Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by Thomas Collett
MARY COLLETT, the daughter of Thomas and Sarah HUGHES, was born about the year 1828, at the town of Lechlade, in the county of Gloucester. Although her parents lived according to the course of this world, yet they consented for their children to attend a Baptist Sabbath-school, where Mary received her first religious impressions, and was led to think of her eternal destiny. About the year 1838, she removed with her parents to Blunsdon, in the Brinkworth Circuit, where she attended a Primitive Methodist Sabbath-school, in which she was a scholar, and subsequently a teacher, until the time of her marriage with the writer of this sketch.
In 1841, her mother’s death more fully impressed her with the importance of personal religion. Her heart, like Lydia’s, was opened to the truth as it is in Jesus, and she found the Gospel to be the power of God to her salvation. Her first token of Church membership is dated 1842. From that time her duties as a teacher became her delight, and, although circumstances caused her to remove to an uncle’s, about two miles distant from the place of meeting, yet, with few exceptions, she was found at her post on the Sabbath morning.
Being deeply concerned for the conversion of her brothers and sisters, she sought the Lord with strong cries and tears on their behalf, and He granted her request. Two of her brothers are now local preachers, one sister has gone to heaven, the other two are on their way, and her good old father is following on to apprehend that for which he is apprehended of Christ Jesus. During the three years she lived with her uncle, she had fierce assaults from Satan, and experienced great heaviness through manifold temptations; but at length deliverance came, the gloom was dispersed by the bright beaming of the Sun of righteousness on her soul. Her sympathies were more fully drawn towards the salvation of souls in general, and her zeal for the glory of Jesus became obvious, so that, in June, 1850, her name was placed on the Brinkworth Circuit’s plan, by the unanimous vote of the Quarterly Meeting. Her abilities as a public teacher were moderate, and her earnest appeals, in the name of the Lord, often found their way to the hearts of sinners. Several were led to seek the Lord, and are now living witnesses of the power of the cross. She loved the habitation of the Lord’s house, and the place where his honour dwelleth.
In the year 1854, we were united in marriage, and settled in the Highworth Circuit, where she continued to preach, as circumstances would permit. On February, 3rd, 1857, we sailed from Southampton, for Melbourne, Victoria, and arrived safely in the month of May. We soon found a settlement, at South Brighton, eleven miles from Melbourne, and were glad to find that our people had a chapel, society, and school in connection with Melbourne Circuit. Shortly after taking up our residence here, we were called to suffer the loss of one of our children. This circumstance deeply affected my departed wife, and led her to think much of that country where there is no more death, neither sorrow, nor sighing, and where all tears are wiped away. Here, as elsewhere, she laboured with success, and it was while visiting a sick member that she first felt the symptoms of that sickness which terminated her earthly career. She suffered much pain during her affliction, but was quite resigned to the will of her heavenly Father.
At the end of three weeks, hopes were entertained of her recovery, but colonial fever returned, attended with violent attack of dysentery, which was too much for her already weak constitution. Three days previous to her death, she called me, and said, smiling, “I have had a precious season with my Lord. I thought last night would have been my last on earth, and I should have liked to have winged my way to glory. I have felt all was right during my sickness, but now my hope is full. My little Harry has been my only tie, but now I feel my every tie is broken. I could say much more, but am too weak.” I then asked, “Who will take care of the dear child when you are gone?” She pointed upwards, and said, “He that has taken care of me.” She conversed in a similar strain to her brother Joseph, and the day previous to her death, she spoke to a female member who attended her, of the “beautiful fountain of the water of life.” Being informed by her medical attendant of what I might expect, I sat by her during the night, and soon found that her end was near. I inquired, “Are you afraid to die?” she composedly answered, “No.” “Is the Saviour precious now?” “Yes.” Shortly after, with a slight struggle, she breathed her spirit to Him who had redeemed her by his blood, April 6th, 1858.
Mary was born in 1828 at Lechlade, Gloucestershire, to parents Thomas, who worked the land, and Sarah. Mary was baptised on 10 May 1829 at Lechlade. Before her marriage Mary worked as a domestic servant at Hannington, Wiltshire.
She married Thomas Collett, a PM minister, in late 1854 in the Highworth Registration District, Wiltshire.
She sailed for Australia with her husband on 3 February 1857.
Mary died on 6 April 1858 in Australia.
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1858/589
W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers