01 June 2015

Deacon Norman Dutton (1810-1889) and Sunday School Associations

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From The Great Bend (KS) Weekly Tribune, Dec 25, 1896, Page 2 --
Many of the workers who were with us in the beginning have gone to their reward; among them who have died is Norman Dutton, No. 77, Eureka twp.
The above was noted seven years after his death, Deacon Norman Dutton, religious abolitionists and prohibitionist.  Activist in the cause, documented conductor on the Underground Railroad, and behind the scenes of the local Women's Temperance Union.  We should not be surprised he is also counted as a founding member of the local Sunday School Association.

Sunday Schools were first organized around the year 1800 as a way of reaching poor inner city children (Sundays were their day off from work).  Churches taught them reading and writing, personal grooming and care (brushing teeth, combing hair, etc.) mostly designed as a form of prison reform to keep them out of prison.

The 1800s following the Civil War saw phenomenal growth in Sunday Schools, due almost entirely to the local associations.  By the late 1800s these associations were banding together, and meeting in state conventions.  By the mid 1900s national organizations were forming, and unifying the curriculum and the published materials.  One of these in 1950 was the World Council of Christian Education, but in 1971 changed its name to the World Council of Churches.

Deacon Norman Dutton
It was the less liturgical denominations that first led the way with Sunday Schools.  I have traced Deacon Dutton as a Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregationalist.  And this is just "so far."  It makes me wonder if he was an idealist for praxis or doxasis?

Norman Dutton was both my 3xg-granduncle, and second husband to my 3xg-grandmother.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

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