It 
no doubt took its name from the Lake in Hyde county. 
Daniel Shines was its first pastor. From the information 
we have, he only served in the itinerancy for five years, 
locating in 1795. During this time he filled the following 
appointments: West New River, Mattamuskeet, Goshen, 
and Roanoke. 

It is sad to see so many valuable men dropping out of 
the itinerancy. Of course it is understood that this is 
due to the lack of a support. It was almost impossible for 
a married man to do the work of the itinerant ministry. 
This was one of the great problems of the early Church, 
how to hold these valuable men in the itinerant ranks. 
Losing these experienced men greatly retarded the prog- 
ress of the Church. During the four years, between the 
General Conference of 1792 and that of 1796, the Church 
lost by location one hundred and six preachers. During 
the Revolutionary War, Congress for a long time neg- 
lected to provide a pension for those who should remain 
in the service through the war, and many of the best 
officers left when their experience and ability rendered it 

Development in the East. 159 

most desirable to keep them in it. This distressed General 
Washington, who remonstrated with Congress, saying, 
"I can procure plenty of officers, but they could not sup- 
ply the places of the old ones." He urged that it was 
unreasonable to expect men to spend their lives in the pub- 
lic service and sacrifice the means of acquiring a support 
for old age, and make no provision for their support. 1 

If this is true of a soldier who serves for a few years in 
the service of his country, how much stronger the argu- 
ment for the care of these itinerants who gave their lives 
for the cause they represented, and never received more 
than a bare support. The Conference realized the neces- 
sity of providing at least a partial support for those 
preachers who wore themselves out in its service. The 
General Conference of 1800 decided to continue the salary 
of a preacher after he had been placed upon the superan- 
nuate list. Previous to the General Conference in 1792 
the preacher was only paid $64 a year, but at this Con- 
ference it was decided to allow him, in addition to his sal- 
ary, his traveling expenses ; such expense to include "fer- 
riage, horseshoeing, and provisions for themselves and 
horses on the road, when they necessarily rode a distance. 
Another new rule was made allowing the preacher to re- 
ceive money for performing the marriage ceremony, 
though he was to make no charge. He was also forbid- 
den to receive anything for administering the ordinance 
of baptism or burying the dead. 

The mercenary reputation of the clergy in the Estab- 

1 "Life of Ware," page 223. 

160 Methodism in North Carolina. 

lishecl Church had driven these Methodist preachers to the 
other extreme. For many years they suffered the incon- 
veniences brought about by these meager salaries. The 
object of these rules, in giving each preacher an equal 
salary, meager as it was, is based upon a worthy motive. 
As stated by one of our historians, the object was "to keep 
all the preachers as nearly on an equal footing as possible 
in their money matters, that there might be no jealousies 
or envyings among us; but that we, like brethren of the 
same family, might all labor together in the gospel of 
Jesus Christ." 

The cause of many of the locations was not a lack of 
zeal or love for the work, but necessity forced it upon 
them. There never was a more consecrated set of men 
than these early itinerants. They went forward with an 
ambition only to build up the Church and glorify God. 
And many of those who located taught school for a year 
or two to replenish their purses a little, and then returned 
to the work that they loved above everything else. 

The allowance was not only small, but often it was not 
paid in full. Rev. James Patterson, who served as an itin- 
erant in the period of which we write, said in the North 
Carolina Christian Advocate, October, 1857: "At a Con- 
ference in Virginia, in the year 1799, I saw two preachers 
who had worked out their year and had only received 
thirty dollars each, and one of them had lost his horse; 
and means to supply deficiencies were so scant that they 
got very little aid; however, they did not flinch, but 
braved the storm and went on to their work." At that 
same Conference the Rev. Enoch George was reported to 

Development in the East. 161 

be in great destitution, and was helped by every member 
of the Conference. 

These were days of sacrifices and devotion. The 
preachers were doing all they could to live on the small 
amount allowed, and eternity alone will reveal what the 
holy women of early Methodism did in helping these men 
of God to bridge over many financial embarrassments. 
Clothing was high, and these good women made many 
articles of clothing with their own hands to supply the 
needs of this persecuted and poorly paid set of men. If it 
had not been for such timely aid, many others would have 
been forced to give up their work. In addition to this 
material help, they gave inspiration to many a tired and 
worn itinerant by their sympathy and prayers. When the 
final account is summed up, it will be found that these 
heroines of early Methodism in North Carolina will share 
largely in the results that have been accomplished through 
the decades of the past, as they will in the final results on 
the last day. 


1792 TO l800. 

North Carolina Furnished Much for Other States. Stephen Brooks. 
Edenton — Dr. Coke's Description. Bishop Asbury at Elizabeth 
City and Camden — Difficulty of Establishing Methodism. Goshen 
Circuit. William Ormond — Ormond's Chapel. Salem in Wayne 
County. William Bellamy. Samuel Ansley. Jeremiah Norman. 
Pamlico Circuit. William Wilkerson. Thomas Easter on Goshen 
Circuit. Newbern Growing — Asbury's Description. Tarboro has 
a Neat Chapel. John Sale — Triumphant Death. Christopher S. 
Mooring. Death of William Easley. A Summary. 

In studying the history of Methodism in North Carolina, 
one is often impressed with the fact that the state has 
furnished so many valuable preachers for other sections. 
The great majority of the heroic men who laid the foun- 
dations of Methodism in the great West were from North 
Carolina and Virginia. Any one who has not observed 
this would be surprised if he were to see a list of those 
who went west in the last decade of the eighteenth cen- 
tury and the first of the nineteenth. 

Among this number we find the name of Rev. Stephen 
Brooks, who was born on Cape Hatteras, February 18, 
1764, but was reared in Hyde county near Mattamuskeet 
Lake. He was brought up a High-churchman, was edu- 
cated for a seafaring life, spent some time at sea, and ob- 
tained a captain's commission. While in his youth, he 
became convicted of sin through the efforts of a young 

Development in the East. 163 

Methodist minister. His son, Rev. Jacob F. Brooks, 
thought that the Methodist preacher referred to was prob- 
ably Israel Watson. At any rate the arrow had pierced 
his heart, and one night while alone in his father's corn- 
field he obtained the pardon of his .sins, but did not let it 
be known at the time. One night soon after, there was 
a prayer meeting at his father's house, a custom of early 
Methodism, and during its progress he was observed to be 
under religious excitement ; he was called on to pray, and 
during that prayer his father, mother, brothers, and sis- 
ters were awakened, obtained religion, and afterwards 
joined the Methodist Church. He soon obtained license 
to preach and entered the work of the ministry. In 1789 
he was admitted into the Conference, and immediately set 
out in company with Bishop Asbury for Kentucky. He 
labored in East Tennessee until his health failed, but hved 
a long and consecrated life, during which time he led 
many souls to Christ and was a blessing to thousands. 
He died in 1855. 

Edenton is one of the oldest tov/ns in the state, but as 
late as 1785 it had not been taken into the circuit. Dr. 
Coke, on March 23, 1785, visited the place, and has this 
to say of the town and its people : "I went to Edenton, a 
most wicked place. Here Mr. Pettigrew preaches. The 
people in general seemed to prefer the courthouse, which 
is an elegant place, so I went there accordingly, and 
preached to a large congregation. The preachers ought 
really to take this place into their plan, and there is a per- 
son who will receive them. There seemed nothing but 
dissipation and wickedness in the tavern at which I put 

164 Methodism in North Carolina. 

up, and yet the landlord would take nothing for my din- 
ner. In the afternoon I rode with brother Dameron, one 
of our preachers who came to meet me, to Mrs. Boyd's, a 
widow lady who came to Edenton to hear me. She lives 
about seven miles off on my way, and has good desires. I 
suppose Mr. Pettigrew does as much good in Edenton as 
a little chicken." 1 

Soon after this, Edenton was embraced in the Camden 
Circuit. But Methodism for many years made but little 
headway in Edenton. Dr. Coke's supposition that Mr. 
Pettigrew did about as much good there "as a little 
chicken" was no great exaggeration; for we learn from 
a manuscript history of Methodism in Edenton, by Rev. 
Overton Bernard, that in 1808 "the old Episcopal church 
had long been in a ruinous condition, its walls well-nigh 
tumbling to the ground, the floors torn up, and the sacred 
stand not having been occupied by a minister of the gospel 
for years." At this time there was no church building in 
town. The people were respectful to religion, but did not 
seem to care for things pertaining to their spiritual wel- 

Bishop Asbury was at Elizabeth City and Camden in 
1804, and makes the following statement, after preaching 
at the courthouse : "Many heard, but few felt. I dined 
with Mr. Mitchell, a lone Methodist from Cornwall, Great 
Britain ; Lot in Sodom. The site of this place is beautiful 
for its land and water prospects ; and the situation is good 
for trade. We rode on to Camden, and had to beg a lodg- 

1 Arminian Magazine, 1789, page 341. 

Development in the East. 165 

ing of Mr. Joseph Sandlin, who belongs to the Baptists ; 
these people carry the day here in respectability and num- 
bers." Thus it will be seen how difficult it was for Meth- 
odism to plant itself in this section that had been occupied 
for so many years by others; for it will be remembered 
that the Quakers began to preach here a hundred years 
before the Methodist preacher entered the state. 

In 1792 Goshen Circuit appears on the minutes, with 
Wiley and William Beaufort as its preachers. It em- 
braced Beaufort on the east, and extended as far west as 
Sampson. 1 New River Circuit was formed in 1785, em- 
bracing Onslow, Jones, Carteret, Craven, and at least 
parts of Lenoir and Duplin. In 1792 it was divided, 
forming Goshen and Trent. New River Circuit took its 
name from a stream in Onslow county. It was called 
East New River after 1789, to distinguish it from New 
River west of the Blue Ridge. The principal part of 
Trent Circuit was in Jones and Lenoir counties. 

William Ormond, who served on the Goshen Circuit in 
1792, was no ordinary man. During the twelve years 
spent in the itinerant service, he made an impression upon 
the Church that time will not efface. He was born De- 
cember 22, 1769, near Kinston, North Carolina. He was 
converted when he was eighteen years old, admitted into 
the Conference in 1791, and appointed to the Tar River 
Circuit. In 1792 he served Goshen; 1793, Pamlico; 1794, 
New Hope; 1795, Sussex; 1796, Trent; 1797, Roanoke; 
1798, Portsmouth; 1799, Washington, Georgia; 1800, 

\A.sbury's Journal, Vol. II., page 284. 

166 Methodism in North Carolina. 

Tar River; 1801, Brunswick; 1802, Salisbury; 1803, Nor- 
folk and Portsmouth. During his stay here, the yellow 
fever began its deadly work. While its victims were fall- 
ing on every hand, he wrote a letter to a friend : "I ex- 
pect to continue upon my station, for it appears I cannot 
well leave at this time. I might as well die of the fever 
as of any other affliction, and there is as direct a passage 
from Norfolk to heaven as from any other part of the 
globe. I have no widow to weep over my lifeless body, 
no babes to mourn for a father, and I find this world a 
dangerous and troublesome place." He died with the 
shout of victory upon his lips on October 30th, 1803. 

He was a man who had great power in the pulpit. 
While on the Salisbury Circuit in 1802, he was assisting 
Daniel Asbury in a revival on the Yadkin Circuit, of 
which Daniel Asbury wrote : "After brother Ormond's 
sermon, Under prayer, the Lord displayed his power in an 
increasing manner." The minutes tell us that "he left a 
legacy to the Conference, another to build a house for 
God, in the neighborhood of his nativity." The church 
was built, and "Ormond's Chapel" will forever perpetuate 
the memory of the heroic and sainted William Ormond. 
This chapel is located between Kinston and Snow Hill. 

It is interesting to note the origin and growth of some 
of these early Methodist churches. Salem, in what now 
is Wayne county, has an interesting history. Daniel Dean 
removed from Virginia and settled in Wayne county on 
Stony Creek. In 1786 he became very much concerned 
about religion, and remembering the Methodist meetings 
he had attended in Virginia, when he was less interested 

Development in the East. 167 

than now, decided to make a visit to Virginia in order to 
again have the way of life pointed out to him by these 
earnest preachers of the gospel. He did so, heard the 
preaching and experienced the forgiveness of sins. When 
he returned home, he was shouting the praise of his new- 
found Saviour. Soon a small log meetinghouse was built 
on the west side of Stony Creek, and called "Dean's 
meetinghouse." "This house was very rudely con- 
structed of logs with the bark on ; a hole was cut near the 
stand for a window, and another for a door, but no door 
or window was ever put in." 1 "Some years after, the lit- 
tle class which had been formed at Dean's was removed 
to Sarah Howell's, about two miles west, and near where 
the present Salem Church stands." Here they had almost 
a constant revival. It was a shouting band of Christians. 
William Bellamy often officiated here. A new building 
was erected in 18 10, and was called Salem. 

We find ( ^Villiam Bellam y) on the Contentney Circuit 
in 1793, a rising young man of more than ordinary abil- 
ity. He was admitted into the Conference in 1791 and 
appointed to Bladen; 1792, Guilford; 1793, Contentney; 
1794, Bladen; 1796, located. He soon returned to the 
itinerancy and served for a few years. In 1821 we find 
him a leader among the local preachers in the Roanoke 
District, and was acting as president of the District Con- 
ference of local preachers when an address was .sent to the 
Virginia Conference opposing the grounds taken by the 
General Conference "to enact special rules for their gov- 

'Colonel W. S. G. Andrews, in the North Carolina Chistian Ad- 
vocate, February 29, 1855. 

1 68 Methodism in North Carolina. 

eminent without their consent." So when the Methodist 
Protestant Church was organized, he went with it, and 
was one of its strongest men. He lived to a ripe old 
age, and died honored and respected by all who knew 

William Bellamy collected material to write a history 
of reform in the "Old Roanoke District," but died before 
the work had been completed. It was suggested that Rev. 
John Paris write the contemplated history, which -he did, 
and published it in 1849, as the "History of the Methodist 
Protestant Church." 

Samuel Ansley served Contentney in 1794. Of him we 
know nothing more than the list of appointments showing 
where he served. He was admitted in 1791, and serving 
the Tar River Circuit in 1795, his name disappeared from 
the minutes. 

In 1794 Jeremiah Norman was appointed to Pamlico 
Circuit. This was a large circuit. It extended from Wil- 
liamston through a part of Martin, Washington, and Tyr- 
rell to Alligator River. Jeremiah Norman was admitted 
into the Conference in 1792 and sent beyond the Blue 
Ridge, where he remained two years. He then returns to 
the Pamlico Circuit. Within the bounds of this circuit 
he was reared, and now had several brothers and sisters 
living here. He took no regular work for the next three 
years, but spent the time in this section of the state giving 
singing lessons.'" 1 He reentered the itinerancy, and spent 
four years in the South Carolina Conference. 

'Mr. Norman kept a diary extending through 1793-1801. The 
author consulted this old manuscript, which was in the possession 
of Dr. S. B. Weeks. 

Development in the East. 169 

During this year (1794) William Wilkerson was on 
the Camden Circuit. It was his second year in the itin- 
erancy, having served the previous year on Orange. In 
1795 he was on the Guilford, 1796 the Swannanoa, 1797 
the Caswell, and 1798 the Gloucester circuits. In the 
midst of his labors on the Gloucester Circuit he died in 
1799. He appeared to live daily in communion with 
Christ. "His preaching was greatly blessed in the con- 
version of souls, and in the building up of the Church. 
He was seized with a bilious fever, which proved fatal in 
a few days. His death was as triumphant as his life had 
been holy. His last hours were spent in reciting his ex- 
perience and labors as a Christian minister/' He had no 
fear of death, but "joyfully welcomed the moment of re- 
lease from the sorrows of earth." 

Thomas Easter was on the Goshen Circuit in 1795. He 
was a native of Virginia. His parents were among the 
first fruits of Methodism on Brunswick Circuit, and aft- 
er them one of the oldest churches in that section, Eas- 
ter's meetinghouse, was named. He had a brother, John 
Easter, who was one of the most eloquent preachers of 
early Methodism. Thomas was not so well known, but he 
was a man of earnestness, and wielded an influence for 
good wherever he went. He located in 1796. 

At this time Newbern was growing rapidly into a 
prominent appointment. Bishop Asbury visited the place 
in December, 1796, and makes the following note in his 
Journal : "This is a growing place. Our society here, of 
white and colored members, consists of one hundred. 
. . . Should piety, health, and trade attend this New- 

170 Methodism in North Carolina. 

bern, it will be a very capital place in half a century from 

In 1802 the bishop makes another mention of Newbern, 
which shows its material and spiritual development. He 
conducted services for several nights, of which he says : 
"I concluded each meeting with prayer. We were 
crowded every night. I judged it needful to make some 
temporal and spiritual arrangements for the society in 
Newbern, — that a traveling preacher shall attend every 
Sabbath, is one. Newbern is a trading and growing 
town; there are seven hundred or a thousand houses 
already built, and the number is yearly increased by less 
or greater additions, among which are some respectable 
brick edifices ; the new courthouse, truly so ; neat and ele- 
gant ; another famous house, said to be designed for the 
Masonic or theatrical gentlemen; it might make a most 
excellent church. The population of the town, citizens 
and transient persons, may amount to three thousand five 
hundred or four thousand souls." 

On Sunday, he says, they took a public collection which 
amounted to sixty dollars,"and parted from our brethren, 
whom we left full of good resolutions to finish the house 
of God; the African Methodists also were about to build 
a place of worship. Truly we are encouraged ; our own 
people are stirred up, and judges, counselors, doctors, and 
ministers attended our preaching, and appeared to be 
pleased ; may they be profited and finally saved." 

The bishop thought it worthy of remark that the law- 
yers and doctors attended. And when we consider that 
the Methodists had at first been as a despised and perse- 

Development in the East. 171 

cuted sect, there is nothing that shows the development 
of Methodism more than this change in public sentiment. 
Bishop Asbury did not often go away from a place with 
such encouragement as he had received from his visit to 
Newbern. He now proposed to make Newbern a station. 
And it will be seen that he thought the same about Wash- 
ington ; that it ought to have preaching every week. 

AtCTarbofdhe found that "a neat new chapel" had been 
built, in which he preached from the text, "My house 
shall be called a house of prayer for all people." He ex- 
presses hope that tlXarboroLand^ JTaJrfa^) will yet hear and 
receive the gospel." This was in 1802. When the bishop 
visited Tarboro in 1796 they had no house of worship, 
though he says there were two houses in town open to 
him. It was on this trip that he went to the courthouse 
and found a fire in one of the apartments, and thought it 
had been prepared for preaching ; but when he saw a violin 
on the table, he learned that it had been heated up for a 
dance. However, they were kind enough to give way to 
the bishop, where he says "we had a serious congregation 
to hear." 

In 1797 John Sale is preacher in charge of the Bertie 
Circuit. His parents were members of the Protestant 
Episcopal Church in Virginia. When he was about 
twenty-one years old he was convicted of sin, and ex- 
perienced religion. Soon he began to call sinners to re- 
pentance, and was received on trial as a traveling preacher 
in 1796, and sent to the Swannanoa Circuit. The next 
year he served the Bertie Circuit, and in 1798 Mattamus- 
keet. After this he went west, where he served the 

i7 2 Methodism in North Carolina. 

Church until 1826 as circuit preacher, presiding elder, and 
in the superannuate relation. In all of these relations he 
was faithful. 

These old pioneers died well. We find this account of 
Sale's last illness in the Methodist Magazine of 1828: 
"During his illness there was not an intervening cloud to 
darken his prospect of a better world ; he observed to his 
colleague, 'If you think it worth while, tell my brethren 
that the religion I have recommended and preached to 
others now affords me consolation and support, in the 
view of death and eternity. Tell them my faith is un- 
shaken in the doctrines of our Church.' He then clapped 
his hands and .shouted triumphantly, in the prospect of a 
glorious immortality." 

Christopher S. Mooring followed him on the Bertie 
Circuit in 1798. Dr. Bennett in his "Memorials of Meth- 
odism in Virginia" says, in speaking of Mr. Mooring, 
"Few have been more useful to the Church and more suc- 
cessful in all the work of the Christian ministry." He 
was born in Surry county, Virginia, in 1767; was ad- 
mitted into the traveling ministry in 1789. He gave 
thirty-six years of service to the Church, and the minutes 
say, "He was made an instrument of great good to the 
souls of men." His last sickness was an exhibition of 
much patience and submission to the will of God. 
Through his useful life he was distinguished for his meek- 
ness and quietness of spirit. Many, led to Christ through 
his efforts, will go to make up his crown of rejoicing in 
the final day. 

In 1779 Methodism suffered the loss of its leader in 


Development in the East. 173 

Newbern. William Early, a most valuable man, died 
after a few days of illness with yellow fever. He was a 
native of Virginia, and after laboring zealously as a local 
preacher for several years, he was admitted into the itin- 
erancy in 1 79 1. He traveled the Haw River Circuit one 
year. He was earnestly pushing forward his work at 
Newbern in 1 799 when smitten by the terrible malady that 
ended his days on earth. Dr. Bennett, in speaking of him, 
says : "He was full of zeal, a powerful, earnest, and suc- 
cessful preacher. He was the honored instrument in the 
salvation of many souls." When he was seized with yel- 
low fever he refused to take his bed, and mounting his 
horse, rode off to an appointment. He had gone but a 
few miles when, overcome by the fatal disease, he dis- 
mounted and threw himself under the shade of a tree by 
the roadside. Here he was found by a gentleman, who 
kindly conveyed him to his house. He lingered a few 
days in great pain, and ascended to the rest of the saints. 
In his last hours he had victory. 

It may not be out of place to take a little retrospect of 
conditions in this section of the state at the close of the 
eighteenth century. In 1780 the Roanoke Circuit was the 
only charge in all this territory. That year it had a mem- 
bership of four hundred and eighty. In 1790 this terri- 
tory had four circuits — Camden, Bertie, Roanoke, and 
New River — with a membership of three thousand and 
seventy-two whites and one thousand two hundred and 
twenty colored. During this decade we see a most won- 
derful growth. 

During the next ten years, from 1790 to 1800, the cir- 

174 Methodism in North Carolina. 

cuits were so divided that the number was doubled, giving 
the following circuits in 1800: Roanoke, Pamlico, New- 
bern, Goshen, Contentney, Camden, Bertie, and Banks 
and Mattamuskeet. But while the number of circuits had 
increased and the people were better served, yet from 
some cause the membership dropped from three thousand 
and seventy-two whites in 1790 to two thousand and 
seventy-three in 1800. 

Of course some of this decrease was due to the seces- 
sion of O' Kelly, as this section was affected more than 
any other part of the connection, except the southern part 
of Virginia, for Mr. O'Kelly was more popular in Vir- 
ginia and eastern North Carolina than anywhere else. 
But the decrease was not all due to the O'Kellyan schism. 
There was much opposition to Methodism. The ground 
was contested at every point. The Methodist preacher 
found nothing but a cold, dead formalism in the Church, 
while sin and wickedness of every kind abounded on the 
outside. Many of those in the Church fought Armin- 
ianism, as taught by the Methodists, as they did a deadly 
foe. The Methodists were looked upon as a despised 
and persecuted sect. They had no church houses, no pres- 
tige, no history, nothing but that which was opposed to 
formalism and sin; and this was not popular. But these 
itinerants went forth amidst extreme hardships, priva- 
tions, and sufferings, and planted Methodism in every 
nook and corner of eastern North Carolina before the 
year 1800; and we of to-day are still reaping the fruits of 
their labor. 



James O'Kelly. Tar River Circuit. People Worldly-minded and 
Hard-hearted. O'Kelly's Fields of Labor — His Great Influence. 
The Council Established — First Council at Cokesbury. Bishop 
Paine's Comment on O'Kelly's Action. McKendree on Ports- 
mouth Circuit— His Diary. General Conference Met in Balti- 
more — Attendance Large — O'Kelly's Resolution — Great Debate 
Followed— John Dickins Offers Amendment — O'Kelly with a 
Few Others Left Their Seats, and Retired — Visited by Commit- 
tee — Dr. Coke Interviews O'Kelly — Thomas Ware's Account — 
O'Kelly Unfolds His Plan to McKendree. Rumors of a New 
Church — Letter of Richard L. Green. McKendree in Norfolk. In 
T 793 O'Kelly was Entered as Formally Withdrawn. New Church 
Organized — The Republican Methodists — Controversy Followed — 
Bitter Feelings Engendered — Estimated Loss. Principles of the 
Christian Church Stated — O'Kelly's Letter to Edward Cannon — 
Bishop Asbury Visits Him. The Hammett Schism. Great Re- 
vival Followed. 

James O'Kelly was one of the pioneers of Methodism in 
North Carolina; and it is to be regretted that he should 
require special notice under the head, 'The First Schism 
in Methodism." He entered the itinerant ranks in 1777, 
and for fifteen years he rendered most efficient service in 
the Methodist connection. He laid the foundation of 
New Hope Circuit, and while on this circuit he had for 
his assistant Beverly Allen. They had a year of great 
success. Mr. Allen says, "Numbers joined our societies, 
and many professed faith in the Redeemer." In 1779, 
while O'Kelly was on this work, he extended his labors 


ij6 Methodism in North Carolina. 

down the Cape Fear section which was afterwards taken 
into the Bladen Circuit. 

In 1780 he was on the Tar River Circuit. We gather 
from Asbury's Journal that the people werejiard to move 
in a religious direction ; that they were worldly-minded, 
and very indifferent to the preaching of the gospel. As- 
bury says, in speaking of O'Kelly: "This dear man rose 
at midnight and prayed very devoutly for me and himself. 
He cries, 'Give me children, or I die !' but I believe no 
preaching or preacher will do much good at present." 

O'Kelly traveled Mecklenburg, Brunswick, and Sus- 
sex circuits. He was ordained an elder at the Christ- 
mas Conference in 1784. In order to see where he would 
exert his strongest influence, we will follow him for the 
next few years on his various fields of labor. The first 
district to which he was appointed embraced Amelia, Bed- 
ford, and Orange circuits. The next year, 1786, he trav- 
eled over Guilford, Halifax, and Mecklenburg circuits. 
In 1787 his district was much larger, embracing Bladen, 
Xew River, Tar River, Roanoke, Mecklenburg, Bruns- 
wick, Sussex, and Amelia; in 1788, Anson, Bertie, Cam- 
den, Portsmouth, Brunswick, Amelia, Mecklenburg, 
Buckingham, Bedford, Amherst, Organe, Hanover, Wil- 
liamsburg. For the next four years he traveled prac- 
tically this same district. Rev. M. H. Moore, in his 
"Pioneers of Methodism in North Carolina and Vir- 
ginia," says: "Throughout this territory O'Kelly was 
highly esteemed and beloved. His labors were great- 
ly blessed in the conviction and conversion of sinners, 
and the hearts of the preachers and people were greatly 

The First Schism in Methodism. 177 

drawn to him. No other man wielded so powerful an 
influence over the people of this section; no man en- 
joyed more entirely the public confidence. Not a breath 
of suspicion had fallen upon his religious character in 
all his goings in and out before the people. He had 
conducted himself as a man of God and a Methodist 

In 1789 a new ecclesiastical body was established, 
styled "The Council." Necessity was the mother of this 
singular body. The Church was rapidly spreading over 
a large territory, and the bishops saw the great incon- 
venience of summoning the preachers from all parts of 
the work to meet annually in one Conference. Hence 
they held small separate Conferences at different times 
and places; but this was not satisfactory, as it was im- 
possible to pass any measure establishing a new enterprise 
until it had been agreed to, and adopted, by each Annual 
Conference. This arrangement required great unanim- 
ity to transact business, and for all the preachers to meet 
in one body would be very inconvenient. 

It was to avoid these inconveniences and to promote 
unity that they now decided to have a Council consisting 
of not less than nine persons, of which the bishops and 
the presiding elders throughout the connection should be 
members. The Council was to represent the whole work, 
and it was to be invested with "authority to mature 
everything they shall judge expedient. First, to pre- 
serve the general union. Second, to render and preserve 
the external form of worship similar throughout the con- 
nection. Third, to preserve the essentials of Methodist 

178 Methodism in North Carolina. 

doctrines and discipline pure and uncorrupted. Fourth, 
to correct all abuses and disorders. And, lastly, to mature 
everything they may see necessary for the good of the 
Church, and for promoting and improving our colleges 
and plan of education." 

In the absence of a General Conference, which per- 
haps had not been thought of at that time, this looks like 
a great improvement over the old method of procedure. 
But unfortunately some provisions were incorporated 
which killed it. Not only was unanimity required in the 
Council, but it was declared that "nothing so assented to 
by the Council shall be binding in any district until it has 
been agreed upon by a majority of the Conference held 
for that district." The utility of the whole arrangement 
seems to have been destroyed by these provisions. For 
if the District Conferences were to pass on every act, 
nothing was saved in time over the old system. Such 
unanimity could scarcely be expected among so large a 
number of independent bodies. The object was to main- 
tain Conference rights, but at the expense of union and 
energy. After two years' trial it was abandoned by mu- 
tual consent. 

The first session of the Council was held at Cokesbury 
on December 1st, 1789, consisting of Richard Ivey, R. 
Ellis, E. Morris, Philip Bruce, James O'Kelly, L. Green, 
Nelson Reid, J. Everitt, John Dickins, J. O. Cromwell, 
and Freeborn Garrettson. Bishop Asbury says, "All our 
business was done in harmony and love." The subjects 
of education, publishing, and relief of the suffering 

The First Schism in Methodism. 179 

preachers of the western frontiers were discussed and 
acted on at this meeting. 

Bishop Robert Paine, in his "Life and Times of Bishop 
McKendree," makes this comment on James O'Kelly and 
his connection with the Council: "We have already seen 
that Mr. James O'Kelly was a member of this Council, 
was present at its session, and sanctioned its suggestions. 
But, unfortunately for his reputation, as well as for the 
peace of the Church, he had scarcely returned to his dis- 
trict before he changed his mind and began a course of 
systematic opposition. Whether this desertion of his col- 
leagues, and, at first, covert war against the very meas- 
ures he had sustained in the Council, resulted from a con- 
viction of their impropriety, or of opposition to the Coun- 
cil itself, or (which is more probable still) from jealousy 
of Bishop Asbury's growing influence, coupled with an 
inordinate thirst for popularity, must be left to the de- 
cision of the reader. But certainly his subsequent conduct 
exhibits him in a very questionable light. If opposed to 
the principle involved in the organization of the Council, 
he had time and opportunities enough to form and express 
his convictions, without subjecting himself to the charge 
of gross inconsistency. If his objections were founded 
on the acts of the Council, he should have opposed them 
in the session of the Council, where one dissent would 
have defeated them. But we are constrained to the con- 
clusion that other and less worthy motives dictated his 
factious course. He may not have been fully aware of the 
secret springs of his feelings and actions at the beginning 
of his defection, but charity itself, although it can 'cover 

180 Methodism in North Carolina. 

a multitude of sins,' can scarcely be so blind as not to per- 
ceive that his course is irreconcilable with candor and 
Christian integrity." 1 

William McKendree, while on the Portsmouth Circuit 
in 1790, kept a diary in which he makes some entries that 
show what James O'Kelly, his presiding elder, was doing. 
"Monday, September 27. — Mr. O'Kelly, the presiding 
elder, came, and preached on John xvii. 7, 'Sanctify 
through thy truth; thy word is truth.' He opened the 
doctrine of sanctification to my great satisfaction. We 
had a melting time at the sacrament, and then the poor 
miserable Council took up all our time until ten o'clock 
at night." Here, as elsewhere on his district, he was 
prejudicing the young men against the very measure for 
which he had voted. He was then preparing the dynamite 
with which he expected to rend the Conference, if not to 
bring about an explosion of the whole Church. Bishop 
Paine says, "Sanctification was his (O'Kelly's) theme in 
the pulpit, and detraction of Mr. Asbury his employment 
out of it." Bishop Asbury was for the Council, O'Kelly 
was against it. 

On November the 4th McKendree makes this en- 
try in his diary : "Met the preachers in Conference at 
brother Young's; twenty-two preachers present, and by 
nine o'clock agreed to send no member to Council, but 
stand as zve are until next Conference; brother O'Kelly 
preached." This was a convention called by Mr. O'- 
Kelly, inviting the preachers to meet in Mecklenburg, 
the object being to forestall the approaching Council. 

'"Life of McKendree," Vol. I., page 80. 

The First Schism in Methodism. 181 

As soon as Bishop Asbury entered the district of Mr. 
O'Kelly, he says : "I heard some painful circumstances 
relative to our disappointed brethren. I leave these things 
to God," etc. While the bishop was in the bounds of 
young McKendree's circuit, the latter makes this entry in 
his diary : "Bishop Asbury, two other preachers, and my- 
self rode about sixteen miles. The wind was very keen, 
and the snow about eight inches deep; our poor horses 
were much fatigued, and ourselves pierced with the cold. 
We got to Mr. Blount's. / am astonished at the bishop's 
sweet simplicity and uncommon familiarity. Love ap- 
peared to sweeten all our conversation." Why astonished 
at the bishop's sweet simplicity, if not because his mind 
had been poisoned by representing the bishop as a despot ? 

Instead of the Council, O'Kelly favored a General Con- 
ference; and after securing the assistance of Dr. Coke, 
Asbury finally yielded for peace. The General Confer- 
ence met in Baltimore on November ist, 1792, which was 
the first meeting of the kind since the Christmas Confer- 
ence of 1784, at which the Church was organized. The 
attendance was large, coming from all parts of the con- 
nection. They had met to review the condition of the 
Church, revise and adopt such rules and measures as 
might be found proper, and to settle certain questions 
which threatened the peace, if not the very existence, of 
the Church. Dr. Coke and Bishop Asbury "presided con- 
jointly over their deliberations." 

During the revision of the Discipline an amendment 
was introduced by James O'Kelly which aimed at the 
annihilation of the itinerant system, by the destruction of 

182 Methodism in North Carolina. 

the episcopal power in making the appointments. The 
amendment is as follows : "After the bishop appoints the 
preachers at Conference to their several circuits, if any 
one thinks himself injured by the appointment, he shall 
have liberty to appeal to the Conference and state his ob- 
jections; and if the Conference approve his objections, the 
bishop shall appoint him to another circuit." 

This resolution filled the Conference with strife and de- 
bate. At first the majority seemed to approve of the 
measure. The debate continued for three days, with the 
strongest minds of the Conference participating. As 
Bishop Asbury's administration was necessarily involved 
in the debate, he very wisely retired from the Conference. 
He wrote a short letter to the Conference, in which he 
says : "I am happy in the consideration that I never sta- 
tioned a preacher through enmity or as a punishment. I 
have acted for the glory of God, the good of the people, 
and to promote the usefulness of the preachers." With 
this consciousness of doing right, he retired with great 
calmness while the storm raged within. No such debate 
had ever been witnessed in a Methodist Conference. The 
strongest men in Methodism were arrayed against each 
other. Many feared that the time-honored itinerant plan 
would be swept away. But John Dickins, one of the ablest 
men in the Conference, proposed a division of the subject, 
by which the question could be brought to a direct issue, 
thus: i. "Shall the bishop appoint the preachers to the 
circuits?" 2. "Shall a preacher be allowed an appeal?" 

The motion to divide, after some discussion, was car- 
ried. Then the first question was put and carried unan- 

The First Schism in Methodism. 183 

imously. In considering the second question, this diffi- 
culty arose, as to whether this was to be regarded as a new 
rule. If so, it could only pass by a two-thirds vote. They 
finally, after a long debate, decided that it was an amend- 
ment. This brought the Conference back to the question 
as originally proposed. "On Monday," Jesse Lee says, 
"we began the debate afresh, and continued it through 
the day ; and at night we went to Mr. Otterbein's church, 
and again continued it till near bedtime, when the vote 
was taken, and the motion was lost by a large ma- 

The next morning Mr. O'Kelly with a few of his ad- 
herents sent a letter to the Conference, informing them 
that, as their resolution had been rejected, they could not 
longer retain their seats in that body. A committee was 
appointed to wait on Mr. O'Kelly and his party, and if 
possible persuade them to assume their seats in the Con- 
ference. Dr. Coke had a personal interview with Mr. 
O'Kelly, but he also failed to bring about a reconciliation. 
They were fixed in their purpose, which was more far- 
reaching and comprehended more than was conceived by 
the Conference. 

In a few days Mr. O'Kelly and his partisans started on 
their return to Virginia, "taking their saddlebags, great- 
coats, and other bundles on their shoulders or arms, and 
walking on foot to the place where they had left their 
horses, which was about twelve miles from town." Jesse 
Lee says : "I stood and looked after them as they went 
off, and observed to one of the preachers that I was sorry 
to see the old man go off in that way, for I was persuaded 

184 Methodism in North Carolina. 

he would not be quiet long ; but he would try to be head of 
some party." 1 

Thomas Ware, who was present, gives the following 
account of his impressions: "Had Mr. O'Kelly's proposi- 
tion been differently managed, it might possibly have been 
carried. For myself, at first I did not see anything very 
objectionable in it. But when it came to be debated, I 
very much disliked the spirit of those who advocated it, 
and wondered at the severity in which the movers and 
others who spoke in favor of it indulged in the course of 
their remarks. Some of them said that it was a shame 
for a man to accept of such a lordship, much more to 
claim it ; and that they who would submit to this absolute 
dominion must forfeit all claims to freedom, and ought 
to have their ears bored through with an awl, and to be 
fastened to their master's door and become slaves for 
life. One said to be denied such an appeal was an insult 
to his understanding, and a species of tyranny to which 
others might submit if they chose, but for his part he 
must be excused for saying he could not. The advocates 
of the opposite side were more dispassionate and argu- 
mentative. They urged that Mr. Wesley, the father of 
the Methodist family, had devised the plan, and deemed 
it essential for the preservation of the itinerancy. They 
said that, according to the showing of brother O'Kelly, 
Mr. Wesley, if he were alive, ought to blush; for he 
claimed the right to station the preachers to the day of his 
death. The appeal, it was argued, was rendered imprac- 

'Eee's "Short History of the Methodists," page 180. 

The First Schism in Methodism. 185 

ticable on account of the many serious difficulties with 
which it was encumbered. Should one preacher appeal 
and the Conference say his appointment should be altered, 
the bishop must remove some other one to make him 
room ; in which case the other might complain and appeal 
in his turn ; and then again the first might appeal from the 
new appointment, or others whose appointments these 
successive alterations might interrupt. Hearing all that 
was said on both sides, I was finally convinced that the 
motion for such an appeal ought not to carry." 1 

The withdrawal of Mr. O'Kelly and party from the 
Conference was not considered a secession, but it soon 
assumed that character. On their trip home they had 
many consultations, and on the latter part of the jour- 
ney Mr. McKendree was the only companion of his old 
presiding elder, when Mr. O'Kelly unfolded his plan to 
him. It was to have "a republican, no-slavery, glorious 
Church! Bishop Asbury was pope; the General Confer- 
ence was a revolutionizing body : the bishop and his crea- 
tures were working the ruin of the Church to gratify their 
pride and ambition !" 

When Bishop Asbury opened the Conference for the 
Virginia District at Manchester, on November the 26th, 
W. McKendree and R. Haggard sent him "their resigna- 
tions in writing." In the case of Air. O'Kelly, it was 
resolved, in consideration of his age and services, to allow 
him his usual salary as when he traveled "provided he 
was peaceable and forbore to excite divisions among the 

'"Memoir of Rev. Thomas Ware," page 222. 

1 86 Method ism in North Carolina. 

brethren." Mr. O'Kelly acceded to this proposition, and 
received his salary for a part of the year. 1 

For some time it was hard for some of Mr. O'Kelly's 
friends to believe that he meant anything like a secession, 
or the establishment of a new Church. Richard L. Green, 
of Norfolk, Va., who was one of his ardent admirers. 
says : "I heard it rumored almost every day that he was 
paving the way to raise a Church to himself; but I was so 
wrapped up in him, I would not believe one word of it; I 
would not believe he would be guilty of such a crime." 
He says further : "We heard that he was to be in Suffolk 
(about twenty-six miles from Norfolk) in a few days. 
I went there and met him, and was with him two or three 
days at his appointments on his way to Portsmouth, and 
brought him with me to Norfolk. He preached in my 
house to so large a congregation that two of the sleepers 
of the house broke. After preaching he administered the 
sacrament to the society, at which time he let us know 
how much he had clone for us, how much he loved us, and 
what a claim he had on us ; but at the same time gave us 
to understand that if we did not go with him, he never 
should go with us. From that moment I was convinced 
of his wicked intention to divide the flock of Christ, and 
I was resolved to oppose him to the uttermost of my 
power ; and I thank God he was never able to make a di- 
vision in Norfolk, though he strove by all the means in 
his power to effect it." 2 

'Snethen's "Reply to O'Kelly's Apology," page 36. 
Trom a letter written by Richard L. Green and published in The 
Itinerant in its issue of August 5, 1829. The Itinerant was pub- 

The First Schism in Methodism. 187 

The name of William McKendree appears in the min- 
utes of 1793, in charge of Norfolk and Portsmouth. He 
gives this account of his year's work : "Though it was a 
year of contention and much confusion, I enjoyed peace 
with the members of the station." He was greatly hum- 
bled and mortified at his course at the Conference at Man- 
chester. His work was resumed after about a month of 
mental and religious struggle, hawing become a wiser 
man. At the Conference of 1793 the following were en- 
tered as formally withdrawn from the connection : James 
O'Kelly, Rice Haggard, John Allen, and John Robertson. 
O' Kelly and Haggard began at once to organize a new 
Church, pure and free from all the evils they fancied were 
in the Methodist Church. They were assisted by some 
disaffected local preachers. Allen soon settled and began 
the practice of medicine, giving up preaching altogether. 
Robertson continued as a local preacher for some years, 
when he became the head of a subordinate schism in the 
O'Kellyan ranks. 1 

The leaders began to confer and hold meetings, in order 
to decide upon some plan of operation. They decided to 
give the new Church the title of " The Republican Meth- 
ofji-stSj " At the time republican principles prevailed in 
Virginia, and of course something might be gained by a 
Church bearing this popular name. They renounced all 
rules of Church government, and took the New Testa- 

lished in Baltimore and edited by Melville B. Cox. It was a small 
eight-page paper, which appeared twice a month. The editor says 
in his prospectus it is not published for aggression, but for defense. 
"'Memorials of Methodism in Virginia," page 327. 

188 Methodism in North Carolina. 

ment for their guide. In the ministry there were to be no 
grades; all were to stand on an equal footing. Mr. 
O' Kelly went to work with much zeal to establish his 
Church by personal work and by correspondence. Much 
of his writings were in bad taste, not to say in a bad spirit. 
The first of his writings that attracted much attention 
was written soon after his secession, a pamphlet entitled, 
"The Author's Apology for Protesting Against the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Government/' In this in speaking of 
Bishop Asbury, he calls him Francis. Mr. Wesley he 
designates as John, etc. To this a reply was published by 
Mr. Snethen, which had a wonderful influence in arrest- 
ing the schism. 1 The spirit of division prevailed chiefly 
in the southern counties of Virginia and North Carolina. 
In this region the influence of O' Kelly was greater than 
in any other part of the connection. 

"And although his success in gaining proselytes from 
the ranks of Methodism was far less than he anticipated, 
yet the history of this painful schism is full of sad memo- 
rials ; families were rent asunder ; brother was opposed to 
brother; parents and children were arrayed against each 
other ; warm friends became open enemies ; the claims of 

1 Rev. Nicholas Snethen, "A Reply to an Apology," etc., which 
called forth "A Vindication of an Apology," by James O'Kelly, which 
was met by "An Answer to James O'Kelly's Vindication of His 
Apology," by Mr. Snethen. In addition to these Mr. O'Kelly wrote 
much more: "The Prospect Before Us," Hillsboro, 1824; "Letters 
from Heaven Consulted," Hillsboro, 1822; "Divine Oracles Con- 
sulted," when published it is not known. In one of the pamphlets 
published by Mr. O'Kelly, Bishop Asbury is designated as the "Bal- 
timore Bull," and the picture of a bull's head graces the title-page. 

The First Schism in Methodism. 189 

Christian love were forgotten in the hot disputes about 
Church government. The means of grace were neg- 
lected ; piety declined ; religion was wounded in the house 
of her friends, and the enemies of Christ exulted over 
many who had fallen away from the faith." 1 Jesse Lee 
says : "It was enough to make the saints of God weep be- 
tween the porch and the altar, and that both day and 
night, to see how the Lord's flock was carried captive by 
that division." 

O'Kelly was zealously pushing his cause and creating 
as much dissatisfaction as possible; and then the subject 
of religion was neglected and the people were talking 
Church government. Spirituality was waning, and it is 
very difficult to estimate the evil results of the division. 
Various estimates have been made as to the number of 
members lost to the Methodist Church. In O'Kelly's old 
district, where he wielded his greatest influence, one cir- 
cuit from 1792 to 1795, when the excitement was at its 
highest, lost two hundred members ; while there were two 
circuits in the very field of strife that had a net gain of 
four hundred. Hence the difficulty in tracing the loss to 
the schism; for after all their efforts up to 1794, the 
seceders had only about one thousand members. At any 
rate, the bad effect upon the Church was not in the loss 
of members, but in the bad spirit that was disseminated. 

We insert the following from the "Principles and Gov- 
ernment of the Christian Church," published at Suffolk, 
Va., in 1867: "Those who were instrumental in its estab- 

'"Memorials of Methodism in Virginia," Bennett, page 328. 

190 Methodism in North Carolina. 

lishment were Virginians and North Carolinians. The 
leading spirit in the organization was Rev. James O' Kel- 
ly, a distinguished minister in the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, who labored earnestly and effectually in giving 
permanency and character to this Society, then in its in- 
fancy in this country. Mr. O'Kelly had hoped to find 
with the Methodists that spirit of liberality and reform 
that would ultimately permeate every Christian com- 
munity and open the door of universal religious suffrage 
and harmonious union. But the arbitrary measures of a 
few individuals who at that time ruled the whole connec- 
tion crushed his hopes in that direction, and he deter- 
mined, though reluctantly, to withdraw and continue his 
work independent of them, which he did in the year 1792, 
followed by about twenty or thirty other ministers. After 
one or two preliminary meetings, Mr. O'Kelly and his as- 
sociates met in General Conference the next year in Surry 
county, Va., and after mature deliberation adopted sub- 
stantially the principles now maintained by the Christian 
Church, only they called themselves "Republican Meth- 
odists," which, however, they dropped the following year, 
and established the name Christian. Those who entered 
into this new organization in 1794 numbered about one 
thousand, and many more united with them the next 

In a few years they had established churches in many 
portions of North Carolina and Virginia, having many 
devoted and God-fearing men and women worshiping at 
its altars. They began the publication of a periodical at 
Hillsboro in 1844. Subsequently it was removed to Pitts- 

The First Schism in Methodism. 191 

boro, where it was continued to be issued until the death 
of its editor, Elder Kerr. It was called The Christian 
Sun, and was published semi-monthly. It was later 
moved to Raleigh, and in 1852 it appeared as a well- 
printed weekly. It has since been removed to Elon Col- 
lege, where it is still published. 

But while the Church had some growth, O' Kelly was 
no doubt sadly disappointed. He was ambitious, and 
when he saw all but one of the itinerants return and again 
r^lly around the standard of Methodism, he was greatly 
humiliated. He lived to see Bishop Asbury "descend to 
his grave in peace and full of honors, mourned by grateful 
thousands, as the father of American Methodism" ; and 
his place filled by McKendree, whom he had expected to 
see a leader in his own works. If O'Kelly regretted his 
course, he never publicly expressed it. Peter Doub says 
he saw a letter written by O'Kelly to Rev. Edward Can- 
non, presiding elder on the Yadkin District, in which he 
expressed a regret as to the condition of his followers, 
and asked that Cannon take them "officially under his 
charge," saying "I am too old, and circumstances forbid 
me from doing so myself." 1 Just what O'Kelly meant by 
this is not exactly clear, but it leads us to the conclusion 
that he was not satisfied as to the final outcome of his 

Bishop Asbury visited him in 1802, and makes this 
statement in his Journal : "We met in peace, asked of each 

1 Peter Doub, in the Enterprise, May 14, 1866. Edward Cannon 
was appointed to the Yadkin District in 1814-17. It was during 
this time that the letter was written. 

192 Methodism in North Carolina. 

other's welfare, talked of persons and things indifferently, 
prayed, and parted in peace. Not a word was said of the 
troubles of former times — perhaps this is the last inter- 
view we shall have upon earth." O'Kelly settled in 
Orange county, North Carolina, and lived to the good 
old age of ninety-one years. There he built a church 
which still bears his name, and where his memory is still 
held in great veneration by all classes. After a long and 
stormy life, he died in peace on the 16th clay of October, 


About the same time of ttheO' Kelly an schisnfr there was 
another division in the Church, though of less magnitude, 
which began in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1791. 
However, it affected Methodism in North Carolina very 
little. It was brought about by Mr. William Hammett, 
who was an Irishman by birth. He had been a Methodist 
preacher in the West Indies. He had not been in Charles- 
ton long before he endeavored to lay his plan for a separa- 
tion, and to use his influence to divide the Methodist So- 
ciety. He left the Methodists himself, and began to 
preach in the market house of the city. He never re- 
turned to preach among us as a Methodist preacher. In 
1792 he drew off "a great part of the Society" in Charles- 
ton. Several local preachers joined him, but no traveling 
preacher. This is a remarkable fact, as is also the fact 
that only one went w ith O'K elly. M r. Hammett called 
his party the ^primitive Method ists/^ His purpose was 
to make the people believe that he was on the plan that 
the Methodists set out with at the beginning. He built 
a large church in the city, and one in the suburbs. His 

The First Schism in Methodism. 193 

followers also erected one at Georgetown, one in Savan- 
nah, and another in Wilmington, North Carolina. Here 
he collected a large congregation of colored people. Mr. 
Hammett wrote several pamphlets against the Methodists, 
some of which were replied to by Thomas Morrill and Dr. 
Coke. Hammett died on May 14, 1803, after a short ill- 
ness. After his death the Society became greatly scat- 
tered. His church in Georgetown was turned over to the 
Methodists, and the one in Savannah was seldom used. 
The one in Wilmington was finally turned over to the 

But the final wind up of all these divisions was pre- 
dicted by Bishop Asbury, where he said : "The General 
Conference and the District Conferences have kept us a 
long time from our work; but after all Satan's spite, I 
think our sifting and shaking will be for good : I expect a 
glorious revival will take place in America, and thou- 
sands be brought to God." This prophecy was fulfilled 
within the next decade, with one of the greatest revivals 
that the world has ever known since the day of Pentecost. 


I784 TO l800. 

Division of Circuits. Haw River Circuit Appears for the First 
Time in 1793. Henry Willis. Thomas Humphreys — Incidents. 
William Partridge. Thomas Bowen. Isaac Lowe. Early Life 
of William Burke. Quarterly Meeting at Hawfield. Thomas 
Ware on the Caswell Circuit — Blessed with a Great Revival — 
Appointed Presiding Elder. General Bryan Converted. Enoch 
George and Henry Hill on Caswell. Revival in Guilford. Bish- 
op George Preaches in John Street Chapel. Coleman Carlisle. 
Mount Pleasant Church on Haw River Circuit. Thomas Mann. 
Daniel Hall. Sairmel S. Steward. Expulsion of Simon Carlisle. 
Lewis Garrett. Bishop Asbury Again in North Carolina. Francis 
Poythress on a Large District. Size of Districts. 

Three circuits appear on the minutes for 1779 — New 
Hope, Tar River, and Roanoke. In another chapter we 
followed the development of Methodism in the territory 
embraced by the "Old Roanoke Circuit," and found that 
in 1800 there were eight circuits in that section of the 
state, with a membership of white and colored of three 
thousand three hundred and eighty-four. Now, let us 
turn our attention to the growth of Methodism in the 
central part of the state. 

In 1784, in what had been the two circuits, New Hope 
and Tar River, there were five circuits embraced in this 
territory — namely, Guilford, Caswell, Wilmington, New 
Hope, and Tar River — with a membership of one thou- 
sand one hundred and fifty-seven. There were very few 
changes in circuit boundaries in the next ten years. In 


Growth in the Central Section. 195 

1786 Wilmington disappeared from the list of appoint- 
ments, and Bladen, embracing" practically the same terri- 
tory, was added in 1787. There was no further change 
until 1793, when Haw River appears -among the appoint- 
ments. This circuit was formed from the New Hope and 
Tar River circuits. Haw River only appeared on the 
minutes for one year (1793), and is not mentioned again 
until 1797. Franklin was formed in 1794. The consid- 
eration of Methodism in the Cape Fear section will be 
reserved for another chapter. 

Perhaps no one man did more to develop Methodism on 
the old New Hope Circuit than Henry Willis. He was 
born in Brunswick county, Va., and entered the itinerancy 
in 1779. His bodily infirmities were great, being fragile 
in form and weak physically, yet he did a very arduous 
work. His portrait shows a countenance expressive of 
deep piety and sweet disposition, which were duly char- 
acteristic of him. He labored extensively from New Yorlc 
to Charleston, and wherever he went the cause of Christ 
was built up and his influence was as "ointment poured 
forth." After a lingering illness, he died with a strong 
confidence in God. 

The Guilford Circuit was served in 1785 by John 
Smith and Stephen Johnson. Smith was received into 
the Conference in 1784 and disappeared in 1789, while 
Johnson had just been received, and this was his first year. 
He traveled one year in South Carolina, and during that 
year he doubled the membership on his circuit. 

Thomas Humphreys and Isaac Smith were on the Tar 
River Circuit. They were both men of superior ability. 

196 Methodism in North Carolina. 

Mr. Humphreys was a native of Virginia, and was ad- 
mitted on trial in 1783. His first appointment was Berk- 
ley. The two following years he traveled respectively the 
Guilford and Tar River circuits. He assisted in forming 
the Little Pee Dee Circuit in 1789, and was presiding 
elder in 1797. "He was a man of fine personal appear- 
ance, preached with great earnestness and power, and was 
distinguished for his native wit and fearlessness. In the 
judgment of Mr. Travis, who often heard him, he was 
one of the greatest natural orators of his day, though by 
no means free from eccentricities." 

Dr. Shipp, in his "History of Methodism in South Car- 
olina," relates some incidents that show the style of his 
preaching. They also show the plainness of speech that 
was used by the early Methodist preachers in this country. 
While on the way to church one Sunday, a good sister 
said to him in a timid yet persuasive tone, "Now, brother 
Humphreys, recollect you are to preach to town folks ; it 
will not do to be too plain." Mr. Humphreys made no 
response, but the good sister felt encouraged to hope for 
a discourse in full accordance with town culture. In 
preaching, however, with great earnestness on the duty 
of repentance, he said, with full emphasis, "If you don't 
repent, you'll all be damned." With the air of sudden 
recollection, and very great alarm, he jumped back in the 
pulpit and began to apologize : "I beg your pardon ; you 
are town folks." This he repeated several times during 
the discourse, in each instance suiting the action to the 
word, and adding at the last, "If you are town folks, if 
you don't repent and become converted, God will cast you 

Growth in the Central Section. 197 

into hell just as soon as he will a piney-woods sinner." 
The timid sister sat with her head bowed in great, disap- 
pointment, fully resolved never to try to teach Mr. Hum- 
phreys any more pulpit aesthetics. 

On one occasion he was preaching at a church where 
there had been some time before a great revival of re- 
ligion. A dancing master had come into the neighbor- 
hood to make up a school, and some of the young converts 
had been persuaded to enter it. Mr. Humphreys in his 
sermon described in a graphic manner the wiles of the 
devil, traced out in minute detail his multifarious ways to 
ruin souls, all along developing lines of resemblance be- 
tween Satan and a dancing master, until at length the lat- 
ter could stand it no longer. He accordingly took up his 
hat and started toward the door: just as he approached it, 
Mr. Humphreys said, with loud and impressive voice, 
"But, brethren, resist the devil, and he will flee from you 
just like the dancing master." He no more made his ap- 
pearance in the neighborhood. In addition to serving 
the Guilford and Tar River Circuits in North Carolina, 
Mr. Humphreys served Salisbury in 1787. He lived 
to a good old age, loved and esteemed by all who knew 

Isaac Smith only remained on the Tar River Circuit a 
part of the year, having to fill a vacancy on an adjoining 
circuit, during the necessary absence of its preacher. 1 
Henry Jones was this year on the New Hope Circuit. He 
was admitted in 1782, and served Pittsylvania, Fluvania, 

'Sprague's Annals, page 104. 

198 Methodism in North Carolina. 

New Hope, and Brunswick. After 1787 his name disap- 
pears from the minutes. 

This section of the state was well served in 1786. 
Thomas Anderson and Micajah Tracy were on the Tar 
River Circuit, William Partridge on New Hope, John 
Baldwin on Guilford, and Sihon Smith on Caswell. Some 
of these gave long and efficient service to the Church. 
There is only one in this list that deserves special mention 
in this connection, and that is William Partridge. He 
was born in Virginia in 1754. At about twenty years of 
age he embraced religion. He entered the traveling con- 
nection in 1780, and traveled nineteen years. Then he 
spent twenty-five years of his life as a local preacher; 
reentered the itinerancy, and while on the Sparta charge, 
Georgia, he died in 1817. As a preacher he was "experi- 
mental, practical, and plain, and none were at a loss to un- 
derstand him." Micajah Tracy joined the Conference in 
1786, and located in 1791. 

In 1787 Tar River and New Hope were served by two 
men, if we may judge by the appointments they filled, 
who became leaders in the Church. They both served 
some of the strongest charges, and they both in after years 
became Book Stewards. The men referred to are John 
Baldwin and Thomas Bowen. The latter, after serving a 
number of circuits, Roanoke and Tar River among them, 
was made presiding elder. He filled this important and 
delicate office — and especially was it important and deli- 
cate at that particular period — 1790 to 1795. This may 
seem a short term to remain in that coveted office, but it 
was quite a long one at that time. At the Conference in 

Growth in the Central Section. 199 

1795 he was appointed Book Steward. His name then 
disappears from the minutes. 

Isaac Lowe had a great deal to do in developing Meth- 
odism in this part of the state. He spent the most of his 
itinerant life in the central part of the state as circuit 
preacher and presiding elder. He was admitted into the 
Conference in 1787, and after spending one year on Or- 
ange Circuit he was appointed to Caswell in 1789. In 
1790 he was on the New Hope. It was during this year 
that William Burke was awakened under his ministry; 
and if he had done nothing more than this, he would have 
started an influence for good that can only be measured 
in eternity. William Burke had come from Virginia in 
1787 with his father and settled in Guilford county, not 
far from Guilford Courthouse. He soon removed to 
High Ford on Haw River. Here he entered into all the 
amusements of the day, and became very worldly and sin- 
ful ; but after hearing Lowe preach, he never rested until 
he had obtained experimental religion. It was the cus- 
tom then to call on the young converts to talk and pray in 
public. He says, "I took up my cross and continued to 
pray at every meeting." They saw his ability, and soon 
put him forward to conduct the meetings. He says : "The 
heavenly flame spread through the neighborhood, and the 
neighboring classes caught the holy fire, and in a short 
time hundreds attended our night meeting, and spent the 
whole night, while the mourners were down in the house 
and all over the yard, crying mightily to God for mercy. 
That year George McKinney, a son of thunder, was sent 

200 Methodism in North Carolina. 

to Guilford Circuit, who entered fully into the work, and 
great numbers were added to the Church." 1 

Mr. Burke continued to exercise his gifts in this way 
until the month of August, when he attended a quarterly 
meeting at' the Hawfield, on the New Hope Circuit. 
There was a great congregation present on Sunday. 
Thomas Ware was the presiding elder, but Thomas 
Bowen was at the quarterly meeting on a tour south, and 
preached the first sermon on Sunday. A great revival fol- 
lowed, and "many in that quarter had never seen the like 

Isaac Lowe was then on the New Hope Circuit, and in- 
sisted that young Burke should accompany him round 
the circuit, and it required six weeks to make the tour. 
He did so, "preaching time about" until Lowe was taken 
sick and returned home, leaving Burke to complete the 
round. When Burke returned home, he found that one 
of the preachers had left Guilford Circuit and gone home, 
and he was requested to take his place, which he did with 
great acceptability. 

He attended the Annual Conference at McKnight's, 
and there appearing to be no vacancy, he returned home ; 
"but," he says, "my mind was not at rest." He continued 
to preach as a local preacher, preaching three, four, and 
five times a week, and riding forty and fifty miles. The 
next Conference was held at Green Hill's, where he was 
admitted on trial and sent to the West New River Circuit 
on the head waters of the Kanawha River, in the state of 

Autobiography of William Burke, in "Western Methodism," 
page 26. 


Growth in the Central Section. 201 

Virginia. He continued to travel in this western country 
until 1797, when he was appointed to the Guilford Cir- 
cuit. While on this circuit he made his home with his 
father, near the High Rock ford on Haw River, Rocking- 
ham county. For some reason, here in this beautiful and 
usually plentiful Piedmont section he found great distress, 
and many perished for want of breadstuff's. 

During the year he attended the General Conference 
which assembled in Baltimore. Throughout Mr. Burke's 
long career he labored successfully in North Carolina, 
Virginia, Tennessee, and Ohio. He filled every appoint- 
ment with ability equal to that which the occasion re- 
quired. He did not lack in executive ability. His preach- 
ing was, from what we can learn, of a high order, with 
the voice of thunder. He was a strong man in debate, and 
engaged in a public debate on two occasions. 

Isaac Lowe was appointed presiding elder in 1791 over 
the following charges: Caswell, Guilford, Yadkin, Lin- 
coln, Anson, and Salisbury. In 1772-4 he was returned 
to the same district. He located in 1795. George Mc- 
Kinney, who was referred to by William Burke as a "son 
of thunder," and who served the Guilford Circuit in 1770, 
was admitted that year, and located in 1794. 

At the Conference at McKnight's in 1789, Thomas 
Ware was appointed to the Caswell Circuit; and he says. 
"At the close of the Conference, I set out for my field of 
labor, poorly clad and nearly penniless, but happy in God." 
The year before he had traveled in Holston, and he con- 
tinues by saying: "In the Holston country there was but 
little money, and clothing was very clear. My coat was 

202 Methodism in North Carolina. 

worn through at the elbows ; and I had not a whole under- 
garment left; and as for boots, I had none. But my 
health was good, and I was finely mounted. I could have 
sold my horse for sufficient to purchase another to answer 
my purpose, and clothe myself decently; but he had borne 
me safely through so many dangers, and once, at least, by 
his instinctive sagacity, rescued me from perishing, that 
I had resolved that nothing but death should separate us. 
This> however, soon occurred ; for in a few days this noble 
animal, my sole property in the world at that time, sick- 
ened and died; so there I was an entire stranger, several 
hundred miles from home, without horse, decent clothing, 
or funds. But not without friends. The good brother 
with whom I stayed gave me a horse for four weeks on 
trial; and I determined to go to Newbern, and try my 
credit for clothing." 1 

While the Methodist preachers were often persecuted 
at that day, yet they were never long without friends in 
North Carolina. Especially was this true with men like 
Thomas Ware, a man with much natural ability highly 
cultured for his day and time. His horse was all his cap- 
ital, his companion through long and lonely hours of 
travel over mountains and through dense forests. Yet 
among strangers, without money, without clothes, and in 
the midst of his misfortune, he found friends and was 
happy in God. The history of the world does not show 
another class of men like the early itinerants of Metho- 
dism in this country. 

"Memoir of Thomas Ware," 1839, page 161. 


Growth in the Central Section. 203 

On his way to Xewbern, Thomas Ware called at the 
house of a gentleman by the name of Howe, who though 
not a Methodist was friendly to them. They talked of the 
western country, in which Air. Howe seemed deeply in- 
terested. He learned of Mr. Ware's destitute condition, 
and was deeply affected ; and of his business to Newbern 
to purchase clothing, where he knew no one. On his de- 
parture, Mr. Howe handed him a letter to deliver to his 
clerk at his store in Newbern. Little did Air. Ware think 
at the time that the letter contained directions for the 
clerk to let him have goods to the amount of twenty-five 
dollars. 'Thus did the Lord provide," says Thomas Ware. 

He returned to his circuit (Caswell), and soon after- 
wards visited a pleasant settlement consisting almost ex- 
clusively of Episcopalians, who had long been without a 
minister. They requested him to preach for them, and 
baptize their children, which he did and found them ripe 
for the gospel. Many children were brought and dedi- 
cated to God in baptism. He addressed the parents, who 
became deeply affected. He went to spend the night in 
the neighborhood, and though no appointment had been 
made, the house was filled with people. He preached, 
and the mother of the family where he was stopping 
began to cry for mercy. Great commotion followed. He 
continued to pray and exhort until midnight. The meet- 
ing continued with increasing interest, and in "six weeks," 
Ware says, "we had a society in this place of eighty mem- 
bers, mostly heads of families." 1 This great work of 
grace began with the baptizing of infant children. 

"'Life of Ware," page 164. 

204 Methodism in North Carolina. 

In 1790 he was appointed presiding elder on a district 
consisting of the following charges : New Hope, Bladen, 
Tar River, East New River, Contentney, Halifax, Meck- 
lenburg, and Cumberland. This district embraced a ter- 
ritory from Burlington to Cape Hatteras, and from be- 
low Wilmington to some distance into Virginia. During 
the year there was a great revival at one point on New 
River. In one family there were thirty who professed re- 
ligion, twelve whites and eighteen colored. This was in 
the family of a distinguished lawyer and a professed deist, 
General Bryan. 1 His wife at a favorable moment had ob- 
tained a promise from the General to attend her to the 
quarterly meeting. When the day arrived, the coach and 
servants were in readiness to convey Mrs. Bryan, but the 
General refused to go. This was a great disappointment 
to her, and she said she would not go without him. After 
hesitating for a moment, she ordered the carriage put up. 
and then, with a forced smile, said : "I must forgive you, 
General, this ungentlemanly act, as it is the first I have 
had to complain of. If you, sir, can lightly get over your 
pledge, I cannot get over mine. I have said I would not 
go without you." She added, "If my husband was a 
Christian, I should be one of the happiest of women.'' 
She burst into tears, and the General said, "I cannot re- 
sist the eloquence of tears; dry them up, and I will go." 

J The facts in reference to General Bryan are from the "Memoir 
of Thomas Ware." The General's initials are not given, but from 
all the light we can obtain we feel very confident that it was Gen- 
eral William Bryan, of Craven county, who was appointed in 1776 
Brigadier General of the Newbern District. He was a member of 
the Assembly at Hillsboro in 1775, and at Halifax in 1776. 

Growth in the Central Section. 205 

Thomas Ware, in giving an account of this incident, 
says: "On Sunday morning the General and his lady 
were seated again in the congregation. Preaching, with 
short intervals, continued for several hours, and the 
whole assembly were, from time to time, bowed down like 
the slender reed before the passing breeze; but none of 
them as yet lost their elasticity. Many hearts became 
bruised, but none broken. The last that spoke melted his 
suitors on these affecting words, namely, 'Which none of 
the princes of this world knew; for had they knozvn it, 
they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.' Under 
this discourse General Bryan was seen to weep" ;* and 
many were surprised when he arose and asked permission 
to speak. And in addressing them, he made a confession 
of his belief in God, and in his Son, Jesus Christ, as his 
only Saviour. The congregation was deeply moved, and 
the meeting continued until sundown, while many others 
returned to the Lord. 

Just before leaving North Carolina, Thomas Ware had 
a very unusual offer made him. It will be remembered 
that he came here a stranger, with no money and not 
decently clad, but he found friends. And now, as he is 
about to leave, an aged couple having no children but 
good property offered him all of their estate if he would 
remain with them. He says, "This presented a strong in- 
ducement to exchange a life of poverty and toil for one 
of affluence and ease." But it was refused, that he might 
continue in the itinerancy. 

"'Life of Ware," page 166. 

206 Methodism in North Carolina. 

Thomas Ware was a man of learning as well as being 
an all-round man. He was born in New Jersey, December 
J 9» l 75&- At the age of twenty-three he was converted 
under the ministry of Caleb Pedicord. His name appears 
on the minutes for the first time in 1784. He traveled two 
years in Holston, two in North Carolina, and his next ap- 
pointment was Wilmington, Delaware. His ministerial 
career extended over a period of more than fifty-seven 
years, and he was for some time before his death the old- 
est Methodist preacher in the country. He was elected 
in 18 12 one of the Editors and Book Stewards, where he 
served for four years. He died in Salem, N. J., March 
11, 1842. Thus passed away one of the most cultured 
and heroic men of early Methodism. 

In 1 79 1 another was sent to the Caswell Circuit who 
afterwards rose to great distinction in his Church. The 
preacher referred to is Enoch George, who was elected 
and ordained a bishop in 181 6. His colleague on the Cas- 
well Circuit was that great and good man, Henry Hill, 
said by Mr. Asbury "to have been the evening star of that 
period in Methodism." He had been educated for a 
lawyer, but when God laid his hand upon him, and sent 
him out to call sinners to repentance, he went "as a star 
in God's right hand." Enoch George says they com- 
pleted their labors "on the circuit with pleasure and suc- 
cess." 1 During the year a strong and lasting friendship 
was started between these ministers of the gospel that 
grew stronger as the years went by. 

'Methodist Magazine, Vol. XII., page 134. 


Growth in the Central Section. 207 

The next year, 1792, Enoch George is on the Guilford 
Circuit, where, he says, "it pleased the Head of the 
Church to revive his work gloriously." Here Mr, George 
found more "noise and extravagance of various kinds" 
than he had ever seen before, and much of it he failed to 
endorse. This year the General Conference met, in which 
the O'Kellyan schism arose. Isaac Lowe, the presiding 
elder, being afflicted and unable to go, sent George in his 
stead, which was quite complimentary to one of his years. 

But Enoch George was destined to reap greater honors 
still, for he continued to grow in popularity as a preacher 
and as a man of superior ability, until in 1816 he was 
elected to the highest office in the gift of the Church. 
This place he filled with great ability, being always equal 
to every occasion. Rev. Samuel Luckey described a scene 
in Old John Street Chapel in New York which occurred 
about a month after Enoch George was made bishop. 
When the speaker appeared and it was whispered from 
seat to seat, "It is Bishop George," a disappointed ex- 
pression was depicted on many faces. As he read his 
hymn, every one seemed startled. They could hardly be- 
lieve that such a voice could come from a man so ordinary 
in appearance. He looked like -a weather-beaten soldier. 
"His hair, which was thick and bushy, was parted in the 
center and thrown loosely back upon his back and shoul- 
ders. His dress was not only plain, but slovenly — not 
at all in keeping with the place which he occupied." So 
when this rough-looking man began to enunciate his hymn 
in that clear, penetrating voice, no wonder they were 
startled. But in the midst of his sermon, "like a mighty 

208 Methodism in North Carolina. 

cataract, he rushed on with constantly increasing impetu- 
osity, till every nerve that had braced itself to resist was 
unstrung, and his hearers seemed passively to resign them- 
selves to an influence which was too strong for them." 1 

Bishop George was a man unassuming and diffident 
almost to a fault. He had fine conversational powers in 
the midst of his intimate friends, but studiously avoided 
the company of strangers. He was a man of great humil- 
ity, piety, and usefulness. His death was one of victory, 
and his last words were full of intense rapture. 

Coleman Carlisle traveled the Tar River Circuit in 
1793. Up to this time the territory about Raleigh had 
been embraced in the Tar River Circuit, but this year the 
Haw River Circuit was formed, and all that territory was 
embraced in it. The arrangement only continued one 
year, and Haw River does not appear again on the min- 
utes until 1797. From that time, the Haw River Circuit 
extended east to Edward Morris's, which was about a 
half mile from Hunts ville on the Raleigh and Gaston 
Railroad. 2 

Coleman Carlisle joined the Conference in 1792, and at 
the close of 1803 located. He reentered in 1819 and 
served until 1823, when he located from absolute neces- 
sity. "I have known him," says Mr. Travis, "after re- 
turning home from several miles distant, after supper to 
take the same horse (having but one) and plow him by 
moonlight until near midnight, and then go off next 
morning to his appointments." He was a very popular 

^prague's Annals, page 193. 

2 "Centennial of Methodism," 1876, page 88. 


This building is in Chatham Count}- four miles southeast of Liberty, and was erected 

under the direction of Bishop Asbury, about 1791. 

Growth in the Central Section. 209 

preacher, and was sent for far and near to preach funeral 
sermons, for which he received no compensation. But 
he is now reaping his reward. Of course up to this time 
there were very few houses of worship that deserved the 
name of a church, according to our idea of a church build- 
ing, yet God owned and blessed his word, and souls were 
converted and made happy in his love ; and what need we 
care for the style of house? They were all built very 
much alike, and to describe one is to give some idea of 
them all. Mr. E. W. Atwater, in the Raleigh Christian 
Advocate for November 4, 1888, vividly described the 
old Mount Pleasant church on the Haw River Circuit, 
now a very strong country church. He says there was a 
society there as early as 1790. "Soon after this a church 
was built upon this lot, of unhewed logs, covered with 
boards which were held in place with poles and rocks in- 
stead of nails, with no floor except that nature provided, 
and split logs laid upon other logs large enough to raise 
them sufficiently were the pews with which this first 
church was furnished. It was in this rude house that the 
Methodists began the work of Christianizing this com- 
munity, which was desperately wicked." 

In 1794 Thomas Mann was appointed to the Tar River 
Circuit, having just been admitted into the Conference. 
•He was born in Virginia, April 1st, 1769. He traveled in 
North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee. Here is a par- 
tial list of the appointments he filled: 1794, Tar River; 
1796, Union; 1797, Pamlico; 1798, Swannanoa ; 1799, 
French Broad; 1800, Amelia; 1801, Cumberland; 1802, 
Sussex: 1803, Newbern; 1804, Bertie. He continued in 

210 Methodism in North Carolina. 

the itinerant ranks till called to his reward, on June 22, 
1850, e years in the ministry. "As 

a ministc trine, plain and practical in 

preaching, a. .J rjenera.Iy useful and acceptable where he 
labored.'" 1 

Thomas Mann wis followed on Tar River by Daniel 
Hall, who was far alove the ordinary. He entered the 
ministry at an early a~e, a::d soon rose to take a stand 
among the first class. "He possessed a sound judgment, 
was an excellent disciplinarian, and as a presiding elder 
had no superior in the Church." He did not often address 
the Conference, but when he did, his words were listened 
to with profound attention. For fifty years he filled his 
place as an itinerant Methodist preacher, and did it with 
honor and usefulness to the Church. 

In 1794 Bishop Asbury passed across Stokes county to 
the head waters of Dan River, where he found Philip 
Sands, who served the Tar River in 1792. The bishop, 
in speaking of him, says : "I met with Philip Sands from 
old Lynn, a child of Providence; after passing solemn 
scenes at sea, he was taken off and left in the lowlands of 
North Carolina. First a Christian, then a preacher. He 
was stationed in Guilford, but offered himself a volunteer 
for Swannanoa ; which station has been vacant nearly six 
months, one of the preachers there being sick and the 
other married." 

Samuel S. Steward was on the Caswell Circuit in 1795, 
Lawrence Mansfield was on the New Hope, and Daniel 

'"Holston Methodism," Dr. R. N. Price, page 322, 

Growth in the Central Section. 211 

Dean and William Wilkerson were on the Guilford. For 
thirteen years Mr. Steward gave faithful and efficient 
service on the following charges: 1792, Orange; 1793, 
Franklin; 1794, Portsmouth; 1795, Caswell; 1796, Tar 
River; 1797, Newbern; 1798, Guilford; 1799, Orange; 
1800, Bottetourt; 1801, Amelia; 1802, Mecklenburg; 
1803, Sussex; and located in 1804. Daniel Dean entered 
the itinerancy in 1790 and located in 1796. 

William Burke was on the Guilford "Circuit in 1797, 
and he mentions several important events which took 
place on the circuit that year. Among others, he men- 
tions the fact of receiving Simon Carlisle back into the 
Church. Carlisle had been a traveling preacher in the 
Conference, but was expelled in 1794. He was admitted 
in 1790, and appointed to the Caswell Circuit; 1791, Lin- 
coln; 1792, Salisbury; 1793, Trent; and was dismissed in 
1794. Carlisle was a very talented young man, and was 
very acceptable and useful wherever he went. He had 
just completed his year's work on the Caswell Circuit. 
"In those days it was the custom for the preacher to select 
some place in the circuit which he considered his home, 
where he deposited for safe keeping his surplus books and 
clothes, etc. He had made his home at brother Harri- 
son's, not far from Dan River ; and on the morning he was 
about to leave the circuit for the Annual Conference, he 
packed up his things in his saddlebags and left them in his 
room unlocked and went out to see something about his 
horse. In his absence a wicked young man, son of brother 
Harrison, put a pocket pistol into his saddlebags. On his 
return to the room, without making any examination, he 

212 Methodism in North Carolina. 

locked his saddlebags and left for Conference. When 
he arrived at his mother's, on the way to Conference, on 
taking his things out of his saddlebags he found a pocket 
pistol. He could not account for it being there ; but leav- 
ing it, he proceeded on to Conference. During the year 
the pistol was taken to a shop on the road to have some 
repairs done to it, and a person passing challenged the 
same as being the pistol of young Harrison, and the same 
was traced to brother Carlisle. At the next Annual Con- 
ference he was charged with the fact of taking the pistol, 
and excommunicated from the Church. During the sum- 
mer of 1796 young Harrison was taken sick and died ; but 
just before his death he made a full confession of his 
having put the pistol into the saddlebags of brother Car- 
lisle, with the intention of injuring him." 1 Mr. Burke 
says he had the pleasure of restoring brother Carlisle to 
the bosom of the Church, to his great joy. He remained 
a minister in good standing in the Church, living for 
many years in Middle Tennessee, and finally connected 
himself with the Tennessee Conference as a traveling 

Lewis Garrett traveled the Haw River Circuit in 1797, 
and Caswell in 1798. These are the only years of his 
long and useful life that were spent in North Carolina. 
He was born April 24, 1772, and in 1794 he was admitted 
into the traveling connection. He traveled extensively 
through Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and traveled the 
two years mentioned above in North Carolina. He lo- 

1 Autobiography of William Burke. 

Growth in the Central Section. 213 

cated in 1805, and in his writings he leaves this explana- 
tion why he located : "Twelve years' incessant travel and 
labor, upon an extensive scale, had considerably enfeebled 
a once robust constitution.'' 1 Though he was located, he 
was not idle. He was still abundant in the work of the 
ministry. In 1816 he reentered the traveling connection, 
and after remaining active until 1837 he again located; 
but in 1848 he appears as a superannuated preacher in 
the Mississippi Conference, which relation he sustained 
until his death on April 28, 1857, in the full assurance of 
faith, aged eighty-five years and four days. His last 
days were spent as a missionary among the colored people. 
In October, 1799, Bishop Asbury made another visit to 
North Carolina. Coming into the state from Virginia, 
he crossed Dan River at Perkins Ferry, and went to John 
Harris's in Rockingham county. On Tuesday, 1st of Oc- 
tober, he was at Smith's meetinghouse, which was on the 
Guilford Circuit, where he preached on Hebrews iii. 12, 13. 
He says: "We dined at Martin's, and then came on to 
father Low's; we have ridden but eight miles this day. 
At Low's meetinghouse a large congregation attended : I 
spoke upon Isaiah xi. 1. The heat was very painful. I 
suppose we congregate from three to six thousand souls 
weekly ; thus, if no more, I can say that my traveling hath 
brought thousands to hear the gospel who, probably, 
would not otherwise have heard it." They then went to 
Covey's in Guilford county. Then down on South Fork 
of Haw River. They attended a quarterly meeting on 

'"Methodism in Tennessee," page 181. 

