Parkinson, Ralph Hunter (abt1839-1898)
Transcription of Obituary In the Primitive Methodist Magazine by W.G.
MR. RALPH HUNTER PARKINSON, or familiarly known in the northern counties as the “Blind Evangelist,” was called to his reward on October 21, 1898, after many years of faithful service for the Master. He was born at Kelloe, in the county of Durham, and in his boyhood was much influenced by coming into contact with the sainted Joseph Spoor, John Matfin and Thomas Smith, and early in life gave himself to the Lord Jesus. He had a wonderfully retentive memory, and often entertained an audience a whole evening himself by recitation and song. About thirteen years ago he had the misfortune to lose his eyesight while following his occupation as heap-keeper at Aspatria, in Cumberland, through a blow on his head by a splinter of coal. He then came back to his native county, and along with his excellent wife and true helpmeet, located at Wingate, in the Thornley Station, and became deservedly popular, and eminently successful in evangelistic work. Hundreds will, in the day of final accounts, date their conversion to missions conducted by him. On some occasions his missions continued over three weeks with unabated success; his memory rendering him good service, he was able to give his lessons and hymns as though his vision was perfect. While engaged in this, his favourite, work at Lemington-on-Tyne in November, 1897, he was suddenly struck down and was never again able to go from home. Gradually his earthly tabernacle was taken down, and although during his illness often suffering excruciating pain, he never murmured or complained, but looked joyfully forward to the time of his departure. His last words as his devoted wife assisted him into bed for the last time a few days before his death, evidently feeling his end was approaching, was:
“Oh that without a lingering groan
I may the welcome word receive,
My body with my charge lay down,
And cease at once to work and live.”
The Rev. J.A. Grainger conducted a most impressive service in the Wingate Chapel, which was filed with sorrowing friends, from whence the mortal remains of our departed brother was conveyed to Thornley Cemetery for interment on Oct. 24, “ ln sure and certain hope of a glorious resurrection.”
Ralph was born abt 1839 at Kelloe, Co. Durham, to parents David and Margaret. David was a coal miner.
Census returns identify the following occupations for Ralph.
- 1861 coal miner
- 1881 bank inspector at mine
- 1891 Methodist evangelist
Ralph married Mary Clough (abt 1848-1883) in the summer of 1867 in the Durham Registration District. Census returns and birth records identify four children.
- Margaret Elizabeth (b1867)
- Ralph Hunter (1877-1877)
- Minnie (abt1880-1891)
- Mary Clough (1883-1883)
Ralph married Elizabeth House (1835-1912) in late 1884 in the Wigton Registration District, Cumberland.
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1901/150
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers