Michael Tomlin

Michael Tomlin (1814-1903)

A Fisher of Men


Michael Tomlin was born in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex on 16th January 1814.  His parents, Daniel and   Sarah had him baptised at the Wesleyan Methodist church.  Following in his father's footsteps he became a fisherman and during the first 25 years of his life he didn't read or write.  By the time he was 21 he had become one of the toughest and most respected fishermen in the village.  He married Elizabeth Turnidge and was leading a drunken, violent life in a part of Leigh which had become a no-go area to both the clergy and the authorities.


One day a preacher came to the fishing village, a Jew from far away Poland.  He spoke simply of the love of Jesus, the Messiah and how he could change people's lives.


In time Michael was touched by the words of the Evangelist, Ridley Haim Herschell and the big man tearfully gave his life to Christ at a public meeting.  "Betty, my life has been changed," he said to Mary when he arrived home that night, "the Jew has been telling me of the love of God and Jesus Christ and how he could  alter my life."


Some time later Michael began to preach the Gospel, often in the open air and after many trials, learned to read the Bible and became a full-time Methodist Minister.


Mary died in 1878 but Michael lived on into the new century finally being called to glory in 1903. 


To this day the headstone on the grave he shares with Elizabeth reads, "In life and death, Jesus only."


© Copyright 2005 Geoffrey Henderson

Source: Michael Tomlin a Fisher of Men by Alderman S.F. Johnson 1945