Dickenson, John (1822-1888)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1872

Early years

John was born on 11 November 1822 at Burton on Trent, Staffordshire to parents John and Martha. John was the younger son of a family of 9 children. He was baptised on 22 December 1822 at Burton on Trent.

John attracted the attention of the vicar of Burton on Trent and was sent to school by the vicar. At the age of 14, John was apprenticed to a moulder. When he came out of his time, John was offered a partnership but his mind was firmly fixed on ministry.

At the age of 14, John was introduced to the Primitive Methodist Chapel and became a Sunday School Scholar. He was soon a teacher and then secretary of the Sunday School. It was here that he met his wife to be, they became engaged before he went into the ministry and they married after an engagement of 12 years.

John became a local preacher when he was 16.


John was Secretary of Conference in 1873 and President in 1876. He was Book Steward from 1875-1880 (full-time from 1878). On leaving the Book Room, John became Treasurer of the Superannuated Preachers, Widows and Orphans Fund. He sat on the Hymnal Committee in 1882.

His obituary records that John never shrank from applying discipline when fully convinced of the guilt of the party; and at Derby he did this at the peril of his own life. Alderman Johnson JP of Derby was told of a man, who was once an official of the Derby circuit, but who was expelled by John for immorality, who confessed on his deathbed that he had laid in wait for Mr Dickenson at the Canal Wharf between Draycott and Borrowash, with a loaded gun to shoot him, but John did not return that way as he had done before, though he had preached at Draycott that night.


John married Elizabeth Elverson (1824-1873) in 1849 at Burton on Trent. Census returns identify five children.

  • Martha (1850-1924) – married John Gair, a PM Minister.
  • John Elverson (1853-1926) – a life insurance clerk
  • Joseph Thomas (1855-1873)
  • Samuel William (1858-1901) – suffered with epilepsy
  • Charles James (1861-1885) – publishers clerk in 1881

John died on 1 November 1888 in Sheffield, Yorkshire.


  • 1844 Burton on Trent
  • 1845 Darlington
  • 1846 Donnington
  • 1847 Rugby & Lutterworth
  • 1848 Clay Cross
  • 1850 Boston
  • 1853 Nottingham l
  • 1855 Derby
  • 1861 Nottingham ll
  • 1866 Sheffield l
  • 1869 Rotherham
  • 1875 London
  • 1878 Book Steward
  • 1880 London lX
  • 1881 London Vlll
  • 1882 Poplar


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1872 (portrait); 1889/115

PM Minutes 1889/6

H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 2, p370, p 392

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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