Peter Cartwright and Sustained Revival


In a town called Rogues’ Harbor, because of its many rogues and outlaws, Peter Cartwright found salvation from a life of debauchery. He experienced conviction of sin and redemption during the Kentucky Revival in the early 1800s. The revival itself faded due to infighting and influence from outside groups such as the Quakers, but Cartwright managed to live a life that brought revival to frontier America for the next sixty-five years. He stands as a giant in his influence in the Methodist Church and in American religion in general. His ability to sustain the fire of revival throughout his life provides an example to those seeking to sustain revival in the church today. W. S. Hooper in his introductory statements at a jubilee celebrating Cartwright’s unprecedented fifty years as a Methodist presiding elder observes Cartwright’s influence: “The whole West recognized his superiority, his supremacy. He was the primate of all Prairiedom. For two generations he ruled that realm.”[1]

Once while staying in a hotel in New York City, the clerk placed the elderly Cartwright in a shoddy room on the top floor. Cartwright took offence to the slight and began ringing the bell for the steward. He summoned the poor steward up the stairs several times and finally asked him for a hatchet. The poor steward inquired for Cartwright’s need for the woodsman’s tool and Cartwright replied that on the frontier when a man feared losing his way in the wilderness he would blaze the trees with a hatchet mark. Cartwright wanted to blaze the corners of the hotel corridor in case a fire started and he needed to escape. The clerk promptly moved Cartwright to a better room on the second floor. Cartwright blazed many trails in his life, and he constantly used frontier manners and wit to promote his primary cause—Jesus. In this paper, I will explore Cartwright’s success in extending the Kentucky Revival to three states and the next two generations of Americans. His motives and methods provide insight into sustaining revival to the current generation.



Peter Cartwright used his fists, politics, biting rhetoric, tent revivals, and home meetings to advance his cause. He sustained the revival fires of his conversion in the face of many critics of his methods because he never wavered on the motive behind his bold methods. He always sought to promote Jesus among those who desperately needed Christ. Phillip M. Watters, a key Cartwright biographer, observes Cartwright’s unyielding motive:

We find one central source dominating all these activities, as the life had its energy from one supreme source. Christ was its fountain, its wellspring of power; and to reveal Christ to others, to proclaim the good news of salvation to lost men—this was the central purpose, the controlling motive of Peter Cartwright’s career.[2]

Cartwright sustained the revival for two generations because he never lost sight of the source and purpose of revival.

Advancement into New Territory

Peter Cartwright was born on September 1, 1785 in Amherst County, Virginia, to an agnostic father and a Methodist mother a year and a half before their marriage. At his birth Indians still attacked the frontier settlers of Amherst County. His family moved to the edge of the frontier again in 1791 to what would eventually form the state of Kentucky. In 1793 they moved to an area called, due to its outlaw activity, Rogues’ Harbor. Cartwright adopted the life of the rogue and used playing cards and a racehorse to make a living in his early teens through gambling. God convicted him of his sin at seventeen through a sermon by John Page during James McCready’s Kentucky Revival in the early 1800s. He sold his racehorse and allowed his mother to burn his playing cards. Cartwright found salvation and determined to live a life in the wild frontier that honored Christ.

His family soon moved again into new and uncharted territory in 1802 to the mouth of the Cumberland River. The new territory had no Methodist churches, and Cartwright inquired as to the possibilities for faith in the new land. His leaders surprisingly gave him a license to exhort (a lay credential in the Methodist church) and papers authorizing him to explore the establishment of a circuit in the new territory. He found himself an eighteen year old with the authority to establish a new work in a new territory. Cartwright managed to establish the Livingston Circuit with seventy new members. The legendary Bishop Asbury ordained Cartwright as a deacon (a Methodist credential that allowed him to be a circuit riding preacher and establish churches) in 1806. Four years later Bishop McKendree ordained him as an elder (the highest credential level). In 1812, Bishop Asbury appointed Cartwright a presiding elder, a key leadership position that Cartwright would hold for an unprecedented fifty years. He spent the remainder of his life establishing circuits and churches in the emerging frontier eventually moving to Illinois. He was part of the formation of three conferences: Tennessee (1812), Kentucky (1820), and Illinois (1824).

