Elisabeth Scott Stam: Martyred Christian Missionary
Elisabeth (Betty) Scott ‘28 was one of three sisters to graduate from Wilson between 1928 and 1934. The sisters were children of missionaries in China. Betty then attended Moody Bible College and with her future husband, John Stam. They soon became missionaries in China. Their baby girl was only weeks old when war engulfed the region. The family was captured by Communist soldiers.
This is John's letter to the China Inland Mission, asking for the ransom, upon being captured on December 6, 1934:
My wife, baby and myself are today in the hands of the Communists in the city of Tsingteh. Their demand is twenty thousand dollars for our release.
All our possessions and stores are in their hands, but we praise God for peace in our hearts, and for a meal tonight. God grant you wisdom in what you do, and us fortitude and courage, and peace of heart. He is able-and a wonderful Friend in such a time.
Things happened so quickly this A.M. They were in the city just a few hours after the ever-persistent rumors really became alarming, so that we could not prepare in time. We were just too late.
The Lord bless and guide you and as for us, - may God be glorified, whether by life or by death, (Phil.I:20).
John C. Stam
The original army of two thousand Communist soldiers quickly increased to six thousand and took command of the district.
The Stams were marched twelve miles away to Miaosheo. They were held overnight in the home of a man who had previously fled. Betty hid two five dollar bills in the baby's clothing and left her behind. John and Betty were taken to "Eagle's Hill" where it was announced that the "foreign devils" would die. A Chinese medicine seller, Chang Hsiu Sheng, pleaded for their lives and was murdered. John and Betty were then made to kneel and were swiftly executed with a sword.
For the next day and a half, the bodies lay where they had fallen and the baby cried quietly still hidden in the house. The Communist army was only several miles away and no one dared touch the bodies, or retrieve the infant. Finally, a Chinese Evangelist, Mr. Lo, with whom John had previously worked returned. With the help of an elderly Chinese woman, he found the baby still located in the abandoned house in which John and Betty had spent their last night. Lo's wife cared for the baby. The Los walked nearly one hundred miles carrying Helen and their own young son in rice baskets, in order to return Helen to her maternal grandparents in Tsinan. Helen was raised in the US by her aunt and went on to graduate from Wilson in 1956.