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Asbury, Francis (1745-1816), missionary, bishop, and founder of the Methodist Episcopal Church  

James D. Staros

Asbury, Francis (20 August 1745–31 March 1816), missionary, bishop, and founder of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was born in Staffordshire, England, the son of Joseph Asbury and Elizabeth Rogers, farmers. His parents encouraged him early in his education, and he was reading the Bible by the age of seven. At twelve, however, he dropped out of school after being harshly treated by the schoolmaster and never returned to formal education....


Cover Asbury, Francis (1745-1816)
Francis Asbury. From an engraving by Benjamin Tanner. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZC4-6153).


Bashford, James Whitford (1849-1919), Methodist bishop and missionary  

Durwood Dunn

Bashford, James Whitford (29 May 1849–18 March 1919), Methodist bishop and missionary, was born in Fayette, Wisconsin, the son of Samuel Morris Bashford, a farmer, part-time physician, and local preacher in the Methodist Episcopal church, and his wife Mary Ann McKee. At the time of his birth in southwestern Wisconsin, the community labored under the rigors of pioneer life on the frontier; Bashford’s mother once beat off with a shovel a prowling wolf about to enter their log cabin where her young child lay sleeping. Despite these early hardships, Bashford was prepared for college by one of his cousins, John P. Parkinson, who opened a school in the village of Fayette before eventually becoming a professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin, from which Bashford graduated in 1873, receiving the highest honors in the classical course. He then taught there as an instructor of Greek for a year before entering the School of Theology of Boston University in the fall of 1874. Earning his B.D. in 1876 and his Ph.D. in 1881, he was especially influenced by the liberal theology and sermons of ...


Capers, William (1790-1855), Methodist bishop, editor, and missionary  

Will Gravely

Capers, William (26 January 1790–29 January 1855), Methodist bishop, editor, and missionary, was born at Bull-Head Swamp plantation in St. Thomas Parish, South Carolina, the son of William Capers, a planter and former revolutionary war officer, and Mary Singeltary. William was only two years old when his mother died, and he was reared primarily by his stepmother, Mary Wragg. After being tutored at home, he attended schools in Georgetown, South Carolina, and in the High Hills, Santee. At age sixteen he entered South Carolina College, but he found his preparation in classical studies inadequate. After dropping out to study law with John S. Richardson of Stateburg, South Carolina, Capers soon abandoned that career for the ministry in the Methodist Episcopal (ME) church....


Fisher, Frederick Bohn (1882-1938), Methodist minister, bishop, and missionary  

Frederick V. Mills

Fisher, Frederick Bohn (14 February 1882–15 April 1938), Methodist minister, bishop, and missionary, was born in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, the son of James Edward Fisher and Josephine Bohn-Shirley. In the early 1890s his father moved his family to Muncie, Indiana, to take advantage of the economic opportunity in a growing industrial center. In 1899 Fisher graduated from high school in Muncie. He received a B.A. from Asbury College in 1902, and from 1907 to 1909 he did graduate work at Boston University and Harvard. He received an S.T.B. from Boston University School of Theology in 1909 and an S.T.D. from Boston University in 1930. He married Edith Jackson in 1903. After her death, he married Welthy Honsinger in 1924. There is no record of children from either marriage....


Harris, Merriman Colbert (1846-1921), Methodist missionary bishop  

Michael R. McCoy

Harris, Merriman Colbert (09 July 1846–08 May 1921), Methodist missionary bishop, was born in Beallsville, Ohio, the son of Colbert Harris, a farmer and schoolteacher, and Elizabeth Crupper. Under the influence of a teacher, Robert L. Morris, and his minister, James M. Thoburn...


