circuit rider

Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.

circuit rider,

itinerant preacher of the Methodist denomination who served a "circuit" consisting usually of 20 to 40 "appointments." The circuit system, devised by John Wesley for his English societies in their formative period and developed in America by Francis Asbury, proved especially adapted to the conditions of the American frontier and came into its own in the trans-Allegheny region. Its success was a factor in establishing Methodism in America. The circuit rider, traveling usually on horseback because it was economical and suited to the forest pathways, preached nearly every day and twice on Sundays, thus covering his circuit every four or five weeks. His appointments were usually in pioneer cabins, schoolhouses, or tavern barrooms. The circuit rider often had a limited education, but he was usually an effective preacher and lived a very self-sacrificing life.


See E. K. Nottingham, Methodism and the Frontier (1941, repr. 1966); W. W. Sweet, The Methodists, 1783–1840 (1946, repr. 1964).

circuit rider

frontier Methodist preacher who served “appointments” (services) in cabins, schoolhouses, and even taverns. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 561]
References in periodicals archive ?
Figa went on to do a doctoral dissertation at the University of Illinois, Mapping and Storytelling an Information System: An Historical and Ethnographic Case Study of the First Circuit Rider Medical Library Program, and an article with extended portions of Figa's research that focused on Jean appeared in the winter 1999 issue of Library Trends [3].
In Livingston Parish, Louisiana, a circuit rider procured a flatbed tow truck and 20 water storage tanks from a colleague to dispense potable water.
My great-grandfather was a Methodist circuit rider in Texas.
He said it wouldn't necessarily come from the circuit rider program because community colleges often offer comparable operator training.
Elizabeth Gremore Figa, who is a public health and medical informatics specialist, combines oral history with field work observations to collect stories from a pioneering medical librarian circuit rider.
Northern California writer Seth Zuckerman is Ecotrusts circuit rider, chronicling stories from the Pacific Coast temperate rainforest.
This was such a painful issue for everyone involved," says Aimee Boulanger, a TAG member who also serves as the Southwest circuit rider for the Mineral Policy Center.
Seth Zuckerman is a writer traveling the North American Rain Forest Coast as the Ecotrust Circuit Rider.
A classic of regional literature, Eggleston's novel sold some 500,000 copies, a circulation never reached by Eggleston's The Circuit Rider (1874) or Roxy (1878), considered better novels.
Its hero is Morton Goodwin, a young Methodist preacher who suffers from a rejection in love but finally rescues himself through religion, becomes a circuit rider, and experiences the joys and perils that accompany preaching in the wilderness.
One task for a circuit rider was to help keep the peace-or sometimes preach at funerals for those who died shooting at each other in the battles over which community would get to be the county seat.