Manuscripts by Elisha Deming Andrews, Vermont minister and Michigan pioneer

Manuscripts by Elisha Deming Andrews, Vermont minister and Michigan pioneer

Andrews, Elisha Deming (1783-1852). An archive of twelve sermons, with additional manuscripts, 1806-1825. Over 250 pages. Very good condition.

     A manuscript archive of material by Andrews, who served over twenty years as a minister in Putney, Vermont, before moving west to become one of the pioneer settlers of Macomb County, Michigan.

     Andrews was born in Hartford, Connecticut. After graduating from Yale in 1803, he moved to West Springfield, Massachusetts, to study with the prominent minister Joseph Lathrop, whose granddaughter he would marry. On November 2, 1806 he began preaching at the Congregational church at Putney, Vermont. He would be settled there as pastor in 1807 -- Lathrop delivered the ordination sermon. Caught up in the fires of evangelicalism that would later be identified as the Second Great Awakening, Andrews led a highly successful revival in 1817 that brought 150 new members to the church. It was perhaps too successful: about 30 of the people he had converted left the Congregational church to join the Baptists. This would have been the cause of some pain to his father-in-law, who had feuded with Baptists in his own congregation in 1772. Lathrop’s book attacking the sect, published first in 1793, was much reprinted. Tensions within Andrews's Putney congregation appears to have continued for over a decade. Finally, in 1829 Andrews was dismissed. 

     Like many New Englanders during these years, Andrews and his family moved west, first to the “burned-over” districts of western New York, where he left the ministry to occupy himself with farming. In 1840, he moved to Armada, Michigan, where he was among the first settlers of the region. In Armada he “recovered his voice,” as one biographer put it, returning to the pulpit after a long absence and establishing a church in the school-house.

     The sermons in this archive bridge the span of his career as a pastor in Vermont. They including one of his first sermons he preached in Putney, and one from his last years before moving westward. Andrews noted the dates when he first delivered each sermons, and notes the year and sometimes the place when he used it again. Although the sermons were all initially delivered in Vermont, annotations on several reveal that he reprised at least some of them for the benefit of settlers in Macomb County.

     Certain popular sermons he delivered on multiple occasions. Given the controversy that his preaching occasioned, it seems significant that he delivered his sermon on Philippians 1:27 ("Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ") at least seven times between 1823 and 1840, according to his notes. Other sermons he apparently let lie for many years before resurrecting. Thus his sermon on Daniel 10:11 ("O Daniel, a man greatly beloved") received its premiere in October 1807 in Putney, VT, but was delivered again in January 1844, presumably in Armada, MI. Similarly, his sermon on Isaiah 9:6 ("For unto us a child is born..."), delivered first in Dummerston, VT in January 1820 was repeated in Armada in January 1846.

  • Proverbs 10:9. November 16, 1806. 40pp.

  • Revelation 3:20. November 30, 1806. 45pp.

  • Daniel 10:11. October 1807. 4pp.

  • Matthew 10:32-33. July, 1809. 40pp.

  • Galatians 6:10. April 9, 1809. 32pp.

  • Psalm 39:12. September, 1813. 4pp.

  • Job 28:28. December 1814. 17pp.

  • Lamentations 1:12. July, 1818 [Funeral Discourse]. 32pp

  • Isaiah 9:6-7. January, 1820. 16pp.

  • John 21:17. August, 1822. 8pp.

  • Philippians 1:27. January 5th, 1823. 19pp.

  • Genesis 28:16-17. June, 1825. 1p.

     The additional material includes a one-page index of biblical verses, and an apparently unpublished 15 stanza poem, "Morning by Morning." The poem is unsigned but a docketed memorandum suggests it may be by Andrews’s son, Seth Lathrop Andrews (1809-1893), who moved to Hawaii in 1837 to serve as a missionary.

Provenance: These manuscripts were purchased from a bookdealer in Michigan who acquired them from a descendant of Carrie Andrews Potter, the granddaughter of Elisha Deming Andrews.

Selected References

  • Dexter, Franklin Bowditch, Biographical sketches of the graduates of Yale College: with annals of the college history. New York: Holt, 1885-1912, vol. 5
  • Dooley, Mary True. The Andrews bailiwick: a geographic study of migration to and settlement of northern Macomb County, Michigan, 1805-1810, as perceived by selected participants. Minnesota Heritage Publishing, 2007.

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