One of the greatest tragedies to befall a Brethren in Christ missionary team occurred in 1931, when Myron Taylor was severely mauled by a lion while on a hunt to capture the escaped animal. Taylor later died from injuries sustained during the attack.
After the jump: a report of Taylor’s death from the pages of the Evangelical Visitor.
The story of Taylor’s death was captured in a report printed in the Evangelical Visitor:
On Monday, September 14, reports came to the [Sikalongo Mission] Camp that a huge lion had been caught in a trap and had broken loose. This was indeed serious for people were constantly passing to and fro to the Camp for food and the lion was in that vicinity. An injured lion would also be more vicious. . . . Brother Taylor volunteered to go [in search of the lion]. Not having his rifle with him, he borrowed one from Mr. Walker and and set out with five boys . . . They found the tracks of the lion and followed him, but were not able to get a shot at him. The lion led them into dense bush and then charged. Brother Taylor, not being familiar with the borrowed weapon, fired twice but missed both times. The third cartridge jammed in the barrel. . . . When the rifle jammed Brother Taylor used it as a club until it was hopelessly demolished and wrenched from his hands. The lion struck him and forced him down backwards. Brother Taylor kicked twice at the lion with his right foot. The second time the lion caught the leg just above the ankle, breaking both bones. Then he tried to protect himself with his arms. The right hand and wrist were crushed completely. Two fingers were bitten off and a third was very badly mangled. His left arm was also bitten in several places. . . . [After the lion left, the] boys, who had fled up the trees, then returned. . . . The boys carried Brother Taylor until Mr. Walker met them with an improvised stretcher and water and gave what first aid he could. About 7 p.m. they started for Sikalongo Mission, thirty miles distant — Brother Taylor being carried by sixteen natives . . . It was a terrible night for Brother Taylor as he had lost much blood and was suffering most excruciating pain.
. . . At first the Doctor had good hopes of his recovery, thinking to give some relief here at the Mission and in a few days to move him to the hospital at Livingstone. However, upon examination and hearing further particulars, he saw that all medical aid, which would include amputating the hand, must be given at the Mission for Brother Taylor almost collapsed when he was dressing the wounds.
. . . Finding Brother Taylor in such a weakened condition, the doctors decided to postpone the operation until morning. However Brother Taylor was gradually becoming worse. He passed away under the anesthetic, September 16 about 8:30 a.m.
For more on Myron Taylor and the work in Africa in the 1930s, see Anna R. Engle, J. A. Climenhaga, and Leoda A. Buckwalter, There is No Difference: God Works in Africa and India (Nappanee, Ind.: Evangel Press, 1950).