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Asbury’s England

Asbury was born in the parish of Hindsworth, near Birmingham, on August 20/21, 1745.  His parents, Joseph and Elizabeth Asbury, had only one other child, a daughter who died in infancy. Asbury received little formal education, but he could read the Bible  at a young age.  He became an apprentice blacksmith at the Old Forge, which was owned by a Methodist named Foxall.  He became a friend of the son, Henry, who later became a wealthy iron merchant in America and built the Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, DC.

More information on Asbury's childhood and home in England.


Becoming a blacksmith probably looked like a good career choice at the beginning of the industrial revolution.  As it turned out there was a continuos need for blacksmiths for over the next 100 years.  Unlike much of what was happening in farming and especially in manufacturing blacksmithing was probably a solid job for the future.  


Asbury was born at the beginning of this great shift in society.    But the revolution did not change everything all at once.  Many of the changes started in mining and  farming and then moved into industry.  The changes started slowly.  Change often started with the simple improvement of  a tool which paved the way for more complex tools which would bring more and more people to work in the same place.  Over time the machine used to create the finished product would be improved, then powered by water and finally by steam.



And on a farm, improved plows made it possible to grow and so collect more grain.  Improved manure management helped to make the farm run more efficiently and development of something as simple as the threshing machine saved time over hand threshing.  

The same was true for the flying shuttle (1733) which allowed the worker to create cloth more consistently and at a faster rate.  And the spinning jenny (1760s) automated the creation of thread, again saving time.    

All of these events, along with the creation of more roads and the improvement of old ones allow goods and information to move about as never before.    The world was full of change.

And yes, it still looked like a good choice to become a blacksmith.