Daniel T. Bourdeau
President of the temporary California Seventh-day Adventist organization
Daniel Bourdeau was born in Enosburg Falls, Vermont, on Dec. 28, 1835. At age 11 he joined the Baptist faith, but struggled when he learned that his parents and older brother had joined the Sabbatarian Adventists in Vermont. In his attempt to change their minds, he too was convinced of the Sabbath and other doctrines. He witnessed Ellen White in vision at Buck’s Bridge, New York, on June 21, 1857, at which time he saw first hand the supernatural working of God in her life (read his description of the event). Both brothers were ordained as Adventist ministers and began a self-supporting work among French-speaking people in Quebec and Vermont. In 1861 Daniel married Marion E. Saxby, with James White officiating.
At the General Conference session held in Battle Creek, Mich., in May 1868, Bourdeau agreed to join J. N. Loughborough in a call from James White to serve in starting the Adventist work California. Bourdeau and his wife had been impressed to be ready for a new assignment, and as a result had sold all of their household belongings before coming to Battle Creek. The Bourdeaus and Loughboroughs sailed from New York on June 24, 1868, for California, via Panama, arriving in San Francisco on July 18.
Bourdeau and Loughborough began their work with tent meetings in Petaluma, resulting in 20 converts. Meetings in other nearby towns quickly followed. By the next year, 1869, there was a desire to begin organizing the believers, and so a temporary California state organization of Adventists was put in place with about 75 known believers. Bourdeau was elected to serve as president along with J. F. Wood as secretary and J. N. Loughborough as treasurer. This was the precursor to what would soon become the California Conference.
In 1870, Bourdeau left California for work in Wisconsin and Illinois, organizing churches among the French-speaking people there. In 1876, he went to Europe to spend a year working with J. N. Andrews, editing papers and conducting evangelism in Switzerland, France and Italy. He returned to Europe in 1882 and was joined there in 1884 by his brother Augustin. Together they worked in France, Switzerland, Corsica, Italy and Alsace-Lorraine. Bourdeau returned to the United States in 1888, continuing to work as an evangelist and writer with both French and English communities.
Bourdeau is the author of Sanctification or Living Holiness, originally published in 1864 in Battle Creek, Michigan. He died in 1905.
1. Portrait of Daniel T. Bourdeau
2. A. C. Bourdeau and D. T. Bourdeau
Historical Dictionary of Seventh-day Adventists, Gary Land
Heartwarming Stories of Adventist Pioneers, Norma J. Colllins
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