Turner, Mary (nee Edwards) (1802-1875)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by H Phillips

MARY, wife of the Rev. SAMPSON TURNER, was the daughter of Robert and Mary Edwards. Mr. Edwards was a farmer residing at Turndich in Derbyshire, where Mrs. Turner was born March 27, 1802. In due time her parents took her with the rest of the family on Sundays to Church. But when she was about eighteen years of age she attended the ministry of our early missionaries. She received the word in the love of it, and was made wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, became a member of the young and persecuted society, suffering much opposition from her family and friends, But nothing could move her to retrace her steps or turn her back upon those she believed to be the Lord’s people. 

At that period of the Connexion’s history every zealous member who possessed a little superior religious knowledge and speaking ability was pressed into the service of the ministry. The recruiting officers of those times made no objection to females forming part of their army. They were often called upon to join the ranks, to march and fight side by side with their stouter and stronger comrades of the masculine sex, and to endure hardness as good soldiers. Miss Edwards felt it her duty to obey such a call. She conferred not with flesh and blood, but left her comfortable home, and went forth a stranger among strangers, to preach the truth as it is in Jesus to the people. She laboured at Tunstall, Macclesfield, Oakengates, Burton-on-Trent, Derby, Lichfield, and Congleton with much acceptance and usefulness.

At the age of twenty-two she married the Rev. Sampson Turner, and proved to be a valuable help-meet to an excellent husband. She cheerfully bore her full share of the hardships and privations that fell to the lot of a Primitive Methodist preacher fifty years ago. The minister’s remuneration was pitifully small, and the house he lived in was often a miserable dwelling almost destitute of the most needful furniture. In one circuit they had two rooms for themselves and four children in a house of three stories; the one room was in the lowest story and the other in the highest, the stairs leading from the one room to the other were outside the house, and if rain was falling at bed-time they went to their sleeping apartment with umbrellas over them.

The religious education of children generally depends more upon the mother than the father, and this was especially the case with the children of our preachers of the past generation, a large portion of whose time was spent from home, and in consequence of the frequent and sometimes long absence of her husband, Mrs. Turner had for many years almost the sole care of her family. But so happily did she blend affection and authority in the government of her household that, with God’s blessing in answer to many earnest prayers, she trained up all her children in the way they should go, from which they have not departed. Three have gone before her to the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, and the surviving two are following her to that home of rest and peace. It is used as an argument against the employment of women as public teachers or preachers, that, by continuously doing the work of men, they acquire the bold bearing and manners of men, lose the gentleness and tenderness of women, and become unfitted for the quiet duties of domestic life. Whatever force there might be in this objection, it does not apply to the subject of this memoir, for she was distinguished by a mild and retiring, demeanour, and the order and neatness of her home and family showed that she abounded in the domestic virtues. Her three years’ regular ministry, and occasional preaching in the circuits where her husband was stationed, were not sufficient to spoil her womanly nature, nor to deprive her of those qualities which made her one of the best of wives and  one of the best of mothers.

The last fifteen years of her life were spent at Sunderland among many kind friends who esteemed her highly. In the presence of her husband, son, daughter, and daughter-in-law she quietly and peacefully passed away to her eternal rest, November 20, 1875, aged seventy-three years.


Mary was born on 27 March 1802 at Turnditch, Derbyshire, to parents Robert, a farmer, and Mary. She was baptised on 20 April 1802 at Turnditch.

She married Sampson Turner on 31 January 1825 at St Modwen’s, Burton on Trent, Staffordshire. Census returns identify four of five children.

  • Sampson Edward (1826-1863) – draper
  • Mary (b1830)
  • John Garner (1832-1890) – tailor
  • Catherine (1834-1863)

Mary died on 20 November 1875 at Sunderland, Co. Durham.


  • 1822 Boston
  • 1823 disappears


Primitive Methodist Magazine  1822/258; 1877/302

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *