Coombs, Jesse Martin (1837-1875)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by W.H. Matthews

JESSE MARTIN COOMBS was born at Knowbury, in the Ludlow Circuit. When he was about thirteen years of age, it pleased God to take his pious mother to her rest in heaven. Before she departed she laid her hand on the head of her son and prayed that he might be a good man and meet her in heaven. Shortly after her death he removed to Tipton, in Staffordshire, where he made acquaintance with two or three brothers, (Roman Catholics), who invited him to their Church, to which he went and was introduced to the priest, who treated him most kindly. He continued to attend the Roman Catholic Church until nineteen years of age, but could not believe all they taught, especially when the priest spoke against the Protestant version of the Bible. His having read the Bible when a boy, and acquired an admiration for it, saved him from Popery.

About this time, a revival broke out among the Primitive Methodists at which our brother was soundly converted. From that time he commenced his life of piety and usefulness, joined our Church, became a Sunday-school teacher and local preacher. Having served the Connexion successfully three years as a local preacher, he was deemed suitable for our ministry. After struggling for some time with thoughts of his inefficiency, he consented to take the work of a sick brother (Rev. S. Peake), October, 1863. 

In May, 1864, he was called out to travel by the Bury Circuit. Since then he has travelled on the following circuits, Preston Brook, Chester, Barrow-in-Furness, Staley Bridge, Rochdale, with acceptance and success. In July, 1874, he came to Exmouth, Devon, hoping the south might improve his health, but disease had made too sure of its victim, to which he finally succumbed, August 4, 1875. His sufferings were very severe but most patiently endured. He never for one moment repined or murmured at the dealings of God, saying shortly before he died, “God gives dying grace for dying moments.” May we live as well and die as triumphantly and we shall meet again.


Jesse was born abt1837 at Knowbury, nr Ludlow, Shropshire, to parents Thomas, a coal miner, and Sarah.

The 1861 census records Jesse working as a coal miner.

He married Hannah Williams (abt1847-1928) in the summer of 1868 at Runcorn, Cheshire. Census returns identify three children.

  • Joseph Williams (1869-1955) – a draper & milliner (1911)
  • Jesse James (1873-1940) – a shop-keeper (1911); fish & chip shop keeper (1939)
  • May (1875-1952) – a grocer’s assistant (1891); married Thomas Bowker Broadhurst, a coal merchant (1901) in 1896; married George T Richardson, a railway engine driver, in 1912

Jesse died on 4 August 1875 at Exmouth, Devon.

After Jesse’s death Hannah returned to Runcorn working as a grocer and draper (1881). She married Thomas Reynolds, a general dealer, in 1883


  • 1865 Preston Brook
  • 1866 Chester
  • 1868 Barrow in Furness
  • 1870 Stalybridge
  • 1871 Preston
  • 1873 Rochdale
  • 1874 Exeter


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1877/176

PM Minutes 1876/5

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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