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Clara Novello Scholey (Mrs McCurrach)

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Clara Novello Scholey was born in Bradford, became a Barnsley Headmistress and died a  missionary in China at the hands of the  Boxers in 1900 during the Boxer Rebellion

Clara Novello Scholey was born in Bradford on January 30, 1869, Her father Richard S Scholeywas born in or about 1840, the 1851 census states that he had been born in Ireland, he himself was the son of George Scholey who had been born in Wakefield in 1811 and Ann Mainey who was born in Ireland. Richard Clara's father had two brothers and a sister Charles Charlotte and John. (My thanks to Paul Scholey for this information)
Clara's family tree can be viewed at :
The following census information relates to Clara and her family living in Bradford by  1871 (and my thanks to Stephen Kirkman for this)

1871 census for 191 Bowling Old Lane, Bradford
> > 
> > Richard Scholey age 30 overlooker at factory born Wakefield
> > Mary Ann Scholey age 31 born Halifax
> > Thorpe Scholey age 6 born Bradford
> > George Scholey age 5 born Bradford
> > Clara Novella Scholey age 2 born Bradford
> > Thomas Scholey age 4 days born Bradford

1881 census for 147 Birch Lane, Bowling, Bradford
> > 
> > Richard Scholey age 39 worsted overlooker 
> > Mary A Scholey age 39 
> > Thorpe Scholey age 16 pupil teacher at school
> > George Scholey age 15 assistant bookbinder
> > Clara Scholey age 12 scholar
> > Oliver Scholey age 8 scholar
> > Isaac Scholey age 4 scholar
> > Note that Thomas is missing probably died?

 1891 census for 146 New Cross Street Bradford
> > Richard S Scholey age 48 mill manager (weaving) 
> > Mary A Scholey age 48 
> > Clara Scholey age 22 schoolteacher
> > Oliver Scholey age 18 stuff warehouseman
> > Isaac Scholey age 14 scholar
> > Martha A Robinson a servant
> > Note that Thorpe Scholey and George Scholey not at this place.
From the above information George (Clara's grandfather) had been born in Wakefield in 1811 and at some stage he moved to Ireland, possibly with his parents but we do not know for certain. He married an Irish woman and Richard his son was born in Ireland in around 1840. In 1845 the Irish potato blight occurred causing a massive Irish famine. Perhaps this is what caused  the family to return to England and indeed Yorkshire . Bradford was the centre of the textile mills so perhaps this was the family trade at the time 
It is perhaps worth looking at another George Scholey who had begun life in Sandal Magna close to Wakefield and who was to become Lord Mayor of London by 1815 just 4 years after our George was born. This is an extract from my biography of Lord Mayor George scholey which can be found on this site:

"Alderman Scholey was greatly respected being honest and frugal ----except when called upon to help others --- and had a high sense of duty. To quote the European Magazine and the London Review of October 1813 " It was to his merit that, regardless of the resentment of the wealthy he superintended the average price of grain striking a correct balance between corn and bread to the advantage of the working classes"

According to a report in the Wakefield & Halifax Journal of July 1812 " The price of labour had not kept pace with the price of bread " As the average earnings in 1786 was 3 shillings ( 15pence ) per day this would have purchased quarter loaves. In 1812 at his highest level labour did not return more than 6 shillings per day ( 30 pence) but that only bought 4 quarter loaves . The rise in the cost of loaves was as follows :

1786 6d ( 2.5 pence) 1792 7.25 d ( 3 pence) 1798 8d ( 3.2pence)

1804 13.25d ( 5.1 pence) 1810 15.5d (7.6pence) 1812 19.75d ( 9pence)

One wonders if George had his home in mind for at the time Wakefield was undergoing difficulties. The city was known as the granary of the west Riding which came by canal even from abroad The huge Corn Market on a Wednesday was the largest in the north of England and second only to London, however in 1810 because of the Napoleonic wars prices were running high and there was a scarcity of food for the poor. This was one of the reasons for the Luddite risings . In August 1812 a riotous assembly mostly of exasperated women gathered outside the Wakefield corn market and prevented the farmers and merchants from dealing. The Constable was sent for to protect the Cornfactor. Incidents like these were becoming more and more common.

There is a caricature of 1813 Showing Alderman Scholey weighing corn and bread out

This, I suspect gives a reasonable hint as to why Clara's grandfather felt that a  move to Ireland may be beneficial. Unfortunately in 1845 Ireland  was to suffer even more problems with the potato blight so perhaps causing a  return to England

From the census information above we know that by 1891 Clara was a school teacher  and we also know that she went on to become Headmistress of a Girls School in or about 1892 at Stairfoot, near Barnsley. we also know that to her familys dismay she yearned to be  a missionary. Clearly she achieved this ambition as by 1898 she was in Shanghai getting married to Rev. William Adam McCurrach a Scottish missionary.

In China at that time there was a great deal of unrest over various matters but mainly a  resentment at the intrusion of European influence and the teaching of Christianity  

William and Clara had settled with six other missionaries. The official list released is as follows 
Rev. T. J and Mrs. Underwood, 
the Rev. W. A. and Mrs. McCurrach, 
the Rev. Herbert and Mrs. Dixon, 
the Rev. S. W. Ennals, and MissRenant, 
all of the English Baptist Mission

They operated from the city of  Hsin-cheo in Shansi province, which borders on those of Pechili and Shantung in the north of China.

Their problems began in June 1900; The infamous Governor Yu-hsien arrived in
Shansi province at the end of May, and the Boxers followed in his wake. On June 21 Boxer proclamations were posted up freely in Hsin-Cheo, and the Boxer leaders had red cloths hung up over their doors on which were written four characters—" Preserve the dynasty, but destroy the foreigners." News of a secret edict from the Empress Dowager came to hand by telegraph the same day, ordering that all foreigners should be killed, and this was made known
through a friend to the missionaries.

On the 29thJune they decided to flee, and two hours after they had gone the local officials were in pursuit.

 The fugitives, it was afterwards ascertained, arrived at Liu-chia-shan, and remained there unmolested for 22 days. Then the Boxers discovered their retreat, and promising them a safe escort to the coast, the missionaries went back with them to Hsin-Cheo. 

For five days they went without food and were then confined in the common gaol until August 7, when they were put into carts and taken to the east wall of the city. Here the carts were stopped, the missionaries dragged out and stripped of all their clothes. Then the  Boxers and soldiers set upon them and literally hacked their heads to pieces. 

Their bodies were dragged outside the city and left on the banks of a  river, where they were shamefully treated by the inhabitants of a neighbouring village. 

Subsequently a literary graduate, who had known Mr. Dixon, hired men to bury the bodies at the foot of the east wall.

(the above information is extracted from a report in the Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday 8 January 1901 (,%20Hongxian,%201504-1564%22&searchLimits=  )

There is  a stained glass window to her memory in the Wesleryan Reform church in Stairfoot in Barnsley

The following appears in the History of Hunningley Wesleyan Reform Church, Stairfoot, Barnsley

"On the stairs leading to the Lecture Hall is a beautiful stained glass window erected by the parents of Miss Clara Novello Scholey who had gone to China as a missionary and was massacred during the Boxer Rising in August 1900. Miss Scholey had been headmistress of a local Public Day School and was a member of the Church and a teacher in the Sunday School."

The following link will lead you to a full report on the background of what was happening in China at the time. It includes extracts from diaries and letters from the eight missionaries including  aletter from Clara's husband  

An extract is as follows and includes a brief introduction to the character of William and Clara

Rev, William Adam McCurrach was born 
in Aberdeen on March 30, 1869. After leaving school, 
he served his apprenticeship in an ironmongery ware- 
house. His family belonged to the Free Church of 
Scotland, but as a scholar in a mission school in 
Causewayend he came under the influence of teachers 
who were Baptists. 

His conversion took place when he was sixteen years 
of age. On the morning after he made his great resolve, 
he joyfully confessed to the foreman of the workshop 
that he had become a Christian. The reality of the 
change was soon proved, and he rejoiced in making the 
fact known as widely as possible. He joined the local 
Y.M.C.A., and began to exercise his gifts as a Christian 
worker in connection with the Old Aberdeen Mission, 
where he laboured till he entered college. 

About a year after his conversion he joined the 
Baptist Church at Crown Terrace, Aberdeen. After 
hearing Dr. Guinness and Mr. Pigott, who visited 
Aberdeen at this time, he resolved to apply for admission 
into Cliff College, with the object of engaging in 
missionary work in China. After two years in this 
college, he applied to the Baptist Missionary Society, 
but the committee advised him to continue his studies, 
and recommended him to apply to Rawdon College, 
which he entered shortly afterwards. At the end of his 
four years' course in Rawdon he was accepted by the 
Baptist Missionary Society for work in China, and in 
the autumn of 1896 proceeded to that country. 

He easily made friends, and always kept them. Of 
an open, frank, and kindly disposition, he was a favourite 
wherever he went. Although sometimes tempted, he 
never swerved from his original determination to become 
a missionary in China. The only thing he dreaded in 
this connection was, he said, 'saying good-bye to his 

On April 20, igoo, the day on which Yii Hsien 
arrived in T'ai-yuen-fu, Mr. McCurrach writes of a 
visit which he and his wife had made with others to 
some stations about eighty miles north of Hsin-chou, 
and where the party had met with encouraging success : 
' It is needless to say that such visits are not only help- 
ful to the natives but stimulating to our own spiritual 
life. We are most grateful to our Heavenly Father for 
giving us the privilege of speaking to so many, and we 
look to Him to follow the preaching of His own Word 
with His richest blessing.' 

