Thomas King

Thomas King was an indigenous missionary and collaborator in the translation of catechisms and the Bible into Nigerian languages. King was kidnapped as a child in an Egba homestead in 1825 but was freed and brought to Sierra Leone. Twenty-five years later, he was reunited with his mother at Abeokuta. He moved from Sierra Leone to the Yoruba mission in 1850, where he became a Catechist four years later, and a deacon. On January 25, 1857, he was ordained a priest and stationed at Abeokuta.

King together with Babinton Macaulay and Ajayi Crowther were the only African Christian Missionary Society clergymen till 1890. Thomas King brought back the moral resolve celebrated by the Holy Johnson, once inspiring sorrow in the Abeokuta congregation when he denied two members the Holy Communion for having had sex before marriage while away in Lagos. He was, however, more tolerant of the heathen Ogboni society, citing it as a purely secular society like the Freemason of Europe. He died in 1862. Thomas King’s son, Nathaniel, was the first Nigerian to practice modern medicine in his own country.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer