Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Peter Cartwright  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT Non-Fiction

Born: Amherst County, Virginia, September 1, 1785


Illinois Connection

Cartwright helped found McKendree College in Lebanon, Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington and Illinois Conference Female Academy in Jacksonville - now MacMurray College. He passed away in Pleasant Plains and an Illinois Historical marker honors him near his home and grave.

Biographical and Professional Information

Peter Cartwright was a Methodist, revivalist, preacher, in the Midwest. A Methodist missionary, he helped start America's Second Great Awakening, personally baptizing twelve thousand converts. Opposed to slavery, Cartwright moved from Kentucky to Illinois, and was elected to the lower house of the Illinois General Assembly in 1828 and 1832.

He was twice elected legislator in Illinois. In 1846 Abraham Lincoln defeated Cartwright for a seat in the United States Congress. As a Methodist circuit rider, Cartwright rode circuits in Kentucky and Illinois, as well as Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio. His Autobiography (1856) made him nationally prominent.

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