Cutting-edge Scudders, Building Bridges to People Who Were Different


by Margery Boyden, Scudder Association Foundation, Historian

© Scudder Association Foundation, 2021. All rights reserved


Old Map British Nautical Collage[1]


The early immigrant Scudders and missionary-minded Scudders featured in this issue had unique opportunities to engage with people of other races, ethnicities, cultures, religions and politics that were different than their own. They moved to different countries or colonies where they were considered the strangers by those who were already present. For the earliest immigrant Scudders to America, their moves were motivated by a hope for greater religious rights to worship God according to their beliefs or to avoid persecution. In addition, they were at the cutting edge to build new communities. Two of those featured in this issue were at the cutting edge of joining with a new religion brought to America by the Society of Friends, in spite of the potential that they might be persecuted for their involvement. The Friends’ new doctrinal message was that one could have “a direct, unmediated relationship with the Divine” and that “the Divine Spirit could lead them into all truth.”[2] This, of course, challenged more traditional orthodoxy providing opportunities on both sides to learn how to deal with different ideas with tolerance and civility.

 For the missionary Scudders, from 1819 through the first half of the 1900s, it was about leaving their comfort zone in America with the desire to serve those a half a world away who were less advantaged than they were. They became the foreigner among people in unfamiliar lands who were different in ethnicity, race, culture, customs, religion, language and politics. They did this because of love of God and fellowmen, not because missionary service would bring them health or wealth or ease or any guarantees that they would even be accepted or ever return home.

Old Vintage World Map[3]


This issue briefly relates experiences had by three of Dr John and Harriet (Waterbury) Scudder’s grandchildren in their cuttingedge efforts to teach the message of Christianity to those who had not had opportunity to hear it, to promote education and to provide medical care to those who lacked these advantages. They achieved these outcomes and built bridges of understanding with others in the process.

 Articles in this Spring 2021 issue of Scudder Family Historical & Biographical Journal include:

“John Scudder, Son of Thomas Scudder (T) of Horton Kirby, Kent and Salem, Mass
Married Mary King and They Were among Earliest Settlers of Southold, Huntington and
Newtown, Long Island”

by Margery Boyden and Clive K. Connor

 John2 Scudder, son of Thomas1 (T), the immigrant ancestor of the Scudder (T) line in America, was born say 1617–1620 and immigrated to New England in the Puritan migration. He left Salem, Massachusetts, to be on the cutting edge in the early settlement of three Long Island towns. It appears that the religious historical figures he encountered in England, Massachusetts and at Long Island contributed to his religious journey that led him to New Netherland, where he was involved early in the Quaker movement at Long Island. This biographical article focuses on his early life up to about the time the English took over New Netherland and renamed it New York. Because so many sources mix their identities, this article painstakingly differentiates this John2 Scudder (Thomas1) from his first cousin John2 Scudder (John1) who finally settled at Barnstable, Plymouth, Massachusetts.

“Samuel Scudder, b. 1643, Grandson of Thomas Scudder (T) by His Son John”

by Clive K. Connor

  Samuel3 Scudder I, (John2, Thomas T1), is best known for his Quaker activities that landed him in court and in jail. Other records show him as trusted by community and parents. Records are sparse for Samuel3 and his sons and grandchildren but this article carefully documents what can be proven by historical records for this family. Due to mostly female descendants and the childless Samuel Scudder III, this family line soon disappears from view.

“Dr. Doremus Scudder and Rev. Frank Scudder, Missionaries to Japan and Hawaii

by Jack Gillmar 

 After the American Board of Foreign Missions decided there were enough Scudders in India, these third generation first cousins Doremus and Frank Scudder each became cutting-edge missionaries first to Japan and then to Hawaii This article focuses on Dr. Doremus Scudder during his years abroad.

“Missionary Frank Scudder in Japan and Hawaii”

by Jack Gillmar

 Frank was early in Japan in the 1880s, given him plenty of cutting-edge opportunities. By the death of his first wife, he was left with three motherless children to rear while trying to carry on his duties in an increasingly hostile environment. His cousin Doremus was instrumental in encouraging him to move his mission work to Hawaii to minister to the growing Japanese immigrant population. His valuable legacy of cutting-edge service to the young Japanese Americans he met there had far reaching effect.

“The Different Man in Rural Japan”

by Frank S. Scudder.

 This treasured first-hand account by Frank of his experiences in Japan in the 1880s relates his experiences of being a stranger among people whose customs were very different. This article has wonderful surprises.          

Founding of Vellore Medical School, Excerpt #2 from A Thousand Years in Thy Sight
The Story of Missionaries of India”

By Dorothy Jealous Scudder, transcribed by Susan Swanson

This article is the second installment of Aunt Ida’s adventures in cutting-edge medical, educational and cultural contributions to India.


[2] “The Light Within,” Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends,

[3] ‘Old Vintage World Map,”


© Scudder Association Foundation, All rights reserved



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Samuel Scudder, b. 1643, Grandson of Thomas Scudder (T) by His Son John

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Not much is known about Samuel3 Scudder, (known hereafter as Samuel I), oldest son of John2 and grandson of Thomas1 (T).  He does not appear in the baptismal records of the Salem Church so he must have been born about 1643 in Salem, Massachusetts because his younger brother John3 was born in 1645 according to his marriage record, and his parents joined the church in 1647. His three sisters’ baptismal records are after that date.

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