March 21, 1811
On March 21, 1811, Presbyterian missionary and teacher Melinda Rankin was born in Littleton, New Hampshire. In 1840 she moved to Kentucky, where she established schools and taught for two years before moving on to Mississippi to continue in educational work. In 1847 she came to Texas as a missionary to Mexicans. She taught at the Huntsville Male and Female Academy and wrote for religious publications. In 1852, she opened an informal school for Mexican girls in Brownsville, Texas. With Presbyterian support, the Rio Grande Female Institute opened in 1854. With the increase of religious freedom in Mexico, she began distributing Spanish language Bibles and other religious materials, supplied by the American Bible Society, across the border. During the Civil War she was forced from the school between 1862 and the end of the war. In 1866, Rankin returned to Monterrey, Mexico, purchased a building, and opened the first Protestant mission in Mexico. In 1872, poor health forced Rankin to give up mission work. She died at her home in Bloomington, Illinois, on December 6, 1888.