Peyton Adams Eubank
Missionary - Africa 1882 - 1892

Memories of a Missionary Tour of Duty in Africa: 1882 - 1892
by Laura Boardman Houchens Eubank
Wife of Rev. Peyton Adams Eubank
Missionaries To Nigeria 1882
Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board, Richmond, VA.

Our Mission Station In Lagos

Word was conveyed to Brother David, our one American missionary who, with his wife constituted our whole force there. Soon he was down to meet us on his little pony. It was almost as glad a day for him as for long they had been alone and waited for inforcements. "

He was a small man, very handsome and attractive with dark hair and eyes. Very quick and energetic in his manner and altogether very efficient. Soon we were introduced to his wife and all their native helpers, and the"emission family" consisting of a lot of native children. They had lost their only child, little Bessie.

Our mission station was well located - just one block from the Marina on, the street that runs parallel to the water. Lagos was a town of 3500 inhabitants also on the Island of Lagos. It was a colony of the British government and had a small colony of white people - government officials, traders and missionaries. The part of the town along the water front had quite a civilized appearance with its churches, schools, homes of white people, shops and government buildings. But back of this, all over town was the same appearance that one meets in the interior cities, houses with mud walls and thatch roof, native street markets and people in all stages of undress. Some good English spoken, much broken English, and the majority knew no English at all. Churches and schools were supported by the Church of England, much like the Episcopalians, the Wesleyans (English Methodist), our American Southern Baptist Mission, and the Catholics.

Our mission had been established about 1840 and continued with varying degrees of success till it was closed by the Civil War. During this time, a number of missionaries had come and gone and others had fallen victims of the treacherous climate, and their graves remained a monument to the reputation of the climate as "the white man's graveyard." Thus a monument was left in the small beginning of their mission work which had to be abandoned when the missionaries were driven home by the Civil War for lack of support.

It vas perhaps about 1875 when Brother David, Just out of the Seminary, was fired by a desire to go out and re-open this deserted mission station, and was put out by the Southern Baptist Board of Richmonds Virginia. He found little of the old work except missionaries graves, and a few scattered native Christians who gladly welcomed this new teacher whom he began to gather together and organize the new work. Later he returned home to report the condition of the work, and again was sent out - this time with his young wife, Naomi Bland David, who till her death in 1885, remained a faithful and enthusiatic supporter of the work. Almost her last words before she was buried at sea were,"Never give up Africa." This was the couple we found when we went out in 1882. The work consisted at that time of a small church and school in Lagos, housed in the same small building with mud walls and floor, and a thatch roof.


August 2000 - Notes - WRE Jr.

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