The Ellen G. White Letters and Manuscripts: Volume 1


MEAD, Stephen Newell (1820-1888) and Sarah Phelps (1833-1920)

The Meads were among the earliest Adventists to become Sabbathkeepers in Washington, New Hampshire. Newell Mead (who seems to have favored using his middle name) was a farmer and, according to James White, “a successful teacher of penmanship and music.” In the early 1840s Newell joined the Millerite group in Washington. Over the next few years a number of these Adventists also began to keep the Sabbath. The exact year when Mead became a Sabbatarian Adventist is disputed. His obituary writer dated it to 1850, but others placed the event several years earlier, perhaps 1845 or even 1844. Sarah joined the Sabbathkeepers not long after her marriage to Newell in December 1849. The Meads remained lifelong members of the church in Washington. 1EGWLM 869.6

Two incidents in particular are recorded of Ellen White's relationship with the Meads. In 1851 Sarah Mead, who was “afflicted with a slow fever,” requested Ellen and James White, who were visiting Washington, to pray for her. Ellen White reports that she “anointed her with oil” and joined with four others in prayer, after which Sarah Mead “was healed every whit and fell prostrate by the power of God.” In 1868 Ellen and James White organized an appeal on behalf of the Meads, who were unable to work because of the prolonged sickness of Sarah and a near-fatal fall from a barn roof that left Newell in feeble health and chronic depression. 1EGWLM 870.1

See: Obituary: “S. Newell Mead,” Review, Mar. 13, 1888, p. 175; obituary: “Sarah Phelps Mead,” Review, Apr. 14, 1921, p. 22; James White, “Eastern Tour,” Review, Jan. 28, 1868, p. 104; History of Washington, New Hampshire, From 1768 to 1886, p. 535; search term “Mead” in Review and Herald online collection,; Ellen G. White, Lt 8, 1851 (Nov. 12). For an evaluation of the question of when Newell Mead and other Adventists in Washington became Sabbatarians, see Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, pp. 397-400. 1EGWLM 870.2