Wallowing in a Swamp of Sin Parson Weems, Sex, and Murder in Early South Carolina

Catherine Clinton

in The Devil's Lane

Published in print June 1997 | ISBN: 9780195112436
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854271 | DOI:
Wallowing in a Swamp of Sin Parson Weems, Sex, and Murder in Early South Carolina

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This chapter highlights the career of a young man who seized the day and forged his own brand of evangelical fervor—the very Reverend Mason Locke Weems, affectionately known as Parson Weems. Mason Weems studied medicine and surgery abroad until 1776. He returned home, and on the death of his father in 1779, inherited slaves that he chose to liberate. Weems returned to England in 1782 to study for the ministry and was ordained Episcopal priest in 1784. BY 1792, Weems was an itinerant minister and bookseller. He got married in 1795 to Fanny Ewell, at the age of thirty-five. His sermons and didactic tracts stirred the passions of commonfolk. Weems slated the public's growing thirst for religious erotica, fulfilled his pastoral mission, and sold more books to boot. He set out to make sin and redemption the central contending forces within America.

Keywords: Reverend Mason Locke Weems; religious erotica; pastoral mission; bookseller; America; sin; redemption

Chapter.  6623 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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