Biographical Index of Missionaries To Middle East
Biographies are developed by PHC volunteers and staff from original research and from various published sources. This list is constantly being updated. Corrections and additional materials, such as photos or drawings will be made from time to time. There also is a missionary biographical listing being prepared for this web site. Eventually, there will be a master alphabetic combined index of ministers and missionaries to aid in searches. Thanks for your patience. Please email additional information or pictures to the PHC.
Sources for information regarding mission personnel is given in italics. Major sources are the following:
- Arnold, Frank L., Long Road to Obsolescence: A North American Mission to Brazil. (Philadelphia: Xlibris, 2008)
- Brown, Arthur Judson, One Hundred Years. (New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1936)
- Brown, George Thompson, Earthern Vessels & Transcendent Power: American Presbyterians in China, 1837-1952. (Maryknoll, NY.: Orbis Books, 1997)
- Cogswell, James A., No Turning Back: A History of American Presbyterian Involvement in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1833-2000. (Philadelphia: Xlibris, 2007)
- Latourette, Kenneth Scott, A History of the Expansion of Christianity, Vol. V- VI. (New York, London: Harper & Brothers, 1944)
- Moffett, Samuel Hugh, A History of Christianity in Asia, Vol. II: 1500-1900. (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2003)
- Nevin, Alfred, Encyclopedia of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. 1884.
- Presbyterian Church U.S.A. General Assembly Minutes, 1789-1861, various volumes.
- Scott, Rev. E.C., Ministerial Directory of the Presbyterian Church, U.S., 1861-1941.
- Sweet, William Warren, The Story of Religion in America (New York & London, Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1939)
- Thompson, Ernest Trice, Presbyterians in the South, Volume One, 1607-1861. (Richmond, VA: John Knox Press, 1963)
Some of the Early Presbyterian Missionaries to the Middle East
One of the early regions for missionaries was the Middle East. Led first by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (Congregational and Presbyterian missionaries), mission work proliferated by denomination and the establishment of separate Boards of Foreign Missions. Following are some of the early Presbyterian missionaries (started prior to 1861) to this area.
NANNEAU, Mr. & Mrs. J. L.
PALESTINE. Appointed by ABCFM Southern Board. Thompson, 297.
FISK, Rev. Pliny
(June 24, 1792 - October 23, 1825)
PALESTINE. Pliny Fisk was born on June 24, 1792, in Shelburne, Massachusetts. He graduated from Middlebury College (Vermont) in August 1814 and from Andover Theological Seminary in 1818. He was appointed by ABCFM on September 23, 1818, to go to Palestine as one of first missionaries in the Near East. Purpose was “to purify and bring new vigor to the Eastern Orthodox Churches.” Went to Smyrna in 1819 and explored Asia Minor. Went to Beirut in 1823, deciding to make this headquarters for Syria Mission. Died there Oct. 23, 1825. Latourette, VI 39, 44, 49. A.J. Brown, 978.
PARSONS, Rev. Levi
(July 18, 1792 - Feburary 10, 1822)
PALESTINE. Levi Parsons graduated from Middlebury College and from Andover Theological Seminary. He was appointed by ABCFM on September 23, 1818, to go to Palestine as one of first missionaries in the Near East. Went to Smyrna in 1819. Reached Jerusalem in 1821, “first Protestant missionary in that city of sacred memories.” Died Feb. 10, 1822 in Alexandria. Latourette,VI 39, 49. A.J. Brown, 978.
BIRD, Rev. & Mrs. Isaac (Ann Parker)
(June 19, 1793 - 1876)
PALESTINE. Isaac Bird was born in Salisbury on June 19, 1793. He graduated from Yale College in 1816 and then went to Andover Theological Seminary. In 1822, he married Ann Parker. They arrived in Beirut on Oct. 16, 1823, to join Pliny Fisk. Mrs. Bird began school for girls in 1825. Rev. Bird and his wide are shown at right. In 1836, they returned to America and he became an agent for the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions for two years. He later taught at Gilmanton Seminary.
GOODELL, Rev. & Mrs. William, D.D.
(February 14, 1792 - February 18, 1867)
CONSTANTINOPLE. William Goodell (shown right) was born in Templeton, Massachusetts, on Feb. 14, 1792. He was educated at Phillips Academy (Andover), Dartmouth College, Andover Theological Seminary. Accepted as missionary of ABCFM in 1822. He married Abigail P. (1799 - July 11, 1871). Sailed to Malta, arrived in Beirut Oct. 16, 1823, where he aided in establishing a station which became center of Syrian Mission. In 1828, he moved to Malta because of England-Turkey conflict. In 1831, Rev. Goodell began residence in Constantinople where he commenced the Armeno-Turkish mission. One of his chief labors was translation of Bible into Armeno-Turkish, on which he labored 20 years. He received a Doctor of Divinity from Hamilton College in 1854. In 1865, after 43 years of mission service, he returned to U.S. and died in Philadelphia at residence of his son on Feb. 18, 1867. Latourette, VI 49f. Moffett, 386.
