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Absalom Wooliscroft was an Englishman by birth. We are not familiar with his early life, nor of the time he embraced religion. In 1828, he was received on trial in the Kentucky Conference, in which he remained until the autumn of 1842, when he located. His fields of labor were generally in the most populous sections of the State. His several duties as a preacher were performed with fidelity, and his ministry crowned with success. His gifts as a preacher were highly respectable, while in exhortation and as a singer he excelled. Endowed with the powers of endurance, he was able to labor more continuously in protracted-meetings than most of his contemporaries: and with a zeal commensurate with his strength, he was instrumental in bringing hundreds into the Church. Remarkably eccentric, what in him was often deemed objectionable, was sometimes turned to good account. He traveled the Shelby Circuit from the autumn of 1830 to 1832. While on that circuit he had an appointment to preach at Pleasant Grove, a country church. The day was exceedingly inclement, and the rain poured down in torrents. However impracticable it may have been for the people in the neighborhood to attend preaching, Mr. Wooliscroft felt it to be his duty to be present at his appointment. He reached the church in due time, and dismounting from his horse, took off his saddle and carried it into the house. There was no one present. After kneeling and in secret prayer invoking the presence of the Almighty, he arose from his knees, and taking his seat in the pulpit, commenced singing, 

"Amazing grace ! (how sweet the sound!)

That saved a wretch like me !

I once was lost, but now I 'm found,

Was blind, but now I see."

At this moment a stranger was passing along the road from Frankfort to Newcastle, near to winch the church stood, and hearing the singing, and sup- posing there was public worship, concluded to stop, and seek a shelter from the rain. Dismounting from his horse, he hitched him, and walked into the meeting-house, carrying his saddle with him. To his astonishment, there was no one present but the preacher, who continued to sing most sweetly. At the close of the hymn, the preacher stood up and read a chapter from the New Testament, offering brief comments as he passed along. When the reading was finished, he announced his hymn and again sang, and then kneeling, prayed most fervently, and especially for the stranger who was present. After he had prayed, he arose and announced his text: "Prepare to meet thy God." He then delivered an impressive sermon, following it with a warm exhortation, and at the close requested "any who desired to flee the wrath to come, and to be saved from their sins, and who might wish an interest in the prayers of the Church," to come forward while he would "sing one of the songs of Zion," and proposed that he would pray with any such. The stranger arose from his seat, and stepping forward, gave the preacher his hand, and they knelt together and sent their supplications to Heaven; and in a few moments the penitent professed to be forgiven. Mr. Wooliscroft next opened the doors of the Church, and after receiving him as a member, then giving him a letter of his membership as a probationer, and pronouncing the benediction, took leave of him, bidding him God speed.

He visited England in the summer of 1841, and the last time we met him was in Maysville in 1844, after his return to Kentucky. We heard him preach frequently during his stay in Kentucky, and always with profit. Having buried his first wife sometime before, he married Miss Harriet Nolan, a lady of refinement and culture, and soon afterward went to Illinois, where he died from the effects of poison, taken through mistake. His end was peaceful.



Absolam Wooliscroft

Extract from "The history of Methodism in Kentucky" by Redford, A. H. (Albert Henry), 1818-1884 Vol 3 pp137/8
Published , Southern Methodist Publishing House, 1870, Nashville, Tenn
Archive Books: https://archive.org/details/historyofmethodi03redf


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