The Published Writings of Rev. Abel M. Sargent   |   Abel M. Sargent Chronology
excerpt: 1853 Finley bio.   |   excerpt: 1849 Marietta Physicians   |   excerpt: 1923 Ohio Universalists
excerpt: 1895 "Universalism"   |   Abel M. Sargent Genealogy   |   Concluding Comments

The Halcyon Churches
of Rev. Abel M. Sargent

An Inspiration for Solomon Spalding?

Episode One of the Spalding Saga

Novice students of early American religious history might be forgiven for assuming that the advent of the Mormons in northern Ohio, during the winter of 1830-31, marked the first appearance in that region of religious miracles, prophecy, revelations, and a popular feeling that the long anticipated Christian Millennium was about to break forth in all its wondrous glory. This is not exactly the case, however -- well before the first Mormon missionary ever set foot on the soild of the Buckeye State, it was home to at least two notable outbreaks of millenarian fervor, coupled with a popular belief that God's one true religion had come again among the faithful. One of these strange exhibitions of fanaticism centered around Joseph C. Dylkes, the "Leatherwood God" of Guernsey County. But there was an earlier millenarian excitement, located in and around Washington County just after the turn of the century, which in many ways prefigured the Mormon phenomenon of the 1830s. The propget, seer and revelator of this erstwhile church of the latter days was the Rev. Abel, Morgan Sargent (1764-1839), who had originally been a Baptist minister in the east.

In the opening paragraph of Chapter 7, in her popular 1945 biography of Joseph Smith, Jr., authoress Fawn M. Brodie writes:

Ohio had seen prophets before. In 1812 Abel Sargent, who talked with angels and received revelations, toured the state with twelve women apostles pretending to raise the dead and preaching the odd doctrine that if one were sufficiently holy, one could like without food. The sect suffered eclipse in Marietta, when a convert put the belief to the test, went nine days without eating, and died.

Mrs. Brodie then goes on to say a few words about Joseph C. Dylkes, who was not so much a false prophet as he was a divine pretender. Brodie gives no further details regarding Rev. Sargent and his notable religious movement in Ohio, even though his organization (variously called the "Free Church" or the "Halcyon Church") was recalled in later days as having resembled Mormonism. Brodie also neglects to tell her readers that Rev. Sargent's namesake, the Mormon Seventy, Abel Morgan Sargent, Jr., became the father-in-law of an important LDS leader in Utah, Apostle Charles C. Rich. Since No Man Knows My History has as one of its obvious purposes, the goal of replacing the old Solomon Spalding claims for Book of Mormon origins with the newfangled notion that the "Nephite Record" owed its ultimate genesis to the writings of the Rev. Ethan Smith of Poultney, Vermont, it comes as no surprise that the book's authoress avoids revealing the fact that Abel M. Sargent, Sr. and Solomon Spalding were educated easterners, contemporaries from Calvinist clerical backgrounds, who had moved the thinly populated edges of frontier Ohio, during the first decade of the nineteenth century: Rev. Sargent may have never heard of Solomon Spalding, but Spalding scarcely could have escaped hearing about Sargent. Given all of these interesting omissions, in one of the very few volumes of Mormon history that makes the slightest mention of Ohio's Halcyon prophet (John L. Brooke took a similar passing notice), it seems worth the while to here disclose just a few more details concerning the man and the movement that foreshadowed Mormonism in the western wilds of young America.

The First Universalist: Rev. Sargent before 1800

Nothing like a proper biography of the Rev. Abel Morgan Sargent, Sr. (a.k.a. "A. M.," "Able M.," "Sarjent," etc.) has evidently ever been written, much less published to the world. His ancestors and near relatives apparently did not make much of an impression upon writers of local histories and published genealogies. Even the year and place of his birth is uncertain, though most accounts seem to confirm that he was born in in September of 1764, in the south suburbs of Baltimore, as the eldest son of John and Catherine Sargent (or "Sarjent, as family members frequently spelled the name"). It is likely that Abel was born into a strict Baptist family, for both he and his younger brother, George, became ordained ministers in that denomination. Some sources say that, early in life, Abel became a preacher for the Freewill Baptists. Since this religious group did not appear in Maryland until the last years of the 18th century, Abel was probably an adult convert to its tenets. Baltimore then offered an almost uniquely tolerant environment where a religious seeker could easily change church affiliations. At the turn of the century Maryland (and Baltimore in particular) was a cross-roads of diverse religious expression -- ranging from orthodox Roman Catholicism to mystical Swedenborgianism; and from austere Dunkard peity to all sorts of revival camp-meeting extravagances (the Rev. Thomas Sarjent, Abel's cousin, conducted some of the first Baltimore preaching services marked by the new, western "bodily exercises").

Abel may have become an itinerant preacher at an early age and his wanderings seem to have led him at least as far west as Kentucky. There, on Nov. 8, 1785, he married Sarah Tunis (1761-1822), the daughter of Henry and Phebe Burnet Tunis. She stayed with her rolling stone of a husband, through all his ephiphanies and perambulations, bringing nine children into this world (only four of whom appear to have survived into adulthood). The couple's first two offspring were evidently born in Maryland, but a third child, Jahziel was born in northern New Jersey on Jan. 25, 1793. This was the year that the Rev. Abel M. Sargent published, in New York City, America's first Universalist periodical, The Free Universal Magazine. A more correct historical statement would be, that Rev. Sargent founded the first proto-Universalist magazine -- for his religious views, and those of the various other Christians he then fellowshipped, were not always in the the mainstream of the incipient American Universalist movement, as first popularized by John Murray, Elhanan Winchester and Hosea Ballou. Still, it must be admitted that the "true Universalists" later claimed Rev. Sargent as one of their own, despite various points of theological difference. It is also probable that Sargent's peculiar brand of religion was influenced by the disciples of John Murray, who were active in New Jersey during the brief time that Abel M. Sargent lived there. By the end of 1793, Sargent had returned to Baltimore, Maryland, where he published the final two issues of his Free Universal Magazine.

The New Revelation: Rev. Sargent after 1800

History does not record when the Rev. Abel Morgan Sargent first began to see holy visions, dream divine dreams and receive what he professed to be revelations from the heavenly realms. His family Bible provides evidence that he viewed the year 1801 as the beginning of a new millennial dispensation, but exactly how this belief affected the man's theology and religious practices remains uncertain. The first artifacts of a printed sort, hinting of his quasi-mystical experiences survive in the form of some tracts he had published at Cincinnati, in 1801 and at Lexington, in 1804. The Cincinnati oddities werte run through the press by Joseph Carpenter and Jonathan S. Findlay, the founders of The Western spy and Hamilton Gazette. His first 1801 pamphlet bears the intriguing title: The Voice of the Midnight Cry. The Little Book. The Arcanum Opened: Containing the Fundamental of the Pure and Most Ancient Theology; a companion tract bears an even more impressive headline: The Urim, or Halcyon Cabala; Containing the Fundamental Principles of the Halcyon Church of Christ in Columbia; Otherwise Called the Columbian Church, in Defence of the Genuine Christianity and in Opposition to "Lo here, and Lo there;" Consisting of One Supreme Object and Seven Leading Topicks.

Rev. Sargent's earlier periodical, The Free Universal Magazine, had been radical in its Unitarian theology and Restorationist piety, but its message did not yet constitute an open break with the leading denominations of Christendom. The tracts that Sargent was distributing up and down the Ohio, in 1801, presented a confrontational pronouncement -- People must understand that Abel M. Sargent was God's new messenger, preaching the only  "pure and most ancient theology:" he alone bore the keys to unlocking the mysteries of "the arcanum," the ancient Israelite "urim and thummim," and the Jewish "Cabala." Not only that, but the Baptist preacher turned Universalist, seems to have evolved his religion to the point that he was ready to set up "the Halcyon Church of Christ" in "Columbia" (America). The United States was the new holy nation -- the Promised Land for the coming Christian Millennium. The Rev. Sargent's new message to believers and to a sinful world, was that the one true church had reappeared and henceforth he was the oracle for the latter day order of God's Kingdom on earth. According to Sargent's own statements, this church was established in its "visible" form, near Point Pleasant, Virginia (now West Virginia), on July 11, 1802, with only fifteen members. This was a rather unpromising showing for two years of evangeling along the banks of the Ohio River, but the "Halcyons" (as his followers were sometimes called) were encourged to spread the word and enlarge the new church. Probably, at its largest extent a few years later, the membership of this "Halcyon Church" numbered a few hundred communicants, scattered between western Ohio and central New York.

Rev. Sargent probably visited the waterfront regions of Washington County, Ohio as early as 1801, but with his relocation to the Marietta-Belpre area, in about 1805, the Halcyon Church began to take on a more substantial appearance. It was during the time that the Church was headquartered in Washington County that Protestant preachers seem to have first encountered the new phenomenon and to have opposed it in any memorable way. The Rev. Elmo Arnold Robinson, beginning on page 12 of his 1923 book, The Universalist Church in Ohio, provides a useful summary of Rev. Sargent's turn of the century operations along the north bank of the Ohio River, centered primarily in Washington County, at Belpre and Marietta:

The Rev. Abel Morgan Sargent appears to have been the first Universalist preacher to come into the Belpre neighborhood, and indeed into the state. Originally he was a preacher of the Baptist Church, but later became a Universalist. His theology seems to have been an original and unusual combination of doctrines... He classed himself as a Universalist as early as 1793 and published in that year... the first periodical published in the United States to advocate Universalism, and also the first to advocate Unitarian views. The churches which he organized, however, were known as Free or Halcyon churches rather than as Universalist, and for at least a part of his career he seems to have taught the annihilation of the wicked rather than universal salvation.

Sargent came into Ohio about 1800... and for several years had considerable success as a preacher and organizer. A Methodist writer lists him among the evils with which Methodism had to contend, and speaks of "his twelve disciples, all women. It was spread over the country that he was inspired and conversed with angels daily, from whom he received revelations"

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(this section is still under construction)


Pioneer Life in The West


(Excerpt #1 -- from Chapter 15, published at Cincinnati, c. 1853)

[ 243 ]



Young Men Called to The Ministry -- Rev. Cornelius Springer -- Rev. Samuel Baker -- Rev. Job Baker -- Rev. Jacob Hooper -- Rev. Henry Baker -- John Dillon's Iron Works -- The Dillon Family -- Formation of a Class at The Iron Works -- Building of a Meetinghouse -- Bishop McKendree -- Rev. John Goshen -- His Labors -- Methodist Church and Temperance -- Advised to Go Home -- Temperance Sermons -- Pledge -- Rushville Campmeeting -- a Row -- Advice to The Rowdies -- Conference at Chilicothe -- Bishop Asbury and The Appointments -- West Wheeling Circuit -- Rev. Jacob Young -- Guessing at The Numbers in Society -- Roman Catholic Convert -- Abel Sargent, The Halcyon Preacher -- The Unhappy Influence of The War-spirit -- Local Preachers -- Model Class-Leader -- Poor Jane Craig -- The Young Lawyer

As fruits of the revivals this year may be reckoned seven interesting young men, who were subsequently called of God to preach the gospel -- James and Jacob Hooper, Henry, Samuel, and Job Baker, Samuel Hamilton, and Cornelius Springer. They all entered the traveling connection, and labored with zeal and success for many years. The latter, however, went off in the Radical secession, and became the editor of a paper which was adopted as the organ of Radicalism for the west. This sheet contained many bitter things against the government of the Methodist Episcopal Church, representing it as an oligarchy, and the bishops, presiding elders, and preachers as so many tyrants, lording it over God's heritage. The transition from schism to railing is easily made, and he, unfortunately for himself and many others who left the church, which had taken them from obscurity and nursed them into character and importance, lost sight of their vocation of calling sinners to repentance and feeding the flock over which they were placed as shepherds, and spent their time and exhausted their talents in laboring to break down the fold from which they had escaped. I shall not, however, bring against them any railing accusations; "to their own Master they stand or fall." Many of them were doubtless sincere, good men; but they were wonderfully misled by a few disappointed, and, consequently, disaffected leaders.

Samuel Baker closed his earthly labors in great peace,



and entered into rest. Job Baker located, studied medicine, and went south. Since then I have not heard anything concerning his history. Jacob Hooper traveled various circuits till his health failed, when he located, and continued, as far as circumstances would allow, to labor in the vineyard of his Lord. He yet lives, I believe, a good man and faithful minister. James Hooper still remains effective, and there is, perhaps, no traveling preacher in the connection who is more devoted to the missionary and Sabbath school cause, the latter particularly claiming his most earnest and faithful attention. Samuel Hamilton, till within a few years, has been a most laborious and efficient traveling preacher. For many years he served the church as a presiding elder. Few sons in the gospel have lived to graduate among the fathers with more fidelity or honor. Though now worn down with toil and halting to the tomb, he is calmly and patiently waiting the call of his Master...

(remainder of pp. 244-252, not transcribed)

... This year a campmeeting was held at the Rushville campground. At this meeting we were blessed with the presence of both of our beloved Superintendents -- Asbury and McKendree. A row was raised, on Saturday, by about twenty lewd fellows of the baser sort, who came upon the ground intoxicated, and had vowed they would break up the meeting. One of the preachers went to the leader for the purpose of getting him to leave, but this only enraged him, and he struck the preacher a violent blow on the face and knocked him down. Here the conflict began. The members saw that they must either defend themselves or allow the ruffians to beat them and insult their wives and daughters. It did not take them long to decide. They very soon placed themselves in an attitude of defense. Brother Birkhammer, an exceedingly stout man, seized their bully leader, who had struck the preacher, and with one thrust of his brawny arm crushed him down between two benches. The aid-de-camp of the bully ran to his relief, but it was to meet the same fate; for no sooner did he come in reach of the Methodist than, with crushing force, he felt himself ground on the back of his comrade, in distress. Here they were held in durance vile till the sheriff and his posse came and took possession, and binding them, with ten others, they were carried before a justice, who fined them heavily for the misdemeanor.

As soon as quiet was restored, Bishop Asbury occupied



the pulpit. After singing and prayer, he rose and said he would give the rowdies some advice. "You must remember that all our brothers in the church are not yet sanctified, and I advise you to let them alone; for if you get them angry and the devil should get in them, they are the strongest and hardest men to fight and conquer in the world. I advise you, if you do not like them, to go home and let them alone."

The work of the Lord commenced at this point, and meetings were kept up without intermission till Tuesday morning. Upward of one hundred were converted to God and joined the church. Many more gave in their names, and they were handed over to the leaders, to be presented to the next preacher who should come upon the circuit. At the close of the campmeeting we left for conference, which was held in Chilicothe, October 17, 1812....

(remainder of pp. 253-254, not transcribed)

... The name of my circuit was West Wheeling, in the Ohio district. Jacob Young was appointed presiding elder of the district. St. Clairsville, the capital of Belmont county, was the center and metropolis of my circuit. The



number of members returned was four hundred and sixty-two; but this number was ascertained on the principle of guessing -- a Yankee mode of computation that doesn't exactly suit western mathematics. The careless manner by which the preacher in charge too frequently arrives at the numbers in society, cannot be too severely censured. My custom, on the first round, was to get all the class-books, and in the presence of the leaders take down all the names in my memorandum, kept for that purpose, and when any were removed, expelled, or had died, I would mark my book accordingly. Thus, without recourse to the classbooks, at the end of the year, I could tell exactly the numbers in society.

I removed my family to St. Clairsville. The society here had many pious people in it, though some were in a backslidden state....

(remainder of pp. 255-257, not transcribed)

... In this neighborhood the Lord commenced a great and glorious work, and many souls were converted. There were also revivals at G. B.'s, on McMahon's Creek, at A. Scott's, on Wheeling Creek, on Pipe Creek, and in Dilley's Bottom. At all these places there were many manifest evidences of the power of grace in renewing the heart.

1: Morgantown,  2: Clarksburg,  3: Belpre,  4: Marietta,  5: St. Clairsville & Wheeling Cr.
(Four-State Area, South of Wheeling, c. 1812 -- view high resolution map )

About this time there flourished in this section of the country (near St. Clairsville, the capital of Belmont County,) a Halcyon preacher by the name of Abel Sargent. He formerly resided near Morgantown, Virginia, and was a Universalist preacher; but receiving a new revelation, in which he said he held converse with angels, and he was made the medium of communication to the world.

His doctrines did not differ very materially from the Universalist creed, except that he taught the annihilation of the wicked. The regenerated soul, he taught, was a part of God; and when the body died there was a resorption of the soul into God. He did not believe in any devil, in a place of future torment, nor in a judgment. He went about the country with his twelve apostles, mostly women, preaching and pretending to raise the dead. One of his followers, in the bounds of my circuit, declared that he could fast as long as the Savior did -- forty days and forty nights. This, he said, he was enabled to do, because the divinity was in him. To prove it he commenced



the work of fasting, and persisted in abstaining from food for sixteen days, when he died. The halcyon declared that he would resuscitate himself after three days, and they kept his body till decomposition had progressed so far that they were compelled to bury it out of their sight. This, like all other species of fanaticism and superstition, had its day and produced some excitement on the circuit, but nothing that resulted very disastrously to the cause of religion.

This year the war spirit unfortunately entered into many professors of religion, and as soon as they caught it they began to lose their religion....

(remainder of Chapter 15 not transcribed)


(Excerpt #2 -- from Chapter 21, published at Cincinnati, c. 1853)

[ 362 ]



In the spring of 1800 one of the most astonishing and powerful revivals occurred that has ever been known in the western country. This was also the most extensive revival that perhaps ever was witnessed in this country. It was marked by some peculiarities which had not been known to characterize any revival in former times. The nearest approximation to it, of which I can form any conception, was the revival on the day of Pentecost, when thousands were awakened and converted to God under the most exciting circumstances.

The commencement of the revival is traceable to the joint labors of two brothers in Cumberland County, Kentucky, one of whom was a Presbyterian and the other a Methodist preacher. They commenced laboring together, every Sabbath preaching, exhorting, and praying alternately. This union was regarded as quite singular, and excited the curiosity of vast multitudes, who came to the places of meeting to hear two men preach who held views in theology supposed to be entirely antagonistic. Nothing was discoverable in their preaching of a doctrinal character,except the doctrine of man's total depravity and ruin by sin, and his recovery therefrom by faith in Christ. All were exhorted to flee the wrath to come, and be saved from their sins. The word which they preached was attended with the power of God to the hearts of listening thousands. The multitudes who flocked from all parts of the country to hear them, became so vast that no church would hold them, and they were obliged to resort to the



fields and woods. Every vehicle was put in requisition; carriages, wagons, carts and sleds. Many came on horseback, and larger crowds still came on foot.

As the excitement increased, and the work of conviction and conversion continued, several brought tents, which they pitched on the ground, and remained day and night for many days. The reader will here find the origin of campmeetings.

In the spring of 1801 bishop M'Kendree was appointed presiding elder of the Kentucky district; and being thus brought in contact with this wonderful work, he was prepared to form a correct judgment of its character. That there were extravagances that constituted no part of religion, he was prepared to admit, but that it was all a wild, fanatical delusion, he was very far from conceding. Nay, he believed that it was the work of God's Spirit on the hearts of the people, and that thousands were genuinely converted to God.

These meetings began to follow one another in quick succession, and the numbers which attended were almost incredible. While the meetings lasted, crowds were to be seen in all directions, passing and repassing the roads and paths, while the woods seemed to be alive with people Whole settlements appeared to be vacated, and only here and there could be found a house having an inhabitant. All ages, sexes, and conditions, pressed their way to the campmeeting. At these meetings the Presbyterians and Methodists united. They were held at different places. On the 22d of May, 1801, one was held at Cabin Creek; the next was held at Concord, in one of my father's old congregations. The next was at Point Pleasant, and the succeeding one at Indian Creek, in Harrison County. At these meetings thousands fell under the power of God, and cried for mercy. The scenes which successively occurred at these meetings were awfully sublime, and a general



terror seemed to have pervaded the minds of all people within the reach of their influences.

The great general campmeeting was held at Cane Ridge meetinghouse. This house was built for my father, and here was my old home. I have elsewhere described this meeting, or, rather, attempted to do so. Language is utterly impuissant (impuissant = impotent, weak. Oxford Dict.) to convey anything like an adequate idea of the sublimity and grandeur of the scene. Twenty thousand persons tossed to and fro, like the tumultuous waves of the sea in a storm, or swept down like the trees of the forest under the blast of the wild tornado, was a sight which mine own eyes witnessed, but which neither my pen nor tongue can describe.

During the religious exercises within the encampment, all manner of wickedness was going on without. So deep and awful is man's depravity, that he will sport while the very fires of perdition are kindling around him. Men, furious with the effects of the maddening bowl, would outrage all decency by their conduct; and some, mounted on horses, would ride at full speed among the people. I saw one, who seemed to be a leader and champion of the party, on a large, white horse, ride furiously into the praying circle, uttering the most horrid imprecations. Suddenly, as if smitten by lightning, he fell from his horse. At this a shout went up from the religious multitude, as if Lucifer himself had fallen. I trembled, for I feared God had killed the bold and daring blasphemer. He exhibited no signs whatever of life; his limbs were rigid, his wrists pulseless, and his breath gone. Several of his comrades came to see him, but they did not gaze long till the power of God came upon them, and they fell like men slain in battle. I was much alarmed, but I had a great desire to see the issue. I watched him closely, while for thirty hours he lay, to all human appearance, dead. During this time the people kept up singing and praying. At last



he exhibited signs of life, but they were fearful spasms, which seemed as if he were in a convulsive fit, attended by frightful groans, as if he were passing through the intensest agony. It was not long, however, till his convulsions ceased, and springing to his feet, his groans were converted into loud and joyous shouts of praise. The dark, fiend-like scowl which overspread his features, gave way to a happy smile, which lighted up his countenance.

A certain Dr. P., accompanied by a lady from Lexington, was induced, out of mere curiosity, to attend the meeting. As they had heard much about the involuntary jerkings and falling which attended the exercises, they entered into an agreement between themselves that, should either of them be thus strangely attacked or fall, the other was to stand by to the last. It was not long till the lady was brought down in all her pride, a poor sinner in the dust, before her God. The doctor, agitated, came up and felt for her pulse; but, alas! her pulse was gone. At this he turned pale, and, staggering a few paces, he fell beneath the power of the same invisible hand. After remaining for some time in this state, they both obtained pardon and peace and went rejoicing home. They both lived and died happy Christians. Thousands were affected in the same way.

These campmeetings continued for some time, the Presbyterians and Methodists uniting together as one in the army of the Lord. Some ministers had serious doubts concerning the character of the work; but its genuineness was demonstrated by the fruits. Men of the most depraved hearts and vicious habits were made new creatures, and a whole life of virtue subsequently confirmed the conversion. To all but Methodists the work was entirely strange. Some of the peculiarities had been witnessed before by the preachers, and they were enabled to carry it on.



These meetings exhibited nothing to the spectator unacquainted with them but a scene of confusion, such as scarcely could be put into human language. They were generally opened with a sermon or exhortation, at the close of which there would be a universal cry for mercy, some bursting forth in loud utterances of prayer of thanksgiving for the truth; some breaking forth in strong and powerful exhortations, others flying to their careless friends with tears of compassion, entreating them to fly to Christ for mercy; some, struck with terror and conviction, hastening through the crowd to escape, or pulling away from their relations, others trembling, weeping, crying for mercy; some falling and swooning away, till every appearance of life was gone and the extremities of the body assumed the coldness of death. These were surrounded with a company of the pious, singing melodious songs adapted to the time, and praying for their conversion. But there were others collected in circles round this variegated scene, contending for and against the work.

Contemporary Sketch of the August, 1801 Revival at Cane Ridge, Kentucky

Many circumstances transpired that are worthy of note in reference to this work. Children were often made the instruments through which the Lord wrought. At one of these powerful displays of Divine power, a boy about ten years old broke from the stand in time of preaching under very strong impressions, and having mounted a log at some distance, and raising his voice in a most affecting manner, cried out, "On the last day of the feast Jesus stood and cried, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink." He attracted the main body of the congregation, and, with streaming eyes, he warned the sinners of their danger, denouncing their doom, if they persevered in sin, and strongly expressed his love for the salvation of their souls, and the desire that they would turn to God and live. By this time the press was so great that he was taken up by two men and held above the



crowd. He spoke for near an hour with that convincing eloquence that could be inspired only from heaven and when exhausted, and language failed to describe the feelings of his soul, he raised his handkerchief; and dropping it, cried, "Thus, O sinner, will you drop into hell unless you forsake your sins and turn to God." At this moment the power of God fell upon the assembly, and sinners fell as men slain in mighty battle, and the cries for mercy seemed as though they would rend the heavens, and the work spread in a manner which human language cannot describe.

We will now try to give something in reference to the manner and the exercise of mind of those who were the subjects of this work. Immediately before they became totally powerless, they were sometimes seized with a general tremor, and often uttered several piercing shrieks in the moment of falling. Men and women never fell when under this jerking exercise till they became exhausted. Some were unable to stand, and yet had the use of their hands and could converse with companions. Others were unable to speak. The pulse became weak, and they drew a difficult breath about once a minute. In many instances they became cold. Breathing, pulsation, and all signs of life forsook them for hours; yet I never heard of one who died in this condition, and I have conversed with persons who have laid in this situation for many hours, and they have uniformly testified that they had no bodily pain, and that they had the entire use of their reason and powers of mind. From this it appears that their falling was neither common fainting nor a nervous affection. Indeed, this strange work appears to have taken every possible turn to baffle the conjectures and philosophizing of those who were unwilling to acknowledge it was the work of God. Persons have fallen on their way home from meeting, some after they had arrived at home, others pursuing



their common business on their farms, and others when they were attending to family or secret devotions. Numbers of thoughtless, careless sinners have fallen as suddenly as if struck by lightning. Professed infidels, and other vicious characters, have been arrested, and sometimes at the very moment when they were uttering their blasphemies against God and the work, and have, like Saul, declared that to be God's work which they so vehemently persecuted.

I trust I have said enough on this subject to enable my readers to judge how far the charge of enthusiasm and delusion is applicable to this work, unequaled for power and for the entire change of the hearts and lives of so many thousands of men and women. Lord Lyttleton, in his letter on the conversion of St. Paul, observes, and I think justly, that enthusiasm is a vain, self-righteous spirit, swelled with self-sufficiency and disposed to glory in its religious attainments. If this be a good definition, there was as little enthusiasm in this work as any other. Never were there more genuine marks of that humility which disclaims the merits of its own works, and looks to the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way of acceptance with God. Christ was all and in all in their exercises and religion, and their gospel, and all believers in their highest attainments seemed most sensible of their entire dependence upon Divine grace; and it was truly affecting to hear with what anxiety awakened sinners inquired for Christ as the only Physician who could give them help. Those who call this enthusiasm ought to tell us what they understand by the spirit of Christianity. Upon the whole, this revival in the west was the most extraordinary that ever visited the church of Christ, and was peculiarly adapted to the circumstances of the country. Infidelity was triumphant, and religion at the point of expiring. Something of an extraordinary nature was necessary to



arrest the attention of a wicked and skeptical people, who were ready to conclude that Christianity was a fable and futurity a dream. This great work of God did do it. It confounded infidelity and vice into silence, and brought numbers beyond calculation under the influence of experimental religion and practical piety.

It is generally known that in the early settlement of Kentucky, the regular Baptists were by far the most numerous body of Christians. It is also known that they adhered most rigidly to the doctrines of unconditional election and reprobation, together with the final and unconditional perseverance of the saints. The same may be said of the Presbyterians, who firmly maintained and preached these doctrines till the commencement of this revival. Indeed, the doctrine of unconditional election and reprobation was so generally taught by these denominations, that there was rarely found any one sufficiently fearless and independent to call them in question. They had taken deep root, and it might be said the doctrines of Calvin had filled the whole country. During the prevalence of these doctrines, supported as they were on all sides by polemical divines, whose religion seemed to consist almost entirely of a most dogged and pertinacious adherence to the creeds and confessions of faith, which had been handed down from orthodox Puritan fathers, it was not a matter of surprise that professors of religion, losing sight of the weightier matters of the Gospel, while they attended to its "anise, and mint, and cummin," would fall insensibly into antinomianism. The inconsistency of the doctrines of Calvin became the subject of the sarcastic sneers of infidels, and the inability of these churches to reconcile their doctrines with the justice of God and the present order of things, made fearful inroads on the cause of Christianity, and strengthened the hands of the wicked. The friends of the truth were few. They were



without influence, and much persecuted; but, notwithstanding, they lifted up their voice.

It was at this juncture, and under these circumstances, that it pleased the Lord to look down upon the western country. Man's extremity was God's opportunity, and the wonderful manifestation of Divine power swept away antinomianism, and infidelity, and every refuge of lies. There were some in the Presbyterian Church who did not preach a partial gospel, but who lifted up their voice like a trumpet, and invited all to come to Jesus for salvation, assuring them that he died for fall. Of this number was that man of God, Carey Allen. As a missionary he was "a flame of fire," and thousands were awakened under his fervent, soul-stirring appeals.

Not long after the revival commenced, several of the Presbyterian ministers renounced Calvinism, and being persecuted by their brethren, they left the church, and organized a new Presbytery, which was called the Springfield Presbytery. As is often the case with those who separate from the church because they judge it needs reformation in doctrine or discipline, so these brethren, unfortunately, did not stop in media res, but rushed to another extreme. They ran into gross errors and heresies, as was seen in their apology for renouncing the jurisdiction of the Synod, the tract on the atonement by Mr. Stone, in 1804, and their sermons. Methodists and Presbyterians both saw that an enemy had come in, and was sowing tares broadcast over the field, and they retired to their own stands, and defended their own doctrines.

The party which had separated were styled Newlights, but they have subsequently taken the name of Christian. In June, 1804, these preachers dissolved their Presbytery, and drew up a very curious paper, which they signed, entitled "The last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery." Of the six ministers who signed this



paper, two went back to the Presbyterian church, three joined the Shakers, and one the Campbellites. They published to the world, in the paper above alluded to, their belief; or, in other words, their non-belief; for they renounced all creeds, confessions of faith, and standards of doctrine and started out on a crusade against all the churches.

Several of these ministers were my schoolmates in other days, and I felt a lively interest in them; so much so, as the reader will find, in the relation of my religious life, given in the preceding pages, I went to their campmeeting on Eagle Creek to join them. By a personal and confidential interview with one of the preachers, a former old classmate at my father's academy, I learned that they did not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, nor in total depravity, nor in the atonement, as held by orthodox churches. Honest David Purviance, in his life, comes out boldly, and proclaims the doctrines of the Newlight Church.

This heresy spread and prevailed. The early settlers of Kentucky were most skeptical on the subject of religion. The more influential classes of citizens were infidel in sentiment, and they labored to bring all to their views. To accomplish their wishes more fully, they employed an Englishman to take charge of their seminary of learning at Lexington. He had an extensive library, and, from his position, exerted a great influence in society. Subsequently, the principal of the seminary was elected Secretary of State. The Governor, Mr. Garrard, was a celebrated Baptist preacher, and a gentleman of much respectability and influence. It was not long till the Secretary succeeded in converting the Governor to his faith and, having accomplished a result so desirable to the infidel party, the next thing was to get the Governor to publish a tract on the doctrine of the Trinity. This made



considerable noise. In 1802 the Rev. Augustin Easton and Governor Garrard commenced a meeting on Cooper's run, in Bourbon County. Here they proclaimed publicly the Arian and Socinian doctrines. The wavering separatists were excited and encouraged wonderfully by this movement, as is evident from their own confession and subsequent course. These unfortunate people -- Newlights -- from the time they first began to preach their doctrines, were beset in their meetings with those wild exercises that have been alluded to. See Benedict's History of Baptist Church, vol. ii, p. 252.

These strange exercises that have excited so much wonder in the western country came in toward the last of the revival, and were, in the estimation of some of the more pious, the chaff of the work. Now it was that the humiliating and often disgusting exercises of dancing, laughing, jerking, barking like dogs, or howling like wolves, and rolling on the ground, manifested themselves. To add to their misfortune, being ripe for such a catastrophe, a company of Shakers from New York found their way among them, and proselytized their most talented and useful preacher and not a few of their members. These fanatics for a season went on with a tremendous influence, threatening to sweep all before them. But they, like all other wild and visionary people, had their day.

