Mrs. Ann Hasseltine Judson, the first wife of Dr. Judson, was born in Bradford, Mass., [United States], Dec. 22, 1789. She received her early education at the academy in her native place.
Her conversion took place when she was not far from seventeen years of age. The interest which she exhibited for religious reading of the most elevated character was remarkable in a person comparatively so young. She became a member of the Congregational church in Bradford Sept. 14, 1806. With a desire to be useful and to secure the means of an independent support, she engaged for several years, at intervals, in teaching.
At the meeting of the Massachusetts Congregational Association at Bradford in June, 1810, Mr. Judson met his future wife. His persuasive words induced her to consent to share the fortunes of his missionary life, as well as to be the first American woman who "resolved to leave her friends and country to bear the gospel to the heathen in foreign climes." She was married to Mr. Judson Feb. 5, 1812.
On the outward voyage to Calcutta she changed—as did her husband—her views on the mode and subjects of baptism, and was baptized with her husband by Rev. Dr. Carey.
The missionary life of Mrs. Judson is so intertwined with that of Dr. Judson that the record of the latter Judson in Ava, to which city they proceeded soon contains all that needs to be said in that of the former. With the same fidelity and patience which characterized her husband, she applied herself to learning the language, and at the close of 1815 she states that she can both read and write it with a good degree of ease. She was the efficient helper of Dr. Judson for several years, when she was compelled by her failing health to return to her native land. On the 21st of August, 1821, she embarked for Bengal, and on reaching Calcutta took passage for England. The kindest attention was shown to her both in England and Scotland. She embarked on board the ship "Amity" at Liverpool, Aug. 16, 1822, and arrived at New York the 25th of the September following, and after a brief visit in Philadelphia she hastened to her old home in Bradford. The severity of a Northern climate to one who had lived so many years in the East was more than her enfeebled constitution could endure, and she was forced to make her winter home in Baltimore with her brother-in-law, Dr. Elnathan Judson. Here she rapidly improved in health, and was able to write an interesting account of the Burman mission. A few weeks of the following spring she spent among Christian friends in Washington, and then returned to Massachusetts. On the 21st of June, 1823, she embarked on her return voyage to Calcutta, having as her companions Rev. Jonathan Wade and his wife, and arrived at Rangoon on the 5th of the following December.
The narrative of the fortunes of Dr. and Mrs. in Ava, to which city they proceeded soon after the arrival of the latter in Rangoon, is told in the sketch of the life of the former. The pitiful story of the dreadful sufferings of Oung-pen-la reads almost like a romance. The noble, heroic character of this most gifted woman has touched the sensibilities of thousands of Christian hearts, and the memorial of all that she did and endured for her husband will not soon be forgotten. When the anxiety and the intense and prolonged excitement connected with eighteen months of bitter trial had passed away, there came the natural reaction, and when the disease which forced her to return to her native land assumed a more violent type her weakened physical system was unable to endure the attack, and she yielded to its force. Early in the month of October, 1826, she was stricken with the fever which finally proved fatal, and died the 24th. The sad event was followed in a few months by the death of "little Maria," and together they were buried under the "Hopia" tree at Amherst. She was one of the noblest women that ever bore the Christian name. Her hallowed fame will be handed down with reverence to the last generation of Christ's followers on earth.
From The Baptist Encyclopedia... edited by William Cathcart. Rev. ed. Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts, 1883.
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