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Reverend John Davison, minister of the Primitive Methodist church, Toronto, the venerable clergyman whose name heads this sketch, is a native of Newcastle upon Tyne, England, and was born November 23, 1799. In his early manhood he became much interested in home mission work, and at the age of twenty-four was called to the ministry in connection with the Primitive Methodist church, in. the north of England, and was stationed for several years chiefly in the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire. During this period he pursued the study of the classics and acquired a knowledge of Rabbinical literature.
In the year 1847, he was sent to Canada by the Missionary Society to superintend the Canadian missions, and settled in the city of Toronto. The following nineteen years were spent in active service in the interest of the society, having been elected president of the Canadian Conference, and selected to occupy the pulpit of the church at Toronto for three years. In 1866, Mr. Davison was appointed by the general conference to the charge of the mission office, and the editorial charge of the Christian Journal (the organ of the church in Canada), and which was organized under his supervision, remaining in this capacity nine years, when at the age of sixty-seven, after forty-three years continuous labor, he was superannuated, he has however taken an active part during his retirement in filling the pulpits as occasion rendered his ministrations necessary.
In addition to his labors as chief editor of the Christian Journal, Mr. Davison’s literary works embraced contributions to the church magazines, published in London, the journals and life of the Rev. Willliam Clowes (one of the founders of the Primitive Methodist church), a most valuable contribution to the records of the parent church; he also compiled a book of discipline, which received the sanction of the Conferences of England and Canada, and was adopted for the general use of the church.
In the year 1863, Mr. Davison was appointed by the Canadian Government to the Senate of the University, of which body he remained a member for a period of ten years.
At the age of seventy-six the venerable gentleman, with his excellent wife, celebrated his golden wedding, surrounded by a large and devoted family and troops of admiring friends.
At the present time having compassed his four score years, his “eye is not dim” though his natural force is somewhat abated.