214 Methodism in North Carolina. 

Saturday and Sunday at Bethel on Belew's Creek, where 
the bishop ordained five deacons, and had a "gracious 

They rode through Stokes county, and attended meet- 
ing at Love's Church. Here the bishop found something 
that was so unusual that he makes special mention of it. 
In speaking of Love's Church, he says "it has glass win- 
dows and a yard fenced in." Of course at that day it was 
remarkable for a church to have glass windows. Jesse 
Lee, who was with the bishop, preached here. The next 
stop was at William Jean's, near the "Moravian Old 
Town." "We held meeting," says the bishop, "and had a 
multitude of Germans present." They then pass through 
Salem, and on to McKnight's and across the Yadkin, into 
what is now Davie county, and preached at Whitaker's 
Church, near Brown's old mill, on Dutchman Creek. 
Nothing of this old church remains but the foundation 
stones. They visited Beal's Chapel, which was a few 
miles north of the present village of Calahan in Davie 
county. Here Jesse Lee preached on "The word of the 
Lord as a fire and a hammer" ; and the bishop on "Take 
heed how ye hear." This was a great day for Methodism 
in that section. They made their way through Iredell, 
Wilkes, Burke, and Lincoln, into South Carolina. 

In 1800 Francis Poythress, who was one of the first 
circuit preachers in North Carolina, was appointed presid- 
ing elder on a district embracing the following charges, 
extending from Asheville to Cape Hatteras, and from 
Wilmington to the Virginia line: Morganton and Swan- 
nanoa, Yadkin, Salisbury, Haw River, Guilford, Frank- 

Growth in the Central Section. 215 

lin, Caswell, Tar River, Newbern, Goshen, Wilmington, 
Contentney, Pamlico, Roanoke, and Mattamuskeet and 
Banks. For several years the districts have been growing 
larger. On this district there was a membership of 4,429 
whites and 1,253 colored. 

While the presiding elder was traversing these large 
districts, Bishop Asbury was making a visit almost an- 
nually from Maine to Georgia. In 1798 the bishop passed 
through this section, coming by Edward Taylor's in Gran- 
ville, at Banks Church, meetinghouse on Hickory Moun- 
tain, Pleasant Garden, where he lodged with Daniel Sher- 
wood ; thence to Bell's on Deep River, and to Wood's on 
Uwharrie, in the lower part of Randolph, and down Pee 
Dee River into South Carolina. He was continually go- 
ing, superintending the work, preaching and holding Con- 
ferences. The Church was growing, but men were giving 
their lives upon its altars. 



Organization Near Wilmington. Beverly Allen — The First Meth- 
odist Preacher in this Section. Infidelity Around Wilmington. 
More Progress up the River. Moore County Occupied. Bladen 
Circuit Formed by Daniel Combs. Jonathan Bird. Increase in 
Membership. John Ahair. Extent of Bladen Circuit. Samuel 
Edney — Bishop Asbury Visits Edney. Bladen Circuit Embraced 
Six Counties. Ljitmberton. James Jenkins. Persecutions and 
Foes in Wilmington. Methodism in Wilmington. Bennett Ken- 
drick. Growth from 1784 to 1800. 

Before the close of the Revolutionary War, Philip Bruce 
and James O' Kelly organized a small society somewhere 
near Wilmington on the Cape Fear. But it was soon 
broken up, and nothing remained except three good 
women. In 1784 the cultured and polished Beverly Al- 
len, with James Hinton, was sent to form the Wilming- 
ton Circuit. A gentleman living in Duplin county in 
1810 gave the following interesting account of the or- 
igin and growth of Methodism in his county : "The 
first Methodist preacher who visited this county was 
the noted Beverly Allen, who came immediately after 
the Revolutionary War (1784). He was followed by 
sundry other itinerant and circuit Methodist preach- 
ers. They were at first successful. They formed sever- 
al societies and classes in the county. These, however, 
were not all permanent. Many who had joined and 
professed themselves members of the Methodist Church 
began to think the rules and discipline of it too strict to be 

The Cape Fear Section. 217 

by them constantly adhered to. Many fell off and re- 
sumed their former practices, and some joined other 

At this date there was much infidelity around Wilming- 
ton ; the Established Church of England had all the pres- 
tige; and when these two facts are taken into considera- 
tion, it will be seen that it was unfavorable ground for a 
religion that is spiritual and vital. So Methodism at the 
beginning did not find a very fertile field in this section ; 
and for this reason the Wilmington Circuit was discon- 
tinued in 1786, and the Bladen Circuit was substituted 
for it in 1787. 

John Baldwin followed Mr. Allen in 1785. He was a 
man of ability, and lived to fill some of the most promi- 
nent places in the Church. But with the efforts of such 
gifted men as Allen and Baldwin the work did not pros- 
per in the lower Cape Fear. It was quite different further 
up the river. The preachers at an early date came down 
from the Xew Hope Circuit and planted Methodism, and 
soon there was some apprehension that it would become 
the dominant religion in a section of country strongly 
preoccupied by the Presbyterians and Baptists. A writer 
giving an account of the progress of the Churches in 
Moore county in 1810 says: "There are at present but 
three regular Presbyterian congregations in Moore coun- 
ty. The number of communicants is about two hun- 
dred. The Baptists have a number of societies and 
churches, but are likely to be soon outnumbered by the 
Methodists, whose popular doctrines, plans, zeal, and dil- 
igence are better calculated than any other profession to 

218 Methodism in North Carolina. 

make proselytes of the common people. Within the orbit 
of their circuits are a number of places for stated preach- 
ing in the county. We have also a few Quakers — orderly, 
industrious, and worthy members of the community." 
Soon after this prediction this whole section was a net- 
work of appointments embraced in well-arranged circuits. 

In 1787 Bladen Circuit was formed by Daniel Combs, 
who had just entered the itinerancy. After spending one 
additional year, 1788, in Pennsylvania, and another, 1789, 
in New Jersey, he retired from the itinerant ministry. He 
was followed by another young man, Thomas Hardy, 
who only spent one year on Bladen (1788) and one on 
Orange, after which he located. 

Jonathan Bird, who was on Bladen in 1790, was in 
point of ability above the ordinary. He was born in 
Wilkes county, North Carolina, on January 22, 1764. 
His father, Benjamin Bird, afterwards removed near Old 
Fort, where he settled. Jonathan Bird was admitted on 
trial into the itinerancy in 1789, and appointed to Ro- 
anoke; in 1790, to Bladen; 1791, to Guilford; 1792, to 
Caswell; 1793, to Anson; 1794, to Tar River; 1795, to 
Contentney ; and after spending two years in Holston, one 
as a presiding elder, he located, and settled in McDowell 
county near his father. He labored very acceptably as a 
local preacher in that section of the state until 1836, when 
his health had become so impaired that he could no longer 
render service in the pulpit. He died on July 12th, 1848, 
at the ripe old age of eighty-four. 1 

'Rev. John W. Bird, late of the Western North Carolina Con- 
ference, is the grandson of Jonathan Bird. 

The Cape Fear Section. 219 

In June, 1791, John Ahair and William Bellamy were 
on the Bladen Circuit. From the increase in membership, 
it is judged that they did a good work. In 179 1 the min- 
utes show a membership of 287, and in 1792 the number 
reported is 467, showing a net gain of 180. John Ahair 
was a native of North Carolina. He was admitted into 
the traveling ministry in 1791, and died in November, 
1794. The minutes thus speak of him: "A meek-spirited, 
holy, zealous man. Weak in body, strong in faith and 
love, three years wholly given up to the work. He de- 
parted this life November, 1794; — sweetly slept in Jesus 
after a short and happy life, aged about twenty-six years." 

The Bladen Circuit now embraces in its regular ap- 
pointments the entire country from Long Bay in South 
Carolina to the Cape Fear, including Conwayboro, Lum- 
berton, Elizabeth, Smithville, Old Brunswick Court- 
house, and Wilmington. Not only were the numbers in- 
creasing from year to year, but, unlike many other places, 
families of respectability and influence were joining the 
Methodist Church. 

Samuel Edney served the Bladen Circuit in 1792. He 
was born in Pasquotank county in 1768; was led to 
Christ by the preaching of the early Methodists in that 
county, and was licensed to preach in 1790. He served 
the following charges: 1791, New Hope; 1792, Bladen; 
1793, Swannanoa; 1795, Yadkin. When Mr. Edney 
was going from Bladen to the Swannanoa Circuit in 1793, 
there was an appointment made for him with this an- 
nouncement : "Rev. Samuel Edney, an eminent Metho- 
dist minister from the north, will preach here," etc. A 

220 Methodism in North Carolina. 

large audience gathered. With great embarrassment he 
tried to preach while trembling from head to foot. But 
with all this the sermon made a most powerful and lasting 
impression for good. He settled in Henderson county 
at a place that was named for him, Edneyville. He had 
regular Sunday appointments for preaching as long as he 
lived. While he was a local preacher, he was at one time 
postmaster, and was a justice of the peace for forty years. 
He was thus honored and respected by those who knew 
him. It is said that in old age he would often make the 
remark, "I have served God over fifty years, and have 
never seen the moment when I regretted it." He died 
September 17th, 1844. 1 

Bishop Asbury made a visit to Samuel Edney's in 1806, 
and made the following note : "I preached at Samuel Ed- 
ney's. Next day we had to cope with Little and Great 
Hunger Mountain. Now, I know what Mills Gap is be- 
tween Buncombe and Rutherford; one of the descents is 
like the roof of a house, for nearly a mile ; I rode, I 
walked, I sweat, I trembled, and my old knees failed ; 
here are gullies, and rocks, and precipices; nevertheless, 
the way is as good as over the Table Mountain, bad as the 

Joshua Cannon was on Bladen with Mr. Edney. He 
began to travel as an itinerant in 1790, and located in 
1797. Sihon Smith, who will be noticed in another chap- 
ter, and Benjamin Denton traveled the circuit in 1793. 
This was Denton's first year in the Conference, and after 
traveling until 1797 he located. 

Price's "Holston Methodism," page 229. 


The Cape Fear Section. 221 

For the next two years such men as William Bellamy, 
Robert Cox, Rufus Wiley, and John Shepherd served the 
Bladen Circuit. In 1796 Anthony Sale served all this 
large circuit alone; for the circuit embraced at least the 
following counties : New Hanover, Brunswick, Columbus, 
Bladen, Robeson, and Cumberland. And yet Asbury 
says in his Journal during this year, in speaking of Wil- 
mington, "If we had men and money, it would be well 
to station a preacher in such places as Wilmington." 1 

Then, there were other towns within the bounds of the 
circuit, and Asbury says in 1803 that Lumberton had "a 
hundred houses, with a courthouse, and prison, an acad- 
emy, which serves as a church." Fayette ville was here 
also, and it was no doubt much larger. And yet Mr. Sale 
endeavored to occupy this great field. Anthony Sale was 
admitted in 1793, and appointed to Camden. He served 
successively Camden, Amherst, Franklin, Bladen, and 
Norfolk; and located in 1799. 

In 1798 the circuit had three preachers, James Jenkins. 
M. Wilson, and T. Milligan. Jenkins was a man of great 
force, and made perhaps as much impression upon the 
people of the South Carolina Conference as any man who 
has ever labored in that section. He was admitted into 
the Conference in 1792. After a long and faithful serv- 
ice to the Church, he died without a struggle in Camden, 
S. C, on January 24th, 1847. 

In reference to the work of Mr. Jenkins and his col- 
leagues on Bladen, he says in his Memoir : "This year we 

x Asbury's Journal, Vol. TT., page 327. 

222 Methodism in North Carolina. 

raised four new societies on Cape Fear River, and consid- 
erably enlarged the circuit. Before leaving I took occa- 
sion to visit Wilmington, where there was a small society 
of colored people with Meredith (once with Hammett) 
at their head." 1 They built a house of worship, and Mer- 
edith was acting as their pastor ; but persecution raged 
to such a degree that the house was soon burned, and 
Meredith was in prison for several days. Soon after this 
the town itself was burned ; and Meredith, undaunted, col- 
lected his people together in the market place, preached 
to them, among other things telling them, "as they loved 
fire so well God had given them enough of it," this being 
said in allusion to the burning of the town. James Jen- 
kins in his autobiography, published in 1842, says: "I 
have been informed by a lady, acquainted with the facts, 
that there have been five fires in Wilmington since the 
burning of the church, and that one of the leading men 
in this affair has never prospered since." 2 

During the year they had great seasons of refreshing 
at various places on the circuit. At Conwayboro they 
took into the Church all the young folks in the community 
except two. Jenkins says, "I left the circuit, feeling much 
love for the kind people" ; and yet he tells us that after 
wearing out the coat his mother gave him, he went 
around the circuit with only one sleeve. 

Jesse Lee, in his History, says : "The first class of white 
people that was formed in Wilmington was joined to- 
gether on the 24th of December, 1797. There were at 

^'Memoir of James Jenkins," 1842, page 86. 
2 Jenkins, page 86. 

The Cape Fear Section. '223 

that time a few pious persons among the white people in 
that town, and one man that joined with us was a young 
preacher. But the blacks were much more attentive to 
religion than the whites." 1 In 1805 Eishop Asbury says : 
"Our chapel in Wilmington is excellent, sixty-six by 
thirty-six feet. Sabbath our enlarged house was filled 
with both colors." On his visit the next year: "We had 
1,500 hearers in our chapel, galleried all round. I gave 
orders for the completion of the tabernacle and dwelling 
house according to the charge left me by William Mere- 
dith." It is not known definitely what this charge was. 
Meredith applied in 1798 for admission into the South 
Carolina Conference, but was refused, with the assurance 
that if he would come to the Conference the next year, 
show good behavior, and make over his meetinghouse in 
Wilmington to the Methodist Episcopal Church, they 
would receive him. When the question was discussed at 
the Conference in 1799, they refused to admit him, be- 
cause he was not present and they had not learned whether 
he had made over the property or not. 

Meredith died the latter part of 1799, leaving his dwell- 
ing and chapel to the Methodist Church, and Mr. Asbury 
refers to other property that was given which the records 
examined do not show. The ashes of William Meredith 
slept under the porch of the old Front Street Church in 
Wilmington until it was burned, and were then removed 
and buried under the pulpit of the new Grace Church. 

In 1800 Wilmington was made a station, and Nathan 

'Lee's "Short History of the Methodists," page 209. 

224 Methodism in North Carolina. 

Jarratt was appointed as its preacher. He joined the Con- 
ference in 1799; was a native of North Carolina; and 
served the Church until 1803, when he died. The min- 
utes say, "A man of great zeal, pleasing address, and 
greatly beloved." Bladen Circuit was served this year by 
Jeremiah Norman and John Campbell. This was Camp- 
bell's first year in the itinerancy. He traveled until 1809, 
and located. 

"In 1801 and 1802 that prince of Methodist preachers, 
Bennett Kendrick, was in Wilmington." In 1880 Dr. A. 
M. Chreitzberg, then editing the Conference minutes, 
wrote to Dr. Lovick Pierce, of Georgia, for a sketch of 
Mr. Kendrick, from which he gathered that Kendrick 
"was attractive in address, fine in style, liberal in thought, 
easy in delivery; indeed, there seemed to be an har- 
monious sympathy between his mind and his nerves in 
their influence on his muscles. His whole body seemed to 
preach, and every motion was a grace. He was then the 
brightest star in our Conference constellation." While 
he was young in years, he filled such important charges as 
Wilmington, Charleston, and Columbia. He was a native 
of Mecklenburg county, Virginia, admitted on trial in 
1799, and went to his reward on April 5th, 1807. Hun- 
dreds on the appointments which he served could testify 
to his worth and superior ability in the pulpit. 

In 1784 there were only 80 members reported from the 
Cape Fear section. In 1800 we find 778 whites and 345 
colored members reported. At that time there were only 
48 white members in Wilmington, while there were 231 
colored. On the Bladen Circuit the proportions were re- 

The Cape Fear Section. 225 

versed, for there were 720 whites and only 114 colored. 
At first Methodism was especially adapted to the country 
people, and the earnestness shown by its pioneers attracted 
the colored people. More of them would no doubt have 
joined on the Bladen Circuit if they had been permitted to 
attend the meetings. While the Methodist preacher was 
greatly interested in the souls of the black people, the 
owners of slaves did not understand it, and were often 
filled with suspicion. They kept their slaves at home for 
fear they would hear doctrines that were not according 
to the spirit of slavery. This feeling not only kept the 
slaves away, but prejudiced their masters against Meth- 
odism, and thus retarded its progress. 



Colonies Protested Against Slavery — Not Profitable at the North — 
From the First Methodism Opposed Slavery — Wesley's Views — 
Freeborn Garrettson — Journal — Asbury's Position on the Subject 
— His Journal at Different Periods — Dr. Coke Opposes Slavery — 
Violence Threatened in Virginia — Debate of Coke and Lee at 
Green Hill's — Time Proved Lee's Position Wise — Progress of 
Methodism Checked — Suspicion of Slave Owners — Reuben Ellis 
Sought for Chaplain — Change in Wilmington — Wesley First to 
Consider Their Moral Condition — Many Christianized — Metho- 
dism Adapted to the Negro — Their Songs. Meredith Plants 
Methodism in Wilmington. Henry Evans in Fayetteville. Camp 
Meeting in Cape Fear Section. 

The "Negro Problem" did not originate in the dawn of 
the twentieth century, but is a question that has agitated 
the minds of some in Church and State ever since the 
introduction of slavery into this country. Soon after 
the first settlements of the whites upon the American 
shores, the love of gain showed itself in the introduction 
of African slavery. The early colonies protested against 
the traffic, but it was encouraged by England for the sake 
of commerce and wealth. Also New England encouraged 
it and participated in the traffic until they saw that the 
slave was unprofitable at the north. After the union of 
the states, the people saw they had a great evil upon their 
hands, and they began to discuss the question and to try 
to solve the problem. For over half a century the Meth- 
odist Church discussed it at almost every Conference. 



Slavery in Relation to Methodism. 227 

Methodism from the beginning has been pronounced 
upon the subject of slavery, and no doubt it had as much 
to do in abolishing the evil as any other organization. 
John "Wesley gave no uncertain sound concerning his 
views on the subject, when he said : "I strike at the root of 
this complicated villainy. I absolutely deny all slavehold- 
ing to be consistent with any degree of natural justice. 
Much less is it possible that any child of man should ever 
be born a slave. Liberty is the right of every human crea- 
ture as soon as he breathes the vital air, and no human law 
can deprive him of that right." Thus we see how the 
founder of Methodism regarded slaveholding. Many of 
the early leaders of Methodism were equally as pro- 
nounced as Mr. Wesley. 

Freeborn Garrettson, a native of Maryland, and the 
companion of Asbury, referring to his experience on the 
day of his conversion in 1775, says : "This thought power- 
fully struck my mind, Tt is not right for you to keep your 
fellow-creatures in bondage. You must let the oppressed 
go free.' " Hitherto he had not felt that slaveholding was 
wrong, but now he had a conscience upon the subject, and 
at once set them free. Garrettson, when he was sent to 
North Carolina in 1777, made the following entry in his 
Journal : "In September I went to North Carolina, to 
travel Roanoke Circuit, and was sweetly drawn out in 
the glorious work, though my exercises were very great, 
particularly respecting slavery. Many times did my heart 
ache on account of the slaves in this part of the country, 
and many tears did I shed, both in Virginia and Carolina, 
while exhibiting a crucified Jesus to their view ; and I bless 

228 Methodism in North Carolina. 

God that my labors were not in vain among them. I en- 
deavored frequently to inculcate the doctrine of freedom 
in a private way, and this procured me the ill will of some 
who were in that unmerciful practice. I would often set 
apart times to preach to the blacks and adapt my discourse 
to them alone ; and precious moments have I had. While 
many of their sable faces were bedewed with tears, their 
withered hands of faith were stretched out, and their 
precious souls made white in the blood of the Lamb. The 
suffering of these poor outcasts of men, through the bless- 
ing of God, drove them near the Lord, and many of them 
were truly happy." 1 

If we turn to Asbury's Journal, we will see his manner 
of antagonizing slavery at such periods as may be indi- 
cated by the dates affixed to each paragraph following: 
( 1780) "Spoke to some select friends about slave-keeping, 
but they could not bear it. This I know : God will plead 
the cause of the oppressed, though it gives offense to say 
so here. O Lord, banish the infernal spirit of slavery 
from thy dear Zion ! Lord, help thy people. The Lord 
will certainly hear the cries of the oppressed, naked, starv- 
ing creatures." (1783) "We all agreed at the Virginia 
Conference in the spirit of African liberty, and strong 
testimonies were borne in its favor at our love feast. I 
pity the poor slaves. Oh, that God would look down in 
mercy and take their cause in hand!" (1785) "At the 
Conference in Virginia I found the minds of the people 
greatly agitated with our rules against slavery, and a 

l "Life of Freeborn Garrettson," page 60. 

Slavery in Relation to Methodism. 229 

proposed petition to the General Assembly for the emanci- 
pation of the blacks. We waited on General Washington, 
who received us politely, and gave us his opinion against 
slavery." (1798) "My mind is much pained. I am 
brought to conclude that slavery will exist in Virginia for 
ages. There is not a sufficient sense of religion nor liberty 
to destroy it." 

Dr. Coke, who was Bishop Asbury's associate, being set 
apart for the office of superintendent, in 1784, was hostile 
to slavery everywhere he went, in private and in public. 
When he was in Virginia in April, 1785, he preached on 
the evils of slavery, showing its "injustice in terms that 
were not calculated to flatter his auditors." Several left 
the house and threatened violence to the preacher. They 
were encouraged by a fashionable lady who offered fifty 
pounds if they would give the preacher a hundred lashes. 
He was at once surrounded by the mob, who seemed de- 
termined on violence, and Dr. Coke's life would have been 
in danger had it not been for the presence of a magistrate 
who had one of the leaders arrested. After giving vent 
to their rage in many words, the object of their vengeance 
escaped without further molestation. As a result of this 
service, however, several emancipated their slaves." 1 

On the 14th of April Dr. Coke reached North Carolina, 
when he makes this entry in his Journal: "I have now 
done with my testimony against slavery for a time, being 
in North Carolina again." 2 But six days after this we 
find him in Conference at Green Hill's, preparing "a peti- 

1 Arminian Magazine, 1789, page 345. 

"'Life of Dr. Coke," by Samuel Drew, 1837, page 138. 

230 Methodism in North Carolina. 

tion to the legislature praying them to pass an act" that 
in a land which boasted of its independence slaveholders 
should at least be allowed to emancipate their slaves. At 
this time there was a law in North Carolina prohibiting 
emancipation of slaves except for meritorious conduct on 
the part of the slave. The Conference signed the petition. 
They were very sanguine of success for a time, as the 
governor had expressed to Bishop Asbury his approba- 
tion of the measure. While the Conference approved the 
measure, yet quite a heated debate followed on the sub- 
ject. Dr. Coke was very earnest in his denunciation of 
the evils of slavery. Jesse Lee, who was a young man, 
though not afraid to speak of his convictions, even if they 
were contrary to those of the learned Dr. Coke, thought 
it was not wise for the preachers to press the subject of 
emancipation upon the people, as it would bring such gen- 
eral opposition as to prejudice the interest of the slave and 
preclude future attempts at emancipation; that the effect 
of such agitation would only create strife, and greatly 
hinder the spiritual interest of the Church; that it would 
separate the people from their pastors, and do much harm 
in many ways. This was a bold and manly speech ; and 
from the way it stirred Dr. Coke, it must have made a 
profound impression. Dr. Coke drew the conclusion from 
the remarks, or the manner of expressing them, that Mr. 
Lee was opposed to the rules of the Conference, and was 
trying to justify slavery, so he objected to the passage of 
Mr. Lee's character. To which Lee at once replied, and 
being rudely interrupted as he thought, by Dr. Coke, his 
blood grew warm, and words were uttered by both which 

Slavery in Relation to Methodism. 231 

no doubt they afterwards regretted. But Dr. Coke soon 
realized that he had made a mistake in his accusation and 
interruption, for which he apologized, and friendly feel- 
ings were soon restored. 

Time soon proved that Mr. Lee's position was wise, as 
the following from the minutes of the Conference which 
met in Baltimore six months later will show : "The minis- 
ters were authorized "to suspend the execution of the 
minute on slavery till the deliberation of a future Con- 
ference; and that an equal space of time be allowed all 
our members for consideration, when the minute shall be 
put in force." This did not mean that they had changed 
their position on the subject, for they affixed another min- 
ute to show their continued hostility to slavery, and that 
they were unalterably determined to stand firm against 
the practice: "We do hold in the deepest abhorrence the 


practice of slavery, and shall not cease to seek its de- 
struction by all wise and prudent measures." This was 
just what Jesse Lee contended for at the Conference at 
Green Hill's. He believed in exercising wisdom and pru- 
dence; a course which has not always been practiced by 
those who would exterminate this evil. 

The progress of Methodism would have been much 
more rapid had these men of God spent more of their 
zeal to evangelize, and put forth less eifort to set the 
slaves free. If it had not been for extremists on the 
subject, our progress would not only have been greater 
among the whites, but a greater number among the 
blacks would have been evangelized. The Methodist 
preachers were so pronounced against slavery that the 

232 Methodism in North Carolina. 

large slaveholders looked upon them with suspicion, and 
especially was this true in the Cape Fear section. They 
were looked upon as disorganizes and disturbers of the 
peace, hence some slaveholders were naturally afraid to 
trust their slaves with such men. The negro was valuable 
property, bringing from $300 to $1,800; so when it was 
known that the preachers were trying to set them free, the 
owners at once became antagonistic. This often impeded 
the preachers' usefulness. Of course this suspicion was 
not well founded. It was not the desire of any preacher 
to injure the slaveholders. No doubt he intended good 
for both the owner and the slave; but his zeal was not 
always according to knowledge. As soon as the people 
understood the motive of the preacher, they were satisfied. 
An instance given by Bishop Capers confirms this state- 
ment. Reuben Ellis was one of the leading preachers in 
early Methodism. While traveling a district in South 
Carolina, he called upon Elias Ball, who was a wealthy 
and influential citizen of that state ; and the conversation 
turned upon the good that might result from preaching to 
the negroes. It was proposed to make an experiment that 
evening by collecting them in the spacious piazza attached 
to Mr. Ball's mansion, for Mr. Ellis to preach to them. 
He preached accordingly ; and Mr. Ball was so captivated 
with it as to urge for another evening's service. And 
before Mr. Ellis left, he offered him a salary of six hun- 
dred dollars and his board to remain permanently as his 
chaplain and preach to his negroes every Sabbath day. 1 

^'Autobiography of Bishop Capers," page 138. 

Slavery in Relation to Methodism. 233 

When Bishop Asbury visited Wilmington in 1801, he 
says: "The minds of the people are strangely changed; 
and the indignation excited against us is past ; the people 
see and confess that the slaves are made better by religion, 
and wonder to hear the poor Africans pray and exhort." 
It was the custom of many of our preachers to hold a serv- 
ice for the colored people directly after the morning serv- 
ice on Sunday, unless the gallery was sufficient to hold 
them, and in that case they worshiped with the whites. 
It will be observed in the study of Methodist history, and 
it is just to all concerned to state it here, that frequently it 
has been the case that those who made the loudest cry 
against the evils of slavery have done the least to brighten 
the pathway of this unfortunate race. As we have seen, 
Methodism has been from the first pronounced against 
slavery, and they had a right so to express themselves on 
the subject. In fact, it was a bold thing for a weak 
Church to take such a stand at that day. But there were 
many good people in the South who felt that the negro 
needed something else as much as he did his freedom. 
The problem of his enlightenment and evangelization was 
to be considered and solved. Asbury seemed to think be- 
fore his death they could have done more for the negro if 
they had made no attempt at his emancipation, but had put 
all their efforts toward instructing him and bettering his 
condition. If they had confined themselves to this work, 
there would have been no friction between the slave owner 
and the Methodists. 

So far as we know, John Wesley was the first to give 
special attention to the moral and religious training of the 

234 Methodism in North Carolina. 

negro in America. And when Methodism was introduced 
in the South, they at once began to try to uplift and evan- 
gelize them. During the period of which we write Meth- 
odism in North Carolina realized an obligation to give 
these heathen the gospel, as much as to carry it to some 
foreign shore. And while some may look back to slavery 
as a great evil, yet during the time of African slavery in 
the United States there were 700,000 converted to Chris- 
tianity. In the year 1795 in North Carolina there were 
in the Methodist Church 8,414 white members, and 1,719 
colored; and in 1800 the white members had decreased to 
6,363, while the colored members had increased to 2,108. 
These figures show that Methodism was caring for the 

Methodism seems to have had a peculiar attraction for 
the negro. This can be accounted for, not only because 
they saw our interest for them, but because our religion 
was peculiarly adapted to them. It was a religion for the 
people, the common people, as well as for the more intelli- 
gent ; a religion that appealed to the emotions as well as to 
the intellect. In a word, it was a religion of high spiritual 
life. The externality of religion was only a small part of 
Methodism at the beginning. A person in the early days 
of Methodism being recognized as a Methodist, without 
an experience, would have considered himself out of place. 
It was the emotional that caught the negro. Their songs 
and shouts thrilled his soul and set him on fire with en- 
thusiasm, as did the songs sometimes from the gallery 
filled with the negroes thrill the whites with their sweet 
melodies, as they were caught up on the wings of some 

Slavery in Relation to Methodism. 235 

old-time melody and carried for the time being to the land 
of rest where storm and trouble never come. 

William Meredith, who was a very popular preacher 
among the colored people, came to Wilmington about the 
close of the eighteenth century, bought a lot in the suburbs 
and erected a church. While his venture was independent 
of the regular Church, he was on friendly terms with the 
regular preachers, and when he died he left his church 
and all of his property to the Methodist Church. His 
preaching was faithful and earnest, and was listened to by 
both white and black. Bishop Asbury visited this church 
and preached here in 1807. He speaks of hearing John 
Qiarles^a -colored preacher, preach on "Now, no more 
condemnation," at sunrise. And after spending the Sab- 
bath with this congregation, he says it was a "high day on 
Mount Zion." This church and the Episcopal church 
were the only churches here for a long time. Of course 
the Episcopal church had the advantage, as the wealthy 
people looked down upon the Methodist church as the 
"negro church." 

The planting of Methodism in Fayetteville was by a 
negro preacher, and under peculiar circumstances. At the 
beginning of the nineteenth century, there was no church 
building in the town. The Presbyterians had an organ- 
ization, but no church edifice. "One day there came to the 
place Henry Evans, a full-blooded negro shoemaker, who 
was going from Stokes county, North Carolina, to 
Charlestown, South Carolina, where he proposed to locate. 
He is thought to have been born free, and it is known that 
he was converted at an early age. He removed first from 

236 Methodism in North Carolina. 

Virginia to the neighborhood of Doub's Chapel, in what 
was then Stokes, but is now Forsythe, county. Here he 
stayed one year, and was licensed to preach by the 
Methodists." 1 When Evans saw the wickedness which 
abounded in Fayetteville, he decided to settle and preach 
to the negroes. His preaching was with great power. 
Bishop Capers says he was the "best preacher of his time 
in that quarter." He had not been preaching long before 
the "town council" interfered, and nothing that he could 
do would induce them to let him preach. He soon with- 
drew to the woods, out of town, where he held his meet- 
ings, "changing his appointment from place to place." 

He was now out of the reach of the "council," so the 
mob took it up, and pursued him from time to time. It 
was hard for him to get an opportunity to explain himself 
and show the purity of his purpose. But he soon began to 
produce fruit which showed for itself. "One after an- 
other began to suspect their servants of attending his 
preaching, not because they were made worse, but won- 
derfully better. The effect on the public morals of the 
negroes, too, began to be seen, particularly as regarded 
their habits on Sunday, and drunkenness. 2 Public opinion 
was soon changed and Evans was allowed to preach in 
town, and it was not long before "distinguished visitors 
hardly felt that they might pass a Sunday in Fayetteville 
without hearing him preach." When the owners of these 
slaves saw what his preaching had done for them, they, 
too, began to attend his services, and the famous negro 

*Dr. J. S. Bassett, in "Historical Papers," Series IV., 1900, page 8. 
2 "Life of Capers," page 126. 

Slavery in Relation to Methodism. 237 

preacher had some of the leading white people of the town 
to hear him. Among his first fruits were Mr. and Mrs. 
Lumsden, Mrs. Bowen, Mrs. Malsby, and Mr. and Mrs. 
Blake. A meetinghouse was erected, fifty feet long by 
thirty feet wide. The whites soon crowded out the blacks, 
and Evans asked the preacher on the Bladen Circuit to 
take this meetinghouse into the circuit. 

Enough has been said to show that Henry Evans was a 
remarkable man. His deportment was humble and defer- 
ential toward the whites, "never speaking to a white man 
but with his hat under his arm, and never allowing himself 
to be seated in their houses." "The whites are kind to 
me, and come to hear me preach," he would say, "but I 
belong to my own sort, and must not spoil them." Per- 
haps his greatness is seen in his last speech as much as in 
any other one act of his life. It was customary for the 
white preacher to preach for the blacks directly after the 
morning service for the white people. "On Sunday be- 
fore Evans died, as this meeting was being held, the door 
of the little rear room opened and the old man tottered in. 
Leaning on the altar rail, he said very simply: T have 
come to say my last word to you. It is this: None but 
Christ. Three times I have had my life in jeopardy for 
preaching the gospel to you, and if in my last hour I could 
trust to that, or to anything else but Christ crucified, for 
my salvation, all should be lost and my soul perish for- 
ever." Bishop Capers said these words were worthy not 
only of Evans, but of St. Paul. 

The negroes often exhibited a strong faith, and were 
very fervent and earnest in prayer. James Jenkins, in 

238 Methodism in North Carolina. 

1802, tells how difficulties were overcome by the prayers 
of an old colored man. Jenkins was conducting a camp 
meeting near Wilmington, which began on Friday night, 
but the tents were not such as to protect them from the 
rain that was constantly falling. The people were dis- 
couraged. But Sunday morning about sunrise a negro 
man, belonging to brother Bell, "commenced praying near 
one of the tents," says Jenkins, and he and others soon 
joined him — his master among the rest; and the people 
having collected from every quarter, the work broke out 
and spread through all the community. Many souls were 
saved. This old colored man was the instrument selected 
by the Great Head of the Church to set this whole com- 
munity on fire. 

At another time James Jenkins, who was the presiding 
elder on the district, speaks of another colored man upon 
whom he makes quite a different comment. In a quar- 
terly meeting held in an old house near Rockingham, he 
says, "we had some difficulties with an influential colored 
man, who desired further promotion in the Church. He 
became quite impatient and troublesome. I have generally 
found these people cannot bear promotion." 1 It will be a 
revelation to some people to know that the negro was ever 
permitted to hold any office in the Church so far south. 
But it seems he not only held an office, but was demand- 
ing a higher one. 

Rev. Samuel McCorkle, a Presbyterian minister, giving 
an account of a great camp meeting, said by some to be 

"'Life of James Jenkins," page no. 

Slavery in Relation to Methodism. 239 

the first held in North Carolina, which began on January 
1st, 1 1802, in Randolph county, says that after the second 
sermon was delivered and the congregation dismissed, the 
people paused and would not go to their homes or en- 
campments. Some one rose and gave a word of parting 
exhortation, when, as if by an electric shock, a large num- 
ber in every direction, — men, women, children, white and 
black, — fell and cried for mercy. The first thing, he says 
that attracted his attention was a poor black man with his 
hands raised over the heads of the crowd and shouting, 
"Glory, glory to God on high !" As he was going toward 
the tent he saw another black man prostrate on the ground, 
and near by was an old colored woman grasping her mis- 
tress's hand and crying, "O mistress ! you prayed for me 
when I wanted a heart to pray for myself. Now, thank 
God, he has given me a heart to pray for you, and every- 
body else." 

A great deal has been said and written about the cruelty 
of masters to their slaves. This has, no doubt, been mag- 
nified. Dr. Alexander, in his "History of Mecklenburg 
County," says : "There were not a half dozen cruel masters 
in Mecklenburg county. A man that was cruel to his 
slaves was tabooed by the white people, and would not be 
received into polite society." To say that there was no 
cruelty or tyranny in administering discipline would be 
saying too much. Where there were large numbers on a 
plantation under an overseer, who was nothing but a hire- 
ling, it was often the case that the overseer was too op- 

'According to Foote's "Sketches." 

240 Methodism in North Carolina 

pressive and cruel ; but in such a case the slave had access 
to his master who, aside from considerations of humanity, 
had a financial interest to be guarded, and from an eco- 
nomical standpoint it was important that the poor creature 
should be properly cared for. But while many were 
caused to labor and carry heavy burdens, and in some in- 
stances unnecessarily punished, yet upon the whole we 
doubt not that in many respects the negroes were in a bet- 
ter condition then than now. Some have improved their 
opportunities, while many have made their conditions 
worse. For as a rule "the slave was as warmly clothed, as 
securely sheltered, and as bountifully fed as his master." 
The South has often been misrepresented, and has never 
been duly credited for what she has done for the negro 
since he first came to this clime. Even in the days of 
slavery the South did much for him, without permitting 
him to enjoy anything like social equality. Peep into that 
old Methodist home of more than a century ago, and see 
the negroes morning and evening bringing in their chairs 
and forming a circle around the family altar, while the 
father and master read from the old family Bible. And 
when the morning and evening hymn was sung, their 
musical voices could be heard in the great volume of 
praise that went up to the throne of grace. They wor- 
shiped in the same church, heard the same gospel, and 
communed at the same altar. 

So when we consider their condition from the stand- 
point of religion and health, we are not sure that they were 
benefited by freedom. In the time of slavery their fare 
was plain, but abundant. And it is a characteristic of the 

Slavery in Relation to Methodism. 241 

negro to be happy, when well, fed and clothed, and not op- 
pressed with overwork. So that it may be true, as Dr. 
Alexander in his "History of Mecklenburg County" says, 
that they had more real enjoyment prior to 1865 than they 
have ever had since. Yet their condition is not ideal now, 
and the negro problem is still being discussed, and one 
remedy after another is being presented. The question of 
slavery divided the Methodist Church in 1844, an d later 
divided the Union, and caused some of the best blood of 
the North and South to be shed. And yet the negroes 
are with us, their condition not ideal, and many ques- 
tions concerning them unsettled. 



Boundary Line of Salisbury Circuit. Location of Early Churches. 
John Hancock. Methodism Introduced into Salisbury. Mrs. 
Fishburn. Beverly Allen's First Sermon in Salisbury. James 
Foster Established a Preaching Place at Douthet's. Jesse Lee in 
Salisbury — His Journal — Lee's Colleague, Isaac Smith. Zion 
Church. Hope Hull. Henry Bingham. Richard Ivey. Reuben 
Ellis. R. J. Miller. Barnabas McHenry. Mark Moore. Some 
Statistics. John Tunnell. Bishop Asbury in This Section. Josiah 
Askew. John Fore. William Spencer. John N. Jones on the 
Salisbury Circuit. Congress of Methodism. Thomas Wilkerson. 
James Rogers. Claywell's Becomes a Preaching Place. Snow 
Creek. James Patterson — His Diary on Salisbury Circuit. Death 
and Burial of John Lee. 

In another chapter we learned that the Yadkin Circuit 
was formed in 1780 from the Pittsylvania Circuit, with 
twenty-one members, and extended from beyond the Blue 
Ridge to the South Carolina line. Andrew Yeargan was 
its first pastor. He planted Methodism in all that part of 
the state known as the Yadkin Valley. Salisbury Circuit 
was formed in 1783 from the Yadkin Circuit, with Bev- 
erly Allen, James Foster, and James Hinton as its pastors. 
They began with thirty members, but at the end of the 
year they reported a membership of three hundred and 
seventy-five, showing a net gain of three hundred and 
forty-five. It is difficult to find the exact boundary line 
of this circuit. The late Dr. M. L. Wood thought that it 
embraced Rowan, Davie, Davidson, Forsyth, Stokes, and 
parts of Randolph and Montgomery counties. There is 
( 2 4 2 ) 

Development in the Yadkin Valley. 243 

some doubt as to whether it extended so far north, as the 
Yadkin Circuit would in all probability embrace a part of 
this territory. Montgomery county at this period em- 
braced what is now Stanly county, and it is quite sure that 
the preachers on the Salisbury Circuit in 1783 preached at 
Randall's, a few miles north of Norwood, and at several 
points in the forks of the Uwharrie and Yadkin rivers. 
For in all probability societies had been organized in this 
section previous to this date, Dr. Wood thinks as early as 
1780. 1 Center, at first called Reeves's meetinghouse, is 
thought to be the oldest Methodist preaching place in this 
part of the country. It is located between Uwharrie and 
Yadkin rivers, in the upper part of Montgomery county. 
About eight miles north of Center, in the southern part 
of Randolph county, is Salem, which was organized about 
the same time. It was first called Russell's meetinghouse, 
by which it is known in Asbury's Journal. In December, 
1793, Bishop Asbury came across Deep River, crossed 
Uwharrie at Fuller's Ford, and preached at Russell's, now 
Salem, where he met some people who had heard him 
"many years past" in Virginia. He was here again in 
1798 in attendance upon a quarterly meeting. At a very 
early date another society was organized a few miles 
southeast of Center. It was called Hancock's meeting-- 
house, near Macedonia. John Hancock lived near the site 
of this church; he became a local preacher, and was or- 

*Many of these facts concerning Methodism in the forks of 
Uwharrie and Yadkin rivers are obtained from a manuscript pre- 
pared by Dr. M. L. Wood, whose father lived to be very old, having 
a remarkable memory to the last, and from him much of this in- 
formation was received. 

