Williams, Robert

Williams, Robert was one of the earliest Methodist ministers in America. Previous to his leaving England, Mr. Wesley had given him permission to preach under the direction of the regular ministers. He first labored for a time in New York city. Under date of Nov. 1,1769, Mr. Pilmoor, then in Philadelphia, writes, "Robert Williams called, on his way from New York to Maryland. He came over about business, and being a local preacher in England, Mr. Wesley gave him a license to preach occasionally under the direction of the regular preachers." He afterwards speaks of him as "very sincere and zealous." Williams spent the greater part of his time in Maryland, where he was instrumental in commencing a great work. In 1772 he passed south into Virginia, where his labors were greatly blessed. Early in 1775 he located, and Sept. 26, 1775, he died. Bishop Asbury says of him, "He has been a very useful, laborious man, and thee Lord gave him many souls to his ministry. Perhaps no man in America has ministered to awakening so many souls as God has awakened by him." It has been said of him that he was the first traveling preacher in America that married, located, and died. See Bangs, Hist. of the M. E. Church, 1, 73, 76, 89; Simpson, Cyclop. of Methodism, s.v.; Sprague, Annals of the Amer. Pulpit, 7:11.

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