The “Strange Work” of Caleb Callaway (Logan County, Kentucky, 1811)

In my current research, I’ve been searching for sources that reveal how and why western settlers converted to Shakerism during the years following the Great Revival (1799–1805). The Shakers kept detailed records of all sorts, but most were written by the leaders of the sect. Few rank-and-file believers described their experiences, especially during the critical early years of the Shakers’ expansion into Kentucky and Ohio. Even fewer shared those experiences with the “world’s people”—the friends, neighbors, and family members they left behind.

Shaker convert Caleb Callaway scrawled his signature on this 1829 financial agreement. Caleb Callaway, deed of gift to John C. Callaway, June 30, 1829, box 1, Shakers—South Union, Ky., Business and Legal Papers, 1769–1893, MSS 154, Manuscripts and Folklife Archives, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Ky.

That’s what makes the following letter by Caleb Callaway (1761–1829) so valuable. Tucked away in one of the sprawling notebooks of John Dabney Shane, s nineteenth-century Presbyterian minister and amateur historian, is a brief note that Callaway penned to his brother-in-law, James French, during the summer of 1811. At the time, Callaway had been living for two years at the Gaspar River (later South Union) Shaker village near Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Callaway provided a detailed exposition of the “faith and manner of life that I now live.” Like many western revivalers and recent Shaker converts, he believed he was living in an extraordinary new dispensation in which “Christ has made his 2nd and last appearance into the world.” Interestingly, Callaway did not associate the Christ’s return with the figure of Shaker founder Ann Lee. But he did presume, as did all Shakers, that Christ was not a man but rather an inward principle, an “anointing of the Holy Ghost,” available to all of the “sons of God.” For those who crucified the flesh, gloried in the celibate “cross of Christ,” forsook all “natural relations,” and devoted themselves to the communal life of the Shakers, it was possible to “live a holy life” on earth “clear from sin, from day to day,” with a “peace & union the world knows nothing of.” And that choice was voluntary, as Callaway explained in the final lines of the letter. “Salvation is free for every soul,” he encouraged his brother-in-law, “they may choose or refuse it. All are free Agents as to that.” Utterly confident in the rightness of his new Shaker faith, Callaway proclaimed he would not “exchange my present situation, for the whole world.” He concluded the letter with an exhortation: “Come and see us, and know for yourself.”

Callaway’s crooked road to Shakerism began in what is now Bedford County, Virginia. He was born in 1761, the son Richard and his first wife, Frances Walton. The elder Callaway had fought in the Seven Years War, and he later joined Daniel Boone in blazing the Wilderness Road to Kentucky. Caleb spent his early years at Fort Boonesborough, where he witnessed the capture of his sister and the death and mutilation of his father at the hands of the Shawnee. Early in the 1780s, Caleb sold his share in his father’s lands and lucrative ferry operation, returned to southwestern Virginia, and married Elizabeth Callaway, his first cousin once removed. He appeared regularly on the Virginia property tax rolls for Campbell County during the next two decades, slowly rising through the ranks of society as he accumulated material goods and enslaved servants. The Callaways had at least seven children between 1784 and 1802. Then, in 1804, Elizabeth died unexpectedly—“passed away to the Summerland,” according to later Shaker records—and Caleb vanished.

Some evidence suggests that Callaway moved his family to North Carolina. Or he may have fallen on hard times and sought refuge with relatives. But when he resurfaced in Ohio County, Kentucky, five years later, Callaway was a changed man. Like so many of his contemporaries, he had passed through the fires of the Great Revival and been transformed. According to Shaker missionary Benjamin Seth Youngs, who encountered him for the first time on June 1, 1809, Callaway had joined the Halcyon Church, one of the most peculiar religious sects of the early American republic. Founded around 1806 in Marietta, Ohio, by a quixotic prophet named Abel Morgan Sargeant, the Halcyons renounced the traditional Christian doctrine of the trinity, rejected Calvinism, and advocated universal salvation. Denounced as an imposter by his opponents, Sargeant claimed to communicate with angels; he traveled throughout the Ohio Valley with a group of twelve female apostles; and he exhorted his small group of followers to live “without sin” and “become so holy as to work miracles, heal the sick and live without eating.”

Following his encounter with Youngs and the Shakers, Callaway abandoned the Halcyons and moved with family to the newly organized Shaker settlement at Gaspar River in Logan County, Kentucky. The following year he wrote to James French explaining his new faith.

