John Paden Dysart

John Paden Dysart


John P. Dysart was born in Granville, Illinois in August 1880.  He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1906.  In 1910, he graduated from the Oberlin Theological Seminary and was ordained.  The following year, he married Bertha Fox and the couple set sail for Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) to serve as missionaries with the American Board of Commissioners at Chikore Mission.  Tragically, Mrs. Dysart died two years later in 1913 due to complications in giving birth to twins – who also did not survive.  They are buried at Mount Selinda Mission.

Rev. Dysart returned to the United States in 1916.  He married second Mathilde Thorson February 1918.  Mathilde had been a missionary in Madagascar for over seven years prior.  The Dysarts embarked for Southern Rhodesia a month later where they continued their missionary work.   Along with Dr. W.T. Lawrence, Rev. Dysart was responsible for opening up the Gogoi Mission station 40 miles across the border in Portuguese East Africa (now Mozambique).  The mission farm was purchased in his name.  He also taught himself the local Shona dialect, Chindau (Ndau), and contributed to translating the Bible and other literature.  In 1915, Dysart contributed to “Chindau-English and English-Chindau Vocabulary and grammatical notes.” Over 100 years later, it remains the only Ndau dictionary.

After closure of Gogoyo, the Dysarts transferred back to Chikore Mission.  They returned to the United States in 1947.  She Died at Temple, Texas in October 1954.  He died in Temple in August 1959.


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