Methodism came to the Gold Coast (as the British colony was known until independence in 1957) in 1835. The first missionary, Joseph R. Dunwell, and five others died before Thomas Birch Freeman, who arrived in 1838, established the work along the coast and made pioneering journeys inland. Alongside the growth of the Church went the development of education, including the prestigious Mfantsipim (boys) and Wesley Girls' Schools in Cape Coast. There is a fine musical tradition, in which lyrics in traditional style have a proud place. The Ghana District became an autonomous Conference in 1961 and continued to grow rapidly. From a reported membership in 1956 of 86,000, with a community roll of 151,000, these totals had risen by 2002 to 1,000,500 and 1,300,000 respectively.