Extracts from Letters from Mrs. J. G. Kerr, January 22, 1914, and "Memorial Services in Memory of Rev. Henry V. Noyes, of Canton, China"


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Extracts from Letters from Mrs. J. G. Kerr, January 22, 1914, and "Memorial Services in Memory of Rev. Henry V. Noyes, of Canton, China"


Death; Missionaries; Death notices; Memorial service; Funeral service; Christianity; God; Duty; Vocation


These two typed sheets include extracts of letters from Martha and Harriet and a paper about the memorial services held for Henry, although some writing with an unknown author precedes both of these excerpts. The letter from Mattie is addressed to her sisters and notify her family in the United States of Henry's death. Henry died shortly after being elected the president of the Medical Missionary Society. Harriet writes to the "Dear Ones at Home" with similar sentiments to Mattie, but outlines how the Chinese reacted to his death more thoroughly, as well as the decor for mourning. The last page, the paper on the memorial services, goes into detail about the decoration and program of Henry's funeral service. It also catalogs Henry's life and his work with the Canton Mission.


Kerr, Martha Noyes
Noyes, Harriet Newell


Loose, The College of Wooster, Special Collections, Noyes Collection






Council on Library and Information Resources Hidden Special Collections Grant




eng (English)





Text Item Type Metadata


permitted to enter upon such a voy-
age to-day. He reached his destina-
tion at Canton, with varying exper-
iences, 110 days afterward. Since
that time he has devoted his energies
to all the routine, and drudgeries,
and the thousand and one other
things that a missionary has to do.
He first had to learn one of the most
difficult languages for a foreigner to
acquire. At different times in his
work he had to be printer, and pub-
lisher, and translator, and interpeter,
and preacher, and itinerant Christian
worker, and teacher, and professor,
ending up finally at the head of the
theological seminary. He became a
worthy successor of such men as
Morrison, Williams, Bridgman, Hap-
per, Lowrie, and others whose names
are household words in missionary
Our own church cannot help but
feel a pardonable pride in our miss-
ionary record, having sent at least
six missionaries into the foreign field,
doubtless a record that is surpassed
by few if any churches in the Synod
upon some of the new movements of
of Ohio. And we are more than
proud of the record the same miss-
ionaries have made, of which Dr.
Noyes heads the list.
In the introduction of one of his
Monday lectures, Joseph Cook makes
use of the following language. “In
the Sistine chapel, at Rome, Michael
Angelo has represented the creation
of man, the picture exhibits a divine
form floating in infinite space, and
extending a hand toward the upraised
hand of Adam. The man lies almost
prone upon the earth. He is a body
but not yet a soul, and, although the
members of his form are complete,
symmetrical, majestic, they do not yet
feel their unity with each other. A
spark passes from the divine forefin-
ger to the suppliant, limp, passive
hand of man, and the different mem-
bers of his form are unified by the
Then he adds in substance, Human-
ity; is that body; the different nations
are its members; the finger is God’s
hand; and the spark is Christianity.
The world embraces the body of hu-
manity. But that body is not yet un-
fied by a universal or cosmopolitan
faith. It remains for Christianity as
the instrument or spark in God’s
hand of unifying these different and
now discordant elements, by giving
to them a soul which shall unite them
in a living, active, universal faith and
reliance upon the only living and true
And our good brother whose mem-
ory we revere to-day claims a share
of our reverence and gratitude for
the accomplishment of this great
work. Truly his life and services
give a practical illustration to us
that “the field is the world.”

