The Ellen G. White Letters and Manuscripts: Volume 1


HART, Josiah Rice (1817-1858) and Orvilla (1810-1861)

Josiah Hart of Northfield, Vermont, married Orvilla Webster in 1839. After becoming a Sabbatarian Adventist in 1850, he began to preach in his home state. Following his ordination in 1853, Hart became very active in tent evangelism throughout New England and New York. In 1856, together with fellow evangelist Elon Everts, he moved with his family westward to Round Grove, Illinois. For the next two years, until his death of typhoid fever at 41, Hart, often accompanied by Everts, traveled widely in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa holding public meetings. 1EGWLM 840.3

In his early days as a Sabbatarian Adventist, Hart strongly opposed the visions of Ellen White and supported the minority view that the Second Advent would take place in the autumn of 1851. Ellen White wrote in 1851 of Stephen Smith and Josiah Hart that they “had filled the minds of many with prejudice against us.” The turning point came at the conferences held in Bethel and Waterbury, Vermont, in November 1851, where “hearty confessions were made by Brother Hart and others.” In 1856 David Arnold described Hart as “a strong one on the visions,” and that he had “labored hard and long” (and unsuccessfully) to convince James White “that they were a test” (i.e., a test of fellowship). 1EGWLM 840.4

See: Obituary: “Josiah Hart,” Review, Sept. 2, 1858, p. 127; obituary: “Orvilla Hart,” Review, Mar. 19, 1861, p. 143; William Holcomb Webster and Melville Reuben Webster, History and Genealogy of the Gov. John Webster Family of Connecticut With Numerous Portraits and Illustrations (Rochester, N.Y.: E. R. Andrews Printing Co., 1915), vol. 2, p. 574; search term “Hart” in Words of the Pioneers; Ellen G. White, Lt 8, 1851 (Nov. 12); D. Arnold to M. Crawford, Feb. 3, 1856. 1EGWLM 840.5