Widdowson, William Reuben (1826-1910)
William was born in 1826 at Hardstoft, Derbyshire to parents William Widdowson and Margaret Haslam. He was baptised on 28 August 1826 at Ault Hucknall, Derbyshire. His father was identified as a whitesmith on the baptismal record. Later the family moved to Kimberley where William’s father established a windmill.
He joined the Wesleyans in his 13th year and the Primitive Methodists during the ministry of William Carthy and John Eckersley in that district (circa 1847/8).
William was a member of the General Committee from 1870. In 1908 he was elected a permanent member of conference.
His obituary records that his love for Primitive Methodism became a ruling passion and his highest delight was found in its manifold forms of service.
William undertook a collection of photographs of all the Presidents of Conference from the earliest available date. At the time of his death about 70 pictures had been gathered.
Politically, William was a keen and enthusiastic Radical.
William married Sarah Shepherd (1826-1908) in the spring of 1854 at Nottingham. Census returns identify five children.
- William Haslam (1855-1902) -a railway clerk
- Alfred Shepherd (1856-1909) – emigrated to Australia and set up a grocery and bakery business
- John Edwin (1858-1937) – a stationmaster
- Margaret Haslam (1859-1938) – married Albert Chamberlain and emigrated to Canada
- Thomas Shepherd (1863-1897) – a schoolteacher
William died on 9 July 1910 at Watford, Hertfordshire.
- 1849 Belper
- 1850 Leicester
- 1851 Lincoln
- 1853 Ashby de la Zouch
- 1854 Nottingham ll
- 1855 Spalding & Holbeach
- 1857 Coningsby
- 1859 Jersey
- 1861 Ramsey
- 1862 Haltwhistle
- 1865 Penrith
- 1867 Buckingham
- 1870 St Albans
- 1872 Watford
- 1874 Berkhamsted
- 1876 Richmond
- 1877 Southend
- 1880 Redhill
- 1881 Glastonbury
- 1884 Chelmsford
- 1885 St Albans
- 1887 Walthamstow
- 1892 Walthamstow (S)
- 1894 Briston
- 1896 Balham
- 1897 Clapham
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1876 (portrait); 1908/654 (Sarah); 1910/985
PM Minutes 1911/40
H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 1, p468
http://www.astrovisuals.com.au/Roberttoalfred.pdf , The Widdowson Name
W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers