From Dewsbury to James Oddy at Keighley in Yorkshire. Since Atlay wrote last, he has received aletter from [Alexander] McNab of Sheffield and another from Mr Smith of Stockport. The love feasthere is on the 27th inst., at which Mr Smith has signified his intention of being present. Atlayalso expects Mr ‘Ells’ [William Eels ] some time next week and would be pleased to seeOddy at that time if convenient.
Atlay has decided to give up his salary until the [preaching] house is out of debt. If Oddycould spent the winter here, Atlay would be glad of his company and would put him up for as littleas could be afforded. He would certainly be more comfortable here than by himself in Keighley andwould have greater prospects of being useful.
There have been no great changes. ‘The [Wesleyan] preachers keep up the same spirit amongthe people as last year; and will do it as long as God suffers them. They are going to build; and itis said the [preaching] house will be up by Christmas; but sooner or later tis all one to your trulyaffectionate...’
- James Oddy (1730?-90) entered the itinerancy in 1751 althoughthroughout his service he maintained other business interests. Working principally in Yorkshire andthe North-east, he retired from the work in 1771 to engage in trade. Oddy married twice; his firstwife died in 1782 and his second marriage ended in separation in 1785. Oddy continued to serve as asupernumary at Yarm. He was involved with John Atlay in his dispute with Wesley over Dewsbury Chapeland worked alongside Atlay in West Yorkshire in 1789. Oddy was a preacher of ability and wasdescribed by John Pawson as a man of ‘remarkably deep understanding and soundjudgement’. Source: MAM PLP 3.23/3, A List ofMethodist Preachers (Bristol 1801) by William Myles, A Biographical Dictionary of 18th Century Methodismby Samuel Rogal(Lewston, New York 1991) and The Life and Times of JohnWesley, Vol.3, by Luke Tyerman (London 1890),420
- Alexander McNab (1745-97) was born in Perthshire, Scotland. Hejoined the itinerancy in 1766 and laboured with great success in circuits across the country. He waswell regarded by Wesley who nevertheless expressed concern over McNab's inabilty to acceptcriticism.In 1779 McNab embarked on a tour of England to raise money to cover the cost of repairingthe Edinburgh Chapel. While in Bath, he publicly disputed Wesley's right to invite the Anglicanminister Dr Edward Smyth to preach in the Methodist Chapel. He argued that preachers were appointedby the Conference and that Wesley had no right to impose Anglican clergymen on them. It was onlyafter a personal visit by both John and Charles Wesley that the defiance of his will by McNab andhis supporters was ended. McNab was expelled from the Connexion but was reinstated in 1780, much toCharles Wesley's disgust. McNab retired from the itinerancy in 1782 and ended his days as the pastorof an independent congregation in Sheffield, Yorkshire. Source: John Pawson, A Chronological Catalogue of all the Travelling Preachers... (1795) andLuke Tyerman, The Life and Times of John Wesley,Vol.3 (1872), pp.303-313
- William Eels (d.1793?) was a native of North Shields inNorthumberland. He entered the itinerancy in 1772 and exercised an active circuit ministry inScotland and England for sixteen years. During his time in the Bolton Circuit, he married a woman ofconsiderable means. Eeels opposed the introduction of the Legal Hundred and left the Methodists in1788 after his name was mistakenly omitted from theMinutesof Conference. He subsequently joined with John Atlay when he sided with the trustees ofDewsbury Chapel and Eels preached for the dissident societies in Dewsbury and North Shields. In 1791Eels quarelled with Atlay and attempted a reconciliation with the Wesleyans. Source: A List of all Methodist Preachers (Bristol 1801) byWilliam Myles, A Biographical Dictionary of 18th CenturyMethodism by Samuel Rogal (Lewston, New York 1991) and The Life and Times of John Wesley, Vol.3, by Luke Tyerman (London 1890),558-559