Sadler, John (1806-1871)

Early years

John was born on 17 May 1806 at Huxley, near Chester, to parents Ephraim Sadler and Ann Walker. John was baptised at Waverton on 29 June 1906. At an early age, he was taken by Ephraim to listen to Wesleyan Ministers. Ephraim was a farmer.


In the month of June 1819, just as the Wesleyan Methodists had withdrawn their services from the neighbourhood, a Primitive Methodist missionary, named Sampson Turner, and some friends, entered the village one fine summer evening, singing, ‘Turn to the Lord and seek salvation.’ After singing for a while, they came to a stand-still near to John’s father’s farm-yard gate. John’s father invited the missionaries into the farm-yard and provided them with something to stand on. Under the shades of several stately elms Turner began to preach. John was converted during the service and ensuing prayer meeting.

Class at Huxley

A class was formed, at Huxley, by Thomas Brownsword, who was employed to mission those parts. John, his parents and other family members joined the infant cause. The old farmhouse became at once a home for preachers and a sanctuary for religious services. John’s father became the leader of the society, which in a very short time numbered twenty-four members. A religious awakening spread through the countryside and as a consequence the nucleus of the Chester and Buckley circuits was formed.

Farm Life – ups and downs

John maintained the ordinary routine of farm life for the next ten years. In 1829 he married his first cousin Elizabeth. The following year he moved to Brook Cottage, Huxley, a small farm, where, assisted by his wife, he taught a day school. He established prayer meetings and class meetings in his house. In 1832, John’s name appeared on the circuit plan and he remained a local preacher until his death.

In 1834, John moved to Clotton Hoofield, an adjacent farm where he continued until 1838, when the offer of the old homestead at Huxley was made to him. Sadly the Elizabeth’s health broke down and she died in 1842, aged 33. John was a widower with three small children, and the entire management of a farm of 120 acres. Another calamity befell him when a fatal epidemic among his cattle stripped him of almost all he had. Shortly afterwards his horses were also smitten.

He was able to recover from these losses and in February 1845 married a second time. Life did not run smoothly as he had further losses of stock in late 1845 and in 1859. He also suffered from the ‘Cattle Plaque’ of 1866.

Amidst all these ups and downs, John maintained his life of faith. He wrote in 1868 that he had never wilfully neglected a single preaching appointment in thirty-five years of being a local preacher.


Around 1868, John’s health began to deteriorate. He retired from the farm at Huxley, and went to reside at Kelsall.

His obituary concludes that by his removal, the church has lost an exemplary Christian; a prudent, judicious official; an earnest labourer; a sound theologian, and a faithful, earnest, and practical preacher.


John married Elizabeth Sadler (abt1809-1842) on 23 August 1829 at Waverton, Cheshire. Records identify three children.

  • Ephraim (1831-1903) – a glass merchant
  • Elizabeth (b abt1833) – married Thomas Dentith; a widow and bootbinder (1861)
  • Frances Eleanor (1837-1887) – married John Reece, a farmer

John married Martha Findlow (1818-1896) on 13 February 1845 at Broughton, Cheshire. Records identify eight children.

  • John (1846-1924) – a PM Minister
  • Albert Edward (1847-1920) – a draper and milliner
  • Thomas (1849-1919) – a farmer
  • James (abt1851-1851)
  • Alfred Amos (1852-1904) – a grocer’s assistant (1901)
  • Ambrose Lupus (1854-1942) – a clothier and outfitter
  • Cleophas Findlow (1857-1921) – a draper (1881)
  • Hedley Ernest (1859-1945) – a draper’s assistant (1881), later a traveller (1911)

John died on 15 March 1871 at Kelsall, Cheshire.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1872/360

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Note: The Obituary in the PM magazine gives John’s death as 15 November. This conflicts with the probate record, which states 15 March, and the deaths register, which records the death in Q1, 1871.

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