Smith, Frederick (1838-1925)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1899
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1926
Mary Robson Smith
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1905

Early years

Frederick was born on 24 January 1838 at Hadley, Middlesex to parents Henry Smith and Sarah Bunker. Henry was a gardener.

Frederick was converted in 1856 in the Bethel Chapel, Sheffield. In 1858 he moved to Manchester where he became a local preacher.


Fredericks passion for soul-saving, which was engendered immediately upon his conversion, grew and developed, and was perhaps the most marked feature in his character. It pervaded, and was the life of, his sermons, making them not only strongly practical but piercingly severe. In social discourse, the same passion was still dominant, and to use his own expression, he often ‘hunted for souls with the keenness of a game hunter.’ His obituary records that he witnessed over 2,000 conversions.

Frederick took the same sense of faith and energy into the financing of God’s work. On several stations he was successful in overseeing considerable reduction of debt and fund-raising for building/modification.


Frederick married Mary Robson Jobling (1840-1903) on 14 July 1864 at Manchester. Mary was the daughter of Thomas Jobling. Census returns identify nine children.

  • Thomas Jobling (1866-1945) – a shipping clerk
  • Mary Sarah Pollie (b1867)
  • Frederick (b1868) – a bank manager
  • Henry (1870-1961) – an insurance clerk (1911)
  • Annie (b1871)
  • Emily (b1873)
  • Theophilus (b1874) – a Congregational Minister
  • Walter (1877-1969) – a motor engineer
  • George Edward (b1880) – a printer’s clerk (1911)

Frederick died on 26 October 1925 at Blackpool, Lancashire.


  • 1860 Manchester III
  • 1861 Knowlwood
  • 1862 Chorley
  • 1863 Southport
  • 1866 Ramsey
  • 1869 Chester
  • 1870 Haslingden I
  • 1873 Foxhill Bank
  • 1876 Chester I
  • 1879 Southport I
  • 1883 Leeds IV
  • 1887 Oldham II
  • 1890 St Helens
  • 1892 Walkden
  • 1895 York II
  • 1900 Bradford
  • 1903 Birkenhead
  • 1906 Teignmouth
  • 1909 Dartmouth
  • 1911 Birkenhead (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1899/323; 1905/319 (Mary); 1926/216

PM Minutes 1926/284

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


Comments about this page

  • Janet adds: ‘Fred’s parents both came from Ampthill, Bedfordshire. His father worked as a coachman, and gardener. He had 8 siblings, my great grandmother Emma being the youngest. One brother, Edwin Smith worked as a steward on passenger ships and was drowned when his ship “The Quetta” sank after hitting an uncharted rock in the Torres Straight off Northern  Australia. This was quite a famous event at the time, the rock is now known as the Quetta Rock.

    I did once meet his son, “Young Fred” who was living in Scarborough, he lived to 103.

    I was particularly interested in his description of the Cotton Famine, a part of history forgotten now.’ 

    By Jill Barber (23/04/2017)
  • Thanks to Janet Culley, we have been able to add Frederick Smith’s ’Reminiscences’ to this page. Covering the period from his conversion in 1856 to his second appointment to the Southport Circuit about 1880, they provide a unique and fascinating insight into how he became a travelling preacher (i.e. minister), the societies and chapels he founded, the people he converted, and his passion for saving souls – even if this involved milking a cow! His youngest sister Emma was Janet’s great great grandmother. She says that Frederick Smith, known as “Old Fred”, was born in Monken Hadley in Hertfordshire, and this document has been passed down in the family. 

    By Jill Barber (21/04/2017)

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