If the reader should desire to find what the Newlights, or Christians, teach, he will best obtain it from their own works. I refer the reader to Barton Stone's exposition, in pamphlet form.

The wild vagaries adopted by the Newlight preachers of Kentucky prepared them to gulp down all the ridiculous tenets of Shakerism, and this produced a general skepticism in that state, that, I fear, will not be done away for generations. It may seem strange that all grades of Arians and Socinians have adopted immersion



as the only mode of baptism, and regard it as constituting a title to heaven.

The new isms that followed this great revival were many, and it seemed as if Satan had taken advantage of the excitement to drive the bewildered into darkness and the sanguine into error and folly. The Shakers drew off hundreds with them. Elder Holmes [sic - Bullard?] rose up with his pilgrims, and started out in quest of the Holy Land. He had many followers, and, after wandering about for some time, died on an island in the Mississippi river, and his band dissolved. Elder Farnum, also another fanatic, pretended to have received the spirit of immediate inspiration, and raised a party called the "screaming children." After flourishing for a season, this association dwindled away.

Next came A. Sargent and his twelve disciples -- all women. It was spread over the country that he was inspired and conversed with angels daily, from whom he received revelations. Then Elias Hicks, the Quaker, espoused Arianism, and split the Quaker Church, spreading confusion and schism everywhere among the Friends.

Last, but not least in the train of evils, came Kidwell with the last edition of Universalism. He taught that there was no hell, no devil, no future judgment; that it was impossible for any one to commit any crime in this life that would possibly shut him out of heaven; that all souls at death enter at once into the heavenly state, and are happy with God forever, no matter how they have lived in this world...

(remainder of Chapter 21 not transcribed)


(Excerpt #3)

Biographical Sketches of the
Early Physicians of Marietta, Ohio.


The New-England Historical and
Genealogical Register
III: 1; (Jan 1849)

The colony founded by the New Englanders on the banks of the Ohio in 1788, marks an interesting era in the history of our country. From that feeble beginning in the wilderness, surrounded by savage and hostile tribes, has proceeded the gigantic state of Ohio... As a class, no order of men has done more to promote the good of mankind and develop the resources and natural history of our country, than physicians... Of the nine individuals noticed in the following sketches, seven were born in New England....


Was the son of Col. William McIntosh of Needham, Massachusetts, and was born in the year 1762. His father was a man of considerable note, commanding a company of infantry in the continental army, and subsequently a colonel in the militia. He was one of the delegates in the convention at Boston, in January, 1788, on the adoption of the Constitution of the United States. After receiving a suitable education, his son Nathan studied medicine in Boston, about the year 1786. Soon after the formation of the Ohio company, he decided on seeking his fortune in the West, and left his father's house in 1788, travelling on horseback as far as Harrisburg, Pa, where he was attacked with the small pox, suffering severely with that laothsome disease. After his recovery, in 1789, he proceeded into the vicinity of Hagerstown, Md., and commenced the practice of medicine. It is unknown how successful he was, but in 1791, after remaining a while at Calrksburg, Va, he moved to Marietta, soon after the breaking out of the Indian war, nothing daunted by the hazard of such a step. Soon after his arrival, in the spring of that year, he was appointed surgeon's mate to the garrison at Waterford, twenty miles above the mouth of the Muskingum, with rations and pay of twenty-two dollars a month. This amount, though small, was at a time when there was little oppoprtunity for private practice, and was an acceptable service. In this post he remained about two years, and becoming acquainted with Miss Rhoda Shepherd, the daughter of Col. Enoch Shepherd and the neice of General Shepherd of Massachusetts, he married her in 1792....

In 1795, he returned with his family to Marietta and again resumed the practice of medicine. He was now quite a successful operator in surgery, and some difficult cases treated skillfully increased his reputation with the public, so that he had at command a large share of business...

About this time a new era commenced in his affairs, which changed all his future views of life. In the year 1801, Abel M. Sargent, who had been a Baptist preacher in New Jersey and latterly at Clarksburg, Va., moved to Belpre, twelve miles below Marietta, where he preached for the Congregational society one season. Soon after this he originated a new religious sect, the followers of which were called "Haycyons."

Rev. A. M. Sargent's Halcyon Itinerary III

In one of his publications, which were numerous, he styles himself the "Halcyon Itinerary and True Millennium Messenger," saying "that the millennium has commenced its first openings, and that Christ's second coming is now at hand." "I have received my authority to make this report from the Lord. I have receieved it by divine revelation, and have received my commandment of God to bear this Testimony, and to deliver this message publicly, first to the visible church, then to the world at large." Filled with the importance of his message, which he appeared fully to believe, he travelled from place to place along the Ohio river, from Louisville to Morgantown on the Monongahela, preaching the new doctrine and spreading his faith by numerous printed tracts. In this wild region, where preachers of any kind were scarce, the novel doctrine caught the attention of the borderers, and many followers soon joined the standard. The Halycon tenets seem to have embraced many of the views of the modern Millerites, combined with a portion of the Mormon faith. He pretended to hold intercourse with angels, heal the sick, and procure immediate answers from heaven to his prayers. He was a man of considerable learning, profound in the knowledge of the Scriptures, as well as a ready, fluent speaker. Purity of heart and life was inculcated on all his followers, and the indulgence of the animal passions forbidden. Among the stricter members vegetable food and milk formed their diet. By living in a pure and temperate manner it was taught that man might prolong his days, without sickness, to the age of the patriarchs. Immortality and happiness was the rewards of those who anxiously strove for and desired it with all their heart; while the wicked and the careless were annihilated at death, or literally burnt up. Members were admitted to the church on a confession of their faith in the Halcyon doctrine, and their initiation manifested by the rite of baptism, which was done by wading into a river and pouring water over the head from a silver cup, which Sargent kept for this use. A continual warfare was waged with all other sects, as this was the only true one. A number of preachers sprung up under his instruction, amongst whom were several females. THey had frequent prayer meetings, and assembled often for exhortation and singing from the Halcyon hymn book, exhibiting much love and hospitality in their intercourse with each other.

Many of Sargent's tenets harmonized with the feelings and views of Dr. McIntosh, and he became a sincere and devoted believer in their doctrines. From the extravagances of some of the leaders, professing to work miracles and raise the dead, the sect, in the course of six or eight years, greatly declined and finally became extinct, the members generally becoming Universalists. Sr. McIntosh, however, continued to write and to lecture on that and other kindred subjects, especially on the mystery of the Urim and Thummim and against all secret societies; to which and to slavery he was violently opposed. The favorite spot for his public discourses was the market house, where he often harangued the assembled citizens with great earnestness and considerable eloquence, having a ready flow of language and agreeable address. Soon after the period of his adopting the new doctrine, he in a great measure declined the practice of medicine, and turned his attention to the manufacture of bricks, erecting many buildings on contract, working diligently in the brickyeard as well as with the trowel. He was a man of great industry, temperate in all his habits, and of the strictest honest; possessing the good will and confidence of the community. He published a volume on the [Swedenborgian] science of "Scriptural Correspondencies," which is now rare. He died of the epidemic fever in September, 1823, aged 61 years...


(Excerpt #4)



Rev. Elmo Arnold Robinson

Published by the Ohio Universalist Convention, 1923


The Rev. Abel Morgan Sargent appears to have been the first Universalist preacher to come into the Belpre [Washington Co., Ohio] neighborhood, and indeed into the state. Originally he was a preacher of the Baptist Church, but later became a Universalist. His theology seems to have been an original and unusual combination of doctrines, and the various descriptions of his views are so confusing that it is difficult to reconstruct his system. He classed himself as a Universalist as early as 1793 and published in that year, first at New York and then at Baltimore, "The Free Universal Magazine, being a display of the mind of Jesus as manifested to his servants, the members of the New and Free Church" [see Evangelical Magazine and Gospel Advocate. Vol. IV:6, Feb. 9, 1833, p. 47].

This is said to have been the first periodical published in the United States to advocate Universalism, and also the first to advocate Unitarian views. The churches which he organized, however, were known as Free or Halycon [sic - Halcyon?] churches rather than as Universalist, and for at least a part of his career he seems to have taught the annihilation of the wicked rather than universal salvation.

Sargent came into Ohio about 1800 -- the exact date is uncertain -- and for several years had considerable success as a preacher and organizer. A Methodist writer lists him among the evils with which Methodism had to contend, and speaks of "his twelve disciples,



all women. It was spread over the country that he was inspired and conversed with angels daily, from whom he received revelations" [James P. Finley, Autobiography, p. 373]. The same author, writing with reference to about the year 1812, again mentions him:

About this time there flourished in this section of the country a halcyon preacher by the name of Abel Sargent. He formerly resided near Morgantown, Virginia, and was a Universalist preacher; but receiving a new revelation, in which he said he held converse with angels, and he was made the medium of communication to the world. His doctrines did not differ very materially from the Universalist creed, except that he taught the annihilation of the wicked. The regenerated soul, he taught, was a part of God; and when the body died there was a resorption of the soul into God. He did not believe in any devil, in a place of future torment, nor in a judgment. He went about the country with his twelve apostles, mostly women, preaching and pretending to raise the dead... This, like all other species of fanaticism and superstition, had its day and produced some excitement on the circuit, but nothing that resulted very disastrously to the cause of religion [Finley, op. cit. p. 257].

The Congregationalists of Marietta were also somewhat disturbed by Sargent's peculiar ideas.

About the time Mr. Robbins was ordained (1806), one Abel M. Sargent, who had been a Free Will Baptist preacher, appeared at Marietta as the apostle of a new sect called the "Halcyon Church." He claimed that he was inspired and that he had a commission from heaven to preach the new doctrine. He held that "baptism was



regeneration and that a man, by living in strict conformity to the gospel, without a sin, might become so holy as to work miracles, heal the sick and live without eating."

He had preachers among both sexes and the sect made some progress among a certain class of people. Rev. Peter Cartwright in his autobiography speaks of an encounter with Sargent, and Rev. Thomas Robbins speaks of him as a "sectarian impostor, artful and devoid of seriousness. I think he means to hold his system conformable to circumstances."

Dr. Hildreth says, "Rev. S. P. Robbins took but little notice of Sargent or his tenets, though challenged to a public discussion by their leader, knowing that so unscriptural and absurd a doctrine must soon come to an end." A year or two later one of the sect living a few miles above Marietta and a son of one of their leading female preachers put his belief to a test. He lived nine [sic - 16?] days without eating and the died. His friends said he would rise the third day, but their prophecy failed and they were compelled to bury the decaying body. The sect lived but a few years [C. E. Dickerson, A History of the First Congregational Church of Marietta, Ohio, p. 131].
Another incident in his career is given in the following:

Abel Sargent, the founder of the Halcyon sect, visited Marietta first between 1801 and 1805. His doctrines were very similar to the faith of the modern Second Adventists, but great latitude on minor points was allowed. The doctrines commended themselves to many commendable people. Dr. McIntosh was perhaps the best known adherent. After the sect had declined as an organization he remained steadfast to the faith, and wrote a book.... Sargent sought discussions with the clergy in different



parts of the country and much personal controversy followed.

Peter Cartwright held a discussion with him in 1806 which led to his exposure. Sargent announced his purpose to light a fire with light from heaven. A crowd was collected around a stump on which was placed some tinder. Bystanders were surprised and adherents delighted to see the prophecy fulfilled. Sargent praised God for sending fire from heaven, but the Methodist veteran reminded the witnesses that the smell of powder and brimstone indicated that the author of the fire lived in the lower regions.

The Halcyons declined after 1807 in point of numbers, a few, however, remained faithful... [Williams and Brother, History of Washington County, p. 392 -- see also John F. Wright, Life and Labors of James Quinn, p. 50].

Rev. Alpheus Sweet, writing from Hartford, Ohio, on March 4, 1833, thus describes the man and his work from the Universalist point of view:

I have the honor of a personal acquaintance with Br. Sargent. He called on me at Marietta and Belpre, Ohio, about four years since. He is now 67 years old. When I saw him his health was good, his voice was clear and strong, and he was considered a good speaker. He was (as he informed me) performing his last general visit to the brethren, where he had preached, west of the Allegheny mountains; and he said that he should (when he had performed this general tour) then retire to some place in the state of Indiana, where he should endeavor to spend the remainder of his days in quietness and peace....

I am acquainted with some of the people who heard Br. Sargent preach, nearly forty years ago, in the State of Pennsylvania. It has been as much as thirty-five years since he first preached at Marietta, Belpre, and other places west of the mountain.



He had gathered a large church in the neighborhood of Marietta -- they had many preachers.... Br. Sargent, in his first publications, discarded the doctrine of the trinity, and maintained the Divine unity. And in this he was before Ballou -- if not before any man in the United StatesWith the trinity, he rejected vicarious atonement, or the vicarious suffering of Christ, and contended that at-one-ment meant to reconcile or make one, by making peace -- but that the change was wholly in man, that God never had changed, and that none could change Him. And I think Br. Sargent, and the Free Church generally, denied the natural immortality of the soul, and predicated future life and immortality on a resurrection from the state of death. That they do at the present time, I am certain; and believe that they did from the beginning. Br. Sargent has been writing and publishing on the subject of religion, nearly forty years. The last publication that I know of his publishing, was entitled "The Lamp of Liberty" was published in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The "Free Church" was formerly popular in many parts of the State of Ohio, and in western Virginia -- but for some cause, probably neglect of its members, it fell into disrepute. The name "Free Church" is now nearly, if not quite, lost in that of Universalist. A number of preachers [Among them were Rev. A. Rains and M. Croy] in the State of Ohio, that are now called Universalists, belonged to that church. Should you succeed in your inquiry, and bring this subject before the public in its true light, you will do an act of justice to one who has been a faithful laborer in the Lord's vineyard -- one who has seen a hot day -- a man who has travelled and preached more than any man among the Universalists, and suffered more from the opposers of truth, than generally falls to the lot of the



reformers, in a land of religious freedom and toleration. And what makes the case of Br. Sargent still more insufferable is the neglect of those who should have been his chief friends and ready supporters....

The Halcyon doctrine of annihilation was as much opposed to the teachings of universal salvation as to the orthodox belief in endless misery. BUt the fact that both Halcyons and Universalists broke with Orthodoxy concerning the same point, and the further fact that Sargent classed himself as a Universalist, make these events significant. The Halcyon sect probably disappeared before the first regular Universalist organizations were formed in this vicinity. But the work of Sargent and his followers undoubtedly contributed to the success of the later movement...

(remainder of this chapter not transcribed)


(Excerpt #5 -- from the 1923 book's end matter)

[ 164 ]



... 1800 Abel Morgan Sargent. Edited Free Universal Magazine in N. Y. and Baltimore about 1793 after which



he came to Penn. and Ohio, organizing Halcyon Churches. He edited the Lamp of Liberty in Cincinnati about 1829. He resided in Washington and Gallia counties and later retired to Indiana....


(Excerpt #6)



Rev. John McClintock and James Strong.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature
Volume 10, 1895, pp. 109-33



3. In America Universalism is the result of the proclamation of a variety of theories, some of them at a very early date, all resulting in one conclusion - the final holiness of the human race...

In 1770 John Murray (q.v.), who had formerly been a Methodist in Ireland and England, but more recently a convert to the views of James Relly, came to America and commenced the proclamation of Universalism on the Rellyan theory. After itinerating a few years in various parts of the country, from Virginia to Massachusetts, he made his home in Gloucester, Mass., where, in 1779, he organized a society of Universalists, under the name of "The Independent Christian Church." With the exception of a few months spent in the army, as chaplain of the Rhode Island Brigade, he ministered to the society in Gloucester, making occasional missionary tours through the country till 1793, when he removed to Boston, where a society had been formed in 1785, and remained there as its pastor till his death, in 1815.

In 1781 Elhanan Winchester, who had been an eminent Baptist clergyman in Philadelphia, became a Universalist, and gathered a Universalist society in that city, which took the name of "Universal Baptists." As a Baptist his views were moderately Calvinistic, if not wholly Arminian, and his Universalism differed in little or nothing from the present so-called evangelical doctrines, except in regard to the duration and design of future punishment and the final restoration of all lost men and angels. Fifty thousand years, which would bring in the great jubilee, was the extreme limit in his theory of the punishment of the most sinful. Mr. Winchester itinerated extensively, as far south as the, Carolinas and north to Massachusetts. Like De Benneville, he was for a time welcomed to the pulpits of the Dunkers, who, from their first coming to America in 1719, have been believers in universal restoration, although, in the main, holding it privately. Some of their preachers were bold in its advocacy; and it was proclaimed and defended in several of their published works, notably so by James Bolton, who, in 1793, published a pamphlet at Ephrata, Pa., in which he censures the "Brethren" for not giving greater publicity to it, asserting that "the German Baptists (Dunkers) all believe it." About the year 1785 the Dunkers became alarmed by the preaching of some persons, now unknown, against future punishment, and finally took action that cut off John Ham, one of their preachers of this theory, and his followers from the Church, and forbade the proclamation of Universalism in any form. In 1786 Mr. Winchester went to England, where he preached and published books in defense of his views and established a society. He returned to America in 1795 and died in 1796.

Contemporary with Murray and Winchester was Caleb Rich, of Massachusetts, who gathered a Universalist society in the towns of Warwick and Richmond. Mr. Rich may be said to have anticipated many of the views afterwards more fully elaborated by Hosea Ballou, and probably had great direct influence in forming the opinions of the latter. In New Jersey several Baptist preachers and their congregations became Universalists. In Pennsylvania there was a congregation of Rellyan Universalists, and the "Universal Baptists" before mentioned, in Philadelphia, while societies had been organized in Bucks and Washington counties. Rev. Abel Sarjent, minister in the latter locality, organized Universalist churches on the basis of the doctrine of the divine unity, in opposition to the Trinity, publishing the creed of those churches in the Free Universal 'Magazine, edited by him in 1793-94. Of the existence of these churches the Universalists in the eastern portion of the country were for a long time ignorant. Rellyanism made but little progress, Mr. Murray complaining in 1787 that he knew of but one public advocate of Universalism in America who fully sympathized with him in his views. This was the Rev. John Tyler before mentioned. Rev. Hosea Ballou commenced his career as a Universalist preacher in 1790. Originally a Calvinistic Baptist, he was a Trinitarian Universalist until 1795, when he avowed his belief in Unitarian views of God and Christ; and in 1805 published his Treatise on Atonement, in which he combated the doctrine of vicarious sacrifice, contending that the life and death of Christ were for the reconciling, not of God, but of man, and avowed his belief that the punishment of the sins of mortality was confined to this life, and that if punishment were experienced in the life beyond the grave, it would be for sins committed there. In 1818 he had satisfied himself that there is no sin beyond the grave, and consequently no punishment after death.

By 1830 Mr. Ballou's views were quite extensively held in the denomination, and some of the believers in future limited punishment seceded from the Universalist Convention and established the denomination of Restorationists. Although this secession was led by a few eminent men, it was not considered expedient nor in any sense called for by quite as many and as eminent believers in future retribution who remained in the old organization. The position of these latter was that Universalism was not, and never had been, the belief in no future punishment, nor the belief in a brief or long continued retribution hereafter; but the belief that God would, through Christ, in his own good time, "restore the whole family of mankind to holiness and happiness." As there had never been entire unity of sentiment as to the time when this result would be reached, but had been tolerance of opinion on that as on other differences, they saw no occasion for a division on account of present differences. The "Restorationist Association" existed about eleven years, its last session being held in 1841, at which time the publication of its organ, The Independent Christian Messenger, ceased, and it became extinct as a sect. Some of its preachers returned to the fellowship of the Universalist Convention, some affiliated with the Unitarians, and others wholly withdrew from the ministry. Mr. Ballou died in 1852. His work and memory are held in reverent esteem by the entire denomination, and by none more ardently than by the many who do not accept his theory of sin and retribution....

7. Periodicals: The first Universalist periodical was probably that started by Rev. Elhanan Winchester, in London, England, in 1787, entitled The Philadelphian Magazine. It was continued several years by Rev. William Vidler, and finally merged in the Monthly Repository. The first American Universalist periodical was The Free Universalist Magazine, published in New York and Baltimore by Rev. Abel Sarjent (1793-94).



Adapted from Nancy Reynolds'
Abel Morgan Sargent, Sr. Timeline
(from her studies, on-line data, and contributions
from various other Sargent Family researchers)

(under construction)

1800-1810   |   1811-1820   |   1821-1840   |   post-1840

1764 (Sept. 6): Abel Morgan Sargent (or Sarjent) was born in the southern suburbs of Baltimore, Anne Arundel Co., MD

1785 (Nov. 8): Abel reportedly married Sarah Tunis somewhere in MD (some sources point to the marriage occuring neighboring in Loudon Co., VA, or even as far away as KY). Sarah was a native of NJ.

c. 1787: Abel was reportedly ordained a minister for the Freewill Baptists in MD

1787 (Dec. 12): Phebe Sarjent (Abel & Sarah's first child) was born in MD. She died on Dec. 18th.

c. 1787: At an early date Abel moved his family to the largely unsettled MD "panhandle," taking up residence in Allegany (now Garrett) Co.

