Jolly, William (1789-1870)

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

Of Albion, was born at Kilton, Yorkshire, England, September 1789. He lost his parents when he was only five years old, but the orphan found friends in an uncle and aunt who were members of the Wesleyan Church, who had private and public means of grace in their house, and who watched over both his body and soul. Hence he was brought up amid religious influences and associations, and they exercised a salutary restraint over his heart and conduct. But when merging into manhood he for a few years was insubordinate to God’s will, and lived after the course of this world. At twenty-five years of age he was brought to God through the agency of a Wesleyan minister, and from that period to his departure from earth and time, he persevered in “the path of life.” After labouring acceptably for some time as local preacher among the Wesleyans, he identified himself with our church in 1823, entered the regular ministry, and laboured fourteen years in England, and six in this country with great success. Hundreds were brought to God under his ministrations, on the Brampton, Markham, and other stations where he travelled from time to time. In the autumn of 1838 he married the widow of Mr. Joseph Stonehouse, who now mourns her loss (with his two sons and a daughter by her first partner). The union was a suitable one, and the results were peace, comfort, and happiness in the domestic circle.

About twenty-six years ago he retired from the active work, but continued to labour for souls as leisure and circumstances warranted him. He was favoured with a hardy and wiry constitution, and more than ordinary mental power, and, best of all, was the subject of uniform and consistent piety. The following extracts from some of his letters to his son William will unveil his real character. In one, dated Feb. 12th, 1869, we have the following paragraph: “And now what shall I say in regard to religion I often feel my soul very happy; I have given my soul into Christ’s hands; yes, and body too, and everything I have, and I may say in the words of Mr. Cheyne, “If any man say, how darest thou say the Lord is thy Saviour, the answer is, ‘I am his, he shed his blood for me, else I should never have shed a tear for him; he cried after me, else I should never have breathed after him; he sought me, else I should never have sought after him; he hath loved me, therefore I love him; he hath chosen me, therefore I evermore choose him—my beloved is mine, and I am his.’ . . . My dear son, let me beseech you, as you are a gospel minister, to preach Christ —a full Saviour, that can and will pardon all and every penitent sinner and sanctify every believer,” &c. In another letter, dated Dec. 31st, 1869, we have the following reflections and experience: “This is the last day of another year, I do not expect to live much longer; and I thank the Lord I am willing either to live or die, . . . Jesus Christ is my Saviour; I sometimes have sweet communion with him, then I am happy; thank his holy name. Thank God, I have confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ, hence I can exercise humble faith in his merits for my acceptance with the Father,” &c.

In letters dated March 9th and April 15th of the present year, I find him giving his son useful instructions in relation to the great work of the ministry; breathing an increased devotional spirit; manifesting very great anxiety for the salvation of his son John and his step-daughter Martha; showing an impatient solicitude to do something for the spiritual good of the masses of the unconverted by which he was surrounded; and evidencing a growth in grace and a ripening for heaven. He seemed conscious of his approaching dissolution, and spake freely and fearlessly about the same, knowing that God’s presence and protection would be granted him when passing from the seen to the unseen world.

I was acquainted with our departed friend for twenty-two years, and as far as I could judge he tried to serve his generation by the will of God. He may have had a mental identity peculiarly his own. He was firm and uncompromising in what he believed to be right; hence at times he appeared to great advantage, and at other times to great disadvantage; and so it is with every man that dares have the manhood to think, speak, and act for himself. Possibly, like others, he erred in judgment at times, and consequent mistakes would be the result; but we are not aware of any man who claims infallibility, except the present Roman Pontiff. His last illness was general decay of the constitution, accompanied with chronic diarrhoea. His death took place on Thursday, June 9th, at half-past ten o’clock p.m., and the writer, assisted by Rev. J.S. Boyes, improved his death the following Sabbath.


William was born in September 1789 at Kilton, Yorkshire.

He married Jane Stonehouse (1810-1877) on 25 October 1838 at Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada. They had two sons.

  • William Clowes (1840-1907) – a farmer & minister (1891)
  • John Frederick (1842-1917) – a physician

William died on 9 June 1870. He is buried at Shiloh PM Cemetery, Peel, Ontario, Canada.


  • 1825 Ripon
  • 1826 Otley
  • 1827 Dewsbury
  • 1828 Hull (6 mths)
  • 1828 York (6 mths)
  • 1829 York (6 mths)
  • 1829 Malton (6 mths)
  • 1830 York
  • 1831 Louth
  • 1833 Wakefield
  • 1835 Sheffield
  • 1837 Hull
  • 1838 Toronto – canada
  • 1839 not shown
  • 1842 Brampton
  • 1843 Toronto
  • 1844 not shown
  • 1858 Etobicoke


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1873/240

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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