Perishing Heathens: Stories of Protestant Missionaries and Christian Indians in Antebellum America

By Julius H. Rubin | Go to book overview

1
The Travails of David Bacon
“A Humble Missionary of the Cross”

Reverend David Bacon’s headstone contains the following epitaph:

A HUMBLE MISSIONARY OF THE CROSS,
who, having passed through
many scenes of suffering in his efforts to extend
THE REDEEMER’S KINGDOM,
entered into his rest
August 27th, A. D. 1817,
IN THE 46th YEAR OF HIS AGE.1

Bacon exemplified the sublime millennial aspirations of building the Redeemer’s Kingdom in America as an early missionary licensed and commissioned by the Connecticut Missionary Society (CMS) to evangelize and convert Indians. He set his sights on the Ojibwes from L’Arbre Croche, a settlement on Lake Michigan, who made the thirty-mile seasonal migration each spring to Mickilimakinac (Mackinaw Island), Michigan, to sell furs in order to acquire trade goods. Mackinaw was located at the tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula on a strait strategically situated between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. From 1802 until 1804, Bacon resided in Mackinaw Village each fall and winter and struggled without success to build a mission station and farm in the interior of the island during

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