Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by John Cooper
Mr. JAMES BROAD, late of Congleton, passed from earth to heaven, November 1st, 1888, in the seventy third year of his age. He was connected with the Congleton circuit for nearly half a century, having been a local preacher and class-leader for forty-seven years. By the sterling qualities of character he manifested he has built up a name which will linger in the memory of a large circle of friends for many years to come. He was born of poor parents, who sent him to work at the tender age of seven years; he, therefore, did not remember having been sent to a day-school, but he attended a Sabbath-school conducted by a female in a cottage. He was the subject of strong religious feelings during the days of youth, and only needed some friendly counsellor to lead him to a decidedly religious life. He at length obtained a situation with a Mr. Thompson, butcher, of Manchester, whose godly life and Christian conduct in the family had a great deal to do with moulding the character of our late brother.
On his return to Congleton in 1835, he was united in marriage to the one who now mourns in widowhood. In the following year he joined the mission church under the superintendence of the Rev. R. Aiken. When that church was disbanded in 1841, he, with his class, joined our society in this town, and with which society he remained up to his death.
By industry, conscientiousness, and Christian conduct, he rose to a respectable position in life, and so far won the respect of his fellow-townsmen as to occupy a seat on the Town Council, School Board, and the Board of Guardians. His strong common-sense, his depth of piety, together with his business capacities, soon marked him out as a man destined for usefulness in the church of his early choice. Hence his calls for special services, both in his own and other circuits, were frequent. These qualities of character were recognised by his circuit in sending him as its delegate to district meetings, and by the district in sending him as one of its representatives to at least two Conferences.
To one of those Conferences he carried the last message of our venerable founder, Mr. H. Bourne—‘Tell them to take care of the children;’ and according to Mr. Walford’s history he was the last preacher to whom Mr. Bourne listened. He had a passion for work, and was never happier than when engaged upon his Master’s business, and notwithstanding his advanced age, he, up to the last, preached ten or eleven times a quarter. In the capacity of local preacher he delivered some 6,000 sermons and addresses, and travelled, chiefly on foot, 40,000 miles. In 1858 and 9 he visited the various circuits of the Tunstall District, and thus obtained nearly £50 towards the building of a new chapel at Mow Cop. He was treasurer for the chapel and school funds at Congleton for thirty years, during which time the debts were reduced £900.
The last time he preached was at Silverdale, October 7th, from the words—‘ Brethren, I would not have you to be ignorant concerning them which are asleep,’ etc. His last affliction was severe and painful, but was borne with exemplary patience and resignation. When asked if he felt the Gospel he had preached to others sustaining him, he replied: ‘Oh! what should I do now without it?’
‘Fixed on this ground will I remain,
Though my heart fail, and flesh decay;
This anchor shall my soul sustain,
When earth’s foundations melt away;
Mercy’s full power I then shall prove,
Loved with an everlasting love.’
And after serving his generation by the will of God he fell asleep in Christ. His funeral was witnessed by hundreds. He was carried to his grave in the old churchyard by his fellow-local preachers in the station, where the service was conducted by the circuit minister.
James was born on 23 January1815 at Astbury, Cheshire, to parents Samuel Broad and Mary Dale. He was baptised on 1 July 1840 at Astbury.
Census returns identify the following occupations for James.
- 1841 butcher
- 1851 butcher; Hugh Bourne recorded as a visitor
- 1861 butcher
- 1871 butcher; member of School Board
- 1881 butcher
He married Harriet Brassington (1813-1889) on 7 July 1835 at Prestbury, Cheshire. Census returns identify one child.
- Elizabeth (b abt1851)
James died on 1 November 1888 at Congleton, Cheshire. He was buried at St Peter, Congleton.
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1891/632
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers