James Gilmour was born in 1843 at Cathkin, just outside Glasgow, Scotland. He was the third of six sons. He was born into a family of godly parents who observed daily family worship. His mother delighted in gathering her sons about her in the evening and reading to them missionary and religious stories and making comments upon them. James Gilmore went to Glasgow University to study the Arts. He was happy cheerful character and an excellent scholar. Mr Gilmore was converted in his early college years and immediately set his eyes on mission work. Through a correspondence relationship with a missionary in Mongolia, James became burdened for the people there.
In 1870, Gilmour left for the unevangelised regions of Eastern Mongolia. Until his death, Gilmour preached, sold books, travelled and did some medical work (he became convinced during this time of the value of medical missions). He married Miss Emily Prankard in 1874. They had three children, one of whom died as a little boy. Emily Gilmour died in 1885 of pneumonia. James Gilmour was devastated and never really got over it. However, he kept on working. He was a depressive character, and was prone to burn-out.
In 1891, James Gilmour died in at the age of 47. The Rev. G. Owen, another missionary to China, spoke at Gilmour’s memorial service in Peking and said, “If anyone asks, ‘would it not have been better if Mr. Gilmour had taken more care of himself and lived long?’ I would answer, ‘I don’t know. His life was beautiful and I would not alter it if I could. A few years of such service as he gave to Christ are worth a hundred years of humdrum toil. We need the inspiration of such a life as his.’”
*Entry written and Submitted by Ian Wilson
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