Dyson, Joshua (1842-1872)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by John Watson

JOSHUA DYSON was born at Halifax, Yorkshire, in the year 1842. His earliest religious impressions were received from his pious grandfather, by whom he was brought up, and whose name he bore. When in his thirteenth year, and shortly after he was apprenticed to business, he fully yielded his heart to the Lord, and realised a sense of God’s pardoning love, which he never afterwards lost. The instrument of his conversion was a pious fellow-apprentice, older than himself, and who is now in our ministry, who took him to the chapel and school, and often kindly talked to him about his soul.

His earnest piety and studious habits indicating his fitness for usefulness in the pulpit, he was, when very young, put upon the preachers’ plan of his native circuit, and many of the people in the places which he visited still retain pleasant recollections of his early labours in the cause of Christ. Having been very highly recommended by the superintendent of his station, the Rev. John Simpson, he was, in the year 1862, called into the regular ministry by the Darlington circuit; and though at that time inexperienced and defective in knowledge and education, he gave indications of some mental capacity, while in his moral character he manifested those high qualities, which were afterwards so brightly developed in him. He subsequently travelled in the Stokesley, Berwick-on-Tweed, Motherwell, and Hartlepool circuits, and on the Edinburgh Mission, in each of which he gained by his kindly disposition and cheerful piety the esteem and good-will of the people, and served the best interests of the cause of Christ.

He entered upon his last station, Hartlepool, in the year 1870, at the same time as myself. I had very little previous acquaintance with him, but I soon found him to be a man in whom I could repose perfect confidence, and a faithful yoke-fellow in the gospel of Christ. During the two or three years we were together there was never the slightest unpleasantness between us. I shall ever look upon the time J spent in fellowship and labour with him as the one of the happiest periods in my ministerial life. I have, indeed, seldom met with a man of a more devout spirit, of loftier motives, and who more fully acknowledged God in all his ways than brother Dyson. He loved God supremely, and held daily communion with heaven, entering often into the holiest of all by the blood of his Redeemer. His piety was, however, far removed from that sanctimoniousness, which is sometimes an offensive substitute for it. He was a remarkably cheerful man, who by his quiet humour and pleasantries on the platform and over the fireside often amused his friends. The healthy naturalness of his religious life makes the memory of him far more pleasant than it otherwise would have been. As a preacher he was careful and conscientious in his pulpit preparations, and his discourses, though not indicating profound thought, were lucid and practical expositions of the Word of God, fitted to promote the spiritual benefit of his hearers. He loved the work of preaching, and it was an intensely painful trial to him to be laid aside from it by affliction. In his pastoral relations his conduct was most exemplary. He looked well after those whom God had committed to his care, often going out in cold, stormy weather to visit the sick and dying, when, if he had regarded his own poor frail body, he would have remained at his own fireside. During the last connexional year, deducting the weeks that he was laid aside by affliction, he paid no fewer than fifty visits per week. This fact, whatever it may say for his prudence, proves at least his intense zeal for the cause of Christ, which impelled him to sacrifice his own health, and even life, that he might serve those for whom the Saviour died. 

About a year before his death consumptive tendencies began to appear, necessitating the giving up of his work for a time. After a short rest and change of air he, however, resumed his labours, continuing for about two months in much physical weakness, but with ardent zeal, to attend to the duties of his office. But increasing affliction compelled him once more to give up reluctantly the work he loved so well. Notwithstanding the remonstrances of his friends, who saw too plainly that the hand of death was upon him, he, weary of doing nothing actively in his Master’s cause, resumed preaching a few weeks before his death, and occupied West Hartlepool pulpit on the morning of the Sunday before he died. 

His death took place very suddenly through the bursting of a blood vessel in connection with the lungs. His wife was engaged downstairs in the morning, when she heard him rap once or twice, and at the same time a gurgling sound, as if he was trying to speak. Running hastily up to his room, she found him on his knees by the bedside vomiting blood, and in a few minutes it was all over. His spirit had left the frail body, and taken its flight to the mansions of the blessed. Thus after a short but beautiful career, our dear brother rested from his earthly toils on the 19th October, 1872, in the thirty-first year of his age, leaving behind him a widow and one child.


Joshua was born in early 1842 at Halifax, Yorkshire, to mother Hannah. Census returns identify the following occupations before he entered the ministry.

  • 1851 doffer bobbins worsted
  • 1861 basket maker apprentice

He married Margaret Mowitt (1842-1932) in the summer of 1867 in the Glendale Registration District, Northumberland. Census returns identify one child.

  • George (abt1870-1904) – an agricultural labourer (1891); a farmer (1901)

Joshua died on 19 October 1872 at hartlepool, Co. Durham. After his death, Margaret returned to live with her father, a farmer, in Northumberland.


  • 1863 Stokesley
  • 1865 Berwick
  • 1867 Edinburgh
  • 1868 Motherwell
  • 1870 Hartlepool


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1874/302

PM Minutes 1873/7

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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