George, James (1828-1901)

Transcription of Obituary in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by L. Norris

Mr. James George, who for fifty-eight years had been a member of the Primitive Methodist Church, and for fifty-seven a local preacher ceased “to labour and to live” December 28th, 1901, and was interred in the family grave in the Wolverhampton Cemetry after an impressive service, conducted in the Dudley Road Chapel by Revs. W.W. Price, W. Carrier and L. Norris. Our late brother was born at Kidderminster, May 31st, 1828. His parents were members of the Church of England, and sought to bring up their family as strict adherents of the Establishment, but this was not to be. The family consisted of three sons, and they all became Methodists – two members and local preachers in our own Connexion, and the other a member and local preacher in the Methodist New Connexion.

Very early in life, when only about eight or nine years of age, the subject of this memoir had strong religious impressions, and in his fifteenth year, when attending an open-air service conducted by Revs. W. Beckerdike and H. Higginson, and a love feast held in the evening, became deeply conscious of the need of salvation, and sought earnestly the blessing. For three months he remained in a troubled state of mind, till one evening, after kneeling at the penitents’ form for about two hours, he left the chapel having failed to obtain peace, but on his way home the light came which scattered all his doubts, and filled his soul with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” He at once joined the society, and, under the kind, judicious and faithful leadership of a Mr. Lamb – “a real father in Israel” – his “soul grew strong,” and he “became earnest and enthusiastic in the service of the Lord. His ability and tact as a speaker marked him out for the preacher’s plan, and from the March Quarterly Meeting, 1845, he received a note to take appointments. In the following June his name was placed on the circuit plan as an exhorter. About six months later he removed to the Darlaston Circuit, his name duly appearing on the plan. He remained here for about three years, when he returned, married, and settled down in his native place. After some years, trade becoming very slack in Kidderminster, he removed again into Staffordshire and settled at Tivldale, in the Dudley Circuit. Here, for about nine years, he did yeoman’s service as a preacher. In this circuit he also did on two occasions the work of the ministers during their illness In some notes he has left, speaking of this time, he says: “I was never happier than when engaged in the Master’s work, and had it pleased the Lord to have called me into the ministry when I was young my soul would have rejoiced in the work, irrespective of salary, stipend, or reward.”

Having removed from the Dudley Circuit to Wolverhampton he came on the Bilston Circuit plan, and when the Circuit was divided, on the Wolverhampton plan, and for twenty years supplied the pulpits of both stations. These twenty years were years of unfaltering loyalty to the Connexion’s interests in this great centre of industry. In the dark days of trouble and anxiety arising out of the difficulties in which the Trustees of Dudley Road Chapel were involved, while others forsook the place because of the burden, he remained at his post. Perhaps it is not too much to say, but for his devotion, and that of his family to the cause at Dudley Road, the chapel must have been sold. He undertook the Treasurership of the Trust in its great financial difficulties, and, in addition, held the office of Society Steward, Class Leader, School Superintendent, and Circuit Steward. For many years he conducted a young men’s Bible Class.

ln 1881, having married for his second wife a Gloucester lady, he took up his residence in that city, and for twenty years his name stood on the Gloucester Circuit plan, and for a number of years, until obliged to resign through failing health, he held the office of a class leader and Circuit Steward. In June, 1901, his wife died, and, advised by the members of his family, he returned to Wolverhampton, where his son, Mr. A.J. George, and family now reside, by whom he was kindly and lovingly cared for. Speaking of his family, he says: “I have striven to bring up my family for the service of the Lord and the Connexion,” Of the six children, one, Rev. S.L. George, is in our ministry; his second son, Mr. A.J. George, is a local preacher in the Wolverhampton Circuit; and his second daughter is the wife of the Rev. S. R. Woodall, of the Manchester Eight Circuit. On his leaving Gloucester, the brethren, to mark their esteem and respect, presented him with an illuminated address, suitably framed, which records their high appreciation of his character as a Christian gentleman, and the valuable service he rendered the Circuit and the Connexion.

As a preacher, he was more than ordinarily acceptable. He devoted much time in preparing for the pulpit, and thoroughly delighted in the work. He was also a generous supporter of Circuit and Connexional funds. At the memorial stone-laying in connection with the new Church and Schools in Stroud Road he laid one of the stones and put on it £25. As a Primitive Methodist he was thoroughly loyal. The Connexion had a large place in his heart. Such devotion as his merited recognition and reward, and these were not witheld from him. For many years he had been a member of several Connexional Committees, many times represented his Circuit in District Meeting, and was five times a member of the Conference.

It is a joy to know that his last days were not clouded by any mental infirmity, but up to the last his intellect was as clear and penetrating as it ever had been. His last illness came upon him very unexpectedly, and he felt sure that it meant the end, but he was not disturbed or disquieted by the conviction he should die. He was ready. He was conscious within an hour of his death, and praise and prayer were constantly on his lips. Resting only on the merit of Christ’s atonement he was fully assured – not because of any good works of his own, but solely because Christ, who died, and rose again from the dead, was his living, eternal Saviour.

So passed away a brother beloved, whose memory is not only precious to the members of his family, but to many who knew him and enjoyed his friendship.

Family

James was baptised on 14 June 1828 at St. George’s, Kidderminster, Worcestershire. His parents were William, a dyer, and Hannah.

Census returns identify the following occupations for James.

  • 1851 cordwainer
  • 1861 boot & shoe maker
  • 1871 insurance agent
  • 1881 insurance secretary
  • 1891 living on own means

James married Elizabeth Burgess (abt 1822-1878) in late 1848 at Kidderminster, Worcestershire. Elizabeth already had a daughter, Anne Maria, born abt 1844. Census returns identify seven children.

  • Grace Whitaker (1849-1943) – married Job Rowley, a tin plate worker (1881), in 1877
  • Tryphosa Helena (1851-1948) – married Samuel Russell Woodall, a PM Minister, in 1882
  • Silas Lawrence (1853-1944) – a PM Minister
  • Absalom James (1856-1924) – a house agent (1911)
  • Ambrose Jesse (1858-1945) – a teacher; emigrated to Australia
  • Thomas Edward (1860-1862)
  • Clara Paulina (abt1863-1952) – a teacher of music, organ, pianoforte & theory (1891); married George Archibald Wakefield, superintendent P.O. telegraphs (1911), in 1891

James married Mary Ann Phipps (1830-1901) in late 1881 at Gloucester, Gloustershire.

References

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1903/73

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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