1788: The name "Able Serjeant" appears on the "Deakin List" in Allegany/Garrett Co., MD. This was for land which was set aside for for the veterans of the Revolutionary War. In 1788 a law was passed to allow the settlers to purchase the land on which they were settled, in three payments, in 1789, 1790, 1791. If there was default in payment the land was made available to other buyers. The number after Abel's name is 5/"852-53-54-55, which indicates valuation and lot numbers. (see Garrett Co., MD genealogical website)

1789 (July 9): Abner Osburn Sarjent (Abel & Sarah's second child but first son) was born in George's Hills, Allegany Co., MD, in a house near Capt Elliot's. -- Abner in Census reports: 1820 - Addison Twp, Gallia Co., OH males 200010 females 20100; 1840 - Sullivan Co., IN; 1850 - Floyd Co., IN (listed as "Sirgent")

1790: Abel and his family do not appear on any census report -- indicating that he had left Allegany Co., MD, and was perhaps living with some other "head of a household," (probably in New Jersey).

c. 1790: Abel declared a type of Universalism as his religion -- he appears to have adopted a "partialist" doctrine, in which most souls who were separated from God would eventually be reunited with their Maker; while a few others might eventually be be annihilated

1793 (Jan. 25): Jahziel Sarjent, Abel and Sarah's second son, was born at the house of Abraham Chapman near Reckless Town, Chesterfield twp., Burlington Co., NJ (a few miles south of Trenton). He married in 1822 and evidently died at a relatively young age.

1793 June): Abel founded his quarterly Free Univeral Magazine, the first proto-Universalist periodical in the United States. Although he had the first two issues printed in New York City, Abel probably continued to reside in New Jersey

1793 (Sept.): Abel published the second issue of his Free Univeral Magazine in New York City

1793 (fall): Abel returned to Baltimore, MD, where he published the third issue of the Free Universal Magazine in December.

1794 (Mar.): Abel published the fourth and final issue of the Free Universal Magazine at Baltimore, MD. In that issue he advertised a prospectus for a second volume of the title, but its issues never materialized.

1795: Abel moved his family back to the Maryland "panhandle" and took up residence in what became Westernport (or Western Port, a.k.a Little Refuge), Allegany (now Garrett) Co., MD -- this was at the mouth of George's Creek, where Peter Devecmon had secured property rights to the developing site. When Devecmon divided and sold the first lots, Abel became the first land owner, buying the lot at the corner of what became Washington and Main streets.

1795-99: Abel engaged in land speculation and development in Westernport; eventually failed in that venture; and ended up surrendering his property and assets to the State.

1796 (May 1): Twins Sarah "Sally" and Clarissa [Clariss] Sarjent born to Abel and Sarah at Westernport, MD -- this was at the mouth of Georges Creek, in the first house built and owned by Abel and Sarah -- Census reports for Sarah Sarjent Wells and her husband Zimri Wells: 1820 - (no known record); 1830 - Wilkesville, Gallia Co., OH; 1840 - Wilkes, Gallia Co., OH; 1850-1870 - Wilkesville, Vinton Co., OH

1798 (Feb. 27): Abel Morgan Sarjent, third son of Abel and Sarah was born in their three-story large frame house in Westernport. About this same time, Abel reportedly served as a Justice of the Peace in Allegany (now Garrett) Co., MD

1798 (Apr. 9): Samuel Fordyce, of Washington Co., PA, advertised in a local newspaper, the Herald of Liberty, that he and his wife Rhoda had dissolved their marriage covenant, and that "the public are desired not to trust her on my account." Rhoda Fordyce later joined Abel M. Sargent's Halcyon Church, but broke away from that movement (probably at Marietta, OH in the summer of 1807) and established her own splinter group, sometimes called the "Rhodanites" or "Rhodians."

1799 (Dec. 6): The "Commissioners of the Tax for Allegany County," PA published a "List of tracts and lots of land in Allegany County, held by persons not residents," on which unpaid taxes were due, in the Washington, D. C. Centinel of Liberty. Among those on the list, is "Abel Sargent" who owned "2 houses & lots, Western Port," as well as an additional 8 lots in that village without house, and "5 acres land" elsewhere in the county. The fact that Abel is shown as a non-resident perhaps indicates that he had moved his family elsewhere (perhaps to NJ or VA) by the end of 1799.

1800 (Jan.): An act of the MD Assembly declared Abel an insolvent debtor. He had earlier been jailed in Allegany Co., (probably for unpaid debts and unpaid taxes) and his release reportedly came after friends or relatives living in NJ petitioned for his release. (See also the entry for Feb. 17, 1804)

early 1800: By this time the Abel M. Sargent family had left MD. -- Probably they traveled west on the Old Morgantown Road to Harrison Co., VA (now WV). Some reports place Abel in or around Clarksburg, in Harrison Co., at about this same time.

1800-07: Abel's brother and sister-in-law, George and Abigail Sargent lived in the George's Creek area and engaged in various land transactions. Possibly the couple purcahsed some of Abel's land when he was disposing of property assets to pay off his debts.

1800-01: Abel served as pastor, for a year or two, at the Pike Run Universalist church, in Followfield twp., Washington Co., PA. Other members of the Sargent family were then living in West Bethlehem twp., in the vicinity of Zollarsville, (that is, in the adjoining township on the south).

1801 (Jan. 2): Benaiah Henry John Sarjent, the 7th child of Abel and Sarah was born in the house of Benjamin [Huff], on the West Side of the Monongahela River about 7 miles below the Red Stone Old Fort, near Pike Run, Followfield twp., Washington Co., PA. Abel wrote the following in his family bible on this date: "We believe that at the Opening of this Year which was the Opening of a New Century; the Lord commenced the re-establishment and display of his spiritual "Hephzibah" (which is the same Halcyon Church) that God promised to build on the Earth in the latter days. Therefore have we called our Sons Name Benaiah which Signifieth "the Building of God" the Lord make him a living Stone in this Building and a lively and Active Instrument in the Land of Beulah in bringing forward the great work of the glorious Lord who at that time will crown the King of the whoe earth."

c. 1801: Abel's son Abner Osburn married a lady named Eliza ______ (probably in N. VA (now WV) or S.W. PA)

1801: Early in this year Abel separated himself from the Universalists and founded his millennial "Halcyon Church of Christ in Columbia," also known as the "Free Church." Evidently Abel then moved his family to a new home, in either Belpre or Marietta, Washington Co., OH. That same year he wrote and had published (in Cincinnati) his first known religious pamphlets (see Aug. 1801, below).


Abel Morgan Sargent, Sr.
1801-1810 CHRONOLOGY

(under construction)

1764-1800  |  1801-1810   |   1811-1820   |   1821-1840   |   post-1840

1801 (Aug. 19): The Cincinnati Western Spy and Hamilton Gazette published this ad.: "Now in press, and for sale at this office, to-morrow, price 25 cents, a pamphlet entitled, The Little Book: The Arcanum Opened, containing the fundamentals of a pure and most ancient theology -- The Urim, or Halcyon Cabala, containing the platform of the spiritual tabernacle rebuilt, composed of one grand substantive -- and Seven excellent Topics, in opposition to spurious Christianity. A liberal deduction will be made to those who take a quantity. No trust."

1801 (Sept.?): The Cincinnati Western Spy and Hamilton Gazette published a second tract for Rev. Sargent, which was entitled: The Urim, or Halcyon Cabala; Containing the Fundamental Principles of the Halcyon Church of Christ in Columbia. Sargent's two "Halcyon" pamphlets were evidently put into circulation in settlements along the banks of the Ohio river, beginning in September. Yale University's copy of The Little Book was inscribed on Sept. 22, 1801 by its probable owner -- "Rev'd. W. Roland   Minister of the gospel of Christ and servant of the Church of God."

1802 (July 11): At a location near Point Pleasant, Kenhawa (now Mason) Co., Virginia (now West Virginia), Abel M. Sargent established the "visible" organization of his Halcyon Church, consisting only of fifteen members. Evidently Abel had close friends (such as William Droddy) or family members living near Point Pleasant, for he himself resided in that place between about 1810 and 1812.

1802 (Aug. 27): The Lexington Kentucky Gazette published Abel's letter, advertising a speech he will deliver in Lexington -- (he speleld his name "Sargent")

1803 (Jan. 3): The Washington, D. C. Washington Federalist published a "List of Tracts and Lots of Land in Allegany County, held by persons not residents," on which 1801-02 unpaid taxes were due. "Abel Sargent" is listed as still owning the same land as listed in the Centinel of Liberty on Dec. 6, 1799. Evidently this publication was merely a technicality, by which the Collector of Allegany Co. could subsequently justifying the auctioning off of the abandoned land of former non-resident owners (and in so doing, clear property titles to the lots).

1803 (Jan. 25): The Lexington Kentucky Gazette published Abel's letter, advertising his upcoming preaching at Lexington Sunday, Jan. 30th -- (he spelled his name "Serjeant")

1803 (Apr. 1): Anna Alethia Sarjent was born to Abel and Sarah -- probably in Washington Co., OH.

1803 (fall?): Abel's Halcyon Church of Christ in Columbia held its "First Concilium," probably in Marietta, Washington Co., OH.

1804 (Feb. 17): The Washington, D. C. National Intelligencer published a Jan. 3, 1804 notice of MD legislation designed to "obtain a decree for the sale of three lots of parcels of ground with the improvements, situate in the town of Western Port." According to this notice, "Abel Sargent... on the 7th day of October 1792 to secure... money due from him to Abraham Faw, "executed a deed of mortgage," but never paid any part of the debt.

1804 (Apr. 11): Luna "Lance" Sarjent was born to Abel and Sarah at Lexington, Fayette Co., KY.

1804 (Apr. ?): Abel wrote and had published (In Lexington, KY) his pamphlet, The Aletheian critic; or, Error exposed. The Kentucky Gazette made mention of this tract in its issue of May 1st, saying that Abel Sargent lived in Lexington.

1804 (July 31: The Kentucky Gazette published notice, saying that Abel would deliver a speech "at the factory on the road to Gen. Todd's."

1804 (Oct): Abel's name was mentioned in a description of a deed for the Elisha Allen House (built c. 1805) 347 S. Upper St., in Lexington; Elisha's lot began at "the corner of Abel M. Sarjent's lot of 50ft"

1804 (fall?): Abel's Halcyon Church of Christ in Columbia held its "Second Concilium," probably in Lexington, Fayette Co., KY.

c. 1805: Abel was preaching in in Frederick (now Garrett ) Co., MD

1805 (fall?): Abel's Halcyon Church of Christ in Columbia held its "Third Concilium," probably in Marietta, Washington Co., OH. Abel evidently moved his family from Lexington to Marietta at about this time.

1806 (summer-fall): Abel wrote and had published his pamphlet, The Destruction of the Beast in the Down-Fall of Sectarianism, at Marietta, (printed by Samuel Fairlamb). The tract's "Preface" is signed and dated: Abel M. Sargent, Columbia, 4th July, 1806. Appended to the pamphlet was Abel's "A Circular Epistle, wrote by order of the Fourth Concilium of the Halcyon Church," printed by Samuel Fairlamb of Marietta, Washington Co., OH.

