Who was LeGrand Buell? – The Continuing Story of Clara Wetherald

I apologize for the delay in blogging. I’m trying to finish up my dissertation this semester, so I’m afraid my posts might not be as often as I’d like. I’d also like to thank members of the  Miller family who have been amazing in helping me find information on Clara Wetherald. Who was LeGrand Buell? In the story of Clara Wetherald he was the second husband who died three years into their marriage. He was the man that Clara supposedly left John Wetherald for and caused a scandal in the community. He was the drunkard who Clara married to reform. … Continue reading Who was LeGrand Buell? – The Continuing Story of Clara Wetherald

The Demise of John Wetherald

This dissertation topic has taught me to believe that you can find that “needle in the haystack” or in the case of Clara Wetherald and Ida Gage’s lives “multiple needles in the haystack.” Once again, I have to thank the wonderful people who have helped me find so many of these tidbits that connect the dots. An 1895 New York Times article notes that the Reverend Clara Buell caused quite a sensation when she divorced her husband, John Wetherald, and married Legrand Buell in 1892. Supposedly her main motivation for wanting to marry Legrand was to convert him from alcoholism.  … Continue reading The Demise of John Wetherald

Free Methodism’s Descent form a Vibrant Religious Movement to a Denomination

As the nineteenth century ended the Free Methodist Church began to shift into a period of extended legalism, creating an insular society that little resembled the dynamic, Spirit-filled early history of the denomination. By the 1894 General Conference there was a push back against evangelists and a focus not on sinners but on saints within the church. The massive revivals that spread Free Methodism across the country began to become fewer as the denomination focused on legalistic practices such as simple dress and strict Christian guidelines. Ida Gage’s daughter Edith Gage Tingley illustrates the increasing tension between charismatic faith and … Continue reading Free Methodism’s Descent form a Vibrant Religious Movement to a Denomination

Clara (Miller) Wetherald’s Family Legacy

No one can ever accuse Clara Wetherald of living a boring life. From start to finish, her family narrative is filled with fascinating accounts – some true and some exaggerated. She was born Clara Miller June 20, 1849, in Erie County, Pennsylvania. Her parents, Esther and Harvey Miller, moved to Michigan when she was three. Clara had three other siblings, older brother and sister Sarah Miller and Commodore Perry Miller and a younger brother Frank Miller. Her parents’ marriage was rocky, and both Frank and Clara in later writings call their father “a wicked man.” This was probably due to … Continue reading Clara (Miller) Wetherald’s Family Legacy

Archival Research is Complicated: Additional Information on Ida Gage and Clara Wetherald

New feature: The 1890 Debate on Ordaining Women is now posted under the Debates on Women in Ministry Page. It can be downloaded in PDF, Kindle or epub formats. When I began my blog in May 2010 I began it as research tool. I really didn’t expect to get many readers. I was writing for myself and to help process my thoughts and ideas as I worked. Perhaps, my family would read it out of pity for me and say “Good job, great post,” but getting anyone outside of immediate family and a few close friends as readers wasn’t something … Continue reading Archival Research is Complicated: Additional Information on Ida Gage and Clara Wetherald

Walter Sellew’s Phamplet “Why Not?”: A Logical Defense on Women’s Ordination

The path to ordain women in the Free Methodist Church seemed to stall with the death of B.T. Roberts after the 1890 General Conference. Yet, the battle wasn’t over. In 1898 the Free Methodist Church for the first time appointed four bishops – Wilson Hogg (aka Hogue), G.W. Coleman, E.P. Hart and Walter Sellew. Sellew is the forgotten advocate for women’s ministry. Yet, without his support I believe recognition of women’s contributions within the denomination would have taken even longer to occur. While women were not granted the right to ordained elders within the denomination until 1974, they were granted … Continue reading Walter Sellew’s Phamplet “Why Not?”: A Logical Defense on Women’s Ordination

The Continued Hunt to Discover Who Ida Gage Really Was…

I have been obsessed with Ida Gage for two weeks now. My husband is telling me I have to stop digging. I am never going to uncover every fact about this woman’s life, and what is more important is to construct her rhetorical history through her sermons and speeches at conferences. Yet, these early Free Methodist women keep pulling me back into their history, their lives. They have become my friends and my heroes, who I really wish I could meet. Archival research is very complex, especially when you are trying to piece together the lives of women who have … Continue reading The Continued Hunt to Discover Who Ida Gage Really Was…