Posts Tagged ‘Lettie B Cowman’


Lettie Burd was born 3/3/1870, to Isaac & Margaret Burd, Afton,IA. Isaac was a banker, the home reflected culture & wealth, & their last child, Lettie became a talented, delightful teenager. When she was 14 a Western Union Telegraph operator Charles Cowman, age 16, entered her life. Her parents didn’t approve of the friendship & when Charles was transferred by WUT they were relieved. But he returned with 5 solid WUT yrs. experience & as manager of their Glenwood Springs, CO office. They were married 6/18/1889.

They came back to Chicago & he advanced with Western Union. Lettie after some time was converted to Christ in a ME church.  Charles was impressed with her immediate life change but didn’t have interest himself. Later he was redeemed & the distance he’d felt between their conversions became a happy, holy reunion. They once went to Moody Church & as A B Simpson made appeals Charles turned to Lettie, “This means you & me.” They briefly attended God’s Bible School (Cincinnati) & sailed for Japan in 1901.

Along with Juji Nakada & E A Kilbourne they organized Oriental Missionary Society (1907).  Charles died in 1924, Kilbourne in 1928, & Lettie carried on the work until 1949. Her Streams in the Desert (first published in ’25) has been translated into 15 languages, passing 3,000,000 in sales. The attractive banker’s daughter (she said “In a sense Charles was my savior, he saved me from a life of wealth, leisure & plenty”) gave the world a view of her greater, bigger Savior via her famous devotional text. She died 4/17/1960.

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