1806 (fall?): Abel's Halcyon Church of Christ in Columbia held its "Fourth Concilium," probably at Marietta.

1807 (summer?): Two of Abel's converts, Mrs. Rhoda Fordyce and Theophilus Cotton, break away from the Halcyon Church and create a rival movement, commonly called the "Rhodians. This splinter group appears to have been primarily active in Pennsylvania's Washington and Greene counties.

1807 (Aug.): Abel began editing and publishing a monthly periodical at Marietta, OH, entitled The Halcyon Itinerary; and True Millennium Messenger, probably as a means to help salvage his church from the Rhodian apostasy.

1807 (fall): Abel presided over the "Fifth Concilium" of the Halcyon Church, at the home of William Droddy) near Point Pleasant, Mason Co. Virginia (now West Virginia). Presumably Abel also presided over a Sixth "Conciliums" of his remaining followers a few months thereafter.

1807: There is a record of Abel Sargent preaching in the Rome Twp., Athens Co., OH (just west of Marietta, OH & Parkersburg, WV)

1808: The Athens Co., OH Census/Tax List records an "Abel M. Surgeant" on p. 8.

1808 (Jan.): Abel published his sixth, and last known number of The Halcyon Itinerary, on the press of Samuel Fairlamb of Marietta, OH. Presumably Abel presided over the "Seventh Concilium" of his Halcyon Church, somewhere along the shores of the Ohio River in the fall of 1808.

1809 (fall?): Presumably Abel presided over the "Eighth Concilium" of his Halcyon Church, somewhere along the shores of the Ohio River in the fall of 1809.

1810: The Census index for Mason Co. (W)VA, across the river from Gallia CO., OH, records a household headed by "Alle Seargeant," with 2 males aged 10-15, 2 males aged 16-25, 1 male aged 45; with 2 females aged 10-15, and 1 female aged 45+

1810 (Oct.): The "Ninth Concilium" of the Halcyon Church was held at Indian Short Creek (now Warrentown), in Belmont (now Jefferson) Co., OH -- It appears that shortly after these meetings were finished, Abel traveled to New York City, (at least he was in that place by early the following year).


Abel Morgan Sargent, Sr.
1811-1820 CHRONOLOGY

(under construction)

1764-1800   |   1801-1810   |   1811-1820   |   1821-1840   |   post-1840

1811 (July): With assistance from that city's Swedenborgians, Abel got his hymn book published in New York City. He was still visiting in that city as late as August 13th of that year.

1811 (Aug. 15): Abel submitted an advertisement for his newly published hymn book to the New York City Columbian. The newspaper ran the ad (consisting of his copyright text) during August and September.

1811 (Aug. 16): Elias Smith's Philadelphia Herald of Gospel Liberty published a letter from Abel, dated New York City, July 25, 1811.

1811 (Oct.): Abel had scheduled the "Tenth Concilium" of his Halcyon Church to meet at his home in Mason Co., Virginia (now West Virginia), "And then, to be removed to Kentucky, commencing at the house of brother William Jackson, Junr. in Fleming County, Kentucky." Whether these meeting ever took place is unknown. Abel's church appears to have largely fallen apart by the end of 1811.

1812: Word of Abel's preaching reached England this year.

1812: Abel was reportedly preaching in the interior of New York during this year; he apparently returned to Ohio by the beginning of 1813.

1812: "Ohio Residents 1800-1825," p. 49 lists: "Abel Sargin -- Gallipolis Twp., Gallia Co., OH -- the man had one horse and two head of cattle

1813 (June 3) Abel's daughter Clarissa married Isaac Butler [Butter?] in Gallia Co., OH [or Isaac Bundy in Greenbrier Co., VA on Mar. 11?] -- Rumor records that Clarissa seemed to develop mental illness during her second pregnancy. Her husband left her and she wandered from place to place for 30-40 years, and finally went to the home of her first child in IA (the daughter had gone there with her father).

1814 (April 28): The Chillicothe, OH Scioto Gazette listed letters waiting for "Abel. M. Sergent" at the Hillsborough post, in Huntington Twp., Gallia CO., OH

1814: "Ohio Residents 1800-1825," p. 67 lists: "Abel M. Sargent," 16-7-27 Huntington Twp Gallia Co., OH

1815 (Jan. 15): Abel's daughter Sarah married Zimri (Zemariah, a.k.a. Nimsi) Wells in Gallia Co., OH.

1816-18: Abel was probably in the area of Lebanon, Warren Co., OH (a hot-bed of New Lights, Shakers and Swedenborgians).

1817 (Oct. 10): A Lebanon, Ohio newspaper, The Farmer, published this notice: "The Rev. Abel M. Sargent will preach at the Court Hpuse in this town on Sunday next, at 3 o'clock."

1817 (Sept. 29): A preacher went in Wilmington, KY preached to some ex-Halcyonists, who were tired of following the "eccentric Sergeant."

1817-18: Abel's following was serious decline. (see "New Church Intelligence" -- Note 4, in the October, 1818 issue of the Swedenborgian New Jerusalem Repository)

1818 (Feb.-Mar.): The Lebanon, Ohio Farmer, published a series of reports on the "Vermont Pilgrims" passing through Warren Co., Ohio. Since these fanatical followers of the "Prophet" Isaac Bullard had a reputation for luring away members of other millennial sects, it is likely that Rev. Sargent frequented the Lebanan-Cincinnati area during this period -- in order to guard his small flock there against the Pilgrims' proselytizing.

1818: "Ohio Residents 1800-1825," lists Abel then living in Huntington Twp., Gallia Co., OH, with 1 horse and 3 head of cattle

1819: "Ohio Residents 1800-1825," lists Abel still living in Huntington Twp., Gallia CO., OH, with 3 head of cattle

1819 (June 25): The Gallia Co., Ohio Gazette announced that "Abel M. Sarjent" had recently "been arrested" and had "escaped from custody." The paper's description reads: "He is about 5 feet 6 or 7 inches, slender built, dark eyes and complexion, supposed to be about 50 years of age... posseses a great share of impudence -- talks much and sometimes passes for a Halcyon preacher."

1819 Oct. 15: The Gallia Co., Ohio Gazette listed 2 letters waiting for Abel at the post office. It appears that Abel moved to Indiana following the arrest incident in Ohio.

1820: The Census report for Shelby [Scott?] Co., Indiana's Lexington twp. shows that "Able M. Sarget, Sr." was a head of a household, living alone, and engaged in "commerce" as an occupation. Indistinct census enumeration pages for Gallia Co., Ohio appear to show that Abel's wife Sarah, along with some of her daughters, still lived in Ohio, after Abel had traveled to IN.

1820 (Dec.): Numerous newspapers reprinted a news item from Ohio, which read: "The Halcyons. -- It is stated in a western paper, that a new sect of religious enthusiasts, have arisen in Mareitta, who distinguish themselves from other christians by the denomination of Halcyons. They believe that Aaron's breast plate, called by the Jews, Urim and Thummim, and which has long since been lost, or melted at the mint of avarice, must be retrieved before the resurrection of the dead." -- Since it appears likely that Abel M. Sargent, Sr. was living in IN or KY at this time, it is possible that the 1820 Marietta Halcyons were led by Abel's disciple, Dr. Nathan McIntosh.

1821 (Aug. 25): Abel, Jr. married Sarah "Sally" Edwards, in Floyd Co., IN


Abel Morgan Sargent, Sr.
1821-1840 CHRONOLOGY

(under construction)

1764-1800   |   1801-1810   |   1811-1820   |   1821-1840   |   post-1840

1822 (Oct. 22); Sarah Tunis Sarjent died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Zimri Wells, in Wilkesville, Gallia Co., OH

1822 (Dec. 7): Abel's son Jahziel married Sarah McCoy in Logan Co., OH. He reportedly died some years later in Clark Co., OH.

1823 (June 11): An "Abel M. Sargeant, [Sr]" married Mrs. Sarah Miles Bristow, in Shelby Co., KY. Sarah was the widow of Benjamin Bristow. She evidently died in or near Shelby Co., KY, between the summer of 1823 and Nov. 1826 (when her "heirs" were mentioned in a Shelby Co., KY property deed).

1825: Abel, Sr.'s name was recorded on the Gallia Co., OH Delinquent Land List (16-7-27), indicating that he still owned property in that place, but was not paying his taxes.

1825 (Mar. 17): Abel, Sr. married the Widow Mary (Gardner Wood) Tarvin in Fleming Co., KY. Abel signed the bond as "Sarjent." Abel had previously lived in the adjoining county of Mason and had religious followers in Fleming Co. Abel's third wife was born Mary Gardner (or Gardiner), c. 1770, in Elizabeth, Union Co., NJ.; she married first Daniel Wood and following his demise (in what is now Cumberland twp., Greene Co., PA), Mary moved west and married the well known Rev. George Tarvin (on Mar. 27, 1807, in Fleming Co., KY). It was only after his death that the twice-a-widow Mary became the wife of Abel M. Sargent, Sr. (in a union which lasted about ten years).

1825-28: Abel's "Liberating Community" (evidently a remnant of the Halcyon Church and probably a Universalist society advocating an abolitionist policy) published a periodical at first entitled the "Rational Bible Reformer," but, by 1827, changed to the Lamp of Liberty at Cincinnatti. See the Rev. Barton W. Stone's Christian Messenger of Aug. 25, 1827 for a brief mention of this final publication edited by Abel M. Sargent. See also Chap 24, page 693 of Russell E. Miller's The Larger Hope -- The First Century of the Universalist Church of America 1770-1870 for a brief mention of Sargent's paper.

1828: Abel, Sr. visited friends in Marietta, OH and said he was performing his last general visit to the brethren (the Halycon remnant) before retiring, (see the Utica, NY Evangelical Magazine for Mar. 23, 1833.

1830: In the Census report for Fountain Co., IN, the Abel Sargent there listed is Abel, Jr. No record of Abel exists in the Census indices for this year -- Possibly he and Mary were then living somewhere in Indiana.

1833 (Feb. 9): The Utica, NY Evangelical Magazine published an article on Abel's 1793-94 Free Universal Magazine, acknowledging it as America's first Universalist periodical.

1833 (Mar. 23): The Utica, NY Evangelical Magazine published an article on Abel. The farewell tour of the Ohio river towns, that Mr. Sweet therein mentions, was evidently undertaken by the Rev. Abel M. Sargent at the time he left Cincinnati (1829?) to relocate near his brother's George Sargent's home in Logan, Fountain Co., IN. It is not known whether or not Rev. Sargent complied with the editor's request, that Abel submit autobiographical information to the Union Co., IN Sentinel and Star in the West.

c. 1833: Abel, Jr. became a convert to Mormanism, a religion whose doctrines in some ways paralleled those of his father's Halcyon Church. Abel. Jr. evidently took his family to live west of Liberty, Clay Co., Missouri, at about the time the Mormons were being expelled from adjoining Jackson Co. (late in 1833).

