The Ellen G. White Letters and Manuscripts: Volume 1

PEABODY, William (1791-1866) and Hannah (1787-1876)

Born in Canada, William Peabody came to New York State as a child. He was a soldier in the War of 1812. In the early 1840s he became a Millerite Adventist and in 1853 started to keep the Sabbath. It appears that his wife remained a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church throughout her life. 1EGWLM 875.5

William Peabody was a successful farmer, one of the wealthiest Sabbatarian Adventists of the 1850s, with real estate valued at $15,000 in the 1850 census. In 1859, when Peabody was 68, Ellen White reminded him that he “had but a short time to work and lay up your treasure in heaven.” He gave generously to a multitude of church causes and at his death in 1866 left legacies to the publishing and health work totaling more than $2,000. 1EGWLM 876.1

Just before her death in 1855, Annie R. Smith published a book of poems, including one “respectfully dedicated to Wm. Peabody,” which contains the lines: 1EGWLM 876.2

“Desires, above his needs, were all denied,
His will, subdued, to Heaven's decrees resigned.”
1EGWLM 876.3

See: Obituary: “William Peabody,” Review, Jan. 22, 1867, p. 82; Selim Hobart Peabody, Peabody (Paybody, Pabody, Pabodie) Genealogy (Boston: Charles H. Pope, 1909), p. 117; Chapman Brothers, Portrait and Biographical Album of Barry and Eaton Counties, Michigan (Salem, Mass.: Higginson Book Co., 1891), pp. 792, 793; 1850 U.S. Federal Census, “Wm. Peabody,” New York, Monroe County, Wheatland, p. 245; Annie Rebekah Smith, Home Here and Home in Heaven: With Other Poems (Rochester, N.Y.: Advent Review Office, 1855), pp. 89-91; search term “Peabody” in Review and Herald online collection,; Ellen G. White, Lt 4, 1859 (Sept. 2). 1EGWLM 876.4