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American Presbyterian Mission was an American Presbyterian missionary society, operated by the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, that was involved in sending workers to countries such as China during the late Qing Dynasty and to India in nineteenth century. The American Presbyterian Mission was opened at Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, in 1836.

American Presbyterian Mission in Cairo[edit]

Notable for bringing up Bamba Muller who was a latter day "Cinderella" marrying the Black Prince of Perthshire.[1]

American Presbyterian Board in China[edit]

The Presbyterian Board of America transferred two of their missionaries from Singapore to China in 1843. It had four great centers. Guangzhou was entered in 1845, but it was sixteen years before they were able to baptise the first convert to Christianity. A medical hospital was a very important factor in the work of the Mission. Missions in Macau and Hainan were sustained from this center. Hospital work had been a prominent feature in this Mission. Dr. Peter Parker commenced a hospital in 1835, which was transferred to this society in 1854, and placed under the care of Dr. John G. Kerr. The Central Mission had five main centers which branched out in many directions. These included Ningbo, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Fuzhou, and Anqing. At Shanghai the extensive printing operations of the Society were carried on. These comprised not only several presses which were constantly at work, but a foundry where seven sizes of Chinese type, besides English, Korean, Manchu, Japanese, Hebrew, Greek and others, were cast. There was also complete apparatus for electrotyping and engraving. Much translation work had been done by this Society, and hand books of Christian history and doctrine prepared by it were in use on most of the Protestant missions in China.

Hunter Corbett was a Pioneer of an American missionary to Yantai, Shandong China, he served with the American Presbyterian Mission. He was a powerful advocate of the missionary enterprise. He founded the Yi Wen School (Boy's Academy/ Hunter Corbett Academy) known as Cheeloo University, The first university in China. Hunter Corbett ministered in China for 56 years.[2] Chester Holcombe was among the missionaries who went on to join the American diplomatic service, following S. Wells Williams as secretary to the American legation in 1884.

The Shantung (Shandong) Mission extends from the capital city, Chi-nan-foo Ji'nan, northwards to Yantai, and had many stations which reported about three thousand members in 1890. The Peking Mission was of latest date, and was doing much work in diffusing throughout a wide district a knowledge of the Gospel by its proclamation to the vast numbers who crowded from all the surrounding regions to the imperial city. The totals of the mission in 1890 were, forty-eight missionaries, eighteen lady agents, twenty-three ordained native pastors, eighty-four unordained native helpers, and nearly four thousand communicants.[3]

American Presbyterian Mission in Siam (Thailand)[edit]

The first missionary of the American Presbyterian Mission board was William Buell, who arrived with his wife in Bangkok in 1840. Due to his wife's health problems, the couple returned to the United States in 1844. In 1847, Samuel Reynolds House and Stephen Mattoon and their wives arrived in Bangkok to begin mission work. These two couples, together with missionary Stephen Bush, founded Samray Church in 1849, the first Presbyterian church in Thailand. In 1863, missionaries Daniel McGilvary and Samuel Gamble McFarland opened work in Petchburi province, about 100 km east of Bangkok.

In 1867, McGilvary moved to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, where he pioneered Christan work in the north. First Church in Chiang Mai was founded in 1868. The work in Northern Thailand was called the Laos Mission, and the work in Bangkok, Central Thailand, and Southern Thailand was called the Siam Mission. In 1913, the Laos Mission counted approximately 6000 Thai Christians converts in the North, and the Siam Mission counted approximately 600 Thai Christian converts in their jurisdiction.

Missionaries in both the Siam Mission and Laos Mission founded schools and hospitals, as well as carrying on evangelistic work. American Presbyterian missionaries helped to found the Church of Christ in Thailand in 1934, an indigenous Thai denomination which eventually took over responsibility for both mission and social work when the American Presbyterian Mission in Thailand was dissolved on August 19, 1957.

Educational and Medical Establishments in Colonial India[edit]

The Wanless Hospital had its beginning as a small dispensary started in 1890 in the Miraj (Meer’-udge) Bazaar by Dr. William James Wanless pioneer Presbyterian medical missionary. The first of the present buildings was opened in 1894.[4]

The Ewing Christian College, managed by the American Presbyterian Mission was opened in 1902 and had 70 pupils in 1904.[5]

In 1910 John Lawrence Goheen and Jane Goheen accepted an appointment from the American Presbyterian missionaries for missionary service in Sangli in the state of Maharashtra, India. John Lawrence Goheen and Jane Goheen arrived in India in 1911 and soon after he was placed in charge as the Principal at Sangli Boys School in Sangali. He transformed the school into an Industrial and Agricultural Educational Institute and instituted an extension service as The Sangli Moveable School. This brought improved agricultural techniques to the villages surrounding Sangli. He was appointed as a member of Bombay Literacy mission.


  • Townsend, William (1890). Robert Morrison : the pioneer of Chinese missions. London: S.W. Partridge. 


  1. ^ Pan, Esther; Medhat Said (2006). "Bamba Muller". Dictionary of African Christian Biography. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  2. ^ Biographical dictionary of Christian missions
  3. ^ Townsend (1890), 236-237
  4. ^ "Wanless Hospital, Miraj". Wanlesshospital.org. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  5. ^ Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 5, p. 241

See also[edit]

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