On October, 14, 1910, the Andover Townsman reported that some two thousand people had attended the dedication of the so-called Missionary Bowlder at P.A.: “Strangers from all parts of the state and country, fifteen hundred strong, arrived from Boston shortly before ten o’clock, and together with a goodly number of townspeople witnessed the dedication of the memorial tablet and bowlder at Rabbit Rock.” Weighing several tons, the boulder had been moved to the campus from the town of Andover’s Carmel Woods and imbedded with a bronze tablet memorializing the five Andover seminarians — Adoniram Judson, Samuel Nott, Samuel J. Mills, Samuel Newell, Gordon Hall, James Richards, and Luther Rice — “whose consecrated purpose to carry the Gospel to the heathen world led to the formation of the first American Society for Foreign Missions,” that is, the A.B.C.F.M. The organization that sent the first Americans abroad as missionaries had been founded in 1810.
The boulder monument and its dedication during the A.B.C.F.M.'s centenary year was the idea of Reverend Charles C. Carpenter (1836-1918). A Massachusetts native and missionary himself, in Labrador, Canada, from 1858 through 1865, after which he joined the Union Army, Carpenter worked in Tennessee after the war, then returned to New England to study at the seminary (class of 1875), be ordained, and serve as a minister in Peabody, Massachusetts, and elsewhere. At the time of the dedication, he had retired from the pulpit and was working as editor of the Andover paper that published the unsigned piece about it.
Reverend Carpenter is said to have found the boulder himself, but it took eight men and eight horses to move it to the spot where it remains in place to this day. I do wonder if current P.A. students read the plaque, notice the word "heathen," and if they do, what they think about it.