Josiah Sidney Hart. Database on-line. Center for Adventist Research Image Database. 

Hart, Josiah Sidney. Jr. (1843–1932)

By Sabrina Riley

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Sabrina Riley was born in Auburn, New York and raised in Dowagiac, Michigan. She received a B.A. in history from Andrews University and an M.A. in information and libraries studies from the University of Michigan. Riley was a member of Andrews University’s library staff from 1998 to 2003, library director and college archivist at Union College from 2003 to 2016, and is presently a freelance researcher, author, and information professional.

 

First Published: March 15, 2023

Josiah Sidney Hart was a pioneer Adventist minister and evangelist in the Iowa Conference.

Early Life

Josiah Sidney Hart was born in Northfield, Vermont, on September 27, 1843. The second of Josiah Rice Hart’s (1817-1858) and Orvilla Webster’s (1810-1861) four children, his siblings were Lucy Ann O. (1840-1922), Ellen (1841-died before 1860), Russell Avrille (1845-1936), and Caroline A. (known as Carrie, 1847-1875). The senior Josiah was a minister in the early Advent movement. He moved his family to Illinois in the 1850s. His death in 1858, followed by his wife’s death in 1861, left their children orphans.1 At twenty-one years old, Lucy Ann took charge of her younger siblings, ensuring they received an education.2 By 1870, the siblings co-owned a farm in State Center, Iowa.3

Russell became a teacher who also served as an evangelist in Iowa and Nebraska for eight years, beginning in 1876. In 1884, he started a three-year tenure with the Review and Herald Publishing Association, followed by a year at the Adventist press in Christiana (Oslo), Norway.4 Carrie died of tuberculosis in 1875.5

Education and Marriage

Josiah Sidney Hart attended local schools before enrolling at Battle Creek College, where he studied with the intent of becoming a minister.

Hart married Alice C. Perrigo (1848-1935)6 on September 3, 1872, near Whitewater, Wisconsin. Born in New York, she had attended Milton Academy in Wisconsin.7 The Harts had one child, Florence Ellen (1873-1893).8

Career

Both Josiah and his brother, Russell, received ministerial licenses in 1875.9 However, their attention was apparently divided between ministry and operating their family farm. In early 1877, James White wrote in the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald:

We were made very glad by Eld. Geo. I. Butler's recent letter to us respecting the present position of the Hart brothers and Bro. M. Miller of Iowa. These are men of sterling worth, and would they give themselves wholly to the Lord and his work they could be as happy and successful in the work, after a little experience, as those we have before mentioned in this article.10

The call to undivided ministry was heeded and the work of both Hart brothers was frequently noted in the Review and Herald. While the brothers sometimes canvassed together,11 Josiah’s first-mentioned evangelistic effort took place in Nebraska in the summer of 1877, where he labored beside Matthew Wing in the towns of Tecumseh and Hebron.12 At the time, Iowa and Nebraska comprised a combined conference13 with a membership of 1,365 served by twenty-four ordained and licensed ministers who traveled between sixty churches.14 The very next year, Nebraska, although possessing the lesser membership, felt sufficiently strong to form its own conference on September 25, 1878, during a camp meeting at Seward.15 Hart remained with the Iowa Conference.

For the next nearly twenty-five years, Hart traversed the state of Iowa as a pastor and evangelist. He encouraged companies of Adventists, sold church literature as a canvasser, conducted evangelistic meetings—first in school houses and later in tents, baptized converts, and sometimes debated ministers of other denominations.16 As he visited each company or church, he often conducted “quarterly meetings” (communion services) and officiated at weddings and funerals. Exemplary of a typical report of his activities in the Review and Herald and the Iowa Conference’s The Worker’s Bulletin is this summary of his activities published in April 1879:

I held fifteen meetings in a school-house seven miles from Nevada [a town in Iowa].

