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Archive for October, 2012

Rev. James S. Ross D.D. was born in 1848 in Scotland and was married to Maggie who was born in 1850 in Scotland. He was received on trial in 1867 Wesleyan Methodist

Charges:

1869 Aylmer, 1869 Mossley (Middlesex Cty), 1871 Fergus- Student,  1881 London (Middlesex Cty),  1891 Haldimand (Northumberland Cty), 1898-1900 Dublin Street Guelph (Wellington Cty.)

1871 Census
Ross, James Stuart
Sex:Male
Age:23
Place of Birth:Ontario
Religion:Wesleyan Methodist
Province:Ontario
District Name:Wellington Centre
Sub-District Name:Fergus
1881 Census
Ross, James S
Sex:M
Age:33
Place of Birth:Ontario
Religion:Canada Methodist
Ethnic Origin:Irish
Occupation:Minister
Province:Ontario
District Name:London
Sub-District Name:Ward 6
Family: Wife  Mary Ann was born in 1838 in Ontario
1891 Census
Ross, James
Sex:Male
Age:43
Marital Status:Married
Province:Ontario
District Name:Northumberland West
Sub-District Name:Haldimand
Family:  Wife  Maggie was born in 1850 in Scotland, James 10, Charles 7

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Rev. Daniel Webster Pomeroy was born in 1826 in Ontario Methodist Episcopal

Charges:

1849 Newburg Addington Cty, 1866 Yorkville living at 10 Yonge St. (York Cty.), 1867 Markham Circuit, 1869 Madoc (Jastings Cty), 1872-1873 Brantford (Brant Cty), 1881 Orford (Bothwell)

Christian Guardian – Obituary – Late Rev. William M. Pomeroy – an appreciation. He was born on July 10 1849 in Newburg, Addington Cty Ontario, son of Rev. Daniel Pomeroy. In 1871 he married Miss Sarah Alice Bird of Sydney, Hastings Co. and he died on May 13 1924 at Maidstone and was buried at Windsor Grove Cemetery. In 1918 he retired and settled in Maidstone. He was survived by his widow, 5 sons and 3 daughters – 1 son is Rev. D. Webster Pomeroy

1881 Census

Pomroy, Daniel
Sex:M
Age:55
Place of Birth:Ontario
Religion:Methodist Episcopal
Ethnic Origin:English
Occupation:Minister
Province:Ontario
District Name:Bothwell
Sub-District Name:Orford

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Rev. William M. Pomeroy was born on July 10, 1849 in Newburg, Addington Cty. He was received on trial as a Methodist Episcopal  in 1868

Charges:

1872 Creemore (Simcoe Cty), 1878 Stirling Rawdon Twp. (Hastings Cty.), 1878 West Huntington/Moira (Hastings Cty.), and twelve other circuits, 1888-1891 Florence (Lambton Cty.), 1893-1895 Malahide (Elgin Cty), 1902 Harmony (Perth Cty)

Attended the 1891 Guelph Conference held at Berlin (Kitchener) Ontario

Christian Guardian – Obituary – Late Rev. William M. Pomeroy – an appreciation. He was born on July 10 1849 in Newburg, Addington Cty. Ontario, son of Rev. Daniel Pomeroy. In 1871 he married Miss Sarah Alice Bird of Sydney, Hastings Cty. and he died on May 13 1924 at Maidstone and was buried in Windsor Grove Cemetery. In 1918 he retired and settled in Maidstone. He was survived by his widow, 5 sons and 3 daughters – 1 son is Rev. D. Webster Pomeroy

Christian Guardian – 1924 Veteran’s Farewell – Rev. William M. Pomeroy of Maidstone leaves widow and several children.

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Rev. John W. Robinson was born in 1844 in England, Primitive Methodist

Charges:

1869 Artemisia, 1871 Albion (Cardwell), 1877 Milliken’s Corners/Scarborough Circuit (York Cty.), 1880-1883 Paisley Street – Guelph (Wellington Cty.), 1891-1893 Ebenezer/Nassagaweya (Halton Cty)

Christian Guardian – Obituary – Late Rev. James E. Hunter was born on August 27, 1870 in Huron Twp, Bruce Cty. Ontario and died on July 14 1924 in Granton Ontario and was buried Woodland Cemetery, London Ontario. He was survived by his wife (daughter of late Rev J.W. Robinson), 2 daughters Alma and Beth, a brother Rev. William Hunter and 4 sisters

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Rev. James E. Hunter was born on Aug 27, 1870 in Huron Twp, Bruce Cty. and died on July 14 1924 in Granton Ontario buried Woodland Cemetery, London Ontario

Charges:

1881 Binbrook

Christian Guardian – Obituary – Late Rev. James E. Hunter was born on Aug 27 1870 in Huron Twp, (Bruce Cty.) Ontario and died on Jul 14 1924 in Granton Ontario and was buried Woodland Cemetery, London Ontario. He was survived by his wife (daughter of late Rev J.W. Robinson), 2 daughters Alma and Beth, a brother Rev. William Hunter and 4 sisters

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Rev. William J.  Hunter was born on Feb 26, 1835 at Philipsburg, Quebec and was received on trial in 1856 and attended Victoria College from 1854-1856 and again in 1858.

He was ordained in Kingston by Rev. Dr. Stinson in 1860.

He was the brother of the late Rev. James E. Hunter, Episcopal

Charges

1856 Newmarket (York Cty), 1857 Bradford (Simcoe Cty), 1859 Dundas (Wentworth Cty), Burlington, Clinton, Londo, Richmond 1867-1869 Queen Street Toronto, 1871 Centenary Hamilton (Wentworth Cty.), 1873 Stirling/Rawdon Twp. (Hastings Cty.), 1876-1880 Dominion Church Ottawa, 1881 Yorkville, 1881-1883 Central Church Toronto, 1884-1886 Queen Street Toronto (again), 1887 Wesley Church Hamilton, 1888 St. Catharines, 1889 Carleton Street Toronto, 1891 St. James Montreal,

Attended the 1891 Guelph Conference held at Berlin (Kitchener) Ontario

1871 Census
Hunter, William J
Sex:Male
Age:36
Place of Birth:Ontario
Religion:Wesleyan Methodist
Marital Status:Married
Province:Ontario
District Name:Hamilton
Sub-District Name:St Patricks Ward

Family:  Wife Mary J. was born in 1835 in Ontario, Louise 7, William 5, Herman 3, Mary McGurigan 21 servant

1881 Census

Hunter, William
Sex:M
Age:45
Place of Birth:Ireland
Religion:Methodist
Ethnic Origin:Irish
Occupation:Minister
Province:Ontario
District Name:York East
Sub-District Name:Yorkville

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Rev. Francis Huston Wallace was born on September 5, 1851 in Ingersoll, Upper Canada, son of Robert Wallace, a Presbyterian minister, and Mary Ann (Marianne) Barker. He  married on June 25, 1878 Johanna (Joy) Wilson in Metuchen, New Jersey USA, and they had five children, of whom two sons and one daughter lived to maturity. He died on  June 2, 1930 in Toronto.

Francis Huston Wallace was educated in a series of private schools, including Upper Canada College in Toronto, where he was head boy in 1868-69. He enrolled in University College, Toronto, the following year. Although he was not impressed with the quality of teaching, he graduated with a first and a gold medal in classics in 1873 and secured an M.A. a year later. Wallace and his family had assumed that following graduation he would enter Knox College and become a Presbyterian minister. During his second undergraduate year, however, he became greatly distressed about his spiritual condition and his vocation. He agreed with his father as to the absolute necessity of a conversion experience as the foundation of a truly Christian life, but he was deeply depressed by his failure to achieve it.

Fortunately, at this juncture he was befriended by several perceptive and sympathetic Methodists. Inspired by their counsel and by participation in Methodist services, he eventually felt “his heart strangely warmed,” as had John Wesley, and he became “gloriously happy in the joy of salvation.” Despite his father’s anger and grief, Wallace rejected the Westminster Standards, adopted by the Church of Scotland in 1647, and the prospect of becoming a Presbyterian minister. His Methodist friends quickly decided that he would be a valuable recruit for the Methodist ministry, and with their encouragement, he was accepted as a local preacher in 1873. Nathanael Burwash, the founding dean of theology at Victoria College in Cobourg, hinted at an eventual appointment in the college. Wallace enrolled in Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, New Jersey USA, in 1873. After graduating in 1876, he proceeded to the University of Leipzig, then a leading institution in biblical studies attended by many foreign theological students, where he spent a year. He would return to Germany in 1911-12 to study at the University of Berlin and, in particular, to enrol in the course offered by the eminent and radical church historian Adolf von Harnack, whom he later privately described as a “Unitarian of the highest type.”

