Friday, 29 January 2021


SPICER COLLEGE: Different Names

South India Training School (1915-1937)

Coimbatore (1915-1917), Bangalore (1917-1921), Krishnarajapuram (1921-1937)

When the school was first established in 1915 leaders referred to it in the Tidings that year merely as "Our Training School in Coimbatore," though from the 1916 onwards in SDA Yearbooks it is called the South India Training School. Ten years earlier, in 1905, pioneers had established a small training school in Karmatar for the Northeast which eventually moved to Falakata as the Raymond Memorial Training School. Also in 1915 another training school opened in Lucknow which survived only four years. These schools were established to train indigenous workers in the various lines of work required by the Adventist church (E M Meleen, "The Training School--Its Object and Purpose," A Paper Presented at the Ranchi Conference, Eastern Tidings, May 15, 1920, 1.)  For some time it was called the SDA Training School. (Yearbook 1927). 

G G Lowry moved the headquarters and the school to Bangalore for a more central location for South India and for a better climate. The property in Krishnarajapuram was purchased in 1917 but buildings were ready for occupation only in 1922. Meanwhile classes were held in rented quarters in Bamboo Bazaar. 

Below is the very first signboard of the school in Krishnarajapuram. 

The South India Training School developed best among training schools and attracted students from all over the Division. Eventually the "South India" was dropped in speech and committee actions where it was referred to as Krishnarajapuram Training School and sometimes even as Krishnarajapuram College.  Here is an excerpt from 1937.


Spicer College (1937-1944)

Krishnarajapuram (1937-1942), Poona (1942-1944)

In 1937 the Division committee clarified that only the training school at Krishnarajapuram and Vincent Hill School & College should offer post-high school coursework. The Krishnarajapuram school was made a Division institution and renamed Spicer College in honour of William Spicer who had been president of the General Conference till 1930. The change in name from training school to college indicated the intent that this institution should be more academic than before. Here is the Division action approving the change in name to Spicer College.


Spicer Missionary College (1944-1954)

Two years after the college moved from Krishnarajapuram to Kirkee in Poona, the leaders felt that the term "Missionary" needed to be included in the name to define the true purpose of the college.This was not just an ordinary college, it was an institution to educate mission workers. Here is an excerpt from the Jan 15, 1944 Eastern Tidings.

This is the marble sign that was on the gate post for ten years from 1944-1954.

Spicer Memorial College (1954-2015)

Soon after India became independent and a republic, many became sensitive to the terms mission and missionary. Since SMC had become a popular abbreviation, the "Missionary" in the name was changed to "Memorial" as William Spicer had passed away in 1952. At the same time the Division committee decided to abandon using the term Union Mission and Local Mission for church organizational units. 

There's often confusion during a transition and minutes earlier alternated between Spicer College and Spicer Missionary College. At the time of this transition one can see Spicer Missionary College and Spicer Memorial College in the same Division Committee action in December 1954.

The initials SMC were humorously expanded variously to reflect the changing demographics of the student body. It has been called Spicer Malaysian College, Spicer Malyali College, Spicer Maharashtrian College, Spicer Mongolian College, and even Solusi Missionary College when many Kenyans joined as students. Here is the sign at the gate that many will remember.

Spicer Adventist University

When the institution became a university it was of course decided to retain the name "Spicer" which had been connected with the institution for more than seventy-five years. This is the sign at the gate as it stands now.

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Early Adventists in Darjeeling

On a recent visit to Andrews University I stayed a couple of days with Milton Bairagee who informed me that the previous week Mrs Fern Babcock had given some old photographs to the Center for Adventist Research in the James White Library. I soon realized that these must be of early work in India, as Fern Babcock is the great granddaughter of Elder Robinson who was the first superintendent of the Adventist work in India. He arrived in1896, and by the end of 1899 he had succumbed to smallpox. 

One of the photographs was of early workers in Darjeeling and illustrates well their activity as Robinson reported to the Advent Review of August 1, 1899. This is what he wrote:


AT the close of March it was thought best that we come to Darjeeling to spend some time during the hot season in the plains. Brother Ellery Robinson was already here, working with the paper. He secured a suitable house, and March 29 his wife, Miss Whiteis, and my family also came. Several days later, Dr. Place sent up a few patients, with the Drs. Ingersoll and two nurses. Still others desired to come, so it was found necessary to take another small house to accommodate all. These we have had full till the present; but now that the rains will soon be setting in, we shall not have so many. We are situated a mile and a half out of the town, in full view of the everlasting snows, which tower up nearly thirty thousand feet into the sky. Darjeeling itself is seven thousand feet high, making it sufficiently cool to need a fire in the morning and at night. 

