Amos Sutton

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Amos Sutton (1802 in Sevenoaks in Kent – 17 August 1854 in Cuttack, Odisha) was an English General Baptist missionary to Odisha, India, and hymn writer.[1] He published the first English grammar of the Odia language (1831),[2] a History (1839), and Geography (1840), then the first dictionary of the Odia language (1841-3).[3] and translated the Bible into the Odia language. He also composed a hymn to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne": "Hail, sweetest, dearest tie."[4] and wrote a History of the mission to Orissa: the site of the temple of Juggernaut 1835. [5][6][7][8]


At the age of 21, he was recruited by General Baptist Foreign Missionary Society for missionary service. He was trained for the ministry under J.G. Pike, founder of the Connexion's Missionary Society in Derby. After a brief period in home ministry, he was sent as a missionary to India in 1824 by Baptist Missionary Society, two years after William Bampton and James Peggs, the first two Baptist missionaries, had entered Odisha. Sutton along with his wife, Charlotte Sutton née Collins, sailed to Calcutta (now Kolkata) and joined the missionary work at station Cuttack in modern-day Odisha on 11 March 1825. Soon after their arrival to his mission station, his first wife Charlotte died in Puri due to sickness. He later married Elizabeth Coleman, an American Baptist missionary widow.[6][8][9][10][11]

Missionary work[edit]

The missionary began the evangelism and recorded the first Odia conversion in 1828. By 1841, Sutton had trained three Odia evangelists at Cuttack. By 1846, when the students increased to eight, he formalised the class as the Cuttack Mission Academy. By 1805, the Baptist missionary society and later Amos Sutton under the auspices of Serampore TrioWilliam Carey, Joshua Marshman, and William Ward—attempted to preach to Telugu-speaking people in northernmost parts of present Andhra Pradesh—adjoining areas to Odisha like Chicacole (present Srikakulam) and Vizagapatnam (present Vizag or Visakhapatnam). Baptist missionary attempts and Amos Sutton objectives to evangelize Telugus failed and missionaries didn't venture the Telugu regions again, confining themselves to Odia-speaking districts.[6][10]

As Baptists Missionary Society was not able to support the Odisha missionary work, through his second wife he was able to get contact details of American Free Will Baptists. Sutton contacted Free Will Baptists Mission mentioning the great needs of Odisha and adjoining Telugu speaking areas; accordingly, he received an invitation from the convention to visit America.[9][10]

Sutton and his wife visited England and the United States and spent two years between 1833 and 1835 sharing their mission fields. During their visit to United States, he spoke in the seventh General conference of the Free Will Baptists in October 1833 before an audience of 3,000 people inspiring them to devote their life to the missionary service. In this conference, Jeremiah Phillips and Eli Noyes came forward to offer their service to Odia speaking people.[8][9][10]

While visiting his relatives in the United States in 1835, he urged the Baptist convention in Virginia to take over the abandoned work among the Telugus; accordingly, Samuel S. Day, a Canadian-born American Baptist missionary, and E.L. Abbot, including their wives were sent by American Baptist Foreign Mission Board to Telugu speaking provinces along with Sutton.[9][10]

On 22 September 1835, Amos Sutton, Jeremiah Phillips, Eli Noyes, Samuel S. Day, including their wives and several other missionaries sailed to India. After 136 days of sailing, they arrived Calcutta. From Calcutta, they travelled by land and joined their respective mission stations—E.L. Abbot departed to Burma, while Samuel family proceeded to Telugu speaking provinces and arrived at Vizagapatnam - Amos Sutton, Eli Noyes, and Jeremiah Phillips proceeded to Odia-speaking provinces and arrived at Cuttack where the British Baptist Missionaries were already working - Jeremiah Phillips and Eli Noyes dedicated their missionary service to Santals. Amos Sutton soon became the corresponding secretary of the new society Free Will Baptist Missionary.[9][10]


Sutton devoted himself to learning the local Odia language, as soon as he arrived the mission station. Sutton being a gifted translator, soon compiled the Odia grammar, dictionary in three volumes, and translated a number of English books like Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan in Odia named Swaga Jatrira Britanta, including the Bible into Odia language. Amos Sutton's Introductory Grammar of Oriya language in 1831, happens to be the oldest publication available in the Odia's historical collection till-date.[6][8][9][12]

He published the first volume of the Odia dictionary in 1841, and next two volumes by 1843. It was printed in the Odisha mission press at Cuttack. The Odia dictionary gives Odia meaning of Odia words with English synonyms. Sutton also prepared a dictionary named Sadhu Bhasharthabhidhan, a vocabulary of current Sanskrit terms with Odia definitions which was also printed in Odisha mission press in 1844.[6][8][12][13]

He published Dharmapustakara Adibhaya between 1842 and 1843. He also published the History Of The Mission To Orissa: The Site Of The Temple Of Juggernaut in 1835. In addition to Odia tracts, he published A Narrative of the Mission to Orissa in 1844, Orissa and its Evangelization in 1850, an autobiography, the Happy Transformation in 1844, and compiled Padarthavidyasara to be taught as textbook in the schools of Odisha.[6][8][12][13][14][15]

As a hymn writer, he prepared the first Odia hymn book—179 of the hymns being of his own composition. He composed hymns, especially for divine worship, public, private, and social occasions. It looks, Amos Sutton's hymns happens to be the Protestants first hymnal printed in India. On his visit to England in 1833, he composed a farewell hymn—to the tune of Auld lang syne - Hail sweetest, dearest tie tbat binds - it soon became very popular and is still in common use.[8][16]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Henry Sweetser Burrage Baptist Hymn Writers and Their Hymns 1888 "AMOS SUTTON. 1802-1854. This devoted missionary of Christ, of humble parentage, was born at Sevenoaks in Kent, January 21, 1802. When his school life was over, he was placed in a large business establishment in the metropolis, but the temptations of a great city proved too strong for him. Returning to his home in the country, the faithful ministry of his pastor was blessed to his conversion, and he was baptized, and joined the Baptist church at Sevenoaks. Soon he was actively employed in Sunday-school teaching,"
  2. ^ Current Trends in Linguistics Thomas Albert Sebeok- 1976 Volume 14 - Page 135 "Oriya teaching material. The Practical hand-book of the Uriya or Óḍiyá language by T. J. Maltby (1874) is a very important landmark in the publication of Oriya grammar (with text) after Sutton's Introduction to Oriya published almost a generation ..."
  3. ^ Manmath Nath Das Sidelights on History and Culture of Orissa 1977 - Page 463 "Sutton wrote Oriya grammar in 1831, History in 1839, and Geography in 1840. The Calcutta School Books Society published Sutton's Oriya Primer and Padartha Vidya Sara (elementary science). Sutton compiled Oriya Dictionary in 1843."
  4. ^ Don Carlos Janes, A Trip Abroad p173 "... to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne": Hail, sweetest, dearest tie, that binds Our glowing hearts in one; Hail, sacred hope, that tunes our minds To harmony divine. It is the hope, the blissful hope Which Jesus' words afford - The hope,"
  5. ^ Amos Sutton, History of the mission to Orissa American Sunday School Union
  6. ^ a b c d e f Anderson, Gerald H. (1999). Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 652. ISBN 978-0-8028-4680-8. 
  7. ^ "History Of The Mission To Orissa: The Site Of The Temple Of Juggernaut (1835) (Paperback)". Retrieved 10 May 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h "Sutton, Amos, 1798-1854". Retrieved 8 May 2012. Sutton, Amos, D.D., was born at Sevenoaks, Kent, on Jan. 21, 1802 
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Who are the Baptists? - Bengal Orissa Mission". Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2012. Mrs. and Rev. Amos Sutton joined in the missionary work in Odisha on 11 March 1825 arriving at Cuttack. Shortly, Mrs. Sutton became sick and died at Puri. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Canadian Baptist mission work among women in Andhra, India, 1874-1924: Baptist women evolved a role for themselves in an otherwise male-dominated mission enterprise and a patriarchal Telugu society". Amos Sutton - preached in the northernmost parts of Andhra Pradesh in 1805 but failed to achieve his objectives, and he did not venture again into the region, confining his ministry instead to the Oriya-speaking districts. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  11. ^ Stirling, Andrew; James Peggs (1846). Orissa: Its Geography, Statistics, History, Religion and Antiquities. Oxford University. author. pp. 363–365. 
  12. ^ a b c "Indian Languages Collection - Oriya Language Collection". Retrieved 24 April 2012. The oldest publication available in the Oriya collection dates back to 1831. It is Rev. Amos Sutton’s Introductory Grammar of Oriya Language 
  13. ^ a b Amaresh, Datta (1988). Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature. Sahitya Akademi. pp. 1029–1030. ISBN 978-81-260-1194-0. 
  14. ^ Sutton, Amos; American Sunday-School Union (1835). History of the mission to Orissa. Harvard University. American Sunday-School Union. 
  15. ^ Datta, Amaresh (1988). Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature. Sahitya Akademy. p. 1134. ISBN 978-81-260-1194-0. 
  16. ^ "Protestant Hymnal Printed in India". Retrieved 24 April 2012. Believed to be the first Protestant hymnal printed in India is Amos Sutton's Hymns Especially Designed for Divine Worship Public, Social, and Private 

15. Unnavimsa Satabdiku Missionary Dr. Amos Suttonnka Dana by Dr. Smaran Kumar Nayak (The Contribution of Missionary Dr. Amos Sutton to Nineteenth Century Orissa, Published by Jagannath Ratha, Cuttack. 16. History of the Oriya Missionary Literature by Dr. Smaran Kumar Nayak 17. The History of Orissa Mission Press by Dr. Smaran Kumar Nayak

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