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1840 - June 4, 1920


JOHN ING, the missionary, son of Stanford Ing, the Methodist Circuit-Rider, the son of Matthew Ing, the Tennessean son of Joseph Ing, the British soldier, was born near Akin, Indiana, in 1840.

He earned a Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Indiana Asbury University, where he was a founding member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. His studies began there before he served in the Union army in the Civil War. After reaching the rank of Captain in the cavalry, he requested an early discharge to return to his studies and decided to follow his father into the Methodist ministry. He graduated valedictorian of the class of 1868.

In 1870, John Ing married Lucy Elizabeth Hawley, a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and daughter of Rev. Ransom S. Hawley, a lifetime Presbyterian minister in Indiana, and his wife Sarah Marietta Hall Hawley. That same year he joined the St. Louis Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church and was assigned to the church in Lexington. That fall the Conference sent the Ings to China as missionaries.

Soon John preached to the people in Mandarin Chinese and opened a circuit of four appointments in Wuchen.

Lucy gave birth to a son, John Hawley Ing, in 1872. The birth and death of a daughter, Marietta, a year later left Lucy in poor health. By 1874 they had asked for recuperative furlough and got as far as Yokohama, Japan, where a second daughter, Helen Louise, was born and died. Lucy's health improved.

While awaiting suitable transportation back to the U.S. to the West coast, the Ings met Yoichi Honda who had come from Hirosaki to study with the missionaries and was converted the previous year. Kuro Kikuchi, principal of the Tsugaru Clan School, To-O-Gijuku, came searching for a Christian teacher of Western science. He persuaded John and Lucy to go to Hirosaki. Honda returned with them, and together they started Sunday School classes immediately. Converts were soon made and in 1875 a church organized. The sincere friendship and appreciation of the people of Hirosaki made their work enjoyable.

In 1878, with Lucy's health again on the decline, the Ings renewed plans for returning to the U.S. Lucy did not recover, however; she died in Missouri in 1881 and was buried in the Hawley Family plot in Woodlawn Cemetery, Terre Haute, Ind. John Ing and Johnny stayed on their Missouri property and he asked to be dropped from the Conference roll.

John Ing married Felicia Jones in June 1884. She was a graduate of Pittsburgh Female College, the valedictorian of her class, and daughter of Rev. Peter Fleming Jones, a Methodist minister, and his wife Lavinia Bentley Jones. A son, Stanford, did not live, but a daughter, Lavinia Marie survived her parents. Like Lucy, Felicia Ing had been a teacher before her marriage.


Felicia Ing died in 1918. She was buried in a mausoleum, built for her by her husband, in a cemetery in Benton, Illinois. John Ing died two years later on June 4, 1920. He is also buried in the mausoleum in Benton, Illinois. 

He is remembered as the man who brought economic and spiritual salvation to the apple country of Northern Japan because, in the mid-1870's, he first introduced apples using western style cultivation techniques. Until then, apples grown in Japan were small, bitter and rarely eaten.  The Japanese had never seen nor tasted large, sweet apples.

The Japanese word for apple is RINGO. These apples, introduced by a Hoosier, were to become known in Japan as the "Indo RINGO". Today, the prefecture where John introduced this apple cultivation, Aomori Prefecture, is the largest apple-producing region in Japan. Many Japanese mistakenly think the "Indo Ringo" came from the country of India, but the name is really based on its Indiana connection.



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