Callaway’s two-decade life among a Shakers was uneventful, although not without challenges. In 1815, he indentured his three teenage sons, John Constant, Henry, and William, to the believers at South Union, who agreed to provide food, lodging, education, and trade skills until the boys turned twenty-one. John Constant remained with the Shakers until his death in 1830, as did a daughter, Matilda, who lived into the 1880s. Caleb’s other two sons, along with their two older brothers, Elijah and Elisha, left South Union in 1818. Callaway occasionally traveled on business for the believers and worked in their various mill complexes. In 1827, he was listed among the 75 brothers and sisters of the “Junior Order” who were living in the East Family dwelling house. Callaway died on the morning of July 8, 1829, and was buried the following day in an unmarked grave in the Shaker cemetery at South Union.

Callaway spent his last years in the East Section dwelling house at South Union Shaker village, near Bowling Green, Kentucky. Isaac N. Young and George Kendall, “Sketches of the various Societies of Belivers in the states of Ohio & Kentucky,” 1835, Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Callaway spent his last years in the East Section dwelling house at South Union Shaker village, near Bowling Green, Kentucky. Isaac N. Young and George Kendall, “Sketches of the various Societies of Belivers in the states of Ohio & Kentucky,” 1835, Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

 At the end of his transcription, Shane noted that Callaway’s “spelling, & division of sentences” were “miserable.” Judging from Caleb’s shaky signature on a South Union financial document, Shane was right!

John Dabney Shane transcribed Caleb Callaway’s July 11, 1811, letter to James French into the second volume of his “Historical Collections” notebooks, which are now among the Draper Manuscripts of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin (12 CC 209–10). For Callaway’s life at South Union, see Harvey L. Eads, transcr., Shakers—South Union, Ky., “Record Book A (including Autobiography of John Rankin, Sr.),” 1805–1836, 102, 265, 452, Shakers of South Union, Kentucky, Collection, 1800–1916, MSS 597, Manuscripts and Folklife Archives, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green; “South Union Graveyard Book,” 1750–1881, 2­–3, typescript, III B:32, MS 3944, Shaker Manuscripts, Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland. Information on Callaway’s notable father, Richard, is available in John E. Kleber, The Kentucky Encyclopedia (Lexington, Ky., 1992), 152. Adam Jortner briefly discusses the Halcyon Church in his recent Blood from the Sky: Miracles and Politics in the Early American Republic (Charlottesville, Va., 2017), 164; see also C. E. Dickinson, A Century of Church Life, 1796–1896: A History of the First Congregational Church, Marietta, Ohio ([Marietta, Ohio], 1896), 31. On Shane and his “Historical Collections” notebooks, see Elizabeth A. Perkins, Border Life: Experience and Memory in the Revolutionary Ohio Valley (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1998), 15–24.


Gaspar River, Logan Co.

Friend James,

I have taken the privilege of writing to you my faith and manner of life that I now live. We believe that Christ has made his 2nd and last appearance into the world; and his errand is to save his people from their sins, and to destroy that nature that is in man, that is not subject to the law of God, & to bring in everlasting righteousness. The greater part of mankind h[as] b[een] expecting Christ to come in the shape of a man. I answer nay; the Church of Xt had its foundation in the revelation of God; and that foundation is Christ. But who or what is Christ? The name of Christ signifies the anointed, and arose from that spiritual unction, or anointing of the Holy Ghost, w[ho] [with] Jesus was anointed to preach the Gospel of Salvation to the [poor]. And I, as well as many others, have read: Christ, and as many as recieve him, to them he gives power to become the sons of God.[1] And we [heed] him by honestly confessing our sins to God before God’s witnesses. This I have done, and I now live a holy life from day to day; taking up the cross of Christ, self-denial, working out my salvation, forsaking all natural relations, that is, that is, that spirit that they are of, that stands against God. I love their persons & their souls, but not that carnal nature. Neither does God love it. I do know that I live clear of sin, from day to day; And I have that peace & union that the world knows nothing of. Nor wo’d I exchange my present situation, for the whole world. I do know that I have peace with God, and I know I am not decieved. To know God, & Jesus Xt whom he has sent, is eternal life, and nothing short of this is Eternal life. We have the everlasting Gospel w[ith] us, that saves people from their sins. And the Tabernacle of God is with men, and the judgment is set. And I have sent my sins into judgment beforehand, and judgment is given to the saints. This is that work that God promised long ago to bring about, by the prophets and Apostles. A strange work, and strange it is. And I can say as Paul did, I am crucified to the world, and the world to me. And I glory in the cross.[2] And I die daily unto sin, and live to God, putting on the Lord Jesus Xt, and making no provision for the flesh to fulfil it in the lust therof.[3]

