James Mills Thoburn
Thoburn was born on March 7, 1836 in St. Clairsville, Ohio and graduated from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania in 1857, beginning his Methodist preaching ministry that same year in the Pittsburgh Conference. He was ordained an Elder in 1858.
He went to India as a missionary in 1859 and was stationed successively at Nynee Tal, Moradabad, Lucknow, and Calcutta, where he founded Calcutta Boys' School in 1877. Preaching in both the native and European languages, he built the largest church in India at that time. As presiding Elder of the Indian Conference, he preached for some time at Simla, the summer capital of India, and was for five years editor of the Indian Witness.
After an accident, he returned to the United States in 1886. At the 1888 Methodist Episcopal General Conference, held in New York City, he was elected missionary bishop of India and Malaysia. He published the book My Missionary Apprenticeship in 1884, a history of twenty-five years in India, and a collection entitled Missionary Sermons in 1888. Other works included The Deaconess and her Vocation (1893), Christless Nations (1894), The Church of Pentecost (1899), Life of Isabella Thoburn (1903), The Christian Conquest of India (1906), India and Southern Asia (1907), and God's Heroes Our Examples (1914).
Thoburn retired in 1908 to Meadville. He died on November 28, 1922, aged 86.
- Methodism: Ohio Area (1812–1962), edited by John M. Versteeg, Litt.D., D.D. (Ohio Area Sesquicentennial Committee, 1962).