Pettler, William (1838-1904)

Transcription of Obituary in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by Henry Oliver

William Pettler was a member, class leader, and local preacher, in the Driffield Circuit, for more than forty years. He was born at Friday-Thorpe in the Pocklington Circuit, September 29th, 1838, and passed away at Driffield October 10th, 1904, having reached sixty-six years of age. In early life he left home and came to reside at Beswick on this Circuit. He found the life of the village dissipating, and it was not without a baneful effect upon his own life. He came happily to the parting of the ways in his youth. He went home to see his friends on a Sunday that became memorable to him as the “day of decision for Christ.” It was the day of the annual Camp Meeting. The preaching was pointed and evangelical. He was convinced of sin, at the Lovefeast he found Christ, and with Him the new life.

His life’s choice was made, and he continued in union with Christ and the Church to the end. Returning to his place of employment he found it difficult to confess Christ, but he took up his cross and followed his Lord amidst opposition for a while. His life was, however, like leaven to leaven others. His light shone, his youthful godly life told. A revival broke out, the aspect was changed, many were saved, and some continue until this day. A few years later he came to reside in Driffield where he commenced, and carried on a business as grocer and provision merchant. He was very successful and in the later years of his life retired from business entirely. For many years he was of great service to the Church in the Driffield Circuit.

As a local preacher he took a great amount of work in this extensive and laborious Circuit, in rough as well as smooth weather, and was always acceptable to the people who valued him “highly for his work’s sake.”

He was an excellent class leader, admirably adapted both by experience and temperament, for this work. He was also a trustee of George Street property  and other trusts. Rev. P. Peacock writes respecting our late brother as follows: “It has been my joy to be stationed twice at Driffield. It is nearly twenty years since my first term there. Mr. Pettler was then in the vigour of life, active in business, taking great interest in all matters that concerned the Church, and as a trustee of the splendid chapel and schools in George Street he liberally gave and zealously worked for the advantage of the estate, and was a most acceptable local preacher and amongst the best class leaders of his time. On my second visit I found him greatly altered, retired from business, health failing, and able only occasionally to attend the house of God that for long years he had greatly loved.”

During his last years he was a martyr to chronic asthma with complications. He went gradually to the brink of the river and went somewhat suddenly and unexpectedly across. He leaves a widow to mourn his loss, and to patiently wait in hope of blissful reunion.


William was born to parents John, an agricultural labourer, and Ann.

Census returns identify the following occupations for William.

  • 1861 miller
  • 1871 corn miller
  • 1881 grocer
  • 1891 grocer
  • 1901 retired farmer

William married Isabella Smith (1835-1913) in late 1862 in the Driffield Registration District. They had no children.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1905/750

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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