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No Greater Love

The Scudders of India have a long family tradition of devoting their lives to the assistance of others. But what if you were not a Scudder?  When a Scudder took a bride, planning to return to India, did their vow include,” …to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, in monsoons and mind numbing heat, in danger of tigers and rogue elephants, in malaria and dengue fever, etc. etc., till death us do part”? While much has been said of Scudder devotion, what of their spouses? Did they have any idea what they were in for?  That question arose recently when the members of the Scudder Association Foundation, returned to India to celebrate the Scudder Family’s 200 years of service overseas.

Dr. Jim Taylor is seen here photographing the inscription page of the Bible, as Dr. Susan Taylor (Jim’s wife) and others in the delegation look on.

One of their stops was to Walter Scudder Higher Secondary School, Tindivanam, Tamil Nadu, India. They encountered a teacher there, Samuel, who excitedly showed them a bible, with the inscription, Mable Scudder, Christmas, 1893.

Samuel went on to say how he had come in possession of the bible, in 1998 during a difficult point in his career, how it had altered the course of his life, and how much it meant to him.  He was curious though, who was this woman Mabel J. Scudder?

Dr. Jim Taylor who’s great-grandfather Silas Scudder, founder of Scudder Memorial Hospital, took a picture of the cover page of the bible and promised Sam, he would pass it along to the Foundation Genealogist, Margery Boyden, who would look into it and get back to him.

What began as a simple genealogy request launched a deep dive into a rabbit hole of Scudder, civil and church records.  What emerged on the other side, is a wonderful story of love and devotion, of a man and a woman, to each other, and to a mission.

What follows on this link is the painstakingly researched answer to Sam’s question.  It is a moving example of what Paul was referring to in Corinthians, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love, But the greatest of these is love.”.  

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