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Pharcellus Church, Notices of the Life of Theodosia Ann Barker Dean (Boston, 1851), frontispiece.




Theodosia Ann Barker Dean, the daughter of a clergyman, was born in Thetford, England, and became a missionary at age seventeen, following the death of her father. Her first post was in Macao, where she met and married her American husband, the Rev. William Dean; the two then continued their Baptist ministry in Bangkok and Hong Kong. She died only five months after their arrival in Bangkok, on her twenty-fourth birthday.

After Mrs. Dean’s death, during a short return to the United States, the Rev. Dean passed on to the Rev. Pharcellus Church of Boston many of the documents, which he later compiled into her memoir. Her dedication to the missionary service is shown in it by her determination to join despite her young age:

“For a girl so young to entertain the idea of leaving her home and an endeared circle of friends, to go to the opposite side of the globe to impart her religion to heathen women, amid all the dangers, privations, and embarrassments of such an enterprise, might be thought the mere prompting of childish fancy, that would expire with the first rebuke of her superiors. But no; in the case of Miss Barker, when the rebuke [for her impetuous decision to become a missionary at such a young age] reached her, as it did from various quarters, it found her unmoved and sustained by all the deliberation and decision of maturer years.” (p. 41-42)



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