Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2

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Lt 18, 1870

White, J. E.; White, Emma

Battle Creek, Michigan

November 9, 1870

Portions of this letter are published in 2Bio 294; 3MR 296; 9MR 383.

Dear children, Edson and Emma:

Home again, and very thankful are we to be here. We left Missouri Monday at one o’clock. We took sleeping cars at Quincy. We had a nice state room shut up to ourselves. The conductor on the sleeping car was a Battle Creek man. He lived here fourteen years ago. Father and the gentleman had a long chat. He was inclined to favor us and [we] were glad to be favored. This conductor of the sleeping car goes all the way from Chicago to Colorado. It takes him just one week to perform the trip to and from Colorado. 2LtMs, Lt 18, 1870, par. 1

We met a gentleman in the car from the Rocky Mountains. He had lived there ten years. There was an aged lady in the cars. Said she had not had anything to eat that day. Said her custom was to dress in a warm room, have a hot cup of tea or coffee as soon as she was up. She had to stay in a cold room in [the] depot, had no hot drink or anything to eat. I had the remnants of camp meeting living which was bread and apples and a few sugar cakes. Gave her this. The Rocky Mountain stranger gave her butter made at the Rocky Mountains to put on her bread. He then cut a nice piece of cheese made at the Rocky Mountains and handed me to give her and she had a very good breakfast. He then showed me a pear, very large, three times as large as any pear I have ever seen. This was the fruit of the Rocky Mountains. 2LtMs, Lt 18, 1870, par. 2

I designed writing you at Hamilton, but was unable. I spoke five times in Hamilton. We started to visit an afflicted family who had lost a child fourteen years old. Father preached the funeral sermon in the Methodist meetinghouse. We were provided a double wagon and horses by Brother McCollester. We rode finely for two miles when we tried to cross a mud slough. When in the center of roads of mud, the horses were stuck (stalled is the Western phrase). The mud was up to the horses bellies. They could go no farther. They were struggling until they lay flat in the mud. We were puzzled to know what to do. Father walked out on the pole of the wagon and unfastened the horses from the wagon and separated them from each other and then used the whip and they, after making a terrible effort, struggled to terra firma, leaving us in the wagon in a sea of mud. 2LtMs, Lt 18, 1870, par. 3

Father decided to venture out on the pole and ran lightly over the stiffest parts of the mud. The stiff mud bore him up. He tried to get a board for me to walk on over the mud. I had no rubbers. The board refused to come off the oak posts. I decided to follow your father’s example. I ran out on the pole and his hand met mine and I got safe to terra firma. We left the wagon and horses and walked back to Hamilton, two miles. This wearied me so much I was unfitted for writing or doing anything. It was very warm. I became much heated. My head felt so tired. I had an appointment that night. After speaking I found my strength was gone. I could not sleep much that night and for several days was so prostrated I could not write. My head was light and confused. You would have received a letter from me had it not been for this long walk. 2LtMs, Lt 18, 1870, par. 4

We rode over the prairies about twenty miles to Civil Bend. We remained among the brethren there two weeks. Never were people more eager to hear preaching than in this place. Most of the people adopt horseback riding. They came from five to six miles through mud and rain. Women came on horseback with their children in their arms. Many have mules, others ponies. Lumber wagons came loaded with people. Evening meetings, people came for miles around. The schoolhouse could not hold the people. Many went away for they could [not] even get a foothold in the house. We finally repaired to a large union meetinghouse. We held meetings under tent as long as we could, having two stoves to warm it. Then we went to [a] private house, then schoolhouse, then large meeting house at not the most central but the only place of sufficient dimensions to accommodate the people. We both had perfect liberty. We held seventeen meetings in the place. The people were much helped and exceedingly grateful for that help. But this will all appear in [the] Review, so I need not spend any time giving particulars. 2LtMs, Lt 18, 1870, par. 5

We went to Missouri to help the people, not to stand off and ask them to come to us that we might help them. We endeavored to meet them where they were. They were in poor houses. In their only parlor was frequently from two to three beds. They had no apples this year; therefore were destitute of fruit. We had hard eating, hard sleeping and hard riding in lumber wagons, but we made the best of it all. We did not show that we were the least inconvenienced. We met the people where they were and won their hearts by so doing. There were two parties divided about equally, both parties possessed moral worth. Snook had, previous to his going into Universalism, visited Missouri and blacked your father and myself, making us before the public as mean, dishonest and wicked as he could until I was regarded as a very witch. I was called “old Mother White” and was despised and hated most thoroughly. Here a division took place in the body of Seventh-day Adventists and has continued for years. Our coming in among them, speaking to them, told wonderfully upon them. They were never so astonished as when they saw that we were not old and haggard, but looking like decent, respectable people. Suffice it to say, in the providence of God a union was formed between these two bodies and we left them very happy. Confessions were made of their prejudice against us and the great change in their feelings. This union was all we could effect at that time, for the people had stood where they could not be helped. Neither party had any influence to bring souls to the truth for they would say, “Get first united yourselves. We will wait to see how you come out and etc.” The meetings in Missouri were very important and accomplished more than we had feared at first. 2LtMs, Lt 18, 1870, par. 6

Our next camp meetings commence in Missouri and Kansas. Our tents are left there. We hope for a good work to be accomplished there for unbelievers. 2LtMs, Lt 18, 1870, par. 7

While in Chicago depot, a young man introduced himself to me as Mr. Morse, who had opened a commercial college in Battle Creek, an acquaintance of yours. He talked freely. His health is poor. His throat is diseased. I tried to prescribe for him wet bandages and compress for lungs. He thinks of going to Missouri or Kansas for his health. I felt strong sympathy and pity for the young man. He has failed. He said he spent a little fortune in preparing [to] get printing done in notices and etc. His capital was gone and his income far below expenses. He decided if anything could be made it must be by striking right in and doing what you can on a small, economical scale and thus work up slowly and surely. We bid him goodbye, feeling sad, for his capital of voice for teaching penmanship is gone. He can talk but little and he will never recover. 2LtMs, Lt 18, 1870, par. 8

We found our parents better than we feared. Father has been very sick, but is fast mending. He is even now better than before his sickness. He seems cheerful and happy. Mother is slowly failing. She seems to have peace of mind and is, we think, prepared for her last change. Dear Mother, we shall do all we can for her, for she will not need our help long. We have given Grandfather the large bedroom below and moved Mother into the parlor. We devote the parlor and parlor bedroom for them. This leaves us limited room. 2LtMs, Lt 18, 1870, par. 9

We found Brother Smith had gone to Rochester, Brother Gage sick with fever not from work in the office, but his and her restless uneasy temperament. They have taken a strange course in our absence. He has done but little in the office, but they both, also Charlie, went to Chicago to please themselves. Immediately Brother Gage came down sick. He is now better. How it may turn with him, we cannot say. He went out in the wet and damp to go to Chicago and he had to wait for the train until near morning. We are puzzled to know what these things mean. He is not to be [word missing]. He is unfaithful in his business. We think that she is the great trouble. She leads him and is unfitting him for usefulness, as Harriett, by her unconsecrated course, has disqualified Brother Smith for the work that he might accomplish. 2LtMs, Lt 18, 1870, par. 10

How important that we consecrate ourselves without reserve to God and wait the guidance of His Holy Spirit. The Lord will help us when we most need help if we make Him our trust. I feel constant gratitude of heart as I have a sense of His manifold good and tender mercy to us, so unworthy. He deserves our heart’s best and holiest affections. We should manifest the basest ingratitude if we doubt His care and love. 2LtMs, Lt 18, 1870, par. 11

We have just met Brother Salisbury. He says Nettie is doing first-rate. 2LtMs, Lt 18, 1870, par. 12

Well, Edson, do not make too great exertions at once to get everything. Get along with as little as possible and try to make your payments if possible. This will be for your interest. If Father sees you anxious to make your payments and not be careless in this direction, he will feel encouraged to help you and make it as easy for you as possible; but do not injure your health to do this. Your capital of strength is more valuable than any amount of property. Move cautiously. Make God your counselor. “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33. It is safe to put your trust in God and keep His fear ever before you. 2LtMs, Lt 18, 1870, par. 13

Father has been troubled with dreams in regard to your becoming involved for a team and he had to pay, for you could not discharge the debt. All I would say is, Be careful. Move cautiously. Do not be in a hurry about anything. Keep clear of debt. Hire as little as possible. This hiring a little here and there, little driblets constantly going out for jobs done, will keep you embarrassed all the time. Take good care of what you have already and lay out as little work as possible. Do what you can do and depend not on hired help. Show good generalship and you will accomplish more than in big calculations, employing others to work out your plans. Plan only what [you] yourself can do. Your profits will not meet your expectations and like Mr. Morse, you will make a failure in large preparations and failure in your expectations. 2LtMs, Lt 18, 1870, par. 14

May you be guided aright is our prayer. Willie we expect today. He may not come. We shall be held here for a time, for there is no one to depend on. 2LtMs, Lt 18, 1870, par. 15

In much love to yourselves and Brother and Sister McDearmon, 2LtMs, Lt 18, 1870, par. 16

From your mother. 2LtMs, Lt 18, 1870, par. 17