244 Methodism in North Carolina. 

dained a deacon by Bishop Asbury on November 25, 1795. 
His faded ordination paper is now before me. This man 
was a power for good, not only in his immediate neighbor- 
hood, but for many miles around. His ashes now rest 
near the church which for many years honored him with 
his name. The local ministry did much in that day to 
plant Methodism in these scattered communities in North 
Carolina. On the east of Uwharrie there was another 
preaching place on the Salisbury Circuit, which was 
known at that time as Bell's meetinghouse, but the name 
was changed to Prospect. The above churches, with a 
number of others with the exception of Prospect, remained 
on the Salisbury Circuit until 1831, when the Randolph 
Circuit was formed. 

Among the early preaching places further up the Yad- 
kin we find Beal's, Whitaker's, McKnight's, and Olive 
Branch. The latter was located near Farmington in Da- 
vie county. 1 

lr rhe following lines were composed by Dr. E. M. Griffin, of 
Farmington, while sitting near the ruins of this old church, on May 
15, 1904: 

"Thou hast crumbled to the dust, old pile ; 

Time hath wrought thy hallowed fall ; 

Around thy lonely doors clings ivy to the wall, 
Shrouds with its bloom the hidden stile; 

The mourners are scattered now, 
Who oft have sought thy shrine; 

Some with bent form, silvered brow, 
Are left on the sinking sands of time. 

For a hundred years thou hast stood, 
And offered the olive branch of peace, 

To soothe the souls of dying men, who would 
Before thine altar their fetters of sin release." 

Development in the Yadkin Valley. 245 

In 1783 Methodism was introduced into Salisbury, and 
a small class was formed. One of the original members of 
this class was living as late as 1854, and from her in that 
year the facts in the following paragraphs were gathered 
by her pastor, Rev. S. V. Blake, of Bedford, Pa. She was 
the daughter of Mr. William Temple Cole, and was born 
in Cheraw, S. C, in 1763. Her parents moved to Salis- 
bury when she was only two years old. Losing her father, 
her mother married Mr. William Thompson. During 
the great excitement of the Revolutionary War they 
moved to Maryland, where they spent two years. Here 
Miss Henrietta Cole was married to Philip Fishburn. 
After the war was over they returned to Salisbury. 

Miss Cole, now Mrs. Fishburn, had received some early 
religious instruction from her father which had made a 
good impression. She formed a taste for reading in early 
life, which was never lost, and which accounts for the 
rich store of information she possessed. She was con- 
victed at nine years of age and converted in her sixteenth 
year. While she had no spiritual adviser, the Holy Spirit 
seems to have been her guide and teacher from whom she 
learned something of the spiritual life. From the reading 
of "Pilgrim's Progress" she obtained much light and en- 
couragement. At the time of her conversion she had 
never heard of the Methodists. But her conversion was 
bright and happy, and from that joyful hour she lost her 
relish for foolish and sinful amusements, and utterly re- 
fused to participate in a dancing party at her brother's, to 
the astonishment of all present. Her soul hungered for 
religious food, and she sought it from the Roman Cath- 

246 Methodism in North Carolina. 

olics, Quakers, and Dunkers ; but it was all a disappoint- 
ment to her. 

Soon after her return to Salisbury, at the close of the 
war, it was announced that there would be preaching in a 
schoolhouse by a new kind of people, called Methodists. 
She knew nothing about that people, either good or bad ; 
but rejoicing at the prospect of hearing the gospel, she 
went early to the place of preaching, and was expecting to 
see a minister resembling the old church parsons; but 
judge of her surprise, when, instead of a stout, good-look- 
ing, finely-dressed gentleman, with gown and surplice, 
in silk stockings and silver buckles, in walked a slender, 
delicate young man dressed in homespun cotton jeans. 
Though plainly attired, she perceived in his countenance 
unusual solemnity and goodness. The preacher was the 
Rev. Beverly Allen. 

The impressions made upon her mind and heart by this 
sermon, the first she ever heard from a Methodist min- 
ister, were never effaced from her memory. The subject 
was experimental religion, explained and enforced. To 
her surprise, the preacher unfolded her entire experience, 
and seemed to give in detail all the exercises of her mind, 
from her first conviction for sin until she was made happy 
in the love of God. Not till then did she know that she 
enjoyed religion ; although happy, she did not fully under- 
stand why. Her experience exactly agreeing with the 
word preached, she concluded that the preacher, an entire 
stranger, could not have known so much about her had not 
God revealed it to him. At his third visit he formed a 
small class, of which she was one. Such was the intro- 

Development in the Yadkin Valley. 247 

duction of Methodism into Salisbury, in the summer of 


Rev. James Douthet, writing to a friend in 1834, when 
he was quite old, says that during this year, 1783, James 
Foster visited his father's house in Rowan county and 
established a preaching place that continued for many 
years, until a meetinghouse was built in the neighbor- 
hood. Foster was the first Methodist preacher that young 
Douthet ever saw. These early preachers had a very fine 
influence over Mr. Douthet, for he says : "I believe to the 
present day that the religion of Jesus Christ never ap- 
peared more in its native beauty and simplicity in its pro- 
fessors, since the days of the apostles and primitive fa- 
thers, than it did in the Methodist preachers in the infancy 
of Methodism." 

The year following, Jesse Lee and Isaac Smith were 
sent to the Salisbury Circuit, and Philip Bruce was sent 
to the Yadkin Circuit. From the class of men sent to the 
Yadkin Valley for this year, 1784, we would judge that 
it was regarded as a very promising field ; for they were 
among the strongest preachers in the connection. From 
the beginning, Mr. Lee met with great encouragement on 
the circuit. Congregations were large, and anxious to 
hear the word of life. He reached the circuit on the 9th of 
June, and on the 12th he met his colleague at Salisbury 
where they had an appointment to preach. Here Mr. Lee 
says in his Journal that he found "a society of truly affec- 
tionate Christians," to whom the reader has been intro- 
duced. While here Mr. Lee visited the spot near Salis- 
bury where he was encamped with the army in 1780. 

248 Methodism in North Carolina. 

How different his mission now ! He comes now among 
Christian friends to teach them the way of life. In order 
to see the spirit of this man of God and something of his 
field, his work, and the dangers to which he was exposed, 
we will let him speak for himself. We quote from his 
Journal : 

"Sunday, 13th, I preached at Hern's, to a large com- 
pany of solemn hearers. While I was speaking of the love 
of God, I felt so much of that love in my own soul that I 
burst into a flood of tears, and could speak no more for 
some time, but stood and wept. I then began again ; but 
was so much overcome that I had to stop and weep several 
times before I finished my subject. There were very few 
dry eyes in the house. O my God ! what am I that thou 
art mindful of me ? It was a cross to me to come to this 
circuit, but now I feel assured that the Lord will be with 
and support me. 

"The next day I preached at brother Carter's, where I 
spoke, with many tears, to a weeping congregation. 

"Wednesday, 16th, I preached at John Randall's, with 
some liberty. The man of the house was always deaf and 
dumb, yet can pronounce the name of his wife and the 
name of his brother very distinctly; but I could not learn 
that he ever uttered any other word. He is esteemed a 
pious man, and by signs will give a good experience of 
grace, both of his conviction and conversion, and of his 
progress in the service of the Lord ; of the pleasing hope 
he has of heaven when he leaves this world. 

"Thursday, 17th, I preached at C. Leadbetter's on 
Amos iv. 12, 'Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel !' I bless 

Development in the Yadkin Valley. 249 

God for that meeting ; my heart was greatly affected, and 
my eyes overflowed with tears. Toward the end of my 
discourse, the hearers were so much wrought upon that 
I was in hopes of seeing some of them converted before 
the close of the meeting. 

"Sunday, 20th, I preached at Cole's, but the congrega- 
tion was so large that the house would not hold them ; of 
course we had to look for another place ; we got under the 
shade of some trees, where I spoke with great freedom, and 
with a heart drawn out in love to the souls of people ; and 
I felt a longing desire to be instrumental in bringing their 
souls to God. When I met the class, the friends wept 
greatly while they heard each other tell of the goodness 
of God to their souls. The comfort I felt on serving God 
that day would make amends for the sufferings of a 
thousand troubles, — let the people praise thee, O God ! let 
all the people praise thee. 

"Wednesday, 23d [he observed], I preached at what is 
called Jersey meetinghouse, Davidson county; we had a 
good meeting, and I was happy in God while I was speak- 
ing. When I had finished, Colonel G s's wife came 

to me and began to cry, and said, 'I know I am the worst 
creature in the world; my heart is so hard I don't know 
what to do,' and begged me to pray for her. I hope she 
is not far from the kingdom of God." 

Minton Thrift, in his "Memoirs of Jesse Lee," says: 
"A few days after the date of the above extract, he ex- 
perienced a very singular display of Providence, in the 
preservation of his life. Crossing Yadkin River, it being 
deep, the current strong, and he not being well acquainted 

250 Methodism in North Carolina. 

with the ford, he presently found himself among cragged 
rocks which were concealed from his view by the darkness 
of the waters ; this was a critical juncture ; for one moment 
his horse was swimming, then plunging over the points 
of rugged rocks. While Mr. Lee was encumbered with a 
greatcoat, with his saddlebags on his arm, and being but 
an indifferent swimmer, he had but little expectation of 
being delivered from the danger which then threatened 
him; but through the good providence of God he was 
brought through unhurt, and his life preserved for future 

Mr. Lee's colleague, Isaac Smith, was also a man of 
ability, though this was his first year in the ministry. In 
1785 he was appointed to the Tar River Circuit. The 
next year he was with Henry Willis in Charleston. He 
continued to travel as a circuit preacher and presiding 
elder until 1796, when excessive labors proved too much 
for his strength; for which cause he was located until 
1820, when he was readmitted and appointed to Columbia. 
In 182 1 he was presiding elder of the Athens District, 
Georgia. On account of failing health, it became neces- 
sary for him to take a superannuate relation in 1827. He 
was the oldest, and most honored and beloved of all the 
preachers. After much suffering, he died of a cancer July 
30th, 1834, full of faith and the comfort of the Holy 
Ghost, aged seventy-six years, and for more than half a 
century a minister of the gospel. 1 

Tacts gathered from the Minutes, Vol. II., page 346. It is said 
that he wrote memoirs of himself, but we are unable to say if they 
were ever published. Rev. James Patterson wrote an extended 

Development in the Yadkin Valley. 251 

The Conference met at Green Hill's on April 20th, 
1785 ; and Joshua Hartley and Hope Hull were sent to the 
Salisbury Circuit, and Henry Bingham and Thomas Wil- 
liamson to the Yadkin Circuit, with Richard Ivey as pre- 
siding elder. 1 Little is known of Mr. Hartley, but Hope 
Hull became one of the best-known men in the Church. 
He was a native of Maryland; was born March 13th, 
1763. He was sent at an early age to Baltimore, where 
he was apprenticed to a house carpenter and remained 
until he joined the Conference in 1785, at which time he 
was appointed to the Salisbury Circuit. In 1786 he was 
appointed to the Pee Dee Circuit in South Carolina. Dur- 
ing this year he organized a society at Zion, near Mount 
Gilead, in Montgomery county, North Carolina. For 
many years it was called Scarborough's meetinghouse. It 
became a strong church, where camp meetings were held 
annually for fifty years. It was the home church of Rev. 
Lewis Scarborough, of the South Carolina Conference; 
and later, of the Rev. D. R. Bruton, late of the North 
Carolina Conference. 2 

Of Hope Hull's work on the Pee Dee Circuit, Dr. Shipp 
says: "His popularity in the Pee Dee country was un- 
bounded, and his name, like that of Martin, was perpet- 

memoir of him, and published it in the Christian Advocate and 
Journal of January 9, 1835. 

'They were simply called elders at that time, which meant about 
the same as presiding elders in our day; hence we use the term as 
used to-day. 

2 We are indebted to brother H. M. Scarborough, of Mount 
Gilead, for facts concerning Zion church. His father was a local 
preacher, who not only preserved some of the history of this section, 
but helped to make much of it. 

252 Methodism in North Carolina. 

uated by incorporation as a family name in many house- 
holds." Dr. Coke was delighted with him, and in speak- 
ing of his work makes this mention of him : "Mr. Hull is 
young, but is indeed a flame of fire. He appears always 
on the stretch for the salvation of souls." In 1787 he was 
sent to Amelia Circuit, Virginia; 1788, Washington, 
Georgia; 1792, with Jesse Lee in New England; 1794, 
Asbury's traveling companion. He ended his warfare on 
October 4th, 18 18, at the age of fifty-five. 

From the account given of him in "Sprague's Annals" 
by Rev. Dr. Lovick Pierce, he must have been a preacher 
far above the average. He was a fine specimen of an old- 
fashioned Methodist preacher. His oratory was natural. 
He never spoiled his speaking by scholarship restraints. 
He improved every opportunity of doing good, — was 
always ready to represent his Lord. As an evidence of 
this statement, the following story is told. He was in- 
vited to a house to spend the night where a ball was to be 
held, and when requested to dance, "he took the floor and 
remarked aloud, 'I never engage in any kind of business 
without first asking the blessing of God upon it, so let us 
pray.' Quick as thought the preacher was on his knees 
praying in the most earnest manner for the souls of the 
people, that God would open their eyes to see their danger, 
and convert them from the error of their ways. All pres- 
ent were amazed and overwhelmed; many fled in terror 
from the house, while others, feeling the power of God 
in their midst, began to plead for mercy and forgiveness. 
After the prayer, he said, 'On to-day four weeks I expect 
to preach at this house,' and quietly retired. On the ap- 

Development in the Yadkin Valley. 253 

pointed day the inhabitants for miles around were as- 
sembled, and heard one of the most eloquent and power- 
ful sermons that ever fell on human ears. From the work 
begun in a ballroom a most powerful revival of religion 
extended in every direction, and many were added to the 
Church." 1 

Henry Bingham, 1785, was on the Yadkin Circuit. 
This was his first year in the itinerancy. He was a native 
of Virginia; and after being admitted into the Confer- 
ence, he traveled Yadkin, Salisbury, Pee Dee, and Edisto 
circui^. He was a student and a very serious, earnest, 
and faithful servant of the Master. He was zealous and 
fervent in his preaching. At Cattle Creek camp ground, 
in Edisto Circuit, he died in 1788. In his last hours he 
had peace and resignation. 

Thomas Williamson, his colleague on the Yadkin Cir- 
cuit, was a very laborious and successful preacher. He 
wore himself out in the intinerancy, dying in great peace 
near Lexington, Kentucky. During the three years fol- 
lowing the one spent on the Yadkin Circuit, he assisted 
such men as Poythress and Wilson Lee in spreading a 

'See the Centennial edition of the Athens, Ga., Daily Banner, of 
June 16, 1901. Here the editor gives a short sketch of this eloquent 
preacher. The house in which he lived is still standing next below 
Oconee Street Church. He established the Washington Academy 
of Athens in the early part of the nineteenth century. He was 
an active trustee of the university, and at one time acting president. 
His three children were born in Athens. Asbury Hull was a lawyer 
and a man of affairs, being a planter, banker, first president of the 
Southern Mutual Insurance Company, and was prominent in the 
Church and the State. Dr. Henry Hull was a physician and trustee 
of the university, and was at one time professor of mathematics in 
that institution. 

254 Methodism in North Carolina. 

flame of revival fire over the wild and uncultivated regions 
of Kentucky. 

Richard Ivey this year was presiding elder of a district 
embracing Caswell, Salisbury, and Halifax circuits. He 
was made an elder at the organization of the Church, and 
most of his itinerant life was spent in that office. He trav- 
eled extensively in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, 
Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia. He 
was a native of Sussex county, Virginia ; and after spend- 
ing eighteen years in the itinerancy, he died at his home in 
Virginia. The minutes say "he was a man of quicjc and 
solid parts; that he sought not himself." Thomas Ware, 
a young preacher who accompanied him to an appoint- 
ment on one occasion, relates this anecdote of him : "The 
conduct of the English preachers who had been loyal to 
their king had excited toward the Methodist preachers a 
general feeling of distrust on the part of the patriots. The 
native American preachers were all in full sympathy with 
the colonists, but often they had to encounter this, to them, 
painful and dangerous suspicion. Some soldiers where 
Ivey was preaching had loudly threatened to arrest the 
next Methodist preacher that came along. Ivey's appoint- 
ment was near where the army was in camp. He went 
to his appointment. The soldiers came, and the officers, 
walking to the table, crossed their swords upon it. The 
brave little man took for his text, 'Fear not, little flock.' 
As he preached he spoke of the folly of fearing the sol- 
diers of freedom, and throwing open his bosom he said, 
'Sirs, I would fain show you my heart ; if it beats not high 
for liberty, may it cease to beat.' The soldiers were con- 

Development in the Yadkin Valley. 255 

quered, and they left the house huzzaing for the Meth- 
odist parson." 

At the Conference held in Salisbury in February, 1786, 
Reuben Ellis was appointed presiding - elder, with Salis- 
bury, Yadkin, and Holston circuits forming the district. 
Salisbury had for its preachers Thomas Williamson and 
Henry Bingham ; while Robert J. Miller and John Mason 
were sent to Yadkin Circuit. 

The presiding elder, Reuben Ellis, was one of the lead- 
ers of early Methodism. He was a native of North Caro- 
lina. His name first appears on the minutes in 1777, when 
he was appointed as a colleague of Dromgoole to Amelia 
Circuit, Virginia. He died in Baltimore, his last station, 
in the month of February, 1796. At his death the min- 
utes said of him : "It is a doubt whether there be one left 
in all the connection higher, if equal, in standing, piety, 
and usefulness." He gave his life to the preaching of 
the gospel, willing to make any sacrifice and endure any 
hardship in order to make full proof of his ministry. The 
minutes further say: "In twenty years of labor, to our 
knowledge, he never laid up twenty pounds by preach- 
ing." "He was not only a man of one work, but a man 
of God." "He, like Fletcher, lived as on the verge of 
eternity, enjoying much of the presence of God. He 
was always ready to fill any station to which he was ap- 
pointed, although he might go through the fire of tempta- 
tion and waters of affliction." He was a man of large 
stature but slender constitution. He was a wise leader, 
and a true friend. As a preacher he was "weighty and 
powerful." His labors extended from the state of Geor- 

256 Methodism in North Carolina. 

gia to Baltimore. Bishop Asbury, in his Journal, says of 
him : "I was somewhat alarmed at the sudden death of 
Reuben Ellis, who hath been in the ministry upward of 
twenty years ; a faithful man of God, of slow but very 
solid parts. He was an excellent counselor, and a steady 
yoke-fellow in Jesus." 

Robert J. Miller, who was one of the preachers on the 
Yadkin Circuit this year, was sent before the close of the 
year west of the Catawba, to form a circuit in Lincoln. 
However, he did not form a circuit or organize a church. 
He soon fell in with a large settlement of German Lu- 
therans, who received him kindly, and he was soon induced 
to become their pastor at "Old White Haven." He be- 
came dissatisfied with that congregation, and joined the 
Protestant Episcopal Church. "He finally settled, lived, 
and died near the present town of Lenoir, N. C. 1 

John Mason began his itinerant life with Mr. Allen in 
1785; was admitted on trial in 1786, serving the Yadkin 
Circuit his first year in the itinerancy. He traveled the 
Broad River Circuit in 1787, where he did a great work. 
It does not appear that he took an appointment after this. 

'In the "History of the North Carolina Synod," page 19, we get 
the following facts, from which we conclude that he was at least 
very changeable. He was born in Scotland; came to America and 
located in Charleston, Mass., in 1774. At the close of the Revolu- 
tionary War we find him in Virginia, and in 1784 he joined the 
Methodist Church and was licensed to preach. While he was lay 
reader for the Episcopal congregation at White Haven in Lincoln 
county, they desired his ordination, and, there being no Episcopal 
diocese in North Carolina at the time, petitioned the Lutheran pas- 
tors for his ordination. Five Lutheran pastors met and ordained 
him, and he was the second pastor ever ordained by the Lutheran 
ministry in North Carolina. 

Development in the Yadkin Valley. 257 

For the year 1787 Reuben Ellis was returned to the 
district. Henry Bingham was sent to the Pee Dee Cir- 
cuit; W. Partridge, B. McHenry, and J. Connor to the 
Yadkin, and Mark Moore to the Salisbury circuits. 
Barnabas McHenry and James Connor had just been ad- 
mitted into the Conference. The career of the latter was 
brief — only serving about two and a half years. He 
fell at his post on the Buckingham Circuit in 1790. "A 
pious, solid, understanding man. His gifts were improva- 
ble, and promised usefulness to the Church. In the midst 
of a blameless life he was suddenly taken away from 
labor and suffering, and blessed with confidence in his 
last moments." 

Barnabas McHenry was quite young, having barely 
reached his majority. In the year 1788 he was sent west 
to the Cumberland Circuit, on the very borders of the 
white population. Here he was surrounded with many 
dangers. Indians would often mercilessly attack the pale 
faces who invaded their territory. But God gave them 
success, and the wilderness and solitary places often re- 
sounded with the shouts of the converted. He traveled 
circuits until 1792, when he was appointed presiding elder 
of the Holston District. Here he was exposed to the 
savages and all the difficulties of traveling without roads 
or bridges, yet he urged his way through the tangled 
thickets and dense forests, across rapid streams and 
craggy mountains, preaching Christ in log cabins in the 
most desolate regions. He located in 1797 on account of 
declining strength from overtaxed exertions. But in this 
relation his zeal for Christ was unabated, taking an active 

258 Methodism in North Carolina. 

part in the great revival of 1800. In 1819 he reentered 
the traveling connection and again took his place in the 
itinerant field. 1 

McHenry possessed a high order of intellect and ac- 
quired a good share of learning considering the few ad- 
vantages of that day. All his powers were given to the 
Church. His laborious life ended in peace on June 16, 
1833, after preaching the gospel for half a century. Such 
a life is a worthy example for emulation. 

Mark Moore had all the Salisbury Circuit by himself. 
He entered the Conference in 1786, and was appointed to 
Holston; in 1787, to Salisbury; 1789, to Santee; 1798, to 
Broad River; in 1799, located. In 1819 he was stationed 
in New Orleans. Dr. Shipp says of him : "He possessed 
every requisite qualification to render him an eloquent 
and effective preacher of the gospel, and if he had con- 
tinued in the regular itinerant work he would have be- 
come truly a polished shaft in Jehovah's quiver. He was 
a fine scholar and good educator, but unfortunate in the 
management of his temporal affairs. He lived to be quite 
aged, and to the last was the faithful and holy man of 

We find the following membership reported for this 
year, 1787 : Salisbury, 391 whites and 24 colored; Yadkin, 
517 whites and 20 colored; Pee Dee, 790 whites and 33 
colored. These were large circuits, manned by heroic 
men, and while the growth was not rapid, it was a wonder- 
ful progress under all the circumstances. They were lay- 
ing a foundation upon which we are building to-day. 

'Finley's "Western Methodism," page 152. 

Development in the Yadkin Valley. 259 

At the Conference in 1788 the presiding elders' dis- 
tricts were made very much larger than heretofore. John 
Tunnell was appointed presiding elder of the Yadkin Dis- 
trict. His district embraced the following circuits : Roa- 
noke, Caswell, New Hope, Guilford, Salisbury, Yadkin, 
and Halifax. This district embraced as much territory as 
that embraced by the North Carolina Conference at pres- 
ent. Bishop Asbury passed through a part of this district 
in April, and makes this entry in his Journal : "We crept 
for shelter into a little dirty house, where the filth might 
have been taken from the floor with a spade. We felt the 
want of fire, but could get little wood to make it, and what 
we gathered was wet." And again in 1793 he says while 
in this territory : "I have little desire to come here again — 
we can hardly get entertainment. ... I determined 

to haste along, and made it about thirty miles to F 's, 

in the cove of the mountain; where we rested in peace, 
after getting a little Indian bread, fried bacon, and drink- 
ing some of our own tea. Our lodging was on a bed set 
upon forks, and clapboards laid across, on an earthen floor 
cabin. But worse than all the rest, these people decline in 
religion. I feel awful for them on this account. Next 
morning, about sunrise, we took the path up the moun- 

John Tunnell was a frail, delicate man; and how he 
traveled this large district, enduring the hardships and ex- 
posures incident thereto, we are unable to say. It must 
have been by grace that he was enabled to go and to en- 
dure as he did. "He was truly an apostolic man; his 
heavenly-mindedness seemed to shine on his face, and 

260 Methodism in North Carolina. 

made him appear more like an inhabitant of heaven than 
of earth." 1 He was received on probation at the Confer- 
ence in 1777, and was sent to the famous Brunswick Cir- 
cuit. He was appointed as one of the original elders at 
the organization of the Church, though he was not pres- 
ent at the memorable Christmas Conference. "He had 
gone in quest of health to the West India island of St. 
Christopher's, where he was offered a good salary, a 
house, and a slave to wait upon him, if he would remain as 
a pastor ; but he declined the offer, and returning, was or- 
dained, and resumed his travels in the states with great 
success. 2 Lee says "bis gifts as a preacher were great." 
Stevens says, "Tunnell was one of the most eloquent 
preachers of that age." 

In 1778 he traveled the Baltimore Circuit. After sev- 
eral years of indefatigable labors in the middle states, he 
was sent by the Conference in 1787 with four others, 
"among whom was young Thomas Ware, beyond the 
mountains, to the Holston country, now called East Ten- 
nessee." He thus scaled the Alleghanies, and takes his- 
torical rank among the founders of Methodism in the 
great valley of the west. His last appointment was in this 
frontier field (1789), where he fell at the head of a little 
corps of seven itinerants, who were on four circuits, after 
thirteen years of faithful services, a victim of consump- 
tion. He died near "Sweet Springs" in July, 1790; his 
brethren bore his remains over the mountains, about five 
miles, where Asbury preached his funeral, and interred 

Atkinson's Memorials, page 204. 
: Stevens, Vol. II., page 34. 

Development in the Yadkin Valley. 261 

him there among the hills of western Virginia, where he 
sleeps without a memorial ; but his name will live forever 
in the "record on high," if not on earth. 1 

Asbury came down on John's River during April and 
spent a few days in that section. In speaking of the work, 
he says : "Our preachers on the Yadkin Circuit have been 
sick; they have had hard traveling the past winter; and 
the work has consequently suffered." 

In 1789 Sihon Smith, Julius Connor, and Josiah Askew 
were on the Salisbury Circuit. Sihon Smith served only 
a few years in the itinerancy. He was admitted into the 
Conference in 1786, and located in 1792. Josiah Askew 
began to travel in 1788, and located in 1798. His first cir- 
cuit was Halifax ; the next, Salisbury ; the next, Bertie ; the 
next, Sussex; the next, Richmond and Manchester; the 
next, Brunswick. After this he was presiding elder until 
he located. Joseph Travis thinks he located from neces- 
sity, the allowance not being ample for a support. Travis 
says : "His praise was in all the churches where he was 
known, as a gifted preacher, a zealous, humble, and holy 
Christian, doing much good wherever he labored. He 
ought not to be forgotten by us." 

The Yadkin Circuit was blessed with two men, this 
year, who had great spiritual power and force, and who 
were instrumental in kindling a revival flame that spread 
all over North Carolina and the west — namely, Daniel 
Asbury and John McGee. During this year they went 
beyond the Catawba with a view of forming a circuit in 

'Stevens, Vol. II., page 35. 

262 Methodism in North Carolina. 

that section. Of these men we will have more to say in 
another chapter. 

In 1793 John Fore was on the Yadkin Circuit, having 
been admitted in 1788, and traveling until he located in 
1797. David Haggard was on the Salisbury Circuit. He 
was a "faithful, acceptable, and useful preacher." He 
was admitted in 1787, and labored on Banks, Anson, and 
Halifax circuits. He traveled two years in Kentucky; 
one year on New River Circuit, and in 1793 on the Salis- 
bury, after which his name disappears from the minutes. 
He then became connected with the O' Kelly schism, but 
afterwards joined the New Lights and died in their com- 
munion.'" 1 

During the year 1794 William Spencer was appointed 
presiding elder of the district embracing Salisbury, Yad- 
kin, Anson, and Swannanoa circuits; and in addition to 
his duties as presiding elder, he was appointed one of the 
preachers on the Salisbury Circuit. Spencer was admitted 
on trial in 1789, and located in 1797. Christopher S. 
Mooring was on the Yadkin, and Henry Ledbetter on 
Anson. Ledbetter served in the itinerant ranks from 1787 
to 1795, when he located. It will be noticed that very few 
remain in the traveling connection; they soon drop out 
from one cause or another. Henry Hill was on the Yadkin 
Circuit in 1795, but after traveling six years he located in 
1797; and Charles Ledbetter, who was his colleague on 
the Yadkin Circuit, only traveled from 1794 to 1799. 
David Thompson was on the Salisbury Circuit for the first 
and second quarters, and on the Yadkin the' third quarter. 

'Collins's "Kentucky," page 126. 

Development in the Yadkin Valley. 263 

He was in the itinerant ministry only three years, from 
1794 to 1797. 

In 1796 John N. Jones was appointed to the Salisbury 
Circuit. He had been in the traveling connection since 
1790, and was a man of great zeal, "not wanting in sound 
understanding, a fervent preacher, plain in his manners 
and address, manifesting himself wherever he went to be 
a Christian and a Christian minister." After being worn- 
out with pain and a variety of weaknesses and afflictions 
of body, he died in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1798. 

Mr. Jones had for his colleague on the Salisbury Circuit 
William Lambuth, a man who for many years was a bless- 
ing to the Church, and whose descendants are with us to- 
day a blessing and an honor to the Church. He was admit- 
ted on trial in 1796 and appointed as second man to Salis- 
bury; 1797, Contentney; 1798, Greenville. In 1800 he 
traveled the Cumberland Circuit in Tennessee, and at the 
close of his labors here he married Miss Elizabeth Green- 
haw, the ceremony being performed by Rev. John McGee. 
He located near Hartsville in Tennessee, where he resided 
for many years, and then removed to Sumner county, 
Tenn., where he died in 1837. After his location he con- 
tinued to preach, and was very useful as a local preacher. 
He had two sons who became useful and prominent minis- 
ters of the gospel. One of his sons, Rev. John W. Lam- 
buth, was a missionary to China and Japan, and was the 
father of Rev. Walter R. Lambuth, our present Mission- 
ary Secretary of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 

The Conference this year reported nine itinerants who 
have died. This number was rather large. Two of them 

264 Methodism in North Carolina. 

were natives of North Carolina, and one of them, Reuben 
Ellis, was no doubt reared in the Yadkin Valley section. 
He was a man far above the average in attainments, a safe 
counselor and guide, and a strong preacher. He gave 
twenty years to the itinerancy. Richard Ivey gave 
eighteen years of service to the Church, traveling from 
New Jersey to Georgia. 

The Salisbury and Yadkin circuits were now among the 
strongest in the connection. Salisbury reported a mem- 
bership of 574, while Yadkin reported 679 white and col- 
ored ; and at this time there is only one other state that re- 
ported more members than North Carolina. Virginia 
had 13,779; North Carolina had 8,713; while New York 
followed with the next highest number, 4,039 ; and South 
Carolina the next. It will be seen by these figures that 
North Carolina and Virginia were the strongholds of 

In the year 1797 the Yadkin and Salisbury circuits were 
served by four men — Humphrey Wood, John Harper 
(who was admitted in 1795 and located in 1803), Duke 
W. Hullum, and John King. Only two deaths among 
the ministers were reported in the minutes for 1797, while 
nine were reported last year. Salisbury Circuit reported 
this year 733 members, which shows a net gain of 159. 

Salisbury and Yadkin were ably served in 1799, by 
Thomas Wilkerson on the Yadkin and James Douthet and 
James Denton on the Salisbury, with James Rogers as 
presiding elder, his district extending from the French 
Broad to Mattamuskeet, with fifteen pastoral charges. 
These were strong men in their day. Thomas Wilkerson, 

Development in the Yadkin I 'alley. 265 

in giving an account of his work on the circuit, says : "In 
the spring of 1799 I rejoined the Virginia Conference, and 
was sent to Yadkin Circuit, North Carolina. This was a 
laborious circuit, as at that time it took in that range of 
high mountains running through Buncombe county. 
Here I saw but little fruit of labor." 1 

Thomas Wilkerson was received on trial in 1793, and 
after traveling ten years in the Virginia Conference he 
located and removed to the west. Here he resumed his 
labors, and was very useful. He married and settled, and 
his house was the resting place of many a weary itinerant. 
He was highly esteemed for his talents and piety. Bishop 
Paine compared him to Bishop Roberts in his intellectual, 
moral, and social characteristics. 

James Rogers, the presiding elder, was admitted on 
trial in 1791, and received an appointment to Gloucester 
Circuit; 1792, Orange; 1793, Amelia; 1794, Sussex; 
1795, Edisto; 1796, Washington; 1797, Camden; 1798, 
Newbern District; and in 1799 on the same district, 
though much enlarged. In all the above stations he was a 
faithful servant of Jesus Christ, and labored acceptably 
and profitably. In doctrine he was clear and comprehen- 
sive, and his love for souls led him to enforce the doctrine 
of salvation with great zeal and energy. For the salvation 
of souls was the great end at which he aimed, and to the 
accomplishment of this end he directed all his labors. He 
located in 1801, and through the remaining days of his 

'Letter written by Thomas Wilkerson in 1841 to Rev. J. B. Mc- 
Ferrin, for the Southwestern Christiati Advocate. 

266 Methodism in North Carolina. 

life he demonstrated the truth of the gospel which he had 
preached by a godly and upright walk. 

In 1800 Nathaniel Walker and John Ellis were on the 
Yadkin Circuit, and Abner Henly and Jeremiah King 
were appointed to Salisbury. Abner Henly was admitted 
on trial in 1791. He served two years in the South Caro- 
lina Conference, and devoted the remainder of his itin- 
erant labors to North Carolina. He located in 1796, but 
was appointed to Salisbury in 1800. 

Jesse Lee, in his History, says: "High up the Yadkin 
River the work of the Lord was very great, and more or 
less people were frequently converted at public preaching. 
One preacher said he preached as often as his strength 
would admit of, and the power of God attended his meet- 
ings, and from three to four, and sometimes from seven 
to eight, were brought into the glorious liberty of the chil- 
dren of God, at a meeting." 1 He formed a society at 
Snow Creek of about fifty members. This was in 1802. 
Peter Gaywell, his wife and two daughters, moved from 
Virginia in 1800 to the neighborhood of Snow Creek in 
Iredell county, North Carolina. They joined the Meth- 
odists before leaving Virginia, and when they reached 
their new home they opened it for preaching. For some 
years it appeared among the preaching appointments as 
Claywell's. A church was built later, and called Snow 
Creek. During this year one of the preachers received 
about fifty members in going once round the Yadkin Cir- 

In 1803 James Patterson traveled the Salisbury Circuit. 

^ee's "Short History of the Methodists," page 284. 

Development in the Yadkin Valley. 267 

For several years he kept a diary, which at least shows the 
extent of the circuit. He entered the circuit on the 26th 
of August, 1802, going from Guilford county to Mr. 
Philip Howard's in Surry county ; rested on the 27th, and 
went to his circuit the next day. "On Saturday, 28th, I 
rode to the quarterly meeting at "Whitaker's meetinghouse, 
Rowan county, Salisbury Circuit." "August 31st, I 
preached at Captain Matthew Markland's, Stokes county, 
to a very cold congregation." 

September 1st, he was at McKnight's meetinghouse, 
near Clemmonsville. September 2d, "Preached at Henry 
Steel's to a tolerably large congregation." September 
3d, "Crossed the Yadkin River at the Shallow Ford and 
preached at William Howard's in Surry county." 4th, 
"Preached at a schoolhouse with some power." 5th, 
"Preached at Whitaker's meetinghouse." 6th, "Rode 
eight miles to Beal's meetinghouse. After preaching I 
rode to brother John MeMahan's." 7th, "Rode to George 
Gentle's, and preached there on the 8th," but he says he 
"felt the want of liberty." 9th, "After marrying James 
Douthet and Susannah Howard, I rode to brother Hardy 
Jones's (Rowan county) and preached to a small number." 
10th, "Rode to Mr. Chapman's, about twenty-eight miles." 
nth, "Preached at a bridge about a mile from his house 
on the Salisbury road to a tolerably large congregation." 
12th, "Preached at Pool's meetinghouse to a cold congre- 
gation." 13th, "Preached at Hearne's meetinghouse in 
Cabarrus county." 14th, "Preached at Jacob Carter's, 
Montgomery county, to a tolerably large congregation." 
15th, "Preached at Taylor's meetinghouse." 16th, 

268 Methodism in North Carolina. 

"Preached at Hancock's meetinghouse [now Macedonia, 
near Eldorado]." 17th, "Rode eight miles and preached 
at Benjamin Bell's on Uwharrie River." 18th, "Preached 
at Hancock's meetinghouse." 19th, "Preached at Reeves's 
meetinghouse to a large congregation." 20th (Randolph 
county), "Preached at brother William Monett's to a 
pretty large number of people." 21st, "Preached in an 
old house to a small congregation." 22d, "Preached 
at brother Twoney's to a hard-hearted congregation." 
23d, "Rode twelve miles to Russell's meetinghouse in 
Randolph county." 24th, "Rode seven miles to Jones's 
meetinghouse." 25th, "To Plumber's meetinghouse." 
26th, "Sunday, rode ten miles and preached at Feel's 
meetinghouse to a small congregation." 27th, "Rode to 
Captain Matthew Markland's, about twenty-two miles 
[Stokes county]." 1 

The Salisbury Circuit, in 1803, embraced a territory 
extending from near Troy in Montgomery county to what 
is now Yadkin county. James Patterson had appoint- 
ments in Stokes, Forsythe, Yadkin, Rowan, Davidson, 
Cabarrus, Stanly, Montgomery, and Randolph. He trav- 
eled and preached almost every day in the week. By 
glancing over this territory at present, the reader will see 
what progress has been made. 

James Patterson says : "I began to travel as an itinerant 
preacher, by the direction of Reuben Ellis, on the 16th 
day of November, 1793, and continued thus to travel until 
the beginning of the year 1795, at which time I was ad- 

^iary of James Patterson. It is quite meager, but is of some 
value in showing circuit boundaries, and locating churches, etc. 

Development in the Yadkin Valley. 269 

mitted on trial, in the twentieth year of my age, at Con- 
ference held in Charleston, South Carolina ; was ordained 
deacon the eighth of January, 1797, and ordained elder on 
the fourth day of January, 1799; was about fifteen years 
old when I joined the Methodist Church. I was born the 
23d day of January, 1773, near Orangeburg, South Caro- 
lina." 1 At the time of his death, in 1858, he was the 
oldest member of the North Carolina Conference. He 
was for many years on the superannuate list, and resided 
on his farm near Olin, Iredell county. Dr. J. E. Edwards 
says : "James Patterson possessed fine native ability, was 
an able preacher, and did good work in the itinerant min- 
istry." 2 

In 1 801 one of the pioneer preachers died in Wilkes 
county, on October the sixth. John Lee, the brother of 
Jesse Lee, was traveling in Virginia and western North 
Carolina, trying to improve his declining health. He 
spent some time with James Parks and Thomas Moss, 
with whom he was acquainted. He rode up to the widow 
Brown's who lived in the eastern part of Wilkes county, 
on or near the road leading from Hamptonville to Wilkes- 
boro. He reached there in the afternoon, and soon told 
them that he should die there that night, to their great 
surprise. He then turned over some valuable papers to 
his servant and gave him directions how to get home, etc. 3 

'In reply to a question asked by the editor of the North Carolina 
Christian Advocate in 1856, Mr. Patterson gave the above memo- 
randum. This is fortunate, as there was no memoir prepared for 
the minutes. 

