A BIBLE USED BY FRANCIS ASBURY
The Holy Bible.
Philadelphia: Mathew Carey, 1806.
According to multiple inscriptions this Bible was purchased in 1806 for the Methodist church at Coeyman’s Patent in upstate New York and later was used in services there by Francis Asbury (1745–1816), one of the most important figures in Methodist history. Born in Staffordshire, England, Asbury answered John Wesley’s call for volunteers to preach in America in 1771, and for the rest of his life he served American Methodism as its greatest leader. Elected with Thomas Coke as one of the first two general superintendents of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1784, Asbury travelled widely throughout the United States. He visited Coeyman’s Patent for the first time on August 29, 1791, and recorded in his journal that “I preached to about three hundred people in a barn at Coeyman’s Patent, the new stone church not being ready. Our society is promising in this place.” He returned regularly to Coeymans (as it is now known), preaching to ever-larger congregations, and on May 2, 1807, he presided over the General Conference meeting in the stone church there.
The exhibited Bible was later the property of John Wesley Carhart (1834–1914), a well-known Methodist minister, physician, inventor, and author who was born in Coeymans but settled in Texas. It was acquired by Southern Methodist University in 1915.