A Bridge From America to Sadiya

For the Cause of Education and Enlightenment of the People of Assam

Compiled by Akdas Ali Mir and Dilip K. Datta

ISBN: 978-1887276-64-1 $ 19.95


Early in the eighteenth century, long before the pillars for the Dhola-Sadiya bridge (Bhupen Hazarika Setu) were laid, the American Baptist missionaries had constructed a bridge between America and Assam. Many US citizens and Assamese folks have since trodden over that bridge to enrich themselves and the people of the two countries with faith, love and service. The biographies in this collection contain true stories of dedication, service and sacrifice of some pioneers who laid the foundation of that bridge for all days to come. 

Eliza was born Eliza Whitney Ballard at Charlemont, Mass, USA on April 12, 1807, where she grew up and had her education. She started teaching in a seminary in nearby Benington, where she met Nathan Brown. Nathan Brown joined the same seminary soon afterwards. The two got married on May 6, 1830 and later moved to Brandon, Vermont. 

On December 22, 1832, the Brown couple and their first child Dorothy Sophia sailed for Burma (now Myanmar). In May 1833, they reached Maulmain, Burma after a voyage lasting more than four months. They stayed in Burma till August 1835. That year Major Jenkins, the British officer in charge of Assam, offered the American Baptist Mission a sum of one thousand rupees to establish a mission in Sadiya. The American Baptist Mission accepted the offer and selected the Brown couple to start the mission. The Brown family arrived in Calcutta on September 2, 1835 and immediately embarked on their arduous journey up the river Brahmaputra in a native boat. It took them four months to reach their destination. They arrived in Sadiya on March 2, 1936. That is where our story begins.