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David Hill (1840-96)

David Hill  was born at York, the son of wealthy Methodist parents. He became a local preacher at an early age and trained at Richmond for the Wesleyan ministry. After ordination in 1864, he was appointed to the China Mission where he was to spend the rest of his life.

Hill was a charismatic and much-loved figure. He spent much of his own wealth in supporting the Missionary Society and the example which he set, prompted many young men to volunteer for overseas service.

In 1885 he became Chairman of the Wuchang District and six years later he was unanimously elected President of the Missionary Conference in Shanghai. Held in high esteem by all sections of the community, Hill was appointed by the British Consul to be his official deputy in connexion with the investigation of a fatal riot in 1891. A keen ecumenist he worked closely with other Christian denominations and was particularly associated with the great Baptist missionary Timothy Richard.

Hill was active in broadening Methodist activities in his district. Among his innovations were the Prayer Union Letter, an Old Peoples' Home, the Hankow Blind School and the Central China Lay Mission.

He died of typhoid on April 18 1896 and was was buried in Hankow.

Source: Minutes of Conference 1896 and Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974)

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