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.
To resume my story. I was speaking of gods of the people. One of their most powerful gods was Shango, the god of thunder and lightning -- and a fearful conception it was. If a man's house was struck by lightning, it was proof that Shango was angry with him, and he was not allowed to interfere to extinguish the flames. He must let it burn.
(Page 28) It was said that a man could often take advantage of this to set fire to the house of an enemy and attribute it to Shango,
I think I have never any place, under any circumstances seen such wild excitement as was created at one time by the death of a woman who was returning to Oyo from a small village near by in a storm and was struck by lightning. The people went wild. Shango was angry and something must be done to appease him (?)! So the Shango priests established themselves on the spot where the woman was killed. No one was allowed to remove or to touch her. A shelter, I think, was built over her, her husband's house was besieged and robbed of every thing he had because they had offended Shango. And the poor helpless man had no idea what it was all about!
Mean time the body of his wife, who was the cause of all his trouble, lay for days out in the open country guarded by the priests while thousands and thousands of people kept up a constant procession marching to this place with singing, shouting, and beating drums and tom-toms and making every conceivable noise, taking their gifts and offerings to the priests to atone for the wrong, whatever it was, and to propitiate Shango. This continued for days till the priests were sufficiently enriched and Shango was sufficiently enriched and the Shango was sufficiently propitiated, I. suppose.
There was a kind of institution or organization called Oro whose entire object was to terrify the women and keep them in subjection. This was a ruse of the men and if asked of its purpose -- to terrify the women.
I think the women were really not deceived -- that they did not believe Oro was a god, But just the same, they had to obey at the peril of their lives. These men would come out after dark in large numbers with the most hideous, unearthly noises -- hideous even to us who knew what it was. The rule was that no woman was allowed to appear on the streets when Oro was out. If she did her life paid the price of disobedience. At times they had a week of Oro confinement, during which time no woman dared to venture out. There was an old chief in Abbeokuta, I remember. I cannot recall his name, for his very name was a terror to the people. On one of these occasions one of his wives went down to the gate to buy something. All the compounds were surrounded by very high mud walls, so that we could not see out. Well, he saw her returning and thought she had been out. So he cut off her head and it was said, made all his wives pass by and taste her blood as a lesson in obedience.
One of the wives was a girl we called Janie, a girl who lived in the house of our missionaries there. How he knew her, I do not know but he conceived the idea of getting her for his wife. One of the lady missionaries took Janie on horseback behind her and tried to escape with her to Legos. But the girl was pursued, dragged from her horses and forced to become the mans wife. It was some years before she had an opportunity to escape and by that time she had a boy several years old. When her chance came, she made her escape without the child, thereby the father would take care of his own child. But instead of this, he murdered the boy for revenge on his mother, When we knew Janie, years later in Legos, she was a faithful member of our church. A bright-faced, happy looking woman -- happy, no doubt in the freedom of her present life as compared with her past.
There was also another of his wives in our church there who had escaped and whose poor' pitiful face born evidence of his cruelty.
This too is another tragic story. But surely we have had enough! Do people say that the heathen will be allowed on account of his ignorance? Will this man be seated at the right hand of God because he was a "poor ignorant heathen? I think not. No man, heathen or otherwise, is as ignorant that he does not know the evil of such a course. We send them the Gospel that they may be led to repentance and forgiveness of their sins.
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