Life of Mrs. Anna Drew

Charles Sheridan joined the first Madras native Battalion as a cadet in 1782. In 1790, he became Lieutenant in third native Veterans Battalion. In 1798 he went on leave to England and married. He returned to England with his wife Rebecca (Anna Drew’s mother) in 1799.

They had a son named Robert born in 1803 and a daughter, Anna (later our Mrs. Drew) born at chicocole on March 18, 1813. Unfortunately Charles Sheridan died in Madras in 1818 at which time Robert was fifteen years old and Anna was five. Robert left for England soon after his father’s death on February 17, 1819.

When Anna was seven years old she was sent to Mrs. Shepherd’s Boarding School at Hackney, near London. On March 2nd 1826, Rebecca (Mrs. Sheridan) wrote to the Directors of the LMS (London Mission Society) in London explaining that she had moved from Chicacole to Vizagapatnam in order that she might enjoy the blessings of church fellowship and Christian communion. She also added that the labourers in the Lord’s Vineyard are indeed amongst the excellent of the earth. She helped LMS Missionaries by visiting and teaching in the local mission school. Mrs. Sheridan mortgaged a small dwelling house in the Fort at Vizagapatnam for Rs. 2000 to make Anna sail back to India in 1831, when she was eighteen.

Anna and her mother lived together first at Vizagapatnam and then at Palmanair. Anna was busy learning Telugu and shared her interest in visiting and helping missionary school. Later she had to turn her attention to the learning of Tamil.

Anna and her mother first met William Drew who joined the London Mission in Madras in 1832. It was not surprising that Anna was soon attracted to that devoted and gifted young missionary. His soft finely framed features, his gentleness of manner, the intelligence of his eye, the devoutness of his turn of mind and a certain air of reserve mingled with sadness, distinguished him at once from ordinary man and marked him out to be a person whose acquaintance would probably be a privilege.

Anna married William Drew at Chicacole on December 18th 1833. They lived for a time in Royapuram until 1836 at when she opened a little day school with 25 girls before 1835 and another with 20 girls in Purasawalkam. A baby daughter Anna was born on October 9, 1834 and a little son, William in 1835.

Since Mr. Drew was seriously over working his health broke down and he was ordered to go to Bangalore to recover his strength. He took with him their little daughter who had also not been very well.

A month later when Anna was without her husband in Madras, their little boy William died. Shortly afterwards Anna joined her husband in Bangalore and in November 1836 another baby named, William Charles was born. She started a day school in Bangalore with 13 girls. The family returned to Madras in September 1837.

Soon after September 1837 she opened a little boarding school in Vepery for 21 girls and had placed them in her own large airy bungalow. She was delighted in the progress and in their further improvements.

On February 16, 1838 their second little boy died. This sorrow almost certainly brought Anna on her confinement and death on February 20, 1838, an unnamed baby was buried with her.

We who are interested in the history of Bentinck School, Vepery, cannot fail to realize how easily the little school might have been closed when its Founder died so soon after it was opened. We thank God for three ladies, Mrs. Bower, Mrs. Turnbull and Mrs. William Porter, who took over the management so effectively in fulfilling God’s will. We thank God on every remembrance of Mrs. W.H. Drew (Mrs. Anna Drew), the Founder of our school. We also thank God for our Founder’s husband Rev. W.H. Drew, a gifted man and a devoted Christian. We thank God for our school and we pray that we may follow him more faithfully as we remember the brief but devoted life of our Founder Mrs. W.H. Drew.


We still haven’t found our founder’s photograph (Mrs. Anna Drew). If you could kindly forward it to us.

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