John Nevins Andrews

Angeline’s Diary

Part 3


          Life went on in Waukon, with joys and sorrows, as life goes. Charles Melville was born to John and Angeline on October 5, 1857, bringing joy to their household. But, the next year, a tragedy occurred when Angeline’s father, Cyprian Stevens, was bitten by a rattlesnake, and lived an agonizing five days before dying a torturous death.


          Angeline’s diary tells us much about the family; of how “Charles is a rugged little fellow, much interested in his letters.” She wrote of how much she missed John when he was out preaching, yet how she always wanted him to do what he knew was right. Letters from John were scarce; Angeline wrote of walking seven miles, round trip, to the post office hoping for a letter from John, but there was none. She wrote of the birth of their baby girl, Mary, on September 29, 1861.


          In 1862, the Andrews family decided to move away from Waukon to New York State, where John was then holding meetings, and Angeline packed to go. It was a happy reunion for Angeline and 5-year old Charles, but 17-month old Mary did not remember her dad, and she was afraid of him, and, of everyone. But, it was not long before Mary became ‘Daddy’s little girl.’


          Again, joy and sorrow struck their home when John and Angeline had two other children, both girls. Their little girl born in 1863 lived only four days. Carrie Matilda was born on August 9, 1864, and died of dysentery about a month after her first birthday.


          About the time of little Carrie’s death, John was given a special assignment that has affected every Seventh-day-Adventist serviceman since then. He was to visit the Provost Marshall General in Washington, D. C. His particular mission was to secure noncombatant status for Seventh-day-Adventists.


Andrews carried with him a pamphlet entitled “the Draft,” which the General Conference had recently published as an explanation of Seventh-day Adventists’ non-combatant position, he also carried Governor Blair’s endorsement of Adventist views. So, John spent several weeks talking with members of President Lincoln’s staff, particularly General Fry, explaining why Seventh-day-Adventists believe that participation in combat is contrary to Christian principles. John was blessed with ability to give clear, eloquent explanations, and also to use much diplomacy. God blessed, and the request was granted: Seventh-day-Adventists could apply for noncombatant service. This ruling laid the foundation for the National Service Organization, which became a source of good help to those in the military who wanted to keep the seventh-day Sabbath.


          When the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists met in 1867, J.N. Andrews was elected as the third president, and reelected in 1868. He was kept very busy during those years with administrative duties, traveling, speaking at camp meetings and churches, etc. and did not do much writing. But, in 1868 he started again to write for the Review.


          J.N. Andrews was a part of the first camp meeting which was held in 1868 in Wright, Michigan. Everyone was excited, and worked to get the news out by the church paper, which also instructed the people what to bring so as to be more comfortable and to get the most out of the meetings.


          How different from our camp meetings today! I am sure to complain at camp meeting if my tent leaks! But, of the 22 church tents used, only one remotely resembled the tents that came later, and was the only one which did not leak when a terrible storm of wind and rain hit the encampment. All the other tents were made of thin sheeting, so one can only imagine how they held up.


          There were several speakers, but the main ones were Elder and Mrs. White and Elder Andrews. Of course, there was no electricity, so for evening lighting, stakes were driven into the ground every few yards and a box of dirt nailed on top of each stake. Then torches of pine knots were placed in the dirt, giving light and fragrant aroma.


          They even had their “night security” too. Each evening, after people had gone to their tents, a tall bearded man could be seen, walking up and down between the rows of tents. Beside each tent the man stopped and asked, “Is everything alright? Is there anything you need?” Matches, water, or anything else he could supply, Elder Andrews got it for them. The president of the General Conference knew how to also be a servant, and looked after his people at the camp meeting at Wright’s Grove.


          James White wrote in the Review three weeks after camp meeting: “A recent writer, speaking of the Wright camp meeting spoke of Brother Andrews as having labored with Brother and Sister White till he had caught the same spirit. Brother Andrews is a man of God. He is a close Bible student. He talks with God, and shares largely of the Holy Spirit direct from the throne. Brother and Sister White often find relief in counseling with Brother Andrews, and listening to words of wisdom from his lips.”


To be continued..


Taken and compiled from

Light Bearers and

Adventist Pioneers


By Dorothy Dunbar