1829 - 1883
Nevin Andrews is most notably know in the Seventh-day
Adventist Church as our first missionary overseas.
J. N. Andrews was born July 22, 1829, in Poland,
Maine. He quit school at age 11 and was largely
self-taught. It is reported that he was fluent
in seven languages and could recite the New Testament
by memory. His uncle Charles, a member of the
U.S. Congress, offered to pay for his training
as a lawyer so he could follow a political career.
However, early in 1845, at age 15, John accepted
the Sabbath from a tract written by T. M. Preble.
It changed the direction of his life.
Andrews had a long and productive association
with the church and with James and Ellen White.
His name first appeared in Adventist literature
at age 20 when he wrote a letter to the editor
of the Review, James White, dated October 16,
1849. When the first Adventist press was set up
in Rochester, New York, in 1852, he at age 22
was one of a publishing committee of three with
Joseph Bates and James White. The next year Andrews
was ordained to the Adventist ministry. By this
time, 35 of his articles had been published in
the Review. In 1855, at James White’s request
and using Bible proofs, he wrote a paper which
settled sunset as the time for beginning the Sabbath.
Ellen White had a vision that confirmed his conclusions.
(See Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 116.)
In 1858 Andrews led out in a study of systematic
benevolence, the forerunner of our church’s
tithing plan. He published the first of several
editions of History of the Sabbath in 1861. In
1864 he went to Washington, D.C., and secured
Civil War non-combatant status for Adventists.
He was elected as the third president of the General
Conference in 1867. When the first camp meeting
was held in Wright, Michigan, in 1868, he showed
his personal side as he went around to the tents
at the end of the day, asking: “Are you
all comfortable for the night?”
He and Uriah Smith married sisters, Angeline and
Harriet Stevens. John’s wife Angeline died
of a stroke in 1872. Ellen White urged him to
remarry, but when he went to Europe in 1874 as
the first official Seventh-day Adventist missionary,
he went as a widower with his teenage children,
Charles and Mary. Mrs. White wrote to church leaders
in Europe: “We sent you the ablest man in
our ranks” (Manuscript Releases, vol. 5,
p. 436). Although he received frequent corrections
from Mrs. White, Andrews wrote often in support
of her ministry and her visions. Always literary,
he established the Adventist press in Basel, Switzerland.
Andrews died in Europe of tuberculosis in 1883,
at the age of 54. He is buried in Basel, Switzerland.