The Ellen G. White Letters and Manuscripts: Volume 1


Lt 4, 1856

December 24, 1856, Volney, Iowa 1EGWLM 501.1

Letter to
Friends at Home.1
1EGWLM 501.2

Portions of this letter are published in Arthur L. White, Ellen G. White: The Early Years, pp. 347, 348.

The rigors of a 200-mile [322-kilometer] midwinter journey by open sleigh to Waukon, Iowa. Ellen White's concerns about the welfare of her children at home. 1EGWLM 501.3

Dear friends at home: 1EGWLM 501.4

Here we are 14 miles [22 kilometers] this side of Waukon [Iowa].2 We are all quite well. Have had rather a tedious time getting thus far. Yesterday for miles there was no track. Our horses had to plough through snow, very deep, but on we came. Oh, such fare as we have had on this journey. Last Monday we could get no decent food and tasted not a morsel, with the exception of a small apple, from morn until night. We have most of the time kept very comfortable, but it is the bitterest cold weather we ever experienced. 1EGWLM 501.5

We introduce our faith at every hotel we enter, and have some two or three invitations to hold meetings on our return. One landlord was the first class of society. A man of sense and influence told us our entertainment should cost us nothing if we would hold meetings there. There seems to be an interest awakened at every place we stop. We think we shall have some meetings in this place next First day. 1EGWLM 501.6

Well, how are my dear children? Jenny [Jane Fraser],3 keep little Willie [William Clarence White, age 2] quite close at home this bitter cold weather. Don't let my children expose themselves. Watch their clothing. Don't let them be warm and sweating in the house and when they go out dress them very warm. Keep their stockings patched up warm. Have each of the children learn every day a lesson. Encourage them to learn every way you can. 1EGWLM 501.7

Have had some bad dreams about little Willie. Oh, how thankful shall I be to see home, sweet home, again and my dear little boys, Henry [Henry Nichols White, age 9], Edson [James Edson White, age 7] and Willie. 1EGWLM 502.1

Children, be good and love the Lord and as Jenny wishes you to mind what she tells you, as you would your mother. Be kind to each other, loving, yielding and don't be foolish and unsteady. Be sober, read the precious Word of God. Children, be thankful for your comfortable home. We often suffer with cold, [and] cannot keep warm [even] sitting before the stove. Their houses are so cold and your mother suffers with cold in her head and teeth all the time. Wear two dresses all the time. 1EGWLM 502.2

Right about here there seems to be a better class of people and better houses than back, but last night we slept in an unfinished chamber, the pipe running through the top of the house, and it was entirely open, a large space, big enough for a couple of cats to jump out of. 1EGWLM 502.3

Had a long time, the brethren did, with a Presbyterian minister, dignified enough, I assure you. He had no evidence for First day and if Uriah4 [Uriah Smith] had been here he would have laughed in his sleeve. 1EGWLM 502.4

Pray for us. We are near the scene of conflict. I say pray for us, for God to open the way for our return, or we may be blocked in and remain all winter.5 Pray for the Lord to give us success. 1EGWLM 502.5

In love. 1EGWLM 502.6