Stoddard, David Tappan

Stoddard, David Tappan, a Congregational minister and missionary, was born at Northampton, Mass., Dec. 2, 1818. At the age of ten he had made considerable progress in Latin and Greek. He was sent to the Round Hill Academy, Mass. He was early the subject of converting grace, and joined the Church, on the profession of his faith, after he had entered college. He first commenced the college course at Williams, and completed it at Yale, and took high rank as a scholar, especially in the physical sciences. He declined an invitation to go on an exploring expedition under command of Wilkes, because he considered himself consecrated to the work of the ministry. He graduated with honor in 1838, and entered immediately on the office of tutor in Marshall College, Pa. While there he was offered a professorship in Marietta College, O.; but he declined it, and entered the Theological Seminary at Andover. Before he had completed his course he was appointed tutor in Yale College, and he returned to his alma mater. In 1841 a revival occurred in the college, in which he took a lively interest and an active part. He was licensed to preach by the Congregational Association of Massachusetts, and commenced preaching; but was soon impressed with the conviction that it was his duty to enter upon a missionary life, and on application to the Prudential Committee of the American Board he was accepted and appointed to the Nestorian mission, Dec. 15, 1842. In 1843 Mr. and Mrs. Stoddard embarked for Smyrna, where they arrived in due time. Before taking the overland journey to Urumiyah, he visited several missionary stations in Turkey. Having obtained a considerable knowledge of the Turkish language, when he arrived at his destination he commenced with vigor the study of the Syriac, not only that he might preach, but also that he might assist Dr. Perkins in his translation of the Scriptures into modern Syriac. He made such remarkable progress that in five months time he was able to instruct a class of Nestorian youths, and the male seminary was reorganized and committed to his care; it was opened with high promise in 1844. At that time, the death of Dr. Grant among the mountain Nestorians was a great affliction, and fell with grievous weight upon the mission. In addition to this, the opposition of the patriarch, combined with that of the Jesuits, circumscribed their labors. A revival occurred in 1846, of which Mr. Stoddard gives an interesting account to the Board. In 1847 the cholera raged fearfully in Urumiyah, and many fell victims to the dreadful scourge. Mr. Stoddard's health being undermined, it was thought advisable, though contrary to his inclination, that he should go to Erzerum. The journey failed to restore his health, and he returned an invalid. The tidings of the death of Prof. Solomon Stoddard had a depressing effect; and this was followed, not long after, by the death of his beloved wife at Trebizond, in 1848. With the consent of the Board, he brought his orphan children to America, intending to return as soon as they were provided for. He devoted his time to traveling through the country and presenting the claims of the great mission work. His labors were almost as incessant as they were arduous, frequently including addresses of two hours each at the missionary meetings. At length the time arrived for his departure, and he sailed from Boston in March, 1851. His return to Urumiyah was hailed with a universal welcome. Soon after his return, he began to instruct his older pupils in theology, in order to prepare them for preaching to their countrymen. In addition to his other work, he prepared a Grammar of

Modern Syriac, which was published in the Journal of the American Oriental Society in 1855. Having taken his telescope with him, he pursued the study of astronomy, and furnished sir John Herschel his observations of the zodiacal light, which was courteously acknowledged. He also prepared an extended notice of the meteorology of Urumiyah, which was published in Silliman's Journal. His theological lectures, embracing a fill course of doctrinal theology, were delivered in Syriac. After his return from a journey to Tabriz, in behalf of the mission, Dec. 22, 1857, he was attacked with typhus fever, and died Jan. 22, 1857. (W.P.S.)

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