Jehudi Ashmun

Filed in Missionaries, Students & alumni

Jehudi Ashmun (1794-1828) was born in Champlain, New York, on April 21, 1794. He entered Middlebury College in 1812 and spent most of his three years at Middlebury as an itinerant preacher. He left the College in 1814, and completed his education at the University of Vermont, graduating in 1816.

He attended the Bangor Theological Seminary in Maine from 1817-1819, then relocated to Washington, D.C., where he edited an Episcopalian journal, to which he contributed articles on the American Colonization Society and its efforts to establish a colony for freed American slaves in Liberia. He was appointed official representative of the United States government to the Liberian mission. When Ashmun, his wife, and a small band of new colonists arrived in Liberia, they found the colony on the verge of extinction as a result of fever, lack of supplies, and the threat of hostile local tribes. Working to defend the colony, Ashmun contracted the fever to which his wife succumbed. In November 1822, local tribes attacked.  A treaty with the local tribes was eventually reached and Ashmun served as the Governor of the Liberian colony for five years.  He returned to the United States where he died on August 25, 1828, in New Haven, Connecticut,  from the lingering effects of tropical fever.