2 Virginia Conference Journal for 1882. 

""Life of John Lee," by his brother, Jesse Lee, 1805, page 173. A 
very rare book. 

270 Methodism in North Carolina. 

He told him, "After I am dead go down and get brother 
Moss and brother Parks to come up and bury me." After 
engaging in prayer a time or two, and directing that his 
love be sent to loved ones at home, he died in great peace. 
The brother Parks mentioned was the Rev. James 
Parks, who traveled from 1788 to 1795, and who was liv- 
ing at Buck Shoals. The brother Moss mentioned above 
lived about two and a half miles from Buck Shoals, and 
near the road leading from Hamptonville to Statesville, 
via Eagle Mills. They secured the remains of John Lee 
and buried them on a hill near Thomas Moss's house. The 
spot is about one mile from where one of the Salisbury 
roads, leading to Wilkesboro, crosses the road above men- 
tioned. In 1844 Stephen Denny identified the grave, and 
Rev. James L. Nicholson, who was on the Jonesville Cir- 
cuit, and Rev. T. A. Nicholson erected a stone wall three 
by eight feet, and two feet high, over the spot. 1 That so 
few of these early pioneers' graves can be identified is our 
excuse for giving so much space to the grave of John 
Lee. Their last resting places should be sacred to us, be- 
cause these heroes blazed out the way and made possible 
what we enjoy to-day. 

1 A few years ago the author, in company with Rev. H. M. Blair, 
stood by this lonely itinerant's grave, and gave his name and date 
of his death to a man in the community who said the grave should 
be properly marked. 



Boundaries of the Yadkin. R. J. Miller. Emigrants from Bruns- 
wick — Incident on the Way. Old Whitehaven. Enoch George 
Comes to Help form a Circuit — Greatly Discouraged — Bishop As- 
bury Writes Him a Letter. Rehoboth Church Erected — First 
Built West of the Catawba. The Hard Fare of the Preachers. 
Daniel Asbury Before a Justice of the Peace — Daniel Asbury's 
Labors — His Last Letter to the Conference. Jesse Richardson — 
Incidents of Great Sufferings and Hardships. Opposition to the 
Methodists. The Pioneers Adapted to Their Work. Revival in 
the Woods. The Mills Family. 

Methodism was probably introduced into this section as 
early as 1780, for we have good reasons to believe that 
the Yadkin Circuit at this time embraced the entire terri- 
tory from the head waters of the Dan and Uwharrie 
rivers westward to the French Broad and Nollichucky. 
But while this circuit was made to embrace all this terri- 
tory, we know that Andrew Yeargan, or his successors on 
this circuit, could not have cultivated this vast field. So 
there was very little organizing, if any, west of the Ca- 
tawba before 1787. R. J. Miller had been sent in 1786 
as a missionary to occupy this territory and to form a cir- 
cuit in the county of Lincoln ; but coming into this section, 
he found a large settlement of Germans, and he began to 
act as their pastor and did no work as a Methodist. 

In 1787 a number of Methodists moved from the 
Brunswick Circuit in Virginia and settled in Lincoln 
county near the Catawba River. The late Rev. M. V. 


272 Methodism in North Carolina. 

Sherrill said : "Their names, as far as I have been able to 
get them, were Herbert Harwell, Samuel Harwell, John 
Edwards, John Turbefield, Benjamin Stacy, John Aber- 
nathy, John Mayhew, and Aaron Mayhew. These all set- 
tled in the vicinity of the present Rehoboth Church." The 
widow Morris and her daughter, Nancy L. Morris, and 
her married daughter, Rebecca, and her husband, Wil- 
liams Mays, first settled near the Vesuvius Iron Works, 
but they soon removed to the Rehoboth neighborhood. 

"As they journeyed to a new home, in the spirit of true 
pilgrims, they were not unmindful of a better country, 
that is, a heavenly. Morning and evening the incense of 
prayer and praise ascended to God from the altar of their 
devotions ; and occasionally an experience meeting, or love 
feast, was held by night in their camp. Such a meeting 
chanced to be held by them on the banks of the Roanoke 
River, when it pleased the Lord to visit and bless this pious 
band in a manner so remarkable that the deep forest was 
made vocal with their triumphant songs of joy, crying, 
'Glory to God in the highest !' A planter of intelligence 
and wealth, attracted by the sound, came with his servants 
to investigate the unwonted scene. 'Friends,' said he, 
'this is indeed a strange proceeding; what is the meaning 
of all this?' John Turbefield, for the rest, answered in 
the spirit of meekness and love: 'Sir, we are all professors 
of religion, members of the Methodist Church, journeying 
to a new home ; we have been engaged in our accustomed 
devotions ; the King has come into our camp, and we have 
been made very happy — glory be to God !' The planter 
was overwhelmed bv a divine influence ; conviction seized 

West of the Catau'ba. 273 

his mind, and a genuine conversion crowned his investiga- 
tion of this experience meeting in the forest — the first he 
had ever witnessed among the Methodists. Settled in 
their new home, they were without a preacher until the 
fall of 1788, when they were visited by the Rev. Mr. 
Brown, a young local preacher, who came out also from 
Virginia to inspect the country with a view to ultimate 
removal. On application, liberty was readily granted him 
by the Rev. Mr. Miller to preach to the people in the Old 
Whitehaven Church. He spoke with great zeal and 
fervor; his words were in demonstration of the Spirit and 
in power; the Methodists felt the obligation to hold their 
peace and disguise their joyous emotions ; but the widow 
Morris indulged in a shout on the occasion that would 
have done credit to one of George Shadford's revival 
meetings on the old Brunswick Circuit in Virginia. The 
congregation were panic-stricken; the old German la- 
dies pressed their way to Nancy L. Morris, the widow's 
daughter, and exclaimed in the utmost fright, 'Your 
mother has a fit, indeed she has ; and she is going to die !' 
The daughter, not at all alarmed, answered with surpris- 
ing calmness, 'She will soon recover from them.' " 

This Nancy L. Morris subsequently became the wife 
of Daniel Asbury, who, with the assistance of John Mc- 
Gee in 1 789, and with Jesse Richardson in 1 790, was sent 
to form the Lincoln Circuit. "This circuit was made to 
embrace not only Lincoln, but also Rutherford and Burke, 
with portions of Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties in 
North Carolina and York District in South Carolina, and 
that part of Spartanburg and Union districts which lies 

274 Methodism in North Carolina. 

north of the Pacolet River. It took the name of Union 
Circuit in 1793, which was retained until 1805, when it 
was again called Lincoln." 1 

When Daniel Asbury and John McGee entered upon the 
work of forming the Lincoln Circuit in 1789, they went 
no doubt first to this colony of Methodists from Virginia, 
referred to in another paragraph, who settled here two 
years before. After Daniel Asbury married he settled in 
a quarter of a mile of the church, 2 where his family re- 
mained until his death in 1825. For two years they wor- 
shiped in the grove or in private houses. But in 1791 they 
erected a building which was the first Methodist church in 
the state west of the Catawba. It was a small log house, 
with a shed on one side for the colored people. 3 The pres- 
ent building is the third erected at that place. It was 
erected in 1891, just one hundred years after the first one 
was built. 

At any rate, this was in the territory that Daniel As- 
bury went to form into a circuit. About this time (during 
1789) there was "a beardless youth," Enoch George, as- 
sisting Rev. Philip Cox on a circuit in Virginia. When 
Bishop Asbury came around Mr. Cox said to the bishop, 
"I have brought you a boy, and if you have anything for 
him to do, you may set him to work." The bishop looked 
at him earnestly for some time, but said little. The next 
day, however, he told the boy that he would accept his 

'Shipp's "History of Methodism in South Carolina," page 261. 
2 Rev. M. V. Sherrill, Manuscript. 

3 Here in this house Rev. M. V. Sherrill was baptized and attended 
Sunday school. 

West of the Catazvba. 275 

services. He then told him he might proceed to the head 
of the Catawba River and report himself to Daniel As- 
bury, who was forming a new circuit." George imme- 
diately started on his journey. The distance was three 
hundred miles, over a rough road, and through a strange 
country. As he journeyed on from day to day, he was 
subjected to many annoyances. People would ask him his 
name, residence, destination, and the object of his journey. 
He could get along tolerably well with all but the last 
question. "To inform those careless people," says he, 
"that I was a preacher, a Methodist preacher, a heretic 
and deceiver in their eyes, was to call forth frowns and 
persecution." When he arrived at the end of his journey 
he rested a few days, and then commenced his "regular 
round on the new-formed circuit, which embraced a vast 
tract of country and some of the most stupendous moun- 
tains in North America." He soon found that he had no 
easy place. "He had to climb mountains, descend valleys, 
swim rivers, wade through mud, and find his way through 
pathless forests. He had to preach to a people confirmed 
in the principles of Calvinism, the very hardest cases in the 
whole catalogue of sinners." 1 He was far away from 
home, had no money, and his clothes were worn out. He 
had to preach for nothing. In this section, at that time, 
to pay a Methodist preacher was never once thought of. 
This mountainous country under all the circumstances dis- 
couraged him, and he resolved to abandon his work if he 

Tor a full description of the experiences of Enoch George, see 
his Autobiography, Methodist Magazine, Vol. XII., pages 14, 15. 
"Asbury and His Colaborers," Larabee, Vol. II., page 243. 

276 Methodism in North Carolina. 

could not get another circuit. He wrote to Bishop As- 
bury describing the difficulties under which he labored, 
and requested to be moved to some other circuit. 

Doubtless he would have gone back to his old Virginia 
home, but how was he to get home? He had worn out 
his clothes and used up his money. He finally decided to 
engage in teaching school for a few months to get money 
enough to carry him home. But before beginning his 
school he met his colleague, Rev. Daniel Asbury, who pro- 
nounced a general anathema upon the whole concern. He 
notified the friend to whom George had intrusted the busi- 
ness of the school on the peril of his salvation not to en- 
curage or aid, in any way, his leaving the circuit and re- 
tiring from the work of the gospel ministry. "Mr. As- 
bury, it seems, placed a much higher value on the talents 
and services of George than he himself, in his despond- 
ency, could entertain. The project of the school there- 
fore being defeated, George gathered up his energies, and 
climbed on the rugged way over the mountains to useful- 
ness and to eminence." 

In the meantime he received a letter from Bishop As- 
bury, saying, "It was good for him and others to bear the 
yoke in their youth ; that itinerant labors must be hard if 
properly performed ; and that it was better to become in- 
ured to poverty and pain, hunger and cold, in the days of 
his youth, that when he was old and gray-headed the task 
would be easy." This advice he followed to the letter and 
continued on his rough circuit, in the midst of hard rides 
and poor fare, to "preach the unsearchable riches of 
Christ." "Enoch George ever after remembered the senti- 

West of the Catawba. 277 

ment of Bishop Asbury, 'Itinerant labors must be hard if 
properly performed." 1 

In 1790 the Lincoln Circuit appears in the list of ap- 
pointments, with Daniel Asbury and Jesse Richardson as 
pastors. The circuit had been formed, but not without 
enduring many hardships and much persecution. It re- 
quired heroes for such undertakings. Enoch George came 
near surrendering, but Daniel Asbury knew something of 
this frontier work, and was well adapted for the work of a 
pioneer. He had already traveled the French Broad, in a 
region that was semi-barbarous. The population was 
scattered along the streams and in the mountain coves. It 
is hard for us in this age of Methodism to realize the hard- 
ships to be endured at that day by a Methodist minister. 
One has said he was often forced "to subsist solely on cu- 
cumbers, or a piece of cold bread, without the luxury of a 
bowl of milk or a cup of coffee. His ordinary diet was 
fried bacon and corn bread ; his bed not the swinging ham- 
mock, but the clapboard laid on poles supported by rude 
forks driven into the earthen floor of a log cabin." 

Many of the inhabitants regarded the Methodist 
preacher as an intruder in this land of theirs. He met 
hostility on every hand. Sometimes the persecution was 
very bitter. But such leaders as Dr. Coke, Francis As- 
bury, Jesse Lee, Philip Bruce, Daniel Asbury, and others, 
led the gathering forces forward to a glorious conquest. 
An incident which occurred in Rutherford county in 1789 
will show something of the opposition and persecution met 

'"Heroes of Methodism," Wakely, page 145. 

278 Methodism in North Carolina. 

by the Methodist preacher. "A ruffian band, headed by- 
one Perminter Morgan, a Baptist preacher, seized Daniel 
Asbury and hurried him to trial before Jonathan Hamp- 
ton, a worthy justice of the peace and a gentleman of in- 
telligence. 'What crime has been committed by Mr. As- 
bury,' said the just and prudent magistrate, 'that you have 
thus arrested him and brought him in the presence of an 
officer of the law?' 'He is going about everywhere 
through the country preaching the gospel, and has no au- 
thority whatever to do so,' responded Mr. Morgan for the 
rest. 'We believe he is nothing but an impostor, and we 
have brought him before you that you may do something 
with him, and forbid him to preach any more in future.' 
'Why, does he make the people who go to hear him preach 
any worse than they were before ?' further asked the mag- 
istrate. 'We do not know that he does,' answered Mr. 
Morgan, 'but he ought not to preach.' 'Well/ said the 
magistrate, 'if he makes the people no worse, the proba- 
bility is he makes them better; so I will release him and 
let him try it again.' " Asbury no doubt left the court re- 
joicing that he could suffer persecutions also for Christ's 
sake. He asked the Conference for a location in 1791, 
which was granted ; but he continued to labor, as circum- 
stances would permit, with great zeal and usefulness. In 
1 80 1 he was appointed to the Yadkin Circuit, where he 
labored for two years with great acceptability. 

Daniel Asbury, who had the same name of the bishop 
though no kin, was born in Fairfax county, Virginia, on 
February 18th, 1762. He was one of the most prominent 
pioneer preachers in western North Carolina. He had 

West of the Catawba. 279 

just the kind of training that fitted him for the work of a 
pioneer. In early life he had been captured by the Indians, 
and had spent some years in captivity, enduring - great 
hardships. This was a necessary part of an education for 
an itinerant life. He was admitted into the traveling con- 
nection in 1786, and appointed to the Amelia Circuit; 
1787, Halifax; 1788, French Broad; 1803, Union Circuit; 
1804, Enoree Circuit; 1805 he spent chiefly at home; from 
1806 to 1810, presiding elder on the Swannanoa District; 
from 1810 to 1814, on the Camden District; from 1814 to 
1 8 18, on the Catawba District; from 18 18 to 1822, on the 
Broad River District; in 1822 and 1823, he traveled the 
Lincoln Circuit; and in 1824, the Sugar Creek Circuit. 

"His advanced age and increasing infirmities now ren- 
dered him incapable of effective service, and he took a 
superannuated relation. But it was not long before the 
Master whom he had served so long and so faithfully 
called him to his reward. On Sunday morning, April 
15th, 1825, he arose, apparently more vigorous and cheer- 
ful than usual. He conversed on various subjects, and 
noted down a passage of Scripture on which he intended 
to preach a funeral sermon. But the moment for his 
ascension had now nearly come. The silver cord was 
loosened so gently that the transition from earth to heaven 
was made apparently without a pang. He was walking 
through his yard, when suddenly he stopped, looked up to 
heaven, and, with an unearthly smile, uttered indistinctly 
a few words, and then fell breathless on the ground. It 
was on the Sabbath, a fitting time for an old pilgrim to 
enter his Father's house above. It was somewhat remark- 

280 Methodism in North Carolina. 

able that he was born on the Sabbath, carried off by the 
Indians on the Sabbath, returned to his father's house on 
the Sabbath, was converted on the Sabbath, and on the 
Sabbath went to his eternal rest." 1 

His last letter, written to the Conference in Fayetteville, 
is most pathetic, and at the same time shows the spirit of 
the true itinerant, as well as the spirit of heroism. It is 
an inspiration to every itinerant preacher. Here it is : 

December 28th, 1824. 
My Dear Brethren: These lines will inform you that I feel no 
abatement in my spirit and love toward you or the Church of God 
in which we have been united many years. You are the people, 
under God, who sought and found me, when I was in the path of 
ruin. You bore with my weakness and ignorance, and gave me a 
place among you ; you nursed me as parents. I should be glad 
to be with you in Conference, and more so as I was not with you 
last year. I have tried to do the best I could this year. I have 
attended my appointments, but many times not able to preach much. 
The reason I think it not prudent to attend Conference is, since 
winter set in I have been much afflicted with a shortness of breath 
which is very distressing in cold weather, therefore myself and 
friends think I had better take some rest; and if my brethren will 
be so kind as to grant me a superannuated relation with you one 
year, and perhaps one year may determine one way or the other. 
And if you, my brethren, in your wisdom, should think best not to 
superannuate me, you may dispose of me as the Lord directs. I 
think there is room in the Catawba District for a missionary. 

Daniel Asbury. 

John McGee who went with Daniel Asbury in 1789 to 
assist in forming the Lincoln Circuit will be noticed in 
another chapter. Jesse Richardson, who was Asbury's 
colleague on the new circuit, entered the traveling connec- 
tion in 1788, and was appointed to the Greenbrier Circuit 

'Sprague's Annals, Vol. VII, page 128. 

West of the Catawba. 281 

in Virginia; 1789, New River; 1791, Yadkin; 1792, 
Cherokee; 1793, Georgetown ; after which he located. He 
was a good preacher, well prepared for the class of work 
he had to do, and above all he was very successful in win- 
ning souls to Christ. 

Dr. A. M. Shipp is authority for the following inci- 
dents : 

"While traveling the Lincoln Circuit, he [Richardson] 
filled, on one occasion, his appointment for preaching on an 
exceedingly cold day, and afterwards rode through snow, 
which had fallen to the depth of eighteen inches, till about 
sunset, in order to reach, on the way to his next appoint- 
ment, the only house where he could hope to find shelter 
before the darkness of night should overtake him. When 
he arrived at the place, he hailed the proprietor and po- 
litely asked the privilege of spending the night with him. 
'No, you cannot stay,' responded he, promptly and gruffly. 
'You are one of these lazy Methodist preachers, going 
about everywhere through the country, who ought to be 
engaged in honest work.' Mr. Richardson maintained 
his self-possession, and did not wholly despair of final ac- 
commodation, notwithstanding this rude and insulting re- 
jection at the first. He thought the man must have some 
natural feelings of sympathy for the suffering which pa- 
tient management and tact might evoke. His case, more- 
over, was one of the most pressing necessity. He there- 
fore, after a little, renewed his request, setting forth at 
the same time such consideiations as he thought must 
move the hardest heart, and concluding with an offer to 
reward him liberally for all the trouble and expense that 

282 Methodism in North Carolina. 

might be incurred by allowing him to pass the night under 
his roof. 'No,' again responded the unfeeling man in 
ruffian tones, 'you shall not pass the threshold of my house 
this night' ; and quickly entering, slammed the door in the 
face of the man of God shivering in the cold. As the next 
house was twelve miles distant, and a high mountain in- 
tervened over which no open road conducted, but only a 
narrow path, now hidden by the snow which was begin- 
ning to fall afresh, Mr. Richardson had no alternative left 
him but to stay or freeze to death by the way; he there- 
fore deliberately dismounted, tied his horse to the stake, 
and sat down on the door sill of the house. At length he 
began to sing one of the songs of Zion ; the proprietor lis- 
tened in profound silence, his savage nature began to grow 
tame, his heart softened, and he showed a disposition to 
engage in conversation. 'You seem to be quite merry,' 
said he, 'and you must be very cold, too ; would you not 
like to have a little fire?' 'Thank you,' said the preacher; 
'it is of all things what I most want just now, for I am 
indeed very cold.' The fire was brought; the yard con- 
tained a plentiful supply of wood, and soon there was a 
conflagration that made Boreas fairly tremble on his icy 
throne. This brought out the man of the house. 'What 
are you doing out there,' said he, 'burning up all my 
wood? Put out that fire and come into the house.' The 
preacher took him at his word, extinguished the fire, and 
entered. 'And now,' said he, 'my horse has had nothing 
to eat since early this morning ; if you will let me put him 
in the stable and feed him, you shall be well paid for it.' 
With this request he obstinately refused to comply, with- 

West of the Catawba. 283 

holding food from man and beast, as he also forbade the 
offering of prayer for the family before retiring. The 
family slept in their beds, and the preacher, wrapped in 
his overcoat, lay down to rest as best he could before the 
fire. The next morning at early dawn, hungry and cold, 
he threaded the uncertain pathway over the mountain to 
seek refreshment at the twelve-mile house. 

"On one occasion Mr. Richardson lost his horse. The 
spirited animal, from a feeling of resentment for the sup- 
posed neglect of his owner in leaving him bound to a stake 
all night without food in a snowstorm, or from some oth- 
er motive quite satisfactory to himself, made his escape 
from the stable and ran away. Mr. Richardson, going in 
search of him, passed by where two men were clearing 
land. Being wearied by his journey, he sat down on a log 
to rest and to make inquiry of the men concerning the 
route his horse might have taken. One of them abused 
him with great bitterness of speech, threatened to kill him, 
and with clenched fists struck him with such violence as to 
cause him to fall from his seat ; and he was perhaps saved 
from death only by the intervention of the other man. 
Having found his horse, it was necessary for him, the 
next day, to pass by the house of the man who had as- 
saulted him with such violence. The man's wife hailed 
him and requested him to stop and come in. He told her 
that her husband had abused him the day before and 
threatened to take his life, and he did not, therefore, deem 
it safe to comply with her request. She replied, 'My hus- 
band is at home, and says you must come in ; he is very 
anxious to see you ; there is no cause for fear.' Thus as- 

284 Methodism in North Carolina. 

sured, he went in and found the man in the deepest mental 
distress, and the tears streaming from his eyes. He 
begged the preacher most importunately to pray for him ; 
said he, 'I feel that I am a miserable and lost sinner.' 
After some words of instruction and encouragement, they 
knelt down in prayer, and their united petitions ascended 
to heaven. The man was most earnestly engaged, and 
after a while was powerfully converted. He sprang to his 
feet, threw his arms around Richardson with such vio- 
lence, being a man of uncommon size and strength, that he 
came well-nigh finishing in love the work which the day 
before he began in wrath. He exchanged a noble horse 
with Richardson, and, taking another, went with him to 
eight of his appointments before returning home." 1 

These incidents show that the moral and religious con- 
dition of the country was anything else but desirable. The 
people were grossly ignorant, and what little religious be- 
lief they had was of a rigid Calvinistic form. Many of 
them were unwilling to listen to anything else. Nothing 
but a revival of great spiritual power could ever attract 
their attention. It was the only hope of their salvation. 
In 1795 they had not improved much, for during this year 
Bishop Asbury crossed the Pacolet River in the southwest- 
ern boundary of the Lincoln Circuit, where he makes this 
entry in his Journal : "My body is weak, and so is my faith 
for this part of the vineyard. God is my portion, saith my 
soul. This country improves in cultivation, wickedness, 
mills, and stills; a prophet of strong drink would be ac- 

^hipp's "History of Methodism in South Carolina," page 268. 

West of the Catawba. 285 

ceptable to many of these people. I believe the Methodist 
preachers keep clear both by precept and example ; would 
to God the members did so too ! Lord, have pity on weep- 
ing, bleeding Zion !" 

The Lincoln Circuit, however, was growing in numbers, 
for in 1792 four hundred and fifty-three whites and thirty- 
nine colored were reported. This is a very marvelous 
growth considering the opposition they met on every hand. 
For they were not only opposed by sin and Satan, but by 
many who called themselves Christians. This speaks vol- 
umes for the early leaders of this movement. They were 
not men of great learning, but they were peculiarly 
adapted and raised up under God for this special work to 
which they had been called. 

Not only were these men adapted for the work, but 
Methodism was especially adapted to the people of this 
Southland. "Hence in Maryland and Virginia, in the 
Carolinas and Georgia, the Methodists made much greater 
progress, for many years, than they did in the more north- 
ern of the original thirteen states." 1 For many years, 
after the first Conference, nine-tenths of all the Confer- 
ences met in the South. In those early days the South gave 
to Methodism such men as Jesse Lee, Joshua Wells, John 
Easter, William Watters, Freeborn Garrettson, Edward 
Dromgoole, Isaac Smith, Daniel Asbury, William Mc- 
Kendree, and many others of like character. So that, 
notwithstanding the hardships and continual oppositions, 
these leaders of Methodism at this time (1792) had 

"'Methodism in Tennessee," McFerrin, page 132. 

286 Methodism in North Carolina. 

planted the standards of Methodism from the Smoky 
Mountains in the west to the Dismal Swamp and seaboard 
in the east. The reason Methodism was not planted in 
this Catawba country earlier is due to the fact that this 
region was just now being settled. In 1789 it was almost 
a pathless wilderness. But the fertile soil along these 
meandering streams attracted emigrants, who came and 
began to clear out the forest and turn them into beautiful 
farms. The Catawba, Cherokee, and Creek Indians were 
skulking about in the forest and mountain coves watching 
the encroachments of the "pale-face men." The new set- 
tlers often carried the rifle ready to protect themselves 
against the assault of wild beasts and prowling savages. 

In this wild region the Methodist preacher hunted up 
the hardy settlers in their forest homes, and proclaimed 
the gospel to groups of wondering hearers. One of these 
zealous men appointed a woods meeting, at which the in- 
habitants gathered from miles around. A revival began, 
and a large number professed religion. Among the con- 
verts was the young John C. Ballew, who entered the 
traveling connection in 1803. These revivals not only 
added members to the Methodist Church, but were a con- 
stant feeder to other denominations. 

But among all the early settlers who entertained the 
preachers, they found few like William Mills and his fam- 
ily. He settled in what is now Rutherford county as early 
as 1766. Bishop Asbury stopped with him, and it was the 
preachers' home for a number of decades. One of his 
daughters married a Methodist preacher, Rev. Samuel 
Edney. We have no account that Mr. Mills ever joined 

West of the Catawba. 287 

the Church, but his wife was a faithful member of the 
Methodist Church for fifty years. They had two sons and 
five daughters; all joined the Methodists, and gave an 
average of fifty years to the service. The influence of the 
Mills family was felt throughout that section of the state. 1 
The beautiful Mills River and Mills Gap were named for 
William Mills. 

These faithful laymen, who entertained these early 
Methodist preachers and encouraged them in their work, 
deserve to be fixed in our memories. In this section of 
the state no one can tell how much Methodism owes to 
such men as Mills, Connelly, Harper, White, Moore, 
Davenport, Fitzgerald, Henly, and many others. The 
preachers could not have done much if it had not been for 
such men as these, who not only furnished the material 
aid, but met the class and kept the work moving on in the 
absence of the pastor. 

'Bennett's "Chronology of North Carolina," page 21. 



Methodism Crossed the Blue Ridge. Jeremiah Lambert. Work of 
Local Preachers. Holston Circuit Divided, and Nollichucky 
Formed. Samuel Edney. Early Preaching Places. Swannanoa 
Circuit — Methodism Making Progress. Josiah Askew. Benja- 
min Mathews. Thomas Mann — His Journal. Nathan Jarratt. 
In 1800 Morganton is Attached to Swannanoa. Josiah Philips. 
Moses Floyd. James Jenkins Passes Through the Swannanoa 
Circuit — Bishop Asbury Within the Bounds of the Circuit. At 
Daniel Killian's. Joab Watson. Bishop Asbury Lost in the 
Mountains — In a Dark Night and Thunderstorm — Finds a Moun- 
tain Cabin — New Preaching Place — Large Congregation. 

It is thought by some good authorities that the preachers 
on the North Carolina Circuit in 1776 crossed the Blue 
Ridge and planted Methodism in that section. It is safe 
to say that at least as early as 1780 Andrew Yeargan, 
while on the Yadkin Circuit, made his way west of the 
Ridge, and took a large territory into his circuit. In 1783 
the Holston Circuit was formed, and Jeremiah Lambert 
was appointed preacher in charge. This circuit evidently 
embraced a portion of North Carolina. The year before 
(1782) the Yadkin and Pittsylvania circuits were re- 
ported together, embracing all the territory west of where 
Winston-Salem now is, and having a membership of 491. 
In 1783 Yadkin reported 348, Pittsylvania 362 ; and in ad- 
dition to these, two new circuits were formed — Salisbury 
with 30 members, and Holston with 60. The boundary 
line between Yadkin and Holston is not known, but no 

West of the Blue Ridge. 289 

doubt Holston embraced a part of North Carolina. Jere- 
miah Lambert began with sixty members. Evidently 
most of these were taken in by preachers on the Yadkin 
and Pittsylvania circuits, while no doubt some of this 
work was done by faithful local preachers. The Church 
can never pay its debt of gratitude to these men of God 
who were all pioneers in the early days of Methodism. 
Dr. McAnally, in the "Life of William Pattern," says : "It 
has been for many years past part of the writer's work to 
collect reliable information as to the origin and progress 
of the Church of his choice in the great western and south- 
western sections of our common country; and he has 
found that in four cases out of five, if not, indeed, in nine 
cases out of ten, where Methodism was first introduced 
into a particular section of any considerable extent, it was 
through the instrumentality of local preachers." 

No one at the present time can rightly conceive of the 
amount of work they did, and all without compensation. 
The reader has noticed the great number of locations; 
these all went into the local ranks, and most of them con- 
tinued to preach. Some of them would work at night in 
order to make up the time necessary to meet appoint- 
ments in the day. The Church may be able to get along 
at this day without local preachers ; but the local ministry 
has been largely instrumental in making Methodism what 
it is. These local preachers pioneered the way, felled the 
trees, broke up the fallow ground, planted the seeds, and 
now we are gathering their crop. On one occasion, in an 
Annual Conference, Bishop Asbury said, "Brethren, our 
local preachers are the cream of our Church." 
l 9 

Methodism in North Carolina. 

This reference is somewhat a digression from the thread 
of our story. At the close of the year of Lambert's pas- 
torate on the Holston Circuit, he reported seventy-six 
members, a gain of sixteen. He was followed on Holston 
by such men as Henry Willis, 1784; Richard Swift and 
Michael Gilbert, 1785; Mark Whitaker and Mark Moore, 
1786; Jeremiah Mastin and Nathaniel Moore, 1787. In 
1787 the Holston Circuit was divided into Holston and 
Nollichucky circuits, and the two formed a district, with 
John Tunnell as presiding elder. 

Most of North Carolina west of the Blue Ridge, except 
the northwestern corner, was in the Yadkin Circuit until 
the Lincoln Circuit was established in 1790, with Daniel 
Asbury and Jesse Richardson as its preachers. The reader 
is already familiar with their work in this mountain coun- 
try. Under the leadership of such pioneers, the work 
prospered so that in 1793 the Lincoln Circuit was divided, 
forming Union and Swannanoa. Samuel Edney was ap- 
pointed to the Swannanoa in 1793, and while on this cir- 
cuit he married Eleanor Mills, who was a daughter of 
William Mills. He settled on Green River, in what is now 
Rutherford county. After his location in 1796, he settled 
in what is now Henderson county at a point afterwards 
called Edneyville. 1 In this country he wielded a wonder- 
ful influence for Christ and the Church. No man did more 
for Methodism west of the Ridge than Samuel Edney. 
On his land was conducted a camp meeting which is said 
to be the first west of the Blue Ridge. His house became 

s "Holston Methodism," by Price, page 229. 

West of the Blue Ridge. 291 

the regular stopping place for Methodist preachers. 
Among the first Methodist preaching places in Buncombe 
were Beaver Dam (Killian's), Salem Camp Ground 
(Weaverville), Asheville, and later Newton Academy in 
the suburbs of Asheville, and Turkey Creek Camp Ground. 
Newton Academy was a classical school, and the first 
school of any note in western Carolina. It was run by the 
Presbyterians. Rev. George Newton was the principal, 
and he was very friendly to the Methodists, and they fre- 
quently preached in the academy. Mr. Newton was the 
first Presbyterian preacher to settle west of the Blue 

The Swannanoa Circuit takes its name from the beauti- 
ful of Swannanoa 1 River that rises near the top of Grey 
Beard, one of the high peaks of the Blue Ridge, and flows 
by Montreat as an ideal mountain stream, continuing west- 
ward until it empties into the French Broad near Ashe- 
ville. It was afterwards called the Black Mountain Cir- 

During several months in 1794 the Swannanoa Circuit 
was without a preacher, as one of the preachers got mar- 
ried and the other was sick. This being the case, Bishop 
Asbury found Philip Sands, near the headwaters of Dan 

'Many theories have been advanced as to the origin and meaning 
of the name Swannanoa. Some say the word in Cherokee means 
beautiful, and others say that it is an imitation of the sound made 
by the raven's wings when flying rapidly, because of the great num- 
ber which congregated on the banks of this river in the days when 
their country was inhabited by the Indians. But Mr. S. A. Sondley 
says that it is more probable that it was another way of spelling 
Shawano, a name which belonged to a family of Indians. 

292 Methodism in North Carolina. 

River in Stokes county, who volunteered to go to the 
Swannanoa Circuit. He was then on the Guilford Circuit, 
but set out at once for Swannanoa. Asbury, in speaking 
of making this change, says : "Now because I have power 
to send a preacher to these poor people, some are pleased 
to account me and call me a despot." 2 Others had failed 
to catch the true spirit of the itinerancy to the same extent 
Bishop Asbury had realized it. The early Methodists had 
the missionary spirit of going and evangelizing. 

It seems there were early difficulties on the circuit, but 
two years after its formation it had a membership of 236. 
And in 1795 Abner Henly and Leonard Dyson were sent 
to the Swannanoa. Henly was admitted on trial in 1791, 
and gave two years to the South Carolina Conference ; the 
remainder of his itinerant labors were devoted to North 
Carolina. He located in 1796, but was appointed to Salis- 
bury in 1800. Leonard Dyson was admitted in 1793, and 
located in 1796. 

In 1796 the circuit was blessed with men who were 
above the ordinary, William Wilkerson and John Sale. 
The reader has already been introduced to these men in 
another chapter. The circuit also had a strong man as 
presiding elder, Rev. Josiah Askew. He was admitted in 
1788 and located in 1798. During his itinerancy, he trav- 
eled in North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina. 
His first circuit was Halifax ; the next, Salisbury ; the next, 
Santee; the next, Bertie; the next, Sussex ; the next, Rich- 
mond and Manchester; the next, Brunswick. After this 

'Asbury' s Journal, Vol. IT., page 225. 

West of the Blue Ridge. 293 

he was presiding elder until he located. In 1795 he was 
appointed presiding elder of a district embracing the 
Swannanoa Circuit. He was born in Burke county, North 
Carolina. He was a young man of ability. Travis, in 
speaking of him, says : "His praise was in all the churches, 
where he was known as a gifted preacher, a zealous, hum- 
ble, and holy Christian, doing much good wherever he 
labored." 1 

"The Askews on Spring Creek, Buncombe (now Mad- 
ison) county, North Carolina, were relatives of his. Of 
these the Rev. James Askew was for a long while a local 
preacher, was a man of great piety, and was above 
mediocrity for pulpit eloquence. I knew him in 1850-51, 
and in subsequent years. He lived to an advanced age, 
and left to the Church the heritage of a number of chil- 
dren, who became useful citizens.'' 2 

Benjamin Mathews was on the Swannanoa in 1797. 
He was admitted in 1795 and traveled until 1803, when 
for some reason he located. Thomas Mann was appointed 
to Swannanoa in 1798. He was admitted into the Confer- 
ence in 1793, and traveled in North Carolina, Virginia, 
and Tennessee. He was born in Amherst county, Vir- 
ginia, April 1st, 1769, and joined the Church in his nine- 
teenth year. He gave nearly all of his ministerial life to 
the itinerancy. During a great part of his itinerant life he 
kept a diary, 3 from which we gather many interesting 

"'Life of Travis," page 195. 

'"Holston Methodism," Price, page 283. 

8 There are thirteen volumes of this diary in the writer's posses- 
sion. The leaves are yellow with age, and much of it is hard to de- 
cipher. It begins about 1798, and covers most of the period from 

294 Methodism in North Carolina. 

facts. He traveled almost incessantly, and preached with 
much earnestness and plainness of speech. He was a 
man of great spiritual power, and thoroughly consecrated 
to his work. During the time he was on the Swannanoa 
Circuit he endured many hardships and privations. 

No one at the present can realize what it meant to be 
an itinerant Methodist preacher in western North Caro- 
lina a little over a hundred years ago. Thomas Mann 
speaks often of the Littlejohns, Harpers, Whites, Wake- 
fields, Davenports, Porters, Dickeys, Hensons, and Kil- 
lians. He preached at the houses of these, and at many 
others. Morganton was another place in his round. He 
mentions several other preachers who preached in the 
bounds of the circuit during the year. He refers to 
brother Mansfield who was presiding elder on the district, 
and to the fact of hearing Hancock, Bird, and Henly 
preach from time to time. On one occasion he speaks of 
being in company with brother Hancock, when they saw 
some Indians who "appeared to be sedate," and he and 
brother Hancock talked and prayed with them. On an- 
other occasion he speaks of riding a long way through the 
snow to an appointment, and on reaching the meeting- 
house he found no one present. He makes this state- 
ment on the last day of 1798: "This day ends the year. 
How many changing scenes I have passed through! 
Much distress of bodv and mind. And how little I have 

then until 1827. Much of it is religious experience. Its historical 
value is lessened by a great many abbreviations. But with all these 
imperfections, it throws a great deal of light on the period covered. 
For the use of this manuscript we are indebted to Rev. C. A. Wood. 

West of the Blue Ridge. 295 

done for God! How little good done in his cause! O 
God, pardon whatever thou hast seen amiss in me, for thy- 
mine's sake!" And on January 1st, 1779, he prays again 
in these words : "Oh, may I live nearer God this year than 
ever!" From reading these old faded pages, we judge 
that as he rode over these mountains he lived continually 
in an atmosphere of prayer. 

He was on the effective list, with the exception of a 
short while, until 1830, when he was placed on the super- 
annuate list. And "on the evening of the 22d of June he 
retired to his chamber in as good health, apparently, as 
he had been for some time. Early in the night a nephew 
lying in the same room was awakened by an unusual 
noise, as though his uncle were strangling. He hastened 
to his relief and raised him up in his arms, but his spirit 
was departing and in a moment was gone. Thus died 
Thomas Mann, in the sixty-second year of his age, thirty- 
five of which were spent in the work of the ministry. As 
a Christian he was deeply pious : for many years he had 
professed sanctification, and to believers he was truly an 
example in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in 
faith, and in purity. As a minister he was sound in doc- 
trine, plain, experimental, and practical in preaching, and 
generally useful and well received where he labored. As a 
companion he was easy in his manners, communicative 
and edifying in conversation, sober without sadness, and 
cheerful without levity. But his work is done; his race 
is ended; and he is gone, we have no doubt, where the 
wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest." 1 

'Minutes, Vol. II., page 118. 

296 Methodism in North Carolina. 

Nathan Jarratt followed Mann on the Swannanoa Cir- 
cuit in 1799. The circuit was established in 1793 with 
seventy members. At the end of two years it had 236 
members; and in 1799 a membership of 281 was reported. 
The strength of a circuit was often reduced by the forma- 
tion of other circuits, and perhaps Swannanoa lost some in 
this way ; but it must be remembered that the country was 
sparsely settled and the inhabitants few. Emigrants from 
the east did not often stop in the mountains of western 
North Carolina, but continued until they reached East 
Tennessee or the fertile fields of the Mississippi Valley. 
Many at that day went from Virginia and eastern Carolina 
to Kentucky, and Methodism there to-day owes much to 
North Carolina. 

