Benn, Joseph (1842-1865)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by Thomas Giles


The subject of the following memoir was born at Hull, on the 25th of October, 1842. His mother being a member with the Independent Methodists, Joseph was early sent to their Sabbath school; but notwithstanding the pious instructions of his teachers, and the earnest and constant prayers of his devoted mother, he grew up without the grace of God. His brother Thomas says, “He grew up a proud, worldly young man, he loved the portions of this world and followed its sinful maxims.”

In 1859 it pleased God to afflict him; this affliction discovered to him his sinfulness, and he promised the Lord to amend his life; and being partially restored he went to Great Thornton Street Primitive Methodist chapel, Hull, and in a prayer meeting held after a sermon by the Rev. G. Shaw, he sought for mercy and obtained it.

He immediately united with the society at Great Thornton Street, laid himself out for usefulness, and became a teacher in the Sabbath school, and in June, 1860, his name appeared on the preachers’ plan in Hull first circuit. The Rev. G. Shaw says, “I found him an intelligent, fine young man, partial to, and diligent in his attendance at the means of grace; he grew rapidly in religious experience, was fond of reading, and possessing a retentive memory he made great advancement in mental culture and literary attainments.” 

In March, 1863, he went to supply the appointments of the Rev. S. Dean, who was laid aside by illness. In October, 1863, he came to Tadcaster as an itinerant minister; I found him a most agreeable colleague, and a very devout, studious, zealous youth. If he had lived I have no doubt he would have become an able minister of the New Testament; he was highly esteemed in the family circle, well received as a Minister, his sermons were the products of deep thought and ardent prayer, and were consequently crowned with success. From his diary I learn he had preached upwards of 500 sermons, and seventeen precious souls had been converted to God through his labours. But his sun set in the morning of his life.

His examination at the district meeting of 1864 caused him very much anxiety of mind, and to prepare himself for the ordeal he worked very diligently; this in connection with a severe cold he took preyed upon his delicate constitution. He passed his examination creditably, but on the Sabbath morning in the chapel he was seized with an epileptic fit. He was laid by from his work until July 2nd, when he resumed it until November 28th. He was very anxious, if it was the will of God, to be restored to the enjoyment of health, that he might return to the work of the ministry, but the all-wise Jehovah designed otherwise. He lingered on amidst much weakness until May 8th, 1865, when calmly he breathed out his soul, and fell asleep in Jesus, aged twenty-two years and six months.

I preached a funeral sermon for him at most of the places in Tadcaster circuit; much divine influence attended the word, and at the close of the sermon at Tadcaster two precious souls professed to obtain the pearl of great price. May the friends of the departed, and the writer, at last meet him again in heaven.


Joseph was born on 25 October 1842 at Hull, Yorkshire, to parents Joseph, a cordwainer, and Martha.

Joseph died on 8 May 1865 at Hull, Yorkshire..


  • 1864 Tadcaster


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1865/542

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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