The first Sunday in May we began meetings in the town hall. After holding three services, we received word from the authorities that we could not have the hall unless I would promise to say nothing that would give offense to the Catholics or to any other sect. Of course, not being able to make such a promise, we had to give up the hall. The final decision in the matter did not reach us till Saturday night, and we had an appointment out for the next day at the hall. A hotel proprietor, who, with his wife, had attended the meetings at the hall, on learning of the situation on Sunday morning, offered us his big room in the hotel for the meeting that day. By watching the people on their way to the hall, we were able to inform them of the change, and so had a fair audience. We have now made arrangements with this hotel to have the meetings there every Sunday. 

Our largest audience, however, has been from the country over the mountains, from the tea estates, and through the district. After our first meeting, the editor of the Darjeeling Standard requested that I give him the substance of the talk, for his paper; so I have given him between three and four columns each time, and this I shall continue to do as long as we are here, if the way remains open. The Catholics went to this editor two weeks before we began meetings in the hotel, but we did not know it. They desired him to turn his paper against us, but he told them he would do no such thing. Darjeeling is a small place in the mountains, and consequently everybody knows what is going on. We have one hundred regular subscribers for the Oriental Watchman, who have taken it through to the end of the year, and some books have been sold here. The Catholic element is strong, and would rule everything and everybody if it could. 

Our canvassers are working mostly in the northwest. Brother Brown is at Naini Tal, a hill station two or three hundred miles west of Darjeeling. Brother Spicer has charge of the meetings in Calcutta, which, with his work on the paper, gives him plenty to do. 

About the middle of this month, when the rains begin, our English school, which has been closed for a few weeks, will open again. Miss M. M. Taylor will have charge of it. We are all looking forward with interest to the arrival of the two teachers who we understand will reach India about the first of October. We shall be able to give them a warm reception even as late in the season as that; but the hottest weather will then be past. 

In April, thirteen were baptized in Calcutta. The friends there are anxious to do all in their power to carry forward the work. One interesting case is that of a young brother afflicted with leprosy, who accepted the truth several months ago. It is no injustice to him when I say that he was a wild, reckless young man, without hope and without God in the world, till the truth found him, and he found it. He can and does truly say, " Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart." He is happy in the Lord, and his friends know it, too. 

We greatly need a place in Calcutta for our meetings, a central location where the people can find us. Calcutta is the great metropolis of India. Through it many are passing and repassing, and there ought to be a place sufficiently prominent to be readily found. If we could have a hall, book depot, and Oriental Watchman office all combined, it would add very much to the interests of the work in this field. 

--D. A. Robinson

The missionaries present in this picture are Samantha Whiteis (a nurse), third from the left. Elder Robinson after a local boy. Mrs Spicer (seated) with Elder Spicer behind. The little child is Mary an Indian  adopted by the Robinsons (she later married a Smart). Mrs Robinson is next to Mary with Ethel Robinson on the other side. The boy in front is Willie Spicer. Behind him is Mrs Ellery Robinson and Ellery Robinson (a colporteur).

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Karmatar -- First Adventist Mission Station in India

Elder D A Robinson and family were supposed to come to Calcutta, India with Georgia Burrus at the beginning of 1895 but actually came at the end of 1895. He soon made friends with Mr Haegert, a Baptist missionary who was working among the Santals. Six months later Elder Robinson boarded a train to Jamtara. The train was almost five hours late and he reached at about 2 a.m. A couple of horses and several coolies were waiting to take him the next twenty miles. You can read all about it in the Review and Herald of July 14, 1896. 

The Adventists enjoyed the drier climate of the area and two years later they rented a building near Karmatar Railway Station as the first SDA mission station in India. They opened a school for orphans and a dispensary.  Through the years perhaps more than any other mission station in the world Karmatar has seen SDA institutions come and go.  Here I try to piece together a crude history of Adventists in Karmatar. I have certainly missed a lot and definitely made some errors with years because the record is so sketchy. If anyone has more acurate information please correct me. And yes if you have pictures of pioneers or buildings, please send me copies. Let’s try to build on this.
At first the Adventists rented a building near the railway station.  They opened the Orphanage Industrial School in 1898. Unfortunately several orphans and then Elder Brown who was caring for the oprhans, and finally Elder DA Robinson himself caught the disease and died. The school understandably shut down for a while.
In 1902 the Adventists opened an English Boarding School in Karmatar with Thekla Black and Anna Orr in charge. In 1905 the Watchman Press moved to Karmatar so that students could also learn the printing trade. The English students moved out. And because it was hard to move supplies in and printed work out, the Press moved in 1909 to Lucknow. J C Little who had been in charge of the press caught cholera in East Bengal in 1910 and is also buried in Karmatar.
The Adventists had spent nearly Rs 12,000 in rent and so in 1911 they purchased several hectares of land and build a school, and several bungalows for missionaries and Indian families. Elder Borrowdale opned the Karmatar Middle English School in 1912. However, in 1915 it was decided to turn over the facilites to Santali work. A Santali Hindi Girls School had already opened in 1913 and in 1915 a Santali Hindi Boys School opened alongside. The girls school was directed by several ladies in turn, including Mrs Kellar, Mrs Borrowdale, Mrs C J Jenson, Mrs Leech. The two schools appear to have merged into the Karmatar Boarding Schoolaround1923 with Borrowdale and then L G Mookerjee in charge.  The boys section moved to Falakata and merged with the Northeast India Training School there in 1927 and the Girls school joined the Girls School in Calcutta.

In 1930 the Karmatar Mission Hospital opened under the leadership of Dr Hebbard.  However, three years later it moved out of Karmatar to Ranchi. A school operated in Karmatar called the Bihar Mission School and then Karmatar High School under L G Mookerjee till about 1941. Then the Karmatar Mission Press was opened to print material in vernacular languages though that lasted only for about a year 1946-1947. Then for a few years a school known as the Karmatar Secondary Boarding School and then Robinson Memorial School operated on the campus.

A little more than fifty years after the mission station opened in Karmatar the golden years literally began when the Northeast Union moved its headquarters from Calcutta to Karmatar.  In 1952 Elder Spies with Prasada Rao as Union secretary treasurer shifted to Karmatar with CJ Jenson, Japagnanam and Lange as departmental directors.
In 1954 Elder Storz moved in with BJ Williams as secretary. Others included S Jesudas, Lange, B Nowrangi with Japagnanam remaining.  In 1958 Storz was reelected with Appel as secretary. Jesudas, Nowrangi, Lange and Japagnanam were retained. Broderson was added. In 1962 Storz was reelected again with D David as secretary-treasurer. Others included Burr, Holford, P K Peterson, M C Lall and B W Fanwar. However in 1965 B J Williams took over from Storz. S John, William McHenry, P D Kujur came in at this time. M C Lall continued with the publishing department. G C Sircar and R N Dass were also there and the veteran Pastor Arinda.
In 1966 Pastor GJ Christo came in as president with McHenry as secretary and S John as treasurer. Others included RM Neish and C J Gorde. M C Lall, P D Kujur also served with the departments. G C Sircar B Nowrangi and R N Dass continued too. In 1970 Pastor Christo was re-elected and the team with McHenry, MC Lall, PD Kujur, B Nowrangi was retained. Konghat came in briefly. Swansi continued in the business office. However, in 1971 the Northeast Union was combined with the Northwest and the headquarters was in New Delhi. Karmatar housed section headquarters and a school for the blind which today is renamed Robinson Memorial School.
As the Southern Asia celebrates the centenary of the organization of the Division the church is being renovated. The members of the Division Executive Committee will convene for a dedication service there. On May 30.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Spicer College Auditorium
In 1958 Pastor Rice announced to the college that a new auditorium would be built the next year with a capacity of not less than 500.  This was truly ambitious because the enrolment in the ‘58-‘59 school year had dropped to 178 from a record high of 199 in the ‘56-‘57 school year  (though they had the highest number of college girls that year—45).
Students pledged Rs1,100 towards the college goal of Rs 5,000, and the Division promised to double-match what the college raised.  Richard Jonathan and Sam Kodan college seniors, and Stella P. Rao and Gentry Israel, High School seniors promoted the fund-raising among the students.
Pastor O. O. Mattison, president of the Division broke the ground for the new auditorium on August 21, 1959. Pastor D. S. Johnson, Division Secretary, and Elder M. E. Kemmerer, Division Treasurer were also present.  In his speech Pastor Mattison said that the new assembly hall was was evidence of the growth of the college, and expressed the hope that the day would come when the student body would outgrow even the new auditorium.
The class of 1960 made first use of the new auditorium on Mar 18. The building was not fully completed, but attractively decorated.  Florescent lights and a new PA system added a new dimension to the services.  Pastor R. E. Rice, College President, and Pastor H. H. Mattison, church pastor, conducted the last two services in the old chapel which was converted to a reading room for the new library in April 1960. The new auditorium was calculated to comfortably seat 700 while the old was crowded with 260.  The benches were moved to the new auditorium and folding chairs added along the sides. (The flowering trees now growing beside the auditorium were planted by boys as punishment for going to the movies.)
The new auditorium was so spacious that students and staff could move the benches to the walls and to play active indoor games on Saturday nights.  But the enrolment rapidly  increased to 700 in the seventies, and suddenly the new auditorium was inadequate.
In the early 1970’s Pastor Crump, college chaplain was the first to strongly advocate the idea of a dedicated church.  The inspired congregation responded and money started trickling in.  Some women even donated their wedding rings for the cause.   Social, academic and mundane programs intruded upon the spiritual atmosphere of the hall, and finally it just became way too small as the college family approached 2,000. Two service on Sabbath helped, but created new difficulties.  Secular events with large numbers moved outdoors to the main lawn, but Sabbath services could not.
The College has a new church now, but the auditorium continues to serve for chapel exercises, social programs, and daily worship services for the men. Boys and girls interested in each other still vie for aisle seats during services and programmes, and of all things, spoons have started falling out of pockets again during boring sermons just like in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
--Gordon Christo

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Vincent Hill School Memorabilia 

On August 30, 2018 my dad Gerald J Christo, one of the legends of Vincent Hill School and College (voted at a reunion of alumni) passed away. With the passing away of VHS alumni, the memory of that wonderful school fades further and further.  Nevertheless, dad did what he could to preserve the memory of that institution by coordinating the construction of a memorial on the campus of the Division office in Hosur.

A replica of the entrance to VHS leads to the Sabbath School rooms funded by alumni of VHS. A large photograph of VHS and the school logo grace the walls of the library in the building.

When VHS closed in 1969 the band uniforms and some musical instruments went to Spicer where some still remain. The dining hall crockery went to Delhi where they were sold off in small lots. My mother acquired a few which have survived till today. Some of you will remember eating desserts in these little bowls.

Dad also carefully preserved the church record book which has names of members from 1922-1942. On the first page are the names of George Belchambers, Robert Ritchie, I F Blues, Walter Mackett, and on the last page are the names of the Chapmans, Matinez, Colin Smith, Mrs MM Mattison, Ashley Lamb, and many more.

I have three Mountain Oaks in my collection. The oldest is from 1941. The next is from 1953, and the third is from the last year of VHS's existence, 1969. If any one desires, I can have these scanned and uploaded.


I also have in my possession an old army whistle which Pastor Jenson used in the early 60s for VHS camps (and later at Spicer in the 80s and 90s). Some of you may recall the steady toot of those whistles. He also had in his possession the VHS bell, a hand bell that was used to ring the end of each class period. Someone borrowed it for an AY program at Spicer and didn't return it. It's still out there somewhere.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Newly Identified Photograph of Earliest Adventist Workers in Bangladesh

Recently I came across a picture on a glass slide in the GC archives that almost certainly was taken on the same day as another picture in our archive files of the earliest workers in East Bengal / Bangladesh as those in both pictures are wearing the identical clothes.

Seated L-R: Purna Chandra Dey, Krishna Dhan Poddar, Sadhan Chandra Sarkar (the healed leper), D N Roy, Purna Chandra Gayen. Seated in front I would guess is the family of D N Roy . Standing at the back on the left appears to be P K Poddar. Seated behind the main row appears to be: Sarkar, not sure, Umesh Chandra Sarkar, K S Sarkar, and can't make out.

The people can be identified from the names attached to the following photograph. Note the date supplied is 1907, but is probably Jan 1909 when Watson and Little joined Mookerjee and held a conference of Sabbath keepers and baptised K D Poddar and  S C Sarkar.

and from a copy of the picture in S K Poddar's album with the additional names of those in the middle row:

Middle Row seated L-R: Sarkar, A C Halder, U C Sarkar, P K Poddar, K S Sarkar (partly hidden).

Friday, 28 October 2016

Begining of Adventist Work in East Bengal

The Beginnings of Adventist Work in East Bengal (Bangladesh)

Sabbath Keeping

Adventist work is understood to have begun in Bangladesh with Lal Gopal and Grace Mookerjees self-supporting service in 1906. Writing about the very beginnings Mookerjee suggests that God had already prepared hearts in Gopalgunj and two other villages that he visited “where these truths have entered and are almost doing a miracle.” Mookerjee describes the members at Gopalgunj as so honest that as having searched the Scriptures “to find out how to keep the Sabbath and now they keep it from even to even, and now they don’t have any cooking done on that day.” (LGM, ET, Apr 1906, p 4) (Ibid).
L G Mookerjee informs us that even before he went to East Bengal that two students of Serampore Seminary heard about Sabbath keepers from a teacher and came to his father who had been named as a convert. L G Mookerjee names one of them as D N Roy who he says was baptized in Calcutta.

