75 – March – 16 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


First white woman to see Japan
1907 – Lucy Ann (St. John) Knowlton, the first white woman to see Japan died on this day.  Few in the little white frame building that housed the First Baptist Church of Napoleon, Michigan would have ever though that one of theirs would have such honor.  Lucy was the daughter of a deacon who married Miles J. Knowlton, a missionary to China, and saw the land of the “Rising Sun” as they were bound for that land, having sailed for Ningpo, China on Dec. 10, 1853.  The Knowlton’s arrived in China as the civil war was raging in that country and it lasted for many years.  Knowlton’s efforts in evangelism met with great success over the twenty-one years that they spent in Ningpo.  However, as the war swept into their area, Mrs. Knowlton saw things that literally shocked her to the point that her health collapsed and they had to return to America for restoration.  In two years her health was improved and they were able to return and they enjoyed a blessed spiritual harvest.  At the conclusion of fifteen years, and Lucy’s health deteriorating again they took another two year furlough in the States.  It was his only furlough and during this time he lectured in several colleges and seminaries where he also received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.  He was also able to preach in his home church in Vermont where he saw the joy of seeing converts baptized.  In 1872 the Knowlton’s sailed again for Ningpo from San Francisco and this time it was only a trip of four weeks since they didn’t have to sail around the Cape Horn.  However, after two years Dr. Knowlton died of exhaustion.    Lucy lived on for twenty more years and was invited often to speak to ladies groups concerning the challenges of China.  She went to be with her Lord from their daughter’s home in Chicago.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 107.
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