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James Caughey (c.1810-91)

James Caughey was born in Northern Ireland. Little is known of his early life before he emigrated with his parents to the United States. In 1830, he was working in a flour mill in New York state and was converted there during a revival. Caughey entered the American Methodist ministry and worked within the Troy Conference in New York state and New England. His reputation as a revivalist spread and he received invitations to preach as far afield as Canada.

In 1841 Caughey travelled to England and within a few years had established a reputation as the 'King of the Revivalist Preachers' in the industrial areas of the Midlands and the North. His success sprang from forceful preaching and a commanding pulpit presence. Caughey was not a theologian but 1specialised in presenting the gospel in a simple but effective fashion.

Caughey fell foul of the Wesleyan heirarchy led by Jabez Bunting and his supporters. By the time that he returned to North America in 1847, he had left a trail of controversy behind him. Boosted by the sale of publications concerning his ministry, Caughey was very much in demand in churches across North America.  He returned to England in 1857 for a stay of two years and again in 1862. His health began to give way and Caughey retired to New Jersey after a final visit to England in the mid-1860s.

Source: Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995)

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