George Brown.

Recollections of itinerant life : including early reminiscences online

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Columbia 5BnitJem'tp


Bequest of

Frederic Bancroft









FOR BY FAITH YE STAND."— 2 Coritithians, i: 24.




No. ilV "^V^nsT I orRTH Street.



9 2


Entered according to Act of Congi-ess, in the year 1806, by


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern

District of Ohio.


CINCHt'AM'I, 0.'



l^inistErs anb Pcmbcrs of llje P^ttljobist '^xottstnnt €hvizc^,







The Authob.

Springfield, Ohio, February 5, 1866.


Editor Western Methodist Protestant.

"Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach
wisdom." The experience of the past, when duly considered,
is well calculated to cast light on the present and direct us in
the future. Abstract principles are intangible, and it is only
when they receive a practical exemplification that their nature
and importance are clearly demonstrated. While we look to
the future as a theater of action, we must look to the past
for an illustration of the power and influence of those princi-
ples which direct and control action. These principles may
be considered in the light of our own experience, and also as
illustrated in the experience of others ; and the more extensive
and varied the experience, the more complete and important is
the illustration it affords. It is this that gives value to his-
tory, and particularly to biography, which is the history of
individual life and character. This species of history is valu-
able in proportion as it presents correctly and fully the princi-
ples and motives which, under certain circumstances, influenced
and controlled individual action. But while the biographer
may be able to trace clearly the actions of an individual, he
is often unable to determine with certainty the motives by
which those actions were prompted; and actions, considered
without reference to the motives from which they spring, may
very easily produce an entire misapprehension of an individual's
character. In autobiography, however, this difl&culty does not



exist. The motive and the action are alike known to the
author, and both may be clearly presented in their mutual re-
lation to each other. This enables us to form a correct theory
of an individual's life and character, and to derive instruction
from his example. The present volume is of the latter class,
and we shall detain the reader but a short time from its perusal
by a brief notice of the Author and his Work.

Doctor Brown, the recollections of whose itinerant life are
contained in this volume, belongs to a past generation, and
lingers among us for a short time as a worthy representative
of a noble class of men whose memories will be ever green,
and the recollection of whose Christian virtues and faithful
labors shall be imperishable in the Church. As a man, he is
eminent for his strength of intellect, his great social power,
his earnestness of purpose, and his unswerving adherence to
principle. Quick in perception and clear in judgment, he
readily grasps whatever subject he investigates. Although
possessing a strong relish for abstract metaphysical questions,
he has the peculiar talent of presenting, in a clear and simple
form, the results of his most profound investigations. His
social qualities are also of a high order. With a heart over-
flowing with kindness, and a memory well stored with inter-
esting and varied reminiscences of the past, his social inter-
course possesses a peculiar charm, rendering his society both
attractive and instructive. In the performance of the labors
of life, he has always manifested great earnestness of purpose.
Impressed with the true nature of his duties, he has bent all
his energies faithfully to discharge them. Regarding life as a
reality, he has never trifled with his life-work, but, with the
earnestness produced by an abiding conviction of its impor-
tance, has devoted himself with energy to its performance.
Integrity and adherence to principle have always been promi-
nent traits in his character, and, sooner than renounce these,
he has manifested a willingness, in the privations and sacrifices
of personal comfort which he has endured, to sacrifice every
thing else. Rather than abandon his convictions for the sake
of prominence and place, he has often exposed himself to op-


position and reproach. Preeminently a man of peace, sooner
than renounce his principles, he has engaged in discussions,
which, for a time at least, resulted in the alienation and sac-
rifice of cherished friends. Principle and duty with him,
throughout life, have always been paramount to every other
consideration. — His strength of intellect, his warmth of sym-
pathy, his earnestness of purpose, and his integrity of prin-
ciple, united with ardent piety, constitute a character, partially
exhibited in the present volume, alike worthy of our study and

Eminence in any department of life, whatever a man's nat-
ural abilities and moral excellencies may be, depends, to a
great extent, upon his own industry and application. These
are necessary to develop and strengthen his powers, discipline
his thoughts, and enable him to use with facility the knowl-
edge he acquires. Doctor Brown has been a life-long student,
patient and diligent in the acquirement of knowledge. Preem-
inently a student of the Bible, he has not been indifferent to
other branches of learning, but has acquired an extensive
knowledge of books, and is familiar, especially, with the older
authors, in almost every department of philosophical thought.
Not satisfied with superficial inquiries, his investigations have
been deep and thorough, enabling him to master the subjects
which have engaged his attention. Although now in the seventy-
fifth year of his age, his former habits of study have not been
abandoned, but most of his time is devoted to his books, and
he still delights in the investigation of the most profound sub
jects connected with Christian theology. In this he presents,
especially to young men in the ministry, an example every way
worthy of imitation.

