On this day in 1809, Robert Morrison, one of the earliest pioneer missionaries to China, was married to Miss Mary Morton.

Two years earlier, Morrison had arrived in a heavily-closed China to begin his work.  But at this time, it was illegal for him to be a missionary.  In fact, the law was so tight that it was even illegal for a Chinese person to teach a foreigner how to speak Chinese.  In order to get past the law, Morrison moved into an American factory in the city of Canton, China and hired several Chinese teachers to come “repair his shoes”, as he called it.  Every time a teacher would come to teach him Chinese, he would have a pair of shoes sitting there in case they got caught, he could make it look like they were working on the shoes.

At last, Robert was able to get a job as one of the main translators for the East India Company in China (I wonder if they ever asked how he learned the language?)  While holding this job, Morrison met John Morton, a surgeon for the East India Company.  But more importantly, he met John’s daughter, the lovely Irish born Mary.  They were soon married in China.

In a letter to his father, Robert wrote this of his new wife:

As I have every prospect of being exceedingly happy with one whom I love and who is un attached to me, your anxiety respecting me being quite alone will be in some measure lessened. My missionary calling is as much as ever on heart and in it, I trust, I shall be considerably aided by my dear Mary.

The couple lived a very happy marriage, though Mary often suffered from sicknesses.  They were married for twelve years.  In 1821, Mary died from Cholera.  So his two children would always their mother, Robert wrote a book for them that comprised many of his and their mother’s correspondents.  The book was entitled, “The Domestic Memoirs of Mrs. Morrison”.

Source:

The Legacy of Robert Morrison

On this day in 1875, Leander Millican was licensed to preach.  Millican would become known as “the missionary to the mountains and circuit rider of the plains”.

Millican was a deputy sheriff in a small Texas town when he was converted at a camp meeting at the age of 21.  As he grew, he began to realize that there was no one who was reaching out to the cowboys and ranchers of the Texas plains with the Gospel.  Many of them lived too far from the town to ever attend church.  For more than fifty years, Millican would travel to ranches and rural settlements, preaching the gospel and teaching his converts to grow in the word.

As he traveled, he realized the need to take his converts to the next level.  Since there were no churches nearby, or really any people around to start a church with, he decided to bring the church to the ranchers.  He began to hold tent meetings all over the plains, where ranchers could gather to hear the Bible preached.  At his meetings, pastors and churches from the towns would come together to give the ranchers an intense week of preaching and Bible classes..  These meetings became known as “The Baptist Encampments.”

Source:

Lone Star History

On this day in 1836, Moses C. Clayton took his Sunday School Class and turned it into the first black Baptist church in Baltimore.

In 1834, Clayton had been sent out by the First Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia to begin a work among the growing Black population in Baltimore.    This group, though growing rapidly, had been largely ignored by most churches.  Clayton faced his task with zeal.  He found a small school house and started a Sunday school in there.  The work was slow and it was remarked that at times, Clayton “preached to an audience comprising his wife and two or three others, and strange as it may seem, spoke with as much ardor and enthusiasm as if he were addressing a thousand people.”

But soon, his piety and earnestness had attracted some eight or ten persons to become founders of the new church.  As the church grew, it became necessary to build a new building.  The financial stress this project required became too much for   Clayton and he resigned the pastorate in 1849.  However, the church pleaded with him to come back, and three years later, he did.  He stayed at the church until his death in 1861.

Source:

A History of Black Baptists

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