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Maffitt, John Newland (1794-1850), Methodist preacher  

Robert E. Cray

Maffitt, John Newland (28 December 1794–28 May 1850), Methodist preacher, was born in Dublin, Ireland, to a middle-class family that belonged to the Church of Ireland, a branch of the Anglican church. Information about Maffitt’s family background and early life is decidedly spotty: his parents’ names are unknown, although we do know that his father died when Maffitt was twelve and that his mother shortly thereafter attempted to establish him in a mercantile establishment devoted to tailoring. One account claims he graduated from Trinity College. The teenage Maffitt indulged a love of reading novels and historical romances, however, until a conversion experience in a Methodist meeting at age eighteen or nineteen—accounts conflict on this score—convinced him to become a preacher. The Irish Methodist church did not recognize him as a licensed preacher, and his sporadic attempts at evangelical work both in and beyond Dublin were a mixed success at best. Even so, he displayed a highly melodramatic style, which would personify his later career in the United States. He married Ann Carnic at age twenty. They had seven children; the oldest son, ...


Simpson, Matthew (1811-1884), Methodist bishop and orator  

Daniel W. Stowell

Simpson, Matthew (21 June 1811–18 June 1884), Methodist bishop and orator, was born in Cadiz, Ohio, the son of James Simpson, a manufacturer and storekeeper, and Sarah Tingley. While growing up in western Pennsylvania, Simpson had little formal schooling, but he read widely and acquired knowledge of history, mathematics, literature, and religion under the tutelage of his uncle Matthew Simpson. As a boy, Simpson helped his family in the manufacturing of weaver’s reeds. He learned about the law by attending the county court with another uncle who was clerk. A third uncle published a weekly newspaper; by assisting him, Simpson learned much about publishing and the world beyond Cadiz. At age fifteen, he helped his uncle Matthew teach at a private academy. Two years later he attended Madison College in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, for two months before returning to Cadiz. In 1830, desiring a more stable career, Simpson began the study of medicine under a local doctor; three years later he qualified to practice on his own....


Taylor, Edward Thompson (1793-1871), Methodist preacher  

Wesley T. Mott

Taylor, Edward Thompson (25 December 1793–05 April 1871), Methodist preacher, was born in Richmond, Virginia, to unknown parents. Raised in a foster home, he sought to engage playmates by giving funeral sermons for animals, whipping those children not already weeping from the force of his preaching. At the age of seven he went to sea. In the autumn of 1811, at seventeen, he found himself in the port of Boston and crawled through the window of the Methodist chapel, where the Reverend ...