W W Miller who attended a Bengali Christian Convention in Gopalgunj in May 1906 along with J C Little, B N Mitter, A C and L G Mookerjees, describes the challenges that the Sabbath Keepers faced. Land had been appropriated by the various missions on which they had built mission stations and had accommodated local converts. Church authorities were now demanding that Sabbath keepers vacate their property. They advised Mookerjee to purchase land to accommodate his converts. (WWM, ET, Oct 1906, 1, 2).

Lal Gopal’s father, A C Mookerjee, represented East Bengal to the 1906 year-end conference in Calcutta and reported that there were “about forty-five families that keep the Sabbath.” (ACM, ET, Feb 1907).  It is interesting to note that these are referred to only as Sabbath-keepers and not members since the first baptism was only in 1909. Perhaps baptisms were delayed till alternate living arrangements could be made for those who would join the Adventists.

All the Sabbath keepers of East Bengal were gathered in a meeting at Gopalgunj on Jan 27-31, 1909. J L Shaw reports that he attended the conference along with J C Little and A G Watson. Shaw reports that Mookerjee had built on the bend of a river a good thatched house with smaller buildings suitable for native brethren and a church too. Finally, on Sabbath, the last day of the meetings the first members of East Bengal, Krishna Dhan Poddar and the leper brother were baptized. (JLS, R&H Apr 29, 1909, 15, 16).
I have just identified a photograph on a glass slide in the GC archives from a picture apparently taken on the same day (labeled as in 1907, but most certainly in 1909 when Shaw, Watson and Little visited).

Seated L-R: Purna Chandra Dey, Krishna Dhan Poddar, Sadhan Chandra Sarkar (healed leper), D N Roy, Purna Chandra Gayen. Standing behind on the left appears to be P K Poddar. I imagine that the lady and child in front are the family of D N Roy behind.

At this point we can introduce the written record of Sri Kanto (S K) Poddar, son of K D Poddar and who was already born (1895) when Mookerjee took the Adventist message there.

Written Recollections of S K (Dadu) Poddar
(Condensed by Gordon Christo)

 As Dadu (Grandpa) Poddar has mentioned, these things happened a long long time ago and perhaps there might be some errors.  The reader must bear this in mind that some things are possibly not accurate. I have identified and omitted a couple.  Nevertheless, I am amazed at the number of details much of which is sibstanitated by articles and recollections of the time.

K D Poddar had been converted by M N Bose, a popular Baptist preacher who employed K D Poddar as a teacher and preacher in Gopalgunj. Subsequently K D Poddar and two other young men were sent by M N Bose to Serampore College, a Baptist seminary, to study for the ministry. However the young men arrived too late in the term to be admitted and were turned away with letters assuring that they would be accepted the following term. (SKP, 1,2). While two men went sightseeing in Calcutta, the discouraged K D Poddar settled down on the platform of Sealdah railway station to wait for their train back to Gopalgunj when he was given a tract on Jesus and Sabbath observance by Georgia Burrus. Reading it the next day he was convinced of its truth, and approached his church leaders and questioned them. They were unable to convince him that Sunday observance fulfilled the teaching of the Bible.

K D Poddar shared the tract and its message with D N Roy of Khatra village, one of those who had accompanied him to Serampore. Together they decided to observe the seventh-day Sabbath. They shared this truth with other Christians and the next Sabbath thirteen families gathered for worship. Anxious to find out more they wrote several letters to the address printed in the tract and continued observing the Sabbath for four months

 Finally according to S K Poddar, J L Shaw arrived.  S K Poddar reports that J L Shaw had seen the letters sent by his father K D Poddar to the printers of the tract which happened to be the Mookerjees at their press in Baithakana (Calcutta). J L Shaw apparently assured K D Poddar that they would send a pastor. (SKP 6). (There is however, no known report of J L Shaw going to Gopalgunj before 1909 though it is reasonable to assume that since there were only three or four mission stations (Calcutta 1895, Karmatar 1898, and Simultalam/Babumahal) 1900, that the superintendent would want to visit a place where there was interest in the Sabbath message. -- GEC)

K D Poddar helped L G Mookerjee and his wife Grace Kellog acquire two and a half bighas of land upon which they built a house with a large veranda where meetings were conducted, and another smaller house that K D Poddar moved in with his family. (SKP 9). 

Grace Kellog took ill in the second year and the couple moved to the US for treatment and study and AG Watson moved to East Bengal.  Watson arranged for the purchase of a mission boat and he and Poddar spread the message along the banks of the river. There is record that when the first church in Calcutta was organized, L G Mookerjee was elected elder of the church.

Sadhan Chandra  Sarkar, a leper, had read in the gospel of Mathew an account of the healing of  lepers and through personal prayer and faith, experienced complete healing (J L Shaw, SKP  ). Attached to the Baptist church where he found healing, he found it difficult to leave.  Only K D Poddar and S C Sarkar, the leper were baptized in the Jan 1909 meeting. In Feb 1910 a second meeting of Sabbath Keepers  was organized in Barisal. Around forty Sabbath keepers people attended regularly though more than two hundred came for the evening meetings.  At the end twenty were baptized including: D N Roy of Khatra village, the parents of Paresh Chandra Parui, Raj Kumar Mondal, and uncle of Rajani Biswas, all from Gopalgunj; and several from Borasi village including Umesh Chandra Sarkar, Kuteshwar Sarkar and Duarika Bala.

The date for this photograph is said to be 1907 and the description is of the pioneer workers of  East Bengal. However none were baptized before 1909, though one or two may have assisted L G Mookerjee before baptism.  Pictured here are: Front Row -- P C Dey, K D Poddar, S C Sarkar (the cured leper with the white beard), D N Roy, and P C Gayen. Middle Row --Sarkar, A Halder, U C Sarkar, (Dadu's father in law), P K Poddar (Dadu's brother), and K S Sarkar, (hidden). Back Row -- A G Watson, J C Little, L G Mookerjee. (This photograph is from the album of my uncle D S Poddar, son of S K Poddar--Gordon Christo)

Through the influence of Umesh Chandra Sarkar and Sadhan Chandra Sarkar, Abhoy Charan Mondal of Pathuria village and others from Joaria village were brought into the church. (SKP 11).

L K Mookerjee and K D Poddar took Raj Kumar Mondal and Paresh Parui, and Borada Kanta Poddar, and Umesh Chandra Sarkar for evangelism to villages along the river by boat. Thus Ranjendra Kumar Barui, and Aditya Follia of Chaurkhuli village joined the Adventists.  P C Dey, a talented musician from Barisal also joined the church around this time.

Aditya Folia and Ranjendra Kumar Barui alerted Mookerjee and Poddar about interests in Buraubari village and the team went there to witness. However they were opposed vehemently and threatened by Purna Chandra Gayen and Ananda Chandra Halder.  They engaged in a hot debate and eventually Gayen N S Haldar accepted defeat and were baptized along with P C Dey from Barisal.

K D Poddar, Umesh Chandra Sarkar, and Aditya Folia, and Rajendran Kumar Barui visited Suagram village where many Christians dwelt and contacted T C Bairagi and his nephew Indra Bhushan Bairagi who had heard of the message preached at Gopalgunj.

P C Dey joined Poddar and Umesh Chandra Sarkar and studied the Sabbath with Purna Chandra Arinda.

When L G Mookerjee returned from the US, C C Kellar left for Churadunga. In 1910 at the meeting in Barisal the work in East Bengal was organized better. L G Mookerjee, with K D Poddar as his assistant, was placed in charge of the work in Gopalgunj, Borasi, Jowaria, and Pathoria. Aditya Folia and Rajendra Kumar  Barui were appointed to care for Chaurkhuli; P  C Gayen, Ananda Chandra Halder and Basentat Kumar Halder had to care for Buruabari; and Tarini Charan Bairagi and Indra Bhushan Bairagi were placed over Suagram. Purna Chandra Arinda was place in charge of Kalikpur.

At first the missionaries thought to establish the headquarters at Barisal, but eventually L G Mookerjees agreed to sell their property, houses and church to the organization at a reduced price. Mookerjee was appointed in-charge of all the work in East Bengal and Little arranged for the acquisition of a house boat to visit various villages. The boat was christened “Bil-Bandhu.”

