Ferguson, Joseph DD FRAS (1838-1904)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1891

Early years

Joseph was born on 22 October 1838 at Brierley Hill, Staffordshire.

Joseph’s parents were poor and his father died when he was a child. He had little opportunity for education as a child. Joseph was working as a furnace boy in 1851.

Joseph moved to Gold’s Green early in life. There he was converted through the influence of a devoted local preacher.  Joseph was called to the itinerant ministry before he had been raised to the list of accredited local preachers.


Joseph was President of Conference in 1891 and became editor of Primitive Methodist World. He spent five years as General Sunday School Secretary from 1887. Joseph was a delegate to all three Methodist Ecumenical Conferences and acted as one of the Presidents at Washington in 1891.

Joseph was made a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He received his D.D. from the University of North Nebraska.

Joseph’s obituary records that he was a strong social reformer, a foe of intolerance and autocracy and the friend of the people. Temperance and Education were causes he particularly supported. Along with George Middleton, Joseph took a major role in the founding of Bourne College. He also influenced William Hartley to create the annual Hartley Lecture.

He was a soul winner. On some of his circuits he saw tidal waves of soul saving power.


Joseph married Mary Williams (1842-1893) in in the summer of 1865 at Newport, Shropshire. Census returns identify five children.

  • Joseph (b1868) – a Congregational Minister
  • Lillian Mary (1870-1875)
  • Minnie Jane (1870-1871)
  • Robert William (1874-1922) – a PM Minister
  • Edith Adaline A (b1880)

Joseph married Catherine Wilde (1839-1920) in early 1895 at Harrogate, Yorkshire.

Joseph died on 8 July 1904 at Brierley Hill, Staffordshire.


  • 1861 Wrockwardinewood
  • 1862 Congleton
  • 1864 Oswestry
  • 1865 Tunstall
  • 1867 Birmingham
  • 1868 Shrewsbury
  • 1871 Prees Green
  • 1873 Birmingham ll
  • 1876 Old Hill
  • 1882 Tunstall
  • 1887 Agent for SSU
  • 1892 Darlaston
  • 1896 Birmingham Mission
  • 1898 Willenhall
  • 1901 Brierley Hill


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1891/641; 1895/65 (Mary); 1924/753

PM Minutes 1905/16

H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 2, p454, p530

B A Barber, A Methodist Pageant, 1932, p230

R Newman Wycherley, The Pageantry of Methodist Union, 1932, p169

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers



Comments about this page

  • This page was modified on 8 January 2018 to add a transcription of an “Appreciation’ published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine 1905.

    By Geoff Dickinson (08/01/2018)
  • This page was modified on 11 April 2016 to add an article published in the Christian Messenger 1923.

    By Geoff Dickinson (11/04/2016)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.