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Absolam Woolliscroft 1799-1853
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Absolam Woolliscroft 
1799-1853

Absolam Woolliscroft 1799-1853

In 1824 Absolam married his first wife Ellen who was from Leeds in Yorkshire, England. The following year he was living in Cincinnati and employed as a "painter". It is at this time he was ordained as a Methodist Preacher with the Kentucky Conference. The couple are known to have had two children Rebecca born in 1829 and Mary born in 1832. About 1840 Absolam with his wife and children visited England. On the 1841 census he is living with his mother and step father in Arthur Street, Hanley. His daughters were with him but his wife was elsewhere on census night. There was also an Elijah Woolliscroft living at the same address whom I think may be is his younger brother.

Absolam was home on a visit and during this time was a guest preacher at several Methodist Chapels in the Staffordshire area.  He recorded his visit to England in his diary giving dates and places where he gave sermons. 

Woolliscroft 1840

He was a guest preacher at Alstonefield and Thomas Johnson in his notes written in 1894 says the following of Absolam. “In November of that year(1841) a minister from America Mr Wooliscroft visited Alstonefield and under his preaching many were converted to God, he visited the place again at Christmas 1841 & 42 and such power attended his preaching that sinners were savingly converted on every hand not only through the village, but other villages were aroused and so great was the interest that the chapel was crowded night after night, such an awakening and such a mighty move was never witnessed before.” (from “Alstonefield Memories” by Tim Eades, Dorothy Critchlow and Doris Goodwin (2002)).

He returned to the USA with his wife and daughters in June 1842 aboard the “Independence”. Ellen died in the summer of 1843 in Chesterfield, Virginia. In April 1844 Absolam married for a second time to Harriett Annie Nowland. After this time he moved to Illinois. He was the "traveling" preacher for the Washington Methodist Church, 20 miles east of Peoria. Absolam sadly died in 1853 whilst on a visit to Peoria, Illinois from accidental poisoning but his memory lived on. Absolam is referred to as a formidable preacher in a newspaper article of 1896 describing the history of the church. His obituary states that he was an actor prior to arriving n America.

Absolam had three known sons from his second marriage, only John Nowland Wooliscroft survived to adulthood. John in turn only had daughters, as a result the surname has died out on this branch. But it still survives as a first name. John was a grain merchant and lived Covington, Kentucky, USA. He wrote to Louis Rhead in an attempt to find out more about his father's roots. Louis passed the letters on to his father George Woolliscroft Rhead. John was also in contact with George W. Woolliscroft of Ilkeston, Derbyshire. According to family papers George had visited John in Kentucky. After John's death his wife and two eldest daughters visited England and Staffordshire.  

Absolam was born in Hanley, Staffordshire in 1799 the eldest son of Job Woolliscroft and Hannah Keeling. His daughter Rachel married George Farr in 1850 in Knox County, Illinois and Mary possibly married Nelson Pierce in 1855.

I have to thank Absolam's 2 x great grandson Doug Johnson for sharing his families history with myself. Without his help many of the pieces of the jigsaw would never have fitted together!  

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