Crosbie, Thomas George (1839-1862)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by Isaac Septimus Nullis

THOMAS GEORGE CROSBIE was born at Drumnakelly, county Armagh, Ireland, March 20th, 1839, and died at Mahon Honse, near Portadown, March 22nd, 1862. He lived according to the course of this world until he was nineteen years of age, at which time he left his home, much against the wishes of his parents.

Having found his way to England, he plunged deeply into sin, and spent all his money. Not knowing what to do nor where to go, he started for London, After proceeding as far as Edmonton, he found two shillings and sixpence to be all the money he had left, so he thought, “What’s the use of going into. London with half a crown, it won’t keep me more than a day and a night.” Hence he thought it best to stop outside the city, where lodgings would be cheaper. The next day being the Sabbath he found his way to our little preaching room at No 1, Snell’s Park, and there determined upon changing his course of life. A protracted meeting was then in progress.

The next day (Monday, April 26th, 1858), Brother Thomas Morgan informed us that a young Irishman was in distress of soul, and would be waiting at the preaching house for instruction in the way of salvation. We exercised faith at once. As we entered, he shook hands and said, “Can you tell me how I can get salvation?” “We ought to be able to do so,” was the reply. And then he was pointed the straight way to Jesus. He saw the way instantly, and laid hold of Christ as his Saviour — perhaps in less than five minutes after we had met. He seemed perfectly astonished at the simplicity of the plan of salvation by faith, and in the prayer-meeting, which commenced some short time afterwards, he cried out, “O God, pardon me for not believing like this before.” He commenced pointing a penitent to Christ at once, saying, “It’s only believe.” Upon rising from our knees, he turned round, and pointing to the pulpit, said, “My highest ambition is to stand in a place like that, and preach a good sermon.” He stayed in London two months; wrote letters home, which were the means of stirring many up to seek salvation. A gentlemen wrote to him, saying, “Your whole family are groaning for salvation.”

On the 30th of June following, he sailed for home, and commenced at once to lead his friends to Jesus, and succeeded with five or six, three having since died in the faith, and preceded him to glory. Just after his arrival at home, Brother Bernard Kenny, a converted Romanist, an old companion of his, was requested to visit his native place, and Mr. Russell having just come to Portadown, they met and plunged into the work of God, and a glorious revival followed,—scores and scores of souls being brought to the Lord. The year after this the great Ulster awakening took place, in which Brother Crosbie laboured almost night and day, when, as many think, the foundation of the disease (consumption) was laid, which took him away. 

He laboured as a local preacher for a short time, and on September 5th, 1859, was taken out as a regular travelling preacher, by the General Missionary Committee. He laboured on the Donaghmore and Portadown mission until July 1860, and then removed to Lisburn, but here his health giving way, and perhaps being strongly tempted to desist from the work, he came home for about a month, when, being better in health, and seeing and feeling his error, he returned to his station.

He then removed to London Third Circuit, under the superintendency of Mr. Lamb, where he was much beloved by the people; but his health failing he returned home a complete wreck, and all expected his immediate dissolution. He rallied a little for a time, and then gradually sank till the time of his death, which occurred in about sixteen months. ‘

During his affliction the enemy assailed him powerfully; the conflict was long and severe, but this passage bore him through, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” Two or three days before his death he said, “Before you came up-stairs, I was praying for the Lord to tune my heart to sing with the great host. I know He is worthy to be praised now, but I am so weak I cannot sing. On the evening previous to his death, he sang,

“Just as I am without one plea,
But that thy blood was shed for me;”

but here his strength failing, he said, “I cannot sing any more, I’ll finish it in heaven.” As we entered the room, he was struggling for breath, but cried out, “Pray;” we did so. After we had done, he said, “Keep praying in your mind.” He then looked up with a heavenly smile, and said, ‘ Jesus—Essy—Robert—Glory,” as though he saw what our eyes were not at that time permitted to behold. Again he named four of the family who had gone to heaven before him, and said, “Four before the throne.” We had hesitated whether to leave him or not, to go to a preaching appointment—perhaps he heard us talking, and looking earnestly at us, he cried out, “Simon, what is that to thee? follow thou me; let the dead bury their dead.” When we started to go, he said, “The Lord go with you, His Spirit be upon you.” While mentioning his state to the society, they were deeply moved, and well they might, for many of them had been converted under his labours, as well as the society formed through him. When we had returned, he desired us to-sing,

“Come sing tome of heaven,” &c

And joined us, singing so loudly that he astonished us. While we were singing,

“Then clasp my cold and icy hands,
Upon my lifeless breast,”

he crossed his hands upon his breast, and appeared to be very happy. He gave out 6 lines 8s,

“Now I have found the ground wherein,
Sure my soul’s anchor may remain,” &c.

And sang very heartily, especially the last verse,

“Fixed on this ground will I remain,
Though my heart fail and flesh decay,” &c.

Just before his death he made his father promise to meet him in heaven, after which he said, “That will do. I have been a great deal of trouble and expense to you, but you have been very kind—very kind to me.” “Don’t mention it,” said his father, “this hour more than makes up for all.” Just as he was struggling through the waves of the Jordan, we said,

“Not a soul of Jesus’ care,
Ever suffered shipwreck there.”

“No, no! no, no! no, no!” said he, “When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” After these efforts he was completely exhausted, and well he might, for he had been singing, praying, praising, and talking for some hours, with very little intermission. “It’s hard work to cross. Take hold of my hands,” said he; and we held him while he breasted some of the last waves. His mind wandered a little towards the last, but after a short time he fell asleep, and slept on for nearly two hours; we heard a long breath,— instantly we were by his side,—two more long drawn breaths, and the spirit was gone. Before we left the house in the morning, the servant girl professed to find peace with God; thus one falls, and another fills up the ranks.

The funeral sermon was preached at the house, with the corpse upon the table before us, and many listened with deep attention, especially while some lines were read which had been written by the deceased on the death of his beloved sister Harriet, whom he had now joined, “in the home of the blest in the skies.” The hearse then bore his remains away for interment, hundreds of persons following to show their sympathy and love.

He was a young man of prepossessing appearance, good natural abilities, pretty well educated, intelligent, very interesting; and these properties being sanctified by divine grace, we do not wonder at his being greatly beloved, and at his usefulness. He had faults, but need we bring them up, are they not common to our humanity? Let him that is free cast the first stone. He was to the writer almost as Jonathan to David, but he has gone, and we hope to spend a long eternity together in glory.

“True friendship is a Gordian knot,
Which angel hands have tied,
By heavenly skill its texture ’s wrought,
Who shall its folds divide?
In vain death’s all-triumphant sword,
May strive the link to sever;
The union of the twisted cord,
In heaven shall last for ever.’


Thomas was born on 20 March 1839 at Drumnakelly, Co. Armagh. He was the second son of Thomas Crosbie, who lived at Mahon House, Portadown in 1862.

Thomas died on 22 March 1862 at Mahon House, nr Portadown.


  • 1860 Lisburn
  • 1861 London III


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1862/585

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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