While Methodism grew vigorously in New York, its growth was slower in New England, in part because Methodists refused to seek government support. Asbury frequently had strep throat, which can damage the heart valves and lead to congestive heart failure. At the New England conference in 1793 Asbury managed to replace Jesse Lee as presiding elder with Ezekiel Cooper, despite stubborn resistance from Lee. Asbury escaped yellow fever in Philadelphia, but arrived in Charleston, South Carolina, in December desperately ill nonetheless. Since he could not travel, he delegated authority to presiding elders, including John Kobler and Francis Poythress in Kentucky and Tennessee. As he traveled less, Asbury returned to more basic pastoral duties. Such responsibilities often exhausted young preachers, who frequently left the ministry for marriage, as was nearly the case with Ezekiel Cooper.
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