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Francis Asbury

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Title: Francis Asbury  
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Subject: History of Methodism in the United States, Bishop (Methodism), Methodism, Methodist Episcopal Church, United Methodist Church
Collection: 1745 Births, 1816 Deaths, 18Th-Century Methodist Bishops, 19Th-Century American Bishops, 19Th-Century Methodist Bishops, American Colonial People, American Diarists, American Methodist Episcopal Bishops, Anglican Saints, Appalachian People, Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Burials at Mount Olivet Cemetery (Baltimore), Christian Missionaries in the United States, Clergy in the American Revolution, Depauw University People, English Christian Missionaries, English Emigrants to British North America, English Emigrants to the United States, English Methodist Ministers, English Methodist Missionaries, History of Methodism in the United States, Kingdom of Great Britain Emigrants to the Thirteen Colonies, Methodist Circuit Riders, Methodist Missionaries, People from West Bromwich
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Francis Asbury

Francis Asbury (/æzbəri/, August 20, 1745 – March 31, 1816) was one of the first two bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States. As a young man in October 1771, the Englishman traveled to America and, during his 45 years there, he devoted his life to ministry, traveling on horseback and by carriage thousands of miles to those living on the frontier.

Asbury spread Methodism in America, as part of the Second Great Awakening. He also founded several schools during his lifetime, although his own formal education was limited. His journal is valuable to scholars for its account of frontier society.


  • Biography 1
  • Personal habits 2
  • His journal 3
  • Francis Asbury's Circuits in England 4
  • Veneration 5
  • Namesakes 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Resources for further study 9


Bishop Asbury Cottage, Asbury's boyhood home

Francis Asbury was born at Hamstead Bridge, Staffordshire, England on August 20 or 21, 1745, to Elizabeth and Joseph Asbury. Wanting him to become the Archbishop of Canterbury, his mother read the Bible to him, sang him hymns, and prayed over him.[1]

Asbury became a local lay preacher for Methodist meetings at age 18. At age 22, John Wesley appointed him as a traveling preacher. His boyhood home still stands and is open as a museum in West Bromwich, England. In 1771 he volunteered to travel to America. Within the first 17 days of being in the colonies, Asbury had preached in Philadelphia and New York. During the first year he was Wesley’s assistant and preached in 25 different settlements. When the American War of Independence broke out in 1776, he and James Dempster were the only Methodist ministers to remain in America.[2]

In 1780, he met the freedman "Black Harry" Hosier, a meeting Asbury considered "providentially arranged".[3] Hosier served as his driver and guide and, though illiterate, memorized long passages of the Bible while Asbury read them aloud during their travels. He eventually became a famous preacher in his own right, the first African American to preach directly to a white congregation in the United States.[3]

In 1784, John Wesley named Asbury and Thomas Coke as co-superintendents of the work in America. The Christmas Conference that year marked the beginning of the Methodist Episcopal Church of the United States. For the next 32 years, Asbury led all the Methodists in America. However, his leadership did not go unchallenged. His idea for a ruling council was opposed by such notables as William McKendree, Jesse Lee, and James O'Kelly. Eventually a General Conference to which delegates could be sent was established on the advice of Asbury's fellow bishop Thomas Coke in 1792.

Like Wesley, Asbury preached in myriad places: courthouses, public houses, tobacco houses, fields, public squares, wherever a crowd assembled to hear him. For the remainder of his life he rode an average of 6,000 miles each year, preaching virtually every day and conducting meetings and conferences. Under his direction, the church grew from 1,200 to 214,000 members and 700 ordained preachers. Among the men he ordained was Richard Allen in Philadelphia, the first black minister in the United States.

In the fall of 1800, Asbury attended one of the events of the Revival of 1800 as he travelled from Kentucky into Tennessee. The combined Presbyterian and Methodist communion observance made a deep impression on Asbury as an early experience with multi-day meetings which included camping on the grounds of the meeting house. The experience, recorded in his journal, illustrates an early identity between religious revivalism and what would later become a staple of nineteenth-century Methodism, the camp meeting.[4]

In 1813, Asbury wrote his will. This was a time when “the greatest membership gain in the history of the church” was achieved.[5] In 1814 his health started to fail and he became ill. In 1816 he started to regain strength and continued his preaching journey. He “preached his last Sermon in Richmond, Virginia” on March 24, “and dies at the home of George Arnold near Fredericksburg” on March 31.[5]

In an exciting time in American history, Asbury was reported to be an extraordinary preacher. Biographer Ezra Squier Tipple wrote: "If to speak with authority as the accredited messenger of God; to have credentials which bear the seal of heaven ... if when he lifted the trumpet to his lips the Almighty blew the blast; if to be conscious of an ever-present sense of God, God the Summoner, God the Anointing One, God the Judge, and to project it into speech which would make his hearers tremble, melt them with terror, and cause them to fall as dead men; if to be and do all this would entitle a man to be called a great preacher, then Asbury was a great preacher." Bishop Asbury died in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. He was buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery, in Baltimore, near the graves of Bishops John Emory and Beverly Waugh.

The Ordination of Bishop Asbury, an engraving of an 1882 painting of the scene.

Personal habits

“Francis Asbury had a great distrust of personal popularity, and equally marked distaste of personal publicity”.[6] Not being a vain person, he did not care to have his image preserved. He had been in America for 23 years, and a bishop for 10 years before he had let a portrait be made of him. His friend James McCannon persuaded him to have it done. Asbury had had a portrait painted of him for his mother in 1797. His last portrait was made in 1813 by an unknown artist in Strasburgh Pennsylvania.

Asbury had times when he tended to have gloomy thoughts and opinions. He believed himself to be “a true prophet of evil tidings, as it suits my cast of mind”.[7] Although he was pessimistic, those who knew him considered him an extremely sensitive person. In his journal he recorded more failures and misgivings than success in his ministry. He loved simplicity and had “frequent spells of morbid depression”.[7] He tended to use cynical sarcasm in his preachings. One of the typical prayers he would say, even on his way to America, was “Lord, we are in thy hands and in thy work. Thou knowest what is best of us and for thy work; whether plenty or poverty. The hearts of all men are in thy hands. If it is best for us and for thy church that we should be cramped and straitened, let the people’s hands and hearts be closed: If it is better for us; for the church,—and more to thy glory that we should abound in the comforts of life; do thou dispose the hearts of those we serve to give accordingly: and may we learn to be content whether we abound, or suffer need”.[8]

He rose at 5 every morning to read the Bible. He was impatient with those who did not do the tasks assigned to them as soon as the task was assigned. He was “one of the wisest and most farseeing men of his day”.[9]

His journal

On September 4, 1771, at the age of 26, Francis Asbury began his journey to Philadelphia from the port of Pill near Bristol. “It cost him much to leave home and kindred, as is witnessed by his affectionate letters and sacrificial remittances home: but the call of God was not to be denied”.[10] Before he left, he wrote a letter to his family. “I wonder sometimes how anyone will sit to hear me, but the Lord covers my weakness with his power…. I trust you will be easy and more quiet. As for me, I know what I am called to. It is to give up all, and to have my hands and heart in the work, yea, the nearest and dearest friends…. Let others condemn me as being without natural affection, disobedient to parents, or say what they please…. I love my parents and friends, but I love my God better and his service…. And tho’ I have given up all, I do not repent, for I have found all”.[11] On this voyage he began a journal. “In his journal he pours out the feelings and impulses of the moment, but often without giving a clue to either the offender or the offense”.[12] He became seasick for the first week but had recovered. He was “poor in material things, but rich in the spiritual atmosphere created and maintained by his mother”.[13] He also spent a lot of time studying and reading the Bible and books written by Wesley. On September 22, September 29, and October 6, he preached to the ship’s company. Finally, on October 27, he landed at his destination in Philadelphia. His journal also contains some references to opinions of ministers who disagreed with the Methodist leadership, such as Rev. Charles Hopkins of Powhatan County, Virginia who had rejected the Methodist ideals several years before.

His journal also frequently mentioned Thomas S. Hinde who was the son of Dr. Thomas Hinde and founder of the city of Mount Carmel, Illinois.[14]

Francis Asbury's Circuits in England

Francis Asbury's travels in America are amply noted in his three-volume journal, The Journal and Letters of Francis Asbury. However, his travels in England are much harder to piece together. Several small articles and references to Asbury in the journals of other circuit-riding preachers in England are limited, at best. One source is attempting to piece together the accurate details of the Francis Asbury circuits in England. Writing about Asbury's circuits in England is a subject about which very little information exists. Previous authors have written what is documented. Men like John Wigger in, American Saint, his fabulous biography on Francis Asbury, provide some details. The particulars offered are cultivated from the little that exists. Several articles and references in dusty books give some clue to Asbury’s travels [sources?]. But the available information always seems inadequate.

The Francis Asbury circuits in England reveal that Asbury had the privilege of working as a traveling preacher in England during some extremely interesting times.

Asbury's circuits in England began the spring of 1765. Before this, Asbury had spent nearly two years leading the class of faithful at the West Bromwich Wesleyan society in West Bromwich, UK. On occasion, Wesleyan itinerant and one of Asbury's mentors, Alexander Mather would call on Francis Asbury to preach or lead a class in the local area. In addition to his duties as leader of the two dozen individuals who regularly attended in West Bromwich, he also led a band meeting made up of himself and five close friends. Those friends were Thomas Ault, James Mayo, James Bayley, Jabez Ault and Thomas Russell. In 1761, the band formed after Pastor Alexander Mather urged the sixteen-year-old Francis to form a band with his friends. Francis was occasionally preaching before this date. However much Francis Asbury preached and taught for the past two years, this call in March of 1765 by Scottish itinerant, Alexander Mather, signaled Francis Asbury’s official call into the Wesleyan itinerancy. It also the beginning of the Francis Asbury’s circuits in England.

For the next 11 months, the twenty-year-old Francis circulated his preaching and teaching efforts among the high round of the Staffordshire circuit. The circuit consisted of small Wesleyan societies in West Bromwich, Wednesbury, Walsall, Wolverhampton, and Billbrook. These areas were the foundation of Methodism in the Black Country.

During this initial phase of his circuits around England, two Wesleyan preachers offered the majority of the young preachers mentoring. The first was the already mentioned Scottish itinerant, Alexander Mather. The second was an English preacher from Bedfordshire, James Glasbrook. These two taught Asbury John Wesley’s basic requirements for a Wesleyan itinerant preacher.

In January of 1766, Francis Asbury was approached by Alexander Mather once again. The scene was one where Francis’s boss, the superintendent of the local forge where Francis worked full-time, and itinerant Mather pull Francis aside to discuss an urgent matter. The urgency is the fact that Mather was offering Francis Asbury the opportunity to quit the forge and join the Wesleyan movement as a full-time itinerant on trial. Almost without hesitation, the twenty-one-year-old Francis gratefully accepted [source?].

During a meeting immediately following the appointment, Francis discovered in greater detail what would be required of him as a full-time traveling preacher. He was to read extensively during the five hours a day that John Wesley suggested be set aside by his preachers for their edification. Wesley provided for the movement's preachers by stocking the shelves in London, Bristol and Newcastle. He aimed to educate the masses through his traveling preachers. The somewhat challenging list included several Divinity Books: the Bible, Wesley’s tracts, the works of Boehm and Francke. There were also practical books, on Natural Philosophy, Astronomy, History, Poetry and Latin Prose.” At this point, Francis appeared slightly overwhelmed. He loved to read, other than Wesley, the two writers mentioned he had never heard of. Unknown to Francis Asbury, Boehm was a German chaplain to the British Court earlier in the eighteenth-century and Francke a German Lutheran leader at Halle. Boehm informed John Wesley of Francke’s writings. Other than History, the additional subjects mentioned were foreign to a simple nailer from the West Midlands. There were also books on Latin Verse, Greek Prose, including the Greek New Testament, Greek Verse - including Homer’s Iliad, and the Hebrew Bible.

Wesley's advice to those who didn't like to read was to develop a taste for it through practice, or return to your trade.

For the next five months, during his circuits in England Asbury teamed with William Orpe, a young preacher who was the Hebrew teacher at Wesley’s Kingswood School in Bristol. Asbury and Orpe covered the large Staffordshire circuit. They were clearly shorthanded; the circuit encompassed not only the Black Country towns of Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Willenhall, Walsall, Wednesbury, Darlaston and Billbrook, there is also an extended portion to the south in Worcestershire, Tewkesbury and Gloucestershire. An immensely large circuit spanning nearly 120 miles in a straight line. The pair did their best, Asbury primarily in the Black Country, Orpe handling Worcester and Gloucester. April 1766, they received word that there is an additional preacher assigned to Staffordshire. The plan was to meet him in Billbrook on the first day of May. Despite his happiness with his new career, Francis struggled with a sense that his efforts were somewhat limited. In his mind, he had not sufficiently ventured out. He was still living with his parents, he was preaching in places that had heard him preach for the last five years, some earlier when he was allowed to preach as a young teenager. He expected more travel and more responsibility. He looked forward to the meeting in Billbrook where he thought he might be reassigned to the low country. Despite Francis’s wishes, he was not assigned to the low round of the Staffordshire circuit. Instead, he was told to remain in the circuit in which he had been preaching since he was sixteen years of age. After his next preaching engagement in Billbrook, Francis Asbury did the unthinkable - he disregarded his assignment and ventured out on his own.

The subsequent letter from William Orpe at the end of May in 1766 is one of the more famous letters in Asbury's experience preaching in England. It was also not what Francis expected. In the letter, Orpe disciplined Francis Asbury for abandoning his circuit. Asbury wisely decided to continue the familiar circuit until the August conference signaling the end of summer in 1766.

Ignoring Orpe's rebuke, Asbury pushed Alexander Mather to overrule Orpe's command to return to his previous circuit and to assign Asbury to the low round of the Staffordshire circuit. Reluctantly, Mather gave Francis exactly what he wanted just after the 1766 conference. For the next 12 months, near-death experiences and the permeating doubts drove Francis Asbury to his lowest point emotionally. More than a year after forcing the Scottish itinerant to assign him on the low round, Francis found himself face to face with Alexander Mather. The young and shaken Francis Asbury is relieved to find his mentor. Mather sent Francis home for a short break.

After a couple weeks home, Francis received instructions to head for London.

In London, Francis once again found several leading women involved with John Wesley’s outreach to the destitute of this capital city. He had met them on a previous preaching trip with Alexander Mather to Ashbourne in Derbyshire when he was a local leader leading the West Bromwich society. These brave women who cared for the homeless also represent the first women preachers of the Methodist movement.

The London conference of 1767 assigned Asbury to the Bedfordshire circuit.

In London, it seemed likely that Francis Asbury met St Martin-in-the-Fields. The Vicar disfavored the radical evangelical efforts and success of Whitefield. Built of brick in 1756, within four years, the Whitefield faithful rendered the 70 feet by 70 feet square building too small.

Through the donation of Benjamin Franklin. Franklin was staying in London at the time, his friendship with Whitefield established years earlier during one of Whitefield’s trips to America.

Along with Franklin in Whitefield's home were Connecticut colonial leaders including a Mohegan Indian named Samson Occum and his traveling companion from America, Princeton College Presbyterian minister Nathaniel Whitaker, Lord Dartmouth, and the merchant Dennis De Bert.

Occum and Whitaker were in the middle of a two-year stay in England. Their intention was to raise money for their Indian Charity School in Lebanon, Connecticut. Eleazar Wheelock, a 1733 graduate of Yale owned the institution. The noted preacher and educator was a determined man in his efforts to educate the young Native American children of the eastern border of America. Occum and Whitaker were well on their way to acquire more than 10,000 pounds, the equivalent of two-million dollars in twenty-first century money. Occum’s companions raised the funds that would eventually launch Dartmouth College. Spending a couple months in London before the August conference, it is very likely that Asbury not only heard Samson Occum speak at The Tabernacle, but also had opportunity to meet this unique group.

August 18, 1767 the conference in London began at John and Charles Wesley’s Foundry Church. At this conference, John Wesley assigned Francis Asbury to the sprawling Bedfordshire circuit. In addition to Bedfordshire, Francis was officially admitted on trial and teamed with Bedfordshire native, James Glasbrook.

The next stop on the Francis Asbury circuits in England tour has Glasbrook and Asbury preaching the rambling Bedfordshire circuit and its several promising locations. Different from the large and lively London society with its magnificent chapels, these rural spots support small intimate classes of the country-side faithful. The key locations on this portion of the Francis Asbury circuits in England are Hertford, Luton, Sundon, Millbrook, Bedford, Clifton and North Hampton. On Francis Asbury’s return to the Bedfordshire circuit in 1770, he will also attend the Bedfordshire towns of Towcester, Weedon and Whittlebury.

In lieu of attending the 1768 conference in Bristol, Francis is given instructions to wait in London. There John Wesley will send word of Francis’s next assignment.

Francis Asbury’s short stopover in London occurs at the same time that an American visitor from Philadelphia is staying with George Whitefield. This young man will eventually appear as a dear friend to Francis Asbury when he ministers in Philadelphia. One has to speculate that the future relationship had to have its beginnings while Francis Asbury was awaiting his 1768 assignment in London attending both churches of Whitefield and the Wesleys. The young visitor from America was Dr. Benjamin Rush. Rush was an invited guest by Whitefield after young Benjamin finished some medical studies in Edinburgh, Scotland. Francis Asbury and Dr. Benjamin Rush would have been the same age, twenty-three years old. Each would have attended services at both George Whitefield’s Tabernacle and John Wesley’s Foundry Church. This encounter can easily explain the future relationship in Philadelphia between Francis Asbury and Dr. Benjamin Rush.

The word from the Bristol conference in August of 1768 is not good. John Wesley assigns Francis to the only circuit tougher than the Staffordshire low Round. The notification comes with unique instructions of how to deal with smugglers. John Wesley’s pamphlet, A Word to a Smuggler, is handed to Asbury. Francis is familiar with the writing. It was read at the 1767 London conference. John Wesley’s messengers are adamant; preach against the evil act. The next stop on the Francis Asbury circuits in England tour is the untamed coastline of the Colchester circuit.

The 50 mile trip from London to Colchester once again places Francis within the betterment of an ancient Roman Road. The track leaves London heading to the north east. The roadway with the characteristic camber crafted for proper drainage, travels through the towns of Ilford, Chadwell, Romford, continues northeast passing through Brentwood and Shenfield, on to Ingatestone, Chelmsford, Boreham, Hatfield Peverel, Witham, Kelvedon, east of Feering, Marks Tey, west of the Stanway heath, finally at the 50 mile mark into Colchester. From Colchester, it is a nine-mile ride through Ardleigh and Lawford to Francis’s first stop in Manningtree.

Francis Asbury will preach along the southern coastline of the River Stour, from Manningtree to Harwich. As beautiful as the scenery is, the area sours with rampant smuggling. The River Stour is a wide waterway, running mostly east to west and connecting directly to the southern tip of the North Sea where it meets the northern tip of the English Channel, one-hundred miles due west of Belgium and the Netherlands. Along the river's route, the shallow-sloping shorelines gently run for several yards to the dry ledge above.

Perhaps out of worry for the young itinerant and the dangerous territory he travels, after two months on the Colchester circuit, Francis Asbury receives word to relocate to the Wiltshire circuit.

The one-hundred-forty-mile journey from Colchester to Salisbury in Wiltshire is a difficult trip. Emotionally for Francis, it has been almost two years since he was home. His relationship with his female friend Nancy Brookes is not doing well. Letters from his mother back home beg for him to return. In the face of fierce opposition, Francis’s self-doubt of his abilities as a preacher furthers this emotional descent.

The three main cities of the Wiltshire circuit are Salisbury, Winchester and Portsmouth. In Portsmouth, it is highly likely that Francis began his study of Hebrew through the large Jewish settlement that coexisted with the Portsmouth Methodists.

The Jewish community in Portsmouth is an interesting group. Clearly the result of the English Civil War one-hundred years before and the proclamation by the victorious Oliver Cromwell lifting the four-hundred-year ban on Jewish residents in England. The new arrivals were mostly young men drawn to the busy seaport towns of Dover, Plymouth, Bristol, Liverpool, Hull, Chatham and Portsmouth. In Portsmouth, the majority of the Jewish settlers reside in Portsea, also known as Portsmouth Common, the same area as the Methodists. The men mostly are traders and silversmiths, selling their wares to the lower ranks on board the numerous ships of the British Navy.

In Salisbury and Winchester, two large cathedrals tower above the historic cities. In Salisbury, the cathedral houses a copy of the document from the thirteenth-century, the Magna Carta. In Winchester, ancient roads branch to all parts of England, a defense mechanism designed by King Alfred the Great to provide military support to the English populace. In both of these settlements, Francis Asbury preaches. For the next ten months, Francis Asbury remains on the Wiltshire circuit.

August 10, 1769, word from the Leeds Conference arrives for Francis Asbury in Salisbury. In the chapel on St. Edmund’s Church Street, several of the local families surround Francis. They are saddened to see the young man leave. They have grown fond of him. Word from John Wesley is that the next circuit on the Francis Asbury circuits in England tour is Oxfordshire. There he teams up with his friend from Staffordshire, Richard Whatcoat. Francis Asbury heads for the town of Oxford.

In Oxford, Francis and Richard occasionally preach from the St. Giles Church. St. Giles Church is a structure built in the Norman style. It sits north of the end of St. Giles Street- where it forks into two different roads. Keeping with the custom of churches dedicated to St. Giles, the location of the church in Oxford is outside and away from town, north of the city wall.

As they are young men themselves, it seems obvious that the pair would have had dealings with some of the local students studying to be Anglican priests. Francis Asbury and Richard Whatcoat remain in Oxford until Christmas. They both assign to preach the Bedfordshire circuit in the new year. January of 1770, the Francis Asbury circuits in England tour continues with a return trip to Bedfordshire. In addition to returning to Northampton, Francis will travel to the smaller Wesleyan societies in Towcester and Whittlebury. He also spends time in Weedon. For the next eight months, Francis Asbury will preach on the western portion of the Bedfordshire circuit. Despite the assignment, one detour during this time occurs.

Sunday, March 18, 1770, John Wesley makes his way on horseback from Birmingham to West Bromwich. At 1:30 in the afternoon, John Wesley finally arrives to the Methodist Meeting house on the heath. With word that the meeting room is too crowded for the large crowd gathering to hear Wesley, the word goes out that Wesley shall preach outdoors. The news of John Wesley preaching in West Bromwich inspires Francis Asbury to return home. After nearly three years away, his family and friends once again embrace him.

After his visit home, Francis Asbury returns to the western portion of the Bedfordshire circuit. In addition to Towcester and Whittlebury, he continues to preach in the town of Weedon.

August 7, 1770, the London conference opens in its usual fashion. Inside, the singing by the locals joins the robust voices of the traveling preachers. The weary itinerants endlessly pour in from Ireland, Scotland and England. Twelve women who unofficially preach in the Wesleyan movement are here also. Obviously present because of the rumor that Wesley will address the issue of women preaching. With them is their vocal leader, Sarah Crosby. She gathers several of the arriving itinerants, eagerly inquiring if they have any word on John Wesley’s plans. None have an answer.

The 1770 conference was controversial for two reasons, one of which was the issue of women preachers. The other issue was brought about inadvertently by John Wesley himself. Several of his comments at the end of conference were mistaken for a works doctrine. They thought he was saying that human works were required for salvation. The controversy nearly sinks the Wesleyan movement. Aside from the two issues above, the conference for Francis Asbury introduces a return assignment in the Francis Asbury circuits in England tour. John Wesley once again assigns Francis Asbury to Wiltshire. It is this assignment where Francis Asbury is abandoned by his assigned helper. The somewhat melancholy John Catermole exits the Wiltshire circuit after his dealing with a disorderly lay leader who threatens violence to Catermole and Asbury.

A visit by John Wesley to the struggling Wiltshire circuit results in John Wesley asking Francis Asbury to visit an island on the southern coast of England. Not much has been written about Francis Asbury’s visit to the Isle of Wight. What little information there is, places Francis Asbury’s visit to the island at about the time of John Wesley’s preaching in Wiltshire.

It is also on this portion of the Francis Asbury circuits in England tour that Francis Asbury learns of the unexpected death of George Whitefield. August of 1771, it is at this conference in Bristol where Francis Asbury volunteers for the circuit simply called, America.


Asbury is honored together with feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA) on November 15.


  • Asbury's boyhood home, the Bishop Asbury Cottage, in Sandwell, England, is now a museum.
  • The first Methodist Episcopal school of higher education was named Cokesbury College (1785 - burned 1796) in honor of Asbury and Thomas Coke, drawing some concern from John Wesley.[15] The name lives on in Cokesbury, part of the United Methodist publishing arm.
  • At least six schools have been named after Asbury:
  • James A. Bradley, a convert to Methodism, named the town he founded on the New Jersey shore, Asbury Park, after Asbury. The Mascot of the Asbury Park High School is "The Bishops."
  • The former Asbury Methodist Church on Staten Island (now the Son-Rise Interfaith Center) stands as a monument to his memory.
  • In 1796 Bishop Asbury helped lay the cornerstone for the church in Hall's Mills, NJ which shortly changed its name to Asbury (now a village in Franklin Township, Warren County, NJ).
  • A statue, Francis Asbury, was erected in Washington, D.C. in 1921.
  • A statue of Francis Asbury on horseback was erected at Drew University in Madison, NJ.
  • A hiking trail in the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, where Asbury delivered a sermon on October 20, 1808.
  • Stratosphere Balloon Cave in Germany Valley, West Virginia was for over 150 years called "Asbury Cave". (Asbury records his 1781 visit to the cave in his Journal.)
  • Many towns and villages bear an Asbury United Methodist Church, including the fourth largest United Methodist Church in the denomination, located in Tulsa, OK (
  • The first Methodist Church in Northern China, the Asbury Church in Peking, built in 1870 by Rev. Hiram Harrison Lowry, was named after Asbury. Today the church is known as Chongwenmen Church (崇文门教堂).
  • Asbury Avenue in Evanston, Illinois, home of Northwestern University, founded by Methodists
  • Asbury, Iowa was founded by Methodists.
  • Asbury Road and Asbury Avenue in Ocean Grove, NJ, next to Asbury Park, with Wesley Lake separating them,is a town founded by Methodists in the late 1870s as a religious summer camp along the mid Atlantic coast.Descendants of the original campers still use the many tents in town each season and worship in the Great Auditorium.
  • Asbury Street in the second Ocean Grove, a seaside town established by Methodists in mid 1800s, in Victoria Australia.

