Our Methodist missions family history

Joseph Mason (1888)
Margaret (Peterson Watson) Mason

Our gt-gt-gt-grandfather was Joseph Mason, who according to family lore was a Methodist lay preacher. He was said to have studied at Sunderland College and was at first supposed to go to the ‘cannibal islands’ in the S. Pacific (Fiji?) but went to South Africa instead, in 1848. He and his wife, Margaret Peterson Watson lived in Durban and later in Petermaritzburg, where he worked for the Natal Witness.
He seems to have lived from about 1819-20 to between 1903-1911. He died in S. Africa. We have not been able to find a Sunderland College – perhaps he was trained in an informal ministry training program in or near Sunderland?

Comments about this page

  • Thank you, Geoff. Yes, 1868 is 20 years after they went to S.Africa. Sorry, I wasn’t aware that there was a difference between Methodists and Wesleyans! So I’ll have to try that line of inquiry.

    By Les Paulsen (17/05/2021)
  • Les,
    The Primitive Methodists had a Theological College at Sunderland from 1868-1884. This seems a little late for you ancestor. Going to South Africa in 1848 is also a little early for Primitive Methodist missionaries travelling there. It is more probable that Joseph was in the Wesleyan tradition. Records associated with Methodist Missionaries are held on behalf of the Church by the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. You could enquire if they have any records relating to Joseph Mason.

    By Geoff Dickinson (17/05/2021)

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