Washington, New Hampshire - Where it all began

“As we trace the story of the beginning of Sabbathkeeping among the early Adventists, we go to a little church in the township of Washington in the heart of New Hampshire, the state that adjoins Maine on the east and whose western boundary is within sixty miles of the New York state line. Here the members of an independent Christian church in 1843 heard and accepted the preaching of the Advent message. It was an earnest group. Into their midst came a Seventh Day Baptist, Rachel Oakes, who distributed tracts setting forth the binding claims of the fourth commandment. Some in 1844 saw and accepted this Bible truth. One of their number, William Farnsworth, in a Sunday morning service, stood to his feet and declared that he intended to keep God’s Sabbath of the fourth commandment. A dozen others joined him, taking their stand firmly on all of God’s commandments. They were the first Seventh-day Adventists.

The minister who cared for this church group, Frederick Wheeler, soon accepted the seventh-day Sabbath and was the first Adventist minister to do so. Another of the Advent preachers, T. M. Preble, who lived in the same state, accepted the Sabbath truth and in February, 1845, published an article in the Hope of Israel, one of the Adventist journals, setting forth the binding claims of the fourth commandment. Joseph Bates, a prominent Adventist minister residing in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, read the Preble article and accepted the Seventh-day Sabbath. Shortly thereafter, Elder Bates journeyed to Washington, New Hampshire, to study this new-found truth with the Sabbathkeeping Adventists residing there. When he returned to his home, he was fully convinced of the Sabbath truth. Bates in time determined to publish a tract setting forth the binding claims of the fourth commandment. His 48-page Sabbath pamphlet was published in August,1846.  A copy of it came to the hands of James and Ellen White at about the time of their marriage in late August. From the scriptural evidence therein presented, they accepted, and began to keep the seventh-day Sabbath. Of this Ellen White later wrote: “In the autumn of 1846 we began to observe the Bible Sabbath, and to teach and defend it.” – Ellen White, Early Writings, xx.2, 3