Two educated Baptist men from Sonadanga in Khulna Bipin Bihari Sarkar and Nibaran Biswas requested Little and Mookerjee to send an Adventist worker to Sonadanga. It was decided to send K D Poddar. Before he left Little and Poddar attended a Christian Association meeting. Poddar returned to Gopalgunj and Little caught a steamer for Calcutta. At Khulna it was noticed that one first class cabin was locked from inside. When the door was broken open the limp body of Little was discovered. Little passed away on Aug 10, 1910. K D Poddar proceeded to Khulna and P C Dey took over the work in Gopalgunj. He occupied the house that Poddar had lived in and one room was allotted to S K Poddar to continue his studies.

Mookerjee was away from East bengal, C C Kellar occupied his house and when Mookerjee returned, Kellar transfered to Churadunga.

Mrs Kellar giving Bible Studies (Picture given to me by Pastor W G Jenson --GEC)

L J Burgess was appointed director of the work in East Bengal in place of Little and called for a meeting of workers and families in Gopalgunj. At that meeting plans were made for a school and for additional literature to be published in Bengali. K D Poddar and P C Gayen initiated a discussion on a school and Little informed them that he had found a place at 6 Dihi Rd, Serampur Rd where there was a large bungalow, and several quarters. Srikanto Poddar was sent to Lucknow for training in press work.  L G Mookerjee, P C Gayen, Upendra Nath Halder, Premananda Poddar, were called to teach at the school. Miss Burroway came from Karmatar.  Because the school became crowded Mrs Burgess rented  a double storey building at Tiljala Hooghly and the girls moved there.

This photograph is from A K Mondal, a colporteur of Khurda,. The address is 6 Dihi, Serampur Rd. At the rear are the names of Stephen and Clark--probably visitors to a conference. Not sure.  P C Gayen and L G Mookerjee are in the group. More effort is needed to identify others.

In 1918 towards the end of World War I a general meeting was called in Calcutta. Soon after that K D Poddar walking to give Bible studies got a sun stroke and fell unconscious.  He died ten days later and was buried in the property of Biren and Bipin Sarkar. His wife received pension for 38 years till her death in 1956.


1.    Aditya Folia from Chaurkhuli – father of D Folia. Working for SDA church.

2.    Ananda Chandra Halder from Buruabari – father of Upendra Nath Halder. Now dead.

3.    Krishnadhan Poddar from Gobra – father of Srikanta Poddar. Retired SDA worker.

4.    Lall Gopal Mukherjee from Calcutta – son of Akhoy Kumar Mukherjee. Now dead.

5.    Purna Chandra Arinda from Kallikapur – father of Dr. Suren Aravinda. Now dead.

6.    Purna Chandra Dey from Barisal – further information not known.

7.    Purna Chanra Gayen from Buruabari – father of Pratap Chandra Gayen. Now dead.

8.    Sadhan Chandra Sarkar from Borasi – further information not known.

9.    Umesh Chandra Sarkar from Borasi – father of Sunil (Samuel) Sarkar. Retired SDA worker.

1.    Aswini Kumar Bairagi from Kaligram – father –in-law of Rohini K Pandit. Now Dead.
2.    Basanta Kumar Halder from Buruabari – father –in-law of Rabi Sarjer. Retired SDA worker.
3.    Jacob Barui from Buruabari – futher informations not known.
4.    Jacob Barui from Buruabari – father of Niranjan Barui. Working for SDA.
5.    Jones Singh from Bisharkandi – father of Jitendra Nath Singh.
6.    Majhimahashay – In-charge for Bill-Bindhu. Further information not known.
7.    Nathaniel Das from Mihiham (now Chittaranjan), Santal Parganas.
8.    Paresh Chandra Parui from Gopalganj – father-in-law of Atul Ball. Working for SDA hospital.
9.    Prabhudan Kujur from Ranchi, Bihar – further informations not known.
10.  Pradosh Chandra Jalder from Chaurkhuly – father-in-law of Pradodh Ch.Gayen. SDA church member.
11.  Pratap Chandra Gayen from Buruabari – father of Probodh Chandra Gayen. SDA church member.
12.  Srikanto Poddar from Gopalganj – son of Krishnadhan Poddar. Now retired.
13.  Tarini Charen Bairagi of Suagram –father of Mohan Lall Bairagi. (Now Dr. Bernad M Lall) working for Andrews University.
14.  Upendra Nath Halder from Buruabari – father of Prafulla Kumar Jalder. Working for SDA church.
15.  Upendra Nath Sarkar from Dhamsar, Barisal – futher information not known.
1.    Dayal Madhu from Bethkachia –further information not known.
2.    Ganesh CHandta Baroya from Buruabari – father of Manoranjan Baroya. Working for SDA School.
3.    GIrish Chandra Arinda from Kalikapur – father of Rabin Arinda. SDA church member.
4.    Premanada Poddar from Gopalganj – father of Pramod Kumar Poddar.
5.    Prafulla Mandal (Dikshit) – father of Pijush Dikshit. SDA church member.
6.    Santhosh Kumar Halder from Shelabunia – father of Amiya Kr. Halder. Working in SMC
7.    Shital Chandra Madhu from Bethkachia – retired SDA worker.
8.    Suren Bisws from Gopalganj – further information not known.
9.    Surendra Nath Arinda from Kalikapur – father of Samar Arinda.

