October 26, 2007

Jennie Manget Logan

My most sincere apologies for posting naught but two videos in three weeks. It's been crazy, as it is midterms time and I had two major papers to write. My kudos to anyone who had those plus tests to manage. Anyway, I thought I'd give you one of the two papers, my personal favorite. The other one is ... well, not something I'm ready to put up yet, I'm still not convinced.

But seriously folks, here it is. Enjoy.

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Jennie Estelle Manget Logan, my great-great grandmother, was born March 17, 1867 in Marietta Georgia to Victor and Eliza Manget. She was a remarkable women, as were many in those times. She gave up much for the service of her Lord; family, comfort, a “normal” life, even a child. Her dedication to her calling is inspirational; much can be learned from her story, in particular, about the grassroots movement in China during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. History has long since dismissed the Chinese Christian movement during the latter half of the nineteenth century as an elitist movement, a tiny minority [1]. However, while this may account for some of the Chinese Church that existed around 1911, there is much evidence to the contrary.

A Brief Biography

Jennie believed almost from the start that she was called by God to mission, in particular, to China. At the age of six (1873), she received a dollar for her birthday. When her father suggested she tithe ten percent to the missionaries, her mother elaborated on the binding of the feet of Chinese women, a cultural practice in which the feet of the woman are bound tightly so as to remain small as she grows older, sometimes remaining as small as three to four inches [2]. Jennie agreed, but that night had a nightmare about her own feet being bound; that Sunday, the whole dollar found its way into the collection plate, and a missionary was born.

She moved to Indianapolis for nursing school in 1895 at the age of 28, a move which was further in line with her calling, which she had not forgotten. It was at this point that she met my great-great grandfather, Oliver Tracy Logan (the senior medical Intern at Indiana University), often called “OT” by his friends, but referred to “Dr. Logan” or simply, “The Doctor” by Jennie. Both knew they had been called to mission work, and after a leisurely courtship, they were married in Marietta, GA on August 4, 1897, in a Methodist church.

The newlyweds, after a brief stint with the Mangets, joined OT’s family at Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis. Merely one month later (September of 1897), they departed for China aboard the SS Coptic [3] to join the China Inland Mission (CIM), fathered by the famous Hudson Taylor thirty years previous [4] . After one year of language learning in Yichang with CIM, they boarded a small native houseboat and began the trip into Hunan Province, to the outskirts of a city called Changde [5] (December of 1898).

The river travel was, for a pair of foreigners (even a pair trying to identify with the Chinese as much as the Logans were), rather dangerous, on account of the xenophobic-yet-curious attitude of the inland Chinese. One event in particular stands out; the Logans had stopped the boat on the far side of the river from Changde, and OT Logan and another missionary had decided to explore the city. This left Jennie by herself with another missionary and the boat’s captain. Word spread to the locals (through a loose-lipped soldier) that there was a “foreign woman” aboard the boat, and they clamored to the opposite bank to investigate. After unsuccessfully crying out as a crowd for her to come above decks to see her, the crowd began beating at the boat’s thatched roof and maiming the walls. It was at this point that she crawled above decks, having decided that the best way to diffuse the situation was to appease the crowd’s curiosity. At her appearance, the crowd’s reaction was somewhat mixed, owing to her Chinese-like black hair, but unexpectedly “enormous feet.” [6]

It was later that week that Dr. Logan saved his first native, a Chinese woman who had, while eating a bowl of rice, gotten a needle caught in her throat. The team had stopped at a missionary chapel, and the Chinese, having discovered that the ”foreign woman” was present, soon found out that OT was a doctor, and “began clamoring for treatment,” [7] specifically, for the woman with the needle. After impaling the needle in his own finger, he managed to pull it out, at which time he became, in the eyes of the Chinese, a local hero. Needless to say, he kept the needle with pride [8].

After a brief year in Changde, spending time with the natives, OT became ill with appendicitis. In January of 1900, the family (now sporting two children, Elsa and Dorothy) returned to America in order to obtain medical treatment for OT’s appendix. While there, Dorothy, merely an infant, died of pneumonia. As sad as this event was for them, the family pressed on. Ironically, their trip home, despite its high cost, may have saved their lives. On June 24 of that year, the Chinese government in Peking decreed that all foreigners must be killed; thus began the Boxer rebellion, a bloody massacre of both foreign missionaries and native Christians alike [9]. I am convinced that I am alive today because of this appendicitis; my great-grandfather, named after Jennie’s father Victor, would be born during this year-long furlough.

Stephen Neill comments that in “Christian circles, there was little resentment against … the Chinese [after the rebellion]. The one thought of most of the missionaries who had lost everything was to get back as soon as possible to their chosen work and their beloved people.” [10] Indeed, this attitude was shared by Jennie and OT, for in the fall of 1901, the burgeoning family returned to China. Despite the lingering attitudes of the Boxer rebellion, the natives of Changde were overjoyed to see their return, especially with the new family, now with Elsa (2) and Victor (2 mos).

In 1903, construction began on the first hospital in Changde, funded from overseas by none other than Cumberland Presbyterian Church. It was designed by OT Logan, who though not an architect, had the full set of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Evidently encyclopedias were much more detailed in the past, as I do not believe a hospital could now be built from their instructions. However, OT had help from a Chinese native, who helped him to shape the hospital to the rigid rules of Feng Shui [11].

Several operations and medical procedures of note happened during this period, as the natives began trusting the Logans much more. In a country laden with tumors and cysts, the Logans performed their fair share of operations. In one, they removed a cyst of 34 lbs for a woman who, prior to the operation, had described her trouble as “most inconvenient.” This same woman became a second-hand to Jennie, one of her first converts, and began telling the locals about the “Jesus hospital” the Logans had begun [12]. In another operation, Dr. Logan removed a tumor from woman weighing 84 lbs while she, post-operation, weighed a meager 79 lbs. Incredibly enough, this tumor was not even a world record, to Jennie’s disappointment [13].

Also in this period, Jennie delivered her first complication-laden birth, and without training at that. As Chinese culture forbids the male doctor to deliver a baby, Dr. Logan was unable (at the insistence of the Chinese) to perform the necessary operation, lest shame come to the family. While the baby would have otherwise died and thus condemned the baby and mother to 400 years in hell (according to custom), Jennie, after much persuasion, took on the task of the midwife. In the birth of this baby, a second birth took place, namely that of Jennie’s passion for obstetrics. She would later perform many of the deliveries at the hospital, and still later, receive a post-graduate obstetrics degree from the Bellevue Hospital of Midwifery in New York City. Also as a result, a hospital for women was built next door.

The work of missions was somewhat unremarkable during this period, though steady. In 1908, much to her delight, Jennie’s brother Fred arrived in China as a medical missionary under the supervision of the Southern Methodist Mission Board. In 1909, the family traveled to America for a year of furlough, a time of joy for the parents, as the children spent their time in a missionary boarding school in Chefoo. The Logans returned to Changde in September of the same year. In 1915, the Westminster Sunday School Hospital was finally completed in Changde, and in 1917 the family was once again on furlough in America. Though these years are somewhat routine, two highlights stand out that are worth noting.

During the Chinese Revolution of 1911, the (still under construction) hospital found itself quite useful. In 1912, as confirmation, Jennie was awarded a medal from the Chinese Red Cross for her healing work [14]. But the year marked itself for another reason. The river nearest the city, the Yuan, spilled over its banks. While this created a very strenuous season, it gave the Logans a chance to once again show the hospitable love of Christ to the natives. In fact, following their example, much of the community pitched in to the work, floating cooked rice and tea on a boat around to those that needed it [15]. After an educational campaign and over 600 IV injections of saline, the epidemic was beaten back and the village given the chance to rebuild itself. It was after this intense period of trial that Jennie began to feel as though the Chinese truly began to trust her [16]. The epidemic relapsed in 1918, with over 700 patients treated at the hospital.

Second, in 1915, OT Logan once again gained near-hero status when he saved the vision of several Chinese men by iridectomy, a delicate procedure involving a razor blade to the lens of the eye. Previous to his departure from America, he learned that the Chinese were prone to blindness, and so, in medical school, took special care to learn how to save vision [17]. It became quite useful in Changde for more than medicine; after the procedures, the church once again experienced growth as the story of healing was told across the city.

In 1919, the Logans returned to Changde to find that power had changed hands in the region, to the Chinese military under the command of one General Feng Yu Hsiang. General Feng, as they soon discovered, was a Christian, and the Logans and Hsiang became fast friends (on one occasion, Dr. Logan was even invited on a hunt with General Feng). He set a unique precedent of cleaning up the city instead of looting it, closing the opium shops, and, remarkably, making soldiers pay full price for items they bought. In addition, he invited foreign evangelists into the region [18]. But the conversion of many rested on the tragic events to follow.

On December 19, General Feng asked the Logans to come take a look at a mentally-unstable relative of his who was convinced there were those out to assassinate him. OT went alone, as Jennie’s presence was required back at the hospital. As Dr. Logan examined him, the patient drew a concealed revolver and shot Dr. Logan (and General Feng, twice, as he dove on the patient in an effort to stop the shots). While General Feng survived, Dr. Logan died while under the care of a Chinese doctor [19].

What follows is most remarkable. After Dr. Logan was given a hero’s parade and burial (the Army had created banners detailing his many acts of kindness and healing and displayed them through the city), the anger of many turned to the unstable patient. He was confined, hung by his thumbs, and beaten regularly. General Feng offered to pay Jennie restitution for the crimes of his relative, but Jennie would have none of it. In fact, upon hearing about the treatment the patient had received, she interfered on his behalf, pleading for humane treatment and ultimately persuading General Hsiang to institutionalize him rather than hurt him. Because of these acts of mercy, over 780 [20] members of General Feng’s army were convinced that “there must be something in a religion such as ours to make anyone do differently from what a Chinese would do” [21] and later baptized by a Methodist missionary.

After her replacement came, Jennie returned to America for a brief time, and in 1920 worked as a nurse in Huchow Union Hospital (in China) to supervise obstetrics under her brother Fred. She remained there (with several furloughs) until 1938, when she retired to Rochester NY. There, she lived the remainder of her life in Clifton Springs (a suburb of Rochester), and passed away in 1961, buried in the Logan plot in Mt. Hope Cemetery [22].

Missionary Methods

One must note the radical nature of the Logans’ mission in China. While unremarkable with respect to their particular mission organization (CIM), the majority of Christian missionaries in China at the time were still in Shanghai, living as westerners [23]. The practice of enculturation by CIM missionaries was remarkable, and a major factor in their acceptance by the xenophobic Chinese. They traveled with the Chinese second class, spoke the local dialect, built hospitals to the Feng Shui code, and paid attention to such details as their dress and hair. Jennie notes in her autobiography that

All the China Inland Mission [CIM] missionaries at that time wore Chinese clothes, and the men shaved the fronts of their heads, and had long, black silk plaits of hair to hang down their backs until they could grow enough to make a queue, and they certainly looked funny to us. I could hardly recognize Dr. Logan in his long, blue gown and his yard and a half of queue hanging down his back. It did make the men very inconspicuous and they did not covet a mob, as had often happened with people in foreign dress in the interior of China [24].

Of Jennie, Dr. Logan writes

Since I have started this letter, Mrs. Logan has received an invitation to attend a feast at our teacher's house. She is expanding her vocabulary tonight, and delaying the cook with questions as to how she should act. He in turn is very anxious to have his mistress behave in such a way as will not bring discredit upon the house [25].

The Logans, however, did not entirely abandon their western ways. They did send off the children to a boarding school in Chefoo for most of their childhood education. Jennie continued to play piano and organ, and even used them in corporate worship in the growing church [26] in Changde built next to the hospital.

In addition to enculturation methods, the Logans’ mission focused primarily on hospitality. A medical mission took special training, and unlike many of the CIM missionaries (who traveled as wandering itinerant missionaries [27]) , they were a highly educated pair with special tools and techniques. However, in keeping with CIM methods, it is interesting to note that medical missions worked backward of the traditional missionary style; rather than appealing to the elite and powerful, medical missions bring grace and mercy to those who need it – the poor majority – rather than those in power (the rich minority). In this way, the Logans were uniquely suited to CIM life.

Their hospitality ministry encouraged community by encouraging the Chinese themselves to play a part in the mission [28]. Some notable examples are the woman whose tumor was removed and whose subsequent evangelism was of immense value to the growth of the church. During the first cholera epidemic, a large number of natives helped feed the entire community with the Logans by cooking and distributing rice and tea. And on New Year’s eve, the Logans threw a party for those in the hospital that were lame and blind. “None of us,” writes Jennie, “ever saw a lame man fill his bowl till the blind ones were first served.” [29]

Perhaps the ultimate act of humanitarian effort was Jennie’s forgiveness of the patient, the relative of the Christian General Feng that murdered Dr. Logan. Through this monumental act of self-sacrifice, Jennie paved the way for a large portion of the standing army to accept Christ. While her efforts cannot be considered the sole reason – we must remember General Feng as well – her forgiveness and subsequent insistence of humane treatment of a mentally-ill patient, despite his actions, was vital in this story. One might say it is the highlight of the Logans’ ministry in China, for while after this Jennie still helps in her brother’s hospital, we never again hear of such a mass-movement, nor does Jennie seem particularly inclined toward evangelism. Her passion for the Chinese people remains, but the rest of her life is marked by the steady pace of a woman fulfilled.

Works Consulted

Logan, Elsa, Ed. Logan, Nancy. “Dear Friends: Letters from Elsa Logan, Teacher and Missionary. 1898-1989”. Self Published, 1989.

Logan, Nancy A. “2 Generations of Descendants of Victor Eugene Manget”. Self Published. No Publishing Date Available.

Logan, Nancy A. “Highlights: Life of Oliver Tracy Logan and Jennie Manget Logan”. Self Published. No Publishing Date Available.

Logan, Nancy A. “Manget Family.” Self Published. No Publishing Date Available.

Logan, Nancy A, Ed. “Supplements to Dear Friends & Little Stories of China.” Self Published. No Publishing Date Available.

Logan, Jennie Manget. Little Stories of China. Self Published, No Publishing Date Available.

McNamera, Meghan. “The Logan Family.” Published December 7, 2006. Accessed October 19, 2007 at https://urresearch.rochester.edu/retrieve/8638/Logan_Family.pdf.

Neill, Stephen. A History of Christian Mission, Second Edition. Pelican Books: New York NY, 1986.

Tucker, Ruth A. From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions, Second Edition. Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, 2004.


[1] Neill, 289-290. “Christians were still a minority in China, including the Roman Catholics not more than 1 per cent of the population. Yet they were an √©lite. Educated, alert, marked by integrity and resolution, with a clear idea of what they wanted to see accomplished, they were able to exercise an influence on the life of China far greater than their limited numbers would suggest. And when the call came to take over leadership in the church, they were found ready.”

[2] Stories, 7, 16.

[3] Their route was: Chicago -> St. Louis -> San Francisco -> Honolulu -> Yokohama -> Shanghai

[4] Tucker, 193. The China Inland Mission was established officially in 1865, 32 years before Jennie and OT traveled for China. Its practices were revolutionary for China at the time. Taylor established five practices for which the mission became famous: 1) Interdenominational mission, 2) missionaries from all socioeconomic and educational levels of western society, direction of the CIM would reside in China, 4) missionaries would dress as natives, and 5) the primary aim of the mission was evangelism, rather than church planting (Neill, 283).

[5] Also spelled Chang-teh Chanteh, though for the purposes of this paper I will use its modern day name of Changde.

[6] Stories, 14-16.

[7] Ibid., 16.

[8] Ibid., 17-18.

[9] Neill, 286-288.

[10] Ibid., 288.

[11] Stories, 40.

[12] Ibid., 36-38.

[13] Ibid., 39.

[14] Highlights, 1.

[15] Stories, 50.

[16] Ibid., 54.

[17] Ibid., 19.

[18] Ibid., 66-67.

[19] Ibid., 67-72.

[20] “Manget Family,” 14. This information taken from a newspaper report by special correspondence from Shanghai on April 5 of 1920 entitled “Cares for Slayer of Husband; Wins Army to Christ.”

[21] Stories, 71.

[22] McNamera, 3.

[23] Taylor, 187-189.

[24] Stories, 14.

[25] Supplement, 6.

[26] Despite Hudson Taylor's insistence at not planting churches or evangelizing, a church was planted by the Logans and several other missionaries, of which many Chinese in the community attended regularly (Stories, 50).

[27] Neill, 283-284.

[28] Stories, 36, 41-42, 50.

[29] Ibid., 42.


LAH said...

I have a beautiful and special blanket that I purchased at Butterfly World recently. It is designed by Andrea Tachiera for Simply Home, a division of Weavetec, Inc. In the background of the blanket, there appears to be a portion of a letter written by Jennie Manget Logan. I would really love to know what the letter actually says...Can you help me? Thanks, Lisa H.

George said...

Hi Chris,

I enjoy reading of this article! I happen to find it when searching something about Yale-in-China today!

One of friends in China is interested in stories of Oliver Tracy Logan (also called as O.T. Logan). I wonder whether you can tell me your email address so that I can forward it to him. I can be reached at zhongzeli@gmail.com

Best wishes.

Zhongze (George)

joe s said...

Hey Chris,
I'm a student at Moody Bible Institute and I have been tasked with writing a biographical essay on Dr. Oliver Tracy Logan. I can only use sources that are from 1916 or earlier. I was wondering if you would be willing to help me out with the sources. I tried searching for several of the ones in this blog but could't find them. I would really appreciate it!

Chris Logan said...

Joe S,

Cool that you're getting to write on this! The trouble is, sources from 1916 and earlier don't even include Jennie Manget Logan's self-published "Little Stories from China", nor does it include any of the letters I was able to find because they were, again, self-published from family archives in a little book. Do you have access to transcripts from the China Inland Mission archives at all? That's who OT and Jennie went with as a sponsor.