Bownas, Samuel

Bownas, Samuel, a minister of the Society of Friends, was born in Westmoreland, England, in 1676, and was converted under the preaching of Anne Wilson, a Quaker minister. Shortly after he was himself called to the ministry, but for the first two years seldom exercised his gifts. In 1701 he made a religious visit to Scotland. While preaching at Jedburgh, not far from Edinburgh, he was arrested for preaching in the street. Shortly after he was released, and at the end of two hours was again arrested for the same offence. He was permitted to leave the town, however, especially as one of the soldiers who guarded him interposed in his behalf. In 1702 he arrived in America, and soon after came in contact with George Keith, who caused him to be committed to prison at Hempstead, L. I., under the charge of speaking scandalous lies against the Church of England. As the court was not in session, he remained in prison three months. The grand jury refused to indict him, whereupon the chief justice requested them to reconsider the bill. This was accordingly done, but with the same result. While in prison he learned the trade of a shoemaker. After nearly a year of imprisonment he was set at liberty. He returned to England in 1706, and for several years was occupied with his ministerial work. In 1726 he again visited America, also the north of England and Ireland in 1740, and again in 1746. He died April 2, 1753. See Friends' Library, 3, 1-70; The Friend, 8, 310.

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