H. B. Sharman biography

H. B. Sharman

Deceased Person

1865 – 1953


Who was H. B. Sharman?

H. B. Sharman devoted his life to educating others about the life and teaching of Jesus.

Henry Burton Sharman was born 12 August 1865, in Stratford, Ontario, the eldest of eleven children. After attending school in Stratford, Sharman entered the Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph in 1882 where he received a Diploma in Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science in 1884. He traveled to England while at Guelph to import Hereford cattle. In 1885 he worked as a book-keeper at his father's foundry. In the following year, the family moved to Manitoba where his father and uncles had purchased large tracts of farm land. After a brief stint of farming, Sharman attended a normal school in Winnipeg and taught for one year in Birtle, Manitoba, before returning to the OAC in Guelph in 1890. He received his B.Sc. degree in 1891 and stayed on for two years as an instructor in chemistry.

Showing considerably more interest in agriculture and business than in religion during his youth, Sharman was profoundly affected by the visit of T. H. Crossley, a Methodist evangelist, to Stratford in 1884 at a time when the Protestant churches of North America were being swept by religious revivals. He soon became a leader in church work and was active in student Christian life, joining the YMCA at the OAC. During his final years there, John R. Mott, noted American evangelist and founder of the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, discovered Henry with the result that he left his teaching position to move to Chicago to join the staff of the SVM. From 1893 to 1900, Henry worked as Corresponding Secretary for the SVM and as Bible Study Secretary for the Student Department of the International Committee of YMCAs. During this period, he published his first book, "Studies in the Life of Christ", based on his experiences leading student Bible classes. This book was later translated into Chinese by Sarah Peters, Missionary of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church serving in Nanking, China for use in training Chinese Christian leaders. In 1896, he married Abbie Lyon, also employed as a secretary for the SVM.


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