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Circuit Riding Preachers


From the Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publication, Introduction of Methodism in Ohio, by Rev. I. F. King, D.D.  The quotes and summary are provided by Susy Wetz.  This is yet another look into life on the frontier. 

 Page 172-173:  “The Methodist preachers often went in bands of two, mounted, with arms and food for a day or two, hoping to find shelter at night at some friendly cabin, for courage and hospitality were prime virtues in these wilds.  Generally, the preacher was treated with respect and found a hearty welcome. Sometimes they camped in the roads and took turns in keeping watch, while others slept.  The doctrine that the Gospel provided salvation for all men and that salvation is from all sin and they each may know that he is saved and that each should witness the fact, commended itself to the common sense of the people.”  (We believe this sheds light on the lives and beliefs of James Whitney and Rev. Philip Greene.)

Page 175:  Rev. James B. Finley wrote about when he set up housekeeping near Bainbridge, OH: “With the aid of Brother John I built a cabin in the forest, my nearest neighbor being three miles off.  Into this we moved without horse or cow, bed or bedding, bag or baggage.  We gathered up the leaves and fried them in the sun, then picking out all the sticks we put them into a bedtick.  [This is a bed-sized bag used in the place of a mattress.]  For a bedstead we drove forks into the ground and laid sticks across over which we placed elm bark.  On this we placed our bed of leaves and had comfortable lodging.  The nearest mill was thirty miles distant.”  [Most of the Newport’s settlers were better off than described here. Perhaps Philip Greene suffered thus as an itinerant minister.]  The Rev. Peter Cartwright speaks thus of the meal made in the mortar.   “We stretched deer skin over a hoop, burned holes in it with the prongs of a fork, sifted our meal, baked our bread, ate it and it was first rate eating.”  We raided or gathered from the woods our own tea. We had sage, Bohea, cross-vine, spice and sassafras teas in abundance.  As for coffee, I am not sure that I smelled it for ten years.  We made our sugar from the water of the maple tree, and our molasses too.  These were great luxuries in those days.” (In another place he recorded the fact that he traveled for ten years as an itinerant preacher before he was invited to sleep in a plastered house. This occurred in the house of Governor Edward Tiffin.) 

Page 190:  “By the law of the church through all these years, a single man’s salary was $100 per year, and a married man’s was $200.  If, in the interim between sessions of the annual conference, a married man should lose his wife by death, immediately he was placed at the salary of a single man.”