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Beginning of North American Mission: What Happened to the Others Who Sailed?

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By Marvin J. Newell , CP Guest Contributor
June 27, 2012|12:49 pm
missionary timeline (Courtesy of Missio Nexus)

Two couples and two single men left along with Adoniram and Ann Judson in February of 1812. The eight were sent out by the newly organized American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Here is what happened to the others who sailed to India (on two different ships) that month.

Samuel & Harriet Newell

Forbidden to remain in India by the British East India Company, Samuel and Harriet ("the Belle of Bradford") sailed for Mauritius with plans to establish a mission there and possibly to Madagascar. After a long and perilous voyage, they reached the Isle of France (French name for Mauritius), where Harriet soon died, at age 19, after childbirth ten months after departing Salem. Grief-stricken, Samuel went on to Ceylon, finding it favorable to open a mission there. In January 1814 he joined Samuel and Roxana Nott and Gordon Hall in Bombay. He ministered seven years before his life was cut short by cholera on May 30, 1821, being violently attacked while ministering to the sick. He was greatly endeared to the friends of the mission by his devotedness and amiable character.

Samuel & Roxana Nott

Forbidden along with the others to remain in Calcutta, together with Gordon Hall, the Notts went to Bombay, where the three commenced the first mission of the American Board in India. Their first son, Samuel Nott Jr., was born there, as well as their daughter, Harriet Newell Nott. Since Samuel was frequently ill, the family returned to America in 1815, never to return. Samuel pastored the rest of his life in Connecticut, writing several major books. He outlived all the men of the first missionary band, dying on July 1st 1869 in Hartford, Connecticut, at age 81, nineteen years after the last (Judson, 1850) of the original five men had died. Roxana outlived them all, dying in 1876 at age 91.

Gordon Hall

Known as the "beloved disciple among the missionaries," and like the others, forbidden to stay in Calcutta, he obtained permission from the governor of Bombay to remain there. He labored 13 years, visiting the temples and bazaars with the gospel message and engaging in Bible translation. He completed the translation of the New Testament in the Marathi language. "No missionary in western India has ever been more respected among the Brahmans and higher classes for his discussions and pulpit discourses," noted one Indian believer. He died in Bombay in 1826.

Luther Rice

Like Judson, Rice became a Baptist after arriving in India. When opposition against the missionaries forced them to go to the Isle of France, it was decided that Rice, the orator of the group, would proceed back to America to rally forces for the new Baptist mission. This he did admirably, being instrumental in founding the Baptist General Convention for Foreign Mission in 1814, and then spending years riding horseback throughout the colonies raising funds and awareness for Baptist missions. He also founded Columbian College of the District of Columbia in 1821, now known as George Washington University. In 1836, while on a mission promotional trip to South Carolina, he fell ill and died quietly.

On the web: Missio Nexus and Mission Frontiers

From Mission Frontiers, May 2012. Reprinted with the permission of Missio Nexus and Mission Frontiers, the news and issues journal from the U.S. Center for World Mission.

About Marvin J. Newell: After serving with TEAM for 21 years, Newell taught eight years at the Moody Theological Seminary before becoming Senior Vice President, Missio Nexus.
 

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