1855  — 1952

Frederick W. S. O'Neill

Irish Presbyterian missionary in Manchuria.

As a student, O’Neill was active in the Student Volunteer Movement (SVM), serving on its British executive committee and helping to draft the document that led to the adoption of the SVM watchword in 1897. For most of his time in China he served at Fakumen (Faku). His comparatively open attitude to oilier religions, as expressed for example in his book The Quest for God in China (1925), was regarded with great suspicion by many of his more conservative colleagues. The book begins, “Those who are determined to find the beliefs of other people altogether wrong are recommended not to read this book.” He left Manchuria in 1945 and retired in Ireland where he died.


This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright (c) 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of The Gale Group; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.


  • F. W S. O’Neill, The Call of the East (1919). Austin Fulton, Through Earthquake, Wind, and Fire (1967); Tissington Tatlow, The Story of the Student Christian Movement (1933); A. J. Weir, “China,” in Jack Thompson, ed., Into All the World (1990).

About the Author

T. Jack Thompson

Lecturer in Mission Studies, Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland