Church History: Did You Know?
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Church History

Church History: Did You Know?

Who was the first African born person to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the Africa continent?

The first Africans to serve as full-time missionaries to their African homeland were Elder John Talbot and Elder Henry A. Dixon. Both men were born in Grahamstown, South Africa, and were returning to their native land. Elder Dixon was born on March 14, 1835, in Grahamstown. He was baptized in March of 1856. John Talbot was born on August 23, 1835, also in Grahamstown. He was baptized in July 1858. That same year both emigrated to America to join the Saints in Utah, USA.

These Elders were called and set apart in Salt Lake City on April 25, 1860, to labor in South Africa. They arrived at Table Bay on December 15, 1861. They soon began teaching and proselyting. Elder Dixon started holding meetings in the home of a Mr. Jones near Cape Town. Eight investigators attended that first night.

They both served for more than three years. Elder Talbot completed his mission and sailed from Port Elizabeth on April 5, 1864, on the barque Echo with 10 other Saints. Brother Dixon completed his mission and set sail for America on April 10, 1864, and sailed on the Susan Pardeaux with 18 other Church members who were emigrating to “Zion.”