Joseph Gomer was an African American missionary of the United Brethren in Christ (UBC). He was born in Michigan and served in the Union Army during the Civil War. After the war he moved to Dayton, Ohio, where he became active in the United Brethren Church and married Mary Green. In 1870, the Gomers’ application for missionary work was approved. They arrived in Sierra Leone in 1871 and were stationed at Shenge. Earlier, in 1855, the UBC had begun work on Sherbro Island, settling at Shenge. The Shenge mission station grew coffee and rubber trees. Gomer taught improved farming methods and opened an industrial school with funds raised from a tour in the United States. He befriended the local chief at Sherbro and converted him. In ensuing years he was able to build up the mission, multiplying preaching places and increasing converts. He devoted the remainder of his life to mission work in Africa, and died at his post of apoplexy.
Sylvia M. Jacobs
Emmett D. Cox, The Church of the United Brethren in Christ in Sierra Leone (1970); Christopher Fyfe, A History of Sierra Leone (1962); Walter L. Williams, Black Americans and the Evangelization of Africa, 1877-1900 (1982).
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.