Tag Archives: missionary


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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A preacher and a diplomat

 1834 – A BAPTIST MISSIONARY PUBLISHES THE FIRST NEWSPAPER IN THE INDIAN LANGUAGE - On February 11, 1834, Isaac McCoy left home for Washington, D.C., to find that the Secretary of War had submitted his plan for the organization of Indian affairs. McCoy was born in Pennsylvania on June 13, 1784, but six years later his family moved to KY where he received Christ, was baptized, and united with the Buck Creek BC.  He married in 1803, and one year later they moved to Indiana where he was licensed to preach the gospel.  He was later ordained by the Maria Creek BC and served as pastor.  The church grew as he, “with the Bible in one hand and rifle in the other, went everywhere preaching, ‘the Lord working with him.’”  In 1817 the McCoy’s were appointed missionaries to the Indians of Indiana and Illinois.  He founded a mission just west of what is now Niles, Michigan and named it “Carey” for the great missionary.  He rode hundreds of miles on horseback through the wilderness.  Five of his six children died while he was away from home but no sacrifice was too great.  He also made several trips to the Nation’s Capital to present the needs of the Indians to the Congress.  McCoy composed hymns which were used by the Indians in their worship of the true God.  He secured a printing press, and on March 1, 1835, he printed in the Shawnee tongue the first newspaper ever published in an Indian language.   He preached the first sermon in Chicago or near where it is located.   In 1842 he was appointed the Secretary of the American Indian Association of the Triennial Baptist Convention.   At age 63, returning from preaching, he was caught in a rainstorm and fell ill, and in a few days, on June 21 1846 he went home to be with the Lord.  On his tombstone are these words, “For nearly thirty years his entire time and energies were devoted to the civil and religious improvement of the aborigines of this country.”

Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 57.

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Valley ForgeWashington at

Valley Forge

The First Baptist Chaplain

1820 – FIRST BAPTIST CHAPLAIN TO THE AMERICAN MILITARY AND FIRST BAPTIST MISSIONARY TO THE INDIANS – David Jones died at age 84 on February 5, 1820.   He had been an author, pastor, missionary, medical doctor, and the first Baptist pastor ever to become a chaplain in the American Military who in 1776 was appointed to serve Col. St. Clair’s regiment. He also served under General Horatio Gates and General Anthony Wayne. He was highly trusted by Gen. Geo. Washington and preached to the troops at Valley Forge. He was raised in a hearty Welsh Baptist family, saved at an early age and trained at Hopewell Academy (America’s First Baptist academic facility) in N.J. He studied medicine but apparently was influenced by the life of David Brainerd among the Indians because while pastoring the Freehold Baptist Church in Monmouth County, N.J. he became the first Baptist missionary to the Indians in Ohio on two extended tours that consumed over a year. He became unpopular as he supported the cause of American freedom. In April 1775 he became pastor of the Great Valley Baptist Church in Chester County, PA. On July 20, 1775, after a day of fasting and prayer he preached to the Continental Army on the subject, “Defensive War in a Just Cause Sinless.” In 1776 he left his flock to serve the first of three tours with the American forces. He was at Ticonderoga, Morristown, and Brandywine.  He barely missed being killed at the Paoli Massacre, and he spent the winter at Valley Forge.  Gen. Howe offered a reward for his capture.  He was at Yorktown at the surrender of Cornwallis.  He used his medical skills as well as his weapons.  After the war he went with Gen. Wayne as Chaplain to the Indian War from 1794-96 and was there at the Treaty of Greenville.  It was said of him, “In danger – he knew no fear, in fervent patriotism he had no superiors and few equals, in the Revolutionary struggle, a tower of strength…as a Christian, above reproach.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 49.

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150px-Arthur_Tappan_Pierson_D.DDr. A.T. Pierson

A Presbyterian became a Baptist

1896 – This was the day that one of America’s greatest Bible expositors, Dr. A.T. Pierson was immersed, in his own words, “to fulfill all righteousness” by Spurgeon’s brother, Dr. James A. Spurgeon at the West Croydon Chapel, London.  Dr. Pierson, one of the most successful  Presbyterian ministers in America, counted among his personal friends such as D.L. Moody, Charles H. Spurgeon, George Muller and A.J. Gordon.  His pulpit ministry was so effective that he resigned in 1859 to devote his full time to Missionary crusades.  In 1891 he was invited to serve the Metropolitan Tabernacle in the Spurgeon’s absence for up to six months, until Spurgeon should recover from his illness.  However, on Jan. 31, 1892, Spurgeon died and Pierson continued the pulpit ministry while Spurgeon’s brother James carried on the pastoral responsibilities.  Pierson had slowly been coming to Baptist views and believed that he should request baptism but feared that his motives would be questioned.  When the Tabernacle called Spurgeon’s son Thomas as pastor that relieved him of that stigma and he was baptized by on Feb. 1 the day that he was invited to preach at Spurgeon’s Tabernacle.  His motives were still questioned and on April 6, 1896, the Philadelphia Presbytery requested his resignation.  “With peace of heart produced by obedience, Pierson wrote the presbytery, ‘Had I this action to take again I would only do it more promptly…’  Thank God for the testimony of Dr. A.T. Pierson.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp.

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115 – April 25 – This Day in Baptist History Past

An Exciting Missionary Adventure

The die was cast on April 25, 1844, when Richard Fuller, prominent pastor from Charleston, South Carolina, presented a resolution at the Triennial Convention to restrict its action to missions and not to become involved in the problem of slavery.  From 1814 until 1845, missionary efforts had been primarily made through the Triennial Convention, but in 1845 the split between North and South occurred.  However, Baptist associations in various states had formed small, independent mission agencies as well.  Richard Henry Stone, born in Culpeper county, Virginia on July 17, 1837, he was sent as a missionary by a Georgia association to serve the Lord in Africa.  He united with the Salem Baptist church in Culpeper County and answered the call of the Baptists in Georgia for a missionary to Africa, he and his wife Susan sailed out of Baltimore on November 4.  They were three months on the journey, and landed at Lagos.  They disciplined themselves to learn the Ijayte language, but with failing health, the couple was forced to return to the States.  Mr. Stone then joined the confederate army, and served as a chaplain with the 49th Georgia, Benning’s Brigade.  In 1867, with the completion of the war, Mr. Stone returned to Africa and Lagos for two years.  The last twenty years of Mr. Stone’s life were spent in Virginia and Kentucky where he supported his family by teaching.  Mr. stone died on October 7, 1894, and he was buried in the Fairview Cemetery in Culpeper.

Dr. Dale R. Hart adapted from:  This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins) p.p.  239   –   241

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Jabez Carey



Never give up on a lost soul”


1814 – William Carey received an invitation to send a missionary to Amboyna, where 20, 000 national believers had no missionary to minister to them. Carey’s son Jabez immediately offered himself, and though he was not yet twenty, he crowded his marriage, ordination and farewell into a short time and then left for his mission. After the conversion of two of his sons, Dr. Carey became very anxious about the soul of Jabez, who had just begun practicing law. Carey wrote to his support team, which included John Ryland as the chief. On the Baptist Missionary Societies 20th anniversary, Dr. Ryland addressed two-thousand “of the mission’s friends in London, in the Dutch Church (Austin Friars), and weeping, asked them to pray for Jabez. God wonderfully answered prayer. In the very next mail Dr. Carey received a letter stating that Jabez had been gloriously saved.  Some of the Baptist Pastors in the Northhamptonshire Association called on the churches to appoint a day each month for prayer. Paul assured the Corinthians that they were “helping together by prayer.” May we pray our own children, to the harvest fields of the world!”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 09-10.


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364 – Dec. 30 – This Day in Baptist History Past


