Missionary David Cargill: biographical timeline

Wesleyan missionary David Cargill died in Tonga, age 34.  His first wife , Margaret, died age 30, in Fiji, after  the birth of her 6th child, over  7 years of marriage.

20 June 1809: David Cargill was born in Brechin, Forfarshire, Scotland on 20 June 1809, the second son of James Cargill, a banker, and Grace Mary Cameron Cargill.

1830: graduated MA. He graduated MA from King’s College, Aberdeen in 1830. Whilst studying in Aberdeen he joined the Aberdeen Methodist Circuit

1831:  admitted to the church as a preacher.

1832:   first missionary appointment for the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society, to Tonga, in the South Pacific.

1832: He married Margaret Smith (1809-1840), of Aberdeen on 6 September 1832 in Old Machar parish, Aberdeen, and left the country with his wife in October that year. They worked together on Vava’u, Tonga with another missionary for three years, during an important period of Christian development and revival.

( date?) The Cargills then moved with their young family and other missionaries to the Fiji Islands, where Christian influence was minimal. Margaret died there on 2 June 1840, and David Cargill, griefstricken, returned to Britain for a short while with their four daughters.

27 November 1841: He remarried on 27 November 1841, to Augusta Bicknell, and shortly afterwards was re-appointed to a training mission on Tonga.

30 April 1842: Cargill, his new wife, four daughters and their governess sailed for Hobart, Tasmania, aboard the Haidee. His children became seriously ill with measles during the voyage, but survived;

11 August 1842:  his son David was born aboard ship on 11 August 1842. During the voyage Cargill preached to his fellow passengers; the ship arrived at Hobart in late August of 1842. Cargill preached at many settlements in Tasmania, including Port Arthur.

15th December 1842: Cargills again set sail, this time on board the Triton, bound for their final destination of Tonga.

21 January 1843 Triton arrived at Vava’u in Tonga : Cargill took over the superintendancy of the Vava’u Wesleyan mission from Peter Turner, and spent the next three months preaching at various mission stations, but was struck by dengue fever, leading to severe exhaustion. This illness, combined with continuing grief for the loss of his first wife, deepened the depression to which he was prone;

25 April 1843: died of an overdose of laudanum on.


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