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The Trial of Margaret Meuse Clay - Timeline Event

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.

Interactive Timeline(s)

Women and Religion
Baptist Events and People

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Women and Religion
Baptist Events and People
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Religious Groups

Baptist Family: Other ARDA Links
Baptist Family: Religious Family Tree

Movements

The First Great Awakening

Related Dictionary Terms

Evangelical Protestantism, Religious Freedom

Photographs

Woman preaching- US History Images
Woman preaching- US History Images

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

Paul Matzko
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History

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