Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Lt 162, 1896

White, J. E.; White, Emma

Sunnyside, Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

December 16, 1896

Portions of this letter are published in 8MR 252-253; 4Bio 271.

Dear Children, Edson and Emma:

I wrote to Emma, which went in the Vancouver mail. I cannot remember whether I wrote to you or not, but I have been very ill, and had not the Lord been very kind and tender and merciful to me, my life would have ended. I was gathering the malaria in Melbourne and was not the most pleasantly situated in Adelaide. I worked altogether too hard and the result was not realized until the conference was held in Sydney. The letters I have had to write have been many. 11LtMs, Lt 162, 1896, par. 1

I had the American mail completed, then I was finishing the African mail when I was taken very violently ill. I was unconscious. Sara and all my family had been in Sydney. I did not go. I was at home in the temporarily hired house. Soon after I was taken so badly, Maggie Hare came, but she was terribly frightened. Sara came at six o’clock. She had me in a bath as soon as possible, but she says I knew nothing. She shouted in my ears as loud as she could, but I made no response. She watched over me, giving me treatment until two o’clock a.m. As soon as daylight came I said to them, I am very sick. Get me home. They thought this was best, and they took me in a hansom to Strathfield depot. The hackman and Brother Semmens carried me in their arms up the long stairs that crossed the track and down, and I was placed in a first-class compartment. There were only two ladies in it. I found the carriage waiting for me at Dora Creek. 11LtMs, Lt 162, 1896, par. 2

For two weeks I suffered intensely. The pain came on at twelve and did not leave me until four o’clock. For two weeks I could eat very little. Our early peaches ripened—called Early May. I ventured to try them. How delicious to my taste, and cooling! I ate the last peach from the trees yesterday. 11LtMs, Lt 162, 1896, par. 3

This orchard resembles my orchard in St. Helena. And then to think one year ago last July we broke a path with my platform wagon and two-horse team through the brush, driving over logs and breaking down the young, smaller trees, twelve and fifteen feet high. May, Willie’s present wife, Ella and Mabel and I made the first fire for clearing the brush. We then left for Granville. The first of August we pitched our four tents and set men to clearing. We located present building and set men to work. We engaged the bullock teams—eight span, with three men—to break the sod after the trees, immense in size, were dug out by the roots. 11LtMs, Lt 162, 1896, par. 4

The perfectly smooth trees, about one hundred feet high, made bonfires. I felt it hurt me to see these trees burned, but they said, “What else can we do?” I wanted a log house built of them, but there was no one to do this. 11LtMs, Lt 162, 1896, par. 5

I determined to set my trees, even before the foundation of the house was built. We broke up only furrows, leaving large spaces unplowed. Here in these furrows we planted our trees the last of September, and lo, this year they were loaded with beautiful blossoms and the trees were loaded with fruit. It was thought best to pick off the fruit, although the trees had obtained a growth that seemed almost incredible. The small amount of fruit—peaches and nectarines—have served me these three weeks. They were delicious early peaches. We have later peaches—only a few left to mature as samples. Our pomegranates looked beautiful in full bloom. Apricots were trimmed back in April and June, but they threw up their branches and in five weeks by measurement had a thrifty growth of five and eight feet. 11LtMs, Lt 162, 1896, par. 6

If the Lord prospers us next year as He has done the past year, we will have all the fruit we wish to take care of, early and late. The early fruit comes when there is nothing else, so this is an important item. The peaches are rich and juicy and grateful to the taste. We have quince trees set out, and lemon, orange, apple, plum, and persimmon trees. We have even planted elderberry bushes. We planted our vineyard in June. Everything is flourishing and we shall have many clusters of grapes this season. 11LtMs, Lt 162, 1896, par. 7

We have a large strawberry bed which will yield fruit next season. We have a few cherry trees. The testimony is that the land is not good for cherries, but so many false, discouraging testimonies have been borne in regard to the land that we pay no attention to what they say. We shall try every kind of a tree. We have a large number of mulberry trees and fig trees of different kinds. This is not only good fruit land, but it is excellent in producing root crops and tomatoes, beans, peas, potatoes—two crops a season. All these good treasures that the land will yield have been brought in from Sydney and Newcastle and thousands of acres of land have been untouched because the owners say they will not raise anything. We have our farm as an object lesson. 11LtMs, Lt 162, 1896, par. 8

The school orchard is doing excellently well. If the land is worked it will yield its treasures, but weeds will grow, and those who own land will to exercise ambition to take these weeds out by the roots and give them no quarters. Deep plowing must be done. They let a few orange trees grow in the sod, also the lemons. We get the choicest, best oranges for three pence and two pence, ha’penny per dozen—six cents American money, and four and five cents per dozen for large, beautiful, sweet oranges. 11LtMs, Lt 162, 1896, par. 9

We have a large space of land devoted to ornamental trees and flowers. I have scoured the country for different plants, and I have a large bush of lemon verbena honeysuckle. We have a large variety of roses, dahlias, gladioli, geraniums, pinks, pansies, and evergreens. This must be a sample settlement, to tell what can be raised here. 11LtMs, Lt 162, 1896, par. 10

Brother Hughes told me he had a _____ tree for me, but Connell did not come for it. I was then at the post office near Mr. Hughes’. I said, Can I have it now? He said, “Yes.” He stepped into my sulky and we went to his place. I thought it took him a long time to get it, but when he came he had a tree ten feet high, a large stocky tree, and several smaller trees. The tree was in bloom. It has a flower some like a lilac, very fragrant. There I was alone, to take care of that tree and take it about two miles. But I did it. Had to get out and open two gates. I tended my tree, giving it every night a pail of water to drink. It never wilted, and this was last September. It is a flourishing tree. Everyone is astonished at the improvements we have made in so short a time. 11LtMs, Lt 162, 1896, par. 11

Just before my window, in my garden close by a beautiful fuchsia, a stalk of corn came up from the seed. We let it alone to grow. We took no pains to enrich it. In five weeks it grew eight feet and now, three weeks later, it has been stretching up until it measures in height, I believe, about thirteen feet, and it is still stretching upwards. It has the ears formed. The corn has tasseled. The ears are revealing the silk. I am seeing how this will develop. 11LtMs, Lt 162, 1896, par. 12

The garden is the exercise ground for my workers. Early and late the girls are at work in the garden when they are off duty. It is better for them, and more satisfactory than any exercise they can have. I could not persuade Marian to ride, could not get her from her writings; but now she has her interest awakened, and I have no fears but that she will get out of her chair and work in the garden. This garden of flowers is a great blessing to my girls, and they are working with the tomato raising, planting and caring for the tomatoes. 11LtMs, Lt 162, 1896, par. 13

Well, I write this to you this morning, for I have written so much upon intense subjects that take all my vitality I thought I would write some things that did not make my heart sad and sore and that will not tire me much. 11LtMs, Lt 162, 1896, par. 14

Mr. Connell was sent to Sydney last Monday for fruit. It is now at its cheapest. The rains have been coming every day for about two weeks. It makes fruit a drug in the market. We had a large shipment on the cars yesterday. I have not seen it yet, as it came late last night. Elder Daniells and Sister Graham came from Melbourne last night to have some time with Willie before he goes to Battle Creek. The boat sails next Monday. Just a few days now. Willie’s family will be accommodated in the small building where his twins were born while his house is being built. He is having a plain, simple home built—a few rooms—to have a home near me. The family will be less expensive here. They can have the place without rent, and every penny counts. 11LtMs, Lt 162, 1896, par. 15

I had written this much when Sara asked if I was strong enough to go beyond the orchard to my washhouse and bathhouse. The fruit had come and she wished me to see it. So I thought I could walk down that far. I examined the fruit and tested its quality. Peaches, ten boxes, came last night, and apricots come today. When I came back I had a sinking turn. Could not eat my breakfast. I waited until ten o’clock and then I dared not eat much of anything. I am rallying again. 11LtMs, Lt 162, 1896, par. 16

I learn Brethren Salisbury and Daniells have both come and Sister Graham, one of our chief workers in the International Tract and Missionary work. Willie leaves now so soon, and when shall we see him again? We cannot determine. You see, I have nearly filled this letter with commonplace matters. 11LtMs, Lt 162, 1896, par. 17

Since writing in regard to my exhaustion I found it difficult to rally. December 19 was Sabbath. I am some stronger. 11LtMs, Lt 162, 1896, par. 18

Brethren Daniells and Salisbury and Sister Graham have been at Willie’s all the time in close business relation. Friday they were at our house. Sabbath Brother Daniells spoke to the people in the new mill, and they had an excellent meeting. Oh, how thankful I am! I have not been able to eat at the table or to unite with the family in prayers but twice for nearly three weeks. Yesterday and today I am much better. 11LtMs, Lt 162, 1896, par. 19

I must leave with Willie today, Sara accompanying me. Willie leaves this place and when will we see his face again after we part with him at Melbourne? May feels that she can hardly have him go. I am not able to go to Sydney, but I must sign my name to papers before notary. Dear, I have not strength to go. 11LtMs, Lt 162, 1896, par. 20