Life Sketches of Ellen G. White


Visit to Michigan and Wisconsin—1854

In the spring of 1854 we visited Michigan again; and though we were obliged to ride over log ways and through mud sloughs, my strength failed not. We felt that the Lord would have us visit Wisconsin, and arranged to board the cars at Jackson late at night. LS 153.1

As we were preparing to take the train, we felt very solemn, and proposed a season of prayer; and as we there committed ourselves to God, we could not refrain from weeping. We went to the depot with feelings of deep solemnity. On boarding the train, we went into a forward car, which had seats with high backs, hoping that we might sleep some that night. The car was full, and we passed back into the next, and there found seats. I did not, as usual when traveling in the night, lay off my bonnet, but held my carpetbag in my hand, as if waiting for something. We both spoke of our singular feelings. LS 153.2

The train had run about three miles from Jackson when its motion became very violent, jerking backward and forward, and finally stopping. I opened the window and saw one car raised nearly upon end. I heard agonizing groans, and there was great confusion. The engine had been thrown from the track, but the car we were in was on the track, and was separated about one hundred feet from those before it. The coupling had not been broken, but our car had been unfastened from the one before it, as if an angel had separated them. The baggage car was not much injured, and our large trunk of books was uninjured. The second-class car was crushed, and the pieces, with the passengers, were thrown on both sides of the track. The car in which we had tried to get a seat was much broken, and one end was raised upon the heap of ruins. Four were killed or mortally wounded, and many were much injured. We could but feel that God had sent an angel to preserve our lives. LS 153.3

We returned to the home of Brother Cyrenius Smith, near Jackson, and the next day took the train for Wisconsin. Our visit to that State was blessed of God. Souls were converted as the result of our efforts. The Lord strengthened me to endure the tedious journey. LS 154.1