Clarke, John William (1843-1916)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine 

On March 11th, 1916, John William Clarke, aged seventy-two years, was suddenly called to enter the Holy City. Like the Apostle Paul, he was ready to preach the Gospel, to endure hardness, and to depart and be with Christ. Converted as a youth, it was expected he would enter the ministry of our Church, and he, in fact, was a candidate, but the door was closed. Disappointment did not affect his loyalty to the Church, for he gave to her over fifty years of arduous service. 

He loved to preach, and was never happier than when preparing and proclaiming the Evangel. A trustee of several chapels, he generously gave of his substance. In and out of business he was highly respected, and in the Church was greatly beloved. He had been delegate to the District Meeting and to the Southport Conference. 

On March 15th, in the New Road Church, the funeral service was conducted by Revs. H. Semper, T. Savage, G.T. Turberfield and Henry Oliver of Retford. On March 19th an “In Memoriam” service was conducted.


John was born in late 1843 at Washingborough, Lincolnshire, to parents William Clarke, a master tailor (1851), and Elizabeth Harriet Odling. He was baptised on 26 November 1843 at Washingborough.

Census returns identify the following occupations for John.

  • 1861 journeyman tailor
  • 1871 insurance agent
  • 1881 assurance agent
  • 1891 machine dealer
  • 1901 furniture dealer
  • 1911 house furnisher

He married Mary Ann Swift 91848-1909) in the spring of 1871 in the Melton Mowbray Registration District, Leicestershire. Census returns identify two children.

  • William Swift (1873-1904) – assistant in furniture (1901)
  • Wilfred Harold (1881-1956) – house furnisher (dealer) (1921)

John died on 11 March 1916 at Peterborough, Northamptonshire.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1916/636

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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