The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM), based in Boston, was founded in 1810, the first organized missionary society in the US … “and was incorporated, by the Legislature of Massachusetts, June 20, 1812. Its beginnings, as is well known, were small, and the anticipations of its supporters not remarkably sanguine:”
“but its resources and operations have regularly increased, till, in respect to the number of its patron – the amount of its funds – and the extent of its influence, it is entitled to a place among the principal benevolent institutions of the earth.”
They decided to send a Company of missionaries to the Hawaiian Islands. “Messrs. Hiram Bingham and Asa Thurston, from the Andover Theological Seminary, were ordained as missionaries at Goshen, Conn., on the 29th of September, 1819. The sermon was preached by the Rev. Heman Humphrey, afterwards President of Amherst College, from Joshua xiii. 1: ‘There remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.’”
“Besides these, the mission contained a physician. Dr. Holman; two schoolmasters, Messrs. Whitney and Ruggles; a printer, Mr. Loomis; and a farmer, Mr. Chamberlain. All these were married men, and the farmer took with him his five children.” (Anderson, 1872)
“Within two weeks after the ordination in Goshen, the missionary company assembled in Boston, to receive their instructions and embark. There, in the vestry of Park Street Church, under the counsels of the officers of the Board, Dr. S Worcester, Dr. J Morse, J Evarts, Esq., and others, the little pioneer band was, on the 15th of Oct., 1819, organized into a Church for transplantation.” (Hiram Bingham)
“The members of the mission, at the time of receiving their public instructions from the Board in Park-Street Church, were organized into a mission church, including the three islanders. There existed then no doubt as to the expediency of such a step.” (Anderson, 1872)
“The next morning, Saturday, October 16, at 10 o’clock, Mr. Thurston delivered a farewell address in the same church to a large congregation of friends of missions from various parts of New England. A portion of his words were as follows:
“Permit me, my dear friends, to express the sentiments and feelings of this missionary company on the present occasion. We would express our gratitude to the Great Head of the Church, for the provision He has made for the souls of men, and for the evidence which He graciously gives us, that we are severally interested in this great salvation.”
“We bless God that we live in this interesting period of the world-that so much has been done, and that so much is still doing to extend the blessings of the Redeemer’s kingdom to the ends of the earth.”
“The present is emphatically styled a day of action. The Church is opening her eyes on the miseries of a world lying in wickedness. Her compassion is moved, and her benevolence excited to alleviate human sufferings, and to save the soul from death. We have felt that the Savior was speaking to us, and our bosoms· have panted for the privilege of engaging in the blessed work of evangelizing the heathen.”
“We have voluntarily devoted ourselves to this great object, and have been set apart to go forth and labor for its accomplishment. In a few days we expect to leave this loved land of our nativity, for the far distant isles of the sea, there to plant this little vine, and nourish it, till it shall extend through all the islands, till it shall shoot its branches across to the American coast, and its precious fruit shall be gathered at the foot of her mountains.” (Asa Thurston, as noted by Lucy Thurston)
On October 23, 1819, the Pioneer Company of missionaries from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) from the northeast United States, set sail from Boston on the Thaddeus for Hawai‘i.
After 164-days at sea, on April 4, 1820, the Thaddeus arrived and anchored at Kailua-Kona on the Island of Hawaiʻi. Hawai‘i’s “Plymouth Rock” is about where the Kailua pier is today.