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Salmon and Adelaide Steele

The Rev. Salmon S. Steele

The Rev. Salmon S. Steele was born in the city of Boston, Mass., the twelfth day of November, 1812. He passed to his reward from his home at Northport, Mich., April 28, 1903.

At the time of his birth, his father was serving in the army, and was wounded at the battle of Sackett's Harbor. Father Steele's boyhood days were spent at Hartford and New Britain, Conn.

After attendance at the District school, he was apprenticed to the blacksmith's trade, at which he wrought for several years. During his apprenticeship it was his privilege to be the fellow worker of Elihu Burritt, " The learned blacksmith." His education at the District school was supplemented by private instruction from teachers and preachers, and some time spent at Norwalk Seminary.

He was the fifth child in a family of eleven, consisting of eight sons and three daughters. Of these eight sons, six became preachers of the Gospel. Father Steele was the last survivor of the family.

In his twenty-first year he was married to Miss Eliza Ann Morgan, of New Britain, Conn. She died a few days after the birth of their second child, the late Rev. Newland M. Steele of this Conference, who was called home while serving the Harrison charge. Their first child, Eliza Maria, died at the age of twelve years, during Father Steele's pastorate at Litchfield. In 1837 he was married to Miss Ruth Adelaide Lamberton of Bloomfield, Conn. To this second union were born five children, two sons and three daughters. Eliza Maria died in infancy and sleeps beside her name-sake in the Litchfield Cemetery. Marcella, the youngest child, passed away in her eighteenth year and rests at St. Johns. Louis M. was carried to his last resting place in the Northport Cemetery from the family home, in 1886, and Eugenia, Mrs. R. A. Campbell, who was a prominent worker in Church and W.C.T.U. circles, was laid beside her brother, in 1900. Thus only one child outlived the parent, Wilbur F. Steele of Northport, whose filial devotion was a constant source of comfort and helpfulness during the closing years of his life.

Shortly after his second marriage. Father Steele removed to Huron, Ohio, and while working at his trade, exercised his gift in the capacity of a local preacher. In 1839 he joined the Michigan Conference and was appointed to Palmer Mission, covering the territory from St. Clair Flats to Lexington on Lake Huron. In 1840 he organized the first Methodist class of Port Huron. He was appointed Presiding Elder of Grand Traverse District, then an almost unbroken wilderness from Muskegon to Mackinaw City. During his four years encumbancy of this office, he suffered many hardships and braved unnumbered perils.

As pastor he served St. Clair, Utica, Clarkston, Albion, Litchfield, Centerfield, Niles, Lake Superior Indian Mission, Eagle River, Birmingham, Marshall, Hastings, Bellevue, Galesburg, Grand Rapids West, St. Johns, Charlotte, Manistee, Northport, Old Mission, Bear Lake, Monroe Center and Frankport.

Father Steele was ordained Deacon by Bishop Roberts in 1841 and Elder by Bishop Soule in 1843. He was first superannuated at the close of his Manistee pastorate, was made effective during his work at Bear Lake and again took a superannuate relation after his work at Frankfort, retiring to his home at Northport, where he spent the remaining years of his life. A noticeable feature of Father Steele's prayers was a petition for a quiet hour in which to die. His prayer was answered, his last illness was comparatively free from pain, he fell asleep in the Everlasting Arms.

The funeral services were conducted by the writer in the M.E. Church, Northport, the Presiding Elder, Brother M.D. Carrel, delivering an address in behalf of our Church, and Brothers Hugh Kennedy, Willard Heath and J.W. Hart, also Rev. U.G. Rich of the Congregational Church took part in the service. Father Steele was a life-long Mason, and the exercises at the grave were conducted by the Masonic fraternity, who were present in large numbers from the Traverse City, Sutton's Bay and local lodges. Grandma Steele, his companion for upwards of sixty-five years, still abides with us, cheery and hopeful, abundantly sustained by Him in whose service her life has been spent.


- Michigan Annual Conference minutes of 1903, pp. 516-517

Mrs. Salmon Steele

Adelaide Ruth Lambert was born at Ware, Mass., March 8, 1816, and died at Northport, Michigan, January 30, 1905.

Having been well trained in the schools of her native city she engaged in the work of teaching until her marriage to the Rev. Salmon Steele in 1838. Shortly after this event she came with her husband to Michigan, and for more than sixty-five years walked hand in hand with him, heroically sharing in all the toils and privations of a pioneer Methodist preacher's life. In 1849 Bro. Steele was pastor of the church at Traverse City, and at the same time Presiding Elder of Grand Traverse District. The country was very sparsely settled, and the district comprised the territory lying between Mackinac and Grand Haven. When the duties of the district called her husband away from home, as was frequently the case, Sister Steele would fill his pulpit and always with great acceptability. And when he was at home looking after the local interests, she would be traversing the wilds of the new region carrying the gospel to men and women who otherwise would not have had the consolations of such ministrations. Three years were spent with her husband in the copper country, where this sainted woman did most excellent work as an evangelist among the miners and lumbermen.

The first Sunday School in Northern Michigan was organized by Sister Steele in Northport, in 1858. This school stands today as a monument of her zeal.

In her home life Sister Steele exhibited the best qualities of a wife and mother. She understood the value of love in fashioning the character of the children God gave her, as the lives of those children, of whom there were seven, but of whom only one, Wilbur F., is now living, testify. During the closing years of her life she grew gradually blind, but her soul became more and more luminous so that to those about her her face seemed to reflect like a mirror the glory of God. Her sick room was the vestibule of heaven. She passed away as quietly and sweetly as if going into a slumber. The obsequies were held in the Methodist Episcopal Church at Northport, and she was laid to rest by the side of her partner in toil.


- Michigan Annual Conference minutes of 1905, pp. 285-286