Bennett, George (1855-1931)
George was born in 1855 at Luton, Bedfordshire to parents William and Sarah. In 1861, William was a straw bonnet blacker. He died when George was thirteen. George, the eldest of four children found employment in the straw trade, first at Luton and then at St Albans.
George was converted when fourteen years old. Within a year he was recommended for the plan and at sixteen was a local preacher. He formed the habits of serious study and in January 1875, he entered the Northampton circuit to supply a ministerial vacancy.
George was not a builder of chapels, but dealt energetically with big debts. As a preacher he was thoroughly evangelical, and was in revivals from the earliest days of his ministry.
During his time as Connexional Sunday School Secretary George was involved with producing the Sunday School Hymnal, the Mission Hymnal and a new supplement.
In 1905, George began to edit the Primitive Methodist Leader, a role he fulfilled for nearly twenty-five years until superannuation in 1930. He took charge of the new venture from the beginning and shaped its direction. His consideration, in the columns of the Leader, of those who opposed Methodist Union did much to save the denomination from disruption and to make Union possible for the Primitive Methodists.
George was President of Conference in 1914.
His obituary records that George was a great man. Great in our deliberative assemblies; great in the pulpit; great on the platform in his happy pay of words and sparkle of thought; greatest of all when in the fellowship meeting he testified of his Lord. He was a level-headed man of affairs, yet a mystic and a saint. Life’s stern school which had made him wise beyond many, gave him deep sympathies and quick understanding.
George married Emla Rowe (b abt1853) in the summer of 1879 at Luton, Bedfordshire. Census returns identify one child.
- Helen Rowe H (1883-1969) – a secretary (1911)
George married Ellen Shankster (1859-1938) in late 1886 at Grimsby, Lincolnshire. Census returns identify one child.
- Edgar Rutherford (1891-1969) – a clerk (1911) and church organist; later a electricity company representative (1938)
George died on 25 November 1930 at Northampton, Northamptonshire.
- 1876 Northampton
- 1877 London VII
- 1879 Bedford
- 1882 Hull III
- 1885 Grimsby I
- 1889 Hull I
- 1893 Nottingham IV
- 1894 Leeds VII
- 1898 Scarborough I
- 1901 Hull IV
- 1905 Hull I
- 1907 General Sunday School Sec – Leeds
- 1912 Forest Hill
- 1930 Northampton (S)
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1911/640; 1913/671; 1915/fr; 1924/733; 1930/352; 1931/142
PM Minutes 1931/277
R Newman Wycherley, The Pageantry of Methodist Union, 1932, p169
W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers