George Adam Kissling - From Germany to Africa

George Adam Kissling - From Germany to Africa

In 1827, as a member of the Basle Missionary Society, George Adam Kissling left his homeland of Germany in December 1827.

He had been born on the 2nd of April 1805, in a small town called Muhrr (sometimes spelt just Murr) in the Wurtemburg province. Europe had been torn by the excesses of the French Revolution, there had been wars lasting decades, violent social unrest. It was common for many to seek their destiny in foreign shores.

George Adam's family were not particularly well to do. His mother had lost four children and infancy (Magdalena [1807-1808], Gottlob [1808-1809], Catharina [1812-1814] and Christian [1817-1818]).  The other children were Johann [1810-1843], Frederich [1815-1840], Christian Karl [1819-], and Peter [1826-1882]. it appears Peter left for the USA and settled in Milwaukee.

Both parents died young, and the living children must have been cared for by relatives and friends in their youth.

Leaving school at the age of fourteen [1819], George Adam spent three years living with uncle in Ludwigsburg and Kornthal, a Settlement based on Moravian principles, learning industrial arts. At the age of eighteen [1823] he entered the University of Basle as a Theological student. Four years later in October 1827, he was ordained into the Reformed Lutheran Church (Church of the Reformed and Lutheran United Confessions).

He decided to become a Missionary, and in December of 1827 embarked for West Africa, with instructions from the Bâsle Missionary Society to translate the Scriptures into the Bassa language. He was originally located in Liberia, West Africa, where he arrived on the 2nd April 1828, his 23rd birthday.

Slave running was still practised in West Africa and the territory was, far as the white man was concerned, was known as the "White Man's Grave".

He was associated with several Missionary brethren, all of whom were removed either by death, or were compelled by ill-health to return to Europe, and so young George Adam was left alone at the station, occupying his time in teaching the black and half-caste children in the young colony of Liberia. He was then only about twenty-five years of age, and, young as he was, had evidently entered with great earnestness into the Missionary work.

After a bout of illness himself, George Adam returned to Germany where he met and married Karolina Augusta Tanner. She was the daughter of Johannes Tanner and Karolina Ehmann. Johannes was the "gallery-inspector" in Ludwigsburg. She had been born in the town George Adam had lived in as a young man. They married on the 7th of August 1832 in Evangelisch, Murr.

Kissling Tanner Marriage Record

The couple returned to Liberia where Karolina died giving birth to a son. George Adam then paid another visit to his homeland.

Back almost immediately in the mission field, Kissling, distressed by the loss of his young wife, and his own health already affected by the conditions, was encouraged to persevere only by the quite evident success of he was achieving in his teaching. He was appointed to headmaster of the Christian Institution at Fourah Bay, for training native schoolmasters and catechists, which he attended to, in addition to the performance of his ministerial duties; for some time also he held the colonial chaplaincy.

Fourah Bay College

Samuel Adlai Crowther

One of his students was a young negro called Samuel Adlai Crowther, who in later life founded the Church Missionary Society in Nigeria. Crowther was rescued from a slave runner by a british ship. he later became the first West African to be consecrated Bishop. Kissling in later life, used to recall with pride, the part he played in Crowther's education.

Samuel Crowther's original African name was Ajayi. Born in Western Africa about the year 1807, he grew up in dangerous times. Islamic jihads (or "holy wars") and the ever present danger of raids by slave traders made for constant danger and uncertainty.
When Ajayi was about thirteen, his village was raided, apparently by a combination of Fulani and Oyo Muslims. Crowther twice recorded his memories of the event, vividly recalling the desolation of burning houses, the horror of capture and roping by the neck, the slaughter of those unfit to travel, the distress of being torn from relatives. The young man was bought and sold six times before being sold to Portuguese traders for the transatlantic market.


The German Mission being finally abandoned by the Bâsle Missionary Society, his services in 1833 were transferred, by mutual arrangement, to Sierra Leone, in connection with the Church Missionary Society, who place him in charge of the two parishes of St. Peter's and St. James's at Bathurst and Charlotte.

At a later date, perhaps around 1836 or 1937, George Adam returned to England again, to the headquarters of the Christian Missionary Society.

Hatchards BookstoreWhile in London, George Adam became a visitor to the home of Mr John Hatchard. He owned the Hatchards Bookstore, currently the oldest bookshop in London and the United Kingdom. It was founded by John Hatchard in 1797 on Piccadilly in London, from where it still trades today. Mr Hatchard's portrait can be seen on the staircase of the shop today. It has a reputation for attracting high-profile authors and holds three Royal Warrants. It appears he was somewhat of a radical for his time, and his bookstore became a meeting place for those intersted in matters such as religion, human rights, and humanity in general.

In a case of extreme serendipity, the author of this article, Gary Benner met up with and became friends with John Hatchard's gg grandson, Guy Hatchard, on an overseas visit to Europe. They met in Spain while attending a meditation retreat, and also met up back in London. Some time later Guy Hatchard moved to New Zealand, married, and has raised a family here.

At that time Margaret Moxon was working as a governess for the Hatchard household. Her father was a prominent businessman in Hull, with interests in insurance and shipping. Margaret had three sisters and one brother. The brother John and sister Ellen dired young. Mary Jane later came to New Zealand and married the Rev Thomas Chapman.

