Circuit Riders By Tamera Lynn Kraft

Hello and happy Friday at the Junction. Today guest author Tamera Lynn Kraft joins us to spread the word about circuit riders and to give away a copy of her new book Red Sky Over America. Please join me in welcoming Tamera!

I’ve always been fascinated with circuit riders. Men traveled from place to place in the Old West preaching the Gospel to the families that settled there. They went where most preachers wouldn’t go and risked their lives doing it. Because they visited a number of small gatherings without pastors every week, they traveled on horseback. They were never called circuit riders by their denominations, but the name stuck. They would preach in cabins, fields, courthouses, meeting houses, basements, and even street corners. They would go wherever they could find people to listen.

Francis Asbury was the founder of circuit riding. He traveled 270,000 miles and preached 16,000 sermons in his lifetime. Peter Cartwright, another circuit rider, wrote an autobiography about the life of a traveling preacher. He described the hardships of being a missionary in the West. He faced storms, swamps, climbing mountains, and sleeping wet and hungry in his saddle-bag. Circuit riders also faced persecution. Circuit rider Freeborn Garrettson wrote, “I was pursued by the wicked, knocked down, and left almost dead on the highway, my face scarred and bleeding and then imprisoned.” In 1847, more than half of traveling preachers died before the age of 30.

The circuit riding preachers of the West remind me of the missionary spirit that swept across the United States during the 1800s. In my new novel, Red Sky Over America, America has that missionary spirit. She wants to go to China to become a missionary, but first she has to travel to Kentucky to confront her father about owning slaves. This is a picture of the John Parker House of the Ohio side of the river across from where America lived. John Parker was a free black man who helped slaves cross the river.

Here’s a little bit more about Red Sky Over America, Book 1, Ladies of Oberlin Series.

William and America confront evil, but will it cost them everything?

In 1857, America, the daughter of a slave owner, is an abolitionist and a student at Oberlin College, a school known for its radical ideas. America goes home to Kentucky during school break to confront her father about freeing his slaves.

America’s classmate, William, goes to Kentucky to preach abolition to churches that condone slavery. America and William find themselves in the center of the approaching storm sweeping the nation and may not make it home to Ohio or live through the struggle.

I’m giving away an autographed copy of Red Sky Over America to someone commenting on this post.

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Guest Blogger

35 Comments

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  1. I cannot even imagine 1857 times with slavery being the norm. I am grateful it did come to and end. But, many freed were left with no support structure to help them adapt and thrive. That is so sad.
    The only thing I can think of worse is how the American Indian were and still are treated.

  2. Wow, great blog. Slacery was a horrible part of our history. The way they were treated and what they went through breaks my heart.
    I so glad it was abolished, but even after that happened the ex-slaves were left helpless to start a new life.
    Your story sounds interesting and I’m inquisitive.
    I agree with Jerri Lynn- The way our Native American Indians were treated just makes my blood boil, too.
    You have a great day and Happy Early Mother’s Day To you,

  3. I agree with everything said above but having just returned from visiting former soviet block countries, the same thing happens everywhere. The soviet Union released them but then pulled all their support, including markets for their goods. I wish we could treat everyone respectfully.

  4. I enjoyed you post very good information. Also love the cover of your book and I can’t wait to read it.

    1. Quilt Lady, I hope you enjoy it.

  5. what a good blog, when i saw it said circuit rider, I thought it had to do with cowboys and the rodeo. this will go on my to read list. what a good name for the character.

  6. Sounds like a good read, my favorite time period, and I love getting all these little bits of background information. Just physically, sometimes it sounds like it was unbelievably tough, and then to fight the resistance and hostility, what dedication that must have taken.

  7. I agree, Sally. Sometimes it broke my heart researching it.

  8. Thank you for sharing your very interesting post.

  9. I love reading about the history of our land and how courageous souls helped to spread the gospel. I want to read this one.

  10. I never realized circuit riders’ lives were so much like that of Jesus’ disciples, facing persecution and death! Thank you for this post! Your latest novel sounds fascinating, probably my favorite US historical period. Thank you for the chance to win!

  11. Thanks for sharing the details about the circuit riding preachers–I didn’t realize what all the suffered to share the gospel!

  12. Very Interesting. thanks for sharing.

  13. Fascinating history. Your book looks captivating.

  14. Very interesting history, enjoyed the history.your book sounds great!

  15. According to a professor I had in college, sometimes, they only visited some areas once a year or two, and they not only preached, they performed other things like marriages and baptisms. And, sometimes, the couples to be married had already married in absentia of a minister and had started families.

    1. I heard that happened too in the most remote areas, Denise.

  16. Interesting info!
    Love your cover.
    Good luck and God’s blessings
    PamT

  17. Hi Tamera, I’m sorry I’m a bit late but I wanted to chime in. I love stories and movies about circuit riding preachers and have used them in some of my stories. They lived a lonely life I think to be away from family and going from town to town. But they really served a vital service. If not for them, a lot of people wouldn’t have gotten married or else would’ve lived common law. I think they went a long way toward settling the West.

    Good luck with your books!

  18. I agree with you, Linda. Thanks.

  19. I didn’t really realize how dangerous/unhealthy it was to be a circuit rider. They certainly faced a hard and short life. It took more dedication than I had thought about. Your book sounds very exciting. I’m looking forward to reading it.

  20. Tamera, thanks for the great blog. Your book covers a lot about how the West was back in those days. A lot of troubled times for all. Will add it to my TBR list.

  21. Hi Tamera, thank you for your visit at Petticoats and Pistols. I hope you enjoyed it just like I did.

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