Extracts From Letters
From Mrs. J. G. KERR.
Canton Jan. 22nd, 1914.
My dear Sisters;
Our precious brother is at rest in heaven.
The mortal frame lies in its last dreamless
sleep, the busy hands are folded and _ his
speaking eyes are closed never to look
upon us in this world. Only a little more
than a week ago he said to me “If we
go home in May it seems as though we
will hardly have time to get ready.” I
do not think he ever gave up the thought
of going home.
It was wonderfuf how his courage held
out and his interest in everything about
him and in everything pertaining to
mission work continued until the very
The community did not realize he was
so near death nor did he. He was chosen
president of the Medical Missionary
Society at its annual meeting, the day
before he died.
It was suggested by one of the mem-
bers that he was going home on furlough
and the reply was, “That does not make
any difference, we wish him for our pres-
sident.” Dr. Boyd told him of this the
morning of the day he died.
I think it was only for an hour or two
that he thought he would not get well.
When William told him he was going
soon he sent his good-bye to those he
loved in America and to the Mission.
After he had sent his good-bye in Eng-
lish he spoke in Chinese but could not be
understood. We watched by his bedside
during his last hours, the doctor said he
did not suffer pain it was utter exhaust-
ion, not pain, the tired heart ceased to
beat that was all and we could not tell the
exact moment when the soul took its flight.
Our hearts are full of thankfulness that
God has given us such a brother to give
back to him, a shock of corn fully ripe.
We met his translator this morning at
whose side he has worked for years and
he broke down compietely and wept un-
restrainedly. How the Chinese loved him!
Canton, Jan. 23rd. 1914
Miss Harriet Noyes.
Dear Ones at Home:—
Today we have laid brother Henry to
rest beside Richard whom he loved so dear-
lv and they are together with the other
dear ones in the Many Mansions of our
Father’s house.
This morning the casket was placed in
the lower hall and hundreds of the
Chinese have looked upon his face and
the thought expressed was, he looks so
happy, he looks as though he was in
A great many flowers have been sent
in by friends and by the Chinese, wreaths
and other designs, The Chinese sent the
wreaths, many of them had colored flow-
ers but the others were all white. A very
large cross of white camellias and green
leaves was given by his students and a
beautiful cross was given by the True
Light Seminary students.
We procured white chrysanthemums and
tied them with white ribbon and placed
them on the casket with the cross from
the Seminary. I brought from home a few
heads of ripened wheat and tied them

with ribbon the same shade and placed
them in the casket. It seemed as though
it would give him pleasure it he could
know it for he loved the dear old place.
The funeral services were held in the
Memorial church the church was crowded
and floral tributes were everywhere.
The services were partly in English and
partly in Chinese.
Rey. J. J. Boggs and Rev. James M.
Henry members of the faculty conducted
the part in English and two of Henry’s
former students Rev. Wong Yuk Shung
our pastor in the second church, and Rev.
Mo Man Ming professor in Fati college
the part in Chinese.
The services were beautiful and most
impressive, every thing just as we would
have chosen to have it.
The cemetery is nearly five miles from
the church but about six hundred went
out there.
The procession was such as has never
been seen before people wondered who
it could be who was being laid away with
such honors. I wish you could have seen
the procession as it came to the cemetery.
We had gone out in chairs and could see
them coming, the road was filled as far
as you could see it.
The students of Fati walked, some be-
fore the casket carring six white banners
like scrolls on which were inscribed the
main facts of his life and work and the
others followed.
The casket was carried into the ceme-
tery by six bearers—Rev. G. H. McNeur of
the New Zealand mission, Rev. E. B. Ward
of the United Brethren mission, both of
whom teach in the Fati College, Rev. Mr.
Nelson of the American Board, Rev. Mr.
Pratt of our mission, and two Chinese pro-
fessors in the college.
A double male quartette sang “Saved
by Grace.”
It was a lovely quiet afternoon, the
sun shone through the trees and all
nature was at peace as we left the grave
of our loved one covered with flowers.
January 27th, I have sent you a cable-
gram, “Henry passed away January
twenty first.”
I handed it in here at ten minutes to
six this afternoon and if delivered prompt-
ly you will receive it about noon.
(The cablegram was received in Se-
ville at 11 A. M. Jan. 27th.)
Feb. 5th.
The evening I sent the cablegram I sat
up until midnight when I thought it
would be sure to reach you.
We know you received it and forward-
ed it for the Board cabled back “Sympathy
and prayers” which message we received
Thursday evening, Jan. 29th.
You now sorrow with us that we shall
see his face no more and rejoice in the
perfect happiness that we know is his.

