Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)

325/519

Lt 7, 1863

White, Henry; White, J. E.; White, W. C.

Adams Center, New York

November 5, 1863

Previously unpublished.

Dear Children, Henry, Edson, and Willie:

We received Adelia’s and Edson’s letters today. Were glad to hear from you all. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1863, par. 1

I am as well as could be expected with all our traveling and broken rest. We left Newport Thursday morning. Rode three miles in a lumber wagon to Newport village. Then took the stage for Claremont—fourteen miles. Took dinner at the hotel, then stage again for the depot, four miles farther, then the cars, and rode until eight o’clock at night, when we stepped out at St. Albans, Vermont. Stopped at the hotel over night. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1863, par. 2

Took breakfast and then took our seats in the stage for Enosburg—twenty miles, I think it was. The horses were quite slow in ascending the hills. The stage carried us to Enosburg Falls, four miles from Brethren Bourdeau. We could not obtain a conveyance to take us to the place of meeting. We waited some hours. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1863, par. 3

While waiting we met an Advent brother and his wife in the tavern. Had a long talk with them. Their names were Roberts. They were Himes’ class of Adventists. James showed them the charts. He hung them up in the hotel. They seemed much pleased with them. They were more than half persuaded to be Sabbathkeepers. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1863, par. 4

After a long time we found a man with one horse and an old sheep rack, who took us to the place of meeting. The horse was poor and could not go much faster than a walk. Your father had to walk up most of the hills, and the steepest pitches we both walked. We arrived at our destination at last, near the commencement of the Sabbath, all worn out, having eaten nothing but one cracker since morning. We were heartily welcomed by the Brethren Bourdeau and the brethren and sisters whom we found present from different places. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1863, par. 5

Sabbath morning we looked out the window and saw a long procession of teams slowly ascending the hills. They kept coming and coming. The schoolhouse could not begin to hold them. They had fitted up with seats the woodshed, stable, and barn—all quite close. At one end of the woodshed there was a stove which gave a little heat. The barns were literally packed. Four hundred people were present all through the meeting; nearly three hundred of these were believers. Our meetings were good. When I saw the place for meeting, I feared we could not labor at all, it looked so odd. But we had unusual freedom. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1863, par. 6

Your father labored hard. He preached twice Sabbath, and talked in business meeting about one hour, and three times Sunday. And then after all meetings had closed he had another meeting in the house and sat up till past eleven o’clock. Monday he did business nearly all day for the paper, and neighbors who had attended through the meeting—and who were convicted of the truth—came in. Your father hung up the charts and went to work preaching to them. He talked until nearly ten o’clock. They had no arguments against the truth. They tried to raise some objections but made poor work of it. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1863, par. 7

Tuesday he wrote for the paper until noon, then hastily packed, ate a little bread and milk, and then we started for St. Albans, with Brethren Bourdeau driving. Most all the way it was up hill—pull, pull, pull, going very rough. We did not get into St. Albans in time for the cars and had to stop over night. Brethren Bourdeau and ourselves went into our sleeping room and we ate our lunch of bread and apples together. Then we parted with them and we retired to rest. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1863, par. 8

We were aroused at four o’clock by a rap upon our door. We dressed hastily, and as soon as possible got into the hack to be conveyed to the depot. We there learned that the express train was four hours behind and that would detain us a day because we could not make connection at Rouse Point. Finally some of them got up a special car and made an extra trip to Rouse Point to accommodate five passengers. We were pleased when we found ourselves on the way to our next appointment at Buck’s Bridge. We ate a couple of crackers and an apple for our breakfast and at about twelve arrived at Madrid depot. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1863, par. 9

Found Brother Henry Hilliard waiting for us. He took us to his house where we were heartily welcomed. We always find rest in that pilgrim’s home. Dinner was ready and we had a good appetite. Next morning I was up at daylight, feeling rather the worse for my journey the day before. At noon we rode three miles in a rainstorm to Buck’s Bridge to meet our appointment there. It was only an afternoon meeting, yet the house was filled with believers and unbelievers. After the meeting closed we took a hasty supper, for your father was doing business selling charts and books every moment of the time. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1863, par. 10

