After the end of the slave trade, the freed slaves left Freetown for Badagry, Lagos and Abeokuta.
The freed slaves, who had been converted to Christianity, met at Abeokuta and reached a consensus that there was the need for missionaries to come down to Nigeria to convert the people.
To achieve this purpose, they wrote a letter to the mission in Freetown , requesting for a missionary. In response to their letter, the mission sent Thomas Birch Freeman, a Methodist to Nigeria.
Birch Freeman was born in England in 1809 to a black Father and a white Mother. In 1837, he arrived West Africa alongside his wife. Not long after his arrival, his wife passed on to glory.
Before coming down to Nigeria, he had established Churches and schools in the then Gold Coast(now Ghana). In 1840, Birch Freeman returned to England and came back with a new wife, who also died shortly after his arrival.
He established a mission in Badagry and converted a lot of people.
Soon afterwards, Birch Freeman moved to Abeokuta and was received by Oba Sodeke and the first Christian service in Abeokuta came up in the palace of Oba Sodeke.
He had to travel to England when he experienced shortage of funds. On returning in 1854, Birch Freeman married an African, who bore him two boys and two girls.
Three years later, he resigned from missionary work to become ”a Civil Commandant at Accra. In 1890, Birch Freeman died at Anamabu, Ghana.