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A year ago on Round and Square (19 September 2012)—Assignments: Introduction
|[a] Sudden RF|
Introduction 1-Southern Mountain Museum 2-Sacred Mountain Map
3-Hat and Cattle 4-Seeking Anthropology 5-Curly Fives
6-How to Write the Book 7-Mortarboard Man 8-Orator
9-Naming (Un)Conventions 10-Unlike the Others 11-Killed by Lightning
Right smack dab on the inner cover was a photograph of an intense-looking man and captioned below were four fateful sentences.
Yes, dear readers, you read that right. “Killed by lightning.” On further research into the book, it appears that this James R. Adam person was actually a formidable missionary in his own right, gathering crowds from China's Miao ethnic group, just like Geil gathered Australians.
|[b] Miao DHS|
Working for the China Inland Mission (or C.I.M. as Geil refers to it in his Great World-wide Tour), Adams was originally thrown out of the Miao town where he had been sent to preach, but “won their hearts” when he distributed medicine during a malaria outbreak. He also saved a son of a military Commander-in-Chief, which led to him attaining rights for the Miao he converted.
As for Adams himself, the thunderbolt struck him after a sermon, just as he was entering his house—traveling two floors and shattering his bedroom mirror before striking him dead. It is also interesting to note that the replacement sent out died a week later of dysentery.
Reading through this booklet, I realized that the timing could not yet be better—I was scanning Geil’s Great World-wide Tour journal and he was writing about traveling in Yunnan [sic] in 1903—the same time Adams was working!
While I have no real proof of their meeting, Adams was a contemporary of Geil's and Geil kept a booklet in memory of Adams until it was so battered that it needed tape to keep it together. The cover itself is practically torn apart.
I could weave wild stories about how jealous Geil was of Adams, or how overcome he was at a beloved friend’s death, but for all we know it could have ripped in transit.
And this is the mystery of archives. Maybe, if we picked through the entire archive with a fine-toothed comb, we could find more connection between Geil and Adams…or maybe none at all. But until we find the mysterious grail of the Geil-Adams connection, I will leave you with this somewhat humorous—even if unintentionally so—fragment.
|[c] Causation DHS|
 Marshall Broomhall, M.A, Some a Hundredfold: The Life and Work of James R. Adam Among the Tribes of South-West China (Philadelphia: China Inland Mission, 191?), p. 19.
 Marshall Broomhall, M.A, Some a Hundredfold: The Life and Work of James R. Adam Among the Tribes of South-West China (Philadelphia: China Inland Mission, 191?), p. 10.