Alice M. Williams

From Ohio History Central

Historically, numerous church denominations have actively sought converts. Many churches send missionaries to other countries hoping to find converts. While this practice remains common for some denominations today, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, missionary activity was much more prevalent than it is today.

Alice Moon Williams was a missionary for the Congregationalist Church. She was born on May 22, 1860, in Reedsburg, Ohio. When she was two years old, Williams's family moved to Ashland, Ohio. After briefly attending Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, Williams became a school teacher, but by the 1890s, she, her husband, and their three daughters had become missionaries in China. While Alice Williams and her children were vacationing in Ashland in 1900, Williams's husband, George Williams, was killed in the Boxer Rebellion. Undaunted, Alice Williams continued her missionary activities in China. While in China, she played an influential role in shaping the views of H.H. Kung, an eventual premier of the Republic of China. Kung attended a school where Williams was a teacher in China. Williams also opened her Ohio home, which was now in Oberlin, to Chinese students attending Oberlin College. Kung was one of the students who stayed in Williams's home.

Williams eventually retired from her missionary activities and returned to Oberlin, where she served as matron of three dormitories at Oberlin College. Williams died on January 13, 1952.

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