Union Cemetery (Findagrave Memorials #132424660 and #132838893))
Selinsgrove (Snyder County) Pennsylvania  USA zip

Arriving at a faltering Muhlenberg Mission near Monrovia, Liberia, in 1874, the Days revived it, creating a vibrant and permanent institution. At first strengthening the established congregation, they soon developed practical schools of agriculture, carpentry, and mechanics. New congregations were established in 1887 and 1889 and indigenous pastors ordained beginning in 1885. For more than twenty years, the Days labored along the St. Paul River, faithfull and courageously—and at a high personal cost—serving the spiritual and temporal needs of the congregations there.


  • 1851: David is born born near Dillsburg, Pennsylvania.
  • 1853: Emily (Emma) Virginia Winegarden born in Pennsylvania(?)
  • 1864-65: David serves eight-month enlistment in the Army of the Potomac.
  • 1869: David enters the Missionary Institute (now Susquehanna University).
  • 1874: David ordained by the Franckean Synod, he and Emily Winegarden marry, and they leave for the Muhlenberg Mission on the St. Paul River near Monrovia, Liberia.
  • 1877: son Gilbert dies in Liberia.
  • 1878: daughter Florence dies in Liberia.
  • 1879: David and Emily return to the United States on furlough.
  • 1883: David and Emily return to the United States on furlough.
  • 1885: mission’s first African pastor licensed.
  • 1887: a new congregation at Jahweh Jai established.
  • 1889: a new congregation in Ben Moore’s town established.
  • 1890: daughter Leila dies in Liberia.
  • 1892: second Liberian, David Davidson, licensed to the Gospel ministry.
  • 1893: David returns to the United States on furlough and travels widely lecturing.
  • 1894: Emma returns to the United States for reasons of health.
  • 1895: Emma dies in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania of “African fever.”
  • 1897: David marries Anna E. Whitfield, a missionary nurse to West Africa.
  • 1897: stricken with “African fever,” David leaves Liberia for England in October; then sails for New York in December but dies at sea on Dec. 17; funeral services at First Lutheran Church in Baltimore on 21 Dec. and at Trinity Lutheran Church in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania,  on 22 Dec., where he was buried with Emma.

Sources: Abdel Ross Wentz, “Day, David Alexander,” Dictionary of American Biography (1937), Vol. 3; “Obituary Notes,” New York Times, 8/13/1895; “Well-Known Lutheran,” Washington Evening Star, 12/24/1897; “Religious Notes,” New York Times ,4/3/1898; Robert L. Bradford, “MIracle at Muhlenberg (Liberia): The Life and Legacy of David & Emily Day, Lutheran Missionaries (1874-1895/97,” Snyder County Historical Society Bulletin, 2004:65-88; Harold V. Whetstone, Lutheran Mission in Liberia (1955); General Synod, Annual Report of the Board of Foreign Missions (1881 and 1882); Margaret R. H. Seebach, Man in the Bush (1945); J. A. Clutz, “Sketch of Muhlenberg Mission, Africa,” Luth. Quarterly, 1879, n.s. 9:449-463; Harold V. Whetstone, Lutheran Mission in Liberia (1955) George Drach, Kingdom Pathfinders, Biographical Sketches of Foreign Missionaries (1942); Gerald H. Anderson, ed., Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions (1998).