Smith, James (1824-1901)

Transcription of Obituary in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by J. Wilson

DURING recent years the Epworth Society has experienced great loss by the death of its members. Within eighteen months all the Class Leaders and the Society Steward have departed this life. The last of the Class Leaders was Mr. James Smith, who fell asleep in Jesus on August 29, 1901. He was born at Epworth 77 years ago, and lived in this place of Methodist interest nearly the whole of his life. Between 50 and 60 years ago he was convicted of sin and became “justified by faith,” and quickly threw in his lot with our Church, in connection with which he has been a bright ornament and useful worker for many years. His gifts and graces were soon discovered, and hence more than 50 years ago he was placed in the important offices of Class Leader and Local Preacher. That he was held in high esteem by the Church of which he was a member was seen in that for many years he was looked to for counsel, and especially during seasons of great difficulty. That he was greatly respected by the other Churches and by his fellow townsmen was evinced by the large attendance at his funeral and memorial services. That he enjoyed the confidence of the Circuit was evident in the fact that he was one of its representatives on the District Committees, and was for about half-a-dozen times elected Delegate to the District Meeting. The District also delighted to honour him, and hence on two occasions appointed him as delegate to the Conference.

His house for many years was the home of ministers and others who visited Epworth, and the kind hospitality manifested towards these visitors was unstinted.

Mr. Smith was so regular in his attendance on the means of grace that he has been held up as a pattern in this respect. Indeed, his case was most exceptional. He has been known during busy seasons of the year to hurry from business, regardless of taking material food, that he might partake of food spiritual in connection with the public means of grace. He was very generous, and was careful to sustain the funds of our Church in an admirable degree.

We believe that his was a life and work of righteousness. May his sorrowing widow and family and the bereft Church members meet our friend, who is “not lost, but gone before.”


James was baptised on 25 April 1824 at Epworth, Lincolnshire. His parents were Richard and Elizabeth. Elizabeth was a school mistress in 1851.

Census returns identify the following occupations for James.

  • 1851 flax dresser
  • 1861 drillman and PM local preacher
  • 1871 landowner
  • 1881 farmer of 8 acres & PM local preacher
  • 1891 farmer
  • 1901 farmer

James was married to Mary Chesman (b abt1830). Census returns identify two children.

  • John Chesman (b1852)
  • Priscilla (b1855) – married John Fox, a grocer & draper, in 1878


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1903/157

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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