Andrew, John Herbert (1827-1898)

Transcription of Obituary In the Primitive Methodist Magazine by William Robinson

IN the death of John Herbert Andrew, of Duggleby, in the Malton Circuit, a good life found fitting close, and one of the faithful servants of Christ entered into the joy of his Lord.

His was a life of more than ordinary usefulness, and if fully written would be a chapter in Christian biography of more than usual interest. Were it so that we were in search of an example of village Methodism of the best type, showing at once what village Methodism is and does, the kind of man it makes, and to whom it owes so much, we could hardly do better than make choice of John Herbert Andrew. He had many advantages, but he used them well, and turned them to good account.

Born of godly parents, converted early in life, possessed of good ability, and withal of warm and consecrated soul, he naturally came to be a man of mark, of influence, and worth, and for fifty years gave ungrudgingly his best services to the support and extension of the work of God in the villages of the Malton Circuit. He fairly claims to be reckoned among the strong, stalwart men of a past generation, needed when circuits were wide, journeys long, and labourers were much fewer than they are to-day – men whose zeal was a flaming furnace, and whose heroic deeds of holy daring never could be written on this earth, though doubtless they are all in the chronicles of the sky. Duggleby, where our friend spent nearly the whole of his life, has been noted in past times for a goodly number of quite remarkable men. They were not men of what is called high birth or much education. They were unknown to earthly fame. Plain men were they, of plain speech, and plain ways; but they were men of deep religious experience, strong faith, mighty power in prayer, and prodigious labours to spread the Gospel and save men. They have all passed away, and no polished slab, it may be, records their life-deeds or embalms their honoured names. But they are not forgotten for all that. The names of Frank Gillery, George Shepherd, John Oman, “Tommy” Midgley, and of our departed brother are often heard, and always mentioned with tenderest respect. Many remarkable stories are told; one we may relate concerning “Old John Oman.” He was just a plain farm-worker, yet for fifty years he collected for our missions, and during that time brought to the funds not less than £200. These men figured in the great revival at Duggleby in 1848, and which continued every night for sixteen weeks, forty-three being converted, six of whom became local preachers, who having served well their day finished their course with joy. Mr. Andrew’s conversion took place just a year before the revival, and some say, was one of the influences which led up to it. Just as the famous Charles George Finney’s conversion led to a great awakening, one old sceptic crying out, “If Finney has got saved, I will believe in Christianity,” so the conversion of young Andrew, and the glowing fervour of his new-found life pouring itself out in manifold endeavours to bring others to Christ, did no doubt prepare the way and lead on to the great revival which was made a blessing to so many.

The circumstances which led to this young man’s conversion were these: the sudden death of his father, and the last words which fell from the dying lips made such an impression that they could not be shaken off. “John, follow me!” said the dying parent. For a whole year, said our friend, I could hear nothing else than, “John, follow me!” Then, one Sunday evening, weary of his sin, he laid his burden down, along with George Shepherd, brother of the late Rev. James Thorpe Shepherd, in the house of Tommy Midgley, amid the joyful shouts of God’s people. This youth of eighteen, we can well believe, would soon be found something to do, and soon he passed through all the degrees of prayer leader, exhorter, to the place of a full local preacher. Naturally he was shy, and felt very diffident. On the way to his first appointment as a prayer leader, so powerfully tempted was he that he turned back part of the way, but kneeling down by the roadside, and seeking help from God, he regirded himself and went forward to his work, and as the result, saw four converted that day. He was exceedingly happy in his married life, having for his partner, as he said, “One of the truest Christian young women in Yorkshire.” She was a true helper to him, a fine type of Christian womanhood, and made his home bright and happy. Brother Andrew’s house became, and continued for well-nigh half-a-century the regular home for preachers; and God blessed him both in basket and in store, for time and for eternity. Business increased, and family cares multiplied, but nothing was allowed to stand in the way of service for God. Honoured by the confidence of his brethren, he was society steward and class-leader in addition to local preacher. In addition to all this, he found time for the development of what evidently was the ruling passion of his soul, namely, the spread of the Gospel in the neglected villages. In this he showed both zeal and great aptitude. In those many time-honoured methods that used to be by cottage prayer meetings, open-air services, house to house visitation, inviting and pressing the people to come in, he, aided by others like-minded with himself, sought to advance the work of God; and with what results the day alone will declare.

Another matter in which he was deeply interested was the financial condition of the Trust Estate. The chapel must be thoroughly renovated, and the debt of £62 must be paid off. Within only a few months the total amount of £92 was raised, to the surprise and joy of all concerned. But life here has its shadows, and accordingly in the very noon of her life, Mrs. Andrew was taken away from her husband and family. This was, as he said, the greatest trial and sorrow of his life. Soon after that again, an elder daughter also, who had stepped into mother’s place, was taken from him, of whom he said, “She was a treasure to me and my children.” Amid all his losses, however, he bore himself with faith and fortitude. He knew “whom he had believed.” And when years, and infirmities came upon him his soul still dwelt at ease in the faithful God of Love. “I am passing through the furnace,” said this hero of a hundred well-fought battles in the closing days of life, “I am passing through the furnace, and the ?res are hot; but I trust God’s grace: when He has tried me I shall come forth as gold.”

Thus for fifty years our brother served well the Church of his early choice with most exemplary faithfulness, with unwearied toil, and large success. The end, as might be expected, was peace. At eventide there was light. He had fought a good fight; he had kept the faith. He had lived his life well, and seen his children converted and joined to the Church he had loved dearer than his own life. Before him was the crown of righteousness, and the life that knows no end. He waited only the call to come up higher.

His last days were lived in the home of his son, a much esteemed local preacher in Malton, and were soothed by all the tender ministries of filial love. To him death had no sting, the grave no terror. His God sustained him in the final hour, and in the noon of the summer of 1898, without a lingering groan or darkening fear, he went like a child of God to his home in heaven.

Family

John was born in 1827 at Old Malton, Yorkshire, to parents Thomas, a tailor, and Judith. He was baptised on 22 December 1827 at Old Malton.

John earned his living as a master tailor and draper.

John married Amy Pickering (1830-1878) on 12 January 1850 at Wharram le Street, Yorkshire. Census returns identify nine children.

  • Ann (1852-1903) – married Matthew Hick, a farm labourer, in 1871
  • Tom (1854-1922) – a tailor and organist
  • Baker (b1856) – an apprentice blacksmith (1871)
  • Mary Hannah (b1858) – a housekeeper (1891)
  • Herbert (1860-1914) – a postman
  • Laura (abt1863-1944) – a general domestic servant (1891); married George Strangeway, a stationary engine driver (1911), in 1893
  • Frances (Fanny) (b1866) – a general servant (1891)
  • John (b1869) – a tailor
  • Henrietta (1872-1924) – married George Ezra Longbottom, a joiner, in 1899; emigrated to Canada in 1907
  • Adelaide (1874-1932) – married Samuel Taylor, a carter (1911), in 1900

John died on 4 July 1898 at Malton, Yorkshire.

References

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1901/308

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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