1834 (July 24): Abel, Sr. and Mary were the grantors of a deed to Norman Benton in Bloomington, Monroe Co., IN. (Monroe Deeds Bk D, p 355/6). The couple were then residents of Greene Co., IN (living, perhaps in the area near where the boundary between Greene and Owen counties meet that of Monroe, on its west side). The deed was for a city lot in the town of Bloomington.

1835 (Oct. 10): Abel, Sr. made a entries in his family Bible, which probably indicate that Mary had left him.

1835 (Nov. 27): Abel M. Sargent, Sr. placed a notice in the Bloomington, Indiana Post, saying that his wife had left him -- and that she had "stripped and robbed" his residence "of all the goods" he then possessed. The notice was reprinted in all the paper's December issues. While it is possible that Abel temporarily resided in or near the village of Attica, Logan twp., in Fountain Co., IN, during this period, he and his wife Mary most likely lived near Freedom (on the White River, in Owen Co.) at the time she left him. See the record for his death ("in Owen Co., IN, on the White River") in 1839.

1836 (Jan. 1): Bloomington, IN. The Post advertises letters waiting at the post office for "A. M. Sergent."

1836 (July 1): Bloomington, IN. The Post advertises letters waiting at the post office for "A. M. Sargent," up through July 22nd.

1839 (Mar. 17?): Sarah "Sally" Edwards Sargent, wife of Abel, Jr. died (prob. at Lafayette, Floyd Co., IN).

1839 (May 17): Abel, Sr. solemnized the marriage ceremony of Polly Miller and George Myers. The couple evidently lived in or near Freedom, Franklin twp., Owen Co., IN and the ceremony was performed at "M. Ch," viz. the Freedom Methodist Church.

1839 (Aug. 10) Abel M. Sargent, Sr. died in Owen Co., IN, on the White River,

1839-40: Abel, Jr. struggled to remove his children from the home of his late wife's estranged parents in Lafayette, Floyd Co., IN. He eventually succeeded in taking some (or all) of them to live with him (possibly in Hancock Co., IL). His four surviving daughters, by Sarah "Sally" Edwards Sargent, were Drusilla (Drucella), who evidently died on the Mormon trek west; Martha Jane, who died at Vernal, Uinta Co, UT in 1922; Sarah Tunis who probably died during the 1850s in UT; Harriet, who died in Centerville, Davis Co., UT in 1915; and Caroline, who died in Milford, Beaver Co., UT. His only son to survive early childhood, Thomas, died along with his father in 1847. Harriet became a plural wife of LDS Apostle, Charles Coulson Rich.


Abel Morgan Sargent, Sr.
post-1840 CHRONOLOGY

(under construction)

1764-1800   |   1801-1810   |   1811-1820   |   1821-1840   |   post-1840

1846 (Feb. 3): Abel, Jr. received his LDS "endownment" at the Temple in Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL. Presumably the couple and their family soon moved west into Iowa with the other Mormon refugees then leaving Illinois.

1847 (Nov.): Abel, Jr. died near "Winter Quarters," (in the vicinity of what is now Omaha, NE). Prior to his death he had served in the Mexican War with the "Mormon Battalion."

1927 (Aug. 4): The Washington Co., PA Charleroi Mail published a story regarding plans to "open a supposed grave of a 'halcyon individual' on the John Parkinson farm, Morris township," in Washington county. The article writer speculated that the grave was that of the same Mr. Parker, who "starved to death in the Fordyce woman's house" about 120 years before. See Earle R. Forrest's 1926 book, History of Washington County, for more information.



(under construction)

F: John Sargent (1740-aft 1765)
M: Mrs. Catherine Sargent

Abel Morgan Sargent, Sr.
b. 6 Sep 1764; Baltimore, Anne Arundel, MD
m. 8 Nov 1785; MD or KY; Sarah Tunis 
m. 11 Jun 1823; Shelby Co., KY; Sarah Frances Miles
d. 10 Aug 1839; Owen or Fountain Co., IN

George Sergent
b. 1765; [Westernport, Alleghany,] MD 
         [or Anne Arundel, Baltimore,] MD
m. 1784; Alleghany Co., MD; Abigail Rhodes 
                            (b. 1770 d. 1850 Fountain Co., IN)
d. c. 1841; IN -- last child born [Urbana?] Champaign, OH, 1819


John Sarjent:  	Not Stated, Montgomery, MD (1790 Census)
George Sargent: Not Stated, Frederick, MD (west MD 1790 Census)
George Sergent: Liberty, Frederick, MD (west MD 1800 Census)
George Sargent: Seal, Pike Co., OH (1820 Census)
George Sargent: Finley, Washington Co., PA (1820 Census)
George Sargent: Not Stated, Fountain Co., IN (1830 Census)
Abel M. Sargent: Not Stated, Fountain Co, IN (1830 Census)
George Sargeant: Logan twp., Fountain Co, IN (1840 Census)


third wife (no children)

Mary Gardner Wood TARVIN [widow of Rev. George Tarvin]
b. 6 Sep 1765; NJ
c. 30 Sep 1765; Elizabeth, Union, NJ
m. Mar 17 1825; Fleming CO., KY; Abel Morgan Sargent, Sr.
d. aft. 1835 [one unreliable record says 1833] 
             [see newspaper notice Dec. 27 1835

dau. of

F: William Gardner [or "Gardiner']
                   [b. c. 1740, d. Morristown, Morris Co. NJ]
M: Ann _______ 


second wife (no children)

Sarah Frances Miles BRISTOW [widow of Benjamin Bristow]
b. 17 Apr 1768; Baltimore, MD or Franklin, VA
m. 11 Jun 1823; Shelby Co., KY; Abel Morgan Sargent, Sr.
d. 10 Jun 1828; [Cincinnati?] 

dau. of

F: Samuel E. Miles 
M: Sarah James Miles 


first wife

Sarah Tunis  	
b. 27 Jul 1761
m. 8 Nov 1785; KY; Abel Morgan Sargent
d. 22 Oct 1822; Gallia Co., OH

dau. of

F: Henry Tunis
M: Phebe Burnet

- Children of Abel and Sarah:

- Phebe Sarjent
- b. 12 Dec 1787; [MD?]
- d. 18 Dec 1787; [MD?]

- Abner Osburn Sergant
- b. 9 Jul 1789; George's Hills, Allegany, MD
- m. c. 1801; Eliza Unknown 	

- Jahziel Sarjent
- b. 25 Jan 1793; NJ
- d. [prob. died young]

- Clarissa [Clariss] Sarjent (twin)
- b. 1 May 1796; Westernport, Allegany, MD
- m. 11 Mar 1813; Gallia Co., OH 
                 [Greenbrier Co., VA?]; Isaac Butler 
- d. aft. 1815

- Sarah "Sally" Sargent (twin)
- b. 1 May 1796; Westernport, Alleghany, MD
- m. 12 Jan 1815; Gallia, Ohio; Zemariah 
                          [aka Zimri/Nimsi] Wells (1788-1862)
- d. 3 Aug 1878; Wilkesville, Vinton, OH

- Abel Morgan Sargent, Jr.
- b. 27 Feb 1798; Westernport, Alleghany, MD
- m. 25 Aug 1821; Sarah "Sally" Edwards
- LDS Endowment 3 Feb., 1846; Nauvoo, Hancock, IL
- d. Nov 1847; near Winter Quarters, NE
- Benaiah Henry Sarjent
- b. 2 Jan 1801; Pittsylvania Co., VA

- Anna Alethia Sarjent
- b. 1 Apr 1803; [OH?]

- Luna [Lance] Sarjent
- b. 11 Apr 1804; Lexington, KY 
     [may have married a Sally Clark]


F: David Edwards, Jr. (1774-1858 IN) 
-- lived in NJ and Floyd Co., IN
M: Drucilla Tomlin [widow Jones] (1779-1858) 
-- 12 children, none Mormons

- Sarah "Sally" or "Sallie" Edwards
- b. 29 Oct 1806; Floyd Co., IN
- m. 25 Aug 1821; New Albany, Floyd Co., IN; 
                         Abel Morgan Sargent, Jr.
- LDS endowment 3 Feb., 1846; Nauvoo, Hancock, IL
- d. 17 Mar 1839?; [prob. Lafayette, Floyd Co., IN]

-- Children of Abel, Jr. and Sarah Sally:

-- Phebe [Phoebe] Sargent
-- b. 1822; [Floyd Co.?] IN
-- d. [as an infant]

-- John Sargent
-- b. 1824; [Floyd Co.?] IN
-- d. 1833; Fountain Co., IN

-- Drusilla [Drucella] Sargent
-- b. 1 Feb 1826; Floyd Co., IN
-- m. FEb. 1846; William Anderson
-- m. c. 1844; John Seymour
-- LDS endowment 3 Feb., 1846; Nauvoo, Hancock, IL
-- d. aft 1844

-- Martha Jane Sargent
-- b. 24 Sep 1827; Fountain or Floyd Co., IN
-- m. Sep 1845; Nauvoo, Hancock, IL; C. Norman Sharp
-- LDS endowment 3 Feb., 1846; Nauvoo, Hancock, IL
-- m. 4 Jul 1847; Independence Rock, Natrona, WY; Harley Mowrey 
-- d. 20 Dec 1922; Vernal, Uinta, UT

-- Sarah Tunis Sargent
-- b. 1829; Fountain Co., IN
-- m. c. 1850; [UT?]; John Stutzman [Stutesman]
-- d. aft 1850

-- David Sargent
-- b. 1831; Fountain Co., IN
-- d. 1831 or 1835; Fountain Co., IN

-- Harriet Sargent
-- b. 23 Oct 1832; Fountain Co., IN
-- m. 28 Mar 1847; Winter Quarters, NE; Charles Coulson Rich 
                                       [Apostle Feb. 12, 1849]
-- LDS baptism Feb 1846; [Nauvoo]
-- d. 18 Jul 1915; Centerville, Davis, UT

-- Caroline Sargent
-- b. 28 Oct 1835; West Liberty, Jackson [or Clay] Co., MO
-- LDS baptism Feb 1846; [Nauvoo, Hancock, IL]
-- m. Jun 1851; Provo, Utah, UT; Arvin Mitchell Stoddard
-- d. 21 May 1905; Milford, Beaver, UT

-- Thomas Sargent
-- b. 23 Oct 1837; Fountain Co., IN
-- d. Nov 1847; near Winter Quarters, NE

-- Baby Boy Sergeant 
-- b. 7 Mar 1839; Lafayette, Floyd Co., IN
-- d. 7 Mar 1839; Lafayette, Floyd Co., IN	


Concluding Comments

(under construction)


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Last Revised: Apr. 2, 2006