341 – Dec. 07 – This Day in Baptist History Past


Missionary and Missionary’s wife


1845 – Eliza Johnson’s son, W.C. Johnson, wrote the following of his mother: “For seven long weary months she patiently plodded her way across mountains and plains, reaching Oregon City, December 7, 1845.” Here she was the missionary and, the missionary’s wife. With hands, head, and heart she labored, that her husband might preach the pure Gospel in the valleys and settlements of Oregon until she died. Miss Eliza S. Harris married Hezekiah Johnson in Dec. of 1826. On the journey to the Northwest Territory through rivers, and over mountains the family suffered severely with camp fever, and was constantly on the alert for attacks by raiding Indians. After they arrived, Eliza shirked from no duty whether it was reaching the lost, guide to the new convert, companion to the older believers, aiding the sick, or comforting the distressed and needy. She herself was laid up for a long period of time, but used that period rather, for a prayer ministry. She said that she “could live to pray.”  The wives of the pioneer preachers, like Sister Johnson, had to rear their family, if their husbands were to give much time to preaching, because of how much time they were away. They often had to handle most of the domestic affairs of the home, including the gardening, chores and farm work. They not only lacked comforts but necessities. Eliza said that they were often without coffee, tea, or sugar to save a trifle for missions. At times they only had calico dresses, and every dress was patched. While their father carried the “bread of life” to the spiritually hungry, often his own children went shoeless, chilled, and hungry. [This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 669-70. C.H. Mattoon, Baptist Annals of Oregon Vol I (McMinnvill, Oreg.: Telephone Register Publishing Co., 1905), p. 49.)]


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