CHAPTER XXX. General Conference in Boston
The General Conference of 1852 was held in Boston. Our old beloved Bishop Hedding had just died and left us. From the precarious state of Bishop Hamline's health, and despairing of a recovery, he tendered to the General Conference his resignation of the office of bishop, to which we had elected him in 1844, and we accepted his resignation, and, as we have elsewhere said, we had but three bishops left. Brothers Waugh and Morris were getting pretty well advanced in life, and Bishop Janes, though in the prime of life, was failing from his excessive labors. Our Church was extending throughout this vast continent, and in Liberia, Germany, South America, and other different and distant nations; and as our Discipline very properly provides that our bishops should travel at large throughout the connection, it was clearly seen that we must strengthen the episcopacy by electing a sufficient number to visit, personally, all parts of our widely-extending connection. Accordingly, a resolution was adopted with great unanimity, that we elect four additional bishops; and after exchanging and interchanging our opinions and views concerning the men proper to be set apart to this office, it was declared, with great unanimity, that Brothers Scott, Simpson, Baker, and Ames be elected.
A difficulty had taken place in the Ohio Conference concerning a pewed church. One of our good preachers, in aiding and defending those brethren that were in favor of the pew system, had been considered guilty of imprudence, and the Ohio Conference passed a vote of censure on this brother, and from this he appealed to the General Conference. The debates on this appeal brought on the controversy on the subject of pews. The General Conference cleared this brother from the censure. Then followed sundry motions to change the Discipline on the subject of pewed Churches; and, finally, our old, well-tried rule was changed to what it is in our Discipline now. This was a real Yankee triumph. However, many of the members of the General Conference voted for this change, hoping to stop one source of Church litigation hereafter, and they may so far succeed as to prevent any future appeals to the General Conference; but they have, at the same time, opened a thousand doors for strife and contention, in all cases where there is any considerable division or difference of opinion on the subject in our societies. The pew system is inevitably at war with the best interests of the Church, for no honorable, high-minded man, who is poor, and unable to buy or rent a pew, but will feel himself degraded to intrude himself into a pewed church; and that form of worship adopted in any Church which goes to exclude the poor, contravenes the Divine law, and prevents the realization of that blessedness that God has provided for the poor. Fifty years ago there was not a member or preacher among the thousands in the Methodist Episcopal Church that thought of having a pewed church. But since the Church has risen in numerical strength, and become wealthy, this system of pewed churches is fast becoming the order of the day. The pew system must necessarily be extremely offensive to the Lord's poor, and we should all remember the words of Jesus Christ, that it were better that a millstone were hanged about our necks, and we drowned in the depth of the sea, than that we should offend one of those little ones that believe on him. For my own part, I always feel embarrassed when, as a stranger, I enter a pewed church, and how mortifying it is to be directed by the sexton to some back, dirty, or dingy seat, and I involuntarily ask, "Are ye not partial?" Leaving the pew system for future adjudication of the Church, we sincerely hope that its evils will, with the pious, work its entire overthrow, and the restoration of free seats in all the Churches, which so admirably agrees with a free Gospel.
I hope, if I make a few remarks right here on the speculations published not long since in the National Magazine, by its talented editor, on the qualifications of the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church, it will not be considered the unpardonable sin. Brother Stevens seems to think that our present bishops, at least some of them, have talents of too high a grade to be buried in the unimportant and comparatively small official duties of their office, and that it would be better to select men of less useful, business talents to perform the small duties of a bishop, reserving those men of a high grade of talent for more important business matters or interests of the Church. I must confess that the position my respected brother takes took me rather by surprise, but my surprise was not so much at the talented editor of the National taking this position, as at the position itself; but then, why should I be surprised at any position taken in this educational, advanced age of the world, seeing that I am an old dispensationist, and fifty years behind the times? I have been acquainted personally with every bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church (save Dr. Coke) from her commencement to the present, and though I have awarded to all of our bishops a high grade of talent, yet it never entered my mind for the first time that any of them had any talents to spare, or that were not necessary to be brought into requisition to superintend all the important interests of the Methodist Episcopal Church. When I consider the responsible duties of a bishop in our Church, to constantly travel at large throughout the entire bounds of our ministerial fields of labor, to oversee the temporal and spiritual interests of the whole Church, to assign, from year to year, the thousands of traveling preachers to their most appropriate fields of labor, and many other important duties too tedious to enumerate in this connection, I must frankly say I have never had the first spasm or fear of getting men of too high a grade of talent, yea, of business talent, to perform the functions of their office with credit to themselves and promotion of the best interests of the Church of God. Moreover, though I may not admire the manner of these speculations of my beloved and talented editor, yet, should they tend to check the high aspirations of disappointed expectants, some good may result.
It is a trite saying, that revolutions never go backward; but if the speculations of my brother are not driving things backward, then I must be very much in the dark. But the theory we have just noticed very forcibly reminds me of what is alleged to be the custom of the members of the Established Church of England, namely: If parents have a smart and promising son, or sons, he, or they are selected for the bar, or for the medical department, or some other prominent position, and they are educated accordingly; but if they have a stupid boy, that promises very little usefulness to the world, or at least promises to shine not very brilliantly, he is immediately designated for the ministry, for then he can be supported by the state, and not by his acceptable and useful talents. O, what a reproach to the Gospel of the Son of God, and what a withering curse to the Church!
At our conference at Beardstown, October 12th, 1853, as I have already said, I was appointed to Pleasant Plains District, and bade an affectionate adieu to Quincy District. I do not know that I was ever appointed to any field of labor that I felt more attached to than I did to the Quincy District, and should have been glad to have spent at least two years more; but the best of friends in this life must part; we part, however, with a blessed hope of meeting in another and better world. I hardly ever left a field of ministerial labor but I felt sorrowful, and indulged in very gloomy reflections. Here are hundreds of my best earthly friends, whom I have lived and labored with in great peace and harmony; we have preached and prayed together; often been happy and shouted the high praises of God together, many of whom are my spiritual children that God has given me. We have labored and suffered together, but now, for the last time, we splice hands, and bid each other finally farewell, till we meet in the general resurrection. When I remember how swift time flies, and how soon God will call his suffering children home, then and there let us meet, where painful separations forever cease.
Before I close this feeble sketch of my long life, I wish to give a very brief sketch of a few of my fellow-laborers who suffered long and endured much in spreading Methodism in these Western wilds, and thereby rescue from oblivion their names and worthy deeds, that generations to come may know their indebtedness to the early pioneer Methodist preachers, for the moral order in a great and good degree that prevails in the vast regions of the West. Whatever may be justly attributed to education and other instrumentalities, the present, as well as future generations, owe, and will owe, a debt of gratitude to the indomitable courage and pious labor of early suffering Methodist preachers for the great and good order of this vast wilderness. When they entered it as preachers of the Gospel, very few ministers of any other denomination would brook the hardships and undergo the privations that must necessarily be endured in preaching the Gospel in these sparsely populated and frontier regions. But hardly had the early emigrant pitched his tent, raised his temporary camp, or log-cabin, when the early Methodist traveling preachers were there to preach to them the unsearchable riches of Christ; and how many thousands who had withstood the offers of life in the old settlements or states, have been followed into the wilderness by these early Methodist preachers and won over to Christ. Many ministers of other Churches waited till flourishing towns, villages, and populous settlements had formed and improved the country, and could give them a good fat salary; and then they came and entered into the labors of these old pioneers. People, unacquainted with frontier life, and especially frontier life fifty or sixty years ago, can form but a very imperfect idea of the sufferings and hardships the early settlers of these Western states underwent at that day, when Methodist preachers went from fort to fort, from camp to camp, from tent to tent, from cabin to cabin, with or without road or path. We walked on dirt floors for carpets, sat on stools or benches for chairs, ate on puncheon tables, had forked sticks and pocket, or butcher knives, for knives and forks, slept on bear, deer, or buffalo skins before the fire, or sometimes on the ground in open air for downy beds, had our saddles or saddle-bags for pillows instead of pillows of feathers, and one new suit of clothes of homespun was ample clothing for one year for an early Methodist preacher in the West.
