Source Book and Bibliographical Guide for American Church History



Chapter XVIII the Second Awakening


To familiarize oneself with conditions on the frontier where this awakening was so pronounced, one does well to begin with the journal and travel literature of the period. The following arranged chronologically is reasonably complete: Francis Baily, "Journal of a Tour in Unsettled Parts of North America, 1796, 1797" (1856); F. M. Bayard, "Voyages dan l’intérieur des États-Unis à Bath, Winchester, dans la Vallée de Shenandoah . . . Pendant l’été 1797" (1798); I. Weld, "Travels in North America and Canada" (1799); Andrew Ellicott, "Journal of . . . during Part of the Year 1796, the Years 1797, 1798, and Part of the Year 1800" (1814); John Davis, "Travels of Four and One-Half Years in the United States of America during 1798, 1799, 1800, 1801, and 1802" (1803); F. A. Michaux, "Travels to the Westward of the Alleghany Mountains in the States of the Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, and Return to Charlestown . . . 1802" (1805); Thaddeus M. Harris, "The Journal of a Tour into the Territory North-West of the Alleghany Mountains; Made in the Spring of the Year 1802" (1805); Josiah Espy, ". . . A Tour in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana Territory, . . . 1805" (1870); C. J. Schultz, "Travels in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana . . . 1807, 1808" (II Vols. 1810); F. Cuming, "Sketches of a Tour to the Western Country through the states of Ohio and Kentucky, . . . 1807–1809" (1810); John Bradbury, "Travels in the Interior of America, including a Description of Upper Louisiana, together with the States of Ohio, Kentucky Indiana, and Tennessee, with the Illinois and Western Territories, in the Years 1809, 1810, and 1811" (1817); John Melish, "Travels in the United States of America, 1806, 1807, 1809–1811" (II Vols. 1812); H. B. Fearon, "Sketches of America; A Journal Through t he Easte rn and Western States, 1817" (1818); Estwick Evans, "A Pedestrous Tour of Four Thousand Miles Through the Western States and Territories during the Winter and Spring of 1818" (1818); Morris Birkbeck, "Notes on a Journey in America, Virginia, to the Territory of Illinois" (1817); Thomas Hulmes, "A Journal of a Tour in the Western Counties of America; September 30, 1818–August 19, 1819" (1828); Richard Flower, "Letters from the Illinois, 1820, 1821, . . ." (1822); John Woods, "Two Years’ Residence in the Settlement of the English Prairie in the Illinois Country, United States. . . . A Description of the Principal Towns, Villages, etc., with the Habits and Customs of the Backwoodsmen" (1822); James Flint, "Letters from America" (1822); Timothy Flint, "Recollections of the Last Ten Years, Passed in Occasional Residences and Journeys in the Valley of the Mississippi" (1826). The reader will find most of these works embodied in "Early Western Travels" edited by R. G. Thwaites.

As to older histories descriptive of frontier conditions, one dealing with the area as a whole is that of George Imlay, "A Topographical Description of the Western Territory of North America, . . . " (1792). Of local histories, the following are recommended. For the Carolinas—David Ramsay, "The History of South Carolina, 1670–1808" (II Vols. 1809). See also p. 188f. For West Virginia—Samuel Kerchival, "A History of the Valley of Virginia" (1850); Joseph Doddridge, "Notes on the Settlement and Indian Wars of Western Virginia and Pennsylvania, 1763–1783. Together with a view of the state of society, and manners of the first settlers of the western country" (ed. A. Williams, 1876). For Tennessee—J. G. M. Ramsey, M.D., "The Annals of Tennessee. . . . " (1852); John Case, "Early Times in Middle Tennessee" (1857); A. W. Putnam, "History of Middle Tennessee, or Life and Times of General James Robertson" (1858); James Phelan, "History of Tennessee" (1889). For Kentucky—John Filson, "The Discovery, Settlement, and Present State of Kentucky" (1784); Humphrey Marshall, "The History of Kentucky, Including an Account of the Discovery, Settlement . . . and Present State of the Country" (1812, enlarged 1824); Mann Butler, "A History of the Commonwealth of Kentucky from its Exploration and Settlement by the Whites to the Close of the North-Western Campaign in 1813" (1834); "Pioneer Life in Kentucky—A Series of Reminiscent Letters from Daniel Drake, M.D." (1870); Z. F. Smith, "The History of Kentucky" (4th ed. 1901. This last work has an exhaustive bibliography. On Ohio and the Northwest Territory—Caleb Atwater, "A History of the State of Ohio, Natural and Civil" (1838); S. P. Hildreth, "Pioneer History . . . Ohio Valley, and the Early Settlement of the Northwest Territory" (1848—several important documents); J. Burnet, "Notes on Early Settlement of Northwest Territory" (1847); Henry Howe, "Historical Collections of Ohio" (1847, Centennial edition, 1889); W. H. Venable, "Footprints of the Pioneers in Ohio Valley" (1888); also "Beginnings of Literary Culture in the Ohio Valley" (1891—exceptionally useful); W. C. Howell, "Recollections of Life in Ohio 1813–1840" (1895, valuable); B. A. Hinsdale, "The Old Northwest" (1888, revised ed. 1898). The last will be found good for political and legal aspects.

Mention should be made of a few recent books that set forth the significance of frontier life: John B. McMaster, "A History of the People of the United States" (1885–1892, especially Vols. III and IV); T. Roosevelt, "The Winning of the West" (IV Vols. 1889–1896); F. J. Turner, "The Significance of the Frontier in American History" ("Ann. Rpt. Amer. Hist. Assn." 1893, Sec. XVIII; also "Proc. State Hist. Soc. Wisconsin," 1893, pp. 79–112); Justin Winsor, "The Westward Movement. The Colonies and the Republic west of the Alleghanies, 1763–1798" (1897); F. J. Turner, "Rise of the New West" ("Amer. Nation Ser." Vol. XIV, 1906), and "The Frontier in American History" (1920).

Having gained an acquaintance with frontier conditions, the next type of literature to study is religious autobiography, where one finds descriptions of spiritual dearth, revival phenomena, and an estimate of the significance of the awakening: "Rev. Paul Henkel’s Journal" (1806, "Ohio. Arch. & Hist. Quarterly" Vol. XXIII, No. 2); "The Life of Rev. Thomas Coke," (1817) by Samuel Drew; "Memoirs of Rev. Robert Finley . . . with Brief Sketches of some of His Contemporaries" (1819) by Isaac V. Brown; "The Journal of Rev. Francis Asbury 1771–1815" (III Vols. 1821); "Autobiography of Rev. William Hickman" (1838); "Life of Rev. Jesse Lee" (1848) by L. M. Lee; "The Biography of Elder David Purviance . . . written by himself . . . with sketch of the Great Kentucky Revival" (1848) by Elder Levi Purviance; "Recollections and Reflections of an Old Itinerant" (A series of letters, 1848,) by Rev. Henry Smith; "A Memoir of Rev. Joseph Badger, Containing an Autobiography and Selections from his Private Journal and Correspondence" (1851); "The Biography of Elder Barton W. Stone, Written by Himself, with Additions and Reflections" (1853) by Elder John Rogers, also to be found in "The Cane Ridge Meeting House" (1910) by James R. Rogers; "Life and Times of Rev. Finis Ewing" (1853) by F. R. Cossitt; "Sketches and Incidents of Rev. John Clark, by An Old Pioneer" edited (1855) by Rev. J. M. Peck; "Autobiography of Peter Cartwright the Backwoods Preacher" (1858); "Life of Rev. George Donnell" (1858) by F. C. Anderson; "Autobiography of a Pioneer, Or the Nativity, Experience, Travels, and Ministerial Labors of Rev. Jacob Young" (1860); "H. Boehm, Reminiscences, History, and Biography of Sixty-Four Years in the Ministry" edited (1865) by J. B. Wakeley; "Autobiography of Rev. James B. Finley" edited (1867) by W. P. Strickland; "Life, Journals, and Correspondence of Rev. Manasseh Cutler, LL.D." (II Vols. 1888) by William and Julia P. Cutler; "The Autobiography of Thomas Ewing" edited by C. L. Martzolff ("Ohio Arch. & Hist. Quarterly" Vol. XXII, No. 1).

Accounts of the revival strictly contemporary, or written so sho tly after as to give them the weight of source material, are as follows: "Gospel News or a Brief Account of the Revival of Religion in Kentucky and Several Other Parts of the United States" (1801); "Increase of Piety or the Revival of Religion in the United States of America Containing Several Interesting Letters Not Before Published" (1802) by Angier March; "A Discourse Preached in Boston before the Massachusetts Baptist Missionary Society, May 25, 1803. Being their First Anniversary" by Samuel Stillman; "Sermon Before the New York Missionary Society at Their Annual Meeting, April 3, 1804. Appendix and Other Papers Relating to American Missions" (1809) by John H. Livingston; "A Sermon on the Present Revival of Religion. . . . Preached at the Opening of the Kentucky Synod" (1804) by David Rice; "The Kentucky Revival" (1808) by Richard McNemar; "Extracts of Letters Containing Some Account of the Work of God since 1800 Written by Preachers and Members of the Methodist Episcopal Church to their Bishops" (1812); "Diary of Rev. John Lyle" (Durrett Coll., Univ. of Chicago); "The Posthumous Works of James McGready" edited (II Vols. 1831) by Rev. James Smith; "An Address to the Christian Churches in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio on Several Important Doctrines of Religion" (1821) by Barton W. Stone; The "New York Missionary Magazine" (1800–1803—especially valuable, containing McGready’s "Narrative of the Great Revival in Logan County" and many letters describing the revivals in various parts of the United States); the "Connecticut Evangelical Magazine" (1800–1807); the "Massachusetts Baptist Missionary Magazine" (1803–10); the "Massachusetts Missionary Magazine" (1803–1808).

For the way in which the awakening a few years later affected the older colonial areas north and southeast, one should consult in addition to the magazines just mentioned, "The Life of Ashbel Green . . . begun to be written by Himself . . . (1849); "An Historical Sketch of the College of New Jersey (1859) anonymous; the "Quar. Reg. and Jour. Amer. Educ. Soc."; and the "Autobiography, Correspondence . . . of Lyman Beecher (II Vols. 1864). (See also pp. 364f, 420.)

Of monographs on the revival, besides McNemar’s "Revival" (supra); there are, "Lectures on Revivals of Religion" (1833) by W. B. Sprague; "The Western Sketch-Book" (1850) by James Gallagher; "Revival Sketches and Manual" (1859) by Heman Humphrey; "The Great Revival of 1800" (1872) by William Speer; "The Great Awakening" by Isaac Smucker ("Proc. Amer. Antiq. Soc.," 1874, pp. 59–67); "The Kentucky Revival of 1799–1805, With Especial Reference to its effects upon Christianity in Ohio" by Rev. D. L. Leonard ("Papers Ohio Church Hist. Soc." Vol. V, pp. 44–71); "The Kentucky Revival and Its Influence in the Miami Valley" by J. P. MacLean, ("Pub. Ohio Arch. & Hist. Soc." Vol. XII, pp. 242–281); "The Great Revival in the West, 1797–1805" (1916) by Catharine C. Cleveland. This is the most satisfactory treatment for the area it discusses. An appendix has some illuminating documents, and a good bibliography is supplied. There is also, "The Development of Religion in Kentucky, to 1830" (A. M. Dissertation, Univ. of Chicago, 1916) by Josephine P. Snapp, which is good in its interpretation of revival results.

Denominational histories have accounts more or less detailed. So far as the Baptists are concerned, to the histories of Benedict, Burkitt and Read, Semple, and James B. Taylor (see p. 277f) there is to be added the following, the first three of which are of real significance: "History of Ten Baptist Churches" (1823) by John Taylor; "Journal of Baptists in Northwest Territory" (1840) by J. B. Jones; "History of the Miami Baptist Association from Its Organization in 1797 to a Division . . . in 1836" (1869) by A. H. Dunlevy; "History of the Baptists in the Western States East of the Mississippi" (1896) by Justin A. Smith; and "History of the Southern Baptists East of the Mississippi" (1898) by B. F. Riley.

The works on Methodism cited elsewhere (see page 316f) should be supplemented by "The Lives of Eminent Methodist Ministers" (1852) by P. D. Gorrie; "Sketches of Western Methodism" (1854) by J. B. Finley; "The History of Methodism in Kentucky" (III Vols. 1868–70) by A. H. Redford; "History of the Methodists in Tennessee" (III Vols. 1869) by J. B. McFerrin; "Memorials of Methodism in Virginia" (1871) by W. W. Bennett; "Holston Methodism" (III Vols. 1904–1908) by R. N. Price.

In connection with Presbyterianism, the following works in addition to those mentioned on p. 260f are to be noted: "Minutes of the General Assembly 1789–1820" (1847); "Outline History of the Church in the State of Kentucky, 1783–1823. . . . Memoirs of Rev. David Rice" (1824) by Robert H. Bishop; "History of the Presbyterian Church in the State of Kentucky" (1847) by Rev. Robert Davidson; "Old Redstone, or Historical Sketches of Western Presbyterianism and its Early Ministers" (1854) by Joseph Smith; "The Plan of Union: or a History of the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches of the Western Reserve, with Biographical Sketches of the Early Missionaries" (1856) by William S. Kennedy; "History of the Presbyterian Church in Ohio" (1875) by J. B. Fairchild; "History of Chillicothe Presbytery, 1799–1899" (1899) by C. B. Galbreath; "Presbyterianism North of Ohio" (1890) by Rev. J. G. Monfort.

Cumberland Presbyterianism which originated with this revival, is referred to in the above mentioned works on Presbyterianism. A more thorough study will require the following biographical works: "The Life and Times of the Rev. Finis Ewing, one of the Fathers and Founders of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church" (1853) by Rev. F. R. Cossitt. and the "Life of Rev. Robert Donnell" (1867) by David Lowry. Of histories there are a "History of the Christian Church, Including a History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church" (1835) by Rev. James Smith; "Biographical Sketches of the Early Ministers of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church" (II Vols. 1867) by Rev. Richard Beard, D.D.; "Origin and Doctrines of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church" (1875) by Rev. E. B. Chrisman; "Sources and Sketches of Cumberland Presbyterian History" (in "Theological Medium," Nashville, 1877–78) by J. B. Lindsley, D.D.; "Old Log House, History and Defense of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church" (1878) by Rev. T. C. Blake; "History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church" (1888) by Rev. B. W. McDonnold. On the doctrinal aspect of the subject, "Two Letters written by a Gentleman to his Friend in Kentucky . . . with Some Strictures on the Apology of the Springfield Presbytery" (1804) show the controversial issues. Rev. A. B. Miller has a useful book entitled, "Doctrine and Genius of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church" (1892). A "Sketch of the History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church" ("Amer. Ch. Hist. Ser. "Vol. XI, 1894) by Robert V. Foster is satisfactory as a condensed treatment. Several documents have been inserted. A brief illuminating article by W. H. Black, entitled "The Cumberland Presbyterian Church; Its Origin, Distinctive Features, and the Grounds for Preserving its Denominational Integrity" appears in the "Journal Pres. Hist. Soc." Vol. I, No. II.

For the Disciples of Christ, in addition to McDonnold and Chrisman there are the following biographical studies: "Biography of Barton W. Stone, Written by Himself with Additions and Reflections" (1847) by John Rogers; "Memoirs of Elder Thomas Campbell" (1861) by Alexander Campbell; "Life of John Smith" (1870) by John A. Williams; "Memoirs of Alexander Campbell" (II Vols. 1868–70) by Robert Richardson; "Life of Elder Walter Scott" (1874) by William Baxter; "Life and Letters of L. L. Pinkerton" (1876) edited by John Shackleford; "Memoirs of Isaac Errett" (II Vols. 1894) by J. S. Lamar; "Life of Aexander Campbell" (1897) by T. W. Grafton.

