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William Ashmore, D. D.
Early Baptist Missionary to China
The Baptist Encyclopedia, 1881

      William Ashmore, D. D., was born in Putnam, O., Dec. 25, 1821. He was a graduate of Granville College, and of the Covington Theological Institution. In 1848 he was ordained pastor of the Baptist church at Hamilton, O. The following year he received an appointment as a missionary to the foreign field, and sailed from New York Aug. 17, 1850, for China, arriving at Hong-Kong Jan. 4, 1851, and at Bangkok, April 14, 1851. He applied himself with conscientious diligence to the acquisition of the Chinese language, and was soon able to come into closer contact with the people. Excursions were made to the adjacent villages and out-stations selected for occupancy. Mr. Ashmore labored from house to house, conversing with the inmates, distributing tracts, and in such ways as his wisdom dictated sought to bring home the truth to the hearts and consciences of the people. In this kind of work, quiet and unostentatious, the faithful missionary labored on for several years.

      The health of Mrs. Ashmore made it necessary that her husband and herself should leave Bangkok for a season. The hope that the change would benefit her was doomed to be disappointed. She died at sea, off the Cape of Good Hope, May 19, 1858. A lady of rare qualities of mind and heart, her death was a sad loss to her bereaved husband. The January previous to her death Dr. Ashmore had been transferred to Hong-Kong, which, for some time, continued to be the scene of his missionary toils. It was his purpose to have gone to Swatow, to labor among the Chinese in the Tie Chiu district, but his health was so poor that he was compelled to abandon his purpose and return to his native land, which he reached in the summer of 1860.

      In the month of July, 1864, he returned to China, accompanied by his second wife, the youngest daughter of Judge Dunlevy, of Lebanon, O. Another locality having been better suited to missionary purposes than Swatow, Dr. Ashmore and the other missionaries removed to Kak-Chie, not far from their former residence. Several out-stations were under his charge, and the work progressed successfully, taking into consideration all the circumstances under which it was done. The number of church members under the watch-care of Dr. Ashmore in 1870 was 142. He reports for the next year 40 persons baptized, and for the next, 42. In 1875, Dr. and Mrs. Ashmore returned to the United States on account of the poor health of Mrs. Ashmore. On their return-trip they reached Swatow about the 1st of December, 1877, "very much to the relief and gratification of the other missionary." Under date of April, 1878, Dr. Ashmore writes a hopeful letter, as he sums up what has been accomplished within the past dozen years, and adds, "We have had some 20 applicants for baptism. 12 of these were baptized." The latest intelligence from him was under date of July 15, when at the monthly church-meeting there were 15 or 16 candidates for baptism. That the life of so valuable a missionary as Dr. Ashmore may be spared we may earnestly pray.

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[William Cathcart, editor, The Baptist Encyclopedia, 1881; rpt. 1988, p. 45. - jrd]

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     The following is from the "History of the East Baptist Church, Lebanon, Ohio" in the Miami Baptist Association Minutes, 1877. Author not stated:

     [1863] The pulpit, however, being frequently closed, but the Church was fortunate in securing for a number of months a stated supply in the person of the Rev. Wm. Ashmore, of Swatow, China, who was then visiting this country and this, his native State. The Church was much profited by the ministry of Bro. Ashmore and extended him a call to the pastorate which, however, he declined, to return to his chosen work in China. [p. 19]

     The Church has also its representative on the foreign field in the person of Mrs. Eliza Ashmore, a wife of Dr. Wm. Ashmore, and daughter of our venerable Bro. A. H. Dunlevy. [p. 20.]

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William Ashmore, Jr.

      William Ashmore, Jr. was born in Bangkok, Siam, and came with his brother to America when very young. His mother died on the homeward voyage, and was buried at sea, the children being cared for by friends on the ship. He entered Brown University in 1866, and after the completion of his course spent several years in teaching and travel abroad. A course at Rochester Theological Seminary further prepared him for his life work, and in 1879 he sailed for Swatow, China. Varied forms of mission work, notably the boys' boarding school and the direction of native preachers, have claimed his attention; but that for which he is particularly fitted, by natural gifts and scholarship, is Scripture translation. He has rendered into the Swatow vernacular a considerable part of the New Testament, and revised the entire New Testament, including previous translations by others.
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[From The Baptist Missionary Magazine, Volume LXXXIV, 1904, p. 602. jrd]

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