Wallace was ordained in the Methodist ministry in 1878 and subsequently appointed to pastorates in Peterborough, Toronto, and Cobourg, positions in which he acquired several prominent lay supporters and the friendship of Samuel Sobieski Nelles and other members of the teaching staff at Victoria College. In 1887 he was appointed professor of New Testament literature and exegesis in Victoria’s faculty of theology. He began teaching the following January. Wallace was a member of the faculty until 1920 and its dean from 1900. A respected and committed teacher and administrator, he helped to shape the development of the faculty and the theological outlook of many in the Methodist ministry in Canada, during a period of profound intellectual upheaval – a generation influenced by Darwin’s writings, the development of higher criticism in biblical studies, and growing awareness that Christian theology is a transitory construction, as are other forms of human thought. By 1920 Victoria’s faculty of theology and the Methodist community in general had come to accept the implications of contemporary biblical scholarship and were probably more distressed by the moral implications of World War I than by arguments about Genesis and prophecy.

At Victoria, from 1892 located in Toronto, this process of adjustment was marked by two controversial incidents and facilitated by Wallace’s own approach to biblical studies and his constructive appointments to the faculty. He played no formal part in the first issue, the resignation of his friend and colleague George Coulson Workman in 1891. He concluded, however, that Workman was a Unitarian and therefore unsuited to instruct Methodist theological students. Again, in 1909 his friend George Jackson, newly appointed professor of English Bible, was threatened with dismissal for stating publicly that the account of creation in Genesis is not a historical one. The dispute was resolved through a statement prepared by John Fletcher McLaughlin, Workman’s successor, and signed by the entire faculty of theology. It declared that, “so long as our theological professors maintain their personal vital relation to Christ and Holy Scripture, and adhere to the doctrinal standards of our own church . . . they must be left free to do their own work,” a position later accepted by the General Conference of the Methodist Church.

A quiet, firm, but tolerant scholar, Wallace believed that the New Testament is “all alive with the experiences, difficulties, struggles, antagonisms, heresies, arguments, appeals, eloquence of the men and times to whom Jesus Christ spake.” Historical study enabled Christians better to understand “the living realities of the Bible and of Christian experience.” Wisely and perhaps deliberately, he left public controversy to others. His preaching was scholarly and balanced, and he welcomed changes in the role of the church. Wallace did not neglect his duties as a minister. He was a strong advocate of the establishment of the deaconess order in the Methodist Church and an effective supporter of union with the Presbyterian and Congregational churches, achieved in 1925. His home was a hospitable place where he welcomed each generation of students. Above all, he strove to make Victoria’s “work in theology equal in scholarship to that of the very best institutions on this continent.” He left his colleagues and his students with a “memory of good words and good deeds” that would help constructively to shape the college’s role in theological education.

…from Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

…by Goldwin S. French

In 1921 Francis Huston Wallace completed “Memories: a family record,” an autobiography for his children and their families that was never published. It bears an alternative title, “Memories of the manse, the parsonage, and the college.” The UCC-C holds two copies of this work, in fonds 3170. The first leaf of one of them is signed “my own copy F. H. W.” Wallace published a number of articles, some pamphlets, and a collection of lectures. These include “Methodist colleges: Drew Seminary,” Canadian Methodist Magazine (Toronto and Halifax), 9 (January-June 1879): 217-22; “University life in Germany,” Canadian Methodist Magazine, 17 (January-June 1883): 350-57, 422-31; Witnesses for Christ, or, a sketch of the history of preaching: lectures delivered under the auspices of the Theological Union of Victoria University, Cobourg, March, 1885(Toronto, 1885); “The principles, methods and results of the biblical theology of the New Testament,” Acta Victoriana (Toronto), 19 (1895-96): 93-98, 156-62; The interpretation of the Apocalypse: a paper read at the Theological Conference of Victoria University, November, 1902 (Toronto, 1903); and “Our Bible: what it is and how to use it” (typescript, 1923; copy available at UCC-C).

UCC-C, Biog. file; Conference file. R. P. Bowles, “Late Reverend Professor F. H. Wallace: in memoriam . . . ,”New Outlook (Toronto), 20 Aug. 1930: 809. Michael Gauvreau, The evangelical century: college and creed in English Canada from the Great Revival to the Great Depression (Montreal and Kingston, Ont., 1991). D. B. Marshall, Secularizing the faith: Canadian Protestant clergy and the crisis of belief, 1850-1940 (Toronto, 1992). Margaret Prang, N. W. Rowell, Ontario nationalist (Toronto and Buffalo, N.Y., 1975). “Retirement of Dean Wallace,” Acta Victoriana, 44 (1919-20): 372-75. Tom Sinclair-Faulkner, “Theory divided from practice: the introduction of the higher criticism into Canadian Protestant seminaries,” Canadian Soc. of Church Hist.,Papers (n.p.), 1980 [i.e. 1979]: 33-75.

 

Rev. Francis Wallace was born in 1852 in Ontario. His son was Dr. Edward Wilson Wallace who was living in 1924 in China and was married to Mrs. E.W. (Cullen) who died in Shanghai, China

Charges:

1881 Yorkville (York Cty)

1881 Census

Wallace, Francis
Sex:M
Age:29
Place of Birth:Ontario
Religion:Canada Methodist
Ethnic Origin:Irish
Occupation:Minister
Province:Ontario
District Name:York East
Sub-District Name:Yorkville

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Rev. James Jackson was born in 1789 or 1790, probably in New York State and he died on  July 6, 1851 in Norwich, Upper Canada.

All that is known of James Jackson’s background is that his father’s family was in Potsdam, N.Y., during the War of 1812 and immigrated to Edwardsburgh Township, Upper Canada, following that conflict. At some later date Jackson may have served as presiding elder’s supply assisting the Rev. Isaac B. Smith on the Yonge Street circuit, near York (Toronto), of the Methodist Episcopal Church, an American body that had missions in Upper Canada. In 1817 Jackson was recommended for its ministry and was sent to the Duffin’s Creek circuit in Pickering Township, returning in 1818 to the Yonge Street charge. Ordained deacon in 1819, he was assigned to the Long Point circuit where he remained until 1821, an unusually long term of three years at a time when one-year appointments were the normal Methodist practice. From 1821 to 1824 he served on the Westminster and the Thames circuits near London.

Jackson was popular among the church’s followers. John Saltkill Carroll, a colleague, said that he “was certainly one of the most attractive preachers of that day,” an assessment reflected in the success he enjoyed. During his last year at Long Point he reported an increase of 102 members from the 404 recorded in 1819, and at Westminster membership grew from 356 to 475. It was at this time, however, that conflict arose between Jackson and the church’s leaders, including William Case, and a major part of the 1822 session of the Genesee Conference was spent debating his status. A motion to expel him was reduced to a temporary suspension of his ministry and a reproof from the presiding bishop. Despite the questions raised about his temperament and style of ministry he was ordained a preacher in 1824 and reassigned to the Westminster circuit the following year.

In 1826 Jackson was superannuated because of poor health and began work as a mission school teacher in Westminster. His problems with the church continued, now largely relating to its association with the American parent. In his desire for independence he sided with Henry Ryan, a fellow preacher, and agitated for the complete separation of the Canadian church. The two were not satisfied when that goal was achieved in 1828 and organized conventions to disrupt the new body, called the Methodist Episcopal Church in Canada. In 1829 Jackson was charged with making slanderous statements concerning certain preachers, and with the misuse of mission funds. He did not appear in his own defence and was expelled.

Jackson then assisted Ryan in organizing the Canadian Wesleyan Methodist Church, a “reformed and pure Church” whose government featured lay representation and an elective presidency; Although the Ryanites did succeed in attracting some members from the Methodist Episcopals, their numbers remained small, and in 1833 the movement received a major setback when Ryan died. Jackson, who had returned to the arduous labours of an active preacher, then assumed the leadership, serving as president of conference in 1835. His most urgent problem was the possibility of a general return of his members to the MethodistEpiscopal Church in Canada following its union in 1833 with the Wesleyan Methodist Church. The merger with that British body had reduced the hostile feelings within his own group toward the Methodist Episcopals. To counter the threat he campaigned for union with the Methodist New Connexion Church, an English sect which was also an exponent of stronger lay representation in church government. He succeeded in 1841 when the 1,915 members of his church joined that group to form the Canadian Wesleyan Methodist New Connexion Church. Jackson, then serving on the Welland Canal circuit, became its first president. As Carroll commented, “This union put that body on a much more respectable footing than it had ever been before.”

In 1843 the British parent body requested that the Canadian mission send a delegate to England to report on its work and to raise funds, and Jackson was chosen. The clergyman sent from England to be superintendent of the mission in Canada wrote a letter introducing Jackson to his counterpart in England. It provides clues to the difficulties Jackson encountered in his pastoral ministry: “Bro Jackson is a sanguine go ahead man he leaves consequences for other people to think about. In the management of business he is determined and persevering but lacks prudence. He is also very fond of controversy There is hardly a body in the Province but he has been at war with, less or more either with their doctrine or govt. . . . At the missionary services and in Revival meetings I think you will find him an acquisition. I hope our friends will bear with his American peculiarities.” His tour was partially successful in that contributions to the missionary society of the English church increased by one-third, but his appeal for financial support to liquidate the Canadian church’s debt was less rewarding. He then suggested a great Canadian bazaar: friends in England would donate goods to Canada where they could be sold and the proceeds applied toward a theological seminary, houses for ministers, and financial grants to missionaries. The plan was accepted and goods arrived from England, but no record of the outcome has been found.

After his return to Canada, Jackson served the Hamilton and Welland Canal circuits (1844–45) before becoming supernumerary minister at Waterford (1846), Malahide Township (1847), and Norwich (1849–50). Apart from serving a third time as president of conference in 1848, he rapidly declined as a leader in the united church. The dominant influence became the superintendent and preachers who were sent out from England. Jackson “labored till increasing infirmities obliged him to retire.” He died on 6 July 1851 at the age of 61. It is not known whether he ever married. The church he helped form and served at great personal cost barely exceeded 7,000 members at its peak and was the first of the smaller Methodist groups to unite with the Methodist Church of Canada in 1874.

…by Albert Burnside

…from Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

SOAS, Methodist Missionary Soc. Arch., Methodist New Connexion Church, Foreign and Colonial Missions Committee, corr.., North America, John Addyman to W. Cooke, 25 July 1843; James Jackson to Cooke, 21 April 1844 (mfm. at UCA). UCA, Biog. files, James Jackson; Albert Burnside, “The Canadian WesleyanMethodist New Connexion Church, 1841––1874” (typescript, 1967), 26, 148–49; “Relationships between theMethodist Church in the Canadas, the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States, and the WesleyanMethodist Society in England, 1791–1847” (typescript, 1959), 29–30. Canadian Wesleyan Methodist New Connexion Church, Minutes of the annual conference (Toronto), 1852: 7–8. Cornish, Cyclopædia of Methodism, 1: 43, 240, 468. Carroll, Case and his cotemporaries, 2: 95–96, 98–99, 306, 390–91; 3: 1, 3, 253–54, 295. [H.] O. Miller, A century of western Ontario: the story of London, “The Free Press,” and western Ontario, 1849–1949 (Toronto, 1949; repr. Westport, Conn., 1972), 21–23, 25–26. J. E. Sanderson,The first century of Methodism in Canada (2v., Toronto, 1908–10), 1: 141, 206, 226. Thomas Webster,History of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Canada (Hamilton, Ont., 1870), 228–29. D. J. Brock, “The confession: Burleigh’s prehanging ‘statement’ mystery” and “That confession again: error leads to further probe, suggestion of Burley’s innocence,” London Free Press (London, Ont.), 10 April 1971: 8M and 24 April 1971: 8M respectively. H. O. Miller, “The history of the newspaper press in London, 1830–1875,” OH, 32 (1937): 120–21.

Rev. James Jackson

saddlebags2Received on trial from the Yonge Street Circuit in 1817, he was appointed to Duffin’s Creek. He was described as tall and handsome, with dark hair and blond complexion, graceful with an air of assumed dignity. In after years he wore spectacles. He always dressed gracefully and with clerical propriety. His voice was sweet and commanding. He was ordained deacon in 1819 and appointed to the Long Point Circuit where he remained until 1823 when he was appointed to the Westminster Circuit.