With such natural endowments, and such habits of studious
application, it is not surprising that Doctor Brown should
occupy a prominent position as a Christian minister. As a
preacher, in his day he had not many equals, and few if any
superiors. Deeply skilled in the word of God, he brought out
of his treasury things "both new and old." Although always
chaste, he preferred strength to beauty of style, and sought to


enlighten the judgment and arouse the conscience rather than
please the fancy. Clear in exposition, forcible in argument,
apt in illustration, and powerful in appeal, his preaching wa3
often accompanied by a divine energy to the hearts of the
people. We have seen vast assemblies spell- bound by his
thrilling utterances, or swaying, like the forest in the breeze,
beneath the power of truth as it fell, with burning fervor, from
his lips. In the days of his prime, he towered in the pulpit
like a giant in his strength, and wielded the sword of the Spirit
with a dexterity and power seldom surpassed. Hundreds are
now living, many of whom are ministers of the Gospel, who
were converted through his instrumentality, and thousands no
doubt have gone to their final rest who were saved through
his faithful labors, and who will "shine as stars in the crown
of his rejoicing forever."

As an executive, whether as the Superintendent of a circuit
or the President of a conference or a college, Doctor Brown was
always gentle, but firm. Possessing a kind and merciful spirit,
he sought to reclaim the erring by Christian counsel, admoni-
tion, and reproof; and not until he had exhausted, without suc-
cess, every effort in the spirit of kindness and love to reclaim
them was he willing to resort to the exercise of discipline
and punish the guilty. But when all other means failed, and
it became necessary, he shrunk not from the performance of
his duty, but, with a firm and impartial hand, administered
justice to the transgressor. Under such circumstances punish-
ment was rendered doubly severe, because it was felt to be not
the result of personal enmity, but of necessity; for no man ever
felt that in Doctor Brown he had an enemy.

Like all noble and generous minds, he always sympathized
with the weak and oppressed. Although often straightened in
his own circumstances, he never turned a deaf ear to the voice
of the needy, but often, beyond his ability, contributed to the
supply of their wants. His benevolent heart, in its yearnings
of sympathy, went out after the poor, whom the Saviour declares
we shall always have with us.

His sun is now fast declining, and will soon set in beauty.


His graces, like the ripened fruit trembling on tlie bough ready
to be gathered, have attained a mellow richness, giving to his
character more than an earthly charm. Cheerful and happy,
with resignation and hope he waits the coming of the Master
to call him to his reward.

The present volume, containing the recollections of such a
man, dating back to the commencement of this century, and
coming down to the present time, connected, as they are, with
great social and religious changes and important ecclesiastical
refoi'ms, in which the Author bore a prominent part, can not
fail, we think, to interest and instruct the reader. Many thrill-
ing incidents connected with pioneer life and early itinerant
labor are here recorded. Human nature is presented in many
of its phases, and numerous anecdotes illustrative of peculiar
manners and traits of individual character are related. The
important principles of 'Mutual Rights and Ecclesiastical Liberty,
which the author has labored so zealously for years to promote,
are with propriety considered, and the causes which led to
the organization of the Methodist Protestant Church, of
which he was one of the founders, and with which he has been
so long identified, are presented, and the reasons justifying such
an organization are clearly set forth. The volume will also be
found to contain much that is calculated to edify the Church,
and especially to instruct her young and rising ministry.

In order to preserve the truth of history, and also to vindi-
cate his own character, the Author, in a few instances, has been
under the necessity of presenting others in an unenviable light;
but having stated the facts and vindicated himself, in the true
spirit of Christian charity, he becomes their apologist, and in-
stead of referring their conduct to moral obliquity of purpose,
ascribes it rather to the weakness of human nature.

