August 5, 2018

A Brief History of the American Development of the Baha’i Movement – by Thornton Chase

Thornton Chase
In the month of June, 1894, a gentleman in Chicago desired to study Sanskrit, in order to further pursue his search into ancient religious teachings. While seeking an instructor he met a Syrian who had come to Chicago from Egypt a short time before, and who told him of the Baha’i Movement.

As the statements of the life and teachings of Baha’u’llah, and his son, Abbas Effendi, the "Greatest Branch," otherwise known as ‘Abdu'l-Baha, accorded with the declarations of numerous sacred prophecies, and with the age long expectations of mankind, it was deemed of value to investigate those claims as far as possible.

Other seekers for truth became attracted to the study of these matters, with the result that five accepted the teachings as true during the year 1894. In 1895 a number of earnest students became interested, classes were formed, and several became "believers," and in 1896, the followers of the Baha’i Cause in Chicago were numbered by hundreds.

A class of Truth Seekers was begun in Kenosha, Wis. another in Milwaukee, and individuals from New York, Cincinnati, Washington and other points, came in touch with the Movement in Chicago, and carried information of it to their friends at home, so that in 1898 many students in eastern cities were eagerly seeking knowledge of God through this channel.

On Nov. 4th, 1900, there arrived in New York, Mirza Assad’u’llah a Persian teacher of authority from Acca, in Palestine, and Haji Hassan Khorassani, a prominent merchant of Cairo, Egypt; with Mirza Hossain Rouhy, and Mirza Buzork, as interpreters. They remained in New York, meeting and teaching large numbers of people, until Nov. 26th, when they visited Johnstown, New York, for two days, and reached Chicago at 4 p. in. Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 29th, where they made their headquarters for a year and a half.