Jacoby, Ludwig Sigismund (1813-1874), founder of Methodism in Germany  

Clifton F. Guthrie

Jacoby, Ludwig Sigismund (21 October 1813–21 June 1874), founder of Methodism in Germany, was born in Alt-Sterlitz, Mecklenburg, Germany, the son of Samuel Jacoby and Henriette Hirsch, who were pious Jews. He was apprenticed at fifteen to a merchant in Hamburg and became a traveling salesman at twenty-three for a Leipzig company. He was converted to Christianity in 1835 and was baptized into the Evangelical Lutheran church in Germany, although he doubted much of what he read in the Bible and had, he later claimed, “no idea of true Christianity” (Miller, p. 125)....


Jones, Eli Stanley (1884-1973), Methodist missionary to India  

William C. Ringenberg

Jones, Eli Stanley (03 January 1884–25 January 1973), Methodist missionary to India, was born in Clarksville, Maryland, the son of Albin Davis Jones, a tollkeeper, and Sarah Alice Peddicord. His early years featured the training of a strict mother and the religious discipline of Methodist churches. He began to study law while working as a clerk in the Baltimore County law library. After his Christian conversion at the age of seventeen, he turned to the ministry. Meanwhile his father lost his political job, forcing Stanley to delay his college matriculation for one year during which time he worked as an insurance agent....


Kidder, Daniel Parish (1815-1891), Methodist missionary, minister, and educator  

Russel Hirst

Kidder, Daniel Parish (18 October 1815–29 July 1891), Methodist missionary, minister, and educator, was born at South Pembroke (later Darien), Genesee County, New York, the son of Selvey Kidder, a businessman, and Mehetabel Parish. His mother died when he was ten months old, after which his father took him to live with an aunt and uncle in Randolph, Vermont. When Daniel was thirteen his father (now remarried) took him back to live in Darien. An unusually mature young man, Kidder took sole administrative and instructional charge of the district school, and then of a school at Darien Center, soon after arriving at his father’s home....


Mudge, James (1844-1918), Methodist minister and religion scholar  

Christopher H. Evans

Mudge, James (05 April 1844–07 May 1918), Methodist minister and religion scholar, was born in West Springfield, Massachusetts, the son of James Mudge, a Methodist minister, and Harriet Wilde Goodridge. He grew up in Methodist parsonages in South Harwich and Lynn, Massachusetts. In 1861 Mudge entered Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, where he received an A.B. in literature in 1865, an A.M. in 1868, and an S.T.D. in 1891....


Taylor, William (1821-1902), evangelist and missionary bishop of the Methodist Episcopal church  

Charles Yrigoyen Jr.

Taylor, William (02 May 1821–18 May 1902), evangelist and missionary bishop of the Methodist Episcopal church, was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia, the son of Stuart Taylor, a farmer and tanner, and Martha E. Hickman, a cloth maker. Soon after their marriage, the Taylors joined the Presbyterian church but came under the influence of Methodist preaching and, with William, the first of eleven children, joined the Methodist Episcopal church in 1832. Attending a camp meeting on 28 August 1841, William underwent a transforming religious experience. The following year, while teaching school, he felt a call to enter the ministry and was sent to assist on the Franklin Circuit. A year later he was admitted on trial to the Baltimore Conference and ordained deacon in 1846 and elder in 1847. Between 1843 and 1849 he served pastorates at Deerfield, Fincastle, and Covington, Virginia; Georgetown, D.C.; and North Baltimore, Maryland. In October 1846 he married Annie Kimberlin; they had seven children....


Thoburn, James Mills (1836-1922), Methodist missionary and bishop  

William H. Brackney

Thoburn, James Mills (07 March 1836–28 November 1922), Methodist missionary and bishop, was born in St. Clairsville, Ohio, the son of Matthew Thoburn and Jane Lyle Crawford, farmers. James graduated from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, in 1857, having interrupted his course to teach school at Lloydsville, Ohio. He was converted through the preaching of Methodist bishop Calvin Kingsley and from his reading a book on personal piety. Stories of the earliest American foreign missionaries awakened in him an interest in missions. His call to ministry led to his being admitted on trial to the Pittsburgh Conference of the Methodist Episcopal church in 1858. For a year he served a Methodist circuit in eastern Ohio....