Dobson, John (1847-1870)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by M.A. Drummond

BROTHER JOHN DOBSON was born at Castleton, in the parish of Danby, Yorkshire, July, 1847. He was trained up in the Wesleyan Sabbath School. He enjoyed few advantages for self-improvement. He was converted to God when he was a little over sixteen years of age. He at once identified himself with the Wesleyan Body, and soon became useful as a local preacher. About three years ago he identified himself with the Primitive Methodist Society in his native village. This step was taken according to his own convictions that it was providential and in keeping with his own inclinations. He laboured as a useful and acceptable local preacher, and as he soon gave evidence of his devotedness to the work, and his ability to labour in a more extensive sphere, he was recommended to the ministry by the Whitby Circuit. He spent one year in the Theological Institution at Sunderland; under the able tutorship of the Rev. W. Antliff; he made most satisfactory progress.

By the last conference he was stationed to the Croydon Mission; his short labours there were brought to a speedy and unexpected close by his failing health, he returned home early in October last. During his four months’ illness at home he gradually sank into the embrace of death. He bore his afflictions with a considerable amount of fortitude, patience, and Christian resignation to the will of God. Prayer and praise were continually on his lips. 

As a young man, just entering on public life, in the capacity of minister in the Church of Christ, he evinced the great power of divine grace. His meekness, gentleness, and wise counsel have won the hearts of many. Two of his brothers, through his prayers and entreaties have given their hearts to God, and joined the church of his choice. There appeared to be one difficulty during his affliction which he felt hard to overcome, and that was that he should be called away so young, and so soon from the work of the ministry in which his soul delighted; however, in time and by the help of God, this was overcome, and he could say with all his heart, “Not my will, but the will of the Lord be done.” A few minutes before he died, while his sorrowing parents and friends were standing by his bedside, he drew his father to him and kissed him, and also some other members of the family, and raised his voice, and with an unusual tone said, “Meet me in heaven, tell them I have gone to heaven.” These were his last words. His mother said to him, when he was evidently exhausted and fast sinking, “John, if thou cannot speak to us, raise thy hand in sign of victory!” in a moment his arm was raised, his trembling hand went up, and we imagine, could he have spoken, it would have been—“ Victory, victory through the blood of the Lamb.” But his voice was lost in death—his raised hand gently fell, and then he quietly clasped his hands together, and his spirit departed to his God and Saviour, bright as the setting sun in a clear sky. 

Thus died brother Dobson, Wednesday, January 19th, 1870, in the 23rd year of his age. His remains were followed by many sorrowing relations and friends to Danby Church, where they were interred Saturday, January 22nd. His death was improved in Castleton Chapel, on the Sabbath after the interment, by the Rev. M.A. Drummond, to a large congregation, showing their high esteem and deep regret at the early departure of one whom they respected so highly for his character and work’s sake. May brother Dobson’s last words, “Meet me in heaven,” be practically realised by his bereaved parents, friends, and brother ministers, — M. A. Drummond.

Additional remarks by the Rev. W. Antliff:—Mr. John Dobson was our first student at the Theological Institute; he came a few days before the others, when we opened. And, what is worthy of note, he is the first to go to heaven of the young men who have been placed under my care here. I had a high opinion of him. He was one of the most modest, industrious, devout, and conscientious young men I ever knew. So willing to oblige any one, so sensible of his deficiencies, so child-like and sincere, he was held in the highest esteem by myself and family, and by his fellow students. How earnestly did he pray and how diligently did he study! He was a credit and a comfort to me and all connected with the Institute. I feel his death very much, but have no doubt of his eternal happiness, or that the Lord has done all things well for him. If he had been spared he might have won many souls to Jesus, but it is all right. “The Lord buries his workmen, but carries on his work.” I trust his fellow-students, as well as his family and friends, will all give diligence to meet him in glory. His example and memory are precious. May all who knew and loved him follow him to the skies!—Amen.


John was born in July 1847 at Castleton, Yorkshire, to parents Thomas, who worked the land, and Hannah.

John died on 19 January 1870 at Castleton, Yorkshire.


  • 1869 Croydon


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1871/175

PM Minutes 1870/12

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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