Month: September 2019

George Whitefield is Dead

This Day in History: September 30th, 1770 George Whitefield died. I particularly like this poem by Phillis Wheatly, “An Elegiac Poem, on the Death of that Celebrated Divine, and Eminent Servant of Jesus Christ, the Late Reverend, and Pious George Whitefield”, that honors the late Rev’d Whitefield in its original broadside format .

You can purchase 13 different Whitefield sermon/pamphlets that we replicate, from our Etsy Store at the link below:

click here to go to our ETSY STORE

Freeborn Garrettson’s Saddlebags

Want to reenact as a Methodist minister? How about Freeborn Garrettson (1752-1827)? If you would like to reenact as a man who is American born, and who has been, “imprisoned, beaten, frequently stoned”, “shot at”, “severely” beaten, and “left for dead on the road”, this is your man. BTW: all of these things were done to him, not because he was Methodist, but because he freed his slaves (anti-slavery) and he was anti-war and would not fight in the war against England. He is considered the 2nd most important early Methodist preacher, behind Asbury. Freeborn was 23 when he was saved. “he immediately became an itinerant Methodist preacher.” There has to be a story behind his first name.

Saddlebags were important for early Methodist circuit riders who rode from town to town to spread the Word of Jesus. Circuit riders traveled continuously, carrying supplies of clothing, food, books and paper in their saddlebags. They preached morning and evening, resting only a few days per month.

Travel was extremely difficult, crossing mountains and rivers, wading swamps and facing wild animals. Of the first 700 American Methodist preachers, half died before the age of 30.

The saddlebags pictured here were owned by Rev. Freeborn Garrettson, the “Father of Methodism in New York State.” Rev. Garrettson was a prominent early circuit rider who traveled extensively in New York and beyond before making Rhinebeck, New York his home base for his travels in the last 35 years of his life.

These historic leather saddlebags are kept in the Christman Archives which are located at the New York Annual Conference Center, at 20 Soundview Avenue in White Plains, New York. Learn more on their web site at the link below:

the archives


Source: “The Heritage of American Methodism”, by Kenneth Cain Kinghorn, p39.
Image Source:  click here

Bible of the Revolution Ad in the Freeman’s Journal on September 25, 1782

This is Robert Aitken’s ad for his “Bible of the Revolution” that was run in the Freeman’s Journal on September 25, 1782.  Notice the statement about Continental Congress’ involvement in the making of this Bible in the column above the ad.   

Learn more about Robert Aitken and his 1782 “Bible of the Revolution” on our web page at the link below.

John Hockley

I want to thank John Hockley for having this photo taken of himself, a cannon, and his 1777 New Testament that I made for him.  This is not any old ordinary 18th century New Testament.  It is actually a replica of the first New Testament, in English, ever to be Made in America.   Robert Aitken published this New Testament in 1777.  He had to stop production of it and bury his entire print shop in a barn, just before British General Howe and his troops arrived in Philadelphia.   Aitken never resumed making this edition of the New Testament.   He started making another New Testament the following year, after the British had gone, in 1778 and continued making New Testaments each year through 1781  There are only three know original copies of this 1777 New Testament that survive today, but none of the 1778, 1779, & 1780 editions survived.  He published his 5th edition in 1781 which did survive.  We make replicas of both of his 1777 and 1781 editions.  We only have one replica of his 1777 New Testament for sale in our Etsy Store.  Purchase it at the following link:


Check our how these replicas of this 1777 New Testaments were made on our web page at the link below:


Bible of the Revolution

This Day in History: September 21, 1782 The Continental Congress authorized Robert Aitkin to publish the first English-language Bible printed in America.  This Bible is often called “The Bible of the Revolution”.  We make replicas of this Bible.  If you ever want one of our replicas, just let me know.  They take about a month to make. 

Before the Revolution, it had been impossible to print an English language version of the Bible in the colonies, because no American printers held a license from the King granting permission to print the Bible.  The war cut off shipments of Bibles from Great Britain, but also got rid of the need for the license; thereby creating a shortage of Bibles and the ability to print them in America.

Robert Aitken stepped in to fill this void. Beginning in 1777, Aitken began publishing and selling New Testaments. Aitken made the first New Testament printed in this country in 1777. After this first printing, he had to bury all of his equipment. The regulars were headed to Philadelphia and would have looked very unfavorably on any printer that they came across.

Robert Aitken first advertised his New Testament for sale in the August 28, 1777 edition of the Pennsylvania Evening Post. The transcription of this ad is below:

“Just printed (bound and ready for sale) by R. Aitken, printer and bookseller, opposite the London Coffee-house, Frontstreet, a neat edition of THE NEW TESTAMENT for the use of schools, where may be had writing paper of different kinds, particularly letter paper of the first quality, and several hundreds of excellent quills.”

There are only three known copies of Aitken’s 1777 New Testament still in existence today. One can be found in the New York Public Library’s collection. Another belongs to the Philadelphia Historical Society. The last was auctioned off by Bloomsbury Auctions in London November, 2011 by an undisclosed seller.

Demand was heavy, so every year, for the next five years, Aitken published a new edition of his New Testament. In total, he published five editions: Aitken’s second edition was published in 1778; his third in 1779; his fourth in 1780; and finally his last and fifth edition was published in 1781. I am unsure of the number of New Testaments Aitken printed each year, but I expect that it was somewhere between one thousand and ten thousand.

It was not until 1782 that Aitken had his first complete Bible. He printed his 1782 Old Testament and added it to his previously printed 1781 New Testament.