Lottie Moon, The Missionary

Lottie Moon, The Missionary
Virginia Union University
Image by elycefeliz
Charlotte Digges "Lottie" Moon (December 12, 1840 – December 24, 1912) was a Southern Baptist missionary to China with the Foreign Mission Board who spent nearly forty years (1873–1912) living and working in China. As a teacher and evangelist she laid a foundation for traditionally solid support for missions among Baptists in America.

Moon was born to affluent parents who were staunch Baptists, Anna Maria Barclay and Edward Harris Moon. She grew up (to her full height of 4 feet 3 inches (1.30 m), according to one account) on the family’s ancestral 1,500 acres (6.1 km2) slave-labor tobacco plantation called Viewmont, in Albemarle County, Virginia. Lottie was fourth in a family of five girls and two boys. Lottie was only thirteen when her father died in a riverboat accident.

The Moon family valued education, and at age fourteen Lottie went to school at the Baptist-affiliated Virginia Female Seminary (high school, later Hollins Institute) and Albemarle Female Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia. In 1861 Moon received one of the first Master of Arts degrees awarded to a woman by a southern institution. She spoke numerous languages: Latin, Greek, French, Italian and Spanish. She was also fluent in reading Hebrew. Later, she would become expert at Chinese.

A spirited and outspoken girl, Lottie was indifferent to her Christian upbringing until her early teens (1853). She underwent a spiritual awakening at the age of 18, after a series of revival meetings on the college campus. Leading the revival service wherein Moon experienced this awakening was John Broadus, one of the founders of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

There were very few opportunities for educated females in the mid-19th century, though her older sister Orianna became a physician and served as a Confederate Army doctor during the American Civil War. Lottie helped her mother maintain the family estate during the war, and afterward settled into a teaching career. She taught at female academies, first in Danville, Kentucky, then in Cartersville, Georgia, where she and her friend, Anna Safford, opened Cartersville Female High School in 1871. There she joined the First Baptist Church and ministered to the impoverished families of Bartow County, Georgia.

To the family’s surprise, Lottie’s younger sister Edmonia accepted a call to go to North China as a missionary in 1872. By this time the Southern Baptist Convention had relaxed its policy against sending single women into the mission field, and Lottie herself soon felt called to follow her sister to China. On July 7, 1873, the Foreign Mission Board officially appointed Lottie as a missionary to China. She was 33 years old.

Lottie joined her sister Edmonia at the North China Mission Station in the treaty port of Dengzhou, and began her ministry by teaching in a boys school. (Edmonia had to return home a short time later for health reasons.) While accompanying some of the seasoned missionary wives on “country visits” to outlying villages, Lottie discovered her passion: direct evangelism. Most mission work at that time was done by married men, but the wives of China missionaries Tarleton Perry Crawford and Landrum Holmes had discovered an important reality: Only women could reach Chinese women. Lottie soon became frustrated, convinced that her talent was being wasted and could be better put to use in evangelism and church planting. She had come to China to "go out among the millions" as an evangelist, only to find herself relegated to teaching a school of forty "unstudious" children. She felt chained down, and came to view herself as part of an oppressed class – single women missionaries.

Raised in a family “of culture and means,” Lottie at first thought of the Chinese as an inferior people, and insisted on wearing American clothes to maintain a degree of distance from the “heathen” people. But gradually she came to realize that the more she shed her westernized trappings and identified with the Chinese people, the more their simple curiosity about foreigners (and sometimes rejection) turned into genuine interest in the Gospel. She began wearing Chinese clothes, adopted Chinese customs, learned to be sensitive to Chinese culture, and came to respect and admire Chinese culture and learning. In turn she gained love and respect from many Chinese people.

n 1885, at the age of 45, Moon gave up teaching and moved into the interior to evangelize full-time in the areas of P’ingtu and Hwangshien. Her converts numbered in the hundreds. Continuing a prolific writing campaign, Moon’s letters and articles poignantly described the life of a missionary and pleaded the "desperate need" for more missionaries, which the poorly funded board could not provide. She encouraged Southern Baptist women to organize mission societies in the local churches to help support additional missionary candidates, and to consider coming themselves. Many of her letters appeared as articles in denominational publications. Then, in 1887, Moon wrote to the Foreign Mission Journal and proposed that the week before Christmas be established as a time of giving to foreign missions. Catching her vision, Southern Baptist women organized local Women’s Missionary Societies and even Sunbeam Bands for children to promote missions and collect funds to support missions. The Woman’s Missionary Union, an auxiliary to the Southern Baptist Convention, was also established. The first "Christmas offering for missions" in 1888 collected over ,315, enough to send three new missionaries to China.

In 1892, Moon took a much needed furlough in the US, and did so again in 1902. She was very concerned that her fellow missionaries were burning out from lack of rest and renewal and going to early graves. The mindset back home was "go to the mission field, die on the mission field." Many never expected to see their friends and families again. Moon argued that regular furloughs every ten years would extend the lives and effectiveness of seasoned missionaries.

Throughout her missionary career, Moon faced plague, famine, revolution, and war. The First Sino-Japanese War (1894), the Boxer Rebellion (1900) and the Chinese Nationalist uprising (which overthrew the Qing Dynasty in 1911) all profoundly affected mission work. Famine and disease took their toll, as well. When Moon returned from her second furlough in 1904, she was deeply struck by the suffering of the people who were literally starving to death all around her. She pleaded for more money and more resources, but the mission board was heavily in debt and could send nothing. Mission salaries were voluntarily cut. Unknown to her fellow missionaries, Moon shared her personal finances and food with anyone in need around her, severely affecting both her physical and mental health. In 1912, she only weighed 50 pounds. Alarmed, fellow missionaries arranged for her to be sent back home to the United States with a missionary companion. However, Moon died on route, at the age of 72, on December 24, 1912, in the harbor of Kobe, Japan Her body was cremated and the remains returned to her family in Crewe, Virginia, for burial.

Several have suggested that Moon had a romantic relationship with Crawford Howell Toy, a former teacher who became a controversial figure among Southern Baptists in the late 19th century. Moon first met Toy at the Albemarle Female Institute, founded by Southern Seminary founder John Broadus. Lottie was a capable student in languages, becoming one of the first women in the south to earn a master’s degree in the field. Lottie—who previously learned Latin, Greek, French, Italian and Spanish—would learn Hebrew and English grammar under Toy’s tutelage. Toy wrote of Moon, "She writes the best English I have ever been privileged to read." While it is rumored that Toy proposed to Moon before the Civil War, there is no concrete evidence of such an event. Instead, Toy became a staunch supporter of the Confederacy while Moon aided her mother on their Virginia estate.

Following his tenure at Albemarle, Toy was a professor of Old Testament studies at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Toy, however, was dismissed from Southern in 1879 following a series of controversial lectures and publications concerning his doctrine of Scripture, notably influenced by the European higher critics of his milieu. In Moon’s 1881 correspondence with FMB secretary H. A. Tupper, she expressed her plans for a spring wedding with Toy, who was now teaching Old Testament and religion at Harvard University. Toy and Moon’s relationship was broken before their marriage plans were realized—citing religious reasons for calling off the wedding. Toy’s controversial new beliefs regarding the Bible and Moon’s commitment to remain in China doing mission work for Southern Baptists seem to be these reasons. While Moon went on to become the "patron saint" of Southern Baptist Missions, Toy ultimately broke his affiliation with Southern Baptists and became a Unitarian.

Lottie Moon, The Spy

Lottie Moon, The Spy
Virginia Union University
Image by elycefeliz
Lottie Moon, Confederate Spy
Born Charlotte and Virginia, the Moon sisters were from Virginia, the daughters of a doctor. In the 1830s, the family moved to Oxford, Ohio, in the southwestern corner of the state. One of Lottie’s suitors was a young man from nearby Indiana named Ambrose Burnside, and sources say that she jilted him at the altar. She finally settled down with Jim Clark, who soon became a judge.

After Dr. Moon’s death, Mrs. Moon enrolled Ginnie in the Oxford Female College and moved to Memphis. One of the teachers criticized Ginnie for her Confederate leanings. She dropped out of school and went to live with Lottie and Jim, who were also pro-Southern. When the Civil War began, Lottie was 31 years old, Ginnie only 16. Their two brothers promptly enlisted in the Confederate army.

Southwestern Ohio had a small but vocal group of Confederate sympathizers. Judge Clark became active in the Knights of the Golden Circle, a Confederate spy ring. Its operatives sometimes visited the Clarks when they were carrying secret messages back and forth. On one occasion, a courier arrived with important dispatches for Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith in Kentucky.

Lottie volunteered to carry the messages, her first act as a Confederate spy. She disguised herself as an old woman, and headed for Lexington, Kentucky, by boat. She delivered her dispatches to a Rebel officer, and then threw off her costume. Using her acting talents, she tearfully enlisted the aid of a Union general, who helped her return home by train.

By this time, Ginnie had moved to Memphis with her mother. They wrapped bandages and nursed wounded soldiers, as the Yankees got closer to Memphis. In June of 1862, the Union took over the city. Ginnie soon began her own spying activities, carrying messages and supplies to the Rebels, boldly passing through Union lines on the pretext of meeting a beau.

In 1863,Ginnie and her mother carried messages to the Knights of the Golden Circle, pretending they were only visiting Lottie and Jim. But the Yankees knew that women were being used as Confederate spies. The Moons were preparing to return to Memphis from Cincinnati by boat, but at the last minute an officer entered their cabin with orders to search them. As Ginnie explained the situation in her memoir: "There was a slit in my skirt and in my petticoat I had a Colt revolver. I put my hand in and took it out., backed to the door and leveled it at him across the washstand. If you make a move to touch me, I’ll kill you, so help me God!" Her tactics did no good, but she pulled the message she carried from her bosom, "dipped it in the water pitcher and in three lumps swallowed it."

In the provost marshal’s office, Union officers searched Ginnie’s trunks. Inside one of them, they found a very heavy quilt. They ripped it open and found that it was filled with opium, quinine, and morphine, medicines that were badly needed in the Confederate Army. What happened next is in dispute, but apparently a Federal officer pushed Ginnie’s hoop skirts aside so he could close the door, and noticed that her skirts were also quilted. The officer called for a housekeeper, who searched the spy and found more drugs quilted into her skirts, on her person, and in a large bustle in the back of her dress.

The Moons were taken to a hotel, where they were put under house arrest. Ginnie immediately requested to see her "friend," Union General Ambrose Burnside, the same Ambrose Burnside who had courted Lottie all those years ago. He was the new commander of the Union Department of the Ohio in Cincinnati, and was busily prosecuting Confederate sympathizers in the area. He issued an order that anyone showing Southern leanings were to be tried for treason and that anyone caught helping the Rebels would receive the death penalty.

The following morning, General Burnside sent word that he would see Ginnie. Holding out both hands, Burnside said, "My child, what have you done this for?" "Done what?" she asked. "Tried to go South without coming to me for a pass. They wouldn’t have dared stop you." Since General Burnside was so understanding, the other officers sought to gain Ginnie’s favor. "I was asked down to the parlors every evening to meet some of the staff officers," she wrote. "The Yankee women in the parlor looked very indignant to see these officers being so polite to a Secesh woman."

The Lottie Moon House, located at 220 East High Street in Oxford, Ohio, was completed in 1831. It was not named Lottie Moon House, but rather adopted the name after being inhabited by the Moon family in 1839. The nineteenth century architecture is a simple design enhanced by a one story wooden porch that spans most of the entire front of the home.

The Lottie Moon House is part of the historic neighborhood that surrounds Miami University. The home was built as a residence, but after Lottie Moon became famous for being a Confederate spy during the American Civil War, the home was deemed of historic importance, and it was donated to Miami University to be a part of their campus.

Cynthia Charlotte Moon, known as Lottie, was a young girl when her family moved into the residency at 220 East High Street. Lottie became famous as a Confederate spy. She rode the battle lines in the South in President Abraham Lincoln’s personal carriage. Lottie was disguised as "Lady Hull", a rheumatic English invalid. She pretended to be asleep while President Lincoln and Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton, discussed upcoming strategies. The two Union men believed that they were taking Lady Hull to the South for a warm springs treatment for her sickness. Stanton offered ,000 for the capture of Lottie Moon after realizing Lady Hull was Lottie Moon.