Emerson Andrews was born in Mansfield, Bristol County, Massachusetts in 1806 to godly parents, James and Mercy Andrews. They were from English stock and were strict Puritans in faith and lifestyle. Although young Emerson was raised in the Congregational Church he was far from God in his teens and twenties. Nevertheless, periodically, he experienced intense conviction, usually through his parents’ counsels and prayers but particularly through two unforgettable sermons delivered by the eccentric revivalist, Lorenzo Dow. Soon after this he was converted under the ministry of another revival preacher, Asahel Nettleton.
He was a very educated man formerly studying at Chesterfield Academy and, at the time of his conversion, at Plainfield Kimball Union Academy, in New Hampshire. In the spring of 1832 whilst studying further at Union College in Schenectady, New York, he was baptised by immersion in the Mohawk River. It was his convictions about the Bible’s teaching on water baptism that caused him to join the Baptist’s instead of the Congregationalists or Presbyterians.
His preaching zeal and effectiveness were quickly recognised and he was soon licensed to preach and for a four year period served brief pastorates in New York State - Waterford, West Troy, Lansingburg and Rome (1834-1838)
In 1838 began an itinerant evangelist for thirty-five years, mainly in America, but also in Europe, Africa, Asia and Canada. His estimates were that 40,000 were converted through his ministry.