Title: Methodist Episcopal preacher
Birthdate: December 12, 1839
Death Date: September 25, 1899
Plot Location: Section 131, Lot 99
George was born in Morgantown, Berks County, Pennsylvania to Joseph and Adelaide Broadbent, immigrants from Yorkshire, England. Inspired by a pastor’s preaching, he felt convicted to leave the Episcopal Church (Anglican) and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, founded in 1784 through the oversight of John Wesley.
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. Under the tutelage of another pastor, he became a recognized local minister and presided over many weddings, funerals, and religious 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. It 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 conference, George was appointed pastor of Pottstown’s Methodist Episcopal 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.
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