In 1822, much of the time of the Genessee Conference was taken up with the case of the Rev. James Jackson. A motion was made to expel him from the ministry, but this was modified to suspension of his ordination and reproof from the preside Bishop. He was ordained elder (minister) at the first meeting of the Canada Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church  at Hallowell (Picton) in 1824. He was superannuated in 1826 and served as a schoolteacher (amongst Indians) until 1829 when he was expelled.

Mr. Jackson became involved with the Rev. Henry Ryan in establishing a rival Methodist body, popularly known as Ryanites, but officially termed the Canadian Wesleyan Methodist Church. This group must not be confused with another body bearing a similar name, the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Canada. The Canada Conference expelled both Ryan and Jackson in 1829 for schismatic activities.

The new body founded by Jackson and Ryan attracted a number of adherants across Upper Canada. In 1837, the British New Connexion Methodist Conference decided to undertake a mission in Canada. They established contact with some Protestant Methodist congregations in the Eastern Townships of Quebec and the Rev. James Jackson made overtones to them on behalf of the Ryanites of Upper Canada. Both groups were brought under the care of the English New Connexion Missionary Society in 1842 and the resultant body was called the Canadian Wesleyan Methodist New Connexion Church. The name was later shortened to the New Connexion Church in Canada. Jackson was elected President of this denomination in 1848.

...from In The  Saddle – Saddlebag Preachers

Notices:

Jackson, Rev. James     Letter to the editor on the attack on his life and the false statements which have been made against his account of the incident. Reference to the Wesleyan Missionary Society, Mr. Potters, Thomas Dalton, jun., Moses Herrington, John Dougall, George Welsh, Moses Carnaham, Samuel Wright, jun., Rainard Post.     Kingston Chronicle Jan. 9 1830 col. 5

Jackson, James (Rev.)     Letter to the Public and Mr. Macfarlane and Mr. Dalton re: the Canadian Wesleyan Methodist Conference.     Kingston Chronicle May 29, 1830 p. 2, col. 4

 

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photo credit: Toronto Public Library
Parliament St Primitive Methodist

William Lawson was born on  November 27, 1793, at Wallholme, near Brampton, Cumberland, England, second son of William Lawson, a tailor, and Frances Bell. He married on June 25,  1814 Ann Atkinson of Brampton, a bonnet-maker, by whom he had 11 children. He  died on February 19, 1875 at Hamilton, Ontario.

After a rudimentary education William Lawson entered his father’s trade, but suffered financial losses and in 1829 emigrated to Canada with his family. He opened a shop in York (Toronto) as a tailor, draper, and hat-maker, and was joined by his former apprentice, Robert Walker, who bought the business in 1834. Lawson moved to Brampton, Upper Canada, then returned to Toronto, and finally settled in Hamilton in 1847.

Lawson’s importance is not as a merchant but as a Primitive Methodist. His family belonged to the Church of England, but in 1813 he joined the Methodists and began preaching around Brampton. Although lacking formal training he was obviously a gifted preacher, arousing great feeling. He complained of the lukewarm attitudes of many Wesleyans, and in 1822 joined the Primitive Methodists, attracted by their enthusiasm and democratic organization, in which lay preachers played an important role.

Through Lawson’s efforts the first Primitive Methodist congregation in Canada was formed at York in 1830. Toronto remained the centre of Canadian Primitive Methodism, which spread mainly into western Ontario. At its peak in 1882 there were 8,200 members. In 1884 the Primitive Methodists united with other Methodist bodies to form the Methodist Church of Canada. Besides his preaching, Lawson served his church as missionary secretary for many years, and in 1853 attended its English conference as the special delegate from Canada. He holds a pre-eminent place in the history of Canadian Primitive Methodism.

… by Edith Firth

… from Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

UCA Primitive Methodist Church (York), minute book. Christian Journal (Toronto), 26 March 1875. William Lawson, The life of William LawsonJ.P., one of the builders of Canada . . . , [ed. J. D. Lawson I (n.p., 1917). Jane Hopper, Old-time Primitive Methodism in Canada, [1829–1884] (Toronto, 1904).

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VICKERYANN (Robins), Bible Christian preacher;

Ann Vickery was born in 1799 or 1800, probably in Luxulion (Luxulyan), Cornwall, England. She married in  1831 Paul Robins, and they had two sons. She  died on September 18, 1853 in Bowmanville, Upper Canada.

