Simmons, John (1817-1903)

Transcription of Obituary in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by S.A.B. (Sydney Archibald Barron)

Mr, John Simmons, of Loughborough, passed away on Saturday, January 10th, 1903, aged 85 years. His death sunders one of the few remaining links between the present time and the period of our connexional origin, He was the son of Thomas Simmons, who as a delegate from the Nottingham Circuit, with Hugh and James Bourne, William Clowes, Thomas King, W. Guy, George Hanford, William Goodrich, and other fathers of the Connexion, attended the Preparatory Meeting at Nottingham in 1819. Thomas Simmons is not remembered by any surviving member of the family, but our departed friend often spoke of the scrupulous care with which his father sought to train his children to walk in the way of righteousness. For a number of years, John Simmons broke away from early influences and counsels, but the good seed sown in his heart came eventually to fruition. Some 52 years ago, in a time of great grief and trial, he, “in affliction, besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his father, and prayed unto Him, and He was entreated of him and heard his supplication.” From this period until the time of his death, he maintained an unbroken and most honourable and useful connection with our church in Loughborough. Shortly after his conversion, he became the assistant class leader of the class led by the late Mrs. Hannah Taylor. The responsibility of the class largely devolved upon him. He became also a local preacher, and at the time of his death his name was the first upon the list. In these offices he excelled. It was only our privilege to know him in “age and feebleness extreme.” But from many sources we have gathered testimony as to his gifts. He had a good presence and voice, a mind of considerable strength, furnished by diligent reading, great fluency, fervour, and mother-wit. The Rev. E. Lacey says:- “His appearance and manner in the pulpit were intense. He was never calm in delivery, his feeling thrilling him in spasmodic bursts that followed in quick succession.” It was natural to him to speak in epigram. “Many of his sayings,” says Mr, Lacey, “were original and quaint, to a degree.” Old members speak of the edification derived from his counsels as a leader, and quote the aphorisms they heard from his lips many years ago. To the end, he was an optimist. The present days were better than the days of his youth, and the coming age would be better still. He was a hater of Popery and priestcraft: a Liberal; a believer in human brotherhood. As a preacher, he walked many thousands of miles, in all weathers, most regularly and faithfully taking all his appointments, and creating everywhere such an impression that his next appointment was eagerly looked for. It was a work in which he delighted. He was a great advocate of out-door preaching, and, as will be believed from the fore-going description, had considerable aptitude for it. It was a custom, years ago, to procession from the Watch-night service to the Market Place, and there conduct a service. Mr. Simmons was a frequent speaker on these occasions, his audience sometimes numbering hundreds. So long as he could attend he was never known to miss the early Sunday morning prayer meeting. He was happy in his home life; his wife, who survives him, and his family being pardonably proud of him. The infirmities of age have latterly prevented his attending the sanctuary. But he was always bright, keen, alert, cheerful, ready for a profitable converse, and grateful for a visit. His confidence in the Saviour was unbeclouded by doubt. We saw him the day before his death, and found his conversation so full of vigour and intelligence that we thought he would rally. On the Saturday morning, however, he fell asleep, like a tired child, and did not wake again. It was a beautiful and peaceful close of a noble and useful life. Full of years and honour, amidst the respect and sorrow of the Swan Street and Nottingham Road Churches (the latter of which he helped to found), and of the circuit generally, he was carried to his rest on Wednesday, Jan. 14th. Memorial services were conducted at Swan Street by the circuit steward, Mr. G. Tucker, and at Nottingham Road by the writer.

Family

John spent most of his working life as a Framework Knitter.

Census returns (1851) suggest he was first married to Martha (b abt 1818) and had three children.

  • Harriet (1845-1931) – married Absalom Condon, a gardener, in 1874
  • George (1851-1852)
  • Ann (b abt1853)

John married Mary Adcock (abt1824-1922) in the spring of 1857 at Loughborough. Census returns identify six children.

  • Mary Jane (1858-1946) – a cotton winder, hosiery (1881); married Francis Wardle, a window cleaner, in 1879
  • Charlotte (abt1860-1955) – a hosiery joiner (1901)
  • Alice (1861-1939) – married Amos Arthur Mann, a blacksmith, in 1885
  • John Henry (abt1863-1933) – a framework knitter (1911)
  • Charles Issachar (abt1865-1955) – a gas stove fitter (1901)
  • Lucy (b abt1866) – a hose folder (1891); married Herbert Robinson, an insurance agent (1911), in 1899

References

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1904/158

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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