James Patton The Story of John G. Paton

ISBN 13: 9781515227465

The Story of John G. Paton

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The Story of John G. Paton is an abridgment of the autobiography of John G. Paton, published in 1889 and subtitled, "Thirty Years Among South Sea Cannibals." John Gibson Paton (24 May 1824 – 28 January 1907), born in Scotland, was a Protestant missionary to the New Hebrides Islands of the South Pacific. He brought to the natives of the New Hebrides education and Christianity. He developed small industries for them, such as hat making. He advocated strongly against a form of slavery, which was called “Blackbirding”, that involved kidnapping the natives and forcing them to work in New Zealand and elsewhere. Paton was born on 24 May 1824, in a farm cottage at Braehead, Kirkmahoe, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. He was the eldest of the 11 children of James and Janet Paton. Paton was a stocking manufacturer and later a colporteur. James and his wife Janet and their three eldest children, moved c.1828/29 from Braehead to Torthorwald in the same county. There, in a humble thatched cottage of three rooms, his parents reared five sons and six daughters. John, from the age of 12, started learning the trade of his stocking manufacturing father and, for fourteen hours a day, he manipulated one of the six "stocking frames" in his father's workshop. However, he still studied during the two hours allotted each day for the eating of his meals. During these years, Paton was greatly influenced by the devoutness of his father who would go three times a day to his "prayer closet" and who conducted family prayers twice a day. During his youth Paton felt called by God to serve overseas as a missionary. Eventually he moved to Glasgow (Forty miles on foot to Kilmarnock then by train to Glasgow) where he undertook theological and medical studies. For some years he also worked at distributing tracts, teaching at school, and labouring as a city missionary in a degraded section of Glasgow. Paton was ordained by the Reformed Presbyterian Church on 23 March 1858. On 2 April, in Coldstream, Berwickshire, Scotland John G. Paton married Mary Ann Robson and 14 days later, on 16 April, accompanied by Mr. Joseph Copeland, they both sailed from Scotland to the South Pacific.

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