Octavius Winslow descended from Edward Winslow, a Pilgrim leader who braved the Atlantic to come to the New World on the Mayflower in 1620. Winslow was ordained as a pastor in 1833 in New York and later moved to England where he became one of the most valued nonconformist ministers of the nineteenth century, largely due to the earnestness of his preaching and the excellence of his prolific writings. He held pastorates in Leamington Spa, Bath, and Brighton. He was also a popular speaker for special occasions, such as the opening of C. H. Spurgeon's Metropolitan Tabernacle in 1861. After a short illness, he died on March 5, 1878, and was buried in Abbey Cemetery, Bath.