Sunday’s Obituary – Rev John English (1824-1903) (Blog 36)

Rev John English, my third great grandfather was born Jan 1824 in London, Ontario, the son of Noble F. and Elizabeth (Forsyth) English.  In 1848 he was a preacher received on trial in Cobourg and served in Mahahide, Brantford, Simcoe.  In 1852 he was appointed to the Newcastle District and also married Philena Ninetta Carpenter.

John then served in Stoney Creek, Grimsby, Milford, Marysburgh, Madoc, St Patrick before settling in Cobourg.  Many of John’s 10 children moved across Canada and into the United States.  He was returning from a trip to British Columbia visiting his son John enroute to seeing his daughters in Michigan when he died suddenly at Fort William.  I recently traveled to northern British Columbia and Alberta and spent some time thinking about what this journey must have been like in 1903 when this 79 year old gentleman and his wife traveled to visit their son.

This beautiful obituary was graciously is part of a set of family clippings kept by one of John’s other descendants who gave me permission to share it in this blog.  I’m still searching for the source of the newspaper article.

IMG_20180325_153611450 Obituary John English

Death of Rev. John English
Last week we stated that a telegram was
received on Thursday announcing the death
of Rev. John English, at Fort William.
The deceased with his wife had been visit-
ing their son in British Columbia, and re-
turning were about to visit their children
in the State of Michigan. While at Fort
William he went into the office of the
Queen’s Hotel, and while enquiring of the
clerk about a boat for Houghton, Mich., he
sank down, and expired without pain and
before a doctor could be obtained. The
deceased was born in London, Ont., and was
at the time of his death 79 years and 7
months old. He was in the active ministry
26 ears, his first circuit being Newcatle.
He was superannuated about 30 years ago,
and built a residence at Hull’s Corners,
where he has since resided, except for a short
time. He was well known to our citizens,
was a constant attendant, when here, at the
Methodist Church, and his earnest piety
and social disposition was apparent to all
who had his acquaintence. He lived an
earnest and peaceful life, and though death
came suddenly, it found him ready to an-
swer the Master’s call; and to enter into
that rest that remaineth to the people of
God. The remains arrived ehre on the even-
ing train on Saturday last, and were
taken to his late home on College Street.
The service at the house on Monday morn-
ing was a very solemn and impressive one,
and was conducted by the pastor of the
Methodist Church, Rev. H. T. Lewis, as-
sisted by Rev. Dr. Reynar and Rev. J. C.
Wilson, of Newcastle. A number of favor-
ite hymns were sung, prayer was offered by
Rev. J. A. Jewell, of ZCamborne, and anad-
dress touching on the life, work and death of
the deceased was made by rev. Dr. Reynar.
Rev. J. C. Wilson spoke as follows:-“I
desire a few minutes of your time. I have
come to place on the bier of our dear brother
a wrieth of love and tenderest regard. It
is with very peculiar feelings I stand here
to-day. In the year 1852 the Newcastle
Circuit was formed, the Rev. John English
being appointed its first superintendent.
He came alone and preached the first Sun-
day and announced he would be absent
the following Sunday. When he returned
he brought with him his loving bride. The
first two years of their married life were
spent on the Newcastle Circuit. His labors
were owned of God. I was then a lad of
twelve years and from the first his preach-
ing and the influence when he visited at my
father’s house made a very deep impression
upon my youthful mind, and had much to
do with moulding my character There was
an entirety about his preaching that took
hold of my conscience, as no preaching had
ever done before. One sermon from the
text, Psalm 49, 8: “For the Redemption
of their Soul is precious, and it ceaseth for-
ever.” I can never forget that sermon;
even now I fancy I see his face and hear his
solemn earnest voice. During his first year
on the circuit he took six of my father’s
family into the church; three boys and
three girls; all on the same day. The three
boys all went into the Methodist ministry.
Another young man whom he took into the
church during that pastorate also went into
the ministry, making four young men whom
he took into the church that year, who be-
came ministers, an event I think unique in
the experience of any minister. When I
saw in the paper of his sudden call to his
home above, I felt that I must come to his
funeral, and place this wreath on the bier of
my spiritual father. When at the end of
the second year he left the Newcastle circuit,
I experienced a sence of breavement. A
few weeks after they had gone I went to
the house in which they had lived. It was
unoccupied. The flowers they had planted
were blooming, but they were not there,
and such a feeling of loneliness came over
me ; such as I have never known before.
When I came to Cobourg fifteen years ago
as pastor of one of the churches, our friend-
ship was renewed, and the three years were
of the most happy and helpful nature. I
thank God for his life and character. He
is dead but he still speaks. He has left his
companions and children to mourn, but they
have a good hope. The parting will not be
long, soon they shall meet in that sweet
home above, where parting is unknown.
Servant of God, well-done!
Thy glorious warfare’s past;
The battle’s fought, the race is won,
And thou art crowned at last.
The remains were then borne to the hearse
by Revs. Dr. Reynar, J. C. Wilson, of New-
castle, G. W. Nichol and J. Eagen, of Balti-
more, J. A. Jewell, of Camborne and Wm.
Beattie, of Cobourg, and conveyed to the
Union Cemetery, where they were laid
away to await the resurrection morn. He
leaved to mourn his death, his widow, form-
erly a Miss Carpenter, and a daughter of
the late A. B. Carpenter, three sons, John,
of Chilliwack, B. C., Charles, of Columbus,
Ohio, and Ausin, of Cobourg, and four
daughters, Mrs. Densmore, Harbor Springs,
Mich., Mrs. Allen, of Toronto, Mrs. Miller,
Clarkville, Mich., and Mrs. Hays, Michigan.
The family have much sympathy in their


Ada Kate English (1854-1943) – married Levi Benson Densmore.  Moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan [my ancestral line]

Augusta English (1854-1938) – married Francis J Allen.  Moved to Cleveland, Ohio.

Austin Carpenter English (1856-1947) – married Bessie Sheeley Sellman.  Moved to Ohio in 1907.

Agnes Philena English (1858-1944) – married Ward Beecher Miller.  Moved to Michigan, Ohio, then Florida.

John English (1860-1959) – married Mary Mildred Kerr.  Moved to British Columbia.

Charles Forsythe English (1861-1928) – married Frances Lewis & Amelia Jane Brown.  Moved to Columbus, Ohio.

Minnie English (1864-1869)

Margaret English (1866-1943) – married Thomas George Hayes. Moved to Michigan

Etta English (1868-1886)

Frederick Arthur Claude English (1874-1891)

Note:  I have DNA matches with three known descendants of John and Philena English ranging from 51 to 26 cm and multiple other shared matches with these folks.  If you are a descendent of this family line and have done a DNA test, please contact me as I’m working to identify more details of our chromosomal match so we can identify some of the more distant ancestral lines of these families.

All posts on this website are a work in progress.  We’d love to learn of any corrections or additions to the information shared.  Also we’d love it if  you’d like the post here or at as that helps share the post with others. Thanks!


Cornish George H, Rev, Cyclopaedia of Methodism in Canada: Containing Historical, Educational, and Statistical Information, Dateing From the Beginning of the Work in the Several Provinces of the Dominion of Canada, and Extending to the Annual Conferences of 1990(Toronto: Methodist Book and Publishing House, 1881), oage 243; digital images, HathiTrust( : accessed 14 February 2018.

FADEDGEBES A Chronicle of the people of the Methodist Church in Canada( : accessed 13 March 2018), JOHN ENGLISH – Methodist Minister.

The Minutes of Twelve Annual Conferences of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Canada from 1846 to 1857 Inclusive, Vol II(Toronto: Anson Green, 1863), 56; digital images, HathiTrust( : accessed 18 February 2018.

Undated clipping, 1903, from unidentified newspaper; Philena Carpenter English’s Newspaper Clippings; privately held by shared by fellow descendent of her and husband John English.

Copyright 2018 Joanne Shackford Parkes  (sharing a link to this post is appreciated but please do not copy this material and paste it elsewhere)