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.
Buy Link for Amazon