Church in the Wilds by W. Barbrooke Grubb

Wilfrid Barbrooke Grubb [1865-1930], A Church in the WildsThis is a further account by Barbrooke Grubb of his missionary work among the native tribes of Paraguay. My thanks to Book Aid’s London bookshop for providng me with a copy of this book for digitisation.

This title is in the public domain.

Wilfrid Barbrooke Grubb [1865-1930], A Church in the Wilds. The remarkable story of the establishment of the South American Mission among the hitherto savage and intracable natives of the Paraguayan Chaco. London: Seeley, Service & Co. 1914. pp.287. [Click to download complete book in PDF]


Part 1

  1. A Unique Field
  2. A River Base
  3. “Burning My Boats”
  4. Theory Versus Practice
  5. A Missionary’s Attributes
  6. A Wanderer
  7. Folklore
  8. Heathenism
  9. Heathen Types

Part 2

  1. Preparatory Teaching
  2. Founation-Stones
  3. Kyemapsithyo
  4. Struggling Upward
  5. Church Organisation
  6. Connecting Links
  7. Widespred Influence
  8. The “White Partridges”

Part 3

  1. A Generel Survey
  2. Religious and Social Leaders
  3. The Language
  4. Education
  5. Medical Work
  6. Thrift
  7. Social Development
  8. Innovations
  9. Missionary Exploration
  10. Intineration
  11. Weakness and Strength
  12. Future of the Church and People
  13. Directing the Destiny of the Chaco Races


Chapter 1: A Unique Field

The origin of the Red Man, and his history previous to the Columbian period, lie buried in mystery, up to to-day no satisfactory solution of the problem having been arrived at. Tribes exist in the great Southern portion of the New World, of whom nothing whatever is known, and vast regions still remain unexplored.

The Continent affords to the world an interesting study in political development. Those who have been, and still are, puzzling over the question as to whether the white and the coloured man should be allowed to exist side by side in the same land, and even be admitted to equal rights, will find that the fusion of the many distinct races, pre-Columbian, African, and European, which are to be found in the South American Republics, is a subject worthy of their best attention. [Continue reading]

Barbrooke Grubb – Pathfinder by Norman J. Davidson

Norman James Davidson [1860-1936], Barbrooke Grubb PathfinderThis is a book for children about the life of the missionary pioneer to South America, W. Barbrooke Grubb. This is the second of four in this blog mini-series featuring Grubb.

Norman James Davidson [1860-1936], Barbrooke Grubb Pathfinder. The Record of an Adventurous Life of Courage & Endurance Nobly Spent Amongst the Savage Peoples of South American Chaco Told For Boys & Girls. London: Seeley, Service & Co., Ltd., 1930. Hbk. pp.217. [Download the complete book in PDF]


  1. Early Days
  2. The Falklands Islands
  3. Among the Yaghans
  4. Ordered to Paraguay
  5. Early Days in the Chaco
  6. Incidents and Adventures
  7. Wizards and Their Ways
  8. Critical Times
  9. Fights Against Cruel Customs
  10. A Murderous Attack
  11. In Danger of Burial Alive
  12. Poit’s Defence and Fate
  13. Final Struggle of Witchcraft
  14. The Chiriguanos and Tobas of the Chaco
  15. The Founding of the Mataco Mission

Chapter 1: Early Years

Wilfrid Barbrooke Grubb’s family seem to have had the lust for wandering strongly developed in their nature for many generations on both sides of the family. An ancestor on his mother’s side is recorded to have done legitimate trading in foreign waters, with perhaps a suspicion of piracy at odd times during the reign of Henry VIII; and her grand-father, father and three brothers served in the East India Company. The same love of wandering appears to have been equally developed on his father’s side, for one member of his family accompanied Penn, and assisted in the founding of Pennsylvania in North America. [Continue reading]


W. Barbrooke Grubb – The Livingstone of South America

R.J. Hunt [1874-1938], The Livingstone of South AmericaThe life and work of William Barbrooke Grubb [1865-1930] despite appearing in the standard mission dictionaries seems to be relatively unknown. Wikipedia, for example, contains no entry for him. To help remedy this I am making available four books this month by and about Barbrooke Grubb, who worked mainly in Paraguay, but also travelled extensively in Chile, Bolivia and Argentina.

R.J. Hunt [1874-1938], The Livingstone of South America. The Life & Adventures of W. Barbrooke Grubb among the wild tribes of the Gran Chaco in Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina, the Falkland Islands & Tierra del Fuego. London: Seeley, Service & Co., Ltd., [1932]. Hbk. pp.347. [Click to download complete book in PDF]

My thanks to Redcliffe College for making a copy of this book available for digitisation. This title is in the public domain.


  • An Appreciation – H.T- Morrey-Jones
  • Foreword
  1. Early Years 1865-1886
  2. Appointed to Keppel Island 1886
  3. Trains Yahgan Boys at Keppel 1886-1889
  4. On the Banks of the River Paraguay 1890
  5. Experiences at Riacho Fernandez 1890
  6. Plunges into the Unknown Wilds 1890
  7. Settles Inland 1891
  8. Removes to Thlagnasinkinmith 1891
  9. Trials and Travels 1892-1893
  10. Perilous Days at Thlagwakhe 1893-1894
  11. Acquires a Permanent Landing-Place 1895
  12. Waikthlatingmangyalwa Founded 1895-96
  13. Takes His First Furlough 1896
  14. The March of Events in the Field 1896-1897
  15. Lengthening Cords and Strengthening Stakes 1897
  16. Poet’s Treachery and Murderous Attack 1897
  17. Dread of Burial Alive 1897
  18. Recovery and Convalescence 1898-1899
  19. Trackling the Witch-Doctors 1900
  20. The Cattle Ranch at the Pass 1901
  21. The Christian Colony at Nakte-Tingma 1902-1904
  22. The Garden Settlement of Makthlawaiya 1905-1908
  23. An Expedition to Bolivia 1909-1910
  24. The Cane-Fields of Argentina 1911-1913
  25. Among the Sanapanas of Northern Paraguay 1914
  26. Among the Matacos of the Bermejo River 1914-1915
  27. Among the Suhin of the Monte Lindo 1915-1918
  28. Nearing the End of His Travels 1918-1923
  29. Last Links in a Noble Chain 1923-1930
  30. The Passing of the Pioneer 1928-1930
  • Index

An Appreciation by The Venerable Archdeacon H.T. Morrey-Jones

Some three months before the passing of “W.B.G.” as the subject of this biography was familiarly known to his colleagues, it was my privilege to spend a week-end with him in his home in Lasswade, near Edinburgh.

Many years had elapsed since we had lived and worked together in the Gran Chaco of Paraguay, where I knew him in his prime-the pioneer and hero of a missionary triumph he was so largely instrumental in building up in that then unknown land, and when he was capable of those great feats of physical strength and endurance so constantly demanded of one living under conditions so wild and primitive. [Continue reading]