John Loughborough

J. N. Loughborough, Chronicler of Pioneer Days

     About the time Joshua V. Himes met William Miller, an orphan boy lived with his grandfather in western New York, and early became acquainted with God through his devout grandsire, who was a class leader and steward in the local Methodist church. This lad, john Norton Loughborough, was born in Victor, New York, January 26, 1832. His parents were Methodists, and h is father was a local preacher of that denomination. When John was seven years of age his father died, leaving the family of five children in poverty, and his mother placed the future Adventist leader in the care of his grandfather.  

     No matter how busy the season of the year, this godly man always took time morning and evening for family worship. The devoted life of this grandsire made a profound impression on the youth, for forty-five years later he recalled that on numerous occasions he had seen the older man rise from prayer, his face bathed with tears, under a sense of God's presence.

     Threshers, harvest hands, and other workmen sat in the family circle while the earnest head of the house read a chapter from the Bible and offered a prayer which often changed the carefree, irreverent laborers into sober, thoughtful men. The grandfather rose early in the morning and spent an hour in prayer. Again at night he retired to his secret place to seek power from on high. Often Johnnie, as he was called, heard his name mentioned in prayer, and his early religious impressions were deepened by the faithfulness of this man of God.  

     In the thirties in New York the Methodists were not a popular group. Some of the neighbors were bitter in their opposition to the grandfather's religion. More than once as they returned from meeting, the boy heard unfriendly people exclaim after the wagon had passed by, "Old Methodist," or perhaps more slurring expressions. Sometimes they lowered the fence, allowing loose cattle to feed on and tramp down the grain while the family was away at meeting. The grandfather would drive out the cattle, put the fence in place, and pray for his enemies.  

     During the proclamation of Christ's Second Coming in 1843 and 1844, the family accepted Miller's teaching. In the winter of 1843 the family went three miles every night for six weeks to attend the lectures on Christ's advent. On one occasion a certain Mr. Barry preached a sermon on the judgment to an audience of about two thousand. Every available foot of standing room was filled. At the close of the discourse, among the scores who went forward for prayers was John Loughborough. Since he was only eleven years of age, not much encouragement was given him by the Christian workers, and not until some years later did he become an active Christian. He believed the theory of it as far as his young mind could comprehend the subject, however. The Midnight Cry came to the home regularly, and he was much interested in the paper. Often he was sent to take it from one neighbor to another that all who wished might have an opportunity to read it. In this way the future worker did his first service in the advent message which he was to support so untiringly for three quarters of a century.  

     While residing with his grandfather, young Loughborough had the opportunity of attending a good district school. In 1847 he went to live with his brother to learn the carriage making business. At the end of seven months the brother closed his shop, and the apprenticeship ended. This gave opportunity for the young man to attend the most advanced school in his native town. 

     In May, 1848, he accompanied a friend on a three-day visit to his brother. While there he heard a stirring Adventist sermon and was convicted of sin. A fearful struggle possessed him for a few hours. Ambitious projects had been fostered in his mind by the school and its associations. On the one hand was the allurement of the world, and on the other was the choice of God's service. His life's destiny was wrapped up in that decision. He saw that his ambitions must be laid aside if God's service were his choice. Once the decision was made, he said, his earthly plans and worldly associations sank into insignificance compared with the work of seeking the favor of God. He accordingly hired out as an apprentice in a blacksmith shop to learn carriage ironing. Shortly afterward, about the first of June, 1848, at a prayer meeting he arose and took 2 public stand for his Lord and Master.  

     During the summer months, when business was slack, young Loughborough's employers spent much of their time chatting with the frequenters of the bar at the hotel just across the street from the shop, leaving him to remain in the establishment and watch for customers. Having spare time on his hands, the lad improved these precious moments in studying the Scriptures and praying. Hungry for the truths contained in the word of God, he always kept a copy of the Bible near at hand and delved into its pages when he could do so without being unfaithful to his employers. Often the midnight hour found him studying the sacred pages.  

     During the summer the young man regularly attended the meetings held every two weeks in near-by schoolhouses. He had not as yet obtained all the evidence he desired that his sins were forgiven. Many times while he was praying in the old coal shed attached to the shop, the duty of baptism presented itself. The conviction became stronger and stronger that in order to be free he must be baptized. Accordingly, about the fourth of July he went forward in this rite. He came forth from this experience filled with joy and with songs of praise on his lips.  

     The shop where he worked was near the bank of the Erie Canal at Adam's Basin, and directly back of the shop stood pools of waste water from the canal. These became a fruitful source of malaria, which he contracted after some time. 

     He continued blacksmithing until September, when he was obliged to change his work. There had been only one carriage in the shop during the time of his stay. The main business was that of shoeing canal horses, which was very heavy work for one of his size and strength. This, together with the malaria, brought on sickness which terminated his two attempts at an apprenticeship in blacksmithing. The sickness soon developed into fever and ague. This began with a chill on alternate days, soon increasing to a chill every day, and after two months to two a day.  

     Two summers' apprenticeship, a term of school, and a long period of sickness left him penniless. Under these trying conditions the conviction came that he should preach the truths he had learned. He felt also an assurance that if he would yield to the "call," he would be relieved of the ague. After a hard struggle with self, he yielded. 

     In physical weakness, his stock of clothing low, and without financial resources, he put his trust in God, asking Him to open the way. A neighbor had a pile of wood to saw, and Mr. Loughborough arranged with him to cut it as his strength permitted. In this way the budding worker earned one dollar. The kind man also gave him a vest and a pair of trousers. Since the donor was seven inches taller than Mr. Loughborough, who was a small man, the fit was far from perfect. The young man's brother gave him an overcoat, the skirt of which he cut off, making of the garment a substitute for a sack coat. With this curious outfit and one dollar he decided to go into a district where he was unknown and make an attempt at preaching. His brother gave him five dollars' worth of tracts, thinking an occasional sale would help meet expenses. When he was about ready to enter upon his new work, an Adventist friend of his father gave him three dollars to help him on his way.  

     He journeyed to a community about eighteen miles from his acquaintances, and accepting entertainment from a family friendly to the study of the prophecies, secured the use of the Baptist church for a series of lectures. An announcement of the meetings was made at the close of the district school, and on the evening of January 2, 1849, he gave his first discourse. The house was well filled, and the diffident youth, afraid of failing, handled his subject with ease and clarity.  

     At this time John Loughborough was a lad of only seventeen summers, who had tarried overnight among strangers but once before. Imagine his consternation to have the pastor of the church in which he was preaching rise on the second evening at the close of the discourse and announce to a crowded house that the meeting house would not be available for any more meetings, since a singing school was starting at once. A man from the audience quickly arose, and intimating that the minister had arranged the singing school for the purpose of shutting out the Adventist meeting, invited the boy preacher to come and preach in the schoolhouse in his district. Five lectures were held in this place. In the meantime, by dint of hard study, he had increased his scanty repertoire of ten lectures and was better prepared to preach the message which he represented. He preached in several schoolhouses to large crowds, for the sleighing was excellent, the beautiful moonlight nights promoted good attendance, and his message was well received.  

     After a time he returned home to see that his widowed mother had wood to burn. While he was there, the Adventists wanted him to speak to them. They seemed satisfied that he had made no mistake in beginning to preach the gospel, and gave him money to help him on his way. A motherly sister expressed fears that some might take advantage of the youth since he was still in his teens, but a good brother who had encouraged him to make the start quoted to the sister Paul's admonition to Timothy, "Let no man despise thy youth," and encouraged the lad to go forward in the work. For a time he united with an older minister in order to secure experience. During the summer of 1849 he worked in his brother's carriage shop, and the next winter began preaching again. In the spring of 1850, friends among whom he had labored presented him with a horse, harness, and a light wagon. For the next few years, like Paul of old he worked with his hands to pay expenses, and preached the word to the people. God has need today for many consecrated young people who will enter self-supporting work.  

     In the spring of 1852 the young minister settled in Rochester, painted houses from five and a half to six days each week to earn his living expenses, and preached each Sunday. In this manner he had worked for three and one-half years prior to his acceptance of the Sabbath.  

     Near the close of the summer he became a salesman, selling patent sash locks and holding meetings where his business called him. One Sunday while he was at home he attended. a meeting of the Sunday keeping Adventists where J. B. Cook, in speaking on the Sabbath question, engaged in a tirade against Mr. and Mrs. James White. Mr. Loughborough had never heard of these people, and was led to inquire as to their beliefs and teachings. In the meantime he had become much interested in the sanctuary question and certain points of doctrine held by the Sunday observing group of Adventists of which he was a member. Having learned that a seventh-day minister had preached to two of the churches of his circuit and that a number of his flock had begun to keep the Sabbath, he was much exercised, and prayed over their case. Upon retiring, he dreamed of being in an Adventist meeting. He saw his fellow workers in a dingy room, ill-ventilated, poorly lighted, and dirty. Confusion and discouragement reigned. Their talk was as dark spiritually as the room was physically. A door opened into a larger room, well ventilated, light, clean, and inviting. 

     A chart hung on the wall, and a tall man stood by it explaining the sanctuary and other questions about which Mr. Loughborough had been exercised. He arose, saying: "I am going to get out of this. I am going into that other room." His brethren sought to keep him from entering the larger room of light. When entreaty did not avail, they began to threaten him and heap abuse and ridicule on him. Entering the large room, he found among others, the members of his two congregations who had begun keeping the Sabbath. The people in this room seemed happy and were rejoicing in the study of their Bibles, which were in their hands. He began to meditate on the difference between the two rooms, and awoke, deeply impressed that he would soon see great light on some of the questions which had troubled him.  

     On September 25 and 26, 1852, the Sabbath keepers held a conference in Rochester, and one of Mr. Loughborough's group proposed that the two go to the seventh-day meeting. Mr. Loughborough, who was prejudiced against the Sabbath keepers, refused to go. "But," replied the other, "you have a duty to do there. Some of your flock are there. You ought to go and get them out of their heresy. They give a chance to speak in their meeting. You get your texts ready, and you can show them in two minutes that the Sabbath is abolished." Mr. Loughborough agreed to go, selected his texts with which to prove that the law was abolished, and went to the meeting. 

     On looking around the room he saw the same chart that he had seen in his dream, and beside it stood J. N. Andrews, whom he recognized as the man he had seen explaining its figures. There also sat the members of his flock, just as he had seen them in his dream. Soon Mr. Andrews, in a calm, solemn manner, said he was going to examine the Scriptures supposed to teach that the law was abolished. He then took up the identical texts Mr. Loughborough had selected, and so thoroughly refuted the arguments the latter had in mind that he was left with nothing to say. Instead of speaking against the principles laid down, he left convinced that these people had important truth which he had not yet received. Thus Mr. Loughborough heard the third angel's message for the first time. His brethren, upon learning that he was determined to investigate the Sabbath question, did just, as he had dreamed they would. They resorted to ridicule, unkind criticism, and abuse. This only increased his faith, and thereafter he did not work on the Sabbath. After three weeks of careful and prayerful study he took his stand for the Sabbath publicly, in October, 1852.  

     During the time of the conference at which Mr. Loughborough had been convinced of the Sabbath truth, Mr. and Mrs. White were on a trip with horse and carriage to the State of Maine. They arrived home on Friday evening, and Mr. Loughborough was introduced to them on that first Sabbath in October. A few days later he wrote to the Review: 

     "I had supposed there was no Sabbath, and therefore, observed none, . . . and now the Sabbath to me is a delight, and I love to keep God's holy law." 

     On the first Sabbath he kept publicly, Mrs. White had a vision which lasted one hour and twenty minutes. At the close of this, Mr. Loughborough tells us, she spoke to him about his investigation before he had cast his lot in with them. Some of these things he had never mentioned to any one.  

     Prior to his acceptance of the Sabbath, Mr. Loughborough had made a good living for his family selling patent sash locks. When he accepted the Sabbath the conviction came to him that he should give up business and devote himself wholly to preaching the message. He tried to make excuse, however, by telling himself that the work of proclaiming this new truth was too sacred for one so unworthy. He accordingly resolved to give his time wholly to business, and set aside some of his earnings to support the preaching of the truth.  

     As he called on prospective purchasers with this idea in mind he could not sell any goods in spite of his earnest efforts, although builders admitted that they intended to use the locks in their buildings. Frequently, the sales for a five-day week did not yield enough profit to pay transportation expenses to and from Rochester and hotel bills incurred on the road. This soon ate up his little savings of thirty-five dollars, and he did not have enough money to leave Rochester on sales trips.  

     During this period of depression and discouragement the conviction had been growing on him that he should give his time completely to preaching the third angel's message. Finally, about the middle of December, 1852, when he was down to only a three-cent piece, he attended a Sabbath meeting at Rochester. A cloud seemed to hang over the meeting. Prayer was offered to remove it, and Mrs. White was carried away in vision. Upon coming out of vision she stated that the reason the cloud was over the meeting was that Mr. Loughborough was resisting the conviction of duty. After earnest prayer he decided that if the Lord would open the way, he would go and preach. Peace settled down upon him, he said, as he made this decision. The perplexing anxiety of support for his family melted away. Although he had only three cents and knew not where more money was coming from, he felt the assurance of God's provident care. 

     Shortly after this decision, his wife, who did not know how low his funds were, approached him to ask for money to buy some matches and a few other minor household supplies. Taking the money from his pocket, he said: "Mary, there is a three-cent piece. It is all the money I have in the world. Only get one cent's worth of matches. Do not spend but one of the other two cents. Bring me one cent, so that we shall not be entirely out of money. You know, Mary, I have tried every way in my power to make this business succeed, but I cannot." With tears, she said, "John, what in the world are we going to do?" Her husband replied, "I have been powerfully convicted for weeks that the reason my business does not succeed is because the Lord's hand is against me for neglecting duty. It is my duty to give myself wholly to the work of preaching the truth." "But," she replied, "if you go to preaching, how are we to be supported?" He answered that as soon as he decided to obey the Lord there had come an assurance that He would open the way. He did not know how it was going to be done, but he felt that the way would be opened.  

     His wife went into another room to weep. She was gone for an hour, and then went out to make her purchases. While she was out there was a rap at the door, and a stranger from Middleport introduced himself and placed an order for eighty dollars' worth of locks. The commission was over twenty-six dollars, and it was necessary only to carry the order one-half mile to the factory and get it filled. Thus in a few hours from the time he had decided to do his duty, a considerable sum was placed in his hands with which to prepare to enter the field.

     When Mrs. Loughborough returned and handed her husband the penny, he said, "The way has opened for me to go out and to preach while you were gone." Then he told her what had happened, and she went out to have another cry of a different nature. On securing his commission he bought a barrel of flour and other supplies and made preparations to enter the work.

     At a general meeting the next Sabbath, Mrs. White was again taken off in vision, and she was shown that Mr. Loughborough was correct in his decision to give himself to the work of the ministry.  

     Hiram Edson, who lived some forty miles cast of Rochester, had decided not to attend the general meeting, but on Sabbath morning, while engaged in prayer at family worship, the impression came to him: "You must go to Rochester; you are needed there." He went to the barn and prayed. The conviction was still stronger that he should "go to Rochester." At the close of the Sabbath he took the train, arriving in Rochester after the evening meeting. He told James White his impressions, asking, "What do you want of me here in Rochester?" Mr. White answered, "We want you to take Brother Loughborough and go with my horse, Old Charley, and the carriage and take him over your field in southwestern New York and Pennsylvania." In a day or two they were on their way, and J. N. Loughborough was doing his first preaching in the movement he was to support for nearly three quarters of a century.

     At State Line (on the line between New York and Pennsylvania) a good brother, Lewis Hocket, in announcing Mr. Loughborough's meetings had handbills printed and circulated, bearing the following announcement:   

     "J. N. Loughborough, of Rochester, will speak in the schoolhouse on Sunday at 2 and 7 P.m. Come and hear, for they that have turned the world upside down are come hither also, whom Lewis hath received."  

     Mr. Loughborough, unaware of this unusual announcement, was mystified by the way the people looked at him so amazed, so wonderingly.   

     On the way, because of the snow, the companions had to abandon the buggy and make a "pung," that is, a box on runners. On the way back, owing to the snow's having melted, one or both men had to walk, for the horse was unable to pull the sled over the bare ground. They reached Rochester after an absence of six weeks, and then Mr. Loughborough had to mount Old Charley with the harness on and ride fifty miles to get the buggy.   

     He then went on a tour through Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois, returning to Michigan for a conference at Jackson held June 3-5, at which Mr. and Mrs. White were present. It was decided that Mr. Loughborough, in company with M. E. Cornell, should make a missionary tour through Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana by private conveyance. The brethren of Jackson, Michigan, promised to meet the expenses of this journey. Brethren Cornell and Loughborough drove to Lake Michigan, where they took the horse and buggy on board the boat and after a twenty-hour journey reached Chicago. They found the little prairie city submerged in mud a foot deep. There was no pavement at that time, in 1853, and they drove to higher ground out of the mud and let the horse graze on the wild prairie grass while they planned their tour. They had a list of names of scattered believers and of two little companies. The work to be done consisted largely of visiting isolated ones. At noon the travelers turned aside into the prairie grass while the horse fed, and they ate.  

     On Friday afternoon just before reaching the home of a believer at Alden, Wisconsin, they stopped on the prairie and picked their twelve-quart water bucket full of wild strawberries. They then gathered some with long stems and tied them in clusters. These strawberries made a feast for them and their host for three days.  

     At this time the people in general were so prejudiced because of the great disappointment that the only ones the Adventist preachers attempted to work for were the former Adventists or those especially interested in the prophecies. The brethren at this time planned to visit every one in Wisconsin who kept the Sabbath or read the Review. Arriving at Barron Grove, Wisconsin, the ministers held a two-week meeting in a shed between two cribs of corn. Not one whit taken aback by the rustic meeting place, they hung their charts on the corncrib and preached the message.  

     As they neared the close of their journey, Mr. Loughborough struck his finger on the tire of a wheel while alighting. This blow caused a bone felon. When they reached the next appointment, his finger was swollen to three times the normal size, and the whole arm was swollen to the shoulder. Although he was in so much misery that he could not sleep, he had a two-day meeting with the people.  

     In Wisconsin they met J. H. Waggoner, who had embraced the truth nine months previously. They returned to Michigan in September. Holding meetings as he traveled, Mr. Loughborough arrived at his home at Rochester after an absence of nearly three fourths of a year. During the following winter he held meetings in Ohio. As a result of this effort the number of Sabbath keepers in Ohio was more than doubled.  

     The Michigan brethren had so earnestly requested Mr. Loughborough to come and live in Michigan that, accompanied by Mrs. Loughborough, he visited Ohio, intending to stay only a few weeks and then journey on to Michigan, where the brethren had offered them a home. The interest in Ohio was so great, however, that it was several months before they reached their Michigan home.  

     During spare moments Mr. Loughborough found time, to write a fifty-two-page pamphlet, entitled, "The Two Horned Beast." May 5-7 Mr. and Mrs. White met with him at Milan, Ohio, where the first conference of Sabbath keepers in that State was held. Immediately following this meeting the three workers made a trip through Michigan. They spent two days at Jackson and then went by wagon to Locke. On May 20 and 21 the crowds at the schoolhouse were so large that two buildings of that size would not have held them, and the speaker stood in an open window speaking to a large audience in the house and a much larger one on the outside, seated in carriages and on the grass. This sight led to a momentous conversation among, the workers the following day while they were en route to the next meeting. James White suggested that they might have grove meetings to meet the need, and as an afterthought added that rain might disturb such meetings. As they talked with Mrs. White on the matter, tent meetings were suggested. Mr. White said that by another season they might be able to start out with tents. Mr. Cornell inquired, "Why not have one at once?" The more the subject was considered, the more they were impressed with the importance of immediate action. They finally decided to wait and see what the brethren of Jackson and Sylvan thought of the matter.  

     On arriving at the home of a brother by the name of C. S. Glover, Mr. White told him what they had been thinking about doing. The good brother, when asked what he thought about the proposition, excused himself and in ten or fifteen minutes returned with thirty-five dollars, and, handing it to Mr. White, said he thought enough of it to venture that much on it. They went on to Jackson to see J. P. Kellogg, who also gave thirty-five dollars and offered to lend enough more to make up the full two hundred dollars needed, and receive it back when other pledges came in. He also offered his son Albert for the summer to take the farm wagon and team of horses and take care of the tent free of charge.  

     Near sunset that evening the trio, Brethren Loughborough, Cornell, and White, retired to a grove in Jackson and there laid the matter before the Lord. They rose from their knees assured that the purchase of the tent would be a move in the right direction. At noon the next day, May 23, 1854, M. E. Cornell started for Detroit to secure a tent. The Sunday keeping Adventists had tried a tent in that city a year or two before and discarded it. It was thought that this could be secured at a low figure. He found that this had been disposed of, and journeyed to Rochester, where he purchased at a reasonable price-only one hundred-sixty dollars-a tent which had been used only ten days on the State fairground. The tentmaker also made for them a bunting flag fifteen feet in length, with the words on it, "What Is Truth?" In two weeks from the day the tent was first mentioned, lamps and other equipment had been purchased, and the tent was pitched in a convenient place in Battle Creek.  

     On the tenth day of June, 1854, Mr. Loughborough opened the first tent meeting ever held by Sabbath keeping Adventists. The discourse was on the subject of Daniel 2. The meeting was held for three days, Mr. Cornell alternating with Mr. Loughborough in the preaching. The second tent meeting was held June 16-18 at Grand Rapids, Michigan. Mr. and Mrs. White had just returned from Wisconsin in time to join the pioneer tent company of two, and on the occasion of this meeting Mr. Loughborough was ordained to the gospel ministry at a home after the tent had been taken down. The certificate of ordination was written in the handwriting of James White and signed by M. E. Cornell and James White. It bears the date of June 18,1854.   

     At first the tent was pitched and meetings were held at a given point over the week end. These were largely gatherings of the believers. Soon, however, it became the practice to hold much longer meetings, and to devote them to the business of bringing in strangers and unbelievers and acquainting them with the message.  

      At Shelby, Michigan, when haying and harvesting came, the brethren pitched the tent and held two meetings on Sabbath and three on Sunday. They then rolled up the tent and ropes and worked in the hayfield or harvest for four and a half days to help meet the expenses of the tent and support their families. They felt it would not be wise to move during harvest time. As a result of this three-week program it was seen that meetings should be held longer, for an intense interest was aroused in the community for miles around. On the last Sunday morning of the Shelby meeting, the Methodist minister was asked to speak following Mr. Loughborough's sermon at nine o'clock in the morning. The tent was packed, with enough more in the grove to fill another tent. The tent master counted two hundred forty-six farm wagons full of people besides those who had walked and come in light vehicles.  

     At this meeting the first attempt was made to sell our literature in connection with a tent meeting. The sale of the books amounted to fifty dollars for the three Sundays. The literature was sold from the ministers' stand where it was displayed. As buyers took the literature, they laid offerings down to help defray the expenses of the effort. In this way eighteen dollars was given. The expenses of each meeting were estimated by Mr. Loughborough in 1855 at from fifteen to twenty-five dollars.  

     During the summer of 1855 our brother labored with another tent in New York, and during 1856 he, R. F. Cottrell, and W. S. Ingraham labored in New York and Pennsylvania. In these States funds for holding a tent effort were scanty, and the three brethren resorted to working with their hands in order to support the effort. Accordingly during harvest and haying they worked in the field four and one-half days each week. For this they received one dollar a day. They held tent meetings over Sabbath and "first day," as they called Sunday. In the fall a settlement for their time with the tent was made. It was the first time any of the workers had ever received a definite sum for their labors. Including what they had earned by manual labor Loughborough and Ingraham had received four dollars a week, and Cottrell received three dollars a week for acting as tent master and speaking occasionally.  

     In response to an invitation of Mr. White, suggesting that some Sabbath keepers should move West and carry the message to the new field of Iowa, a number of brethren moved to this new land of promise. Among others who moved. to Iowa was J. N. Andrews, with his father and family. In response to the invitation of Mr. Andrews, Mr. Loughborough, who had become somewhat discouraged financially, decided to move out there where he could secure a cheap home and land to grow supplies for his family, where he could labor to sustain his family, and preach as he found opportunity.  

     When he and another brother from Rochester arrived in Iowa with their money nearly exhausted and found an unsettled wilderness with no one to whom he could preach, he began to work as a carpenter.  

     In the fall of that year Mr. and Mrs. White began to proclaim the Laodicean message, and in December they made a two-hundred-mile journey with horses and sleigh through the snow and ice to bear testimony and a message of inspiration to the little group of Sabbath keepers who had colonized at Waukon, Iowa. The little group at Waukon had learned through the Review that Mr. and Mrs. White were at Round Grove, Illinois, but they did not expect them to travel through the ice and snow to Iowa. One day as Mr. Loughborough was at work on a store, Mr. and Mrs. White drove up, and Mrs. White said, "What does thou here, Elijah?" She repeated this three times, to his great embarrassment.   

     In the meetings which followed, Mr. and Mrs. White plainly pointed out that too many had moved out to that new land with the idea of seeking worldly possessions, and were by their actions saying that they loved this world and were storing up their treasures here. These meetings marked a turning point in the movement. Mr. White later reported through the columns of the Review: "These meetings were the most powerful we had witnessed for years, and in many respects the most wonderful we ever witnessed."  

     Mr. Loughborough a few weeks later confessed that he had taken a wrong course. The following letter which he wrote to Uriah Smith, February 17, 1857, shows his sincerity and determination to give his whole energies to the support of the work:     

     "About the first of last October I moved from Rochester, New York, to Waukon, Iowa. My intention was not, however, to move away from the work of God; but I intended to spend most of the winter in striving to get the truth before the people; and I thought in the summer season I should labor and sustain myself, and hold meetings Sabbaths and first days, as the way opened. This manner of laboring in the cause of God I had ever been opposed to, until it came to my own case. I often compared it (when speaking of those who were thus laboring) to a horse fastened in a pasture with a rope; he can go just to the end of his rope and no farther. So those who labor for themselves through the week, and in the cause of the Lord Sabbaths and first days, are limited to a circle: they can go no farther than so far; if they do, they cannot get back to have the whole of their time to themselves. I believe now if the Lord calls us into His work, He calls us to be His  servants, and our time should be wholly given to Him.  

     "When I arrived in Iowa, I found things different from what I had planned. Those of the brethren who had moved there, were all in debt. I had used up my means in getting there; a cold winter was before me, and I saw no other way for me than to labor with my hands. I commenced working at joiner work, thinking I would earn something to support my family, and then start out and labor in the cause. I felt sad as I commenced my work, whenever I thought of the suffering cause of God. Worldly prospects brightened up before me, and ere I was aware, my heart was reaching out after a treasure here. My affections began to get hold of this world, and I began to lose my interest in the Review, to lose my love for the brethren and the cause of God. At times when about my work, solemn convictions of my duty would roll upon me, and it would then seem to me that I must throw my whole energies into the cause of God, or die. I struggled against my convictions, and they became less and less. I would promise myself that by and by I would labor in the cause of God.  

     "When the testimony first began to appear in the Review on the Laodicean church, I thought it described my condition. As I read, the Spirit of the Lord touched my heart a little, but I, with others, soon struck against it. About three weeks before Brother and Sister White made their visit to Waukon, we began to feel that we were in a low state, and began to cry to the Lord to work for us. I believe the Lord answered, and sent His own servants to accomplish His work for us. . . . The Lord set home the testimony to the Laodiceans by His Spirit upon our hearts. It seems to me that the Lord's Spirit would not thus accompany a testimony that was untrue. Brethren, I believe it is true that we are the Laodicean church."  

     As a result of this reconsecration he put up his carpenter tools permanently and gave his whole life to preaching the third angel's message. The brethren who had moved there were all in debt. Mr. Loughborough had used up his means in getting there. He returned with the brethren, spending the remaining portion of the winter in holding meetings in northern Illinois.  

     Mrs. Loughborough played an important part in her husband's reconsecration. Mr. White testified that during their winter visit to Waukon one evening the Spirit of God wonderfully attended Mrs. Loughborough's testimony as she confessed her past lack of consecration, gave herself anew to the Lord, and could say to her husband, "Go forth in the name of the Lord and do His work." All honor to the consecrated pioneer woman who had the spirit of sacrifice to such an extent that she could urge her husband to leave her there in that new frontier land amid crude surroundings for six months at a time while he traveled here and there far away! The godly mothers in Israel too often have occupied obscure, though important, spots in the landscape of heroic deeds, and their praises have remained unsung. A little later she went with her husband to Battle Creek, where they made their home for some years. Mrs. Loughborough took in boarders to help increase the family income and to accommodate the publishing-house employees. 

     Mr. Loughborough received the ordinary compensation that the ministers of the "message" got at that time. For his services in northern Illinois from January to April he received his board, a buffalo skin, an overcoat worth about ten dollars, and ten dollars in cash. On his way home he walked from McGregor to Waukon, a distance of twenty six miles, carrying a heavy satchel on his back, in order to have a little money left when he reached home. The following summer for four months' labor with the tent in Illinois and Wisconsin he received his board, traveling expenses, and twenty dollars in money. The ministers were all working on a sacrificial wage and were happy in the Lord's work. During the winter of 1857-58 he used Mr. White's team in visiting the churches in Michigan, thus greatly diminishing his traveling expenses. For his labor that winter, he received three ten-pound cakes of maple sugar, ten bushels of wheat, five bushels of apples, five bushels of potatoes, one peck of beans, one ham, one half of one small hog, and four dollars in money.  

     The straitened circumstances of the ministers during the hard times of that winter led to the formation of a kind of ministerial institute which was held in Battle Creek during April, 1858. J. N. Andrews led out in the study of the problem of the support of the ministry. As a result of this study the plan known as systematic benevolence was introduced, which greatly changed the status of the ministry.    

     During the decade and a half following the 1844 movement there had been a more or less general feeling that a church organization partook of the nature of Babylon. The cry in 1844 had been, "Babylon is fallen. Come out of her, My people." The believers left their churches or were ejected, and as a result of this unhappy experience there was a general antagonism against a church organization. As the movement grew stronger numerically, acquired property, and had a number of workers in the field, the leading brethren began to feel the need of an organization. Workers were traveling here and there without any system or direction. Some churches received frequent help. Others were never visited. Sometimes a number of visiting brethren were in the same vicinity, while other places languished. In short, there was lack of an organized plan and central authority to carry out that plan. James White was ably seconded in the plea for organization by J. N. Loughborough as early as 1860. When it was finally agreed to organize local conferences, Mr. Loughborough, with others, traveled during the early sixties, organizing churches. 

     As a result of their strenuous and unremitting labors in the Iowa Conference, both James White and J. N. Loughborough lost their health. In an effort to regain their strength Mr. and Mrs. White and Mr. Loughborough spent twelve weeks at a health institute, known as "Our Home on the Hillside," at Dansville, New York, during the autumn of 1865. This visit, no doubt, had a considerable influence in establishing our first health institution in June, 1866. This establishment was opened for patients September 5 and was called the Western Health Reform Institute. Another evidence of the effect of his illness of 1865 and the battle to regain his health was the writing of a volume on physiology and hygiene which Mr. Loughborough laboriously produced during the months of 1867. No doubt its inception was the result of his long illness and convalescence, during which he had an abundance of time to see his past mistakes and gain a desire to prevent others from falling into the same trap. In January he wrote that he was devoting all his leisure time out of meetings to the book and hoped to have it ready for the printers soon. He pleaded with those who had subscribed for the book to be patient with him, for he wanted to be hygienic himself while writing, for, as he said, he did not "esteem it duty to put the work of two days into one, as I have in the past." 

     On June 24, 1867, within an hour after the birth of a baby, Mrs. Loughborough died, leaving Mr. Loughborough alone with a son three years old and a baby daughter. 

     During the year 1866-67 Mr. Loughborough was president of the Michigan Conference, the most important office in the organization aside from the presidency of the General Conference at that time. While Mr. White was ill, Mr. Loughborough traveled much as a General Conference secretary.  

     In the winter of 1867-68 Mr. Loughborough, who had lived in Battle Creek for ten years became restless and felt that a change would be well. He had dreams of California and the Southwest. 

