Harriet Atwood was born at Haverhill, Massachusetts on October 10, 1793. In 1806, while at school at Bradford, Massachusetts, she became deeply impressed with the importance of religion. In 1809, at the age of sixteen, she joined the First Congregational Church, in Roxbury.

She developed an interest in mission work through a courtship with Rev. Samuel Newell, a missionary to the Burman empire. On February 9, 1812, they married. In the same month, the Newells sailed to India, along with Adoniram Judson, his wife Ann, Samuel Nott, and Nott’s wife. On their arrival at Calcutta in June 1812, they were denied residence by the British East India Company and were asked to leave. Accordingly, the Newells took a ship to Mauritius. At sea, three weeks before reaching the island, she gave birth to a child who died after five days.

Newell died November 30, 1812, at Mauritius, less than a year into her journey. She was a Christian missionary and memoirist. She was also the first American to die in foreign mission service.

Newell left a journal and a few letters, the record of her religious feelings, and the events of her short missionary life. They were published posthumously going into a number of editions. Following their publication, she became a hero and role model for Christians during the nineteenth century. Many children were named for her over the following decades, including Harriet Newell Noyes who also went on to be a missionary.


  1.  Smith, Lucius Edwin (1854). Heroes and Martyrs of the Modern Missionary Enterprisethe University of California. P. Brockett. pp. 145–195.
  2. Anderson, Gerald H. (1999). Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 275–492. ISBN 9780802846808.
  3. Sprague, William Buell (1857). Annals of the American Pulpit: Trinitarian Congregational. 1857Harvard University. Robert Carter & Brothers. pp. 538–542.
  4. Meginnes, Jo Anne (2002). “Newell, Harriet Atwood (1793–1812)”. In Commire, Anne (ed.). Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Waterford, Connecticut: Yorkin Publications. ISBN 0-7876-4074-3. Archived from the original on 2016-02-20.
  5. Jump up to:a b c d Hanaford 1877, p. 427-429.
  6. “Memoir of MRS. Ann H. Judson : Wife of the Rev. Adoniram Judson, missionary to Burmah, including a history of the American Baptist mission in the Burman empire”. 1829.
  7. “News – new additions – Archives Hub”.
  8. Covell, Ralph R. “Margaret Newell Noyes”Bio Dictionary of Chinese Christianity. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015.

*This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain: Hanaford, Phebe Ann (1877). “Women Missionaries”. Women of the Century (Public domain ed.). B.B. Russell. p. 427


722Pope Gregory II consecrated Boniface as bishop for the work he did as a missionary to the Germans.

1170Thomas à Becket crossed the English Channel, returning to his post at Canterbury after a six-year exile in France. Four weeks later, knights of King Henry II murdered him.

1215The Fourth Lateran Council ended its third session. At this council official the term “transubstantiation” with reference to the Eucharist was first made.

1846John Geddie sailed from Nova Scotia to Polynesia where labored for many years on Aneiteum in the New Hebrides before seeing a spiritual breakthrough. Once the islanders were converted, however, they were so zealous for Christ that they went more missionaries to other islands.

*Information retrieved from Christianhistoryinstitute.org.


  1. How remarkably like God in that her tragic ending and “failure” as a missionary led to far more than she likely ever would have accomplished had she “succeeded” in what she set out to do.


    • Sort of like Samson. He slayed more Phlistines the day he died than in his entire lifetime. (Judges 16:28-30) And again, Jesus has saved more souls these last 2,000 years than the 33 years he was in the midst of man. Thank you for stopping by. It is always a pleasure. Have a blessed and prosperous week. Blessings and Peace!

      Liked by 1 person

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