Good, Adolphus Clemens


Adolphus Clemens Good was a Presbyterian missionary to Cameroun. Good, born in West Mahoning, Pennsylvania, graduated from Washington and Jefferson College (1879) and Western Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh (1882). The Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions appointed him to Gabon in West Africa on September 28, 1882. He married Lydia B. Walker of the Gabon mission in 1883. Assigned to Baraka station, he did wide evangelistic itineration along the Ogowe River and on Corisco Island during the next decade. An able linguist, he revised the Mpongwe New Testament.

French colonial insistence on the use of French rather than vernacular languages in mission schools prompted Good and his colleagues, in 1892, to recommend transfer of the Presbyterian work in Gabon and the Ogowe region to the Paris Evangelical Mission Society. On Good’s recommendation, the American Presbyterians moved into German Kamerun, using Batanga station (established 1889) as base. From here Good pioneered in the interior of southern Cameroun. Between 1892 and 1894 his exploratory trips inland from Batanga led to a decision to work among the Bulu. He compiled the first Bulu-English dictionary and made the earliest Bulu translation of the four Gospels. He located and established the first two inland stations, Efulan (1893) and Elat (1894). He died at Efulan of blackwater fever at age 38, after only 12 years in Africa.

Norman A. Horner


Charles W. McCleary, The Beloved (1904), passim; Ellen C. Parsons, A Life for Africa: Rev. Adolphus Clemens Good, Ph.D. (1900); W. Reginald Wheeler, The Words of God in an African Forest: The Story of an American Mission in West Africa (1931), pp. 80-101 and passim.

This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.