Whitehead, Thomas (1852-1919)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1912
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1920
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1912

Early years

Thomas was born in 1852 at Oldham, Lancashire.

Thomas attended the Primitive Methodist Sunday School at Henshaw Street, Oldham, from the lowest class to the Teachers’ Roll. He was converted when aged seventeen* and was soon placed on the plan. After seven years as a successful and popular local preacher, Thomas was stationed by Conference in 1876.


His obituary records that Thomas was a model circuit minister, and never sought district office or honour, though he could no altogether escape it.

He was an able and powerful preacher, and his sermons always gave evidence of through preparation. He gave practical and clear expositions, occasional flashes of humour, and impassioned evangelical appeals.

Thomas always aimed at strengthening the spiritual life of the churches, and converting the unsaved. However, he did not leave other work undone. Few ministers did more in reducing debts and building new churches and schools.

On entering his final station at Margate, Thomas found the cause at a low ebb, but at once began to inspire the faithful few. Then came the air raids and bombardment, and many fled from the town. Thomas stayed on and acted as Sunday School superintendent and society steward and with his daughter, Olive, kept the C.E. and Sunday School alive.


Thomas married Martha Sutcliffe (abt1849-1883) in the spring of 1871 at Manchester, Lancashire. Census returns identify two children.

  • Annie Elizabeth (b1877)
  • Mary Ethel (b1881)

Thomas married Ellen Phelps (abt1851-1922) in the summer of 1883 at Hungerford, Berkshire. Census returns identify three children.

  • Eleanor Caroline B (b1884) – married Ernest Arthur Waddams, a fruiterer and greengrocer (1911)
  • George Thomas P (1887-1892)
  • Olive Claire S (1894-1940) – married Joseph Hudspith in 1920

Thomas died on 5 September 1919 at Margate, Kent. He was buried at Hungerford, Berkshire.


  • 1876 Redhill
  • 1877 Plymouth
  • 1878 Hastings
  • 1880 Ryde & Ventnor
  • 1881 Hungerford
  • 1882 Stewkley
  • 1885 Cirencester
  • 1886 Basingstoke
  • 1889 Swindon I
  • 1893 Southampton I
  • 1895 Hull IV
  • 1899 Douglas
  • 1902 Walsall
  • 1907 Walthamstow
  • 1908 Sheffield I
  • 1909 Halesowen
  • 1912 Wakefield
  • 1915 Margate


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1912/506; 1920/139; 1924/219 (wife)

PM Minutes 1920/274

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


Note: * There is a discrepancy between the personal sketch in the 1912 Magazine and his obituary concerning the age he was converted. The 1912 sketch says seventeen; the obituary fifteen.



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