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 • Canvey Island
 • Castle Point Borough
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Ebenezer Joseph "The Fisherman's Friend" Mather
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Birth: Jun. 12, 1849
Staffordshire, England
Death: Dec. 23, 1927
Essex, England

Founder of the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen-died aged 78.
Ebenezer was born on 12th June 1849 at Foregate Street, Stafford the son of Henry Penkett Mather (a 'shoe manufacturer') and his wife Elizabeth Douthwaite. Ebenezer was one of at least five children. Ebenezer's father Henry (son of Thomas Mather and Hannah Penkett) was born in Liverpool in 1806. The family had moved to Upton on Severn, Worcestershire by the 1871 census this is where Henry died in 1886 aged 79.
According to a biography by Stephen Friend, Ebenezer was raised as a member of the Plymouth Brethren later (c1883) joining the Church of England remaining an Anglican for the rest of his life. Stephen Friend goes on to say that he was educated at Mr Charles Hammer's private academy. Having worked as a junior clerk in a Worcester bank and as a market gardener he went on to become an auditor as noted in the 1871 census his occupation is Accountant. Ebenezer married his first wife Caroline Eliza Lough in Islington on the 4th September 1872. Moving back to Upton where their two eldest children Ethel and Winifred were born. By 1879 the family have moved to Richmond where their third daughter Eveleen was born. By 1881 Ebenezer and his growing family have moved to Islington where two more daughters Enid and Gladys joined the family. In the 1881 census Ebenezer's occupation was stated as 'Secretary Thames Church Mission Society' which was founded in 1844. It was in 1881 that after a visit to the sailing fleets on the Dogger Bank that Ebenezer having been very shocked by the terrible conditions the fishermen lived and worked under founded the National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen later (1896) to become the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen. Due to severe financial worries and increasing criticism Ebenezer Mather was forced to resign from the Mission in August 1889. Mather sailed for Sydney, Australia on the 13th January 1890 on the ship 'Port Denison' arriving on the 8th March, where he spent sometime researching details for a travel book, 'The Squatter's Bairn'. The book was written to encourage migration to Australia during one of the government's emigration programmes. According to the 1891 census Ebenezer and his family have moved to Hornsey where his occupation is stated as an 'Australian Agent'.
The family had moved back to Islington by the 1901 census living at 12 Ashley Road. In 1918 Ebenezer was awarded a civil-list pension of 50 pa in connection with his work with the Fishermen's Mission.
Ebenezer Mather retired to Canvey Island where he published his biography, Memories of Christian Service. He married his second wife May Ethel Timewell (who was his nurse) on the 16 June 1925.
Ebenezer died of heart failure. He was buried on Canvey in St Katherine's Churchyard on the 28th December. His abode at the time of his death is stated as 'Cotswold Garden' Leigh Beck.At one time in recent years, the memorial (just to the west of the church, in the second row by a tree ) was the subject of vandalism, but has now been restored to its former glory.A rededication ceremony was held 15th November 2009; the unveiling being carried out by Ian Mather, Ebenezer's great grandson. 
Family links: 
  May Ethel Timewell Mather (1873 - 1961)*
*Calculated relationship
In affectionate remembrance of
'The fishermen's friend'
Ebenezer Joseph Mather
Founder of the
Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen
Called home on Dec 23rd 1927
Aged 78 years

Note: text by Janet Penn with further acknowledgent due to and Stephen Friend, 'Mather, Ebenezer Joseph (1849-1927)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.
Canvey Island, St Katherine Churchyard
Canvey Island
Castle Point Borough
Essex, England
Created by: geoffrey gillon
Record added: Nov 23, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 44715270
Ebenezer Joseph The Fisherman's Friend Mather
Added by: geoffrey gillon
Ebenezer Joseph The Fisherman's Friend Mather
Added by: geoffrey gillon
Ebenezer Joseph The Fisherman's Friend Mather
Added by: geoffrey gillon
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May he continue to watch over our fishermen from his resting place on Canvey Island
- Janet Penn
 Added: Nov. 25, 2009

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