Mrs. McCurrach, nee Clara Novello Scholey, 
was born on January 30, 1869, in Bradford. For many 
years it was ' her ambition to become a missionary/ an 
idea which her family did not quite approve of. For 
six years before going out to China she was head- 
mistress in the girls' school at Stairfoot, near Barnsley, 
and in this position proved very successful. In 1898 she 
was married in Shanghai to Mr. McCurrach. The last 
letter to her relatives proves her to have been a loving 
and faithful wife, and a true and earnest missionary. 


'In Deaths Oft'^ 

There are two stations of the English Baptist Mission 
in the province of Shan-si, one in T'ai-yuen-fu, and the 
other in Hsin-chou, which is situated about forty-five 
miles north of that city. The station of Hsin-chou was 
opened by Mr. Dixon in 1885. 

There the work had prospered, and with the addition 
to the staff of Mr. and Mrs. McCurrach, and later of Mr. 
Ennals and Miss Renaut, of the B.Z.M., there seemed 
every reason for encouragement and the prospect of 
definite extension. A new mission-house was, in 1900, 
in process of building, and was almost finished when the 
troubles began, which ended so disastrously. 

On June 29, 1900, a messenger who had been sent 
to T'ai-yuen-fu with the mail for the coast, returned 
without having delivered his letters. He brought the 
news of the burning of the hospital in T'ai-yuen-fu and 
the death of Miss Coombs, which had happened only 
two days before. There were stationed at Hsin-chou at 
the time, Rev. H. Dixon and Mrs. Dixon, Rev. W. A. 
McCurrach and Mrs. McCurrach, Miss B. Renaut and 
Rev. S. W. Ennals ; and belonging to the same mission 
from T'ai-yuen-fu were Rev. T. J. Underwood and Mrs. 
Underwood, who were on a visit to Hsin-chou at the 

In September 1893, Mr. and Mrs. Dixon returned 
to England with their four children ; but for him it 
was a short stay. Leaving his wife and children behind, 
a few months later he was back again at his lonely 
station. When he was very weary he would come to 
T'ai-yuen-fu, and remain with his friends for a few 
weeks. He was a welcome guest, and with the 
children always a favourite, and this relaxation seemed 
to put new life into the tired but heroic missionary. 

In 1898 he returned once more to England, after 
four years' separation from his family. The winter 
before, Mr. McCurrach had joined him in his solitude, 
and there was every prospect of an enlargement of the 
Mission. The premises which were then rented were 
expensive, incommodious, and in a most confined and 
unhealthy situation. Mr. Dixon proposed to erect new 
premises on a healthy site. By the sale of some 
embroidery amongst his friends, and by an earnest and 
skilful advocacy of the work, he secured about ;^iooo, 
so that when he returned with Mrs. Dixon in 1899 he 
was at once able to begin operations, and speedily 
made rapid progress. The work at Hsin-chou and the 
connected out-stations had prospered steadily during 
his absence, and he was much encouraged by the 

Fresh force was added by the arrival of Mr. Ennals 
and Miss Renaut, and everything was prosperous, when 

the blow fell which forced them suddenly to flee from 
their station to the mountains. 

Mr. Dixon and some of his companions left diaries 
of this terrible time, which have since been recovered, 
and are of the deepest interest and very stimulating 
to faith and hope. The following extracts are from 
Mr. Dixon's own diary: — 

' Rumours of plans to destroy all foreigners and native 
Christians had been persistent, and the appointment 
of Yii Hsien Governor of Shan-si seemed the finishing 
touch. The outburst of Boxers at Pao-ting-fu cut us 
off from all communication with the coast (about June 
4 or 5). 

' Friday^ June 29. — Last night had letter from G. B. 
Farthing saying very bad rumours about, but could 
not say if there was any real foundation for them. 
This morning, five o'clock, our letter-carrier from T'ai- 
Yuen came in saying that Dr. Edwards's premises were 
burnt down by a mob on night of June 27, and at 
least one lady (Miss Coombs) was burnt. That he could 
not get at Mr. Farthing — that troops and Boxers were 
searching everywhere for the missionaries — all the city 
gates being guarded to prevent their escape. 

' After short consultation, we (Mr. and Mrs. Dixon, 
Mr. and Mrs. McCurrach, Mr. Ennals, Miss Renaut, and 
Mr. and Mrs. Underwood) decided to escape outside the 
city of Hsin-chou before the news could be generally 
known — so hurriedly secured carts and made good our 
escape out of the west gate, having arranged to 
inform the official after our start, that he might protect 
our property. Made our way toward T'ai-Yuen, and 
there branched off south-west toward Chuan Mo Chen. 
Spent the afternoon waiting at a Christian's home. 
Sudden alarm of soldiers pursuing us made us start 
off about 6.45 p.m., and after an hour's toilsome march, 
pushed up into a deep gully ; dismissed our two carts, 
and hid our baggage in a hole, whilst we waited in the 
dark the arrival of some Christians with donkeys. 
r"~~ 'At last they came, and we started up a wide river- 
bed about midnight. Three ladies on horses, we men 
leading them ; Mr. Ennals and Miss Renaut on donkeys. 
An awful march through alternate water and deep dry 
sand. Could not keep up or in touch with our guides. 
Dared carry no light, neither dared we call out. Lost 
our bearings, got some mile or more out of our way. 
At last hit the entrance up a narrow pass, and found 
our guides. Then a terrible climb over a rough path : 
Mrs. Dixon very ill. 

* Arrived near village at daybreak, Saturday. Would 
not go in, for fear of bringing trouble on the village. 
Went away up a glen, and lay out all day. Rained 
heavily, and we had to sit sopped through in a rocky 
torrent-bed until near midnight. Then Christians came 
with lights, and with infinite trouble took us and our 
i, things into the village about two miles off (over most 
; difficult ground). 

' No sooner there than we men had to be marched 
away over the mountain-side to hide in a cave, whilst 
the ladies were put down in a tiny cellar and the lid 
shut down, — it almost cost them their lives. They were 
pulled out only just in time, and then stayed in a 
cave room. This was all necessitated by a fair at a temple 
on a mountain near by. About midnight we men re- 
turned to the ladies. Thus we spent Sunday, July i. 

' On Friday Chao was sent off toward the coast with 
instructions to try and convey news of our danger to 
some foreign troops or officials. On Sunday our cook 
and boy turned up, and were sent to T'ai-Yuen to try 
and get news of the missionaries there. Monday and 
Tuesday brought one and another Christian with bad 
news of T'ai Chou and Ku Hsien. Wednesday, our 
cook and boy returned from T'ai-Yuen with news that 
all the missionaries were prisoners in Mr. Farthing's 
house, and were expecting execution at any moment. 
Thursday, sent off cook w^ith a small note concealed in 
his hat-string to try and go to Pao-ting-fu, Peking, or 
Tien-tsin, asking for the utmost efforts to be made 
to save T'ai-Yuen friends and ourselves. Friday and 
Saturday, all quiet living in village. 

''Sunday, July 8. — Had open-air service. Monday, 
all quiet apparently. Tuesday, getting anxious at non- 
return of our messenger from Hsin-chou city. The 
past four days have had men digging a small cave up in 
the heart of the mountains — difficulty is the impossibility 
of concealing the dug-out earth. 

' Wednesday, July 1 1. — Villager carried home from his "7 
daughter's home fifteen li off, having been beaten almost ff^ 
to death for poisonifig the wells by 07'der oj the Joreigner : 
the Boxers who beat him threaten to invade the village] 
on Friday. 

* 1 1 p.m. — News received of rioting in Hsin-chou — 
official threatened for letting us escape — our houses prob- 
ably all looted. A hundred Boxers setting out to destroy 
Catholic villages, and to come up and kill us. Every 
village has its forty to sixty Boxers — so by the time they 
get here they will number a thousand. Decide to advise 
the villagers to scatter and abandon their village, and we 
ourselves pack up a little bedding and the few stores we 
have, and go into hiding in our cave in the mountains. 

* Thursday, July 12. — Had a most trying climb last 
night, but all got safely to the cave — a mere hole in a 
bank— room enough for all to lie down. Water a mile 
below us, but we have two buckets full. All quiet until 
7 p.m., when four villagers came, saying reliable news to 
hand that all foreigners in Vai- Yuen executed by Tai 
Tung troops last Monday (or Tuesday). Twenty-six all told 
and te7i or eleve^i Catholic priests. This means no hope for 
us — as they were all under especial protection of theT'ai- 
Yuen magistrate, having been moved by him from Mr. 
Farthing's house to a house near the Yamen. 

^Friday, July 13. — Had a quiet night, all sleeping 
out of doors, but have to keep strictly in the cave during 
the day — and no talking allowed. Villagers all fled, so 
cannot get food. Must economise our biscuit and milk. 
A messenger left yesterday to try and get to Pao-ting-fu 
for help — but all seems hopeless, as our cave is known to 
at least one outsider. But God is keeping our hearts 
stayed upon Him — our lives are His. Should we be 
killed, don't forget to recompense the villagers here — 
they have given their all for us. Liu Chia San. 

' Saturday, July 14. — Ink in pen is finished. One 
or two of the villagers came in during the day, saying 
their village is deserted and has been plundered by Fu- 
chia-chuan men, i.e. men from the big village five li 
below them. An offer w^as made later on by two 
of the villagers and an outsider to take us by night to a 
more secluded spot, where there is an old cave. We had 
come to an end of our ordinary rough oatmeal bread, 
and having no prospect of getting any more, we had 
had a special prayer-meeting to ask for food and 
guidance. This cave is horribly damp, and all our 
bedding is sopping wet, and we dare not dry it out in 
the sunshine, as it might be seen from one of the heights 
around — so we should welcome a change. Just after 
the prayer-meeting the three men came and made an 
offer, bringing with them some of the roughest of bread, 
but it was indeed welcome, and the whole seemed God's 
answer to our prayers. We are to move on Sunday 

^ Sunday, July 15. — A burning hot day. All quiet 
hiding in the cave. Two more villagers came, bringing 
a few very coarse dumplings. It's awfully good of them, ^ ^^ 
as they have nothing themselves. We are much worse' 1 \\ 
off than Mafeking at its worst ; and we have no Baden 
Powell ! Comforted greatly by God ; and by the 
thought of the prayers of the congregations at home. 
At night packed up our wet bedding for removal — 
waited till 1.30 a.m., but no one came. Rain coming on, j 
had to unpack and hide again in the cave. "^ 

^Monday, July 16. — Heavy rain all the morning, 
mountains enveloped in mist. No one been near (2 p.m.). 
How long can we hold out? Only few biscuits, 
sardines, etc., and milk. Sad to see wasting of the ladies' 
faces. Mrs. Dixon almost gone this morning. Cannot 
get any information as to outside events. Villagers 
dare not be seen in any village around. Either gone 
clean away or hiding in the mountains. Two of our 
evangelists turned up on Friday, and one undertook to 
try and carry letter to any Russian or other troops that 
he might find up in the north of Kalgan, or possibly 
Peking. They told us, " Tien-tsin taken by foreign 
troops 20th of 5th moon (June 17), and Peking invested 
but action delayed owing to foreigners being inside the 
city." That is our only news. Surely if Peking be 
taken, relief ought to reach us ere long. Eveiy village 
has its band of Boxers drilling, and our position grows 
more and more desperate, humanly speaking. But God 
is our refuge and strength. 

' Tuesday, July 17. — Last night God sent us more food 
and a man to carry us some water. But they say some 
of the villagers, Erh Yu tzu and his brother and Hsia 
Kuei tzu, are plotting to betray us, or to prevent food 
reaching us, so as to starve us to death. Rumours came 
this afternoon of Boxers coming up from T'ai-yuen-fu 
to hunt us to death. We are still in God's hands. 

' Wednesday^ J Illy i8. — Last night heard firing in Ten 
hsi Kou village, just below us, and much shouting. This 
morning at 6.15 a.m. a man from Lui erh Kou came to 
our cave (he is related to An jung ch'ang), and said he 
himself had seen thirty or forty Boxers go past his 
village toward Fu chia chuan last night, and that the 
commotion we heard was caused by them. That at Fu 
chia chuan probably a hundred were gathered. He 
offered to lead us to a cave about a mile away, and just 
above Lui erh Kou. We prayed for guidance, and 
decided to abandon all the bedding we could not carry, 
to bury all milk we could not carry, and after a hurried 
march exposed to view on the mountain-side we have 
arrived at said cave. God knows all about it, and we 
trust Him to save us, but we are willing to die if that be 
God's will. Give the bearer of this book and letters a 
handsome reward, if delivered into the hands of friends. 
Love, warmest love, to our children. 

' Thursday, July 19. — Yesterday found small tunnel 
running from this cave into another small cave, the roof 
of which had fallen badly. By dint of hard work two of 
us levelled the rubbish, and all crept in for the night ; 
very tight quarters, and bedding scarce. A good hiding- 
place ; but a death-trap if betrayed, as a mob could 
smoke us to death. Am staying on until further 
guidance. Last night four people from two villages 
brought us some coarse food in exchange for silver, but 
supply very scanty and unpalatable. They say all roads 
blocked against any supplies being sent to us or bought 
for us. 'Tis famine time, and local supplies are exhausted ; 
but God has supplied us day by day with something. 
Boxers in villages below been fighting amongst them- 
selves, so the elders have disbanded them. The band of 
Boxers that came through on Tuesday night had been 
pursuing one of our Christians, but failed to overtake 
him. Heavy slaughter amongst the Catholics around 
T'ai-Yuen. Military reported to be coming to block all 
paths whilst Boxers from T'ai-Yuen come in to kill us. 

* Friday, July 20. — A quiet day. Mrs. Dixon very 
ill. Recovered remainder of bedding left in first cave. 
Wednesday night, Mr. Ennals and I went across with 
two Chinese to the first cave and brought back our 
buried stores. At night the man brought some oatmeal 
strings, but wanted silver , silver. 

' Saturday, July 21, 7 a.m. — About 1 1 last night the 
man came with some boiled millet. He said that he had 
seen some thirty or forty Boxers at a village two miles 
away, and at another three Boxers from T'ai-Yuen were 
drilling the people, all bent on finding and attacking us. 
As we do not mean to fight, we can only run for our 
lives, and so had once more to pack up and march by 
night back to our first cave on the other side of the 
watershed. On the march Mrs. Dixon fell three or four 
times from utter exhaustion, and had finally to be carried 
in unconscious. The utter uncertainty of our position 
and lack of all news from the outside makes us dependent 
on mere local rumours brought to us by an opium- 
smoker, as the Christians have all had to run for their 
lives. But we believe God is guarding and guiding us 
day by day. Were it not for this trust in God we should 
be in utter despair. To see the ladies, and especially my 
dear wife in her weakness, have to tramp over these 
rough mountain paths by night, and lie hiding all day 
on wet bedding, damp or dusty caves, without proper 
food, and of course without water to wash ourselves, 
makes me think some very bitter thoughts against the 
Governor of the province, who has promoted this terrible 
persecution. But " vengeance is Mine, saith the Lord." 

* Have omitted to say that some four days before we 
left Hsin-chou, the magistrate had definitely refused us 
protection ; this was the consequence of a secret despatch 
received from the Governor on or about June 23 or 24. 
O Lord, may relief come soon ! Chao gone east 
twenty-two days, cook gone east seventeen days, Ho 
gone east ten days, and Wen gone north eight days. 
God grant some of them may have got through the 
Governor's troops, which are guarding the passes into 
Chih-li, so that no news of his doings shall leak out. Our 
love to our children and all friends. 

'Saturday^ July 21, 4 /.;;/. — About 9 a.m. heard 
shouting of " Pastor," " Pastor," then silence ; then saw 
one, two, three, four men on top of mountain evidently 
watching our cave mouth ; this went on till about 2.45 p.m., 
when suddenly an attack was commenced by men over 
the cave hurling immense stones at the small mouth of 
the cave. After a few moments of this, fearing we should 
be blocked in, McCurrach and I dashed out, and amid a 
hail of huge stones commenced firing with a revolver and 
a gun at the more prominent leaders. One man with a 
yellow cap was most persistent, so I gave him a charge 
of No. 1 shot, and then they began to run up the hill, 
the wounded man rolling over and over down the hill- 
side into the gully below us. Then gradually the crowd 
streamed away over the ridge down to a village below, 
and left us the field. On examining the ridge above the 
cave where they had first gathered, we found one of our 
Hsin-chou Church members with a terrible gash in his 
head and his throat cut. It was evident he had been 
dead some hours, and as his hands were bound behind 
him with a leading rope, it is evident they had caught him 
on the mountains and had led him captive to see the 
attack, and that the dear fellow had shouted to warn us, 
and had been killed on the spot. 

' That warning probably saved us. The wounded man 
had only a scalp wound, and will, I trust, soon be able to 
go off, as we have no means of dressing him here. He 
seems to be a captain of Boxers. 

' May God guide our steps, for we are at our wits' end. 
Thank Him for the nerve He gave us men (Mr. Under- 
wood fired his revolver, Mr. Ennals has none), and also 
for His grace to the women, who joined in prayer while 
we went out. Thank Him above all that we drove 
them off without killing any of them. They numbered 
probably fifty to sixty. We may not live to add more . 
to this account. But we are still in God's hands, and 
hoping for possible rescue. Our warmest love to our 
children and to their guardians. 

*9 /.;;/. — Our wounded prisoner says the band came 
from Hsin-chou south suburb, sent by Yang lao yeh, 
who is attached to Hsii-Kuei-feng, the newly arrived 
magistrate, with instructions to kill us all. He after said 
that Hsli-kuei-feng himself sent them. The prisoner's 
name is Chang-yui-hsiang, of south suburb. Their 
leader's name is Chang Hsien, of south suburb. The 
man they killed was Chang Chih Kuo of Hsia-ho-pien. 
They killed him simply because he was a Christian.' 

With this entry the diary abruptly ends, and the 
remainder of the terrible story is given in the description 
at the beginning of this chapter. 

From the last letters which MR MCCURRACH wrote to 
his mother, we take the following extract. The first is 
dated July 3, 1900 : — 

' We are now in very great danger of losing our lives. 
Our present Governor hates foreigners, and his desire is 
to murder all of us. He has sent word to all the officials 
to refuse us foreigners protection, in event of trouble. 

' We had hoped to flee the country by North Man- 
churia, but alas ! persecution broke out in the north 
before it did in our district, and as there is fighting at 
Pao Fu, there is absolutely no means of escape. We 
stayed at home until Friday night. June 29, about 6 
o'clock, our special messenger ran all night to inform us 
that the T'ai-yueu-fu missionaries had been attacked, 
and Dr. Edwards's premises burned to the ground. We, 
on hearing this news by our postman, all decided to flee 
to the hills. 

' This is a sad time for China. If all missionaries are 
murdered, it will move the Church in a remarkable way. 
If it is God's way of evangelising China, then surely we 
ought to be ready to die for the Gospel's sake. None 
of us want to die, but we all want to say, " Thy will be 
done." We have been here for four days ; we hear that 
the soldiers are out seeking for us ; if that be so, we may 
be caught at any moment. We have had a lot of rain, 
and this may be God's way of saving us. He delivered 
Peter from the prison, and can deliver us, if it be His 
will. It is very dark. I can't say more. Miss Renaut 
and Mr. Ennals are writing a fuller account of affairs, 
and we are leaving this with the' natives to be buried, 
until another missionary comes to whom it can be 

' It may be my last message to you all. Clara and 
I have been praying for you all one by one. I want to 
meet you all in heaven. Sorrow not for us, dearest 
Mother. If we die, I trust it is together, and then we 
shall enter heaven together and together receive our 

' Wednesday night. — Messenger to-day from T'ai- 
yuen-fu. Mr. Farthing and twenty-five more are prisoners 
in T'ai-yuen-fu awaiting their death. Governor sentenced 
them to death. Thus far they are not killed ; we hope and 
pray for deliverance. God keeps us happy and cheerful, 
and we are ready to die if it be His will. If we hear of 
soldiers coming, we are going to do a bolt to another 

' Men are busy digging a cave. We are justified in 
fleeing, since our Saviour said, " If they persecute you in 
one city, flee to another." May God deliver and save us 
and all our friends 1 May He comfort your hearts, is the 
prayer of your loving son and daughter.' 

The second letter is dated Friday, July 13, 1900:— 
' Our place of hiding is known to some, but it is our 
last hope. Yesterday we learned that all missionaries, 
ladies, and children at T'ai-yuen-fu were beheaded, 
twenty-six in all, besides Frenchmen. This is sad, sad 
news; our hope has practically almost gone. This is 
a most awful wave of persecution that has broken out. 
May God help the natives ! One of my evangelists, the 
Fan Shih man, and an enquirer, were burned to death. 
We hear of other murders too. This must be God's 
way of purifying the Church and making sure of its 
final success. We have some provisions which can keep 
body and soul together for a few days, if we are spared 
so long. My heart goes out to you, knowing how 
terribly you will feel for us. May God comfort you, and 
if I go before you all, then I will await your arrival. I 
could write on, but my heart is too full. I have given 
the main points, and now I can only say— Good-bye, 
God bless you all, and keep you in safety and comfort 
and happiness.' 

' Mr. Ennals also kept a diary during the fearful days 
of suspense and waiting in the caves near Hsin-chou, the 
city where he had been stationed, and where he spent 
his short life in China. From this document we give 
the following extracts : — 

^ July 4, 1900. — The last two nights three of us men 
have been sleeping in the straw-house where we have our 
meals. To-day three boxes came up from the village 
down below where we stayed to rest on our way up. 
Two contained stores and one clothes. One feels quite 
unable to say much in a letter under these sad circum- 
stances ; we one and all, however, have been wonderfully 
calm, trusting in God. I do not regret I came to China, 
and although my life will have been short, it will in some 
way have fulfilled the Master's will. May the Lord's 
will be done ! I pray earnestly for His deliverance, and 
feel we shall have it, but after all we may glorify Him 
better by passing through a deeper persecution. If we 
flee far into the mountains we can get no food. We 
keep coming back to this, that the Lord is near, and we 
are safe in His keeping. We sent a boy off to Pao- 
ting-fu, or wherever he could find the foreign troops, 
to try and bring us help. We are adding these letters 
to the account in a book which is to be sent home if we 
are all killed. It is dreadful writing like this, but you 
know that if the trumpet call comes, I shall rejoice to 
follow my Lord, not in my strength, but in His who 
giveth strength to the faint. Good-bye, dearest ones ; 
may the Lord take all the future in His hands, and grant 
us all to meet in Jesus' presence. 

'July 6. — There has been trouble at each of our three 
north stations, Fan Shih, the mission place, and two 
Christians are burnt, the one being the evangelist. At 
Tai-chou the mission place is burnt, and other members' 
buildings at both these places. At Kuo Hsien the 
mission place has been looted. At Chi ts'un the 
mission place has been looted. At Chao Mon Chung 
one Christian, taken by his heels and dragged round the 
place, was killed. Truly the persecution is dreadful. 
We hear that Tien-tsin is burnt to the ground; and 
Peking, the Chinese have surrounded it. 

' Where is our deliverance coming ? My help cometh 
from the Lord, and truly in Him is our help. We have 
trusted in Him, and not one good thing of all that the 
Lord has promised has ever or can ever fail us. May the 
Lord preserve our friends and us, extending us speedy 
deliverance ; if not, then we shall meet around the throne. 
The Lord watch between us. Mizpah. 

'July 7.— On the night the Tung Chia Hsiang was 
burnt, Mr. Farthing saw the Governor himself, but he 
said he was too busy to attend to that business, and 
when the other four officials went to intercede, he 
cursed them. Yet we trust the Lord will bring the 
devices of the wicked to nought. We rejoice that our 
times are in God's hands. The Lord is my light and 
my salvation ; of whom shall I be afraid ? Trust in the 
Lord at all times. Oh the peace that Jesus gives ! We 
want to know this more and more day by day, that if 
He shall call we shall gladly answer. Here am I, Lord, 
come to do Thy will. To-morrow is Sunday ; may the 
Lord be with you and all of us here, and if we meet no 
more on earth we shall in heaven sing His praises. 

'July 8. — Another day has passed, and we are once 
more drawing near to sunset. Our hearts are full of 
praise to the Lord for all His goodness. We are just 
here waiting, waiting on the Lord for deliverance for 
our friends and ourselves if it is His will. 

* These days of quiet have helped us to see the 
Saviour's face, and if He calls us to go, or if during this 
week and other weeks we are to pass through severe 
trials, we trust we may be more prepared. We strive to 
feel at heart " that One above in perfect wisdom, perfect 
love is working for the best." I know this, that I would 
not wish that the Lord should lead us by any other 
path than that which we have come ; and if we are to 
be still more refined for His service, we will praise Him 
that He has accounted us worthy to suffer for His name. 
The Lord be with you all and keep you safe now and 
for ever. " He is our Peace." 

''July 1 8. — I fear this may be my last to you. We 
hear there are a hundred Boxers in the village below, 
came last night, 6 o'clock. We moved to this cave, 
warned by a stranger. " The angel of His presence 
went before them." We are half a mile from other place, 
in large cave and dry. The Lord alone can save us. If 
He wants us to glorify Him by death, think of us as 
wearing the martyr's crown in the Master's presence. 

* We shall see Jesus and walk with Him. The Lord 
bring us all home at last.' 

Miss Renaut's letters from China testify to her 
interest in the work of the station, of her visits to the 
homes of the people in company with Mrs. Dixon, and 
her intense earnestness of desire to be able to speak to 
those around her the words of eternal life. During the 
awful weeks of suspense and weary wandering over hills 
and hiding in dens and caves. Miss Renaut managed to 
keep a diary, which was buried and afterwards recovered. 
From this we take one or two pathetic pages : — 


Miss Renaut*s Diary 63 

^ July 18. — This is our twentieth day. Rescue can 
soon come. God grant it may ! But we have often said 
we would rather walk with God in the dark than alone 
in the light, and now we can prove to God our sincerity. 
He is making us willing. Oh, may He give you all 
grace to say His will is best ! In prayer for you all. 
Love to all dear friends. 

''July 21. — The man who conducted us here came 
last night to tell us that the Boxers were in his village, 
and advised our return to a former one. At 2.45 an 
attack was made from ground above, great stones and 
boulders being hurled in at mouth. The attack was 
sharp and fearful, but, praise God, is over for the present 
— most likely only to be renewed. Alas ! one of our 
native Christians has given his life for his friends. 
Chang Chih Kuo had come to warn us, and was 
captured as he came. They tied his hands behind him 
and battered him about badly and cut the side of his 
throat. He was one of the earliest converts. He is in 
glory. . . . We may be able to thank him in a day or 
two. . . . One of the Boxers was wounded — a real Boxer 
— we are going to wash his wounds. The Christians 
have all fled, so we do not know how news can come. 
Moving seems out of the question. We are praying 
for guidance, and do not expect another attack for a 
day or two. To-day we are sitting out in the valley, 
which after so much close confinement is beautiful, 
but the beauty of it seems mockery — the groans of 
the wounded man, and the great sharp boulders 
lying about, make us lift our hearts to God, and pray. 
Psalm Ixx.' 

Here the record ends. 

When the diary from which all the extracts given 
in this chapter are taken was recovered, the following 
touching letter'i was found with it, and forwarded to the 
Secretary of the Baptist Zenana Mission : — 

'J^'iy 13, 1900. 
' Dear Miss Angus, — You will know our circum- 
stances from the diary in which this is enclosed. Give my 
love to the Committee. We have food enough for a few 
days and water for two ; the nearest is a mile of difficult 
climb, but the gentlemen will try for it, if we are left so 
long. We have heard almost certain tidings of the 
execution of all our friends at T'ai-Yuen — all Mrs. 
Farthing's dear children and many others — and they 
were taken to the Yamen under pretence of protection, 
and two days afterwards massacred. Chao Hsien 
Sheng has been gone fifteen days towards the coast 
seeking help, our cook about eight, and to-day another 
evangelist to Kalgan. We are not building on assistance. 
God is helping us. He has given us wonderful strength 
and surefootedness for hard climbing. China's Chris- 
tians are splendid. Lui Chia Shan villagers have risked 
their lives for us, and now have had to flee from their 
village without food and money. All our servants are 
faithful. — XMth love to you all. Yours sincerely, 

' Bessie Renaut.' 


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