William was born in July 1845 at Chacewater, nr Truro, Cornwall, to parents James Tonkin, a copper and tin miner (1861), and Eleanor Skewes. Brothers John and Benjamin were also PM ministers who migrated to the Congregational ministry.
Before entering the ministry William was a copper and tin miner (1861).
He married Margaret Jane Kenyon (abt1852-1910) in early 1874 in the Oldham Registration District, Lancashire. Census returns identify six children.
- Eleanor Isabel (1875-1934) – an elementary school teacher (1901)
- Ida Mary (1876-1956) – a companion (1901); married John W Jones in 1915
- John Kenyon (1877-1948) – a chemist & pharmacist (1911)
- Ethel Margaret (1880-1961) – married John David Frederick Engel, a civil servant (1939), in 1906
- Hilda (1882-1961) – married Henry Seaborn Williamson, a manufacturer (1911), in 1903
- Harold William (1887-1960) – a commercial traveller (1939)
William died on 14 August 1901 at Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire.
- 1868 Wigan
- 1869 Manchester I
- 1871 Middleton
- 1872 disappears
- 1874 Richmond, Yorkshire – Congregational minister
- 1882 Guisborough
- 1895-1897 Shelley, Yorkshire
W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Surman Index id: 27375
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers