Reeves, Hannah Pearce (1800-1868) - Gravesite at Grove Cemetery

Photo by Bryan Fabyanic 1 Aug 2016 - with permission

Hannah Pearce began her preaching career in the Bible Christian Connexion serving as an itinerant preacher for intervals of time between 1821 and 1830. In 1828, while serving at the Hastings Mission in Kent, she met William Reeves. William Reeves, who was a preacher interested foreign missionary work, went to United States in 1829 and joined what became the Methodist Protestant Church. A few years later, Hannah Pearce followed William to North America and the couple were married on the 5th July 1831 in Zanesville, Ohio, shortly after her arrival.

Together with her husband, Mrs. Reeves preached throughout her life. A female preacher within the Methodist Protestant Church was a novelty to the congregations at the time. Between July 1841 and August 1843, the couple returned to England where they stayed and visited with family as well as preached within the Bible Christian Church. During this time their third child, Asa Cornelius Springer Reeves was born on the 6th of June 1842 in Great Torrington, Devon. Asa died in October 1847. The couple had 2 other children, neither of which lived beyond childhood.

Her biography, which contains excepts from Mrs. Reeves diary and letters, was written by Rev. George Brown a few years following her death and describes her life as a female preacher. In 1878 the Bible Christian Magazine also published an article entitled “Mrs. Hannah Pearce Reeves, Preacher of the Gospel” in two successive issues. This article is an abridged version from the Methodist Quarterly Review from the previous year.

Mrs. Hannah Pearce Reeves passed away in New Brighton, Pennsylvania on November 13, 1868. She was buried in Grove Cemetery, New Brighton, Pennsylvania and rests in the “Enlightenment” section of the cemetery. William Reeves died in 1871 and is buried alongside her. A headstone does not mark their burial site.


Oliver A. Beckerlegge. United Methodists Ministers and Their Circuits: Being an Arrangement in Alphabetical Order of the Stations of Ministers of the Methodist New Connexion, Bible Christians, Arminian Methodists, Protestant Methodists, Wesleyan Methodist Association, Wesleyan Reformers United Methodist Free Churches and the United Methodist Church, 1797-1932. London: Epworth Press, (1968). pg. 179.

George Brown. The lady preacher: The life and labors of Mrs. Hannah Reeves, late the wife of the Rev. Wm. Reeves, D.D. of the Methodist Church. Philadelphia, Daughaday & Becker; Methodist Publishing House, Springfield, Ohio. (1870). Available:  [Accessed 3 Aug 2016]

Edward Jacob Drinkhouse. History of Methodist reform, synoptical of general Methodism, 1703-1898 ; with special and comprehensive reference to its most salient exhibition in the history of the Methodist Protestant Church. (Volume 2). Baltimore, Md., Pittsburg, Pa. : The Board of publication of the Methodist Protestant Church (1899). pg. 281, 356, 501, 512, 551. Available:  [Accessed 8 Oct 2016]

Mary Stevens Robinson. Mrs. Hannah Pearce Reeves, Preacher of the Gospel. In: Methodist Quarterly Review. July 1877; Vol. LIX: 430-447. Abridged version appears in Bible Christian Magazine. January-February 1878; Vol. XIV of the Fifth Series; Volume LVII from the Commencement. 62-67; 106-111.

Grove Cemetery, Section “Enlightenment”  Lot 43, New Brighton, Pennsylvania, USA. 40°44’39.9″N 80°18’21.6”W.

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