Silas Mead (16 August 1834 - 13 September 1909) was an English Baptist minister remembered for founding the Flinders Street Baptist Church in Adelaide, South Australia, and for the missionary work in India which he inspired.
Mead was born in Curry Mallet, Somerset, England, the youngest son of farmers Thomas and Honor Mead, née Uttermare. He was baptized at age 15 and helped local Baptists build a chapel, where he conducted services as a lay preacher. He attended night school at nearby Taunton, then entered Stepney College, where he graduated BA. in 1857. He then studied philosophy, theology and law at the Dissenters' Regent's Park College, where he graduated MA. in 1859 and LL.B. in 1860. He took further studies at the University of London aiming for a doctorate of divinity, but was frustrated by their inability to grant such a degree.
Mead applied for a position with the Baptist Missionary Society but was rejected. Meanwhile George Fife Angas wrote to Regent's Park College seeking candidates for a Baptist ministry in Adelaide. Mead accepted and arrived in South Australia aboard Parisian in July 1861. He began taking regular services at White's Rooms and soon his enthusiastic congregation decided to build a large church costing £7000 in Flinders Street, which was opened on 19 May 1863. The debt was cleared the following year, and the church established a mission in Furreedpore, India, and encouraged Baptist churches in the other Australian colonies to establish similar missions.
By 1871 Mead had 410 active members and the Flinders Street Church became the centre of the South Australian Baptist Union, of which Mead served as president three times and hon. secretary four times.
He resigned in 1901 and returned to Australia to join his son-in-law, Rev. A. S. Wilson as co-pastor of the Baptist Church in Museum Street, Perth. When Wilson moved to New Zealand, Mead lived with his daughter Dr. Gertrude Mead (1867-1919).
He died in Perth and was buried at the Baptist cemetery, Karrakatta.
Mead married Anne "Annie" Staple ( - 15 June 1874) at Gumeracha on 25 May 1864; she died of typhoid fever. They had five children:
He married again, to the widow Mary Leighton (c. 1835 - 21 March 1886) at Flinders Street on 22 October 1878. He had no further children.
A. C. Hill (1974). "Mead, Silas (1834-1909)". Australian Dictionary of Biography: Mead, Silas (1834-1909). National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 2018.
John Walker (2004). Australian Dictionary of Evangelical Biography: MEAD, Silas (1834-1909). Evangelical History Association of Australia.