Ewing, Finis, 1773-1841

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Ewing, Finis, 1773-1841

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Name :

Ewing, Finis, 1773-1841

Ewing, Finis

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Name :

Ewing, Finis

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Exist Dates

Exist Dates - Date Range

1773-07-10

1773-07-10

Birth

-

1841-07-04

1841-07-04

Death

-

Biographical History

Minister in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri; co-founder of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1810.

From the description of Finis Ewing papers, 1823-1841. (Tennessee State Library & Archives). WorldCat record id: 28600153

Founder of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

From the description of Papers, 1824-1841. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122462055

Founder of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Finis Ewing, founder of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, received his unusual given name because he was the last of twelve children of Robert and Mary (Baker) Ewing. He was born in Bedford County, Virginia on July 10, 1773. From boyhood he lived on the frontier near Nashville, Tennessee where he obtained some schooling, and profited by the debates of a "literary society." In 1793 he married Peggy Davidson, daughter of General William Davidson, and the next year settled near Russellville, Kentucky, where he soon became a prosperous and influential farmer. The preaching of James McGready brought Ewing to a vital Christian experience. In the great Cumberland revival of 1800 the presbyteries of Transylvania and Cumberland, unable to keep up with the growing need for preachers, licensed and ordained some men, Ewing among them, who did not satisfy Presbyterian educational requirements. However, the part Kentucky Synod and General Assembly disapproved of their licensing and ordinations. Because of this action, Ewing and two other ministers formed an independent body called the Presbytery of Cumberland, in 1810. For the next nine years he traveled and preached throughout Kentucky and Tennessee, using camp meetings as a means of building up congregations in regions destitute of religion.

In his new role, Ewing was principal author of the "Circular Letter" issued by the Cumberland Presbytery. During 1812, he was a half time pastor of the Lebanon Church in Christian County, Kentucky. By 1813, the Presbytery had grown to a synod. Meanwhile, Ewing continued pressing for church separation and became one of the framers of a revised Westminster Confession, the adoption of which by the Synod in 1814 marked the separate life of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The new Church taught a middle ground between the Calvanistic doctrine of predestination and the Arminian doctrine of salvation by works. With Robert Donnell, Ewing wrote an account of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church for Woodward's edition of Charles Buck's Theology Dictionary (1814), which brought the sect to general notice.

In 1820 Ewing moved to new Lebanon, Missouri, where he formed another congregation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In his own house he maintained a training-school for ministers. Many of his teachings are included in his Lectures on Theological Subjects (1872), a text widely circulated among Cumberland Presbyterians. Though once a slaveholder, his views on slavery altered to the point that he began agitating against slavery. He also was a pioneer leader of the temperance movement in Missouri. He later moved to Lexington, Missouri where he not only served as pastor but was also registrar of the Land Office, thereby supporting himself while continuing in the ministry. Because of his efforts, the Cumberland Church was greatly strengthened. He died July 4, 1841.

Although nothing in the collection would indicate it, other sources claim that Ewing was one of the prime instigators of the Missouri persecutions against the Mormons. David Pettigrew, a Mormon colonizer in Missouri, recorded in his autobiography that Ewing was "a wealthy farmer residing near Lexington, Mo.", a leader of the local Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and "a man of great influence" in Jackson county. Pettigrew went on to say that this same Ewing rode "at the head of two hundred men . . . armed and equipped for the purpose of driving the Mormons from their home (Jackson County)." (Autobiography of David Pettigrew, pp. 13-15, BYU Archives Mss 473.)

Ewing's son, Finis Y. Ewing, was known by the name of Young Ewing. He became a merchant and clerk of Laclede County in 1821, while his family lived at New Lebanon, Missouri. In 1837 Young Ewing traveled cross country to the Pacific Northwest returning in 1838. He married Tabitha J. Rice on February 19, 1840. He engaged again in commerce and later became a trustee of Russell, Majors and Waddell, shippers of freight between Salt Lake City and the East. He resigned his position as a trustee in 1861.

From the guide to the Finis Ewing collection, 1824-1841, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

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External CPF Relations (Same As)

viafID

24205687

Ewing, Finis, 1773-1841

sameAs

http://viaf.org/viaf/24205687

sameAs

http://www.worldcat.org/wcidentities/lccn-no97039054

sameAs

http://id.loc.gov/authorities/names/no97039054

sameAs

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finis_Ewing

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Languages Used

Subjects

Politics, Government, and Law

Democratic Party (Mo.)

Oregon Territory

Camp meetings

Presbyterianism--United States

Preemption Bill

Baptism

Territorial Government

Politicians--United States--Correspondence

Politicians--Correspondence

Nationalities

Functions

Occupations

Clergy--Southern States

Legal Statuses

Places

Missouri

as recorded (not vetted)

AssociatedPlace

Southern States

as recorded (not vetted)

AssociatedPlace

Missouri

as recorded (not vetted)

AssociatedPlace

United States

as recorded (not vetted)

AssociatedPlace

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<conventionDeclaration><citation>VIAF</citation></conventionDeclaration>

General Contexts

Structure or Genealogies

Mandates

Identity Constellation Identifier(s)

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w61835wr

w61835wr

7182303