300,000 miles on horseback, from the Atlantic to the Appalachians, from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico, for 45 years he spread the gospel. This was Francis Asbury, Methodist circuit-riding preacher who was born this day, Aug. 20, 1745. When the Revolution started, he refused to return to England. He befriended Richard Bassett, a signer of the Constitution, who converted, freed his slaves and paid them as hired labor. He met personally with George Washington, congratulating him on his election. By the time he died, the Methodist Church in America had grown from 300 members to over 200,000.