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Livingstone, Mary Moffatt (1820–1862)

Daughter of missionaries and wife of missionary and explorer David Livingstone. Born on April 12, 1820, in Griqua Town, South Africa; died in 1862 on Zambesi delta, Africa; daughter of English missionaries Robert Moffat and Mary Smith Moffat (1795–1870); married David Livingstone (the explorer), in January 1845, in Kuruman, Cape Province, South Africa; children: six, one of whom died in infancy.

Born in 1820 and raised in a mission environment in South Africa, Mary Moffatt Livingstone was uniquely suited to life as a missionary wife. The daughter of English missionaries Robert and Mary Smith Moffatt , she was educated at a Wesleyan school in Grahamstown. She married David Livingstone in January 1845. Livingstone was a Scottish missionary and explorer whose devotion to his calling often overshadowed concerns for the welfare of his own family.

Mary Moffatt Livingstone endured innumerable hardships during her marriage, typically without complaint. She accompanied her husband as he moved from place to place, establishing missions and exploring central Africa. Experiencing a recurrent partial paralysis following the birth of her fifth child, Mary sailed with her children for England in 1852. There they lived for four years in poverty while David Livingstone continued to explore Africa. He returned to England in 1856, to great acclaim. Leaving their children in Scotland, Mary accompanied her husband on another trip to Africa. A sixth pregnancy again brought on serious illness, so she soon returned to Scotland. A final journey to meet her husband on the Zambesi delta resulted in a bout with an infectious fever, and she died there in 1862, about six months after her arrival.

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Livingstone, Mary Moffatt (1820–1862)

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