Petty, Mark (1791-1866)
Transcription of Obituary in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by John Petty
My late brother was born at Salterforth, near Skipton in Craven, Yorkshire, July 7th, 1791. Being many years my senior, I am in possession of but little information respecting his early life. According to my earliest recollections of him, he was a tall, well-proportioned, and very handsome young man. I have a grateful remembrance of his strong fraternal affection, and of his remarkable kindness, from my childhood to the period of my leaving the parental abode for the work of a travelling preacher. At that time, and for nearly twenty years afterwards, I regarded him with mingled feelings of affection and grief. He was of decent morals, and well-disposed to the preachers and the cause of Primitive Methodism, but he was unhappily devoid of scriptural piety. He was fond of reading history, books of novels, politics, scraps of natural philosophy, &c., and acquired a considerable amount of general information, for his station of general information, for his station in life; but he did not earnestly seek the knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins. The best of his days were spent in negligence of the one thing needful.
For much of the following information I am indebted to my nephew, S.N. Petty, a local preacher at Colne. From him I learn that my brother took an active part in the establishment of a Sunday school in his native village, of which he was the superintendent from the first to the time of his removal to the neighbourhood of Colne, and that he was so regular in his attendance, that when others were commended for their regularity, it was customary to say to them, “You are as regular as Mark!” He also took a lively interest in the temperance movement, and zealously advocated it both in public and in private.
About the year 1842 he was happily brought into deep concern about the salvation of his soul. For some time he expressed deep sorrow on account of sin, without finding any material relief. “The Anxious Inquirer,” by Angell James, ultimately proved of considerable service to him. One Sunday morning, while reading it in a field near his residence, at intervals earnestly praying for pardoning mercy, he was suddenly and powerfully tempted to give up the pursuit of salvation in despair; but the following passage of Scripture was brought forcibly to his mind, – “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” He instantly laid hold of it by faith, exclaimed with joyous confidence, “It is enough, Lord!” and was filled with peace in believing. From this eventful hour he steadily walked in the way of God, and gave evidence of the possession of genuine piety. This was strikingly manifested on one painful occasion. Thieves had broken into his dwelling one night while he was at a prayer meeting, and when on his return home he discovered the robbery that had been committed, he pitied the guilty parties and knelt down and prayed for their repentance and salvation.
For some years he was a useful member of our society at Trawden, but after his removal to Colne, he united with the society there.
About eighteen years ago he made his first attempt to preach at the village of Barley, near the foot of Pendle Hill, where his eldest and his youngest brother and two sisters had previously first essayed to proclaim the Gospel of Christ. His text was Rom. vi. 23, from which he spoke with much feeling; his nephew assisted him in the service. Being between fifty and sixty years of age before he began to preach, it is not to be supposed that he ever attained to excellency. His preaching was discursive and unmethodical; his matter seldom, if ever, above common-place; his style colloquial; but his practical and useful observations, his purity of intention, and the high estimate formed of his piety, contributed to render him acceptable to the people generally. His affectionate conversations with sinners in private were also rendered effectual to the conversion of several.
As he advanced in life, his piety became more deep and mellow; he evidently grew more fully meet for the society and bliss of heaven. He was widely known among the inhabitants of Colne, and enjoyed the good opinion and respect of all sections of the Christian church. Like Demetrius, he “had good report of all men, and of the truth itself.”
He was a strong and hale old man, generally cheerful and happy, till last spring, when he took a violent cold through being severely wet on a long journey on foot, from which he never fully recovered. His strength began to decline visibly, and his greatly altered looks indicated his approaching end. I had the privilege of seeing him towards the end of June last, and was grateful to find him so happily sustained under his affliction. When I prayed with him for the last time he heartily responded, and when I said, “May God be always with him,” he emphatically, and with much feeling exclaimed, “He is!”
My brother was never married, which was perhaps to be regretted, as this circumstance probably tended to make him somewhat singular in some of his views and habits , and deprived him of the domestic society which he needed, especially in his declining years. Another brother and his family, however, who lived near, kindly ministered to his wants in his long illness, and his nephew, S.N. Petty, and his wife and daughter assiduously attended to him to the last. Other relatives, and many
Christian friends also took an interest in his welfare, and endeavoured to smooth his passage to the grave.
Notwithstanding an occasional betrayal of odd views and peculiar tastes in lesser matters, he was for the most part meek and patient under his sufferings, and cheered with the blissful hope of heaven. The night before he died he said to the nephew just named, “Soon I shall be among the myriads in glory, Sutcliffe. The way is open! The Way is open!” The next morning when his niece, Mrs. S.N. Petty, said to him, “You will soon be at home, uncle,” he replied, “Yes; the gates are open. Christ for me. All is peace upwards.” When in answer to an inquiry what day it was, he was told it was Sunday, he answered, evidently under the idea that that day would be his last on earth, “We’ll tread sin under our feet to-day.” He said but little afterwards, and before the day closed he exchanged the Sabbath on earth for the eternal Sabbath in heaven. He was born again on a Sabbath day, and on another Sabbath day he was borne on angels’ wings to glory. He died on Sunday, November 4th, 1866, in the seventy-sixth year of his age; and like a shock of corn, he was ripe for the garner of God. His eldest brother, Joseph, a local preacher in the Methodist Free Church, died in his eightieth year, a little above two years before him; and his brother Richard, an occasional preacher among the Baptists, died a year and-a-half before him, aged seventy-five. I have accordingly lost three brothers by death within about two years; but they were also brothers in Christ, and occasional preachers of his Gospel, and if they serve God no longer in the Church below, they are gone to serve him more perfectly and eternally in the Church above. May surviving relatives follow them as far as they followed Christ, and ultimately meet with them around the eternal throne. Amen.
Mark was baptised on 7 August 1791 at Barnoldswick. He was born at Salterforth, Yorkshire, to parents Micah Petty and Mary Nelson. Micah was a tailor.
Mark worked as a weaver.
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1903/
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers
Note: Micah Petty is called Michael petty in the baptism record.