We crossed creeks and large rivers without bridges or ferry-boats, often swam them on horseback, or crossed on trees that had fallen over the streams, drove our horses over, and often waded out waistdeep; and if by chance we got a dug-out, or canoe, to cross in ourselves, and swim our horses by, it was quite a treat.
O, ye downy doctors and learned presidents and professors, heads of the Methodist literature of the present day, remember the above course of training was the colleges in which we early Methodist preachers graduated, and from which we took our diplomas! Here we solved our mathematical problems, declined our nouns and conjugated our verbs, parsed our sentences, and became proficient in the dead languages of the Indian and backwoods dialect.
Suppose these illiterate early Methodist preachers had held back, or waited for a better education, or for these educational times, where would the Methodist Church have been today in this vast valley of the Mississippi? Suppose the thousands of early settlers and scores of early Methodist preachers, by some Providential intervention, had blundered on a Biblical Institute, or a theological factory, where they dress up little pedantic things they call preachers; suppose ye we would have known them from a ram's horn? Surely not.
JESSE WALKER, known to thousands in Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky, was a native of Virginia. His age has gone from my recollection. His commencement as a preacher was in the local order, and as such he moved to West Tennessee. This was about the time of the great Cumberland revival; and though he had a very limited education, and his preaching powers were not very profound, yet he could preach a plain, practical sermon; and he was a powerful exhorter.
In the fall of 1803 Brother Walker was received on trial into the traveling connection, in the Western Conference, and appointed to travel the Red River Circuit, in Cumberland District; John Page was his presiding elder. He was this year blessed with glorious revivals, and received a great many into the Church. In 1804 he was appointed to the Livingston Circuit. This was a new field of labor which I had formed the year before under the elder. Here his family was greatly afflicted, and he lost by death two of his children; but Brother Walker's labors were greatly blessed, and many seals were added to his ministry.
In 1805 he remained on the same circuit, with Hartford Circuit attached to it. His labors this year were greatly blessed. A great number were converted and joined the Church. In 1806 Brother Walker was appointed to Hartford Circuit; this was also a prosperous year in many additions to the Church. In 1807 he was appointed to the Illinois Circuit, for it will be seen, that the Illinois and Missouri States both belonged to Cumberland District. Here he entered the prairie wilderness, and spent a successful year on that circuit. In 1808 he was appointed to Missouri, still further in the wilderness of the West; as usual, he had several revivals. In 1809 a new district was formed, called Indiana District, embracing Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri States, and J. Walker was appointed to Illinois Circuit. In 1810 and 1811, he was appointed to, and traveled with acceptability and usefulness, the Cape Girardeau Circuit, in Missouri. In the fall of 1811 the name of the Indiana was changed to Illinois District, S. Parker, presiding elder; and in 1812, Brother Walker was appointed to the Illinois Circuit again.
It should be recollected, that in 1812 the General Conference sat in New York; this was the first delegated General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. At this General Conference, the Western Conference was divided into two, called Ohio and Tennessee Conferences. In 1815 the Missouri District was formed; and in 1817 he was appointed to that district. Right here it should be remembered, that the General Conference which sat in Baltimore, May lst, 1816, divided the Tennessee Conference, and formed a Missouri Conference. The Missouri Conference was composed of two presiding-elder districts, namely, Illinois and Missouri, though it embraced four states, namely: Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. The Missouri District covered two states west of the Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri. The Illinois District covered the states of Illinois and Indiana. These four states were all frontier ground; desperate, long, lonesome rides, and little or no support for preachers or presiding elders; and if our districts were as large and hard to travel now as then, we should not have as many young aspiring expectants for that office as abound in our conferences. In 1818 and 1819, he carried successfully the Gospel to thousands of the scattered frontier settlers in Missouri and Arkansas, and many in the day of judgment from those poor frontier regions will rise up and call him blessed.
I think it was in the fall of 1819 our beloved old Brother Walker, who had traveled all his life, or nearly so, came over to our Tennessee Conference, which sat in Nashville, to see us; but, O! how weather-beaten and war-worn was he; almost, if not altogether, without decent apparel to appear among us. We soon made a collection, and had him a decent suit of clothes to put on; and never shall I forget the blushing modesty and thankfulness with which he accepted that suit, and never did I and others have a stronger verification of our Lord's words, "That it is more blessed to give than to receive." In 1820 he was appointed Conference Missionary, and sustained the relation of missionary to the Missouri Conference from 1821 to 1824.
He was instructed, in 1824, to pay attention to the Indians in the bounds of Missouri. During these years of extensive missionary travel, he visited St. Louis, which was almost wholly given to Romish idolatry. There was no Methodist society or church in the city, and perhaps no Protestant church in the place. It had been settled from an early day with French Catholics. In his visit to this place he saw its deplorable moral condition, and resolved to seek a way to carry the Gospel to its perishing thousands. But how was he to do it? and how was he to be supported while doing it? Means of support he had none. He made it a matter of prayer, and asked aid of God. Accordingly, he made his stand in the city, and took up a day school of A, B, C scholars, by which he supported himself, and all he made over he applied to the erection of a small church, which, if my memory is not at fault, was the first Protestant house of worship in the city. God did not despise the day of small things, but crowned his efforts with signal success, so much so, that he not only succeeded in building a church, but gathered a congregation in it, and raised a Methodist Society which remains to this day; and Methodism has spread through the city, so that there are many charges, and a good many splendid churches erected, and several thousand members in the different branches of Methodism.
In 1824 the Missouri Conference was divided by the General Conference, which sat in Baltimore. The Illinois Conference was organized. Brother Walker was appointed missionary to the settlements between the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, and to the Indians in the vicinity of Fort Clark, (now Peoria.) He traveled extensively, and preached through this entire new country, raised several societies, one at Fort Clark, penetrated into the Indian country, visited their chiefs, made known his wishes to establish missions and schools among them, and met a friendly reception by their chief men, especially among the Pottawattomies; and in 1826 he was appointed missionary to that tribe of Indians. He was continued in this mission in 1827 and 1828, and having obtained a grant from the Indians to a section of land, he built houses, opened a farm, preached to the Indians through an interpreter, established a school, and had some prosperity; and had it not been for the corrupting influences of white men, in selling whisky to the Indians, and corrupt white men that cheated the Indians out of their annuities, there is no doubt but these Indians would have become civilized and Christianized. What a fearful account these unprincipled white men will have to render at the judgment for the demoralization and destruction of the Indians. I thank God, during my superintendence of this mission, while Brother Walker was missionary among them, we had the pleasure of seeing the hopeful conversion of several of them, and of baptizing them, and receiving them into the visible Church of Christ.
In 1828 Brother Walker was succeeded in the mission by Brother Isaac Scarritt, and was sent to the Peoria Circuit, where he labored with his accustomed usefulness and acceptability. In 1829 he was returned to the mission among the Pottawattomies, which was located on Fox River, about twenty miles from Ottawa, where it empties into the Illinois River. In the meantime, the government had bought out the Indian claim; and although the Church had spent some thousands of dollars in its establishment, we lost it. The mission premises were reserved for one of the half breeds, and Brother Walker was, in 1830, appointed to Chicago Mission, where he succeeded in planting Methodism in this then infant city. In 1831 he was appointed to the Des Plaines Mission, and organized many small societies in that young and rising country.
In 1832 there was a Chicago District formed, of mostly missionary ground. Brother Walker was superintendent of this missionary district, and missionary to Chicago town; and although he was well stricken in years, and well-nigh worn out, having spent a comparatively long life on the frontiers, yet the old man had the respect and confidence of the whole community; and in 1833 was continued in the Chicago Missionary Station. This year closed his active itinerant life. He had done effective and efficient service as a traveling preacher for more than thirty years, and had lived poor and suffered much; had won thousands of souls over to Christ, and built up and firmly planted Methodism for thousands of miles on our frontier border.
In 1834, he asked for and obtained a superannuated relation, in which relation he lived till the 5th of October, 1835, and then, being at peace with God and all mankind, and having fought a good fight, and finished his course, and kept the faith, he was ready for the messenger, and left the world in holy triumph; and his redeemed spirit rose triumphantly, and entered heaven, to be hailed and welcomed home by the thousands to whom, in the Divine economy, he had been the honored instrument of salvation; and I hope to meet him in heaven before very long. He was the first minister who, by the authority of the Methodist Church, gave me my first permit to exhort. We have fought side by side for many years; we have suffered hunger and want together; we have often wept, and prayed, and preached together; I hope we shall sing and shout together in heaven. Peace to his memory!
SAMUEL H. THOMPSON was born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, March 16, 1786. He had a pious mother, who very diligently instructed young Samuel in the general principles of our holy religion, according to the Calvinistic views of the Presbyterian Church, for which Church through life he entertained a high regard, though he repudiated the Calvinistic doctrines. He received a good common English education for that early day, and was considered an honorable, high-minded young man. In his eighteenth year he joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, as a seeker of religion. For two years he sought an experimental knowledge of the forgiveness of his sins; and while engaged in secret prayer, a peaceful answer was granted to him, though not such an evidence of pardon as he desired; but shortly afterward, during family prayer, he obtained a clear evidence of the regeneration of his fallen nature, and immediately commenced exhorting his associates to seek God, and was licensed to preach. In the fall of 1810 he was received on trial as a traveling preacher, in the Western Conference, holden at Cincinnati, which was then the only conference west of the mountains. He was appointed to the Whitewater Circuit, Indiana District, Ohio. Here young Thompson was received kindly, and preached successfully. In 1811 he was appointed to the Nolliechuckie Circuit, in East Tenneseee; in 1812, to Clinch River Circuit. In both these circuits he labored zealously, and was useful. In the fall of 1812, he was ordained a deacon. At the division of the Western Conference, he fell into the Tennessee part, and in 1813 was appointed to the Knoxville Circuit, where his labors were greatly blessed. In 1814 he was appointed to Christian Circuit, and there were in this circuit added to his ministry many seals.
In the fall of 1814 he was ordained an elder, and in 1815 he was appointed presiding elder of the Missouri District. He remained on this district in 1816. Vast was the frontier country that Brother Thompson explored on this district; and he successfully planted the standard of the Gospel and of Methodism in many log-cabins and frontier settlements, and won many laurels for his Master in this wilderness of the West, and the Lord gave him many souls for his hire.
At the General Conference of 1816, the Missouri Conference was stricken off from the Tennessee Conference; and in 1817 he was appointed to the Illinois District, which covered almost all the inhabited parts of the State of Illinois and Southern Indiana. He remained on this large district two years, and was aggressive in all his ministerial labors, organizing many societies in this new and rising country. In 1819 he was appointed to Shoal Creek and Illinois Circuits, joined together, where his labors were greatly blessed. Money was scarce through all this Western country, but Brother Thompson suffered on, through penury and want. In the meantime he had married, and had a young and growing family to provide for. In 1820 he remained on the Illinois Circuit, and was instrumental in greatly building up the Church. In 1821, Brother Thompson was again placed on the Missouri District as presiding elder, where he remained two years, still laboring and suffering for his Master, and planting Methodism in many new settlements, and many claimed him as the honored instrument of their salvation; and many were the thrilling shouts of new-born souls brought into the liberty of the Gospel on the tented camp-ground, as well as from the log-cabin. From 1823 to 1826, Brother Thompson was stationed on the Illinois District, Illinois Conference, which covered more than two thirds of the geographical boundaries of the state; but with unfaltering steps he traveled night and day, seldom missing his appointments, through cold and heat, floods or snow-storms. His labors were greatly blessed, and there is very little doubt that he was the most popular and useful preacher in the state. Hundreds, if not thousands, from the Illinois District, in the great day of judgment will hail our beloved brother, and call him blessed.
From the hard fields of labor occupied by Brother Thompson, his poor fare, the privations he underwent, and his extraordinary zealous pulpit labors, the very many hardships and sufferings he endured incident to a new country, his fine constitution began to give way, and he found it necessary to relax his efforts in some degree. Accordingly, he asked for and obtained a supernumerary relation, and in that relation, in 1827, he was appointed to the Illinois Circuit, where his labors were fully equal to his strength. In 1828 he was continued on the same circuit, and in 1829, having recovered his health a little, he was made effective, and appointed to the Shoal Creek Circuit. The Lord gave him a prosperous year, and made him a blessing to many souls. In 1830 there was a new district formed, called the Kaskaskia District, and Brother Thompson was appointed presiding elder. He traveled this district in 1831 and 1832, abundant in labors and usefulness. In 1833 he was appointed traveling agent for the Lebanon Seminary, and acquitted himself honorably. In 1834 he was appointed to the Lebanon Circuit, and although he had preached for many years to the most of his congregations, yet the Church hailed him as a brother beloved, and his ministry was profitable, and he proved a blessing to many. In 1835 Brother Thompson sustained a superannuated relation to the conference, and the rest from his energetic labors this year gave him some increase of strength, and he wanted to spend that strength in doing good, and his relation in 1836 was changed to supernumerary, and he was appointed to Alton Station. He was this year only partial in his labors; his constitution was fast giving way. Accordingly, in 1837 he sustained a superannuated relation again. But his soul was restless when out of his field of ministerial work; accordingly, in 1838, he asked to be made effective, but the Conference gave him a supernumerary relation, and he was appointed to labor in the towns of Vandalia and Hillsborough; in 1839 he was again appointed to Alton City Station, as supernumerary; in 1840 he was appointed to labor in the Belleville Station, where he labored but little. His physical powers evidently were fast giving way, and in 1841 he was placed in a superannuated relation, which relation he continued to sustain until his redeemed spirit returned to God who gave it, which happened on the 19th of March, 1842.
Brother Thompson labored hard, and suffered much, for more than thirty years. His field of labor for those years embraced large portions of Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas States, much of which was new and on the outskirts of civilization, destitute of means of comfortable support. In these respects his zeal, like a quenchless fire, urged him on night and day, over desert wastes, towering mountains, rapid rivers. He often suffered hunger and almost nakedness in quest of lost and wandering sinners to bring them back to God, and thousands now in heaven will praise God forever that this self-sacrificing Methodist preacher taught them the way to life in their mud hovels and smoky cabins. The last year of his eventful life, his health almost entirely gave way, and while confined to his bed, from which he never rose, such was his ardent thirst for the salvation of souls, that he requested to call in the neighbors, and to be propped up in his bed, and to preach one more sermon to them before he left for heaven. His desire was granted; the room was crowded, and such a sermon hardly ever fell from the lips of mortal man. The power of God fell on the congregation; they wept aloud, and fell in every direction, and many will date their start for heaven to that sermon. And now, having delivered his last message, he said, "My work is done, and I am ready to go at my Master's bidding."
During the few lingering moments that he remained he gave unmistakable evidence that he was at peace with God, and all mankind, and that he had a complete victory over the fear of death. He continued in this heavenly frame of mind until he sweetly fell asleep in the arms of Jesus, and quietly breathed his last and went up to glory. Brother Thompson was a gentleman as well as Christian. He was faithful in the administration of the Discipline of the Church; very firm, but mild. He was courteous in manner, had a nice regard to feelings, but remarkably faithful in reproving whatever he thought wrong in saint and sinner. He had but few personal enemies; his soul breathed the true spirit of Christian kindness and love. He has left behind him thousands that claim him as the honored instrument in their conversion, and if they are faithful I have no doubt will meet him in heaven with shouts of victory forever and ever.
