Francis Asbury Last Will and Testament Items
Peculiar Event Regarding Francis Asbury's Personal Items
Bishop Francis Asbury Last Will and Testament Items
The following is an anecdote from the personal journal of a Methodist circuit rider who was put in charge of the personal items of Bishop Francis Asbury, left behind after the bishop’s passing on March 31, 1816. The itinerant’s name was Jacob Young. The original article was part of a larger article- an audio tribute podcast dedicated to the last week in the life of Bishop Francs Asbury. The entire article can be found at https://www.francisasburytriptych.com/bishop-asbury-bicentennial-audio/.
Itinerant Jacob Young Account of the Personal Effects of Bishop Francis Asbury’s Last Will and Testament
An interesting note about the death of Francis Asbury is that in his personal will, Francis left his clothes, his horse, books and manuscripts to his Co-Bishop, William McKendree. After the May 1st, General Conference in Baltimore, the conference where Asbury’s body was brought to from its temporary burial spot in Virginia for a proper funeral and burial, a young itinerant by the name of Jacob Young was given the task of delivering Francis’s items to Bishop McKendree, taking them across the Allegheny Mountains to Wheeling, Virginia.
The following is itinerant Jacob Young’s account of a peculiar event from this journey as noted in the autobiography of Jacob Young. The account is as follows:
“I traveled alone to Uniontown, Pennsylvania. I had charge of Bishop Asbury’s horse, and some books and clothes he had willed to Bishop McKendree. The books and clothes were packed in two valises, buckled together by two leather straps and laid across his old pack-saddle. There was another valise buckled behind the saddle, and all were handsomely covered by a large bear skin. I rode my own horse and led the Bishop’s. My horse and package resembled those horses and packages which carried silver from one part of the country to the other. Silver was scarce and the banks were trying to drain each other. As I passed by Gwinn’s old stand, near the foot of the Mountain, early in the morning, I saw a company of men standing in the door. Some of them pointed at me as I passed along; and, as I was just going into the mountain, the thought struck me that there might be danger ahead. I had not gone more than four or five miles before I saw two men riding up behind me. I thought it was no use to be alarmed. I was then in my best days, physically, and I did not know of many who had much more activity and physical power. They rode up very pleasantly and bid me good morning. I returned the compliment cheerily. They looked like a couple of strong men. They asked me if I lived in the west. I answered in the affirmative. They asked me how far I had been in the east. I answered, as far as the city of Baltimore. “How are the times in the west now?” I answered, pretty good. “Is plenty of money?” I answered, very scarce. He then cracked on my bear-skin, and said, “You appear to have plenty of it here.” I answered, no sir, there is no money there. This horse and package belonged to Bishop Francis Asbury, before his death, and he willed them to Bishop McKendree. I am conveying to Wheeling for him. The packages contain nothing but clothes, books, and manuscripts. They looked very much disappointed. One of them asked, “Is Bishop Asbury dead?” I answered, yes. “Well,” said he. “I have heard and seen him preach in my father’s house.” They paused a few moments, galloped off, and left me. It is impossible to tell what their intentions were, but I have always thought they intended to rob me.”