Ann Vickery experienced a religious conversion at Luxulion in 1819 during an evangelical revival in Devon and Cornwall brought about by the preaching of the Bible Christians, a Methodist sect founded in 1815. It was Bible Christian practice to involve young converts in witness and service, and Ann, after being encouraged to respond to a call to preach, “threw all the powers of her earnest nature into the service of her new Master.” At the second Bible Christian conference, held in 1820, she was appointed an itinerant preacher and given several one-year assignments in the region. The church posted her to London in 1826 where she did evangelistic work for two years. She was afterwards in Portsea until 1831 when she married Paul Robins, a Bible Christian minister. The sect had long encouraged unions between its ministers and women itinerants and promised that such couples “shall be entituled to the first support from the connexion.” Following her marriage she faithfully assisted her husband on all the preaching circuits he was appointed to serve.

Ann and Paul Robins and their colleagues in the Bible Christian ministry worked chiefly in the southwestern counties of England where the sect originated and where most of its adherents resided. In 1831, following the immigration of West Countrymen to British North America, the church began assigning clergymen to meet the needs of its followers living there. The efforts of missionaries such as Francis Metherall, Philip James, John Hicks Eynon, and his wife, Elizabeth [Dart], were not sufficient, and in 1846 Ann and Paul Robins were appointed to serve on the Peterborough circuit in Upper Canada. She and her family set sail on 14 April, arriving in Cobourg in early June. She had always been zealous in the service of her church, and Canada was to provide additional scope for demonstrating her commitment.

Ann Robins never considered that marriage excused her from the obligation to continue her ministry as opportunity permitted, and she was quick to respond to the demands of her new setting. Except for a brief period after the birth of her second child, when she had some help in the house, she did almost all her own housework “by her own choice” while leading fellowship classes, assisting in prayer meetings, visiting the sick, and preaching the gospel. Often she walked with a child in her arms to a distant appointment, handed “the precious burden” to a member of the congregation, conducted the service, and then returned as she had come, on foot. Needless to say, she had little patience with preachers who neglected to carry out their duties because of inclement weather or some similar difficulty. She encouraged her husband to fulfil his responsibilities however painful or hazardous. As he described it, “a coward husband . . . would lead but a sorry life with such a partner.” She also had a great concern for sabbath observance, regarding it as “a delight, holy of the Lord and honourable.” She made a point of preparing food and getting changes of clothing ready the preceding day so that the family could quickly respond to Sunday’s sacred duties, and was grieved when Christian believers disregarded the Lord’s day by using it merely as a time for visiting. She also organized her family responsibilities so that in an emergency she could take the place of a regular itinerant preacher who was sick. Among the first to call on her for this service was her husband, who became so ill after arriving in the province that “his life was despaired of.”

In 1849 the family left the Peterborough circuit for Cobourg, and in 1852 moved to the Darlington station in the Bowmanville area. There, on  September 5,  1853, she was “much struck” by the news of a brother’s death. Eight days later, while her husband was travelling the circuit and her sons were in Toronto, she was taken seriously ill. After exhorting several members of her class meeting to seek holiness and counselling her husband and family on spiritual matters, she died on 18 September at the age of 53.

Ann Robins and other female preachers, although an early feature of the Bible Christian Church in England, were not widely accepted in pioneer Canada despite their zeal and commitment. As her husband had noted in 1848, “there appears to be a prejudice in the minds of the people against female preaching.” Perhaps these women were ahead of their time, but in some fashion they helped to prepare the way for the emergence of professional women workers in the 20th-century church.

… by Albert Burnside

… from Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

Bible Christian Magazine (Shebbear, Eng.), 25 (1846): 357–63; 27 (1848): 123; 32 (1853): 474–76.Methodist Church (Canada, Newfoundland, Bermuda), Toronto Conference, Minutes (Toronto), 1890: 75–76. Cornish, Cyclopædia of Methodism, 2: 255. United Methodist ministers and their circuits . . . 1797–1932,comp. O. A. Beckerlegge (London, 1968), 199, 245. Albert Burnside, “The Bible Christians in Canada, 1832–1884 . . .” (thd thesis, Emmanuel College, Victoria Univ., Toronto, 1969), 375. Thomas Shaw, The Bible Christians, 1815–1907 (London, 1965), 33.

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