The Trial of Margaret Meuse Clay - Timeline Event
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.
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Religious GroupsBaptist Family: Other ARDA Links
Baptist Family: Religious Family Tree
MovementsThe First Great Awakening
Related Dictionary TermsEvangelical Protestantism, Religious Freedom
Woman preaching- US History Images
Chesterfield courthouse- Wikimedia Commons- photo by James Shelton32 (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Book/Journal Source(s)Brekus, Catherine, 1998. Strangers and Pilgrims: Female Preaching in America, 1740-1845 Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Web Page ContributorPaul Matzko
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History