Cartwright never found satisfaction in sustaining existing saints; he constantly advanced into frontier places where people most needed Christ. Watters describes Cartwright’s missionary zeal:

He gloried in the opportunity of speaking to men who were never seen in church or class meeting—men out of touch with the gospel—aliens from the truth and outcasts from society—infidels, mockers, profligates, ruffians; and he caught them and held them and swept them before him as the wind sweeps the dry leaves in autumn. His own soul kindled with the flame of the message; sinners fell before him like men slain in battle; and the multitudes of believers lifted up their voices in a shout of victory which could be heard for miles around.[3]


Cartwright once stayed in a rough tavern in which local young people congregated for dance parties. The young people behaved much like Cartwright in his early teens, and the dancing drew him back to an activity he once enjoyed. A young attractive girl asked Cartwright to dance, and Cartwright accepted the invitation. As the fiddler tuned his instrument for the dance, Cartwright asked if he might pray for his forthcoming dance. He began praying so fervently that the young girl fell on her face before God and the assembly soon followed. Cartwright organized the dance party into a church of 32 persons and sent a pastor to the new congregation.

Cartwright proved fearless before humans and constantly pushed the cause of Christ without cultural compromise. He once escaped the weather by staying in a house filled with ungodly persons, asking if he might pray before bed. The owner of the house shuffled him into a back room to pray. Cartwright observed the thin walls in the house and began a loud all-night prayer session heard throughout the house. When he returned a few months later the house had found revival. Cartwright organized the home into a Methodist meeting.

Cartwright never lost sight of the mission and used any available means to save the lost. Benjamin Newman summed up Cartwright’s method and mission in an address at Cartwright’s fifty-year jubilee: “What is the sum and substance of pioneer preaching? First of all, it is going in advance of thickly populated towns and cities, and the announcement of personal experience, rich and fresh every day, that will thrill the heart with profound emotions.”[4]

Bringing Grace through Force

Many persons criticized Cartwright for his tendency to use force if necessary to advance his message. He ministered in a rough environment and at times had to fight. Don C. Seitz observes the climate in which Cartwright labored: “Americans took their religion like their whisky—straight. There were no fancy frills, no trifling with the temperature in hell. Satan was fought in the open… . Chief among them in militancy were the circuit riders of the Methodist Church.”[5] Cartwright walked among rough men as an equal. He writes about his pugilistic methods in his autobiography: “It was a part of my creed to love every body, but to fear no one; and I did not permit myself to believe any man could whip me till it was tried.”[6] He once gave the following advice to a young circuit rider newly given charge of the Cumberland Mission Circuit: “They must be converted somehow; and if you can’t convert them with the Gospel, do it with your fist.”[7]

Again, Cartwright never lost sight of the mission. His methods never found motivation in a desire to fight but by a desire to bring the message of Christ to violent persons. Robert Bray, a contemporary biographer, observes the motive behind Cartwright’s method: “We have seen Cartwright’s eccentricity in his impulsiveness, his pugnacity, his readiness to break heads and break with the Discipline in order to overcome impediments to getting the word to the people and the people to the word.”[8] His knack for mixing the message of Christ with the rough nature of the men and women to whom he preached is illustrated in a story in which a young and prominent gentleman challenged him to a duel. Cartwright accepted the challenge and chose, by right as the challenged party in the duel, cornstalks as the dueling weapon. He said to the challenger, “But thank God you can’t whip me; but don’t you attempt to strike me, for if you do, and the devil gets out of you into me, I shall give you the worst whipping you ever got in all your life.”[9] His perseverance and tenacity led to laughter from the challenger, and the challenger accepted Cartwright as an equal and went on to accept Christ.

Acceptance of his message and conversion of the challenger formed the motive behind Cartwright’s pugilistic method. One of the most famous stories of Cartwright’s tenacity involves a ferry operator spouting insults about Cartwright, then a well-known political candidate. The operator did not recognize Cartwright and said he would whip him if ever he saw him. Cartwright identified himself, but the operator did not believe him. Halfway across the river the operator began spouting insults again, and Cartwright seized him and threatened to baptize him in the name of Satan if he did not recant his insults. Some accounts claim Cartwright actually held him in the water until he recited the Lord’s Prayer and promised to give free passage to any Methodist minster and attend any Methodist meeting within five miles. The operator accepted Christ and voted for Cartwright in the next election.

