Abbott, Benjamin was born in 1732 in Pennsylvania, United States. Son of Benjamin and Mistress (Burroughs) A. Hatter’s apprentice, Philadelphia.
He started out as a hatter's apprentice in Philadelphia, later leaving that position to work on his brother's farm in New Jersey. He is said to have been addicted to card-playing, cockfighting, drinking, and brawling. In 1790, he was ordained a deacon, and later, in 1793, he became an elder of the church and a circuit preacher.
Stevens also noted, "His whole soul seemed pervaded by a certain magnetic power that thrilled his discourses and radiated from his person, drawing, melting and frequently prostrating the stoutest opposers in his congregation. It is probable that no Methodist laborer of his day reclaimed more men from abject vice. He seldom preached without visible results, and his prayers were overwhelming".