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Cary, Lott (1780–10 November 1828), Baptist preacher and missionary to Africa, was born on a plantation in Charles City County, Virginia, thirty miles from Richmond, the son of slave parents, names unknown. His grandmother Mihala had a strong influence on Lott’s early religious development. He married around 1800 and with his first wife (name unknown) had two children. Lott’s master sent him to Richmond in 1804 as a hired slave laborer. He worked in the Shockoe Tobacco Warehouse first as a laborer, then as a shipping clerk....

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Liele, George (1751–1828), pioneering Baptist clergyman and African-American émigré to Jamaica, pioneering Baptist clergyman and African-American émigré to Jamaica, said of his slave origins, “I was born in Virginia, my father’s name was Liele, and my mother’s name Nancy; I cannot ascertain much of them, as I went to several parts of America when young, and at length resided in New Georgia” ( ...

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McCoy, Isaac (13 June 1784–21 June 1846), Baptist missionary, surveyor, and U.S. Indian agent, was born near Uniontown, Pennsylvania, the son of William McCoy, a clergyman. His mother’s name is unknown. When he was six years old, his family moved to Kentucky, where he attended public schools. At nineteen he married Christiana Polke, who had strong religious convictions and missionary spirit and became his dedicated partner throughout his life. They had thirteen children....

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Lucy Waterbury Peabody Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-107375).

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Peabody, Lucy Whitehead McGill Waterbury (02 March 1861–26 February 1949), Baptist and interdenominational lay leader in women's foreign mission organizations, Baptist and interdenominational lay leader in women’s foreign mission organizations, was born in Belmont, Kansas, the daughter of Canadian-born William McGill, a merchant, and Sarah Hart. Soon after Lucy’s birth the family moved to Pittsford, New York, her mother’s birthplace, and a few years later to nearby Rochester, where Lucy graduated from high school as valedictorian (1878) and taught for three years at the city’s State School for the Deaf. In 1881 she married Norman Waterbury, a recent graduate of Rochester Theological Seminary, and the couple soon sailed for Madras, India, under appointment of the American Baptist Missionary Union (ABMU) as missionaries to Telegu-speaking people. An outgoing, gregarious woman, Lucy Waterbury effectively conducted a teaching ministry among women. Her husband died of dysentery in November 1886, and the young widow arrived back in Rochester the following August with their two surviving children. (One other child had died.)...

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Peck, John Mason (31 October 1789–14 March 1858), Baptist missionary and educator, was born near Litchfield, Connecticut, the son of Asa Peck and Hannah Farnum, farmers. Hard work on poor farmland left little time for schooling, and Peck struggled to overcome that deficiency through private study. By 1807 he was teaching school in Greene County, New York, where he met Sarah Paine, whom he married in 1809. When the first of their ten children was born, Sarah Peck questioned the traditional Congregationalist practice of baptizing infants. Her husband tried to answer her doubts but found that he too could not justify such a ritual. The couple affiliated with Baptists thereafter, and Peck soon devoted himself to that denomination. Licensed to preach in 1811 and ordained in Catskill, New York, in 1813, he served as minister and schoolteacher in small towns such as Catskill and Amenia, New York. In 1815 he met ...

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Rice, Luther (25 March 1783–25 September 1836), Baptist missionary and missionary agent, was born in Northborough, Massachusetts, the son of Amos Rice and Sarah Graves, farmers. He grew up on the family farm and in March 1802 joined the local Congregational church. Rice became an avid reader of classic and popular religious books. In 1805 he entered Leicester Academy and in 1807 matriculated at Williams College. While there, he helped to organize a prayer society called the Brethren, who were devoted to foreign missions. While still enrolled at Williams College, he jointly enrolled in Andover Theological Seminary. In the summer of 1810 Massachusetts ministers organized the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to support foreign missionaries. In August 1810 Rice graduated from Williams College and asked Rebecca Eaton to marry him. She initially accepted but later refused to become the wife of a foreign missionary. Both of them remained unmarried for the rest of their lives. In January 1812 the American Board of Commissioners appointed four men from among the Brethren to be their first missionaries. Rice wished to join the group, a request granted with the stipulation that he raise his own funds. Successful at procuring support, he was commissioned with the others in a service at Salem, Massachusetts, on 6 February 1812....

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Smith, Hezekiah (21 April 1737–24 January 1805), Baptist clergyman and missionary, was born in Hempstead, Long Island, New York, the son of Peter Smith and Rebecca Nichols, probably farmers. The family soon moved to Morris County, New Jersey, where in February 1756 Hezekiah repudiated the family’s Church of England affiliation to receive baptism at the hands of Baptist minister ...