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Joseph Agar (1761-1847)

Joseph Agar was born at Kilburn in Yorkshire, the son of Anglican parents. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to a currier in York where he came under the influence of the Anglican minister William Richardson. Agar began to attend Methodist worship at the age of nineteen and was converted four years later after he moved to London.

Agar joined the City Road society and was a member of a class led by the prominent itinerant John Atlay. Signs of worsening health forced him to move back to York where in 1787 he married Miss Hawkeswell, the daughter of a local Methodist. They went on to have eight children, three of whom survived to maturity. Their son Joseph became a Methodist minister.

Agar prospered in business and was a generous benefactor of all worthy causes regardless of denominational alleigance. He also acted as a trustee of several chapels in York and the surrounding circuit.

In the year before Wesley's death, Agar accompanied him on a visit to Whitby. He was also on close terms with many itinerant preachers including Joseph Pilmore, John Atlay, John Pawson, Jabez Bunting  and Henry Moore. Agar served as circuit steward for twenty years and was a long-time member of the important Committee of Privileges and General Missionary Committee of Review.

Agar was prominent in business and civic affairs in his city of adoption. He was elected Sheriff in 1812, which was an unusual distinction for a Methodist.

Source: Arminian Magazine 1850, 1121-1129 and Glimpses of Early Methodism in York by John Lyth (York 1885),167-168

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