Sunday, June 19, 2016

Jonathan Ling

In recounting the very early years of Bible Students in Britain, Bruce and Rachael wrote about Tom Hart and Jonathan Ling. Both names were mentioned in the 1973 Yearbook history of Britain. A paragraph about Ling was extended as a result of research made on Ancestry and also a reference found in Tony Byatt’s book on the history of Bible Students/Witnesses in London.

The combined information reads:

(quote) Thom Hart was born in Calcutta, India, in 1853. At the time of the 1881 Census he had moved his family from the Islington address to 5 Lavinia Grove, Middlesex, London. He was “a carman” for one of the railroads. In another place he called “a railroad shunter.” He and his wife had three children, two sons and one daughter, all under the age of four. Jonathan Ling was born in Blaxhall, Suffolk, early in 1858. The 1891 census has him as a railway guard at Islington, an occupation he still had in 1901. He was married Elizabeth, maiden name unknown, and they have seven children, ranging in ages from one month to 17 years old. He died June 20, 1922. We lack an exact date for Ling’s conversion, but it appears to be early. Ling’s daughter Ruth remembered that their meetings were held in the common room of the King’s Cross hostel, a layover spot for railway workers. (end of quote)

As a result of contacts via Ancestry, I have made contact with one of Ling’s great grand-daughters, Elizabeth. Although the census return referred to above gave Jonathan Ling seven children, it appears he eventually had ten. His wife, Elizabeth, was originally Elizabeth Moody and lived to be 100. The modern Elizabeth’s branch of the family did not remain with the Bible Students.

Great grand daughter Elizabeth (from the line through Jonathan’s son, Lewis Charles Ling) has very kindly supplied the two photographs below, and has given permission for them to be reproduced here. I have not cropped them but just reproduced them as received. Elizabeth has also given permission to reproduce the photographs in the second volume of Separate Identity if required, with just an acknowledgement requested.


roberto said...


Anonymous said...

Good work Jerome. Somehow Bible Student names come to life when you can attach a picture to them!

Ancestry contacts is a rich source of information which will no doubt bring many more pictures. Elizabeth Horne anyone?

Son of Ton

Miquel Angel Plaza-Navas said...

Excellent Jerome. Thanks

Eoin Joyce said...

I first associated with Jehovah's Witnesses with the Wood Green Congregation in London in 1972. I met Ruth Naomi Ling there at that time. She was nearly 80 yrs of age. She had married and her married name was Fenwick although I am not sure of the spelling. Her husband, John Fenwick, had died before I met her.
She spoke often of her experiences in the early days, about her father Jonathan and his friend Tom Hart. She told us she had met Charles Taze Russell and served as an usherette at the Photo-Drama of Creation when it was shown at the Royal Albert Hall in 1914. She was a charming personality, with sparkely eyes. We would meet at her little flat in Lakefield Road N22 most Saturday afternoons after ministry and have tea and cake while she would regaile us with stories, experiences and bible sermons until it got dark. When I left, I still met her 6 monthly at circuit assemblies until she died some years later.

jerome said...

Welcome to the blog, and it is nice to have some first hand experiences from those who have met close relatives of those from the very early days like Jonathan Ling.