Evarts, Jeremiah (1781-1831)

evartsEarly leader of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM)Evarts was an influential editor and a prominent advocate of Indian rights and civic and religious causes. Educated at Yale College (B.A., 1802; M.A. 1805), he married Mehitabel Barnes in 1804 and was admitted to the Connecticut bar in 1806. In 1810 he moved to Boston to edit the Panoplist, an organ of orthodox Congregationalism. The next year he was elected treasurer of the newly formed ABCFM, and in 1812 he became a member of the board and of its prudential committee. At the same time the Panoplist became an official ABCFM organ (renamed Missionary Herald in 1820).

When Samuel Worcester, corresponding secretary of the ABCFM, died in 1821, Evarts succeeded him, continuing also as editor. In spite of persistent ill health, he traveled extensively on behalf of the ABCFM and among its missions to the Cherokees, Chickasaws, and Choctaws. Evarts became deeply involved in the issue of Indian rights, combating the frontier mentality reflected in Andrew Jackson’s policy of displacing the tribes. His articles in major periodicals, later published in book form, together with his lobbying in Washington and elsewhere, were central in the struggle; his strenuous efforts contributed to his early death. He was prominent in many other causes—the American Bible Society, training for the ministry, and temperance and Sabbatarian movements.

Stowe, David M., “Evarts, Jeremiah,” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald H. Anderson (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1998), 204.

This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright © 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of Macmillan Reference USA, New York, NY. All rights reserved.


Digital Texts

Evarts, Jeremiah. Essays on the Present Crisis in the Condition of the American Indians .

Evarts, Jeremiah, ed. Speeches on the Passage of the Bill for the Removal of the Indians By United States Congress. Boston: Perkins and Marvin, 1830.

Evarts, Jeremiah, George Barrell Cheever, Convers Francis. The Removal of the Indians: An Article from the American Monthly Magazine: an Examination of an Article in the North American Review: and an Exhibition of the Advancement of the Southern Tribes, in Civilization and Christianity . Published by Peirce and Williams, 1830.

Tracy, Ebenezer Carter. Memoir of the Life of Jeremiah Evarts. Boston: Crocker and Brewster, 1845.


Evarts, Jeremiah, 1781-1831. Cherokee removal : the “William Penn” essays and other writings by Jeremiah Evarts ; edited and with an introd. by Francis Paul Prucha. Knoxville : University of Tennessee Press, c1981.


Andrew, John III. From Revivals to Removals: Jeremiah Evarts, the Cherokee National, and the Search for the Soul of America, Athens: University of Georgia Press (1992).

Missionary Herald 27:305-313 and 337-347 has an extensive tribute.

Norgren, Jill. Cherokee Cases: Two Landmark Federal Decisions in the Fight for Sovereignty, University of Oklahoma Press (2004).

Oliphant, J. Orin, ed. Through the South and West with Jeremiah Evarts in 1826. Lewisburg, Pennsylvania: Bucknell University Press, 1956.

Prucha, Francis Paul, ed. Cherokee Removal: The “William Penn” Essays & Other Writings by Jeremiah Evarts. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1981; containing essays originally published as Essays On The Present Crisis..American Indians in 1829.

Tracy, E.C. Memoir of the Life of Jeremiah Evarts, Esq. Boston: Crocker and Brewster, 1845. Lists all Evart’s papers relating to the Indian question.


“Jeremiah Evarts” from the front of Tracy, Ebenezer Carter. Memoir of the Life of Jeremiah Evarts (1845).