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William Gifford

A craftsman in the shipbuilding industry, Gifford (1798-1903) plied his trade in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, the home town of Joseph Bates. His spiritual journey from the Christian Connection to Millerism to Seventh-day Adventism also paralleled that of Bates, who convinced him of the "Bible Sabbath" after the Great Disappointment in 1844. Gifford's daughter described him as a “staunch anti-slavery advocate” who was one of the “early underground railroad men.” He not only assisted fugitive slaves, he helped influence at least one to accept the “Advent truth.” Success in business took second place to “radical truth” for Gifford. “He could not be bought,” wrote his daughter, “consequently his patronage waned.” This peacemaker’s life spanned three centuries before he “fell asleep in Jesus” on December 19, 1903 at the age of 105.