Walter Russell Lambuth

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Walter Russell Lambuth
Walter Russel Lambuth.jpg
Born (1854-11-10)November 10, 1854
Died September 26, 1921(1921-09-26) (aged 66)
Nationality United States
Occupation Methodist Bishop

Walter Russell Lambuth (November 10, 1854 – September 26, 1921) was a Chinese-born American Methodist Bishop who worked as a missionary establishing schools and hospitals in China, Korea and Japan in the 1880s.[1]

Birth and Family[edit]

Born in Shanghai, China as the eldest son of James William Lambuth and Mary Isabella McClellan, he was sent to his relatives in Tennessee and Mississippi for his early education. Walter's parents were pioneering missionaries in China. Together they also founded the mission work of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South in Japan. Walter's grandfather had been a Preacher in the Mississippi Annual Conference. Walter's great-grandfather, the Rev. William Lambuth, was a Preacher in the Holston Annual Conference (admitted in 1795).


Walter graduated from Emory and Henry College in 1875, and later received theology and medical degrees from Vanderbilt University.

Ordination and Ministry[edit]

Lambuth was ordained an elder in the Tennessee Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and returned to China with his wife Daisy Kelly as a medical missionary in 1877. In 1883 with support from the Methodist Church Dr. Lambuth alongside William Hector Park founded Soochow Hospital.[2] He was then was dispatched to western Japan where they were founders of Methodist work in Japan. In 1889, he founded what has become one the most prestigious universities in the Kansai region, Kwansei Gakuin University in Kobe.

He returned to the United States in charge of all missionary work as General Secretary of the Board of Missions of the American Southern Methodist Episcopal Mission. Lambuth was elected Bishop by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 1910 and was assigned to Brazil. The following year he established Methodist work in the Belgian Congo, Africa, later traveling to Europe and establishing Southern Methodism in Belgium, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Siberia, supervising missionary work worldwide until his death in 1921. He died in Yokohama, Japan and his ashes were buried in Shanghai, China, next to his mother Mary.

Lambuth Day is held October 6 at Pearl River Church in Madison County, Mississippi.

The former Lambuth University in Jackson, Tennessee and the Lambuth Inn at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina were named in his honor. Lambuth Memorial United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma was also named for him. Some[who?]say the name was chosen the day he died in 1921 when the church began.


  1. ^ Anderson, Gerald. "Lambuth, Walter Russell (1854-1921) Methodist missionary physician in China and Japan, and missionary bishop in Brazil and Africa". Boston University School of Theology; reprinted from Macmillan Reference USA. Retrieved 27 January 2016.  External link in |website= (help)
  2. ^ House, Christie. "Searching for Roots: Soochow Hospital in China". Global Ministries. Retrieved 27 January 2016.  External link in |website= (help)
  • Leete, Frederick DeLand, Methodist Bishops. Nashville, The Methodist Publishing House, 1948.

See also[edit]