Author, scholar, Free Will Baptist minister of New Hampshire, and Millerite preacher. He was born in Anson, Maine, and in due time became a preacher and pastor. On Nov. 14, 1837, he married Helen M. Eaton, a farm girl from Weare, New Hampshire. While serving a Free Will Baptist church in Nashua, New Hampshire, he was brought into contact with William Miller. From that day he became a devout student of prophecy, and later a lifelong advocate of the “blessed hope.” On Feb. 15, 1842, he was excommunicated from the church in Nashua for his Advent preaching activities. In September 1842 Preble was one of the speakers at a camp meeting in eastern Maine attended by young James White. He accepted the Sabbath in the middle of 1844 (perhaps from Mrs. Rachel Oakes or someone else in Washington, New Hampshire).
He was the first Adventist to advocate the Sabbath in print. His article in the Hope of Israel (an Adventist periodical of Portland, Maine) of Feb. 28, 1845, was reprinted in tract form in March under the title Tract, Showing That the Seventh Day Should Be Observed As the Sabbath.
This tract led to the conversion of seven families in Paris, Maine. Among those were the Edward Andrews (father of J. N. Andrews) family, the Stowell family, Cyprian Stevens’ family, including the two young women who afterward became Mrs. J. N. Andrews and Mrs. Uriah Smith. It also introduced the seventh-day Sabbath to Joseph Bates, who later wrote his own tract on the Sabbath. But Preble observed the seventh day only until the middle of 1847. It is thought that this was because he considered the Sabbath only a subject of academic discussion and continued his connection with non-Sabbathkeeping churches and leaders. In later years he wrote against the Sabbath in the Advent Herald and World’s Crisis (Advent Christian papers) and against Ellen White and Seventh-day Adventists in general in the Advent-Christian Times. These articles were answered by such men as Uriah Smith, J. H. Waggoner, and J. N. Andrews. Preble seemed to try his hardest to cancel out the good he had earlier done the church, finally writing his book First-Day Sabbath.
His wife died while he was writing the book. In 1872, while J. N. Andrews was answering Preble’s arguments, Mrs. Andrews died. Preble’s ministry covered a period of about 70 years.
An Advent Christian historian writes, “He was earnest in spirit and full of faith till the last.”