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Name: PEARSON, Charles William

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Birth Date: 7 Jan 1847 Whitehaven, Cumberland

Death Date: 28 June 1917 Aylesbury

First Date: 1879

Last Date: 1881

Profession: CMS missionary

Area: Uganda

Married: In Oxford 3 Aug 1882 Elizabeth Birkett b. 1859 Whitehaven

Children: Constance Mary (1884 Oxford); Katherine (1885 Oxford); Charles George (19 May 1887 Oxford-1967); Francis M. (1890 Oxford); Elizabeth (1892 Nottingham); Olive Lois Sarah (1894 Aylesbury); Cecil William (1897 Aylesbury)

Book Reference: UJ, CMS, Web

School: St Bee's Grammar School. Later Oxford studying theology

General Information:

Uganda Journal - Vol 26, p.138 - was originally an officer in the merchant navy. He entered the CMS College at Islington in 1876. He returned in 1879 from Buganda to England by way of Zanzibar. At the time of his death he was vicar of Walton, Bucks
CMS 1878 - Age 31. Of Whitehaven. Formerly Chief Officer on board Indian mail steamer. 1876 at CM College. 1878 May 8 to E. Eq. Africa - Nyanza - Mission; one of the party of 4 sent out via the Nile on receipt of the intelligence of the murder of George Shergold-Smith and Thomas O'Neill. Reached Uganda Feb 1879; left for Kagei April 1881; for England in May; arrived Nov 27, 1882, June to England in broken health, and withdrew. Service 4 years. [Notes by Roy Dunstan] afterwards to Oxford and graduated MA; 1886 Deacon and 1887 Priest by Bishop of Oxford; 1886-90 Curate of St. Ebbis Oxford ….. 1893 Vicar of Walton, Aylesbury; 1917, June 28 died at Walton Bucks.
Web - Database of African Church Leaders - Charles William Pearson was born in Whitehaven, Cumberland, England on 7 January 1847 the son of William Pearson and Sarah Johnson. He attended St Bee's Grammar School and after leaving school was a merchant seaman for some years rising from ordinary seaman to second mate with his last voyage being in 1875. In 1876 he attended the CMS college in Islington and in 1878 led a party of 4 missionaries to Uganda to replace 4 who had died. ………. Pearson and his companions Robert William Felkin, John William Hall and the Rev George Litchfield travelled by ship to Suakim on the Red Sea. At Suakim Hall was taken ill and had to return to England. From there after crossing the desert the remaining members of the party travelled up the Nile.
They met Colonel Gordon in Khartoum who tried to persuade Pearson to serve in Sudan instead. Pearson and his party reached Rubaga in Uganda on 14 February 1879 over 9 months after setting out. They were received at the court of Mutesa the King of Buganda. A week later a party of French Roman Catholic missionaries arrived and difficulties ensued as Mutesa played off Arab British and French interests against each other. The Christian missionaries had perhaps rather naively not come prepared to be used as political pawns. Their denominational rivalry reduced the effectiveness of their message as the Catholics refused to kneel for the Anglican prayers and vice versa. Pearson appears to have been mainly occupied in translation work.
After serving in Uganda for 2 years Pearson returned to England for health reasons using the more conventional route via the East Coast and Zanzibar. He then studied theology at Oxford and was ordained deacon in 1886 and priest in 1887. He was assistant curate in Oxford for 4 years and then worked for the Church Pastoral-Aid Society. In July 1893 he became Vicar of Walton, Aylesbury where he remained until his death on 20 June 1917. He was known as a student of languages and gained knowledge of 17 languages. He was eminent as a translator and served several publishers and missionary organisations in that capacity. He married Elizabeth Birkett in Oxford in 1882 and they had three sons and four daughters. - Stephen Hayes

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