On This Day in UB History

In 2017, the United Brethren denomination is celebrating its 250th anniversary. As part of that, we are recognizing people and events from throughout our history. Throughout 2017, brief articles about something from our history that occurred on that day are being posted on UBCentral and Facebook.

Below are the posts made thus far. The links take you to the post on UBCentral.

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January 3, 1901: Birth of former bishop Clyde W. Meadows.

January 7, 1955: Dedication of Centennial High School in Mattru Jong, Sierra Leone.

January 8, 2011: Death of Rita Wild Koroma, a missionary teacher in Sierra Leone 1954-1962.

January 11, 1988: The English Language Program begins in Macau.

January 12, 2010: A monster earthquake strikes Haiti.

January 14, 1983: A letter is published saying merger talks between the UB church and two other denomination have broken down.

January 15, 1957: Nancy Hull N’Gele begins the first of three terms as a missionary in Sierra Leone.

January 16, 1996: Dedication of our first church building in Thailand.

January 17, 1982: First service of Immanuel UB church in Carlisle, Pa.

January 20, 1984: Conclusion of a five-day Church Leaders Clinic in Columbus, Ohio, led by John Maxwell.

January 20, 1890: Birth of Dr. George Fleming, future UB pastor, missionary, and head of our denominational missions program.

January 28, 1952: Bumpe Bible Institute opens in Sierra Leone to train ministers.

January 29, 1989: Denny Miller preaches his first sermon as pastor of Emmanuel Community Church in Fort Wayne, Ind.

January 30, 1995: Rebels capture the town of Mattru Jong, Sierra Leone.



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February 1, 1749 and 1938: Birth of future bishops Christian Newcomer and Ray Seilhamer.

February 4, 1950: Death of Rev. Eli Griffin, bishop 1925-1929.

February 5, 2001: Funeral service for Bernadine Hoffman, 39-year missionary in Sierra Leone.

February 6, 1741: Birth of George Geeting, early leader of the UB church.

February 8, 1935: Death of Fermin Hoskins, bishop for 28 years, 1905-1933.

February 13, 1975: Beginning of 1975 Jamaica Conference which elected Lloyd Spencer as superintendent.

February 15, 2002: Death of George Weaver, bishop 1969-1977.

February 18, 1964: Clyde Meadows lands in Senegal on way to become first bishop to conduct Sierra Leone Annual Conference.

February 20, 1865: Future bishop Henry Becker joins the Ohio 188th Infanty in the Civil War.

February 22, 1837: Death of Peter Whitezel, a United Brethren minister.

February 23, 1824: Birth of Jonathan Weaver, bishop 1865-1893.

February 24, 1918. Birth of Helen Villanueva, UB leader in Honduras.

February 25, 1746. William Otterbein chosen as a missionary to America.

February 26, 1855. Three UB ministers arrive in Sierra Leone to “spy out the land” for future mission work.



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March 1, 1871. Missionaries Joseph and Mary Gomer arrive in Sierra Leone.

March 2, 1891. Birth of future bishop Lloyd Eby.

March 3, 1781. Birth of Bishop Samuel Heistand.

March 4, 1970. Guillermo Martinez expelled from Honduras to Nicaragua.

March 7, 1992. Armed break-in at UB mission house in Sierra Leone.

March 8, 1993. The death of Hazel McCray, Executive Secretary of Women’s Missionary Fellowship.

March 9, 1841. Supreme Court ruling in the Amistad case, which helped take us to Sierra Leone.

March 11, 1916. The story of Abbie Swales, missionary in Sierra Leone 1916-1941, and the African man she wouldn’t give up on.

March 12, 1830. The death of Bishop Christian Newcomer in 1830.

March 13, 1864. The death, while serving as a physician during the Civil War, of William B. Witte, one of the first two UB missionaries in Sierra Leone.

March 16, 1904. The birth of Robert Rash, who spent his entire career in the United Brethren ministry, including eight years as bishop.

March 18, 1799. The birth of John Russel, one of our early bishops, 1845-1849 and 1857-1861.

March 19, 1991. The death of Duane Reahm, who led our missions program for 16 years as served as bishop for 12 years.

March 22, 2002. Doctors Without Borders, after resurrecting Mattru Hospital, turns it over to Sierra Leone Conference.

March 23, 1812. The death of Martin Boehm, one of our founders.

March 25, 1924. Mabel Shultz prematurely, because of illness, ends her missionary service in Sierra Leone.

March 26, 2004. Death of Dr. J. Edward Roush, a Huntington College grad and longtime UB member who served eight terms in Congress.

March 30, 1950. Juanita Smith, RN, arrived in Sierra Leone to begin her first term.

March 31, 1982. The UB mission house in Freetown, Sierra Leone, comes under attack.



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April 1, 1950. Betty Brown boards a ship in New Orleans and sails for Honduras, where she will begin 22 years as a missionary.

April 3, 1917. The death of Bishop Milton Wright, father of the Wright Brothers.

April 5, 1920. The marriage of Lloyd and Eula Eby.

April 5, 1812. Francis Asbury and Henry Boehm speak at a memorial service for Martin Boehm.

April 7, 1968. Dedication of Washington Gardens church in Jamaica.

April 7, 1839. Birth of Bishop Halleck Floyd.

April 8, 1808. Birth of Bishop William Hanby, rescuer of fugitive slaves.

April 9, 1944. Five missionaries leave for Sierra Leone.

April 9, 1979. Missionary Shirley Fretz cleared of charges in Sierra Leone car death.

April 12, 1799. The birth of Lydia Sexton, who became of the first female United Brethren ministers.

