Porter, John Fletcher (1845-1913)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1904
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1911

Early years

John was born on 25 October 1845 at Trimdon Colliery, Co Durham to parents Benjamin Porter and Margaret Fletcher. John’s parents were converted when he was twelve. His father became a local preacher.

John was converted in 1859 under a sermon preached by his father. John became a Sunday School teacher at Page Bank Colliery. In 1865 he was put on the plan by the Darlington circuit. After being recommended for the ministry, John attended Elmfield College in October 1866.


At the request of the General Missionary Committee, John went to Canada in 1870 and for five years was engaged largely in missionary work. His wife’s ill health brought his work in Canada to a close.

In 1877, John was appointed by the G.M.C. to open the North Bow Mission in east London. When he commenced work there, erection of a chapel had commenced in Driffield Road, but there was neither church nor congregation. During thirteen years on that station about 600 persons were received into church fellowship. Chapels were also erected at Smeed Road and Brookfield Road. During winter months free meals were provided from the Driffield Road and Smeed Road Schoolrooms. A ‘Sister of the People’ was employed in the social ministries of the station. By this appointment, John could claim to be one of the pioneers in the Connexion for the employment of such sisters.

John became trusted in the area, even to the point where trade disputes were referred to him for arbitration and settlement. John was the first and only PM minister to sit on the London School Board.

Whilst at Hackney, John was elected on to the Hackney Board of Guardians.

For several years John was one of the Probationers and Candidates Examiners and also Orphanage Secretary for his District. In 1901, he was elected to the role of Secretary of the Orphanage by Conference. During his time of office the orphanage was enlarged and a second site procured for a new orphanage in Harrogate.


John married Jane Hall (1845-1910) on 27 July 1871 at London, Ontario, Canada . Census returns identify six children.

  • John Fletcher (abt1873-1927) – a medical practitioner
  • Margaret Jane (b abt1875) – married John Edward Kemp, a bakers oven and furnace builder
  • Mary Ann (1878-1951) – married Ernest Goodman Jones, a postman (1901)
  • James Henry (1879-1959) – an electrician and mechanical engineer (1911)
  • Herbert Hall (1881-1956) – a commercial clerk (1901); emigrated to Australia
  • Julia Burrowes (1886-1946) – married Harry Wren Hart, a PM Minister

John died on 13 February 1913 at Worthing, Sussex.


  • 1867 Clayton West
  • 1869 Hoyland
  • 1870 Dewsbury
  • 1871 Canada
  • 1873 Kingston
  • 1876 to England
  • 1877 North Bow
  • 1890 Stepney Green
  • 1894 Hackney Road
  • 1903 Canning Town
  • 1907 Hackney
  • 1910 Worthing
  • 1911 Chichester (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1904/87; 1911/405

PM Minutes 1913/37

H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 2,519

B A Barber, A Methodist Pageant, 1932, p208

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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