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American Saint Francis Asbury and the Methodists$
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John Wigger

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195387803

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195387803.001.0001

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Bending Frank

Bending Frank

(p.401) Epilogue Bending Frank
American Saint Francis Asbury and the Methodists

John Wigger (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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.

Keywords:   Herbert Asbury, Nathan Bangs, biography, croakers, cultural sensitivity, Damnation of Theron Ware, monument, piety, Abel Stevens, William Warren Sweet

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