The Ellen G. White Letters and Manuscripts: Volume 1


HOWLAND, Stockbridge (1801-1883) and Louisa M. (1806-1897)

The Howlands were close friends of James and Ellen White, and were among the earliest Adventists in Maine to adopt Sabbathkeeping. According to their respective obituaries, Louisa (née Morse) and Stockbridge Howland began to keep the Sabbath in the spring of 1845, i.e., about the same time as Joseph Bates. Earlier they had been active supporters of the Millerite Adventist movement and had “generously imparted of their substance to forward the work” to the point that they were “in close circumstances,” as Ellen White put it. Unsympathetic local authorities probably feared that the Howlands’ zealous generosity would result in penury and that the family would become a public charge, so Stockbridge, like some other Millerites, was for a time placed under a guardian to handle his business affairs. 1EGWLM 848.6

Records indicate that a number of meetings and conferences were held at the Howlands’ home in Topsham, Maine, during the 1840s and 1850s. Stockbridge Howland, a millwright by trade, also served as local agent for Review and Herald publications and sat on the “tent committee” for Maine. In 1869 or 1870 the Howlands moved to Allegan, Michigan, and later to Battle Creek in the same state, where they stayed the remainder of their lives. During this period Stockbridge was frequently appointed as a delegate to General Conference sessions. 1EGWLM 849.1

In the late 1840s and early 1850s especially, when Ellen and James White were struggling with poverty and exhausting responsibilities, the Howlands were remarkably supportive. Thus, after the birth of Henry White, the Howlands shared their house with the Whites for six months during the winter of 1847-1848 while James worked at manual jobs in the vicinity. Some months later, in November 1848, because of 1-year-old Henry's fragile health and the arduous travel schedules facing the Whites, the Howland family volunteered to look after Henry. It was an arrangement that was to last for five years. James and Ellen White were ever after grateful for their help. “We are not able to express the gratitude we owe that dear family” wrote James in 1853. Some of the many letters from James and Ellen to the Howlands during the five years they cared for Henry have been preserved and contain valuable biographical information. 1EGWLM 849.2

See: Obituary: “Stockbridge Howland,” Review, Apr. 17, 1883, p. 254; obituary: “Louisa M. Howland,” Review, Mar. 9, 1897, p. 160; Abner Morse, Memorial of the Morses; Containing the History of Seven Persons of the Name Who Settled in America in the Seventeenth Century With a Catalogue of Ten Thousand of Their Descendants (Boston: William Veazie, 1850), p. 134; J. N. Loughborough, The Great Second Advent Movement, p. 170; Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts [vol. 2], pp. 87, 104-108; 1870 U.S. Federal Census, “Howland, Stockbridge,” Michigan, Allegan County, Allegan, p. 31; James White, “Eastern Tour,” Review, Nov. 1, 1853, p. 133; search term “Howland” in Review and Herald online collection, 1EGWLM 849.3