     Until 1868 the work of Seventh-day Adventists was confined to the territory east of the Missouri River and north of the south line of Missouri. At the General Conference held in Battle Creek in May, 1868, an appeal was made to extend the work to California. The manner of distribution of labor at this time when all the ministers went to General Conference was for all to sit in committee of the whole and listen to the reports of various workers and receive applications for laborers from the different fields. The General Conference president then asked each worker to pray earnestly about the matter as to where he should labor another year. In a day or two the president called the names of the various fields and the worker was invited to speak up when the field was mentioned to which he felt he had a call. When the roll was called, all the fields were named except California. Finally, Mr. White said: "Has no one a burden for the California field?" J. N. Loughborough and D. T. Bourdeau then spoke, saying they had a burden for the work there. Accordingly, it was arranged for them to go there. Mr. Bourdeau had felt so impressed that there was different work for him to do that even before coming to conference he had disposed of all his goods, and he and his wife had come with their belongings converted into money. James White asked for one thousand dollars through the Review and Herald for the purpose of buying a tent and sending the first workers to the West Coast. 

     Accordingly, the brethren left Battle Creek, June 18, 1868. At that time the Pacific railroad lacked several hundred miles of being completed, and it was decided to go by water via Central America. They purchased a tent and equipment and sailed from. New York, June 24, for the Isthmus of Darien, going by land to the Pacific and on boat to San Francisco, where they arrived July 18.  

     Prices were high in San Francisco, and it did not seem best to begin work with the tent in that city. They therefore laid the matter before the Lord. In answer to their petition, the next day a stranger came from Petaluma and invited them to come to that place with the tent. There was a small church there, the embers of which went by the name of Independents. They saw an item in some Eastern paper that two ministers had sailed for California, bringing a tent in which to hold religious services. They made the coming of these ministers a subject of special prayer. The night following the prayer meeting, one of the prominent members of the group dreamed that he saw two men kindling a fire to light up the surrounding country, which seemed enveloped in darkness. As the two men had a fire kindled and shining brightly, the brother in his dream saw the ministers of Petaluma trying to extinguish the fire by throwing on brush, grass, and other things. 

     All their efforts seemed only to increase the flame. While he watched, the men lighted a second flame in another quarter and the ministers tried to quench it. This continued until the two men had five fires burning brightly. This man related the dream to his brethren, saying he would know the men when he saw them. When he saw the Adventist missionaries, he declared they were the identical men he had seen in his dream.  

     Naturally this company did all in its power to get the brethren started with their tent meetings. All of the little church of Independents paid close attention and accepted the message until the Sabbath question was presented. In the end six of their number joined with the Sabbath keepers. The ministers opposed the work of the two brethren. On April 9, 1869, at a general meeting of the brethren in the State a temporary State organization was formed, called a "State meeting," which voted to support the mission and relieve the brethren in the East of the financial burden. This action was supported by pledging gold coin to the amount of $750. This occurred less than eight months after the tent was first set up on the Pacific Coast. 

     The brethren continued to hold meetings in spite of considerable opposition. In one instance when the two married daughters of a farmer accepted the Sabbath, the man of the soil said that Loughborough would never preach again, and arming himself with a heavy club and a butcher knife, he lay in wait for the minister. Fortunately, Mr. Loughborough was an early riser, and although he knew nothing of the threat, he had passed the spot long before the infuriated man took his place in hiding. As a result of this opposition and the refusal of certain people to allow meetings in the schoolhouses, there arose a demand for a church, and the first Seventh-day Adventist church west of the Rocky Mountains was completed and ready for occupancy by the first of November at the town of Santa Rosa. At a conference, February 15 and 16, 1872, California was organized as a conference with  Sabbath keepers, and with J. N. Loughborough as president. 

     In February, 1878, a group of Sabbath keepers who had migrated from California into Nevada called for a mission in that State. Mr. Loughborough responded to the call, baptizing the first Adventist candidates in Nevada, three persons, at St. Clair Station. He found ten Sabbath keepers, and as the result of meetings, the number was doubled. These not only met Mr. Loughborough's expenses, but purchased a tent which was used during the season. At the end of this season, Mr. Loughborough organized the Nevada Conference with himself as president. There were at that time forty five Sabbath keepers. At the time of organization, February 24, 1878, the cost of tent and all expenses for the season were paid, and there was fifty dollars in the treasury. 

     At a General Conference committee meeting June 27, 1878, it was recommended that a mission be established in England immediately, and that J. N. Loughborough be the man to take charge. At the General Conference that fall a vote was taken reaffirming the action of June. Mr. Loughborough had married again, and he and his wife accepted the responsibility. They arrived in Boston on December 16, expecting to sail on the ship "Homer" of the Warren line. On arriving at the ship, the workers were denied passage by the captain. The agent for the company said he did not know the reason for this, inasmuch as he usually carried passengers. He would not do so on that trip, however, and so the agent secured passage for them on the "Nevada," sailing from New York the next day, without further expense to themselves. They had a safe and prosperous passage. The ship "Homer," on which they had planned to sail, was never heard from again. It is supposed it foundered in a storm. By this act of divine Providence Mr. Loughborough and his wife were spared to the cause of God for many years. 

     When the General Conference sent Mr. Loughborough to England, it passed the following action with regard to the administration of Europe: "Resolved, That there be a committee of three to take supervision of the entire work in Europe, who should act in harmony with and under the direction of the General Conference. That Elder J. N. Andrews, J. N. Loughborough, and a third brother whom these two appoint be that committee."  

     Mr. William Ings, a colporteur, had done some work by way of preparing the field for the arrival of Mr. Loughborough, and soon a few people accepted the Sabbath. 

     In England Mr. Loughborough faced a much more difficult field than California. He began meetings in a hall in Southampton early in 1879. After fifteen lectures he discontinued the meetings because of his inability to secure the privilege of holding Sunday meetings. In the spring he laid plans to start tent meetings. A large number of people gave evidence of their interest in the project by subscribing small amounts of money. Some gave the proceeds of flower sales. A friend, hearing of the need, gave fifty dollars, and the tentmaker agreed to discount the price seventy-five dollars and also gave a fifteen-foot British flag to serve as an ornament for the top of the tent. 

