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Mary C. Greenleaf. Life and Letters of Miss Mary C. Greenleaf (Boston, 1858), frontispiece.


Mary Greenleaf, a missionary to the Chickasaw tribe late in her life, grew up in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and moved to Andover in 1836. Prior to her work with the Chickasaw in Oklahoma, she served her local communities for many years by teaching Sunday school. Less than a year after arriving in Oklahoma, while caring for several Native American girls who had dysentery, Miss Greenleaf herself contracted the disease and died on June 26, 1857.

Miss Greenleaf’s memoir was compiled a year after her death for the Massachusetts Sabbath School Society. It contains a notable example of her local outreach for the church and the spirit, which led to her missionary life:

“Wakened to a livelier sense of the soul’s inestimable value, she thought out another method of scattering … the good seed. She resolved to place in the hand of each operative in the five manufactories in town a religious tract…. In one case, the agent upon whom, she called to ask permission, proposed that she should leave them in his charge, to which she readily assented. When this last enterprise was discovered by a few of her sisters in the church, they insisted that she should permit them to defray the pecuniary expense attending it.” (p. 144)



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