The covenanters, or Reformed Presbyterians, broke with the Established Church of Scotland in the seventeenth century, touching off a violent quarrel within both church and state. To escape the turmoil, some of the faithful took their brand of orthodox Calvinism to the Colonies, to Pennsylvania in particular, where they settled as early as 1720. While laboring in his capacity as missionary of the Reformed Presbyterian Church from 1751 to 1791, principally in Lancaster County but also throughout the entire region of the Cumberland Valley, Rev. Cuthbertson kept a meticulous account of his ministrations. In all, he travelled a staggering 70,000 miles, performed 1,800 baptisms, and officiated at 300 weddings.
This present work contains a complete list of marriages, giving the names of the bride and groom and date of marriage; a complete list of baptisms, giving the name of the child, the name of the parent, and the date of baptism; and a selection of quotations pertaining to the weddings and baptisms he performed during his long ministry. Since, as a matter of doctrine, the Covenanters disdained civil authority, it is probable that many of the 5,000 persons identified in these pages are identified in no other records of the colonial period.