     Another obstacle presented itself. Where could a location be found for pitching the tent? The tentmaker aided in securing a place. Therewith followed what was probably the first poster advertising by Seventh-day Adventists in any part of the world. Two men were hired to keep posters on every advertising board for three miles around for the space of a month. Mr. Loughborough also advertised in a local paper.  

     The lectures began with an audience of six hundred on Sunday, May 18, 1879. Mr. Loughborough considered this the official beginning of his ministry in England. The season proved very unfavorable for tent work, for from May 18 until July 4 twenty-four consecutive hours had not passed without rain. At that time the tent was beginning to mildew, and Mr. Loughborough was fearful that it would not be usable another season. J. N. Andrews helped somewhat during this first great effort, but failing health prevented his giving vigorous aid. A great deal of literature was distributed, and house-to-house work went forward untiringly. Nevertheless, this meeting, probably the longest in duration ever held by Seventh-day Adventists up to that time, closed August 17 on account of the continuous rain and cold weather.  

     Mr. Loughborough then rented a large building known as Ravenwood in which to continue his meetings, and this became the first official headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventists in England. The structure had seventeen rooms in addition to a meeting hall. It served for a book depository and a home for the workers and one layman's family. In one of the lower rooms Mr. Loughborough constructed a portable baptismal font, and in it the first six converts were immersed on February 8, 1880. 

     The work went slowly, but in spite of discouragement Mr. Loughborough and the little handful of workers with him continued to battle against the hosts of difficulties which faced them, and with grim determination carried on.  

     The second summer, although easier, had its trials and besetments. On Sabbath afternoon, August 7, 1880, a severe gale raged in the vicinity where the tent was pitched. Four sections were torn out of the top of the tent, and it was damaged so badly that it could not be used any more until it was thoroughly repaired. Only a few persons accepted the message of Christ's Second Coming as a result of this meeting. 

     In the summer of 1882, in response to an urgent request that he visit J. N. Andrews at Basel, Switzerland, to see if anything could be done to relieve him, Mr. Loughborough made the journey. At that time, as a result of prayer and good care, Mr. Andrews seemed to be getting better. 

     In the fall of 1881 Mr. Loughborough was asked to come to America, attend the General Conference, and take back with him to England a force of workers who might be trained in the work, so that he could return again to labor in America. This request came on such short notice that money from America could not be obtained in time to buy the ticket and at the same time leave enough money to carry on the work during his absence. The matter was laid before the Lord in prayer, and as a result, on the morning of his departure two letters came bearing the necessary money. In one instance a man paid his tithe six weeks early because he was impressed of the need. In another, a man not of our faith said: " I feel impressed that it is my duty to send you £5 [$251 to aid in your work. " Thus came a direct answer to prayer, and Mr. Loughborough went on his way with a consciousness of God's blessing. 

     A group of workers, including his son and daughter, accompanied him back to work in England. At the General Conference of 1882 it was voted that Mr. Loughborough return to America as soon as it could be arranged for others to take over his work. In October, 1883, he returned to America again. His work in England had resulted in the baptism of thirty-seven persons, and shortly before he left for America the first Adventist church in England was organized at Southampton, with a membership of nearly twenty. Contrast the result of his five years of labor in England with that in California, where five strong churches were organized in the short space of three years, and where the first effort in San Francisco brought over fifty into the message.  

     On his return from Europe Mr. Loughborough, as a representative of the General Conference, visited the camp meetings on the Pacific Coast in company with Mrs. E. G. White and her son, William. Apostasy in the ranks of the workers in the North Pacific region had brought about confusion which called for strong leadership. Accordingly, at the camp meeting of the Upper Columbia Conference, Mr. Loughborough was elected president. He seemed to have had wider influence than the ordinary conference president, however, for he continued to travel with Mrs. White to the other camp meetings on the West Coast, and served as a member of the conference committee of the California Conference.   

     In 1887 he returned once more to the field of his early labors in the West and was elected president of the California Conference. This conference was a large one at that time, supporting several camp meetings each year. He retained this position several years. In 1890, there came from the press, "The Rise and Progress of Seventh-day Adventists," the first history of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination.  This volume, written by Mr. Loughborough, while not a scholarly production, placed him in a position all by himself as the earliest chronicler of the Seventh-day Adventists. 

      During the nineties he served as a member of the General Conference Committee, and for a time was superintendent of District Number Five of the North American field, which roughly corresponded to our present Southwestern Union Conference with the addition of the States of Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, and Arizona. His headquarters were at Topeka, Kansas. 

     In 1898 he laid down General Conference burdens and returned to California, where he spent the remainder of his life. In 1905 he issued a revised and enlarged edition of his denominational history, entitled, "The Great Second Advent Movement." 

     In 1908 at the age of seventy-six he began a tour around the world, visiting the principal centers of the Seventh-day Adventist work. He traveled thirty thousand miles by water and six thousand miles by land. This closed his active service except for an occasional trip to a camp meeting or a General Conference session, or to take up his pen to write reminiscences of bygone days. He made his home with his daughter, Mrs. J. J. Ireland, at Lodi, California. When she and her husband were called to Washington, D.C., his health was failing, and he spent his last years in the St. Helena Sanitarium, where peacefully he passed away April 7, 1924, at the ripe old age of ninety-two. His funeral was held in the St. Helena church, which was one of the first churches he had raised up in California more than fifty years before.

1938 END, FOME 251-295