Historical work has been done by A. S. Hayden in a "History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve" (1875); "The Origin of the Disciples of Christ" (1889) by G. W. Longan; "History of the Disciples" by B. B. Tyler, ("Amer. Ch. Hist. Ser." Vol. XII, 1894); "Origin of the Disciples of Christ, . . . " (4th ed. 1899) by W. H. Whitsitt, D.D.; "The Reformation of the Nineteenth Century. Historical Sketches Dealing with the Rise and Progress of the Religious Movement Inaugurated by Thomas and Alexander Campbell" (1901) by J. H. Garrison; "The Early Relation and Separation of Baptist and Disciples" (1904) by Errett Gates, Ph.D.; his " . . . Disciples of Christ" (1905, in "The Story of the Churches" series); "A Comprehensive History of the Disciples of Christ, . . . " (1909) by W. T. Moore.

Of source works, there is the "Christian Baptist" (VII Vols. 1823–1830) and the "Millennial Harbinger" (XXXVI Vols. 1830–1866) edited by Alexander Campbell; his "Debate with Robert Owen" (1829), "Debate with J. B. Purcell" (1837), and "Debate with N. L. Rice" (1843); and a selection of "Historic Documents" edited (1904) by C. A. Young.

On the Shakers, an older but illuminating work (1874) is that of Charles Nordhoff "The Communistic Societies of the United States." Detailed bibliographical information is added. J. P. MacLean, has made the following significant contributions: "The Society of Shakers—Rise, Progress, and Extinction of the Society at Cleveland" ("Pub. Ohio Arch. & Hist. Soc." Vol. IX, pp. 32–116); "The Shaker Community of Warren County—Its Origin, Rise, Progress and Decline" (ibid. Vol. X, pp. 251–304); "Shaker Mission to the Shawnee Indians" (ibid. Vol. XI, pp. 215–229); "Mobbing the Shakers of Union Village" (ibid. Vol. XI, pp. 108–133); "Origin, Rise, Progress, and Decline of the Whitewater Community of Shakers, . . . " (ibid. Vol. XIII, pp. 401–443); "An Expedition Against the Shakers" by B. Seth Youngs (ibid. Vol. XXI, pp. 403–415). "A Summary View of the Millenial Church or United Society of Believers (commonly called Shakers)" by Calvin Green and Seth Y. Wells, though antiquated (1823) is informing. "Two years Experience among the Shakers" (1848) by D. R. Lamson should not be overlooked. An "Autobiography of a Shaker and Revelation of the Apocalypse" with an appendix (1869) by Frederic Evans tho designated anonymous, gives valuable inside knowledge. "Shaker Sermons, . . . " (1879) by H. L. Eads with "Shakerism, its Meaning and Message" (1904) by Anna White and Leila Taylor give the substance of Shaker theology and the social significance of this group. Miss Clara Endicott Sears has just issued (1916) "Gleanings from Old Shaker Journals." A bibliography of Shaker literature has been compiled by J. P. MacLean, and may be consulted in "Pub. Ohio Arch. and Hist. Soc." Vol. XII, pp. 282–286, also under separate cover.

Because of communistic resemblances to the Shakers, but not as connected in any way with the second awakening, reference may be made to the Separatists of Zoar who emigrated to Ohio in 1818.

On this group there are two studies: "The Separatists of Zoar" by George B. Landis, ("Ann. Rpt. Amer. Hist. Assn." 1898, Sec. X); and "The Separatist Society of Zoar" by E. O. Randall ("Pub. Ohio Arch. & Hist. Soc." Vol. VIII pp. 5–105). "The Communistic Societies of the United States" (1874) by Charles Nordhoff has a brief section.


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Chicago: "Bibliography," Source Book and Bibliographical Guide for American Church History in Source Book and Bibliographical Guide for American Church History 329–336. Original Sources, accessed February 27, 2024,

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