Warner, New Hampshire, Congregational conversion narratives 1817-1823
Collection Scope and Content Note
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The Warner, New Hampshire, Congregational conversion narratives comprise 26 narratives, written between 1817 and 1823, during a revival at the Warner Congregational church led by its pastor, Rev. John Woods. Although conversion narratives were frequently recorded by a minister, these appear to have been written and signed by members of the laity. In some cases, several members of the same family each wrote a narrative.
The majority of the writings open with brief descriptions of the writer's life before the conversion. In her narrative, Nancy Sargeant described herself as "careless and heedless" and possessed of "an evil heart" (Folder 34), while Abigail Badgers noted her reluctance "to forsake the vanities of the world"(Folder 33). Many writers reflected on the circumstances that precipitated their epiphanies. Stephen Batchelder described a string of health problems, including a hand wound (Folder 32), while many others recounted important sermons that had influenced them. Chellis F. Kimball, like several other converts, noted his fear of being "cast into hell" (Folder 33). Most of the narratives close with expressions of gratitude and pledges of religious devotion, such as Eunice Sargeant's statement of her "earnest desire to unite with the people of God" (Folder 34).