David Day (missionary)

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David A. Day (February 17, 1854 – December 17, 1897) was a Lutheran missionary who worked in Liberia from 1874 until shortly before his death in 1897. Born in Adams County, Pennsylvania, his early life was filled with hardship. At 12, he went to work for the government stables in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and at 13, he (illegally) joined the Union Army for the remaining years of the American Civil War. In 1869, he entered the Missionary Institute in Sellingrove, Pennsylvania. There, in May 1874, he was married to Emily (Emma) Virginia Winegarden. The couple arrived together in Africa only a month later, where they remained for the majority of their lives. David only returned to North America twice while living, once 1883, and again after the death of his wife in 1893. It was during the second furlough that Day married Anna E. Whitfield of Ontario, Canada.

His work in Africa centered around the Muhlenberg Mission on the Saint Paul River, about 20 miles upriver of Monrovia, Liberia. The mission was founded by Morris Officer in 1860. While at the mission, Day orchestrated the construction of the "Sarah Ann," a side-wheeler steam craft used to speed up travel on the St. Paul River.


  • Harold Vink Whetstone, Lutheran Mission in Liberia, (Board of Foreign Missions of the United Lutheran Church in America, 1955), pp. 24–51.
  • George Scholl, D.D., "David A. Day," in Missionary Heroes of the Lutheran Church, ed. Luther B. Wolf (Lutheran Publication Society, 1911), pp. 199–219.
  • Margaret R. Seebach, Man in the Bush, (Baltimore, MD: Publication Press, 1945), pp. 59–93.
  • Gertrude Simpson Leonard, Our Africa Story, (Baltimore, MD: General Literature Committee), pp. 19–22.