Embury, Philip

Embury, PHILIP

the first Methodist minister in America, was born in Ballygaran, Ireland, September 21, 1728 or 1729. His parents were Germans of the Palatinate, and he was educated at a school near Ballygaran. In 1752 he was converted, and in 1758 he was entered upon the roll of the Irish Conference as a preacher. In 1760 he emigrated to America, but it is not known whether he preached or not during the first few years of his life in New York. In 1766, stimulated by the advice of Barbara Heck, a pious Methodist, he organized a class, and commenced preaching, first in his own house, then in a hired room, and soon after (1767) in the "Rigging Loft," famous as the birth-place of Methodism in New York. A chapel became necessary, and in 1768 the pioneer Methodist church was erected on the site of the present Johnstreet Church. New York at this time had a population of twenty thousand. Embury continued to serve the Church in this chapel gratuitously until the arrival of the first missionaries sent out by John Wesley in 1769, when he surrendered the charge, and, with a party of fellow-Methodists, emigrated to Washington County. He there continued his labors as a "local preacher, and formed a society, chiefly of his own countrymen, at Ashgrove, the first Methodist organization within the bounds of the present Troy Conference, now numbering twenty-five thousand communicants, and more than two hundred traveling preachers. Embury died suddenly in August 1775, in consequence of an accident in mowing. He was buried on a neighbor's farm, but in 1832 his remains were taken up and deposited in Ashgrove church-yard, with funeral ceremonies, and an address by John N. Maffitt. In 1866, the centenary year of American Methodism, his remains were transferred, by order of the Troy Conference, to the Woodland Cemetery, Cambridge, Washington County, N.Y., with impressive services, conducted by bishop Janes and the Reverend S.D. Brown. See a good sketch of his life by Saxe, Ladies' Repository, May, 1859; also Bangs, History of the Methodist Episcopal Church, volume 1; Stevens, Memorials of Methodism, volume 2; Wakeley, Heroes of Methodism; Stevens, History of the Methodist Episcopal Church, volume 1; Wakeley, Lost Chapters.

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