Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 20, 1878

White, W. C.; White, Mary

On the boat “Antelope” for San Francisco, California

March 1878

Previously unpublished.

Dear Children, Willie and Mary:

Your letter was received, containing draft for $1,000. I am relieved in money matters now. We received in the same mail two letters returning the appeal with names and pledges—one from Wisconsin and one from the Oakland church with quite a large number of names—men, women, and children pledging from five cents up to as high as $50. Brother and Sister Baker sent a draft for one hundred dollars for European [?] Mission. I expect today’s mail will bring more. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1878, par. 1

Father is with me, but quite poorly. He has had singular developments for some months. He has complained of his right hand’s being nervous and kept water by his bed and through the night would repeatedly wet his head and hands. Through the day, if his hands and head troubled him, he made application of water. I dreamed this was hurting him; that it was bringing dryness to the skin and a very uncomfortable sensation unless they were wet. One week ago last Sabbath was a warm day and his head, hands, and feet he would keep wet, but the more he applied cold water the more the reaction would bring increased heat until for a time his nervousness amounted almost to insanity. I never was brought into so peculiar a position. In the afternoon we sought the Lord. Father wept violently a long time. He confessed that he had not followed the warning dream, but in order to obtain momentary relief he had run from stream to stream or wherever water could be found, until he was satisfied he was increasing his difficulty all the time. The Lord comforted him and me. He then made an advance move not to spit up one morsel of his food. He has been firm here and successful, which is quite a victory to gain, considering he has raised his food since the Michigan camp-meeting. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1878, par. 2

But another peculiarity of his case is, he wants air, so much of it; rain or shine, cold or hot, it is all the same. He wants a breeze stiffly blowing upon him all the time, day and night. As he enters the house, no matter who is there, he will throw up all the windows, open all the outside doors, and then will sit a little while, then up and out on horseback. His hands, a short time after eating, begin to burn, and with it is a most unbearable nervousness. He has slept in the tent for two weeks, and nothing would do but have the curtains up and the air circulating like a fury through the tent so cold we could not stay there. He would bare his feet and seem to enjoy it. He left woolen socks and wore cotton, then he left both and went barefooted. I kept entreating that he should not do this. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1878, par. 3

Last Tuesday night there was a fearful storm. I fastened his tent down and tied it together, and then pinned back the curtain leaving him a good amount of air, so much I could not sleep, fearing that the rain and wind would be too much for him and for the tent. When I saw the condition of things next morning I was almost discouraged. He had arisen in the night, opened the tent, and it blew such a gale he expected the tent would fall. That night I was warned again in reference to his case. I talked very decidedly to him, that this condition of things must change. He must cover his feet and act more rational in reference to air, or I should solicit help to take care of him. I told him he acted like an insane man, and it was my duty to see that he did not injure himself with his singular notions. Well, we have prayed and prayed, and yet Father does not seem to have power to let his mind be diverted from himself. He is continually studying how he can make himself comfortable. If he does not sleep at night, he is in distress all next day trying to sleep. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1878, par. 4

His hands became so sore, so full of blood they were purple. I then took them in charge, put oil on them every day, and would not let him touch cold water. His hands are almost healed, but he complains of their being numb and prickling, feeling as though he must plunge them in cold water, and they burn and make him nervous. Can you tell me what all this means? What shall I do with these poor hands? What is the matter? Is it a rheumatic affection? Why does he want air, so much of it, and why doesn’t he take cold when any of the rest of us would certainly die under such treatment? I am put to my wits’ ends to know what to do. I dare not leave him a half a day, and he dare not be left either. He did not sleep last night nor night before. But this should not be regarded as so terribly bad. He has slept night after night and two hours or more during the day, and if he is wakeful nights sometimes it should not be so sad a discouragement. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1878, par. 5

We are going to Oakland because I know not what next to do. This will take up his mind at least. How he will be when there I cannot determine. But I must have help. I cannot stand this responsibility alone any longer. Before this new phase of the case I thought he was improving. I have felt to say over and over, Left alone; no Lucinda, no Mary, no Sister Ings. God alone can we trust in. But it would be very desirable to have someone to share my responsibility. I shall give myself to my husband until this case improves. Last night I dreamed he had another shock of paralysis, and I awoke in great distress. If you can talk with Dr. Kellogg and can give me counsel, do so, I entreat of you, for I am in pressing need of some sympathy and help. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1878, par. 6

Our house is going up, but I fear all the time it is a move in the wrong direction. I think our leaving Michigan when we did was all wrong. If we had remained just where we were till the command had come for us to go, it would have been better. It was as much for your sake, Willie, as anything that I left Michigan. I feared you would be hedged up and not able to carry out your purposes, but I fear it was not a wise move. Finally, I do not know anything. I am troubled and perplexed all the time. But I am inclined to think we will tarry now and not go East this summer. We may visit Colorado. Can you meet us there? Will John and you come? Let us hear from you on this point. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1878, par. 7


We spend next Sabbath and first day, and perhaps a week, in Oakland. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1878, par. 8