BOYS SCHOOL AT GOPALGANJ (During 1922, 1923, 1925, 1925, 1926)

The following boys came in 1922.

1.    Ashu Sarkar from Bakal
2.    Girish Chandra Sarkar from Barisal
3.    Prasad Ch.Gayan from Baruabari
4.    Prasanna Kumar from Barisal
5.    Reuben Dahli (Now Rabindta Nath Bas)

The following boys came during 1923, 1924, 1925 & 1926
6.    Chitta Bala (Ball) from Khatra
7.    Chitta Ranjan Sarkar –Village not known
8.    Dhiren Bairagi from Suagram
9.    Dwijen Folla from Chaurkhuli
10. Gopal BIswas from Gopalganj
11.  Gyanebdra Karmarkar from Dhandoba
12.  Hem Barui from Ambari
13.  Jiten Bairagi from Suagram
14.  Jiten Barui from Chaurkhuli
15.  Jitendra Nath Singh from Gopalaganj
16.  Joy Ballab from Charukhuli
17.  Joy Nath Halder Ramsil
18.  Lalit Karmakar from Dhanodaba
19.  Nagen Halder from Juluhar
20.  Peter Bairagi from Kaligram
21.  Pran Nath Halder from Ramsil
22.  Pratul Halder from Chaurkhuli
23.  Priya Nath Bairagi from Kaligram
24.  Rabi Sarkar – village not known
25.  Rajan Bagani from Bethkachia
26.  Rasik Bala from Borasi
27.  Samuel (Sunil) Sarkar from Borasi 
28.  Santhosh Barikdar (Sarkar) village not known

29.  Suranjan Sarkar – village not known

30.  Suren Baigragi from Kaligram

31.  Sren Bairagi from Suagram

SCHOOL OPENED AT BARAGAIN< RANCHI (for standards 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th) During 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930 and 1931
Many of the students from Gopalganj came to  Baragain, Ranchi to continue their studies.
Among all these students, the following students worked continually in the SDA church and all of them are retired now.
G C Sircar                               P N Halder
Rabi Sarkar                             S K Sarkar
R N Das
Ashu Sarkar and Santosh Kr.Sarkar became star colporteurs but finally left the SDA Church.
Prasad Gayen worked in the SDA Hospital for several years and then left the work. But he remained a Seventh-day Adventist.
Joy Nath Halder, Lalit Karmakar, Prasanna Sarkar and Peter Bairagi and may be several others worked for several years in the church, worked in the hospital and in the school but did not continue and went out of the church.
Suranjan Sarkar died while in active service.

This is a collection of very very old record and there can be errors. Any kind of correction is welcome.

I have identified a few possible errors.which I have left out of this manuscript. (1) The first visit of J L Shaw, the marriage of Georgia Burrus, Some details of when L G Mookerjee was in teh US, and some details of the death of J C Little.I will now add some more pictures of the early work in East Bengal. Most of these were handed down to me by missionaries through Pastor W G Jenson about twenty years ago. -- Gordon Christo

Boys and Men in a Bengal Village

Girish Arinda and wife (about 1930)

Mission Teacher's Home, Dingadha (about 1930)

P C Gayen and an assistant teacher at Duigadha (about 1925)

Unidentified picture from Kellar's collection (1913-1930) [this picture was viewed by an antique collector who had purchased Kellar's driving license and sent me a copy. The same license plate is in the register]

Wellmans and Kellars

Wellmans (1913)

L G Mookerjee and Family

L G Mookerjee's sisters

Pat Burns and Mookerjee sisters

An Advenitst family. (Wellman collection 1913)

Appears to be a meeting of Bengali workers.  L G Mookerjee and P C Gayen are identifiable. Since W A Spicer is seated in the front middle it is likely 1921 since he visited India in Oct-Nov that year. [I have since learnt that this is the first constituency meeting of the Northeast India Union which was formed in 1919.]