From Alscott to Mary Tooth. She rejoices to inform Tooth that Brother Lewis is innocent of the charge that was laid against him. Jenkins waited for an opportunity to speak to him alone and then spoke with him about it just as Tooth had laid it out in her letter. Lewis heard her out and then answered with a ‘sweet composure’ that gave her great pleasure to hear. He said “Well, I think that if I had an enemy in the world, it is her, but she is a wicked woman (meaning Mrs B). O may the Lord hear and answer my own and family’s prayers for her…assure you that I have not intentionally injured her either before or since my conversion”. He then related some little circumstances for which it seems she is offended at him. I will satisfy you further when I see you…’
Jenkins has some more pleasing news for her. The above-mentioned Brother Lewis has opened his house for a prayer meeting on Sunday morning before church. It is well-attended as are the prayer meetings at Alscott and the Batch pools. She supposes that Tooth knows that they intend to open a chapel. At first they had great hopes but they are no longer so optimistic although Cousin John [Wathers]has promised many people on many occasions that he he will sell them land to build on – his guardians say that he cannot do so until after his grandmother Wathers’s death and she is not likely to live long – she is seventy-five. Jenkins assures Tooth however that they are not dependent on this broken reed. Spiritual matters are discussed. The [preaching] house is full every Sunday and last Sunday, nine people were forced to stand outside.
Jenkins has just been talking to Cousin Jane and ‘mother’ and is inspired by the fact that the latter says that she does not see any reason why they might not have the land now notwithstanding what John Wathers’s grandmother might say. There is a will of course and they are obliged to act in accordance with it. Reference is made to [James] Gill coming over about it. Jenkins hopes that Gill does come although she knows that his time is precious. Reference is also made to the possibility of either [Edward] Sumner or Tooth herself coming over.
[Much of the rest of the letter is so faded and written in such a way as to be virtually indecipherable]
- Edward Sumner (1792-1872) was born at Epperstone in Nottinghamshire. His parents were the first Methodists in their village and Sumner himself was converted at the age of fourteen. He entered the Wesleyan itinerancy in 1817 and exercised a circuit ministry in England, Wales and the Isle of Man until superannuation in 1851. After his retirement he moved to Madeley in Shropshire and was closely involved with the establishment of the Fletcher Memorial School at Madeley Wood. Source: Hill's Arrangement 1869 and Minutes of Conference 1872