Holliday, Ann (nee Martin) (1800-1857)

Transcription of Obituary, Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1858

A wonderful insight into how ordinary women and men played their part in living out their faith and sharing it with others.

Mrs Ann Holliday, of Rawmarsh, in the Sheffield Second Circuit, whose maiden name was Martin, was born in the year 1800. In her childhood and youth she was strictly moral, loved the means of grace, and had a constant fear of saying a bad word or doing a bad deed. Thus she lived until she was about twenty one years of age, when, under a sermon preached by Mr F Dixon, of Sheffield, with whom she lived servant, she was so deeply affected that she retired to her room, and there gave herself to God and found salvation. About two years after her conversion she was married to Mr Lister Holliday, brother to Mr T Holliday, Primitive Methodist minister. Her husband found in her a helpmate indeed. Soon after their union they went to reside near Wickersley. Our cause in that place was then low; but she and her husband joined, laboured hard, God smiled upon them, and since then a beautiful chapel has been built. After a while, they went to live at Thorp Hesley. There they found no Primitive Methodists; they at once invited the ministers to mission the place, afforded them a home, and helped them. Soon a society was raised, and Sister Holliday was indeed a nursing mother to the infant cause. We have now a good society in the village of more than thirty members, and a flourishing Sunday-school. About seven years from that time they removed to Rawmarsh, a large village about eight miles from Sheffield. At this place, as at Thorp, they did not find any Primitive Methodists. But they invited them, and opened their house for preaching. A society was formed at once, and for seven years all our services were held under their roof, excepting such as were held in the open air. During those seven years no one ever heard her say that the meetings were a trouble to her, though they caused her a considerable amount of extra toil.

Many a time has she looked out at the window of her house, and said, “I long to see a chapel built yonder, not that I am tired of having the services in my house, but that we may have a place which will accommodate more people than we can do, and have a Sunday-school.” In 1847, her hopes were realised by the erection of a neat and commodious chapel; to pay for it, she cheerfully gave what she could, and travelled many miles, begging for it.

In 1856, her health gave way, and from that time to the hour of her death she was painfully afflicted with disease of the heart. Thank God the disease was in the flesh, not in the soul. About a year ago we all expected that she would die, she was so very ill, and her disease seemed to baffle the skill of her medical adviser; she rallied a little, but was never well again.

On Saturday, December 12th, 1857, she ruptured a blood-vessel, which discharged considerably; but the doctor said that a deal of the blood was coagulating near her heart. Knowing that her husband was planned to preach on the following day a considerable distance from home, she desired him to retire to a separate room for the night, that he might be the better prepared to labour for God the following day. In the morning she said to her niece, who had been with her all night, “Don’t tell your uncle how ill I have been all night, or he may be unwilling to leave me to go to his appointment.” In this, how well it would be if all preachers’ wives were like her. All day on Sunday she was very ill. As Monday morning drew on, it was evident that her end was near.

She was perfectly resigned, and quite happy. Not a murmur escaped her lips. She repeatedly said, “Lord help me,” and “He will not be long before he comes to fetch me.” And He did come, and took her with Him. She turned her head on the pillow – her friends thought she slept; she had indeed fallen asleep in Jesus, in the sure and certain hope of awaking in the resurrection to eternal life, December 14th, 1857, in the fifty-eighth year of her age.

In her character, observe: –

1. As a woman, she was worthy of imitation. She was neat, clean, frugal, and industrious.

2. As a wife, her husband says her character is clearly described in the thirty-first chapter of Proverbs, from the tenth verse, to the end. Soon after their marriage, a person said to him, “Mind if you have not got a clog at your elbow.” After living with her for thirty-four years, he begs that it may be said, that whatever graces he may have failed to attain, or whatever duties he may have failed to perform, no part of the blame is hers. Hundreds of times has she given fodder to the cattle, and gone as a shepherd amongst the sheep, in order that her husband might be at liberty to preach the Gospel.

3. As a Christian, for thirty-six years, she lived a most consistent life. Religion, with her, was a mighty controlling principle; it took hold of her entire nature, producing inward and outward holiness. She served her God and her generation according to his will. Though she was neither preacher nor leader, she was ever doing something for the extension of the Redeemer’s kingdom.

4. In kindness she was worthy of imitation. Scores of Primitive Methodist travelling and local preachers have been strengthened and encouraged for future toil by her sympathy, counsel, and kindness. They were all welcome, and always welcome.


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