Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 25, 1868

Children [White, J. E.; White, W. C.]

Richmond, Maine

December 2, 1868

Portions of this letter are published in 4MR 38; 5MR 63.

Dear Children:

It has been some time since I have written you. I have been quite sick and, not being able to rest at all, have not gained strength. 1LtMs, Lt 25, 1868, par. 1

I found your aunt Sarah very near her end. She did not seem to be aware that this was the case. I was shocked at her appearance. She was much worse than I had feared. I was confident she must die. I labored quite hard in Connecticut, and united with this was my anxiety for Sarah and my distress at the disorder prevailing in the family. I was sick when I left her. 1LtMs, Lt 25, 1868, par. 2

We tarried in Boston—merely slept in the bed, ate nothing—and in the morning our bill was $6.00. We tugged our baggage to the cars and I felt unable to sit up through the day. We were on board the cars from early morning until eight o’clock at night. I was dizzy and thoroughly exhausted. My nervous system was all deranged, the circulation was broken up. In the morning my face was badly swollen, proceeding from the two roots left in my mouth when my teeth were extracted. 1LtMs, Lt 25, 1868, par. 3

I labored all through the meeting at Norridgewock, unable to hold up my head only while standing upon my feet. I had a burden for the people which pressed me to say considerable. Your father sent an appointment to Richmond, on his old ground, Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday evenings. We knew not how we should be received but we were welcomed by old Father Umberhind’s family. Most all were afraid of us, yet we urged our way among them during the day, visiting from house to house and speaking to the people in the evening. Our testimony has had a good effect. 1LtMs, Lt 25, 1868, par. 4

Your mother’s birthday was spent in traveling on foot one mile across a rocky pasture and then a watery marsh, hopping from stone to stone and from knoll to knoll to keep from wetting my feet. We were on our way to visit Lou Curtis. Were coldly received. We prayed with them and left. Our dinner was gems, made of flour we brought, without sauce of any variety. For three days we lived on the bread I baked in the two pans they had for baking sweet cakes. The living was rather poor. They eat pork grease and this we could not touch. 1LtMs, Lt 25, 1868, par. 5

We went to Portland Friday. Got there at noon; made our home at Brother Goswell’s. We never have been received in any place with such manifest thankfulness and with a more hearty welcome. We met Lizzie and Harriet at Portland. Both attended our meetings. We learned from a letter from Stephen that Sarah died the Wednesday before. I hardly was prepared for this, although I had thought she could not live long and might die at any moment. 1LtMs, Lt 25, 1868, par. 6

We had good meetings in Portland, and a good hearing—never better anywhere. The house was well filled in the afternoon. The nominal Adventists let me in their hall to speak. The hall was literally packed. We had excellent attention. I had perfect liberty in speaking to the people. I walked one mile and back three times a day, and then visiting my sisters and cousins wore me. Our appointments had been given out for us both to speak in the Reed meetinghouse Monday eve and in a large hall at Richmond village Tuesday night. Monday evening we found above two hundred assembled to hear us. I was sick, yet spoke about thirty minutes. Tuesday I could sit up but a short time through the day, yet, putting my trust in God, I walked to the hall and spoke about three quarters of an hour. Your father spoke the same length of time. There were three hundred people present. We never had better attention. But today, Wednesday, I am worn. Rest we must have. But we look forward to the time when “we’ll lay our heavy burdens down, there’s resting by and by.” 1LtMs, Lt 25, 1868, par. 7

Tonight we tarry at Brother Howland’s. On the morrow we shall take dinner with Sister Temple of Boston, by a special request from her by letter to us. She has obtained a divorce from Hicks. 1LtMs, Lt 25, 1868, par. 8

The only apology I have for not writing before is, no time or strength. We felt that we must make a break into the Reed neighborhood, urge a hearing here and open a field for Brother Waggoner to work. He has held meetings in union with us. He is well liked. He is in the way of his duty and calculated to do good. The Lord has given him access to the people. 1LtMs, Lt 25, 1868, par. 9

I hope you are all seeking to do just right. Edson, you know your Master’s will. Only do it, and you will have a conscience void of offense. Seek to exert an influence for good upon all with whom you associate. You are either gathering with Christ or scattering abroad. God help you to work the works of righteousness, that when the Master comes to reckon with His servants you may hear from His lips “Well done, good and faithful servant: ... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” [Matthew 25:23.] 1LtMs, Lt 25, 1868, par. 10

Willie, my dear boy, love is a part of your nature. Cherish it, for it is the most precious gift of heaven. Don’t neglect prayer. May the Lord bless you, my dear boy. 1LtMs, Lt 25, 1868, par. 11

My children, have your aim to do good, to bless others. We are now packing our trunks for Boston. 1LtMs, Lt 25, 1868, par. 12

Please to write me. In haste and much love. 1LtMs, Lt 25, 1868, par. 13