Garden of American Methodism: The Delmarva Peninsula, by William H. Williams

By William H. Williams

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One Sussex man recalled the impact of Whitefield's Calvinism on his own family. " But even more important, Whitefield also preached the necessity of the new birth in Christ. 7 Anglicans objected to Whitefield's preaching style and Calvinist theology, but were even more offended by his attacks on Church of England clergy. "8 Page 5 Whitefield's enemies were quick to admit his ability to draw crowds, but were even quicker to agree with the Reverend William Becket of Lewes that it was the "vulgar everywhere" who were inclined to turn out.

The date of Strawbridge's arrival from Ireland and the date he first set up a Methodist society in Maryland are unknown, but Straw-bridge did have an active society functioning in the Sam's Creek area of Frederick County, Maryland, by the spring of 1766. Straw-bridge was not acting in an official capacity nor had he asked the Methodist connection across the Atlantic for permission when he set up that first society. Moreover, contrary to Wesley's instruction to all Methodist preachers, Strawbridge proceeded to administer the sacraments of baptism and communion.

Descended from Presbyterian Scotsmen who immigrated to northern Ireland during the seventeenth century, many Scotch-Irish left for the New World and its better economic prospects a century later. "10 Being the most numerous religious body in northern Delaware did not make the Presbyterians immune to internal discord. Presbyterian ministers William Tennent and his four sons were leaders in the Great Awakening in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The Tennent preaching technique, emphasizing Hell, damnation, and rebirth, was controversial and split Presbyterianism into two warring camps.

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