Come and see us, and know for yourself. By the fruits you are to know them.[4]

I suppose my old mother is gone out of the body, is she not?[5] Tell Keeza and all the children, that salvation is free for every souls on the earth: either in the body or out of it, all will have a chance to come in.[6] And they may choose or refuse it. All are free Agents as to that. I add no more at present, but remain your friend,

Caleb Calloway

July 11th 1811

 

To James French, Montgomery Co., Ky.

(Post-mark, “Frankfort, K. July 11th.”)

(The spelling, & division of sentences, miserable.)

[1] John 1:12.

[2] Cf. Gal 6:14.

[3] Cf. Rom. 13:14.

[4] Cf. Mat. 7:20.

[5] Callaway’s stepmother, Elizabeth (Jones Hoy) Calloway (1733–1813), lived with French and was still alive in 1811. She is buried in the French family cemetery near Mount Sterling, Ky.

[6] “Keeza” was Callaway’s sister, Keziah (Callaway) French (1768–1845), who married James French and lived in Montgomery County, Kentucky.

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John Dabney Shane’s transcription of Caleb Callaway’s 1811 letter to John French. Kentucky Papers, 12 CC 209–10, microfilm, Draper Manuscripts, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison.

Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize Ceremony @ MHS

Yuqi Wang,  Peter Gomes  (2015). Oil on canvas, 101.6 x 86.4 cm. Harvard University Portrait Collection.

Yuqi Wang, Peter Gomes (2015). Oil on canvas, 101.6 x 86.4 cm. Harvard University Portrait Collection.

Looking forward to catching up with friends and colleagues in Boston this coming Wednesday, February 13, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the Massachusetts Historical Society. I’ll be discussing Darkness Falls on the Land of Light in an innovative public forum moderated by Wellesley College historian Steve Marini. I’m grateful to the staff at the MHS for supporting my research for more than two decades; and I’m thrilled and honored that DFLL was selected for the 2018 Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize. One of my favorite illustrations in the book—an unusual overmantel painting depicting a Council of Ministers (see below and page 368)—hangs in a quiet hallway in Memorial Hall, not far from the pulpit where Professor Gomes delivered inspirational sermons and addresses to legions of Harvard students during his four-decade career.

 Click the button below to learn more about the MHS event on Wednesday evening, which requires a reservation but is free and open to the public.

Unidentified Artist,  Council of Ministers  (circa 1744). Oil on wood panel, 77.3 × 106 cm. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Dr. Francis L. Burnett and Mrs. Esther Lowell Cunningham.

Unidentified Artist, Council of Ministers (circa 1744). Oil on wood panel, 77.3 × 106 cm. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Dr. Francis L. Burnett and Mrs. Esther Lowell Cunningham.

DFLL Selected for 2019 Virginia Festival of the Book

So thrilled that Darkness Falls on the Land of Light has been selected for the 25th Annual Virginia Festival of the Book! I’m looking forward to chatting about the “people called New Lights” on a panel with fellow OI author Robert Parkinson. Our session will take place in Charlottesville on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 20, 2019. More details coming soon!

DFLL Receives Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Award from MHS

Darkness Falls on the Land of Light has been awarded the Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Award from the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston. This prestigious book prize honors the Rev. Peter Gomes (1942–2011), Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard Divinity School and a longtime supporter of the MHS.

The MHS is one of my favorite research haunts. I can still remember my first visit to Boylston Street over two decades ago. On that day, I discovered several important letters that anchor my analysis of the Great Earthquake of 1727. Over the years, regular trips to the MHS taught me critical archival research skills: from searching finding aids and card catalogs to handling rare books and manuscripts. I’ll always be grateful to the MHS archivists for sharing their incomparable expertise with unfailing good humor as I plowed through countless boxes and folders.

The award ceremony next February will feature a public forum in which I discuss DFLL with Wellesley College historian Stephen Marini. More details soon!

