The novel The Damnation of Theron Ware captures the shift to respectability among nineteenth‐century Methodists that Asbury had feared and many nineteenth‐century “croakers” decried. Through the nineteenth century, observers, including Ezekiel Cooper, Nathan Bangs, Abel Stevens, and Edward Drinkhouse, bent Asbury’s legacy to serve their own purposes. Twentieth‐century writers, most prominently William Warren Sweet, also used Asbury’s legacy to promote their own vision for the church, as did the backers of a bronze monument of Asbury on horseback dedicated in Washington, D.C., in October 1924. Asbury’s image was treated with far less respect by writers such as Herbert Asbury, who published a cynical and mostly fictional biography of Asbury in 1927. Asbury is better understood through an appreciation of his piety, his ability to connect with others, his cultural sensitivity, and his administrative abilities.
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