Hunt, Thomas (1822-1904)
Transcription of Obituary in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by B. Fell
“The Grand Old Man” of Primitive Methodism in Southport passed away to rest and heaven on January 8th, 1904. Thomas Hunt was just that. For an unusually long period he took front rank. “In labours more abundant,” in gifts, in devotion, in all forms of earnest service, backed by a character that was above suspicion, he filled an unique place in the Church whose whole life and history in the neighbourhood were bound up with his own. He was a typical “sand grounder,” born in Roe Lane in an old farmhouse near “The Rookery,” October 1822, and so in his eighty-second year. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Hunt, worshipped at St. Cuthbert’s Church, Churchtown, Southport. For the first thirty years of his life Thomas attended church with his parents, but on hearing the Primitive Methodists proclaim the need of “repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ ” as the only condition of salvation he became convicted of sin, and sought and found salvation.
His heart went out in fullest sympathy with the truth as presented by the despised men who were exhorting and warning all who would listen to “Flee from the wrath to come,” to “repent and believe the Gospel.” Thomas Hunt was one of the early converts, and at once threw in his lot with the new movement.
He never felt called to preach, though for some time he rendered acceptable service in that capacity. As a class leader, however, and in the Sunday School he found a congenial sphere. For the greater part of his religious life he had charge of a class, and in this way rendered excellent service, retaining this work, as health would permit, to the last.
The Sunday School also had great attraction for him; as a teacher and then as superintendent he gave of his best to promote the salvation of the children and young people, and had the satisfaction of seeing a large and prosperous Sunday School gathered together, which still prospers, and increases more and more. His administrative ability, coupled with his high character and church loyalty, marked him out for the foremost positions his church had to offer. As circuit steward for many years, as delegate to district meeting repeatedly, and as representative of the district in Conference from time to time he was widely known and justly esteemed for his work’s sake.
In the various developments of Primitive Methodism in the town and neighbourhood, and in the erection of the several chapels and schools, and other Connexional property, he took sympathetic and practical interest, although he was always associated with the First Circuit. As a citizen he was trusted and honoured. For some years he represented the Hesketh Ward, where he lived, on the Town Council.
It was, however, as a Christian worker that he so distinctly excelled, and will be remembered in years to come. He was ambitious to be all that God would have him be, and claimed to have found “heart purity” during the visit of Inskip, Macdonald and Wood in 1880. That he had a rich and ever mellowing religious experience, and was an exemplification of the grace confessed by him and so frequently commended to others, few would deny. It was simply true to say of him, “The path of the just is as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” He was never physically strong, but with strict attention to diet and the laws of health, lived on until well past the “four-score years.” He died as he had lived, trusting Christ for full salvation.
And so, in the passing away of our old friend, another link with the past is broken. The old order changeth, but to such men as Thomas Hunt the Connexion owes much. May his mantle fall upon the young men God has given us, that they may be worthy successors of the noble sires gone.
Thomas was baptised on 27 October 1822 at Southport, Lancashire. His parents were Richard, a farmer, and Mary. Thomas spent his working life as a farmer, farming typically 10 acres.
He married Hannah Johnson (1821-1895) in early 1864 in the Ormskirk Registration District, Lancashire. Census returns do not identify any children.
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1906/73
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers