JHN Spiritual Journey

John Humphrey Noyes attended a revival meeting held in Putney, Vermont conducted by Charles Grandison Finney.  At the conclusion of the September 18th, 1831 service Noyes came forward and made a public profession of faith in Christ.  Following this he was led by God to enroll at Andover Theological Seminary on November 1, 1831.

He applied to Yale Theological Seminary in 1832 and received his license to preach in 1833.

On February 20, 1834 Noyes spoke to the Free Church in New Haven, Connecticut. The title of Noyes’ sermon was “The High Tide of the Spirit”.   This would be the only holiday that would be celebrated in the Oneida Community in the years to come. In Noyes’ presentation that morning he declares that Christ had returned in 70 A. D. at the distruction of Jerusalem and at that time the new kingdom of heaven on earth was ushered in.  Now he, John Humphrey Noyes, was God’s agent to represent the kingdom of heaven on earth.

Sometime later Noyes is called before the licensing committee and the professors at Yale. The licensing committee took back Noyes’ license to preach on April 16, 1834 and Yale University threw him out as a heretic.  His quote about the group:  “I took away their license to sin and they go on sinning; they have taken away my license to preach but I shall go on preaching”.

These events put Noyes into a state of depression.  He began to work  as an itinerant preacher.  Six months later the family finds him in New York City speaking to a group of street people. They talk to him and finally bring him home. Noyes continues to preach his perfectionism, trying to convert whoever will listen to him.

Finally, he converts Abigail Merwin; she is two years older than he. Sometime later Noyes proposes marriage to Abigail Merwin, letting her know that God has ordained that she be his wife. Since Abigail never got this message from God, she rejects him. This sends Noyes again into depression.

John Noyes, John Humphrey Noyes’ father, was an extremely wealthy business man and had been a congressman from Vermont. His time away from home turned him to alcohol.  John Noyes died October 26, 1841, at the age of seventy-seven years and left each of his children approximately $5,000 each.  At this time Harriet Houlton enters John Humphrey Noyes’ life and loans him money to help with his finances in Ithaca, NY.  He had gone there to follow up on Abigail Merwin who in the meantime had married Merit Platt. Later Abigail would divorce him.  After Noyes found out about her divorcement,  he sent Mary Cragin and Henry Burnham with the 3rd annual report to see if Abigail wouldn’t join the Oneida Community.  JHN marries Harriet Houlton on June 28, 1837, letting her know that their’s will be a spiritual marriage. She has a very large inheritance from her grandfather who had been a lieutenant governor.


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