DFLL Finalist for Virginia Literary Awards

Darkness Falls on the Land of Light has been selected as a finalist for the 2018 Virginia Literary Awards. Sponsored by the Library of the Virginia, the awards recognize works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry about Virginia or by Virginia authors. It's a great honor to be recognized by the LVA, and I'm looking forward to meeting the other finalists, including nonfiction authors Donna Lucey and Liza Mundy, at the awards dinner in October!

Review of Gin Lum's Damned Nation

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Kathryn Gin Lum's acclaimed Damned Nation: Hell in America from the Revolution to Reconstruction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014) provides a fascinating itinerary for readers seeking to navigate the sprawling religious landscape of the early American republic. Check out my review in Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture. Then read Gin Lum's deeply researched and beautifully written book!

DFLL Wins New England Society Book Award

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At the annual Founders' Day celebration yesterday, the New England Society in the City of New York announced Darkness Falls on the Land of Light as the winner of their 2018 Book Award for nonfiction. Founded in 1805, the NES is one of the oldest social and charitable organizations in the United States. Notable members include presidents and politicians, bankers and industrialists, clergymen, reformers, artists, authors, poets, and other prominent American cultural figures with genealogical roots in New England. I was thrilled to learn that DFLL had been selected for this distinguished honor. Looking forward to the Book Awards Salon and Luncheon in June!  

Pale Blewish Lights: 20th Anniversary Edition

Frontispiece from Joseph Glanvill,  Saducismus Triumphatus: Or, Full and Plain Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions  (London, 1682). Image courtesy of the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text & Image, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Frontispiece from Joseph Glanvill, Saducismus Triumphatus: Or, Full and Plain Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions (London, 1682). Image courtesy of the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text & Image, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

The Omohundro Institute recently reissued “‘Pale Blewish Lights’ and a Dead Man’s Groan: Tales of the Supernatural from Eighteenth-Century Plymouth, Massachusetts,” on their mobile app, the OI Reader. Originally published the William and Mary Quarterly in 1998, this essay has always been one of my favorites.

“Pale Blewish Lights” examines a richly detailed haunting incident. In 1733, tenants renting the Thompson Phillips mansion in Plymouth, Massachusetts, complained of strange lights and unusual noises, which they attributed to the specter of the recently deceased mariner. Phillips’s father-in-law, a civil magistrate and Indian missionary named Josiah Cotton, responded to the rumors by filing a slander suit against the loose-lipped tenants. The rich documentary record of the resulting lawsuits, which include trial depositions, Cotton’s memoirs and diary, and his unfinished essay, “Some Observations Concerning Witches, Spirits, & Apparitions,” provide a unparalleled opportunity to examine competing supernatural beliefs in eighteenth-century New England.

To access the article, install the free OI Reader from the App Store or Google Play and download the “Bancroft Prize 2018” file. In addition to “Pale Blewish Lights,” the download package also includes links to Part 3 of Darkness Falls on the Land of Light; my recent interview with Liz Covart, host of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast; and “Souls Filled with Ravishing Transport: Heavenly Visions and the Radical Awakening in New England,” which appeared in the William and Mary Quarterly in 2004. Many thanks to Nadine Zimmerli, Kim Foley, and the rest of the OI team for creating this exciting digital platform for my research.

Digital New Lights 2: New England’s Hidden Histories

Historians of religion in early America ought to be shouting “Huzzah!” for the Congregational Library these days. Since 2011, Jeff Cooper and a team of scholars at this important research archive on Boston’s Beacon Hill have been gathering at-risk Congregational church records from basements, bank vaults, and private homes. The goal of the library’s New England’s Hidden Histories project is stunningly ambitious: to preserve, digitize, and transcribe tens of thousands of pages of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century church records.

I’ve been fortunate to serve on the steering committee for the program, which is led by Cooper and the Congregational Library’s executive director, Peggy Bendroth. Many of the key manuscript collections cited in Darkness Falls on the Land of Light are now available online through the NEHH portal, while many others are coming soon.

