Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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DOW, Lorenzo, clergyman, born in Coventry, Connecticut, 16 October. 1777" died in Georgetown, D. C.. 2 February 1834. In his youth he was disturbed by religious speculations until he accepted Methodist doctrines, and determined, in opposition to the wishes of his family, to become a preacher of that denomination, though his education was very librated. In 1796 he made an unsuccessful application for admission into the Connecticut conference; but two years later he was received, and in 1799 was appointed to the Cambridge circuit, N.Y. During the year he was transferred to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and afterward to Essex, Vermont, but remained there only a brief time, as he believed he had a divine call to preach to the Catholics of Ireland. He made two visits to Ireland and England, in 1799 and 1805, and by his eccentric manners and attractive eloquence drew after him immense crowds, who sometimes indulged in a spirit of bitter persecution. He introduced camp meetings into England, and the controversy about them resulted in the organization of the Primitive Methodists.
In 1802 he preached in the Albany district, New York, "against atheism, deism, Calvinism, and Universalism." He passed the years 1803 and 1804 in Alabama, delivering the first Protestant sermon within the bounds of that state. In 1807 he extended his labors into Louisiana, and followed the settlers to the extreme borders of civilization. After 1799 he had no official relation to the ministry of the Methodist Church, but continued to adhere to and to preach the prominent doctrines of that communion till his death. During his later years his efforts were more specially directed against the Jesuits, whom he regarded as dangerous enemies to pure religion and to republican government. His singularities of manner and of dress excited prejudices against him, causing him to be called "Crazy Dow," and counteracted the effect of his eloquence. Nevertheless he is said to have preached to more persons than any man of his time.
Among his numerous writings are " Polemical Works" (New York, 1814); " The Stranger in Charleston, or the Trial and Confession of Lorenzo Dow" (Philadelphia, 1822)" "A Short Account of a Long Travel, with Beauties of Wesley" (Philadelphia, 1828); "Journal and Miscellaneous Writings," edited by John Dowling (New York, 1836)" and "History of a Cosmopolite, or the Writings of the Rev. Lorenzo Dow, containing his Experience and Travels in Europe and America up to near his Fiftieth Year ; also his Polemic Writings" (Cincinnati, 1851" often reprinted).His wife, Peggy, whom he married in 1804, accompanied him in all his travels.
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