The volume, as its title imports, is composed principally of
recollections, aided in part by written and printed documents.
It may appear singular to some how the Author, after the lapse
of so many years, could relate with such precision so many im-
portant incidents, giving names, dates, and localities, and even
the particulars of numerous conversations. This serves to ex-


hibit some of the peculiar traits of his character. Endowed
with a memory of uncommon tenacity, which, like all his other
mental faculties, retains its vigor unimpaired, he has treasured
up all the important facts and incidents of his life, and has the
ability to call them forth at pleasure. This faculty has been
cultivated and strengthened by the habit, in which he has in-
dulged for many years, of enlivening the hours of social inter-
course with intimate friends by the relation of important facts
connected with his former history. By this means they have
not been permitted to fade from his memory, but, according to
a law of our mental constitution, by frequent repetitions have
been indelibly impressed upon his mind. During the last thirty
years, it has been our privilege to hear him relate, at different
times, most of the facts and incidents contained in this volume.
It is a source of real satisfaction to his numerous friends, that
these recollections are now given to the public in such a form
that all may enjoy the pleasure which has heretofore been re-
stricted to a few, and possess a valuable memento of one on
whom the Church has bestowed its highest honors.

We shall not further detain the reader from the perusal of
the work itself, which we know can not fail to amuse and in-
struct him. Rich in facts, abounding in wise counsels, and en-
livened by incidents of special interest, it requires only to be
read to be appreciated.

Springfield, 0., January 31, 1866.




Writing from Memory and Recollection — Diary Lost — Why I have
Written— Place of Birth— The Mad-Dog and Cow — Whisky In-
surrection — Narrow Escape from Drowning — Crossing the Ohio
River at the Tail of an Ox— The Brown Family— From 1797 to 1800
go to School — The Site of SteubenviJle — Western Civilization —
Fighting — Rev. R. Dobbins 17


Removal to Ohio, then a Territory — Captain John Henlick and his Two
■Wives — The Game and the Snakes — DifQculties Connected with Bor-
der Life — Methodist Preachers make their Appearance — The Wolf-
hunt — A Large Farm Cleared Out in Five Years — Border Settlers
make their own Clothing from the Raw Material — No Schools for
Ten Years — Early Religious Impressions— Cowardice in Religious
Matters — Evil Efiects of Wicked Associations 24


Learn the Fulling Trade — Trip to Canton — Go to School in Virginia —
Death of My Father by Drowning — Commence Teaching School —
Enter the Army in 1812 — The Wild Horse — Johnson's Island — Gen-
eral Harrison — Winchester's Defeat — Volunteer to help away the
Wounded — The Retreat — Camp Inundated — Fort Meigs — Honorably
Discharged — Start for Home — Difficulties of Travel — Failure of Pro-
visions — My Religious Condition 43


Trip to Baltimore— Had to Decide Between my Two Brothers— The
Camp-Meeting and the Giants of Methodism — My Conversion and
Happiness— Robert Fisher— The Prayer-Meeting and the Cross —
Joined the Church— Gilbert Middleton, Class- Leader— His Faithful-
ness — Members of his Class— The Class of Young Men who held
Prayer- Meetings — Commenced Preaching white on Probation — My




Studies — The Baltimore Local Preachers — An Effort to Repair an
Injury to my Brother — Studies Continued in my Brother's Tan-
Yard — A Soldier Again, in Defense of Baltimore against the Brit-
ish — A Soldier Condemned to be Shot — Eeflections on that Thrilling
Scene — First Love-Feast I attended in Baltimore — Licensed to
Preach in 1814 59


My first Itinerant Sermon — The Negroes Sleeping in Meeting — My De-
sign in going on Anne Arundel Circuit — Jackson's Victory — Peace
Restored — The General Joy — Not being Recommended to Confer-
ence, I Return to Work and Study — Was Immediately Called to
Prince George's Circuit — The Horse — The Money — My Colleagues —
The Circuit — The Bilious Fever and its Cause — Kind Friends who
Cared for me in my AfSictions — Chambersburg Circuit — My Col-
leagues — My Presiding Elder — Carlisle Circuit — My Colleague —
Much Opposition — Success in Gettysburg — The Infidel Converted —
A Marriage Extraordinary — Stafford Circuit — My Assistant — The
Various Sects — The Camp-Meeting — How Methodists at that day
Regarded Slavery 75


"Washington Station — DiflSculty about the Choir — Revival of Religion —
Study of Greek and Hebrew — Rev. Matthew Brown, D. D. — Wheel-
ing and Short Creek — Noah Zane — Methodism and Calvinism — Lay
Delegation — Dr. David Stanton — Washington Station Again — My
Marriage — Ohio Circuit — Old Bachelors — Insufficient Support 95


Conference in Baltimore — Appointed Presiding Elder of Monongahela
District — Effort to Change the Manner of Appointing Presiding
Elders — Bishop McKendree's Vindication of his Course in the Pre-
ceding General Conference — Removal to Washington — My First
Quarterly Conference — Trip to Ohio with Bishop McKendree — The
Bishop's Views on Church Polity — My Views — Conference in Win-
chester, Virginia — Conference in Baltimore — Formation of Pitts-
burgh Conference — Failure in Health — Recovery — The New Lights
— The Baptists — Camp-Meetings — My First Public Connection with
the Reform Movement — The Mutual Rights — Bishop George 112


Conference in Washington, Pennsylvania — Reform Movement — Bishop
Hedding's Address against Reform — Reasons for Replying — D. W.



Clark, D. D. — Friendly Relations Existing between Bishop Hedding
and Myself — Timothy's Address to the Junior Bishop — Convention
of Bishops in Baltimore — Bishop Hedding's Note to the Chairman
of the Editorial Committee Demanding Timothy's Real Name — My
Reply, Surrendering my Name — Rev. H. B. Bascom's Testimony as
to the Truthfulness of Timothy's Address — Similar Testimony from
Rev. John Waterman, Rev. Asa Shinn, Thomas Morgan, Esq., Rev.
Joshua Monroe, Rev. T. M. Hudson — Reasons for Present Self-
Defense 129


Letter from Bishop George — His Conciliatory Efforts — Concessions to
the Pittsburgh Conference — Passage of my Character — Private In-
terview between Bishop George, H. B. Bascom, A. Shinn, and My-
self — Letter Published in the Mutual Rights, signed " Plain Deal-
ing" — The General Conference of 1828 — Mr. Shinn's Eloquent
Speech in Favor of the Restoration of D. B. Dorsey and W. C. Pool —
Bishop Hedding and Myself before the Committee on Episcopacy —
Decision of the Committee — My Defense 158


A Church Trial in Steubenville in 1827 — A Lady Preacher — Conference
in Mercer County — New Lisbon Circuit — Determination to leave the
Church — Reasons for so Doing — Invitation to go to Pittsburgh — Ac-
ceptance — Letter to my Presiding Elder 180


Church Property — Plan to Crush Reform in Pittsburgh — Effort to Ob-
tain Possession of Sraithfield Street Church — Decision of Supreme
Court of Pennsylvania in favor of Reformers — Effort to bring Fe-
male Influence to bear Against Reform — First Reform Conference —
Amusing Objection to Moral Character — Convention in Baltimore —
True Piety of Ministers and Members of Methodist Episcopal
Church — Contemptuous Treatment from Old Friends 203


Church Failures in "Wheeling — My First Year in the Presidency — Re-
elected President — The Reform Methodists — Discussion on Church
Government-^A Forgetful Preacher — Lectures on Church Govern-
ment — Elected President the Third Time — First General Confer-
ence — Presidential Tour through the West 228




Bemoval to Cincinnati — An Opinion on Ecclesiastical Law — Second
Year in Cincinnati — General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal
Church — Anecdote of Rev. N. Snethen and Rev. W. Burke — Elec-
tion of Bishop Morris — Transfer to the Pittsburgh Conference 255


Transferred to the Pittsburgh Conference — Removal to Alleghany —
Remarkable Dream — Lorenzo Dow and General Jackson — An Arbi-
trary Sexton — Second General Conference — Debate on Slavery — Lib-
erty of the Press — Meeting of Pittsburgh Conference — Removal to
HoUiday's Cove, Virginia 267


Conference in New Lisbon, Ohio — Elected President — Removal to
Steubenville — Conference in Pittsburgh — Appointed to Pittsburgh —
The Use of Tobacco — Conference in Alleghany — Reappointed to
Pittsburgh, with Rev. J. Cowl as Assistant — Annual Conference Ac-
tion on the Slavery Question 281


Division of Pittsburgh Conference — Elected President — Exercise of
Church Discipline — Removal to Steubenville — Tour in Western Vir-
ginia — Conference in Pittsburgh — Re-elected President — Discussion
on Phrenology — Lumbermen at Goose Creek — Adventures in the
Mountains — Conference at Fairmont — Third Year in the Presidency. 291


Appointed Conference Missionary — General Conference in Cincinnati —
A Quarterly Meeting among the Colored People — Pittsburgh Con-
ference held in Alleghany — Elected President — Public Discussions
on Church Government with Methodist Episcopal Ministers — Con-
ference at Waynesburgh, Pennsylvania — Re-elected President —
A Sketch of Border Life in Western Virginia 316


Removal to Connellsville, Pennsylvania — A Revival of Religion —
Modes of Baptism — Camp-Meeting — General Conference — Madison
College— Family Afflictions 338


Conference in Uniontown, Pennsylvania — Removal to Manchester Cir-
cuit, in Virginia — Elected President — Elected President of the Board



of Trustees of Madison College — Tour through West Virginia — Re-
elected President of Pittsburgh Conference — Removal to Uniontown,
Pennsylvania — Funeral of Rev. Asa Shinn — Resignation of the
President of Madison College — Elected President pro tem. of Col-
lege — Return to the Labors of the District 348


Rev. Francis "Waters, D. D., President of Madison College — His Resig-
nation — Rev. S. K. Cox, President — Pecuniary Embarrassments in
College Affairs — General Conference of 1854 — The Eutering-wedge
of Church Division — Cholera during the Session of the Pittsburgh
Annual Conference in Alleghany — Visit as Fraternal Messenger to
the Pittsburgh Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, at
Blairsville, Pennsylvania — Serious Trouble at the College — Expul-
sion of a Student — Reconsideration of the Sentence Urged — Threat
of the Faculty to Resign unless Sustained by Board of Trustees —
Faculty Sustained — Visit to Cincinnati — Military Discipline — Pro-
phetic Opinion on Political Matters Expressed by Ex-Governor
Branch, of North Carolina — Secession of Faculty and Founding of
an Institution at Lynchburg — Election to -the Presidency of Madi-
son College 361


A New Faculty — Pecuniary Condition of the College — Traveling on
College Business — Tour through Old Virginia — Visit to Lynchburg —
A Southerner's View of Slave-trading — College Commencement —
Change in the Faculty — College Closes 388


Delegates Elected by Pittsburgh Conference to the Convention at
Springfield, Ohio — Missionary Work and Farming Operations —
Meeting of Committees on the Union of the Wesleyan and Methodist
Protestant Churches — Compilation of a Hymn-book — Visit of Fra-
ternal Messengers from the Methodist Episcopal Church to the
Pittsburgh Conference — Visit as Fraternal Messenger to the Pitts-
burgh Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, at Blairsville,
Pennsylvania — Removal to Vicinity of McKeesport, Pennsylvania —
Elected Editor of Western Methodist Protestant — Removal to
Springfield, Ohio — Death of both My Sons — Views and Wishes on
Ecclesiastical Matters , 399

An Address to the Ministers and Members op the Methodist Peot-
SSTANT Church 415

Iccijlltctwns 0f Itinerant Sfe.


Weitino feom Memory and Recollection— Diaet Lost— Why I have Written— Re-
form Controversy- Place of Birth— The Mab-Dug and Cow— Whisky Insukeec-
TiON— Narrow Escape from Drowning— Crossing the Ohio River at the Tail of
AN Ox— The Brown Family— From 1797 to ISOO go to School— The Site op Steu-
benville— Western Civilization— Fighting— Rev. R. Dobbins.

It is now proposed to commit to writing some recollections
of past life, and of the times wliieh God hath permitted, or

Online LibraryGeorge BrownRecollections of itinerant life : including early reminiscences → online text (page 1 of 41)