Harris, William (1833-1912)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1885

Early years

William was born at Rochdale, Lancashire on 16 March 1833 to parents John Harris and Sarah Kershaw. He was baptised 20 May 1837 at Rochdale.

In 1851 William was working as a cotton throstle doffer.


William easily holds the records for service over any minister who has travelled to the Isle of Man.

His obituary records that he has always been a good preacher, and could successfully adapt himself either as a teacher or evangelist as occasion required.

In a quiet but most effective way, William influenced quite a number of young men in the midmost of his ministry, and it is largely to his interest and labour we own the beautiful church in which our people worship at Port St Mary.

He was great in the simple things. He was a fine class leader, and a wonderful conductor of a prayer meeting. But undoubtedly his greatest power was exercised in the homes of the people. Systematic visitation formed the base on which his ministry was built.

Of patient plodding service to the very end, he was an example rarely paralleled.


William married Ann Smith (1836-1884) on 1 January 1861 at Douglas, Isle of Man.  Census returns identify six children.

  • Samuel John (1861-1946) – draper’s assistant in 1901; emigrated to USA in 1907
  • William Cuthbert (1863-1911) – a printer compositor
  • Richard Watson (1868-1930) – an insurance agent (1911)
  • Sarah Minnie (1870-1907) – married John Millnes Jolley, a hairdresser, in 1892
  • Lillian Ann (b1872) – married William Dixon, a coal merchant
  • Percy Bastow (1875-1943) – a printer

William married Hannah Lomas (1846-1893) circa 1890.

William married Maria Catherine Pollard (1841-1923) in 1894 at Ramsey, Isle of Man.

William died on 30 July 1912 at Port St Mary, Isle of Man.


  • 1856 Bury
  • 1857 Northwich
  • 1858 Bradwell
  • 1859 Douglas
  • 1861 Ramsey
  • 1862 Peel
  • 1863 Stockport
  • 1865 Castletown
  • 1869 Douglas
  • 1871 Glossop
  • 1874 Stockport
  • 1877 Wigan
  • 1881 Middleton, Lancs
  • 1884 Bolton ll
  • 1887 Bacup
  • 1890 Peel
  • 1893 Northwich
  • 1895 Stockport (S)
  • 1900 Peel (Ac)
  • 1901 Peel (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1885 (portrait); 1908/154 (wife)

PM Minutes 1913/25

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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