The Death of Mrs. Anderson, 1882
When 1882 began, Mrs. Anderson's days on earth
were nearly numbered. The wearied worker, who had known no tire in the service
of others, was about to enter into rest. Tender memories of early days in
Jamaica filled Mr. Anderson's mind as he penned the following letter regarding
his dying wife to his old friend Mr. Chisholm, on Thursday evening, January 12
. . . This is one of my numerous anniversaries.
Forty-two years to-day since I first saw the companion of my pilgrimage. That
was in Carron Mall Church, Sabbath 12, 1840. Only saw her that day, however.
Wondered who she could be. Delighted on Monday morning when Mrs. Cowan
introduced me to her as "our teacher, Miss Louisa." Feared some days ago that I
might be taking my last look of her to-day; but there is still hope of recovery,
for which I feel grateful.
Captain Davies, Nubia, who credits Mrs. A. with
having saved his life on one occasion, has just calledhas not seen her, though;
tells me he leaves tomorrow at noon. It must be eighteen or twenty years ago.
When Captain Davies arrived here he was prostrated by fever. "Up to the
mission-house" was the charm in those days. He was brought up helpless. Same
evening steamer's doctor took fever, and went to Old Town mission-house for
change. Mrs. A. nursed and doctored Captain D. for, I think, a week. He was able
to go on boardbut, what a surprise! The doctor had then been in his grave two
days. Captain D. has never forgotten this. . . .
Mr. Edgerley and I get on exceedingly well
together. His medical attainments are a great help to us. He is not very strong.
Friday.Mrs. A. nearly just as she has been for
weeks. Was very low about midnight, but felt somewhat revived in the morning.
Should I not write next week, you can consider "No news, good news."
On January 26, Mrs. Anderson fell asleep. The
following intimation of her death was sent out by Mr. Anderson :
Duke Town Mission-House, Old
January 27, 1882.
Dear Friend,I have to intimate to you that it
has pleased our Heavenly Father to remove from me and to take home to Himself
the faithful companion of my pilgrimage for upwards of forty years. After a
lengthened illness, she peacefully "fell asleep" yesterday morning at 3 o'clock.
With her all is wellwell for ever.Confident that I shall have an interest in
your sympathy and prayers, I am, dear friend, your afflicted, but not forsaken,
To the Clohan family Mr. Anderson wrote on
February 6, giving full particulars of Mrs. Anderson's illness and death:
Dearly beloved Friends,Ere this reaches you you
will have received a formal notice of the sore bereavement with which I was
visited on January 26.
My loved departed one was not at all strong
during the course of last year. I see from my church roll that she was nine
Sabbaths absent on account of illness, and that on six or seven other Sabbaths
she was able to be only a "half-day hearer." From Sabbath October 9, till
Sabbath November 20, she enjoyed her last spell of tolerable health, and was
able to attend all the three services during all the consecutive seven Sabbaths.
. . . She was in church only one Sabbath after November 20, and that was on
December 18, when she managed to be present at all the three services. She was,
indeed, in church once again, viz. on Thursday, December 22, at a General
Conference of the Mission with Deputies sent out from the Mission Board. She
took an active part in the deliberations of the Conferencereturned to the
househad to retire to her room. I do not remember that she left her apartment
againtill carried out.
She suffered severely for a time. . . . For a
time I continued to hope against hope, but from the commencement the doctor gave
no hope of permanent recovery.
Wednesday, Dec. 28.Very low, but looks forward
to the end with great composure. She gave me some directions as to the
distribution of her clothing among her house girls and other faithful female
friends. . . . When she had told me how she wished her effects disposed of, I
hinted that I trusted that all arrangements were complete in regard to eternity.
She expressed herself on this point in the full assurance of hope, and gave me
to understand that she had entered into covenant with the Master before she saw
Thursday, 29.Very low, but resigned and even
cheerful in prospect of the departure. Forgot to say above that yesterday she
gave me directions about the funeral. To-day she joined her nurse and me in
singing several hymns"There is a fountain " (tune in Sankcy's), the 48th
Paraphrase, and "Shall we meet beyond the river?"
Sabbath, Jan. 1, 1882.A happy New Year's Day for
my loved sufferer, though it could hardly be called a merry one. I had the aid
and fellowship of Rev. D. Marshall. Felt grateful for this.
There was but little change in her from Sabbath
Jan. 1, till Saturday Jan. 14. I had been hoping against hope, and earnestly
praying for her restoration ; but at the latter date, January 14, the conviction
forced itself upon meI may say for the first timethat she is no longer mine.
Very tranquil, yea, very cheerful but-passing away.
Sabbath, Jan. 15.Lighter and easier to-day. Oh
that she might live before Thee!
Tuesday, 17.She distributed a few last gifts
to-day, and gave parting charges to several of her old house girls, who had
come, accompanied by their husbands and children, to see her. The scene was
deeply solemn and impressive. She was somewhat unconscious during a part of the
day, and gave utterance to a great many pleasant things, though somewhat
incoherently. This showed, however, her happy frame of mind. . . .
Sabbath, 22.The last Sabbath below. Not able to
say much to-day. In the evening I told her what I had been preaching on to the
English congregationGen. xlix. 18: "I have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord." I
gave her my divisions, which seemed to interest her:
1. Salvation is wholly of God"Thy."
2. Salvation is a personal matter"I."
3. Salvation requires exercise of faith and
4. Salvation is the only thing of value on the
bed of death. She joined me in singing "The gates ajar," greatly emphasising the
refrain, "For me." This was, in so far as I am aware, her last song on earth.
Wednesday, 25.Sang portions of her favourite
hymns in an undertone. This seemed to soothe her. The end was evidently near.
Paroxysms of pain, but the mind at rest, firmly leaning on the Rock. Frequently
when asked, "How are you feeling?" the reply was, "Weary, weary." The rest was
Thursday, 26.I was with her till after 2 A.M.
The breathing became so difficult that I could not stand it. I stepped into my
study and drew up several circulars which I saw would soon be needed. Had just
finished, was stepping out, met Mrs. Fuller [the nurse] at the door with these
words on her lips, "All is over." The clock then struck three. She had passed
peacefully away at length. I entered the chamber of death, and felt thankful to
see her at rest. Farewell now, my loved one, to all those severe pains which
have racked the frail body time after time for years.
From 4 A.M. till 4 P.M. the room was never empty.
It was indeed a "lying in state" for twelve hours. Group after group came to
take a last look. I never saw a countenance so lovely in death.
About five in the evening we committed the mortal
remains to their lowly resting-place, in the sure and blessed hope of a glorious
I need hardly say that all our Mission friends,
and, indeed, all our European friends, have shown their deep sympathy with the
living and the highest respect for the dead.
Mr. Edgerlcy wrote from Duke Town :
I feel strange in saying to myself, "Mrs.
Anderson is no more." She has been so long an important and prominent personage
in connection with this field, that I can hardly believe that she is no longer
one of us. With all her energy, she suffered much for many years from internal
ailments, and her continued activity, with pain and disease sapping her
strength, shows the vigour of her mind and will. She has with indignation made
men quail under her reproof for wrong-doing, and she has also robbed herself of
rest, night after night, tending motherless native infants. A woman said truly
of her the other day, " She has saved many a head from being cut off, and many
an ear too,"mutilation was a form of punishment. More than once native chiefs
and others were stubborn to Mr. Anderson, but would yield to her with " Ma mine,
I can't say no to you!" Yes! she is gone. She died yesterday morning, and was
buried at half-past four in the afternoon. The large turn-out of natives and
Europeans at the service in church showed the respect felt for her.
We are sure that many a prayer will be offered on
behalf of Mr. Anderson, that he may be cheered and comforted in his loneliness.
Mrs. Cowan, late of Carron Hall, wrote from
Edinburgh to Mr. Anderson a beautiful letter of sympathy, in which the following
reference to Mrs. Anderson's character occurs:
She was the crown of our work at Carron Hall. We
never had a fault to find with her. I cannot think of any more perfect
Edward Hyde Hewett, Esq., H.B.M.'s Consul for the
Bight of Biafra, wrote to Mr. Anderson from London:
I cannot allow a mail to leave for the Coast
without sending you a line in expression of my very great sorrow at the loss you
have sustained. ... I beg of you to accept my sincere condolence and the
assurance of my profoundest sympathy. I had looked forward to my return to the
Coast with a certain amount of pleasure, from the fact that I should again see
you and Mrs. Anderson, and I had arranged in my own mind a very comfortable
Consulate on the Hill at Old Calabar, intending to ask Mrs. Anderson to look
after my household affairs. With the company of her and of yourself, my dear
friend, I should have been perfectly happy. I shall be glad to know of your
movements. Will you be coming home? For myself and for the good of Old Calabar,
I hope not. ... I pray that you may be supported in your affliction by that
almighty and good Father who alone can afford real consolation.
Mrs. Hewan, a former fellow-worker in Old Calabar,
wrote an appreciative account of Mrs. Anderson's life and work for Our Sisters
in Other Lands (January and April 1883), from which I take the following
Her influence at Duke Town was very great; her
self-sacrificing exertions to save life, her unwearied nursing of the sick, day
and night, the number of poor, wretched, homeless creatures whom she succoured,
and the many children, both boys and girls, whom she had always under training,
fitting them to become useful members of society, rise before me as I write. No
one can estimate the good which she has accomplished during the thirty-four
years of her residence in Africa. All was done in such a quiet, unobtrusive way
that it was only those most intimate with her, or associated with her in the
work, who knew the busy life she led, and that, too, in the midst of much bodily
She soothed and cheered the last moments of many
who, far from home and friends, were taken to the Duke Town mission-house that
they might have the benefit of her tender care and nursing, and also nursed back
to life many who would, humanly speaking, have died but for her. In 1864 the
gentlemen of the river showed their high esteem for her by entertaining her at a
breakfast on board one of the ships, when they presented her with a piece of
silver plate bearing a suitable inscription, recording their high appreciation
of her many sterling Christian qualities, and their gratitude for her many acts
of kindness and motherly attentions. The sentiment of gratitude pervading the
community was deep and universal. . .
There was a deep undercurrent of piety and
spirituality of mind, which her reserved nature in a great measure concealed.
Miss Edgerley kindly wrote from Creek Town
mission-house, under date 30th May 1896, an interesting letter of reminiscences
of Mrs. Anderson :
My first introduction to Mr. and Mrs. Anderson
was in 1848, on the eve of their sailing for Old Calabar. Then I went with
another friend to meet them on their first visit home from Calabar in 1852. I
then saw for the first time two Calabar children brought home by Mrs. A.
Mrs. A. was a wise and sensible woman, and
although she never gave advice unsought, she was ever ready to give it when
asked. She was a real mother to many of the white traders; in sickness, many a
one has she had brought up to the mission-house and nursed most faithfully. Many
a poor castaway sick slave has she had brought in and nursed, also twins and
other orphans; many a woman has she trained to wash and dress. Her girls used to
make the finest bread when I came to Calabar, and many other useful works did
the girls learn. Mrs. A. did not eat the bread of idleness, for she was up at
five in the morning, and called up her household at half-past five, when there
was a stir upstairs and downstairs in the yard. Morning prayers were punctual at
seven, and breakfast was immediately after, and everyone was expected to be at
the table promptly, no waiting for anyone who was not ready. Mrs. A. was very
methodical in everything. If any quarrel got up on the Hill, Mrs. Anderson was
the one they ran to, and she would very soon settle them, and send them off
laughing, or else quieted, at any rate. In cases of sickness or accident she was
often resorted to, either for adult or infant, and the people had every
confidence in her skill. She was builder of houses, and road surveyor, etc. In
some things she was dauntless, such as pursuing a thief at night, and taking a
cutlass out of his hand and sending him off.
She was very good to me all my time here, and the
last time I was privileged to be with her was when the Deputies came, shortly
before her death. Mrs. A. has been well missed at Duke Town, where she lived and
laboured so long. "Truly the memory of the just is blessed."
Dr. Adam of Liverpool, who saw much of Mr. and
Mrs. Anderson in Calabar between 1858 and 1863, writes :
I scarcely remember whether there is any record
of the life and work of Mrs. Anderson ; yet no history of the mission work in
Calabar will be complete without some prominent notice of this lady. I know not
how it has come to pass that so little has been said or written of Mrs.
Anderson. She was one who went about doing good ; as nurse, as matron, friend,
adviser, and hostess she was unequalled. Mr. Anderson's influence was largely
owing to the "veiled and silent woman" who never wearied in well-doing, and
whose skilful, loving hand was skilfully concealed. In his early years, Mr.
Anderson, with his strong hand and head and robust temper, was by no means
famous for making or keeping friends, but his wife's hallowed presence atoned
An old chief, Henny Cobham, who was a devoted
admirer of Mrs. A., summed up her good points tersely and concisely: "I tell you
true, them woman be best man for mission."
In an interesting series of articles published in
the Missionary Record, the Rev. D. Marshall, who visited Calabar as a Deputy
from the Church, wrote as follows"
Duke Town has an estimated population of 6000. It
is a not over-cleanly accumulation of mud houses, closely packed, with footpaths
instead of streets, which are rutted and cross-cut by torrents in the rainy
season, so that great care is required in walking on them by day ; and at night,
without the moon or a lantern, a serious mishap is almost certain to
unaccustomed feet. The mission buildings are placed on the top of the Hill, the
proper situation, no doubt, for the dwelling-houses, as being the highest and
healthiest spot in the whole locality, but it may be very fairly questioned
whether the church and school would not have been better planted down in the
town, in the heart of the population. The Rev. William Anderson is in charge of
the station here. He came thirty-four years ago, and during this long period he
has laboured for Christ among the heathen in this dark land with unflagging
diligence and zeal. All along, till January last, Mrs. Anderson was with him,
sharing ungrudgingly his work and trials. Many a sad sight they have witnessed
together, many a struggle they have maintained together in behalf of the
oppressed, many a privation they have endured together; and now that death has
come between and parted them, we are sure that in his loneliness and sorrow he
has the warm sympathy of the whole Church, whom he has served so long and well.
In Mrs. Anderson the Mission has suffered a great loss.
He also says :
We must not omit to mention another institution,
which, though not commonly named among missionary instrumentalities, is yet one
of the most effective of them. The missionary's house, with its refined and
orderly ways, the motherly influence exercised by his wife over the numerous
household, and its ministrations to the many who come to it in quest of advice,
or help, or consolation, is a great power for good. The very building is an
exhibition of civilisation ; and, associated with the character and work of the
occupants, there it stands on the top of the hill, a public declaration for
righteousness, and protest against iniquity ; while, because of the twin
children and refugees who have found a sanctuary there, it is a plea for mercy
in a cruel land. It is at once a mind, a conscience, and a heart to the land.
Further, the orphans are trained to good habits and useful accomplishments ;
great pains are bestowed on the formation of their character and principles;
twice a day they are called together to family worship, in which they take a
direct part in reading the chapter, answering questions, and repeating portions
of Scripture or verses of hymns they have learned; and when they reach an age at
which they must leave to begin the world for themselves, they carry into their
new situations of life much of the spirit and ideas of the house where they were
brought up. There are well-doing men and women in Calabar now, who look back
with pleasure on the days they spent in their mission home, and who gratefully
ascribe to that connection their indebtedness for what they are. Such a blessed
influence has been shed abroad for years in Duke Town from the dwelling of Mr.
and Mrs. Anderson ; and the homes of Mr. and Mrs. Goldie, and of Mr. and Mrs.
Edgerley, have been in like manner fountains of blessing in Creek Town.
In a letter to Mr. Chisholm of date April 29,
1882, Mr. Anderson wrote:
I have instructed Miss Isabella Lamb (Mrs. A.'s
banker) to receive no more contributions from any quarter for the support of any
of our household children. I feel that I cannot hold myself responsible for the
proper outlay of such contributions. I must indeed maintain those already on
hand, so long as I am beside them, or they are beside me; but I prefer to do
what I can without foreign aid.
Only a few days ago I had a fine-looking young
woman and two pretty little babies sent to my care by one of our biggest
gentlemen. The children were only a few hours old, so I begged Mrs. Edgerley to
look after them for a week, which she kindly engaged to do. I do not know
whether she will transfer the group to me at the close of the weekI would
rather not. If she retain them, I shall allow her something from our unexhausted
funds. . . .
The domestic machine still moves on under the
impulse it received from its departed directress. We have four boys (two of them
twin-brothers) who can run errands, carry water, etc. The eldest house-girl
her name is Juliahad a great deal of Mrs. A.'s confidence, and often acted as
stewardess during Mrs. A.'s sick seasons. She acts very much as stewardess
still. I suppose she has been with us about twenty years. She must be fully
thirtyno beautybut very steady and anxious to please. The next girl is the
cookshe is called Mary Stewartmust have been with us ten or twelve yearsmust
be fully twenty. She is a little glaiket now and then, but "Ah, Mary, suppose
Mammy live, you no bring me soup so," or "you no burn bread so," is enough to
bring the tear to Mary's eye. We have other four girls three of them, I think,
as well as the four boys, at school. The twin establishment is separate
somewhat. At present I have four mothers and three or four children not
including the two at present with Mrs. Edgerley. . . .
Mrs. A. left a number of pet goats, pet fowls,
pet dogs and cats, and pet plants. I do my best with all. Her most valuable dog,
however, did not seem able to survive herdied two or three weeks after she left
me. I feel a sacred pleasure in looking after her animals and plants. Almost all
the trees on the premises are of her planting or my own. My first walk in the
morning and my last in the evening is to her quiet resting-place. I enjoy a
great deal of happiness connected with her memory, though I need hardly say that
I do miss her. As I sit at my study tablepresented to me in 1848 by yourself
and friendsI have her photo within a foot of me, a hat and a gown hanging on
the wall before me, a pair of her boots on one of my bookshelvesbut these are
poor substitutes for her ain sel'. However, as I said to her when on her
deathbed, "Our separation cannot be a very long one." You are aware, I think,
that on the 15th inst. I enter my 71st year. On Sabbath, March 12th, I felt so
vigorous that I said to Mr. Edgerley, "Ah! my home friends must be praying for
me to-daythey will just have heard of her death." I see from a letter of Mrs.
Duncan's that on that day, March 12th, Dr. Thomson prayed very earnestly for me
in Broughton Place Church. I have no doubt that other friends were also
remembering me at the throne.
In a letter to Mrs. Duncan, [Mrs. Duncan and her
husband were old friends of Mr. Anderson. They contributed liberally to the
support of native children in the Duke Town mission-house. Mrs. Duncan, after a
long life of active Christian benevolence, of unostentatious kindness to
missionaries, and of help to all in need, "fell asleep" on Jan. 7, 1897.] Heriot
Row, Edinburgh, dated June 3, 1882, Mr. Anderson relates in an amusing way an
incident connected with the Deputies' visit:
Mr. Williamson was the last preacher that my
beloved Louisa ever heard. She did not hear his last sermon here, however
which was his last in pure English. He preached afterwards at Creek Town, but
his English had to be interpreted. His last text here on Christmas evening was
these words in Eph. iii. 15: "The whole family in heaven and earth,"a capital
He had to leave us at sunset to go up to Creek
Town in a boat, and he wished to be iveel Jiappit, as he would be exposed to the
chill of the evening immediately after preaching. I produced the never-failing
coat of your gudeman's which you dashed to mea dash which I have found
frequently to be very usefultold him to whom it had belonged, and got him all
trig for the voyage. He was to be sure to give me back the coat on his return
from up the river. He did not return for eight or nine days. I had forgot all
about the coatand indeed I never remembered it till a fortnight or so after the
Deputies left. 1 then inquired on all sides about the coat, but could hear.
nothing, and concluded that Mr. W. must have packed it up in mistake with his
own clothing. I meant to write him a very lugubrious epistle on the subject,
lamenting the evil influences of heathenism on even a Christian minister who had
borne a good name for so many years, on the cruelty of a robust young man
depriving a frail old missionary of his old coat, etc. etc. But lo ! the death
stroke has intervened, and that drives all nonsense away.
I mentioned the matter some time after to a
friendly supercargo. He said nothing in reply, but went off to the store of the
merchant whose boat had taken Mr. W. up to Creek Town, and made inquiries. "Oh
yes," said the merchant, "there is an old coat hanging up there which no one
seems to know anything about." It is handed to my friend, and he reads the
maker's name on the back of the neck, "R. & J. Elliot, Dalkeith." "Ah, this is
the very article wanted;" and so he brought it up to-me in triumph the next
I have been now eighteen weeks alone. You have
passed through the same experience, and can fully sympathise with me. Her photo
is within two feet of me, her books I use daily at morning and evening worship,
her gown and hat hang on the wall before me, her boots and shoes stand beside me
on my bookcase. I have her resting-place to visit every morning and evening, her
favourite plants to look after, her favourite goats, dogs, and cats to look
after, her bairns to superintend in a way\ but all this does not make up for the
want 0 her ain sell. Vet I have great reason to be thankful. The domestic
machine still moves on in the direction and under the influence of the impetus
given by her. I feel that the Saviour is nearer than everthat is, I suppose,
that I am leaning harder on Him now than I ever did before.
Your Christina [A native named after .Mrs.
Duncan.] I do not know well what to say about her. I think I wrote you that the
gentleman whose wife she became shortly after she left us, died. She remained
mourning like the Calabar women for a month or two, and then entered the harem
of one of the most influential of our young native chiefs. She lives as one of
his wives, but is entrusted with keys, money, and goods, more than any of them.
She makes herself very useful as clerk and accountant. There are two things
noteworthy in her(1) she is always respectably dressed; (2) she is a regular
attender at church. She seems as one morally blindfolded for the present. I am
not altogether without hope that your prayers and ours on her behalf will be
answered, and that she will yet see her folly and repent of it. We can only pray
and wait. None of our other house-girls seem to mourn the death of Mammy more
than Christina does. Our young converts have fearful influences to contend with.
A miracle that any of them stand steadfast.
In another letter to Mrs. Duncan, of date Nov. 4,
1882, Mr. Anderson wrote regarding the Rev. E. W. Jarrett and his wife, who were
located at Duke Town :
. . . Thanks for all your sisterly, motherly
counsels in regard to self-preservation. JuliaMrs. A.'s confidential handmaid
for many yearshas looked after the cooking department very well, though it
could not be expected that all things should be so nicely conducted as in the
days " departed never to return."
I have received a great acquisition to my
household latelyor a pair of acquisitionsin Mr. and Mrs. Jarrett. Mr. Jarrett
was ordained by one of the°Jamaica Presbyteries a few months ago, and he and
Mrs. J. are located with me, and are for the present my boarders. They with
Miss M'Phun from Glasgow, and Mr. John Morison, a mechanicarrived here on Oct.
19, which would have been my Louisa's sixty-fourth birthday had she been still
tarrying with usI do not know how they compute time up yonder. Mrs. Jarrett has
relieved me greatly; in a week or two, when she has picked up a few sentences of
the native tongue, she will be able to relieve me altogether of what isto
methe somewhat irksome task of housekeepingthough I think I have done very
well during these fort)7 weeks of solitude. . . .
I have been kindly invited by the Mission Board
to take a trip home on furlough. Brethren and M.D.s think-that ĞI should accept
the invitation. I mean to do so. My five years will be up in the end of this
month, and though I feel more vigorous at present than I have done for some
years, yet the slightest over-exertion of either body or mind knocks me up very
much. A change may confirm health for a few years to come. . . .
Our great work goes on slowly but surely. We are
frequently receiving tokens for good. I often feel as if we had too little faith
in the power of the word we preach. Mr. Goldie gave us a capital sermon at our
anniversary meeting in September from the text, "According unto your faith be it
In the Record for Dec. 1882 it is stated :
We have the prospect of seeing Mr. Anderson home
on furlough at no distant date. It is now five years since he returned to
Calabar from his last furlough ; and that furlough was rather a period of work,
for he spent a large portion of it in Jamaica, doing service in connection with
the Mission there. Besides several attacks of illness during the past year or
two, the sore bereavement which he recently experienced in the death of Mrs.
Anderson has told heavily upon him ; and it cannot be wondered at that one who
has passed through these trials after he has turned threescore and ten, is in
need of rest and change. The Foreign Mission Board have invited him to leave his
work for a time, and though with much reluctance, he has consented to do so; he
only wishes to postpone his coming for a few months, until Mr. and Mrs. Jarrett,
who arc to be settled meanwhile at Duke Town, are introduced somewhat into the
customs of the country. In a touching letter just received from Mr. Anderson, he
speaks of his native land as now "a land of strangers" to him. "All my early
companions (he says; have gone over to the majority. Mere I feel at home. I know
everybody, and everybody knows me. How different in Scotland! Another point:
during my 42 or 43 years of foreign service I have returned to my native land
five times, but never alone. Now, if go I must, it must be 'empty.'"
We are sure that, though Mr. Anderson on his
arrival may miss many of his contemporaries, he will yet find many friends who
will be ready to bid him welcome, and eager to hear what he has to say about the
claims of that mission field where he has laboured so many years, and where his
name is as a household word among the people.
On December 22, 1882, two of the Duke Town
mission-houses were burned to the ground. The one was the house occupied by Mr.
Anderson and Mr. and Mrs. Jarrett. The other was an older house adjoining Mr.
Anderson's, and was occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Peebles. After the fire these
parties were accommodated in the houses occupied by Mr. Edgerley and Miss M'Phun.
The Record remarked :
It is a fortunate circumstance that the New Year
Offering for 1883 is to be devoted to the improvement of the mission property at
Old Calabar. ... It is desirable that the Mission Board be in a position,
without any delay, to restore these houses, as well as to put the other mission
property in a state of thorough repair.
In the Record for March 1883 it is stated:--
We have just learned that the friends in the
river at Duke Town have kindly furnished a beautiful brass tablet, with a
suitable inscription, as a memorial of the late Mrs. Anderson. The tablet has
been attached to the inside wall of the Duke Town Church, near the place where
Mrs. Anderson was accustomed to sit. This is an evidence of the high regard
which was entertained for Mrs. Anderson, not only by the native Christians, but
by the European traders, to whom, as was the case with Mrs. Sutherland, she
showed much kindness and rendered many Christian services. Mr. A. has been much
cheered by this mark of respect for the memory of the departed.
In the Report for 1882, Mr. Anderson says:
The past year has been to us one of tribulation.
We have experienced severe trials of different kinds. We trust that sunshine
will in due time follow storm.
There has been a decrease in the membership of
the Church. No fewer than six of our little band have been removed by the hand
of death. There has also been a secession from our ranks. Sabbath services have
been conducted as in former years. . . .
Mr. Edgerley's services have been of immense
value in regard to both bodily ailments and soul sickness. He and Mrs. Edgerley
conduct several important classes of young people, who meet from time to time in
their prayer-room. . . . Mrs. Edgerley has been active in her exertions for the
benefit of the women.
Besides the congregational weekly prayer meeting
held in the church, we have three meetings weekly in different parts of the
town. These meetings afford us the opportunity of proclaiming the gospel weekly
to several hundreds who do not attend sanctuary service on Sabbath.
We have been privileged during the year to hail
the arrival of fresh forces. Miss M'Phun seems eminently qualified for the
important work to which she has been designated. Mr. and Mrs. Jarrett are just
entering on their work and their trials too.
The late destruction of our dwellings has been to
Mr. and Mrs. Jarrett, to Mr. and Mrs. Peebles, and to the writer of these lines,
a " fiery trial " indeed. We trust that it will work for good, not only for
ourselves personally, but also for the station and for the Mission.
At the same time, Mr. Edgerley writes:
At the request of the Deputies, the Presbytery
associated me with Mr. Anderson, on account of his weakness and ill-health. I
have therefore been here since the commencement of January. Mr. Anderson is
better, but although he moves about much, it is evident that his strength is not
what it once was.
The death of the Rev. S. H. Edgerley at Duke Town
on February 24, 1883, was a great loss to the Mission. Mr. Anderson, in a letter
in the Children's Magazine, June 1883, wrote as follows regarding Mr. Edgerley:
He fell calmly asleep in Jesus about 9 o'clock on
the evening of Saturday the 24th of February. To him life's Saturday night had
also come, and he lay down to repose till he shall be awakened by the sound of
the archangel's trumpet on the morning of that glorious Sabbath which awaits all
the people of God. His devoted wife, his attached sister, and two of his
missionary brethren, stood around his bed during his last moments. We commended
the parting spirit to the care of Him who holdeth the keys of Hades and of
death, and, unseen by us, the attending angels beckoned him away to the realms
of the blest.
Mr. Edgerley came to Old Calabar in 1854, and has
thus been among us for about twenty-nine years. He has occupied different
positionsteacher, printer, evangelist, explorer, and ordained missionaryand
has ably discharged the duties of each position so long as he occupied it. My
venerable brother, Mr. Goldie, shows in his communication in the Record for May
how much he valued our departed associate. In a letter which I have just
received from my esteemed brother, Mr. Beedie, of date, Ikorofiong, April 10,
1883, he says: "Mr. Edgerley's death has made a sad blank in our working staff.
I have little hope of one being got in all respects equal to him. But God is
able to train up labourers for His vineyard, and we must never forget that the
work is His." To me he has been during the last thirteen months of his life as
my right hand. . . .
During the course of last year I read a very
touching biographythat of the late Dr. George Wilson [of Edinburgh]. After I
had read it, I presented it to my departed brother. While perusing the volume,
it occurred to me that there were several striking points of resemblance between
the two men. Both were subject to seasons of great exhaustion and severe pain,
but in their worst seasons both were ever anxious to work, and ever ready with
bright flashes of playfulness and wit.
Referring to Mr. Edgerley's bodily infirmities,
Mr. Goldie wrote :
Mr. Edgerley freely spent himself in journeys [of
exploration], and was always attacked by sickness on his return. In 1877 he was
brought down to the gates of death, but was graciously restored for further duty
; and it was when at home at this time recruiting that he further qualified
himself for it by studying medicine. Though regaining health to rejoin the
Mission, his disease had left a permanent infirmity of the internal organs,
which rendered him more liable to sickness, and, as it proved, made him unable
to make use of quinine, our chief medicine preventive and curative of fever.
Plow-ever, he did not consider that to live was the chief end of man, but to be
obedient to duty; and considering that he could most profitably expend his
talents in the Mission to which he had given himself, he returned to fill up
whatever day of labour the Master might appoint to him.
Mr. Anderson continues:
Mr. Edgerley's last exploratory journey [to Atam,
up Cross River] was too much for him. Undertaken with a strong desire to advance
the Master's glory, and to promote the usefulness of our newly-arrived
fellow-labourers [Messrs. Clerk and Jarrett], I considered his death as truly
that of a martyr. When we assembled in the church on the morning of Sabbath,
February 25, to perform for him the last offices of earthly friendship, I could
declare to the large audience in all sincerity that we met not at that time to
bemoan the death of a victim, but to celebrate the triumph of a victor; for we
could sing in full confidence, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is
thy victory?" Thanks be unto God, who has given our brother Edgerley the victorv
through our Lord Jesus Christ!
I may mention here that our brother's remains
were, in agreement with his own request, borne to the grave [at Creek Town] from
the boat by the students whom he had been teaching to preach the glorious gospel
Mr. Edgerley's age, when he left us, reminds me
of Lev. xxv. 8, 9, "seven times seven years," and then came his glorious
The preceding letter was written in Scotland, to
which Mr. Anderson had come in April, in time to be present at the meeting of
Synod in May.
In the Record for July 2, 1883, it is stated :
Our missionaries at Old Calabar have been
receiving substantial tokens of the kindness and confidence of friends outside
the Mission. The gentlemen of the river have presented our little congregation
at Duke Town with a fine American organ, which cost between .£40 and £50. As the
Rev. William Anderson was leaving Calabar, he received a letter from Consul
Hewett, enclosing a bill for ,£40, "from some European friends in the river,"
who wished in this way "to recoup him for the loss sustained by the fire in
December last." The Consul adds that he and many other friends part with Mr.
Anderson in the hope that the change home may benefit his health, and that he
may soon return to Old Calabar, "to resume the good work in which so many years
of his life have been spent."