I don’t know how representative Peter Cartwright was. I’m not at all certain he was representative of the hundreds of other frontier circuit riders who brought Methodism to what we now call the Midwest. So, I’m not sure if it is safe to draw any lessons from his life and ministry.
You’ve been warned.
With all that said, when I read Cartwright’s autobiography, I’m struck by just how ornery he was. He was downright combative and went around looking for fights. It was no uncommon for him to challenge Baptists and “New Light” preachers to debates on doctrine and practice. He reports with great glee his besting of them.
He had what strikes me as an American relish for competitive contests. It is not at all surprising to me that he went into politics.
In short, he does not seem much like your typical United Methodist pastor today.
Maybe that is good. Maybe that is bad. I don’t know. I am just struck by the difference.