June 13, 2017

Mountfort Mills (d. 1949) – “that highly-talented, much loved servant of Baha'u'llah”; “that distinguished and international champion of the Faith of Baha'u'llah”; “our dearly-beloved Mountfort Mills”; first chairman of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States and Canada when formed in 1922; prepared the final draft of the Declaration of Trust and By-Laws adopted by the National Spiritual Assembly in 1927; was brutally assaulted in Baghdad while representing the Guardian to League of Nations regarding ownership of the House of Baha’u’llah

The passing of Mountfort Mills on April 24, 1949, deprived the American Baha'i community of the influence and experience of a very distinguished believer. He had been a follower of Baha'u'llah since 1906. 

Before the end of 1909, Mountfort Mills had made two pilgrimages to 'Akka. His third pilgrimage to visit the Master was made early in 1921. In 1922, with Mr. Roy C. Wilhelm, he was invited by Shoghi Effendi to go to Haifa for conference with the Guardian on matters related to the new conditions created for the Faith by the Ascension of 'Abdu'l-Baha.

Mountfort Mills and 
Fujita San in Haifa
During the Master's visits in New York during 1912, Mr. Mills served on the Baha'i reception committee which arranged public addresses for 'Abdu'lBaha in that city. First chairman of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States and Canada when formed in 1922 in accordance with the provisions of the Will and Testament left by the Master, Mountfort Mills was elected a member of that body for seven terms between 1922 and 1937. As trustee of Baha'i Temple Unity he had served annually from its inception in 1909.

The final draft of the Declaration of Trust and By-Laws adopted by the National Assembly in 1927 was prepared by Mills.

It would be impossible in brief space to report his activities for the New York Baha'i community throughout the years of his residence there, for the national Baha'i community, or in Europe. He was a winning public speaker and his personality gained many influential friends for the Faith in some of its most difficult days in the West. His devotion to the Master was impressive.

A few outstanding events will serve to indicate the unusual scope of his Baha'i activities.

February 15, 2017

Jessie Revell (1891-1966) – “brilliant and pure”; very dear to ‘Abdu’l-Baha; managed sending and collecting all of Shoghi Effendi’s mail past 1951; appointed by the Guardian as the treasurer of the International Baha’i Council; a loyal companion of Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum

Jessie Revell in 1964
Jessie Revell was once addressed by ‘Abdu’l-Baha in these words:

“O thou who art firm in the Covenant! ... Notwithstanding the lack of time, I write thee this letter that thou mayest know how dear thou art to me. As thou art brilliant and pure and hast no wish but to serve the Cause of God and promulgate the divine teachings, I pray and entreat at the threshold of God and beg for thee limitless assistance and bounty. ... Thou must engage in those regions, day and night, in service. ... As to the children with whom thou art speaking, thy pure breath will undoubtedly exert its influence upon them. ...” (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, vol. X, p. 317)

Jessie Revell’s brilliant record of service to the Cause of Baha’u’llah, extending from early in the century, came to an end with her passing in Haifa on April 14, 1966. Her story is best told in the words of her devoted sister, Ethel Revell.

“My mother, my sister and I first heard of the Faith in Philadelphia -- it was approximately 1906 -- through Mrs. Annie McKinney, and attended the firesides of Mrs. Isabella D. Brittingham. On the evening when Jessie first heard Mrs. Brittingham speak on the Faith, Jessie followed her to the door as the speaker departed and said, ‘I cannot remember all you said tonight, but I want what you have!’ When she accepted the Faith she wrote to ‘Abdu’l-Baha and mentioned that our father had passed away when we were very young. The Master replied -- I believe in these exact words -- ‘The real fatherhood is the spiritual fatherhood. Therefore rest thou assured that thou art the beloved daughter.’

“In the early days of her Baha’i life, as there was but little literature available to the friends, Jessie, who was then employed in an office, would spend her evenings typing copies of Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Baha and sharing them with the Baha’is, who in turn would recopy them and pass them along to other believers.