- Dow, Lorenzo
- (177 7-183 4)popular American Methodist preacherLorenzo Dow, known for his eccentric ways and his wide travels, was born in Coventry, Connecticut, on October 16, 1777, and was converted in 1791 under the ministry of Hope Hull (1763-1818), a Methodist preacher. Dow began to preach in 1794. He was admitted on trial as a preacher in 1798 by Bishop Francis Asbury.After a two-year stay in England, trying to overcome poor health, he returned in 1801 and was appointed to a circuit in New England. Six months later, he left the circuit, effectively severing his ties to organized METHODISM, and he began a life of itinerant preaching.Dow was tall and thin, with a long, red beard. His harsh, raspy voice and jerky movements and gestures while preaching became famous, along with numerous anecdotes of odd and humorous incidents. However, he was acknowledged to be a serious evangelist, creative in devising methods of reaching his audiences. Early in his ministry, he met Samul K. Jennings, who had written about camp meetings, and he became an advocate of them. In 1804, he published the first of many editions of his Life and Travels, recounting his evangelistic work. In 1805, he traveled to England, where he met peters phillips (1778-1853), later the founder of the Independent Methodists, and Hugh Bourne (1772-1852), who joined Dow in introducing camp meetings into England. Bourne later helped found the Primitive Methodist Church.Though cut off from the main body of Methodists, Dow's travels did much to spread Methodism in the United States and England in the early 19th century. He died in Washington, D.C., on February 2, 1834.Further reading:■ Lorenzo Dow, The Dealings of God, Man, and the Devil, As Exemplified in the Life, Experience, and Travels of Lorenzo Dow, in a Period of Over Half a Century, Together with His Polemic and Miscellaneous Writings, To Which Is Added the Vicissitudes of Life, by Peggy Dow (New York: Sheldon, Lamport & Blakeman, 1849)■ -----, History of Cosmopolite, Or the Four Volumes of Lorenzo Dow's Journal (Wheeling, Va.: 1848); , The Eccentric Preacher (Lowell, Mass.: E. A. Rice, 1841)■ Charles Coleman Sellers, Lorenzo Dow: The Bearer of the Word (New York: Minton, Balch & Company, 1928).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.