Cartwright, Peter 
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Time Period
9/1/1785  - 9/25/1872
Although his experience in Kentucky exposed him to gambling, he eventually converted to Methodism at a camp meeting in 1801. Joining the Methodist Episcopal Church, he received his exhorter’s license in 1802 and became an itinerant preacher in 1803, thus starting more than 60 years as a frontier minister. Later, Francis Asbury ordained him a deacon (1806) and William McKendree ordained him an elder (1801). For the first 20 years of his ministry he averaged preaching more than a sermon a day and helped start the Second Great Awakening. Witty and religiously devoted, he became well known along the frontier. His colorful Autobiography (1856) only furthered his reputation.

Cartwright also was involved in politics, opposing slavery and promoting Methodist colleges. He served as a member of the Illinois legislature twice, but lost his bid for Congress to Abraham Lincoln.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Methodist Religious Events and People in American History
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Methodist Religious Events and People in American History
Religious Groups
Methodist/Pietist Family: Other ARDA Links

The Second Great Awakening
Publication of Autobiography of Peter Cartwright
The Second Great Awakening

Peter Cartwright portrait- Internet Archive- from Pioneers of Menard and Mason Counties by T. G. Onstot

Peter Cartwright portrait- Internet Archive- from Autobiography of Peter Cartwright, the Backwoods Preacher

Peter Cartwright tombstone- Wikimedia Commons- photo by Robert Lawton (CC BY-SA 2.5)
Book/Journal Source(s)
Reid, Daniel, Robert Linder, Bruce Shelley, and Harry Stout, 1990. Dictionary of Christianity in America. Downers Grove, IL.
Web Source(s)
Peter Cartwright's Encyclopedia Britannica Biography
Web Page Contributor
Benjamin T. Gurrentz
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Sociology

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