SMITH, Rev. & Mrs. Eli
( - January 11, 1857)
PALESTINE. Arrived in Beirut in 1827. Began translating Bible into Arabic in 1848. Founder of Arabic Press. Made extensive trip from Malta through Asia Minor, Armenia, as far as Persia. She arrived in 1834, took charge of girls school begun by Mrs. Bird, which became American School for Girls, first school for girls in the Turkish Empire. He died Jan. 11, 1857. Latourette,VI 44, 49.
VANDYCK, Rev. & Mrs. Cornelius Van Alen, M.D. (Julia Abbott)
(1818 - 1895)
PALESTINE. Served 1839 until his death in 1895. Wife served 1842 until her death in 1918. Worked with Calhoun in school for boys. Completed translating Bible into Arabic after Eli Smith’s death, finishing on August 23, 1864. Latourette,VI 44. A.J. Brown, 990.
ADGER, Mr. & Mrs. John Bailey (Elizabeth Keith Shrewsbury)
(December 13, 1810 - January 3, 1899)
ARMENIA. Born Charleston, SC, Dec. 13, 1810. Union College, NY, 1828; Princeton Seminary, 1829-1833. Missionaries to Armenians in Constantinople & Smyrna, 1834-47. Shown circa 1840s at right, Reverend Adger was required to leave the American Board of COmmissioners for Foreign Missions station when his wife inherited slaves. Minister to Black congregation in Charleston, 1847-51. He ran a plantation that he owned with slaves from 1851 - 1856. He then became a professor at Columbia Seminary, 1857-74. Participated in organizing Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America. Served churches in South Carolina, 1875-95. Author, “My Life and Times” autobiography; translated numerous works into Armenian; served on editorial staff of the Southern Presbyterian Review for 30 years. “One of most influential leaders of Southern Presbyterianism in the generation preceding the Civil War.” Died Jan. 3, 1899. Thompson, 230, 297, 441-442, 453, 463, 482,504, 510, 514, 516-518, 527, 529, 534-535, 552, 558, 567-56. Scott, 3.
SYRIA. Founder and first President of Syrian Protestant College, later the American University of Beirut. It “wielded an immense influence all over western Asia and northeastern Africa.” Latourette, VI 44. A.J. Brown, 1010.
BLISS, Howard S.
SYRIA. Son of Daniel Bliss. Second President of Syrian Protestant College. Latourette, VI 44.
THOMSON, Rev. & Mrs. William McClure, D.D.
(December 31, 1806 - April 8, 1894)
SYRIA. Born Springdale, OH, on Dec. 31, 1806. After graduating Miami University, he entered Princeton Theological Seminary in 1829. However left for Syria in 1831 as ABCFM missionary, arriving in Beirut Feb. 24, 1832. Served for 43 years until 1876. (Wife Maria served until her death in 1873.) In 1835 opened a boarding school for boys which was closed in 1845 because of war between Druzes and Marionites. In 1870 Syria Mission was transferred from ABCFM to Presbyterian BFM. He was a fellow the Asiatic Society and the Royal Geographical Society. Preached at Beirut in both Arabic and English. Author of definitive book on Middle East, The Land and the Book. “He was a tower of strength to the mission amid many difficulties and perils of the early heroic period of missionary effort in Syria.” A.J. Brown, 982. Nevin.
CALHOUN, Rev. & Mrs. Simeon H. (Emily P. Raynolds)
( - 1876)
SYRIA. Appointed by ABCFM in 1844. Served until his death in 1876. Wife served 1849-1885. Reopened Thomson’s school for boys in 1845 in Abeih. A.J. Brown, 1008, 1133.
EDDY, Rev. & Mrs. William W. (Hannah M. Dondit)
( - 1900) & ( - 1904)
SYRIA. Served 1851 until his death in 1900. His wife, Hannah M. Dondit Eddy, served 1851 until her death in 1904. A.J. Brown,1008, 1133.
BIRD, Rev. & Mrs. William (Sarah F. Gordon)
( - 1902) & ( - 1920)
SYRIA. He served from 1853 until his death in 1902. She served from 1853 until her death in 1920. A.J. Brown, 1133.
JESSUP, Rev. Henry H.
SYRIA. Served 1856 until his death in 1910. His first wife, Caroline Bush Jessup, Served 1858 until her death in 1854. First of a family of Jessups engaged in evangelistic work. A.J. Brown, 1008, 1134.
EDDY, Dr. Mary Pierson
SYRIA. Though nominally a member of Beirut station, she itinerated throughout mission field doing medical work especially with women and children. Opened a Woman’s Hospital and Dispensary at Junieh. Founded Hamlin Tuberculosis Sanitarium in 1908. A.J. Brown, 996f.
BREWER, Rev. Josiah
ASIA MINOR. In letters to the Western Foreign Missionary Society 1832 - 34, he appealed for help in “the great work of re-evangelizing the lands which were first called Christian” and stated that he was “the only American and almost the only Protestant missionary among the six millions of benighted inhabitants of Asia Minor.” The Society took Mr. Brewer under its care, along with Mr. Thomas Brown, printer, and his wife. However, unexpectedly Brown returned to U.S., in light of which connection of Brewer with the Society was dissolved. A.J. Brown, 28f.