About

Mary “Molly” Durham Williams (c.1747-1821) – interpreted by Alyson Hehr

Mary “Molly” Durham Williams was born in 1747 and was the wife of Peter Williams, Sr. She was a free woman when she married Peter. After Peter bought his freedom they moved to New York, where Peter started his own Methodist Ministry. Mary would work as a cook and servant for ministers in the area. She was known to be an excellent wife and mother and a devout Christian. Alyson Hehr will be writing about Molly Durham Williams. She is a senior at Shepherd University majoring in Political Science and Economics.

Barbara Heck (1734-1804) – interpreted by Kate Johnson

Barbara Heck, known as the “mother of American Methodism,” was born in a German Methodist colony in County Limerick, Ireland in 1734.  After marrying her husband, Paul Heck, in 1760 they immigrated to New York.  Together with an itinerant Methodist preacher, Philip Embury, Heck worked to establish the first Methodist society in New York, and the first official Methodist chapel in America.  Due to her loyalist sympathies, Heck and her family moved to Montreal in 1774 where her enlisted in the British Army.  After the war Heck continued to promote the growth of the Methodist church in Canada until her death in 1804.  Heck is interpreted by Kate Johnson, a first year M.A. student in Loyola University Chicago’s Public History program, where she is preparing for a career in museums.

Capt. Thomas Webb (1724-1796) – interpreted by Dylan Reel

Captain Thomas Webb was born in 1724 in England where he became a Captain in the English army. He sustained a serious injury while serving and lost his right eye, luckily surviving. He returned to England in 1764 where he became acquainted with the Methodists and became a minster. In 1766, Webb was sent to Albany, New York to be the Barrack-Master of the English troops in Albany where he held meetings of prayer. Following, he moved to Long Island where his wife’s family lived and continued to preach. Webb contributed a great deal to the first American Methodist Society as he became their most active preacher known for his sermons given in military uniform. Also, he was a key contributor in the construction of the Wesley Chapel. Captain Thomas Webb is interpreted by Dylan Reel, a senior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in Political Science and future law school student.