Suckley family papers  1791-1885
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Biography

As a young man in England, George Suckley (1765-1846) was converted to Methodism by the ardent preaching of the Wesleys, and by the 1790s, he had become serious enough in his religion to agree to accompany his friend, Bishop Thomas Coke (1747-1814), on a missionary voyage to America. Suckley decided to remain, settling in New York city. By 1796, he was serving as American representative of the mercantile firm of Holy, Newbould, & Suckley, headquartered in Sheffield, England, and was well on his way to earning a substantial fortune. Although his business pursuits occupied much of his time, Suckley never flagged in his religious zeal. He was accepted into membership of the John Street Church, where he served on the Board of Trustees for many years, and he later helped to found the Wesleyan Chapel in Vestry Street. His religious zeal crossed denominational bounds in the 1830s, when he became Vice President of the American Bible Society. Throughout his adult life, Suckley was acquainted with many of the most prominent Methodists in the United States. Francis Asbury (1745-1816) was a frequent visitor to the Suckley home, and even sat out a yellow fever epidemic of 1805 with the Suckleys in Greenwich Village. Only a few months before his death, Asbury recorded a visit to the Suckleys in his journal.

In 1796, Suckley returned to England to marry the daughter of Obadiah Lang, presumably an old acquaintance. During this visit, Suckley prepared his will, naming his mother and sister in England and a brother John, a minor living in Philadelphia, as beneficiaries. At the time, his estate included his share of the mercantile firm as well as extensive land holdings in New York and North Carolina. After returning to the United States in 1798, Suckley's young wife gave birth to a son, John Lang Suckley, but it appears that she either died in childbirth or not long after. By the end of the year, George had remarried, joining Catherine Rutsen, daughter of John Rutsen, of Rhinebeck, N.Y., who was not coincidentally a close friend of the wife of the renowned Methodist preacher, Freeborn Garrettson (1752-1827). George and Catherine Suckley were the parents of six children.