Freeman, George (1881-1921)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference by Fred S Clulow

George Freeman was born at Church Gresley, in a home where both parents were actively associated with our Church. In the Sunday school, as a boy, deep impressions for good were made on his mind. His teacher, Mr. T. Clark, recalls that, with other youths, the very hymns he sang led him to pray, and fostered every good desire. When a young man, he rendered valued service in Sunday school and Christian Endeavour, and, along with the Rev. Robert Buckley, started a course of evening classes to befit himself as a capable Christian worker. At this juncture he was approached to prepare for the ministry, and passed on the reserved list.

In 1905 Conference sent him to Faringdon Circuit for a year. Through the kindness of Sir W. Hartley, he was given the opportunity to take the College course, which he always referred to as invaluable. The memories of it he treasured, and  fellow-students held him in high regard.

In 1908 he was stationed at Horwich, where great difficulties were faced with splendid, indomitable spirit and unsparing labour. In twelve months he had fired others with his own zeal, and made the prospects of the circuit hopeful. After two years at Biggleswade he married one of the busiest workers at Church Gresley, and a bright, useful career seemed to be awaiting their joint labour for the Master. But this was not to be. One of those inexplainable interruptions to all our future purposes took place, in the shape of a physical breakdown, at the conclusion of his first year at Pontefract, 1912. This necessitated two years’ rest. The doctor then advised him to try the Yorkshire moors, and he went to visit the Rev. and Mrs. R.A. Buckley at Kirbymoorside, and subsequently a few months he spent at Hetton-le-Hole, making rapid recovery and re-starting to preach. Here he began a Sunday school. In 1915 he was appointed to Helmsley Circuit, but a few miles distant. The improvement in health continued up to January, 1916, when a serious bicycle accident on the moors returning from a week-night service brought on concussion of the brain.

How bravely he toiled to overcome this handicap, and how he struggled against his disability, only his dear wife knows! Wonderful things were accomplished at Idle, his next circuit, for he threw himself into every enterprise. Eventually he was compelled to give up the battle, and reluctantly had to superannuate last July, after a brief career of only thirteen years.

Even so, in his conversation the hope of one day being able to resume the active work was still keen. He settled here on his home circuit, which, with the districts where he had laboured, joined in a magnificent tangible proof of the affection and esteem in which he was held by all who knew him. And here he was beginning to take up the work among the Endeavourers, when the old trouble recurred, laid him prostrate for a week or two, and then freed him for ever from his anguish and pain, and translated him on Friday, March 3rd, to that sphere where, in his Lord’s presence, he could join in the higher ministry of the just made perfect.

He was indeed a genuine soul, a conscientious and untiring servant of the Lord, one who honoured his calling and his Church, and realised the worth and wealth of grace in his own experience. He leaves a wife and two young children, whom we commend in our prayers to Him who alone can assuage our grief and sustain our hearts. Numerous messages have been received, showing wide-spread sympathy with them.

The funeral took place at Church Gresley on Tuesday, March 7th, attended by the Revs. J.T. Ecob (District Committee Secretary), J. Blayney and T. Ladlay, and was conducted by the writer. The following Sunday evening an impressive funeral service was held at the Church by the Rev. Fred S. Clulow, and the beautiful wreath on the Communion Table had been sent by the four churches of Bradford Seventh Circuit, as their last tribute of respect to the memory of their former minister.

Family

George was born in the summer of 1881 at Church Gresley, Derbyshire, to parents Joseph Freeman, a foreman at sanitary pipe works (1891), and Agnes Eyley.

Before entering the ministry George was apprenticed to a joiner.

He married Mabel Granger (1881-1964) in the summer of 1911 in the Burton on Trent Registration District. Birth records identify two children.

  • Dora Kathleen (1913-1993) – married Leslie Elijah Miller, a council park gardener (1939), in 1938
  • Clifford Ball (1915-1987) – a public library assistant (1939)

George died on 3 March 1921 in the Burton on Trent Registration District (which includes Church Gresley).

Circuits

  • Hartley
  • 1907 Horwich
  • 1909 Biggleswade
  • 1911 Pontefract
  • 1914 Burton on Trent
  • 1915 Helmsley
  • 1918 Bradford
  • 1920 Burton (Sup)

References

PM Minutes 1921/257

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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