Transcription of Obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by E.R.D.
Walkden Circuit and the Connexion are poorer through the death of Mr. William Stephenson, which took place on April 15th, 1909. Born of pious parents, he became a member of the Church in 1865. With marked ability he served as superintendent of the school, local preacher forty years, class leader thirty-two years, treasurer seven years, trustee, day school manager, secretary, teacher, etc.; moreover, he had the Connexional spirit and outlook. Besides being a member for many years of the District and College Committees, he was frequently a delegate to District Meeting, and twice represented the District in Conference.
From boyhood he was an enthusiast for missions. His house was ever open to ministers, and in all his plans and efforts he was strongly supported by his devoted wife and family, all of whom are members of our Church. A strong Nonconformist, he was elected first Vice-President of the District F.C. Council. As President of the local Liberal Association, and in many other offices, he rendered invaluable aid by speech, counsel, and support. He took great interest in local affairs, serving with efficiency first on the Parochial Committee and later on the Urban District Council, and was honoured with the chairmanship of both. Education, temperance and philanthropy found in him an able advocate and supporter.
A man of deep piety and strong spiritual intuition, he was a lover of his Bible and of private and public worship. He gave of his very best, whether in kind, intellect, service or sympathy. His closing years were marked by failing health. After battling against weakness for several months, he peacefully entered upon the higher service. Hundreds gathered for his funeral, including representatives of local bodies and a large number of prominent ministers of the District, several of whom took part in the impressive services at the home and graveside. At the Memorial Service, conducted by the writer at Walkden on the following Sunday morning, a large and representative gathering again testified to the esteem in which he was held.
William was born on 23 November 1847 at Worsley, Lancashire, to parents Aaron, a coal miner (1861), and Alice.
Census returns identify the following occupations for William.
- 1861 coal miner
- 1871 colliery engine tenter
- 1881 coal miner
- 1891 mining contractor
- 1901 coal mining contractor
He married Mary Booth (1846-1926) in early 1867 in the Bolton Registration District, Lancashire. Records identify six children.
- Alice Jane (1867-1869)
- Betsy (1870-1934) – married John William Cooke, a corn dealer, in 1898
- Pamela (abt1872-1873)
- John (1873-1963) – a wood block floor contractor
- Florence (1877-1937)
- Clara Annie (1878-1965) – a teacher in elementary school (1911)
William died on 15 April 1909 at Walkden.
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1909/649
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers