The Brunswick Circuit, established in 1773 by Robert Williams, is likely the oldest Methodist circuit in America. It extended from Petersburg south into North Carolina, and became known as "the cradle of Methodism in the South." By 1776, the remarkably popular circuit had grown to over 1500 members. Nearby is Canaan, home of one of its first ministers and his family, Edward Dromgoole, known for his patriotism and vigorous preaching. Dromgoole helped found Ebenezer Academy, the first Methodist school in VA and possibly in America. Canaan was an important hospitality and educational stop for Methodist preachers, including the first American Methodist Bishop, Francis Asbury.