Cravens, William

Cravens, William, a celebrated and eccentric Methodist Episcopal minister, was born in Rockingham County, Va., July 31, 1776. Converted in 1794, he began to preach about 1800, and for many years, as a local preacher, he served the Church in his native state. He traveled extensively without fee or reward; everywhere producing great effects by his courageous denunciations of sin. He was a strenuous opponent of slavery, and, having emancipated his own slaves, removed to the West in 1819, chiefly with a view to their advantage. In 1820 he was admitted on trial in the Missouri Conference, which then embraced Illinois, Indiana, and part of Tennessee. He continued to travel and preach on the frontier to the day of his death, which took place at his house, Washington County, Ind., Oct. 10, 1826. He was a man of great physical power, a vast fund of wit and humor, and indomitable energy. Virginia and the West abound in stories of his adventures, which, if collected, would make a biography of romantic interest. — Minutes of Conferences, 1:573; Stevens, History of Methodism; Wakely, Heroes of Methodism.

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