worldwide missions
James Gilmour: Chronology of Life
compiled by Dorothy Ross

James Gilmour James Gilmour (1843-1891), Scottish missionary to Mongolia who made lonely, heroic efforts to preach the gospel to a people steeped in Lamaist forms of Buddhism; spending summers with nomadic Mongols on the plains of Mongolia and winters with Mongols in Peking. After his wife died in 1885, he labored in eastern Mongolia until his death at age 47, after 21 years of missionary service.
1843 Born at Cathkin, near Glasgow, Scotland. (June 12)
1862 Entered Glasgow University; received his B.A., 1867; M.A., 1868.
Converted to Christ early in his college studies.
1867 Applied to London Missionary Society and is accepted.
Entered Cheshunt (Theological) College, near London. (Sept)
1869 Entered the London Missionary Society's seminary at Highgate. (Sept)
Began studies in Chinese, London.
1870 Ordained as missionary at Augustine Chapel, Edinburgh. (Feb 10)
Journey from Liverpool to Peking. (Feb 22-May 18)
Began keeping a diary of thoughts and experiences.
Massacre of foreigners at Tientsin (70 miles S.E. of Peking). (June 21)
First journey (over 850 miles) into Mongolia, from Peking to Kiachta (near southern frontier of Siberia). (Aug 5-Sept 28)
Passport trouble with Russian and Chinese authorities; took months to get new passport.
Left Kiachta to journey in the Mongolian Plain (Desert of Gobi). (Dec 13)
Lived among nomadic Mongols for months learning their language and ways.
1871 Visited locale of first Mongolian Mission (1817-1841). (Mar)
Traveled into Siberia crossing Lake Baikal and visiting Irkutsk.
Returned to Peking (Nov); resumed Chinese language studies.
1872 Trip to Eastern Mongolia among the agricultural Mongols.
Spent winter in Yellow Temple, near Peking, working with Mongols.
1873 Took four journeys among the nomadic Mongols of the Plain.
Began correspondence with Emily Prankard in England, a relative of one of Gilmour's missionary colleagues.
1874 Resumed work among the nomads of the Plain. (summer)
Married Emily Prankard in Peking. (Dec 8)
1875 Spent time mainly in Peking, substituting for colleague on furlough.
1876 Resumed Mongolian trips among the nomadic Mongols teaching the Gospel and dispensing medicines; Mrs. Gilmour traveled with her husband. (Apr 14-Sept 23)
Winter in Peking; worked on tract explaining Christianity and incidents from book of Daniel for Mongols.
1877 Visited Christian work in Shantung (China), baptizing many converts.
1878 Mongolian trip with Mrs. Gilmour and infant son.
1878-1879 Aided fellow missionary by visiting his country stations in Northern China, beginning the end of 1878.
1880 Mrs. Gilmour not well; advised to get needed rest with trip to England.
1882 Gilmour and his family left for furlough in Great Britain. (spring)
Began long series of scheduled meetings on behalf of the London Missionary Society, in England and Scotland during furlough.
1883 Gilmour's book Among the Mongols published. (April)
Spoke at the London Missionary Society's annual meeting at Exeter Hall, London. (May 10)
Return trip to China. (Sept 1-Nov 14)
Ministered to Chinese in Peking. (winter)
1884 Mongolian trip to the Plain, traveled mostly on foot, to revisit those whom he had preached Christ to before. (Feb and Mar)
Boyinto, his only convert among the nomadic Mongols, witnessed a good confession. (March 1)
Third son Alexander (Alick) born. (Aug)
Returned to Peking taking on duties of a colleague on furlough. (winter)
1885 Missionary colleague baptized Mongol convert Boyinto. (Jan 14)
Mrs. Gilmour died after lingering illness. (Sept 19)
1885-1886 Trip to Eastern Mongolia, a new field of labor among the agricultural Mongols with return to Peking. (Dec 14-Feb 16)
1886 Sons James (age 9) and William (age 7) sent to Scotland for education. (Mar 23)
Youngest son Alick cared for by his aunt in Peking.
Returned to Mongolia; preached Christ, talked with inquirers, and helped the sick as a lay doctor. (Apr 22)
Returned to Peking after almost eight months in Mongolia. (Dec 13)
1887 Another trip to Mongolia. (Jan 25)
Son Alexander died of spinal trouble. (Dec)
1888 Answered prayer for medical colleague; arrival of Dr. Roberts. (Mar 24)
Reassignment of Dr. Roberts to Tientsin hospital following death of doctor there; Gilmour alone again in the work. (Apr 21)
1889 Arrival of Dr. Smith as medical colleague; assessed Gilmour's health and advised furlough. (Mar)
Departed Peking for London. (Apr 4)
1889-1890 Second furlough in Great Britain; reunion with sons, other family and friends in England and Scotland; scheduled meetings. (May 25, 1889-Jan 9, 1890)
1890 Arrived in Peking. (Mar 14)
Started again for Mongolia. (Mar 24)
1891 Chairman at annual meeting of North China District Committee of London Missionary Society, Tientsin. (Apr)
Died of typhus fever at Tientsin, China. (May 21)

Compiled by Dorothy Ross for WholesomeWords.org. 2011.

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