John Cross was born about 1763 in Ireland, son of Joseph Cross. He married the widow Margaret Hanna Connelly in Ireland at sometime before 1798. He was converted and licensed as one of John Wesley's earliest itinerants in Ireland.
Acording to archive records at Methodist Historical Society, Edgehill College, Belfast, Ireland, Rev. John Cross served at the following locations-

  • 1790 Tanderagee, Armagh
  • 1791 Ballyshannon, Donegal
  • 1792 Tanderagee, Armagh
  • 1793 Clones, Monaghan
  • 1794 Clones, Monaghan (FC)Sup
  • 1795 Cavan, Cavan

The years listed for ministers’ commencement (Ent.) and for subsequent Conference appointments ought to be understood, normally, to be for a ‘Connexional’ year, in the case of the Irish Conference, running from July through to the following June.

The marriage to John Cross was contrary to her father's wishes so he kept her four Connelly children.

The young couple moved to Sligo, Ireland where he was under suspicion of sympathy with the rebels during the Emmett Rebellion of 1798. Fearing possible arrest, Margaret took their two children Eliza and Margaret to America and John followed two months later. After a short stay in New York City, they moved to Newburgh, NY where Robert J. was born.

In 1806 the family moved to Bethel, Sullivan Co., NY where a son William was born.

In 1822 they moved to Blooomfield, Ontario Co., NY.

John Cross died in Victor, Ontario Co., NY, about September 1824.2

John was married to Margaret Hanna Connelly (widow of Bernard Connelly) sometime before 1798. She was born 9 September 1763 at Newry (in No. Ireland) and died 1 August 1846 in Ann Arbor, Mich.


1) Eliza; born 1798 in Sligo, Ireland, married 12 January 1822 to Reuben J. Champion, died 26 August 1840 at Coldwater, Michigan. They had 10 children. He was born 18 May 1797, Victor, New York, died 9 January 1864.

2) Margaret; born 1801 in Ireland, married about 1824 to Howell B. Norton in New York state, died about 1850 at Ann Arbor, Michigan. They had 8 children.

+3) Robert John; born 1 October 1803 in Newburgh, New York, married to Hannah Benedict 18 September 1836 at Tecumseh, Michigan, died 15 February 1873 at Roscoe, Illinois. They had five children.

4) William Hanna; born 6 March 1807 in Bethel, NY., married to Nancy Langdon at Tecumseh, Michigan, 12 March 1832, died 29 September 1886 in Centerville, Michigan. They had five children.

5,6) Daughter & Son, possibly, (Federal Census: Bethel, Sullivan Co., NY; 1810 & 1820).

Robert, William and Margaret
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The following is taken from the composition book probably recorded by Hannah J. McAffee Ralston about 1935.3


"Joseph Cross left wife and son John there to come to America. She heard a few times from him, but learned he joined the armies of the Colonies, and was wounded at Charleston, SC. and concluded he died from this cause.(Revolutionary War.)

"John, who was left an orphan at an early age, acquired a limited education and before his majority, became converted and licensed as one of John Wesley's earliest itinerants in Ireland. In his travels he met Margaret, young widow of Bernard Connelly, Armagh, a daughter of the aristocratic Hanna's of Newry, Ireland, but of Scotch descent, and contrary to her father's wishes they were married. The father keeping the children of her first marriage. The young couple moved to Sligo, residing there till after the Emmett Rebellion of 1798. Because John Cross protected some of the Implicated parties he fell under the suspicion of the government as being in sympathy with the rebels, resulting in great loss in his business of grocer, In 1803 he determined to remove to America. Fearing annoyance and possible arrest, the mother took the family to America alone. He followed two months later to New York City. After a short stay there, they settled at Newburgh, NY. (Orange Co.) where Robert John Cross was born Oct. 1,1803.

In 1806, the family moved to Bethel, NY. where William Hanna was born Mar. 6, 1807, the father John being in the mercantile business but failed about the time of the War of 1812. His wife having some means in Ireland, returned in 1815 hoping to secure some aid from her family, which she did and relieved the downward struggle for a time. In 1822, they moved to Bloomfield, Ontario Co., NY. where the father John Cross died in 1824. The sisters being married, the sons Robt. J. and William broke home ties in the spring of 1825. In June Robt. J. Cross located on a farm at Tecumseh, Mich. wither in September 1826 he and his brother William removed and kept batch, living there one and one half years on the Raison River. In 1830 the brothers sold out and bought at Coldwater, Mich. In November they built their second cabin, 12' X 14'. In the fall of 1831, Wm. built a log house on his farm and married Nancy Langdon, of Ithaca, NY., March 12, 1832 at Tecumseh.

"In June 1836, the brothers sold their farms in Eastern Co. Robert going west via Milwaukee to Winnebago County, Ill. Coming into the state near the northern boundary and buying a claim on Rock River, Sec. 32, Aug. 1, 1835, becoming the first permanent settler in the township of Roscoe, Ill. With the help of others he built a double log cabin on the bank of Rock River that Fall and Winter, first returning to Michigan for his team of horses and tools. In the fall 1836, he again returned east to marry Hannah Benedict at Perrington, NY., Sept. 18, 1836."

The Michigan State Library has a Pioneer Record, submitted Nov. 1984 by Charles L. Woodward of Coldwater, Michigan. He was a descendent of William H. Cross and a second source of some of the above dates.

The accompanying photograph is of the children, Robert, William and Margaret Cross Norton.

  • Sources:
  • Source Pennsylvania State Archives naturalization papers.
  • Source (58).
  • Source (36), page 3.

The 'Commencement' column refers to the first appearance of the person's name in the Minutes of Conference, whether received (in earlier years) 'On Trial' as a probationer, or usually by the twentieth onwards as a theological student or on transfer.
The years listed for ministers' commencement (Ent.) and for subsequent Conference appointments ought to be understood, normally, to be for a 'Connexional' year, in the case of the Irish Conference, running from July through to the following June.
Index prepared by Robin P. Roddie.

Methodist Historical Society

Name Section Ent Ceased Born Died Notes
Cross, John W 1790 1796 c.1763 1824 To USA