The Trial of Margaret Meuse Clay

Founder
Margaret Meuse Clay
Time Period
1770
Description
Margaret Meuse Clay was one of a growing number of female "exhorters"--those who prayed and preached although not necessarily in organized church services--among the burgeoning evangelical movement in Virginia and the Carolinas during the mid-18th century. Local authorities, however, brought Clay to trial in 1770 along with eleven male preachers. Clay had two strikes against her, one for challenging the gender norms of colonial society and another for not preaching with a license. An unsubstantiated Clay family tradition held that Patrick Henry, a strong advocate for religious liberty, defended the twelve preachers during the trial.
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Baptist Religious Events and People in American History
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Photographs

Chesterfield courthouse- Wikimedia Commons- photo by James Shelton32 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Woman preaching- US History Images
Source(s)
Brekus, Catherine, 1998. Strangers and Pilgrims: Female Preaching in America, 1740-1845. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Web Page Contributor
Paul Matzko
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University

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