- Heck, Barbara
- ( 17 3 4-1804 )founder of ^=thodism in the United States and CanadaBarbara Heck was born Barbara von Ruckle in County Limerick, Ireland, to German parents who had fled Napoleon's forces in 1709. The family was deeply moved by John Wesley, who visited Ireland on several occasions and was able to preach in German.Barbara converted at the age of 18. In 1760, she married Paul Hescht (later anglicized to Heck) (d. 1795). Evicted by their Irish landlord, the family settled in New York City that same year.Cut off from the church structures in Ireland, Heck pressed her cousin, Philip Embury (1728-73), to begin preaching services, offering to gather people to meet in his home. The initial group, which began to meet in 1766, consisted of four people including Heck's African-American servant. Growth followed the arrival of a British soldier, Thomas Webb, who assumed preaching duties. In need of a building for the growing group, Heck drew up the building plans. A larger building was erected in 1768.To escape the threatening war, the Hecks and other German-speaking families moved to the Camden Valley near Lake Champlain in 1770.However, in 1778 they were burned out by neighbors who did not like their Tory views. The Hecks moved to Montreal and then to Augusta township, near present-day Brockville, Ontario. Here Barbara Heck convened the first Methodist class in Canada.The Hecks moved to a home on the st. Lawrence River in 1799, where she lived until her death on August 17, 1804.Further reading:■ G. Lincoln Caddell, Barbara Heck: Pioneer Methodist (Cleveland, Tenn.: Pathway Press, 1961)■ Blanche Hume, Barbara Heck (Toronto: Ryer-son Press, 1930)■ Abel Stevens, The Women of Methodism: Its Three Foundresses, Susanna Wesley, the Countess of Huntingdon and Barbara Heck (New York: Carlton & Porter, 1866)■ W. H. Withrow, Barbara Heck, a Tale of Early Methodism (Toronto: Methodist Mission Rooms, 1895).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.