Horsford, John, DD

Wesleyan Preacher in the West Indies, the illegitimate son of a garrison captain who also served as a treasury office clerk in Antigua. He was born on 4 December 1813. Concern over the widespread drinking in his father's garrison led him in 1829, at the age of 16, to launch a temperance campaign by forming the United Society of Fort James.

His illegitimate birth and mulatto appearance hindered his acceptance for both the Anglican and the Wesleyan ministry, but he was accepted by the latter in 1837 and stationed in St. Vincent. His subsequent ministry was in Tortola (1839-40), St. Christophers (1840-42), Tortola (1842-43). Dominica (1843-45, as second minister). He married Sophie Turner of St Martin and his son Wesley Turner Horsford was born in 1844. After Wesley died in 1870, his widow married the Rev John F. R. Tull (entered ministry 1870; died 1913). Horsford's ministry continued in Antigua (1845-47, as the fourth minister) and Nevis (1847-49).

Faced with discrimination among European missionaries (and especially from Benjamin Tregaskis) towards mulatto colleagues, he then transferred at his own request to the St. Vincent and Demerara District, where he served first in the South American Circuit of Georgetown, Demerara (1849-50), Tobago (1850-52) and St. Vincent (1852-55). During these years he completed his book A Voice from the West Indies (1856), which drew on the memories of Elizabeth Lynch of Antigua.

His final years as a Wesleyan were spent in Grenada (1855-59), Trinidad (1859-65) and Barbados (1865-69). He then left the Wesleyan ministry and was ordained into the Anglican priesthood in 1870. His other publications included Four Months in England, by a West Indian (1852) and Philanthropy: the Genius of Christianity (1862). He received an honorary DD from Jena University.

Entry written by: JN
Category: Person
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