The Ellen G. White Letters and Manuscripts: Volume 1


LOUGHBOROUGH, John Norton (1832-1924) and (first wife) Mary J. (1832-1867) and (second wife) Maggie A. (c. 1840-1875) and (third wife) Anna Mariah (1840-1907)

Pioneer evangelist, administrator, and author of the first history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, John Loughborough was born in Victor, New York, and began lay preaching for non-Sabbatarian Adventists in 1848, just before his seventeenth birthday. In 1852 he accepted the seventh-day Sabbath and immediately began to advocate the new teaching. Ordained in 1854, Loughborough preached widely in the Midwest, New York, and the Eastern states before D. T. Bourdeau and he pioneered the Adventist work in California in 1868. His subsequent service included the presidencies of the California Conference (1873-1878 and 1887-1890), Nevada Association (1878), Upper Columbia Conference (1884-1885), and Illinois Conference (1891-1895). Loughborough is also remembered as one of the earliest Adventist workers sent to England, from 1878 to 1883. 1EGWLM 864.4

Ellen White's working association with Loughborough spanned some six decades. She valued him as a zealous worker “willing to … endure any and every privation,” and, in the area of administration, as “a safe financier” and capable fund-raiser. In the years of crisis following 1888 she saw in Loughborough “a Caleb … bearing a decided testimony in the face of unbelief and doubts” and as a leader who “stood firmly for the testimonies.” 1EGWLM 865.1

Ellen White's letters to John Loughborough were a blend of obvious goodwill together with a completely frank disclosure of his weaknesses. On the question of administration, for example, there was frequent mention of Loughborough's unwillingness to delegate. “Be careful not to feel that you must have every part of [the work] under your immediate supervision and control,” she urged. “Let others develop. Give them a chance to work. Censure them not.” 1EGWLM 865.2

John Loughborough's first wife, Mary J. Walker, was admonished in her younger years by Ellen White for her lack of consecration. Mary seems to have taken the admonition to heart. “I believe Mary is doing the best she can,” Ellen affirmed in 1865. Mary died in childbirth two years later at age 35. John then married Maggie A. Newman in 1868 just before launching out on a pioneer mission to California, but she also died in her mid-30s, some six years later. John Loughborough also outlived his third wife, Anna Mariah Driscoll, an accountant. She served as auditor and treasurer in several institutions and conferences, as well as matron of the Rural Health Retreat in St. Helena, California (later St. Helena Hospital). 1EGWLM 865.3

See: J. N. Loughborough, Rise and Progress of the Seventh-day Adventists; obituary: “Elder J. N. Loughborough,” Review, June 19, 1924, p. 17; obituary: “Mary J. Loughborough,” Review, July 2, 1867, p. 40; obituary: “Maggie A. Loughborough,” Review, Apr. 29, 1875, p. 143; search term “A. M. Loughborough” in Review and Herald online collection,; Ellen G. White, Lt 30, 1880 (May 26); Lt 10, 1886 (Dec. 1); Lt 20, 1890 (Oct. 7); Lt 40, 1879 (c. 1879); Ms 3, 1858 (Mar.); Lt 11, 1865 (c. 1865). For a lengthy series of more than 140 largely autobiographical articles, see J. N. Loughborough, “Sketches of the Past,” Pacific Union Recorder, starting Oct. 17, 1907, p. 1, and continuing intermittently until 1914. 1EGWLM 865.4