Marcusson, John W. -1913
Born in Scalat, in Galicia, Austria, son of Herman Ben Sion, a learned Jewish scholar. The family moved to Odessa, Russia where they met Rev. W.G. Schauffler who became their lifelong friend. Schauffler was a Jewish Christian and it is no doubt due to his own testimony that John’s father, Herman, began to search and study the scriptures. Herman became a believer in Jesus, but his wife and family did not follow him in faith and were estranged from him. he moved to Constantinople, where eventually he was baptised and changed his name to Marcusson.
The family, in the meantime, moved to live in Odessa, close to the mother’s family. John studied at his grandfather’s school and learned to speak Russian, German and French by the time he had reached the age of 14. His ambition was to become a merchant. Tragically, his mother died when he was still young. At the age of 18 he joined his father in Constantinople. The godly lives of his father and of Dr. Schauffler impressed him deeply and he began to read the New Testament for himself, and to search the scriptures seriously as his father had done so many years ago. In time he came to faith in Jesus, recognising that the one he had called The Crucified One, was indeed the promised Messiah of the Jewish nation.
Herman Ben Sion/Marcusson remarried and moved to Jerusalem in 1845 where John attended an Episcopal College. He was baptized by Dr. Nicolayson and studied Arabic in preparation for ministry. However, he returned to Constantinople and resolved to go to America where he could complete his training as missionary to the Jews at the Willington Preparatory School of East Hampton, Mass.
He was then appointed to the new ABCFM Salonica mission and labored there for three years. Returning to America, he became associated with the Chicago Hebrew Mission, becoming its Superintendent and pastor in 1895. He was affectionately known as “Father Marcusson”. John Marcusson served the mission for 25 years before his untimely death.
Bernstein, A. Jewish Witnesses for Christ. Keren Ahvah Meschichit, Jerusalem. New edition 1999.
Marcusson, Jacob W. “Father Marcusson”, or, Rev. Jacob W. Marcusson. Chicago Hebrew Mission, 1913.
Minutes of the First Hebrew Christian conference, Mt. Lake Park, Md. July 28-30, 1903