Anderson, David (1842-1864)

Transcription of Obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by T. Smith

THE subject of this sketch was born at Coventry, January 30th, 1842, and died at Lancaster, August 22nd, 1864. He was blessed with pious parents who sought to train him up in the way he should go. Very early in life he was taken to a Sabbath school, and he also became a member of a Band of Hope. Though naturally an affectionate child, yet he lived a stranger to saving grace till he was eighteen years of age. About this time one of his sisters sickened and died; this made a deep impression upon his mind, and he resolved in the strength of the Lord to lead a new life; and one Sabbath evening while the Rev. James Pritchard was leading a lovefeast in the chapel at Coventry, he stood up and told the congregation that he felt wretched and was anxious to be saved. In the prayer meeting at the close of the lovefeast, he cast his sin-stricken soul by faith on the Saviour and obtained the blessing of sins forgiven ; and he at once joined the Primitive Methodist society in his native town.

One of his old friends, who knew him well, says, “Brother Anderson’s progress in the Divine life was apparent to all; his first attempt at public speaking was in a Band of Hope meeting, and we were convinced, when hearing him, that he was called to take an active part in the work of God. Nine months after his conversion his name appeared on the local preachers’ plan, and while labouring in this capacity he was made a blessing in building up believers and leading souls to Jesus.” In the autumn of 1862 his deeply pious mother was taken home to glory; not long before she breathed her last she sent for an old friend, a local preacher, and said to him, “I am going to heaven, I shall soon be there, but before I go, I have a request to make to you, in reference to my David. I have given him entirely to the Lord, and if you think him a suitable lad for the Primitive Methodist ministry, I want you to promise me that you will, at your next quarterly meeting, propose that he be recommended as a candidate for the itinerancy.” The answer was “Mrs. Anderson, I will carry out your dying request.” She then took hold of his hand and said, “Thank God, I have now done with everything in this world,” and in a few hours her happy soul took its flight to “the realms of the blest.” The local brother fulfilled his promise, and at the next quarterly meeting brother Anderson was considered suitable for the ministry. In January 1863, he received a call from the General Missionary committee, and was stationed at Motherwell, in Scotland. He laboured with acceptance on that station for eighteen months. The Rev. John Harrison, his late superintendent, says, “I found in brother Anderson a truly pious and an intelligent colleague; by his Christian example and labours he has left his name in the best affections of all who knew him, and the intelligence of his death has involved our station in a general gloom; in his death the church and the world have lost an industrious and promising minister of the Gospel.”

He arrived on the Lancaster station on the 16th July last apparently full of faith and with a determination to throw his whole being into the work of God. The writer had the opportunity of being frequently in his company during the short time he was permitted to labour, and found him a young man of genuine piety; he had power with God in prayer; and though he was very studious and spent his mornings in improving his mind and making preparations for the pulpit, yet he was very fond of family visiting. Several of the friends have said to the writer, “Mr. Anderson was an extraordinary young man; in visiting us he would sit down and talk to us about, the Lord, and was as homely as though he had known us for years ; then he would kneel down and pray as only a man loving God can pray.”

He began to complain of violent pains in the head soon after he came amongst us; they continued to increase, and the last time he preached was on Sabbath, August 7th. Dr. Hall was sent for on the following day; on the Thursday he took to his bed. The doctor said his friends had better be written to, as he was afraid there were symptoms of water on the brain and he was in a very precarious state. His father arrived on the following Saturday and left again on the following Wednesday. He was unconscious during the greater part of the time he was confined to his bed, but he was generally singing, praying, preaching or leading class; sometimes he could be heard a distance from the house. Mr. and Mrs. Dodd, with whom he lived, were unremitting in their attention to him, and many other friends were very kind, yet notwithstanding their constant attention and the persevering efforts of Dr. Hall he rapidly sank. On the Sabbath morning before he died consciousness returned for a time; I was with him a few minutes before I started for my appointment; he appeared to recognise me as soon as I entered the room. In answer to the question, “Do you think you will ever preach Jesus again?” he shook his head, and said, “No, I don’t believe I shall.” “Do you love Jesus?” “Yes, with all my heart.” “Are you going to heaven?” “Yes, I know I am.” “Do you think you will soon be there?” “Yes, very soon.” During the day he spoke to Mr. Dodd and others of his bright prospects of heaven, and assured them that he was very near the glory land. He was very fond of Mr. Dodd’s two little boys when he was well, and he had them called into his room. When they entered, he said, “Come to me, my dears;” he kissed each of them, and said, “Good bye, I am going to leave you, I am now going away.” After this he relapsed into unconsciousness, and remained in this state till twenty minutes to two o’clock the next morning, when without a groan or sigh he fell asleep in Jesus. Thus died David Anderson at the early age of twenty-two years, having spent nineteen months in the Primitive Methodist ministry.

His mortal remains were followed to the cemetery by above 200 Christian friends who walked in procession. The funeral service was conducted by the writer and the Wesleyan and Congregational ministers. Mr. Dodd and the writer improved his death in our chapel on the following Sabbath to an overflowing congregation, and a very gracious influence rested upon the whole assembly.

The short affliction and early death of my late colleague caused quite a sensation in Lancaster and the neighbourhood amongst all classes. How mysterious are some of the dealings of Divine providence! Brother Anderson was with us only five weeks, he was known to none of us before he arrived, he came amongst strangers to die.

“By strangers’ hands thy dying eyes were closed,
By strangers’ hands thy decent limbs composed;
By strangers’ hands thy humble grave adorned,
By strangers honoured and by strangers mourned.”

May we meet him in heaven, Amen.


David was born on 30 January 1842 at Coventry, Warwickshire, to parents Samuel, a whitesmith, and Rebecca. He was baptised on 19 February 1842 at Holy Trinity, Coventry.

The 1861 census return records that David worked as a gas fitter before entering the ministry.

David died on 22 August 1864 at Lancaster, Lancashire.


  • 1863 Motherwell
  • 1864 Lancaster


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1865/311

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *