Having grown up in a Methodist family, I found this story enlightening.

A methodist circuit rider visited Sam Smith's small town in Vermont
A methodist circuit rider visited Sam Smith’s small town in Vermont

At about the beginning of the 19th Century, Sam Smith sold his portion of the family’s Newburyport homestead to his brother and left for Vermont, where he built up his own farm into a successful operation. Each winter, Sam would return to Newburyport loaded with country farm produce, which he would swap for the dry goods and products that he needed. One year, Sam brought news that shocked his Newburyport kin. He had become a Methodist, and he set the family into an uproar. Sarah Anna Emory wrote, “Grandmother was so deaf that it was difficult to make her comprehend the matter; but Uncle Sam was too zealous to leave her long unenlightened. This good woman was positively aghast: “Her son, her son Sam, turned Methodist!”

The conversion began when a travelling Methodist preacher visited Sam Smith’s small Vermont town. Read more at Uncle Sam Smith Becomes a Methodist and Shocks his Kin – New England Historical Society.

The old Smith place, from Reminiscences of a nonagenarian.  Edited and illustrated by Sarah Anna Emery. Published 1879 in Newburyport
The old Smith place, from “Reminiscences of a Nonagenarian”Edited and illustrated by Sarah Anna Emery. Published 1879 in Newburyport

One thought on “Sam Smith shocks his kin by becoming a Methodist

  1. Such uproar “back in the day” if someone changed their religion! Really! I have to tell you Gordon, on my father’s side of the family (back in North Wales), there was a daughter in the family who had a baby in the early 1800s (don’t know what happened to the husband). She came home one day and told the family she was now a “Methodist” (horror of horrors)! She was banished from the home, along with the baby permanently! She ended up coming to America, to New York state! I mean even 50 years ago, God forbid one married outside of their religion!

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