Baxter, Robert (1836-1906)
Transcription of Obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by J. Bastow Wilson
Robert Baxter, of Seaton Delaval, would have shrunk from any parade of his virtues, and his family have the same difficulty in reconciling themselves to publicity, but it would be discreditable to our Church to fail in making some record of such a devoted life.
For forty-seven years he was a local preacher at Seaton Delaval, beginning his work in October, 1859, three years after his conversion. His initials appear with the noted Tommy Gleghorn on the North Shields. plan. He became No. 9 on the first plan of the Seaton Delaval Circuit.
Fifty-three years ago he joined the class of Peter Burt (father of Thomas Burt, Esq., M.P.) He grew in grace and developed an earnestness which never disappeared. He was mainly an unseen worker, peace-loving and quiet, giving his money, time and talent without stint.
He made careful preparation for the pulpit. When preaching his voice lost its huskiness as he warmed up to his subject, and the inspired man delivered his message.
He was fortunate in his domestic life. His wife, who still survives, gave him constant encouragement in religious things. He loved his home, and had the joy of seeing his four children follow in his footsteps. A daughter is known and loved by friends over a wide district. As an evangelist, and later as a deaconess at Newcastle and Middlesbro, Sister Jennie has done excellent work. She has told how, when at a service her father knelt in prayer at the communion rail, she went forward to his side, and weeping for joy, with arms entwined around each other, she surrendered her life to God.
During the closing years of his life, hearing and speech gradually left him, but he always joined in worship though he could not hear a word of the service.
On his deathbed his smile bore valuable testimony to his Lord. When he passed away, December, 1906, aged seventy years, the friends of a lifetime gathered from far and near to bear witness to the influence of one who had walked with God.
Robert was born abt1836 at Old Hartley, Northumberland, to parents Alexander Baxter and Ann Hedley.
Census returns identify the following occupations for Robert.
- 1851 employed in the mines
- 1861 coal miner
- 1871 coal miner
- 1881 coal miner
- 1891 chargeman, coal mine
- 1901 coal miner chargeman
He married Mary Ann Dobinson (1837-1909) in the spring of 1862 in the Tynemouth Registration District. Census returns identify four children.
- Ann (1864-1919)
- Thomas (1866-1889) – a grocer’s apprentice (1881)
- Jane (1970-1918) – a dressmaker (1901); part-time evangelist (1911)
- John Alfred (1872-1955) – a stationary engineman (1901)
Robert died on 18 December 1906 at Seaton Delaval, Northumberland.
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1909/570
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers