The Ellen G. White Letters and Manuscripts: Volume 1


SMITH, Cyrenius (1804-1874) and Louisa (1806-1881)

Cyrenius Smith was born in Windsor, Vermont, and Louisa, née Sawyer, came from Lynn, Massachusetts. Cyrenius’ father, Asahel Smith, had fought in the Revolutionary War in the late 1770s. After some years spent in Niagara County, New York, the Smiths bought land near Jackson, Michigan, where they farmed from the mid-1830s to 1855. In the 1840s they connected with the Millerite Adventist movement, and in 1849, following a visit by Joseph Bates to Jackson, they were among the first Adventists in Michigan to adopt Sabbathkeeping. 1EGWLM 889.1

Cyrenius Smith's enthusiasm for his new faith is unmistakable in his first letter to the Review in 1850: “All that the Lord has placed in my hands is on the altar. … I send you fifty dollars to use in the cause of the Lord.” In 1852, according to J. N. Loughborough, the Smiths sold their farm in order to free up cash to use for church projects. In 1855, when funds were needed to erect a building to house the Review and Herald press in Battle Creek, Michigan, Smith joined with others to lend $300 toward the project. His administrative talents were put to good use in the years following 1855, when the Smith family moved to Battle Creek. For several years Cyrenius Smith served on the publishing committee of the Review as well as sitting on the Michigan Conference executive committee in the 1860s. 1EGWLM 889.2

In 1859/1860 the Smiths’ attitude toward the visions of Ellen White, and toward James White in particular, hit a temporary low point. Letter 32, 1859 (July 9), suggests that the Smiths would not accept a testimony of reproof that they had received from Ellen White, and in the summer of 1860 a full-scale crisis of relations erupted between several church leaders, including Cyrenius Smith and James White. A special council was called in Battle Creek in June 1860 to work out a solution. Smith apparently retreated from his position, as seen in the resulting report: “At this council very humble acknowledgments were made by … Uriah Smith, and also by Bro. Cyrenius Smith, who has occupied an extremely faithless position in regard to the visions.” Relations improved, and in 1863 Smith testified to the detractors of James White that for the 11 or 12 years he had dealt with him, White's course had been “one of unexceptionable integrity and benevolence.” 1EGWLM 889.3

See: Obituary: “Cyrenius Smith,” Review, June 30, 1874, p. 23; obituary: “Louisa Smith,” Review, Jan. 10, 1882, p. 30; Glenn and Jean Davis, compilers, “Records of Cyrenius Smith and R. M. Kilgore Families” (Berrien Springs, Mich.: Center for Adventist Research, Andrews University, 198?); Henry E. Perkins, A New Edition of the Record of the Family of Roswell Smith (Rutland, Vt.: Tuttle Co., 1921), p. 37; “Bro. C. Smith of Jackson, Mich.,” Review, December 1850, p. 16; J. N. Loughborough, “Uncle Elkins and His Nephews,” Review, Jan. 12, 1897, p. 18; Ellen G. White, Lt 32, 1859 (July 9); S. T. Belden et al., To Brother J. N. Andrews and Sister H. N. Smith (PH016) (n.p., 1860); Uriah Smith, Vindication of the Business Career of Elder James White (Battle Creek, Mich.: Steam Press of the Seventh-day Adventist Pub. Assn., 1863), p. 26; search terms “C. Smith” and “Cyrenius Smith” in Review and Herald online collection, 1EGWLM 889.4