The 1830s were a time of great religious enthusiasm across the United States and saw scores of ladies take up the call to travel from place to place, preaching faith, repentance, and the coming of judgment. Among these women was the New Hampshire-born Nancy Towle, who traveled across the United States and the British Isles. A fiery preacher with a will of iron, she let anyone within earshot hear her message of repentance-- a message that could, at times, sound like harangues, brimstone, and torrents of abuse. On today’s episode, we explore:
- Her 1818 call to join the small but determined band of female itinerant preachers;
- Her 1829 mission to England and Ireland
- Her arrest for obstructing the roads and disturbing the peace and the thrill at the prospect of being jailed "for Christ Jesus' sake"
- Her sea voyage on a "floating hell," with a narrow escape from being thrown overboard by a "merciless, accursed crew"
- Her efforts to get into the infamous Newgate Prison and preach to the prisoners under sentence of death
- Her observations of three young Englishmen hanged for forgery and housebreaking
- Her prophesy against the English Nobility
- Her confrontation with early Latter-day Saint Leaders Martin Harris, William W. Phelps, Sidney Rigdon, and Joseph Smith.
For more information on this episode, please check out the following sources:
Nancy Towle, "Vicissitudes Illustrated, in the Experience of Nancy Towle, in Europe and America (1832).
Richard Bushman, "Joseph Smith - Rough Stone Rolling: A Cultural Biography of Mormonism's Founder" (2005).
Bailey, Judith Bledsoe, ""Faithful Child of God": Nancy Towle, 1796-1876" (2000). Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects; Paper 1539626243.