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Rev. C. H. Carpenter
Early Baptist Missionary to Burmah
The Baptist Encyclopedia, 1881

[p. 184]
Rev. C. H. Carpenter was born in 1835, and was a graduate of Harvard University and the Newton Theological Institution. He received his appointment July 1, 1862, and sailed the following October for Burmah. On reaching Rangoon the following May, Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter found a home in the family of Dr. Binney, whose assistant he was to be in the management of the theological seminary. At once his warmest sympathies were enlisted for the Karens, of whom he says, "If there is a people anywhere eager to learn, it is the Karens. They come down to Kemendine sometimes hundreds of miles, on foot, not to make money, but to study. I wish you could see Dr. Binneys' 62 bare-footed, bare-legged students of
[p. 185]
theology." Dr. Binney, under date of Oct. 24, 1863, wrote, "Mr. Carpenter has commenced to give some instruction in arithmetic, and I think he is doing well. The main object of this early effort is to get, as soon as possible, into communication with the pupils, and then to feel his way along. It is hard work, but it is to be hoped it will pay well." A year from this date, he speaks in warm terms of the success of his assistant and wife, and of the progress he had made in learning the language. Dr. Binney having retired from the institution in 1865, Mr. Carpenter and Mr. Smith had the supervision of its affairs. After the return of Dr. Binney, near the close of 1866, Mr. Carpenter continued his connection with him, Mr. Smith removing to Henthada. Mr. Carpenter remained in the department of instruction in the theological seminary until his transfer to Bassein, in December, 1868, to fill the place made vacant by the death of Mr. Thomas. His labors at this station were eminently successful, until his failing health obliged him for a time to be absent from his field. He left for the United States early in 1872. At the request of the Burmah Baptist Association, Mr. Carpenter on leaving Bassein visited Siam, on a missionary exploring expedition. He crossed the boundary between British Burmah and Siam, at a point known as "Three Pagodas," and made his way to the residence of the Pwo Karen, governor of the district of Phra-thoowan. He was accompanied in this journey by several native assistants. Together they visited 43 villages. The households, which were in the valley of one of the rivers which they passed through, were believed to be more than 1000 in number, or about.5000 persons. The estimate of the whole number of Karens in the country which was traversed made it not far from 50,000.

After remaining in this country for some time, Mr. Carpenter returned to Burmah, under appointment as president of the Rangoon Baptist College. He was convinced that it would be better to remove the college to Bassein, but his wishes in this respect were overruled, and he was transferred to the Bassein station, to resume the work which had previously occupied his thoughts and energies. The report of the first twelve months' work presents many things to inspire hope and encouragement. The number baptized was 282. In like manner, the next twelve months were crowded with hard work, and attended with some peculiar trials. He reports in the stations and out-stations under his special charge 85 churches and 114 native preachers, the number of church members being 6366. The work at Bassein has gone forward under the direction of Mr. Carpenter with healthful progress. The report of the Executive Committee, presented in May last, speaks encouragingly of his labors. If the life and health of Mr. Carpenter are spared, his usefulness will increase from year to year, and the Bassein, S'gau, and Karen missions will be among the most prosperous in Asia.

[From William Cathcart, editor, The Baptist Encyclopedia, 1881; reprint, 1988. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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