Hutchinson, John (1806-1836)


(South Shields circuit)

John Hutchinson was born at South Shore in the county of Durham, but in the vicinity of Newcastle, in 1806.  In early life he was apprenticed to the sea, with Mr. Wilson of South Shields; and gained the respect of his master and ship-mates.  He beheld the wonders of God in the great deep, and experienced the guardian care of Providence.  In the London river he narrowly escaped a watery grave; and was impressed with thoughtfulness.  On another occasion he was shipwrecked.

In the spring of the year 1835, when the vessel was lying in the river Thames, he, one evening, was led to the P. Methodist chapel in London; and the word proved to be the power of God to his salvation.  Conviction seized his guilty soul; and in sea terms it might be said, he saw the gathering storm, reefed his sails, cleared the deck, and put his vessel to the wind.  In plain language, he, in the agony of his soul, cried for mercy, pleaded the merits of Christ, and was enabled to rejoice in God his Saviour.

When the vessel arrived at South Shields, be immediately joined our society.  This was in March, 1835.  And whenever in the harbour, he was regular in his attendance at the means of grace, and particularly at his class.

His last Sabbath at Shields was spent in religious duties.  His leader, Bro. John Gardham, spent some time with him on board, in religious conversation.  They prayed, and when they rose from their knees, Bro. Hutchinson said, “Pray for me.”

He sailed for America, as mate in the Celerity.  And on their homeward passage from America to Caernarvon in Wales, while crossing the western ocean, he experienced the care of Providence.  A heavy gale rose, and a wave broke over the deck, and swept him and with him the men on the watch into the mighty ocean; but it was marvellous, that by the power of another mighty wave, they were all, with one exception, thrown back again on board.  This was an extraordinary instance.

In a letter to his wife he says “Tell Mr. Gardham that I have attended to the one thing needful.”

His wife met him at Caernarvon, and says he was attentive to his religious duties, and in the same happy state of mind as when he left South Shields.

Prior to his conversion he had sailed with his present master; and while at Caernarvon the master asked his wife what they had done to Hutchinson; “for” said he, “when he sailed before with me, he could swear with any one.  But now he neither swears himself, nor will he allow either me or any one else to swear in his presence without reproving us.”

From Caernarvon they sailed to St Petersburgh, the capital of Russia.  They there took in a cargo of timber for London.  And while crossing the Baltic, in the perilous gulph [sic] of Finland, they were assailed with a violent storm of snow; and after having struggled with the storm without success, on Oct. 30, 1836, the vessel foundered, and became a complete wreck.  And angelic bands conveyed this British tar to his heavenly residence.

“The voyage of life’s at an end,
The mortal affliction is past;
The age that in heaven we spend,
For ever and ever shall last”

He has left a widow and two children to lament their loss.  But their loss is his gain.  His death was improved from Psalm cxvi. 15, to a large and serious congregation.

Moses Lupton


Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1838.  Pages 186-187. Transcribed by David Tonks


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