Testimony of Hannah Corey, April 5, 1749, Sturbridge, Mass., Separatist Congregational Church Records, 1745–1762, Congregational Library, Boston (available online at  NEHH )

Testimony of Hannah Corey, April 5, 1749, Sturbridge, Mass., Separatist Congregational Church Records, 1745–1762, Congregational Library, Boston (available online at NEHH)

Highlights from the NEHH collection (so far) include:

  • More than 500 church admission relations from Haverhill, Middleborough, and Essex, Massachusetts—all in full, glorious color!
  • Church records from the “praying Indian” church at Natick;
  • Ministerial association record books from nearly every county in Connecticut;
  • Lists of men and women admitted to the First Church of Ipswich, Massachusetts, site of one of the largest religious revivals of eighteenth-century North America;
  • Minutes from the Grafton, Massachusetts, church record book, with transcription, detailing the troubled pastorate of the ardent revivalist clergyman Solomon Prentice and his separatist wife, Sarah;
  • Disciplinary records resulting from the bitter New Light church schisms in Newbury and Sturbridge, Massachusetts;
  • Miscellaneous church papers from Granville, Massachusetts, featuring letters by the celebrated African American preacher Lemuel Haynes;
  • And a wide range of sermons, theological notebooks, and personal papers by eighteenth-century Congregational clergymen, including luminaries Cotton Mather, Jonathan Edwards, and Samuel Hopkins.

Cooper and Bendroth have forged partnerships with New England’s leading history institutions, including the American Antiquarian Society and Peabody Essex Museum. And they have digitized An Inventory of the Records of the Particular (Congregational) Churches of Massachusetts Gathered 1620–1805, the indispensable guide compiled by Bendroth’s predecessor, Harold Field Worthley.

For teachers eager to show their students what seventeenth- and eighteenth-century history is made of; for undergraduate and graduate students seeking primary texts for papers; for genealogists searching for baptismal records of long-lost ancestors; for scholars engaged in major book projects—NEHH is now the go-to hub for online research on the history of New England puritanism and the Congregational tradition.

As with all digital history initiatives, NEHH is a work in progress. They’re always looking for volunteers to support their crowd-sourced transcription projects. It’s a great opportunity to involve students in the production of new historical knowledge. For more information, contact Jeff Cooper or Helen Gelinas, director of transcription.

Thanks to a second $300,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Bendroth, Cooper and their colleagues at the Congregational Library will be churning out high quality digital images and transcriptions of rare Congregational manuscript church records for years to come. Congratulations, CLA! Huzzah!

To read more about the NEH grant, check out this article from the Christian Science Monitor.

DFLL on BFW

This week, Darkness Falls on the Land of Light was featured on Ben Franklin’s World, the popular early American history podcast hosted by Liz Covart and the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. Many thanks to Liz for this wonderful opportunity to share my thoughts on the state of religion in eighteenth-century New England!

Edwards at Enfield (July 1741)

Jonathan Edwards’s Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God ranks among the most frequently studied and anthologized sermons in American history. But how successful was his storied performance at Enfield, Massachusetts (now Connecticut), on July 8, 1741?

Stephen Williams, the Congregational minister in the neighboring parish of Longmeadow, famously noted in his diary that Sinners elicited a dramatic outpouring of emotions and bodily exercises among the Enfield assembly. Edwards’s fiery imagery and vertiginous metaphors—especially the “loathsome” spider dangling over the flames of hell—ignited a wailing din of screaming and sobbing that filled the Enfield meetinghouse. The deafening noise was so “piercing & Amazing,” Williams remarked, that the Northampton evangelist was “obliged to desist.” Edwards never finished his “most awakening Sermon.”

Detail from Thomas Jeffrys, A Map of the Most Inhabited Part of New England ([London], 1755). Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (available online).

And we also know that Sinners was part of a coordinated effort among the ministers of the Connecticut Valley to engineer what Williams called “the revivle.” Edwards spent nearly a week in the surrounding towns before preaching at Enfield. A few days earlier, he had celebrated the sacrament across the river in Suffield, where he delivered several equally potent sermons and admitted 95 men and women to full communion. Meanwhile, Joseph Meacham of Coventry, Benjamin Pomeroy of Hebron, and, especially, Eleazar Wheelock of the “Crank” parish of Lebanon (now Columbia), Connecticut, worked their way up and down both sides of the river north of Hartford. Everywhere they went during the first week of July, their powerful revival sermons on the necessity of conversion provoked “considerable crying among the people,” “shakeing & trembling,” and “Screaching in the streets.”

Although the Enfield Congregational church records have not survived, evidence from nearby parishes suggests that the collective efforts of Edwards, Wheelock, and their colleagues were extraordinarily successful. Hundreds of lay men and women joined Congregational churches throughout the region during the summer of 1741. And these young coverts were only the tip of the iceberg; perhaps three times as many existing church members began questioning their past spiritual lives. A little over a month after the Connecticut Valley revivals blazed to life, Edwards’s father reported to Wheelock that “Religion hath been very much revived and has greatly flourished" in his East Windsor parish. "There are above seventy, that very lately…have been savingly converted in this society, and still there is a great stir among us.”

What was his son’s contribution to this extraordinary harvest of souls? How many people claimed to have experienced conversion after hearing Edwards's performance of Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God? Misfiled for more than a century and published below for the first time , a letter written by Wheelock three days after the “Great Assembly At Enfield” provides the definitive answer. Given Edwards’s exploits at Suffield, Stephen Williams’s extraordinary diary entries, and his father’s glowing report the following month, Wheelock's figure seems oddly underwhelming: “ten or twelve Converted.”


Eleazar Wheelock’s undated letter to his parishioners in the North (or “Crank”) Parish of Lebanon may be found among the Eleazar Wheelock Papers, no 743900.1, Rauner Special Collections, Dartmouth College Library, Hanover, N.H. The missive bears a notation on the verso side in a later hand that reads “to his people at Lebanon 1743”; but the details indicate that he composed it two years earlier, on July 11, 1741.

For a detailed analysis of Edwards’s itinerant activities in the Connecticut Valley during the summer of 1741, see Douglas L. Winiarski, “Jonathan Edwards, Enthusiast? Radical Revivalism and the Great Awakening in the Connecticut Valley.” Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture 74 (2005): 683–739 (click here to download from JSTOR); and Darkness Falls on the Land of Light: Experiencing Religious Awakenings in Eighteenth-Century New England (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2017), 222–225.

The definitive edition of Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God (Boston, 1741) appears in Jonathan Edwards, Sermons and Discourses, 1739–1742, vol. 22, Works of Jonathan Edwards, ed. Harry S. Stout and Nathan O. Hatch with Kyle P. Farley (New Haven, Conn., 2003), 400–435. A typescript edition of Stephen Williams’s diary produced during the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration is available online at the Richard Salter Storrs Library, Longmeadow, Massachusetts (see volume 3, pages 375–379, for his famous description of Sinners and subsequent events in Longmeadow and Springfield described in Wheelock's letter). The extract from Timothy Edwards’s letter to Wheelock quoted above was published in William Allen, “Memoir of the Rev. Eleazar Wheelock, D. D.,” American Quarterly Register 10:1 (August 1837): 12.


To the Church and People of God in Lebanon North Parish

Dearly Beloved,

I Came here to Winsor yesterday with a Design to Come to you this Day. The Lord Bowed the heavens and Came Down upon the assembly the Last night. The house seamd to be filled with his Great Power, a very Great Number Crying out under a sence of the wrath of God and the weight of their Guilt, 13 or 14 we Beleive Converted. My Dear Brother Pomeroy Came to me this morning from Mr. Mash’s Parish where the work was allso Great the Last night. We were Just setting out to Come home but a Number of people were met together and the Distress among them soon arose to such an heighth that we think we have a Call of Providence to Continue here over the Sabbath. Several have been Converted already this morning. There is now work Enough for 10 Ministers in this town & there is a very Glorious Work att Suffield And it was very marvellous in a Great assembly At Enfield Last Wednesday, ten or twelve Converted there. Much of his power was Seen at Longmeadow on Thursday, 6 or 7 Converted there and a Great Number wounded. There was Considerable Seen at Springfield old town on Thursday Night and much of it again yesterday Morning at Longmeadow. People Everywhere throng together to hear the word and I do verily beleive these are the beginning of the Glorious things that are Spoken Concerning the City of our God in the Latter day. I am much Concernd for Some that Remain yet Stupid and Blind. Among my Dear flock I Desire your Continual Remembrance of me your poor pastor in your prayers to God that I may be Strengthned in the inward & outward man to all that the Lord shall Call me to. I hope to be with you at the beginning of next week.

I am Your souls Friend & servant for Christ,

Eleazar Wheelock

Eleazar Wheelock to the North Parish Church, July 11, 1741. Courtesy of Dartmouth College Library.