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Biography of Bertha Louise Ahrens

Bertha Louise Ahrens (B. Feb. 26, 1857), missionary teacher among the Choctaw Freedmen of Indian Territory since 1885, and principal teacher at Oak Hill Academy, 1905-1911, is a native of Berlin, Prussia. Her parents, Otto and Augusta Ahrens, in 1865, when she was 8, and a brother Otto 5, came to America and located on a farm near Sigourney, Iowa, after one year at Bellville, Illinois; and four, at Harper, Iowa. The schools and Churches first attended used the German language. Her first studies in English were in the graded schools at Sigourney and here at seventeen, she became a member of the Presbyterian Church under the pastorate of Rev. S. G. Hair. He loaned her some missionary literature to read and it awakened a desire on her part to become a missionary. This desire was expressed to the Women’s Missionary society of the Church and she was encouraged to attend the Western Female Seminary, now college, at Oxford, Ohio. After a course of study at this institution she enjoyed a year’s training in the Bible school connected with Moody’s Chicago Avenue Church, Chicago. During the next year, after hearing in her home town an appeal in behalf of a Negro school in the south, she was led to offer her services to the Presbyterian Board of Missions for Freedmen. In December 1885, she received a commission with request to locate among the Choctaw Freedmen at Lukfata, in the southeast part of Indian Territory. The route at that early date was quite circuitous. Going south through Kansas City over the M. K. T. Ry., to Denison, Texas, she passed...

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