Welcome, fellow genealogists! My blog will teach you about U.S. land records and United Kingdom research. My family has roots in Niagara County, New York; Norfolk, England; and northeast Germany.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wisdom Wednesday: Brett Family and Non-Conformity, Part 3

Two of Thomas and Martha HAYLETT BRETT’s daughter were Methodists in this country. Please refer to previous posts for details of other family members.

Hannah BRETT PARSONS, her husband, John PARSONS and three children accompanied her father, Thomas BRETT, to America in 1854. With them were Thomas’ youngest daughter, Eliza, my great grandmother; and his two sons, Thomas and James. They settled in Niagara County, New York, joining family member, Rachel BRETT BARKER at first in the town of Cambria.
Eliza BRETT married William LEWIS on 17 Dec 1856. The ceremony was performed by a Justice of the Peace, witnessed by Joseph and Rachel BRETT BARKER. Eliza and William lived in one more Niagara County town before settling sometime prior to 1870 in the Town of Newfane. The records of the United Methodist Church on Main Street which begin in 1863 show both she and her sister, Hannah PARSONS, were active as early as 1878, while their husbands were ‘probationers’ who never became full members. (See FHL US/CAN Film 1378854)

The first family event recorded was the marriage of Hannah’s son, John B. PARSONS in 1874. In 1878, Hannah, a probationer, and Eliza belonged to the same twelve-member class, led by H.S. Earl that met in the center of town. Hannah was received into full membership on 5 Oct 1884 and remained a member until 1905.
My great grandmother was involved in this church and encouraged other family members, too. Her new daughter-in-law, Addie L. FISK, wife of William N. LEWIS, and her infant son, Clinton B. LEWIS, were baptized on 29 Sep 1897. Addie was on the probationers list for about one year after that; then became a full member in Aug 1898. A German immigrant niece of her husband joined the church and was married in the Lewis’ home by the Methodist minister.

Thomas Brett’s two sons’ religion is harder to track. Like their sisters, they were baptized in the Church of England, according to the registers in Swaffham, NFK. Thomas H. Brett lived most of his life in Michigan. Civil records of his first wife’s death and his remarriage do not include information about clergy. His brother, James Brett, was married by a Justice of the Peace in Ashkum, Iroquois, Illinois before he enlisted in the Civil War and died at Andersonville Prison Camp, Georgia.
Methodism: The Methodists trace their beginnings to a popular movement begun in 1738, when John Wesley and his brother, Charles, later the great hymnist, undertook evangelistic preaching with an emphasis on conversion and holiness. The brothers established a Holy Club at Oxford University devoted to study, prayer and serving the underprivileged. They were labeled "Methodist" by other students because of the way they used "rule" and "method" to perform their religious duties.

Though both Wesley brothers were ordained ministers of the Church of England, they were barred from   most of its pulpits because of their evangelistic methods. They preached in homes, farm houses, barns, and open fields - wherever they found an audience. Neither Wesley set out to create a new church, but instead began several small faith-restoration groups within the Church of England. Soon however, Methodism spread and eventually became its own separate religion in the 1740s.

“George Whitefield (1714-1770) was a minister in the Church of England and also one of the leaders of the Methodist movement. Some believe that he more than John Wesley is the founder of Methodism. He is famous for his part in the Great Awakening movement in America...Whitefield parted ways with Wesley over the doctrine of predestination.”  Source: www.christianity.about.com, Mary Fairchild, Methodist Church History

The website of the Newfane, New York, United Methodist Church states, “Methodists have believed, from the beginning, that each of us is called to participate in the outreaching ministry of Jesus Christ. John Wesley described this work in simple, practical terms: ‘Do all the good you can, in all the places you can, to all the people you can.’ Putting our faith into action is at the very heart of our Christian calling.” The LDS filmed records of this congregation start in 1863, and it is noted that the name until 1881 was the Newfane Circuit. After that, it was called the Second Methodist Episcopal Church of Newfane, and still later the United Methodist Church. See FHL US/CAN Film [1378854]

©2012, Susan Lewis Well

1 comment:

  1. The family I am working on were married in the Presbyterian Church, but baptized their children in the Episcopal Church (Church of England) and this was in 1780 in the middle of the Revolutionary War. I don't think they were loyalists. Their children show up in the Dutch Reformed Church and Methodist Church later.