CARTWRIGHT, PETER (1785-1872), American Methodist Episcopal preacher, was born on the 1st of September 1785 in Amherst county, Virginia. His father, a veteran of the War of Independence, took his family to Kentucky in 1790, and lived near Lancaster until 1793, and then until 1802 in Logan county near the Tennessee line. Peter received little education, and was a gambler at cards and horse-racing until 1801, when he heard John Page preach. In June he was received into the church; in May 1802 was licensed as a regular exhorter, becoming known as the "Kentucky Boy"; in the autumn of 1802 was licensed to form the Livingston circuit around the mouth of the Cumberland river; in 1806 was ordained deacon by Bishop Asbury, and in 1808 presiding elder by Bishop McKendree, under whose direction he had studied theology. He was presiding elder of the Wabash district in 1812, and of Green river district in 1813-1816, and, after four years on circuit in Kentucky and two as presiding elder of the Cumberland district, was transferred in 1823 to the Illinois conference, in which he was presiding elder of various districts until 1869. Up to 1856 he preached some 14,600 times, received some 10,000 persons into the church, and baptized some 12,000 persons. He died near Pleasant Plains, Sangamon county, Illinois, on the 25th of September 1872. He was a typical backwoods preacher, an able, vigorous speaker, and a racy writer.
See the Autobiography of Peter Cartwright, the Backwoods Preacher, edited by W.P. Strickland (New York, 1856).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)