1855 ROBERT RALSTON. Rare "Steelite" Related Presbyterian Covenanter Letter.

1855 ROBERT RALSTON. Rare "Steelite" Related Presbyterian Covenanter Letter.

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Fascinating letter from an interesting sect of radical Presbyterians that still carries forward to today. Founded by David Steele [1803-1887], descendant of Captain John Steel of the Scottish Covenanters, after his emigration to the United States in the 1820's, during the division between Old Light and New Light Presbyterians. He and his followers spent years attempting to move the Presbyterian church back to allegiance to the Act, Declaration, and Testimony of 1761. 

He and his followers became more and more radical in the throes of the "New Light" controversy, disrupting the Synods, protesting, and ultimately separating to form the Reformed Presbyterian Church. 

The present letter has all the characters. It is addressed to Francis Gailey from Robert Ralston and mentions both David and Andrew Steele in the text., as well as Hutchison [probably Robert Hutcheson]. 

Francis Gailey was one of the earliest Steelites. He was removed from the Synod for disorderly conduct because of his protests. Etc. Robert Ralston was another prominent man among them. 

Addressed from Westfork, August 15, 1855. 

Rev. Francis Gailey

Dear sir,

I have waited long and anxiously for a letter from you but have received no answer to my last. I seen John Davis a few days ago. He told me he had received a letter from you a few days ago that you had stated you had replied to my list. This induced me to write you for you to let me know the most suitable time for me to write again as I have ten Dollars on hand for some time being afraid to send it not knowing whether the last had reached you or not.

Andrew Steele has moved back to Brushcreek. David Steele is preaching some to the Dissenters. He expects some from that quarter. I think they will be few and very poor quality. 

Hutchison is introducing a kind of funeral Worship at the house of the deceased before closing the coffin.

We are all enjoying common health and have great reason to be thankful to the most high for his continued mercies, especially his preserving us from the backsliding and corruption all around us. 

I remain yours with all due respect.
Robert Ralston