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In Their Own Words

August 27, 1865

Sermon Against Dancing

In this morning’s sermon at the Methodist Church in Washington, Georgia, 25-year-old Eliza Frances Andrews felt that the eyes of the congregation were on her, as she recorded in her journal:

“The bolt has fallen. Mr. Adams, the Methodist minister, launched the thunders of the church against dancing, in his morning discourse. Mr. Montgomery wanted to turn his guns on us, too, but his elders spiked them. I could not help being amused when Mr. Adams placed dancing in the same category with bribery, gambling, drunkenness, and murder. He fell hard upon wicked Achan, who caused Israel to sin, and I saw some of the good brethren on the “amen” benches turn their eyes upon me. I was sitting near the pulpit, under full fire, and half-expected to hear him call me “Jezabel,” but I suppose he is reserving his heavy ammunition for the grand attack he is going to make next Sunday. The country preachers have been attacking us, too, from all quarters. I understand that some of them have given Washington over to destruction, and the country people call it “Sodom.” I thought I should die laughing when I first heard of this name being applied to our quiet, innocent little village - though it might not have been such a misnomer when the “righteous Lot” was in our midst. It is a pity that good, pious people, as some of these preachers undoubtedly are, should be so blinded by prejudice. I wish we had an Episcopal Church established here to serve as a refuge for the many worthy people who are not gamblers and murderers, but who like to indulge in a little dancing now and then.”

Source: Eliza Frances Andrews, The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-65 (New York: Appleton, 1908), pp. 381-382.