|Birth: ||Feb. 10, 1805|
|Death: ||Feb. 27, 1844, Liberia|
William Crocker was born February 10, 1805, in Newburyport, Massachusetts. He, like Timothy, had known the scriptures from childhood. When he was 20 years old he professed his faith in Christ and united with the First Baptist Church of Newburyport. It was not long after his conversion that he felt it was his duty to preach the gospel.
Desiring to equip himself for the work of the ministry, in 1831 he enrolled in Newton Theological Institution. While a student at Newton, Crocker began to consider the mission field and its needs. Initially he felt drawn to Burma, but Africa and its spiritual needs would eventually lead him to the land called the "Dark Continent." When informed of his decision, his parents responded with pleas and tears, using all their influence to persuade him to remain in America. But not even the tears of his beloved parents could move him. God had called and not to obey was unthinkable.
In 1834, he expressed to the mission board his desire to go to Africa. The board was reluctant to send another missionary to a field where so many had perished. They asked him to wait a year, and if he still felt God's will was Africa, they would approve his application. Finally, on July 11, 1835, William Crocker, accompanied by William and Elizabeth Milne, sailed for Africa, arriving about the middle of August.
Within a month, tragedy struck the missionaries. Elizabeth Milne was stricken with African fever, and 10 days after contracting the disease she succumbed to its effects on September 16, 1835. This was not the end but the beginning of the missionaries' trials.
In 1839, Miss Rizpah Warren arrived from America and shortly afterwards she and William Crocker were united in marriage. Sadly, while nursing her severely ill husband, Rizpah Crocker contracted the dreaded fever, and after a few days of suffering she closed her eyes in death on August 18, 1840.
In December 1840, Crocker rejoiced at the arrival of Joseph and Maria Fielding. However, his joy was soon turned to sorrow; for within a month both missionaries were dead. Maria died January 3, 1841, and her husband 13 days later on January 16. In spite of these devastating events, Crocker was not discouraged nor his commitment to Africa altered. Shortly after the death of the Fieldings, he wrote in his journal, "This event may discourage our friends, but it does not discourage us. Till we have evidence that the Lord has forsaken us, we will not be disheartened."
Although Crocker would only live 10 years from his appointment in 1834, his accomplishments were truly remarkable. Under the most adverse conditions imaginable, he opened schools that would produce some of Africa's greatest preachers. He reduced the Bassa language to writing, producing a spelling book and translated Matthew and Mark into the Bassa language.
The heart of William Crocker can best be expressed from an entry from his journal, "Today I am 33 years old, about the age to which our Saviour lived on earth. Oh how little I have done for him who has done so much for me! How little self-denial have I practiced, how few sacrifices have I made! Oh God, be merciful to me a sinner!" Many would consider William Crocker's life a tragic waste, but it was these pioneer missionaries who, like the Apostle Paul, did not value their lives above the will of God, that blazed the trail for those who would follow. Source: Baptist Bible Tribune by Thomas Ray
City Cemetery of Monrovia
Created by: Kirk Vredevelt
Record added: Feb 23, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 105699579
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