Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 19e, 1874

White, W. C.

Cloverdale, California

April 22, 1874

Previously unpublished.

Dear Son Willie:

[On the freight train from Cloverdale to Santa Rosa.]

We left San Francisco for our home in Santa Rosa. We had a pleasant trip on crossing the bay to Petaluma. We tarried at the hospitable home of Brother Chapman, where we had left our horses and carriage. We came on the boat at eleven o’clock. Elder Canright’s family left on the boat at half past two. Your father made arrangements to meet him at Healdsburg Tuesday eve, April 21. We would take dinner at our home at Santa Rosa, then go on to Healdsburg. 2LtMs, Lt 19e, 1874, par. 1

Our horses were barefooted, but we felt in haste. We would not stop to get them shod. Our carriage spring was broken, we could not stop to get it repaired. Important moves were being made which related to the cause of God. We had sought the Lord in earnest prayer to guide us where we should begin the tent meeting. 2LtMs, Lt 19e, 1874, par. 2

Some of our ministering brethren thought we should begin in small towns, rather than in the cities, but the more we considered the matter, the more decided we were that we should set the tent in Oakland and commence a course of lectures there. We learned from brethren in Petaluma that Brethren Canright and Cornell had decided to set the tent and commence a course of lectures in Cloverdale, the terminus of the railroad, eighteen miles from Healdsburg. It seemed to us very dark in the direction of Cloverdale, but clear and light in Oakland. Cloverdale has about two hundred inhabitants, and there was not such prospect of success in some other place. Our people in Oakland were very anxious for the tent to come there, and this seemed to us to be altogether a better place than Cloverdale. We were now seeking to intercept Elders Canright and Cornell and consult together in regard to this matter. 2LtMs, Lt 19e, 1874, par. 3

When we reached Healdsburg, we were sadly disappointed to learn these brethren had left for Cloverdale, and the tent and their goods were loaded to be taken to them by Brother Bond next morning. We thought best to go as far as Brother Bond’s, eight miles farther, that night. When we came to Russian River it was past nine o’clock. We knew that not all parts of this river were safe. Your cautious father dared not drive his team in the water until he tested its safety. 2LtMs, Lt 19e, 1874, par. 4

You may imagine our situation upon a road we were unacquainted with, rapid running deep river to ford, your father in feeble health, but his interest in the cause and work of God was unabated. He had no thought of going back. He unhitched the horses from the wagon, separated them, and rode Kitty through the river while I held her mate upon the bank. My husband decided there was no danger, and we hitched them to the carriage and drove over the stream, feeling deeply grateful that we had passed over in safety, when, Lo, stretching to the right and left before us was still a more broad, deep, rapidly running river. 2LtMs, Lt 19e, 1874, par. 5

We halted and consulted what we should do. We lifted our hearts to God for light and help and to protection, for we still felt we must go forward. Your father and I unhitched the horses again. He mounted Kitty’s back while I held her mate. It required all my strength to keep restless Bill from breaking away from me and following his mate. Your father crossed and recrossed the river twice to make sure the way of safety for the carriage. The water came above the top of his boots. He told me to mark the course he took by the mountain on the opposite side. Again the horses were hitched to the wagon, and past nine o’clock at night we passed through Russian River to the other side. The water came into the body of the carriage, but we came out on the opposite bank all safe. We felt to thank God and take courage. We could not, in the night, see what road to take, and missed the one leading to Brother Bond’s. We drove one mile beyond. We came to McPherson’s ranch. We thought we could inquire the way, and your father aroused the inmates and inquired the road to Mr. Bond’s. We were agreeably surprised to hear the cheering voice, “Why, if this is not Brother White!” 2LtMs, Lt 19e, 1874, par. 6

“But who lives here?” 2LtMs, Lt 19e, 1874, par. 7

The answer came, “William Harmon.” 2LtMs, Lt 19e, 1874, par. 8

They welcomed us and said we must go no farther that night, but tarry with them. Next morning quite early we went on our way to Brother Bond’s and took breakfast with them. We saw the load of goods to be taken to Cloverdale by Brother Harmon. We took the responsibility of saying these goods must remain here for further orders. We would go on to Cloverdale and counsel with our ministering brethren. Brother Bond put on to our carriage his well shod, rested team, and he and Brother Harmon accompanied us to Cloverdale. 2LtMs, Lt 19e, 1874, par. 9

We found Brother Cornell still at Cloverdale. He informed us that after looking around and ascertaining the prospects of a successful tent meeting, he decided that the prospect would not warrant us to be at the expense to open a meeting there. Then the brethren decided that Cloverdale was not the place for a tent meeting. Brother Canright had gone to Santa Rosa to consult us in the matter. The mistake was in leaving in too great haste and not waiting to meet us at Healdsburg. We left our team for Brother Cornell to take to Santa Rosa, and stepped on board a freight train and are now hurrying back to Santa Rosa. We felt so sure that Oakland was the place to open tent meetings, we ordered the tent reshipped to Santa Rosa. But we are within a few miles of the depot at Santa Rosa. 2LtMs, Lt 19e, 1874, par. 10

Santa Rosa. We are home again. We were happy to meet Elder Canright. He feels certain that Cloverdale is not the place to hold meetings now. Cloverdale is a most romantic place. It is surrounded by mountains; but it is a place of much intemperance. 2LtMs, Lt 19e, 1874, par. 11

Here we met again to consult and pray over the matter, and we all decided that Oakland was the place to set the tent. But it is dark and we have many things to talk about in reference to the plans, the best ways [and] means to be used to gain access to the people. We talked and then committed all to God, entreating Him to open the way and go before us and give His truth power among the people. We believe He will answer our prayers. 2LtMs, Lt 19e, 1874, par. 12

Do not cease to pray for the Lord to bless and fully restore to your father his health. Satan would be glad to silence his voice, but thank the Lord, his [Satan’s] power is limited. The Lord God of Israel is on our side, or rather, we are on the side of the Lord God of Israel. We honor and are seeking to obey all His commandments, through the grace of Jesus Christ, and are standing in defense of the faith once delivered to the saints. 2LtMs, Lt 19e, 1874, par. 13

We rely wholly upon the righteousness of our crucified and risen Saviour. Let all your plans be to magnify the Lord, to be a co-laborer with Jesus Christ. Our efforts must be earnest, persevering, untiring. We must not fail or be discouraged, and Jesus will bring divine aid to combine with our human efforts so that through His infinite grace our work shall be a complete whole. 2LtMs, Lt 19e, 1874, par. 14