Cartwright, Peter, 1785–1872, American Methodist preacher, b. Virginia. He was a circuit rider in Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois for nearly 50 years. In 1846 he was defeated as a candidate for Congress by Abraham Lincoln. An interest in education led Cartwright to aid in founding Illinois Wesleyan Univ. and Illinois Conference Female Academy (now MacMurray College). The methods and experiences of the pioneer preacher are vividly recorded in his autobiography (1857) and other books.
See biographies by H. H. Grant (1931) and S. and M. Greenbie (1955).
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Cartwright, Peter(1785–1872) Protestant religious leader; born in Amherst County, Va. He moved with his family to frontier Logan County, Ky., in 1790 and converted to Methodism at age 16. As a traveling preacher from 1803–24, he denounced drinking, gambling, and rival sects on the circuit in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and Indiana. A committed opponent of slavery, he was twice elected to the Illinois legislature; in 1846 he lost the election to the U.S. House of Representatives to Abraham Lincoln. The Backwoods Preacher, his account of frontier religious life, appeared in 1869.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.