Francis Asbury – Asbury University
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Francis Asbury

Francis Asbury (1745-1816) Francis Asbury was born August 20, 1745, in Hamstead Bridge, Staffordshire, England, to Methodist parents. He began preaching at age 18 and traveled to America in 1771. (He was the only Methodist minister to remain in America during the American Revolution.) In 1784 John Wesley called on Asbury and Thomas Coke to establish the Methodist Church in America. Under Asbury’s leadership, the Methodist Church in America grew from 1,200 people to 214,000 members and 700 ordained preachers. Thus Asbury became known as the “Father of American Methodism”.

In 1790 Asbury established Bethel Academy in central Kentucky. The Methodist school, the first of its kind west of the Allegheny Mountains, was located three and a half miles south of the present day town of Wilmore, Kentucky. This local connection, the fact that Bethel Academy was founded exactly one hundred years before, and most importantly the theological similarities, led to the Kentucky Holiness College being renamed Asbury College in 1891.

Francis Asbury is believed to have preached over 16,000 sermons and traveled over a quarter of a million miles as a circuit-riding evangelist. Asbury died in Spotsylvania, Virginia, and is buried at the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.

Books Concerning Francis Asbury Available at Kinlaw Library and/or Asbury College Archives:

  • A Methodist Saint: The Life of Bishop Asbury, by Herbert Asbury
  • A Rhetorical Analysis of the Preaching of Bishop Francis Asbury, by Mark Brooks Lloyd
  • America’s Bishop: The Life of Francis Asbury, by Darius Salter
  • An Extract from the Journal of Francis Asbury, Volume One
  • Francis Asbury, by George P. Mains
  • Francis Asbury, by L.C. Rudolph
  • Francis Asbury: A Biographical Study, by Horace M. DuBose
  • Francis Asbury: Founder of American Methodism and Unofficial Minister of State, by William Larkin Duren
  • Francis Asbury: The Prophet of the Long Road, by Elmer T. Clark
  • Francis Asbury: The Prophet of the Long Road, by Ezra Squier Tipple
  • Francis Asbury in the Making of American Methodism, by Henry K. Carroll
  • Francis Asbury’s America: An Album of Early American Methodism, by Terry D. Bilhartz
  • From Wesley to Asbury: Studies in Early American Methodism, by Frank Baker
  • Life and Labors of Francis Asbury, by George Gilman Smith
  • Man of Devotion, Francis Asbury, by J. Smiley Collins
  • The Francis Asbury Monument in the National Capital, by Henry K. Carroll
  • The Pioneer Bishop: The Life and Times of Francis Asbury, by W.P. Strickland

Bio written by Matt Kinnell


  • “The Official Francis Asbury Website”,
  • “Francis Asbury” in Wikipedia,
  • Autobiography, by John Wesley Hughes