Benjamin Peach Keasberry

KEASBERRY, Benjamin Peach (1811-1875) — Singapore

Missionary and lithographer. Produced, at the “London Mission Press”, John Turnbull Thomson, Plan of the town of Singapore 1843 — the first map of Singapore to be printed in Singapore. Also produced many translations, as well as “A vocabulary of the English and Malay languages” 1862.

The Reverend Benjamin Peach Keasberry was born at Hyderabad in India 30 Oct 1811 — the son of Lieutenant-Colonel John Palmer Keasberry, an army officer, and his wife Eliza Breithaupt, who had married in 1808. He worked under Walter Henry Medhurst between 1830 and 1834 and acquired skills in printing and bookbinding as well as lithography. He travelled to New York, arriving 22 Mar 1837, and subsequently studied at the New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Jersey. He married (1) Charlotte Parker (d.1845) at Boston 24 Sep 1837 and (2) Ellen Louisa Scott (1828-1903) in Singapore 16 Sep 1846. After being refused entry to China in 1839, he and his first wife travelled to Singapore, where they joined the London Missionary Society, remaining there after the Society closed its mission in 1847. He began printing in 1840 with a borrowed press but eventually purchased two lithographic presses and stones from Germany at his own expense, undertaking commercial as well as missionary printing. He wrote and published many works in Malay. He died suddenly 6 Sep 1875, during a prayer meeting for missions. He was buried at the Bidadari Cemetery.


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