Hammet(t), William
c. 1756-1803

Irish preacher who sailed with Thomas Coke and two other missionaries in September 1786, bound for Nova Scotia. Violent storms drove them south to the West Indies, where they landed in Antigua on 25 December. Hammet pioneered WM missions in St Kitts (1787), Tortola and Santa Cruz (1788) and Jamaica (1789), where the first society of eight people was formed in August at his lodgings in Kingston. Bitter persecution by influential leaders of the white community followed his success and led to his physical breakdown. In 1791 Coke took him to Charleston SC to recover his health in the hope that he might return to the work. Hammet, however, settled in Charleston, gathered his own following and initiated the first schism (the 'Primitive Methodist Church') in American Methodism. This brand of Methodism did not survive in America, but was introduced into the Bahamas, where traces remained at least into the 1820s.

  • WHS Proceedings, 8 pp.75-76; 28 pp.99-101
  • E.S. Bucke (ed.), The History of American Methodism (1964), pp.617-22
  • N.W. Taggart, The Irish in World Methodism (1986)

Entry written by: NWT
Category: Person
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