John Byington was a Methodist circuit rider before he became a Seventh-day Adventist preacher. He was also a vigorous opponent of slavery and his home was said to have been a station on the old underground railroad that offered shelter for slaves who escaped from the South and sought their freedom. He did not accept the Seventh-day Adventist message until he was past fifty. Then he became a vigorous preacher of the truth. He helped organized one of he first Seventh-day Adventist churches, in Buck’s Bridge, New York. He was a practical man and helped to build several early Seventh-day Adventist churches.
In May, 1863, representatives of the Sabbath-keeping Adventists were sent to Battle Creek. But the Buck’s Bridge church was probably built earlier. It was not a large church, about twenty by thirty feet with a fifteen-foot extension in the rear. The foundation stones, scattered but still lying on the scene, testify to the beautiful situation of this old, historic landmark.
The Buck’s Bridge church school was apparently started in the year 1854. This church school was founded two years before the first elementary church school in Battle Creek. John’s daughter, Martha, taught this school. She married George Amadon, who was well known at the Review and Herald in Battle Creek as a foreman and a printer. Byington lived to see the church he helped to establish become a missionary church with a work begun on several continents. He died when he was 88 years old.