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West, Nathaniel
1794-1864, e.m. 1820

PM preacher, born in Ulster in September 1794. He became a corporal in the 4th King's Bays. Converted while his regiment was stationed in Nottingham, he quickly became a popular preacher. In Leeds he encountered the Primitive Methodists and joined them. A pious admirer fell in love with him, paid for his discharge from the army and became his wife. According to one source he studied theology in Edinburgh, laboured there for several years as a missionary and was one of the founders of the first temperance society there. By June 1820 he was introducing Primitive Methodism into Tadcaster, where there were 139 members and a chapel had been opened by the time he left for Malton. He quickly became an influential figure in the Connexion. A series of articles in the PM Magazine in 1822, constituting a 'preacher's manual', was largely his work. The Sunderland Circuit sent him in 1826 to superintend a mission in Edinburgh. He persuaded the Conference of 1827 to agree that any preacher refusing to accept his appointment to a circuit should forfeit his itinerant status, only to fall foul of this rule by refusing an appointment to South Shields that same year. He stayed in Edinburgh long enough to split the society and deprive it of its chapel.

Emigrating to America in 1834(?), he was installed as pastor of the Meadsville Presbyterian church, PA in May 1836, followed by several other pastorates. He received a DD from Jefferson College, PA in 1853. In 1862 he was appointed chaplain to the large Satterlee military hospital in West Philadelphia, of which he wrote a history (1863). In 1853 he published a new edition of a work of 1800 by Matthew Talbot, a Leeds currier, under the title A Complete Analysis of the Holy Bible, in which he claimed to have made numerous corrections and improvements, though a later editor, Roswell D. Hitchcock, stated that the changes he had made in the body of the work were 'few and unimportant'. He died in Philadelphia on 2 September 1864.

Quotations

'He was a man every inch of him; of splendid physique, more than six feet in height, and with good natural parts sharpened by discipline. Altogether he was a man to impress and look at admiringly.'

H.B. Kendall, Origin and History of the Primitive Methodist Church (1906), vol. 2, p. 57

Sources

  • John Petty, History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion to the Conference of 1859 (1860), pp.108, 201
  • H.B. Kendall, Origin and History of the Primitive Methodist Church (1906), vol. 2 pp.57, 77, 206-7
  • William Beckworth, A Book of Remembrance, being records of Leeds Primitive Methodism (1910)
  • John Petty, History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion to the Conference of 1859 (1860), pp.108, 201

Entry written by: DCD and SH
Category: Person

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