Dedman, Mary Ann (nee Goldsmith) (1852-1902)

Transcription of Obituary In the Christian Messenger

MRS. THOMAS DEDMAN (originally Mary Ann Goldsmith) was a native of Essex. Soon after her marriage, however, she removed with her husband, to the North of England. After a brief stay in West Hartlepool Mr. and Mrs. Dedman settled at Butterknowle, where they lived for seventeen years and reared a large family. Our sister’s conversion took place about twenty-five years ago. She had attended a Sunday afternoon service in the Southside Primitive Methodist Chapel, and had been deeply impressed by the discourse. It was preached by the late Mr. John Bainbridge, and the subject was “The little captive maid.” She determined to hear Mr. Bainbridge again in the evening and her husband decided to accompany her. The text was Gen. vii., 16, “And the Lord shut him in.” Mr. and Mrs. Dedman remained to the prayer meeting and, being under conviction of sin, our sister went forward into the singing pew which served as a penitent form, with the intention of yielding herself to Christ. The good souls connected with the society were so delighted at the sight of a penitent that, in the enthusiasm of the moment, they began to sing lustily “I can and I will and I do believe.”

Against the excitement, however, the penitent revolted, and, declaring that she could never be converted in such a noise as that, she left the chapel. Now Mr. Dedman was under conviction, and, unaware that his wife had left the chapel, he went forward and gave himself to Christ. He immediately established an altar to God in the home, but, for the moment his wife seemed to be repelled from religion. ‘The following day, however, the Spirit of God was again at work within her heart. He fastened upon her soul the verse of a hymn – fastened it so securely that it could not be banished. It was
“While God invites, how blest the day!
How sweet the gospels charming sound!
Come, sinner haste, O haste away,
While yet a pardoning God is found!”

Away she went to her room, and putting her infant child upon the bed, she knelt by the bedside and yielded herself to Christ. Almost before she was fully conscious of what was taking place she found herself walking up and down the room singing in truly Methodistic fashion the very words that had revolted her when sung by the hearty souls in the chapel, “I can and I will and I do believe.” Ever afterwards Mrs. Dedman was a Christian of the demonstrative type, and her fervent responses were to be heard in all the services she attended, whether at home or away from home. After her conversion she immediately threw herself heartily into the Church’s work, and, when her husband became a local preacher and an official, he found in her a true helpmeet. Even in the earlier years of her married life, when she had to rear a rapidly increasing family on a very limited income, she generously supported the funds of the Church, and, when her worldly circumstances somewhat improved, her gifts to the Church and to benevolent objects generally increased proportionately. Of her twelve children nine survive her. Their mother’s character and influence are their best heritage. She brought them up as abstainers and succeeded in attaching them to the Church of their choice.

Some twelve years ago Mr. and Mrs. Dedman, with their family, removed to Coundon in the Shildon Station, and proved themselves loyal and hearty supporters of the Church in that place. It was well that our sister lived in constant readiness for the change, for her end came with extreme suddenness. She passed away on August 8th, 1902, at the age of 50, and was interred by the Circuit ministers amidst crowds of sympathising friends.

On Sunday October 5th, a largely attended memorial service was conducted by the writer. Our sister’s godly influence will long be felt in the Church and neighbourhood, and many a preacher will miss the inspiration of her eager expectant face and her fervent responses to his message.


Family and other information

Mary was born in 1852 at Althorne, Essex, to parents John and Sarah. John worked the land.

Mary married Thomas Dedman (abt 1854-1915) in late 1871 in the Maldon Registration District, Essex. Thomas worked as a coal miner after their move to Co. Durham. Census returns identify nine children.

  • Arthur William (1872-1934) – a colliery deputy overman (1911)
  • Mary Ann (b abt1874) – married William Gibbon, a coke yard worker, in 1895
  • Elizabeth Jane (1877-1947) – married Thomas Edward Torr, a deputy overman (1911), in 1898
  • Thomas Henry (abt1880-1958) – a deputy overman (1911)
  • John (b1882) – a bricklayer (1901)
  • Edith (1885-1950) – married Daniel Seyer Muncaster, a coal miner, in 1908
  • Albert (1887-1964) – wagon man at Co-operative stores (1911)
  • Minnie (1889-1974) – married John Thomas Jackson, a coal miner, in 1908
  • Harold (1898-1969)


Christian Messenger 1903/255

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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