2 March 1844; Missionary John Watsford left Sydney with his wife in the Triton

The son of a convict, and borne in Australian in 1822, Missionary John Watsford rose to president of the General Conference of the Australasian Wesleyan Methodist Church in 1878. He had  the unusual position as of an Australian-born Wesleyan; most others were English-born. His father was pardoned convict. Appointed to the Wesleyan Mission in Fiji, age 24, Watsford left Sydney with his wife in the Triton on 2 March 1844. Taking two years to learn the language, he was stationed at Viwa, Lakemba and Nadi, where he established and taught in schools, held revival meetings, and dispensed medical aid.
Born on 5 December 1820 in Australia: John Watsford, Wesleyan minister, was born on 5 December 1820 at Parramatta, New South Wales, son of James Watsford and his wife Jane, née Johns. James had arrived in the colony in the Guildford in 1812, transported for life for horse-stealing.
Conversion: converted to Wesleyanism by Rev. S. Leigh, he was pardoned in 1826 and became coachman to H. H. Macarthur, but set up on his own as one of the first royal mail coachmen in New South Wales. John was educated at The King’s School, Parramatta, and later taught there. He was converted in 1838 at a prayer meeting conducted by Rev. D. Draper, and in 1841 was accepted by the British Wesleyan Conference as a probationer for the ministry. Because of lack of facilities he received no formal theological education, but at his ordination he was the first Australian-born minister of the conference.
14 children: On 8 February 1844 he married Elizabeth Jones at Windsor; they had seven sons and seven daughters, of whom James and Frederick became Wesleyan ministers and Emma married Rev. Benjamin Danks, pioneer missionary in New Britain.
Leaves on Triton on 2 March 1844: Appointed to the Wesleyan Mission in Fiji, Watsford left Sydney with his wife in the Triton on 2 March 1844. Taking two years to learn the language, he was stationed at Viwa, Lakemba and Nadi, where he established and taught in schools, held revival meetings, and dispensed medical aid. ” Because of illness among his family he returned to Australia to circuit work in the Moreton Bay District in 1850, but at the request of the Missionary Committee went back to Fiji in 1851 and with Rev. J. Calvert spent three years translating the New Testament into Fijian.
Returning to Sydney in December 1853, Watsford was appointed to circuits. An able administrator, in 1875 he was appointed general secretary of the newly formed Wesleyan Home Mission, of which he had been a chief founder, and he traversed Victoria raising funds to set up churches in the remote south-east and north-west. His election as president of the General Conference of the Australasian Wesleyan Methodist Church in 1878 reflected the wide respect he commanded.
http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A060387b.htm

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: