Removal to Teng Chow, Shantung Province
Early in the summer of 1863, Mr. Crawford who had never rallied from the previous year's illness, began to show signs of general debility. The liver diseases so prevalent at Shanghai were preying upon his system and in July he was prostrated. Shortly after this his wife was taken with fever and they were unable to help each other. Their physician peremptorily advised Mr. Crawford's immediate departure for America or elsewhere; but to return to their home in the south where civil war was raging and all her ports blockaded, was out of the question. Moreover, to leave China would be to cut themselves off from any reliable means of support. The rent from their lands, though sufficient for an economical living, was quite uncertain, being dependent upon the movements of the Tai Ping rebels and the consequent continuance of the inflated population and demand for real estate. The rebels were already meeting with reverses, and with their collapse rents, especially outside of the foreign settlement where Mr. Crawford's property mostly lay, would fall to almost nothing. Such were the problems before their minds as they lay tossing upon their beds. In consultation with Mr. Yates on the situation, it was decided that Mr. Crawford's mission dwelling should be rented out, and with the proceeds he should remove to Shantung, without determining whether he should remain there permanently or return to Shanghai after his restoration to health. There was no difficulty in finding a tenant, and the rent for the first year was about sufficient to pay the expenses of removal, salary and house rent for that period in Teng Chow. The next year it passed at greatly reduced rates to another occupant who soon became bankrupt, and much of the money due on it remains to this day unpaid. Both were too ill at the time of their departure to make definite arrangements about anything. Leaving their furniture in the hands of their faithful cook with instructions to follow with it as soon as possible, they were carried on board a Hamburg vessel and sailed for Chefoo, August
12, 1863, paying one hundred dollars each for passage. They could say farewell only to those native Christians within the city. Mrs. Ling and others in the country did not hear of their intended departure until they were gone, and were greatly distressed in consequence. No steamers were running up the coast, and their sailing vessel was ten days in making the voyage which is now accomplished by steamers in two days. Once fairly out at sea their health began to improve, and on reaching. Chefoo they ceased regarding themselves as invalids. After a few days' stay there they proceeded to Teng Chow in a rude kind of mule palanquin called shenza, to them a new mode of travel. The narrow, rocky road took them over hills and valleys most of the way, often overlooking the blue waters of the Gulf of Pechele. It was like again entering a new world. The scenery was varied and interesting and was entirely different from the uninterrupted plain around Shanghai. Most of the hills were terraced and under cultivation nearly to their summits, while the valleys were groaning under a luxuriant harvest of millet, Indian corn, peas, hemp and sweet potatoes. The uncultivated parts of the mountains were in the main covered with verdant grass and a few stunted pines, while trees of various kinds were seen along the streams and about the villages. A clear bracing atmosphere, the ever varying scenery, the delicious fruits, joined with a rest from their mental cares, seemed to renew the youth and energies of the two missionaries.
Arriving at Teng Chow August 29, they received, a most cordial welcome from the Hartwells, and also Mrs. Holmes, who had moved from Chefoo the previous year. These with the two Presbyterian families, then constituted the entire foreign community of the place.
They were guests of their Baptist friends for three months, spending much of their time, hammer in hand, "geologizing" among the hills around the city, until their strength was fully restored. In December they rented temporarily a house that joined Mr. HartwelPs, which had been fitted up and occupied by a Presbyterian missionary, and began the study of the dialect which was a branch of the northern Mandarin. By spring Mr. Crawford was able to begin preaching, and Mrs. Crawford to labor with Mrs. Holmes among the women.
As already mentioned Mr. Hartwell was by this time at Shanghai for the purpose of becoming municipal interpreter during Mr. Yates' absence in Europe, Mr. Crawford taking charge of Mr. HartwelPs church and missionary work at Teng Chow, while the
[A pitcure of Chefoo - the Port of Shantung Province is on page 93 and is not included.]
latter occupied Shanghai. Soon after this a dear friend of the Crawfords, Mrs. M. L. Wood of the Southern Methodist mission died in Shanghai, leaving two little boys, Eddie two and a half years, and Charlie six months old, to Mrs. Crawford's care. This was of course a great responsibility, but they were fortunate in securing a faithful nurse who followed the children about everywhere, and strictly obeyed injunctions — a rare characteristic in a Chinese nurse. She was so untiring in her attendance upon them that Mr. Crawford called her Charlie's shadow.
Their labors began in Teng Chow soon after China's war with England and France, while the people still looked upon all foreigners with fear, suspicion and hatred. When the Hartwells arrived in 1861, the leading men of the city had, in council assembled, decided to discourage all intercourse with the outsiders and to render their stay as inconvenient and unpleasant as possible. Reports were circulated that these barbarians were inimical to the government, that they were spies, that they had come to wean the people's allegiance from the Emperor to foreign rulers, that they would kidnap women and children by the ship load to send off to the outside countries, that they could throw magic spells over the unwary, especially children, to make them follow them and become Christians, and that they practiced various unknown black arts, and were altogether exceedingly dangerous. Fortunately it was only by degrees that the missionaries became aware of this state of things, or their bravery might have been put more severely to the test than it was. Curiosity, despite all their fears, brought numbers to their homes. Love of money brought servants and teachers, and these soon learning the manner of life and the motives of the strangers were able to deny many of the slanders that were circulated regarding them. Besides the Chinese always received rumors with a grain of allowance. They understand the craftiness and untruthful-ness of their own people, and are to some extent ready to see and judge for themselves. They found the missionaries ready to receive them into their homes and to be kind to them and their children. No authentic case of kidnapping, poisoning or bewitching could be proven. The outsiders walked about their streets, spoke their language, and laughed and chatted like other people; and after a while began to be recognized as "men of like passions with themselves." All this time they were trying to visit the natives in their homes and were using every means to teach them the word of life.
After 1864, every day Mrs. Crawford and Mrs. Holmes started out on their visits among the women, and the oft recurring question,
tion, "Where shall we go today?" was sometimes answered with difficulty. But they found everything to grow easy by persistent practice. Taking a little New Testament they read to those who would listen, or told of its contents according to circumstances. They visited frequently those disposed to learn, teaching them the principles of the gospel in the best way adapted to their needs and capacities.
The streets of Teng Chow presented on either side solid stone walls, the only openings to these being the doors to the houses, and those of the wealthy were always kept closed. The windows all opened into inner court yards. On knocking at a door, if they were discovered to be foreigners, they were often told "not at home," or "the dogs will bite," or sometimes plainly, "we do not wish you here," but this did not occur very frequently. A more common plan was to show, by a cool reception, that the visitors were not welcome. In these particulars the Chinese are not unlike their western sisters. Thus those two brave women, often with aching hearts and lagging feet, persevered in their work in the face of many discouragements until it became almost easy. Sickness came, and early in 1867, Mrs. Holmes took her little boy to America for his health. Mrs. Crawford was left alone to carry on this work among the women. Yet not long alone, for God had already raised up a helper for her.
One day the previous year a beggar woman, Mrs. Leo, followed her home, saying she had come to ask for medicine for her only child, a boy nine years old. She looked on eagerly as Mrs. Crawford consulted her medical book. On giving her some medicine for the child, she told the woman she had something better for her, and then told her of salvation through Christ. She listened very earnestly, and Mrs. Crawford asked her name and residence and learned that she lived four or five miles away. Later she came again, and then again, and soon became a regular attendant at the Sunday services. She learned rapidly. The Holy Spirit seemed to work in her heart and in a few months she became a happy convert. Some months before Mrs. Holmes' departure she had been baptized and moved to the city. She ceased begging and with a capital of a few dollars became a peddler. As the native ladies of Teng Chow do not go shopping, such articles as they need are brought to their homes by the women peddlers. Mrs. Leo supported herself in this business by her mornings' work, and when Mrs. Holmes had gone, spent the afternoons in visiting with Mrs. Crawford from house to house. While plying her trade she also
took the gospel to the women, and learned where Mrs. Crawford's visits would be acceptable. For several years Mrs. Leo was her constant companion in these labors, and found many homes that would otherwise have been closed to her. The wife of the Che Fu, the highest mandarin in the city, sent a messenger saying that she had heard of Mrs. Crawford going from house to house teaching the women something good, and would she not visit her also? On going at the appointed time Mrs. Crawford found a large assemblage of the friends of the mandarin's wife collected to hear the word, and she spent several hours talking to these earnest listeners. Mrs. Leo had accompanied her and was in another room telling the gospel to the female attendants of these ladies.
Mr. Hartwell during his first two years' residence in Teng Chow had gathered a church of fifteen members and Mr. Crawford in the twenty months of his pastorate baptized eight others.
The Crawfords' country work was begun and carried on under many difficulties. The people still filled with suspicion often refused to give them lodging even at the inns. Mr. Crawford looking about over the field selected a number of market towns, among them Hwong Ching, sixteen-miles to the south, and Buh Go, twelve miles to the west of the city. He had become acquainted with an influential man, Sun Chang Lung, living near Hwong Ching. Sun was a school teacher of his own village and Whei To, or head man, of this and eight other villages. The temple owned by these nine villages, situated at Ma Kia, was under his control. He rented out its lands, disbursed its funds, appointed its priest, and superintended its affairs generally. At the time of Mr. Crawford's first acquaintance with him there was no priest at the temple and he himself was having a row of rooms put up on the ground at the rear. He became interested in the gospel. Proud, tyrannical, bigot-ted and exacting as he was, there was something in the gospel attractive to him. He placed the new rooms in the temple court at Mr. Crawford's disposal for a chapel, and rejected all applications from priests for settlement there. When the missionaries visited the neighborhood, a small room served for a sleeping apartment and a larger one for a chapel. Thus this became an out-station which they visited about once a month for several years, and less frequently for a longer period. And as they found openings they made tours to the surrounding towns and villages.
On Mr. Hartwell's return from Shanghai in December, 1865, the question came up for final decision as to whether Mr. Crawford would settle permanently in Teng Chow or return to his former
home and labors. The work at Shanghai was very dear to their hearts and they longed to renew it, but there they would probably live out only half their days and that in much weakness; while in Shantung's invigorating climate, where life would be a pleasure rather than a burden, they might prosecute equally important labors for the Master. They decided to remain if possible, but the difficulty in doing so lay in securing a house in a good position for work. This must be done in spite of the council which had decided that no citizen should rent or sell another house to foreigners on pain of endless persecution. As the influence of the gentry was great Mr. Crawford's hope of success was not sanguine. The two strolled about the city in their afternoon walks apparently without looking to the right or left, and finally chose Monument Street as the most desirable for a residence, not knowing whether there was a single house on it for rent or sale. Mr. Crawford, however, pointed out the selected street to his native teacher, Chow Ting Ching, who was a stranger to the people of the city, and committed the matter to him. Chow found a medium sized house for sale on the north side of the street and brought Mr. Crawford a description of its dimensions and structure. As the price was reasonable he was instructed to purchase it at once in his own name, promising to rent it to Mr. Crawford who would, of course, supply the purchase money. Notwithstanding treaty rights this seemed the only way of obtaining a house in Teng Chow. Conditions were especially hard on them at this time as the Board was still, on account of impoverishment by the late war, unable to pay the salaries of the missionaries, much less to purchase houses for them. Mr. Crawford's income at Shanghai was greatly reduced, yet from it they must purchase a dwelling and wait indefinitely for the Board to refund the money.
The teacher in this purchase was successful beyond expectation and the bargain was soon completed. In consideration of a small extra sum possession was to be given at the end of one month instead of four as custom allowed. They dared not look at the house until the expiration of the month, no one yet knowing that the real purchaser was a foreigner. On the specified day the teacher reported it vacant. This was Saturday, and in their eagerness Mr. and Mrs. Crawford went to see it at once, finding the former owner's family still occupying it. Their untimely visit revealed to the owners and neighbors the state of the case, and by Monday placards were posted in every direction calling on the people to rise en masse and prevent the "foreign devils" from occupying the house.
The excitement became so intense that it was thought best to inform the city magistrate. After a long, unsatisfactory interview with him a messenger was dispatched with a letter to Mr. Sanford, then United States consul at Chefoo, explaining the situation. He came to Teng Chow at once and communicated with the chief officials, informing them that Mr. Crawford with his (the consul's) sanction and presence would take possession at noon next day. He asked protection against any riot that might arise in consequence. The official sent no reply to his communication, and early the following afternoon the consul accompanied by Messrs. Crawford, Hartwell and Mills, the native teacher and servant, entered the house, posted a notice under a United States official seal and raised an American flag at the door. The gentry were then in council at a neighboring temple, and gongs of alarm soon began to sound in various parts of the city. The women of the house set up a frightful wail, and a crowd rapidly collected in front of the door and along the street. The excitement seemed increasing and the danger most threatening. Mr. Crawford's own language best gives the remainder of the story:"The gentry then in council sent a man to beat a gong in front of the house. When Mr. Hartwell and I went out to inquire why he was beating the gong he replied, 'I do so by order of the council,' and immediately about twenty of their men rushed upon us seizing each of us by the arm. Jerking ourselves loose we drew our revolvers and the crowd fell back somewhat, and we regained the door where we kept them at bay for an hour or two. The assembled gazers knowing of our revolvers kept at a safe distance. At length my servant was sent with a consul's card to inform the chief official of our situation and to ask his assistance, and about sunset a number of subordinates arrived on the scene and seemed to take control of matters by general consent. Immediate danger subsided. After some parleying with them, Mr. Hartwell accompanied one of them to the chief official, where a little before midnight the Che Fu agreed that if we would leave matters in his hands and retire to our homes he would give us peaceable possession in ten days. Keeping his word the house was delivered the eighth day and I soon began repairs without molestation.
"Houses after this could be obtained without special difficulty, but the gentry were far from reconciled to our presence. For years they did all they could to ostracize us and prejudice people against us. I do not tell this story with self complacency, but some parts of it with deep regret. It is my decided opinion on reviewing the
whole case that we could now manage the matter in a very different manner and spirit, and leave much more favorable impressions on the minds of the people. The days of foreigners carrying out their purposes in China by force and threats are now, thank God, rapidly passing away. Our aims are more in accord with the spirit of Christ than with the spirit of the military age. Kindness, forbearance and patience are the virtues needed in the prosecution of missionary work at all times and at all places, and especially in the opening of new stations among an ignorant, suspicious and self-conceited people like the Chinese. Pistols are out of place in dealing with them."
Go to Chapter 14
[From L. S. Foster, Fifty Years in China - An Eventful Memoir of Tarleton Perry Crawford, D. D., 1909; reformatted and reprinted in 2005. The document was provided by Jackie Battles, Winchester, VA. - jrd]
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