John Wesley Thomas (1798-1872)
John Wesley Thomas was born in Exeter, of Methodist parentage. He was converted during a communion service at the age of twelve, started to preach at nineteen and entered the Wesleyan ministry aged twenty-four. A self-taught man, he learned several languages and acquired a good grasp of theology and literature. He was widely known outside Methodism as an author and poet, whose best-known work was a translation of Dante. He was appointed to the Dumfries Circuit in 1871 and died there after a short illness.
While serving as superintendent of the Tenterden Circuit in 1833, Thomas was at the centre of a bitter dispute with the local society, which led to the expulsion or suspension of several of those involved and charges being presented against Thomas at the Conference. The controversy may have been connected with the Leeds Organ dispute.
Source: Minutes of Conference 1872 and W. R. Ward, Early Victorian Methodism - The Correspondence of Jabez Bunting 1830-58 (1976), 35-36.