Perkins, George (1852-1901)

Transcription of Obituary in the Christian Messenger

Mr. Geo. Perkins was the son of William and Martha Perkins, and was born at Gainsborough November 10, 1852. His father was a worldly man, possessing many excellent qualities. His mother was a godly woman, and a member of our church up to the day of her death. When a child George was sent to Sunday School, with which he sustained as Scholar, Teacher, Secretary, Superintendent, an unbroken connection till he passed away to his reward in the skies. Very early in life he was the subject of religious convictions, and when but a boy he, in company with others, attended a District Meeting at Retford and heard the now sainted George Lamb preach from Prov. xxiii., 26, “My son gave me thine heart.” He then and there decided to serve the Lord and forthwith joined in Church fellowship, and by no means to be a sleeping partner, but to enter heartily into the various activities. As a member of the choir he took deep interest in it. And when in a revival upwards of 25 years ago a number of young people were converted and it was thought advisable to start a class for them, Bro. Perkins was called upon to take the leadership of it.

In 1875, on the retirement of the School Superintendent he was called upon to occupy that position, a post for which he had unique ability. His love for children, sanctified by Divine grace, gave him an unusual interest in and charm over young life. He was preminently a children’s man. Some years ago the Quarterly Meeting wished him to go on the plan as a Local Preacher, but he persistently declined, feeling that his work was in the Sunday School. He was only happy when surrounded by children. To see him on the anniversary day, his face beaming with delight, surrounded by hundreds of gaily dressed smiling children as he conducted the singing, was a sight which will long live in our memory. As a Superintendent his influence in the school was very great; not because of stern words but because he had won the hearts of both teachers and scholars. Having last year completed 25 years’ service as Superintendent of the school, it was resolved to mark the occasion by the presentation of an illuminated address, in acknowledging which he spoke of the cordial co-operation and support he had received from the teachers and the unbounded pleasure he had in the work, and if it were considered to be in the interests of the school how readily he would relinquish the position and again take a class as teacher. But the annual Teachers’ Meeting with absolute unanimity and great heartiness again elected him to the position. His work, however, was not confined to the Sunday School. The Christian Endeavour movement had no heartier supporter man was Bro. Perkins.

As a Class Leader, as a Trustee, a member of the Choir and a Leader of the Mission Band and Sick Visitor, he rendered yeoman service to Primitive Methodism and the cause of Jesus Christ. His end was sudden and altogether unexpected. But pleuro-pneumonia with typhoid intervening wrought their dread work. The delirium at times was considerable, but even then, as well as in his conscious moments, he attested that his mind centred on Jesus Christ. In mid-life, full of vigour, happy in the affection of his beloved wife and family, his hands filled with work for God, he naturally clung to life. To his wife he said, “ I don’t want to leave you, no one could be happier than I am; but I am in the Master’s hands.” But as though he anticipated the end he said, “I wish we could see into the future so that we could know when the end would be.” On another occasion he said, “All is well. Oh! how beautiful; how beautiful!” and repeated a hymn of which he was very fond, “My Jesus I love Thee, I know Thou art mine.” All that medical skill, and affectionate, careful nursing could do was promptly done, but the Master had need for him in the higher Service of Heaven, and early on Monday, March 4th, it became evident that the end was nigh. He called for each member of the family and took of them a last farewell. In the afternoon he in vision was transferred to the Sunday School, summoned the children to order, to dismiss the school, and then quite distinctly pronounced the Benediction. He spoke no more; his spirit passed away to be for ever with the Lord.

The interment took place at Gainsborough Old Cemetery on Thursday, 7th. The funeral service was conducted by the Revs. J. Redhead and J. Squires.  The scene was one not soon to be forgotten. The large chapel was filled with a sympathetic congregation, and notwithstanding a heavy downpour of rain hundreds of people wended their way to the cemetery to witness the last ceremony and take a last look at the coffin that contained the mortal remains of him who had been a helper of many. To witness the friends one by one file past, mothers with babes in their arms and little children drop their tribute of flowers and pass on was a most pathetic sight. Testimonials to his character and usefulness were very numerous. Bro. Perkins had the distinction of serving his apprenticeship and rising to be a manager in the same shop. His employer wrote a beautiful testimony to his fidelity and trustworthiness.

Rev. Dr. Pigott said of him, “He was kindly, gentle, painstaking, full of devotion to God.” The Rev. W. Wheeler said, “He was one of the brightest and happiest Christians I have come in contact with, and recollections of his sunny face and cheery words will be fragrant while I live.” Mr. Henry Parrott, an old scholar friend with him, wrote, “ I cannot tell you the shock it was to me. So vigorous and active when I saw him last, and so interested in the work of the Lord.” Rev. J. Lisle wrote, “He was greatly beloved by children; he had those gifts specially suited to Sunday School work.”

The writer conducted a memorial service on Sunday, March 31, 1900; preaching from Heb. v, 9, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God”; and in the prayer meeting that followed three souls were saved. May the God of grace comfort the sorrowing widow and family and keep them until that day when reunited they shall dwell for ever with the Lord.
“Nor blame I death, because he bear
The use of virtue out of earth:
I know transplanted human worth
Will bloom to pro?t otherwhere.”


George was born to parents, William, a farmer, and Martha.

George worked as a tinner and brazier.

George married Emma Brown (abt 1855-1928) in the summer of 1880 at Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. Census returns identify four children.

  • Clara (1881-1959) – a clerk (book-keeper) at cycle works (1911)
  • Helen (1883-1961) – married George H Barratt in 1911
  • Albert George (abt1886-1958) – a commercial traveller (timber) (1911)
  • Alice (1889-1973) – a packer at a laundry (1911); married Arnold Smithson in 1918


Christian Messenger 1902/94

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Comments about this page

  • I have recently retrieved the report of my paternal grandfather’s 1908 wedding from a copy of the Primitive Methodist Leader. He was Joseph Farrow Redhead the third son of The Rev John Redhead who officiated at the funeral of George Perkins. When the Rev John left Gainsborough, Joseph stayed on and his wedding took place in Gainsborough. His father returned to help conduct the service and the report shows Joseph’s best man was the deceased George’s son, Albert George Perkins.

    By David Redhead (28/04/2019)
  • I have a copy of the 1901 Diary of Bartholomew Redhead, the son of the Rev John Redhead who conducted the funeral service of George Perkins.

    Against 4th March there is the following entry: “Mr Geo Perkins passed away at 4.30 pm. Death from typhoid. Very much missed.

    I have checked on Ancestry and this supports that George Perkins died in the first quarter of 1901 and not in 1900.

    Bartholomew makes no mention of George’s funeral or memorial service. 

    By David Redhead (31/01/2018)

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