Title: Methodist Episcopal preacher
Birthdate: December 12, 1839
Death Date: September 25, 1899
Plot Location: Section 131, Lot 99

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George grew up with two younger brothers in Berks County, Pennsylvania. His father, from Yorkshire, England, was in the woolen business. That led to one of George’s brothers becoming a sheep rancher in Texas. The other brother migrated to Minnesota, but George kept his roots in his home state.

Inspired by a pastor’s preaching, he felt convicted to leave the church of his parents, who were members of the Episcopal Church (Anglican). George joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, which had been founded in 1784 through the oversight of John Wesley. They split from the mother church just after the new nation split from its mother country.

As often described by men who were called to preach, there was a “fire in his belly.” George gave his first sermon to a congregation at the age of 18 in Spring City, Pennsylvania. Not long after, he was licensed to preach by the Evansburg Quarterly Conference of the ME Church. Under the tutelage of another pastor, he became a recognized local minister and presided over many weddings, funerals, and evangelistic meetings. 

To preach the Word means to study the Word, which George wanted to do by attending college. First, though, he served a short stint in the army from June to August 1863 during the Civil War. He was in one of the “emergency militias” called by Pennsylvania’s governor when it appeared the Confederates might invade the Keystone State. Although they did, they were pushed back after the Battle of Gettysburg and the reserve units were not needed.

George then pursued his education at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. It was the first college founded after the formation of the United States, chartered six days after the end of the Revolutionary War. Coincidentally, the campus and town of Carlisle had just been occupied by Confederate forces in 1863. He graduated valedictorian in 1867, and began his 30 years of pastoral care in a number of Methodist Episcopal churches in the eastern part of the state.

In 1870, while serving as pastor in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, he married Carrie Creager, who was a graduate of the Wesleyan Female Seminary in Baltimore. The couple had one son, Charles, but Carrie died in November of 1871 from tuberculosis. She was buried in “the preachers’ plot” at Mount Moriah, Section 131. George married Jane Elizabeth Hoar in 1884 and they had five children: Joseph (1885), Earl (1886), Clara (1888), George (1890), and Frank (1893). 

At the 1880 annual Methodist Episcopal conference, George was appointed pastor of Pottstown’s ME Church. A local historian later commented, “The selection of George S. Broadbent by the bishop and his cabinet was one of the very best that could have been made to further the spiritual and temporal welfare of the church. He was a master in all the departments of church work. spiritual, administrative and financial. He kept his hand, a hand of love and tenderness, on the levers that operated the working of the church, and utilized the machinery of Methodism to the utmost of his endeavor so as to promote the cause of God and the church that lay so close to this great big heart.” 

George fell upon ill health when he left Pottstown for Cheltenham in 1899. He died on September 25th from the same disease that took his first wife, tuberculosis, and was buried at Mount Moriah on September 27th. A friend said, “George Broadbent’s life was one grand endeavor to please God.” 

The Broadbent gravestone remembers the lives of Carrie, George, and Jane.

Based on George Subers Broadbent diaries (Collection 3595), The Historical Society of Pennsylvania.


Japanese maple tree in front of a monument at Mount Moriah Cemetery

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