Joseph Bates Hits The Road

Joseph Bates had a spirit of adventure in his blood. It was an inescapable pull that drew him into the very thick of the action at the slightest provocation and his current circumstances were a classic example. He was meandering along rough country roads heading North East of South Bend, Indiana.

He didn’t know where he was going.

He had dreamed the night before that he was in a stagecoach heading towards an unknown village North East of South Bend. He remembered what the village looked like, he just didn’t know what it was called.

He had come to South Bend with the express purpose of finding Advent believers who had just survived the painful disappointment of October 1844 so that he could share the message of the Seventh-Day Sabbath with them. Bates was enthusiastic, passionate, determined and kind of quirky; the sort of combination that made him a likable man and a visionary leader. He had had the dream about the village while he was in the thick of his meetings in South Bend but it had convinced him that he needed to go find the place and preach the Sabbath message there as well.

So here he was, bouncing along the dirt roads in a stagecoach, bespectacled and surrounded by the commanding aura of a veteran Sea Captain who had seen his fair share of action. He made the Stage driver stop at every town, jumped out, looked around to see if the place was familiar before jumping back into the Coach and paying the man the fare to the next stop. Who knows what was running through the drivers mind but the man was happy enough to oblige as long as he got paid.

Finally, they pulled into the town of Jackson, Michigan and just as the Coach driver was preparing himself to run through the familiar routine one more time Bates froze.

“This is it,” he said, waving at his surroundings excitedly, “this is the place I saw in my dream”

The driver eyed him wearily, “You sure about that Mister?” he asked

“Yes, I’m certain” Bates eyes shone as he turned to the man “What’s the name of this place?”

“This here is Jackson” the coach driver drawled

Bates nodded slowly and excitedly as he looked around “Yes this is it. Jackson.”

“Well alright then” the man shrugged and reached around to retrieve Bates’ travel bag from the roof rack.”Hope you find what you’re looking for” he said as he tossed the bag down to the elated man.

“Oh I believe God has an appointment for me here Sir and I’m sure I’ll find out all about it soon enough”

A strange expression flitted over the driver’s face before he touched his fingers to his hat and nodded. The stage rattled away down the road and Joseph Bates stood in the cloud of dust it left behind surveying the landscape.

Hang Your Chart On A Nail

Further Reading and Citations

  • Schawrz, R.W. and Greenleaf, F. (1979) – Light Bearers: A History of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church (Revised Edition)
  • Collins, N.J. (2005) Heartwarming Stories of Adventist Pioneers (Book 1)
  • Burt, M.D. (2011) – Adventist Pioneer Places (New York and New England)