Philip Embury, the first Methodist minister in America, born in Ballygaran, Ireland, Sept. 21, 1729, died at Camden, Washington co., N. Y., in August, 1775. He was of German parentage, was educated at a school near Ballygaran, and learned the carpenter's trade. In 1758 he joined the Irish Methodist conference as a preacher. He emigrated to America in 1760, settled in New York as a carpenter, and in 1766, upon the advice of Barbara Heck, commenced preaching, first in his own house, and soon after in a rigging loft, afterward famous as the birthplace of Methodism in New York. The first Methodist church was erected under his charge in 1768, on the site of the existing John street church, he himself working upon the building as a carpenter. He preached here without salary until the arrival in 1769 of missionaries sent out by Wesley, when he resigned and emigrated to Camden, where he worked at his trade during the week, and preached on the Sabbath. He organized a Methodist society, chiefly of Irish emigrants, at Ashgrove, seven miles distant from Camden, being the first Methodist organization within the bounds of what is now the Troy conference.
He died suddenly, in consequence of an accident in mowing, and was buried on a neighboring farm; but in 1832 his remains were removed to Ashgrove churchyard, and in 1866, by order of the Troy conference, to the Woodland cemetery, Cambridge, N. Y.