Posted: 29 Dec 2013 05:30 PM PST




Chief Red Jacket comes to Christ


1813 – In retaliation for the burning of Newark, N.J., the British burned Buffalo, N.Y. Lieutenant Colonel Chapin was taken prisoner, and Rev. Elkanah Holmes was forced to flee. This is just a part of the exciting life of Rev. Holmes, frontier preacher and missionary to the six Indian nations in western N.Y. The event just mentioned happened when the N.Y. Missionary Society split in 1807 over Holmes insistence on believer’s baptism and had moved with his third wife – having lost the other two by death – to the Canadian side of the Niagara River in 1809. He had already established a small Indian church in Queenston in Niagara Township. However the ministry ended abruptly with the outbreak of war in 1812. Being an American, Holmes welcomed the advancing American troops and was not viewed well by his parishioners and was considered a traitor by the British and was captured, although seventy years of age at the time. Lt. Chapin, who had married one of Holme’s sons, affected his escape. Holmes was born on Dec. 22, 1743, joined the army at 16 and saw action in the French and Indian war. He actually served for a time in the British navy and saw the capture of Havana, and was ship wrecked. He was saved and baptized under the ministry of Rev. D. Sutton at Kingwood, N.J and ordained in 1773. During the American Revolution he served as a chaplain in a N.J. regiment, and often participated with the troops in battle. After the war he Pastored several churches in CT and NY. He also won Chief Red Jacket of the Seneca’s to Christ. He believed in the autonomy of the local church and closed communion. [This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: 2000 A.D. pp. 715-16. Stuart Ivison and Fred Rosser, The Baptists in Upper and Lower Canada Before 1820 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1956), p. 141.]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon


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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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340 – Dec. 06 – This Day in Baptist History Past


First woman missionary to India.


1800 – Hannah Marshman wrote in the mission journal that her outreach  proved successful, for “The women appeared to have learned more of the Gospel than we expected. They declared for Christ at once.” She noticed when going to the bazaar’s that she never saw any women because of the Eastern culture. She knew that they would never be reached unless she visited them in their homes, so she tirelessly went house to house with the gospel. Hannah was the wife of Joshua Marshman, who along with William Carey and William Ward, have often been called the “triumvirate” in reference to the mission in India. In a letter to Andrew Fuller, Carey described Mrs. Marshman as “a prodigy of prudence.” She was certainly a Proverbs Chapter thirty-one woman. She was also the first woman missionary to India. She was born in 1767 in Bristol, England, but her parents died while she was an infant and she was reared by her grandfather, Rev. John Clark, a Baptist minister. Hannah was converted to Christ during her teen years and was baptized. She married Joshua Marshman in 1792, and he taught in the Christian school at the Broadmead Baptist Church in Bristol. Marshman studied Hebrew and Syriac under John Ryland and when William Carey appealed for a linguist the Marshmans sailed for India in 1795 with eight adult missionaries and their children. In Serampore they lived in a compound and it was Hannah’s duty to manage it. The Marshmans established a boarding school which also provided an education for the missionaries children. Hannah served for fifty years in India, taking one furlough. She died in 1847.
[This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 667-68. Nesta B. Shoddy, Great Baptist Women (London: Carey Kingsgate Press, Ltd. 1955), p.42.]   Prepared by Dr. Greg Dixon


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336 – Dec. 02 – This Day in Baptist History Past


He was named for Daniel Boone


1880 – The first children were admitted to the Buckner Orphan’s Home in Texas which was established by Dr. R.C. Buckner, the fourth child of Rev. Daniel Buckner from the State of Tennessee. Daniel and his wife Mary had five children. The oldest, Dr. H.F. Buckner, spent thirty-five years as a missionary to the Creek Indians and translated the Gospel of John into their language. Their third, Miriam gave birth to another well known Baptist preacher, Dr. A. J. Holt. Daniel was born on Sept. 30, 1801 and his father Henry, originally from S.C., before moving to Cocke County, Tenn. was a personal friend of Daniel Boone, so you know where Daniel got his name. It was claimed that fifteen Baptist preachers came from the ranks of the Buckner clan. Daniel was saved at the age of fifteen and walked twelve miles to be baptized by Elder Caleb Witt, pastor of the Lick Creek Baptist Church in Greene County. He was then licensed to preach at twenty-two, and in 1827 he was ordained by the Chestua Baptist Church in Monroe, County. As a young preacher he successfully planted and pastored several churches. During the 1830’s, because of the strong opposition to missions he was appointed a “missionary” by the State Convention, and traveled extensively challenging churches to obey the Great Commission and his “pay” was fifty cents per day. He received constant verbal attacks by the anti-mission forces, even being excluded from his home church. He died at 84 having baptized over five thousand converts. On his grave stone it says, Psalm 116:7  “Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.” [This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 659-60. J. J. Burnett. Sketches of Tennessee’s Pioneer Baptist Preachers (Nashville: Press of Marshall and Bruce Company, 1919), pp. 81-82.]  Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon


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