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DAVID ABEEL--Father of Amoy Mission
Thanks to Richard Anderson, descendant of David Abeel, for photos of Abeel and the grave (some of which he has posted at 
The Reformed Church of China (Amoy Mission, started by the Reformed Church of America (Dutch) Excerpts from Abeel's Memoirs
David Abeel, Founder of Amoy Mission and Pioneer Educator

¡°Scarcely had the smoke from the battleships of the British fleet, that captured Amoy on the 27th of August 1841, cleared from the horizon when Rev. David Abeel [yabeli, ÑÅÙÂÀí] landed on these shores,¡ªsix months before the signing of the Nankin treaty. Rev. Wm. J. Boone, Bishop of the American Episcopal Church arrived at the same time, but as we shall see presently he remained here one or two years only. They were the first Protestant missionaries in Amoy.¡±
                       ¡°In and about Amoy,¡± Rev. Philip Wilson Pitcher, 1912, p.299

David Abeel was born June 12, 1804, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and died in Albany, New York, on Sept. 4, 1848, but within his short 42 years he not only pioneered the Amoy Mission, which led to building China's first Protestant church and the most successful mission, but also pioneered women's education in the East.  This was no small feat because in China, women and girls were not expected to think, much less be educated (read the rather amusing account of how difficult it was to "teach Chinese girls to think").  

David Abeel Father  Reformed Church of America Founder of Amoy Mission and Women's Education in ChinaT
he Society for Promoting Female Education in China, India and the East was founded 25 July 1834. It began with Abeel'svisit to England, and his appeal for women missionaries to work with Chinese women.  By 1838 the name was shortened to Society for Promoting Female Education in the East, and was often simply referred to as the Female Education Society.

Below is a short biography written by Rev. Fagg for The Chinese Recorder, and reprinted in the June, 1895 edition of "The Mission Field."

David Abeel, Missionary to China
By Rev. Fagg in THE MISSION FIELD June 1895.

A Chinese house under a wide~spreading banyan on the island of Kolangsu, opposite Amoy, still stands a landmark of the labors of godly David Abeel. He was the first foreign missionary sent out by the American Reformed Church, and was the pioneer of the Amoy mission.

He was born June 12th, 1804, at New Brunswick, New Jersey, and at the age of nineteen entered New Brunswick Theological Seminary. It was not long before the question forced itself upon him, "Where shall be my sphere of labor?" Near his home was a grove where he made a bower to which he resorted for prayer and meditation. There he heard the voice of the Lord calling him to the regions beyond. He was at that time the only surviving son of his parents. They were advanced in years. To go to a foreign land in those days signified to most men life-long exile. Under these circumstances it is not strange that he found it difficult to come to a decision.

Finally, in September, I829, after a pastorate at Athens, N. Y. of two and a half years, he received a call from the American Seamen's Friend Society to undertake work on behalf of seamen at Canton. About the same time the American Board extended a call to Dr. Elijah Coleman Bridgman, then a student at Andover, to proceed by the same ship to China. Abeel was given three days to decide whether he would accompany him. He had decided within the next twenty-four hours,

The ship Roman, in which Abeel and Bridgman sailed, was owned by D. W. C. Olyphant, a distinguished Christian merchant and friend of missions. It was in response to his earnest efforts that these first American missionaries were sent out. He gave them free passage and promised to provide them a home free of cost for a year after their arrival. After a year of service, under the Seamen's
Friend Society at Canton, Abeel joined the American Board.

He was forthwith commissioned to make an exploring tour to Malacca, Siam, Java, and the other larger islands of the East Indies. He was to ascertain the character of the people, their number, their their religion, and the practicability of establishing missions among them. He visited Batavia, Singapore and Bangkok, and spent a year in Siam.

But failing health compelled him in May, 1833, to take ship for England. Whi1e¡ªin London in 1934, Dr. Abeel was instrumental in organizing the Women¡¯s Missionary Society, called ¡°Te Society for Female Education in the East.¡± The first appeal was drawn up by him, and the profits of his ¡°Missionary Narrative¡± were devoted to its support.

His extraordinary piety impressed people wherever he went. A lady in London says: ¡°There was nothing austere, narrow-minded or extravagant in his religion. There was a beautiful symmetry, a holiness, refinement and tenderness about it which struck the most ungodly. Though so weak physically that he scarcely expected to reach America he addressed a meeting in Exeter Hall and challenged young men in the colleges to join the missionary ranks." Said he, with unusual energy, "And who has given you a dispensation to remain at home when the whole world is calling,so loudly for assistance?¡±

Arriving in America Dr. Abeel made a missionary tour through nearly all the Reformed Churches in New Yorkand New Jersey. He addressed Congregational Churches in the principal cities of New England. His appeals to the students at Andover, Princeton and New Brunswick were a bugle-call to many a young man to join the Lord¡¯s advance-guard in the distant East.

He once more set sail for Canton in the autumn of 1838, and arrived at Canton on the eve of the first war between England and China. The universal unrest made direct missionary work impossible. The American Board commissioned him to make another voyage of investigation through the East Indies, and during his absence the treaty of 1842, which declared Amoy one of the five open ports, was signed. Amoy was no sooner opened than Dr. Abeel hastened thither. He arrived there February 23, 1842. Though he had but a limited knowledge of the Amoy dialect he began work immediately. Throngs of curious onlookers, as well as interested bearers, crowded the little worship room from dawn to dark. The courtesies of the highest officials were extended to him.

