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Melinda Rankin 1811 ~ 1888


Her work among the Mexicans forms a thrilling missionary story. Born in 1811, dying at her home in Bloomington, Illinois, December 7, 1888, she had great faith in the power and ability of women.

In 1840 a call came for missionary teachers to go to the Mississippi valley, foreign immigration having brought in a great many Roman Catholics to that portion of the country. Miss Rankin responded to that call, and went to that country, established schools, and gradually pushed her way up the Mississippi. At the close of the Mexican War, through officers and soldiers returning home, she learned a great deal of the condition in Mexico. Her sympathies became so aroused, that she tried to awaken an interest among the people by writing articles on the subject, but gaining no response, she determined to go herself to Mexico and see if she could not do something to help these poor ignorant people.

She opened a school for Mexican girls at Brownsville, Texas, on the American side of the Rio Grande, opposite Matamoras, Mexico, there being a large Mexican population in this town. As she was successful she found opportunities for sending hundreds of Bibles and tracts into Mexico through her scholars and their friends.

When the Civil War came, she was driven out of her home as she was not in sympathy with the people about her; thus she found shelter in Matamoras, and commenced her direct missionary labors for the Mexican people. Her work took her later to Monterey, one of the largest Catholic cities, and there she established a Protestant mission.

As a result of her work, Protestant schools and churches were built, ultimately assuming such proportions that they required regularly ordained ministers. Her health failing in 1872, she returned home and died in 1888.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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