American Board Mission
Wm. T. Lawrence M.D. – East Africa Mission
Wm. T. Lawrence M.D. – East Africa Mission
Arthur J. Orner – Chikore Via Mount Silinda
Arthur J. Orner – Chikore P. O. Chikore
Solomon Samuel Grossberg was born in 1890. His place of birth is listed as a number of places including Latvia, Lithuania and Russia. He was the younger son of Abraham Grossberg of Plumtree and he was a prominent Jewish member in the Rhodesian community.
Solomon was a financier and businessman who ran a successful wholesale business in Bulawayo, S. S. Grossberg. During WWI he was part of the Jewish Rhodesian Reserves. On 13th June, 1946 he made the King’s Birthday Honours for services in connection with benevolent and social welfare movements.
Solomon died of heart related issues on 4th July, 1964.
Missionary teacher Torrence was born in Laurel, Montana to James S. and Harriet (Fleming) Torrence. She was “appointed” a missionary in 1927 and as of 1929 was at Mount Silinda Mission in Southern Rhodesia with the American Board Mission. By 1935, she was Principal of the Boarding School and Central Day School at Chikore Mission.
In 1957, she was in charge of the teachers training department at Mount Silinda. Following her return from furlough in 1961, Torrence was back at Chikore where she recruited, trained and supervised Sunday school teachers at the mission and surrounding villages (“outstations”). She remained at Chikore until at least 1962.
Torrence died February 1995 in Los Angeles, California.
1897 – 1972
Madeline Dixon was born October 1897 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, daughter of George E. and Carrie D. (Tiantha) Halford. She taught violin for a year at the Berkshire Music School in Pittsfield following graduation from Middlebury College in 1919.
In August 1920, she married Reverend Frederick R Dixon. That November, they set sail to Africa to serve as missionaries with the American Board at Mount Silinda Mission in Southern Rhodesia. Mrs. Dixon assisted her husband at the Mount Silinda Bible School teaching English, reading and the Bible to the wives of African “evangelists.” Between 1930 and 1933 the Dixons were at Chikore Mission.
All three of the Dixon’s children were born while in Southern Rhodesia. The Dixons returned home October 1933, living in the New England area. Mrs. Dixon died January 1972 at age 74 and is buried in Henniker, New Hampshire.
1886 – 1958
Reverend Frederick R. Dixon was born December 1886 in Glastonbury, Connecticut to the parents of Frederick and Sarah (Conyers) Dixon. He attended the Bangor Theological Seminary (school closed 2013), was ordained, and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1919. He married Madeline E. Halford in her hometown of Pittsfield, Massachusetts in August 1920.
That November, the Dixons “went out” to serve as missionaries with the American Board at Mount Silinda Mission in Southern Rhodesia. Rev. Dixon taught at the Mount Silinda Bible Training School begun by Rev. Wilder, with the aim of preparing African ‘evangelists” (non-ordained teachers of the Gospel and local pastors). As of 1924, Rev. Dixon was in charge of the school. The Dixons transferred to nearby Chikore Mission in 1930. They returned home October 1933, living in the New England area.
Rev. Dixon appears to have continued his ministry until 1950. He died April 1958 in Henniker, New Hampshire.
A missionary teacher and nurse for 30 years in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Minnie A. (Tontz) Lawrence was born February 1890 in Grantfork, Illinois. She was the youngest of 16 children whose father died when she was two years old. She attended Oberlin Academy (high school) and college, graduating with a B.A. degree in 1913.
On hearing of the urgent need for missionary teachers in Southern Rhodesia, she was commissioned by the American Board Mission and sailed for Africa in 1913 to join the Mount Selinda Mission. As of 1917, Tontz was Principal of the Mount Silinda School, and in charge of the Boarding School. Tontz returned to the United States in 1919 to undergo nurses training. She returned to Southern Rhodesia and as of 1924 was “nurse –in-charge” at Chikore Mission.
In 1936, she transferred to the Mount Selinda Hospital. Following the death of his first wife, she married fellow missionary Dr. W.T. Lawrence in 1942. The Lawrence’s continued to serve at Mount Selinda until they retired in 1947. She would later donate a number of artifacts from the local Ndau peoples to the Smithsonian Museum. Mrs. Lawrence died in Portland, Oregon 1973.
Evelyn M. Lyman was born June 1910 in Springfield, Massachusetts, daughter of Fredrick Clinton and Lille Royce (Sykes) Lyman. She was educated at Massachusetts State College (now University of Massachusetts), receiving her BS degree in 1931. She would later earn a Masters of Education from Boston University in 1965. From 1931 to 1938, Miss Lyman was Director of homemaking for the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) in Rhodes Island and worked for the Maine Cooperative Extension Service.
Beginning in 1938, she was a missionary teacher in home economics with the American Board of Commissioners at its Mount Silinda Mission in Southern Rhodesia. Upon returning home in 1944, Miss Lyman continued her career as a home demonstration agent in Maine and Massachusetts until 1955, when she became Associate Professor in home management at the University of Rhodes Island. She died March 1973 in Brookline, Massachusetts.
John Charles Heinrich was born in Pittsburgh July 1922. His parents were missionaries to India. Mr. Heinrich was educated at Stony Brook Preparatory School on Long Island, Oberlin College, Yale Divinity School, and Cornell University. After college, he served as a lieutenant in the Infantry during WWII, seeing action at the Battle of the Bulge. He married Barbara D. Corson in 1945. After earning her PhD in Religion from Yale Divinity, Mrs. Heinrich was ordained along with her husband as one of the first female ministers in the United Church of Christ (UCC) (successor to the American Board of Commissioners).
The Heinrichs served as missionaries in Africa from 1951 to 1970, first in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) at Mt. Silinda and Chikore and later in Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). At Mt. Silinda, John was supeviosr of primary schools, mission treasurer, church superintendent. At Chikore church John was church pastor and Barbara “worked with women.” The Heinrichs were deported from Southern Rhodesia in 1964 for their opposition to the government’s apartheid policies.
After retiring from missionary service, John became an adjunct teacher at Syracuse University. In 1981, the Heinrich’s moved to Alva, Florida, where they co-founded the Lee Co. Coalition for Peace (forerunner of the Environmental and Peace Education Center). John died January 1995. Barbara died October 2007.