Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 164, 1897

White, J. E.; White, Emma

Sunnyside, Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

July 4, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in 4Bio 305, 308, 324-325.

Dear Children, Edson and Emma:

The school now numbers over sixty students. There will be some new students who will come this week. We did not expect so large a number would attend the school the first term, and we did not expect so good a class of students. 12LtMs, Lt 164, 1897, par. 1

We are pleased with the principal of the school and his wife. They are determined to carry out the testimonies. Brother Hughes does not say, “Go, boys,” but pulls off his coat and says, “Come, boys.” He works with them. He is the right man for the place. All take hold with a will, cheerfully. 12LtMs, Lt 164, 1897, par. 2

I have been bearing the testimonies which the Lord has given me to bear. The two last Sabbaths in June our meeting room was full. The Spirit of the Lord was upon me, and the Lord manifested that His Spirit was working upon the hearts of all present. We had excellent testimony meetings after the discourse. The subject the last Sabbath was upon the talent of words. My text was first epistle of Peter 1:20. I will send you copies of the substance of these discourses. 12LtMs, Lt 164, 1897, par. 3

Yesterday, July 3, I dared not attend the meeting. I had labored quite sufficiently Friday afternoon in a committee meeting. It was expected I would speak, but I dared not venture. Sunday, today, must be the closing of my American mail. 12LtMs, Lt 164, 1897, par. 4

I was much exhausted. Again I seemed to be impressed that Elder Haskell had the Word of the Lord for the people. The report is that the discourse from Elder Haskell was most excellent. As it was the first Sabbath in the month, the ordinances of the Lord’s Supper and feet washing were observed. 12LtMs, Lt 164, 1897, par. 5

The meeting room was nearly filled last Sabbath. We have had most beautiful, pleasant weather the past week—clear sunshine, cool nights. We had the first frost last night. It is midwinter in this country. Today is the Fourth of July, with clear, beautiful sunshine—cool morning, but no fire needed after the sun shines. We seldom have any fog here. We consider the climate excellent. It is remarked [that] scarcely any one dies around here in Cooranbong. 12LtMs, Lt 164, 1897, par. 6

Willie’s family are all well. The boys are healthy, rosy-cheeked, rollicking little fellows. When Sara and I go to Morisset, four miles and a half, or to Cooranbong, one mile and a half, or to Dora Creek, three miles, we manage to tuck in the children and give May a little resting spell. Ella May and Mabel now go to school and are away from 9 a.m. until one o’clock p.m. Having to manage the two, she cannot do much else. The lads have learned when the horse comes to piazza, they will both run to grandma, their two pairs of little arms stretched out, saying “Gegee, Gegee.” This is about all the words they speak. They are in such ecstasies over getting a chance to ride that I have not the heart to say, No. So they bundle in with their little red coats and white plush caps. 12LtMs, Lt 164, 1897, par. 7

We are all caught in the mistake of not distinguishing them one from the other. Lines of difference are very slight. Their skin is very clear and white, their cheeks red. Their eyes are dark—not blue. Their hair is dark and has not any curl in it. They are just beginning to trot around. They have been good-natured and not troublesome, but now they are so lively we will have to watch them. They have lived very much in the open air, and can scarcely be content indoors. Their great delight is in being on the ground. Then they are in the greatest glee. They are very pretty boys. Their father will hardly know them, and they will hardly know their father. 12LtMs, Lt 164, 1897, par. 8

Willie has been having a one-story cottage built. We have arranged that the piazzas shall be eight feet wide and on two sides of the house. The railing is made so that there is not a possibility of their getting out or falling over, and there is a gate that will have a spring catch which will keep them corralled, so the young White colts will not be straying out in the woods like lost sheep. They are different from any of my children in their talents of words. They do not talk at all, but they know what is said to them. My boys talked when ten months old. These boys were born April 6. In two days they will be fifteen months old. 12LtMs, Lt 164, 1897, par. 9

Willie will start for home on the next boat and, if he comes direct, will be here the last of August. I want the house completed, that they shall be all settled in it when Willie comes, for of all things that he dislikes [it] is moving. The building will cost three hundred pounds. We shall probably have to hire some money but not if I can get of the conference money loaned without interest—one hundred pounds. We want to get the family where they will be comfortable. This is not possible where they now are, this midwinter time. The rooms were unfinished except the one we finished, the bedroom where the little children were born. The building was the first built on the land, to be used for a workshop and then for wash house. I let them have the use of the only spare room in my house, which I used for parlor. That has a good fireplace and is plastered. They bring their children into that room in the morning, and they occupy it until evening, then they put the boys to bed. 12LtMs, Lt 164, 1897, par. 10