JOHN DEW was born on the 19th of July, 1789, in the State of Virginia. In the days of his youth he embraced religion and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he remained a worthy member during life, and being deeply impressed that it was his duty to preach the Gospel, he was recommended by his class, and obtained license to preach as a local preacher, and then joined the traveling connection in the Ohio Conference. In 1813 he was appointed to the Salt River Circuit, in Kentucky, and was blessed with success. The first year of his itinerancy, 1814, he was appointed to the Jefferson Circuit, and labored with acceptability and usefulness to the Church. In 1815 he traveled the Madison Circuit; here he gave good proof of his call to the ministry, and the Lord owned and blessed his labors. In 1816 he traveled the Guyandotte Circuit, and had seals to his ministry. This fall he located, and remained local for eight years, but was an industrious and useful local preacher, and was the means of doing much good in several parts that he visited. He preached with great acceptability in the southern part of Kentucky and the Illinois State.
In the fall of 1824, Brother Dew was readmitted into the traveling connection in the Illinois Conference, and he was appointed to travel the Illinois Circuit. Here he labored faithfully, and did good. In 1825 he was continued on the same circuit, and at the close of this year was transferred to the Missouri Conference, and appointed presiding elder of the Missouri District. In 1827 he was stationed in St. Louis City. In 1828 he was transferred back again to Illinois Conference, and appointed superintendent and conference collector for the Pottawattomie Mission on Fox River. He was active, vigilant, and useful in this field of labor. In 1829 Brother Dew was appointed to the Galena Station, in the extreme northwest corner of the Illinois State, at least four hundred miles from home; and such was the poverty of the country at that time, for it was new and just in its forming state, that he provided for his family where they were, and spent most of this year almost entirely from home. His labors were blessed in this new field of toil, and he was instrumental in planting Methodism firmly there.
In 1830 he was appointed to the Lebanon Circuit, and he acquitted himself as an able and useful minister of the Lord Jesus Christ; edified and built up the Church greatly. In 1831 he was appointed to Shoal Creek Circuit, with our beloved Bishop Ames, and long will he live in the recollection and Christian remembrance of the Methodists of Shoal Creek Circuit. In 1832 he was again appointed to the Lebanon Circuit, and though he had labored long and preached much to that people, yet they received him as a messenger from God and a brother beloved, and he was useful.
In 1833 he was appointed to the Kaskaskia Circuit, where he was the instrument of great good, and souls were converted to God. Brother Dew was continued on this circuit in 1834. From the hard fields of labor that he had occupied, and the little support he had received, with a young and growing family, in 1835 he located, to gather means of support, and to enable him to reenter the itinerant field, for his soul was filled with holy fire, and he longed to spread the news of salvation from pole to pole.
In 1836 he was appointed President of M'Kendree College; and in 1837-38 he was readmitted into the traveling connection, and appointed to the Carlyle District as presiding elder. In 1839 he was appointed to the Lebanon District, where he finished his useful life, after an illness of about two weeks. On the 5th of September, 1840, he left these mortal shores for a better world, relying confidently on the goodness and mercy of God for his salvation. He left an amiable wife and seven children, and an extensive acquaintance and circle of devoted friends to lament their loss.
Brother Dew had a fine order of talent as a preacher, was a strong theological debater, had a clear and sound mind, and was well qualified to defend the doctrines of the Bible against infidelity, and the doctrines of Methodism against all sectarian assailants. He was popular, and useful as a preacher, labored hard, suffered much in spreading the Gospel, lived beloved, and died lamented by thousands; but his end was peace, and he has gone safe home to heaven, to reap his eternal reward.