Nigeria experienced an influx of missionaries from the 15th Century until the early 20th Century. The French, Portuguese, British, and the Catholic-controlled Italian government all undertook efforts to convert the country. Crowther, Slessor, Townsend, Waddell, and the rest of the missionaries were all brought to the country as a result of these activities. If you wish to learn more about all of these people, this article will provide you with a comprehensive list of early missionaries in Nigeria.
FULL LIST OF EARLY MISSIONARIES IN NIGERIA
In no particular order, the following is a comprehensive list of the first Nigerian missionaries:
REVEREND SAMUEL AJAYI CROWTHER
Samuel Crowther was a member of the first British-sponsored Niger Expedition, which took place in 1841. He was essential in the foundation of Christian missions in Nigeria, having been a liberated African slave from Freetown, Sierra Leone, of Yoruba descent. As a Christian Missionary Society missionary, he composed hymns and translated the Bible into Yoruba. In 1845, he was ordained, and in 1864, he was consecrated as a Bishop.
Slessor was a United Presbyterian Church missionary of Scottish descent. When she landed in Nigeria in 1876, she was the first single female missionary. Her missionary work was concentrated in Calabar and the surrounding communities. She advocated for women’s rights and the protection of children, including the prohibition of twin homicide in the Efik districts.
REVEREND WILLIAMS ANDERSON
Anderson worked for the Scottish Presbyterian Church as a missionary in Scotland. He arrived in Nigeria later that year after being ordained, specifically Duke Town in Calabar, where he served as the mission’s Head of Station until his retirement in 1891. In conjunction with Rev. Hope Masterson Waddell, he promoted various social reforms, including the banning of human sacrifices in aristocratic funerals.
REVEREND HOPE MASTERSON WADDELL
Hope Waddell arrived in Calabar in 1846 as a Scottish Presbyterian Church missionary. He continued to teach English and convert the natives to Christianity for another seven years. Human sacrifices were abolished in the Calabar area thanks to him and other missionaries. He is honored with the Hope Waddell Institute.
REVEREND HENRY TOWNSEND
Townsend was a missionary of the Church of England’s Christian Missionary Society who arrived in Nigeria in 1843. He built the Ake Church in Abeokuta in 1844. He returned to Abeokuta after receiving his ordination in England in 1843, where he and his wife Sarah Townsend lived until 1867. From 1871 until 1872, the couple moved to Lagos to serve as co-principals of the Christian Missionary Society (CMS). He is also said to have assisted Rev. Ajayi Crowther in the authoring of Yoruba hymns and the publication of a Yoruba newspaper in 1859.
Sarah Townsend was a Christian Missionary Society missionary and the wife of Rev. Henry Townsend. She spent nearly two years helping to develop a mission presence in Abeokuta.
REV. HENRY TOWNSEND
From 1871 until 1872, she and her husband, Rev. Henry Townsend, served as co-principals of the C.M.S Female Institution of Lagos.
THOMAS BIRCH FREEMAN
Thomas Freeman was a Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society missionary who arrived in Nigeria in response to a request for a minister from liberated slaves from Freetown of Yoruba and Aku descent living in modern-day Lagos. He built a Mission building and Chapel with the help of other missionaries such as William De Graft, which was finished in June 1842. He went on missionary trips to Egba, Abeokuta, and Dahomey.
She was the wife of Thomas Birch Freeman and a member of the Nigerian missionary voyage. She served as an evangelical missionary in West Africa from 1937 until her death in 1838.
In June 1859, he landed in Nigeria as a missionary from Sierra Leone. He oversaw the Ake Church in Abeokuta, which was built by Rev. Henry Townsend. He was so committed to the Ake Church’s expansion that he was ordained a Priest and the church developed to a capacity of 188 members.
In 1936, Henry Nau, an American missionary with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), and his wife began preparing for WELS in Nigeria.
William Schweppe was a Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod missionary who arrived in Nigeria in 1937 to lead WELS’ mission activity. He founded churches at Ibesikpo, Akwa Ibom, which eventually became the Lutheran Church of Nigeria.
Dr. William Schweppe’s wife was Leola. The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod tasked her and her husband with leading missionary excursions in Nigeria. In Ibesikpo, Akwa Ibom, they were able to effectively establish churches.
During the mid-1940s, he was a missionary with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and he worked in Ibesikpo.
Baer showed up in Nigeria between 1944 and 1948 as core component of the missionary staff encamped in Ibesikpo by the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
Between 1944 and 1948, Edgar Greve was a member of the missionary team in Nigeria. He was a member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
Between 1944 and 1948, William Winter Winter served as a missionary for the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod in Ibesikpo.
Between 1944 and 1948, Were worked as a missionary for the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod in Ibesikpo.
Jefferson was a Southern Baptist missionary in the United States. In the Ijiaye area, he established a mission chapel, as well as a mission station at Ogbomosho. He also continued his missionary work, going to Badagry and then Abeokuta before returning to the United States owing to deteriorating health.
Anna had been a Christian Missionary Society missionary from the United Kingdom. She arrived in Ibadan in 1852 with her husband, David Hinderer, and together they established a mission as well as schools for young children, which she taught and oversaw.
Johanna was a Christian Reformed Church missionary who arrived in Nigeria in June 1920. During her missions in Nigeria, she was said to have made memorable contributions to the communities she served.
He arrived in Badagry on June 25, 1849, as a German missionary with the Church Missionary Society. Because Badagry was so welcoming to missionaries at the time, he traveled to Abeokuta before settling in Ibadan in 1853, where he continued to preach and educate young children with the help of his wife, Anna Hinderer.
After arriving in Ijaye from Abeokuta in 1853, he became a missionary and began preaching the gospel.
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Good morning, Daniel.
I am doing some research on Jennifer Louise Weller (my father’s cousin) who I believe was a Christian missionary in Nigeria from about 1971 to 1993 or so. I am hoping you can help me. She was a missionary before that but I have been able to find nothing on this.
About all I can find about her is her date of birth: Dec 1, 1929 at the Tower of London, and her date of death: Aug 15 2008 in Guildford.
I do hope you can help me with this!
J.H. Sam Weller