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Jennie Hartzel (1846-?)

Pioneer Missionary among Freedwomen and Girls

Jennie Hartzel began work among the freedwomen in New Orleans in 1876. Her work was approved by officials of the Methodist Episcopal Church and reported through the Freedman’s Aid Society. With Bishop Wiley and Dr. and Mrs. R.S. Rust, she raised funds and a school with three teachers was established. A memorial was sent to the 1880 General Conference noting approval of Mrs. Hartzel’s work in New Orleans and recommending that it be incorporated into the regular efforts of the Freedman’s Aid Society throughout the South. The report was adopted, and seemed to signal general church approval for work among freedwomen and girls. Within a week, women met in Cincinnati, and the Woman’s Home Missionary Society was formally organized. Mrs. Hartzel was present to report on her work in New Orleans. She was appointed recording secretary of the WHMS and worked to get the organization recognized by the Louisiana Conference. She later served as conference president. Ill health caused by earlier strenuous activity prevented her participation in the wider organizational activities of the Society.

Taken from They Went Out Not Knowing… An Encyclopedia of One Hundred Women in Mission (New York: Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, 1986). Used with permission of United Methodist Women.

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