The Ellen G. White Letters and Manuscripts: Volume 1


WHITE, Henry Nichols (1847-1863)

Eldest son of James and Ellen White, born in Gorham, Maine. Published sources focus on two crisis periods in Henry White's short life—his infancy and his last sickness. During his first 14 months Henry twice came close to death through serious illness. Each time he was dramatically healed after prayer. These crises brought into sharp relief the conflict between Henry's welfare and the constant travel and hardships of James and Ellen White during this early stage of the movement. After much heartache they made the decision to leave Henry with trusted friends, the family of Stockbridge Howland, in Topsham, Maine, where he lived from the age of 1 to 6. 1EGWLM 904.4

When Henry caught pneumonia at age 16 and became convinced that he would not survive, he was distressed, not so much over his impending death as over the fact that he did not feel spiritually prepared to die. “Remember that the death-bed is a poor place to prepare for an inheritance in the second life,” he implored his young friends in a dictated message from his bedside. In the few days that remained, Henry set about “pleading with God for pardon and acceptance,” after which “he seemed to enjoy peace of mind and the blessing of God.” A sketch of Henry White's life, together with a gripping account of his last sickness, was subsequently published. Advertised as being “of the deepest interest to every youth,” it sold by the thousands. 1EGWLM 904.5

See: Obituary: “Henry N. White,” Review, Dec. 29, 1863, p. 39; An Appeal to the Youth: Funeral Address of Henry N. White, at Battle Creek, Mich., Dec. 21, 1863 (Battle Creek, Mich.: Steam Press, 1864), pp. 26, 28; Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts [vol. 2], pp. 89, 90, 104-107; J. W. [James White], “Books! Books!!” Review, Jan. 28, 1868, p. 108; Arthur L. White, Ellen G. White: The Progressive Years, pp. 59-62, 70-72. 1EGWLM 905.1