Smith, John George (2) (1835-1904)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1892

Early Years

John was born on 21 December 1835 at Durham.

His parents moved to Sunderland when George was two, and then to Foxholes in East Yorkshire when he was eight. His father took charge of a small iron foundry.

Aged 13, John moved to Driffield to live with a local preacher. This was also the home of two of the circuit ministers. At the age of 19, John gave his life to Christ. Two years later he moved to Hornsea and became as a local preacher. He gave up work for six months and entered a boarding school to develop his education before becoming itinerant.


George Shaw, writing in the Primitive Methodist Magazine 1892, says that as a preacher he is evangelical and always interesting and instructive. He does not aim at being brilliant but he does succeed in being useful.

His obituary records that he was a builder rather than an artist, one whose work will abide though the workman no longer uses the trowel and plummet.


John married Margaret Elizabeth Knowles (1842-1905) in the summer of 1867 at Sunderland. Margaret was the daughter of Henry Knowles, who had been John’s superintendent at Reford. Census returns identify five children.

  • William Henry (b abt1867) – a schoolmaster
  • George Knowles (1870-1951) – a PM minister who went to New Zealand
  • Herbert (b1876)
  • Albert (1880-1951) – a joiner
  • Ernest (b abt 1881) – a lithographic printer

John died on 3 November 1904 at Hull, Yorkshire.


  • 1860 Epworth
  • 1861 Retford
  • 1862 Doncaster
  • 1863 Market Rasen
  • 1866 Grimsby
  • 1869 Filey
  • 1872 Driffield
  • 1873 Market Rasen
  • 1876 Winterton
  • 1878 Doncaster ll
  • 1881 Louth
  • 1884 Walthamstow
  • 1887 Barton on Humber
  • 1890 Patrington
  • 1893 Pontefract
  • 1894 Hull l (Sup)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1892/641; 1905/912

PM Minutes 1905/28

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 7 April 2018 to add a transcription of the obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1905.

    By Geoff Dickinson (07/04/2018)

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