Brethren Archive

John Ashton Savage

Born: 21st June 1818
Died: 2nd January 1900

Intro, Biographical Information, Notes etc:

John Ashton Savage was born on 21 June 1818 in Llanidloes, Montgomeryshire, Wales, the first child of John and Elizabeth, née Ashton.

When The Mico University College in Kingston, Jamaica, was established in 1836 as a non-denominational Christian institution, J. A. Savage was among the first batch of students to be enrolled and he went on to be appointed the first Superintendent of Schools in Jamaica in 1869 (see

About 1845 he married Jane Henderson (1827-74) originally from Ireland and their first son John Henderson was born in St Johns, Antigua, in 1846, followed by George Samuel (c.1847) and William (1849) both born in Kingston, Jamaica. In the 1850 US Census the family was recorded as living (probably temporarily) in Baltimore, Maryland, with Jane’s widowed mother and some of her siblings. John’s profession was recorded as a Teacher.

In the years 1850 to 1860 another five children, three sons and two daughters, were born in Kingston, Jamaica:  Edward Ashton (c.1850), Ellen Hannah (1853), Richard Whitehorne (c.1854), Arthur William* (1857), and Alice Maud (c.1860).  During this time it seems that John was still connected with Mico College and involved in promoting the education system in Jamaica.

By 1861 the family was back in England, recorded in that year's Census as living at 2 Duke Street, Bedford, Bedfordshire, where John is described as “an artist”. Indeed, there is a watercolour of a sailing ship attributed to him. In “Melville’s Directory of Bedfordshire” (1867) John was listed as a “Photographer”.

In 1869 John was appointed as the first Superintendent of Schools in Jamaica.

His wife Jane died on 11 July 1874 (aged 47) and is buried at South Bersted, West Sussex, England. Two years later, John married Catherine Black (1840-1914) in London. She was a Governess originally from Edinburgh, Scotland. By 1880 the couple were in Jamaica. In the 1881 Census both are recorded as residing at Toronto, Canada.

It appears that it was in Jamaica in the 1880s that J. A. Savage worked on his well-known book The scroll of Time first published by A. S. Rouse in 1893—William Kelly reviewed it sympathetically in The Bible Treasury. In Noel’s The History of the Brethren, vol. 1, p. 139, Captain Hatton Turner recalled in 1889 that “John Ashton Savage designed and wrote some of his charts there, high up in the mountains, at the health resort of Mandeville.” also that, “The visits of our brethren, G. V. W., J. N. D., and Dr. McKern, and instructions seem fruitful still, and many enquired after Childs, Tydeman, Savage, Dr. Maynard, Burton, and Terry.”

In the late 1880s (?) his book One Body, The Church was published by W. H. Broom and Rouse.

By the time of the 1891 Census, John and his second wife were living at ‘Moreton Lodge’, 37 Queen’s Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK. John was described as a ‘Retired Inspector of Schools’.

In 1896 his book The One Great Voyage of Life was published by S.W. Partridge & Co., Illustrated by Lancelot Speed (1860-1931). It was followed by The Kingdom of God and of Heaven (A. S. Rouse, 1899) and The Voice of the Watchman (S.W. Partridge, London, 1899).

J. A. Savage went to be with the Lord at his home on 2 Jan 1900 (aged 81) and was buried on 6 Jan at Tunbridge Wells Cemetery, Benhall Mill Road. His wife, also known as ‘Kate’, lived at Moreton Lodge for another 14 years until she, too, went to be with the Lord and is buried in the same grave.

*Arthur would go on to become the inventor of, among other things, rifles, a torpedo, and the radial tyre (see


Felicity Savage said ...
John Ashton Savage is my great grandfather, and I would like to access the letters under his name in your archive.
I have visited his house and grave in Tunbridge Wells.

Please make the letters accessible to me

Sunday, Apr 5, 2015 : 07:51
Tom said ...
Great to hear from you, see my email for login details. Tom
Thursday, Apr 9, 2015 : 17:27
Anthony said ...
Is Felicity able to say when her great grandfather died, and was he still with the Brethren in Tunbridge Wells? (It is unfortunately impossible to read the date on the gravestone in the photograph).
Saturday, Jul 22, 2017 : 21:02
Robin said ...
I am in possession of his "The Scroll of Time: given to my great aunt Elizabeth R Wood, in Jamaica, W I. and inscribed by him.
Friday, Nov 17, 2017 : 23:19
Robin said ...
Another comment: He seems to have had some connection with Jamaica and my ancestors there. He was in contact with the Wood family and perhaps the Powells who were all Brethren as was I for many years, first in Jamaica where I grew up and later in the U S.
Can anyone shed any light on this?
Friday, Nov 17, 2017 : 23:27
Tom said ...
Hi Robin,
Sorry I wasn't able to reply at the time, but a friend told me that J.A.S. went to school in Jamacia, then later he became the first Inspector of Schools in the country, and some of his children were born there.
Monday, Dec 4, 2017 : 18:52
Rodger said ...
Logos has Mr. Savage's The One Great Voyage of Life:

Is it possible to get this up on the archive? I see the CBA has a couple of other shorter items.
Wednesday, Oct 10, 2018 : 08:56
Tom said ...
Nice find! Quite a challenge to get it off there, and the quality isn't great, but readable enough. Let me know if you see anything else of interest on that site.
Wednesday, Oct 10, 2018 : 16:21
Jason truscott said ...
I have found a poster of the epochs and dispensation of scripture that was given to me by a far as I can tell it has to be from around 1893 ..I found a partial date on a news paper on the back.. you can still see a lot of the gold print that is on it. I'd love to send you a picture of and tell me what you think..
Thanks jason
Sunday, Jan 27, 2019 : 03:26
Tom said ...
Thanks Jason, was it folded in the back of the book? I don't think there was one in my copy. Sure send me a picture to
best, Tom
Monday, Jan 28, 2019 : 05:55
Marty said ...
Date of death on his tombstone is "2nd January 1900 Age 81"
Monday, Jan 28, 2019 : 11:21
Jason truscott said ...
no tom is in a frame..the news paper and framing look like they dat to that period. it is unwrinkled has some small water damage...but other than that looks great
Friday, Feb 1, 2019 : 02:05
Jessica P Hamilton said ...
I would like to know more about John Ashton Savage I've begun to read The One Great Voyage Of Life and It is Remarkable and I Find Myself Reading It Over And Over Again From One Page Before I Can Read Another Page...
Sunday, Aug 30, 2020 : 06:29
Larry said ...
Do you have any bio info that I could use for the back cover of the books I'm reprinting?

Believers Bookshelf USA
Sunday, Nov 12, 2023 : 02:21
Nick Fleet said ...
Dear Larry, I'll put something together and email you.
Sunday, Nov 12, 2023 : 04:11
Thank you Nick said ...
Monday, Nov 13, 2023 : 21:07
Larry said ...
Hi Nick, not sure if I gave you my email.
Monday, Nov 27, 2023 : 23:50

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