Ryan, Henry founder of the "Canadian Wesleyan Methodist Church" (so called), or Ryanites, was born of Irish parentage in Connecticut, April 22, 1775. Educated a Roman Catholic, while teaching school lie heard the eccentric Methodist preacher, Lorenzo Dow, was converted, united with the Methodists, and was disowned by his parents. He taught school for six years after his conversion, preaching regularly, however, and introducing Methodism into a part of Warren County, N.Y. In 1800 he was received into the New York Conference. His circuits in the United States were Vergennes (large part of Vermont) and Plattsburg, N.Y. In 1805 Asbury sent him and William Case to reinforce the Methodist force in Canada. Firm to obstinacy, of indomitable perseverance and iron will, he had a courage that never quailed. In labors and sacrifices he was abundant.
During the war of 1812 the oversight of the societies in Canada devolved upon him, and from 1815 to 1825 he continued to itinerate as a presiding elder, now on the Upper Canada District, then on the Lower Canada District. In 1827 he withdrew from the connection, in consequence of a difference of opinion on Church government. Shortly afterwards some of those who had espoused Ryan's cause organized the Canadian Wesleyan Methodist Church, making lay delegation its distinguishing feature. With this body Ryan united, and with it he continued to be identified during the brief remainder of his earthly existence. He died in September, 1832. See Dr. T. Webster, in the National Repository, September 1880; Stevens, Hist. of the Meth. Episcopal Church (see Index, volume 4); Playter, Hist. of Methodism in Canada (Toronto, 1862), page 84, 234, 297-99.