The Ellen G. White Letters and Manuscripts: Volume 1


HARMON, Robert (1786-1866) and Eunice (c. 1787-c. 1863)

Parents of Ellen G. White. Born in Maine, Robert Harmon and Eunice Gould were married in Portland, Maine (then part of Massachusetts) in 1810. They were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, where “they held prominent connection,” according to James White. Robert and Eunice, together with several of their children, accepted the Second Advent teaching of William Miller in the early 1840s, for which they were cut off from the Methodist Church in 1843. Although remaining Adventists, the Harmons rejected the extremism that broke out among some Adventists in Portland, Maine, in 1845 and for a time left their home in Portland in order to be free of such influence. 1EGWLM 839.1

Ellen Harmon and James White stayed with the Harmons for a little more than a year after marrying in August 1846, and it was during this period that the Whites began to keep the Sabbath. By 1848 Robert and Eunice had also become Sabbathkeepers (see notes on Lt 3, 1847 [July 13]). 1EGWLM 839.2

In their old age Robert and Eunice Harmon left Maine and spent their remaining years living with or near their daughters, Ellen White and Sarah Belden, and their son, John B. Harmon. From about 1855 to 1862 they stayed in Battle Creek, Michigan, where both Ellen and Sarah lived with their families. In the early 1860s the Harmons moved to Greene County, Illinois, probably to live with John Harmon. Here Eunice died, probably in December 1863, about the same time that Ellen and James's oldest son, Henry Nichols White, died (Dec. 8, 1863). After his wife's death, Robert Harmon spent the remaining three years of his life with Sarah and Stephen Belden, by then living in Connecticut. Ellen White visited her father shortly before his death. In her diaries and other writings she frequently expressed her devotion to her parents. 1EGWLM 839.3

For a discussion of the dates of birth of Robert and Eunice Harmon as well as a study of the genealogy of Eunice, see Roger D. Joslyn, “Gould Ancestry of Ellen Gould (Harmon) White,” prepared for the Ellen G. White Estate (Silver Spring, Md.: 2002-2003); see also obituary: “Eunice Harmon,” Review, Jan. 26, 1864, p. 71; Ellen G. White, “They Sleep in Jesus,” Review, Apr. 21, 1868, p. 297; Ellen G. White, Lt 3, 1847 (July 13); Lt 8, 1856 (Jan. 21); Lt 29, 1861 (Nov. 13); Artemas C. Harmon, ed., The Harmon Genealogy, p. 41; James White to “Dear Brother and Sister,” Aug. 26, 1848; James White and Ellen G. White, Life Sketches (1880), p. 130; Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts [vol. 2], p. 50. 1EGWLM 839.4