Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Missionaries in South Africa: Selected Biographies

Missionary preaching

ADAMS Dr Newton (1804-1851) Medical missionary from Ohio county New York.  Sent to South Africa by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABM), arriving with his wife Mrs Sarah C Adams in December 1834. Founded a mission station and school at Umlazi before founding the famous Adams Mission. i.

ALLARD Jean (1806-1889)
Roman Catholic missionary and first Vicar Apostolic of Natal 1851. Consecrated Pietermaritzburg’s first Roman Catholic church in 1852. Worked among Zulus from 1854. In 1862 founded first mission in Basutoland (Lesotho). 8 years later founded first mission on the Kimberley diamond fields.

ALLISON James (1804-1875)
Methodist missionary brought African Christians from Swaziland to settle at Indaleni, Natal 1847. Later an independent missionary at Edendale near Pietermaritzburg. 

ANDERSON, William (1769-1852)
London Missionary Society (LMS) missionary to the Cape in 1800. Settled among itinerant Griqua, Koranna and other groups beyond the Orange River, founded mission at Klaarwater.  He helped establish the settlement of Griquatown. Anderson worked for 30 years among the Khoikhoi in George district.

ARCHBELL James (1798-1866) 
Wesleyan. Initially worked among the Namaqua. Produced first Tswana grammar book 1826. Became Voortrekker minister at Thaba Nchu, OFS and in Natal. Founded the Natal Independent and General Advertiser 1850.  Was Pietermaritzburg’s mayor for five terms.

APPLEYARD John (1814-1874)
Wesleyan. Worked in King William’s Town area, established press at Mt Coke mission.
1846 published his Xhosa translation of New Testament. 1859 published Xhosa  translation of Old Testament. He married Sarah Ann, daughter of James Archbell, in 1841. [Pic]

ARBOUSSET Jean Thomas (1810-1877)
Missionary sent by Paris Evangelical Society 1833 to work among the Sotho; established rapport with Moshweshwe and had a significant influence on early Basutoland (now Lesotho). 1836 with Francois Daumas discovered the headwaters of the Caledon; named the Mont-aux-Sources (mountain of springs) in the Maluti Highlands.

ARNDT Johannes (1857-1931)
German missionary, established Lutheran mission on Kimberley diamond fields in 1881. Translated many religious works including Lutheran hymns into Tswana. During Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902 founded a relief organization for displaced Boer families.

ASTRUP Nils (1843-   )
Norwegian missionary came to Natal in 1883 and took over as Bishop of the Church of Norway Mission in Zululand, after death of Schreuder. Astrup was ordained as Bishop in the Cathedral of Trondheim in 1902. He walked to Gazaland and back in the three winter months of 1889. In 1891 he compiled a book on this remarkable journey, and in 1903 he published ‘The Aim of the Zulu Mission – the Heart of Africa’ (written in Norwegian). Astrup’s father was a Judge, and he himself served as an Assistant Judge in Norway from 1866-69 before he studied theology 1870-78.  He was then a rector of a Norwegian parish between 1879 and 1883. Five of his children were later involved in missionary work. [Pic]

BENNIE John (1796-1869)
Scottish-born missionary. The earliest Xhosa linguist. Became associated with the Glasgow Missionary Society (GMS) in 1816, cut short his studies and sailed to SA as a catechist in the ship Woodlark which brought supplies for 1820 Settlers.  Arriving in 1821 with W Ritchie Thomson, he brought with him a printing press. Joined John Brownlee and wife at Tyhume (Chume). Nov 1821 opened a school and started his study of Xhosa and Dutch. Ordained in 1831 by the first presbytery of Kaffraria and raised to full missionary status. In Nov 1824 with John Ross he founded Ncera, named Lovedale in 1826.  One of his four children  John Angell Bennie b 1885 became a missionary teacher at Lovedale. In 6th Frontier War (1834-35) Tyhume and the ‘old’ Lovedale were destroyed.  Rebuilt in 1836 on the western bank of the Tyhume. Bennie moved on to Burnshill station in 1843.  From there he visited the emigrant Boers north of Vet River.7th Frontier War (1846-47) forced him to move to Graaff–Reinet. Later served as a missionary in the Dutch Reformed Church.

BIRT Richard (1810-92)
LMS missionary at Mxele then at Peelton.

Missionary at Peelton 1859-65, 1867-69

BROADBENT Samuel (1794-1867)
Yorkshire-born pioneer Wesleyan Methodist missionary and the first missionary to cross the Vaal River. Accepted into the ministry and at age 21 went to Ceylon. Arrived at the Cape 1820 and appointed to Rev Barnabas Shaw as an assistant to Rev Edward Edwards of Kamiesberg mission, Rietfontein, Namaqualand. He had instructions from LMS to form a station in the Bechuana country (Tswana).  He set out from Rietfontein (substation of Kamiesberg mission) in December 1821;on the 3rd day he fell against his wagon while holding it on a steep ridge and sustained internal injuries. He went on to Griquatown where Rev H Helm of LMS received him. Here his wife gave birth to a son which lived  24 hours. Continuing tribal wars made founding the mission in Tswana territory impossible at that time and Broadbent went to Graaff Reinet where 6 months of careful nursing by Rev Abraham Faure of the NGK saved his life. Hodgson and Broadbent travelled to the Vaal in November 1822, crossing by raft, then east along the northern side of the Vaal where no missionary had been before; later established station at Maquassi. He mastered the Tswana language. On 1 July 1823 his son Lewis Broadbent was born: reputed to be the first white child born in the Transvaal, Lewis was later a missionary to India. Broadbent left Maquassi when he fell ill, and the station was destroyed but Hodgson returned there in August 1825 with Rev James Archbell and rebuilt the structure. Finally it was abandoned but the missionary work continued when the tribe migrated and settled elsewhere notably at Thaba Nchu.  Broadbent, still unwell, embarked for England in November 1825 and from 1827 until his retirement in 1863 he continued his mission in England where he died in the 52nd year of his ministry.  He published ‘The missionary martyr of Namaqualand: memorials of the Rev Wm Threlfall, late Wesleyan missionary in South Africa who was murdered in Great Namaqualand’ (published London 1857). In 1865 he also published his own account of his SA experiences.

BROWNLEE John (1791-1871)
At first LMS missionary later with Glasgow Missionary Society.  Linguist and botanist.
Worked among Xhosa in Tyhume (Chumi) Valley from 1820, then moved to Buffalo River area of Eastern Cape.  Founded King William’s Town 1825.
His eldest son Charles Pacalt Brownlee was first Secretary for Native Affairs in the Cape and wrote ‘Reminiscences of Kafir Life and History’ published by the Lovedale Press in 1896.  (Recommended reading.)

BRYANT Alfred (1865-1953)
Roman Catholic missionary and scholar also known as Father Thomas. Worked among the Zulu. Remembered chiefly for his Zulu-English dictionary first published 1903 and his book ‘Olden Times in Zululand and Natal’ 1929.

BRYANT James C (d 1850)
ABM missionary came to SA with his wife Dolly in April 1846; the first American missionary to die on foreign soil; remembered for his pioneer translation of parts of the Bible into Zulu. He succumbed to consumption in 1850, having been in ill-health before reaching Natal. William Ireland took over from Bryant at Ifumi Mission, 35 miles south of Durban, and Bryant spent the last year of his life party at Msunduzi and partly at Inanda, where he died.

CALDERWOOD, Henry (1808-65)
LMS missionary, later Cape government official.

CALLAWAY Henry (1817-1890)
Anglican missionary in Natal. Wrote ‘The Religious System of the Amazulu’  published 1870.

CHALMERS John Aitken (1837-88)
Missionary at Mgwali, founded Henderson mission at Thomas River, pastor at Trinity Church Grahamstown. Best remembered for his book on Tiyo Soga (q.v.)

CHAMPION George (1809
ABM missionary came to Natal in December 1834 with his wife Susan. His journal was published as ‘Rev George Champion, pioneer missionary to the Zulus; sketch of his life and extracts from his journals, 1834-38’ (1896).

COLENSO John (1814-1883),

Arrived in Natal 1854; had an enormous impact on Church of England mission work in the area. Brought 40 missionaries from England; opened his own station at Ekukanyeni and shortly afterwards work was begun at Umlazi. Details of Colenso’s life appear in many published sources, his own writings include works in the Zulu language as well as doctrinal texts. His book ‘Ten Weeks in Natal’ (published 1855), expressing his views on polygamy, caused a stir. He became Bishop of Natal; was excommunicated by the Anglican Church in 1865. 

DÖHNE, Jakob Ludwig (1811-79)

Berlin Mission Society missionary at Bethel mission, later at Stutterheim. Was also associated with the ABM.  See further details on Dohne series on this blog

Born in West Milton Ohio, a schoolteacher before marriage, at 38 she was widowed and volunteered for mission service in Africa. She was sent out to SA as first missionary of the Women’s Board of Missions, sailing in August 1868 to Port Elizabeth on a 375 ton vessel; the voyage took 79 days. In the same year she started work at the Inanda Seminary, oldest boarding school for Zulu girls in SA. Her active service covered over 56 years.  She returned home to America only once in that time, remaining in SA from 1876 onwards. After retirement age she continued to live at the school, exerting a considerable influence on the community in the area. Known as ‘Ma Edwards’ to the Zulus, it was only after the age of 70 that she relinquished supervision of the large school farm. At 80 she took a correspondence course in nursing so that she could instruct the Zulu girls. When later she became blind she learned to use a typewriter. A prime example of multi-tasking, her various occupations at Inanda over the years included principal, treasurer, doctor, cook, caterer, seamstress, gardener, matron and nurse.

GARDINER, Capt. Allen Francis (1794-1851)
Retired naval office turned missionary, built a Mission Station at Port Natal in 1834, naming it Berea. His daughter Julia died and was buried in Durban (Julia Road is named after her). Brought Rev Francis Owen of the Church Missionary Society to Natal. After the Retief massacre Gardiner left SA, and worked in Chile as well as New Guinea and eventually died of starvation in Patagonia.

ABM missionary came to SA with his wife Carrie in September 1881.

GROUT, Aldin (1803-1894)

Veteran missionary of the ABM. Father of Oriana, who married William Ireland (q.v.)
Grout was born in Massachusetts, US. Married Hannah Davis 1834; together with other ABM missionaries they sailed to SA, landing at Cape Town 5 February 1835. Hannah Grout died in Bethelsdorp 24 February 1836 and Grout took his daughter Oriana back to America the following year. While there he married Charlotte Bailey and the couple returned to SA in June 1840. His Mission Station at Ginani had been destroyed in his absence. In April 1841 Grout established a Station at Inkanyezi near Empangeni, and opened a school. There was a hiatus in his association with the ABM in 1844, and he worked in Natal as a Government Missionary for about a year before resuming his ABM position in 1845. He founded Umvoti Mission Station in 1846; a church was completed in 1863. This Mission was renamed the Groutville Mission Station after its founder in 1878. In failing health, Grout returned to the US in February 1890 after 35 years in Natal.   
GROUT, Lewis
American missionary; came to SA with his wife Lydia in October 1846. Note: not related to Aldin Grout. 1847 he opened a Mission Station at source of Msunduzi River, Natal.

HANCE Gertude R
ABM missionary came to SA July 1870, worked among the Zulus.

HARMS, Ludwig (1808-65)
Son of a Lutheran clergyman at Hermannsburg, Hanover.1849 established ‘Die Hermannsburger Mission’. First it was intended to establish a station and a colony of missionaries among the Gallas of East Africa but when this failed Natal was chosen as the site of their endeavours, Hermannsburg station being founded in 1854 east of Greytown in Umvoti County.

HOLDEN William Clifford
Mehodist missionary, opened first Methodist church in Durban in May 1850. Among various works, he wrote ‘History of the colony of Natal’ (1855) and ‘A Brief History of Methodism and of Methodist Missions in South Africa’ (1877).

IRELAND, William (1821-1888)

ABM missionary came to SA 1849 with his first wife Jane, nee Wilson. She died in 1862. He then went on leave of absence to America and while there married Oriana Relief Grout, daughter of Aldin Grout; Oriana had been born in Bethelsdorp. Her mother, Hannah Grout nee Davis, died of consumption in Cape Colony when Oriana was a few weeks old; the child grew up in America. Later Oriana returned to SA with her husband William Ireland who was principal of Adams College at Amanzimtoti from 1865-1881. Oriana ran the Ireland Home for Zulu Girls. They had 7 children, of whom 5 survived. Lilla Lacon Ireland their eldest daughter later worked at Adams and at Inanda. Their eldest son Rev William Fleetwood Ireland was ordained in the Congregational ministry in 1895.

Berlin Society missionary 

LINDLEY, Daniel (1801-1880)
ABM missionary came to SA in December 1834 with his wife Lucy; founded station at Mosega among Ndebele, later moved to Port Natal to work among the Zulu, but in 1839 became minister to the Voortrekkers. 1846 resumed work for ABM in Natal, founding Inanda Mission Station.

LLOYD Charles H
ABM missionary travelled to SA in June 1862 with his wife Katie.

MARSH, Samuel D
ABM missionary came to SA with his wife Mary, leaving US in October 1847.

ABM missionary travelled to SA with his wife Fanny in April 1847.

LMS missionary arrived at the Cape in 1817; worked among the Bechuana at Kuruman Mission Station for 50 years. Wrote ‘Missionary Labours and Scenes in South Africa’ (1842), and translated the Catechism as well as the New Testament into the Tswana language. His daughter Mary married David Livingstone, the missionary-explorer, who also worked at Kuruman before his travels in Central Africa. [Pic below this post]

OFTEBRO, Ommund (1820-1893)
Norwegian missionary arrived in Natal 1848. Worked at Eshowe Mission Station (i.e. Kwa Mondi, after Oftebro’s Zulu name, Mondi) where he died and was buried at the Norwegian Cemetery. His wife Guri b Hognestad 1816 died at Eshowe in 1899. They had four children. His son Martin was an interpreter present at the capture of Cetshwayo after the Battle of Ulundi during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.

OWEN Francis (1802-1854)
Missionary of the Church Missionary Society (Church of England). Travelled to Natal with Capt Allen Gardiner, and then to Zululand where he hoped to found a mission among Dingane’s people. Witnessed the massacre of Piet Retief and his companions in 1838 and left the area. His attempt to establish a mission among the Hurutse failed and he returned to England in 1840. His Diary, edited by G E Cory, was published by the Van Riebeeck Society in 1926. 

PEARSE Horatio (?-1825)
A Wesleyan stationed for eleven years in Pietermaritzburg; in poor health, he was about to return to England on leave when the wagon he was travelling in overturned; he later succumbed to his injuries. See book by Thornley Smith ‘The earnest missionary: a memoir of the Rev. Horatio Pearse’  (London Wesleyan Mission House, 1868)

PHILIP John (1777-1851)
With John Campbell sent to SA to report on state of LMS stations in SA and made four expeditions between 1818 and 1826; when the report was published in 1828 it caused much controversy.  Became Superintendant of LMS; resigned 1849.

ABM missionary came to SA in August 1871 with his wife Laura.

PIXLEY, Stephen C
ABM missionary came to SA with his wife Louisa in October 1855.

POSSELT Carl Wilhelm (1815-1885)
Berlin Missionary in Natal 1847.

READ James (1777-1852)
Prominent member of LMS, worked among Khoikhoi
At the time his allegations of ill-treatment of the Khoi and oppression by whites were considered exaggerated. He and his son were alleged to have instigated the Khoi revolt during the 8th Frontier War 1850-1853.

ABM missionary came to SA in September 1859 with his wife Addie; worked in the American Zulu Mission.

ROOD David
ABM missionary arrived in SA 1847 accompanied by his wife Mrs Alvina V Rood; worked among the Zulus. On the death of Newton Adams 1851, Rood left Ifafa Mission Station to fill the gap left at Amanzimtoti. [Pic]

SCHMIDT Georg (1709-1785)
Pioneer Moravian missionary and first Protestant churchman to found mission for the Khoi at the Cape. His station was at Zoetmelksvlei beyond the Caledon River. The established Dutch recognized neither Schmidt’s ordination or his authority to baptise his converts so he closed the station and left for Europe in 1744.

SCHREUDER Hans Paludan Smith (1817-1882)

Norwegian missionary and Zulu linguist, founder of first Christian mission within Zululand.  Arrived Zululand 1843, Mpande refused him entry, Schreuder tried again in 1847, then went to China. There he also experienced rejection and he returned to Zululand; was able to establish rapport with Mpande by healing the king. Schreuder had medical knowledge and was adept at trades of blacksmith, carpenter and tailor. His physical strength became legendary and he is said to have strangled a leopard with his bare hands. Established stations at Mpumulo (1850), Empangeni (1851) and Entumeni (1852). Joined by Udland, Oftebro and Larsen.

SHAW, Barnabas
Wesleyan Methodist Missionary arrived SA 1816. Worked at Leliefontein station for 10 years.  See www.genealogyworld.net/ellen/barnabas.html for full narrative.

SHAW, William
Wesleyan clergyman who worked among the Albany Settlers.  From 1823, William Shaw was instrumental in establishment of chain of mission stations from Eastern Cape to Natal.  See www.genealogyworld.net/settlers/tessa.htm

SHEPSTONE, William (1796-1873)
Wesleyan missionary, father of Theophilus Shepstone. Worked at Wesleyville Mission. Theophilus Shepstone (1815-1893), later knighted, came to be associated with Anglican Church and was a supporter of Colenso during the years of schism in Natal. Theophilus’s brother was named John Wesley Shepstone (1827-1916).

SOGA Tiyo (c 1829-1871)

First South African black to be ordained as minister in the Presbyterian Church. Son of Jotello Soga of the Xhosa, a polygamist whose seventh wife was the mother of nine children of whom Tiyo was the seventh. His mother was a converted Christian and sent Tiyo to the local mission school; he subsequently attended Lovedale and when his education was interrupted by the frontier wars was taken to Scotland in 1846 for religious instruction. In 1848 he returned to South Africa to assist in establishing a Mission Station but when the 8th Frontier War broke out Tiyo went back to Scotland, where he was ordained in December 1856. He married a Scottish yarn winder, Janet Burnside, at Govan in February 1857 and returned to South Africa to found a Mission Station at Tuturu.  He translated the Gospels into Xhosa as well as part of ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’; his son John Henderson Soga (1860-1941), also a missionary, completed this translation. Tiyo Soga served on the board which revised the Xhosa Bible. Of his seven children, the eldest, William Anderson Soga, attended Glasgow University and became a medical missionary; William married Mary Agnes Meikle in 1885 and established the Miller Mission in Transkei where he worked until 1903. John Henderson Soga trained for the ministry in Edinburgh, qualifying in 1893 and returned to South Africa to establish a mission at Mbonga. Tiyo’s son Jotello Testiri Soga (1856-1906) was the first South African-born black veterinary surgeon, and after he qualified in 1886 returned to South Africa where he did research on animal diseases in the Eastern Cape border region; Jotello Testiri Soga is said to have died of an overdose of laudanum in 1906. Tiyo Soga was only 52 when he died in August 1871. John A  Chalmers wrote the story of Tiyo Soga’s life ‘Tiyo Soga: A Page of South African Mission Work’ published in Edinburgh 1877.  [Pic]

SMITH George (1845-1918)
Norfolk-born, Smith came to Natal in 1871 as missionary for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG); ordained in the Anglican Church by Bishop McCrorie of Pietermaritzburg; became Vicar of Estcourt, Natal. As minister of St John’s Church, Weston, he conducted burial services for those killed at Bushman’s River Pass during the Langalibalele Rebellion 1873; later chaplain to the British Army during the Anglo-Zulu War, he was present at the Defence of Rorke’s Drift, where he dispensed ammunition while encouraging the troops. He is depicted as a central figure in Alphonse de Neuville’s well-known painting of the battle. 

Methodist missionary to Indians in Natal 1862.

THOMSON William Ritchie  (1794-1891)
Glasgow missionary stationed in Kat River Settlement from 1830 with a congregation which joined the Dutch Reformed Church in 1832.

THRELFALL William (? – 1825)
Wesleyan missionary murdered by his Bushman guide in Namaqualand 1825.  His story is told in Samuel Broadbent’s book ‘The missionary martyr of Namaqualand: memorials of the Rev Wm Threlfall, late Wesleyan missionary in South Africa who was murdered in Great Namaqualand’ (published in London 1857). See detailed bio on this blog

TYLER Josiah
ABM missionary came to SA with his wife Susan in April 1849. Published ‘Forty Years among the Zulus’ (1891), covering missionary life from 1849-1888.

VAN DER KEMP Johannes 1747-1811
Dutch-born missionary sent by LMS to work among Xhosa ruled by Ngika near King William’s Town.  Printed first work published in book form in SA (a letter from the LMS to inhabitants of the Cape 1799). Founded a settlement for vagrant Khoi at Bethelsdorp and provoked resentment among local white farmers. He retaliated with accusations of ill-treatment of blacks by farmers and was recalled to Cape Town by the colonial government. He died soon afterwards. Van der Kemp married the daughter of a slave woman from Madagascar.

VENABLE, Henry I (1811-1878)
ABM missionary came to SA in 1835 with his wife Martha in the company of Aldin Grout, Adams, Wilson etc.

WATERSTON Jane (1843-1932)
Scottish medical missionary came to SA to be principal of a girls’ school in Lovedale (Ciskei). The first woman doctor to practice in SA. In 1888 gained her MD with distinction from the University of Brussels. 

A Wesleyan Methodist who preached to the Bechuana and Koranna peoples, Wiggill converted to Mormonism and finally left SA for Utah.

WILDER, George
ABM missionary came to SA in October 1880 with his wife Alice.

ABM missionary came to SA April 1849 with his wife Abby.

WILSON, Alexander (1803-41)
Missionary of the first ABM party to SA leaving US in December 1834 and arriving 3 December 1835; travelled with his wife Mary who died before her husband reached Natal; on her deathbed she said: ‘Tell my mother and sister and friends that I have never regretted coming to Africa.’ Wilson was a physician by profession. 

WITT, Otto
First missionary to represent the Church of Sweden Mission in SA, arriving 1876.  For a time connected with Schreuder’s mission. The Swedish Church purchased a farm near the border of Zululand and a mission was established there, named Oscarsberg in honour of the Swedish King. This is where Witt was stationed at the time of the Anglo-Zulu War 1879.

Robert Moffat

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