This Week In History

June 27, 1857

On June 27, 1857, Presbyterian minister Elisha Mitchell (August 19, 1793 - June 27, 1857) died in a fall surveying the highest mountain peak in the East, just a few miles from what would become Montreat. In 1882 the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed the height and named the peak, Mt. Mitchell.
Ordained by the Presbytery of Orange (Hillsborough, NC) in 1821, the Rev. Dr. Mitchell taught mathematics, natural philosophy, geography and other subjects at the University of North Carolina, as well as preaching at the college's chapel.

June 29, 1936

On June 29, 1936, Congress approved a bill creating the Whitman National Monument — to honor the Presbyterian mission of Dr. Marcus and Narcissa Whitman to the Cayuse Indians in 1836 in what became the Oregon territory. The Whitmans were killed by the Native Americans in 1847 after an outbreak of measles was blamed on the missionaries. (Photo courtesy of National Parks Service).

June 30, 1960

On June 30, 1960, the Congo became an independent nation. The American Presbyterian Congo Mission (APCM) had prepared by appointment of a Church-Mission Committee composed of 25 Congolese Church leaders and ten missionaries, to work out the division of responsibilities to be carried by the Church (the Eglise Presbyterienne du Kasai), those to be handled by the Mission and those to be handled jointly by both bodies.
At this time, the APCM had 161 missionaries, the largest staff that it would ever have, with eleven stations scattered across the Kasai region providing the centers for evangelistic, educational and medical work. Within the situation of political instability that followed independence, the Church suffered serious disruption of its life and work. As one observer wrote: “Christians have been and are being subjected for the first time to large-scale persecution and testing, arising out of the necessity to make a choice between tribal loyalties and the atrocities often associated with them, and loyalty to Jesus Christ.” (Photo: signing of Congo independence, Library of Congress.)