Two are keeping the Sabbath, and will join the church at Nevada. I spent about four weeks at a place five miles south of Ames. Seven are keeping the Sabbath, and others are interested. I visited fifteen families, and obtained seven subscribers for our periodicals. Two families are about to move West; this will leave the others rather lonely, but the Lord will be their helper.17

Hart was ordained on June 5, 1882, during a session of the Iowa camp meeting.18 Later that same month, working with A. G. Daniells, the two men shared the Adventist tent with temperance movement leaders in Hazelton, Iowa. Hart contributed “a spirited lecture on the temperance amendment” at the same event.19 Ordination also gave Hart more responsibility in conference leadership. In 1885 he was appointed to the camp meeting committee.20 Hart was a delegate from Iowa to the 1897 General Conference session.21

Hart is believed to have preached the first Seventh-day Adventist sermon in College View, Nebraska,22 on June 14, 1890.23 In 1891, the Harts’ daughter Florence was among the first students to enroll at Union College in College View, Nebraska. Around this time, Josiah and Alice, along with Lucy Ann,24 who made her home with her brother and sister-in-law, relocated to College View where they lived in a house on Bancroft Avenue next to the college. Josiah continued his work in Iowa, often remaining away from home for many months.25 In the autumn of 1893, Florence contracted typhoid fever, which took her life.26

After their daughter’s death, Alice accompanied Josiah at least part of the time on his travels throughout the Iowa Conference, assisting with music at his meetings.27 She was also active in the College View and Lincoln communities. She became matron of the Lincoln City Mission in 1899.28 In 1908 she was one of three Adventist women in College View who, out of concern for the lack of religious education among the non-Adventist children, started a Sunday School in the College View School. This effort led to the establishment of the Sunday-keeping Union Church, which later became a Presbyterian church.29 In her later years, Alice was Sabbath School superintendent at the College View Seventh-day Adventist church.30

Although none of Josiah Hart’s sermons appear to have been published, their content and style can be deduced from comments published in the Review and Herald and the Workers’ Bulletin. His “preaching was mostly practical, and designed to encourage and strengthen [church members] in the good work.”31 It was ever his goal to “uphold Jesus in his sermons.”32

Later Life

After 1901 Hart entered semi-retirement with the termination of his employment by the Iowa Conference. This separation may not have been of his choosing as Ellen G. White wrote him from Elmshaven in St. Helena, California, on March 19, 1902:

My brother, I advise you still to seek to do God service. Though you may not be recognized as a minister on the pay roll of the Conference, you need not regard yourself as dismissed from God’s service, if in all things you are consulting His will and living for His glory. Carry on all your work on strictly religious principles. Let your earnest inquiry be, “What can I do to please the Master?” Visit places where the believers need encouragement and help. At every step, ask, “Is this the way of the Lord? Am I, in spirit, in word, in action, in harmony with His will?”33

This letter coincides with a period of silence regarding Hart’s activities. Given the vein of the remainder of the letter, encouraging him to active service and to change his “natural self-will” to a “child-like, teachable, submissive spirit,” Hart may have suffered some despondency and bitterness at this stage of his life. However, he applied White’s advice.

Settling at his home in College View, Hart continued to support the Nebraska Conference and the Central Union Conference. He held honorary ministerial credentials issued first by the Nebraska Conference and then the Central Union until his death.34 Hart served on editorial committees for both the Nebraska Conference in the early 1900s, and then Christian Record from 1905-1909.35

In May 1906, the Nebraska Conference proposed that Josiah and his wife

. . .locate in some such center as Hastings, Columbus, Scribner, or some other large town where our work is not established, with the view of establishing a center of our work, from which to work out in adjoining territory, and that such workers be associated with them as can work to the best advantage.36

Evidently nothing came of this proposal, but it demonstrated the esteem in which Hart was held. He did continue to visit churches and make camp meeting appearances in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado, although the pace of his travels decreased. He also attend the 1909 General Conference session.37 He was frequently called upon to conduct funerals in his later years.

In 1916, Hart was among the more than 125 “Old Timer's” honored by the Iowa Conference at camp meeting.

. . .all who were over fifty years of age and had been twenty-five years in this truth, were seated on the platform, and. . .given the privilege of testifying of their love for the message and their courage in the Lord, and the time, although extended liberally, was not sufficient to allow the reading of all the letters received from old friends not able to be present at the meeting.38

Failing health finally kept Hart at home, but he continued to teach a Sabbath School class until just a few weeks before his death on May 11, 1932, in College View, Lincoln, Nebraska. A funeral service was held in the College View church and he was buried in Lincoln’s Wyuka Cemetery.39

Legacy

Josiah S. Hart was a tireless and devoted minister who organized many churches throughout Iowa. Known as “a man of strong convictions,” he was “a firm believer in the message of Christ's second coming.”40

Sources

“Alice C. Hart obituary.” Lincoln Journal Star, August 9, 1935. Accessed February 13, 2023. Newspapers.com.

