Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

Religion in Family History

Are you thinking about the four Gospels when you see the title of this post? This post is not about the Gospels, but they do play a part in this children’s book by Pearl S. Buck.

Pearl S. Buck is much better known for the novels that she wrote about life in China. Especially The Good Earth for which she won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932. Pearl also was award the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938 for her novels about peasant life in China.

Pearl also wrote more than a dozen children’s books including this wonderful story.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John - Pearl S. Buck - KoreaMatthew, Mark, Luke and John is a great story that is set in post-war South Korea. The story begins with a young abandoned boy named Matthew who had an American father and a Korean mother. He lives beneath a bridge and feeds and clothes himself by working odd jobs. As the book progresses he slowly puts together a small group of young boys who also have American fathers. The first to join Matthew is Mark. His name is given to him by an American soldier as he is put out of the Army camp after his mother leaves him. Matthew had gone to the camp looking for work and saw the mother leave. He then saw a soldier bringing Mark out of the camp. The soldier sees Matthew and asks his name and then says “Then here is your brother. His name had better be Mark. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, God bless the beds that you lie on -” The soldier give Matthew some money and he now has the first of his new brothers.

Eventually, two other boys join Matthew and Mark and are given the names Luke and John. They all continue to live under the bridge until eventually they are taken into a home for young boys that is run by the Army camp. Matthew is adopted and brought to America and as the book ends the other three are also in the process of being adopted.

There is much more to this story, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. This is definitely a book that is worth finding and reading.

I have always enjoyed reading books by Pearl S. Buck. Especially, as she is a distant cousin. Through her Grandmother Frances Coffman she is a descendant of the Amish/Mennonite Kauffmans of Steffisburg, Switzerland. See Amish Origins for more information.

Steffisburg Bern Switzerland Home of Yoder and Kauffman Amish ancestors

Steffisburg – Google Maps


This post is part of a series on Religion in Family History. See also:

Religion in Family History

Amish in California?

The Light in the Forest

Stephen Jenks – Singing Master

Amish in Oregon

Amish Origins

Gallup Poll Connection I – Amish

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15 Responses to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

  1. Boomdeeadda says:

    Sounds like a serious subject; children out of wedlock, abandonment and homelessness. Thank goodness for happy endings. We were read a bed time story every night by my dad. All in one bed together. But Daddy read ‘The Childrens World Book Encyclopedia’s’ to us. Do you remember when people bought sets from Door to Door Salesmen? Now you’d never let someone in your home you didn’t know.

  2. Sheryl says:

    You’re right–I was expecting the post to be about the gospels. I hadn’t realized that Pearl Buck wrote any children’s books. I’ll have to look for it the next time I’m at the library.

  3. Glenda McDougal says:

    Very, very, interesting …

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