Days Gone By - stories from the past

A Methodist circuit rider received $100 and had to go where he was sent without complaint

The Methodist Circuit Rider had a difficult life in the early days of Alabama as can be seen by the narrative below.




circuit riderThe Methodist church in those early days had only a limited membership, but after the country was laid off in districts and circuits, it increased rapidly in church organizations and membership.

They discarded the doctrine of predestination and election. They believed in baptism, either by sprinkling, pouring or immersion, as the applicant desired. They believed in open communion, and extended invitations to all orthodox christians (sic) to the sacramental board. They believed in foreign and domestic missions and were in favor of an educated ministry. The government and usages of the church in that day were about the same as at present.

Members would construct preaching places

On each of the circuits the members and citizens would construct preaching places, sometimes at school houses, private houses, and when the weather was favorable, under bush arbors. The preachers were expected to preach each day in the week, unless providentially hindered, and they would have a congregation every time. The Conference had a method of doing business, and that was why they were called the Methodist church, and it required hard and faithful labor at the hands of its preachers.

Those preachers generally arrived at their appointment about the usual hour. They would dismount from their horses ( there were no buggies in those days), and walk directly into the church, without speaking to anyone, and begin services. As soon as the service was over, there would be a general hand shaking between the preacher and congregation.

When the congregation got ready to leave, some brother or friend living in the direction of his next appointment would take him home, give him the best they had, and be glad of his company.

Each one received one hundred dollars

The next morning he would go to his next appointment, and so on all around the circuit once a month all the year round. Each one of these preachers received one hundred dollars, appropriated out of the general fund of the conference, for his incidental expenses.

If he had a family they were provided for, but the majority of them were single men. If one of these preachers joined the conference, expecting to have an easy time and to be sent where he wanted to go, he was generally disappointed. He had to go where he was sent, and he was expected to go without complaint. There could have no earthly motive for those good men to enter the ministry; their only motive was to do their Master’s will and preach the gospel to the people.

Some of those early circuit riders have made great preachers: they have made elders, doctors and bishops. The Methodist church, since that early day, has grown in grace, knowledge and members. It has added member to member, church to church, mission to mission, and has spent millions in extending the cause of christianity (sic) all over the world, and the good work is still going on.

This generation of preachers have passed away. Their work was hard; they assisted in organizing and establishing the first churches, and made the work comparatively light for those that were to follow.

 (The story above has been transcribed from a book titled RECOLLECTIONS OF THE EARLY SETTLERS OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY, ALABAMA -Original data: Robertson, W. G.. Recollections of the early settlers of Montgomery County, Alabama. Montgomery, Ala.: Society of Pioneers of Montgomery, 1961. *Transcriber note -At times the text has been broken into additional paragraphs to make it easier to read and names were capitalized)


Check out genealogy and novels by Donna R. Causey


The Indian Removal Act of 1830 marks a dark time in American history regarding the new country’s relationship with the Native American population. The Act called for the “voluntary or forcible removal of all Indians” residing in the eastern United States to the west of the Mississippi River. Between 1831 and 1837, approximately 46,000 Native Americans were forced to leave their homes in southeastern states.

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS: Banished reveals true stories, documents and news articles from this sad time in Alabama’s history. Some stories include:

  • Choctaw & Treaty Of Dancing Rabbit Creek
  • Private Contracts For Removal
  • Stockades In Alabama
  • The Long Trail West
  • Reverend Daniel S. Burtrick’s 1838 Journal
  • An Observer Writes His Memories

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Banished: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Paperback)

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ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Banished: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Paperback)
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ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Banished: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Paperback)

By (author):  Causey, Donna R
List Price: $17.97
New From: $17.97 In Stock
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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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