Baer, Roscoe T. “Josiah Sidney Hart obituary.” ARH, June 23, 1932.

Baer, Roscoe T. “Josiah Sidney Hart obituary.” Central Union Reaper, May 31, 1932.

Butler, George I. “The Iowa Camp-Meeting.” ARH, June 13, 1882.

Butler, Maria A. “History of the Seward, Nebraska, Seventh-day Adventist Church.” Central Union Reaper, June 24, 1975.

Daniells, A. G. and J. S. Hart. “Iowa.” ARH, July 4, 1882.

Dick, Everett. Union: College of the Golden Cords. Lincoln, NE: Union College, 1967.

“General Conference Notes.” ARH, May 20, 1909.

“A General Report.” The Worker’s Bulletin, July 13, 1897.

Hart, J. S. “Cherokee and Quimby.” The Worker’s Bulletin, November 14, 1899.

Hart, J. S. “Iowa.” ARH, May 31, 1887.

Hart, J. S. and R. A. Hart, “Lucy A. Hart obituary.” ARH, September 14, 1922.

Hart, J. S. “Ruthven.” The Worker’s Bulletin, November 8, 1898.

Illinois. Estate & Other Probate Records, 1839-1922. Digital images. Ancestry.com, 2015. Accessed February 12, 2023. https://www.ancestry.com/.

“Iowa and Nebraska Conference.” ARH, June 17, 1875.

“Iowa Conference.” ARH, June 27, 1882.

“Iowa Conference Proceedings.” ARH, September 8, 1885.

Iowa. Marshall County. 1870 United States Census. Digital images. Ancestry.com. February 12, 2023. https://www.ancestry.com/.

“Mrs. J. S. Hart…” The Worker’s Bulletin, September 6, 1898.

“Mrs. J. S. Hart…” The Worker’s Bulletin, December 5, 1899.

“Mrs. J. S. Hart…” The Worker’s Bulletin, August 28, 1900.

Nebraska. Lancaster County. 1920 United States Census. Digital images. Ancestry.com. February 12, 2023. https://ancestry.com.

“Nebraska: Tecumseh and Hebron.” ARH, August 23, 1877.

“Old Timers’ and New Members’ Reunion.” The Workers Bulletin, May 9, 1916.

“R. A. Hart obituary.” ARH, May 21, 1936.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Battle Creek, MI: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1884-1893.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1904-1932.

Tyson, Ellwood. “Carrie Hart Tyson obituary.” ARH, September 16, 1875.

White, Ellen G. Ellen G. White to J. S. Hart. March 19, 1902. Letter 43, 1902. Ellen G. White Estate.

White, James. “Dangers and Duties.” ARH, January 25, 1877.

Notes

  1. Illinois, Estate & Other Probate Records, 1839-1922, Whiteside County, Orvilla Hart, January 16, 1861, digital image, Ancestry.com, 2015, accessed February 12, 2023, https://ancestry.com.

  2. J. S. Hart and R. A. Hart, “Lucy A. Hart obituary,” ARH, September 14, 1922, 22.

  3. 1870 United States census, Marshall County, Iowa, roll M593_410, page 502B, digital image, “Hart, Sidney,” Ancestry.com, accessed February 12, 2023, https://ancestry.com.

  4. “R. A. Hart obituary,” ARH, May 21, 1936, 21.

  5. Ellwood Tyson, “Carrie Hart Tyson obituary,” ARH, September 16, 1875, 7.

  6. “Alice C. Hart obituary,” Lincoln Journal Star, August 9, 1935, 2, accessed February 13, 2023, Newspapers.com.

  7. Her parents may have been Birdsall Joseph Perrigo (1827-1874) and Harriet Ann Williams. However, although Birdsall Perrigo listed Alice as his daughter in his will, he did not marry until 1865. No further information can be found about Harriet (Hattie) or an alternate paternal figure for Alice. The Perrigos had two additional children, Eva Louise (1866-1904) and Arthur W. (1872-1926).

  8. Farnsworth, E. W. “Florence E. Hart obituary,” ARH, February 6, 1894, 94.

  9. “Iowa and Nebraska Conference,” ARH, June 17, 1875, 7

  10. James White, “Dangers and Duties,” ARH, January 25, 1877, 4

  11. J. S. Hart, “Iowa,” ARH, September 11, 1879, 94.

  12. “Nebraska: Tecumseh and Hebron,” ARH, August 23, 1877, 3.

  13. The state of Nebraska was added to the Iowa Conference’s territory on June 4, 1871. See “Business Proceedings of the Iowa Conference,” ARH, June 27, 1871, 14.

  14. Seventh-day Adventist Statistics, 1877, General Conference Archives, accessed February 27, 2023, https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Statistics/ASR/ASR1877.pdf.

  15. Maria A. Butler, “History of the Seward, Nebraska, Seventh-day Adventist Church,” Central Union Reaper, June 24, 1975, 8-9.

  16. See, for example, J. S. Hart, “Iowa,” ARH, March 21, 1878, 6.

  17. J. S. Hart, “Iowa: State Center,” ARH, April 17, 1879, 126.

  18. George I. Butler, “The Iowa Camp-Meeting,” ARH, June 13, 1882, 377; “Iowa Conference,” ARH, June 27, 1882, 412.

  19. A. G. Daniells and J. S. Hart, “Iowa,” ARH, July 4, 1882, 426.

  20. “Iowa Conference Proceedings,” ARH, September 8, 1885, 572-573.

  21. “List of Delegates,” General Conference Bulletin, February 22, 1897, 105.

  22. From 1890 to 1929, College View was a separate town from the city of Lincoln. In 1930, it was incorporated by the city of Lincoln. It retains a distinctive identity as a community within Lincoln.

  23. Everett Dick, Union: College of the Golden Cords (Lincoln, NE: Union College, 1967), 230.

  24. 1920 United States census, Lancaster County, Nebraska, enumeration district 43, roll T625_995, page 2a, digital image, “Hart, Lucy A.,” Ancestry.com, accessed February 12, 2023, https://ancestry.com.

  25. J. S. Hart, “Ruthven,” The Worker’s Bulletin, November 8, 1898, 70.

  26. Farnsworth, E. W. “Florence E. Hart obituary,” ARH, February 6, 1894, 94.

  27. “Mrs. J. S. Hart…,” The Worker’s Bulletin, August 28, 1900, 32; “Mrs. J. S. Hart…,” The Worker’s Bulletin, September 6, 1898, 36.

  28. “Mrs. J. S. Hart…,” The Worker’s Bulletin, December 5, 1899, 88.

  29. Everett Dick, Union: College of the Golden Cords (Lincoln, NE: Union College, 1967), 126.

  30. “Alice C. Hart obituary,” Lincoln Journal Star, August 9, 1935, 2, accessed February 13, 2023, Newspapers.com.

  31. J. S. Hart, “Iowa,” ARH, May 31, 1887, 348.

  32. J. S. Hart, “Cherokee and Quimby,” The Worker’s Bulletin, November 14, 1899, 74. Some items in the J. S. Hart Family Collection (Collection 1) in the Union College Heritage Room (Lincoln, Nebraska) may provide further insight into his sermons, accessed March 14, 2023, https://ucollege.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/C1-Hart.pdf.

  33. Ellen G. White to J. S. Hart, March 19, 1902, Letter 43, 1902, Ellen G. White Estate.

  34. Precise years he held honorary credentials from the Nebraska Conference cannot be determined because of missing years of the Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. See various issues of the Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Battle Creek, MI and Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1901-1932)

  35. See the Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1905-1909).

  36. “Nebraska,” ARH, May 31, 1906, 16.

  37. “General Conference Notes,” ARH, May 20, 1909, 18.

  38. “Old Timers’ and New Members’ Reunion,” The Workers Bulletin, May 9, 1916, 1.

  39. Roscoe T. Baer, “Josiah Sidney Hart obituary,” ARH, June 23, 1932, 21; Roscoe T. Baer, “Josiah Sidney Hart obituary,” Central Union Reaper, May 31, 1932, 6.

  40. Roscoe T. Baer, “Josiah Sidney Hart obituary,” ARH, June 23, 1932, 21.

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Riley, Sabrina. "Hart, Josiah Sidney. Jr. (1843–1932)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. March 15, 2023. Accessed April 18, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=A9FV.

Riley, Sabrina. "Hart, Josiah Sidney. Jr. (1843–1932)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. March 15, 2023. Date of access April 18, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=A9FV.

Riley, Sabrina (2023, March 15). Hart, Josiah Sidney. Jr. (1843–1932). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved April 18, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=A9FV.