Ruffians frequently disturbed Cartwright’s camp meetings. He confronted any challengers and often used force to bring order to the meeting. One particularly violent disturbance turned into a mob of fighting involving even the gathered preachers. The battered preachers felt unable to preach. Cartwright, however, felt justified in the violence and went on to preach. He used as his text Mathew 16:18: “The gates of Hell shall not prevail.”[10] Cartwright reports that the meeting went on without interruption for several more days and three hundred fell under the power of the Spirit with two hundred saved and added to the church. Cartwright used violence when necessary, but never used violence for self-promotion. He used whatever means necessary to advance the mission.

The Life and Cost of a Curcuit Rider

The life of a Methodist circuit rider on the frontier involved travelling through a vast and rough territory with little provision. Few married and most lived in poverty. Cartwright, however, endured the hardship longer than any circuit rider to this day. He, unlike most riders, married a young lady named Francis Gaines in 1808. His leaders assumed he would locate and assume a traditional pastoral role over one congregation. Cartwright replied that he had “resolved not to locate until the abdication and location of Beelzebub.”[11] Francis Cartwright, a heroin in her own right, remained at home to raise many children and forge a frontier farm from the wilderness of Illinois while Peter Cartwright advanced the mission.

Sustained revival meant paying any cost. Gerald F. Ensley observes the motive behind Methodist circuit riders: “Field preaching, which was the trademark of original Methodism, was a going forth of Christian evangelists to reclaim men and women in the mines and factories of the profane order, rather than waiting for men to come into the sacred precincts of the church.”[12] His motive remained clear, and Cartwright accepted the cost. T. M. Eddy in a letter presented at the Cartwright’s 50-year jubilee describes the cost of mission to the circuit rider:

To do that (describe the itinerant pioneer preacher) were to transcribe chapters from the Book of Acts, of Peter I and II—Cartwright and Akers—men who threaded forests to tell hardy woodmen and squatters how to become plants of the Father’s right hand, trees of righteousness; who along sinuous and malarious rivers searched scattered settlements to speak of ‘the river that maketh glad the City of God;’ men of Christly daring, who cut loose from the base of temporal supplies, and plunged into roadless wastes, guided by the stars of heaven, that wondering men and women in gloom and grief might see ‘the bright and morning star,’ and seeing, live![13]

Cartwright paid the price of sustained revival as a travelling circuit rider longer than anyone in Methodist history, and he brought revival to thousands as a result of the price he paid.

Apostolic Annointing

Cartwright ministered in Spirit-led anointing. Watters quotes Cartwright’s description of a typical camp meeting on the frontier:

Triumphant shouts of glory ascended by hundreds, and many sinners were seen with streaming eyes and even exulting shouts giving glory to Jesus Christ. The vast multitudes fell almost in every direction, and I sat down under a deep sense that God was there…There was no more preaching for that day and the next. The cries of the penitents and shouts of the young converts and old professors went up without intermission day and night. Two hundred professed religion, and one hundred and seventy joined the Methodist Episcopal Church before the close of the camp meeting.[14]


Cartwright feared no human, and he boldly allowed the Spirit to lead him into any territory needing revival. According to Watters, Cartwright observed the decline of Methodist passion in his later years:

In the agency of the Holy Spirit of God I have been a firm believer for more than fifty-four years, and I do firmly believe that if the ministers of the present day had more of the unction or baptismal fire of the Holy Ghost promoting their ministerial efforts, we should succeed much better than we do, and be more successful in winning souls to Christ than we are.[15]

For sixty-five years Cartwright brought the fire of the Spirit to uncharted regions and to those who desperately needed God. He never found satisfaction with ministry to the established regions but in true apostolic anointing pushed against the frontier.




The Kentucky revival in which Cartwright discovered faith soon became a battleground of extreme positions. The Shaker and New Light influence promoted ecstatic experience through visions and apocalyptic rhetoric, and the extreme Calvinists promoted a polarizing position that eventually divided the revival. Cartwright took an unpopular mediating position in most controversies that emphasized the priority of Christ’s mission over winning a polarized debate. Cartwright fearlessly engaged and confronted polarized positions, and many critics assume he stood at the opposite pole. Cartwright, however, valued the mission more than winning arguments or joining an extreme position.

