Archive of correspondence from Abigail Stone, wife of missionary Cyrus Stone. All of the correspondence is during her time based in Bombay India and covers the period 1837-1840. This is an important period because, according to the Missionary Herald we hear nothing of either Mr. or Mrs. Stone after 1837. She wrote her letters over a number of days so it reads a bit like a diary. There is a 16 page journal, 3 legal size letters, and another two letters. They are to family back in America. She struggles with her health but her character and faith is strong. The close bond with her family is evident. Although her husband is based in Ceylon after 1838 while she remains in Bombay, they appear to be close and they appear to join together again in Ceylon, based on the journal.
Here is a small selection of the journal: We have been here about 3 weeks I had a rather hard journey here got fever and cold before I arrived so was obliged to call physician however I soon recovered and in a few days was able to be about. The kind hand of God has been graciously stretched over me since I left Bombay…I am surprised at my stupidity and earthly mindedness. It seems as tho my thoughts and affections were entirely engrossed in worldly cares and pursuits…My husband has gone out to attend a service at the Mission Chapel after which he is going to the Episcopal Church in the L to hear Rev Jackson preach and to partake of the sacrament there. Everything is very still and quiet in this large garden and compound…Mr Stone has gone to preach at the Manatha service and I am left at home along…Since I last wrote in my journal I have come on to their place from M to be associated with Bro M and husband in missionary labour and Bro M and my husband have gone out on a tour of 2 months…We arrived at Hununyabad on the 22nd spent one week in the family of Capt Parker who very kindly took us into his family till we could look about us and find a place of ? After looking at a number of places and consulting the most ? and missionary operations we selected Hajiem Bay west of the great city of Hununyabad and near Besgampoor here we are close to the Native population of Brahmins and Manathas who come in daily more or less to receive ? and to whom the gospel is more or less preached. This I consider an interesting field of labor. I have very little expectation that the Mission will allow us to continue here long…may it result in the furtherance of his gospel among this poor deluded heathen population…
Another interesting piece of information is that when she arrived in India she was assigned to assist Cynthia Farrar, the superintendent of schools at the mission. Her claim to fame is that she was the first single American female missionary to be assigned overseas.
34 manuscript pages in all. A nice collection that fills in gaps from the Missionary Herald. SOLD
Note: Abigail H Kimball was born in Waterford Maine in 1812. She left Boston for Bombay on May 21, 1834, arriving in Bombay on September 10. She was assigned to assist Cynthia Farrar, the first American single female missionary to be located overseas. She married Cyrus Stone October 23, 1834. Cyrus’ first wife, Atossa Frost (1798-1833) had died only months before, on August 7, 1933, due to a liver infection. The two children of the first marriage returned to the USA while Cyrus remained in India.
A book was published about Abigail Stone titled Mrs. Cyrus Stone: A Missionary; Abroad and at Home, in 1876. At first I was not sure which Mrs. Cyrus Stone the book referred but the excerpt I read puts her at a boarding school in Abigails native Maine, while Atossa grew up in Marlborough New Hampshire. An excerpt from the book is as follows:
She went to the academy at Bridgeton, Maine; lived in the family of her minister, Rev. Mr. Douglass; attended the district school when her mother could spare her; engaged herself to Mrs. Chamberlain in Portland, in order to obtain money for tuition and books, and was treated there very kindly; went again to the academy, hiring a room, and boarding herself; took a district school for a first and second time, in her native town.
Cyrus Stone (1793-1867), the son of Captain Shubael and Polly (Rogers) Stone of Marlborough, Cheshire County, New Hampshire, graduated in 1822 from Dartmouth College and then studied divinity at Andover Theological Seminary, graduating in 1825. He was ordained as a missionary at Springfield, Massachusetts in June 1826. Shortly afterwards he married Atossa Frost on August 21, 1826. He sailed from Boston to Bombay, India in June 1827 and did not return for 13 years. Back in the United States, he was installed as pastor of the Congregational Church at Bingham, Maine in October 1841. He later became the editor of the Happy Home and Parlor Magazine at Boston.
In 1838 the Stones moved from Bombay to Alibag but shortly after that time he left for Ceylon to establish a mission at Jalna. His wife remained in India. I do not know what became of them after they separated but the letters suggest they were together again in Ceylon in 1840. The last mention of Cyrus Stone in the Missionary Herald is that he was dismissed on August 22, 1839. However, the fact that he was still doing the lords work in Ceylon beyond that date indicates that there may have been a falling out with the American Missions Board and that he remained in the field nonetheless. Most of my research here has been from analyzing the annual reports of the Missionary Herald. The letters in this archive are important in that they date from a period when there is no record of the Stones activities as missionaries.