The Ellen G. White Letters and Manuscripts: Volume 1


PRESTON, Almira (Elmira) (née Barnes) (1811-1888) and (second husband) John S. (c. 1804-1879)

A church member originally of Camden, New York, Almira M. Preston became a Sabbathkeeper against the strong opposition of her farmer-husband, John S. Preston, in the late 1840s or early in 1850. 1EGWLM 879.4

The only recorded interaction between Ellen White and Almira Preston occurred in June 1851 during the Whites’ visit to Camden. The account in Spiritual Gifts tells of Mrs. Preston's dramatic escape from her husband to attend the meeting at which the Whites were present. For reasons not fully known, the Camden members had disfellowshipped Mrs. Preston. A vision given Ellen White while she was visiting there emphasized the unfairness and uncharitableness of their behavior. It was well received by the members. Almira Preston subsequently moved to Illinois but remained an enthusiastic church member until the time of her death, as evidenced by her frequent letters to the Review and an appreciative obituary. There is evidence that her husband, John S. Preston, overcame his antipathies and became a Seventh-day Adventist. 1EGWLM 879.5

See: Obituary: “Almira Preston,” Review, July 17, 1888, p. 463; obituary: “John S. Preston,” Review, Oct. 30, 1879, p. 151; 1870 U.S. Federal Census, “John S. Preston,” Illinois, Ogle County, Marion, p. 17; Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts [vol. 2], pp. 150, 151; Ms 2, 1851 (June 23); Ms 2a, 1851 (June 23); search term “Preston” in Words of the Pioneers. Part of the above account depends on the identity of Almira Preston with “E. P.” in Spiritual Gifts [vol. 2], pp. 150, 151. See Ms 2, 1851 (June 23), note 1, for discussion. 1EGWLM 880.1