On This Day in UB History: May 25 (Stephen Lillibridge)

“Stephen Lillibridge did more, perhaps, than any other man of his day to extend the cause in the Sandusky Conference,” wrote UB historian John Lawrence. Lillibridge started many new churches and won hundreds of people to Christ. Unfortunately, his ministry lasted just eight years. He died at age 28.

Lawrence wrote, “Mr. Lillibridge was all that could have been desired as a Christian and as an evangelist.”

Lillibridge was born in 1815 and, at age 18, became a United Brethren minister in the Black Swamp territory of northern Ohio. Lawrence said the Black Swamp was “a dreadful country for an itinerant minister,” a wilderness both physically and morally. Lillibridge was always poor–he received less than $100 during his eight years of ministry–and lacked suitable winter clothes, but he never complained.

In 1843, Lillibridge appeared at Sandusky annual conference in feeble health, yet he accepted a new circuit. Four weeks later, on May 25, 1843, he died, leaving behind a young wife.

Henry Spayth wrote of Lillibridge, “To go where as yet the brethren had no name nor home, and where Christ was seldom preached by any ministry and still less known, was his peculiar call.”

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