Nathan Jarratt has been mentioned in another chapter, 
but we give the following summary of his work as found 
in the minutes of 1804 : "Nathan Jarratt, a native of North 
Carolina. He was admitted into the traveling connection 
in 1799, and departed triumphant in the faith of the gospel 
the 28th of October, 1803, by a short illness with an in- 
flammatory bilious fever, in New Kent county, state of 
Virginia. He was a man of great zeal and a pleasing 
voice, affable in his manners and greatly beloved by all 
who had any acquaintance with him. He traveled exten- 
sively for the time he was in the connection; in North 
Carolina, in Swannanoa, Goshen, Newbern, Wilming- 
ton, and Bertie circuits; in Virginia, in Bedford, Wil- 
liamsburg, and Hanover circuits. In him the Virginia 
Conference has lost a worthy member and the Church a 
faithful servant. He was between twenty-five and thirty 

West of the Blue Ridge. 297 

years of age. The loss of this servant of God was justly 
lamented by the Conference and by all his acquaintance; 
but the will of the Lord is done, which demands our sub- 
mission, believing he is taken from the Church militant 
to the Church triumphant. "The night before he departed, 
after lying in an apparent state of insensibility for some 
time, he broke out in a rapture of joy, and sang the fol^ 
lowing lines : 

Arise and shine, O Zion fair, 
Behold thy light is come; 

The glorious conquering King is nigh, 
To take his exiles home. 

And then in a few moments he sweetly slept in Jesus." 

In 1800 the circuit was called Morganton and Swan- 
nanoa, with Tosiah Philips and Samuel Ansley as its 
preachers. Philips was admitted in 1798, and served the 
following charges in North Carolina; 1800, Morganton 
and Swannanoa; 1801, Guilford; 1S03, Mattamuskeet ; 
1804, Haw River; 1805, Trent; 1806, Salisbury; 1810, 
Yadkin; 18 12, Roanoke; and served seven years in the 
state of Virginia, thus giving fifteen years in the itinerant 
ministry. He located in 181 3. Samuel Ansley was ad- 
mitted in 1 79 1, and traveled in North Carolina and Vir- 
ginia until 18 10, when he located. Here are two men who 
gave an unusual length of service to the itinerancy without 
a break. 

In 1801 Morganton was left off, and the circuit appears 
as Swannanoa again. Moses Floyd was appointed pastor ; 
he was admitted on trial in 1800, and located in 1804. He 
served the following charges : Swannanoa, Green, and 
Natchez. Tobias Gibson was his colleague on the Natchez. 

298 Methodism in North Carolina. 

Here the people soon "learned to esteem Mr. Floyd as a 
refined and courtly gentleman, as well as a pious, zealous, 
intelligent, and useful minister of the gospel; but in no 
sense could they consider him the equal of their beloved 
Gibson." "Mr, Floyd was a young man of medium size, 
rather spare, with fair complexion, high forehead, mild 
and benevolent countenance, soft and agreeable manners, 
rather feeble voice in preaching ; but his style of delivery 
was pleasant, and his sermons were clear, logical, and 
scriptural. The writer never saw him the least boisterous 
in the pulpit, though there was often so much earnestness 
and sympathy in his pulpit labors that the people were con- 
strained to feel that he was deeply interested in their sal- 
vation. The burden of the work, of course, fell mainly on 
him, and his habitual pale face and failing strength soon 
told that the burden was more than he could long bear." 
During his pastorate on the Natchez charge he formed 
an attachment for a Miss Griffmg, who was beautiful and 
deeply pious, "and in every way worthy of being a preach- 
er's wife." But because Mr. Floyd was in feeble health 
her parents objected to the marriage. This, however, did 
not stop them. Miss Griffing was of age, and the couple 
were married. There was no elopement. The Discipline 
at that day had a section on "Unlawful Marriages," and 
according to the rule it would have been legitimate for any 
Christian to have married her under the circumstances, but 
the Discipline makes an exception of a Methodist preacher. 
When there is objection, it says "a Methodist preacher 
ought not to be married to her." 1 

discipline, ninth edition, 1797, page 54. 

West of the Blue Ridge. 299 

Mr. Floyd looked upon this rule as advisory, and not 
taught by the word of God, and so felt that he had done 
no harm. The enemy took advantage of this, and the 
standard of the ministry was lowered in that section. 
Floyd was suspended from the ministry for a short time. 
His character was passed at the next session of the Con- 
ference, and he was granted a location. Afterwards he 
studied and practiced medicine, and continued his duties as 
a local preacher. He maintained his Christian character 
to the end of his career. He located to make a living for 
his family, but was not very successful even in that. He 
died poor, and left a widow in poverty. He died of 
measles in 18 14. 

While Mr. Floyd was on the Swannanoa Circuit, Rev. 
James Jenkins passed through that section and spent some 
time at Hot Springs. He was presiding elder on a district 
which embraced Cherokee Circuit, and at the quarterly 
meeting for this circuit, which was near the Blue Ridge, 
Mr. Floyd met him and conducted him across the moun- 
tain. Jenkins preached several times on the way, "and on 
one occasion," he says, "at a night meeting near Bun- 
combe Courthouse, the sanctifying grace of God was pres- 
ent during the first prayer; at which time a sister expe- 
rienced this important blessing. I heard from her the next 
fall, through Bishop Asbury, and she was still happy." 1 

In speaking of the springs, he says : "A few cabins had 
been prepared here for invalids; one of which was occu- 
pied by a brother from Georgia, with whom I boarded. I 

'"Life of James Jenkins," page 106. 

300 Methodism in North Carolina. 

found here quite a mixed multitude from Georgia and the 
Carolinas, among whom were a Presbyterian and a Bap- 
tist minister. These people amused themselves at foot 
racing and cards ; for which I reproved them in public and 
private. I preached once; they paid good attention. 
After spending ten days among them, having received con- 
siderable benefit from the water, I left for my regular 
work. On my return I filled several appointments I had 
made on my way up. I preached once at brother Mills's, 
and spent the night at brother Edney's, whose wife, a 
long time serious, obtained religion while we were at fam- 
ily worship." 1 

In November, 1800, Bishop Asbury spent some time in 
western North Carolina. November 8th, he says: "We 
came to Thomas Foster's, 2 and held a small meeting at his 
house. We must bid farewell to the chaise ; this mode of 
conveyance by no means suits the roads in this wilderness ; 
we are obliged to keep one behind the carriage with a 
strap to hold by and prevent accidents almost continually. 
I have health and hard labor, and a constant sense of the 
favor of God. 

"Tobias Gibson had given notice to some of my being 

J "Life of Jenkins," page 107. 

'Thomas Foster lived on the southern side of the Swannanoa 
River, about two and one-half miles south of Asheville, on the 
old Rutherfordton road. He built the first bridge across the Swan- 
nanoa. He was a member of the Legislature from Buncombe. He 
was a man of prominence, and accumulated considerable wealth. 
Mr. Foster often entertained Bishop Asbury. He did not claim to 
be a Christian, yet he had a daughter, Mrs. James M. Alexander, 
who became a stanch Methodist. He lived to a ripe old age, and is 
buried at Newton Academy graveyard in the suburbs of Asheville. 


West of the Blue Ridge. 301 

at Buncombe Courthouse, and the society at Killian's, in 
consequence of this, made an appointment for me on Sun- 
day, nth. We were strongly importuned to stay, which 
brother Whatcoat felt inclined to do. In the meantime 
we had our horses shod by Philip Smith ; this man, as is 
not infrequently the case in this country, makes wagons 
and works at carpentry, makes shoes for men and for 
horses; to which he adds, occasionally, the manufacture 
of saddles and hats." 

Mr. Charles M. Killian writes a letter to Dr. R. N. 
Price, dated October 29th, 1902, in which he says : "I am 
a direct descendant of Daniel Killian to whom you refer; 
and may also add that, as far as my knowledge extends, 
I am the only living grandson of the said Daniel Killian, 
who was the friend and host of the venerated Bishop As- 
bury in his travels through this then wilderness in the early 
days of Methodism. The house which was the home of 
my grandfather, and where the bishop made his home, was 
torn down something over a year ago by Captain I. V. 
Baird, the present owner of the old homestead, and a large 
modern house was erected. The old chimney remained 
standing up to a few days since, but has been taken away. 
Captain Baird, with the logs that were not too much de- 
cayed, built a tenant house on another part of the estate. 
The photo of the original house was taken about two years 
since under the direction of Bishop Fitzgerald." 1 

While in this section, the bishop visited George Swain's 
"agreeable family." George Swain was the father of 

"'Methodism in Holston," page 303. 

302 Methodism in North Carolina. 

David L. Swain, who was for many years president of the 
university, and at one time Governor of North Carolina. 
The bishop again visited this territory in 1803, and inti- 
mates an improvement in the roads ; and speaks of passing 
two large camp meeting grounds. 

In 1802 Thomas L. Douglass was on the Swannanoa 
Circuit, and James Douthet was presiding elder. On May 
the 1 st and 2d, at a quarterly meeting, James Douthet 
says, "it was a solemn time; thought by some to be the 
greatest meeting ever held in Buncombe county." Mr. 
Newton, a Presbyterian, attended and assisted in the ad- 
ministration of the word and the ordinance of the Lord's 
Supper. At this time the revival fires were burning all 
the way from the Blue Ridge to the sea. 

Joab Watson followed Douglass on the circuit. He was 
admitted in 1801, and located in 1806. And James Tay- 
lor, who served Swannanoa in 1804, was admitted in 1803, 
and discontinued in 1805. The circuit did not have a 
rapid growth so far as numbers are concerned ; for in 1805 
there were only 311 members in the bounds of this large 

There is an article in the "Heroes of Methodism," taken 
from the Southwest Virginian, that gives such a vivid de- 
scription of Bishop Asbury's experience in that mountain 
district, that we introduce it here : 

"Soon after Mr. Asbury was elected bishop, he had oc- 
casion to cross the Blue Ridge from the western part of 
North Carolina to Tennessee. Nearly one whole day 
was spent in wandering among the ravines in the neigh- 
borhood of the mountain, and several times in the course 

West of the Blue Ridge. 303 

of the day he found himself completely bewildered. His 
intention was to reach a cottage near the top of the moun- 
tain, where men of his own order were wont to resort; 
but the shadow of the mountain, as it lengthened over 
the vale, proclaimed the close of day, and admonished 
him that he must seek for entertainment among stran- 
gers, or else consent to spend the night in the deep and 
lonely recesses of a strange forest. 

"In vain he looked out for a cottage where he might 
spend the night. No opening field appeared — no curling 
smoke ascended — no woodman's ax resounded — all was 
silent and solitary ! He pressed his jaded pony, but night 
soon spread its sable curtains around him. About this 
time the night owl set up a hideous scream, which almost 
caused the bishop's hair to stand erect. To this responded 
the dismal howling of wolves in every direction, which so 
wrought upon his apprehensions that he easily imagined 
them standing upon every rock that overlooked his road ; 
and, to heighten the horror of the scene, he distinctly heard 
at a short distance from the road the shrieks of a panther, 
which thrilled through his whole soul. Again he urged on 
his pony; but the whip only extorted a heavy and jaded 
trot. As he cast his eyes around him everything seemed 
to have put on the aspect of woe, and every sound in- 
spired melancholy. The roaring of the distant waterfall, 
the rippling of the small rill as its sportive waters leaped 
from rock to rock, the cry of the whipporwill, and the 
sighing of the evening breeze, all contributed to deepen 
the gloom in which his mind was already involved. He 
often looked to the right hand and to the left, hoping that 

304 Methodism in Xorth Carolina. 

some cottage fire might arrest his eye ; but all was a dense 

"As he slowly ascended from one of the deep ravines, 
he fancied he saw in the distance a light from some dwell- 
ing; but it only blazed for a moment, and then disap- 
peared. A moment after, one solid column of fire seemed 
to gush as from the crater of some volcano, widening as 
it sped its way through the apparently cloudless sky, and 
blazing in fearful grandeur around the tall peaks of the 
mountain. This was succeeded by one long, loud, and 
deafening peal of thunder, which convinced the bishop 
that a dreadful thunderstorm was close at hand. For an 
hour the storm raged fearfully. The oft-reiterated peals 
of thunder, as they broke in angry tones from the clouds, 
and reverberated among the hills, the lurid coruscations 
of the lightning, the torrents of rain that fell, with the 
bending and breaking of many a sturdy tree, made it one 
of the most fearful scenes the bishop had ever witnessed. 
But the storm passed by, and through the mercy of God 
he was yet spared, and pursued his course. 

"But he had not proceeded far when suddenly his pony 
halted, pricked up his ears, and stood still. 'Mercy!' 
ejaculated the bishop, 'what now?' He applied his whip; 
but his horse was not to be moved. He attempted to turn 
him round (for manly courage now gave way to the wild- 
est apprehensions), but the beast stood as if bound by a 
spell of enchantment. For a moment the bishop was held 
in fearful suspense, and then a noise was heard near by, 
at which the affrighted horse wheeled round and bounded 
off with the agility of a buck, leaving the bishop flat in the 

West of the Blue Ridge. 305 

middle of the road. But the worst was now over ; for he 
distinctly heard human voices, to which he hastily called, 
and received a friendly answer. They proved to be those 
of two young men who had been hunting in the course of 
the day and had wandered far from home. They had 
killed a deer, which they were carrying home. Wearied 
with their load, they had lain down to rest. At first they 
rudely laughed at the bishop's manifest excitement; but 
finding his horse had left him, they evinced sympathy, and 
assisted to catch him. He asked permission to go home 
with them, which was granted. It was not long before 
they reached the end of their journey. It was a little log 
hut buried in the recess of the mountains, and on every 
side stood huge battlements of rocks. A rail pen secured 
his horse till morning. The old people were found to be 
plain and simple-hearted. A very rough supper was pro- 
cured, on which the bishop hastily regaled himself. After 
supper he proposed that they should have prayers. All 
was still as the house of death. He took out his pocket 
Bible, from which he read a chapter aloud; and then, 
kneeling down, offered a devout prayer, in which he 
ardently petitioned for the welfare of the family, etc. 
During the prayer the old man stood back at the door, 
with a little urchin on each side holding fast to his 
clothes; the old dame stood close up in the corner of 
the great wooden chimney, with two little ones, one in 
her arms, and the other by the hand. The other chil- 
dren all ran under the bed; and the two young men who 
had conducted him to the house both left, and were not 
seen again until morning. The next morning the bishop 

306 Methodism in North Carolina. 

proposed preaching there soon, as there were no churches 
in that part of the country. Silence gave consent; so he 
appointed a day, and then pursued his journey. 

"The day for preaching arrived; the bishop appeared, 
when lo ! the mountain land seemed to have poured forth 
all its sturdy population to witness the truly novel circum- 
stance of a bishop preaching at the house of old Mr. Jen- 
kins. Ere he got within a mile of the place he heard the 
sharp cracking of rifles, the sound of the huntsman's horn, 
the occasional cry of the hounds, and hearty laughter from 
many a sturdy mountainer. Suffice it to say that during 
service they were still; the word was not without effect 
To cut the matter short, in less than twelve months a 
Methodist church was organized in that place, including 
all of Mr. Jenkins's family." 1 

This gives an insight into the life of the people, and the 
travels, dangers, and hardships of the pioneers. With 
Asbury to lead, the circuit preachers went everywhere. 
With true apostolic zeal they pressed into "the regions be- 
yond." The spirit that was expressed in the statement 
made by John Wesley, "the world is my parish," was in 
them and dominated their lives. "And urged by an im- 
pulse supreme over love of home, ease, or comfort, they lit- 
erally went everywhere preaching the gospel." They were 
not moved by ambition or money, but the love of Christ 
constrained them. The gospel had been committed to 
them as a sacred trust, and the circuit preachers of early 
Methodism had a conviction that "woe is me if I preach 

'"Heroes of Methodism," page 45. 

West of the Blue Ridge. 307 

not the gospel." This voice from within drowned the 
hardships, labors, and sacrifices incident to the lives of the 
itinerants of that day. The greatest distinction that could 
come to them was to die at the post of duty on the field 
of battle. "No cross, no crown," was their motto. "These 
are they 'of whom the world was not worthy.' ' They are 
now before the throne of God. "They shall hunger no 
more, neither thirst any more." 



The Meaning of Methodism — A Revival Essential to Growth. Con- 
dition of the Church — Spiritual Condition Low — Skepticism 
Fashionable. New Pentecost — Originated Among the Metho- 
dists — Bishop Asbury the Leader — Young Men with Apostolic 
Spirit Assisted — Many Results Followed — Skepticism Gave Way. 
Religious Experience. Doctrines Preached. Convictions Pun- 
gent. Bodily Exercises — The "Jerks" — Dr. Buckley's Explana- 
tion — Jacob Young Gave Some Instances. 

We come now to consider one of the most vital parts of 
Methodism. After going back to the sources of Meth- 
odist history, if we were asked to give a definition of 
Methodism in one short sentence, we would say, It is a 
revival of religion. In the word "revival" is found its 
full significance. Methodism did not originate because of 
any dissatisfaction with the form of Church government. 
Neither was it born in some dogmatic belief. It formed 
no new article of faith. Hence it was not a revolution 
against any law, ecclesiastical authority, or doctrine. But 
it was a vital, innate force, that could not find expression 
in any organization of that day. Methodism, therefore, 
grew out of the necessity of the case. 

If we look at the Church through all of its long history, 
we will find that it has had its times of declension and 
"times of refreshing." The revival of spiritual life is not 
an accident. It is based upon the law that "all life ebbs 
and flows." We know this is true in vegetable life, when 
we look at the flower at springtime, and then see the fad- 

The Period of Revivals. 309 

ing tints in autumn. It is true with animal life, and of in- 
tellectual life. And why should not this same law apply- 
to man's higher life — his religious or spiritual? By inves- 
tigation you will find that here the law is most clearly 
demonstrated, for here it reaches its preeminence. It is 
essential to the growth of the kingdom of God. A re- 
vival of religion is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is 
not in the power of man to manipulate a revival into ex- 
istence. The "times of refreshing are from the presence 
of the Lord." 

One extreme generally follows another. In the period 
that we are about to consider, the pendulum seems to 
swing far out on the side of spiritual Christianity. The 
Church had come through a long period of formalism. 
The spirit of religion was low. The attention of the peo- 
ple for some years had been turned toward the war with 
England, and during that conflict everything was demor- 
alized. Since their independence had been declared, much 
thought had been given to political power, etc. Skepti- 
cism was fashionable. Among the educated many were 
proud of their "free thought." The influence of Tom 
Paine and Voltaire had spread its dark cloud over the 
New World. 

But near the close of the eighteenth century the pendu- 
lum seemed to swing back, and God manifested himself 
to the Church in a power no less great than on the day 
of Pentecost. Scenes and phenomena were witnessed that 
made men quake and tremble. And from that day to the 
present, French infidelity has been on the decline. In this 
chapter it is our purpose to follow this revival fire as it 

310 Methodism in North Carolina. 

swept over North Carolina in its awakening and saving 
power. To some extent we will notice the result on other 
Churches. It is true some denominations did not endorse 
it, and would have nothing to do with it, yet they no doubt 
received benefit from it. Among other Churches, the de- 
nominational lines almost faded out under this greater 
light of spiritual life. 

By some writers the Methodists are almost ignored as 
instruments in the great revival that swept over North 
Carolina near the close of the eighteenth century. These 
historians confine it almost solely to the Presbyterian 
Church ; but any one who will investigate the subject will 
find that it originated in the Methodist Church, and was 
carried on largely by its preachers. It is true that the 
Presbyterians, or at least some of them, joined in the 
movement, — Presbyterians and Methodists frequently 
working together. But these great revival meetings were 
unknown in North Carolina- until the fire began to burn 
in the "Old Brunswick Circuit" in Virginia, under the 
preaching of the Methodists. This was as early as 1774 
and 1775. When the Methodist preacher came to North 
Carolina, he brought the revival fire; and from that day 
on the "ebb and flow" of spiritual life could be seen. 

Bishop Asbury was the leader in this revival move- 
ment. His zeal was only limited by his physical strength. 
Around him was a ministry composed mostly of young 
men of apostolic spirit and character, who counted not 
their lives dear unto them. They were willing to face the 
scorn of men and the opposition of demons that they 
might win souls for Christ. They were soon tested in the 

The Period of Revivals. 311 

fires of opposition and persecution, and found to be men 
of God, who were "mighty through God to the pulling 
down of strongholds." These men threw themselves 
against the deism of England and the skepticism of 
France that were beginning to put in their destructive 
work upon these western shores,, So in this great revival 
period it was war between formalism and spiritual Chris- 
tianity ; between creed and a religious experience ; between 
a genuine saving faith and skepticism. And when this 
wave of spiritual life rolled over this country, it left 
thousands of souls with an experience as clear as the 
noonday sun; and as the darkness of the night is driv- 
en back by the morning sun, so all doubt and skepticism 
faded away under the light of the glorious gospel of 

The doctrines preached were thoroughly Methodistic. 
Free salvation, full salvation, present salvation; justifica- 
tion by faith; the regeneration of the heart by the Holy 
Ghost ; the knowledge of sins forgiven, or the witness of 
the Holy Spirit that the believer is born of God; the joy 
of religion which is the fruit of the Spirit ; and that now is 
the day of salvation ; — these doctrines had been preached 
by the Methodists from the time they first entered North 
Carolina. Rev. James McGready (Presbyterian), giving 
an account of this great revival wave, says : "Party doc- 
trines are laid aside, and nothing is heard from the pulpit 
but the practical and experimental doctrines of the gos- 
pel." Experimental religion was the great theme of the 
Methodist preacher at that day. The revival was not 
confined to any one Church. The Presbyterians and 

3 12 Methodism in North Carolina. 

Methodists labored together in harmony and rejoiced to- 
gether in their success. 

Another striking thing about this revival was that the 
convictions were pungent and powerful. And with such 
a deep conviction, the conversion was clear and bright. 
There was a camp meeting held in June, 1802, at the Jer- 
sey settlement in what is now Davidson county. At least 
three thousand persons attended, with about three hun- 
dred professions. Samuel McCorkle describes the con- 
viction of an old woman who had been mocking the 
mourners on Monday all day. Late in the afternoon she 
fell in a state of horror and despair, and in this state she 
continued with intervals for three hours. Mr. McCorkle 
says : "It was impossible for my imagination to conceive 
of her being more tormented had she actually been in hell. 
She often roared out, 'O hell ! thy pangs have seized me ! 
What torments me? Hell can't be worse. Let me go 
there at once. It is my dreadful doom.' Two stout men 
were no match for her struggles. I thought of the man 
among the tombs with his legion. At intervals she cried, 
'Oh, for mercy ! But what have I to do with mercy? No 
mercy for poor miserable me.' Hope, however, began to 
prevail, and at last she shouted, 'Glory ! glory ! ' " as long 
as she had wailed on account of the torment that she en- 

Men under conviction were often struck down, and not 
only exercised in mind and heart, but great bodily exer- 
cises often attended. The physical exercises were known 
as "the jerks." Rev. Barton W. Stone, a leading Pres- 
byterian minister, described some of the phenomena that 

The Period of Revivals. 313 

prevailed : "The bodily agitation or exercises attending 
the excitement in the beginning of the nineteenth century 
were various and called by various names, as the 'falling 
exercise,' 'the jerks/ 'the dancing exercise,' 'the laughing 
exercise,' and so on. The 'falling exercise' was very com- 
mon among all classes, the saints and sinners of every age 
and grade, from the philosopher to the clown. The sub- 
ject of this exercise would generally, with a pious scream, 
fall like a log on the floor or earth, and appear as dead." 
And "of thousands of similar cases" he gives specimens. 
The "jerks" sometimes affected the whole body, some- 
times a part of the body. The same writer and eyewit- 
ness continued : 

"When the head alone was affected, it would be jerked 
backward and forward, or from side to side, so quickly 
that the features of the face could not be distinguished. 
When the whole system was affected, I have seen the per- 
son stand in one place and jerk backward and forward in 
quick succession, the head nearly touching the floor behind 
and before. All classes, saints and sinners, the strong 
as well as the weak, were thus affected. I have inquired 
of those thus affected if they could not account for it, but 
some have told me that those were among the happiest 
seasons of their lives. I have seen some wicked persons 
thus affected, and all the time cursing 'the jerks,' while 
they were thrown to the earth with violence. Though so 
awful to behold, I do not remember that any one of the 
thousands I have seen thus affected ever sustained any 
injury in body. This was as strange as the exercise 

314 Methodism in North Carolina. 

"The laughing exercise was frequent, confined solely 
to the religious. It was a loud, hearty laugh, but it ex- 
cited laughter in none that saw it. The subject appeared 
rapturously solemn, and his laughter excited solemnity 
in saints and sinners. It was truly indescribable. 

"The running exercise was nothing more than that per- 
sons, feeling something of these bodily agitations, through 
fear attempted to run away and thus escape from them ; 
but it commonly happened that they ran not far before 
they fell, where they became so agitated that they could 
not proceed any further. 

"I knew a young physician of a celebrated family who 
came some distance to a big meeting to see the strange 
things he had heard of. He and a young lady had sport- 
ively agreed to watch over and take care of each other if 
either should fall. At length the physician felt something 
very uncommon, and started from the congregation to 
run into the woods. He was discovered running as for 
life, but did not proceed far before he fell down, and 
there lay until he submitted to the Lord, and afterwards 
became a zealous member of the Church. Such were 

"Thus have I given a brief account of the wonderful 
things that appeared in the great excitement in the begin- 
ning of the nineteenth century. That there were many ec- 
centricities and much fanaticism in this excitement was 
acknowledged by its warmest advocates ; indeed, it would 
have been a wonder if such things had not appeared in the 
circumstances of that time. Yet the good effects were 
seen and acknowledged in every neighborhood and among 

The Period of Revivals. 315 

the different sects. It silenced contention and promoted 
unity for a while." 1 

Dr. J. M. Buckley is the only historian that we have 
seen who undertakes to account for, or explain, this 
strange phenomenon from a scientific standpoint. He has 
written much on psychology, and is a good authority on 
this subject. Here is what he says: "The psychological 
key to the problem is that concentrated attention, accom- 
panied by strong religious emotion, produces a powerful 
impression upon the nervous system, the result being an 
agitation of the nerves throughout the body, the effects 
of which differ according to the constitution of the sub- 
ject. In one relief is found in floods of tears, in another 
in hysterical laughter, in a third by unconsciousness, in a 
fourth by a partial loss of muscular action with marked 
effects upon the operations of the mind; in yet another 
complete catalepsy may be produced, every muscle becom- 
ing rigid, and so remaining for hours, while no impression 
can be made by ordinary means upon either the senses or 
the mind ; and in still another involuntary motions may be 
constantly made, lasting for hours together; while some 
temperaments can bear religious or any other kind of 
emotion without outward excitement and with no indica- 
tion except an unusual calmness. These differences of 
susceptibility are seen outside the sphere of religion, even 
among members of the same family." 2 

There is no doubt but that much of these physical exer- 
cises was due to a psychological effect. But there were 

^'Early Times in Middle Tennessee," pages 70-75. 
'"History of Methodism," Buckley, Vol. L, page 262. 

3*6 Methodism in North Carolina. 

some of these exercises that cannot be explained by this 
process. Violent opposers were sometimes seized by "the 
jerks" ; "men with imprecations upon their lips were sud- 
denly smitten with them." Men on horseback charging 
in upon a camp meeting to disperse the congregation were 
arrested by the strange affection at the very boundaries of 
the worshiping circle, — "sometimes struck from their sad- 
dles as if by a flash of lightning, and were violently shaken 
the more they endeavored to resist the inexplicable power." 
Dr. Buckley's explanation is perfectly satisfactory where 
the subject attends a religious gathering with concentra- 
ted attention and expectation, but it does not explain the 
phenomenon when it occurs at a time when there is no 
excitement and no expectation. Rev. Jacob Young in his 
Autobiography says: "Sometimes at hotels this affliction 
would visit persons, causing them, for example, in the 
very act of raising the glass to their lips, to jerk and 
throw the liquid to the ceiling, much to the merriment of 
some and the alarm of others. I have often seen ladies 
take it at the breakfast table. As they were pouring tea 
or coffee, they would throw the contents toward the ceil- 
ing, and sometimes break the saucer. Then, hastening 
from the table, their long suits of braided hair hanging 
down their backs would crack like a whip." Here it occurs 
seemingly without excitement and without expectation. 
It was not understood by those who witnessed it at the 
time, some ascribing it to the devil, others to an opposite 
source; some striving against it, others courting it as the 
power of God unto salvation. There is no doubt that 
God used it in accomplishing great good during this re- 

The Period of Revivals. 317 

vival period. Hundreds were reached who could not 
have been reached through any other instrumentality. 

Another eyewitness says : "I saw members exercised in 
this way at a camp meeting held in Lincoln county. 
Sometimes their heads would be jerked backward and 
forward with such violence that it would cause them to 
utter involuntarily a sharp, quick sound, similar to the 
yelp of a dog, and the hair of the women to crack like a 
whip. Sometimes their arms, with clenched fists, would 
be jerked in alternate directions with such force as seemed 
sufficient almost to separate them from the body. Some- 
times all their limbs would be affected, and they would be 
thrown into almost every imaginable position, and it was 
as impossible to hold them still almost as to hold a wild 
horse. When a woman was exercised in this way, other 
women would join hands around her and keep her within 
the circle they formed; but the men were left without 
constraint to jerk at large through the congregation, over 
benches, over logs, and even over fences. I have seen 
persons exercised in such a way that they would go all 
over the floor with a quick, dancing motion, and with such 
rapidity that their feet would rattle upon the floor like 

These instances are sufficient to show the reader some- 
thing concerning this strange exercise that accompanied 
the great revival in the early part of the nineteenth century. 




The Quarterly Meeting — Account Given by James Douthet on the 
Yadkin. Swannanoa. Thomas L. Douglass. Meeting at Mor- 
ganton. Guilford Circuit. James Douthet. Jonathan Jackson 
Writes from Roanoke. Bertie Circuit. Revivals on Newbern 
District. Lorenzo Dow — Creates Sensations — Extracts from His 
Journal. Great Excitement Prevailed. Effect of This Revival. 

The quarterly meeting was a great agency for promoting 
revivals. In fact, the whole plan of Methodism seemed 
to be peculiarly adapted to bring souls to Christ. But the 
time of the quarterly meeting, especially when the pre- 
siding elder was a quickening and awakening preacher, 
was a period of transcendent interest. "The love feast, 
the sermons by the presiding elder and others, the ex- 
hortations, and the other services, together with the 
throngs in attendance, gave a striking impressiveness to 
such occasions." 

In 1802, Rev. James Douthet was on the Salisbury 
District, from which he gives a glowing account of the 
revival work in his quarterly meetings. He says : "I am 
now at the quarterly meetings in the Yadkin. Brother 
McKendree is with us. The Lord has been powerfully 
present this day, and we are looking for greater times to- 
morrow and the next day; the Lord is doing wonders 
throughout the district ; the holy flame has caught and is 
going on very considerably in all the circuits. I suppose 
at the several quarterly meetings, the second time I went 

The Period of Revivals. 319 

round the district, not less than five hundred souls pro- 
fessed to find the Lord." 

At the quarterly meeting on the Swannanoa Circuit, 
the presiding elder says "it was thought by some to be 
the greatest meeting ever held in Buncombe county." 
Rev. Thomas L. Douglass was on this circuit, and was a 
great revivalist. He was often in demand as a preacher 
in the great camp meetings held at that day. He joined 
the Conference in 1801 ; traveled circuits in 1801, 1802, 
1803, and 1804. In 1805 he was stationed in Portsmouth ; 
presiding elder on the Salisbury District in 1807 and 1808. 
In 18 1 3 he was stationed in Richmond. In 18 14 he was 
transferred to the Tennessee Conference and stationed at 
Nashville. For many years after he left North Carolina 
his name was a household word. 

The quarterly meeting at Morganton on the 8th and 
9th of May, 1802, was attended with great interest. And 
on Friday, the 21st of May, we find Mr. Douthet on the 
Guilford Circuit, where he says the meeting continued 
until Monday, the 24th, and much good was accomplished. 
He says : "We had the greatest time and the most power- 
ful work that I ever saw./ The work broke out on Sat- 
urday about four o'clock irrthe afternoon, and there was 
no intermission till after two o'clock in the afternoon on 
Monday. I think there were during this meeting upward 
of a hundred souls down at one time crying for mercy; 
between forty and fifty professed to be converted." 

At the quarterly meeting on the Caswell Circuit, Jona- 
than Jackson, presiding elder on the Newbern District, 
was present as a visitor. The Conference was held at 

320 Methodism in North Carolina. 

Edmund Taylor's. There were five conversions on Sun- 
day, while many "others were struck to the earth and 
cried aloud for mercy." At Hickory Mountain, on Haw 
River Circuit, "we had the greatest time that had ever 
been seen there. jJThe power of the Lord came down on 
Saturday like a mighty rushing wind, and appeared to 
rest on the congregation during the meeting. The num- 
ber of the converted could not be ascertained.; The work 
of the Lord at this time is reviving in a most pleasing 
manner in all the circuits in the district except Franklin. 
I pray God to send it there, and everywhere, till the earth 
is filled with the knowledge and power of God. The 
preachers in the district are all able to travel and preach, 
although some of them complain, and are greatly weak- 
ened by excessive labors." x 

James Douthet was a native of North Carolina; his 
father having moved from Maryland, he settled on the 
Yadkin River, where he reared two boys for the Methodist 
ministry, James and Samuel. James entered the itinerant 
ministry in 1792, in a class of forty-two other young men. 
He traveled circuits until 1801, when he was appointed to 
the Salisbury District. The district embraced the follow- 
ing circuits: Caswell, Guilford, Yadkin, Morganton, 
Swannanoa, Salisbury, Haw River, and Franklin. James 
Douthet located in 1803. 

Good news also came from the Newbern District, 
through its presiding elder, Rev. Jonathan Jackson. He 
says, in a letter written June 5th, 1802, that there was 

*Rev. James Douthet, presiding elder, in "Extracts of Letters of 
the Preachers," page 39. 

The Period of Revivals. 321 

a glorious revival in the Roanoke Circuit with many con- 
versions and additions to the societies. The congrega- 
tions were remarkable for the sparsely settled condition of 
the country. Mr. Jackson, speaking of a quarterly meet- 
ing at Malory's meetinghouse, says that he judged the 
congregation to be about fifteen hundred, and that there 
were few sinners who were not stricken by the power of 
God ; while many of the saints shouted aloud the praises 
of the Most High. The Xar Riveiu rieeting also was at- 
tended with the presence and power of the Spirit. 

Jesse Lee, who was on the Norfolk District this year 
( 1802), writes : "The work is considerably great in Bertie 
Circuit. There is a small revival in Portsmouth Circuit. 
Camden Circuit has gained a little." In 1804 Daniel Hall 
speaks of another revival in this part of the state. He 
says : "The work is going on gloriously in some parts of 
Bertie Circuit, and has been powerful in Amelia Circuit, 
and good times in Greensville and Mecklenburg circuits; 
and Old Brunswick has beeen visited with a gracious 
shower." 1 

Philip Bruce, writing from the Newbern District in 
1804, says: "There has been a small revival of religion 
near Trenton, Trent River; perhaps nearly one hundred 
added in that neighborhood; also some at Yelverton's 
Contentney. There have been some revivals in many 
parts of Roanoke Circuit and the upper part of Tar River 
Circuit, and the upper part of Tar River, especially about 
Snow's Church; the work goes on well, among the rich 

'"Letters of the Preachers," page 106. 

3 22 Methodism in North Carolina. 

and great. At a camp meeting October 23, at Ebenezer 
meetinghouse, twelve miles above Halifax, it was sup- 
posed we had about forty souls converted to God." 

In 1806 Bishop Asbury passes through the eastern part 
of the state and makes this comment upon the revival that 
had swept over the country: "I met elder Bruce; all our 
talk is, What hath God wrought ! In Beaufort the Lord 
hath put forth his power ; the whole town seems disposed 
to bow to the scepter of the Lord Jesus, after being left 
and visited again, within the last twenty years, by his 
faithful ministers." 

In glancing at this great revival, we see a strange-look- 
ing man passing through North Carolina occasionally, in- 
creasing the revival flame everywhere he went. He wears 
long hair, and shows at a glance that he is full of eccen- 
tricities. His name is Lorenzo Dow. He was born in 
Connecticut, October 16th, 1777. He began to exercise 
in public under the direction of Jesse Lee, and was ad- 
mitted on trial, but his eccentricities were so numerous 
that he was not continued in the work long. However, 
he felt that he could not be silent, that he must call sin- 
ners to repentance, and he ceased not to preach. The time 
of his coming to North Carolina was favorable to his 
success. The whole country was under the excitement 
of the revival. The people were looking for greater and 
more wonderful displays of divine power. In the midst 
of all this excitement Dow appeared in North Carolina. 
"His appointments were usually made for three, six, or 
twelve months in advance, and at the clay, hour of the 
day — nay, at the very moment — the form of the wonder- 


The Period of Revivals. 323 

ful man was seen striding through the crowd to the pul- 
pit, or to the rude stand under the trees." 
man was ever more vividly remembered by the masses of 
the people than Lorenzo Dow. Tradition has brought 
down many of his oddities and anecdotes in almost every 

Of course he suffered persecutions. He was in prison 
on one occasion, and he says, "Near Raleigh, North Caro- 
lina, a petty constable attempted to take me up as a horse 
thief." 1 And on the other hand he met many kind friends, 
who were always ready to assist him in any way possible. 
In 1804 he made another tour through North Carolina. 
He says : "We came to Wilmington, where I found re- 
ligion low, and bigotry so prominent, particularly in the 
leading and local preachers, that had not Mr. Russell been 
with me, who was stationed here, I should have been shut 
out." He spoke at Newbern, Washington, Tarboro, Pros- 
pect, Sampson's meetinghouse, Jones's, and twice in the 
statehouse at Raleigh. Then he makes mention of another 
halt in Iredell county ; thence he went to the courthouse in 
Buncombe county, where he spoke twice in the Presby- 
terian meetinghouse with good results. His horse having 
a sore back, he sold him at a greatly reduced price on a 
credit, and proceeded on foot. 

When he returned to North Carolina, he spoke at 
"Rockingham Courthouse to fifteen or sixteen hundred 
people, who appeared in general solemn and well behaved, 
considering the inconvenience of standing in the freezing 

'Dow's Writings, page 170. 

3 2 4- Methodism in North Carolina. 

air and falling snow more than two hours." He says on 
the next day, "I spoke at Danville to about two thousand ; 
this was the seat of Satan's kingdom, yet I believe I shall 
one day see good times in this quarter." He visited North 
Carolina again in 1805, when he says, "I spoke at Char- 
lotte Courthouse, but some of A-double-L part people 
strove to kick up a dust." 

"February 6th. Twenty-six miles in the rain to Sandy 
Ridge, where we had a comfortable time ; thence to Salis- 
bury, and I spoke in the air, as it was court time, but in the 
evening in the courthouse, from Solomon's irony. A man 
who had been careless about religion was so operated 
upon that God opened his heart to give me cloth for a 
winter coat which I greatly needed. 

"8th. I spoke twice in Lexington ; but a drunken man 
interrupted us, and when he became sober he made ac- 

"9th. Rode twenty miles to Salem, and spoke to about 
three thousand people in the open air. 

"10th. I spoke in Bethany to about three thousand; at 
night at Doub's, who has the most convenient room, with 
a pulpit and seats, of any I have seen in the south." This 
was the house of John Doub, father of the late Peter 
Doub. His house, from the time ( 1780) Methodism was 
introduced into that section of the state, was a regular 
preaching place on the circuit. In that class alone, Peter 
Doub said, there had been fourteen ministers raised up. 
No wonder Lorenzo Dow was highly pleased with the 
arrangement for service here, and no doubt he was equally 

The Period of Revivals. 325 

as well pleased with the kindly Christian spirit with which 
he was received. 

On the nth' Dow spoke at "Stokes Courthouse, three 
thousand, a solemn time; left my mare, and procuring a 

horse, proceeded to Mr. M 's; felt awfully; delivered 

my message as in the presence of the dread Majesty of 
heaven, which greatly shocked the family, considering 
some circumstances in the same." 1 

He speaks highly of the Presbyterians in North Caro- 
lina, whose meetinghouses were generally at his service, 
and he was pleased with their ministers "who appeared," 
he says, "like pious men, with the spirit o>f liberty." These 
quotations are sufficient to show something of the man 
and his work. Coming at the time he did, God no doubt 
used him to push forward the great work of grace that 
was sweeping over the country. 

During this revival there was much excitement, and 
the emotional played a very prominent part in the exer- 
cises. To some of .this there was much objection, but the 

work went on. While this excitement was violently de- 
nounced by some, it was ardently vindicated by others. 
Even Bishop George, while on the Guilford Circuit in 
1792, was so offended at the scenes he witnessed as to be 
tempted to leave his post. There were evidently pecul- 
iarities in the exercises he witnessed, which he calls "ex- 

This excitement attended revivals of religion, and was 
Uargely peculiar to Methodism. Where there was no ex- 

^ritings of Dow, page 225. 

326 Methodism in North Carolina. 

citement and no emotion, there was generally no life; 
hence we should be slow to condemn it. "Extravagant 
manifestations, excessive and extreme exhibitions of feel- 
ing, are both unnatural and unscriptural ; but a natural 
expression of inward peace and joy under proper circum- 
stances is both scriptural and natural. When we are 
pleased, we smile; when we are merry, we laugh; when 
we are rejoiced, we shout. A shout is the consummation 
of a smile." 1 There can be no well-grounded objections 
to a man shouting over his sins forgiven, or when he has 
found the "pearl of great price." No one objects to the 
shout of the politician except his opponent. Shouting is 
only offensive when the thing that produces it. is offensive. 
It cannot be unbecoming in itself; for people shout in 
every department of life, and there is no objection. From 
1800 to 1805 there was being made in North Carolina a 
campaign for the salvation of souls, and they were re- 
turning to God by the score and by the hundred. Why 
should they not shout as they saw such demonstrations of 
the wonderful power of God. It would have been strange 
if they had not shouted. 

The effect of this revival upon the Church was very 
marked. Methodism began in a revival, and it has had 
its growth in its native element. The revival period of 
which we are considering began about 1798, and that year 
there was a membership in North Carolina of 6,401 whites 1 
and 1,810 colored. And in 1805 they reported 9,727 
whites and 2,163 colored, making an increase in seven 

Sermons of Dr. N. F. Reid, page 370. 

The Period of Revivals. 327 

years of 3,326 white and 353 colored. This shows a large 
income in the way of membership in the Methodist 
Church, while the increase in other Churches from the ef- 
fects of these reivals was very great and gratifying^ The 
whole Church was quickened ; Methodism was more thor- 
oughly established, and was now more fully prepared for 
larger and greater conquests. Its foundations had been 
laid with the blood of its itinerant heroes; they had suf- 
fered al kinds of persecutions, hardships, and privations. 
This revival wave gave them encouragement and strength 
for further and grander victories. 



Origin of Camp Meetings — The Idea Suggested by Necessity — 
Great Revival Began in the Forest. First Camp Meeting in 1794 
in Lincoln County — John McGee — Account of His Work in the 
West — Old Union in Randolph. One Near Statesville — Account 
Given by Philip Bruce. Morganton. Shepherd's Cross Roads in 
Iredell. Rutherford County. Scarboro's Meetinghouse in Mont- 
gomery County. Swan Creek. Presiding Elder Leading the 
Movement in Cape Fear. Rockingham. Howe's Conversion. 

(How the Revival Spread. Camp Meetings in the Yadkin Valley. 
Jonathan Jackson Writes from the Newbern District. Great 
Blessing to Early Methodism. 

Hail, sacred grove ! Thou blest retreat ! 

Where, lo ! the sons of God retire, 
To worship in communion sweet, 

And after joys divine aspire: 
For thee the numbers soft shall rise, 
On seraphs wing above the skies. 

Around the camp the power divine 
Descends upon the saints below; 

Immortal emanations shine, 
The streams of life divinely flow; 

The grateful tear which wets the eye 

Speaks to the soul that God is nigh. 

The camp meeting originated in the great revival during 
I the last decade of the eighteenth century; though it is 
(commonly believed to have resulted from the great sacra- 
mental meetings held by the Presbyterians and partici- 
pated in by the Methodists in Kentucky and Tennessee 
early in the nineteenth century. But it will be seen that 
this idea was carried west by Rev. John McGee, who had 


Camp Meetings. 329 

frequently attended such meetings in North Carolina years 
_befo_re. These gatherings, so far as we know, originated 
in Lincoln county about the year 1789 or 1790. Daniel 
Asbury and John McGee were at that time missionaries 
in a large territory west of the Catawba River. The coun- 
try was just being settled by immigrants attracted thither 
by the fertility of the soil. There were no church edifices \/te£ d 
at first, so it was necessary for them to meet in groves, j 
\ The meetings thus held in the forest were blessed with 
great revivals, the people coming for many miles from the 
scattered settlements, camping for days and nights and 
participating in the religious worship. In this way the 
camp meeting originated out of the necessities of the time^J 
It was destined to be a strong arm of Methodism. 

Dr. Shipp, in his "History of Methodism in South 
Carolina," says: "The first Methodist church in North 
Carolina west of the Catawba River was built in Lincoln 
county in 1791, in the neighborhood in which Daniel As- 
bury settled when he located, and was called Rehoboth. 
Before the erection of this church, the congregation was 
accustomed to worship in the grove in the midst of which 
it was built, and these meetings in the forest resulted in 
great good, and were often continued throughout the day 
and night. \ In 1794 the leading male members of the 
church consulted together and agreed to hold a camp 
meeting in this forest for a number of days and nights^ 
The meeting was accordingly appointed, and was con- 
ducted by Daniel Asbury, William McKendree (after- 
wards made bishop), Nicholas Walters, and William Ful- 
wood, who were efficiently aided by Dr. James Hall, a 

33° Methodism in North Carolina. 

celebrated pioneer preacher among the Presbyterians in 
Iredell county. The success of this first camp meeting, at 
which it was estimated that three hundred souls were con- 
verted, led to the appointment of another the following 
year (1795) at Bethel, about a mile from the famous 
Rock Spring; and subsequently of yet another by Daniel 
Asbury and Dr. Hall, which was known as the great 
Union Camp Meeting at Shepherd's Cross Roads, in Ire- 
dell county." 

After camp meetings were fully developed, it came 
about that many a circuit would have somewhere within 
its bounds a camp ground, where these great annual gath- 
erings were held. The camp ground established for the 
Lincoln Circuit (for it was of that region that Dr. Shipp 
writes) was changed in 181 5 from Bethel to Robey's 
Church (Friendship), and in 1828 to the Rock Spring, 
where such meetings have been held until this day. 

The name of Rev. John McGee has been associated with 
the origin of camp meetings in the west. McGee entered 
the Methodist itinerancy in 1788. He was born in Guil- 
ford county. 1 His father died while he was quite young, 
and his mother married a Mr. William Bell, who lived on 
Deep River near the road leading from Greeensboro to 
Asheboro. His mother and stepfather possessed a great 
deal of property, but did not enjoy religion. Bishop As- 

'Some state that he was born near the Yadkin River, below Salis- 
bury. He was bom on Sandy Creek, in what now is Randolph 
county. His father was Colonel John McGee, and owned a large 
amount of land, a mill, and a country store. He had three children, 
two of them preachers — one, William, a Presbyterian, and John, a 
Methodist. • 

Camp Meetings. 331 

bury, when he visited the family in January, 1790, two 
years after John had entered the itinerancy, made this 
statement : "Went to Mr. Bell's, on Deep River, and were 
received in the kindest manner; before I left the house, I 
felt persuaded that the family would come to experience 
the power of religion." The bishop stopped here again 
in 1792, and perhaps after this. The mother of John Mc- 
Gee was a very remarkable woman, being "of strong 
mind, ardent in her temperament, and remarkably firm 
and resolute in whatever she undertook, which just fitted 
her for the trying scenes through which she was called to 
pass." 1 She professed religion in the great revival about 
the close of the eighteenth century. She died in great 
peace, September 9th, 1820, about eighty-five years of 

It is said John McGee became acquainted with the 
Methodists on the eastern shore of Maryland, and ex- 
perienced the joys of the new birth. As we have seen, 
he was associated with Daniel Asbury in the work west of 
the Catawba in 1789, placed in charge of the Lincoln Cir- 
cuit in 1792, located in 1793 ; but he remained in this sec- 
tion where camp meetings had been introduced, and be- 
came very popular, _until in 1798 he removed to Sumner 
county, Tennessee. His brother, William, who was a 
Presbyterian minister, had preceded him. While there 
was a difference in the doctrine of the Presbyterian and 
Methodist Churches, here in a strange land the difference 
was not great enough to keep them from uniting their 

'"The Old North State in 1776," second series, published 1856, 
page 307. 

33 2 Methodism in North Carolina. 

efforts for the salvation of souls. John McGee says, 
"We loved and prayed and preached together." 

In 1799 the two brothers made a tour together, preach- 
ing at many newly settled places. It was one of the de- 
vices of the trip that John recurred to the camp meetings 
which he had attended in North Carolina. He adopted 
the idea, and it became popular. It exactly suited the 
new western country. Its novelty helped to recommend 
it; and soon it was widely established. John McGee, in 
giving an account of one of these meetings, says : "Preach- 
ing commenced, and the people prayed, and the power of 
God attended. There was a great cry for mercy. The 
nights were truly awful ; the camp ground was well illumi- 
nated ; the people were differently exercised all over the 
ground, some exhorting, some shouting, some praying, 
and some crying for mercy, while others lay as dead men 
on the ground. Some of the spiritually wounded fled to 
the woods, and their groans could be heard all through 
the surrounding groves, as the groans of dying men. 

1 From thence many came into the camp, rejoicing and 

^ praising God." 

Dr. Foote, in his "Sketches of North Carolina," de- 
scribes a meeting held at Hawfield's in October, 1801, in 
Mr. Paisley's charge (Presbyterian), that he claims was 
the first camp meeting in North Carolina. No doubt this 
was the one held at Union, on Deep River in Randolph 
county in this state ;jbut the Methodists had been holding 
such meetings for several years, from necessity, as they 
were greatly scattered and had only a few houses of 

Camp Meetings. 333 

About this time there were quite a number of union 
meetings held, participated in by the Methodists, Presby- 
terians, and Baptists. One of the first of such meetings 
was the one held at Union, on Deep River in Randolph 
county. It was held the last week of December, 1801. 1 
Peter Claywell says his father and mother joined the 
Methodists in Virginia and moved to North Carolina in 
1800 and settled near Snow Creek in Iredell county. He 
opened his house for preaching, Daniel Asbury preaching 
there regularly during 1801 and 1802. This was the be- 
ginning of Snow Creek Church, which appears on the 
records of the Yadkin Circuit in 1802 as Clay well's. The 
son of Peter Claywell was about ninety years old when he 
wrote a letter in 1876, in which he says : "This year, 1801, 
the news came to Iredell that the Methodists were going 
to hold a camp meeting in Randolph county, which was a 
novel idea to Presbyterians. However, James Sharpe 
fixed up a four-horse wagon and took his own family, and 
went to the camp meeting in Randolph county. And 
when they came back, they came with a new religion; and 
from that the fire began to spread. There was preaching 
or prayer meeting nearly every night in the week at some 
of the neighboring houses." 2 It is further stated that the 
revival continued for several years. In their meetings 
they would pray to the "God of Randolph." 

Dr. Foote, in his "Sketches of North Carolina," gives 

'James Needham, who lived to be nearly a hundred years old, 
said it began on Christmas day, 1801. Peter Claywell, who lived 
to be very old, said it was in 1801. Dr. Foote says it was held the 
first week in January, 1802. 

2 Manuscript letter written to Dr. M. L. Wood in 1876. 

334 Methodism in North Carolina. 

a very vivid description of this meeting. He says that it 
was appointed by Dr. David Caldwell, of Guilford, and 
that he had invited his brethren west of the Yadkin to 
attend ; and that four of their ministers and about a hun- 
dred of their people accepted the invitation. Dr. Mc- 
Corkle, of Rowan; Rev. L. F. Wilson, of Iredell; J. D. 
Kilpatrick, of Third Creek; and Dr. James Hall, attend- 
ed. The preachers reached the ground on Friday and 
took part in the services. Dr. Hall's people got with- 
in five miles of the place of meeting on Friday evening, 
and then became very much exercised, all becoming more 
or less affected. They could not understand the bodily 
exercises, by some called "the jerks," which attended 
these meetings. But they soon became satisfied that the 
excitement was a revival of true religion. And before 
their return home more than nine-tenths of them were 
deeply impressed with a sense of the great importance of 
salvation. 1 j Dr. Hall said that since the Randolph meet- 
ing religion had made rapid progress among his people, 
and that there was not an opposer among them ; and that 
there were only two denominations that claimed the Chris- 
tian name that opposed the work. 

When the people of Iredell returned from the Randolph 
meeting they had the revival spirit, they talked of the 
meeting, sang the revival songs, until there was a general 
desire for a similar meeting nearer home. So in about a 
month, or the last week in January, 1802, there was a 
general, or union, meeting held near Statesville. "The 

Toote's "Sketches of North Carolina," New York, 1846, page 

Camp Meetings. 335 

number of wagons which came to the ground, besides rid- 
ing carriages, was about one hundred and eight." The 
number attending on Sunday was about four thousand. 
Soon after the service opened on Friday, the rain began 
to fall, and continued until near night. Great interest pre- 
vailed. The sleet began to fall next morning, then snow 
and rain, which continued until late in the afternoon ; "and 
the day was without exception the most inclement of any 
during the whole winter." Yet the people of all ages and 
sexes stood there exposed deeply affected, and hundreds 
were converted. There were two Methodist preachers, 
one Baptist, and several Presbyterians. Rev. Philip 
Bruce, presiding elder on the Richmond District, but who 
found time to do much work in North Carolina, writes 
of this meeting in June, 1802, saying: "The Presbyterian 
preachers in Iredell county were in favor of the work, and 
invited me to assist them at a sacramental occasion, to be 
held by encampment near Statesville about the middle of 
February, 1802. 1 They met at the time and place ap- 
pointed. On Friday there were present seven or eight 
Presbyterian ministers. 

"From Saturday till Tuesday ten o'clock, the cries of 
the wounded, and singing, continued without intermis- 
sion ; near one hundred were apparently under the opera- 
tions of grace at a time. But it was not possible to ascer- 
tain the number that found peace and deliverance; the 
probability is, if the meeting had continued longer the con- 
sequence would have been wonderful. 

1 In the date there is a little conflict between Bruce and Foote's 
"Sketches of North Carolina." The latter says the last week in 

336 Methodism in North Carolina. 

"The public congregation was dismissed at ten o'clock 
on Tuesday. It was a common circumstance for compa- 
nies to retire from the camp for private devotion, and some 
of them to be struck down in the woods, and for single 
persons when thus retired to alarm their friends in the 
camp with their cries. On Monday evening numbers left 
the camp, and I suppose not more than three or four hun- 
dred remained. 

"I agreed to continue with them, as did two or three 
other ministers ; I told some of the mourners if they would 
come to the tent where I was, I would spend the whole 
night with them in prayer. Soon after they came to- 
gether, a young man told us that he, with his companions, 
had left the camp in the morning and went to a whisky 
house; and while one of the company was blaspheming, 
he was struck with such dread and horror that he quit his 
wicked companions and returned to the camp and joined 
in with the first praying company he met with, and the 
Lord manifested his pardoning love to his soul. This 
simple relation had the most surprising effect on the con- 
gregation. A young woman who was taking some re- 
freshment cried out that she was feasting her body, and 
her poor soul was in danger of perishing to all eternity. 
The cry for mercy became general throughout our large 
tent, and fifteen or sixteen rose before morning, shouting, 
praising, and giving glory to God for pardoning mercy; 
at the same time the work was being carried on in the 
other tents. Through the course of the meeting many old 
professors, who had been in full communion for years in 
the regular congregations, were stripped of the garments 

Camp Meetings. 337 

of their own making and cast away their old religion, as it 
was termed, and, with repenting publicans, began to cry 
aloud for mercy, until they had found the sinner's Friend. 
After this meeting was dismissed, some were found by the 
wayside, others were struck in the wagons ; some returned 
home praising and shouting, others crying for mercy. 
This may serve as a sample of the work that God is carry- 
ing on in this once abandoned part of the country, where 
thirty years ago a living minister and a living Christian 
could scarcely be found ; now there are scores of ministers 
and hundreds of Christians." 1 Two weeks after this 
meeting another was held near Morganton. Dr. Foote 
says, "The country there is thinly inhabited and the pro- 
fessors of religion few in number." The meeting was well 
attended, considering the condition of the country. 

By this time the whole country was in a state of great 
excitement over the demonstrations witnessed in these 
meetings. It was the subject of conversation. The peo- 
ple in North Carolina were stirred on the subject of re- 
ligion as they had never been before or since. Another 
meeting had been appointed for the second week in March 
at the Shepherd's Cross Roads in the southern part of Ire- 
del county. This was the best attended of any meeting 
up to that time. "The number of wagons, besides riding 
carriages, was two hundred and sixty-two. _The meeting 
continued from Friday until Tuesday^ Hundreds were 
crying aloud for mercy. There were four places of wor- 
ship, and the number attending on Sunday was estimated 

'Extracts of Letters of the Preachers," 1805, pages 37"39- 

338 Methodism in North Carolina. 

to be eight or ten thousand." These meetings continued 
for days and nights without cessation. It must be remem- 
bered that the country was thinly settled, and that a con- 
gregation of a thousand meant much then. 

The first camp meeting held in Rutherford county was 
in 1802, about eight miles from the courthouse. Rev. 
James Jenkins says : "The same power attended the meet- 
ing; thousands were present; many poor sinners felt the 
power of God, and were raised up to testify that he had 
forgiven their sins." Thomas L. Douglass, Daniel As- 
bury, and several Presbyterian ministers were present. 
The Methodists had another camp meeting at the Hang- 
wjng Rock. Fifteen ministers and about three thousand 
people were present. The work began on Friday night. 
The preachers were singing, praying, or preaching all 
night. "Saturday evening it began again at the stand. 
Sabbath evening, at the close of the sacrament, some fell 
to the earth, and the exercises continued the whole night. 
Monday morning the people came together again and 
began singing and exhorting: the Lord wrought again, 
and this was the greatest time. They were crying for 
mercy on all sides." 1 

There was another camp meeting in 1802 held at Scar- 
boro's meetinghouse in Little Pee Dee Circuit. This 
church is known now as Zion ; it is near Mount Gilead in 
Montgomery county. In the Quarterly Conference held 
in connection with the camp meeting, they unanimously 
asked that Rev. James Jenkins preach on the subject of 

'"Extracts of Letters of the Preachers," 1805, page 29. 


Camp Meetings. 339 

baptism, and as a result Rev. Thomas Nelson, the pastor, 
baptized thirty adults on his next round, __some_o^them^ 
having been raised Quakers and some Baptists. 1 Henry , 
Ledbetter preached one night after most of the preachers 
had retired, and six or seven persons professed religion. 
There was present at this meeting a preacher who created 
a great deal of disturbance by holding controversies about 
through the grounds, until Rev. James Jenkins, the pre- 
siding elder, told him he ought to quit preaching or quit 
getting drunk. He asked when he had been drunk? "A 
brother standing by said, T saw you coming from the 
courthouse drunk the other day.' He became silent, and 
interrupted no more." 

Another camp meeting was held soon afterwards at 
Town Creek near Wilmington. Here the rain interfered 
greatly with the success of the meeting, as the tents would 
not keep out the rain. Many became discouraged and left. 
The tents at that day were very rude constructions. The 
plan was in its infancy, so there was no proper method of 
constructing tents. Some were made of cloth; "others 
were shelters covered with pine bark," — none of which 
would keep out the rain. None of them were large enough 
to hold public worship. Little was accomplished until 
Sunday morning, when the interest started early and con- 
tinued all day. Many souls were saved. In later years_ 
the tents were more substantial, and were built on a larger 
scale : while the great arbor was erected and seats ar- 
ranged where thousands could assemble and hear the 

J "Life of James Jenkins," page 1 19. 

34° Methodism in North Carolina. 

preaching. With these improvements, the weather did 
not interfere to any great extent with the services. 
yl By 1803 camp meetings had become very popular. They 
were held in almost every circuit. The presiding elder 
was the leader. During 1802 and 1803 James Jenkins 
was presiding elder over all that territory in North Caro- 
lina belonging to the South Carolina Conference. He 
was "tall and commanding in person, with a face, even in 
old age, expressive of great energy and courage, and a 
voice, until impaired by long use, clear and trumpet- 
toned." He was often called "Thundering Jimmy." He 
was watchful over the young preachers, and was always 
ready to correct in them what he conceived to be errors. 
He did this until he was styled by the preachers "the 
currycomb of the Conference." 'During the year 1803 
he attended a camp meeting at Spedsborough, in the Pee 
Dee Circuit, now Rockingham. Here he reproved a negro 
speculator, and the man took him out in company with 
his friends to speak to him. He told Jenkins he had heard 
some bad things about him. "Ah, indeed !" said Jenkins, 
"if you are searching for evil reports against me, perhaps 
I could help you out." Continuing he said, "If you will 
go to a certain town in North Carolina, you may hear that 
I have a wife and two children ; and then you can go down 
on Edisto and they will tell you I stole a bell." Notwith- 
standing the opposition that he met with here he had a 
good meeting, and the Lord wonderfully blessed preach- 
er and people. 

He held another camp meeting this year on Town 
Creek, Bladen Circuit, near Wilmington. This surpassed 

Camp Meetings. 341 

all preceding ones on the district for the display of divine 
power. It attracted the people of Wilmington, and from 
miles around in every direction. The presiding elder 
preached on Sunday from the text, "Joseph said unto his 
brethren, Come near me, I pray you." Before he had 
finished, the shouts and cries of the people completely 
drowned his voice. The people from Wilmington were 
greatly amazed and deeply impressed. General Howe's 
son, an infidel, attended the meeting one evening, and 
"was very uneasy" ; and as soon as he could see the road 
next morning, he left. "But the arrows of the Almighty 
had fastened in his heart; he prayed, and his cry was, 'If 
Christ be God, let me be convinced.' In a short time he 
had such a view of Christ crucified that he lost his infi- 
delity and sins together, and became a happy, rejoicing 
believer. He and his wife were now reunited in peace." 
Samuel Richardson professed religion at this meeting, 
and at once became very zealous, talking to the mourners 
and praying for them. This was the rule among the con- 
verts; as soon as they were converted, whether old or 
young, they turned preachers and commenced talking to 
others. The fruits of Richardson's conversion did not 
stop at the' meeting; he was filled with the Holy Spirit, 
shouting "Glory to God!" He told his wife what the 
Lord had done for him, and the Spirit pierced her heart, 
and she at once began to call for mercy. The servants 
came in to see what was the matter, and they all got down 
and remained until they obtained pardon. He did not 
stop here, but began to hold prayer meetings, and by the 
time the presiding elder reached Mr. Richardson's neigh- 

34 2 Methodism in North Carolina. 

borhood, on his next round, fifty-two had professed re- 
ligion. This camp meeting was a great blessing to the 
surrounding country, and especially to the town of Wil- 
mineton. Here its influence resulted in no less than sev- 
enty happy conversions. 

They had another meeting on the Bladen Circuit, about 
ten miles from Wilmington, in June, 1804, when there 
was a great display of divine power. At another meeting 
in Bladen, near Gantie's, there were ten preachers and 
about .sixteen hundred people. This was the greatest of 
all the meetings in the Cape Fear section. "Many sinners 
fell, under a sense of guilt and danger, and cried aloud, 
as if in the agonies of death. Many praised God for par- 
doning love. All souls were made subjects of the work, 
rich and poor — from the hoary-headed sinner to children 
nine years old. Many sinners had to fly from the ground, 
or fall under the power of God." Here about a hundred 
found the Lord. 

In 1802 camp meetings were introduced in several 
places in the Yadkin valley. During the year 1801 there 
was one near Snow Creek Church, in Iredell county. Such 
meetings were held here almost annually for nearly a 
hundred years. The preaching place was at Peter Clay- 
well's. The church which grew out of it was Snow Creek. 
The first camp meeting was attended by such men as Jona- 
than Jackson, presiding elder on the Newbern District, 
Philip Bruce, and Joseph Moore. "Jonathan Jackson 
was a powerful" preacher, says Peter Clay well, 1 writing 

'Letter written by Peter Claywell at the age of ninety, dated 1876. 

Camp Meetings. 343 

of him in 1876. He tells of another meeting held in 
,8m at Trumpet Branch, near where Moss's meetmg- 
house now stands. Dr. Hall, Presbyterian, attended this 
meeting Dr. Peter Doub, in his Autobiography, tells of 
a eamp meeting held on his father's land in 1802, in which 
he was very powerfully impressed, but being so young he 
was not encouraged to seek religion. He says tha from 
this time on these meetings "multiplied and extended V 
throughout Virginia, North and South Carolina. They 
were attended by immense multitudes of people, and were 
productive of a vast amount of good. In those primitive 
times of camp meetings the people assembled for purposes 
of worship, and seemed to be wholly absorbed m the exer- 
cises of the occasion. Parade and show were then utter 
strangers on such occasions. All seemed to be devoted to 
preaching, and singing and prayer. Many were the seals 
of the ministry in those days; ^ and great will be their 
crowns of rejoicing in eternity." 1 

In order to show that these meetings were generally 
held over the state, early in the century, we quote from a 
letter written by Jonathan Jackson, presiding elder on the 
Newbern District, to show something of what was going 
^ in that part of the state. He says : "The greatest times 
we have had have been at our camp meetings Great 
pains have been used to prevent irregularities and disorder, 
which has so far won the hearts of the people to them 
that they want camp meetings almost everywhere. It is 
impossible to tell the good which has been done at them; 
forwhile some have been crying for mercy, others shetrt- 
"'Memoir of Peter Doub," written by himself, manuscript. 


344 Methodism in North Carolina. 

ing the praises of the Most High, there would not be a 
sinner found who would open his mouth against the work. 
At the first camp meeting I suppose there were twenty- 
seven converted, several at the second and third, about 
ten at the fourth, and about sixty-seven at the last, which 
was held in my district. In the lower part of the district 
we have had the greatest seasons that have ever been seen ; 
and I hope the work will go on and prosper." 1 

These camp meetings and the great revival that swept 
over North Carolina came simultaneously. The results 
" achieved could not have been had without an encampment, 
from the fact that the country was so sparsely settled. 
These meetings brought together large congregations and 
helped to concentrate public thought upon religion. The 
meetings became the topic* of conversation. In the great 
revival of this period thousands were brought into the 
Church. We have seen the multitude assembled in the 
woods, singing and praying, preaching and exhorting, for 
days and nights without cessation. The encampments 
were lighted at night with pine torches here and there in 
the grove, while the stars looked down from above the 
trees. All night the groans of the penitents agonizing 
for pardon and the shouts of the saints could be heard. 
Those were happy seasons, and such hallowed scenes be- 
long only to the early history of Methodism. There may 
be objections to them now, but nothing could take their 
place when Methodism was being introduced into the 
sparsely settled districts of North Carolina. 

'"Extracts of Letters of the Preachers," 1805, page 84. 


fcv^£ LI' .; 

s^Ekg* miff 



Spirit of Heroism. Little is Known of Many of These Heroes — 
Gathering up Fragments of Their History. Asbury's Journal — 
His Prophecy. Preparation of the Pioneers — Their Style of 
Preaching. Robert Williams in Norfolk. Dr. Kilgo's Estimate of 
the Itinerants — Their Immense Work. Large Fields — District 
Reaching from French Broad to Mattamuskeet. Circuit Preach- 
ers on the Go all the Time — Their Hardships — Privations — Often 
Cold and Hungry — Their "Record is on High" — What They Have 
Accomplished in North Carolina — Twenty-two Circuits — Over 
Eleven Thousand Members — Furnished Much for the Whole 

No set of men known in all history have shown the heroic 
spirit more than the early pioneers of Methodism in North 
Carolina. They possessed every element of the heroic. 
They braved clangers, endured hardships and privations, 
labored and fought in many a conflict, and finally tri- 
umphed gloriously. 

It has been our purpose in these pages to describe the 
scenes and labors of the pioneers of early Methodism in 
North Carolina, and to gather up and garner the fruits of 
their toils and sacrifices. But how little we know of many 
of these dead heroes! Who knows where their precious 
ashes repose? "Who can paint the dangers that sur- 
rounded their pathways, or depict the somber, threatening 
skies that lowered over them? Who can delineate the 
bows of promise that arched the storms that beat upon 
them, or give a voice to the thunders that pealed above 


346 Methodism in North Carolina. 

and around them ? Who can mingle in the joys that filled 
their overflowing cups, or measure the faith and the 
courage that swelled their heroic breasts?" Who can tell 
of the friends who wiped the death sweat from their 
brows, and went with them to the brink of that river that 
separates us from the heavenly land ? 

Of course we do not feel competent to do justice to the 
least of these dead heroes; but if we have succeeded in 
gathering from the fragments of the history that is left of 
them, and again embalming their memories for this gen- 
eration and those that are to come, it will have been a 
pleasing task. Their examples should be emulated, but 
cannot be, for they are not known. Let us walk with 
them, and learn of them as they learned of Christ. The " 
lamented Dr. N. F. Reid, never uttered a more eloquent 
and beautiful sentiment than when, in speaking of these 
pioneers, he said : "God bless the memory of our fathers 
and breathe their spirit on us ! The most sacred walks on 
this continent are their circuit paths, the holiest spots are 
the repositories where they have been laid in their last 
sleep, the loveliest flowers seen by mortals are those that 
bloom above their graves, symbols of their brighter glory." 

Bishop Asbury's Journal reveals more concerning the 
toils, hardships, and difficulties endured by the pioneers 
than any other work extant. In speaking of his Journal, 
he makes this comment and prophecy : "I have well con- 
sidered my Journal; it is inelegant, yet it conveys much 
information of the state of the religion and country. I 
make no doubt the Methodists are, and will be, a numer- 
ous and wealthy people, and their preachers who follow 

Toils and Triumphs of the Pioneers. 347 

us will not know our struggles but by comparing the pres- 
ent improved state of the country with what it was in our 
day, as exhibited in my Journal and other records of that 
day." His Journal is of incomparable value, and his 
prophecy has been fulfilled. Asbury stands chief among 
the Methodist pioneers. He visited North Carolina once 
or twice a year for a number of years, superintending the 
work, preaching and holding Conferences. In his Journal 
he recounts many hardships and trying experiences. He 
was regarded as the leader in this movement. In the pre- 
vious chapters a number of less prominent pioneers have 
been noticed. For want of data, little is said about many 
of them. In discussing them as a class, let us notice, 

I. Their Preparation for the Work. 

This pioneer work required a type of manhood which 
could meet much physical endurance. A young man 
reared in luxury and ease, however well prepared other- 
wise, was not suited to the hardships incident to the life 
of an itinerant preacher. Daniel Asbury while with the 
Indians in captivity received a preparation for the itin- 
erant ministry that he could not have obtained anywhere 
else. He learned something of the side of life which he 
frequently met in after years. He knew how to endure 
hardships, and live on a rough diet, that would have 
driven others without such preparation to the local ranks. 
It was more necessary for them to know how to live on 
the salary paid than it was for them to be able to read the 
original in Hebrew and Greek. At the first, if they were 
paid in full, they received only sixty -four dollars a year. 

348 Methodism in North Carolina. 

The man who could not measure his wants by this sum 
was not a suitable person for the itinerancy, however well 
he might have been qualified in other respects. So there 
were qualifications at that day, as there are to-day, that 
cannot be conferred upon an individual by any college. 

According to our standards of an education at the pres- 
ent, very few of the early pioneers of Methodism would 
have been considered educated. And yet where could a 
set of men be found who were better qualified for the work 
in hand than those who planted Methodism in North Caro- 
lina? Of course they did not have the educational ad- 
vantages that we claim for our preachers of to-day. But 
they did have the power of an eloquence that swayed the 
multitudes and brought souls to Christ. There were no 
theological colleges, more than what was known as the 
"Brush College" — that is, large circuits where the Confer- 
ence broke in its young preachers. Upon such laborious 
fields many of our most prominent preachers took their 
first lessons in the itinerancy. Here, amid the dense for- 
ests and flowing streams, the itinerant pored over his 
books on horseback as he traveled to distant appointments ; 
and here, amid the deep glens and craggy mountains, the 
preacher often caught the sublimest inspirations. In those 
long rides across the plains of the east, of the mountains 
of the west, amid the solitudes of the forest, he had time 
to commune with nature and to meditate upon those great 
truths that he had been called to proclaim. This was his 
school room, with all nature to teach him. To do more 
study than this, he had no time. His books were few. 
His Bible and Discipline were his principal books. And as 

Toils and Triumphs of the Pioneers. 349 

John Bunyan in Bedford jail, shut up with his old Bible 
and Concordance, was enabled to map out the path of life 
and picture the glories of heaven and gloom of hell with 
a vividness that made them seem real, so these men of God, 
confined to the little library which they carried in their 
saddlebags as they traversed the lonely paths through 
dense forests, received inspirations from God and his Book 
that made their words cut like two-edged swords. They 
did not deal in metaphysical speculation or lose themselves 
in the fogs of philosophy ; but bathing their vision in the 
eternal sunshine of truth, they came into the pulpit, like 
Moses from the burning mountain, full of love and radiant 
with glory. 

These itinerants preached with an oratory that was 
peculiar to the Wesleyan movement. It originated with 
George Whitefield. He and those connected with Wesley 
in England and America revolutionized the prevalent style 
of preaching. They had a message from God; and they 
realized the "woe" that was pronounced upon them if they 
did not deliver it. With a burning conviction that their 
message was one of truth, they took their lives in their 
hands and went everywhere to declare it. Then the love 
of Christ constrained them to go and preach, and suffer 
for him. Their preaching was for immediate results. 
With prophetic eye they saw the future doom of the lost 
soul, and its only way of refuge. Hence they preached 
with great earnestness, and with a zeal that was new to 
the people of America. 

An instance of this is seen in the visit of Robert Wil- 
liams to Norfolk in the year 1772. When he entered the 

35° Methodism in North Carolina. 

town, "without any previous notice being given, he went 
to the courthouse, and standing on the steps of the door, 
and beginning to sing, the people collected together ; and 
after prayer, he took his text and preached to a consid- 
erable number of hearers, who were very disorderly, as 
they all thought the preacher was a madman; and while 
he was preaching the people were laughing, talking, and 
walking about in all directions. The general conclusion 
was, that they had never heard such a man before; for, 
they said, sometimes he would preach, then he would pray, 
then he would swear, and at times he would cry. The peo- 
ple were so little used to hearing a preacher say 'hell,' or 
'devil,' in preaching, that they thought he was swearing, 
when he told them about going to hell, or being damned, 
if they died in their sins. As he was believed to be a mad- 
man, none of them invited him to their houses. However, 
he preached at the same place the next day, when they had 
found out he was not insane, and they were glad to get 
him to their houses." Williams was one of the pioneers 
of Methodism in North Carolina, and organized the first 
society there. 

Dr. J. C. Kilgo, in speaking of the itinerant preacher, 
in his fraternal address before the General Conference of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1904, says: "What a 
mighty man the itinerant was ! Free from pompous pre- 
tense, unheralded by the blast of trumpets, lacking the cre- 
dentials of earthly courts, without the equipage of wealth, 
not certified by lordly society, this man, the Methodist 
circuit rider, stands the peer of any man or set of men who 
helped to build this republic. The desire and expectation 

Toils and Triumphs of the Pioneers. 351 

of worldly gain did not mar his motives. He had no wish 
for social applause, he sought no indulgence at the hands 
of patronizing luxury, and did not crave personal com- 
forts; but, like a man upon whom rested the prophetic 
commission of the eternal throne, he went to his task as 
one bent on a desperate mission. Serenity was on his 
face, a heavenly radiance was in his eye, the tone of eter- 
nal authority was in his voice, and the strength of a divine 
inspiration steadied his step. He obeyed the behest of 
Heaven and went everywhere, threading tangled wilder- 
nesses, climbing over wild mountains, and penetrating 
dense swamps; and wherever he went he delivered the 
word of God with miraculous power. He did not peddle 
indulgence to sensuous society, he made no concessions to 
popular evils, he softened no word of truth in order to 
promote his personal comfort, nor was he a mendicant of 
any kind of worldly favors. He was a 'prophet sent of 
God,' and the tone of Sinaitic thunder was in his words 
while he waged unceasing war against sin in all places. 
He arbitrated no differences between righteousness and 
sin, God and Satan, but proclaimed an eternal antagonism 
between them never to be adjusted by any other method 
than by the everlasting defeat of evil. He has left his 
record in an eternally established boundary between truth 
and falsehood, righteousness and sin, a boundary which 
ecclesiastical diplomats of these last times seem to think 
extends far beyond the property rights of God, and should 
be drawn in to suit the convenience and commerce of 

35 2 Methodism in North Carolina. 

II. The Vastness and Character of the Field. 

Their work will be seen by a glance at the fields they 
occupied. If presiding elder, his district extended from 
the mountains to the sea; for at one time a presiding 
elder had in his district nearly all of North Carolina, only 
two circuits and parts of one or two others being in an- 
other district. On the west was the French Broad Cir- 
cuit, and on the east Mattamuskeet. That territory gives 
us a fair idea of the work of a presiding elder. To travel 
such a district with few and rough roads was no easy task. 

The circuit preacher fared little better, if any. His 
circuit was large enough to keep him on the go all the 
time, except stopping occasionally to have washing done. 
There were usually certain places on the circuit which 
were known as the preachers' homes. Here the itinerant 
would keep his books and any extra clothing he might 
have. At these points he would make a little halt, but 
otherwise he was continually going, preaching once and 
twice a clay, and visiting the flock. A circuit then was 
often as large as one of our districts now. It was impossi- 
ble for him to have any home more than that mentioned 
above. If he married and selected a home, it became at 
once necessary for him to locate. And every year many 
of these noble men, worn out in body, felt the necessity 
of stopping and resting for a few years. He could not go 
to his appointments on Saturday and return Monday or 
Tuesday, and rest in the quiet of his own home. 

Such labor wrecked many of those old heroes. With 
our conveniences, we can hardly realize how they survived 
as long as they did. When a pioneer went to his new field, 

Toils and Triumphs of the Pioneers. 353 

there were no warm fires, and well-filled larders, and en- 
couraging friends to meet him. Such was the experience 
of Robert Williams in Norfolk, with no one to invite him 
home with him. It was similar with Enoch George on 
the head waters of the Catawba, where the persecutions 
were so great that he hesitated to tell that he was a Meth- 
odist preacher; and with Jesse Richardson, when, after 
traveling all day in the snow and cold, dark overtaking 
him while still twelve miles from his destination, he was 
refused, for a long time, even admittance to the fire in the 
little log cabin. But after sitting on the doorsteps and 
singing several hymns, the hard-hearted man finally soft- 
ened a little and permitted him to sit by the fire the re- 
mainder of the night. Next morning, without breakfast 
for man or beast, he pushed his way across the mountain 
eighteen inches deep in snow, twelve miles for breakfast, 
and then on to his appointment. Such was their faithful- 
ness in filling their appointments in the wide territory of 
their circuits that "of a bitterly cold winter it became 
almost a proverbial saying, 'There is nothing out to-day 
but crows and Methodist preachers.' " * 

Asbury was not only the leader in pioneer life, but he 
was foremost in braving hardship, toil, and peril. In 1788 
he crossed the Alleghany Mountains, as he did fifty-eight 
times in thirty years, and says : "Our course lay over 
mountains and through valleys, and the mud and mire 
were such as might scarcely be expected in December. 
We came to an old forsaken habitation. Here our horses 

^aybold's "Annals of Methodism." 

354 Methodism in North Carolina. 

grazed about while we broiled our meat. Midnight 
brought us up at Jones's after riding forty, or perhaps 
fifty, miles. The old man, our host, was kind enough to 
wake us up at four o'clock in the morning. We journeyed 
on through devious, lonely wilds, where no food might be 
found, except what grew in the woods or was carried with 

On another occasion he says : "I have slept in the woods 
without necessary food or raiment. In the Southern states 
I have waded swamps, and led my horse for miles, where 
I took colds that brought on the diseases which are now 
preying on my system, and must soon terminate in death. 
But my mind is still the same — that it is through the 
merits of Christ that I am to be saved." 1 

These quotations are made for the reason that what 
Asbury suffered others suffered, they all being in the same 
work and traveling over the same territory ; the only dif- 
ference being, if there was any difference shown it was 
shown to the bishop. He recorded his experiences to some 
extent, and the other preachers did not record theirs. He 
says : "One day, as I was traveling, I heard a loud human 
voice, and a prodigious noise, like a horse running. I ran 
into a safe place and hid myself, and saw a company of In- 
dians pass by, furiously driving a gang of horses which 
they had stolen from the white people. I had nothing to 
subsist upon but roots, young grapevines, and sweet cane, 
and such like produce of the woods. I accidentally came 
where a bear was eating a deer, and drew near in hopes of 

^Christian Advocate and Journal, New York, April 17, 1829. 

