One of the most anticipated community events in antebellum North Carolina was the camp meeting. A religious fervor swept the state between 1800 and 1860. During this "Second Great Awakening," hundreds of people gathered and camped in tents or crude shelters for up to a week to hear preachers' emotionally charged sermons. Organized mainly by Methodist and Baptist churches, camp meetings attracted people of most Christian denominations. Wealthy planters, many of whom were Episcopalian, worshipped alongside people of other social classes at these brush-arbor revivals.
Camp meetings were social events as well as worship services. At the eddges of the listening crowd, small groups of men and women visited quitely while children played and courting couples strolled around.
Circuit-riding preachers traveled throughout North Carolina with a horse and a Bible to spread the Gospel in rural areas. The nomadic lifestyle quickly took a toll on both man and beast.