In 1844 Messrs. Pohlman and Elihu Doty, fromDavid Abeel Tomb in  Green-wood Cemetery Brooklyn Kings County  New York the Borneo mission, joined him as co-laborers. But he was not to enjoy their fellowship very long. Disease was making deeper and deeper inroads upon his .constitution. He had but barely entered upon the realization of many hopes and prayers, in working for the Chinese in China, when the summons came to lay down his armor. He labored faithfully to the very last, and his work was not in vain. The first two converts at Amoy, baptized in 1846, ascribed their earliest impressions to his preaching. In January, 1845, he sailed for New York, ¡°doubtful,¡± as he says, ¡°which home I shall reach first.¡± He survived a little over a year, dying at Albany, New York, September 4th, 1846.
                                              J.G. Fagg in ¡°The Chinese Recorder.

Note: Abeel is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, Kings County, New York.  The photo was provided by Richard Anderson, Abeel's descendant.
Click Here for excerpts from Abeel's Memoirs

Please Help the "The Amoy Mission Project!"Cartoon of Amoy Missionary with Bible in one hand and piano in the other Please share any relevant biographical material and photos for the website and upcoming book, or consider helping with the costs of the site and research materials.   All text and photos will remain your property, and photos will be imprinted to prevent unauthorized use. 


Dr. Bill   Xiamen University MBA Center
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The Reformed Church of China (Amoy Mission, started by the Reformed Church of America (Dutch)  in Amoy Hea-mun (aka Ameouy )A.M. Main Menu
List of Amoy Mission Reformed Church of America (Dutch) Missionaries in ChinaRCA Miss'ry List
Reformed Church of China's Amoy Mission 1877 Report by DuryeaAmoyMission-1877
Fifty Years in Amoy Story of Amoy Mission by Philip Wilson Pitcher Reformed Church of ChinaAmoyMission-1893
David Abeel Father of the Amoy Mission, and China's first education for girls and women
Abeel, David
Henry and Sarah Beltman, Amoy Mission  1902-1928?Beltman
Boot Family of the Amoy Mission,South Fujian ChinaBoot Family
Ruth Broekema Amoy Mission 1921 1951Broekema, Ruth
Henry and Sarah Beltman, Amoy Mission  1902-1928?Bruce, Elizabeth
William Burns, Scottish Missionary to China, visited Amoy Burns, Wm.
John Caldwell China Coast Family Caldwells
Henry and Kate Depree Amoy Mission  1907 to 1948DePree
Dr. John Otte and Hope Hospital Develder, Wally
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Douglas CarstairsDouglas, Carstairs
Elihu Doty RCA Missionary to Amoy ChinaDoty, Elihu
Rev William Rankin Duryea, D.D. The Amoy Mission 1877Duryea, Wm. Rankin
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. Stella Girard Veenschoten
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..Stella Girard VeenschotenKeith H.
Dr. John Otte and Hope Hospital Homeschool
Richard and Johanna Hofstra of the Amoy MIssion ChinaHofstras
Tena Holkeboer Amoy Mission, Hope HospitalHolkeboer, Tena
Dr. Clarence Holleman and his wife Ruth Eleanor Vanden Berg Holleman were RCA missionaries on AmoyHolleman, M.D.
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Stella Girard Veenschoten
Johnston Bio
Rev. and Mrs. Joralman of the Amoy MissionJoralmans
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Dr. Clarence Holleman and his wife Ruth Eleanor Vanden Berg Holleman were RCA missionaries on AmoyKip, Leonard W.
William Vander Meer  Talmage College Fukien Christian UniversityMeer Wm. Vander
Margaret Morrison, Amoy Mission  1892-1931Morrison, Margaret
John Muilenberg Amoy MissionMuilenbergs
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Theodore Oltman M.D. Amoy Missionary DoctorOltman, M.D.
Reverend Alvin Ostrum, of the Amoy Mission, Fujian ChinaOstrum, Alvin
Dr. John Otte and Hope Hospital Otte,M.D.Stella Girard VeenschotenLast Days
Henry and Mary Voskuil Amoy MissionPlatz, Jessie
Reverend W. J. Pohlman, Amoy MIssion, Fujian ChinaPohlman, W. J.
Henry and Dorothy Poppen, RCA Missionaries to Amoy China Amoy Mission Project 1841-1951Poppen, H.& D.
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Herman and Bessie Renskers Amoy Mission  1910-1933Renskers
Dr. John Otte and Hope Hospital Talmage, J.V.N.

Lyman and Rose Talman Amoy Mission  1916 to 1931Talman, Dr.
Stella Girard VeenschotenVeenschotens
. Nelson VeenschotenHenry V.Stella Girard VeenschotenStella V.
. Dr. John Otte and Hope Hospital Girard V.
Jeanette Veldman, Amoy Mission ChinaVeldman, J.
Henry and Mary Voskuil Amoy MissionVoskuil, H & M
Jean Walvoord Amoy Mission  1931-1951Walvoord
A. Livingston WarnshuisWarnshuis, A.L.
Nellie Zwemer Amoy Mission  1891-1930Zwemer, Nellie
"The MIssion Cemetery of Fuh-Chau" / Foochow by Rev.J.W. Wiley , M.D. (also mispelled Wylie )Fuh-chau Cemetery
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