See also


  1. ^ Asbury, Herbert. 1927. A Methodist Saint: The Life of Bishop Asbury, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., pg. 1
  2. ^ The Story of Barratt's Chapel, accessed 11 September 2015
  3. ^ a b Smith, Jessie C. Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events (3rd ed.), pp. 1820–1821. "Methodists: 1781". Visible Ink Press (Canton), 2013. Accessed 17 October 2013.
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b Duren, William Larkin. 1928. Francis Asbury, Founder of American Methodism and Unofficial Minister of State, New York: The Macmillan Company. Pg. xiii
  6. ^ Duren, William Larkin. 1928. Francis Asbury, Founder of American Methodism and Unofficial Minister of State, New York: The Macmillan Company. Pg 75
  7. ^ a b Duren, William Larkin. 1928. Francis Asbury, Founder of American Methodism and Unofficial Minister of State, New York: The Macmillan Company. Pg 77
  8. ^ Duren, William Larkin. 1928. Francis Asbury, Founder of American Methodism and Unofficial Minister of State, New York: The Macmillan Company. Pg 119-120
  9. ^ Duren, William Larkin. 1928. Francis Asbury, Founder of American Methodism and Unofficial Minister of State, New York: The Macmillan Company. Pg 167
  10. ^ Baker, Frank. 1976. From Wesley to Asbury: Studies in Early American Methodism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Pg. 115
  11. ^ Baker, Frank. 1976. From Wesley to Asbury: Studies in Early American Methodism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Pg. 113-114
  12. ^ Duren, William Larkin. 1928. Francis Asbury, Founder of American Methodism and Unofficial Minister of State, New York: The Macmillan Company. Pg. 122
  13. ^ Baker, Frank. 1976. From Wesley to Asbury: Studies in Early American Methodism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Pg 107
  14. ^ The Ladies' repository, Volume 12 (Google eBook),L. Swormstedt and J.H. Power, 1852
  15. ^
  • Encyclopædia Britannica

Resources for further study

  • The official Francis Asbury web site. Contains an A-Z index of places and people mentioned in his journals.
  • Francis Asbury Triptych Website. Contains articles on Francis Asbury and other key players of the Methodist movement in England and America. Also a book series on Francis Asbury.
  • Trailblazin' Bishop: The Francis Asbury Story. A one-man play on the life of Francis Asbury.
  • Facebook page of Bishop Francis Asbury.Quotes from Asbury's journal, portraits and more
  • Bishop Asbury Cottage Story on the BBC website about Francis Asbury's former home
  • Francis Asbury biographical sketch on Find-A-Grave
  • Journal and Letters of Francis Asbury (1958) by Francis Asbury (ISBN 0-687-20581-6)
  • American Saint: Francis Asbury and the Methodists (Oxford University Press, 2009) by John H. Wigger (ISBN 0-195-38780-5)
  • Taking Heaven by Storm: Methodism and the Rise of Popular Christianity in America, 1770-1820 (Oxford University Press, 1998) by John H. Wigger (ISBN 0-195-10452-8)
  • America's Bishop: The Life of Francis Asbury (2003) by Darius Salter (ISBN 1-928915-39-6)
  • The Story of American Methodism: A History of the United Methodists and Their Relations (1974) by Frederick Abbott Norwood (ISBN 0-687-39641-7)
  • The Heritage of American Methodism (1999) by Kenneth Cain Kinghorn (ISBN 0-687-05500-8)
  • From Wesley to Asbury: Studies in Early American Methodism (1976) by Frank Baker (ISBN 0-8223-0359-0)
  • Eliza Asbury - her cottage and her son by David Hallam (ISBN 1858582350)
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