Cartwright and Ecstatic Experience

Revivals, including the Kentucky Revival, generally involve various expressions of ecstatic experience. Cartwright assumed a position that prevented his meetings from dissolving through excesses, personal promotion, and misuse of spiritual gifts. People often fell on their faces before God’s power in Cartwright’s meetings, but Cartwright viewed the occurrences as part of a sinner’s acceptance of Christ. Watters observes Cartwright’s ability to maintain missional purpose while allowing for spiritual manifestations:

But the sturdy common sense of Peter Cartwright enabled him to distinguish between the healthy and the unhealthy, the true and the false; and his fearless leadership saved the converts from many a wild excess and mad delusion. He loved to see an unbeliever changed into what he called a “happy, shouting Christian.”[16]

Cartwright remained focused on life change in the person to whom he ministered rather than various expressions of spiritual power.

Cartwright rejected the visions and over-realized eschatology of the Quakers while accepting many manifestations that remain controversial today. For example, he accepted an experience called “the jerks” in which people twitched or convulsed violently. Cartwright describes his position on “the jerks”: “I always looked upon the jerks as a judgment sent from God, first, to bring sinners to repentance; and secondly, to show professors that God could work with or without means, and that he could work over and above means, and do whatever seemeth him good, to the glory of his grace and the salvation of the world.”[17] To Cartwright, ecstatic expressions proved perfectly acceptable as long as they brought sinners to repentance. He subtly emphasizes that manifestations do not promote the individual as one acted upon by God. Manifestations promote God in a person who desires God.

Cartwright accepted manifestations that promoted God’s mission, and he proved willing to confront self-serving behavior masquerading as spiritual manifestation. Cartwright describes his mediating position on spiritual manifestations:

But right here I wish to say, that in most of our revivals many men and women of bad habits and ill-fame become operated on, profess religion, and join the Church. This has long been, and now is, a great objection by many to these revivals, and it has been the cause of considerable persecution to the Church. But it should be remembered that the economy of the Church, in saving souls, is compared by Jesus Christ himself to a fisherman casting his net into the sea, and enclosing a multitude of fish, both good and bad. But who ever condemned the fisherman, because his net gathered bad as well as good fish? or (sic) who ever drew the erroneous conclusion that the net was bad, because there were some bad fish enclosed in it? The net is to be thrown, the fish, bad and good, are to be inclosed (sic), and then the net is to be drawn to the shore, on dry land, and all alike, both good and bad, taken from their element. Then, and not till then, the process of assorting them is to commence.[18]


Cartwright managed to sustain a revival for sixty-five years by sorting things only after he could discern their purpose or origin.

Cartwright and Social Involvement

Cartwright felt strongly about many social issues of his day, particularly slavery. Sangamon County elected him twice to the Illinois State Legislature, and he lost in a congressional election to a young lawyer named Abraham Lincoln. His sought political position to bring godly principles to politics and to oppose slavery in the State of Illinois to which he had fled Kentucky partly to shield his children from slavery’s influence. Ensley observes Cartwright’s political involvement: “Its purpose has been not to erect a theocracy but to leaven the secular order through the conversion to the Christian life of the men who make it.”[19] In social activism, Cartwright maintained his missional focus and believed that social transformation came from the conversion of individuals.

In the divisive issue of slavery Cartwright took a middle position that proved unpopular with the extreme positions of both slaveholders and abolitionists. Cartwright describes his middle position: “I was opposed to slavery, though I did not meddle with it politically, yet I felt it my duty to bear my testimony against the moral wrong of slavery.”[20] He placed the conversion of slaveholder and slave above the extreme and polarizing position of the radical abolitionist while prophetically speaking about the coming national disaster resulting from the growing polarization on the issue: “I am perfectly satisfied that if force is resorted to, this glorious Union will be dissolved, a civil war will follow, death and carnage will ensue, and the only free nation on the earth will be destroyed. Let moral suasion be used to the last degree for the sake of the salvation of the slaveholders, and the salvation of the slaves.”[21] The eternal state of humans proved far more important to Cartwright than the issue of slavery. He saw slave states through the eyes of a missionary rather than polarized politics: “Surely here is missionary ground that ought to be occupied with, great care, for the salvation of the perishing thousands of the south, and for the final overthrow of slavery, under the benign influences of the Christian religion.”

