Transcription of Obituary in the Christian Messenger
The Society at Witney (Oxon) has recently sustained a deep loss in the passing away on July 15th, of Bro. E. Hale, at the ripe age of seventy-six. He was a member of the church for over thirty years, and during the whole of that period was greatly esteemed for the consistency and saintliness of his life. The class and prayer meetings were his special delight, and those who were privileged to listen to his testimonies and supplications were impressed, not so much by the nicety of their construction, as by the startling originality, the sincerity of conviction and the earnestness of spirit which inspired them. Whether in the home, the Church or the world he always maintained that gentle, unruffled disposition which marks out the man who lives in constant and loving communion with God. His devotions at night, just before retiring, were not hastily got through or regarded as mere matter of form and custom, but took the character of a real service. After a long time in prayer for the family, the neighbours (who were mentioned by name) and the Church, etc., he would rise, and commence to sing, breaking off now and again to shout “Glory”, or “Hallelujah.” Then he would conclude by singing the Doxology and pronouncing the Benediction. All this was gone through night after night regularly, punctiliously, and with such fervency, that it often occasioned people to stop and to stand under the window and listen to this “good man, full of faith and of the Holy Ghost.” For twelve months or more, he had suffered much pain of body, yet was never heard, not even when heart-disease and dropsy set in, to offer the slightest murmur or complaint. He had a big warm heart in which nature, children and animals always found a secure place. The song of a bird would send him into holy rapture. No wonder that when the end of his life drew near, the vision of the life and glory beyond became increasingly vivid. A day or two before his death, the veil was taken away, and catching a glimpse of the beckoning Christ, he suddenly raised his hand, and his voice rang out clear and strong, “right, my Lord.” At that moment, a light, never seen on land or sea, illumined his countenance, and even when the soul had fled to God, the glory of heaven, yea, the light of the Saviour’s smile still seemed to be reflected on the cold and lifeless form. The funeral service was conducted in the Primitive Methodist Church by the Rev. S. Ainsworth and by the Rev. W.T. Hosier, son-in-law of the deceased, whilst Miss E. Vinn, the organist, very feelingly rendered the “Dead March.” He was interred on the 18th of July, surrounded at the grave-side by a large number of sorrowing relatives and sympathising friends, and in “sure and certain hope that the dead in Christ shall rise to everlasting life through our Lord and Saviour.”
Family and other information
Edwin was born abt 1830 at Hanborough, Oxfordshire. He worked as a labourer in the railways for 36 years, often as a plate-layer. Prior to working on the railway, Edwin was a farm labourer.
Edwin married Jane Townsend (abt1833-1912) in the summer of 1860 at Witney, Oxfordshire. Census returns identify eight children.
- William Henry (1860-1864)
- Elizabeth (1862-1895) – married John Pratt, a railway engine fireman
- Emily (abt1865-1912)
- William Henry (1866-1936) – a cowman (1911)
- Albert James (1868-1897) – a mechanical dentist (1891)
- Harriet (1871-1911) – married James Brooks, a mill hand, in 1892
- John Thomas (b1873) – a fishmonger’s carrier (1891); a railway signalman (1901); reduced to porter in 1906
- Ellen (1877-1974) – married William Thomas Hosier, a PM Minister, in 1905
Christian Messenger 1906/350
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers