Martha Mozelle Patterson (my second great-aunt) was the first daughter but second child born to James William Patterson (1863-1933) and Jimmie Ella Smith (1868-1955). She was born on 18 January 1888 in Gadsden, Crockett, Tennessee.
Sometime between 1900 and 1910 the family moved from Tennessee to Oklahoma. I have not been able to locate them in the 1900 census for Tennessee where they lived until at least 1902. I found Martha on a ship manifest showing her returning to the United States from Havana, Cuba. She is listed as 17 years old and spent a year in Cuba as a missionary. I believed that James and Jimmie moved their family to Oklahoma some time in 1908. I do not think that Martha ever lived in Oklahoma with the rest of her family.
Martha Mozelle married, Edward Davis Young, a Methodist Minister on 4 February 1909 in Cienfuegos, Cuba. Edward was born on 17 June 1876 in Lake Providence, Louisiana. In the Messengers of the Cross in Latin America, a publication by Woman’s Missionary Service by the Church of Nazarene, Kansas City, Missouri, written by Amy N. Rinshaw it reads “He (Edward Davis Young) found there a charming young lady teaching in the mission school. She was raised in a Methodist home, and had enjoyed the advantages of Christian training and association. But her father’s home was next to the parsonage, and she was only too well acquainted with the problems and difficulties which pertain to ministerial life. So the young school teacher had made a solemn vow never, under any circumstance, to marry a preacher! Nevertheless, when the new pastor of the mission pressed his suit, she forgot her vow, because of course, he was different.” When Martha Mozelle married Edward she was 24 and he was 32.
Continuing from the Messengers of the Cross in Latin America by Amy N. Rinshaw where it reads “Soon after their marriage the young couple were obliged to return to the United States because Mrs.Davis was seriously ill with malarial fever. Ten long years were exiles in their native land, engaged in pastoral and school work in Missouri and Washington. But all the while their hearts were yearning over the missions in Cuba and in other Latin-American countries.”
I found Edward and Mozella on the 1910 Census living Washington State . The census gives us some information about the Davis family. He was a minister and she was a teacher. It also states that they had one child but none were listed and the box for how many children living is blank. I have not found any other type of record for this child.
From the Messengers of the Cross in Latin America by Amy N. Rinshaw it continues “At last, in 1918 an opportunity came to return to Cuba to engage in welfare work for a large sugar company. This they accepted as the Lord’s leading to get them back into mission work. Just before leaving for Cuba Rev. and Mrs. Davis joined the Church of Nazarene in El Dorado, Kansas. They returned the next year to attend the General Assembly of 1919 in Kansas City, where they were accepted by the Missionary Board as regular missionaries”.
To continue to learn about the mission’s of both Edward and Mozella from Messengers of the Cross in Latin America by Amy N. Rinshaw where it reads “Their expectations were, of course, to spend their lives in Cuba, but the Lord planned otherwise. They did remain on the island for two more years, but when they returned to the States in 1921, the Broad requested them to tarry for a time in El Paso, to take charge of the Mexican work in that city which Rev. S.D Athans had been conducting for a number of years. This they consented to do, but with some reluctance. However, soon after their arrival in El Paso, the Lord gave the missionaries a new vision of the possibilities and the importance of the new district to which they had been assigned, and with a vision, a great love for the people. They have remained in this boarder city from 1921 until the present time (1927), with the exception of one year, 1925, which they spent in Guatemala superintending the boys school at Coban. They were dearly loved by their pupils at Coban, and their presence and fellowship were a very great blessing to the missionaries at that station. But Mrs. Davis was not able to resist the malaria of the country. So they resigned their places as directors of the boys school and as pastors of the Coban Church. When they said “good-by” some of the boys followed them out of town and far up the mountain climb, then watched with tear-dimmed eyes until their beloved teachers vanished from their sight in the distance.”
The next time I found the Davis family in the United States they were living in Pasadena, California. They had two daughters and one son, Martha M born 17 December 1909 In Spokane, Washington, Jessie G born on 10 April 1914 in Coulee City, Washington and Edward P born on 19 March 1922 in El Paso, Texas.
They served in the El Paso area until 1945. This is all the information I have on the missions that Edward and Mozella served. Edward died on 5 February 1952 in Pasadena, California. Mozella passed away a couple of years later 16 August 1957 in Duarte, California.
At the end of the article in the Messengers of the Cross in Latin America it reads “Our sister adds her testimony; “After six years in Cuba, one in Guatemala, and five here, we can truly say, ‘these are our people.’ After five years of hard work, problem, battles and VICTORIES here in El Paso, I can think of no greater blessing than to be allowed to continue here. My own Christian experience has been deepened, my sympathies broadened, my faith increased, and my zeal inspired as I have worked among the Mexicans in El Paso. Their simple faith has taught me to trust the Lord for all my problems; to trust Him for the health and safety and the continued salvation of my three children while I give myself to the work.” Brother Davis also testifies: ” The Lord is blessing in a wonderful way the work down here. The calls for meetings are more than we can fill. The Mexicans are asking for bibles and tracts and are seeking the Lord at our alters as they never have before. Pray that we may be faithful and measure up to our opportunity.”
12 thoughts on “Martha Mozelle Patterson’s Cuban Mission”
A love story between a man and woman, as well as their chosen vocation. Very interesting and well-researched.
Thank you so much.
You found some terrific sources, Jennifer! Great job telling and reconstructing Martha’s life. 🙂
Thank you so much Elizabeth. This was a fun one to work on.
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Very interesting to see these documents relating to their missionary work. They must have both been strong individuals with a common sense of purpose.
I agree. I am amazed at what they accomplished in their life.
Greetings. I am one of Martha Mozelle Patterson Davis’s grandchildren. I have 3 sibllings, Lois Mozelle, the oldest, Martha Louise 2nd, Edward Van Vranken, 3rd, and myself, Ralph William. My father, the late Edward Patterson Davis, was her 3rd and last child. Her oldest was Martha, and 2nd child was Jessie. EY and Momoz (Martha) were known as very godly, wonderful people, though I never met them. If you want more family information about Momoz and the rest of her descendants, let me know.
Ralph, I would love to hear about Martha Mozelle and her descendants. If you want you can send me an email at email@example.com and we can share what we know about the Patterson family. I am Howard Alexander Patterson’s great-granddaughter, he is a brother to Mozelle. I can not wait to hear from you.
Hey Jennifer! I am the brother of Ralph W Davis & a grandson of EY & Momoz. Like my brother, I never met either of my father’s parents as they passed before I was born. But there are lots of stories, many corroborating your account.
Not too many years before my father , Edward P. Davis died, I asked him what was his earliest memory? He replied he remembered that at 3 or 4 years old he rode on a donkey along a trail, after taking a river boat (apparently through Beliz) and a voyage on a ship, as the family traveled to Coban Guatemala. I think he rode the donkey with his sister.
BTW, EY and Momoz started an interesting custom. EY was the son of Josiah Kent Davis and Emily C. Young. Then ,as you know Edward Young Davis (he always went by “E” “Y”) and Momoz named their son Edward Patterson Davis. My father married Elizabeth Lois Van Van Vranken and my name is Edward VanVranken (dropped the space). I married Holly Ann Keller and we named our son Edward Keller Davis. Kind of cool keeping the mother’s name in the family.
Dad, was always bi-lingual and made his career with the Pan American Union (aka Organization of American States).
While in Pasadena CA, EY continued his ministry with the Mexican people sheparding many congregations in Baja Mexico. Pasadena was a railhead and the Rail Road Co allowed clergy to ride for free!
Speaking of clergy, a few years ago my mother found some correspondence that identified Martha Moselle Davis as ordained in the Nazarene Church (one of the earliest denominations to do so). She ran a mission at home in Pasadena where my father grew up.
BYW, the pic of EY & Momoz (and their hats) is one of my favorites.
More another time.
Warmly, Your distant cousin,
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Van, thank you so much for the wonderful information. I would love to hear more and share what I know about the Patterson family. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
One story I heard from Aunt Jessy, Momoz’s oldest, of James William Patterson and Jimmie Ella Smith, is about their marriage. The story goes that Miss Smith’s father was very much against his daughter marrying “an Irishman.” (Even though he was a Protestant (?) and his family had been in America for generations….prejudice dies hard.) SO, the minister & his wife teamed up, with her distracting Mr. Smith inside the church building with conversation….while his daughter was being married to James Patterson outside under a tree by the minister!
Ralph, thank you so much for sharing this story with me.