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  1. Hi, The Embury folk are my mother’s family. Philip Embury was a cousin of Barbara (nee Ruckle) Heck…Philips parents were Andreas Imberger (Andrew Embury) and Margarath Ruckle … It was All In The Family there… David Embury, Philips brother, is my ancestor. I have often visited the Blue church where the Heck family rests and where Barbara’s Methodist role is honored.

    This past week I had an opportunity to Visit Worms and Mannheim, Germany where the family and associated families originated.

    By a quirk of fate it seems, also by my mother’s family, that I am related to the same Southwell family that took the Palatine refugees to Co. Limerick…


    John R

    • Hello, John. I am fascinated with your family connections. The Embury and Heck story is rich. The Southwell family as well. In the opening book of the series, Black Country, I have devoted an entire chapter to the Palatine Germans in Ireland. The second book, Beggar Bishop, will follow the rest of Philip Embury and Barbara Heck’s story as it played out in Wesley’s church in New York. The Black Country chapter was one of the most interesting chapters to create, a rich history in a beautiful land. I was also drawn to the beautiful River Shannon. Thank you for the comment. Black Country is ready for shipping in two weeks, the first of May.

  2. Thank years for your,thorough study on this fascinating and under appreciated servant. Through him God brought countless souls to the Savior. He still lives in the beating hearts of passionate men and women who are relentless in the great cause of the Kingdom.

  3. I received this book as a Christmas present and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The research is intensive and the story line is exciting and compelling. When is “Beggar Bishop” coming out????

  4. A splendid piece, Al. Very moving, indeed! I gained information that I did not know, and your writing style is excellent. Thanks, too, for the graphics. I copied the carriage picture, and I’ll add it to a PowerPoint lecture for one of my classes. Again, good work, Al. Many thanks.
    Ken Kinghorn

    • Thank you, Dr. Kinghorn. I will inform the artist, Tyler Fegley, that you plan to use his carriage drawing in class lectures. He will love that!

  5. I was born a stones throw from Bishops Asbury’s cottage & drive past most days.If u require I can send you photo,s of his dwelling in its current form & of the surrounding area which you might find of some importance.
    I have lived in the Black Country all my life & can share any of my knowledge if you choose to ask.

  6. Hello Al and John –I’m new to following the Barbara Ruckle Heck and Philip Embury history connection, working hard on it and have been asked to do a group portrait of that very first Methodist worship service on Barrack Street. I’m knee deep in research and am thrilled to learn that you John, are a direct descendant of Philip’s brother David. The fact that you’re also of Southwell’s blood line must be a whole ‘nother fascinating story. Glad to see you’re keeping this important story in the forefront, Al. Thanks–Suzanne (ps–John, were you able to amend the detail in your book that Philip and Barbara were first cousins? Just curious.)

    • Hello, Suzanne. I’m glad to hear you are drawn to this amazing woman. In the second book of the Asbury Triptych Series trilogy, Beggar Bishop, the following appears in reference to the first Methodist meeting led by Philip Embury: “The initial meeting from his home on Barrack Street, had six attendees, Barbara went out and gathered four individuals. One of which was her African maid, Betty. For the first few months, these five individuals along with Philip made up the Wesleyan society in Manhattan. Not much of a beginning, but a solid foundation for sure.
      The little congregation of six gained a beneficial advantage when Philip started preaching in the local almshouse. The almshouse was set up like those in England, a place where people out of work or in need of food or medical treatment could go for help. The houses were mostly run by thoughtful Christians who practiced Jesus’ teachings of the good Samaritan while at all times maintaining the Bible’s admonition ‘if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.’ In addition to the downtrodden, several local, recently released prisoners would attend the meetings. The meetings soon grew beyond capacity. The scene was chaotic, many of the participants had to stand outdoors to hear Philip preach. The overcrowding reduced some as several of the prisoners who were receiving benefits from the almshouse became convinced that they should be working to earn an honest living.
      Philip and the leaders of this new Wesleyan church moved the meetings to a sail loft on William Street. Here, the large open room used to work on the canvases which captured the winds aloft, pushing the large ships across the Atlantic ocean became the perfect location for many of the Manhattan Methodists to meet.
      By 1767, the sail loft was becoming obsolete. The crowd of people soon filled the open space, flowing out of doors. Philip and the rest had to make a decision. In February of 1767, a strange looking fellow walked into the prayer meeting that night in the sail loft. His odd appearance startled several in the room. Their alarm of this uniformed British soldier, wearing an eye patch and with a large sword hanging at his side was not without just cause. Since the repealing of the Stamp Act one year before, the sight of a British soldier in full uniform led many to believe that further troubles were on the horizon. The increasing numbers of British soldiers showing up in the colonial city put many on watch. The gathering of the faithful was soon relieved to see the soldier bow in prayer with them.
      This British soldier was Captain Thomas Webb. Captain Webb soon helped to engineer the leasing of the land and building of the Wesleyan chapel at 44 John Street. In 1768, the Manhattan Wesleyan society broke ground on the structure. As per the advice of Captain Webb, the structure was to be called a chapel and was to receive a large stone fireplace and chimney. These two measures were to ensure that the British colonial government would not consider the structure a church to compete with the Church of England. For by colonial law, dissenters like the Methodists were not allowed to construct places of worship. Also by English colonial law, the Methodists, along with every other citizen in the colonies were forced to financially support the Church of England. The ruling frustrated many. Disguised as a place of residence, the inside of the structure remained unfinished for some time. Eventually, the talented carpenter, Philip Embury, constructed the pews and pulpit for this new house of Wesleyan worship.
      On October 30, 1768, Philip Embury preached his first sermon inside of Wesley’s chapel. In his simple manner, he urged the two hundred and fifty present to ‘Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness upon you.’ From this hand-crafted pulpit, the Irish carpenter turned preacher ministered to many of the Manhattan citizens. Several of which who were prominent members of the colonial government and several of which who were local artisans of African descent. Philip Embury preached without income until the arrival of Joseph Pilmoor and Richard Boardman in the autumn of 1769. He was thankful to give up the pulpit to the authorized and qualified preachers. Soon afterwards, Philip and his wife, along with Paul Heck and his wife, Barbara, departed Manhattan for upstate New York, but not before ensuring that an itinerant’s apartment be constructed on the premises. In 1770, an adjacent parsonage was constructed and put into use for John Wesley’s missionaries, Pilmoor, and Boardman.

  7. My name is Linda Case Heck. My mother was a Ruckle, daughter of Minnie Ruckle, from West Virginia who moved to Ohio with her husband Lloyd Weaver who was a Methodist Minister before his death in the 1960’s. I am married to Charles Heck from Urbana, Ohio. I believe he is a relative of Paul Heck…most of my relatives have passed away, but Gladys Ruckle Weaver Castle who is 91. She knows the names of her Ruckle Family that were her aunts and uncles. She lives in North Lewisburg, Ohio
    All interesting to me.

  8. Good day —
    Do you know the source of the portrait/image of Robert Strawbridge?? If so, will you disclose it??

    Also, I would like to use the image on a WikiTree (genealogy) page. May I have permission?? (NOTE: I have temporarily borrowed the image; if you so state, I will remove it at once.)

    Thank you

  9. May I Have your permission to use the image of Old Mill Forge in a history information sheet for the rspb site at Sandwell Valley please?
    C Taylor, Volunteer, RSPB