Born: 1770

Died: 1815

Source: SPCK Missionaries 1805 to 1835 (Rev Frank Perry, The Church In Madras 1904)

Biography: WILLIAM TOBIAS RINGELTAUBE was born in Silesia 1770; educated at Halle; ordained according to the Lutheran rite at Wernigerode 1796; recommended to and accepted by the S.P.C.K. in 1797, in which year he and Holtzberg were charged by the Rev. John Owen at the S.P.C.K. office before their departure for India. Ringeltaube went to Calcutta and was welcomed by David Brown the Chaplain. There he remained less than two years, and returned to Europe in 1799 to the great disappointment of the S.P.C.K. He then associated himself with the Moravians, and in 1803 offered his services to the L.M.S. and was accepted. He arrived at Tranquebar in July 1804 and remained there till January 1806. His stay was not a happy one, for he had as great a difficulty in living at peace with the Tranquebar missionaries as he had had at Calcutta with David Brown. He was then per suaded by Kohlhoff, the head of the S.P.C.K. Mission at Tanjore, to take charge of the Palamcottah Mission in Tinnevelly, where a European missionary was urgently required. This move placed him again on the staff of the S.P.C.K. He tried to fulfil his duties, but his position was difficult if not impossible. He was a Moravian, subject nominally to the L.M.S., at that time an interdenominational society, and actually subject to Kohlhoff of Tanjore, a Lutheran in the service of the S.P.C.K. At the same time Ringeltaube was a man of great independence of mind and character. At Palam- cottah he did his work well, and made no attempt to puzzle the native Christians by founding a new society. In 1807 he left Palamcottah and went to Travancore, where he was free of the S.P.C.K. and its limitations. There he laid the founda tion of a strong L.M.S. Mission, with the assistance of one of his Palamcottah converts named Vedamanickam. He remained in Travancore, principally at Maziladi, till 1815, when he returned to Madras with liver complaint in an advanced stage. There he met William Taylor and Marmaduke Thompson the Chaplain, who were impressed with his wild unconventionality and eccentricity as well as by his missionary zeal and Christian conversation. He then sailed to Colombo with a view to embark on a sea voyage to the Cape. As there was no ship going in that direction, he sailed for Malacca and was not again heard of. Probably he died and was buried at sea.