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Marsenus B. and Alma Wilsey

Marsenus B. Wilsey

Rev. M. B. Wilsey was born in the town of Stark, Herkimer County, New York, April 7, 1817, and died at his home in Milford, January 30, 1900. When seven years old his parents moved to Alexander, Jefferson County, and settled on a new farm in a new country. Here he grew up, subject to all the privations incident to pioneer life. The nearest school, three miles away, was of the poorest quality and kept but three months in the year, and that in the summer time. He had an ardent desire for knowledge, and so made the most of his limited privileges. At fifteen his parents returned to Stark, where the school was much better, and here he prosecuted his studies with all the ability which he possessed. When 18 he left home and attended a select school for five terms. At its close such had been his desire for knowledge, and steady application to books and eageress to grasp every source of information that came within his reach, he found himself well qualified to teach any of the common schools of his day, and for a number of years he followed the teacher’s profession. In 1838 he came to Michigan, where he devoted his winters to teaching, and during the summer worked on a farm, meantime improving his mind as he had opportunity. Thus was his young life spent mostly in a new and undeveloped country, surrounded with its difficulties and privations, which served, possibly, to make him more self-reliant and fitted him the better to grapple with the sterner duties of his mature manhood. He was married to Alma Ann Bigelow, sister of Rev. W. E. and A. J. Bigelow, May 13, 1840, who sur- vives him. He gave his heart to his Savior in a meeting held by Rev. Samuel Bibbins and Marcus Swift, and so vivid and genuine was the transformation of his whole moral nature and spiritual powers that he never afterwards doubted that the work was of God. He united with the Wesleyan Methodist Church at the time of its organization in Michigan in 1842. In 1843 he was licensed to preach, and at an annual conference held in Ann Arbor, September, 1844, he was received on trial and appointed to Grand River Circuit. This was a large circuit, having Grand Rapids as a center, which at that time was but a small village with a few hundred inhabitants. The outlying country was one vast wilderness, the roads often were almost impassable and the difficulties and hardships great, yet he heroically pushed his way through the tangled forests, hunted up the scattered people, and in their log cabins preached to them the blessed consolations and the saving power of the glorious gospel of the Son of God. In 1848 he was ordained elder and continued to preach in the Wesleyan Methodist Church for a number of years. He was twice elected a delegate to their General Conference and served as trustee for a long time of Adrian College. At the close of the Civil War, slavery having been abolished, he felt that the cause for which that church had been organized was removed and that her mission was accomplished. So, with Drs. Lee, McEldowney and others, he united with the Methodist Episcopal Church at the annual conference held at Saginaw in 1867, and, on motion of Rev. F. A. Blades, was received into the Detroit Annual Conference by Bishop Janes. His first appointment from the Detroit Conference was Laphamville. From there he was sent to South Lyons, then he went to Hamburg and Whitmore Lake. On each of the charges he did good and faithful work. In 1870, in consequence of failing health, he asked for and received a superannuated relation, since which time he has continued to labor as health would permit, and opportunities opened to him, supplying vacancies, attending funerals and teaching in the Sunday School. Bro. Wilsey was a good, pure man. He was as true as steel. He never fiinched when duty called. His convictions were strong, and his perceptions clear. He always aimed to be governed by high moral principles. He was never swayed by mere worldly policy, and never turned to gain the applause of men. You always know where to find him. He hated wrong. When a young man he saw that slavery was a great sin against God and human souls, hence he was an Abolitionist, though he had to train with the few. He saw that intemperance was a great evil and the liquor traffic was destructive of the best interests of society, that it was a blight on the souls and bodies of men, hence he was a Prohibitionist, and believed the law should suppress the traffic, and so he did what he could by word and pen and vote to shut up the saloon. Bro. Wilsey was a good preacher. His sermons were logical, Scriptural and spiritual. He loved the church and was always faithful in his attendance upon her ordinances. For over twenty years he taught a large Bible class in the Sunday School, holding them as with bands of steel. He prepared his lessons with the utmost care, giving as much time to it as he would to an ordinary sermon, and then taught as though he believed it to be the word of God. His funeral was largely attended, aud appreciative addresses were delivered by Bros. Bancroft, Perrin and Washburn. A good man has gone to his reward, and his works do follow him.


- Detroit Annual Conference minutes of 1900, pp. 53-55

Almy A. Wilsey

Mrs. Almy A. Wilsey, widow of the late Rev. M. B. Wilsey, of Detroit Conference, died at her home in Milford, Michigan, September 23, 1909. She was a daughter of Job G. and Thankful Bigelow, a sister of our W. E. and Andrew J. Bigelow, both of Detroit Conference.

She was born at New Lebanon, New York, December 25, 1823. With her parents she came to Milford in 1833. May 13, 1840, she was united in marriage to Rev. Marsenus Benson Wilsey, who preceded her in death a few years ago. She was converted in girlhood. She was a devoted wife and a faithful Christian. For years she was in the Wesleyan Church but united with the Methodist Episcopal in 1867. In both of these churches Brother Wilsey served in active ministerial work and was sustained by her faithful and efficient efforts.

She shared in the strong, sturdy and noble characteristics of her family, being, like her brothers, solid and substantial in her life and faith. For several years past she was in very feeble health and for months in a state of utter helplessness. She was almost totally blind, and this, with the gradual giving way of all her powers made her last days very pathetic. She was cared for by her granddaughter, Miss Edith Wilsey, who was, however, more like an own daughter, as Sister Wilsey brought her up from infancy.

The funeral services were conducted by her pastor, Rev. T.J. Gregg, at the church in Milford, September 25, and she was laid to rest beside her husband in Oak Grove cemetery.

- Detroit Annual Conference minutes of 1910, p. 252