George Adam and Margaret Moxon fell in love and were married on the 3rd July 1837 in Islington in London.

Kissling Moxon Marriage Record

In October of that same year, in the company of eight fellow missionaries, george Adam returned to Sierra Leone, taking Margaret with him. He continued his work at Fourah Bay, and on September 15th 1839, his eldest son John was born.

Margaret taught in the schools, but as time passed it became clear that George Adam's health would not stand the climate, and in 1841 the family were recalled by the Church Missionary Society to London.



This account of Georges life has been published by a German pubishing house, specialising in Theological texts.

Volume III (1992) Columns 1540-1542 Author: Karl racing random

Kissling, George Adam, missionary in Africa and New Zealand, was on 2 April 1805 in Murr (Württemberg) and died on 10.11. Highly regarded in 1865 as deputy to the bishop of the Anglican Church in New Zealand. After his apprenticeship as a baker worked several years in Korntal K., where he received a lasting impression and studied from 1823-1827 at the Basel Mission and Mission Seminar at the University of Basel. After his ordination in 1827 K. Baden was sent with the blessing of the revival preacher Louis Württemberg Hoffacker as one of the first missionaries of the Basel Mission in service with the following "guidance" to Liberia: "restitution of the wrongs committed by Europeans against Africans to afford." During his illness marked by many hardships and service 1828-1832, he founded the first school for Africans. Two of his students, James von Brunn and George Thomson, who first trained in Basel missionaries were later known African pastor. K. left at 3.1. Liberia in 1832. The work in Liberia was carried on by American missionaries. Narrowly escaped death by shipwreck, K. England, and was reached by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) included in their service. K. married Caroline, daughter of the gallery-inspector Tanner from Ludwigsburg on 7.8. 1832 and traveled as a missionary of the CMS to Sierra Leone in Africa (1832-1837). He also took over as Disktriktsmissionar nor the management of a large school. His work, he thus:. "Because it is wheat, but also a lot of weed," His wife Caroline died on 25.2. 1834 together with her first child at birth, saying: "I regret very laudatory and not to be entered into the mission, but the Lord has honored me to go down this path." In Sierra Leone, K. devoted himself entirely to the management of the Theological Seminary in Fourahbai. One of his closest associates was bought free of missionary beautiful slave Samuel Crowther, the well-known at this time: "Since my second entry into the hospital I see myself more as a pupil, because as a teacher, and I must say in all humility, I now come forward, thanks to the loyal help of Mr Kissling's. I was still in the dark about so much, what shall I now put into the light, makes me a little trouble in meinenm studies, I address myself to the best living teacher, so he ran over with my Geilen sometimes ... I also know my more fatherly friend "to advise the best tools. K. was the conviction that the European missionaries as an employee of the Africans, the African pipe had to be assumed. The aim of the mission work had to be the earliest possible self-governing, self-financing and self-expansion of the Church. Missionary Service, according to K. is also the economic development assistance. Samuel Crowther Adlai (1809-1891), serving the CMS in 1864 as the first African bishop of the Anglican Church konsekrierter on the Niger, introduced the brick factory. At 2.5. 1837 K. returned for health reasons and returned to England where he married Margaret nee Hull, with whom he after a short stay in Basel, where he took leave of his revered teacher CG Blumhardt, a second stay in Sierra Leone (1837-1841 ) ausreiste as secretary of the mission and head of the parish seminar. K. intensively studied Timneh and dedicated to the training of African pastors, had to leave for health reasons in 1841 but Africa. After prolonged sick leave in England he determined the CMS as a missionary to the Maori of Neuseeeland. K. wrote: "I am like a tree that is torn by a thousand threads of roots lifted from the soil and transplanted ... after all these trials, sufferings and joys I have not finished learning, I must be enrolled again in the book of the New Zealanders Apprentice. " K. was traveling with his wife at 5.1. 1842 to New Zealand after he had previously been ordained as an Anglican priest, and worked as a missionary in New Zealand in Kauakaua and deputy bishop among the Maori and 1865 to his death. Unlike other missionaries in New Zealand declined K. purchase of land for his five sons from a strict and could therefore mediate the land dispute between the Maori and the (white) government. K. learned the Maori language, and was worshiped by them as the "father". He wanted to go to his own confession "nothing else than to glorify Christ and him crucified my listeners. Christ bears witness to love love. "In the last years of his life devoted himself since 1852, all K training of Maori priest, whom he at 18.7. Was ordained in 1853 after eleven years of teaching, despite great misgiving of the first English bishop. After a stroke in 1861 K. could carry out his duties, only limited. Travelers reported 1849 Ks work among the Maori were able to read "Where nine years ago, only 20 and lived to write, after nearly a decade 6-7000 Maori, including a strong third alphabets. The jungle had become farmland, he introduced the well-sown wheat and 3,000 acres with it. You have 30 coasters, almost 100 000 acquired in the value of fl. Her beautiful herds, and the 200 mills have all come in these nine years into existence, "and not by gifts, by their own efforts sondem. The Maori Church was under K line has become regardless of any financial support from England.