As soon as supper was over we stepped into the double wagons and rode eight miles, accompanied by Brethren Tailor, Buck, Whitney, Hilliard, and Lawrence. We tarried at Brother Thompson’s that night. The teams went step and step. The weather was raw and chilly. We had been in a free perspiration in the meeting. We both labored hard in the meeting. Both of us had unusual freedom and the meeting seemed to strengthen and encourage all present. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1863, par. 11

Your father was so tired and nervous Thursday night he could sleep but a portion of the night. At three we were called up to go to the depot. We took a tasteless breakfast on account of the early hour, and then rode four miles to the depot and were soon on our way to this place. When we stepped off the cars there was a large number of the brethren to meet us and welcome us to this place. We found quite a number of letters here—two from Edson, two or three from Adelia—but I was sorry to see none from my oldest son. Has he forgotten his parents? 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1863, par. 12

There is an excellent company of brethren and sisters here. They seem to be living Christians, hearty and sincere, hospitable and true. Your father preached twice Sabbath and attended a business meeting late in the evening. He did not get to rest until 11 o’clock. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1863, par. 13

Five brethren sat up all night needlessly, wholly needlessly. Brother Arnold was president of the conference and he was so long and tedious he kept five of our brethren up all night. Your father was so completely exhausted with his constant labor in meeting and out he could not preach Sunday. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1863, par. 14

I had good liberty in this place. Your father and myself had been thoroughly published in this community. My name had been sneered at from the pulpit by the ministers, and all thought they must come out to see what kind of a being I was. The house was crowded full Sabbath and Sunday. I talked twice Sabbath and once Sunday. I had something for the conference and had to stay at home from meeting and write out what I had, which would be needed immediately after the afternoon meeting. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1863, par. 15

In the afternoon I had so much to write that we were late when we came into the entry of the meetinghouse. They told us we could not get in, for the house was crammed full. They sent us around to the back doors of the meetinghouse—a door each side of the pulpit designed to air the house, or rather relieve the speaker easily when the air was oppressive. By considerable crowding, gaining and pushing, we found our way into the house. People were sitting on the platform around the desk, on the steps, and everywhere they could find a place, as thick as they could crowd together. The large gallery was full. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1863, par. 16

While Brother Andrews was preaching, I took my paper and laid it on my Bible and finished the matter to be read to that large conference of delegates. I wrote five pages. Brother Andrews closed. While they sang a hymn I put up pencil and paper, and when they had ceased singing I was upon my feet to talk. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1863, par. 17

I had perfect liberty. There was not a sneer or a smile upon a countenance in that congregation. They listened with the greatest respect and attention. Many stood up in the aisles and entry and all were still, almost, as death. I have had perfect liberty in this place. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1863, par. 18

Sunday night there was a business meeting about seven o’clock. Two brethren came for me. It was very dark. Brother Salsbury carried the lantern while another brother drove his horse, following the light. Our stopping place was about half a mile from the meetinghouse. (I read my testimony for the conference in regard to the qualifications of ministers who wanted to preach the truth. Some, I saw, had no duty to preach. It was embarrassing for me to read it before them all, the supposed ministers being present.) The meeting went off the best of any meeting of the kind I ever attended. The Spirit of the Lord rested upon that meeting. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1863, par. 19

My reading the matter for the ministers before the people left a solemn, deep impression upon those present. There was sobbing all over the house. No one had the least disposition to oppose or question the matter. It was heartily received. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1863, par. 20

We have been parting with brethren all day. I am rather dull today. It was past 12 o’clock when we returned from the meeting and it was one o’clock before we retired to rest. I could not close my eyes for hours, I had felt so much wrought upon through the day. I slept about three hours. But the Lord sustains us. I have written eleven pages before this today. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1863, par. 21