Thursday, January 12, 2017

Charles Woodmason, "rude fellows," & "57 dogs"

In the last half of the 1760s, “itinerant minister” Charles Woodmason was sent by the Church of England into the Carolina backcountry. He kept a diary. Presbyterian meeting houses by that time had become strongholds of isolationist Scots-Irish settlers. A centuries-long history of being on the receiving end of British oppression, these descendants of persecuted Scots had particularly strong resentments towards the British crown, not to mention the Anglican church. In attempts to deliver his sermons, Rev. Woodmason found himself challenged by many of those who gathered to “listen.”
But the Service was greatly interrupted by a Gang of Presbyterians who kept halooing and whooping without [the] Door like Indians. ...they hir’d a Band of rude fellows to come to Service who brought with them 57 Dogs (for I counted them) which in Time of Service they set fighting, and I was obliged to stop.
—Reverend Charles Woodmason
Woodmason continued to suffer interruptions throughout his efforts to preach, but did not seek legal action against his harassers, “as all the Magistrates are Presbyterians, I could not get a Warrant - if I got Warrants as the Constables are Presbyterians likewise, I could not get them serv’d - If serv’d, the Guard would let them escape.”*

* Charles Woodmason, edited by Richard Hooker, The Carolina Backcountry on the Eve of the Revolution: The Journal and Other Writings of Charles Woodmason, Anglican Itinerant, 1953, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina