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Cameron, Donaldina Mackenzie (26 July 1869–04 January 1968), missionary and social reformer, was born on the South Island of New Zealand, the daughter of Allan Cameron and Isabella Mackenzie, sheep ranchers. The family relocated to the San Joaquin Valley in California in 1871 and began raising sheep. After his wife’s death in 1874, Allan Cameron and his children moved to the San Jose area, where he worked for other ranchers and his older daughters kept house. Donaldina attended a local girls’ school, and after the Camerons moved to Oakland she went to high school. Her father became manager of a sheep ranch near Los Angeles, and the family relocated once again when Donaldina was age fifteen. She then began studying to become a teacher at Los Angeles Normal School, but in 1887 she discontinued her studies after the death of her father....

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James T. Holly. Currier & Ives lithograph, 1875. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-93450 ).

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Holly, James Theodore (30 October 1829–13 March 1911), black emigrationist, missionary, and bishop, was born free in Washington, D.C., the son of James Overton Holly, a bootmaker, and Jane (maiden name unknown). At fourteen he and his family moved to Brooklyn, where he worked with his father. By 1848, while clerking for ...

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Leavitt, Mary Greenleaf Clement (22 September 1830–05 February 1912), reformer and temperance missionary, was born in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, the daughter of Joshua H. Clement, a Baptist minister, and Eliza Harvey. She received her early education in Hopkinton and Thetford, Vermont. At the age of sixteen she began to teach in schools in New Hampshire and Vermont. After a year of study at the Thetford Academy, she enrolled in the Massachusetts State Normal School at West Newton. She graduated in 1851 and taught in Dover, Massachusetts, then in Boston at the Quincy Grammar School (1852–1854) and the Boylston Grammar School (1854–1857). In 1857 she quit work to marry Thomas H. Leavitt, a land speculator from Greenfield, Massachusetts, with whom she had three daughters. Her husband was a spendthrift and was incapable of supporting his family, so in 1867 Leavitt opened a private school in her home. Opposed to the school, her husband left his family to settle in Nebraska. The couple divorced in 1878....

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Pierson, Abraham (1609–09 August 1678), colonial minister, missionary, leader of Branford, Connecticut, and cofounder of Newark, New Jersey, was born in Yorkshire, England. Nothing is known about his parents or his youth. He prepared for the ministry at Trinity College, Cambridge University, graduated in 1632, and was subsequently ordained as pastor at Newark, Nottinghamshire, before emigrating to America in 1639 or 1640. Pierson settled in Southampton, Long Island, which at the time was part of the Connecticut Colony. However, he preferred the religious climate of the New Haven Colony, which required prospective church members to present evidence of spiritual conversion and undertake a public profession of faith. Consequently, sometime after 1643 he, his wife, Abigail (Wheelwright), and their children crossed Long Island Sound to the New Haven Colony, which, under the influence of Puritan divine ...

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Porter, Eliza Emily Chappell (05 November 1807–01 January 1888), educator, relief worker, and missionary, was born in Geneseo, New York, the daughter of Robert Chappell and Elizabeth Kneeland, farmers. In 1811 her father died, increasing her emotional attachment to her highly religious mother. Nevertheless, when affluent relatives offered a home to the bright, attractive child, she agreed to live with them in Franklin, New York. She was educated with the family’s children but could not overcome her longing for her mother and guilt at the separation. She returned at twelve and, amid bouts of illness made worse by harsh medical treatments, sought comfort in religion. She joined the Presbyterian church in 1822; at fifteen she and her mother moved to Rochester to continue her education. Upon the death of her sister in childbirth, both returned to Geneseo....

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Wood, Thomas Bond (17 March 1844–18 December 1922), Methodist missionary, educator, and social reformer, was born in Lafayette, Indiana, the son of Aaron Wood, a Methodist minister, and Maria Hitt. He entered Indiana Asbury (later DePauw University) and then Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, receiving an A.B. from both institutions. He earned an M.A. from both universities (Indiana Asbury, 1866; Wesleyan, 1867). During this time he taught German and natural science at Wesleyan Academy in Wilbraham, Massachusetts (1864–1867). The New England Conference of the Methodist Episcopal church licensed him to preach in 1865 and ordained him deacon (1867) and elder (1868). He married Ellen Dow in 1867; they had at least four children. He transferred to the North-West Indiana Conference, the conference of his father, where he served as president of Valparaiso College (1867–1869) before his appointment as a missionary to Argentina....