Gem State Adventist Academy Honors States Family
Adventist education is a treasure that needs to be cherished, nurtured and esteemed. The stories and the long-lasting positive impact need to be told and retold. To assure this happens, the alumni association at Gem State Adventist Academy recently appointed a new subcommittee called the Heritage Connection.
This year the Heritage Connection uncovered a story of extraordinary loyalty to Adventist education. The States family, whose ancestry connects directly with President Abraham Lincoln, joined the Advent movement shortly after its inception. Two members of the family served our church as pioneer ministers — Frank States and George O. States, who became a General Conference vice president.
Herbert Lincoln States (1869–1926) was a nephew of George and Frank. When Herbert was 15, his family decided to leave Michigan, and they joined a wagon train heading West. The family settled in Colorado where Herbert met Hattie Castle and married her in 1887.
In 1901, Herbert, his wife and five children packed up their things and headed Northwest. They had five wagons, a dog cart, one saddle horse and three burros. When they got to Hells Canyon, a 10-mile wide ravine located along the border of eastern Oregon and western Idaho, they established a homestead. Herbert traded a 30-30 rifle for lumber to build a 14-by-16-foot house.
The family grew in that remote area, which eventually became known as Advent Gulch. An Adventist school was begun. When the children became teenagers, the States family began sending their teens to GSAA. Their children's children went to GSAA, too. When the Heritage Connection conducted the research, they found that, in all, 74 States family members have attended GSAA!
At homecoming on April 3, GSAA recognized this extraordinary loyalty by giving the States family the "Family Loyalty Award." Eighty-two States family members were present to receive the award, reconnect with one another and celebrate the legacy of Adventist education.