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John Wesley’s sisters: Mary

June 01, 2020

John Wesley’s sister Mary (also called Molly) was seven years older than John. She was born in 1696 and died in 1734 at the age of 38. Soon after her birth she became disabled. It may have been caused by the carelessness of her nurse or some other accident. Soon Molly realized that she was “different.” Other children teased her and some of her own family laughed at her. However, they all soon learned to love and respect her because of her sweetness, purity, and joy. When her sister Hetty ran into grave difficulty (more about this later) it was Molly who first reached out to her and gave her the comfort and support she needed.

Because of her disability, Molly probably never thought anyone would seek her hand in marriage. But she was wrong about that.
John Whitelamb, a poor, awkward young man who had impressed Samuel Wesley, Sr., began to court her. Rev. Wesley brought
Johnny into his home to teach him and use his help in copying material for a book Samuel was writing. Johnny was 14 years younger than Molly.

John Whitelamb saved Samuel from drowning. Samuel helped him get into Oxford. John said he was a hard-working student.

While at Oxford, Johnny had an affair with a “Miss Betty.” Molly was told about it, but remained calm and undisturbed. The couple was married in 1733. In 1734 he became pastor at Wroote across one of the rivers from Epworth. They were full of joy. But, sadness came. Molly and their infant died in childbirth in October 1734.

The Rev. Dave Hanson is a retired pastor and John Wesley scholar. 

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