Amos Dresser

Amos Dresser was born on December 17, 1812 in Peru, Massachusetts. His father died April 11, 1813. He lived with his mother Minerva Cushman and his mother’s second husband, Henry Pierce, until his mother’s death on April 8, 1826. In the of Spring 1830 Dresser entered the Oneida Institute, where he stayed until fall. At that time he went to live with his uncle in Cincinnati and attend Lane Seminary. He left Lane with the other rebels, but he didn’t go immediately to Oberlin. Between Lane and Oberlin Dresser decided to visit an uncle in Mississippi and sell Bibles along the way to finance his trip and future education. But he only made it as far as Nashville, Tennessee, where he was arrested and publicly whipped by a committee of prominent town citizens for being a member of an Ohio anti-slavery society and possessing and disseminating anti-slavery materials. In the fall of 1836 Dresser accepted a lecture position for American Anti-slavery society. For the next three years he gave anti-slavery lectures during the winters and studied at the Oberlin Collegiate Institute during summers until he graduated in 1839.

In 1839 Dresser married Adeline Smith of Ulster County, New York. She had studied in Oberlin in 1834-35. After they were married, they sailed as missionaries to Jamaica, where they stayed until 1841. After Jamaica they lived for two years near Cincinnati in Batavia, Ohio, and Dresser worked as pastor of two churches. In 1843 Dresser and his wife went to Olivet Institution in Michigan where he taught. They left Olivet in 1846, reportedly because Michigan was not good for Adeline’s health. Dresser then worked for the League of Brotherhood under the leadership of Elihu Burritt. Dresser traveled around the Western Reserve for several years. During this time his wife and two of his children died. Adeline died in Oberlin on Sept 2, 1850 of dysentery.

In 1851 Amos Dresser remarried to Ann Jane Gray. She was born on Feb 12, 1824 in Dunganoon, Ireland, of Scotch parentage. She lived in Troy and Albany, New York before coming to Oberlin. She was a graduate of the Oberlin College Literary Course in 1850. After marriage Amos and Ann went to Europe, where Dresser gave lectures on temperance and abolition. When they returned to the United States, they settled in Farmington, Ohio, where Dresser worked as a pastor. He authored the book The Bible Against War. From 1852 to 1865 Dresser was pastor of churches in Trumbull and Ashtabula counties, Ohio. From 1865 to 1869 he was pastor of three churches in Oceana County, Michigan. In 1869 he went to Butler County, Nebraska, where he had the “whole county for a parish.” In 1879 he went to Red Willow County, Nebraska. In1881 he became pastor of Camp Creek Church, and in 1893 added the nearby Minersville. At some point towards the end of his life Dresser and his wife went to live in Lawrence, Kansas with one of their children, and both Amos and Ann Jane died there. Amos Dresser died on Feb 5, 1904.

Amos Dresser fathered eight children, three of whom lived until at least 1895. Amos Dresser Jr. was the son of Adeline and was born in New Richmond, Ohio. He attended Oberlin College in 1860-61. He married and lived in Wheaton, Illinois. Adeline Minerva Dresser was the daughter of Ann Jane Gray. She attended Oberlin College from 1875 to 1879. She later married Edmund Cressman, who graduated from Oberlin in 1878. The other son to survive was Francis Fenelon Dresser, who did not attend Oberlin College but was married and worked in the church.