April 14, 1890. The birth of Y. T. Chiu, a brilliant scholar who blazed our trails in Asia and established Hong Kong Conference.

April 15, 1997. The death of Elen Bowman, who served 11 years as a missionary in Sierra Leone.

April 17, 1948. Olive Weaver begins 20 years as a missionary educator in Sierra Leone.

April 18, 1925. Clarence Carlson boards a ship for Sierra Leone, where he will ultimately spend five terms.

April 19, 1952. The death of Judith Eby at age 26 from a brain tumor.

April 19, 1929. Ellen Rush concludes six years of missionary service at Minnie Mull school in Sierra Leone.

April 20, 1944. DeWitt Baker, a young Naval pilot patrolling the Atlantic Ocean from Brazil, meets five UB missionaries headed for Sierra Leone.

April 22, 1981. Ground broken for Baker Hall at Huntington College.

April 23, 1956. Honduras Conference is officially organized by Bishop Ezra Funk.

April 26, 1823. The story of Bishop Horace Barnaby, born on this date.

April 27, 1768. The death of Susan Otterbein, married just six years to UB founder William Otterbein. He remained single the rest of his life.

April 28, 1869. The inspiring, tragic, yet ultimately victorious story of Oliver and Mahala Hadley, early missionaries to Sierra Leone. Oliver died on this date a few days after returning from Africa.

April 30, 1989. The murders of four members of the Pelley family in the parsonage of Olive Branch UB church in Lakeville, Ind.



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May 1, 1916. The story of Orville Merillat, born on this date.

May 3, 1898. Five missionaries supported by the Women’s Missionary Association are murdered in Sierra Leone during the Hut Tax War. On May 3, 1992, over 30 UB missionaries are evacuated from Sierra Leone aboard a US military transport.

May 4, 1774. The story of William Otterbein’s 39 years as pastor of what is now called Old Otterbein Church in Baltimore, Md.

May 5, 1816. The story of Bishop David Edwards, one of our most influential bishops (1849-1876), born on this day.

May 6, 1950. The story of 24-year bishop Walter Musgrave, a “dynamo in the pulpit,” who passed away on this date.

May 7, 1880. The life of Bishop William Hanby, who died on this day.

May 9, 1929. General Conference begins at the King Street church in Chambersburg, Pa., whose new pastor was Clyde Meadows.

May 10, 1767. This is the actual day of our 250th anniversary–the day William Otterbein and Martin Boehm met at Long’s Barn in Lancaster, Pa., and the words “We are brethren!” were spoken.

May 11, 1865. The start of the 1865 General Conference, which began shortly after the end of the Civil War.

May 13, 1889. The day Milton Wright and others walked out of the 1889 General Conference and, in effect, started the United Brethren Church of today.

May 14, 1988. The Huntington College graduation of Buddy Labor, a Sierra Leonean who is the school’s best-ever soccer player.

May 15, 1829. The story of the 1829 UB General Conference, which passed the first statement against membership in Freemasonry.

May 16, 1994. With Sierra Leone descending into anarchy, the Board of Missions passes a resolution to withdraw all missionaries from Sierra Leone and fully nationalize the ministries there.

May 17, 1821. The start of the 1821 General Conference, which passed strong statements against slavery and alcohol.

May 18, 1993. June Brown, 35-year missionary in Sierra Leone, received an honorary doctorate from Huntington University.

May 20, 1869. General Conference debates pulling out of Sierra Leone, until hearing a strong message from Bishop Daniel shuck.

May 22, 1799. Another powerful message from Martin Boehm, but not response from the congregation.

May 23, 1987. Bishop Clarence Kopp and Owen Gordon meet with a group of Jamaican immigrants in New York City about starting a Jamaican church there.

May 24, 1988. The story of Patti Stone, a nurse who died after just one year at Mattru Hospital in Sierra Leone.

May 25, 1839. The story of Andrew Zeller, our fourth bishop.

May 25, 1843. The story of Stephen Lillibridge, a UB minister in Ohio’s Black Swamp who, after a very fruitful eight years, passed away at age 28.

May 26, 1830. The story of William Davis, one of our early pioneer preachers in Indiana.

May 29, 1805. The re-election of William Otterbein and Martin Boehm after what was supposed to be four-year terms, but ended up being five years.

May 30, 1899. The story of Dr. Elmer Becker, president of Huntington College 1941-1965–the longest tenure of any HC president before or since.

May 31, 1867. The daughter of missionary Oliver Hadley, and the diary she kept.



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June 1, 1854. The new Missions board passes a resolution to send missionaries to Africa.
June 2, 1945 and 1964. The story of two bishops who died on this day, Olin Alwood and Harold Mason.
June 3, 1991. The story of Marvin Price, who passed away on this day.
June 6, 1815. The first General Conference began on this day, and it got off to a rough start.
June 7, 1992. The story of our Canadian conference, which started in the 1800s but officially organized as the first national conference in 1992.
June 9, 1944. Five missionaries complete their war-time journey Sierra Leone, arriving two months after leaving the States.
June 10, 1958. The story of Bishop Ezra Funk, who passed away on this date.
June 13, 1987. The story of Floyd Lundy and Kathy Custer, whose lives intersected in Sierra Leone.
June 14, 1969. By the time the 1969 General Conference ended on this day, we had three brand new bishops.
June 15, 1820. The story of Bishop John Dickson, who served 1869-1893.
June 19, 1947. The story of Don and Leora Ackerman, who were married on this day and went on to serve nine years as missionaries in Honduras.
June 21, 1987. The dedication of the Weatherwood Center at Camp Michindoh, which was now ready for full usage.