On This Day in UB History

During 2017, the United Brethren denomination celebrated its 250th anniversary. As part of that, we recognized people and events from throughout our history. Throughout 2017, brief articles were posted about something from our history that occurred on that day. They were posted on UBCentral.org, and are also compiled here, with links to the original post on UBCentral. There were a total of 211 posts during 2017.



14 posts

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.



14 posts

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.



19 posts

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.



23 posts

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.



25 posts

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.



19 posts

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.

June 22, 1993. Ray Seilhamer is elected as the only bishop of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ.

June 23, 1957. Kathy Corcoran begins the first of three terms as a missionary nurse at Mattru Hospital in Sierra Leone.

June 24, 2005. General Conference adds Mexico and the Philippines as the 8th and 9th national conferences.

June 25, 1981. Clarence A. Kopp, Jr., is elected bishop.

June 27, 1906. Marriage of Minnie Mull and Charles Linker, missionaries in Sierra Leone.

June 28, 1749. Birth of Peter Kemp, in whose home the United Brethren church was officially organized in 1800.

June 30, 1936. Emma Hyer, RN, arrives in Sierra Leone.



16 posts

July 1, 1984. Two churches (and later a third) merge to form today’s Lake View UB church in Camden, Mich.

July 2, 1996. Death of Martha Anna Bard, UB missionary in Sierra Leone for 27 years.

July 6, 1963. Marriage of UB missionaries in Sierra Leone Alan Wright and Marilyn Saufley.

July 9, 1941. The death of Jacob Howe, the UB Secretary of Missions 1905-1936–longer than anyone else.

July 9, 1796. Birth of Bishop William Brown.

July 10, 2015. Death of Rev. Emmett Cox, former UB missionary, pastor, and Secretary of Missions.

July 14, 1991. Final service for Paul Baker as pastor of King Street Church in Chambersburg, Pa., after 30 years as its pastor.

July 15, 1828. Birth of Josiah K. Alwood, UB minister and author of the hymn “The Unclouded Day.”

July 16, 1957. Jerry and Eleanore Datema and children begin their first term as missionaries in Sierra Leone.

July 22, 1833. Birth of Benjamin Hanby, a UB minister and bishop’s son who wrote some famous songs.

July 23, 1992. The first two of three single missionaries arrive in Macau to replace the Sherlock family, enabling the work to expand.

July 24, 1812. Birth of Bishop J. J. Glossbrenner, who served 40 years as bishop–longer than anyone else.

July 25, 1932. Erma Burton arrived in Sierra Leone, and is married the next day to her fiance, Clarence Carlson.

July 27, 1997. The birth of a UB church in Berlin, Germany.

July 28, 1990. The Jeff and Joan Sherlock family depart for Macau.

July 31, 1952. The Archie and Maisy Cameron family arrived as missionaries in La Ceiba, Honduras.



18 posts

August 3, 1970. Floy Mulkey completes her fifth and final term in Sierra Leone.

August 4, 1942. Clarence Carlson, with WWII raging, boards steamship from Sierra Leone to USA.

August 6, 1988. Sierra Leone missionary Vicki Snider slips into a coma.

August 7, 1942. Pauline O’Sullivan, a UB missionary from Jamaica, begins serving in Sierra Leone.

August 7, 1869. Death of Bishop John Coons.

August 8, 1979. Death of Oneta Sewell Thone, RN, former nurse at Mattru Hospital.

August 9, 1949. DeWitt and Evelyn Baker leave for Sierra Leone.

August 10, 1996. Jennifer Blandin leaves to begin missionary service in Macau.

August 12, 1821. Birth of George Bethers.

August 15, 1965. DeWitt Baker becomes president of Huntington College.

August 16, 1984. Kyle McQuillen meets with Mission board about nationalization in Sierra Leone.

August 17, 1907. Death of Rev. Jeremiah Kenoyer.

August 18, 1896. Laying of cornerstone for Huntington College administration building.

August 21, 1863. Raid on Lawrence, Kansas, and death of Rev. Samuel Snyder.

August 22, 1980. Jill Van Deusen, Sierra Leone missionary, stricken with paralysis.

August 25, 1961. Ordination of Wilber Sites, Jr.

August 29, 2011. Death of Rev. Titus Boggs.

August 31, 1863. Death of Rev. Israel Sloane in California.



20 posts

September 1, 1934. Dr. Leslie and Mary Huntley arrives in Sierra Leone.

September 2, 1992. Chinese UB church begins in Toronto, Ontario.

September 3, 1879. Future bishop Henry Barkley granted a ministerial license.

September 4, 1901. Margaret Hazzard arrives in England with berri berri.

September 6, 1892. Death of Joseph Gomer, superintendent of our work in Sierra Leone and first black UB missionary.

September 9, 1959. Stan Peters becomes editor of the United Brethren magazine.

September 13, 1788. The birth of Henry Spayth, the first UB historian.

September 14, 1814. Francis Scott Key writes the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner.

September 15. The birth in 1917 of Overseas Bishop Duane Reahm, and the death in 1994 of Overseas Bishop Jerry Datema.

September 17, 2009. The death of Honduras missionary Harold Wust, followed the next day by the death of his co-worker Guillermo Martinez.

September 18, 1974. Hurricane Fifi devastates northern Honduras.

September 18, 1797. Christian Newcomer purchases a slave girl named Patience.

September 19, 1963. Bishop Clyde Meadows meets with Christians behind the Iron Curtain in East Berlin.

September 22, 1897. Huntington University–then called Central College–dedicates the Administration Building, and classes begin the next day.

September 23 (1814 and 1822). The story of two pioneer UB preachers, both born on this day: Stephen Lee and Walton Smith.

September 24, 1963. Bishop Clyde Meadows arrived in Sierra Leone with a monetary gift from Christian Endeavor people in Germany.

September 25, 1800. The United Brethren church officially organized–adopting a name, and electing bishops.

September 26, 1856. The story of John Fulkerson, pioneering UB minister in Minnesota.

September 27, 1987. Virgil Hull starts Friendly Church in Fort Myers, Fla.–the first of several new churches.

September 29, 2005. Death of missionary Archie Cameron in Honduras.



14 posts

October 2, 1813. William Otterbein ordains three men shortly before his own death.

October 3, 2013. Dr. Sherilyn Emberton inaugurated as first woman president of Huntington University.

October 5, 1842. The doors of Old Otterbein Church in Baltimore are locked, and stay locked for four years as a result of a legal power play.

October 6, 1985. The first service of our Chinese church in New York City.

October 9, 1832. The story of Bishop Jacob Markwood, converted on this day.

October 10, 1924. The sad story of Bishop Corydon Wood, who died on this day…in prison.

October 11, 1871. The start of Union Biblical Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.

October 13, 1818. The life of Rev. J. C. Bright, pioneer in UB missions. Born on this day.

October 14, 1883. Maris Glossbrenner, wife of our longest-serving bishop, died on this day.

October 15, 1833. The story of Ezra Palmer, pioneer preacher in Illinois.

October 18, 1981. The dedication of Fleming Memorial Church in Jamaica.

October 22, 1853. The life of Zebedee Warner, pioneer UB preacher in West Virginia.

October 26, 1945. The Mission board decides to begin work in Honduras.

October 29, 1983. The latter years and death of Dr. George Fleming.



12 posts

November 2, 1900. The life of Bishop Daniel Shuck, who died on this day.

November 4, 1959. Sylvester and Dorothy Pratt are married in Sierra Leone and begin serving together at Mattru Hospital.

November 8, 1856. The story of Bishop Joseph Hoffman, our 6th bishop, who died on this day.

November 8, 1830. The story of General Oliver Howard and a Chinese immigrant named Moy Ling. Born on this day.

November 9, 1888. The story of Harold Mason, a bishop and president of Huntington College. Born on this day.

November 15, 1971. The death in Sierra Leone of missionary nurse Ruby Crum, RN.

November 15, 1844. The story of James Hott, born on this day, and particularly his ministry in Virginia during the Civil War.

November 17, 1813. UB co-founder William Otterbein died on this day.

November 17, 1891. This day brought the death of Michael Long, an incredible evangelist who spent 60 years in the Black Swamp of Ohio.

November 22, 1926. Nettie Birdsall arrives in Sierra Leone as a missionary teacher.

November 27, 1969. The final years and death of Bishop Lloyd Eby.
November 30, 1725. The birth of Bishop Martin Boehm.



17 posts

December 1, 1955. The tragic death of Norman Baker in Sierra Leone.

December 2, 1959. The story of Bishop Clarence Mummart, who died on this day.

December 4, 1829. The story of Rev. John Williams Howe.

December 6, 1983. Missionary Shirley Fretz and the death of her father.

December 7, 1941. Pearl Harbor, Clyde Meadows, and the draft board.

December 9, 1871. Mahala Hadley returns to Sierra Leone, which had previously taken her husband.

December 10, 1985. Sierra Leone Conference comes under national leadership.

December 13, 1994. The final UB missionaries leave Sierra Leone amidst the rebel war.

December 15, 1919. The death of William Dillon, bishop 1893-1897.

December 16, 1881. The story of John Ruebush, pioneering UB preacher in the slave state of Tennessee.

December 17, 1903. The Wright Brothers and the first flight at Kitty Hawk.

December 19, 1805. The story of John McNamar, the first English-speaking UB preacher.

December 23, 1971. A terrible earthquake rocks Managua, Nicaragua.

December 26, 2004. A tsunami kills 250,000 people. How UBs helped victims in India.

December 29, 1987. The story of Dr. M. I. Burkholder, longtime dean of the UB seminary.

December 30, 2000. The death of Bethel Mote, a 22-year UB missionary in Sierra Leone.

December 31, 1834. The first issue of the Religious Telescope, our first denominational periodical.

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