O'Kelly, James (1736?-1826)
James O’Kelly, a fiery, revivalist preacher in Virginia and North Carolina from 1775-1826, preached religious liberty. He decried slavery, using republican rhetoric in An Essay on Negro Slavery, and criticized Methodist polity in The Author’s Apology for Protesting Against the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1794, he created the Republican Methodist denomination, which became the Christian Church in the South in 1802. O’Kelly moved to North Carolina in 1787 and died in Chatham County in 1826.