Cartwright would not subvert God’s mission to a polarizing political issue, but Cartwright remained clear that conversion brought social change. He did not expect social change to occur before revival or for ungodly humans to act godly. For Cartwright the solution to social evil remained Christ. He trusted the activity of the Spirit to purge social evils from the faithful. On slavery, he refused to alienate the slaveholder and subsequently the slave from salvation through radical abolitionism. Cartwright describes his tactics: “Let us now henceforth use Christian weapons, and Christian weapons alone, and the mighty monster will fall.”[22] The monster of slavery needed felling, but Cartwright would only attempt its destruction through the conversion of men and women to Christ.

Cartwright’s mediating position proved unpopular as both polarized camps viewed him as part of the other camp. The Methodist church violently split in 1844 over the issue of slavery, and Cartwright lamented the loss of missional potential as he took the unpopular middle ground. The Methodist split soon expanded to the nation as the nation divided in 1862. Cartwright, after the succession of the South, ardently supported the Union. His mediating position, however, remains an interesting position in which much division and pain could have been averted. Cartwright still speaks today to the church’s involvement in polarizing political issues such as homosexual unions.

Cartwright’s mediating positions did not rise from compromise or weakness. He strongly defended the essentials, but he mediated positions not ranked as highly in his thinking as the essentials. For example, the mission of Christ to all humans ranked higher in Cartwright’s thinking than slavery. He plainly expressed his opposition to slavery, but equally expressed the need for salvation in all humans. Cartwright took a strong mediating position and refused to allow polarizing forces to intimidate him. Ensley observes the influence of Methodist preachers like Cartwright on America: “The Methodist preachers for a century and a half have helped to keep freedom alive in America simply by refusing to be intimidated.”[23] Cartwright observes his own tenacity: “In general I have made it a rule not to back down to the devil or his imps, whether he appears in male or female form. But sometimes it requires backwoods courage to stand our ground.”[24]

Cartwright, however, refused to allow the devil to distract him from the mission. He would not lose the war for human souls for a victory in a small skirmish over a particular social issue. Newman in an address to the Cartwright Jubilee in which he compares Peter Cartwright to the Apostle Peter describes Cartwright’s ability to mix muscle and the Holy Spirit:

(Western) indifference to restraint as well as licentiousness of action, which required a second Peter to grapple with them—a Peter who had an arm of flesh as well as a word of power, and who at times, believed in a dispensation of muscular Christianity as well as a dispensation of the Holy Ghost.[25]

Cartwright demonstrates strength in submission to Christ.

Cartwright fiercely defended the Methodist brand of Christianity as he saw the brand as effective in his mission. He often defended his new converts against sects that attempted to steal the new believers from Methodism. He placed Calvinists, New Lights, Campbellites, Shakers, and Mormons in the same category and rigorously defended his young believers against their perceived heresies. Many stories exist of Cartwright marching into a meeting to which his new Methodists had been enticed and powerfully reclaiming his new believers. Cartwright took no mediating position concerning doctrine. One of the most interesting pieces of Cartwright’s communication preserved today is a reply to some ultra-Calvinists who had written anonymously to Cartwright pretending to be the devil thanking Cartwright for his work. Cartwright writes a lengthy reply in which he takes apart Calvinism and accuses his accusers of cowardice and residing near the devil themselves.[26] Cartwright worked with many non-Methodists on the mission field of camp meetings, but he refused to allow doctrinal divides to polarize his followers or for those he saw as heretics to steal his new believers.




