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Huntingdon Woman’s Club hears about Red River Meeting House

January 4, 2023

President- Mrs. Billy Cary

Secretary- Mrs. Glenn Tippitt

As the New Year rolls into a cold January, the Huntingdon Woman’s Club gets back on their regularly scheduled program on January 4. The Club met at Long Rock Church with Mrs. Coy Moore serving as hostess with a remaining Christmas scene. Mrs. Moore served a smorgasbord of spicy meat balls, buffalo chicken, broccoli salad, with chip and dip. For dessert, she presented a delicious cheese cake. Mrs. Moore opened the meeting with a welcome and prayer.

President Mrs. Billy Cary opened the business meeting. The roll was called and the minutes from November 9, 2022 were read and approved. After conducting business, the program was turned over to Mrs. Moore to continue the study of “The Great Awakening” with the site of the first religious camp meeting in the United States, Red River Meeting House.  

The Red River Meeting House was held on June 13-17, 1800, and it marked the start of the Second Great Awakening. The meeting was organized by the Presbyterian minister James McGready in Logan County, Kentucky, including William Hodge, John Rankin, and Methodist Ministers, William and John McGee. The religious excitement at Red River inspired what would later become a regular feature of Kentucky revivalism- camping at the site. In July 1800, the first camp meeting of the

Second Great Awakening took place near the Gasper River. Previous to 1800, long-distance travelers attending the multi-day sacrament observance would make arrangements to stay with neighboring families, but as the news of the revivals spread, the people desired to linger, and with the needs of large numbers of people from great distances, it inspired families to come prepared to camp at the site. McGready saw the potential for the meeting to continue into the night, so he publicized the idea of camping on the grounds for the next meeting. People responded and came on several wagons loaded with provisions and were ready to camp. By the time the meetings took place at the congregations of Muddy River and at several other congregations in Tennessee and Kentucky into the late summer and fall of 1800, camping had become common. The meeting was a chance for the settlers to end their relative isolation for several days and to engage with new people.

Attendance at the various meetings continued to grow, with five thousand reported at Hodge’s Shiloh congregation in Tennessee in September. John Rankin carried the revival into eastern Tennessee and North Carolina in the fall of 1800, as the revival continued to expand out of Logan County, Kentucky. McGready recorded several incidents of people inspiring their friends and neighbors after they returned home, planting “true religion” where none existed. 

By the winter of 1800, random revivals had begun to erupt in the Bluegrass region, near Lexington, even among the Baptists. Barton Stone, a Presbyterian minister since 1796 to congregations in the Bluegrass – Cane Ridge and Concord area, traveled to Logan County in the spring of 1801 to see the revivals he had heard about. The Cane Ridge congregation urged Stone to organize a similar event there and in August 1801 the observance there suppressed those of Longan County, with as many as 20,000 in attendance. Similar observances in the area also sprang up, attracting large crowds, to bring the total number of revival attendees to 100,000 by the end of the year. 

These revivals were known to have loud outbursts and physical movements. The people wept and swooned in these church services. It was reported that some “felt such a power on them that they trembled as weeping erupted and sat down on the floor”. They would run through the revival shouting and exhorting with ecstasy and energy. John McGee reported, “Using the term “slain”, that came to be associated with the revival phenomenon of collapsing in a state of physical helplessness, the floor was soon covered with the slain; their screams for mercy pierced the heavens.”

These revivals also continued in the Cumberland region in 1801, increasing in both number and fervor. Mrs. Moore and her husband, visited this site in Logan County and brought back pictures of the Red River Presbyterian Meeting house site and cemetery that is near Adairville, Kentucky for all to enjoy.

The next meeting will be held on January 18, 2023 at the Mi Pueblito Mexican restaurant with Mrs. Tony Tucker speaking on James McGready, a Presbyterian minister who started the Red River camp meetings. 

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