Born: 1785-09-01 Amherst County, Virginia
Died: 1872-09-25 Sangamon County, Illinois
Flourished: Sangamon County, Illinois
Cartwright moved with his family to Kentucky when he was very young and converted to Methodism during the Kentucky Revival. He soon took up the ministry and began preaching throughout the Midwest and Upper South. In 1824, Cartwright moved to Sangamon County, Illinois, and became one of the founding members of the Illinois Annual Conference. He also started a political career, winning election to the state House of Representatives in 1828. Although he was a Democrat, Cartwright opposed the institution of slavery in Illinois. Voters reelected him in 1832, when Abraham Lincoln failed to secure a seat in the same district. He ran against Lincoln in the 1846 congressional election and lost by a large margin. The most noteworthy incident from the campaign was Cartwright's accusation that Lincoln was an infidel, resulting in the publication of Lincoln's "Doctrine of Necessity" broadside.
Gravestone, Pleasant Plains Cemetery, Pleasant Plains, IL; Mark W. Neely, Jr., The Abraham Lincoln Encyclopedia (New York: Da Capo, 1982), 49-50; Peter Cartwright, Autobiography of Peter Cartwright, W. P. Strickland, ed. (Cincinnati: L. Swormstedt, 1859), 244-60.