One of the greatest frontier preachers and Methodist circuit riders was Peter Cartwright (1785–1872). He grew up in the western wilderness, and became one of the most famous evangelists and planters of new churches in the West.

As he traveled he usually conducted several worship services a day. He was known for his powerful, bold preaching (and his ability to deal with backwoods ruffians if the need arose).

Cartwright baptized almost 10,000 converts, and preached almost 15,000 sermons. He left the circuit in Kentucky and Tennessee in 1824 because of his distaste for slavery, and transferred to Illinois. There he was elected to the legislature twice. He lost in a run for Congress in 1846 to Abraham Lincoln.