We might have had the house completed now if it were not [that] I gave up my workmen to complete the second school building. You might suppose that this was a very fine house to cost so much, but it costs just about double to build a house here, and takes three times as long as to build a house in America. Before the weather boards can be nailed on the house every one has to be bored with a gimlet to put the nails through the wood, it is so hard. The wrought [iron-]nails will double up if this is not done. So you see everything takes longer and lumber is more expensive. Then here our boards for floor come from Oregon, America. All the lumber here will shrink very much. The buildings which should not cost in America over one hundred pounds cannot be built here for less than two hundred pounds. This makes all meetinghouses and all dwelling houses cost much more than in America. 12LtMs, Lt 164, 1897, par. 11

I have just been called away to receive visitors from Pennant Hills and from Kellyville—Brother Schowe and his daughter from Pennant Hills, and Brother Martin from Kellyville. Brother Martin visited me three weeks ago and recommended that the trees be all rooted out from our garden. The tops had already been cut off, but they were sapping the richness and moisture from the ground. These gum trees will absorb all the moisture and richness from the ground. Brother Martin said he would come up and make our garden for us. He is a farmer and gardener. He has just come. Brother Schowe is a school teacher, principal of the school at Pennant Hills. The whole family came into the truth reading [Patriarchs and Prophets], and afterward Brother Smith’s book, Daniel and Revelation. He is considered a superior teacher. While they are eating their dinner, I am completing my letter. 12LtMs, Lt 164, 1897, par. 12

Brother Schowe has brought me many plants, a root of the cloth of gold rose, enormous bulbs of dahlias, and several very nice specimens of roots. This is his vacation, so he can leave now and remain away about one week. He has close friendship and fellowship with me and believes all the testimonies. He has a large amount of very fine land at Pennant Hills. So you see, I shall have to break off my writing and do some visiting. He has not been here at Cooranbong before. He is deeply interested in the school now in session here at Avondale. We have now to take up all our plants and bushes and have the ground laid out in proper beds. 12LtMs, Lt 164, 1897, par. 13

I wish you could see the monarchs of the forest—trees that have been rooted out. Their roots were enormous. The trees were one hundred feet high and the trunks very large, enormously large. We could make nothing grow in our yard successfully but now we will expect to see a better growing than we have hitherto had. I am pleased that Brother Martin has enlisted himself in my behalf. He charges nothing for that which he does for me. I pay his fare, not exceeding about two dollars. 12LtMs, Lt 164, 1897, par. 14

Well, the house of Willie we would call small in America, but here it will be regarded quite large. But there is not a room too many. All is better calculated than my house. But our house was started for an office. We knew we could not obtain the funds to create that which we so much needed, and took what we could get. Women and girls climbing up stairs is to be avoided if possible. There is too much of that business done in America. I find it a saving of my strength to be on first floor. 12LtMs, Lt 164, 1897, par. 15

I do want to see you both so much. I can only be grateful to my heavenly Father that He gives me clearness of mind and health at my age. We have cleared just a few trees to make a place for Willie’s house. We are having five acres fenced so that we can set out a strawberry bed and peas and radishes, and in August plant potatoes. Now is the time to do this. 12LtMs, Lt 164, 1897, par. 16

Well, Edson and Emma, I hope you will remain well. I was glad to understand your resolutions in your last letter. Your work is to do the will of God in opening the Scriptures to others. I send you enclosures that I consider of great value. Will you copy this letter I send to you, and send the same to your aunt, Mrs. P. Foss, West Minot, Maine? I cannot write her, for I have not time to do this. I send you two pages of letter I did write, yet I think did not send. I will add: the meetinghouse has been built in Hobart, Tasmania, and they are in a much better condition spiritually. 12LtMs, Lt 164, 1897, par. 17

Put your trust in God and follow His counsel at all times and you will find it safe and secure. Do not let loose your hold on God, but learn of Christ in His school. You will obtain an education of value. Press close to the bleeding side of Jesus and be not desponding or discouraged. Work to do God service with an eye single to His glory and you will receive His peace, consolation, and joy. 12LtMs, Lt 164, 1897, par. 18