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H. T. Elliott

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Elliott, Henry Thomas (1888–1967)

By Milton Hook

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Milton Hook, Ed.D. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, the United States). Hook retired in 1997 as a minister in the Greater Sydney Conference, Australia. An Australian by birth Hook has served the Church as a teacher at the elementary, academy and college levels, a missionary in Papua New Guinea, and as a local church pastor. In retirement he is a conjoint senior lecturer at Avondale College of Higher Education. He has authored Flames Over Battle Creek, Avondale: Experiment on the Dora, Desmond Ford: Reformist Theologian, Gospel Revivalist, the Seventh-day Adventist Heritage Series, and many magazine articles. He is married to Noeleen and has two sons and three grandchildren.

First Published: December 15, 2022

Henry T. Elliott served the Seventh-day Adventist church as an educator, academy principal, youth leader and an administrator at General Conference headquarters.

Early Years

Henry Elliott was born on Christmas Day, 1888, in Antigo, Wisconsin, to Walter Louis Elliott and his German-born wife Bertha Hennrietta Albrecht. Walter was an English-born electrician. Henry was their first born, followed by Walter Paul (b. 1892), George Elmer (b. 1893) and Clarence Michael (b. 1896).1

Henry’s mother was a Seventh-day Adventist and as a teenager he was baptized into the same faith by Elder Julius Locken at a camp meeting in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. At the time Henry was attending public school. His academy years were spent at Emmanuel Missionary College (EMC), Berrien Springs, Michigan. He completed the normal (teacher training) course in 1910 and graduated with a bachelor of arts degree at EMC in 1912. During a summer break, on June 28, 1911, he married Mabel Alice Baker in Battle Creek, Michigan. Mabel had served as a Bible worker and academy educator. Henry and Mabel were blessed with three daughters: Florence (b. 1913), Bertha (b. 1916) and Grace (b. 1924).2

Educator and Youth Leader

During the academic year 1908-1909, Elliott taught in an elementary church school at Waterloo, near Cassville, Wisconsin. He then returned to college to complete his formal education. On his graduation from EMC, Elliott was appointed to Bethel Academy, Bethel, Wisconsin. For the first two years, 1912 through 1914, he served as preceptor and taught history and civics. He was the school’s principal and business manager from 1914 to 1920, and taught history and Bible courses during those years.3 In his role as principal he was selected as a delegate to the 1918 General Conference session held in San Francisco.4 It proved to be the first of ten consecutive sessions that he would attend during his career.

As a successful educator, Elliott demonstrated ability to inspire and lead young people. In 1920 he was appointed as the Missionary Volunteer secretary (director) for the Lake Union Conference. Prior to taking up his new responsibilities he was ordained to ministry on July 3, 1920, at the Wisconsin Conference camp meeting held in Madison.5

After just two years in the Lake Union, Elliott was chosen to be one of two associate secretaries in the Young People’s Missionary Volunteer Department of the General Conference. His fellow associate was Meade MacGuire and Milton Kern the departmental head.6 When Kern moved to another portfolio in 1930 Elliott replaced him as the head of the department and held that position until 1933.7

Elliott’s role at General Conference headquarters carried with it an ex-officio seat on the editorial council for the Youth’s Instructor.8 He himself contributed articles from time to time. An early example was titled “The Purpose of Reading,” written in conjunction with the Missionary Volunteer Reading Course for senior, junior and primary young people.9 In the same periodical he also wrote for a regular column titled “Our Council Corner,” a vehicle for setting ethical standards among the youth. He dealt with questions such as, Is it wrong to attend a public school graduation on Friday night? Is it harmful to drink Ovaltine?10 Is it proper to write short fictional stories?11 In one column he recommended small gifts should be given to children at Christmas and at the same time a substantial gift should be given to the church, relaying advice from the writings of Ellen White.12

Elliott’s work was worldwide in scope. For example, he was a leading speaker at a Missionary Volunteer Council in Toronto, Canada.13 On another occasion, in 1925, he organized and attended a youth convention in Norway for the youth in Scandinavian countries.14

General Conference Associate Secretary

In 1933, Elliott moved from youth leadership to the General Conference Secretariat where he once again served as an associate secretary under M. E. Kern. His responsibilities took him overseas to inspect and report on mission activities15 as well as to speaking appointments at camp meetings and church conventions throughout the United States,16 and entailed a leading role in committee work at General Conference sessions.17

Elliott’s wife, Mabel, passed away in Takoma Park on September 15, 1949, and was taken to Berrien Springs, Michigan, for interment at Rose Hill Cemetery.18 A year later, on October 1, 1950, he married Hannah Louise Surface (1904-1989) in Santa Clara, California.19 He continued serving as GC associate secretary until retiring in 1958. He died in Takoma Park on September 26, 1967.20

Sources

Clement, Lora E. “The Missionary Volunteer Council in Toronto.” Youth’s Instructor, December 11, 1928.

“Delegates to the General and North American Division Conferences.” ARH, April 11, 1918.

Elliott, Henry Thomas. Secretariat Files, RG 21, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Silver Spring, MD (GCA).

Elliott, Henry T. “General Meetings in Missouri.” ARH, August 20, 1942.

Elliott, Henry T. “Our Council Corner.” Youth’s Instructor, October 13, 20, 1931, November 24, 1931.

Elliott, Henry T. “Steady Progress in the Zambesi Mission.” ARH, December 7, 1933.

Elliott, Henry T. “The Purpose of Reading.” Youth’s Instructor, June 2, 1925.

“Hannah Louise Surface.” FamilySearch. Accessed October 19, 2022. https://www.familysearch.org/tree/pedigree/landscape/L1YX-7X7.

“Henry Thomas Elliott obituary.” Columbia Union Visitor, November 16, 1967.

“Henry Thomas Elliott.” FamilySearch. Accessed October 19, 2022. https://www.familysearch.org/tree/pedigree/landscape/LDVW-VQN.

“Mabel Alice Baker Elliott obituary.” ARH, October 27, 1949.

“Mabel Alice Elliott.” Find A Grave. Memorial ID 128067135, April 17, 2014. Accessed October 19, 2022. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/128067135/mabel-alice-elliott.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbooks. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Online Archives. https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/Forms/Allitems.aspx.

“Standing Committees of the Session.” ARH, May 26, 1954.

“With the Missionary Volunteers.” Youth’s Instructor, December 8, 1925.

Notes

  1. “Henry Thomas Elliott,” FamilySearch, accessed October 19, 2022, https://www.familysearch.org/tree/pedigree/landscape/LDVW-VQN.

  2. Henry Thomas Elliott Biographical Information Blank, March 15, 1947. Secretariat Files, RG 21, Record 114901, GCA; “Mabel Alice Baker Elliott obituary,” ARH, October 27, 1949, 23.

  3. Elliott Biographical Information Blank, March 15, 1947; “Bethel Academy” listings in Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook for 1913-1920, GCA.

  4. “Delegates to the General and North American Division Conferences,” ARH, April 11, 1918, 11-12.

  5. “Henry Thomas Elliott,” Biographical Information Blank.

  6. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook for 1923, 12.

  7. “Henry Thomas Elliott,” Biographical Information Blank.

  8. E.g., Masthead, The Youth’s Instructor, June 24, 1924, 2.

  9. Henry T. Elliott, “The Purpose of Reading,” Youth’s Instructor, June 2, 1925, 3-4.

  10. Henry T. Elliott, “Our Council Corner, “Youth’s Instructor, October 13, 1931, 13-14.

  11. Henry T. Elliott, “Our Council Corner,” Youth’s Instructor, October 20, 1931, 14.

  12. Henry T. Elliott, “Our Council Corner,” Youth’s Instructor, November 24, 1931, 14.

  13. Lora E. Clement, “The Missionary Volunteer Council in Toronto,” The Youth’s Instructor, December 11, 1928, 8-10.

  14. “With the Missionary Volunteers,” The Youth’s Instructor, December 8, 1925, 5-6.

  15. For example, see Henry T. Elliott, “Steady Progress in the Zambesi Union Mission,” ARH, December 7, 1933, 15-16.

  16. For example, see Henry T. Elliott, “General Meetings in Missouri,” ARH, August 20, 1942, 18.

  17. “Standing Committees of the Session,” ARH, May 26, 1954, 44-45.

  18. “Mabel Alice Baker Elliott obituary”; “Mabel Alice Elliott,” Find A Grave, Memorial ID 128067135, April 17, 2014, accessed October 19, 2022, https://findagrave.com/memorial/128067135/mabel-alice-elliott.

  19. “Hannah Louise Surface,” FamilySearch, accessed October 19, 2022, https://www.org/tree/pedigree/landscape/L1YX-7X7.

  20. “Henry Thomas Elliott obituary,” Columbia Union Visitor, November 16, 1967, 15.

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Hook, Milton. "Elliott, Henry Thomas (1888–1967)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. December 15, 2022. Accessed June 14, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=F998.

Hook, Milton. "Elliott, Henry Thomas (1888–1967)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. December 15, 2022. Date of access June 14, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=F998.

Hook, Milton (2022, December 15). Elliott, Henry Thomas (1888–1967). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 14, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=F998.