John Nelson (1707-74)
John Nelson was born in Birstall, Yorkshire. He was converted under John Wesley's influence in 1739 while working as a stonemason in London. The next year he returned to Yorkshire and within a short time commenced preaching tours which introduced Methodism to much of his native county and adjoining areas, often in the face of intense persecution
In 1745 he was appointed by Wesley to the regular itinerancy and exercised a highly successful ministry in many parts of the north of England and the Midlands. His experiences were used by the Wesleys in their preaching and publications and helped to make Nelson the most famous of the lay-preachers.
Source: Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1739-1860 edited by Donald M. Lewis (1995) and Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974)