Memorial Services ^[in Seville] In Memory of Rev. Henry V. Noyes, of Canton, China

A large and interested audience as-
sembled in the Presbyterian Church
last Sunday morning in observance of
a memorial service in memory of Rev.
Henry V. Noyes, D. D., of Canton,
China, who went out from his church
nearly fifty years ago, devoting his
life and energies in the broad field of
missionary work, and who passed
peacefully to his reward a few weeks
The church was beautifully decor-
ated with flowers artistically arranged
by loving hands, as a token of friend-
ship, affection, and good will toward
the family now bereft of this loved
brother, whilst the choir rendered
very impressively the music that was
used at his funeral services in China.
The following biographical sketch,
prepared by the. Rev. Arthur J.
Brown, D. D., Secretary of the Board
of Foreign Missions, was read:
The death of Rev. Henry Varnum
Noyes, D. D., of Canton, China, Jan.
21st. marked the passing from earth
of a great figure in the Mission work
of China. Dr Noyes was one of the
veteran missionaries. He was born
at Seville, Ohio, April 24th. 1836 and
educated at the Western Reserve
College and the Western Theological
Seminary, having been graduated
from these institutions in 1861 and
1865 respectively. In the early part
of his senior year in the Seminary,
Nov. 7th. 1864, he was appointed a
foreign missionary, and a year after
his graduation he married Miss Cyn-
thia C. Crane, of Jackson, Ohio., and
he and his wife set their face toward
China. They had to make the jour-
ney in a slow, uncomfortable, sailing
vessel, with very few of the conven-
iences with which such a trip can now
be made, sailing Feb. 3, 1866, They
were 110 days in “reaching Canton, a
journey involving much hardship that
can now be luxuriously made in 25
days. The conditions of life in China
at that time were also trying. The
young missionaries found a small
group of associates and a comparative
handful. of Chinese Csristians, and
they had to live among a population
then notorious for its turbulence and
hostility to foreigners. Two years
after his marriage he was bereaved
by the death of his wife. The young
missionary, however, applied himself
to his work with great devotion. He
studied not only the language, but
the manners and customs and relig-
ious conditions of the people. His ac-
tivities were varied and in evry de-
partment he showed himself a master
mind. He was a diligent and success-
ful evangelistic preacher of the gos-
pel, doing abundant work of an apos-
tle in sheperding the young churches
and counselling the Chinese ministers
and other workers. He became pro-
foundly interested in educational
work, clearly realizing that the
church could never be established in
China until it had an educated min-
istry. He was therefore, foremost in
developing upon the island of Fati in
Canton, a group of institutions, which
included an elementary school, a high
school, an academy, a normal school,
a Bible training school, and a theo-
logical seminary. He was for many
years the president of these institu-
tions, and after they had attained a
development which called for separ-
ate admistration, he became president
of the Theological Seminary, which
post he held at the time of his death.
He added to these multifarious
labors a large amount of literary
work. In collaboration with others,
he prepared a Chinese Concordance
of the New Testament, commentaries

on a considerable part of the Old Tes-
tament, and upon several of the
books of the New Testament. He
aided in the translation of the Old
Testament and in the revision of the
translation of the New Testament
and he wrote scores of magazine art-
icles. At various times during his
life in China he identified himself
with almost every movement for the
Christian welfare and help of the
In February 1876, he married Miss
Arabella Anderson, a member of the
Siam Mission, with with whom he spent
many happy years, and who survives
him. Their union was blessed with
two children, both of whom grew up
to become missionaries.
One, Richard V., died after a short
missionary career which gave promise
of large usefulness, and the other,
Rey. William D. Noyes, is now a mem-
ber of the Mission, and the principal
of the boys’ Academy with which his
father was so long connected.
At the ripe age of seventy-eight,
after half a century of conspicuiously
useful service for Christ in China, Dr.
Noyes was called to his heavenly
home. He was one of the Old Guard
in China, and only three of the large
number of missionaries connected
with the Presbyterian work in China
are still living. He saw Christian
work in South China grow from small
to great proportions. and he was him-
self one of the great factors in that
growth. A man of conservative tem-
perament, who looked with concern
later date, he was also a man of large
heart and generous sympathies. He
was a kindly man, a consecrated man,
a preacher, an educator, an author. a
scholar, a man whose life was so in-
terwoven in the development of the
kingdom of God in the metropolis of
China, and who was such a recognized
leader in that development that the
history of mission work in China can
never be adequately written without
reference to his large contribution to
it. While the Board deeply mourns
his departure from earth, it neverthe-
less recognizes the divine fitness of
things in translating to the larger and
clearer life of the world to come, a
man who has served his own gener-
ation by the will of God with such
eminent fidelity and success, and who
having arrived at an age when bodily
powers become feeble, and earthly
life was beginning to be that of pain
and weakness, was taken at the ripe
age of nearly four score, full of years
and honors. The Board makes rev-
erent mention of its gratitude to God
for such a life, and for a death which
our Christian faith ought to consider
a normal translation.
The Board extends its deep sym-
pathy to the bereaved widow and fam-
ily and to the mission, which has lost
the one who was regarded by every
member as a 'father in Israel.”
Sincerely Yours,
Arthur J. Brown.
The pastor of the church, Rev. C. F.
Carson, then spoke at length, of
which the following is a brief resume
of his impressive words. “In view of
the passing of this Christian mission-
ary, whose biography we have just
heard from one who has known him
officially for so many years, I have
thought it would be appropriate to
consider as our theme—The field in
which our brother was called to labor,
and in the cultivation of which he
spent his eventful life.
Let us consider therefore these
words from St. Matthew’s Gospel,—
The field is the world—Mat. 13:38.
To-day we meet 2 a memorial ser-

vice in honor of one who was at one
time an honored resident of this
community and a faithful and devout
member of this church. But years
ago he became imbued with a larger
vision and went out from us, that he
might become more useful and even
more honored in devoting the ener-
gies of his life in the broader field of
missionary work. Like the great
apostle to the Gentiles, he must have
asked himself, “Lord what wilt thou
have me to do?” And like the same
apostle he faltered not when the
finger of Providence pointed to the
foreign field.
Willingly and promptly he sacri-
ficed home associations, separated
himself from the friends of youth,
and took his departure to a foreign
country, not knowing what might be-
fall him there, whilst he was deeply
impressed with the conviction that he
might be the instrument in the hand
of God, of bringing to a heathen
people a knowledge of the gospel of
the Son of God.
In view of the character of the
work accomplished by our departed
brother, it seems to me that the text
of Scripture I have announced is very
appropriate to this occassion. And I
am quite sure had he been consulted
in regard to a service of this kind,
nothing would have pleased him
more than the exaltation of the work
in which he was so deeply concerned
and to which he devoted the energies
of his life. Surely his consecration,
his life, and his work, give to us an
illustration in concrete form, that
“the field is the world.”
It was as late as 1858, or only
eight years before Dr. Noyes entered
upon his work, that the celestial Em-
pire of China was actually thrown
open to Christian evangelization and
work. And who can say what the
influences for good of his nearly fifty
years of service has actually accom-
plished, as he taught in the schools
and preached in the chapels, and dis-
cussed in the markets, the great
truths of the religion of Jesus the
world’s Christ.
Perhaps in those years he had
many converts to the faith. But
that, great as it is in itself, is only
small in comparison with the larger
and more extended influence of these
same converts, in an ever widening
influence, until it permeates that
whole region of the heathen word. In
the past few years China has been
thrown open to Christian influence as
it never was before. Though at
present that influence seems to be
suffering under a partial eclipse, or a
passing cloud, yet it is only seeming
or temporary after all. And after
the eclipse is over, and the cloud is
past, the great Sun of Rightenousness
with healing on his wings, will con-
tinue to shed his rays of gospel light
over that land, now bedarkened with
superstition, and ignorance, the
blighting of heathenism, and false re-
ligion of every kind, and shine too
with an ever brightening lustre, until
the whole heathen world shall rejoice
in the blessed radiance of gospel
truth and the Christian can say of
that land, as Isaiah said of the people
of his day, “Arise, shine; for thy
light has come, and the glory of the
Lord is risen upon thee.”
Our brother and fellow church
member gave, nearly fifty years ago
a practical response to this call of the
Master. He with four other mission-
aries set sail from their native land
on the sailing barque, “Benefactor,”
a vessel so small, and insignificant,
and unseaworthy, as would not be

+ upon some of the new movements of

Original Format



Kerr, Martha Noyes Noyes, Harriet Newell Unknown , “Extracts from Letters from Mrs. J. G. Kerr, January 22, 1914, and "Memorial Services in Memory of Rev. Henry V. Noyes, of Canton, China",” Letters from Harriet Noyes: Missionaries and Women's Education in Nineteenth Century China, accessed August 15, 2022, https://noyesletters.org/items/show/1059.

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