Whetherston, Charlotta (1793-1836)
MEMOIR OF CHARLOTTA WHETHERSTON,
Of Hetton-le-Hole, in the county of Durham, Sunderland circuit
Charlotta Whetherston was born at Farnwell Gate, in the city of Durham, September 23, 1793.— From her infancy until she was twelve years of age, she was brought up by her grandfather, John Wright, in delicacy, gaiety, and affluence; being allowed, without control, to attend balls, amusements, and visiting in the circles of fashionable life.
Her grandfather dying, she was put under the care of guardians and tutors, in order to acquire suitable accomplishments to fit her for filling her station in life. But, unaccustomed to restraint, and unwilling to submit, she refused to comply with their best wishes, and resented their admonitions, and well-meant endeavours; they therefore advertised in the newspaper their design to relinquish their charge. She was then taken by a female relation, with whom she resided five years.
At seventeen years of age she entered into the marriage state with John Whetherston, and became the mother of a numerous family. But she continued long in an unconverted state, and a subject of strong and unbridled passions, having in her early days not been under any proper curb or restraint.
In the year 1828, they removed to Lee Fields near Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where they resided next door to William Thompson, one of our local preachers. William was accustomed on a sabbath morning, to going about with tracts; and she was struck with the zeal he manifested, and the care and pains he took in their distribution; and thought that at least she would give them a reading. This brought her to serious reflection, and deep consideration respecting her immortal soul. She also would listen to the voice of prayer when Bro. Thompson was engaged in family devotion; and would draw softly near his door. So soon as he knew of it, she was invited in at the time of prayer, and her convictions were deepened, and distress increased.
Soon after this the family-had several removals, until they came and settled for a time at Monkwearmouth. Bro. T. desired her to be sure to find out our people. But being an entire stranger, she attended different places of worship, but found no satisfaction to her soul, and was almost on the verge of despair.
Bro. Thompson coming over on business, called to see the family, and asked Sister Charlotta how she was getting on; and the answer was, “Very badly.” He noticed his having told her to seek out our people the first thing she did on coming to the place. She replied, “I did seek them, but could not find them.” He said, “Get on your bonnet.” They went out, and soon found some of them. That evening they attended a prayer meeting; and after that she was prevailed on to stay at a class that was about to be led. At class she felt herself speechless and confounded, not knowing what to think or say. But being extravagant in dress, and so unlike those that were assembled, she concluded to go no more. But the disquietness of her mind was so great, that she could find no rest. She mourned and wept, but found no relief. She went again and again, but returned in as great distress as she came. But while pouring out her soul in prayer in her own house, when the family had retired to rest, the Lord spoke peace to her troubled soul, which caused her to leap for joy. And had it not been the solemn hour of midnight, when deep sleep falleth upon man, she would have been constrained to have gone into the street, and there have published the love of God manifested to her soul.
For about two years she met for the most part with Sister Wilson, who is a zealous pious class leader. Sister Whetherston and family then removed to Houghton-le-Springs [sic], where they continued about nine months, during which she met in class with Mr. Welch, clock and watch maker. Their next remove was to Hetton-le-Hole, where she met in class with Bro. Thomas Dakers; and, for six years together, was never known to be absent from her class, except in peculiar seasons of personal or family affliction.
She had an ardent love to the cause of God, and used her utmost endeavours for its support. Her attachment to the brethren, and especially to the preachers, was great, and she was gladdened in seeing them come under her roof. She was constant in attendance at the means of grace, and diligent in visiting the sick, and comforting the distressed. She was favoured with signal answers to prayer; and in particular in the conversion of her husband and two of her sons, the one seventeen and the other eighteen years of age; and they both died happy in the Lord, about two years before their mother.
Many have been benefited by her pious conversation; but a deep sense of her former sins caused her to look upon herself as unworthy. Her humility was great; and when she received any blessing she seemed to lose herself in praising God. And she would say, “The Lord remembered me in mercy, brought me out of the horrible pit, and out of the mire and clay, and set my feet on a rock, and established my goings; and hath put a new song into my mouth, even praise unto our God. I will therefore spend and be spent for the Lord.”
To persons fully devoted to God she showed great respect; and would say, “I love to be with such; it helps me forward: I see many things in them which I want myself.”
Any that trifled she warned faithfully and affectionately, and intreat them to be watchful. She had no greater joy than to see the cause of God prosper.
July 18, 1836, she was confined of her sixteenth child; after which she grew weaker and weaker, until her recovery was despaired of. During her affliction, she was, at times, the subject of severe temptations; satan suggesting that God would not have mercy on her, on account of her having been so great a sinner. But by the grace of God, and faith in the blood of Christ, she was enabled to quench all the fiery darts of the devil; so that in the midst of all she possessed her soul in patience; and after lingering upwards of ten weeks, she finished her earthly course without a sigh or groan, to be for ever with the Lord, September 30, 1836, aged forty-three years, and seven days.
October 2,1836, I attended her mortal remains to the house appointed for all living; and have the pleasing hope of meeting her again in a state of immortal blessedness.
Brother N. Featonby improved the solemn dispensation, on the following sabbath evening, to a crowded and attentive audience, in the Hetton-le-Hole chapel.
She has left a husband and two sons and a daughter; and the husband and daughter are members of our society.
Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1838. Pages 11-13.