Founder of the first U.S. Methodist congregation; b. Ballingrane, County Limerick, Ireland, September 1728;d. East Salem, N.Y., August 1773. His parents were German refugees from the Palatinate. He attended the village school and was apprenticed to a carpenter at an early age. Converted at a Methodist meeting in 1752, he became in 1758 an itinerant preacher. In 1760 he and his wife, Margaret Switzer, immigrated to New York City, where Embury taught school and worked as a carpenter. At the request of Mrs. Barbara Heck, he resumed preaching in 1766 and soon formed a congregation. Services were held in his home and in a rigging loft until 1768, when Embury built the first John Street Methodist Church, working on the construction of it himself. In 1770 Embury moved to a farm in Albany (now Washington) County, N.Y.
Bibliography: j. b. wakeley, Lost Chapters Recovered from the Early History of American Methodism (New York 1858). w. crook, Ireland and the Centenary of American Methodism (London 1866). s. seaman, Annals of N.Y. Methodism (New York 1892).
[r. k. macmaster]