The American frontier formed an environment uniquely suited to the method behind Methodism. The structure of episcopal government combined with the freedom of the circuit rider ensured an environment in which revival flourished without losing its center. Jaroslav J. Pelikan describes the unique fit of Methodism to the American frontier: “A church that had been forged in the heat of one man’s search for such vigor and power and in his rediscovery of the essence of evangelical Christianity was ideally suited to the demands of the frontier.”[27] Methodism, according to Ensley, emerged from three forces: the gospel of Jesus, the “activist temperament of John Wesley,” and its ability to “habituate to the American frontier.”[28] Cartwright readily embraced the structure of the Methodist Episcopal Church as a means of organizing his revival activities and retaining its converts. He frequently spoke at the Methodist Episcopal convention. His conference elected him as delegate in almost every convention. He supported the church’s structure even at its lowest moments such as the division of the church over slavery in 1844.

To Cartwright, structure expanded revival. The circuit riding method proved uniquely able to bring together a scattered populous under the necessary controls of the church. Ensley observes one key strength of the circuit riding method: “By their circuit system they added enough parishes together to guarantee a livelihood, and their polity assured that every church would have a minister and every minister a church.”[29] The circuit riding elder established a work then appointed exhorters to maintain the work. The elder would visit every six to eight weeks and encourage or correct as needed. Once the work grew larger it might have a located pastor or remain under the leadership of the travelling elder. The church divided into classes much like today’s small groups that provided relational support and encouragement during the week. Cartwright used the methodical system of the Methodist Episcopal Church to sustain a revival and organize the fruits of revival.

The organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church forms part of American culture. Pelikan observes the influence of the system on America: “Because the spirit of the frontier has been shared by colonists and settlers, pioneers and immigrants, the Methodist way of faith and obedience has become embedded in the American experience.”[30] Cartwright, in his sixty-five years as a travelling preacher, witnessed a profound change in frontier culture and Methodist polity. He lived to see his organization begin a descent into an organization with a mission rather than an organization for a mission. Pelikan observes the effects of the changing environment at the end of Cartwright’s life:

If anything, it was the loss of the frontier spirit rather than its retention that gradually alienated Methodism from elements of American society that had been its traditional concern, and caused the Methodist Church to be replaced in their loyalties by forms of Christian witness and obedience that seemed to breathe more of a Wesleyan spirit than the respectable Wesleyans did. Such, at least, has been the judgment of Pentecostal and Holiness churches, which even in their opposition to Methodism represent a Methodist movement, and even in their urban setting belong to the spirit of the American frontier.[31]


Frontier Methodism springs from a missionary spirit in which many movements have taken part. Cartwright’s use of the organization to sustain revival provides an example to those seeking lasting revival today, and it is a warning to the organization to remain organized for mission and not make the organization the mission.




Cartwright died on September 25, 1872, shortly after retirement. He remained a presiding elder for fifty years and spent sixty-five years as a circuit rider. No Methodist preacher has come close to his tenure. Cartwright modestly estimates the fruits of his labors at twelve thousand baptisms, ten thousand added to the church, and over 14,600 sermons preached.[32] He sustained the revival fires in which he found salvation for the remainder of his life. He never lost his missional focus and used mediating positions and structure to add strength to his mission. In a feeble voice at his fifty-year jubilee Cartwright describes his life and focus:

And now I retire from the regular work, not because I do not like it, for I say to you one and all, to the young preachers and to the old, that with the losses and crosses, labors and sufferings peculiar to the life of a Methodist traveling preacher, I would take, if it was left to my choice, the same track over again with the same religion to bear me up, rather than be the President of the United States. Glory to God, there is a religion that sustains a man and will bear him on, and up, and through. I have never tried to feel that pasteboard religion that will not allow a man to say amen or shout glory. I have no friendship at all for that kind of Christianity. A Christian still-born into the family of heaven is an anomaly. I love that religion that a man can feel and know for himself, that can support us under trials, that can bear any thing and every thing while God gives us love in our hearts.[33]





Bray, Robert. Peter Cartwright: Legendary Frontier Preacher. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2005.


Cartwright, Peter. The Autobiography of Peter Cartwright: The Backwoods Preacher. Edited by W. P. Strickland. N.p: Jawbone Digital, 2014. Kindle.


———. Fifty Years as a Presiding Elder. Edited by W. S. Hooper. Cincinnati: Jennings and Graham, 1871.


Eddy, T. M. “The Itinerant Path-Finder.” In Fifty Years as a Presiding Elder. Edited by W. S. Hooper, 258-261. Cincinnati: Jennings and Graham, 1871.


