The Journals & Notebook of
 Nathan Bangs 1805-1806, 1817


Contents    Introduction    Maps    Images    Chronology    Bibliography    Archival Resources

Editorial Annotations

When Bangs prepared materials for his chosen biographer Abel Stevens shortly before his death in 1862, he revised extensively his early account of the Hay Bay camp meeting. This revised account, extracted by Stevens for his 1863 biography, went on to became the most authoritative and frequently quoted by subsequent historians. It is also worth noting that this account is more extensive than the account Bangs included in his own four-volume History of the Methodist Episcopal Church published between 1838 and 1841. Several links to Stevens's 1863 text are found in the right-hand pane of this and subsequent camp meeting entries.

The assigned circuit riders for the Bay of Quinte during 1805 were Henry Ryan and William Case. Ryan was the more senior of the two. According to Bangs's account Case preached on Friday, Ryan on Saturday and Sunday.


[Friday 27 September 1805] 

Agreeable to appointment our Camp-Meeting began at the Bay of Quintie, in Adolphustown on the 27th of Sep. 1805 at 1 o'C. It was held in an open field. In the centre of which a Stage was erected and about 10 or 12 rods [approximately 180 feet or 55 meters] from the stage the tents were pitched in a direct line forming a right angle. 

The worship was introduced with singing and prayer, and a Short Sermon delivered by W. Case on "Brethren Pray." [2 Thess 3.1-3] A number of Exhortations followed but with little movement among the people. After an intermission of 20 minutes a second Sermon was delivered by N.B. [Nathan Bangs] on Christ our Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption [1 Cor 1.30]: After which some exhorted and the spirit of the Lord began to move on the minds of the people. An intermission of one hour and a half, and prayer meeting was held by the whole congregation at the Stage. At first it seemed dull; but an exhortation being given by one of the preachers and then prayer again the power of God descended upon the Camp, which soon raised songs of praises to God for Salvation found. This continued till about 10 o'C at night when a Sermon was delivered by Br. Madden on "We love him because he first loved us" [1 Jn 4.19].  The night was now clear and still, & one who exhorted observed, He believed God had driven away the clouds from the sky in answer to prayer. Several exhortations were given much to the purpose, and a solemn awe rested upon our minds whilst the spirit of God powerfully opperated [sic*] upon our hearts. The exercise continued til past 12 o'C [midnight] when the majority retired to their tents. During this siege 4 sinners were Justified and 2 Backsliders reclaimed.

* Rawlyk has "operated" (149)

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Primary Sources

Abel Stevens Life and Times of Nathan Bangs Stevens and Bangs on the first day of the camp meeting

John Carroll Case and His Cotemporaries Carroll on Case and Ryan as itinerants in 1805

David Smyth "Map of the Province of Upper Canada 1813" Detail of Bay of Quinte region showing location of Adolphustown

Anonymous engraving of a nineteenth-century camp meeting



exhortations:  Short orations not based on a biblical text that usually followed a more traditional sermon. Among the earliest Methodists women were as likely to function as "exhorters" as men.

Justified: The process by which a person comes to an awareness of their personal sinfulness (sometimes called conviction) followed by a sense that Christ has indeed forgiven them and they are now "justified" in the presence of a perfectly holy God.

Backsliders: Returning members or adherents of evangelical Christianity who had allowed their religious convictions to atrophy.


Edited by Scott McLaren
Book History Practicum
University of Toronto