Dan Beach Bradley was born on 18 July 1804 in Marcellus, New York to Judge and Pastor Dan Bradley and Eunice Beach. As a child, Dan Beach Bradley was an outstanding scholar who loved to read. At 20 years old, he suffered a week of deafness which caused him to examine his spiritual life. Bradley dedicated his life to serving Jesus Christ two years after this brief illness.

Thinking himself too young to study for the ministry he began studying medicine in the office of an Auburn physician. Then took a brief reprieve from his studies due to health concerns, but resumed his studies for a year in Penn Yan, New York. After a year of studying, Bradley attended lectures at Harvard University in 1830 before taking another break to earn money for the continuation of his education. Bradley enrolled at New York University and graduated in April 1833 as a Doctor of Medicine.

In November 1832, he was accepted as a missionary physician by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM).  After a brief mail courtship, on 5 June 1834 Bradley married Emilie Royce before the couple set sail for Siam. Emilie, like Bradley, wanted to serve God as a missionary.

On 2 July 1834, Bradley and his wife, Emilie departed from Boston for their mission to Bangkok. On 12 January 1835, they arrived in Singapore. Due to monsoons, Bradley and his wife stayed in an unoccupied London Missionary Society home for six months, until the storms finally passed. Bradley and his wife arrived in Siam on 18 July 1835 after an encounter with Malay pirates that left goods stolen and four crew members dead. Out of their four children, only one survived—their last child Cornelius Beach Bradley.

Bradley was frequently at odds with his mission sponsors and on 4 December 1847, he resigned from the ABCFM due to his disagreement with the organization on the doctrine of Christian perfectionism. Without any funding, he returned to the U.S. to raise funds and met Sarah Blachly, who became his second wife on 1 November 1848 in Dane, Wisconsin. At the end of October 1849, they set sail for Siam and he was able to resume his calling in Bangkok by the end of May 1850.

The AMA gave Bradley limited resources for mission work, forcing him to focus on making money. He worked as a doctor and also as a merchant to support his mission. Bradley was regarded as an unofficial American consul. Much of the money Bradley made while in Siam was from performing medical services for the Siamese and missionaries. He was perceived as a “great American doctor” and had immediate credibility among the Siamese. He is also credited with performing the first surgery in Siam, removing a cancerous tumor from the body of a slave. After this surgery, Bradley became highly sought after for medical advice from the royal court which called on him for medical advice for years.

He solved the problem of the smallpox vaccine by using the inoculation technique. Seeing the success that Bradley had with the technique, the royal court called on him to vaccinate their children as well as many natives and slaves.

Bradley died on 23 June 1873. He is remembered in Thailand for introducing vaccination, Western medicine, and the printing press to Thailand, as well as stressing Siamese equality and a better education system. In 1981, Bangkok Christian Hospital began construction on a new 13-story edifice named in Bradley’s honor:

Accessed Wikipedia.org 22 June 2022.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

1444 – After an excruciating two-week battle with intestinal illness Mark of Ephesus died. He was famous for standing alone for the Eastern church at the Council of Florence when other eastern leaders conceded to Rome.

1893 – Samuel H. Walker, a Methodist Episcopal layman, leads in the formation of the Anti-Saloon League of the District of Columbia. It will pioneer a national movement, subsequently overshadowed by the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.

1914 J. Gresham Machen, Presbyterian educator, and defender of orthodoxy is ordained at Plainsboro, N.J.

1942Emily Devine Wilson died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She wrote hymn tunes, including the tune to which we sing “When we all get to heaven.” 

Accessed ChristianHistoryInstitute.org 23 June 2022

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