Pitcairn Materials Donated

Duane and Nancy Anderson and family donated several items related to Pitcairn Island which had belonged to Nancy Anderson’s father, Mr. Robert M. Little II. He made the model of H.M.S. Bounty himself by purchasing a boat and modifying it more closely resemble the Bounty. As no one else in the family was interested in Pitcairn and its relation to Adventist history, the Andersons thought to donate the materials to the Center for Adventist Research.

A woman and man standing with a model of a sailing vessel.

Nancy and Duane Anderson standing with the model of the H.M.S. Bounty which Nancy’s father, Robert M. Little II, had made by purchasing a boat and modifying it to more closely resemble the Bounty.

The H. M. S. Bounty has a storied history. Many know the tale from the movies and books written about this true adventure of the mutiny of the sailors who took refuge on Pitcairn Island.

The Seventh-day Adventist connection starts in 1876 when James White and J. N. Loughborough sent a volume of the Signs of the Times and some tracts, accompanied by a letter, to Pitcairn Island. Loughborough writes in his book The Great Second Advent Movement “We knew not a person on the island, and knew nothing of the island itself, save its reputation as having for its inhabitants a devoted, godly people. The papers were sent as a venture.” (p.427) Later John I. Tay, a Seventh-day Adventist ship’s carpenter, spent five weeks on Pitcairn and persuaded the islanders to keep the seventh-day Sabbath.

In the 1890s as part of a Sabbath school fund raising campaign a mission boat was built. They named it Pitcairn and it was launched November 25, 1890. For ten years the Pitcairn sailed the south pacific with missionaries on board. Pitcairn Island was a regular stop on its route.

Here is an extract from a letter from a Pitcairner, which throws an interesting light upon the life on Pitcairn Island:-“H.M.S. — came in yesterday. Sabbath, the captain came ashore and attended the Sabbath school. He offered the opening prayer, reviewed the primary division, and at the close gave a parting address to the whole school. He expressed himself as highly pleased with our school system, and was so glad that all the people attended. He said our school is the best organised school he ever saw, and he had seen many, for when at home in England he was superintendent of a Sunday-school. He is a really Christian man.”{The Present Truth (UK) August 2, 1894, p. 496.17}

The Seventh-day Adventist church now has a worker and a nurse who come from Australia who serve two-year terms on Pitcairn Island.

The Pitcairn collection items are in the process of being digitized and will be available soon to researchers.