24 March 2009

Caroline Adriance

Missionary to China

Caroline Adriance was the daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth Humphrey Adriance, who settled in Cayuga County in 1816. Caroline was born in Scipio in 29 October 1824. At age sixteen, Caroline accepted Christ as her personal Savior as a result of a conversion experience during a religious revival. She was admitted to membership in the Dutch Reformed Church at Sand Beach, where a Ladies' Foreign Missionary Society was formed in 1852; Caroline was among its charter members.

In 1859, in response to a call from the Board of Foreign Missions of the Reformed (Dutch) Church, Caroline travelled to Japan with a small band of missionaries led by the former pastor of that congregation, Samuel Robbins Brown. Brown had previously served as a missionary at Canton, China. The small band of missionaries from the Sand Beach Church included Rev. and Mrs. Guido Verbeck, Miss Mary E. Kidder (who became Mrs. E.R. Miller of the Northern Japan Missions), as well as Rev. and Mrs. Brown. Although the Board of Foreign Missions was unable to fund her participation in the mission, she chose to participate at her own expense.

In Japan, Caroline worked as a teacher of American children at Kanagawa, but looked for opportunities to spread the Gospel message to Japanese children, as well. Eventually, she continued in support of the work of the missions at Amoy, China. In a letter dated 8 April 1861, she wrote to a cousin:
I recollect well the anxiety you felt on my account because I was single and alone, with no protector, and I presume you have often wished to know how your poor lone cousin was getting along. Could you have been permitted to have looked into my home in Japan you would have seen me surrounded with blessings far more than you could have imagined. I will not attempt, nor do I wish to make you think, that it was no trial to leave brothers, sisters and friends to whom I was strongly attached; the dear little church of which I was a member; my own native land, which none could love more than I. Can anyone think that it was not a trial, and a severe one, too, to be separated from all these with little expectation of ever seeing them again? But, strong as are ties which are (for a season, at least) severed, I do not regret the course I have taken, and I am not sorry I am in Japan. I trust I am where the Father would have me, and that He has something to do in this far off land."
At Amoy, after a labor of only a few years, she became ill and died on 5 March 1864. Shortly before her death, she sent to her family on the western shores of Owasco a small Japanese wooden cabinet, which contained in one of its drawers the last cutting of her hair. She was buried in a small Christian burial ground in Kolongsu, and her resting place was marked by a modest monument with a apt inscription:

"She hath done what she could."