Smalley, Mary (nee Howard) (1828-1899)

Transcription of Obituary In the Christian Messenger

MARY SMULLEY was born on July 24th, 1828, in Martin Fen, in the Parish of Martin-cum-Timberland, in the County of Lincoln. Her character was noted for qualities of kindness to insect, bird, and beast, and a very strong sympathy with human sorrow or suffering. During the days of her childhood she was the subject of strong religious influences, and undoubtedly she was converted at that time. When she used to be going up the side of one drain and down another, bringing home the ducks for the night, her little heart was so full that she used to sing and pray, and she declared she felt so happy, tears would run down her white pinafore. One day, an old Methodist, who was working on her father’s farm, heard her singing, and listened to her praying, and her prayer was that God would bless some person who was lying sick in the village. When she had finished her prayer, the old labourer went to her father and said, ‘I say, Maaster, your Polly must be saved, or she could not sing and pray as she does ’ The father’s reply was, ‘I believe the baarn is good, but you see she is not old enough to be saved.’ ‘That is just what I don’t see, Maaster. I believe she is saved; we all has our own opinions about that kind of thing. I can tell you both her singing and her prayer went direct to my heart and made it warm, and that leads me to think that she is saved right enough.’ The false notion had then firm hold of the common mind that there could be no such condition as religious childhood, but the old labourer was a man whose feeling led him into a truth which he could not make good by any process of reasoning. Her conduct and character were of a most exemplary kind, winning the respect and love of all who became acquainted with her. It was not until a little over twenty years ago, when the Rev. T. Granger was stationed in the Lincoln First Circuit, that she made an open confession of her faith in Christ as her Saviour, and with her husband joined the Primitive Methodist church at Martin. For some time towards the end she was not able to attend the chapel, but her Bible with large type, The Signal, The Connexional Magazines, with the Connexional Hymnal, furnished her with all she seemed to need. She read and meditated on God’s word, and many a beautiful passage would she repeat with a soul full of rapture, when she had strength to do it. Nothing gave her greater pleasure than to entertain the minister, and to hear from him of people getting brought in. ‘Yes,’ she would say, ‘when they are brought in they get a clean heart and become members of the household of Faith and of the family of heaven.’ During the time the writer was stationed in the Lincoln First Circuit, it was his privilege to make his home at her house. The words of faith and trust were accompanied with such precious influences, that they were means of grace so sweet and most precious. She had fully surrendered herself to Christ and at the family altar, she would exclaim, it is beautiful to talk with God in prayer. Her sufferings were great and somewhat protracted, but with a patient resignation she suffered as well as did the Master’s will. On October 13th, 1899, she ceased to work and live. Her end was calm, collected and peaceful, urging her daughters not to pray for her, for she was going with Jesus, who had come to fetch her. She was taken to the Primitive Methodist Chapel, and the service there and at the grave was conducted by the Revs. W. Pigott, G. Ford and W. Lee. It may be said of her she grew her own destiny, which destiny was worth the growing.


Family and other information

Mary was baptised on 17 August 1828 at Timberland, Lincolnshire. Her parents were Thomas, a farmer, and Sarah.

Mary married William Smalley (abt1829-1892) on 4 April 1853 at Timberland, Lincolnshire. William was  grocer and baker. Census returns identify six children.

  • Mary Jane (1854-1866)
  • William (1857-1941) – a tailor (1911)
  • George (1859-1876)
  • Sarah Ann (1861-1935) – a grocer and baker (1911)
  • John Thomas (1864-1939) – a tailor (1911)
  • Mary Jane (abt1868-1917) – a grocer and baker (1911)


Christian Messenger 1900/94

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Note: All records spell the surname Smalley, not Smulley


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