When the Germans occcupied the territory on the east side of the Kiaochow Bay on Nov. 14 th,1897, the American Presbyterian Mission was already since decades well entrenched in Shantung. The fishing village Tsingtao belonged to the county of Tsimo. But there was no foreign mission station in the whole county at that date. In the neighbouring county town Kiaochow (Jiaozhou) the Swedish baptists had settled in 1892.
The missionary John J. Heeren, who was delegated to China in 1910 and in 1911 was stationed in Tsingtao, has published in 1940 a history of the American Preybyterian Mission in Shantung (On the Shantung Front). In this book one gets detailed information also on the history of the Presbyterian mission station at Tsingtao. Already in the autumn of 1898 the Rev. and Mrs. Paul D. Bergen moved from Chefoo to Tsingtao. On Sept. 2 nd, 1898 Tsingtao was declared a free port and one was now able to buy real estate. The development plan for the new town forsaw a quarter for Europeans and a quarter for Chinese businessmen and craftsmen (Dabaodao) and two outlying settlements for Chinese workmen (Taidongzhen and Taixizhen). To the 3 German mission societies (the Catholic Steyl SVD Mission, the protestant Berlin and the Weimar Mission) there compounds were donated by the German administration. The Catholic Mission had the best location: on the border between the European and the Chinese quarter Dabaodao. The compounds of the 2 German protestant missions were adjacent, but lay isolated, in quite a distance to the European quarter and between Dabaodao and Taidongzhen. Nevertheless this was a practical location, because so the compounds were not too far from the Chinese quarters, were the mission work had to be done.
In contrast to the German missions the first Presbyterian missionary in Tsingtao, Paul D. Bergen, had to buy a lot, and astonishingly he decided in 1899 to build his house in the southern edge of the European quarter, in the Irenestrasse (Hunan Road). By this location he was quite far away from the Chinese living quarters, his field of work. Also his successors lived for many years to come in that house. Only around 1908/09 the American missionaries decided to buy a compound adjacent to those of the Berlin and Weimar missions, on the small hill, which popularly was called Mount Zion! Here, on Tsiyang Road, the Presbyterian Mission had its site until 1949.
List of the early missionaries of the American Presbyterian Mission in Tsingtao (many dates given are only approximate):
– Paul David Bergen, D.D. (1860 – 1915) and Mrs. Bergen: 1898 – ca. 1902 (His personal and station report for Tsingtao Dec. 1,1900 until Nov. 30, 1901 has been printed, with a photo of him.)
– Llewellyn James Davies (1865 – 1950) and Mrs. Davies: 1903 – 1907 (lived also in Irenestrasse) Back to Tsingtao since June 1 st, 1924. Retired in 1935.
– C.P. Metzler: 1903 (lived in Irenestrasse)
– Charles Ernest Scott and Mrs. Scott: 1907 – 1914, was on furlough 1914/15. He has published many articles.
– Miss Louisa Vaughan 1907 – 1914. She withdrew from the mission society in 1914.
– Miss Effie B. Cooper, M.D. Delegated 1899. In Tsingtao 1908-14. On furlough in 1914.
– Mason Wells and Mrs. Wells. Delegated 1899. In Tsingtao only 1908 for a short time as a substitute.
– Thomas H. Montgomery and Mrs. Montgomery. Delegated 1909. In Tsingtao since 1911, also during World War I
– John J. Heeren, Ph.D. Delegated 1910. In Tsingtao 1911, then in Weihsien.
– K.K. Thompson. When in Tsingtao? Went to Ichowfu; 1913/14
– Mr. Paul C. Cassat and Mrs. Cassat. Delegated 1913. In Tsingtao during the war, 1914-18
– Miss Helen E. Christman(n). Delegated 1913. In Tsingtao 1914-18
– Mr. Courtland C. Van Deusen, Jr. Delegated 1914. In Tsingtao since 1914
– Mr. Ralph G. Coonradt and Mrs. Coonradt: 1918 – until 1930ies
– Mr. Horace Chandler and Mrs. Chandler: 1918
There is an interesting letter by Rev. Paul Bergen, written in summer 1899, in which he gives a judgement on German fellow missionaries in Tsingtao. He states, that the German AEPM (so called Weimar Mission) stands for rationalism. He writes: „Pastor Kranz of the latter Mission is expected soon (from Shanghai). It happens that, although this mission has a rationalistic constituency at home, two of its representatives, Ernst Faber and Paul Kranz, are very Evangelical in their faith. Richard Wilhelm is loose in his theology, but a very lovable man I think nevertheless. Mr. Heinrich Mootz, one of the Government’s interpreters here, but formerly a member of the Basel Mission in the South, has published a book in Chinese, containing rather radical views in favour of the Higher Criticism. I fear it will work harm. I urged him last year not to publish it just now, as the Chinese were in no state as yet to sift or weigh the evidence on either side, and it would only result in weakened faith. However he said that he thought it desirable that they should know both sides of the question. No doubt this kind of literature in China will gradually increase, and we shall have to face it.“