1864  — 1915

Samuel Pollard

British missionary to the Miao minority group in China.

Pollard was born at Camelford, in Cornwall. Both of his parents were preachers with the Bible Christian Church. Converted at age 11, Pollard initially prepared for a career with the civil service, but he was influenced toward missions at a London conference in 1885 and sailed for China in 1887 as a missionary of his denomination. After language study, he traveled to Chaotung (Zhaotong) in Yunnan Province and was then assigned to the provincial capital, now called Kunming. During his early missionary years, Pollard engaged in evangelism and a ministry of compassion among the Chinese.

In 1907 a people’s movement to Christ among the Flowery Miao, a minority nationality reached the Chaotung area from its starting point in Anshun, Kweichow (Guizhou) Province, and Pollard became its most famed missionary leader. Until his death from typhoid, he established a center for the thousands of new believers in Shimenkan across the Kweichow provincial border, itinerated widely, planted churches, trained leaders, obtained justice for Miao Christians from officials and landlords, developed a unique script, known as the Pollard script, and used it when he translated the New Testament into the Miao language. He is remembered by Miao Christians as their spiritual ancestor.


This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright (c) 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of The Gale Group; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.


  • W. A. Grist, Samuel Pollard: Pioneer Missionary in China (rep., 1971).
  • R. Elliott Kendall, ed., Eyes of the Earth: The Diary of Samuel Pollard (1954).
  • Photo from: Grist, William Alexander, Samuel Pollard: pioneer missionary in China; London ; New York : Cassell 1920

About the Author

Ralph R. Covell

Formerly Professor of World Christianity and Academic Dean, Denver Seminary, Denver, Colorado, USA