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Sarah L. Huntingdon Smith 1802 ~ 1836


 Another name worthy of mention is Sarah H. Smith, whose maiden name Huntingdon. She was born in 1802, and married the Reverend Eli Smith, in July, 1833, going with him to Palestine where her work as a foreign missionary was undertaken. Later she entered the home missionary field and worked among the Mohegan Indians.

Through her correspondence with Lewis Cass, secretary of war, she secured the aid of that department in 1832, and a grant of nine hundred dollars was made from the fund appropriated to the Indian department. Five hundred was given for the erection of missionary buildings and before her labors were closed in this field she had the pleasure of seeing a chapel, parsonage, and schoolhouse stand on what she had found a barren waste of land.

The Moravian Missions are well known. The character of the Moravian women seemed peculiarly fitted for missionary work. The enthusiasm of the Slavs was blended with the steadfastness, energy, and patience of the Germans. It was before the middle of the last century that these pious women commenced their work among the North American Indians.

The first field of their labors was in Pennsylvania, Bethlehem and Nazareth being the seats of their missionary homes. From here they worked all through Pennsylvania. It is said that the Moravians in their various settlements were surrounded literally with circles of blood and flame, and in November, 1755, the Indians fell upon these poor missionaries and almost entirely destroyed them. Some splendid work was done by the missionaries in Oregon. In 1834 this part of our country was a vast wilder-ness and here roamed more than thirty different Indian tribes, the only settlements being a few scattered posts of the Hudson Bay Company. Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife, and Mr. and Mrs. Spaulding were among the first to go into this wilderness and take up the missionary work among them. Mrs. Whitman and Mrs. Spaulding were the first white women to cross the Rocky Mountains. They were followed by Mr. and Mrs. Grey, Mr. and Mrs. Clark, Mr. and Mrs. Little John, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Griffin, and Mr. and Mrs. Munger. Those to go later were Mrs. White, Mrs. Beers, Miss Downing, Miss Johnson, and Mrs. Pittman. Dr. and Mrs. White offered their services to the Board of Missions when a call was made in 1836 for volunteers to go into this new field, and they reached their destination from Boston via the Sandwich Islands. They established mission schools for the children and taught them the domestic arts. Later they were joined by others until their party was sixty, all zealously working in this field.

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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