Ensley, F. Gerald. “American Methodism: An Experiment in Secular Christianity.” In The History of American Methodism in Three Volumes. Vol. 3. Edited by Emory Stevens Bucke, 615-630. New York: Abingdon, 1964.


Grant, Helen Hardie. Peter Cartwright: Pioneer. New York: Abingdon, 1931.


Hooper, W. S. “Introduction: Being a Sketch of Dr. Cartwright’s Life.” In Fifty Years as a Presiding Elder. Edited by W. S. Hooper, 7-38. Cincinnati: Jennings and Graham, 1871.


Newman, Benjamin. “The Address of Rev. Dr. Newman.” In Fifty Years as a Presiding Elder. Edited by W. S. Hooper, 248-258. Cincinnati: Jennings and Graham, 1871.


Pelikan, Jaroslav J. “Methodism’s Contribution to America.” In The History of American Methodism in Three Volumes. Vol. 3. Edited by Emory Stevens Bucke, 596-607. New York: Abingdon, 1964.


Seitz, Don C. “Peter Cartwright—Evangel of the Backwoods.” In Uncommon Americans: Pencil Portraits of Men and Women Who Have Broken the Rules, 71-87. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1925.


Veglahn, Nancy. Peter Cartwright: Pioneer Circuit Rider. New York: Scribner, 1968.


Watters, Phillip M. Peter Cartwright. New York: Eaton and Mains, 1910.


[1] W. S. Hooper, “Introduction,” in Fifty Years as a Presiding Elder, ed. W. S. Hooper (Cincinnati: Jennings and Graham, 1871), 29.

[2] Phillip M. Watters, Peter Cartwright (New York: Eaton and Mains, 1910), 25.

[3] Ibid., 31-32.

[4] Benjamin Newman, “The Address of Rev. Dr. Newman,” in Fifty Years as a Presiding Elder, ed. W. S. Hooper (Cincinnati: Jennings and Graham, 1871), 258.

[5] Don C. Seitz, “Peter Cartwright—Evangel of the Backwoods,” in Uncommon Americans: Pencil Portraits of Men and Women Who Have Broken the Rules (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1925), 71.

[6] Peter Cartwright, The Autobiography of Peter Cartwright; The Backwoods Preacher, ed. W. P. Strickland (n.p: Jawbone Digital, 2014), 1432, Kindle.

[7] Peter Cartwright, Fifty Years as a Presiding Elder, ed. W. S. Hooper (Cincinnati: Jennings and Graham, 1871), 83.

[8] Robert Bray, Peter Cartwright: Legendary Frontier Preacher (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2005), 89.

[9] Cartwright, Autobiography, 2629, Kindle.

[10] All scripture, unless otherwise noted, is from the King James Version.

[11] Cartwright, 50 Years, 243.

[12] F. Gerald Ensley, “American Methodism: An Experiment in Secular Christianity,” in The History of American Methodism in Three Volumes, vol. 3, ed. Emory Stevens Bucke (New York: Abingdon, 1964), 616.

[13] T. M. Eddy, “The Itinerant Path-Finder,” in Fifty Years as a Presiding Elder, ed. W. S. Hooper (Cincinnati: Jennings and Graham, 1871), 259.

[14] Watters, 32.

[15] Ibid., 42-43.

[16] Ibid., 34.

[17] Cartwright, Autobiography, 452, Kindle.

[18] Ibid., 5471, Kindle.

[19] Ensley, 618.

[20] Cartwright, Autobiography, 1875, Kindle.

[21] Ibid., 1911, Kindle.

[22] Ibid., 4945, Kindle.

[23] Ensley, 623.

[24] Cartwright, 50 Years, 79.

[25] Newman, 253.

[26] Cartwright, 50 Years, 94-198.

[27] Jaroslav J. Pelikan, “Methodism’s Contribution to America” in The History of American Methodism in Three Volumes, vol. 3, ed. Emory Stevens Bucke (New York: Abingdon, 1964), 602.

[28] Ensley, 618.

[29] Ibid., 619.

[30] Pelikan, 603.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Cartwright, Autobiography, 6137, Kindle.

[33] Cartwright, 50 Years, 219.

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