Steven asks this responsible question after compared Quillen Shinn unfavorably to Daniel Bragg Clayton:
Well Clayton was a bit of a grasshopper too, but of course, just in the south., and usaully within 400 niles of home, but where does circuit riding end and grasshopering begin? the furtherest west Clayton preached was Texas, and as far as I know just one trip. But he was certainly a wide circuit riding minister –
I think the issue of one of stewardship.
- Clayton was as much a newspaper editor (and later a newspaper correspondent) as a circuit rider. I contend newspapers, pamphlets, biographies, sermons and liturgies, hymnals, and children’s resources were written for the lay market was a deliberate response to the dire clergy shortage. This shortage was particularly hard in the South. You don’t see Shinn making as much use of the written word. You do see a lot of photographs of him. (Here’s one of Clayton, though.)
- Shinn was the national missionary; Clayton was a minister — admittedly esteemed with a de facto extra-territorial mission; I think he was one of the few ministers at the first Alabama Convention, even though he was from South Carolina — with no particular authority for his works. This makes me esteem Clayton’s accomplishment more.
- Shinn’s grasshopperness was — I think — recognized in his own lifetime; Clayton got the rare honorific of “Father” by his younger contemporaries.
- Clayton’s “works do follow him.” (Rev. 14:13) That is, as much as anything survives. The eponymous church is Newberry, of course, and I believe he helped organize the Liberty Universalist Church in Louisville, Mississippi. It isn’t affilitated with the UUA today, but I have heard recent reports that it has stepped back from the edge of the cliff. I don’t think any of Shinn’s churches have survived.
- Shinn was a celebrity minister; Clayton was a well-regarded one. Not to overdraw the line, but that’s where the difference between the two comes down to me.
I can be convinced otherwise if this doesn’t bear scrutiny.