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.
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.