Joseph W. Martin Articles

Betsey Stockton – A Slave Who Dreamed of Greatness


Betsey Stockton was born into a slave family around 1798. Her parents were the property of Elizabeth (Stockton) Green, the daughter of a wealthy landowner in Princeton, New Jersey.

Betsey was characterized as a restless child growing up, but she underwent a remarkable change following her conversion during a revival that hit Princeton in 1816. She was accepted for membership in the First Presbyterian Church and was baptized.

After Betsey was emancipated in 1817, she continued to work in the Green home as a paid servant. She was allowed to use the family’s extensive library and was personally mentored by Ashbel Green, who later became the president of Princeton University.

Harriet Tubman – The Woman called “Moses”


Slavery began in America in the 1600s and lasted for more than 200 years. In order to escape dehumanizing conditions, many blacks were led to freedom via an elaborate network of tunnels, roads and safehouses known as the Underground Railroad.

Along its routes, slaves were led from one station to the next by conductors who were abolitionists and former slaves. The most famous guide among these was the legendary Harriet Tubman.

Harriet was born Araminta Harriet Ross in 1820 to African parents in Bucktown, Maryland. Life was extremely hard for the family of 11 children.

Harriet Beecher Stowe – American Abolitionist


In 1863 Abraham Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe at the White House and said, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war.” He was referring to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which helped to divide the nation over the issue of slavery.

Noted author Harriet Beecher was born on June 14, 1811, in Litchfield, Connecticut. Her father, Lyman, was a prominent anti-slavery preacher, a founder of the American Bible Society and the father of 11 children. Her mother died when Harriet was only 4.

Harriet became an avid reader and a good student. One of her favorite places was her father’s study, where she would snuggle up in the corner with a good book by authors such as Cotton Mather and John Bunyan. Often she would sit and watch her father prepare his sermons.

Margaret Fell Fox – Mother of the Quakers


During the 1600s George Fox started a reformation movement known as the Quakers. Also called the Society of Friends, this group was known for its silent meetings, which emphasized individual experience and communion with God, its pacifist political stance and its members’ commitment to social justice.

This sect played a very significant role in changing the scope of Christianity in England and the new colonies. But if it had not been for the tireless efforts of one woman, the movement might never have gotten off the ground.

Margaret Askew was born in 1614 to a wealthy family in Lancashire, England. While still a teen-ager she married Thomas Fell, who was much older than she.

Louise Laymen Sumrall

Fervent and Fearless

The first time Louise Laymen heard the voice of her husband-to-be, Lester Sumrall, it was coming from a shortwave radio that was tuned to station HCJB, “The Voice of the Andes,” in Quito, Ecuador. A young missionary, Louise was stationed in Argentina, and she thought this might be the same minister she’d heard about from acquaintances in her native Canada.

Friends had spoken highly of Sumrall, well-known as a missionary, revivalist and author, who had ministered in the area. She became curious and wondered if he would come to Argentina.

Patroness Of Revival

The First Great Awakening brought major social and religious changes to England that quickly spread to the colonies in America. At a time of great moral and spiritual darkness, evangelists began to preach that all must repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. But this far-reaching spiritual revival might never have been propagated except for the efforts of one woman–Lady Selina Shirley Huntingdon.

Lady Selina was born into an aristocratic family in England in 1707. As a child she was a quiet, religious girl who was often melancholy. During her adolescence however, she blossomed into a charming, outgoing young woman who was at home in high society.

Pandita Ramabai – Champion of Women’s Rights


Throughout the history of India it was traditionally men who were concerned with improving the status of women. It was not until the late 19th and early 20th centuries that a number of influential women reformers arose. The most notable of these was Pandita Ramabai.

Pandita was born in 1858 into an orthodox Hindu Brahmin family. This upper-caste sect mandated prepubertal marriage for girls and denied women educational opportunities. However, Pandita’s father was a priest, scholar and social reformer who had a liberal, progressive view of the caste system. While traveling on endless pilgrimages throughout India he gave public lectures on the need of women for education. He provided Pandita an extensive formal education with a focus on Sanskrit.

Pandita soon became a famed lecturer who, like her father, championed women’s rights. She had witnessed the suffering of child widows and the uneducated and wanted to help them. Oppressed women became her first call to service.

Susanna Wesley Mother Of Methodism


Most historians consider John and Charles Wesley the two founders of the Methodist church. But behind these men stood a strong mother whose influence molded and shaped their destinies.

Susanna Annesley was born on January 20, 1669, in London, England. She was the youngest of 25 children.

Her minister father took special interest in Susanna and gave her rare opportunities for “formal” education. He also allowed her to take part in theological discussions with his minister colleagues.

Lillian Hunt Thrasher

THE NILE MOTHER


She was called the greatest woman in Egypt and was recognized by national leaders for her humanitarian work. About 6 feet in height, Lillian Trasher stood tall in both body and spirit. Throughout her 51 years of ministry she fed, clothed and sheltered thousands of orphans, widows and blind women.

She was born in Florida in 1887 and was converted in her teen-age years. At the age of 18, Lillian sensed the call of God on her life and briefly attended Bible school. She left school to work in an orphanage in North Carolina. Later she left the orphanage to pastor a church and then traveled on the evangelistic circuit.

Edna Jean Horn

RADIO PIONEER

Edna Jean Green was born on October 23, 1909, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Salvation Army officers. She was the oldest of six children. Her parents eventually left the Salvation Army and assumed the leadership of a Holiness church in Ionia, Michigan.

Edna Jean started preaching in her parent’s church at the age of 12. As a teen-ager she had her own tent but was accompanied by her father because of her young age. They traveled extensively throughout the Midwestern states conducting open-air, brush arbor and tent meetings. Other meetings were conducted in churches and meeting halls.

Edna Jean was widely accepted by various denominational churches. In 1925, she received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which gave her ministry a new fire and intensity.

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