At the 1890 Free Methodist General Conference the Northern Indiana Conference sent Anna Grant as a delegate. Grant, an evangelist who sent in regular ministry updates to the denominational magazine The Free Methodist, appears to primarily have been preaching in the northeast portion of the state (Whitley, Steuben, Allen, Noble, De Kalb and Legrange Counties).
While other female evangelists I’ve researched have had either spouse who was ordained elders (Clara & John Wetherald) or a well-written annual conference history that outlined their story (Ida Gage), Anna Grant so far doesn’t have that. She and Clara Wetherald were the only two women appointed delegates in 1890 and while Grant does not speak at the conference (or at least it wasn’t included in the General Conference Dailies or the minutes) it is clear she was incredibly active in ministry.
After the 1890 General Conference, she leaves Northern Indiana and moves to Western Iowa where she continues to work with the Free Methodist Church until at least 1894. Beyond that I’m stuck. I can keep searching ministry reports but she keeps signing them with only her first initial and the annual conference minutes only list her as “Mrs. Grant or Mrs. Anna Grant.”
She signs her reports in The Free Methodist as “Mrs. S. Annie Grant” and the 1890 General Conference Minutes and the Northern Indiana Conference Report from 1890 refer to as “Mrs. Anna Grant. So which is it, Annie or Anna? What does the “S” in her name stand for, and who is she married to? I don’t have answers to any of these questions.
What I do know is there is no Mr. Grant listed in Northern Indiana Conference Reports during the same years Anna Grant is active. So, her spouse clearly is not an elder in the Free Methodist Church. However, in her August 21, 1894, ministry report she uses the phrase “we reached” noting that her work in that region had been ongoing for a few years. She also uses the phrase “our work” in the same report. So, is she speaking in broad terms about the entire group of Free Methodists working in the region or her own ministry with a spouse in tow?
Without more information, narrowing down who she is by census records is almost impossible. Especially without a first name or the name of her husband. Any Free Methodist historians who come across this post, I would love to exchange information (especially if you are in Iowa or Indiana). I know her story is just buried and forgotten like too many nineteenth-century female evangelists. Please help!