Toils and Triumphs of the Pioneers. 355 

getting some ; but he growled and looked angry, so I left 
him, and quickly passed on. At night when I lay down to 
rest, I never slept, but I dreamed of eating. In my lone- 
some travels, I came to a very large shelving rock, under 
which was a pine bed of leaves. I crept in among them, 
and determined there to end my days of sorrow. I lay 
there several hours, until my bones ached in so distressing 
a manner that I was obliged to stir out again. I then 
thought of, and wished for, home ; and traveled on several 
days, till I came where Cumberland River breaks through 
the mountain." 1 

The preachers frequently suffered through want of 
clothing. We have noticed where Thomas Ware com- 
plained about his clothes being worn out, and no money to 
buy more. When James Jenkins was on the Bladen Cir- 
cuit, then extending throughout the Cape Fear section, he 
makes this note : "In the fall I took the fever, and had to 
stop one day to take medicine, but got my appointment 
filled. The next day I rode with the fever on me. I 
suffered some this year, but had much comfort and pros- 
perity in my soul. Here the homespun coat, which my 
mother gave me, wore out, so much so that I lost one 
sleeve from the elbow down ; but rather than lose time to 
go and obtain a new one, I went on round the circuit 
sleeveless in one arm, until a brother exchanged with me, 
giving me the best of the bargain. 2 

These pioneers faced dangers and endured hardships 
scarcely credible by those who have been reared in the 

\A.sbury's Journal, Vol. II., page 300. 
2 "Memoirs of Jenkins," page 87. 

356 Methodism in North Carolina. 

"silver age of Methodism." They were often forced to 
subsist solely on cucumbers, or a piece of cold bread, with- 
out the luxury of milk or coffee. In many sections of the 
state, where they were entertained, the ordinary diet was 
fried bacon and corn bread. The houses weie rude log 
cabins, with earthen floors. The beds upon which Bishop 
Asbury and his coadjutors often slept were constructed 
of "clapboards laid on poles supported by rude forks 
driven into the ground." 

But this is sufficient to show that these were heroes in 
every sense of the word. And look what a list there is of 
them ! Besides many whose names are forgotten, there 
are Asbury, Coke, Pilmoor, Williams, Rankin, Garrettson, 
Dromgoole, Poythress, Tatum, King, Dickins, Cole, 
Pride, O' Kelly, Yeargan, Ellis, Ivey, John Easter, Jesse 
Lee, Tunnell, Bruce, Hull, John McGee, William Ormond, 
James Jenkins, Douthet, Nolley, Jackson, Daniel Asbury, 
with a host of others whose names might be mentioned. 

It would be a pleasure to dwell at some length upon 
these and many others who have been eminent in their 
self-sacrificing efforts in North Carolina ; but we must 
reluctantly pass them by with the consoling thought that 
their "record is on high," and that "their works do follow 
them." It is impossible for the writer properly to embalm 
the memory of their names in the hearts of their suc- 
cessors ; much of what they were and what they did has 
been lost to memory ; but enough of their deeds and the re- 
sults of their labors are here to preserve them forever as 
some of the greatest heroes the world has ever known. 

I would that we could get a clear conception of these 

Toils and Triumphs of the Pioneers. 357 

men and their work in our minds, so that it could not be 
obliterated. Let the mind go back for a hundred and 
twenty-five years, and see the familiar figures on the high- 
ways of the country, known to all as the itinerant Meth- 
odist preachers. Look at the grave, earnest countenance, 
"the straight-breasted coat, the oil-skin covering of the 
hat, the leather saddlebag, and the staid gait of the horse, 
which denoted the Methodist preacher; and usually they 
were recognized by all that ever beheld or heard of one 
about as far as they were to be seen." This is a picture 
of the early itinerant as he traversed the wilds of North 
Carolina, with a message of salvation to every man. He 
was despised by some and persecuted by others, but "none 
of these things moved him." 

"In the long and varying and shifting annals of the 
world's centuries, who have deserved better of their race 
than these self-sacrificing, devoted heroes? Where can 
we find a parallel to their labors, their toils, their dangers, 
their sacrifices? What blood-stained heroes in all the 
ages of time can stand side by side with these unknown, 
obscure men, and claim to be equal benefactors to the hu- 
man race? Ye warriors, ye statesmen, ye paladins of 
chivalry, where is your claim to the honor and love of the 
race when set beside the unrecorded claims of these mod- 
est, self-renouncing preachers? The pages of earthly 
history have handed down your deeds of blood to posteri- 
ty, and rendered your names and actions illustrious to fu- 
ture ages ; they have sunk into obscure, unknown, and for- 
gotten graves ; but the good they did lives after them, and 
though man may not bestow upon them the honors due 

358 Methodism in North Carolina. 

their great deeds, yet not one of them has failed of his re- 
ward in the eyes of his great 'Taskmaster/ or will be for- 
gotten in the day of the great reckoning." * 

We have followed these men in the swamps of eastern 
Carolina and over the mountains of the west, and we have 
seen their toils and hardships; but what did they accom- 
plish up to the time of which we write — 1805 ? The first 
circuit was formed in North Carolina thirty years ago, 
with three preachers appointed to serve it. During this 
period Methodism has spread over the whole state. We 
now have twenty-two circuits instead of one, with a mem- 
bership, white and colored, of more than eleven thousand. 
In the whole Church there were more than one hundred 
and twenty thousand. Within North Carolina, we can 
have no idea as to the number of preachers who have been 
sent out to other parts; it is safe, however, to say that the 
great majority of the early preachers were furnished by 
North Carolina and Virginia. 

These men labored under great difficulties. Soon after 
making a start in the state, the war cloud gathered over 
the country. And because of the relation of the preachers 
to England, many of them were greatly embarrassed. 
Some fled from the country, others ceased to travel. 
While even the leader of the band thought it necessary 
to retreat until the cloud of war had passed over. Yet he 
was full of faith and hope, and as soon as peace was re- 
stored, "Methodism girded herself for her appointed 
work." And the new Church began to grow more rap- 

1 W. C. Doub in "Centennial of Methodism," page 40. 

Toils and Triumphs of the Pioneers. 359 

idly, the spirit of liberty being congenial to its develop- 
ment. For in the organization of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church at the close of the war, a favorable time and op- 
portunity met. It began to build up in every direction. It 
had its dissensions, but they only purified instead of cor- 
rupting; instead of scattering, they had a tendency to in- 
tensify and unite the forces. And thus the Church moved 
forward, under the earnest efforts of its workers, until 
within a quarter of a century many exclaimed in astonish- 
ment and gratitude, "What hath God wrought!" 

If you would learn the secret of its success and wonder- 
ful growth, go to the last resting places of those who 
fought in the hot conflicts of its early history; and above 
their ashes recount their toils, hardships, self-sacrifices, and 
self-denying efforts in planting and defending Methodism. 
To them the Church owes a debt of gratitude which it can 
never pay. But such heroic devotion upon their part that 
has made this growth possible, and in which the whole 
Church rejoices to-day, demands at our hands nothing 
less than the same devotion and anxious solicitude, for the 
same object and for the same end. 



African Methodists, 170. 

Ahair, John, 219. 

Allen, Beverly, labored on New 
Hope, 98, 175 ; ordained, 122 ; 
sent to Georgia, 122 ; sad story 
of, 123 ; first Methodist preach- 
er to visit Lower Cape Fear. 
216; at Salisbury, 242; 246. 

Alleghany Mountains, 353. 

Asbury, Bishop Francis, writes 
of Dromgoole, 50; landed at 
Philadelphia, 84 ; abundant la- 
bors, 85; enters North Caro- 
lina, 86; goes through Tar 
River Circuit, 90; at Green 
Hill's, 90; meets James O'Kel- 
ly, 91 ; extracts from his Jour- 
nal, 86-94; in Chatham county 
93; object of visit to North 
Carolina, 98; 112; makes a 
tour through the South, 119; 
wears a gown, 120 ; at Salis- 
bury, 120; 126; at university, 
138; at Colonel Williams's, 
148; in Washington, 153; 
Elizabeth City, 164; Newbern, 
169; Tarboro, 171; favored 
Council, 180; visits O'Kelly's 
district, 181 ; meets O'Kelly, 
191 ; his prophecy, 193 ; in 
Stokes county, 210; crosses 
Dan River, 213; much travel, 
215 ; opposed to slavery, 228 ; 
in Wilmington, 233 ; in West- 
ern North Carolina, 300; ex- 

perience in mountains, 302-306 ; 
leader in revivals, 310; in east- 
ern part of state, 322 ; 353 ; 
sleeps in the woods, 354 ; 356. 

Asbury, Daniel, 261 ; forms Lin- 
coln Circuit, 273; assisted by 
Enoch George, 275 ; sketch of, 
278; last letter to Conference, 
280; 331; 333; 338; 347; 356. 

Asbury's Journal, 137; 176. 

Asheville, 291. 

Askew, James, a local preacher, 
2 93 ; Josiah, sketch of, 292. 

Amelia Circuit, 321. 

Annual Conference, first session 
of, 121 ; at Green Hill's, 121 ; 
how entertained, 122; Dr. Ivey 
writes of, 124; at Salisbury, 
125 ; how entertained, 126. 

Ansley, Samuel, 168; 297. 

Appalachian Mountains, 130. 

Arminian Magazine, 128; 140; 

Baird, I. V., 301. 

Ball, Hannah, 142. 

Baldwin, John, 155; 217. 

Ballew, John C, 286. 

Banks, 146; 174. 

Baptist churches, first organized, 

16; Meherrin, 16; Kehukee, 

16; Sandy Creek, 17; Grassy 

Creek, 17. 
Baptists, enter the colony, 15; 

are aggressive, 18; disputes of, 




87; deadness of, 88; in Moore 

county, 217 ; 333. 
Bath, 12; 28. 
Beal's Chapel, 214. 
Beaufort, revival in, 322. 
Beaver Dam, 291. 
Bell, William, 330. 
Bellamy, William, 167; collects 

material to write History, 168; 

Bennett, W. W., quotations from, 

Berkley, Governor, 7. 
Bethel Academy, 137. 
Bertie Circuit formed, 103; 148; 

171; 174; revival on, 321. 
Bingham, Henry, 253 ; 257. 
Birchett, Henry, 147. 
Bird, Jonathan, sketch of, 218. 
Black Mountain, 153. 
Bladen Circuit, 99; 176; formed, 

218; boundary of, 219; extent 

of, 221; 340; 342; 355. 
Blair, John, 14. 

Blue Ridge, 3 ; Methodism plant- 
ed west of, 57; 63; 94; 290; 

Boardman, Richard, 27. 
Book Concern, established, 60; 

140; first book printed, 140; 

Book Steward, 198. 
Bowen, Thomas, 198. 
Brett, Daniel, 13. 
British, 80. 

Broad River Circuit, 256. 
Brooks, Stephen, 162. 
Bruce, Philip, sketch of, 79-82 ; 

present at battle of King's 

Mountain, 80; preaches to 

Tories, 80; 123; member of 

Council, 178; organizes near 
Wilmington, 216; on Newbern 
District, 321 ; writes of a re- 
vival, 321 ; describes camp 
meeting, 335; 342; 356. 

Bruton, D. R., 251. 

Bryan, General, conversion, of, 
204, 205. 

Brunswick Circuit, 44; 63; fruits 
of, 169; revival begun in, 310; 

Buncombe Courthouse, 299; 301; 
county's greatest meeting, 319. 

Burke, William, 199; 200; 211. 

Burrington, George, appointed 
Governor, 5. 

Burton, John, sketch of, 156; 
member of General Confer- 
ence, 157. 

Bustian's, Asbury preaches at, 

Bute county, 124. 

Caldwell, David, 334. 

Caldwell's Institute, 8. 

Calvinism, effects of, 94; strong 
in the west, 284. 

Camp meeting, origin of, 328; 
334; in Randolph county, 239; 
near Wilmington, 238; first 
west of the Ridge, 290; in Jer- 
sey settlement, 312; in Lin- 
coln county, 317; at Ebenezer, 
322; the first, 329; at Shep- 
herd's Cross Roads, 330; 337; 
became union meetings, 333 ; 
near Statesville, 334; near 
Morgantown, 337; on New- 
bern District, 343 ; described, 


3 6 3 

Cannon, Edward, 191 ; Joshua, 

Cape Hattcras, 162. 

Cape Fear Gazette, 5. 

Cape Fear section, settlements 
in, 19, 176, 216-225; progress 
in, 224; greatest meeting in, 

34^ ; 355- 
Carlisle, Coleman, 208. 
Carlisle, Simon, 211, 212. 
Caswell Circuit, formed, 103; 

169; revival on, 203. 
Catawba River, 94; 329. 
Catawba Valley, settlement of, 

Cattle Creek camp ground, 253. 
Charlotte, school at, 8; Lorenzo 

Dow at, 324. 
Chowan River, 149. 
Christian Advocate, 155 ; 160. 
Christian Church, 189 ; its 

growth, 190, 191. 
Christmas Conference, called, 

144 ; Garrettson carries notice, 

144; religious worship in, 117; 

importance of, 118. 
Church schools, state indebted 

to, 8. 
Churches : Beal's, 244 ; Bell's, 

244 ; Center, 243 ; first west of 

the Catawba, 274; Hancock's 

243; Mount Pleasant, 209; 

Neuse, 94; Olive Branch, 244; 

McKnight's, 244 ; Randall's, 

243; Salem, 243; Whitaker's, 

244; Wilmington, 223. 
Claywell, Peter, 266; 333; writes 

of camp meetings, 342. 
Clemmonsville, 127 ; 267. 
Clergy, 112; 159. 
Coinjock Chapel, 35; 148. 

Coke, Thomas, gives estimate of 
Colonel Williams, 35 ; at John 
Street Chapel, 114; brings let- 
ter from Mr. Wesley, 114; 
admires American preachers, 
115; makes tour north, 120; 
preaches for Presbyterians, 
121; at Salisbury, 126; at 
Edenton, 163 ; opposed to slav- 
ery, 229 ; 356. 

Cokesbury College, 135. 

Cokesbury School, Asbury visits, 
136; James Parks, principal of, 

Cole, Le Roy, appointed to Car- 
olina Circuit, 57; sketch of, 
61 ; 62 ; 356. 

Colonial records, 30. 

Combs, Daniel, 218. 

Conference, at Baltimore, 62; 
at Broken Back Church, in; 
at Charlestown, 269; at Deer 
Creek, 57; first in America, 
58; at Green Hill's, 130; most 
spiritual, 129; at McKnight's, 
129, 200, 201 ; petitioned legis- 
lature, 230; at Salisbury, 125, 
255 ; closing scene, 132. 

Connor, Julius, 261. 

Contentney Circuit, 155 ; 174. 

Conwayboro, revival at, 222. 

Cooper, John, enters itinerancy, 

Council, 177; objects of, 177; at 
Cokesbury, 178; opposed by 
O'Kelly, 179. 

Cromwell, J. O., member of 
Council, 178. 

Crowfield, early school at, 8. 

Currituck Courthouse, here first 

3 6 4 


Methodist sermon preached, 

Cypress Chapel, 91. 

Danville, Lorenzo Dow at, 324. 

Davis, James, published first 
paper, 5. 

Dean, Daniel, 211. 

Deep River, 150. 

Declaration of Independence, 48. 

Denton, Benjamin, 220; James, 

Dickins, John, travels North 
Carolina Circuit, 57; sketch of 
his life, 60, 61 ; superintendent 
of Book Concern, 60; doing 
literary work, 74; favored or- 
dination, 112; plan of organi- 
zation submitted to, 114; de- 
scribed by Asbury, 134; draws 
subscription for school, 134; 
in Philadelphia, 140; death of, 
142; member of Council, 178; 
divides the subject of debate, 
182; 356. 

Discipline, prepared for press, 
139 ; revision of, 181 ; rule on 
marriage, 298. 

Dismal Swamp, 286. 

Dissenters, came from New En- 
gland, 29. 

District Conference, 178. 

Districts, size of, 53, 214, 259; 
enlarged, 259 ; extent of, 264. 

Doub, John, father of Peter 
Doub, 95; 324; his house be- 
comes a preaching place, 95 ; 
Doub's Chapel, 95; 236. 

Doub, Peter, 324; Autobiography 
of, 343- 

Douglass, Thomas L., on Swan- 
nanoa Circuit, 302; 319; 338. 

Douthet, James, 247; 264; pre- 
siding elder, 302; on Salisbury 
District, 318; sketch of, 320; 
356; Samuel, 320. 

Dow, Lorenzo, at Wilmington, 
323 ; in prison, 323 ; at Rock- 
ingham Courthouse, 323 ; ex- 
tracts from his Journal, 324; 
at Stokes Courthouse, 325. 

Dromgoole, Edward, on Carolina 
Circuit, 48; sketch of his life, 
49; 52; at camp meeting, 51; 
plans Camden Circuit, 99; 103; 
at Colonel Williams's, 102; 

Duke's, Asbury at, 87. 

Dwelling houses, condition of, 
93 ; described, 356. 

Dyson, Leonard, 292. 

Early mail facilities, 6. 

Early settlers, came with reli- 
gious convictions, 24. 

Early, William, died in New- 
bern, 173. 

Easter, John, sketch of, 104; 
106 ; effective preacher, 105 ; 
McKendree and George con- 
verts of, 106; thrilling scene 
under preaching of, 107; 356; 
Thomas, on Goshen Circuit, 

Easter's meetinghouse, 104. 

Edenton, town of, 13; 120; 163. 

Edmundson, William, preached 
first gospel sermon in North 
Carolina, 9. 

Edney, Samuel, sketch of, 219; 
marries, 286; 290. 



Edneyville, 220; 290. 

Education, necessity of, 7 ; gov- 
ernment indifferent to, 7; first 
Conference school, 128 ; 
preacher as a factor of, 134; 

Ellis, John, 266; Reuben, ap- 
pointed elder, 255 ; favored or- 
dination, 112; directs James 
Patterson in his itinerancy, 
268; member of Council, 178; 
death of, 264; 123; 232; 257; 


Embury, Philip begins work in 
New York, 27. 

English preachers, 254. 

English settlers from Virginia, 

Established Church, 12; 15; na- 
tional religion, 12 ; at Beau- 
fort, 149; St. James, 14; St. 
Thomas, 14; have majority, 
31 ; had the prestige, 217. 

Evans, Henry, 235 ; 237. 

Everitt, J., member of Council, 

Fast Day appointed, 58. 

Fayetteville, 19; 235. 

Fishburn, Mrs., 126. 

Fishing Creek, 90. 

First Annual Conference, 121 ; 
held in Green Hill's house, 

First church west of the Cataw- 
ba, 329. 

First Conference school, 128. 

First Methodist cullege, 137. 

First printing press in North 
Carolina, 5. 

First subscriptions to a Metho- 
dist school, 135. 

First visit of a Methodist preach- 
er, its effect, 134. 

Flower Gap, 128. 

Floyd, Moses, 297. 

Fore, John, 262. 

Foster, James, 242; 247. 

Foster, Thomas, 300. 

Foote's Sketches, quotation 
from, 332. 

Fox, George, 10. 

French infidelity, 309; 311. 

Garrett, Lewis, 212. 

Garrettson, Freeborn, in North 
Carolina, 64; 227; member of 
Council, 178; 112; 356. 

Gaston, Judge, 133. 

Gatch, Philip, 112. 

General Conference, 178; 181. 

George, Enoch, greatly discour- 
aged, 275 ; assists Daniel As- 
bury, 275 ; received a letter 
from Bishop Asbury, 276 ; on 
Guilford Circuit, 207; 153; 

325; 353- 

Georgia, Beverly Allen sent to, 

German Reformed Church, 21, 

Gibson, Tobias, 297; 300. 

Glendenning, William, on Roa- 
noke Circuit, 64 ; sketch of, 64 ; 

Gloucester Circuit, 169. 

Gordon, William, 14. 

Goshen Circuit, 165 ; 169 ; 174. 

Grant's Creek, 126. 

Green, L., member of Council, 



Guilford Circuit formed, 97; 
William Wilkerson on, 169; 

211; 325- 
Guilford Courthouse, 72. 

Haggard, David, 147; 262. 
Halifax, 171; 322. 
Hall, Daniel, 210; 321. 
Hall, James, 329; 334; 343- 
Hammett, William, 192. 
Hancock, John, 243. 
Hancock's meetinghouse, 268. 
Harper, John, 264. 
Hartley, Joshua, 251. 
Hawfield, camp meeting at, 332. 
Haw River, 93; Circuit, 208; 

Hearne's meetinghouse, 267. 
Henly, Abner, 266. 
Hertford, town of, 10. 
Hickory Mountain, revival at, 

High Ford, 199; 201. 
Hill, Green, representative in 

Congress, 79; entertains As- 

bury, 90; Conference at, 130; 

123; 124; 125. 
Hill, Henry, 206 ; 262. 
Hillsboro, Asbury preaches at, 

Hinton, Dempsey, 150; James, 

admitted on trial, 151 ; 242. 
Holston Circuit, formed, 288; 

growth of, 290; District, 257. 
Hot Spring, 299; amusements 

at, 300. 
Hull, Hope, 251; 356. 
Humphreys, Thomas, 195; 196. 

Indians, 349; Daniel Asbury 
captured by, 279. 

Indian Town, 102. 

Infidelity, 217. 

Itinerants, first regular to visit 
America, 28; their heroism, 
I2 7» 345 J many located from 
necessity, 158; sacrifices of, 
161; destitution of, 202; hard- 
ships of, 259, 277 ; diet of, 277 ; 
how entertained, 259; their 
oratory, 349; described on 
horseback, 357. 

Ivey, Richard, sketch of, 147; 
member of Council, 178; pre- 
siding elder, 147, 254; named 
among other heroes, 356; 
death of, 264. 

Jackson, Jonathan, presiding 
elder, 319; gives account of 
revival, 321 ; account of camp 
meeting, 343; 342; 356. 

Jarratt, D., education of, 8; 
conducts revival, 41 ; organ- 
izes his people into a society, 
41 ; writes to Mr. Wesley, 47 ; 
friendly to the Methodists, in. 

Jarratt, Nathan, at Wilmington, 
224; on Swannanoa Circuit, 
296 ; summary of work, 296. 

Jenkins, James, on Bladen Cir- 
cuit, 221 ; presiding elder, 238 ; 
passed through Swannanoa, 

299; 338; 340; 355; 356. 

Jerks, described by Barton W. 
Stone, 312, 314; all classes af- 
fected, 313 ; Dr. Buckley's ex- 
planation, 315; Jacob Young's 
account of, 316; 334. 

John Street Chapel, 207. 

Johnson, Stephen, 195. 

Jones, Henry, 197; John N., 263. 



Jones's meetinghouse, 268. 
Journal, Coke's, 141 ; Asbury's, 
141; 346; Lorenzo Dow's, 324. 

Kehukee Association, 16. 

Kendrick, Bennett, serves Wil- 
mington, 224. 

Kentucky, preachers at Confer- 
ence from, 127; Circuit, 97. 

Kilgo, John C, estimate of a 
circuit rider, 350. 

Killian's, society at, 301. 

King, John, sketch of, 58; on 
North Carolina Circuit, 57; 
Wesley gives advice to, 59; 
123 ,' 356 ; Marcus, 60 ; Jere- 
miah, 266. 

King's Mountain, 79, 80. 

Lambert, Jeremiah, 288. 
Lambuth, William, 263. 
Ledbetter, Charles, 262; Henry, 


Lednum's History of Metho- 
dism, 126. 

Lee, Jesse, 30; converted, 45; 
appointed class leader, 65 ; 
preached first sermon, 74; 
under guard, 75 ; at Edenton, 
99; our first historian, 117; 
sketch of, 73, 74; extracts 
from Journal, 74-78; 101-103 ; 
248-250 ; attends quarterly 
meeting at Roanoke, 106; as- 
sists in planning Camden Cir- 
cuit, 99 ; 103 ; preaches at 
Beal's, 214; position on slav- 
ery, 231; at Randall's, 248; on 
Salisbury Circuit, 247; at Jer- 
sey meetinghouse, 249; came 
near being drowned, 249; on 

Norfolk District, 321 ; 106 ; 

123; 356. 
Lee, John, death of, 270. 
Lexington Circuit, Kentucky, 


Liberty, 45; 71. 

Lincoln Circuit, formed, 2/^ ; 

boundaries of, 273; religious 

condition of, 284; growth of, 

285; divided 290; 331. 
Local preachers, work of, 273 ; 

pioneered the way, 289. 
Love feast, 272; 318. 
Lovely Lane Chapel, 115; 117. 
Lowe, Isaac, 199; 200; 210; 

Thomas G., 66. 
Lumberton, 221. 
Lutherans, where settled, 21 ; 

strength of, 22. 

Mann, Thomas, 208; sketch of, 
293; kept a diary, 293; prays 
with Indians, 294. 

Marsh Circuit formed, 103. 

Martin, James, sketch of, 146. 

Mason, John, 255, 256. 

Mattamuskeet Circuit formed, 
158; John Sale on, 171; 352. 

McAnally, efficiency of local 
preachers, 289. 

McCorkle, Samuel, 312; 334. 

McGee, John, 261; 329; 331; 
356; birthplace, 330; assists 
in forming Lincoln Circuit, 
273 ; carries the use of camp 
meeting to the west, 332 ; Wil- 
liam, 331. 

McGready, James, 311. 

McHenry, Barnabas, 257. 

McKendree, William, diary of, 
180; on Portsmouth Circuit, 



180; sends resignation to Con- 
ference, 185; returns, 187; in 
Yadkin Circuit, 318; 329. 

McKinney, George, 199; 201. 

McKnight, George, 95 ; Confer- 
ence at, 127 ; second Confer- 
ence, 129; chapel, 126; meet- 
inghouse, 257; 140. 

McTyeire, Bishop, sketches Bev- 
erly Allen, 123. 

Mecklenburg county, 69. 

Memorials of Methodist in Vir- 
ginia, 172. 

Meredith, William, in prison, 
222 ; gives chapel to the Meth- 
odists, 223 ; works among the 
negroes, 235. 

Metcalf, Henry, 147. 

Methodism, religious condition 
of colony when introduced, 9; 
its origin, 26, 133 ; its meaning, 
308; its object, 26; enters the 
state in a revival, 47 ; extends 
its borders, 103 ; doctrines of, 
311; stands for education, 133; 
planting of, providential, ill; 
hindrances to, 48, 68, 18, 231 ; 
opposition to, 285 ; effect of 
war on, 71 ; introduced in 
Cape Fear section, 217; in 
Fayetteville, 235 ; in Washing- 
ton, 151; west of the Catawba, 
271, 287; west of the Blue 
Ridge, 288; in Kentucky, 97; 
234 ; emphasized experience, 
234; heroes of, 67; indebted 
to good women, 161 ; adapta- 
tion of, 225, 285 ; strength of 
in North Carolina, 264; in the 
South, 285; growth, 219; 326; 

Methodist Episcopal Church or- 
ganized, 116; John Dickins 
suggested name, 116. 

Methodist Magazine, 141; 124; 

Methodists, came from Bruns- 
wick Circuit, 271 ; in Moore 
county, 217; missionary spirit 
of, 292 ; hostility to, 277 ; per- 
secutions of, 73, 154, 174. 

Miller, R. J., 255; 256; 271. 

Mills Gap, 220; 287. 

Mills River, 287. 

Mills, William, 286. 

Minutes, meagerness of, 131. 

Montgomery county, 251 ; 243. 

Moravians, 23, 24. 

Moore, Joseph, 157; 342; Mark, 
258; M. H., quotation from, 
60; writes of O'Kelly, 176; 

Mooring, Christopher C, 172; 

Morgan, Perminter, arraigns 

Daniel Asbury, 278. 
Morganton, 294; 297; 319; 337. 
Morris, E., member of Council. 

Mount Gilead, 251 ; 338. 

Narrows Chapel, 35. 

Negro problem, 226; unsettled, 

Negroes, condition under slav- 
ery, 240, 241 ; cruelty to, 239 ; 
their fate, 237; around family 
altar, 240; their thrilling 
songs, 234. 

Nelson, Thomas, 339. 

Newbern, academy at, 7; Pil- 
moor at, 37; growing, 169; its 

Population, i 7o • „„_,, 

ir ' /u > good news 

£l?£ Distri - — 

N ^ Hope Circuit, formed, 64 • 
founda tl onlaid, j5;bou ^ 

N i L f !? ht \f' not Methodists, 

32 f r o m New £ Ja 

^ew R 1V er Circuit, 165; 262 
Newton, George, 302. 
Nicholson, James L., 27o 
NoIIichu cky Circuit/^ 

34 D-f° bert Williams * 
349, District, 321 ; Circuit 

Gorman, Jeremiah, 168 

North ^ Carolina, its location, 2; 

« st °P0graphy, 2; inteHectua 
conduion q. 25; nrst v 

ectld •"' 4; ** ChurcI 
erected m, I3; popuIation 

n 1729, 4; first circuit in 4 8 
furnished manv „ 4 ' 

?cS- , . y Preachers, 

358, sent many to the West 
162; swamps Qf 

North Carolina Gazette 5 


gani zed , lS7; 2I6; 

schism, x88; crates dissatis- 
fac -n, 180; effects of, <£ 

writes to Edward Cannon, xVi' 
°fin, Stephen, 136 

O^ond, William, «fr. l66; 

Ormond's Chapel, 166 
Otterbein's church, lr7 . 

Ogburn, Henry 97 
°'Kelly, j arnes> a pioneer I7 < • 
gained I76; met ^ 

01 lab " 3t Gree " H ^'' S 
91, labors m Cape F ear s ec - 

**. 99; his first district, x 7 6 • 
h« work on, I76; member f 

Conference, i8r • ,. , . eral 

of 18, • f • ' resoI «tions 

' 1& ' tri es to destroy itin 

SP i?„ S nce - ,83; "M* 

P'an, 185 ; rumors of a tip™, 
*«* .86; „ e „. cht ,' c a h n or W 

Paine, Biswdd 

Palatines, 22. 

Palmer, P au l, 16. 

Pamlico Circnit *„ 

Circuit formed, I4 a. 

division of, i«. Tc o. ' ^' 

Parks, Jame x, 6 f I57;i74 - 

j dines, 136, buries John 

Lee, 270; Martin, x 37 J " 

Partridge, William, Ig8 \ 257 

Pa r tank r Circuitformed 57 xo3 ; 

Pa «erson, James, 266; extracts 
W Journal, 2 6 7; ^o 

X o 4 ' WmeS ° f J° h " Easter, 

P-^ee Circuit, X2 2 ;2 5 x; 338; 

Pedicord, Caleb, 90 

Pettigrew, 100. 

Phelps Ferry, 135. 

Philips, Josiah, 297 

Piedmont Section, 3 

Pierce, Lovick, writes of w 

Null, 252. f Hope 

Pi'rnoor, J ose ph, 27 ; fi rst Meth- 

odist nrearl^r * ^ccn- 

Carolin 28 1° ^ N ° rth 
una 28, organized first 

society i„ Virginia, 32 - a 
Coonel Williams's, 35. * 
Wilmington, 38; extracts 



from Journal, 33-40 ; sketch 

of, 40-356- 
Pioneers, planting in northeast- 
ern part of North Carolina, 
63; their preparation, 347; ed- 
ucational advantages, 348; 
vastness of field, 352; bard- 
ships of, 132; 335; their heroic 

spirit, 345; A £bur y chief 
among, 347= Church owes a 
debt of gratitude to, 359; die 
well, 172 ; graves of, 270. 
Pittsylvania Circuit, extends 
into North Carolina, 48; Yad- 
kin formed from, 94! 6 3- 
Portsmouth Circuit, McKendree 

on, 180; revival on, 321 • 
Potts, Ralph, 152. 
Poythress, Francis, on Carolina 
Circuit, 48; sketch of, 52-54! 
presiding elder, 214; 112; 356. 
Preachers, convictions of, 306; 
great loss of, 158; laymen hold 
up hands of, 287 ; poorly paid, 
159; 160; 275; salary of, 159- 
Presbyterians, 8; 19; 20; 310; 

217; 325; 328; 333; 335- 
Pride, Edward, 57 ; 63 ; 350- 
Primitive Methodists, 192. 
Proprietary government estab- 
lished, 4- , 
Protestant Episcopal Church, 

no; 144- 

Provincial Congress, 79- 

Quakers, enter North Carolina 
9; their strength, n ; dis- 

. senters, 13; opposed to war 
78; 218; 339. 

Quarterly Conference described 
131; agency for revivals, 318; 

on Roanoke Circuit, 106; Cas- 
well Circuit, 319; Anson Cir- 
cuit, 126; Yadkin, 318; Mor- 
ganton, 319; Malary's, 321; 
Swannanoa, 302; 3*9-338. 

Raikes, Robert, 143- 
Rainbow meetinghouse, 155- 
Raleigh, 5; 65; 323; 208 
Rankin, Thomas, in North Car- 
olina, 43; gives account of 
trip, 43; 356. 
Reed, James, writes from New- 
bern, 29; describes visit of 
Whitefield, 30. 
Reeves meetinghouse, 268. 
Rehoboth, first church west of 

the Catawba, 329. 
Reid, Nelson, member of Coun- 
cil, 178. 
Reid, N. F., quotations from, 

Revivals, enter Halifax county, 
•37) Jarratt's account of, 44_; 
45; 308-317; in Beaufort, 322: 
Conwa y E oTo, 222; Caswell, 
203 • excitement in, 326 ; Mor- 
ganton, 319; Guilford, 319; 
Hickory Mountain, 320 ; 
Roanoke Circuit. 320; Yadkin. 
^87?66; west oTlhe Cataw- 
ba, 286; Washington, 152; the 
greatest, 335 5 effect of, 326. 
Revolutionary War. 68-83; no; 

102; 125; 150. 
Richardson, Jesse, assists in 
forming Lincoln Circuit, 273; 
suffers cold and hunger, 281 ; 
sketch of, 280; 353; Samuel 
converted, 341. 
Roanoke Circuit, formed, 64; 



location of, 66; planning to 
divide, 153; revival on, 321; 
growth, 173; Garrettson in, 
227; 174; Chapel, 120; River, 
43 ; Island, 4. 

Rock Spring, 330. 

Rockingham, 340. 

Rogers, James, 264; 265. 

Russell's meetinghouse, 268. 

Rutherford county, first camp 
meeting in, 338. 

Sale, John, 171 ; 252 ; Anthony, 

Salem, 23; Female Academy, 
23 ; Church, origin and growth, 

Salisbury, Methodism intro- 
duced in, 245 ; Circuit formed, 
97; 242; boundary of, 242; 
268; strength of, 264; Asbury 
at, 120; Conference at, 125; 
Lorenzo Dow at, 324 ; Dis- 
trict, extent of, 320. 

Sampson meetinghouse, 323. 

Sands, Philip, 210; 291. 

Scarboro's meetinghouse, 338. 

Scarborough, Lewis, 251. 

Schism, spirit of, 188; loss by, 

Scotch-Irish, settlements of, 8. 

Scott, Thomas, 53. 

Seawell, Judge, 124. 

Sherrill, Rev. M. V., quotation 
from, 272. 

Shines, Daniel, 158. 

Shipp, A. M., quotations from, 
281 ; 329. 

Slavery, opposed by Wesley, 
227; by Asbury, 228; Coke, 
229; discussion of, 121 ; warm 

debate on, 230; value of a 
slave, 232; 233; 226; 241. 

Smith, Isaac, 195; 197; 247; 
250; John, 195; Philip, 301; 
Sihon, 261. 

Snow Creek, 266 ; 333 ; 342. 

Society, at Salisbury, 247 ; four 
on Bladen, 222 ; near Wil- 
mington, 216. 

South Carolina Conference, 158; 
292; 340. 

Spain's meetinghouse, 155. 

Spencer, William, 262. 

Statesville, camp meeting near, 

Steward, Andrew, printer at 

Wilmington, 5. 
Steward, Samuel S., 210. 
Stone, Barton W., 312. 
Straight's Chapel, 149. 
Strawbridge, Robert, 27; 49. 
Sugg, Aquilla, 15S- 
Sunday Service, 140. 
Sunday school, 142; 144; 145. 
Swain, George, 301 ; David L., 

Swannanoa, origin of name, 291 ; 

Circuit, 291 ; hardships on, 

294 ; 171 ; 292. 

Tarboro, new chapel erected at, 

Tar River Circuit, formed, 64; 
boundary of, 67 ; difficulties 
on, 90; religious condition of, 
176; 208; revival on, 331. 

Tatum, Isham, on Carolina Cir- 
cuit, 48; sketch of, 55-57; 
Peter Doub gives an account 
of, 56; favored ordination, 



Taylor, Edmund, Asbury at, 88; 

320 ; James, 302. 
Tennessee Conference, 319. 
Thompson, David, 262. 
Thrift, Minton, 249. 
Tories, one lynched, 78; 80. 
Town Creek, camp meeting at, 


Tracy, Mica j ah, 198. 

Travis, Joseph, 261. 

Trent Circuit, 165. 

Trenton, revival at, 321. 

Tryon, Governor, writes of re- 
ligious condition, 31. 

Tunnell, John, 259; 356. 

Union Circuit, 274 ; camp 

ground, 332. 
University of North Carolina 

opened, 138. 
Uwharrie River, 95. 

Vanderbilt University, 125. 

Virginia Conference, 157. 

Virginia, first society in, 33; 
furnished preachers, 358; camp 
meeting extended through, 

Voltaire, 309. 

Walker, Nathaniel, 266. 

Walters, William, 112; Auto- 
biography of, 117. 

Ware, Thomas, sketch of, 206 ; 
Book Steward, 206; crosses 
mountain, 128; in Holston, 
260; gives account of O'Kelly 
on debate, 184; 201; 335. 

Washington, 150; its growth, 
153; first meetinghouse, erect- 
ed, 152; location of church, 
153; I7i. 

Watson, Joab, 302. 

Wesley, John, founder of Meth- 
odism, 26; had no idea of or- 
ganizing a Church, 109; con- 
sistent, no; revival follows 
his preaching, 84; writes to 
Asbury, 114; opposed to slav- 
ery, 227; 306; 349. 

Wesleyan Conference, 85. 

Whigs, 80. 

Whitefield, George, prepares the 
way for Methodism, 32; at 
Newbern, 28; a Calvinist, 29; 

Wilkerson, Thomas, 264, 265; 
William on Camden Circuit, 
169; 2il ; 292. 

Williams, Hallowell, entertains 
first Methodist preacher in 
North Carolina, 35 ; Lee's esti- 
mate of him, 102; entertains 
Dr. Coke, 35. 

Williams, Robert, follows Pil- 
moor, 40 ; in Norfolk, 33 ; 349 ; 
a publisher, 139; his work in 
Petersburg, 41 ; plans a circuit, 
42; attends service of Estab- 
lished Church, 42; 356. 

Williamson, Thomas, 253. 

Willis, Henry, 195. 

Wilmington, 221 ; first society 
in, 222; great fire in, 222; Cir- 
cuit, 217; made a station, 223; 
Lorenzo Dow at, 323 ; 195 ; 

Winston-Salem, 288. 
Winton, Asbury at, 149. 
Wood, Humphrey, 264. 

Yadkin District, territory of, 
259; Circuit formed, 94; 242; 



boundaries of, 94 ; 271 ; gain 
on, 97 ; laborious, 265 ; preach- 
ers sick on, 261 ; extends into 
Buncombe, 265 ; Claywell on, 
333 ', Pittsylvania reported 
with, 95 ; strength of, 264 ; 
Valley, 242-270; progress in, 
258; gain in, 242; revival in, 

266; camp meetings introduced 
in, 342; River, 95; 135; 138. 
Yeargan, Andrew, 94 ; 242 ;' 271 ; 


Yeopin Church, 103. 
Zion, society at, 251.